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II. Post and Pre-millennialism Examined.

1. An examination of Post-millennialism.

     Post-millennialists teach that the only Kingdom over which Christ will ever reign is a spiritual and celestial one. They say that those Jews who expected their Messiah to set up a visible and material Kingdom on the earth were mistaken, that they erred in the interpretation of their prophetic Scriptures and cherished a carnal and unworthy hope. Let us examine this assertion in the light of God's Word. In Psalm 132:11 we read "The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; He will not turn from it: Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." This was one of many Messianic prophecies scattered throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. It is a prophecy which has never yet been fulfilled. When our Lord Jesus was here upon earth He did not sit upon any "throne," instead of occupying a Throne He was nailed to a cross. True, He is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, but this is not the fulfillment of what Jehovah "swore in truth." David never occupied a heavenly throne; his throne was an earthly one, he reigned in Jerusalem; and God has declared that the Lord Jesus shall sit upon David's throne. This Old Testament prophecy was confirmed in New Testament times. In Luke one we learn that an angel appeared unto Mary and said, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).
     The above is not a single prophecy but a compound one. It is made up of five separate items. Mary, the "virgin," was to conceive and bring forth a son; her son's name was to be called "Jesus;" Jesus was to become great and recognized as the Son of God; the Lord promised to give unto Him the "throne of David," and over the "House of Jacob" He was to reign for ever. Utterly unlikely as it appeared to human wisdom at the time, part of this prophecy has already been fulfilled - literally fulfilled. There was a literal birth, Mary's son was literally named "Jesus," and a literal "greatness" has become His portion; by what sleight of hand then can the exegetical knife be run through this prophecy and a literal reign over the "House of Jacob" be denied?
     Post-millennialists teach that Christ is reigning as King to-day and that He will continue to reign thus, unseen, until He has subdued and won all His enemies. But the first part of this assertion is altogether lacking in scriptural authority. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that Christ has already begun His Kingly reign, and nowhere in the Epistles is He denominated the "King of the Church." It is true that Christ is now seated upon a "throne," but not upon His own Throne. Christ is seated on the Throne of His Father, but His own Throne and the Father's Throne are clearly distinguished in Scripture - To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne" (Rev. 3:21). It is not until after He has vacated His Father's Throne and returns to this earth that He will occupy His own throne as is clear from Matt. 25:31 - "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the Throne of His glory."
     Post-millennialists teach that the world is to be conquered by the Church. Their favorite slogan is "The world for Christ." It is supposed that in order to capture the world the Church must make concessions to and compromises with the world. Post-millennialists insist that it is the bounden duty of all Christians to help forward every movement which makes for civic and social righteousness. But of such it may be said, yea, it has been said by the Holy Spirit Himself - "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3). The New Testament knows no righteousness apart from the Cross and places no value upon a reformation which is divorced from regeneration. Post-millennialists argue that believers ought to take part in politics and that it is their business to look after the regulation of legislation. But politics gave Christ no place and where Christ has no place His followers must have none. The Lord Jesus has left us an example that we should follow His steps, but we search the records of His earthly life in vain to discover any mention of Him taking part in the politics of Palestine in His day.
     Post-millennialists teach that the Gospel is yet to convert the world and that before Christ returns to earth all men will know Him from the least unto the greatest. A captivating concept surely, but upon what is it based? Certainly not upon the declarations of the New Testament. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature, but nowhere is there a promise that the time will come when every creature will believe the Gospel. The Lord Jesus taught that "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:37). What were the conditions in Noah's days? Did all men then then receive the messengers of God's servants? Nay verily: On another occasion Christ said, "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be when the Son of Man is revealed" (Luke 17:28-30) - do these words present the picture of our Lord returning to a world which has been won by the Gospel? Nay verily. Our Lord very plainly intimated that He did not expect to return to a world where Christianity had universally triumphed: "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?' (Luke 18:8)!
     Post-millennialists teach that our Lord will not return until the close of the Millennium and that then there will be a general resurrection of the dead, followed by a general judgment, at which every member of the human race will stand before the great Judge to have his eternal destiny decided. Such a conception is anti-scriptural in every part of it. In the nineteenth chapter of Revelation we see Heaven opened and the Lord Jesus coming forth seated on a white horse and with Him are the "armies which are in heaven." Accompanied by His saints the King of Kings and Lord of lords returns to this earth as is evident from the next verse, for there we are told that He shall "smite the nations and rule them with a rod of iron." In Rev. 19 Christ is seen making a footstool of His enemies preparatory to the inauguration of His reign of blessing, and in the next chapter we read, "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled" (Rev. 20:1-3). In the verses that follow we are told that those who have part in the first resurrection shall reign with Christ throughout the thousand years. Thus we learn that Christ leaves heaven and returns to the earth before the Millennium commences. The concept of a general resurrection and a general judgment is equally un-scriptural as we shall show later.

2. An examination of Pre-millennialism.

     Pre-millennialists, as their name indicates, are looking for their Redeemer to return before the Millennium begins, looking for Him to introduce and usher in the Millennium itself. To them a Millennium without Christ is unthinkable. From their cradles they have been taught to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," and they cannot conceive of a Kingdom without a King. The Millennium is the time when men's desire for a Golden Age will be realized, but that Golden Age cannot dawn until the Sun of righteousness arises with healing in His wings. The Millennium is the time when the sword shall be made into a plough-share and the spear into the prunning-hook, when for a thousand years there shall be no war, but earth-wide peace will only be made possible by the return and personal presence of the Prince of Peace.
     Pre-millenialists believe that in the Millennium Christ will set up on the earth a visible, material Kingdom, that He will occupy the literal throne of David and reign from Jerusalem as the King of the Jews. They base their belief upon many plain declarations in Scripture to that effect. Isaiah predicted it - "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the Kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously." Ezekiel foretold it - "And He said unto me, Son of man, the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy name, shall the House of Israel no more defile by their admonitions that they have committed" (Ezek. 43:7), while at the close of his prophecy he says of Jerusalem in the Millennium, "And the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there." Zephaniah heralded it - "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee" (Zeph. 3:14-17). Zechariah announced it - "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent Me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land and shall choose Jerusalem again" (Zech. 2:10-12, and see further 8:3, 23 and 14:16).
     Pre-millenialists believe that the Messianic reign and Kingdom of the Lord Jesus are yet future. They believe that Christ Himself so taught. In the Parable of the Nobleman, He declared, "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for Himself a Kingdom, and to return. And it came to pass, that when He was returned, having received the kingdom, then He commanded these servants to be called unto Him, to whom He had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading" (Luke 19:12, 15). Here we learn that Christ's return and His reception of the "Kingdom" are inseparably connected together. Not only do the Scriptures plainly refute the assertion that Christ is now reigning, but existing conditions cannot be made to square with this belief. How absurd it is to say that Christ is now reigning over the earth when His authority is despised and rejected by the whole of the unbelieving world! No Christ-rejector can be termed a follower of the Lamb, and if he is not a "follower" then he is not subject to the will and rule of the Lord Jesus, and if he is not subject to Christ, then in no sense is Christ his "King." Moreover, the conditions which prevail upon earth to-day repudiate the idea that Christ is even now reigning over it. The scepter which the first man lost has never been restored, the "Curse" has not yet been removed, and Satan is still at large! But all these things will be changed when the Lord Jesus takes the government upon His shoulder and reigns in power and righteousness.
     Pre-millennialists believe that it is God's purpose in this Age to take out of the nations "a people for His name" (Acts 15:14). To effect this the Gospel has been given and the Holy Spirit has come down to this earth. As the Gospel is preached, as many as are ordained to eternal life believe (Acts 13:48), for though "many be called," there are "but few chosen" (Matt. 20;16). God's purpose in this dispensation is an Elective one, and let it be said with emphasis, God's purpose has not failed, is not failing, will not fail - "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure" (Is. 46:9, 10). The Gospel is not a failure, the Holy Spirit has not failed in His mission, it is theologians who have failed - failed to understand the purpose of God and to read aright His present programme.

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