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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
E. L. Bynum
Editor's Note: The letter below was written in answer to a man, who wrote to me denying the millennial reign of Christ. Since this form of error seems to be on the increase today, we are printing this letter in order to inform our readers.
December 19, 1985
Your letter was received in October, and as you suggested, I have waited awhile before answering it. First of all, let me say that I appreciate your help in times past. You have called and encouraged us as well as sending in subscriptions to the Plains Baptist Challenger in the past.
Since you have been subscriber to the PBC for a number of years, I am somewhat puzzled that you are now so critical of us because of our premillennial stand. Every issue of the PBC that you have ever received from us clearly states on page one that we are premillennial. Just above the date on page one in every issue, there is a line printed in 10 point boldface capital letters as follows: FUNDAMENTAL- - PREMILLENNIAL- - MISSIONARY--INDEPENDENT. It means exactly what it says for we have never been ashamed of our stand.
In your letter you say, "The word millennia or millennium is not in the Word of God. These terms are doctrines of men. Matt. 15:9. " Dear brother, your argument sounds very much like the reasoning of those who do not believe in the Trinity. Various cults argue against the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity, by simply saying that is is a man-made doctrine since the word Trinity is not found in the Bible. I know of no premillennialist who ever said that the word millennium was in the Bible.
While the word itself is not found there, the doctrine of the millennium is most certainly found there. As for your reference to Matt.15:9, which states, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." That verse cuts to the very heart of amillennialism, which is nothing but "the doctrines of men," for it certainly is not the doctrine of God.
According to Webster's Unabridged Dictionary the word "millennium" comes from the Latin "mille," a thousand, and "annus," year. The definition in Webster is, "1. a period of a thousand years. 2. in theology, the period of a thousand years during which Satan will be bound and Christ will reign on earth: Rev. 20:1-5."
So millennium is imply an English word, that comes from two Latin words which mean "thousand year." To reject the doctrine simply because the actual word is not in the Bible is a devious subterfuge, to say the least. I am sorry that so many people have been taken in by the amillennial twisting of Scripture.
In your letter you state, "You are like most, referring to the Scriptures in Rev. 20. But first let me say, that in Rev. Chap. 1, verse 1, it says that our Lord said that He 'signified the word,' which makes it highly symbolic." Dear brother, you have chosen the wrong Scripture in order to try and deny the millennial reign of Christ.
Signified is translated from the Greek word "seemaino," which is found six times in the New Testament. In those six places it is translated signifying, signify, and signified. Let us see if it is used in such a way in any of these instances that it would help your cause in denying the millennium.
In John 12:33 and 18:32 it is used in signifying what kind of death Jesus Christ would die. In John 21:19 it is used to signify what kind of death Simon Peter would die. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." (John 12:32,33). The symbolic language of verse 32 does not in any way deny the death of Jesus Christ, but simply lets us know that He was to be lifted up, and this refers to His crucifixion. If the amillennialists were to be consistent in their interpretation of the Bible, they would have to say that these verses do not refer to Jesus Christ and His crucifixion, but has some other far fetched and symbolic meaning.
Again we read, "And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar." (Acts 11:27,28). I ask you, did the dearth or famine really take place? Yes, it did for the Bible says so in v.28. Did the disciples take seriously what Agabus signified? Yes, they did for verses 29,30 tell us about the relief that they sent to the brethren in Judea. Of course if the amillenialist would be honest in his interpretation of this passage, and use the methods that he uses in Revelation, he would say that no real dearth was intended but that it only referred to some other almost meaningless symbolic happening.
Since Paul had appealed to Caesar, Festus was hard pressed to know what charges were to be written out and sent with the prisoner. Since king Agrippa had a better knowledge of the Jews and their conflicting religious views, he had Paul brought and examined before them both. He said, "Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him." (Acts 25:26,27). I ask you, does signify here mean something vague, unreal, or does it mean something concrete and understandable? He needed to have something concrete and understandable to write about Paul. If the amillennialist would be consistent, he would need to say that Paul probably did not even exist, and the journey to Rome and Caesar was just some vague symbolic happening and not real at all.
In view of the above passages of Scripture, how can you take signified in Revelation 1:1, and deny the millennium and most of the other events in that book. In over 30 years in the ministry, I have yet to meet an amillennialist that made any practical use of the book of Revelation. What they say and write about it is nearly all negative. They spend their time denying what it says. It is a constant embarrassment to their doctrine. It is as useless to them as a $9.00 bill would be to me. They both take up paper and space but have not real value.
If the thousand year reign in Revelation 20 is not real, please tell me what is real in this chapter? Is Satan real? Is God real in this chapter, or is He just a symbol of good? Is the great white throne judgment real? Is hell real in this chapter? I feel sure that you will say that Satan, judgment, God and hell are real; but I ask you, who gave you or anyone else the right to take a chapter and say part of it is real but the part I don't want to believe is not real?
You say that we are wrong about the Jew. "Also, your premise about the Jews is wrong. In Matthew chapter 23, verse 38, our Lord said, 'Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.' By this, he meant that no longer will the nation of Jews as a nation be blessed anymore. Acts 10:34,35, also Romans 10:12." None of the Scriptures that you refer to prove that God is totally through with the Jews as a nation. Because they rejected the Messiah, their house was left desolate, and they have suffered ever since. The verses in Acts and Romans that you refer to simply show us that both Jews and Gentiles can be saved in the same way today. The Old Testament and New Testament both teach that a remnant of the Jews will be saved and restored as a people.
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?" (Acts 1:6). What an opportunity that our Saviour had at this time! He could have so easily denied the common belief of apostles because it is evident that they believed in the kingdom being restored to Israel. If the kingdom was not going to be restored, how easy it would have been to simply say so, but He did not. Instead, "he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." (Acts 1:7). Anyone should be able to understand the clear implications of these two verses, but alas, it seems to be beyond the capability of any amillennialist to do so.
The angel said to Mary, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a son, and 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 1:31-33). Now this is an interesting verse for the amillennialist to explain. Many of them do not mind the literal virgin birth of our Lord, but they cannot stomach His literal reign upon the throne of David.
Romans chapter eleven devastates the amillennial doctrine. Israel the natural branches were broken off, that the wild olive branches (Gentiles) might be grafted in. Paul plainly declares that the day is coming when the wild olive branches will be broken off, and Israel, the antural branches grafted back in. "For if thou were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." (Rom. 11:24,25). This blindness of Israel has an end, and that end is revealed in v.25. It will last "until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in."
Of course, the next few verses strike a death blow to the theory of amillennialism. God is not through with Israel. "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Delivered and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Emphasis ours) (Romans 11:26-29)
When Christ pronounced judgment upon Jerusalem and the Jews, He told us exactly how long that Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."(Luke 21:24). Now He certainly was not talking about the new Jerusalem being trodden down, but He was referring to the earthly city of Jerusalem.
You misquote Rev. 5:10, when you say, "Rev. 5:10 says he has made us kings and priests and we shall reign on the new earth." You know very well that the word "new" is not found in this verse. It says, "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." You simply do not believe what this verse says, just as you do not believe what most of the book of Revelations says.
An interesting point is Revelation chapter seven. Verses 4-8 describes the sealing of 12,000 from each one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes are name. Now the Jehovah's Witness cult says that these 144,000 are Jehovah's Witnesses, or why say that it it the church? Why not believe that God says what He means and means what He says?
It is the view of amillennialists that God is through with the Jews as a nation of people. In believing this, they certainly are not to be counted as an insignificant minority. They have plenty of company in this belief. All of Islam, the false religion started by Mohammed, believes the same thing. That is the reason they are ready to enter into a holy war or any other kind of conflict to rid the world of the Jews. The Pope and the Roman Catholic Church believe that God is finished with the Israelites. We must not forget that Hitler, who died a Roman Catholic, believed the same thing. A large majority of the liberal Protestants believe the same thing. The amillennialists in the Southern Baptist Convention is controlled by amillennialists with this kind of thinking.
If I were a conservative Christian and believed the amillennial theory, I would be greatly embarrassed to look around me and see the crowd I was identified with. I would hate to find myself among the Roman Catholics, modernists, liberals, and assorted heretics that comprise the flock of amillennialism. Of course, I admit there are some speckled birds among the premillennialists, but when compared with the amillennial flock, they look mighty good.
Amillennialists need to be aware of the origins of their false theory of eschatology. The teaching of the New Testament is premillennial. The so-called early church father were premillennial. Origen (185-253 A.D.) paved the way for the doctrine of amillennialism, along with Clement of Alexandria. These men spiritualized all of the Bible to the radical extent that it was made meaningless on every subject. It remained for Augustine of North Africa, a devoted Roman Catholic, to lay the groundwork for the development of amillennialism. While he id not accept the method of Origen in spiritualizing all the Bible, he did apply it to eschatology. In the area of prophecy, almost everything was to be spiritualized.
This became the method of Roman Catholicism, and that method remains to this very day. Catholics are amillennialists and when Luther left the Catholic Church, he did not leave that doctrine behind. The reformers all adopted the amillennial view held by the Catholics. To a large extent, all of their spiritual offspring hold those views to this very day. This includes the Lutherans, Reformed, Methodists, Christian Church, Church of Christ, etc.
While every amillennialist is not a modernist, just about all modernists are amillennnialists. some good men have lived and died as conservative Christians, who were amillennialists; but multitudes have gone from amillennialism to rank modernism and unbelief. I do not mean to be unkind, but I must be honest and say, that amillennialism is the breeding and reproducing ground of modernism. I have yet to meet a fervent premillennialist that was a modernist, but every modernist that I ever met was either an amillennialist or a postmillennialist. When men are taught how to spiritualize prophecy, it is not long until many of then learn how to spiritualize the virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection of our Lord. That is enough within itself to make me examine the danger of this form of eschatology.
There are many other things that I would like to say, but this letter is already too long. I am concerned about you and your beliefs. From past experiences, I do not expect you to immediately change. However, I do hope and pray that you will seriously examine the fatal flaws in the amillennial position.
Yours in Him,
E. L. Bynum