in a literal future Millennium is called "Chiliasm", derived from the greek
word for one thousand years in Revelation 20. This doctrine is
false because it is based upon derived conclusions and not explicit teaching
in the New Testament. The doctrine of Pre-millenarianism
is one and the same as Chiliasm.
It proposes that there are two future resurrections and two future judgments that will yet occur. One at the end of the church age and another at the end of the millennium. This is actually a confusion of the one and the same resurrection to come and the one and the same judgment to come. Chiliasts confuse this and make two different sets of each.
Chiliasm also confuses the rule of Jesus Christ that now occurs and claims it will be earthly after the church age is over, whereas it is spiritual now.
This is a repetition of the same mistake in all three cases of Christ's rule, resurrection and judgment. The three issues are doubled-up, when in actuality there is one of each.
And there is a fourth error they make like this. Christ' return. They claim He comes at the rapture, and then again after the future 1000 years. Once again, there is only ONE MORE COMING OF JESUS.
Chiliasm totally mistakes the reference to the "FIRST RESURRECTION", and that is the basis of it's error.
But the myths of an earthly Utopia have weaved their way into the Chiliasts' thoughts, as a major source of this confusion.
Revelation 20 cannot be taken in a Chiliast fashion due to the contradictions that it proposes when it does so.
The first resurrection is not physical. It is spiritual.
(14) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
(1) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
(12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
(5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved
(6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
(4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
(5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
(6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
(7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.
(8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
(9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
(10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
(11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
(13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
All the above are references to spiritual resurrection with Christ. Never did the apostles ever write about a resurrection after the church age followed by another resurrection one thousand years after that.
This makes the 1000 year reign a representative picture of the entire church age, when one bases one's understanding of Revelation 20 with the rest of the epistles that clearly taught one future resurrection.
Then we read of the "second death" in Revelation. It is spiritual and not physical because it speaks of being cast into the Law of Fire in Revelation 20 after one's physical death. And it has nothing to do with those in the first resurrection. The first resurrection involves believers born again and risen with Christ right now.
If Chiliasm were correct, then Revelation teaches thoughts about resurrection that no other book in the bible teaches. However, one is not to derive doctrine from the book of Revelation! Revelation is not a series of explicit teachings. One receives one's teaching from the epistles and gospels for doctrine. Not Revelation. And furthermore, one interprets Revelation based upon the explicit statements found in the rest of the Bible that are not amidst visions and symbolic speech. Since we are never to assume anything, not even what is symbolic and what is not, we need plain and explicit examples of what is symbolic in order to determine what is and what is not. That is why I learned to study this issue by looking to the rest of the Bible for the meanings of Revelation's visions. I found that every single vision in revelation has an actual Old Testament story that it alludes to. And the only safe basis I could then stand upon regarding the visions in Revelation was not that it was a series of "movies" of what will happen in the future, but references to everything Jesus and the apostles said, using the stories of the Old Testament as symbols for Jesus' and the apostles' explicit teachings.
Instead of a future thousand year physical reign of Jesus, Revelation is actually saying that the devil is defeated once and for all at the end of the world, after dealt a blow at the cross.
By erringly taking the first resurrection to be physical, Chiliasts claim a new teaching that is not in the epistles anywhere, and never taught in explicit form.
No, Revelation is repeating what the epistles and Gospels already explicitly taught!
Such assumption of futurism is a right that such teachers will absolutely NOT GIVE to any other doctrine. I would like them to respond to people who assume just as much concerning the plan of salvation as they themselves assume about prophecy.
A quote from 1911 Edition Encyclopedia.
“Nowhere in the discourses of Jesus is there a hint of a limited duration of the Messianic kingdom. The apostolic epistles are equally free from any trace of chiliasm (neither 1 Cor. xv. 23 seq. nor 1 Thess. iv. 16 seq. points in this direction).”
And the writer claims that the prophets only suggested an eternal kingdom.
“At first it was assumed that the Messianic kingdom in Palestine would last for ever (so the prophets; cf. Jer. xxiv. 6; Ezek. xxxvii. 25; Joel iv. 20; Dan. vi. 27; Sibyll. ~ 49 seq., 766; Psalt. Salom. XVII. 4; Enocn lxii. I4), and this seems always to have been the most widely accepted view (John xn. 34).”
And the writer says that the thought of a thousand physical years is a derived conclusion.
“But from a comparison of prophetic passages of the Old Testament learned apocalyptic writers came to the conclusion that a distinction must be drawn between the earthly appearance of the Messiah and the appearance of God Himself amongst His people and in the Gentile world for the final judgment. As a necessary consequence, a limited period had to be assigned to the Messianic kingdom. According to the Apocalypse of Baruch (xl. 3) this kingdom will last, donec finiatur mundus corruptionis. In the Book of Enoch (xci. 12) a week is specified, in the Apocalypse of Ezra (vii. 28 seq.) four hundred years. This figure, corresponding to the four hundred years of Egyptian bondage, occurs also in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 9911). But this is the only passage; the Talmud has no fixed doctrine on the point. The view most frequently expressed there (see Von Otto in Hilgenfelds Zeitschrift, 1877, p. 527 seq.) is that the Messianic kingdom will last for one thousand (some said two thousand) years. In six days God created the world, on the seventh He rested. But a day of God is equal to a thousand years (Ps. xc. 4). Hence the world will last for six thousand years of toil and labor; then will come one thousand years of Sabbath rest for the people of God in the kingdom of the Messiah. This idea must have already been very common in the first century before Christ.”
Ancient jewish apocalyptic thought, that was never mentioned by Jesus nor tha apostles, was adopted by writers long after the New Testament was written.
“Other ancient Christian authors were not so cautious. Accepting the Jewish apocalypses as sacred books of venerable antiquity, they read them eagerly, and transferred their contents bodily to Christianity. Nay more, the Gentile Christians took possession of them, and just in proportion as they were neglected by the Jewswho, after the war of Bar-Cochba, became indifferent to the Messianic hope and hardened themselves once more in devotion to the law they were naturalized in the Christian communities. The result was that these books became Christian documents; it is entirely to Christian, not to Jewish, tradition that we owe their preservation. The Jewish expectations are adopted for example, by Papias, by the writer of the epistle of Barnabas, and by Justin. Papias actually confounds expressions of Jesus with verses from the Apocalypse of Baruch, referring to the amazing fertility of the days of the Messianic kingdom (Papias in Iren. v. 33). Barnabas (Ep. 15) gives us the Jewish theory (from Gen. i. and Ps. xc. 4) that the present condition of the world is to last six thousand years from the creation, that at the beginning of the Sabbath (the seventh millennium) the Son of God appears, to put an end to the time of the unjust one, to judge the ungodly and renew the earth. But he does not indulge, like Papias, in sensuous descriptions of this seventh millennium; to Barnabas it is a time of rest, of sinlessness, and of a holy peace. It is not the end, however; it is followed by an eighth day of eternal duration the beginning of another world. So that in the view of Barnabas the Messianic reign still belongs to o&ros i~ aic~w.”
The following quote notes how that Irenaeus and others simply adhered to it because it was traditional. And note how that some stood on the grounds that the disciples of the apostles, who wrote AFTER the bible was written, noted a physical 1000 years, implying the actual bible did not teach it. (Now, in order to state this, one has to believe that such thoughts in Revelation cannot be considered doctrine, since Revelation is not explicit teaching, as is the epistles and Gospels in whcih ther eis no mention of a 1000 year period.).
“The earlier fathers, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, believed in chiliasm simply because it was a part of the tradition of the church and because Marcion and the Gnostics would have nothing to do with it. Irenaeus (v. 28, 29) has the same conception of the millennial kingdom as Barnabas and Papias, and appeals in support of it to the testimony of disciples of the apostles.”
Since many Apostolic teachers have stood on the grounds that something must be apostolic if the disciples of the apostles taught it in extracanonical writings, despite the fact that the apostles taught nothing of it in explicit epistle teachings, let me state a truism: It does not matter if someone aside from John or any other apostle wrote about a belief ONE MOMENT after the final book of the New Testament, Revelation, was written, if it was never explicitly taught in the New Testament epistles or Gospels, then it is NOT grounds for doctrine.
Would any apostolic accept a doctrine of how to be saved that was not explicitly written in the epistles as being a plan of salvation, on the basis that it was written one moment after the last New Testament writer wrote the last New Testament book, who was a disciple of the apostles?
After all, Jude informed us that there were already false prophets abounding in the churches in his day. Who is to say that John would have approved of one of his disciples proposing a physical thousand year reign of Christ on earth just because John heard of a thousand year rule in his spiritual visions?
Anything in Revelation must be based upon explicit teachings in the epistles and Gospels, and not vice versa. And so the thousand year reference MUST BE spiritual, and not one thousand physical years, because nothing in the epistles or gospels ever reflects a physical thousand years. Nothing in the prophets does either!
I want nothing to do with derived conclusions that comprise doctrines. As I said, I would like to see any futurist here accept a derived conclusion for the plan of salvation for us today, aside from the explicit note of Acts 2:38, as they accept derived conclusions without any specific teaching in the epistles or Gospels. They'd never do it in.... one thousand years!
They give the right to assume and derive conclusions for prophetic doctrine that they would give to NO OTHER DOCTRINE!
Ask them if they demand an explicit teaching about salvation before they will accept it. They will say "No!" However, that is what they do with prophecy!
Notice that even the encyclopedia says that there is a thought taken from Genesis' 7 days and Psalm's mention of a day with the Lord as a thousand years. And it is the ONLY Basis in the bible to state that there will be a physical thousand year millennium in the future. The reasoning is that since there were 7 days in the week, and a day is like one thousand years, then there must be seven thousand years in earth's history.
One problem there, despite it's obscene assumption, is that we are already in the start of the seventh "one thousand year day"!
Chiliasm was NOT predominant before second century.
“Chiliastic of Revelation interpretation predominated during the second and third centures of this era. Chiliasts (from the Greek for "thousand," chilioi) took a literal interpretation of Rev 20:4-5 and looked forward to a thousand year reign with Christ on earth. The word "millenarian" (from the Latin for "thousand year," mille annus), is used today for people who take a literal view of this passage. Chiliastic readings in the second century ce tended towards materialistic interpretation of the millennium kingdom and the wealth described in the New Jerusalem. Wainwright mentions a number of important early church figures who were also Chiliasts; chief among these are Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (others, such as Hippolytus and Lactanius, are not as important for the development of Christian doctrine and dogma).”
“Problems with the Text. The other prominent line of ancient interpretation, particularly in the ancient Greek East, was allegory. At the end of the second century, Clement of Alexandria chastised Christian women who took the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 as a warrant for wearing jewelry (Paed. 2.12, 119.1 3). Clement, in his typical manner, points out the allegorical or spiritual meaning of the passage; the brilliancy of the stones signifies the brilliancy of the spirit.”
In other words, chiliasm had no precedence over allegory of the thought in those early centuries.
I agree with this statement
“We object to the millenarian scheme, because it is grounded chiefly on those portions of the Bible which are symbolic, and enigmatic, and difficult to be understood.”
Doctrine must be something that is plain and explicit, and not amidst visionary elements of which some are clearly symbolic and others may not be. Who is to say which is which, without EXPLICIT DISCUSSION IN TEACHING IN THE EPISTLES?
Therefore, it is incumbent upon any serious apostolic child of God to reject chiliasm and anything else that is not explicitly taught by the apostles and Jesus in the Bible.
I strongly warn any apostolic to reject pre-millenarianism based upon this notion. THE ONLY place it is pointed to in scripture is Revelation 20. And who is to say what and what not is symbolic?