THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION
Larry Ray Hafley
From Texas: "Will you please refute the false doctrine of premillennialism?"
The social and doctrinal implications and ramifications of premillennialism are numerous and dangerous to the faith. It is not possible for a brief treatise to thoroughly thrash the subject. However, a few facts from the Bible will serve to "refute the false doctrine of premillennialism." Premillennialism is prevalent and prominent among all Protestant sects. It is fraught with dire consequences and must be taught against.
What Is Premillennialism?
The term "premillennial" is composed of two components. The prefix "pre" means "before." A "millennium" denotes a period of 1,000 years. .The doctrine of premillennialism avows and avers that Jesus came to the earth in order to establish His kingdom. Shockingly, though, he was rejected by the Jews. Thus, he postponed the kingdom and set up His church in the interim. At His second coming, Christ, it is alleged, will reign for 1,000 years on the literal throne of David in the city of Jerusalem. The Jews will return to Palestine, and Jesus will rule over a political kingdom. That, essentially and simplistically, is premillennialism.
Refutation Of Premillennialism
(1) The New Birth: The fact that men are "born again" is proof positive of the existence of the kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3, 5). Those who wail longest and loudest about the "coming kingdom" are the ones who incessantly urge men to "have a `born again' experience." If one is born of water and of the Spirit, if he is "born again," he will "enter into the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:5). One cannot consistently proclaim the new birth while he protests the existence of the kingdom, for it is being born again that puts one into the kingdom. Let us try a reverse. Suppose one were to insist that one may enter the kingdom of God but that there is no such thing as being born again. Imagine the ignorance of such a position! The only way to enter into it is to be born of water and of the Spirit. To deny the new birth would be absurd, especially if one contended that the kingdom of God is being entered. It is equally ridiculous for men today to argue for the new birth but to deny the kingdom.
Further, the spiritual birth necessarily implies the spiritual kingdom. Nicodemus could not see this. He relied on his Abrahamic ancestry, but Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." The birth is spiritual, not fleshly; therefore, the kingdom is spiritual, not material. The argument for one is the reason for the other. Being born again, one is "a new creature" who walks "in newness of life" (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6:4). He is in the kingdom of God. It does not follow that one could be a recipient of a spiritual birth and thereby be inducted into a material kingdom. Physical birth could not put one into a spiritual kingdom. Neither can a spiritual birth place one into an earthly kingdom.
Hence, the kingdom exists today. Or is someone willing to deny the existence of the new birth? Until one disputes the reality of the new birth, let him not tell me men are not now entering the kingdom of God.
(2) "The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand:" Both Jesus and John the Baptist preached, saying, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). The dispute as to whether "at hand" means "near" is settled by the Lord in Mark 9:1. "Verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." It was to come in their lifetime. That defines the expression "at hand." Further, in Luke 10:9, the Son of God said, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." "Come nigh" is from the word translated "at hind" in Mark 1:15. The kingdom was nigh, near, of `.`at hand" in Jesus' day.
Was the Lord mistaken? He was if the kingdom which he announced as being "at hand" got out of hand and was delayed. Any theory or theology that so thwarts and aborts the promise and prophecy of Christ is false.
(3) "From The Power of Darkness:" "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13). This text sets forth a double-edged fact. One who is not in the power of darkness is in the kingdom of Christ and vice-versa. But what does it mean to be in the power of darkness? See a Divine description and definition of what it means. "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world" (Gal. 1:4). In our sins we are in this present evil world and in the power of darkness. To be out of our sins, out of the world, is to be in the kingdom. Next, transpose the words "power" and "kingdom" in Colossians 1:13. Let it read thusly, "Who hath delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and hath translated us into the power of his dear Son." Makes the same sense, does it not? To be in sin is to : be under the devil's dominion, under his power or control, in his kingdom On. 8:34). Conversely, to be free from sin is to be in the Lord's power, under His authority, in His kingdom.
Premillennialists labor over the promises made to Abraham. Of these Peter said, "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3:24-26). In "these days," not future ones, all nations are blessed as promised to Abraham. But how are they blessed? Peter answers that "in turning away every one of you from his iniquities," we receive the blessings promised to Abraham. "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). This blessing, this forgiveness of sins, delivers us, from the power of darkness and translates, separates, us into the kingdom of Christ. Therefore, in "these days" the kingdom exists as surely as does the forgiveness of sins. And premillennialism is shown to be false.
(4) "Deliver Up, " Not "Set Up" The Kingdom: "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Death will be destroyed when the Lord comes again. It will be "swallowed up in victory" at the second advent of our Lord, ".at the last trump" (1 Cor. 15:50-55; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Thus, at this time, at His coming, Jesus will deliver up, not "set up" the kingdom. He will put down, not "take up" all rule, authority, and power. All things are now under His feet, and when all things are subdued "at His coming" (1 Cor. 15:23), Christ's mediatorial reign shall cease.
Premillennialism looks for a material kingdom of military might. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual (Col. 1:13, 18; 1 Pet. 2:5). Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (Jn. 18:36). His servants would fight to deliver Him if it were a political state, but they did not, so it is not. Jesus now reigns at God's right hand as Lord and Christ, as High Priest and King of Kings (Acts 2:2936; Heb. 3:1). His second coming will be apart from sacrifice for sin (Heb. 9:28). That is, He will come as a Judge, not as a Savior as He did the first time. This is what 2 Peter 3 teaches. Again, that leaves premillennial theories stranded.
Truth Magazine XIX: 20, pp. 312-313