The frenzy of prophetic speculation has now escalated to the point that most Premillenialists don’t even recognize that the word “Postmillennial” even exists — let alone grasp the concept.
Postmillenialism is so marginalized in the Evangelical mind that it is usually simply ignored in any popular discussion of eschatology. If mentioned, it is typically dismissed out of hand as spiritualizing and allegorizing the Bible or as a now-defunct intellectual curiosity.
For example consider this introduction to the “Prophecy and End Times” category at ChristianBook.com:
Christianbook.com provides a rich variety of end-times interpretations from the prophecies of both the Old and the New Testaments. Whether focused on Israel, the Millennium, or the Messiah, or whether you hold to a post-trib, mid-trib, or pre-tribulation viewpoint, our scholarly resources on pre-millennialism, a-millennialism, the rapture, and the Second Coming are developed by respected writers in the field of eschatology and are always available at discounted prices.
Did you notice anything missing on that list? The dictionary definition of “marginalize” is “make or treat as insignificant.” There is no excuse for this in today’s world of internet marketing and social media.
Obviously, as far as Christainbook.com is concerned, Postmillennialism doesn’t even register on the eschatological radar screen. Postmillennialists have allowed this situation to develop when it could be easily remedied with a little focused effort. We must “take the battle to the enemy.” But how? This paper presents a practical solution known as “The YouTube Prophecy Initiative,” now underway.
The Premillennial Video Onslaught
The number of Premillennial videos on YouTube is legion. Our senses are overwhelmed by the raw power and sheer magnitude of the visual display. One thing you can’t fault Premillennialists for is lack of creative imagination. At heart they love good fiction delivered with flair. The theologically naïve are easily taken in by this stunning display.
Most follow the same basic storyline. First, string together a collection of dramatic news clips, featuring catastrophic events in a specific genre. Alternate between shots of the raw event in its natural setting and news anchors glibly announcing it in studio. Among the favorites are the following:
· Earthquakes & tsunamis
· Dying birds & whales,
· Volcanic eruptions & disease,
· Nephilim, blood-moons & UFOs,
· Attacks on poor, innocent, defenseless Israel,
· Mad Putin, Ukraine, and intransigent Iran.
Several sub-genres may be intermingled as long as they support a single apocalyptic theme. Accentuate this theme with a dark, ominous sound track. Evoking a foreboding mood is critical to the success of the video. The volume and tempo should accelerate slightly as the end approaches.
Next, overlay these images with prophetic scriptures taken out of context from Revelation or the Olivette Discourse. These can be overdone, so they must appear on the screen at intervals to reinforce and drive home a particularly emotional image. Some of the favorites include,
- “…then there will be Great Tribulation… (Mt. 24:21),
- “…wars and rumors of wars…for nation shall rise against nation…and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes…” (Mt. 24:7)
- “But all these things are merely the beginning of sorrows.” (Mt. 24:8)
- “And I saw a Beast coming up out of the sea…. (Rev. 13:1)
- “…Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast…666” (Mt. 13:18)
There are others, but these are the work-horses in the Premillennial video arsenal. Anything that reinforces the aura of impending calamity, impotence in the face of evil, and the inevitability of Christian, cultural defeat may be used to good effect. Premillennialists are the modern-day “ten spies” who gave Moses an evil report regarding the Promised Land (Num. 13:28).
One prophetic passage you won’t see is Deuteronomy 28, which predicts the cultural implications of disobedience to the law of God. You’ll never catch a Premillennial Dispensationalist looking inward to blame his own theological rejection of the law of God. He is much less interested in that kind of Biblical prophecy, when he can project his sense of guilt onto the fictional AntiChrist. AntiChrist resembles the Old Testament Judas Goat. Besides, Deuteronomy 28 strikes too close to the ultimate Premillennial sacred cow – the modern nation-state of Pharisaic Israel.
This is the enemy’s ultimate psy-op. They have convinced the church that cultural defeat in time and history are inevitable. They have made losing for Jesus Biblically fashionable and trendy.
Once the viewer is sufficiently numb, mesmerized, and near to being scared out of his wits, the video will proceed to the concluding gospel message – the altar call. This is of course the most important segment of the video and some of these are delivered with genuine clarity and power.
Futurists like to point to the power of fulfilled prophecy for reinforcing the gospel message. So far, so good. But they then proceed on the assumption that their sensational prognostications of future fulfillment hold the same power. This is a non sequitor – it does not follow. The internet, specifically YouTube, has given us a potent arena in which to respond and disarm all of this deception.
Gaps In the Premillennial Armor
What the Premillennialist fails to realize is the incongruity between the introductory and concluding segments of their presentation. They are convinced that the introduction powerfully supports the conclusion, not realizing the extent to which the introduction actually detracts from and undermines the gospel message. Comments like this are typical under the videos and represent one of our most potent arguments against Premillennialism:
- Little Lavis (8 months ago): “We’ll guess what I’m from the future 2014 and we didn’t die so yeah In yo face”
- Wetterwille173 (1 month ago): “It’s fun to watch all this videos for the past year. It makes you a little sceptic about videos of the present year.”
- Cagabolsa (10 months ago): “Oh, so now it´s 2013? Soon you´ll have to remake your video and scare everyone about 2014 or 2015 or 2016.”
It’s not just the naïve and marginally educated who react this way. The notorious 20th Century skeptic, Bertrand Russel pointed to this very issue as one reason for his unbelief in the 1927 essay, “Why I Am Not A Christian”:
I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. For one thing, he certainly thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that. He says, for instance, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come.” Then he says, “There are some standing here which shall not taste death till the Son of Man comes into His kingdom”; and there are a lot of places where it is quite clear that He believed that His second coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of His earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of His moral teaching. … In that respect, clearly He was not so wise as some other people have been, and He was certainly not superlatively wise. (1)
The postmillennial perspective on the Coming of Christ in judgment on national Israel in 70 A.D. eliminates all of these objections. Our views on eschatology may not be a core test for defining Christian fellowship, but as we have seen these views are far from inconsequential. Premillennialism is, in fact, an attack on the Kingship of the Messiah.
The unavoidable implication of the Premillennial view of the post-tribulation,
millennial reign of Christ is that it denies the kingship of Christ in the present, so-called church age. If you deny the King, you must deny His law and the tragedy of that denial is now unfolding rapidly around us. No matter how well-intentioned Premillennialism may be, the cultural fallout is catastrophic. It is a case study in self-fulfilling prophecy.
The unraveling of any society is the direct result of that society’s denying the law of the King and has nothing to do with an alleged coming Antichrist and Great Tribulation. The Bible tells us that Christ is “Prophet, Priest and King.” Is the denial of His Kingly station any less serious than denial of His priestly station in the gospel? Was not Melchizedek both priest andking of Salem?
Matthew quoted Isaiah 42 extensively to demonstrate that the kingdom fulfilled in the 1stAdvent of Christ included “justice to the Gentiles” (Mt. 12;18-21). Those two words are included twice in that passage. They indicate that the gospel of the kingdom has cultural implications emanating from and extending beyond the so-called Four Spiritual Laws. Premillennialism ignores all of this and refuses to go on to the meat of God’s Word.
As noted above, most Premillennialists react to any accidental exposure to snippets of postmillennial theology like a cat reacts to water. They may initially register mild or bemused curiosity. The safest response is to cock your head and simply pretend you didn’t hear or read what you just heard or read. They may bat at the concept briefly like a ball-of-string, examine it momentarily from several perspectives before tossing it carelessly aside.
Others respond like water poured on the Witch of the East (or the cat) – complete meltdown. More than likely you will experience a hostile verbal response.
This prevailing ignorance makes it unlikely that the typical Premillennialist will ever pick up one of the numerous Postmillennial books now in print. Most are simply too preoccupied with the only prophetic debate of significance to them.
The only real controversy that exists in the world of the Premillennial is the raging debate between pre-tribulation and post-tribulation rapture The minority post-tribbers battle quixotically against the dominant pre-tribbers, whom they perceive to be luring the church to a false sense of security and apathy. This of course is true, but it is the pot calling the kettle black. The amount of time and money wasted on this imaginary issue is scandalous.
Both sides are hypnotized by the Schofield / Lindsey / LaHaye trance and are not easily aroused to a state of Biblical sentience. To return to the cat illustration they are born-again, but their eyes remain closed. They don’t usually grope their way to us. We must somehow go to them in the Areopagus of the internet.
We need to mass our limited personnel at some critical point. Will you enlist in the battle to restore modern America under the Kingship of Christ? That cannot happen as long as the Premillennial doctrine reigns in His place, denying His Kingly authority. It must be exposed for the fraud that it is.
Some New Thing
The Premillennial layman is always “looking for some new thing” – for a sign (Acts 17:21). Jesus said that “An evil generation seeks for a sign…” (Mt. 16:4). One comment complained that “this video is over a year old. Don’t you have anything new to offer.” They want their prophetic speculations to be up-to-date with current events, or else. Thus the attraction of key words like “Prophecy In The News” and a popular program of the same name.
The silver lining here is that this gives us a distinct advantage. As noted above, Postmillennialism is definitely a “new thing” to the mind of many lay Premillennialists. So why not appeal to their hyperactive curiosity?
For example, one response to the fledgling YouTube Prophecy Initiative was, “I never heard about this before, can you recommend some material for me to read.” For every written response there are probably 10 others thinking the same thing, who don’t take the time to comment. This is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Thus, a concerted effort by numerous bloggers on Premill video sites could convey the impression that post-millennialism is the up-and-coming movement – definitely the latest “new thing.” Remember the words of Moses, “…five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand..…” (Lev. 26:8)
One of the key principles of guerilla / marketing warfare is to identify the weakness inherent in the leader’s strength and attack in such a way that he cannot defend. Launch the attack on as narrow a front as possible. For example, Scope attacked the original Listerine as “medicine breath” and cut heavily into their market share. In like manner, Burger King attacked McDonald’s assembly line approach, with “have it your way” (2).
In the field of Eschatology we have identified a number of strategic weaknesses in the prevailing eschatology of the day. The Top Ten spiritual abnormalities of Premillennialism include…..
- Preaches literalism, but practices imaginative speculation,
- Abandons literalism with regard to clear prophetic time markers,
- Ignores the principle of historical context, AKA occasionalism,
- Denies that Christ is King of kings in the present age,
- Ignores the prophecies of gradual kingdom growth in the present age,
- The omnipotent Christ is impotent to successfully finish His Great Commission,
- Hundreds, if not thousands, of false prophecies over 2,000+ years,
- Interprets poetry literally with absurd conclusions; ignores O.T. symbolism,
- Denies Bible law — craves signs, when prophecy purposes to restore obedience,
- Spiritual hypochondria – no generation has ever had it so bad as poor us.
Premillennialism claims that its defining feature is the principle of literal interpretation:
“…Not one instance exists of a ‘spiritual’ or figurative fulfillment of prophecy. . . Jerusalem is always Jerusalem, Israel always Israel, Zion always Zion . . . Prophecies may never be spiritualized, but are always literal. (3)
“Dispensationalists claim that their principle of hermeneutics is that of literal interpretation. This means interpretation which gives to every word the same meaning it would have in normal usage, whether employed in writing speaking or thinking” (4)
“How do we make sense out of all those beasts and thrones and horsemen and huge numbers like 200 million? Answer: Take it at face value.” (5)
“…it can be shown that the reason the early church was Premillennial was traceable to its interpretation of the Word in a literal manner…” (7)
“Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just such a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the Premillennialist pictures….” (8)
Thus, any failure of Premillennialism to practice principles of literal Biblical interpretation is an indictment of the theory. The most effective strategy is to:
Point out the specific abnormality or misinterpretation and then ask the person why they are not applying the appropriate Biblical principle of interpretation, either:
1) failing to interpret Biblical poetry according to the Old Testament system of symbolism, or (You don’t believe in interpreting poetry literally, do you?)
2) failing to interpret Biblical prose using the plain, normal, usual, literal meaning of the words. (Doesn’t Premillennialism teach a literal interpretation of the Bible?)
Premillennialism has no adequate defense against this approach.
Its adherents hypocritically practice that for which they condemn their opponents. They habitually allegorize the literal, prose parts of Scripture, while interpreting the poetic parts with a wooden literalism. The result is a theory antithetical to Biblical truth. Premillennialism is a paper tiger that thrives on the promise of an “easy-out” and crystal-ball eschatology. Its demise is inevitable if anybody ever gets down to challenging it in the trenches.
Spurgeon said “It would be easy to show that at our present rate of progress the kingdoms of this world never could become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Indeed, many in the Church are giving up the idea of it except on the occasion of the advent of Christ, which, as it chimes in with our own idleness, is likely to be a popular doctrine. I myself believe that King Jesus will reign, and the idols be utterly abolished. The Holy Ghost would never suffer the imputation to rest upon His holy name that He was not able to convert the world.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) (3).
Next Week: Part Two
(1) (from Edwards, NY 1957) in July 1996 by John R. Lenz for the Bertrand Russell Society.
(2) Trout & Ries (McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, Auckland, Bogota, Hamburg, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Mexico, Montreal, New Delhi, Panama, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, 1986) p. 159.
(3) Cyrus I. Scofield, The Scofield Bible Correspondence School, Course of Study (7th ed., 3 vols.; no place or publisher given), pp. 45—46 (as cited by Vern S. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987], p. 24).
(4) (Dispensationalism Today [Chicago, IL: Moody press, 1965],p.86).
(5) Charles C. Ryrie, The Living End: Enlightening and Astonishing Disclosures about the Coming Last Days of Earth (Old Tappan, NJ: G. Putnam’s Sons, 1970)
(7) Charles L. Feinberg, Premillennialism or Amillennialism, p. 51.
(8) Floyd E. Hamilton, the Basis of Millennial Faith, pp. 38-39.
(10) “The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy” by J. Barton Payne, Quoted by gracethrufaith.com
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To infer from Scripture that Jesus must return to set up His Victorious Kingdom is to deny that His Incarnation was in any way a success and that He is not reigning now as Sovereign King over all kings. This premill doctrine denies Christ's coronation as King with a global dominion reward in Daniel 7 and the proof of His dominion power evidenced at Pentecost. It also truncates that Gospel to the realm of the self, rather than its initial global import, i.e every nation. 1 Corinthians 15 says that He must reign until all enemies are put under His feet…THEN the end comes. cf 1 Cor 15:24-25