By Dudley Ross Spears
Our millennial and dispensational friends claim to take the Bible literally. They believe that Jesus will come back a second time with the saints from an imaginary “rapture” and will raise the righteous dead. Then Jesus will establish the millennial kingdom and peace and happiness supreme will reign. They imagine lions playing with lambs and children playing with deadly snakes, etc. They also imagine a beautiful body for the saints. Hal Lindsay wrote, “If you’re not too satisfied with the face or body you now have, you will have a glorious new body” (Late Great Planet Earth, p. 130).
A problem arises when one reads the words of Christ and compares them with the above ideas. Jesus said it is better to enter “into life maimed or halt rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire” (Matt. 18:8). He also said, “It is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire” (vs. 9). If one takes the Bible literally, one would be forced to actually amputate an offending hand and pluck out an offending eye. But this is done so one can enter into life. The millennialists are forced to equate the “life” here with the “millennial kingdom,” or else give up their order of events in the return of Christ. Do they believe we will have a glorious body, or do they believe that some may be maimed?
The truth is that one cannot take the words of Christ literally here in Matthew 18 any more than he can take the words of Paul literally in Galatians 5:24. Paul said that those who are Christ’s have “crucified the flesh.” Paul also said that our members should be killed (Col. 3:5; Rom. 8:13). Do the millennialists take this literally? I trow not. But they have the puzzle to solve as to how we can have a glorified body that is perfect in every respect and yet some will enter into life maimed because of their dedication to following Christ. How will they solve it? But another thing shows that Jesus did not mean for us to literally pluck out just one eye. John tells us that both eyes are involved in lust (1 John 2:16). How could one literally pluck out one literal eye and remove the problem of lust or offense?
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 10, p. 297
May 19, 1983