THE CATHOLIC HERESY OF AUGUSTINE – AMILLENNIALISM

AMILLENNIALISM 1

Amillennialism do not believe in the future one-thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Sadly, it is the predominant concept of end time events in Christendom today. It is the official view of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the doctrine held by most mainline Protestant denominations.

They believe that the current Church Age will end abruptly with the appearance of Jesus for the redeemed. At that point the redeemed will be resurrected in spiritual bodies, the unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the material universe will cease to exist, and the redeemed will take up residence eternally with God in Heaven.

The amillennial view was invented in 400 A.D. by St. Augustine and adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 431 A.D. at the Council of Ephesus. When this view was originally presented by St. Augustine, it caused a considerable stir because it differed so drastically from the premillennial view that had been the orthodox doctrine up to that time.

THE MILLENNIUM

Instead of denying outright that there would ever be a Millennium, Augustine argued that the Millennium began at the Cross and would continue for a thousand years until the return of Jesus. Later, when the Lord failed to return after a thousand years, amillennialists simply spiritualized the thousand years to mean an indefinite period of time from the Cross to the Second Coming. This serves as a good example on how Scripture is being twisted to fit their man-made eschatology, irrespective of the warning in Revelation 22:18-19 (ESV);

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

Note carefully that Augustine did not deny the Millennium; he simply redefined it to mean the spiritual reign of Christ through the Church during the Church Age.

That means we have been living in the Millennium for almost 2,000 years, although there is no correspondence between the Bible’s prophecies about the Millennium and the reality of the world in which we live.

We live in a world that is rotten to the core. The Bible says that during the Millennium, “the earth will be flooded with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). The nations of the world today are all in rebellion against God and His Anointed One. The prophecies say that during the Millennium the nations will all be in subjection to the Lord and will glorify His name (Psalm 22:27-31). If the Lord is reigning over the nations of the world today, He is doing a very poor job of it. Isaiah says that when the Lord reigns, the world will be characterized by peace, righteousness, and justice (Isaiah 9:7).

The amillennial response to this is usually to argue that we are in the Millennium because the Holy Spirit is in the world restraining evil. If the Holy Spirit were not here, things would be much worse. But the Bible doesn’t speak in relative terms about the Millennium. It states that there will be absolute international peace, justice, righteousness and lovingkindness (Hosea 2:18-20).

THE TRIBULATION

Augustine said that we are simultaneously in both the Millennium and the Tribulation! We are in the Millennium because the Holy Spirit is restraining evil, but we are also in the Tribulation because the Church will suffer persecution until the Lord returns. He simply denied the fact that the Bible says that the Tribulation will last only seven years, by saying that the number is symbolic. He argued that the number seven represents a complete period of time, and therefore it represents the period from the Cross to the Second Coming. Both the books of Daniel and Revelation specifically mention the two halves of the tribulation in years, months and even days.

THE BINDING OF SATAN

The Bible says that Satan will be bound at the beginning of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3). Augustine argued that Satan was bound at the Cross. Let’s admit that there is a sense in which Satan has always been bound, as he is not omnipotent and not free to do anything he desires. The book of Job reveals that Satan could not touch Job without God’s permission.

It is also true that Satan was further bound by the Cross. Since that time believers in Jesus have received the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to be overcomers in their combat with Satan. The Word says that “He who is within us is greater than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4).

But the limitations which the Cross placed on Satan do not constitute the binding of Satan that the Scriptures say will take place at the beginning of the Millennium. Revelation says Satan will be bound so that he can no longer “deceive the nations” (Revelation 20:3). How can anyone argue that the nations are not deceived today? Satan is without a doubt still the “ruler of this world” (John 16:11).

THE TWO RESURRECTIONS

The Bible says there will be two resurrections, one of the just and another of the unjust (Acts 24:15). It further states that these two resurrections will be separated by a thousand years (Revelation 20:5-6). The amillennial view has only one resurrection, occurring at the end of the Church Age.

Augustine “solved” this problem by spiritualizing the first resurrection. He said the first resurrection is a spiritual one that occurs when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and is born again. The second resurrection is the one that will occur when the Lord returns and everyone, both the just and the unjust, will be resurrected from the dead.

This exercise in imaginative interpretation shows what happens when you start spiritualizing. Scripture starts meaning whatever you want it to mean.

REPLACEMENT / FULFILLMENT THEOLOGY

Amillennialists claim that “God washed His hands of the Jews” because of their unbelief, and He therefore has no purpose left for them. This doctrine has led to much anti-Semitism in the Church. The fact of the matter is that the Jews are still the Chosen People of God, and the Lord intends to fulfill every promise He has ever made to them as a nation.

The book of Romans makes all this very clear. In Romans 3:1-4 Paul asks a rhetorical question: “Has the unfaithfulness of the Jews nullified God’s faithfulness to them?” For almost 1,700 years the Church has said “Yes!” What does Paul say? His answer is, “May it never be!”

Likewise, in Romans 11:1 Paul asks, “Has God rejected His people?” Again, for almost two thousand years the Church has answered, “Yes!” But what does Paul say in response to his question? He says, “May it never be!” And then he adds, “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew” (Romans 11:2). He then proceeds to explain that a great remnant of the Jews will be saved in the end times (Romans 9:27; 11:25-32).

The Jewish people have been set aside as a result of God’s discipline. But He has not forgotten them. In Isaiah 49:16 the Lord says He could never forget the Jewish people because He has them tattooed on the palms of His hands! In Jeremiah 31:35-37 the Lord asks, “When will the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before Me?” His answer is that they will continue to be special in His eyes until the fixed order of the universe departs or until the day all the heavens and all the oceans have been fully explored. In Romans 11:29 Paul says that the “gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” And in Romans 9:1-5 he speaks of promises to the Jews that God fully intends to fulfill.

That’s the reason the Jews are being regathered from the four corners of the world right now. It is one of the greatest miracles of history. The Lord intends to provoke them to repentance by bringing all the nations of the world against them (Zechariah 12:1-3). When they become totally desperate, they will look to the Lord for their salvation. That is when they will repent. They will “look on Him whom they have pierced, and they will mourn” (Zechariah 12: 10). And on that glorious day, a fountain of salvation will be opened for the house of David (Zechariah 13:1).

God will then establish these believing Jews as the prime nation of the world during the Millennium, and through them He will once again bless all the nations on earth (Isaiah 60-62).

Due to this evil doctrine, amillennials are also blinded to understanding one of the key purposes of the millennial reign and the reason for the rapture.

THE KINGDOM ON EARTH

There is no doubt that the Church is God’s current kingdom on the earth today. Since Pentecost, the kingdom has been expressed in the institution of the Church (Colossians 1:13). But the Bible promises different expressions of the kingdom in the future first, in the form of a thousand year rule of Jesus upon this earth (Revelation 2:26-27), and second, in the form of an eternal rule of God upon a new earth (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

The kingdom is past, present, and future. It is currently expressed in the Church, but it is like a rose in the bud, yet to bloom in its full glory. Even during the Millennial reign of Jesus, the kingdom will be coming, for the Bible teaches that rebellion will be lurking in the hearts of men (Revelation 20:7-10). The consummation of the kingdom will not come until all enemies of God have been subdued. That will occur at the end of the Millennial reign of Jesus, at which time He will surrender the kingdom to His Father, and God Himself will reign forever over a redeemed creation (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

INTERPRETATION OF REVELATION

Amillennialism believe that Revelation 20:1-6 describes what takes place during the entire history of the church, beginning with the first coming of Christ. The various sections in Revelation are parallel to each other and they also reveal a certain amount of eschatological progress. The last section, for example, takes us further into the future than the other sections. Although the final judgment has already been announced in 1:7 and has been briefly described in 6:12-17, it is not set forth in full detail until we come to 20:11-15. Though the final joy of the redeemed in the life to come has been hinted at in 7:15-17, it is not until we reach chapter 21 that we find a detailed and elaborate description of the blessedness of life on the new earth (21:1-22:5). Hence this method of interpretation is called progressive parallelism.

In essence, they believe that the book of Revelation depicts the struggle between Christ and his church on the one hand and the enemies of Christ and the church on the other. Some say that the first half of the book (chapters 1-11) describes the struggle on earth, picturing the church as it is persecuted by the world. The second half of the book, however (chapters 12-22), gives us the deeper spiritual background of this struggle, describing the persecution of the church by the dragon (Satan) and his helpers. In the light of this analysis we see how the last section of the book (chapters 20-22) falls into place. This last section describes the judgment which falls on Satan, and his final doom. Since Satan is the supreme opponent of Christ, it stands to reason that his doom should be narrated last. Ironically, this seems to contradicts their view that Satan is already bound!

CONCLUSION

The amillennial view is based on a spiritualizing approach to Scripture which contends that the Bible does not mean what it says. Even worse, they take the position that the Bible always means what it says unless it is talking about Israel and the Second Coming of Jesus!

The amillennial view does not stand the test of either the Scriptures or reality. Society is disintegrating before our eyes, and the Bible says it will get worse the closer we come to the Lord’s return (2 Timothy 1-5). How can anyone truly believe that Satan is bound today? The Bible says “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

How can anyone truly believe that the Church is reigning with Christ over the nations? Try telling that to persecuted and suffering Christians all over the world.

How could anyone truly believe God has no purpose left for the Jews? After 2,000 years of dispersion all over the world, they are being regathered to Israel in what Jeremiah calls a miracle greater than the deliverance from Egyptian captivity (Jeremiah 16:14-15).

Let’s stop playing games with God’s Word. Let’s allow it to mean what it says. Bible prophecy is really not hard to understand. It is just hard to believe if you choose to blindly follow heretic teachings of church fathers such as Augustine rather than studying the true Word of God.

It reflects the attitude of a person who is too lazy to search the Scriptures to see what God has promised in the future.

Certainly it matters what you believe about Bible prophecy. It matters what you believe about anything, because your beliefs determine the way you live. The amillennial church lives with little hope and excitement about the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Still wonder why these churches are dying?

Bible prophecy surge our hope while we are still in this evil world, and motivates us live a holy life. Although your perception of Bible prophecy it is not related to your justification, it has an immediate impact upon your sanctification, upon how you walk before the Lord in this life. As the apostle John put it: “Everyone who has his hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John3:3).

Main Sources:

The article “Amillennial problems” by Lamb & Lion Ministries

And

The article “Amillennialism: Introduction and The Book of Revelation” by Anthony Hoekema

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