Some claim that Jesus will reign a thousand years in Jerusalem. Some groups teach that this reign will be before the so-called Great Tribulation, while others affirm his millennial reign will follow the Great Tribulation. But, is that a true doctrine?
Will Jesus reign a thousand years?
BASIC TEACHINGS OF PREMILLENNIALISM
Premillennialism asserts that Jesus will return to earth before his thousand-year reign. Although premillennialists differ in what they believe, they basically all believe the following:
An earthly kingdom was promised to Israel in the Old Testament.
This kingdom promise was renewed by Jesus as he announced that the kingdom is “at hand.”
Jesus’ kingship and his earthly reign were, however, rejected by the Jews.
Accordingly the earthly kingdom was “postponed” until Christ’s Second Coming-The church was established in place of this kingdom.
The promised kingdom will thus be realized in the millennium.
Together, let’s examine how faulty this reasoning is.
THE LAND PROMISES TO ISRAEL
Basic to premillennialism is the belief that the land promises to Abraham are still in effect. This view led to the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948. Many see the establishment of this state as a step toward the end of the world.
Do these land promises still apply today?
God made land promises to Abraham.
God promised to make him a great nation (Gen 12:2-4). God promised to give Abraham’s descendants Canaan as an “everlasting possession” (Gen 17:7-8). Premillennialists point to “everlasting”; they claim this refers to an eternal covenant. However, “everlasting” has other meanings. “Everlasting” can refer to a long period of time. God is telling Abraham that Canaan would belong to his descendants for a long period of time. The land promises to Abraham have been fulfilled (Josh 21:43).
After the deportation to Babylon, there were promises of a restoration.
Israel would be in Babylon 70 years, and after that they would return to Canaan (Jer 29:10). Israel was restored to Canaan according to the word of Jeremiah (2 Chr 36:22-23).
There is not a single land promise that remains unfulfilled!
HAS THE PROMISED KINGDOM BEEN ESTABLISHED?
The New Testament asserts that the kingdom of God has been established.
Jesus promised the kingdom’s establishment in the lifetime of the apostles. “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mk 9:1). We must, therefore, believe the kingdom has been established. If not, either: Jesus lied or some of the apostles are still alive.
The apostles spoke of the kingdom’s having already been established. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13). John was a member of the kingdom: “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev 1:9). The kingdom has been established; otherwise, Jesus and the apostles lied.
JESUS NOW REIGNS
If premillennialism is correct, Jesus is not now a king and does not now reign.
The New Testament, however, asserts that Jesus is now on his throne. Jesus began to reign at Pentecost-He has been exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). After Jesus made atonement for sin, he sat down at God’s right hand (Heb 10:12-13). Jesus must reign until death is destroyed (1 Cor 15:25-26). When the end comes, Jesus will deliver the kingdom back to the Father (1 Cor 15:24). Jesus is not waiting for a kingdom; he has a kingdom and he now reigns!
THE CHURCH IS PART OF GOD’S PLAN
Premillennialism asserts that God never intended to establish the church. He intended to establish the kingdom when Jesus came to the earth. But, the Jews rejected Jesus, so God established the church as an afterthought. This view basically asserts that God failed.
However, the New Testament teaches that the church was planned. The church is part of God’s eternal purpose (Eph 3:8-11). Jesus intended to build the church (Mt 16:18). The church is far from an accident-God intended the church to be established.
THE SECOND COMING IS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Premillennialism asserts that Jesus will come again, reign a thousand years, and then eternity will begin.
However, the New Testament teaches nothing of the sort. When Jesus comes again, Christians will be caught up to live with him in the air (1 Thess 4:14-17)-There won’t be a thousand-year reign. The Second Coming and the Judgment will occur at the same time (Mt 25:31-33). The Second Coming and the punishment of the wicked will occur at the same time (2 Thess 1:7-9). The Lord will destroy the world when he comes again (2 Pet 3:10). Will Jesus destroy the world and reign in Jerusalem at the same time?
PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION 20:1-7
Those who teach premillennialism want to take the thousand years of Revelation 20:1-7 literally.
However, they miss the following:
There is no mention of Christ’s Second Coming!
There is no mention of a bodily resurrection.
There is no mention of Christ on earth.
There is no mention of David’s throne.
Only those who were beheaded reign with Christ.
JESUS CANNOT REIGN IN JERUSALEM
Jeremiah prophesied that none of Coniah’s descendants would sit on David’s throne (Jer 22:28-30). Yet, Jesus’ ancestors include Coniah (Mt 1:12; Lk 3:27).
Jesus cannot sit on David’s physical throne-He can however sit on David’s spiritual throne, something he currently does.
Premillennialism is a false doctrine, but are you ready for the day Jesus returns?