“Problems with Premillennialism” by Sam Storms
My departure from Premillennialism was gradual and came as a result of two discoveries as I studied Scripture. First, I devoted myself to a thorough examination of what the NT said would occur at the time of Christ’s second coming (or Parousia). What I found was a consistent witness concerning what would either end or begin as a result of our Lord’s return to the earth. Sin in the lives of God’s people, corruption of the natural creation, and the experience of physical death would terminate upon the appearance of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, and the inauguration of the New Heavens and New Earth would ensue. But why is this a problem for Premillennialism? Good question.
If you are a Premillennialist, whether Dispensational or not, there are several things with which you must reckon:
You must necessarily believe that physical death will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s second coming. The reason for this is that all Premillennialists must account for the rebellious and unbelieving nations in Revelation 20:7-10 who launch an assault against Christ and his people at the end of the millennial age. Where did these people come from? They must be the unbelieving progeny born to those believers who entered the millennial age in physical, unglorified bodies. Not only they, but also the believing progeny born to those believers will be subject to physical death (notwithstanding the alleged prolonged life spans experienced by those who live during the millennial reign of Christ).
Cannot agree with amillennialism though I am still learning PM. For I cannot see how Jesus is governing right now with the believers and I can see Satan’s influence in the world, even in the church showing Satan is not bound right now. I believe there are stages of resurrection for believers, some old saints were already resurrected with Jesus according to Mathew.
Thanks for stopping by. Here is a good resource for understanding amillennialism: http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/
I find it far more biblical than PM, though every system has weak points. I see no problem with the doctrine that Christ is presently ruling His kingdom; Satan being bound does not have to mean that he is restricted from doing any evil, and the presence of the souls of all the saints who have died are with the Lord now, awaiting the resurrection of their bodies. See Rev chapter 6 on this last point.
But in rev20, the bible clearly mentions about the first resurrection of saints to rule with Jeus for 1000 years while Satan is bound and cannot deceived the world. You mean these resurrected saints are governing now with Jesus in Heaven? And what are these evil spirits working in other religions and false prophets and false teachers. Obviously people are deceived nowadays by the devil everywhere, so to say we are already in millennium is hard to believe for me if you read the Bible literally. I’ll keep reading more about this subject. Also, where is rapture?
The Rev 20 is the toughest part of eschatology for me (I lean heavy Amil/covenant theolgy w/o an actual title)…but it is very minor issue compared to the idea of the rapture and the separation of the church from Israel. It seems very clear that Abraham’s sons (seed) is Christ (Galatians 3) and that all who are in Christ are the sons of Abraham and are thus inheritors of the promise to Abraham…a promise of the holy land, which isn’t Jerusalem for the “NATIONAL ETHNIC” Jews, but for the Sons of Abraham fulfilled in the new Jerusalem in Rev 21. Also, Romans 11 deals with the idea that the Gentiles are grafted in and part of Israel…which blows the idea of an ethnic national Israel out of the water because those who are in Christ, receive adoption as sons, and inherit the Kingdom are Believers, not Jews. Israel = Christ and those in Christ not Jews. This is a Types and Shadows issue. Therefore there is no need for a rapture – which i can’t find in the Bible anywhere – because Christ will return and bring judgement on world, and usher in the new Jerusalem and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God and all the believers (Israel) will be with him. This means that the Mat 24 olivet discourse is backwards from premil dispensationalism…typical thought today is that you DON’T want to be left behind…I argue that Historically the idea and interpretation was that you DO want to be left behind because Christ is coming with judgement and will separate the goats from the sheep, the wheat from the shaft and usher in the Kingdom’s final fulfillment. Making the case for a national ethnic Jew land fulfillment is completely unbiblical and requires serious hermeneutical gymnastics (i.e. 1 thes 4) to be done in order to get the church out before a tribulation, and some sort of return to Jewish temple sacrifices…Yuck! that has already been fulfilled. God’s chosen people = Israel…Israel = all who are in Christ…all those who are in Christ are all the elect of God, all the adopted sons of God. No non-Biblical infusion of the rapture needed if we see it in this way.
So, where does that leave the millennium and Satan? Satan is finished, defeated, done at the cross. Satan has no power over the believer because the elect is already saved, redeemed, and waiting for glorification. And the millennium is now…Christ reigns now from his VICTORY on the cross, we just have to wait for the final consummation of Glorification when Christ returns. Satan is already defeated, but not yet consummated, and Christ already reigns, but we wait for the fulfillment to come. This is the theology of the “Already and the Not Yet”, which I find to be an absolutely amazing truth of scripture…for example:
We are already saved, but not yet glorified.
Christ already brought the Kingdom of God in his 1st coming, but is is not yet fully consummated.
We already have power over sin, but not yet able to live sinless lives.
We are already Justified, but not yet redeemed.
I think you would probably agree with these…which makes the simple case of:
The millennium is already here, but not yet fully realized…
and…Satan is already defeated, but not yet powerless.
Do research on Amil and Historic pre-mil and post mil by guys like Hoekema, Eldon Ladd, Brian Borgman, Hank Hanegraaff, Kim Riddlebarger.
Don’t listen to Pre-mil Dispensationalist tell you why the others are wrong…Listen to a Pro-Amil guy tell you why it is right and why Dispensationalism is wrong…then you get the full story.
Anyway, I wish you the best in your study and challenge you to really research the issue from all sides and you’ll be blessed with whatever you find.
abidingthroughgrace (already in God’s Grace, but not yet glorified)
The purpose this post was NOT to present nor defend amillennialism, but to point out the problems with pre-mil. Rapture is nowhere stated in the Bible, but the saints who live upon the return of the Lord will be caught up in the air to meet Him – on Judgment Day. The Bible is composed of myriad types of literature, not all of which can be understood if read literally.
Where else in the Bible is “1,000 years” used and how is it used? In 2 Peter 3, for example, this term is used and it clearly not to be taken literally, but figurative as meaning a unmeasurable period of time. What in Revelation demands “1,000 years” be taken literally?
Thanks for this post. I’ve also learned a great deal from Jay Adams’ book, The Time is at Hand.
“What in Revelation demands “1,000 years” be taken literally?”
We are talking about the Word of God. And I’m sure, that you believe that every word in the Bible is there for a purpose and have particular meaning.
So we are talking about (Rev 1,1-2):
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”
And what John saw?
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years”
“…that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
“…and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”
“Blessed and holy is he that (…), but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, …”
Do you really believe that God repeated this to us six times in His revelation without a cause? It was about „unmeasurable period of time”, but John has written – thousand, thousand, thousand, … And surely it does not mean thousand years, but possibly many? Who knows?
I am sure, that it demands “1000 years” be taken literally. Even, if it had broken my eschatology.
And 2 Peter 3 is really adequate here:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
There are no „national ethnic Jews”?
“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. “
“…By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
National Ethnic Israel (Not “his seed”, which is Christ, but “his seed”, that is “every man child among you”).
“As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.”
Act 16:3 “Him [Timotheus] would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek [mother was Jewess – 16:1].”
Gal 2:3 “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:”
And you will find National Ethnic Israel everywhere in Romans – Jew and Gentile / nation of Israel and nations of Gentiles. Especially in Romans 11.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”
Is it not about nation of Israel and nations of Gentiles?
Rom 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And there is something more:
Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Rom 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
We (Gentiles) are from wild olive tree, but they (Israel) are natural branches.
But we all are in Christ (root).
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we are one. But in this world still there is some separation. You are Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female.
And when you read Rev 21, you surely saw (and Exo 28):
Rev 21:12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
I see in His Word that he chose one nation, and nothing can stop Him from keeping His promises to it. He is only savior of Israel. He is merciful to Israel. He will lead Israel to promised possession. And He will cleanse Israel and make it holy, for His own pleasure. And one day there will be no unbelieving Jew on whole Earth, but all will be saved only because He is Sovereign.
And this is one more thing that strengthens me. Because He is the Savior of me. He is merciful to me. He is leading me to promised possession. He forgave me my sins and one day I will stay holy before Him for His pleasure. And I will not fall away, because He is sovereign and His promises are secured.
To look into this line of thinking, I have some questions for you: How do you handle the first part of the passage that you listed:
Rev 1:1 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…
How do you explain, “shortly come to pass”…that would seem to not make sense literally since it has been 2000 years…that isn’t very short.
or this passage from Revelation 1:16:
In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
Are we to literally believe that Jesus actually has a sharp two edged sword coming from his mouth? Or do we see it as figurative language regarding the word of God being the sharp 2 edged sword from Hebrews. It seems that John is using figurative language here…as well as with the stars in his hands.
The difference is whether or not we have good or bad Hermeneutic by taking the words written by John written to 1st century Christians in the culture of that time out of context in regard to all of scripture, apocryphal style writing, John’s intended meaning, and the use of figurative language like Rev 1:16.
“Literal” in the hermeneutic sense defined as = “Biblical literalism is the interpretation or translation of the explicit and primary sense of words in the Bible. A literal, Biblical interpretation is associated with the fundamentalist and evangelical hermeneutical approach to Scripture, and is used almost exclusively by conservative Christians. The essence of this approach focuses upon the author’s intent as the primary meaning of the text.”
So, we don’t just take the word 1000 years and say, well it = 1000 years. We need to try to determine what John meant by 1000 years in that culture, the time period, and the listeners. It could very well mean 1000 years…or I could just mean a long time. Example:
“I just bought a ton of groceries and it took 10 years to check out.”
This type of language is used all the time in our culture and it doesn’t mean that I bought 2000lbs of groceries or that it took 10 years to purchase them. If we interpreted this figurative language in this way, we would be foolish. We would interpret it as I bough a lot of groceries and it took a very long time to purchase them. See what I mean?
I hope this provides insight into the “other” ways of thinking that have very strong arguments as I described above in my previous comment…and I hope that it inspires you in either direction you believe.
Regarding your 2nd post, I’m not completely clear on what your are saying but I am assuming that you are using that scripture to challenge my position of Israel = figurative language for the “children of God and doesn’t = Jewish people…
If so, then the scripture you used make my point and I would use that scripture to defend my position. You might want to read my 1st comment section again…there is a very very very particular distinction I think you have missed. I’ll try to explain here:
We have 2 entities in Scripture:
1. Israel, the nation with = the ethnic Jewish people…which is a “type” or “shadow” of the true fulfillment of God’s elect, chosen, justified, redeemed, adopted children of God.
2. Israel, the true fulfillment of the Nation of Israel and includes people of ALL Nations – not just Jews. This Israel = seed of Abraham = God’s elect, chosen, justified, redeemed, adopted children.
The first Israel sets the stage for the fulfillment now and the days to come (“already and not yet” doctrine discussed above). The transfer to the beginning of this fulfillment -for lack of better wording -occurs with Jesus bringing in the Kingdom of God and picks his 12 disciples and we see from the Romans passages and Galatians passages that the gentiles are grafted in and there is no Jews and Gentiles, only Children of God. Amen! This is fantastic news. God’s children = Israel = Christ = believers from all nations. I believe the scripture that you listed above makes this point for me.
I am not toatlly sure about PM, but I cannot beleive Satan is bound right now, NOT DECEIVING THE WORLD. We see so many other religions around, some of them do have supernatural power, the power obviously is not from God, their followers are deceived, by whom, by Satan and his evil spirits. And if Jesus is governing with the believers, you are accusing Jesus for not doing a good job then looking at the chaotic situation in the last 2000 years until now. Also, Daniel 70×7 490 years are all fulfilled except the last 7 years, while the 7 years are not fulfilled. Ammillenimlism cannot explain that. The whole 490 years are prophecy about the earthly Jewish people, while the church is still not raptured, God’s dealing in the earth is mainly with the church until the church as an organisation disappear after the rapture, then the last 7 years is mainly for the Jewish nation. As is mentioned by Paul in Roman that the Jewish will eventually be saved as a nation. It more sense to be as it explains most scriptures. But I don’t think I will put my life in any of these doctrines as they are not in the centre of our belief related to the salvation.
One comment: Amillennialism DOES have an answer for the Daniel prophecy. Please spend some time on Kim Riddlebarger’s site – IF you are interested. Perhaps this page would be helpful: http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/display/Search?searchQuery=Daniel&moduleId=1906884
In fact, only the “Bible Code of the 19th century” known as dispensationalism supports the “7 years not fulfilled”. Historic PM does not throw that last week into the future.
Here is a very detailed response to your claim of no answer for the 70 weeks. Again, I challenge you to spend some real time investigating Amil view before suggesting that there are no answers. I was total pre-mil dispensational left behind theology about 8 years ago…then I started being exposed to “other” views, which included Amil. I find soooooo much more Biblical evidence and stronger foundation for the Amil view than any piece of the pre-mil.
from Pastor Sam Storms:
This is a great description of “contextual” interpretation of this passage in Daniel. The article is complicated and the theology behind it is wide reaching and deep in O.T. redemptive history. Please take some time and read this to simply expose you to the “other views”.
Regarding this quote from you above: “And if Jesus is governing with the believers, you are accusing Jesus for not doing a good job then looking at the chaotic situation in the last 2000 years until now.”
I’m not even sure what to do with this quote as it is so far out in left field in reference to what I wrote. You missed the point of the Already and the Not Yet theology. Of course Satan has influence and dominion over this world. But he is bound and defeated in relation to the Chosen, Redeemed, and Adopted Children of God – the Elect. Satan has NO power over the Elect and was ALREADY defeated at the cross but since Christ has NOT YET returned, we are in that tension of the Already and Not Yet waiting for the consummation and glorification through Christ’s return.
Amil requires a completely different perspective from the very beginning…but once I saw the whole picture I was amazed at the beauty of it all.
It is hard to be challenged by doctrines that are different than what we have been taught – .I know first hand because a lot of my theology has changed in major ways in the last 3 years. However, we must investigate thoroughly the new view to determine its validity. Especially something that has very strong historical roots.
Thanks, I have read through the article. But still it isn’t that convincing to me, especiallt regarding the 70 7 years. While the first 69 and 3.5 years are more or less literal but the last 3.5 years is the whole present age. Also regarding Satan is bound 1000 years, Rev 20.3 is abot satan not deceiving nations, not only the elects. Nations and elects are totally different and nations include everyone most of them are non-believers. So the present age is the 1000 years while Satan is bound is not something I can accept with all the evidence of the work of Satan. Although to believe the dispensationists PM theory the gap is required, the reason I read is the 70 7 years is all about ethnic Jews and you can also see that in Rev after the mentioning of the 7 churches, you cannot find the word any more after chapter 3 as all those scriptures are dealing with ethnic Jews only. At this stage I still think the dispensationists arguement more trusthworthy unless there are more evidence to convince me we are in the 1000 years and Satan is bound unable to deceive the nations. Afterall I also believe these end time prophecies are partly concealed by God until the right time when God wants to disclose, so I don’t think it is proper to get into fierce fighting of words. But I do love to see different views as I am trying to teach on this subject in the church as well. Thanks again.
Stand, thank you for having such a great attitude and the ability to discuss theological issues without division and harsh words. I appreciate it greatly. I also completely respect your opinion and position. Many great theologians hold to widely differing opinions on this topic.
If you are interested in more info, Storms provides detailed teaching on all the eschatology topics here:
and specifically Binding of Satan here:
Thanks, atg. I will surf them through.
Hi ATG, I have a glance through some teachings in that site. I think it talked about there is no 1000 years between the beast, false prophet and Satan. They are cast into the lake of fire at the same time. So the beast and the false prophet are something in future before Jesus comes back. But when I look at Rev20:4, it talks about those who are beheaded for not worshipping the beast which is in the future. However, these beheaded saints are to rule with Jesus in the 1000years. So that means 1000 years is something in future after they are beheaded by the beast? So we are not in the 1000 years? The 1000 years has to be after the beast, if we are in 1000 years now, then beast is something in the past, who was the beast, or who is the beast for he must be still around if he is cast into the lake of fire yet, otherwise Satan should also be there already as they are cast together. Confusion arises here. So the answer is 1000 years has to be in the future and so do the beast and the false prophet. Just some observation. Thanks.
stand – What in Rev 20 and verse 4 demands the event be in the future? If you are interested in seeing a concise explanation of the amill perspective on the Revelation, I recommend this series of 6 messages, 10 minutes each: http://www.youtube.com/user/bzel333#grid/user/E4180C5A42159B84