Part Five – In Defense of the Historical Method of Interpretation

Lecture Five – Amillennial First Resurrection Past

I did want to finish up discussing a little bit more on the official Reformed Church position of Amillennialism and I know there are some Amillennial subscribers out there, they have been keeping an eye on what I’m saying over here and seem to be very civil people. The ones that are not civil are the dispensationalists, yeah I’ve been called dishonest and worse, which means the man is judging my heart and he believes that he knows what only God can know, the motivation of my heart. Because he says I’m being dishonest, well then he’s saying that I’m intentionally trying to deceive people! So I think he has a much bigger problem than just having wrong eschatology.

But for now we’re going to take another look at Revelation chapter 20.

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Rev 20:1-2)

Are we there yet? I don’t know, Satan seems pretty active to me, but let’s continue reading:

And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Rev 20:3)

Now what I see here is a parallel of what happens in Daniel chapter 2: where Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he dreamed of an image and this image represented the four great kingdoms that would rule the world until Christ comes and sets up his kingdom, abolishes the kingdoms where Satan rules, and in their place His Kingdom fills the whole earth.

Has that happened already? The a-millennial says that this thousand years is figurative for the time that the church is living in the present until the second coming of Christ when the “figurative” one thousand years will come to an end.

So has Christ already come? Daniel 2 says that when the stone that was formed without hands, representing Christ and his kingdom, strikes the image, the image representing the Kingdoms of this world where Satan rules, is obliterated and becomes like the chaff of the threshing floor and it is blown away so that no place is found for them anymore! Well, when we look around, we see the image is still standing, and we may be in the bottom of the image; we may be in the ten toes of mingled iron and clay era right now, which represented the distant future from Daniel, but it’s definitely not blown away yet. It is still extant, it’s still existing.

Let’s continue here okay, that he should deceive the nations no more. Are the nations at this time still deceived? Apparently Satan has not been bound for this a-millennial thousand year period yet! So it cannot be in my opinion, it cannot be, if I overlay the present and Daniel chapter two it cannot be the kingdom of God that is foretold to be set up upon the earth where all of the other Satan ruled nations are abolished, because Satan is still present, he is deceiving the nation’s during what is the a millennial thousand years! Okay? But not the premillennial thousand years of the literal reading of the text.

Continuing on verse four, And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Now this must be the same thousand years that Satan is bound and no longer deceiving the nations, and those nations, governments under the headship of Satan have been totally obliterated and they have blown away like the chaff of the threshing floor so that no place is found for them. Are we there yet? Well, looking around I don’t see us being there yet! Bear with me, don’t run away all you Amillennials out there, because I think maybe I might be able to convince you. Yeah, you’re thinking, that’ll be the day. Well stick around.

Verse five: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Now, “This is the first resurrection,” of course this little phrase here is referring to what has happened in conjunction with the thousand years and those that are reigning and ruling with Jesus, this is the first resurrection. The Amillennials will not agree with me here, but many of them will say the first resurrection is when you’re born again – you join Jesus in the first resurrection – the Revelation 20 First Resurrection is symbolical as is the Thousand Year Reign, for all those who are living now in the kingdom of God, because it’s true Jesus is the king of the whole earth, he’s even the king of Satan and he’s the king of the fallen away kingdoms and he turns them whichever way he will. For instance when he said “Babylon is a sword in my hand,” and he used that sword in his hand to judge Israel (judgment begins at the house of the lord) after He judged Israel first then He judged all of the nations around Israel: then He judged Babylon when the Medes and the Persians came in etc. So, He’s always been the king of the earth and of all things.

When we consider the judgment that fell on Israel in 70 AD we understand that, as God wielded Babylon as his sword in judgment at the first desolation and destruction of the temple, in the same way, it was Jesus, the king of kings, who wielded the Roman army, the people of the prince that shall come, which did come in 70 AD, he wielded them as his sword in judgment against national Israel for the overspreading of abominations, to borrow the biblical language there. So we see no indication of any change in the temporal rule of God in the affairs of the kingdoms of men from these two desolations being nearly equal, so as to indicate an abolition of the kingdoms of men or effect of Satan in them.

Verse 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Okay there is a first death, we all understand the death sentence we are all born with, “you shall surely die,” inherited from our Great Grandfather Adam. I haven’t been bodily resurrected yet, because my Adamic man has not suffered death yet, and we know there will only be a small elite of people that are going to be changed in the moment in the twinkling of an eye, a kind of an instantaneous death and resurrection, but that’s a very small group of people, I hope to be among them when Christ returns – at the beginning of the seventh millennium, I hope to still be alive then because I don’t know if I’ll live long enough. I’m already “retirement age” according to most people’s standards, so I could live long enough, some do, but most people don’t live that long. But this is not our focus. No matter what era we live in the Church’s focus has always been the resurrection event.

Even before Apostolic times the resurrection of the dead was a focus, it was the difference between the Jewish sects, the Sadducees and Pharisees. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, the Sadducees did not. Paul used that division to expound upon the gospel resurrection of the dead – the point being that we all believe in the bodily resurrection. Now the problem with the a-millennial position is they have to say that the resurrection already happened, so they say things like well, the resurrection is when you’re born again. That’s how you can have it now in this a-millennial figurative period of the church age. That the first resurrection came with Christ and everyone who is born again is born into that first resurrection and so you’re living now in this a-millennial figurative millennium. And that if we go on after the thousand years, after the a-millennial figurative millennium of the Amillennial view, then Satan’s going to be let out and that’s what they’re expecting at the end when Satan is let out of his prison – I don’t know how they consider him locked up in a prison now – but it’s going to be at the Gog and Magog war!

This is kind of what the dispensationalists are expecting during their seven-year tribulation deception. So they incorporate a little bit of dispensationalism in there and I guess that makes it feel better because the poor dispensationalist can agree with there being a great tribulation period where the entire book of Revelation and all the catastrophe and disaster that’s in it is crammed into this little period of time for which they will not be present and then after that, the second death.

If you’re born again, if you’re truly born again and you are partaker of Christ’s death and resurrection by faith, the second death will have no power over you, because you will make the first resurrection when he returns. So there’s truth there, but here’s the problem: I have to say this, I am in total agreement with the Amillennial on every single point of their Orthodox theological belief in the scripture; there’s only one point I depart from them on, and that is the return of Christ. I believe it to be pre-millennial and I believe the millennium to be an actual literal period of time. And I base my disagreement on the literal rendering of the Word of God at chapter 20.

Now if you open your Bible to II Tim. 2:15-18:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (16) But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (17) And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; (18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Paul after leaving Ephesus,[1] which he did twice according to the Acts of the Apostles, dates the Epistle to either about the Year 58-59 or the year 64-65, so this is even pre-desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple, meaning that Paul wrote this before 70 AD. But this is also after the resurrection of Christ, and after people are being born again! So Paul is saying that our hope, the resurrection, this the first resurrection that we’re looking for, is going to be a truly bodily resurrection when Christ returns – the first resurrection of Rev. chapter 20, if taken literally.

Hymenaeus and Philetus could’ve been the first Amillennials! Otherwise Paul, who had just previously asserted our spiritual position in Christ: It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:[2] also neglected to expound upon an amillennial resurrection position for one very good reason, our spiritual position in Christ is not, nor should it ever be considered or confused with the promised resurrection of the dead! Therefore, the reign of Christ and the first resurrection that accompanies it has not happened yet, so it cannot be symbolical, otherwise if you want to hold to the contrary, then Paul says that you err and we should number you with Hymenaeus and Philetus who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the [first] resurrection is passed already.

What Paul is saying is that they are still looking forward to this first resurrection, therefore it’s going to be a true bodily resurrection in a true millennial reign of Christ. It is not past already, but it is something that is still out in the future. The Amillennial first resurrection that comes with their present figurative millennium at the referenced date, seeing that it could not have happened yet, begs the question: Just when did the Amillennial Revelation 20 figurative millennium begin and its first resurrection occur? Having no acceptable answer, this pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of amillennialism, unless I’m missing something here, this pretty much nails it.

[1] 2Tim 1:18

[2] 2Tim 2:11

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