“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Problems With Pre-millennialism? – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1)
One of the problem’s we are faced with when we come to the pre-millennial position is that of the separation made by its proponents between the old and the new dispensations. In the Bible Israel is a spiritual concept, that is, the church and Israel are one and the same. There are times of course when the nation of Israel is referred to. But when it comes to God’s elect, the Bible is speaking of an Israel within Israel, not all who are of national Israel descent are of the spiritual Israel. Only those who have been circumcised in heart, or in New Testament terminology, born again, “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Romans (9:6), i.e., to the church. The unity of the covenant is fixed, Abraham and the Gentiles are all dealt with in the same way, by faith. The covenant of grace was established with Abraham and with his seed (Genesis 17:7; 22:17), which includes the Gentiles, in fact all the nations. All is one, there is no separation between Jew and Gentile all are dealt with in exactly the same way. The apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, makes this clear, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). There is a clear unity between Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:8). Abraham’s seed are the true Israel of God, donated by the Father to Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. Again, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[ the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed” (Romans 9:6-8). God’s purpose, “that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two” (Ephesians 2:12-22). God does not have two people, only one. The church, the Israel of God. Jesus himself, “So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16). The latter being a text used by the Pre-millennialists profusely, but obviously not understood for some reason.
The next problem is that of the sudden rapture. A secret and a sudden rapture, separate from the resurrection? According to the New Testament this will take place in exactly the opposite way. “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord (1Thessalonians 4:15-17). It’s visible, with a shout, a trumpet blast, the resurrection and the translation of the saints follows. There is absolutely nothing sudden, silent, or secret about this event, nor is it separated from the resurrection. When the saints will be with the Lord, forever, never to return to the earth. And yes, only one, yes one, resurrection, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgement” (John 5:28-2). Next time we will look at the dangers of this teaching, for it is no small thing, there are serious dangers with it, it is heresy.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)