YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
Article by Kenneth Uptegrove
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Pardon me if I'm wrong, but you probably don't have a clue as to what most…if not ALL of the above "eschatological teaching" are. But, if I'm right, then I think you would appreciate a teaching that will inform and protect you from error you are unaware of, and lead you to Biblical truth.
This subject is rarely heard from the pulpits...but it will encourage you to take your Bible study very seriously.
For the first 55 years of my life the only end-time teaching I knew anything about was the pre-tribulation-rapture view. I was ignorant, docile, and naïve, and I think that is where most of us are today. It never occurred to me to ask if there were other teachings to consider (or shun) before deciding what to believe about end-time events. I am not criticizing the pre-tribulation-rapture view, I'm just saying that is the only one I knew, I didn't know there were any others...period.
Keep in mind that most eschatologies make the identical statement of faith, saying that they derive their eschatology straight from the Bible. All claim to stand squarely on the Word. All are supported by brilliant scholars who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ equally as much, and are often found in our own denomination...and then they ride off into a dozen different directions. But God is not the author of confusion, and it is obvious that all of them can't be right, and time will test them all.
It has never occurred to many of us that the falling away—properly defined—is erroneous teachings in our (yours, mine, every) doctrinal group. This sounds like a wild accusation, but if you are a Berean seeker of wisdom and truth you will want to read this. (Acts 17:11)
According to the Ryrie study Bible, "There are four principal viewpoints concerning the interpretation of this book (i.e., the book of Revelation) ",
These four are the only schools of eschatology, but as if to further confuse the situation, there are several variations of each.
The idealist view has more to do with the book of Revelation than with the rest of Scripture. For that reason the idealist view gets absorbed, more-or-less, into the preterist and Historist view, and tends to lose its identity as an eschatology. At least, that is how I see it. One variation on the idealist view is the liberal, humanist, agnostic attitude, and is of no interest to Bible believers. Therefore the liberal view is disregarded in this discourse.
Why Such Division Over Eschatology
how can we have dozens of different doctrines
authenticated by the same test of doctrine?
We know the answer---the Bible is infallible, but we are not—but that gets overlooked! As the old saying goes, "The main barrier to truth is the assumption that we already have it."
We see through a glass darkly (1 Cor. 13:12). We are subject to sin and error, even when studying the Bible, and the hundreds of Bible believing denominations out there demonstrate that to be true. Picture an old-time wagon wheel for a moment. Think of the eschatological teaching of any congregation as being the hub or axel of the wheel, and the spokes as being all the doctrines that emanate and revolve around that wheel. If this be true, then if there is error in the eschatological teachings of a congregation, then all their other doctrines are going to be tainted because they all revolve around and emanate from the eschatological hub.
Since Satan does not have any truth to build even one true doctrine upon, he is free to have a thousand false doctrines, many of which are made up of a palatable mixture of God's truths and Satan's lies. This, of course, demonstrates how any eschatology can be both in error, and in truth--all at the same time!
SCHOLARS WHO WEAR BLINDERS
Many scholars make it a rule to never study any eschatology but the one they believe; and even if they do, they read only what scholars of their school of eschatology have written about other eschatologies. It turns out that most Bible scholars have not honestly and methodically studied any eschatology other than the one he/she was required to study while in seminary--no alternatives offered.
We all understand the power of peer pressure and the loyalty we all have to our family, alumni, and denomination. It can easily become more important to be warmly accepted than to be painfully right.
WHERE MY WIFE AND I STAND
We are decidedly pre-millennial, but we do not find it wise to be more specific than that in light of the wisdom expounded upon in this article. It is better to be knowledgeable of all the eschatologies but not committed to any of them so that we will be more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the events of history unfold. We all need to continue to press into the intimate relationship that Jesus requires of us in order to discern the times. Then being in tune with the Holy Spirit, we will have spiritual eyes to see, and spiritual ears to hear, what is REALLY coming down.
If you are the studious type you may want to read this history lesson on the origin of these eschatological teachings at http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/antichrist.htm
This is just speculation on our part, but it becomes clearer to us all the time that end-time events are not going to happen like any of the professional eschatologists think it will. The fiction books have been written, the movies have been made, and multitudes believe these scenarios, these fiction accounts, these theories...God help us.
Most importantly...we love the brethren and do not disregard the fellowship of those who are not of our particular persuasion concerning end-time events. Since the Holy Spirit indwells all true born again Christians, how dare we place ourselves above the Holy Spirit by not receiving whom He indwells.
When pondering why there is so much diversity, confusion, error, and reproach among those called Christians, one may wonder why the Bible doesn't speak quite so clearly on this subject of eschatology. We propose that God wants this to be a mystery so as to keep Satan from knowing with exactness, not us. We have the Holy Spirit to show us when prophecy is being fulfilled, Satan doesn't. But that also means that we need to know the Lord's voice so that we can hear Him telling us what He is doing. So many Christians either do not know His voice, or are so sold out to a particular doctrine (of men) that they won't/can't listen to any other message from God or man (He who has ears to hear).
In our definition and discourse on many of the schools of eschatology, we are very critical of some mainline denominations, as well as the Charismatic movement, that are not pre-millennial. Yet, we are ourselves Charismatic. We are Not Cessationists. We believe that the Acts model, the Ephesians 4:11 ministries of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher, and the 1 Corinthians 12 gifts of the Holy Spirit have been in the church since the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is now bringing the church into more maturity and preparing us for the time we find ourselves in...the days just prior to the Second Coming.
We believe the following doctrines are in serious error: the replacement theology, and preterism. We feel that only pre-millennial views can be accurate, and all other views (post-millennial and a-millennial) are in serious error, and sometimes heretical.
For a doctrine to be heretical it will be more than just not Biblical, but the heretic will also demand that you be in unity with them, not they with you. They will come up with exclusion/elitist battle cries reminiscent of the Civil war between the Blues and the Grays. They are the Blues and we are the Grays, and the Grays are the rebels and the losers. Without correct doctrine one can not have correct worship or true unity. The worship will be the "strange fire" Eli's two sons had when they did burnt offerings.
Most old line Protestant denominations came out of Catholicism and are still a lot more Catholic than they would like to think. Even the most Evangelical and Charismatic churches have the rudiments of Catholicism in them, so it should not be surprising that a form of Catholic Preterism would be found in so many of them. View this lecture by Dr. Ken Johnson to learn the ancient historical origins of these heretical, Gnostic doctrines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcFwM4c_avM
When the premise of any philosophy or theology is wrong, that twists/distorts everything else they believe. As I see it, the eschatology of all doctrinal groups is the wheel's hub that all their other doctrines must revolve around and be in agreement with. We are now in the time (just prior to the great tribulation) when eschatology’s (and the doctrines that revolve around them) will stand or fail.
TAKE A CAREFUL LOOK AT THE BELOW DIRECTORY TO READ A DESCRIPTION OF EACH OF THESE POINTS OF VIEW IN ORDER TO BE INFORMED AND PROTECTED FROM ANY OF THE POSTMILLENNIAL AND AMILLENNIAL VIEWS.
DIRECTORY TO THE DIFFERENT ESCHATOLOGICAL GROUPS MENTIONED ON THIS PAGE
Premillennialism in Christian eschatology is the belief that Christ will literally reign on the earth for 1,000 years at his second coming. The doctrine is called premillennialism because it views the current age as prior to Christ’s kingdom. It is distinct from the other forms of Christian eschatology such as amillennialism or postmillennialism, which view the millennial rule as either figurative and non-temporal, or as occurring prior to the second coming. Premillennialism is largely based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 in the New Testament which describes Christ’s coming to the earth and subsequent reign at the end of an apocalyptic period of tribulation. It views this future age as a time of fulfillment for the prophetic hope of God’s people as given in the Old Testament.
An Introduction to the Origins of the Premillennialist Eschatologies
Some words may not be familiar to you, like chiliast ... which is to be pronounced killiast, and means 1,000 or one who believes in a 1000 year millennium after the tribulation as shown in Revelations 19 and 20. Another unfamiliar word may be Gnosticism which was prevalent in the first century, and several NT scriptures show how the Apostles dealt with this heresy, yet it is still prevalent today. This is emphasized because the Postmillennialists do not believe in a literal 1,000 years, but by allegorical interpretation just means ... a long time. The Amillennialists believe we are in the millennialm now, or more to the point, there is no millenniam.
Virtually every one of the Reformationists were Postmillenialists, or as they put it, Historicists. In my understanding of history, the Reformers started a reformation and restoration process, but they didn't finish it because they did not restore a number of essential first century doctrines, one being the Premillennialist doctrine taught by all the first and second century church fathers
Thomas Ice is a pre-tribulation-rapture advocate, and there again ... history does serious damage to that view, but his below history lesson on the Premillinnium view is very well done ... in my opinion. I hope you enjoy reading it. And yes, I really can pronounce those names. LOL
The obvious point to be seen here is ... for a doctrine to be credible, it must be seen in the literature of a majority of the first and second century church fathers (who were not Gnostic), and in the Bible. The more recent any doctrine comes on the scene the more suspect it is. Gnostic Christians (an oxymoron) have had more influence on church doctrine from the first century onward than any Baptist or Pentecostal seminarian would even dare to guess. To put it another way, all Protestant and Evangelical doctrinal groups never completely left the Catholic church. Gnostic thought permeates Christendom, yet most Christians never even heard that word before.
This book titled: THE CULTING OF CHRISTIANITY, byJames Lloyd, documents this point from ancient Gnostic manuscripts:
In the early days of my work in prophecy, I publicly pondered just why so many otherwise intelligent people continued in this belief, in spite of obvious evidence to the contrary. I ultimately came to recognize it was not simply a doctrinal disagreement, nor was it a lack of training, but something supernatural.
I also noticed the various statements from ancient authors, commonly lifted out of context, and cited by Pre-Tribbers in an effort to show historically important figures knew about the Rapture doctrine, were themselves the target of the Spirit of the Age. Some commentators have noted that, particularly in the time when MacDonald, Irving, and Darby were first anticipating the idea, it seemed like the doctrine “was just in the air.”
Then the bombshell of Pseudo-Ephraem was dropped and, knowing the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine had extremely suspicious Spiritual characteristics, I realized this was not simply an innocent error. It is now clear there has been a malevolent entity, Scripturally identified as the Spirit of Antichrist, subtly seeking to insinuate the key components of Pre-Trib from a time even before Jesus Christ was born. And Pseudo-Ephraem is the key to understanding it.
For the benefit of those who never received a formal education in theology, scholars long ago recognized the concept of forgery (and even hoaxes) did not originate in modern times, but have been with us from the very beginning. There exists a large body of ancient writings which have been identified as spurious. Whether motivated by monetary gain, a religious agenda, or even a pathological need to be recognized by their peers, people have been foisting forgeries on the world for thousands of years. In Old Testament times as well as the last two millennia, literally hundreds of documents have been circulated with the claim it is a lost letter of an Apostle, or an ancient account from a particularly revered individual. (Cont'd)
I copied these points from the net. The major point being that virtually every church father in the first three centuries was a PRE millennialists. Which shoots the Post and Amillennialist views down ... dead in the water. Logically ... if a doctrine starts somewhere in history sometime AFTER the first three centuries, how credible can it be? This completely shoots down a whole lot of so-called Christian religions that started in the 1800's, and a whole lot of them did. Can you name a few of them? Do you want me to?
I tried to stay brief on this complicated, controversial subject. For your information, Roman Catholicism has always been Amillennial (i.e., Jesus came again in 70 AD and we are now in the non-millinnium). All the reformers were Historicists (postmillennialist). John Darby and his prize student, Scofield, restored the premillennialist (Futurist) eschatology, but it is at least questionable whether their per-trib-rapture concept is correct or not.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EARLY PREMILLENNIALISM
by Thomas Ice
I believe that premillennialism is so clearly taught in Revelation 19 and 20 that I still cannot understand how anyone can think otherwise without realizing deep down that they are going against the biblical text. A kingdom reign of the Messiah was just as clearly taught in the Old Testament. Jesus and His Scripture writing disciples also support the notion of an earthly kingdom headed by the Messiah. Such clearness in the Bible provides the likely reason why the early church fathers who spoke on this matter were all premillennialists.
THE FIRST PREMILLENNIALISTS
The first premillennialists were those who received God's revelation and wrote it down in the Bible. Eusebius tells us that one of the earliest church fathers that had heard the Apostle John and others who had known the Lord and His Apostles was Papias (A.D. 60–130) the bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, Asia Minor. Papias taught "that there will be a millennium after the resurrection of the dead, when the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this earth."1 Irenaeus (A.D. 130–202) tells us that Papias "related that they had heard from him how the Lord used to teach in regard to these times" (the millennium) in book 4 of Papias' writings, which are no longer extant, except a few fragments. Papias is recorded as saying: "there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth."2 Polycarp (A.D. 70–155), bishop of Smyrna, is also said to have been a premillennialist.3 The Epistle of Barnabas (written between A.D. 120–150) presents the common belief that "in six thousand years, all things will be finished. . . . then shall He truly rest on the seventh day." The writer speaks of the second coming of Christ with the clear implication that He will set up the thousand year kingdom on earth, followed by the eight day or the eternal state.4
Justin Martyr (A.D. 100–165) in his Dialogue With Trypho (@ A.D. 140), a Jewish man, made the following premillennial statement:
But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.5
Justin considered premillennialism an aspect of orthodoxy in his day. And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place.6
IRENAEUS AND TERTULLIAN
Two of the greatest ante-Nicene fathers were Irenaeus and Tertullian (A.D. 160–230).
Irenaeus grew up in Asia Minor and was discipled by Polycarp, who knew the Apostle John. Irenaeus had a very extensive view of Bible prophecy in his last five chapters of Against Heresies, which were suppressed throughout the Middle Ages by antipremillennialists and rediscovered in 1571.7 The restoration of a more literal interpretation and reading of the early church fathers by many post-Reformationists led to a revival of premillennialism in the early 1600s.8 Irenaeus' writings played a key role because of their clear premillennial statements. "John, therefore, did distinctly foresee the first `resurrection of the just,' and the inheritance in the kingdom of the earth," he says, "and what the prophets have prophesied concerning it harmonize [with his vision]."9
Again, Irenaeus declares:
But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom.10
Tertullian, who gave us the Latin word "Trinity," was also a strong premillennialist. He makes his premillennialism clear when he said the following:
But we do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem, "let down from heaven," which the apostle also calls "our mother from above;" and, while declaring that our citizenship is in heaven, he predicts of it that it is really a city in heaven. This both Ezekiel had knowledge of and the Apostle John beheld.11
OTHER EARLY PREMILLENNIALISTS
Another outstanding premillennialist of the early church was Lactntius (A.D. 250– 330) of North Africa. He wrote an important defense of Christianity that was the first systematic expression of Christianity called The Divine Institutes, which included a section on prophecy. Lactntius said:
But when the thousand years shall be completed, the world shall be renewed by God, and the heavens shall be folded together, and the earth shall be changed, and God shall transform men into the similitude of angels, and they shall be white as snow; and they shall always be employed in the sight of the Almighty, and shall make offerings to their Lord, and serve Him for ever.12
Virtually everyone who wrote on this topic for the first two to three hundred years of the church's history were premillennialists. The list would include individuals like Clement of Rome, who wrote a letter to an early church around A.D. 95;13 Ignatius of Antioch, who is said to have been a disciple of the Apostles John and Peter. Early church tradition tells us that he was thrown to the lions in A.D. 107.14 Theophilus of Antioch (A.D. 115–181), who wrote one of the first accounts of primitive church history.15 Tatian of Assyria, who died in A.D. 167; Melito, Bishop of Sardis, who died in A.D. 170; Clemens Alexandrinus, who was a contemporary of Justin Martyr; Hippolytus, a disciple of Irenaeus, was martyred in A.D. 230 for his faith. Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau who died in A.D. 303; Methodius, Bishop of Tyre died in A.D. 311; an Egyptian bishop named Nepos of the third century; Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage was martyred in A.D. 258; and Commodians, a Christian historian, who wrote about A.D. 250.16 Others could be added to the list.
It is generally recognized within the scholarly world of early church historians that premillennialism was the most widely held view of the earliest church tradition. One of the leading experts on the doctrine of the early church is J. N. D. Kelly, who says, "millenarianism, or the theory that the returned Christ would reign on earth for a thousand years, came to find increasing support among Christian teachers. . . . This millenarian, or 'chiliastic', doctrine was widely popular at this time."17 "The great theologians who followed the Apologists, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Hippolytus, were primarily concerned to defend the traditional eschatological scheme against Gnosticism," explains Kelly. "They are all exponents of millenarianism."18
Philip Schaff, the dean of American church historians and himself a postmillennialist, provided the following summary of the early church's view of the millennium:
The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millenarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment. It was indeed not the doctrine of the church embodied in any creed or form of devotion, but a widely current opinion of distinguished teachers, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius.19
European scholar and church historian, Adolph Harnack echoes Schaff and tells us, "First in point of time came the faith in the nearness of Christ's second advent and the establishing of His reign of glory on the earth. Indeed it appears so early that it might be questioned whether it ought not to be regarded as an essential part of the Christian religion."20
The Bible is the sole basis from which a Believer in Christ should learn what is true. What others have believed down through church history is really not the issue. However, when we believe the Bible teaches a particular doctrine, it is not surprising that others who have read the Bible see the same thing. This is exactly what we find in the early church in regards to premillennialism before allegorical interpretation began to dominate. Maranatha!
1 Papias as quoted in Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, II vols, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
1926), Vol. I, p. 297.
2 Papias, Fragments, chapter 6.
3 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 5, chapter 33, paragraphs 3–4.
4 The Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 15.
5 Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, chapter 80.
6 Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, chapter 81.
7 Wilber B. Wallis, "Reflections on the History of Premillennial Thought," in R. Laird Harris, Swee-Hwa
Quek, & J. Robert Vannoy, editors, Interpretation & History: Essays in honour of Allen A. MacRae (Singapore:
Christian Life Publishers, 1986), p. 228.
8 Jeffrey K. Jue, Heaven Upon Earth: Joseph Mede (1586–1638) and the Legacy of Millenarianism (Dordrecht,
Holland: Springer, 2006), pp. 110–13.
9 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 5, chapter 36, paragraph 3.
10 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 5, chapter 30, paragraph 4.
11 Tertullian, Against Marcion, book 3, chapter 25.
12 Lactntius, The Divine Institutes, book 7, chapter 26.
13 Jesse Forest Silver, The Lord's Return (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1914), pp. 58–59.
14 Silver, The Lord's Return, p. 60.
15 Silver, The Lord's Return, p. 62.
16 Silver, The Lord's Return, pp. 66–68.
17 J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), p. 465.
18 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, pp. 467 & 469.
19 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VIII vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973), vol. II, p. 614.
20 Adolph Harnack, "Millennium," The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th edition (New York: Charles Scibner's Sons, 1883), vol. XVI, p. 314 cited in Renald E. Showers, There Really Is A Difference! (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1990), p. 117.
Historically Christian premillennialism has also been referred to as "chiliasm" or "millenarianism". The "Chiliad" ("ch" is pronounced as "k") is another term we are not familiar with, but it is the Greek word for 1,000. The theological term "premillennialism" did not come into general use until the mid-nineteenth century, the modern period in which premillennialism was revived. [Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premillennialism]
Pre-Tribulational Rapture: The pre-trib view holds that the church will be "raptured" before the entire seventieth week of Daniel. This is a prevalent view in countries that have never experienced widespread persecution, such as the United States. Jesus then comes back bodily at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel to rule and judge.
Mid-Tribulational Rapture: The church will escape the last half of the seventieth week, also known as the Great Tribulation. Jesus then comes back bodily at the end of the Tribulation to rule and judge.
Pre-Wrath Rapture: The basic aspects of the pre-wrath view are that the "rapture" is distinct from the "second coming" and the "rapture" will take place between the sixth and seventh seals. Jesus then comes back bodily at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel to pour out His wrath on His enemies and then rule and judge.
Post-Tribulational Second Coming: In most versions of post-tribulationism, the "rapture" and the "second coming" are at the same time (a single event). Post-Trib people do not consider themselves to be Pre-Wrath. Jesus Christ comes back for His elect, they meet Him in the air and He comes bodily to earth immediately to rule and reign.
The second coming of Christ is a cornerstone of Biblical doctrine. Our Lord promised it, the apostles confirmed it, and the entire book of Revelation celebrates it. Below are just a few examples of the verses that establish this fact.
The return of Christ will be visible. He will not come in secret; He will not come "mystically," or only to those with eyes to see Him. All humanity will witness His coming, and those who do not belong to Him will be terrified.
The Second Coming of Christ will be Bodily. He will not come "spiritually," He will not return "in His Body" the Church. He has a body now, a glorious body, witnessed by the apostle John (Rev 1:12-16), and when He comes in clouds of glory, it will be in that glorious body.
He will come in Power and Glory--unlike His first coming, His true nature will not be concealed. He will come at the head of a heavenly army, as the conquering Sovereign that He is.
Christ is Returning!
Pre-millennial Historicism--The Classic Form of "Historic-Premillennialism"
Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Spurgeon, Francis Schaeffer, George Eldon Ladd, and many of Christianity's greatest theologians held the pre-millennial Historist position.
Historic premillennialism: Like dispensational-pre-millennialism, historic-pre-millennialists holds to the premillennial return of Christ. Jesus will reign on Earth over all nations after the tribulation, anti-Christ, etc. Many historic-pre-millennialists hold to a “post-tribulational rapture,” unlike most dispensational-pre-millennialists who believe in the “pre-trib-rapture.” This refers to the timing in relation to the "tribulation” of God taking His chosen out of the world. Unlike dispensational-pre-millennialism, historic-pre-millennialism does not see a prominent place for physical Israel but holds to what dispensational-pre-millennialism call "replacement” theology"—the idea that Gentiles are grafted into the covenant as partakers of God’s promises and blessings to Israel in the Old Testament. Similar to dispensational-pre-millennialism, historic-pre-millennialism is pessimistic about the present era that will culminate in increased depravity, the rise of the antichrist, and the tribulation—only to be later followed by the glorious millennium.
Replacement Theologyessentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of Replacement Theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. All the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel can be divided into two camps: either the Church is a continuation of Israel (Replacement Theology / Covenant Theology), or the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel (Dispensationalism / Premillennialism).
Replacement Theology teaches that the Church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian Church, not in Israel. So, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are "spiritualized" or “allegorized” into promises of God's blessing for the Church. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years?
The view that Israel and the Church are different is clearly taught in the New Testament. In this view, the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two are never to be confused or used interchangeably. We are taught from Scripture that the Church is an entirely new creation, that came into being on the Day of Pentecost, and will continue until it is translated to heaven at the Rapture (Ephesians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). The Church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises, and warnings are valid only for Israel. Israel has been temporarily set aside in God's program during these past 2,000 years of dispersion.
President Bush and his entire cabinet are in Replacement Theology denominations. Is it any wonder they push the land for peace policy in Israel? To give away land God has given is to bring the judgment of Isaiah 55 upon us. In Genesis 12 God placed this blessing over the land that was to become Israel:
Preter: a prefix, meaning “beyond,” “more than,” “by,” “past,” occurring originally in loanwords from Latin (preterit), and used in the formation of compound words (preterlegal).
THE TRAGEDY OF AMILLENNIALISM
Excerpts from Pg 256 in Learn The Bible in 24 Hours by Chuck Missler185-254 AD), an early church man whose hermeneutics encouraged the allegorization of Scripture. Augustine (354-430 AD) relied on this allegorical method to formulate an amillennial eschatology, which claimed that the thousand-year rule revealed in the book of Revelation was merely figurative. Subsequently this view was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and remains their eschatologic view to this day. Tragically, although the reformers did a diligent job shedding the shackles of tradition by returning to the authority of the Bible, especially with regards to salvation, they didn't adequately reexamine the eschatological doctrines of the Church Most Protestant denominations today, therefore, remain amillennial in their interpret of end-time prophecy.
Several tragic ideas or logical assumptions are derived from amillennialism.
First, all of the Messianic promises throughout the Old Testament are at risk, promises that point to the dynasty of David ruling the earth through Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Second, amillenialism allowed the early church to become extremely anti-Semitic. Jews have suffered through nineteen hundred years of persecution, much under the banner of Christ, because of these views.
Third, it caused the Church to lose its moorings, its roots. We serve a Jewish King. We serve a church founded by Jewish leaders. And we venerate a Jewish Scripture. God through with Israel, yet the destiny of Israel is denigrated by amillennialism.
Fourth, the promise given to Mary by the angel Gabriel is rendered indeterminate. She was specifically told that her child would rule on the throne of David. The throne of David did not exist during those days. It has yet to be reestablished.
It is the discovery that God says what He means, and means what He says, that raises the fog of diffidence and energizes the most exciting adventure of anyone's lifetime!
Preterists say that everything in Revelation has already taken place and is all past history. Reconstructionists claim the Church has replaced Israel and has inherited the promises that I were given to her. Neither of these are Scriptural doctrines.
There are at least four kinds of preterism. For lack of better terms we will call them mild, moderate, partial, and extreme.