95. Traces of Defeatism: A Critique of Amillennialism



In "Traces of Defeatism," I examine how some of the interpretations and assumptions in amillennialism act like trace elements of poison in the Church's bloodstream, subtly undermining our mission by instilling a defeatist mindset. I argue for embracing a postmillennial perspective, which I believe empowers us to actively engage and transform culture, reflecting a more victorious outlook on God's kingdom and our role within it. --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/datprodcast/support [https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/datprodcast/support]


Hello everyone and welcome back to the podcast where we prod the sheep and beat the wolf.
This is episode 95 the traces of defeatism Well, hello everyone and welcome back to the podcast where we're in a special series right now called a practical
Post -millennialism and if you're just joining us my goal in the series has been to help make the end times practical
Because what we believe about the end times shapes how we live in our time And if we think that we're gonna lose down here, then we're not going to work down here if the sky is always falling well, we're gonna be ever hiding but If on the other hand
God has a plan for victory if he's gonna use his church to extend his
Dominion to the ends of the earth then brothers and sisters you and I are going to live radically Different we're gonna work.
We're gonna build and we're gonna take risk for the glory of Christ and That's why
I've been encouraging this this whole time because I want to see the Church of God Invigorated again.
I'm tired of seeing the church defeated. I'm tired of seeing the church Pulling back from culture and hiding in our little churches.
No, we're the salt of the world. We're the light of the world We need to get out and let the light shine, which is what
I'm hoping to accomplish in this series now in the first part of this series on a
Practical post -millennialism. I actually wanted to go back and talk about the wrong views The views that I believe have crippled the church and caused her to become stagnant in her mission
I had a lady asked me today actually Why do you focus so much on eschatology when there's all of these other doctrines and it was a sincere question
I said great question because I want to see the Church of God thrive and Anything that's causing her to feel defeated feel like she can't engage like she needs to hide like an ostrich
With her head in the sand. Well, I want to get rid of that and what I found in my time in the church is that Eschatology matters and if you have a wrong eschatology
It is going to impact the way that you view Christ the way that you view your time on earth and the way that you
Engage in the mission. So I've made it my goal in this series to Let us look at a biblical eschatology.
But before we get there, we got to look at what the wrong eschatology is views like Dispensationalism or historic pre -millennialism and even in some respects all millennialism, which we're going to talk about today
Have produced a disengaged and a disinfected and a demoralized
Church that has abandoned culture over the last 50 to 100 years
Instead of the church engaging the world. She's grown silent and she's become hidden now in this
Series, I want to fix that but we've got to go through the different ways that this has come about in our first episode
Which was called defeating defeatism. We dissected the sort of fragmented topsy -turvy
Alice in Wonderland view of eschatology. That's called Dispensationalism and we showed in that episode how it produces a mindset a mindset of escapism
Theological withdrawal and even and even victimhood in the world among the members of the church who ascribed to this sort of view and It leaves those who believe in dispensationalism looking at the
Bride of Christ instead of this glorious Creature that Christ came to the earth to seek and buy and purchase for himself and to marry as his bride
Instead of that it views her as this black -eyed Brunette who is just waiting to be bruised and beaten before she is rescued out of here
That to me sounds nothing at all like the New Testament Now in our second episode along with esteemed
Bible teacher Gary DeMar, I would recommend you check out that episode It is excellent.
We started to where we continue down this road of unraveling futuristic Thinking and demonstrating one by one through one scripture after another how that gloomy prediction that that that doom and gloom sort of eschatology where you have a future tribulation and wars and rumors of wars and false prophets and all those different kinds of persecution and turmoil all of that stuff already happened in the past in the pages of history and What Gary DeMar did so brilliantly as he showed how
Matthew 21 22 23 24 are all talking about This happening in their lifetime and in their generation and it all culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in ad 70 so all of that that pre -millennial ism punts out into the future.
It's already happened So, why are we so upset and worried and always looking for marks of the beast or Antichrist or whatever?
So that was episode 2 Episode 3 is where we turned our gaze toward historic pre -millennial ism
Which in some way is a bit more rational and reasonable than her younger sister called dispensational ism
But unfortunately, she's from the same family and she produces the same Outcome which is eschatological defeatism now if dispensational ism can be compared to chugging a gallon of arsenic well
Historic pre -millennial ism would only require you to drink a glass and that of course sounds reasonable sounds like a great improvement but when you realize the infinitesimal amount of arsenic that it actually takes in your bloodstream to be fatal
Well, the differences between a gallon of glass sort of evaporate at that point Now having thoroughly dismantled the pre -millennial view and I believe that we did that Jesus's kingdom is still in the future at some point
It will not be inaugurated until the church Collapses and is raptured out of here and a heavenly elevator
Well instead of that I would like us today to turn to our millennial ism Which I believe is the next wrong eschatological position that we really need to consider
Now I didn't want to do this episode to be honest because I have so much respect for our millennial ism
But before turning our sights on the correct view we need to cover all the views and that means we need to talk about our millennial
Ism now again, I want to lay this on thick because I believe it. I have great respect for our millennial ism
It is it is the majority view right now among reformed theologians and churches and pastors and even reformed people it gets so much right about the nature of the millennium and the and the nature of Eschatology and there's different streams of our millennial ism that are very close to what
I believe that are really right and those strands have Contributed to so many great things in the church and in Christianity, but but there's also these like these trace elements
That caused the church to be weakened and caused the church to feel defeated that I think our millennial ism is responsible for even though It is a good view if we go back to our previous metaphor
The arsenic our millennial ism is not gallons of arsenic like the dispensational
So it's not even glasses like historic pre millennial ism And in some senses, it's kind of like a thimble or maybe even trace elements would be a better example
There are many good things about this view it produces a sobriety when it comes to biblical studies a seriousness that I have very much respect for and admire, but Remember you don't need glasses and gallons of poison to get you sick even if there are small
Trace amounts of arsenic in the water or in your bloodstream. You can become quite ill.
What a day. I want to talk about the small traces that have found their way into Millennial ism that I believe have caused the church to retreat that have caused the church to be sickly and that have caused the church
To feel defeated and lacking hope so I'm not gonna get into everything that we could possibly get into this week
It's way too big of a topic to cover. There's another episode coming out next week on radical two kingdoms
I'm a millennial ism that I'm eliciting the help of dr Glenn sunshine to come in and help me on that because it's it's way bigger of a topic than I can possibly
Do by myself, but this week. I just want to paint with broad strokes I want to describe what
I'm a millennial ism is I want to give it great honor and deference is a good reformed view but I also want to talk about how it's an incomplete view and how it contributes to the
Pessimism and the defeat ism that we've been discussing so far. So if you're on board with that Let's get started part one millennial ism described
Now as the name suggests I'm a millennial ism is one of the four primary views that has something to say about the nature of the millennium
Which is found in Revelation 20 millennial ism pre millennial ism and post millennium all say something about the millennium, which is the thousand years in Revelation 20
Now if you think about it these these views sort of make sense pre millennial ism suggests that Jesus is going to return before the millennium pre millennium and Post millennial ism suggests that Jesus is going to return after his millennial reign or post post millennial ism
But I'm a millennial ism is a little confusing because it absolutely has something to say about the nature of this thousand years
But unfortunately the ah in our millennial ism sort of makes things a little bit
Confusing Normally the ah coming before a word is known as an alpha privative and it's a grammatical term
Which means that it negates the word that it follows We have a very common word in our culture called atheism.
It's theism Negated by the ah atheism means I don't believe in God whereas theism means
I do believe in God So when you put the a in atheist it negates the word
Theism and it makes you believe that there, you know, it's it's communicating that you believe there is no
God Well the same way if you put ah in front of millennial ism It's almost like you're saying I don't believe in the millennium and that is not what our millennial ism is saying
In fact, that could not be further from the truth You see like post millennial ism the ah millennial types believe
Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time Just as God is not limited to for instance the cattle on a thousand hills because that numbers figurative and he is going to bring blessings to more than a thousand generations that numbers figurative well
Ah millennials and post millennials believe that that thousand -year reign of Christ is a figurative time period that covers the entire reign of Christ He's not just gonna reign for a thousand years.
He's gonna reign for all the years His reign is not a future event that we're waiting on It's it's an event that's already begun
That's been ushered in by Jesus by his ascension in the throne and in heaven So that we're already living in Jesus his kingdom now a point that ah millennial ism and post millennial ism agree with wholeheartedly
Now we're ah millennial ism and post millennial ism part ways Concerns the question of where Jesus's reign occurs or maybe a better way of saying that is where will
Jesus have? dominion according to the ah millennial types Christ is going to have dominion in the souls of believers
He's reigning now and he's gonna have dominion over the spiritual lives of his people The kingdom that they envision is a spiritual kingdom.
It's a kingdom on this side of heaven It's a church that Jesus ascended to rule over which involves the gathered people of God every
Sunday morning Salvation regeneration the sacraments the praises the worship and all of that and That makes this kingdom that they're talking about move forward entirely by the
Spirit of God yes, and amen and in this era it moves forward through the proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the earth and It advances one by one by raising dead souls to life in Christ, which again the post millennialist will say.
Amen But where a millennial ism stops short is in seeing
Christ dominion is Limited to the spiritual realm and he's only
Claiming back from the curse and from the devil the fallen souls of man
Now, maybe he has some maybe his kingdom has some marginal impact in the world, but it's not going to be much
It's primarily a spiritual kingdom and to be fair Millennialists do actually believe that Jesus's kingdom is going to reverse the curse in the physical realm
They just don't believe it's gonna happen on this side of heaven They believe it's gonna be in the new heaven and the new earth which makes their view a bit more pessimistic
Than those optimistic post mill types who see the kingdom of God is impacting the physical world now as I believe the scriptures say
Which is which I think is fair and we'll get to later now in summary The emphasis that our millennial ism has is a good one.
It talks about God's sovereignty It emphasizes the already not yet nature of the
Christians current reign with Jesus in this Lifetime it underscores a view of eschatology that does bring hope and sobriety to its
Adherence and again, I believe it is overwhelmingly better Than pre -millennial ism than dispensational ism and it's more consistent with the truths of reform theology
Which has made this view a staple in the history of the church but We also have to examine how it's got things wrong
But before we do that, I want us to look at what is the history of our millennial ism? And again, we could talk about so much here
There could be volumes of books written on this and I am I'm gonna go as fast as I can through this material because I want you to Understand at a high level and I don't want to lose you in a podcast if you'd like to know more
I've written a longer article on this on the website and go to the Shepherd's Church Blog and you can check that out before right now.
We're just gonna paint in really broad strokes so if I don't say this in the in the way that exactly
Captures the exhaustive treatment of our millennial ism in history Please show me grace because I'm trying to just do this in summary form.
So with that part two millennial ism's history the ancient world
Now in the early days of the Christian Church There were different ideas about how the world was going to end and what role
Jesus was going to play in that world -ending drama two of these ideas were called
Amelaniel ism and post millennial ism and both of these views have their roots all the way back to the early church
They were influenced early on by Jewish teachings and early writings by Christians Including a very important work done by Augustine of Hippo Now at first amelaniel ism and post mill is post millennial ism were basically the same view people didn't
Distinguish them. They didn't start seeing the differences between them until much later which happened after the
Reformation So in the ancient world and in the ancient church these views were the same view
So when I say amelaniel ism in this I'm meaning both that when I'm telling the history of this
I'm telling the history of both because both views especially in the ancient world believe that Jesus is already reigning in a symbolic way
He's not literally sitting on a throne somewhere in the capital city of Jerusalem And he's not doing so for a limited number of a thousand physical years
No, he's reigning in heaven over all the years and over all time and over all things Remember, he says in Matthew 28 that all authority in heaven and earth belong to me
Not just the authority I have on in the city of Jerusalem Now both of these views also agree that Jesus is going to come back after a period of time the idea of Amelaniel ism comes from Jewish writings that talked about the end times
These are books like Daniel which has much to say about the end times and really informs our understanding quite well
And also from pseudepigraphal books like the book of Enoch Which was very influential in the second temple
Jewish period and was also influential in the early church now These writings did not
Specifically spell out whether this thousand -year reign of Jesus was going to be physically on earth
There was or whether it was going to be a spiritual reign in heaven so early Christians who were influenced by Daniel in the book of Enoch plus they were influenced by the writings of the
New Testament authors and The thoughts of Jesus reign being something more than more spiritual than physical
Well, this view became sort of the primary view and this is especially true Under the influence of Augustine in the 4th century now at that time
He wrote a famous book, which is you should read it. If you have a chance It's it's one of the classics of the
Christian faith. It's called the city of God's a very long book It's a great book and he wrote that book where he argued that the
Bible's description of the end times Should be rightly understood as symbolic and not as literalistic
Now according to Augustine Jesus's reign began with his ascension to heaven and his enthronement in heaven at God's right hand and That rain is manifested or that rain is shown throughout the world through the church's presence on earth now this view ran afoul of a common view at that time called
Chalaism or also known as historic pre -millennial ism Which argued that no Jesus wasn't gonna return until the very end and he was gonna set up a literal thousand -year reign somewhere in Jerusalem in the future that view clashed with Augustine hardcore
Now Augustine's ideas became more prominent and they became very influential and he suggested that the church and the world
Were going to grow together you see premillennialism said basically that the church was gonna grow a little bit in the world was gonna grow a lot and Jesus was gonna come and rescue us out of here and that made sense in the first two centuries of the church where the church was getting bloodied and Butchered and beaten
But in the fourth century when the church was starting to gain ground and was starting to win and it was starting to spread throughout the
Roman world Augustine came along and said no, I don't think that the church ends in defeat I think the church grows victoriously at the same time as the world
So they both grow together and they both sort of become more opposite of each other over time
So that instead of them coming together and one of them winning out what Augustine really argued and it was developed later by other theologians was that the church in the world grew
Simultaneously and they grew more opposed to each other the longer the church age went along To where in the end they were completely and diametrically opposed to one another and there was no one left in the middle you were either
Fully against God or you were fully for God in these two sort of competing kingdoms
Now this was different From the thinking that Christians were going to physically rebuild the world and they were gonna reclaim
Culture and they were gonna bring God's blessings physically on earth and that was gonna overtake the curse
Which is what post -millennialism eventually began to be seen as but over time
Especially early in the church this symbolic understanding of Jesus's reign became more and more accepted
It became the primary view in the early church and it has continued to be the primary view up until the modern era
Because it's easy to have a view of victory when you were winning when the Roman Empire is bowing the knee to Jesus and his church
Actually topples it. It's hard to feel like a loser Which I'm sorry to say this but post pre -millennialism
Communicates that it's hard to feel like a loser when you're winning and Jesus was certainly winning
So his victory was spreading to the Roman Empire and it was encouraging So unlike that literalistic view of the end times which faded away it literally became extinct
During that time period because again, it was so hard to believe it Amillennialism and post -millennialism grew and they grew to become the dominant view and they were the dominant view all the way up to the
Middle Ages and into the Middle Ages the Middle Ages Now during the
Middle Ages the idea of amillennialism which is the belief that Jesus's reign is more spiritual than physical that he really is reigning right now in heaven and It's not a physical throne on earth that became very popular and that was largely again because of Augustine of Hippo He was again a very influential
Christian thinker He wrote a book where he explained that the Bible's talk about a thousand years should not be taken literalistically instead
He said it's more about Jesus reigning from heaven spiritually through his church on earth and for a long time especially at the beginning in the
Middle Ages people did not really question that at all and in fact They didn't build on Augustine's ideas for a long time because Augustine had laid them out pretty well
The church had more battles that it needed to focus on so it didn't get back to eschatology for a while so Augustine's viewpoint sort of became frozen as The view of the church for a long time without really any extensive development
The church was more focused at that time on setting itself up against the rising conflicts between the
Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church Which called the Great Schism and then you came into the high
Middle Ages where? Scholars started thinking and writing about religion in new ways and that did include some thoughts on amillennialism
But again, it was scant Augustine's view was still looming large over the culture of the Middle Ages Now it was later in the
Middle Ages that a religious movement This is late Middle Ages where a religious movement called mysticism became popular and this view emphasized personal spiritual experiences over and against the physical world
The people who believed in this would would try to avoid the world abandon the world and live entirely in the spirit
Pitting the spiritual life in the physical life at odds with one another which is Gnostic and not even biblical
I believe at this time amillennialism started to take on some of those elements the
Spiritual side of things become less optimistic about how the gospel will actually improve the world
Before Jesus returns I believe at this time they begin to focus more on preparing for heaven as opposed to Trying to live and be faithful here on earth, which set them apart from the amillennial
Christians Who would eventually become known as post millennials who were trying to build society here and now or at least build?
society in conformity to Christ Now this shift towards a more spiritual and a less worldly approach
It started very slowly and it did not separate these two views very quickly
So that amillennialism postmillennialism all throughout the Middle Ages were still considered the same view
But it did lay the groundwork for how amillennialism and postmillennialism would diverge in the future the
Reformation to the modern era Now from the Reformation in the 16th century to now
How people think about amillennialism has developed which again is the belief that Jesus is reigning
Spiritually rather than a literal thousand -year period on earth that view has changed a ton as a result of the
Reformation This topic is already huge But with all of the debates and all of the important thinkers that have been involved in this since the
Reformation until now The amount of books and the amount of materials that we could write on this topic really are our
Legion, I would say that in the last 500 years amillennialism has went Through much more development than it did even in the first 1 ,500 years the church which means that if I was summarizing before then
I'm really summarizing now So again, your grace is appreciated Well during the Reformation important religious leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin and others
Well, they pushed the idea that we should focus more on what the Bible says rather than church traditions
Which of course ran afoul of Rome John Calvin in particular helped promote the idea that Jesus's kingdom is more about his spiritual reign than the physical dominance that he saw the church
Forcing on people here and now now he didn't spell out everything that he believed about the end times
But his writings do lay the groundwork for future thinkers to build upon his ideas
After the Reformation there were other theologians and there were important documents like the
Belgic Confession of Faith and the Westminster Standards which further developed these ideas in those confessional doctrines.
They are documents They talked about God's kingdom as something that is both happening now, but it's also something that we look forward to in the future
It's an already and a not yet kingdom Over the years several key figures followed downstream of the
Reformation who added more details into these into these beliefs For example, Johannes a
Kosias. I'm sure I'm not pronouncing that correctly. Forgive me he helped blend the end time view of amillennialism with covenant theology sync retires or Synchronizing it with the full formed reformed theology
So he took it and Combined it with covenant theology, which is a way of understanding the
Bible's overall story later thinkers who came after him like Herman Bovink and gear hardest
Voss Well, they link these ideas about the end times to the broader story of how God saves his people through history
Especially true of Voss who is we consider sort of the father of biblical theology Doesn't mean his theology was more biblical than anyone else
It means that it's a type of theology that begins from Genesis to Revelation. He's telling the whole story. That's what biblical theology is well, then in the 20th century as a new view called
Dispensational pre -millennial ism which we talked about three episodes prior to this was it became popular especially in the
United States Amillennialism needed to be defended and clarified by a new generation of theologians
Bovink was great Voss was great But as dispensational ism grew theologians like Lewis Burkhoff and Anthony hoechema
Needed to take the doctrine forward and be able to answer the objections that pre -millennial ism was bringing now
They wrote important works arguing for the view of God's kingdom That is already happening now because of Jesus being in heaven reigning on the throne
But not yet fully realized because he hasn't yet returned today Modern scholars are building upon that foundation and they're continuing to discuss and refine
Amillennialism to continue to fight the heresy of pre -millennial ism
Focusing on Jesus's reign now and how it impacts our understanding of the future the church and biblical prophecies
Now this belief system that has been developing over the majority of church history
I would say amillennial ism and post -millennial ism together are the long -standing view of the church
Even though they're less popular now than other views. They are the long -standing view of the church
Well, this belief system is key to understanding reformed theology, especially reformed eschatology
Which emphasizes God's control over everything even the end and our
Jesus's leadership of the church is going to win the world back Now that leads us into our next part part 3
Amillennial ism's key themes Now the central thesis of our millennial ism is that Christ is reigning over his kingdom now from his throne in heaven
This means that the millennial kingdom that exists is right now during a symbolic period of time
Which we know as the church age Now that age could last for a thousand years or it could last for a hundred thousand years depending on the will and the plan
Of God, we don't know how long God is going to delay But we do know that he is reigning now
This world does not belong to Satan as John Nelson Darby says it belongs to Christ both Amillennials and pre -millennials or post -millennials agree with that now the critical point to understand is that one?
That the 1 ,000 years in the Bible does not usually refer to a literal number
This is so important to understanding this because if you're a pre -millennial or if you're dispensational you can say see you're not taking the
Bible Literally, you don't you don't believe the Bible is literal and that is not what we are saying We do believe the
Bible should be taken literally which means according to the literature and if the literature is figurative
You should understand it figuratively if Jesus says to pull the plank out of your eye before you get the sawdust out of another person's
Eye, I should not expect to see you pulling a 2x4 out of your face It is figurative language
Well the year thousand or the number thousand is a figurative number
It's kind of like a child going up to them to his mother and saying that I want a bajillion
Pieces of candy. We know that he's not talking about a literal number. He's talking about a big number
He's talking about something incomprehensible to him He's talking about I want all the candy and that's exactly what the
Bible does when he uses the word 1 ,000 we are supposed to know that when biblical authors employ this
Thousand -year term they're using an all -encompassing very large number like bajillion which means everything for instance
I'll give you four examples when God communicates that he is going to increase the population of Israel and make them fruitful and multiply
Before the Exodus and he says I'm gonna multiply you a thousand times over He is not communicating an exact percentage of population growth where he will take them and no further
He's not saying I'll grow you a thousand percent, but not a thousand and one. That's not what he's saying
He's telling them that if they will remain faithful to him Then they're going to undergo the kind of fruitful and multiplied blessings that the original humanity
We're gonna be under if they obeyed God, that's Deuteronomy 111. That's Genesis 128.
So that's example one Example number two is when God tells
Israel that he's going to bless their covenant faithfulness to a thousand generations
Which if a generation is 40 years in the Bible a thousand generations is 40 ,000 years So is
God communicating that he is only going to bless his people for 40 ,000 years when the clock turns to 40 ,001 it's gonna be worse than y2k because God's gonna take all his blessings away.
That is ridiculous That's not what God's saying He's simply telling them that if they will be obedient to him with complete and total
Obedience and he will give them complete and total blessings and that he'll pour them out upon them and upon their children
For ever he's not limiting the amount of years to a fake to a literal number
He's saying I'm gonna bless you entirely a bajillion times So that's the second example number three when
God says that he owns the cattle on a thousand hills We've already talked about the Psalm 50 verse 10. He is not telling them that somebody else owns the cattle on the thousand and first He's not saying
I own these thousand hills, but Jim Bob down the street owns the others. No, it's not what he's saying
It's ridiculous the fourth example I'd give you is when David exclaims Lord better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere
Psalm 8410 David again is not communicating that one day is good for a thousand
But don't ask me to stay a thousand and one God. I've got work to do. That's not what he's saying He's saying a single day in your courts in your temple is better than all the days anywhere else on earth a
Bajillion days that's sort of what he's saying. And those are examples Again, there's more of them.
I could give you so many more examples of a thousand years not being a not meaning literal number
It's a figurative number with a literal meaning But I think you get the point well
Postmillennials and Amillennials take that number as a very figurative number and we say that if it means this and all these other scenarios
That it must mean that God rains from heaven for all the years
Whether it's a thousand years or ten thousand years or whatever Amillennialism rightly understands that God is not setting limits on the time of Jesus's reign to a measly thousand years
God's not doing that God is saying that his son when he ascends to the throne He is going to reign unflinchingly for every year until he decides to return his rule isn't is gonna be unchallenged
It's gonna be unbroken. It's gonna be unrivaled. It's gonna be without end Again without rival without end without limit until he decides to return yet While amillennialism sees that so rightly and they get that so right
They comprehend that so well They unwittingly put limits on the nature of his reign.
They don't put limits on the length of his reign they say no, no, no, no, he's gonna rain all the years, but they do put limits on the
Degree or the nature of his reign saying that his reign his post incarnation
Empire is only going to affect the spiritual world and it may only marginally impact the material world before eternity begins now in this sense amillennialist
Actually are more like pre millennialist because they agree that the physical blessings described in the
Bible Described in the prophets described on the lips of Jesus are not going to happen until Jesus returns in that sense
They're just like pre Millennials in the meantime they agree with Postmillennials that that the
Bible says Satan has been bound and the rulers and the authorities have been disarmed praise
God They believe that that's good and that the enemy cannot stop the advance of Jesus's Church So that's good but again
They limit the effect of that advancement or the nature of that advancement to mean only spiritual victories
Instead of the church seeing the curse by God by the Holy Spirit pushed back in every realm such as politics and governments being discipled and Christianized or education being
Christianized music to the glory of God art and Advancement by Christians medical and scientific breakthroughs coming at the hands of the church technology and architecture all that instead of seeing
Believers the church by the spirit bringing the blessings of God to the nation's and obedience to the cultural mandate and the and the
Great Commission Amillennialist adopt a very unhelpful and limiting binary
Formula a rigid kind of two kingdoms that originated more from Augustine than it does from Holy Scripture For this reason amillennial pastors theologians churches and members are less interested in engaging with culture since the subtle fatalism of the
Augustinian view Necessitates that the kingdom of man is going to continue to grow without end right alongside of the church and if it's gonna grow right alongside the church and The church really isn't gonna have much impact on it.
Then why engage it? Let's focus here on what we can do in the here -and -now and let's leave them alone to do what they do
That is not in my opinion what the Bible says You see without the hope of of that kingdom of man shrinking and without the hope of Jesus advancing on that kingdom through his church and and his dominion actually infiltrating that kingdom well
Amillennials have sometimes adopted a posture of isolationism From cultural avoidism where they do good and faithful works in their churches praise
God for that and Yet they're less involved in the world because that's the kingdom of man and we don't belong there and we don't work there in my opinion
That has led to so much problems in American culture because as the church has pulled away even for good reasons like Building up the church as the church has pulled away the society has decayed
Now I want to be fair here. This is not to suggest for a second that Amillennial Christians are
Necessarily always aloof and always unengaged in culture. That's not my point My point is is that the subtle trace elements in the bloodstream of amillennialism the assumptions in their
Eschatological system can cause them to be aloof and it can cause them to be unengaged in culture
And I would even go as far as to say that when they are faithfully engaged. They're not acting like amillennialist
They're acting more like post millennialist When they do those things furthermore because some amillennials attempt to read a coming future
Antichrist and a rapture of the righteous a rebellion of the wicked at Armageddon a great tribulation a great apostasy and They try to read all these things like Kim riddle
Barger who wrote the case for amillennialism when they read all those things into The future of the church instead of seeing them rightly as things that have already been fulfilled in the first century
AD Well, they also tend to be less optimistic about how far the church can
Realistically advance on earth before the forces of darkness take over and kick us out of here which is gonna force
Jesus to return and eradicate them which agrees more with pre -millennialism as well and That way that form of amillennialism functions with a veneer of pre -millennialism hiding underneath the fat of good reformed theological categories
But unlike pre -millennials who ferociously argue that the promises of God are going to come true on earth
That brand of amillennialism says nope, those things only occur in heaven So in that sense, they actually believe the promises the
Bible less than the pre -millennials Which is sad and in some ways makes pre -millennialism more exegetically faithful, but only in some ways
Now as mentioned before these are the trace elements of spiritual anthrax
That have left our amillennial brothers and sisters a little limp and a little sickly when it comes to bringing all of Christ to all of life and for all the world, but I'm not gonna just leave it in the general realm here
I'm actually gonna tell you I think three reasons or three trace elements that specifically have affected the amillennial view and have caused it to Leave the church impotent.
So let's go with that now part four identifying the trace elements now as I mentioned moments ago the same poison that totally infected dispensationalism and pre -millennialism which shows up in trace amounts in the amillennials blood work and while amillennials have been responsible for many gains within the
Kingdom of God This is an area where critique and reversal are needed and what follows
I'm gonna sketch out a few examples three to be specific of where amillennialism tends towards an over spiritualized interpretation of Scripture, which
I think runs afoul of the text in Conclusion of this section. I'm going to show how this stifles the church
From vibrantly engaging in culture and the world and why we need to repent so element one
Overspiritualization of prophecies Now one of the most common critiques that's leveled against amillennialism centers on its approach to interpreting prophetic passages particularly those within the
Old Testament instead of seeing these things though what the prophets prophesy as Coming physically upon the earth as the kingdom of God advances
I think that the prophets argue for while amillennialism sees them through a
Spiritualistic lens or they maybe even relocate these promises to heaven Let me give you a few examples
Let's start with Isaiah 2 2 through 4 Now there the prophet describes that in the last days the mountain of the
Lord's Temple is going to be Established as the highest point on earth and all the nations are going to stream to it well
Isaiah also foretells that the Lord himself is going to rule over the nations from that mountain and he's gonna bring his justice and his peace upon the earth and he's gonna end war and he's gonna end violence and the
Nations are gonna come to his people the church in order to learn the law of God Now while amillennialism interprets the first two verses correctly seeing that Christ first coming in his incarnation
Established his church as the place where the nations are gonna come for salvation, which is the spiritual fulfillment
They ignore that in this passage. The warriors are gonna beat their swords into plowshares
Which is not figurative and that all the nations are gonna be under the rule of the Messiah who will bring peace which is not figurative and That they the nations are gonna come to his church in order to be discipled according to his law
Instead of a world growing more and more wicked this passage actually communicates a world that increasingly is growing
Smaller in its wickedness and more in submission to King Jesus Unlike the amillennial view where the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God grows simultaneously at the same time which again is
Augustinian no This passage is talking about the kingdom of man shrinking and even running eventually to the church in order to know
God Which the text gives us a perfect exegetical warrant for thinking this way
Amillennialism on the other hand has no warrant for spiritualizing that passage Here's another example take for example
Psalm 72, which is a royal Messianic Psalm and that passage the
Messiah is gonna come and restore justice on the earth verses 2 through 4 He's gonna bring physical peace and material prosperity to all the people verse 3
He's gonna comfort the poor and the afflicted verse 12 through 14 He's gonna bring abundance to their fields verse 16
His physical reign on earth is gonna extend to all the nation's verse 8 11 and 17 and those who come under God's blessing by being under the reign of Jesus verse 17 are going to be blessed on a material earth and not a
Disembodied heaven the only way to make sense of these very material promises is to see them
Occurring like they're described physically here on earth You either have to have that happening in the future like pre -millennialism does or these things are going to have to Increasingly come through the reign of Christ in his current reign on earth, which is post -millennial ism
Or you're gonna have to ignore these things like the amillennials You're either gonna have to believe what the
Bible says in this passage that it is physical or you're gonna have to spiritualize it Which is what traditional amillennialists do with no adequate answer or reason for how they do it
It just must be spiritual because it doesn't fit with our worldview. Here's another example. Look at Isaiah 9 6
This passage is so critical. It says that a child is gonna be born to us.
That's Jesus and Everybody says that post -millennial pre -millennial amillennial. We all say that that's
Jesus, but then right after that Isaiah says that that same child who's born is gonna have the government on his shoulders
Which means he's gonna grow up to be a king who rules and he's gonna be both a human king and a divine king
He's gonna be wonderful counselor mighty God Prince of Peace everlasting father then the passage says this very curious thing about in verse 7 how this baby who's born in Bethlehem is gonna grow up and Take over the world.
It says there will be no end to the increase of his government or of his peace on The throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forever more now, there's two things that this passage actually does not say
First he doesn't say that there's going to be a multiple thousand year gap between Jesus's birth and his universal total dominion
He is gonna step into King into his kingship immediately and it's going to grow from there
That kind of nonsense that pre -millennialism believes is just not in the Bible There's no multiple thousand year gap between his first coming in a second coming in Isaiah 9 7 his kingship
Begins with his royal birth for sure but it grows deeper in his adulthood and it's inaugurated more fully in his
Ascension and it's gonna be increasing here on earth in every decade in every century and every millennium since then until one day all
The things that Isaiah promises are going to come true his reign will come in full
That's what it says. The second thing that it doesn't say is that you have a exegetical right to Spiritualize the extent of Jesus's kingdom as many amillennialist are so prone to do he does not say that this king will have a spiritual reign that takes over the hearts of men and will only affect the church and his
Government only applies to the church and his reign is only applying to the spiritual world. That's not what it says
This passage includes how he's gonna reign over both the spiritual and the physical realms. He's going to rule over Everything which is why post -millennialism has a better answer to this passage than amillennialism does
You can look at another example Daniel 2 35 where the kingdom of Jesus Was inaugurated by God himself verse 44 of that chapter during the
Roman Empire Which most people believe maybe the dispensational's don't but they're wacky.
Well, anyway, God himself Inaugurates Jesus's reign in the Roman Empire, which is precisely what happened in Jesus's death
His reign began then when he ascended into heaven, but now notice in Daniel that the kingdom
Begins in a particular way. It doesn't begin in full form it begins like a little pebble and Then that little pebble grows a little bit more and eventually a little bit more and it becomes a mountain that takes over the entire
World starting with the Roman Empire and it's gonna eventually topple all the nations This is precisely what
Christianity has been doing for the last 2 ,000 years and all of that began in the first century This is not a spiritual takeover that has no impact on the world.
No, this is an actual takeover that Literally toppled the Roman Empire which fell at the feet of Jesus in the 4th century and it's
Constituted one of the most epic fulfillments of prophecy that's ever been given Why do we need to spiritualize these passages when we have no warrant to do so and the physical reality of them is far bigger
And better and greater Anyway, it doesn't make any sense. That's maybe the second to last example.
I'll give you one more think about it Zechariah 14 9 Which says that the Lord is gonna be king over all the earth
Let's just keep going the Lord's gonna be king over the all the earth That's not spiritual Make Genesis 12 3 the
Abrahamic promise or the seed of Abraham the seed of Christ is gonna bring blessings to all the people on Earth that's not just spiritual.
What about the global transformation? that's echoed throughout the Psalms and the prophets like Psalm 2 8
Psalm 22 27 through 28 and Psalm 72 8 through 11 and 16 how they depict a future where the
Messiah is gonna reign and he's gonna bring Universal peace and prosperity and righteousness on earth.
What do we do with those passages if we just spiritualize them? Because that's not what those passages are talking about This is further elaborated in Psalm 110 1 through 2 which portrays a triumphant kingdom under the reign of a triumphant Christ Remember the prophets like Isaiah and Micah Offer some of the most vivid pictures of this era and they're not spiritualized visions
They speak of a time when the nations are gonna seek God's wisdom where there's gonna be real peace on this earth
Real prosperity is going to abound with the knowledge of the Lord covering the earth as the water covers the seas.
That's a back at 214 that universal Acknowledgement of God's sovereignty is further anticipated in the prophecies like Jeremiah 31 34
Where the New Covenant renders the teaching about the Lord Unnecessary because everyone on earth is already gonna know him everyone on earth
Daniel's vision of God's everlasting kingdom Daniel 235 Sefaniah's promise of worldwide worship
Sefaniah 3 9 Zechariah's prophecy of Gentile seeking God all across the world
Zechariah 823 and the Lord's universal kingship Zechariah 14 9 all of that reinforced the hopeful optimistic outline that Amalanielism cannot account for they understand the success of the gospel goes so far
Which is the spiritual world, but not any further which I think dishonors what the gospel actually means
And what the gospel is actually saying they understand the success of the gospel goes forth in the salvation of sinners
But they miss the fact that the effect of the gospel is gonna be more than just salvation.
It's gonna disciple people It's gonna disciple nations and that's gonna produce Post -millennial fruit in a post -millennial world not on millennialism and not pessimism now said this earlier
But even the Great Commission this one last example is what I said earlier even the Great Commission The command to make disciples out of every nation
Matthew 28 19 Assumes a long -term rigorous successful Physical takeover of the world and its ethno its people its nations
That's gonna come under the Lordship and the blessings of Jesus Christ in Some ways pre
Millennials take these passages far more seriously than the run -of -the -mill Amalani list because they at least
Have the cojones to say that these promises are not Spiritualized they are actually going to occur on earth.
Even if we have to punt them into a very remote distant future Amillennialism tendency to allegorize and spiritual eyes these passages causes them to minimize the scope of Jesus's kingdom and to ignore the promises that his kingdom is going to usher in and Overall, it causes them to live in a sort of subtle Nagging unbelief in the power of God.
Can he really accomplish the things that he said or not? I believe that he can Element to pessimistic view of the church's influence
Now along with understanding or underestimating even the scope of Jesus's kingdom through the spiritualization of the prophecies
Well amillennialism also underestimates the church's role in transforming the society Beginning with the cultural mandate which
Genesis 128 and that mandate humanity was designed by God to steward and cultivate creation to actually extend
Yahweh's rule and his dominion on earth by bringing life and Blessings into every square inch of the material world.
They started in a garden but yet they were supposed to make the entire world a garden which meant that they needed to take the
Blessings that God gave them and multiply them physically here on earth
Now that project I believe was not Abandoned by God after the fall
God did not call that project of physically decorating the world with his glory with worshipers,
I don't think God Abandoned that good plan for no reason I think it shows up again and again all throughout the
Bible where God is literally showing you that he's reinvigorating that plan He's not giving up on it for instance look at how he decorates the temple like a garden next it is 25 through 27 or in the
Building of houses in the urban and pagan Babylon for the good of the city. That's Jeremiah 29 7 or in the way that he commands
His people to act justly and to love mercy in society and for society
Which Micah 6 8 he doesn't tell them to abandon it tells him to infuse it with his justice
Jesus has directives to his followers to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world Matthew 5
Further amplify that the mission is to the world not to abandon it the church's call is to influence and transform culture around us not to abandon it the
Great Commission as we said before is Our charge to be witnesses to the world
Acts chapter 1 8 also to extend the mission of God globally to expand and to emphasize discipleship to all the nations that impacts every single area of life and That includes culture
Like Moscow says all of Christ for all of life for all the world James's definition of pure religion in his book involves that very thing caring for the physically vulnerable
James 1 27 Peter's encouragement to live honorably among the pagans first Peter 2 12 highlights that our witness is actually done in culture our
Christian conduct is exposed in the towns and the byways at our work at our job wherever else the sacred and secular
Collide beneath our feet Together these passages articulate a vision for the church's mission that encompasses both the spiritual
Renewal and the societal engagement. It's both spiritual and physical and embodies
The kind of hope that we see through the Gospels influence that the church is actually going to play a pivotal role in the world's
Transformation before Jesus returns that he is going to through the power of his spirit by the obedient church usher in a kingdom that grows and that flourishes in every corner of human existence again, ah
Millennialism just does not have an answer At least not a good one for these verses in their context in any meaningful way
Element number three the lack of progressive victory the amillennial emphasis on a gradual polarization of the world and the two opposing kingdoms
Does not align with how the Bible speaks of Jesus is coming kingdom And that's why
I call it a trace element of poison in their theological system Jesus kingdom comes in a different way.
It comes like a mustard seed that eventually fills the entire garden It comes like yeast that eventually works itself through the entire lump of dough
It comes like a pebble that eventually overtakes the world with a global mountain it comes filling the world with as much of God's glory as There is water in the sea and if you've ever been to the ocean, it's all water
So his glory is gonna cover everything His kingdom comes like 1st Corinthians 15 25 through 26 says where Jesus must reign and he must reign
Until something happens 1st Corinthians 15 tells us what that is until he has put every single one of his enemies under his feet
So Jesus must reign until he has completed the mission Did you catch that that he must reign until the entire world is under his dominion?
Before the new heaven in the new earth and the final resurrection will come my dear friends
We must stop expecting defeat like our pre -millennial friends like they expect and we must stop and we must stop expecting the
Polarization or the minimal impact that the church is actually going to have on the world as our all millennial brothers expect and we must widen our lens to see the complete and the
Total work that God is doing that he's going to keep doing and that he's going to finish doing before he returns
Conclusion the consequences of trace elements Now in these three trace elements that we have mentioned there are more that we could speak about obviously
But Amal Niel ism has accepted an overly idealized interpretation of prophecy about the end times they've adopted a pessimistic view of the spread of Jesus's kingdom here on earth and the influence that the church could actually have and in that Hyper -spiritualized and pessimistic view they are not
Consistent with what the Bible says or with a biblical vision and they have caused some of their inherent their adherence to ignore
Deprioritize or misinterpret explicit biblical promises that he will come and that his peace and his justice and his mercy and his blessings and his prosperity will come on this earth as It is in heaven before he returns more specifically
While all millennial ism again is so much more faithful and far more biblical than the dispensational ism
Or the historic pre -millennial ism that we've talked about those eschatological tendencies Those eschatological views are foolishness to be honest but all millennial ism does have tendencies that have caused her at times to isolate herself from culture and to Deprioritize how effective the gospel is going to be in both the spiritual in the physical realm
It has caused her to retreat which has caused the culture to further decay if you don't believe me just look around Now today as we conclude most all millennials are cautious about cultural and social engagement
Rooted in the belief that the kingdom of God advances primarily in the spirit world
Instead of seeking or seeing the gospel as the kingdom of God and as the as Bringing God's redeeming power and redemption to every area of life
Well, they see the kingdom of God as being primarily about redeeming immaterial souls this renders societal transformation efforts secondary at best
Because the more important work of saving the souls and participating in God's spiritual renewal the church the sacraments and personal piety
Well that takes priority in this life above all else. In fact Postmillennialist would agree that evangelism and discipleship are
Essential that the church and sacraments and personal devotion to Christ are our primary labor
We would agree the difference. However, is that post millennial people recognize?
When you prioritize these things that when souls are actually saved that when men and women are
Discipled that you do not arrive at an ah millennial eschaton but a post millennial one instead think about it like this if the hope of the ah millennial worldview came true and every member of the church was fully engaged in worship and regularly participating at the
Lord's table and being actively Discipled at their churches and in their homes and they were personally devoted to Jesus in every area of their life
Then wouldn't that actually bleed over and have an impact in the way that they vote?
wouldn't that change the way that they go to work and the way that they live and the way that they interact with their
Neighbors and the way that they talk to lost people I mean wouldn't that that level of discipleship that our all millennial brothers embrace and and and Look forward to wouldn't that invigorate
Christians to create? God honoring technologies in the tech businesses or God honoring hospitals that charge a fair price for health care or music and arts that scream to the heights of the of the ceiling like Handel and Bach of previous generations and Art that filled the world with the beauty and the anthem of Yahweh's praise in every industry and in every field and in every job
Wouldn't discipleship and evangelism fill the world with more ardent and faithful believers who are seeking to consistently live out their
Christian faith in every square inch of life and When that happened, wouldn't it produce post -millennial ism if the dream of our millennial ism came true that the church was rigorously discipled and prepared and Equipped for the mission of God then wouldn't post -millennial ism actually be the natural outcome
It's for that reason brothers. I love all millennia I love you all millennial brothers and sisters and I want to show deference to you and honor to you
Especially since your understanding is robust and articulate, but I also want to grab you sometimes and I want to shake you and say perk up little buddy
Jesus is winning Pull your head out of the eschatological sand and look around his kingdom is taking back
Territory the world and the church are not growing simultaneously Jesus's kingdom is becoming greater and the world's kingdom is becoming less
You can look at history and it's proven for the last 2 ,000 years his gospel has impacted this earth
For the last 2 ,000 years and guess what in 2 ,000 more should the
Lord wish to tarry Even more progress and more gain is going to occur
Why do we believe that it's going to stop just because we're going through a rough patch in our country
Doesn't make any sense. I believe what the Bible says and by the end of it
Whenever that end is the entire world is gonna be under the thick Covenantal blanket of God's incredible blessings that are gonna be ushered in by the reign of Christ in heaven over his spirit -filled bride on earth and Until then until all that happens come back next week is we're gonna consider a particular kind of amillennialism with our friend
Dr. Glenn sunshine that is way more wrong than the others regular amillennialism is great.
This view is radical That's why they call the radical two kingdoms view come back next week as we dive into that but until then
Be hopeful Remember God is in control and that he's sovereign you are
Millennials you believe in the sovereignty of God hold fast to it believe that Believe that you can work now and that your labors will be fruitful and be multiplied by your king
Who instead of you burying your talents is gonna find you working? Hope in that hope in God get to work do faithful labor for the king and we'll see you next time on the broadcast
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