Response to inquiries I received on “LETTERS TO OUR DEAR CHLDREN #6”
This article is an explanation of my own Millennial views. Some of my Pre-Millenial friends have inquired about my so-called Now-Mil View. This is a brief attempt to anwer those inquiries.
On the second page of my recent “Letter #6”, I made reference to our family vacation as a time of “celebrating the millennium together.” It is my happy persuasion that this period of history between the Resurrection of Christ and the Second Coming of Christ is the Millennium. Because our Lord Jesus Christ is presently reigning as Lord of the Cosmos, that wonderful word “Millennium” applies to this entire age of human history.
That word, Millennium, is not used at all in the Bible. It is just the word we use to refer appropriately to the “thousand year” period mentioned 5 times in Revelation 20. “Millennium” is simply the Latinized form of the word “thousand.” My use of this word in this way just reflects my view of this prophetic passage. I believe that the word “Millennium” is not a reference to a literal 1,000 year period in History but is a figurative reference to the whole age of the church extending from the Savior’s Resurrection to His return in glory.
I like to call my view of the Millennium the “NOW-MIL” view. I prefer that title for my view because I think it better communicates the real meaning of what is happening now. I recognize that my “NOW-MIL” view is more commonly called the “A-MIL” view. I am happy to be called an “A-MIL” because it is the familiar, even classical way to refer to those holding my view. But my preference for NOW-MIL label is simply based on the more positive ring of the term. A-MIL literally means NON-MIL, implying that we do not believe in a Millennium at all. Nothing could be further from the truth. We believe that the Millennium is going on right now, and appropriately describes the wonderful work that the church is doing through the power of our reigning Lord.
In “Letter #6” I was emphasizing the happy reality that my family was “celebrating the millennium together,” that we were joining with the “trees clapping their hands,” and “the mountains singing for joy” Isaiah :12. I am convinced that the Apostle John used the “thousand years” term five times in Revelation 20 in order to encourage our using that expression as I used it in the letter – as a celebrative reference to the joy of life in Christ. John was going to introduce Heaven in his very next chapter, and I am convinced he was already feeling the incredible joy that Heaven would bring to all who trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
But what about all the misery we experience in this life?! Are we trying to mask the daily horrors we encounter in the Newspapers and on our TV news? Do Now-Mils have their heads in the sand, unwilling to admit the depths of pain and disappointment that so many are experiencing today?
The answer to this most appropriate set of questions gives balance here. That answer is that the Tribulation is also going on at the same time as the Millennium.
WHAAAT? How could that possibly be?
Aren’t the Millennium and the Tribulation complete opposites? How could they fit together?
The fact is that the MIllennium and the Tribulation fit together in our lives in the same way that they fit together in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the reigning King on the throne of the universe at the same time He was bearing our sins. He suffered for our sins throughout His life and then climactically on the cross. In this awesome experience the Savior was filled with Millennial joy through His fellowship with the Father at the same time that the powers of the Tribulation were humiliating Him to death. Remember that He descended into Hell in preparation for His rising into the eternal glory.
MYSTERY?! Yes, beyond human expression!
Life in Christ is an awesome mystery. What a wonder to be called into that life by the power of the Holy Spirit, then to be sustained in that life by the same Spirit. Wonder of Wonders! Because we have the benefits of the Millennium in our lives now, we have the grace to be “more than conquerors” as we face the Tribulation. We may say that our Lord’s Millennial grace enables us to be victorious in the times of Tribulation.
What I have tried to do here is to give you a brief summary of the A-Mil or Now-Mil position. I have stated that the Millennium and the Tribulation are simultaneous realities always present during this age of the church. We look forward with great anticipation to the time when “..,the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command” I Thess. 4:16. At that time our Lord will judge the wicked and open heaven to His beloved children.
He will usher us into that heavenly banquet where we will become the bride of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6) and where the joy of eternal communion with the living God will envelop us in a glorious eternity (Rev. 21 and 22).
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: While I have a most profound respect for dear brothers and sisters who do not hold my Now-Mil views of the second coming, I have come to the firm opinion that this Now-Mil view has powerful practical applications to our daily lives. I have only touched on these in “Letter #6” and in this brief article, but I commend this view to your study. It will bless your heart.
TWO BOOKS THAT COULD BE HELPFUL: I have enjoyed the great pleasure of reading widely in this aspect of Bible Study which we often call “eschatology”. From the various books I have read, I am suggesting just two volumes, both fairly recently written and both by highly competent scholars. Those books are:
- Title: KINGDOM COME, sub-title: The A-millennial Alternative, by Dr. Sam Storms, published 2013
- Title: Christ and the Future, sub-title: The Bible’s teaching about the Last Things, by Dr. Cornelis Venema, published 2008
Remarks on these Books
Both of these books are aimed at the average reader. Venema tends to be a touch more scholarly but he is easy to understand. They both are gifted communicators who bring out the practical side of the issues involved.
Sam Storms is a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate who struggled hard with the Dispensational views that are basic to Dallas. He ended up rejecting the whole Pre-Millennial scheme and became an ardent A-Mil (A good Now-Mil, as far as I am concerned). He understands Progressive Dispensationalism and is very helpful in describing the fallacies in the Dispensational scheme.
MY OPINION: I became convinced several years ago that the key weakness in Dispensational Pre-millennialism is the faulty view most of them hold on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Referring to Revelation 3:22 in a footnote, C.I. Scofield states: “This passage, in harmony with Luke 1:32, etc. … is conclusive that Christ is NOT now seated upon his own throne.” Here Scofield is in effect modifying the present Lordship of Jesus. He develops this idea to argue that Jesus only occupies his own throne after he establishes the Millennial age. I believe there is reason to argue that men like Charles Ryrie and Zane Hodges who argue against what they call “Lordship Salvation” are influenced by such ideas in Scofield to weaken the whole idea of the New Birth and Conversion. John MacArthur, a fellow Dispensationalist with Ryrie and Hodges, nevertheless sees the fallacy in their teaching and argues against this from inside the Dispensational camp.
This weakness on the Lordship issue is serious and seems to be one of the causes for a variety of weaknesses developing in the broad Evangelical world. I am convinced that a healthy understanding of the Now-Mil view is, in Sam Storms terminology, a great alternative to Dispensational theology.
With my prayers for all of you who live in this wonderful BIBLE WORLD, Pastor Paul Alexander