WHY IT IS ESSENTIAL TO STUDY THE
HEBRAIC ROOTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
REDISCOVERING THE HEBRAIC ROOTS OF THE EARLY
CHRISTIAN CHURCH, CIRCA A.D. 60
THE MILLENNIAL VIEWS
By Mal Couch
Ariel Ministries Introduction - There is much discussion, argument and disagreement within Christendom today with regard to when the Millennial Age of the Kingdom of Christ actually takes place. However, there was no such disagreement amongst the disciples of Jesus who held the view now identified as Premillennialism: the belief that holds to the Scriptures as presenting a literal promise of an earthly king- dom of Messiah. This excellent analysis of the Premillennial, Amillennial, and Postmillen Premillennialism. nial views by Mal Crouch is presented here for the benefit of visitors to the Ariel Ministries website. This article was published in the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Bible, New King James Version.
The word “millennium” in Greek (chilia) means one thousand as in one thousand years and is used six times in Revelation 20:2-7. The word clearly defines the length of the earthly kingdom reign of Christ. Three views have dominated Christianity as to what constitutes the Millennium or kingdom.
Premillennialism. The early church was “pre” millennial and expected Christ to return and establish the throne of David, as promised in the Old Testament. Premillennialism holds to the literal promises of an earthly kingdom and cites how the apostle Peter referred to 2 Samuel 7:12, “(David was ) a prophet, and (knew) that God had sworn with an oath to him . . . He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30). Many references describe this coming blessed, earthly period. For example, the Anointed King will have the nations for His inheritance (Ps. 2:8), and exercise justice in the land of Israel (Isa 9:7). “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb” (Isa. 11:6) and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isa. 11:9).
In time, the Church departed from Premillennialism, though there is some evidence that the teaching lingered for some centuries among certain groups. For example, Antioch in Syria was a great Christian teaching center that appears to have made known a literal understanding of Scripture for generations. At the beginning of the nineteenth century in England, a natural and normal approach to biblical interpretation was revived, accompanied by an explosion of interest in Premillennialism. Premillennialism grew even more rapidly during the twentieth century.
Amillennialism. Early on, interpretation in the Church began to shift away from belief in Premillennialism. Clement of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 155-220), believing in the divine origin of Greek philosophy, taught that all Scripture must be allegorically understood. This idea began to slowly grow and was systematized and propounded by Origen of Alexandria (A.D. 185-254) and further propagated by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) who made the view popular. With the Greek negative “a” in front of the word “millennium,” this view says that there will not be a literal, earthly kingdom established.
The Reformers restored Bible interpretation to a more literal approach, except in the area of Bible prophecy. Many still took an allegorical approach when teaching about the kingdom. They taught that the literal promises to Israel were passed on to the Church in a spiritualized way and that there would be no regathering of the Jews to the land and no literal one thousand year reign of Christ.
Postmillennialism. This view was first propagated by Daniel Whitby (A.D. 1638-1726), a Unitarian. Postmillennialists hold that the Church is progressively building and bettering itself.
World War I, and finally World War II, virtually ended the hopes of the Postmillennialists. Mankind’s cruelty was made evident and things were not getting better, as was being taught. However, there are some indications that Postmillennialism is returning in new forms. Some are teaching that if the Church restores all the demands of the Old Testament Law, then if could conquer society and restore righteousness, making it possible for the promised kingdom to be realized.
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