In continuing our reply to Preterism Is False,
and Dr. Edward Hinson of Liberty University’s
The New Last Day’s Scoffers, we address
Is the Millennium Past, Present or Future?
This means we are responding to both
Amillennialism and Dispensationalism as
tenants of futurism.
Dr. Hinson, erroneously assumed that Preterism holds to a present millennium. We deny that assertion.
Rather, it is the Amillennial view which holds that the millennium is currently present, is figurative in that it includes the entire period beginning with Christ’s enthronement at the right hand of the Father already now exceeding a literal 1,000 years (Acts 2:29–33) and continues until his alleged future return.
For Amillennialists, the millennium could be a million years long or more depending on when the alleged future return of Christ would occur.
Dispensationalism on the other hand, holds the millennium to be yet future, and a literal 1000 years reign of Christ on earth. They view it as not yet having occurred. The similarity of the views is that both see an end to the millennium in the future, which both assume to be a yet future return of Christ.
They are divided into groups of PreTrib, Mid-Trib and Post Tribulation Rapture teaching depending on when they believe the millennium commences.
Preterism or fulfilled Bible prophecy, also known as Covenant or realized eschatology, holds the millennium to be past, symbolical of Christ’s pre-Parousia reign, commencing on at or shortly before Pentecost, (Acts 2:29–35) and ending at his Parousia at the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Rather than an attempt to critique each view separately, we believe the shortest distance to an accurate interpretation of the millennium is to allow the Scriptures to interpret Scripture.
Our First and Major Point of Agreement on the Millennium
For each view, we all agree that the millennium ends with the arrival of the New Heaven and New Earth. Since the New Heavens and earth marks the time of the Jesus’ coming or Parousia, then Christ’s coming ends the millennium and equates with the arrival of the New Heaven and New earth.
Since we all agree on this first major point, none of the following points can be logically denied.
Our Second Point of Agreement: The Destruction of Christ’s Enemies
God raised Christ and seated him on David’s throne at his right hand. Christ therefore reigns at the right hand of the Father until all enemies are placed in subjection under his feet, (Acts 2:35). Thus, the time of subduing Christ’s enemies equals the time he sits at God’s right hand. This is called the time he must reign.
Now the last enemy to be subdued is death, 1 Cor. 15:26. He who had the power of death was Satan, (Heb. 2:14). Therefore, the time of subduing Christ’s enemies also marks the time for the defeat of Satan.
That we are correct in our argument is demonstrated in that Satan is said to be bound for 1000 years, i.e. for the time of the millennium, (Rev. 20:1–3). But, we know that when the New Heavens and earth arrives, the millennium ends, thus Satan’s destruction along with death must be completed at the arrival of the New Heaven and earth, i.e. at Christ’s coming.
The only logical objection to this point is to argue that death and Satan continues after the arrival of the New Heaven and earth. Who wants to go there?
The text shows that prior to the arrival of the events in Revelation 21, Satan, Death and Hades, all enemies of Christ, are judged and cast into the lake of fire.
This would also include the “little season.” It does not matter what one chooses to make of it, it too is over at Satan’s demise, before the coming of the New Heaven and earth, i.e. the Parousia.
Third Point of Agreement: The Commencement and Completion of the First Resurrection
During the time of the millennium, the saints are said to live and reign with Christ a 1000 years. By the way, since Dispensationalists say Christ will reign on earth a thousand years, where are these saints who live and reign with him.
According to them, all the righteous are raptured seven years before the millennium begins. Oh well, I digress. Now back to the argument at hand] In dispy talk that means I won’t get to it for another 2,000 years! Not!
Revelation 20:4–6 says that those who were beheaded, who did not receive the mark of the beast lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Thus, they live and reign with Christ during the millennium.
Of them, John states, this is the first resurrection (v. 5). But not until it is finished, i.e. the millennium is over, do the rest of the dead live. Nor does it matter that some take the “rest of the dead” to be the wicked who do not live based on their interpretation of the word “until” or the righteous dead who live after the millennium is finished, the point is this:
After the millennium ends the resurrection is over or occurs. Take your pick. It all happens before the arrival of the new heaven and earth, i.e. before Christ’s parousia.
Fourth Point of Agreement
The Great Tribulation and Battle of Armageddon Ends at the Arrival of the New Heaven and Earth.
Whatever one believes about the great tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon, neither event extends beyond the arrival of the New Heaven and Earth. In other words, as above, when Christ comes and ushers in the heavenly city, the millennium is past history. So is the great tribulation and the battle of Armageddon.
Fifth Point of Agreement, The Sealing of the 144,000 in the Millennium
The 144,000 are Sealed During the Time of the Millennium. Why is this the case? Because they come out or through the great tribulation. We demonstrated in point three that the great tribulation occurs before the arrival of the new heaven and earth.
Therefore, if the 144,000 come through the great tribulation, to stand before the throne of God, they of necessity are sealed before the millennium ends, or during the time of the millennium.
Sixth Point of Agreement is the Wedding of Christ Occurs At the Arrival of the New Heaven and Earth.
The church is espoused (betrothed) to Christ during his pre-parousia reign. Paul said he espoused the church to one husband that he might present her [at a future time] to Christ, (2 Cor. 11:2). Thus, the brethren died to the law, that they might be [future tense] married to another, i.e. to him who was raised from the dead, (Rom. 7:4).
Paul writes to the Ephesians saying that Christ would present the church to himself as a bride, holy and without blemish, (Eph. 5:27).
The marriage however does not occur until Christ’s enemies are defeated. In fact, the arrival of the New Heaven and earth is when the “holy city, the New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven is presented as the bride for Christ, (Rev. 21:2, 9–11).
Therefore, the espousal period occurs before the wedding and answers to the time of the millennium. The wedding is the Parousia which ends the millennium at the arrival of the new heaven and earth.
Seventh Point of Agreement: The Old Heaven and Earth Passes Before the Arrival of the New Heaven and Earth.
The end or passing of the Old Heaven and earth passes before the arrival of the new. Revelation 20:11, says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was no place found for them.”
When John sees the arrival of the New Heaven and earth, the old has passed, (Rev. 21:1). Therefore, the end of the old heaven and earth, belongs to the time of the millennium. The passing of the old heaven and earth marks the end of the millennium.
Eight Point of Agreement, The Last Days End with the Arrival of the New Heaven and Earth
As in all the above, the arrival of the New Heaven and earth, marks the end of the last days. We’ve shown in the previous writing that the “age to come” i.e. the kingdom or Christian age, has no last days.
The kingdom has no end. Thus the period of the last days belong to the millennium, in which time Christ was defeating his enemies. The last days end with the coming of Christ, i.e. the arrival of the New heaven and earth.
Ninth Point of Agreement: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit Ends At Christ’s Coming with the Arrival of the New Heaven and Earth.
There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit’s ministry belonged to the last days, (Joel 2:28–32, Acts 2:16–20). Yet, the apostles taught that the church would only be confirmed until the revelation of Christ, i.e. until the Parousia, (1 Cor. 1:7,8).
This Paul describes in chapter 13:10, as the coming of the perfect in which we see face to face. Such state is attained after the millennium in the heavenly city at the throne of God, Rev. 22: 4.
This means, when the new heaven and earth arrives, the Holy Spirits’ mission is complete. He has convicted the world and Satan of sin, and judged them, (John 16:8–11).
Since the work of the Holy Spirit involved the sealing of the servants of God and the judgment upon Satan, and ends with Christ’s coming, it belonged to the time of the millennium.
Tenth Point of Agreement: The Millennium is the Time Israel Is Regathered to the Land
Israel’s land promise of necessity is fulfilled before the arrival of the New Heaven and Earth, i.e. before the Parousia. Certainly, Dr. Hinson, a Dispensationalist cannot object to that.
Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, depict the restoration and regathering of Israel during the time of the millennium. See Charting the End Times, pages, 97,100,103,105,110,125. This regathering ends with the arrival of the New Heaven and earth. Therefore, it ends at the consummation of the millennium.
Eleventh Point: Gog and Magog’s Destruction Ends at the Arrival of the New Heaven and Earth
Gog and Magog, battle before the end of the old heaven and earth, before the end of Satan, and therefore, before the millennium ends. Since Satan’s defeat occurs with the consummation of the millennium, the battle of nations involving Gog and Magog ends before the arrival of the New heaven and new earth.
Twelfth Point of Agreement: The Lamb and Lion, Swords and Plowshares prophecy fulfilled in the Millennium.
The prophecies of Isaiah 2:3, 4; 11:6–9, and 65:25, regarding beating swords into plowshares and lions lying with lambs, eating straw like oxen and babies playing at cobra dens are all prophecies of the millennial reign of Christ.
The point, all ends at the arrival of the new heaven and earth. Therefore, they belong to the same time preceding the end of the age as do all the rest above.
Again, not a single prophecy can be omitted or placed beyond the arrival of the new heaven and earth.
Thirteenth Point of Agreement: The Coming of the New Heaven and Earth Fulfills All Bible Prophecy
Once the new heaven and earth arrives, all bible prophecy is fulfilled. From this conclusion there is no escape. In other words, Christ’s coming fulfills all prophecy.
Thus, we could simply state that when all Bible prophecy is fulfilled the millennium and all its attendant events are consummated. By now, if you haven’t already seen the train coming, you should hear the horn blast.
So far, every event we named above is found in Old Testament prophecy.
- Crushing of Satan, Gen. 3:15
- Pre-Parousia Enemy Subduing Reign of Christ, Psa. 110:1–4
- Coming of the New Heaven and Earth, Isa. 65:17f
- Parousia, Dan. 7:14, 22, Isa. 40:10; 62:11
- Defeat of Death and Hades/Resurrection, Isa. 25:8; Hos. 13:14; Dan. 12:2
- Wedding of Christ, Isa. 62:4, 5; Hos. 2:20
- Passing of the old heaven and earth, Psa. 102:25, 26; Isa. 50:6; Hag. 2:6
- Last days of Israel, (Deut. 31:29, 32:5f)
- Coming of the Holy Spirit, Joel 2:28–32; Mic. 7:15; Ezk. 36:25
- Regathering of Israel, Ezk. 37:1–14
- Battle of Gog and Magog, Ezk. 38, 39
- The Lion and Lamb, Swords and Plowshares, Isa. 2, 11, 65:25
Now, here is the point of disagreement. Jesus’ words are not true. That’s it. That’s where Preterism, Amillennialism, and Dispensationalism disagree. Here is what we mean.
Jesus said, speaking or the time of the fall of Jerusalem in the first century, “For these are the days of vengeance, that ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN MAY BE FULFILLED, Luke 21:20. In the same chapter he said, “Assuredly, I say to you, THIS GENERATION WILL BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY TILL ALL THINGS TAKE PLACE. (Luke 21:32).
Those two verses are the who crux of the matter between the futurism of Amillennialism and Dispensationalism versus the past fulfillment of Preterism.
Futurists deny that Jesus told the truth when he said, all things would be fulfilled at Jerusalem’s fall by the Romans in AD 70. Preterists accept the words as true.
Futurists deny that the generation then living could not pass away will all things written took place. Preterism affirms they did all happen before that generation passed.
Since therefore, the Lord placed the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy at the time of Jerusalem’s fall within the first century generation, and since the arrival of the new heavens and earth (our major point of agreement) is the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy, then the millennium is past.
The millennium refers to the period beginning with Christ being seated at the right hand of God to await the defeat and subjugation of his enemies and ends with Christ’s second coming at the arrival of the new heavens and earth. All took place within that generation.
Miscellaneous Millennium Objections by Dr. Hinson
If the millennium is fulfilled, why did Peter say the devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, (1 Peter 5:8)
We reply that Peter wrote this text applying it to the time of the millennium before the arrival of the new heaven and earth. Because Satan’s power was bound, he had to seek out the ignorant and weak to devour it. Those who were strong could resist him, thus he would “flee” those who being steadfast in the faith resisted him.
Unless Dr. Hinson is ready to argue this passage describes activity which occurs after the arrival of the New heaven and earth, i.e. after the millennium, he has no point.
If the Satan is bound why are the nations yet deceived? The nations were deceived by Satan’s power to convince them that the ethnic or fleshly Israel, i.e. national Israel were the true sons of God.
They deceived the Romans into believing it, to the point that Christ was allowed to be crucified. Not until Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, did the veil of blindness removed from the nations concerning who were God’s true sons. That was the great controversy of the New Testament.
Today, it appears that mostly the “Dispensational nation” are the only ones deceived by it, and that is by choice. The true Israel is the church, not replaced but transformed by the New Covenant.
God did not cast away Paul, an ethnic Jew, when Paul was converted to Christianity. Thus, Paul affirms, God has not cast away his people, for I [a Jewish Christian] am an Israelite.
Thus, Jews were not cast away, but “cast anew” by the new birth prophesied in Ezk. 36:26, 27; John 3:5. “Do not marvel that I said to you [singular, meaning Nicodemus], that ‘You, plural, meaning Israel the nation], must be born again.
Those who rejected the new birth in Christ were destroyed, (Matt. 3:10, 11)those who accepted were “brought through the fire” and saved as the remnant. How many in the remnant did God save, all of them, thus, all Israel, i.e. was saved.
Third Question Raised by Dr. Hinson: If the 1000 years are only symbolic, then is the reign of Christ only symbolic?
The answer is no. The 1000 years is a symbol of perfection, derived by multiply, 10, a perfect number in Scripture numerology, by 10 squared. 10x10x10.
A symbol always points to something other than itself. So, the thousand years symbol does not point to itself, rather it points to Christ’s pre-parousia reign in which he subdues all his enemies.
The door is a symbol used to describe Christ. It does not mean Christ is a literal door, but a means of access to the Father, through which believers must pass.
The fact that the door is symbolic doesn’t mean that Christ is not real. In like manner, the “thousand years” symbolism does not mean that which it represented was not real.