Hi, there. Welcome to the BSDC – the Bible Scholars’ Debate Corner – an unofficial little club formed by me, Dejected Dog, and some of my fellow cousins. Don’t ask me who hatched the plan, but anyways, it was hatched, and there’s no undoing it.
I think it was Cornell who started it with a heated debate about predestination with Baby, one day. Ranch came in on the scene with some of his own views, and so did I, and the whole thing became so much fun that we all agreed to form a family club. Every Sunday at 4:00 PM, whoever wants to come can come debate over a pre-selected topic.
I thought you’d like to get a little peek into last week’s debate, except in a more organized manner. Only three people came last week, which was perfect, because we were talking about the millennialism, and there are three views on the subject. We all believe in premillennialism, but for the sake of debate, each of us will hold a different view. I will be for premillennialism, Cornell will be for post, and Huggies will be for amillennialism.
I guess you want to see our debates, now?
But first. Just in case you don’t know the basics of the millennialism and what it is (because it really is quite an obscure topic), I shall introduce you.
The reference to the millennialism is in Revelation 20:1-8.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And 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 has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will 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.
If you actually read this passage instead of skimming it, you can see roughly what the millennialism is.
It stands for “one thousand years,” and it refers to the thousand-year time period where Satan is shut up in the bottomless pit so that he should deceive the nations no more. During these thousand years, the children of God live and reign with Christ. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released.
There’s a debate among theologists as to when this thousand year reign of Christ occured/is occuring/will occur. There are three views: premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism (among them, the first two are more prominent).
Premillennialism adheres to the belief that the millennial kingdom will indeed be a literal 1000-year period where Christ reigns on earth. While premillennialism states that Christ’s second coming will occur BEFORE the 1000-year reign, postmillennialism states that it will occur AFTERwards.
Now, amillennialism. “A” means “no” in Greek. You can gather from that information the fact that according to amillennialism, the millennial kingdom is not a literal, physical 1000 year long reign of Christ on earth.
Now that the basics are covered, let’s jump right into the debates.
Debater: Dejected Dog
Premillennialism is a view based on a solid foundation of Biblical, historical, and prophetic beliefs. The view holds that Christ’s reign on earth as described in Revelation 20 will be literal and physical. But what distinguishes it from post-millennialism is that it also believes the millennial period will happen after Christ’s second coming: in other words, Christ will come and set all things to right, the angels will cast Satan into the bottomless pit, and following all that will be Christ’s reign that will last 1000 years.
Premillennialists argue that their view is the only view that goes along with true biblical interpretations. And though I cannot avoid being biased, I must admit that I think they are right. Here’s why:
According to the generally accepted criteria, all passages of the Bible must be taken in their plain, literal meaning unless the context thereof suggests that the language is figurative. All passages of the Bible must also be taken with regard to context and with regard to other parts of the Bible that reference it or are about the same topic. Passages must be interpreted with regard to who it is written to, when, and where (in context). And if you really interpret Revelation 20 with these criteria, you’ll see that premillennialism is the only view to be held.
In 2 Samuel 7:10-17, God makes a promise to King David that would be fulfilled in the future – the promise that his throne will continue and that God will make out of his descendants an eternal kingdom. Now, what is that eternal kingdom? The thousand years mentioned here distinctly corresponds with the millennial period. Premillennialism sees this passage describing the fulfillment of that covenant that would come later: Christ’s 1000-year reign. The only way these covenants could be fulfilled according to God’s promise…is by a literal reign of Christ on the earth.
To deny premillennialism is to deny the consistently literal application and interpretation of the Scriptures. Here’s what Got Questions has to say on this topic; their words are perfect to conclude my debate:
Applying a literal method of interpretation to Scripture results in the pieces of the puzzle coming together. All of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus’ first coming were fulfilled literally. Therefore, we should expect the prophecies regarding His second coming to be fulfilled literally as well. Premillennialism is the only system that agrees with a literal interpretation of God’s covenants and end-times prophecy
Debater: Cornell McFluffy
Postmillennialists hold the view that Christ’s second coming will occur after the millennium — the 1000 year golden era of Christ upon the earth that is outlined in Revelation 20:1-7. We believe that the millennium is not a literal thousand years. Instead, it is an era during which Christ will rule the earth. His rule will not be physical/earthly/literal, but instead, His power will be displayed through the gradual spread of the Gospel throughout all the earth as it changes and heals lives. After this slow-moving but steady transforming of the earth, Christ’s second coming will occur. He will judge the wicked, and then comes an eternal Heaven.
Postmillennialists interpret Revelations 20:1-7 through a covenantal-historical point of view. We give emphasis to God’s covenant to Israel and the church, emphasizing that the church fulfills Israel and that the majority of the judgment prophecies in the Gospels were fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the temple in Jerusalem was demolished.
First off, there is no reason why the one thousand year reign of Christ needs to be physical — or rather, the Bible provides no proof. Instead, as the context suggests, the reign can be attributed to Christ in the Spirit — during these one thousand years, the Kingdom of God will flourish and the Gospel will effect all the world through it’s majesty and potency. This millennium will be a golden era where through Jesus’s power and blessing, he will virtually (though not physically) rule over the entire earth through the Gospel’s spread. At the end of the millennium and before Christ makes His triumphal return, most of the world’s population will be Christian, having been transformed by Christ’s gospel of grace.
Here’s a section from Blue Letter Bible’s commentary which sums up the rest of the postmillennial arguments:
The postmillennialist sees the millennial kingdom as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that he would become “a great nation” and that “all peoples on earth would be blessed” through him (Genesis 12:2-3). This holy reign will come about via gradual conversion (rather than premillennialism’s cataclysmic Christological advent) through the spread of the Gospel — this incremental progress is drawn from many pictures found throughout Scripture (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:22 and Ezekiel 47:1-12).
Postmillennial optimism is also nurtured through many of prophetic psalmody. The Psalms often speak of all nations fearing Him, salvation being known among all nations, the ends of the earth fearing Him, et cetera (e.g., Psalm 2:1-12; Psalm 22:27; Psalm 67:2,Psalm 67:7; Psalm 102:15; Psalm 110:1). Another passage that well feeds this earthly optimism is Isaiah 2:2-3 in which the nations will stream to the righteousness of God.
Sources: https://www.gotquestions.org/postmillennialism.html, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/mill.cfm
Debater: Huggies Pawbear
The return of Christ happens after the thousand-year reign, a reign that occurs in heaven, in the intermediate state, and not upon the earth. Those who have died in faith and entered into the presence of Christ share his rule and reign during the current church age in which we now live.
Amillennialism honors the warnings of bleak end times as well as the seamlessness between Christ’s coming and the immediate destruction of death, the removal of the enemies of the cross, and the beginning of the new heavens and new earth.
Amillennialists, like myself, believe that there will not be a literal 1000-year reign of Christ. The prefix “a-” in amillennialism means “no” or “not.” Hence, “amillennialism” means “no millennium.” To clear up a popular idea, we do not believe that there is no millennium at all. We just do not believe in a literal millennium—a literal 1000-year reign of Christ on earth. Instead, we believe that Christ is now sitting on the throne of David and that this present church age is the kingdom over which Christ reigns. There is no doubt that Christ now rules and is sitting on a throne (the right hand of God, no less), and that means that what we are in is currently the millennial and that the thousand years are not literal.
The amillennial view comes from using a method of interpretation for unfulfilled prophecy, non-prophetic Scripture, and fulfilled prophecy. According to Biblical interpretation, there is no reason that the thousand year reign should last a literal thousand years and should comprise of Christ actually coming down on earth and reigning. Instead, it is plausible to believe that he is reigning yet now, seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
Sources: https://www.gotquestions.org/amillennialism.html, https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/an-evening-of-eschatology
Who do you think was the best debater in this edition of BSDC? Which argument was more convincing?
Do you hold for premillennialism, postmillennialism, or amillennialism? Start the discussion — we’d love to hear YOUR opinion!