As I mentioned in a recent post about the AntiChrist my views on eschatology have changed over time (from dispensationalism to Protestant historicism) through reading certain documents and hearing certain sermons. Let me not forget to mention Bible study, meditation upon the Scriptures and fervent prayer as other means which brought about the change. My views on eschatology (AntiChrist, Millennium) changed during a period in my life which I would consider the most fruitful/fervent in terms of prayer, Bible study, evangelism, service and sanctification (2004-2009). I mention it so that no one may falsely think I became an amillennialist while being in a state of personal spiritual declension.
Premillennialism is one of the three great positions held on the Millennium with Postmillennialism and Amillennialism being the other two. In each of the three positions there are different views. In 2005 I had exchanged a more recent form of premillennialism (dispensational premillennialism) for something I believed was closer to the truth (historic premillennialism). Historic premillennialism sees the Book of Revelation as spanning the entire period of the Church age while dispensational premillennialism sees most of the things foretold in Revelation as occurring within a short period of time in the future. Great writers of the past held to historic premillennialism (e.g. John Gill, Joseph Mede, Thomas Newton, Isaac Newton, E. B. Elliott, H. Grattan Guinness) and it is believed that the Prince of Preachers himself, Charles Spurgeon, was a historic premillennialist (read here). For the first few years of my Christian life (2001-2007) I had prejudice against amillennialism and had not really bothered until the fall of 2007 to look at why godly and orthodox amillennialists held to that position on the Millennium. I thought one reason why amillennialists rejected premillennialism was possible racism toward racial Jews. Yes it is a sad fact that there have been some amillennialist Christians in the past who expressed contempt for non-Christian Jews (e.g. Augustine of Hippo) but not all amillennialists have been anti-Jew racists. Let us avoid blind generalizations. I am an amillennialist Christian and I am not anti-Semitic. I don’t know of any amillennialists personally who are anti-Semitic. Even the best of men under God’s grace still remain sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20) so even one who may be right on a great number of fundamental Biblical doctrines may sadly be guilty of racism toward a particular racial group. That does not excuse the racism of course. And yet that does not mean all of the doctrinal positions of such a man are automatically incorrect either. Let us be noble Bereans (Acts of the Apostles 17:11) and look at how a doctrinal position stacks up Biblically. Let us lay aside strawman argumentation and labels (e.g. “you don’t take the Bible seriously”, “you spiritualize everything”, “you don’t take the Bible literally”**, “you teach replacement theology”***, etc…) and look at the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura. Acts 17:11. I hold to an amillennial understanding of the Book of Revelation because I believe the Biblical evidence points toward what has been historically labelled amillennialism*. It’s about grace. Not race. It’s about hermeneutics plain and simple. It’s about looking at how Christ and His apostles interpreted the Old Testament prophecies/promises. Does not the Christ teach us all things (John 4:25)? Should not the clearer light of the New Testament (John 1:17b; Matthew 13:16-17) help us interpret the figurative prophetic passages and dark sayings (Hosea 12:10; Numbers 12:6-8) of the Old Testament? Should not the Book of Hebrews be considered a surer guide for us than the harder-to-understand Book of Ezekiel?
* the term “a-millennial” would mean “no millennium” (just like “a-theist” means “not a theist”) but that’s not a fair and correct view of our position… we believe there is a Millennium but not in the way the premillennialists conceive it to be… I use the term because for better or worse that’s the name that has been attached to the position
** There are different styles found in the Bible : historical narrative (e.g. Genesis 6-day Creation account of events that happened close to 6000 years ago), poetic passages (e.g. Psalms, Song of Songs), parables, similitudes, proverbs, figurative prophetic passages (Hosea 12:10), etc… that means we can’t spiritualize away historical events which occurred in this physical realm (e.g. 6-day Creation account with “days” actually meaning literal days and not millions of years) or apply a wooden literalism to prophesies which were delivered in figurative language… to each its own… were not the Jews in the days of Jesus guilty of carnally interpreting His words which were meant to be taken figuratively (Jesus : “I am the bread of life”) with a wooden literalism (Jews: “how can he give us his flesh to eat?”)? I prefer saying that I take the Bible SERIOUSLY rather than using the term “literally”
*** I hold to EXPANSION theology not REPLACEMENT theology
Like in my previous post on the topic of AntiChrist I will present here a list of documents and audio sermons which helped me come to my present understanding of eschatology. I would say the first document which seriously led me to reconsider historic premillennialism was a very good book written by Patrick Fairbairn, a postmillennialist, called “Prophecy viewed in respect to its distinctive nature, special function, and proper interpretation (1866)” which can be downloaded for free here. (Note : Charles Spurgeon, thought by some to be a historical premillennialist, had recommended the book.) I had decided to read it because it dealt with hermeneutics and the author was well-reputed for his published works on Biblical typology. I didn’t read the book because the author was promoting at the end of his book a postmillennialist view of Revelation chapter 20. In fact I only became aware of the author’s postmillennialism when I got near the end of the book. In the part of the book dealing with the Millennium issue he brought up good arguments against premillennialism which bothered me at the time (around the beginning of the fall of 2007). Yet I was not convinced enough to adopt the postmillennial view of the author. I thought within myself that it would be good to find a prophecy book written by an orthodox Protestant amillennialist in order to look at the Biblical arguments put forth in support of amillennialism. I forget if I audibly prayed to God at that time in order to find the right book on the topic. Whether or not I did so at the time the Lord knew my thoughts and He knew my sincere desire to adhere to a correct understanding of the Millenium.
Approximately 2 weeks after having for the first time a desire to read a prophecy book written by an amillennialist I was sent by a Pentecostal brother-in-Christ a book dealing with the Millennium issue…. written by an amillennialist! The book was written by W. J. Grier and called “The Momentous Event” (in French : “Le grand dénouement”). I had not told my Pentecostal friend or anyone else for that matter that I was having questions concerning the Millennium issue itself. He already knew I had rejected the secret rapture teaching 2 years earlier. This same brother-in-Christ had tried years earlier (months after my conversion) to convince me that the secret rapture teaching was false but I was not mature enough spiritually at the time to calmly consider his arguments. It would be another 4 years (early 2005) before I would completely reject the secret rapture teaching. My friend seeing my initial resistance to his warnings concerning the secret rapture teaching thought it was best to send me the aforementioned book at a later time. His timing could not have been better… I believe it was not a happy coincidence… God led me to question the premillennial position and also led my friend who was living in another city (and as I mentioned before unaware at that time that I was reconsidering the Millennium issue) to send me the book shortly after.
I read the book (about 120 pages) and finally came to the conviction that amillennialism was the correct view of the Millennium of Revelation chapter 20. I enjoyed the book and have recommended it to others. I think the book is a good starting point for looking at the Millennium issue.
After reading Grier’s book I desired to learn more about what amillennialism generally teaches so I subsequently read more documents and listened to sermons. Here are the TEXT DOCUMENTS I remember reading after receiving amillennialism :
Ralph Woodrow, “His Truth is Marching On” (sold here)
Here is a list of known amillennialist authors : L. Berkhoff, A. Kuyper, W. Hendriksen, O.T. Allis, D.H. Kromminga, G.C. Berkouwer, A.A. Hoekema, G. Girod, H. Hoeksema, R.C.H. Lenski, J. Adams, G. Voss, A. Pieters, F.E. Hamilton, G. Murray, W. Rutgers, M.J. Wyngaarden, W. Messelink, W.J. Grier, W. Cox, T. Graebner, A. Hughes, Kliefoth.
Here is a list of AUDIO SERMONS/INTERVIEWS teaching/promoting the amillennialist view of Revelation:
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 1”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 2”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 3”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 4”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 5”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 6”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 7”
http://www.LetGodBeTrue.com : Mr. Crosby, Sermon : “The Gospel Millenium – Part 8”
Chris Hand, “Are the 1000 Years of Revelation 20 Literal? Revelation 20:1-15”
Chris Hand, “Amillennialism Described and Defended Matthew 24:1-51”
Chris Hand, “Amillennialism (continued) & Historic Premillennialism Revelation 20:1-15”
Chris Hand, “Dispensationalism Defined”
Chris Hand, “Dispensationalism – It’s Doctrine Examined”
Kim Riddlebarger’s Lectures on Amillennialism :
Art Azurdia, “The Anticipation Of The Consummation (Revelation 20:1-3)”
Art Azurdia, “The Anticipation Of The Consummation (Revelation 20:4-6)”
Art Azurdia, “The Last Battle Take 2 (Revelation 20:7-10)”
Sam Waldron on Chris Arnzen show (“Iron Sharpens Iron”) : “The End Times Made Simple”
Sam Waldron on Chris Arnzen show (“Iron Sharpens Iron”) : “Amillennialism Defended”