Notes on the Seven Churches (6)

“Searching the Seven Churches”

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The way, the truth and the life!

The Dangers of Pre-millennialism? – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1)

There is as we have seen only one coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, one resurrection, and one judgment. The fault with the pre-millennial system lies with the system’s interpretative method And especially so with an isolated and difficult passage of the Bible. There is a rule for interpreting such passages, i.e., Revelation twenty with its thousand year, millennium, which gets an extreme focus of attention. Such Scriptures need to be interpreted by simpler and clearer and plainer Scriptures, in order to interpret the obscure and difficult ones. One of the dangers in interpretation is that of eisegesis instead of exegesis. The latter is the correct method, the former reads into the text the latter reads out of the text. We have no authority to foist our imaginative thinking onto the Scriptures. Ex means out of, eis means into. We want out of the Bible what it says, not putting into the Bible what we think it should say. Dispensational pre-millennialism is a perfect example of eisegesis, reading something into the Bible that is not there, thus doing violence to Scripture. We have two testaments to the Bible, old and new, but, there is a cohesive unity, oneness to the Holy Scriptures. At the close of the millennium, which is not a literal one thousand year period, but stretches from the ascension of Christ to its end at his visible return, he judges all, and his sheep are gathered into one fold, not two. For God is one, his people are one, his covenant is one, his word is one, not two. This is the resounding truth declared by God’s people in all ages. “What believest thou concerning the “holy catholic church” of Christ? That the Son of God from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to himself by his Spirit and word, out of the whole human race, a church chosen to everlasting life, agreeing in true faith; and that I am and forever shall remain, a living member thereof” (Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 54).

All who believe and confess the Lord Jesus Christ belong to that one church. They may live separately, in different countries, have different labels, denominational ties, but they are all part of that one church. The household of faith, the kingdom of God, the church is all one. Whatever else we may call ourselves, our first name is Christian. The prayer of the Lord Jesus has been and will be answered, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). Pre-millennialism with its separation between Jew and Gentile runs against those very words of the Lord, how serious is that? The last danger we look at for now concerns God’s Son. He came not to make an earthly kingdom, or sit on an earthly throne, in fact he fought against that every step of the way, and rebuked his own disciples for even thinking in those terms. But he didn’t succeed until the day of Pentecost, then they understood. Do you recall his rebuke of Peter when Jesus spoke of his death? Peter rebukes him and says this won’t happen to you. Jesus calling him Satan told him get the back of him, why? Because that was Satan’s temptation in the wilderness, an earthly kingdom without the cross. But it was for the cross he came, to die and to atone for our sins. If he had followed the voice of Satan and, or of Peter, and established an earthly kingdom and throne, where would that put the atonement, and your sins? Dr. Campbell Morgan held to dispensational premillennialism all through his Christian life and ministry, until two years before his death, when he repudiated all his previous teaching on this subject. He said that he had now found that all the promises made to Israel, have found and are finding their fulfilment in the church, the new spiritual Israel. So Christ came to established a spiritual kingdom, the church by dying, rising, to justify and to deliver the elect. When the millennium ends he will take them all to heaven, both Jew and Gentile together. He is coming! The signs are there already, the end is near, the question is are you ready for day of judgment?

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)

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