The Millennium and the Bible

By L.A. Heerboth

Table of Contents


What some believe concerning a Millennium.

What test must be applied to the teachings of Millenarians?

What the Lord says about the condition of His Church on earth.

What does the Lord say about the conversion of all Israel?

What does the Lord say about His second advent?

Will there be two resurrections from the dead?

How is Revelation 20:1-10 to be understood?

What effect has Millennialism on the Christian’s hope?

St. Louis, Missouri

Concordia Publishing House


What some believe concerning a Millennium

Millennium signifies a period of one thousand years. Millennialism, also known as chiliasm, is the belief that our Lord Jesus Christ will visibly reappear on the earth a thousand years before the end of the world, raise His saints, those who died in the Lord, from the dead, and with these and the believers who are still living at that time reign on earth personally, and in great glory, for a thousand years, at the expiration of which all those who have died in unbelief will be raised from the dead and the final Judgment will be held.

This definition, however, presents only a general idea of what the great majority of the believers in a millennium are agreed upon. They differ among themselves with regard to many details of their belief. The Premillenarians, for instance, place Christ’s visible appearance both before and after the millennium; but the Postmillenarians accept only one such appearance, namely, after the end of that glorious era. The former teach a resurrection of the believers at the beginning, and a resurrection of the unbelievers at the end, of the millennium, while the latter believe only in a general resurrection at the end.

The Premillenarians hold that the millennium is a period of world-wide righteousness, introduced by the sudden, unannounced visible advent of Christ; that the righteous, the believers in Him who is our Righteousness, will then be raised from the dead and reign with Christ on earth; that all Israel will acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah; that Satan during this period will be bound and locked in the abyss, but after this will be loosed and make a final, but vain effort to destroy Christ’s kingdom; that soon after this attempt he, his angels, and all unbelievers, who are then raised from the dead, will be judged and hurled into the lake of fire to suffer eternal torment.

The Postmillenarians hold, in the main, that through Christian agencies the Gospel will gradually permeate the entire world and bring about political peace and welfare among the nations; that all the Jews will be converted; that after the thousand-year period there will be a brief apostasy, a falling away from the Christian faith, followed by a dreadful conflict between Christian and evil forces; and that finally and simultaneously there will occur the visible coming of Christ, the resurrection of all the dead, and the judgment of all men, after which the world will be destroyed and a new world will be created. The Postmillenarians, we see, accept only one visible reappearance of Christ, namely, at the end of the millennium.

There are those among the millenarians who take passages such as Isaiah 11:7: “The lion shall eat straw like the ox” and Isaiah 65:25: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together” in a literal sense, believing that during the millennium there will be peace, not only among men, but also among the animals, so that they will neither kill nor hurt one another. – Some hold that Jerusalem will be the capital of the world, where Christ will sit on His throne, and that under His rulership His subjects will be free from all evil and live in peace and joy.

But all who hope for a millennium assert that the Church of Christ during that period will no longer be a kingdom under the cross, but a kingdom of glory, ruling over all nations, either converting or subduing all enemies of Christ, abolishing all wars and all implements of war (taking Isaiah 2:4 literally), and making all Jews Christians (supposed to be found in Romans 11:25-31 and Luke 21:24).

All millenarians base their teachings chiefly on Revelation 20:1-10.

What test must be applied to the teachings of Millenarians?

As Christians who base their faith and creed exclusively on the revealed Word of God in its clear and unmistakable passages we do not accept everything which at first glance may seem to be Biblical doctrine, but follow the command of God: “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Now, as we discuss and examine the various tenets of the millenarians, we shall frequently be compelled to expose the false, as well as to give the true, interpretation of certain Bible-passages, some of which are clear and simple, whereas other are seemingly obscure and difficult because of their figurative adornment. It will be of benefit to the reader if at the very beginning we state a few sound and fundamental principles, or rules, of Biblical interpretation by which we shall be guided in this treatise.

Some Principles of Bible Interpretation

God is Truth. He cannot contradict Himself. From this it follows that whatever He affirms in clear, unmistakable passages He does not overthrow or contradict in other passages. Hence all those sayings of the Lord which are somewhat difficult must be compared with those which are so plain and simple that they cannot be misunderstood and must be interpreted in accordance with them.

Again, whatever God says in symbolical, or figurative, language must be interpreted in agreement with such passages in which He employs plain diction, using every work in its proper, literal sense. Why? Because in symbols and figurative speech He does not teach the reverse of what He teaches in ordinary, plain, simple language.

According to these fundamental rules, according to the Word of God, in the fear of God, Isaiah 66:2, let us examine the views of the millenarians.

What the Lord Says about the Condition of His Church on Earth

Since the millenarians teach a thousand-year period of peace and joy for the Church, under the reign of Christ on earth before the great Judgment Day, we ask, What does the Lord tell us about the condition of His Church on earth?

A Spiritual Kingdom

In the first place, the Lord denies that His Church on earth is a worldly, or earthly kingdom; for He says: “My kingdom is not of this world,” and describes it as a kingdom of truth, saying “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:36,37). He declares His kingdom to be of a spiritual nature. He told Nicodemus: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The blessings of Christ’s kingdom are purely spiritual, consisting in forgiveness of sins, sanctification, and eternal life, as we read in Colossians 1:13-14: “[God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

The Members of this Kingdom are Cross-bearers

Not only to the apostles, but to all Christians our Lord said: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33), and: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24); and by the mouth of St. Paul: “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Christians will not enter the realm of eternal glory unless in this life they have “suffered with Christ” (Romans 8:17). “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Read also Romans 8:25-39 and Matthew 10:34-36. From these passages it is clear that Christians must abandon all hope for earthly glory and peace.

No Better Conditions Promised towards End of World

The nearer the end of the world approaches, the worse it will be. The Lord says: “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Read also 2 Timothy 3:1-7. Of “the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:22), that is, of the entire New Testament era, the whole time of the Messianic kingdom on earth, up to His coming to Judgment, the Lord says: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation” (Luke 17:20 - marginal note: not with outward show, John 18:36). “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, (that He might reveal His glory or execute some kind of judgment) and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day” (Luke 17:22-24). In verses26-37 and in Matthew 24:23-29 Jesus tells us in very plain words what awful conditions will obtain in the world in the last days. As to peace on earth and the fate of His Church until the end He says in Matthew 24:7-13: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” etc. Not even a trace of a glorious millennium for His Church on earth can be found in all the sayings of the Lord regarding the fate and condition of His kingdom on earth.

These are but a few of the great number of passages describing the state, or condition, of the kingdom of God on earth unto the Last Day. They are clear and cannot be misunderstood by any unbiased reader. No passage in the whole Bible contradicts those statements which declare that the kingdom of Christ on earth is a kingdom under the cross and that the members of this kingdom have to suffer persecution and tribulation until the Lord will appear on the great Day of Judgment, the day of redemption for all believers (Luke 21:28).

A Kingdom of Spiritual Peace

But does not God say that the kingdom of the Messiah shall be a kingdom of peace and bring peace to the world? He does indeed. But let us inquire and investigate what kind of peace God has promised and when this era of peace is to begin. Our Savior Jesus Christ is called the “Prince of Peace... of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Under the scepter of this Son of David, “the King’s Son,” “The mountains will bring peace to the people, And the little hills, by righteousness” (Psalm 72:1,3). He Himself is therefore called “our peace, who has made both [Jews and Gentiles, John 10:16] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:14-17). See Acts 10:36; Colossians 1:20-22.

According to these plain words of Scripture the peace which our Lord has earned for us is of a spiritual nature. When He, as the Lamb of God, sacrificed Himself, He broke down the partition will, not only between Jews and Gentiles, but also between God and man; yes, He “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20) between God and man and established the everlasting “covenant of peace.” God is no longer our enemy; peace has been established “by righteousness,” the righteousness which Christ has merited for the whole world (Psalm 72:3; Isaiah 53:4-5). This “peace on earth” was proclaimed already by the angels at the birth of the Peacemaker. Of this peace the Lord says to His Church: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” ; that is, My peace is not a worldly peace. And He adds: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” namely, if you do not meet with peace, but enmity and hatred on the part of the world, (John 14:27). Compare John 15:18-20.

The sinner partakes of, and enjoys, this peace when he is justified by faith in His Savior (Romans 5:1); “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). It is therefore not a worldly or political, but a spiritual peace, which no man enjoys until by faith he becomes a member of Christ’s kingdom; for “There is no peace, says the LORD, for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22); 2 Corinthians 5:20.

No Kingdom of Glory this side of Heaven

And regarding the glorification of the believers God tells us by St. Paul: “your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21). But this shall be brought to pass, not before, but at, the second visible advent of Christ, on Judgment Day; for “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep,” etc. (1 Thessalonians 3:15-17). (In a later chapter we shall show that St. Paul in this passage refers to Judgment Day.) Compare 1 Corinthians 15:23,26,54-57; Matthew 25:31-46.

In accordance with these plain and simple statements we are bound to interpret and understand those highly poetic and picturesque descriptions of the Messianic kingdom which we find with the holy prophets of old. “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20), but the Holy Spirit is His own Interpreter; and what He says in poetic and figurative expressions He Himself explains at other places by using plain and simple language.

Thus, for example, in Isaiah 11 we have a picturesque description of the Messiah and His kingdom. The Messiah is presented as “a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.... with [His] righteousness He shall judge [and deliver] the poor [the poor in spirit, the penitent], And decide [argue] with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:1,4). Every reader must admit that this is figurative language. Therefor certainly also the following: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb... and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.... They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD.... And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious. It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt” etc. (Isaiah 11:6-11).

Since we have here a description of Christ’s kingdom, which is not composed of beasts, wolves, serpents, lions, etc., but of men, we must understand that “in all My [God’s] holy mountain,” that is, in the Church of Christ (“Zion”), the peace that is to reign is of such a nature that those people who formerly were like ravenous wolves, bloodthirsty lions and insidious adders will by the grace of God put off their old nature, cease to harm one another, and peacefully dwell together as the lambs of Christ and feed on the green pasture of the Gospel.

Of this change of nature St. Paul speaks in plain words, 2 Corinthians 5:17: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Not only the furious persecutor Saul who became the Gospel-preaching, soul-seeking Paul is an example (1 Timothy 1:13), but the entire history of Christian missions abounds with such examples.

The remaining part of this prophetic description is a promise that the Lord will gather His sheep from the Gentiles and that also the remnant of Israel will, by the help of the Gentiles, be brought to His flock. This brings us to the next question: –

What does the Lord say about the Conversion of All Israel?

All millenarians hold that al the Jews will be converted and acknowledge the Christ crucified as the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind, either at the beginning of, or at some time during, the hoped-for millennium. They think that passages such as Zechariah 12:10 support their belief: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.” In the New Testament they regard Romans 11:25-26 as their main stronghold, because St. Paul there declares that “all Israel will be saved.” How such passages are to be understood in agreement with other statements of Holy Writ we shall try to show in this chapter.

A Remnant of Israel will Accept Christ

God says by the prophet Isaiah: “For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, [only] a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:22). This is repeated by St. Paul, who writes: “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved....’ And as Isaiah said before: ‘Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah’” (Romans 9:25,27). In the Old Testament God promised: “On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11); and in the New Testament He declares that this very prophecy is being fulfilled in the conversion fo the Gentiles, God taking “ out of them a people for His name” thus building His Church (Acts 15:14-17). “Through their [the Jews] fall, to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:11). See Acts 13:46-47.

Yet it is not all Israel that will be converted to Christ, but only a remnant, “the election,” those who will not abide in unbelief; “the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:7-10). This remnant shall, by the missionary activity of the Gentile Church (as mentioned above in our remarks on Isaiah 11:11-16), return to God’s holy mountain, which is Zion, the Church of Jesus, the Messiah. But as a whole, as a nation, the people of Israel have been rejected (Matthew 21:43) and this rejection will continue unto the end of the world, as the Lord says in Luke 21:24-27: “ Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.... Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” The “times of the Gentiles” are the times in which the Gentiles are called by the Gospel, the times of grace (Psalm 81:11-15; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2) and these times continue unto the end, as the Lord assures us in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

But concerning the Jews as a nation God tells us by St. Paul: “Wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:16), that is, unto the end (compare the Greek text). These statements are plain and sweeping , leaving no room for a universal conversion of the Jews. Compare Luke 19:11-27.

Who is Meant by “the House of David”?

Promises such as Zechariah 12:10 and Joel 2:28 began to be fulfilled on the Pentecost Day (Acts 2:17), and are still being fulfilled in the gathering of the remnant of Israel as well as in the gathering of “all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39). For the “house of David” (Zechariah 12:10) comprehends all the children of the “Son of David,” (Hebrews 2:13; Ephesians 2:19-20), the “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10); in the same sense the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” are all the citizens of the Holy City, the Church of Christ (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12). This gathering of the elect of Israel during the time of the New Testament is indicated in the words of Isaiah 11:11: “The Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left”; for after they had broken the first covenant, God promised them a second proof of His grace in sending the Messiah, thereby establishing the “new covenant,” (Jeremiah 31:31-34), and calling them by the Gospel. All true children of Abraham (Romans 4:11), of Israel, will accept and keep this new covenant; but they are only a remnant. For we read in Isaiah 4:2-3 that at the time when “the Branch of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6) “shall be beautiful and glorious... For those of Israel who have escaped.... he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy––everyone who is recorded among the living,” that is, in the Book of Life (Psalm 69:28; Amos 9:9; Revelation 20:15; 21:27). Isaiah does not say “the whole Jewish nation.”

Misinterpretations of Other Old Testament Passages

In this connection we may point out the misinterpretation of such passages as Isaiah 2 and Micah 4:1-8, on which the millenarians base their belief that in the last times the city of Jerusalem in Palestine will be the capital of Christ’s earthly kingdom, where He will reside and reign like David and Solomon, and that all the nations will go thereto worship on the mountain of God. Right here it is necessary again to remind the reader of the fact that the kingdom of Christ is not a worldly kingdom (John 18:36-37), and that this kingdom on earth, the Kingdom of Grace, does “not come with observation,” with external show (Luke 17:20-29). When the prophets of God speak of “the last days,” the days “hereafter,” they mean the whole era, or period, of the New Testament times. The “mountain of the house of the Lord” is the Christian Church (compare with this passage Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6-8; Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:19ff., etc.), to which “many nations shall come” by being converted to the living God (Acts 26:17ff). This prophecy has been in process of fulfillment since the beginning of the missionary work of the holy apostles (Acts 15:12-17; 10:45; 11:18). Therefore God, addressing all believers, does not say: “You shall come to the holy mountain,” as if it were to happen in the future, but “You have you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God” (Hebrews 12:22-24; Galatians 4:25-26). So, then, by the founding and the building of the Church of Christ, the Messianic kingdom, all these prophecies have been fulfilled.

How about the Chief Bulwark of the Millenarians?

Let us now consider Romans 11:25-27, which the millenarians believe to be the principal New Testament proof for a general conversion of the Jews. This passage reads as follows: “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, {Or delivered} as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

It is certain that St. Paul does not deny what he has stated in the whole section comprising Romans 9:1-11:24, namely that not “all Israel according to the flesh,” but only a remnant of Israel will be saved, “according to the election of grace,” (Romans 11:5-11). Furthermore, the purpose of this section, chapters 9-11, is to prove that the promises of God concerning Israel are being fulfilled, that they have not become void, even if not all Jews are saved. That this is the intention of St. Paul he declares when he says: “it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel” (Romans 9:5). Mark well how he distinguishes between “all Israel” and those “which are of Israel.” The same distinction he makes in Romans 2:28-29, saying: “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly... but he is a Jew who is one inwardly.” Compare Matthew 3:9; John 8:39-44; 1:47; Revelation 2:9.

In the light of such clear definitions we are compelled to take the phrase “all Israel” in our text as denoting all true Israel, all such as are genuine children of Abraham (John 8:39-44, Galatians 3:29). This is expressly stated in the promise quoted by St. Paul in v. 26 from Isaiah 59:20, where we read: “The Redeemer will come to Zion, And [compare the Hebrew text: namely] to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, Says the LORD.” Hence not all such as can trace their natural descent to Abraham, but all Israel according to the spirit, that is, all “who turn from transgression in Jacob,” who believe in the promised Redeemer shall be saved. This remnant of Israel, together with the elect of the Gentiles, the are the children of Abraham, the true Israel (Romans 4:11-12). In full agreement with the statement that only a remnant of the people of Israel shall be saved St. Paul here declares “that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). This is saying that not all Jews are hardened, blinded, and excluded from salvation, as some Bible-readers may imagine when reading passages like Isaiah 6; Acts 13:46-47; 1 Thessalonians 2:16. Only a “part,” a portion, of Israel is blinded; but God has reserved a remnant, a “holy seed” (Isaiah 6:13; Romans 9:27-29); and this remnant shall be saved.

Rejection of the Gospel by the Greater Part of Israel to End of Days

Now, the blindness which has befallen the greater part of Israel – for “remnant” indicates a small part – will continue “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25), until this “fullness” has been brought into the fold of the Good Shepherd. The “fulness of the Gentiles” does not mean “all Gentiles,” but the “full number” of all the elect out of the Gentiles, as is easily seen, especially here, where by “all Israel” all the elect out of Israel (v.7) must be understood. The gathering and coming in of “the fullness of the Gentiles,” however, does not cease before the end of the world, as we learn from Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”; and the preaching of the Gospel always has a converting and saving power and effect (Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 23:29; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18).

Hence we know that the gathering of “the fullness of the Gentiles” shall not be completed at some period of time before the end. These words of St. Paul (Romans 11:25) exclude all hope for a future great or even universal conversion of the Jews; blindness of the greater part fo Israel will continue unto the end of the world.

Paul continues: “And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). Here we must point out a great mistake of the millenarians. They take the adverb of manner so as an adverb of time, in the sense of “then, thereafter.” This is inadmissible, for it not only changes the meaning of the text, but also makes the Holy Ghost contradict Himself, saying something here which is at variance with other passages on His Holy Word, for instance, 1 Thessalonians 2:16. The adverb so denotes the manner in which the Word of God quoted from Isaiah 59:20 will be fulfilled. God’s promise regarding Israel does not remain without effect (Romans 9:6); God has not “cast away His people” entirely or in their totality, (Romans 11:1), not so completely that they have become like Sodom and Gomorrah (Romans 9:29); He has left them a remnant, a seed, which will be converted and again be “grafted into their own olive-tree” (Romans 11:24). And so, in this manner, the promise will come true that “all Israel shall be saved,” that is, the promise to all “who turn from transgression in Jacob” (Isaiah 59:20). And the gathering of this remnant will continue “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” that is, as we have shown, unto the end of the world.

What does the Lord say about His Second Advent?

We read in Matthew 25:31-46 that the Son of Man, who came the first time in lowliness and poverty, will come again “in His glory,” and all the holy angels will be with Him. Then He will sit upon the throne of His glory; all nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them and pronounce sentence. That will come to pass on “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:5-16). For “He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31), Jesus Christ (John 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11). Of that day St. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 that the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels; that in flaming fire He will take vengeance on the unbelievers, punishing them with everlasting destruction; that He will then be glorified in His saints and be admired in all them that believe. This will be the day of the great harvest, when the tares shall be separated from the wheat (Matthew 13:30,38-43. Compare Revelation 20:11-15; Luke 17:20-37).

No Visible Advent of Christ before Judgment Day

There will be no other visible coming of Christ; for “heaven must receive [Jesus Christ] until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). But this “restoration of all things, which God has spoken” is effected after the destruction of this present world, by the creation of the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation21:1ff). In this “regeneration,” as it is called by the Lord in Matthew 19:28, God will be glorified in His saints, when “the tabernacle of God” will again be “with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3-5). Unto that Great Day “the heaven must receive Him” (Acts 3:21), but on that day “the Lord will be revealed from heaven” (2 Thessalonians 1:7). Nowhere does the Bible say that He will be revealed from heaven before Judgment Day. Again we read in Hebrews 9:27-28: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” that is, to be “glorified in His saints” (Matthew 25:34,46). The Bible does not say: “the second time for the establishment of an earthly kingdom,” but: “the second time for salvation.” This salvation, the deliverance from all evil (Revelation21:4; 1 Corinthians 15:23, 54-57; Philippians 3:20-21) shall come to us at the same time, the same “hour” when all the dead, those who have done good and those who have done evil, will hear the voice of the Son of Man (John 5:28-29), “at the last trumpet,” when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel [Matthew 25:31; 13:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:7], and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). It would be contrary to all pertinent passages to believe that there will be two future visible advents of Christ and two resurrections from the dead, one at the beginning and the other at the end of a millennium.

Millennialists believe that the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 refers to a coming of Christ at the beginning of the millennium. St. Paul writes there: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” There is nothing in this passage to justify the belief that this coming of the Lord will take place a thousand years before the end of the world. The intention of St. Paul is to show what precious comfort the Bible offers Christians at the departure of their loved ones who have died in the Lord. These will be raised to eternal life when the Lord will be revealed from heaven in His glory. It is clear from the very words which St. Paul uses here that he speaks of the same advent of Christ “from heaven with His mighty angels” of which He writes in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.

Here he describes the order in the same way as he does in 1 Corinthians 15:23, 51-52: First those who have died in the Lord shall be called to life; then we who survive shall be changed; and then we “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord,” that is in eternal life. We dare not forget that the apostle neither here nor in 1 Corinthians 15 makes mention of the resurrection of the wicked, because it is his intention in both of these passages to show the certainty of the blessed resurrections of the believers at the glorious advent of the Lord on the Last Day. All the dead shall hear His voice at the same day and hour (John 5:28-29; 6:40). Then we who were living when the trumpet of Judgment Day sounded shall be changed and together with the revived believers be caught up to be with the Lord in all eternity. Thus we shall not precede these.

There certainly is no trace here, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, of a visible advent of Christ a thousand years before the resurrection of all the dead. Let us not forget that on the Last Day the Lord will be revealed from heaven (2 Thessalonians 1:7); but if that is true, then He was not visible as a king on earth before the Last Day. And St. Paul says that beginning with the coming of the Lord “we shall always be with the Lord, having been caught up together with the raised believers. Now, if this were to happen already a thousand years before the end of the world, there would no longer be any saints on earth during all that time. And if there are no saints on earth, how can there be an earthly kingdom in which the saints take so prominent a part according to the idea of a millennialists, and how could Satan instigate the nations to combat against the camp of the saints?

Let us beware of reading our own imaginations into the Holy Book (Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18). By doing so, man will confound and pervert the clear sayings of God. The whole Bible tells us of only one second visible advent of Christ in His glory, and that on the Day of Judgment.

The millenarians refer also to Revelation 20:4-10 as proof for a twofold coming of the Lord and a twofold resurrection. We shall show the meaning of this passage in chapter 7.

The second advent of Christ is closely connected with the resurrection of the dead. Therefor we ask:

Will there be Two Resurrections from the Dead?

Most millenarians believe there will be a resurrection of the martyrs (and the saints) a thousand years before Judgment Day and a resurrection of the wicked (or the general resurrection) on that Great Day.

In the Bible God speaks of only one resurrection from the dead, which will occur when the Lord visibly returns to judge the quick and the dead. Here a few passages that have been abused and misinterpreted my millenarians must be explained. The Bible distinguishes between two resurrections, but not both of them are bodily resurrections. The first resurrection is the resurrection of the soul from spiritual death, and the second resurrection is the restoration of the body to life on the Last Day. By nature all men are spiritually dead, as St. Paul says: “We all [all the regenerated] once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature [our natural birth] children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together” (Ephesians 2:3-6). Everybody who reads this must acknowledge that here conversion, i.e., the creation of faith in the heart, is represented as the resurrection from spiritual death, i.e., from unbelief. Death is separation from, and absence of, life; and the spiritually dead are separated from Christ, our Life (John 14:6; Colossians 3:4). From this death we were raised by the grace of God when He created faith in the Savior within our hearts. Compare Colossians 2:12-13; 3:1-4. Both resurrections are sharply distinguished when the Lord says: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.” Here He speaks of the spiritual resurrection. The He proceeds: “The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth––those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:25-29). Compare Daniel 12:2. This same distinction we have in Revelation 20. There it is said of the souls of the dead martyrs that “they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death [cf. v. 14] has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6). Here the blessedness of those departed souls in heaven is described who had been made alive from spiritual death and thus were united with Christ; after their departure from this wold “they live and reign with Christ,” are priests and kings before God (cf. 1 Peter 2:9), already during the “thousand years,” i.e., in the era of the New Testament, before the end of the world. They had part in the first resurrection and therefor they are blessed (Revelation 14:13). On them the “second death” has no power. This “second death” is described as “ the lake of fire,” i.e. eternal separation from God and heaven, usually called hell and damnation, “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

Here we dare not overlook two or three features (or circumstances) of the Bible text. First: God is speaking here of the souls of the departed confessors, but not of their bodies. According to John 6:40; 5:28-29, etc. the bodily resurrection of all departed believers will take place on the Last Day. Here in our text not the earthly, but the heavenly bliss of the departed confessors is presented. Secondly: Nowhere in Revelation 20 it is said that the departed souls shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years here on earth. The kingdom of Christ is here not described as a kingdom of this world in earthly pomp and glory, contrary to John 18:36; Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12. An interpretation declaring this reigning and living of the departed martyrs as reigning and living with Christ during the thousand years here on this earth is introducing a strange thought and foreign meaning into the Word of God and therefore is a misinterpretation and falsification and even in direct contradiction to all other sayings of God regarding Christ’s kingdom and the bodily resurrection of the believers. Thirdly: Just in this chapter (Revelation 20) the two resurrections, th first and the second, are distinguished. In verses 4-6 we are told of the resurrection from spiritual death, the being united with Christ, our Life, which is effected by regeneration on earth and which the departed soul fully enjoys in heaven, being “with Christ.”

But the second resurrection, the resurrection of the body, is described in verses 11-15, where it is said that “the dead, small and great,” i.e. all the dead, were standing before the great white throne; that the Book of Life and other books were opened; that “each one” was judged; that “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” This is in full accord with 2 Corinthians 5:10, where St. Paul , who certainly also was a martyr, says that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” and with the promise of the Lord: “everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40); but nowhere does He say that He will raise such a one up a thousand years before the Last Day.

In the face of such plain statements of God we cannot but say that millennialism perverts the Word of God by teaching two different bodily resurrections and two future glorious appearances of Christ on earth.

But, it is objected, does not Paul say in 1 Thessalonians 4 that “the dead in Christ will rise first”? Here we have to examine the context, that is, the connection to which St. Paul makes this statement, and to compare other passages in which he treats of the same matter in order to get at the real meaning of his words. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 he points out the comfort the Christians have when their loved ones have died in the Lord. He says: “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” If on Judgment Day the dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are still alive shall be caught up together with them, then they certainly will not rise a thousand years earlier than we who will still be alive at the coming of the Lord, but we shall be caught up together with them, that is, at the same time. Of this same event St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–– in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” No millenarian can deny that St. Paul here speaks of those things that will happen at the advent of the Lord on the Last Day, “at the last trumpet.” Then the dead shall be raised and we who are still alive will be changed and then be taken up together with them. Compare also John 5:28-29, where the Lord says that on the Last Day all the dead, believers and infidels, will be raised, but not the believers a thousand years before the Last Day; for the Lord says in John 6:40 that He will raise up every believer at the Last Day.

The other passage abused by millenarians is 1 Corinthians 15:23-24: “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father.” In the entire chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle does not mention the resurrection of unbelievers, but similarly as in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, speaks exclusively of the resurrection of Christ and those “that are Christ’s.” He says that Christ, as the firstfruits, had to be raised first. Afterwards, at Christ’s coming, they that are Christ’s will be raised from the dead. Mark well: “at His coming,” namely, on the Last Day; for the apostle says immediately after this: “Then comes the end.” This becomes evident, too, if we compare all similar passages, and particularly if we take note of the language St. Paul employs when speaking of the coming of Christ. See 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 11:26. At the Lord’s coming, “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26); “at the last trumpet... the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.... then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory” (vv. 51-54). Then all those who are Christ’s will be delivered from every kind of death; they will be given life eternal. And “then comes the end,” the judgment of the wicked (Revelation 20:11-15), and the destruction of the world (2 Peter 3). This is the clear teaching of St. Paul also in this chapter, which leaves no room for a double visible coming of Christ or for an interval of a thousand years between the resurrection of believers and that of the wicked. :

How is Revelation 20:1-10 to be Understood?

What the Binding of Satan Means

In verses 1-3 we are told that an angel, that is, a God-sent messenger, came down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain to bind Satan. Who this God-sent messenger was we learn from Revelation 1:8, where the Son of God says that He has the keys of hell and of death, that is, the power over Satan and eternal death. And the chain by which Satan is bound cannot be a chain of iron or brass because Satan is a spirit and a spirit cannot be bound by such a chain. This, therefore, is figurative language and means that Satan has been deprived of his power. Other passages of the Bible tell us in plain words what here is indicated in a figure of speech, to wit, that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to this earth by the Father to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8); to crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15); that He, the Stronger One, came over the strong one, Satan, and bound him (Matthew 12:29). This was fully accomplished when by the vicarious death of Christ for our sins the power of the devil was taken from him (Hebrews 2:14-15), and the “ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31); compare John 16:11; Luke 10:18. Satan no longer has any power over men or a claim against them (Revelation 12:10). All men are called by the Gospel “to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18); and every man who accepts this call of God cannot be held by Satan, but is “delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13). And since it is the will and purpose of God to call all nations by the preaching of the Gospel to repentance and salvation now that the redemptive work of our Savior has been finished (Luke 24:47; Acts 17:30), Satan is bound also in so far as for “a thousand years” he cannot “deceive the nations” by hindering or stopping the victorious course of the Gospel, so that “this Gospel of the kingdom” according to the will and command of Christ can and “will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

Here it must not be overlooked that this binding of Satan, his being cast into the bottomless pit, etc. Is not to be understood absolutely, as if Satan were banished from this earth, so that he could no longer approach men for the sake of tempting them; for we are warned: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). According to this plain statement of St. Peter we and all our brethren, as long as we are yet in the world, are exposed to the trials and temptations of Satan and all the evil spirits; compare Ephesians 6:12ff; 2:2. And as we learn from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8, this warning and exhortation to constant vigilance is meant for all Christians of all times, unto the day when the Lord will come to judge the world; for this “Day of the Lord” is none other than the great Judgment Day, the day of our “gathering together to Him” (2Thessalonians 2:1) “And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), as explained above. Satan therefore will not be bound in a future time, but has been bound already. The judgment over Satan and his angels will be fully executed on the Last Day (Revelation 20:10). Unto that day he is bound, relatively speaking.

The Loosing of Satan

A short time before the end comes, Satan “must be released for a little while,” and he will go out “go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Revelation 20:3,8-9). This will happen “when the thousand years have expired” (v.7), that is, when that time during which Satan had not the power to stop the spreading of the Gospel will come to its end. Then he shall “be released for a little while,” namely, insomuch as he then will not be hindered by God from exciting to hostile activity the enemies of “the camp of the saints and the beloved city,” that is, the enemies of the true “Church of the living God,” (Hebrews 12:22-23; compare Psalm 46:4-6). This assault against the camp of the saints is made by all the enemies of Christ, from Antichrist, who is sitting in the temple of God, that is, within the Christian Church, down to the Bolshevists. “Gog and Magog” are evidently, as in Ezekiel 38 and 39, symbolical names or terms for all powers “in the four corners of the earth” that are enemies of the true Church of the living God.

How is this assault made? Not only by bloody persecutions by means of fire and sword, but also by false prophets, Matthew 24:11,24. For by such false prophets more harm is done to the Church than by bloody persecutions, as Satan is well aware of. The assault of false teachers is made upon the heart of Christ’s Gospel, namely, upon the fundamental Christian doctrine, the doctrine of the vicarious satisfaction for our sins by the suffering and the death of the Son of God (Romans 5:10), for instance, when it is called a “slaughter-house doctrine” and a “blood theology”; upon the center of our Christian faith, namely, the doctrine that we receive forgiveness of all our sins, and are justified, solely by believing in Jesus Christ, for the sake of the perfect atonement which He made for us on the cross, alone by the grace of God (Romans 3:24,28; Galatians 2:16; 5:4); and last, but not least, upon the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Peter 3:3-4), which is the formal principle of the Christian religion, by denying which such false teachers attempt to destroy the foundation of the city of God (Psalm 11:3); compare also 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 4:3-4.

Oh, let us be vigilant and keep our eyes open in order that we many not neglect to see the signs of the time in which we are living! Matthew 16:2-3.

The Length of the “Little while”

How long this “little while” will last during which Satan will be loosed no man is able to tell (Acts 1:7; Matthew 24:36-42; Mark 13:32-37); for with God “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). But since in Revelation 20:2-3 the “thousand years,” denoting a long period, and the “little while,” denoting a short time, are placed in contrast to each other, so much seems to be clear that the “little while” will not last long, at least by far not as long as the first period, the “thousand years.” According to the distinct declaration of our Lord that no man knows the day or the hour when the end will come (Matthew 24:26-42; Mark 13:32-37; Acts 1:7), we cannot but regard the “thousand years” as a symbolical number, denoting however, a long time, which began with the binding of Satan when Christ overcame him (Matthew 12:29), destroyed him (Hebrews 2:14), and cast him out (John 12:31), and thus with the sending out of the Gospel into all the world (Matthew 28:18-20). Then these “thousand years” together with the “little while” during which Satan is loosed again, constitute the time of the New Testament, beginning with Christ’s redemption and lasting to Judgment Day. For immediately after Satan’s last assault upon the beloved city, the Christian Church, God’s judgment will follow (vv. 9-15). During this period of the New Testament the souls of the departed confessors are “living and reigning with Christ” in heavenly bliss and glory (v.4). A minute description of this reigning and living with Christ is heaven we are not able to give. But we know that this royal glory is not visible, or manifest on this present earth; the text speaks only of the sainted souls that are “with Christ,” and God tells us by St. Paul: “When Christ who is our life appears,” which will occur on Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, etc.) “then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4); compare Philippains 3:20-21.

It might be objected that in this same Book of Revelation (chapter 5:8-10) we are told how the four and twenty elders in heaven praise the Lord, saying: “[You] have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” But this text itself is clear enough to preclude a reigning on this present earth; for it strictly distinguishes between the present state of the elders: “[You] have made us kings and priests to our God” and their future state: “we shall reign on the earth.” This future “reigning on the earth” will not be done on this present earth, but on the “new earth” which God will make after the destruction of this present world (Revelation 21:1).

We learn this from chapter 22:3-5. And this is in complete harmony with the promise of the Lord: “Assuredly I say to you, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28; cf. Luke 22:29ff). We think that every reader will agree with us that the “regeneration” of which the Lord here speaks is the “new creation” (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:11-13: read this!). Note also that in these words the reappearance of our Lord is placed at the end of this present earth and before the creation of the new earth. Revelation 20:4-6 tells us of the present blissful condition in heaven, “with Christ,” of those who have part in the “final resurrection,” of the revival of the soul from spiritual death and it final union with Christ in heaven as its glorious outcome and completion. These are those “dead that die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13).

“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished,” (Revelation 20:5). This is the fate of those who died in unbelief, who had no part in the spiritual resurrection; they are not “living with Christ,” our Life, but are in death, “death shall feed on them” (Psalm 49:14); they are kept in prison (1 Peter 3:19), eternally excluded from the blessed communion with Christ, our Life. In this state of death they will remain until the time of the New Testament is finished; but then, on the Day of Judgment, their body will be revived, and the Judge will pronounce His condemnatory sentence upon them, as is explained verses 11-15; cf. Matthew 25:41, etc.

The above interpretation of Revelation 20 is based on, and is in full accord with, each and every word of Scripture pertaining to this matter, and therefore we are certain of it being correct, while the misinterpretation of the millenarians not only disagrees with, but directly contradicts, all plain Bible-passages that treat of this subject, as shown above. Let us keep in mind that the Holy Ghost explains Himself in His Word and that one passage must be interpreted in harmony with all others; for God does not contradict Himself. All false explanations not only make the Bible unclear, but also pervert it (2 Peter 3:16; Isaiah 8:20).

What Effect has Millennialism on the Christian’s Hope?Millennialism perverts the Biblical doctrine of Christian hope –

For the teaching of a future period of glory, welfare, and dominion of the kingdom of Christ here on this present earth misdirects the blessed hope of the Christians to earthly and temporal things. Of such earthly blessings we have no divine promise; on the contrary, we are told by God in His holy Word that we must not expect, and hope for, earthly joys and pleasures, riches, power, and honor, in this life. As long as this earth remains, the kingdom of God will always be a kingdom under the cross, as shown in chapter 3. To every one who desires to follow Him Christ says: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Therefore St. Paul says: “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22); and “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19); that is to say, if we, the Church of Christ, expect a glorious time on this earth, we are the most miserable of all men, because this hope will not be realized, but “made ashamed”; such hope is in vain. But the teaching of millennialism implants such a vain hope in the heart of its adherents and thereby keeps their hearts from awaiting, and preparing for, the great Day of Judgment. The hope of the millennialists makes the heart secure, so that they are likely to deceive themselves by thinking that, when the Lord will appear to establish the millennium, there will be sufficient time yet for true conversion to God. Such men fall into the error of the foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:3). Let us not forget what the Lord says: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation.... For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day” (Luke 17:20-37; cf. Matthew 24:26-31). This “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) is “that blessed hope” to which God directs the hearts of His children, (Colossians 3:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) and this hope will be realized on the glorious Day of the Lord.

All the divine promises of future welfare and happiness (Revelation 21:1-4); of rest (Hebrews 4:9-11; Revelation 14:13); of reward (Matthew 5:3,12); and of glorification (Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:20-21), speak of heaven, but verily not of this present world. Millennialism is nothing but a delusion of Satan, perverting the clear sayings of God, diverting the heart of the Christians from their blessed hope and directing it to earthly glory, and miking them blind to the signs of the times. See Matthew 16:2-3; 24:21-33. And the remaining carnal-minded nature in the heart of a believer is too much inclined to listen to such delusion and to grasp, and be content with, temporal and earthly promises. “Let no one cheat you” (Colossians 2:18). Our “lively hope” is not earthly blessings, but “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4) but not to be found on this earth (1 Peter 4:9,13).

Finally, let us not forget that millennialism had its origin in the Old Testament, among those Jews who misinterpreted the diving promises of spiritual peace and glory of the Messianic kingdom by taking them for promises of earthly blessings and expecting the kingdom of Christ, the promised Messiah, to be a kingdom of this world. Therefore, when Christ came in humility and poverty, they rejected Him, “There is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). The Lutheran Church, in the Augsburg Confession (Article 17), and the Reformed Church, in the Helvetic Confession (Article 11), therefore reject the teachings of millennialism as “Jewish fables” and a dangerous caricature of the true Christian hope which God has promised us in His holy Word.

May the gracious God guard us against all such delusions and keep us sober and watchful for the Great Day of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Note: This study was used as a resource for the Bible Class at Zion Lutheran Church, Lawrenceville, Georgia by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.

If you would like more information about this study,
please contact Pastor Mayhew