|Vol. 1, No. 6||Page 14||June 1999|
More Premillennial Nonsense
By Steve Ellis
Like many others I read with interest a recent article (1/10/99) in The Commercial Appeal entitled, "Israel Prepares for Millennial Horde of Apocalyptic Pilgrims" by Dina Kraft. The article describes how the Israelis have created a special security force called the "millennium unit" to deal with an expected influx of doomsday cultists as the year 2000 approaches. According to Ms. Kraft the arrest in Jerusalem of fourteen members of a Denver-based cult on 1/3/99 "underscored the dangers of the coming year." The Denver group, who call themselves Concerned Christians, are alleged to have been planning violent acts to hasten some sort of apocalypse.
The aforementioned article also stated that some four million "Christian pilgrims" are expected to visit Israel between mid-1999 and the end of 2000, about twice the usual number of such tourists. The director of Boston University's Center for Millennium Studies, Richard Landes, reportedly believes that among the four million will be a "hard core" of tens of thousands who believe that Christ's return to Jerusalem is imminent. Once such person, a retired school teacher from New York who has moved to an apartment on the Mount of Olives in hopes of a close-up view of Jesus' return, is quoted as having said, "God's headquarters will be in Jerusalem, and our coming is helping this be fulfilled."
It seems clear that speculation about the year 2000 being the end of time will fuel a tourism boom for Israel and the existence of potentially violent cultists probably justifies the "millennium unit" security force. However, the erroneous religious basis of this whole phenomenon is premillennialism--the belief that Christ's return will precede his literal one thousand year reign on earth. Premillennialism is a false system of Bible interpretation containing so many errors that this article does not have sufficient space even to mention all of them. A significant amount of premillennial misconception is derived from a failure to understand the distinction between Jesus' predictions pertaining to the destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred in A.D. 70) and his yet future return which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. A chart which clearly shows the differences in these two prophecies is . . . [included herein]. For an excellent examination of this false system and its numerous false doctrines, our readers might want to consult two issues of The Spiritual Sword (Vol. 9, Nos. 1 & 2) available from the Getwell church of Christ here in Memphis.
While a full examination of all of the errors of premillennialism requires quite an extensive study, it would not take long to thin out the ranks of the "millennial hordes" headed for Israel if they would just pause a moment and thoughtfully consider a few verses in the Bible. With regard to the time of Jesus' return, he himself said that no one will ever be able to predict when that will occur (Matthew 24:36, 42). As to the false notion held by so many that Jesus is going to establish some sort of earthly "headquarters in Jerusalem," that too is utter nonsense. First Thessalonians 4:17 plainly teaches that at Christ's return the righteous will ascend to meet him "in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Jesus will never again set foot on this earth. Moreover, at the Lord's return "the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (cf. 2 Peter 3:10-12). There will be no headquarters of any kind located on a non-existent earth subsequent to Jesus' return!
When Jesus comes back everyone everywhere will have
a close-up view. It would be truly wonderful if all people would ignore
premillennial nonsense and believe what Christ said about his second coming
and do what he said to do to be ready to stand before him at the last judgment
(cf. Matthew 25:31-46).
Contrasting the Two
In Judgment of Jerusalem
In Judgment of the World
|Involved Fleeing to the Mountains (24:16)||No Mountains to Which to Flee (2 Peter 3:10)|
|Local Judgment on Jerusalem (24:16)||Universal Judgment (Matthew 25:32)|
|Required Haste to Escape (24:16-18)||No Escape Fast Enough (1 Corinthians 15:52)|
|Pregnant Women Hindered (24:19)||No One Hindered (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)|
|Affected by Day or Season (24:20)||Day or Season Doesnít Matter (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)|
|Involved Shortening of Days (24:22)||No Need to Shorten (24:36)|
|Confusion Over Christís Location (24:23-26)||No Confusion Over Location (Revelation 1:7)|
|Preceded by Tribulation (24:21)||Preceded by Normal Events (24:37-39)|
|Preceded by Signs (24:32-33)||Preceded by No Signs (24:36-39, 42)|
|Known to the Lord (24:6)||Not Known to the Lord (24:36)|
|Known Time Frame (24:14, 34)||Not Known Time Frame (24:36, 48; 25:19)|
|Some Would Escape Judgment (24:16, 22)||No One Will Escape Judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10)|
|Temporary Salvation/Condemnation (24:16)||Eternal Salvation/Condemnation (Matthew 25:46)|
|Plural Days Involved (24:19, 22, 29)||Single Day/Hour Involved (24:36)|
|Abomination of Desolation (24:15; Luke 21:20)||Total Destruction (2 Peter 3:10)|
|Sign of the Coming of Christ (24:30)||Personal Coming of Christ (Acts 1:11)|