Have you ever wondered why, in the Old Testament there is so much direct judgment from God upon people and nations? We see God’s judgment many times. That’s because the world at that time was not in the age of grace under the New Covenant of Christ like it is now. The judgments of the OT are meant to reveal God’s hatred for sin, as well as the consequences for our sins—which is the eternal judgment of those who die apart from God’s grace, which is given only in Christ, the Savior of the world. Under the New Covenant, we don’t see God’s judgment upon people and nations as we did in the OT. That’s because we’re currently in the age of grace, where, instead of seeing the outpouring of God’s judgment, we see the outpouring of His grace through His Son, Jesus — “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people” (Tit 2:11):
(Romans 5:20-21) – 20 Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, 21 so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NET)
However, there will come a time where the world will once again see the outpouring of God’s judgment:
(2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) – 7 and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. 8 With flaming fire he will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength, 10 when he comes to be glorified among his saints and admired on that day among all who have believed—and you did in fact believe our testimony. (NET)
(Also Rev 19:11-21; Rev 14:6-20; Rev 16; Rev 20:7-10)
Once the Church is complete, when the last person is saved out of the world, those of us who are in Christ will be resurrected in our glorified bodies. At that point, the world will once again fall under the judgment of God, because the world will no longer be in the age of grace. Once the last person enters the spiritual kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13), then the judgment of God upon the world will occur one last time, except it will be a judgment worldwide in scope. This will happen at the time of Christ’s return (Rev 19:11-21), where there will be no one left in the world except unbelievers. Thus, at the time of the end, we see a return of the OT type of judgments upon the unbelieving world.
After this worldwide event, everyone will stand before Christ at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 (also Matt 25:31-46). The unrighteous will “go away into eternal punishment,” but “the righteous into eternal life” (Matt 25:46; Jn 5:27-29).
In summary, the Old Testament emphasizes the judgment of God to show us what we deserve as rebellious sinners. The New Testament emphasizes the grace of God to show us what we don’t deserve as rebellious sinners. The OT reveals the justice of God and what we have coming to us apart from Christ. The NT reveals the grace and mercy of God and what we have in Christ, who saves us from that judgment.
The fact that the world will fall under the judgment of God upon our resurrection, is a solid argument against the idea of an earthly millennial kingdom, which is something Premillennialism teaches. Because when God’s judgment is poured out, it will be the most vivid and certain sign that the world is no longer under grace or in the age of grace, which means there will no longer be any opportunity to receive God’s grace of salvation, which is through His Son. What sense does it make for God to close the age of grace, for Jesus to return in judgment of the world, just to begin another age of grace in a so-called 1000 year kingdom, where Jesus is again the Savior of the world, after judging the world? Where is that taught in the Bible?
Premillennialism, especially Dispensational Premillennialism, is a very confusing and inconsistent theology. For it also teaches that during this renewed age of grace (although they don’t call it that, but that’s what it would be), there will also be a return of animal sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish temple! So now we have a renewed age of grace – which is the age of the New Covenant of Christ – in a kingdom where Old Covenant sacrifices are being performed! Premillennialists teach that these sacrifices will only be as a “memorial” (Ez 43:13, 27; Ez 45:15-20). But the fact remains, it’s a return of Old Covenant type of sacrifices in the context of the New Covenant of Christ—which begins again after Jesus has judged the world in His return. Where is the sense and consistency in that? Those OT bloody animal sacrifices already served their purpose, which was to foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ, where He shed His own blood. Now the only memorial that the Bible teaches after that event, is that event :
(Matt 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Lu 22:19-20)
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26) – 23 For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
According to both Jesus and Paul – who quoted Jesus – the only “memorial” we’re told to recognize and practice is the cup of wine and the bread, which represents the body and blood of Jesus—which was shed upon the cross. This practice of remembering is something we now do in our corporate gatherings as New Covenant believers in Christ.
The fact is, Premillennialists misinterpret those Ezekiel passages that talk about animal sacrifices. That’s because they bring an OT understanding to the NT and interpret the NT with an OT understanding. They have this entirely backwards. It’s the NT that interprets and sheds its light upon the OT. We must get things in its proper order if we’re going to interpret God’s Word correctly. Their view contradicts the clear teachings of the NT. Furthermore, those Ezekiel passages never use the word “memorial” or “remembrance.” That’s something premillennialists have inserted into their interpretation. And quite frankly, making a lot of assumptions is something one must make in order to create a theology such as Premillennialism, especially Dispensational Premillennial theology. That’s why I’m an Amillennialist—it’s a straightforward theology, one that’s consistent and actually makes sense without having to make a lot of assumptions. Here’s the Amillennial position in a nutshell:
— We’re presently in the age of grace (the Church age).
— We will be resurrected in our glorified bodies at the return of Christ, where He also pours out His judgment on the world of unbelievers. No one survives.
— The dead unsaved are resurrected.
— We all stand before Christ, where the unrighteous are cast into the eternal lake of fire, while the righteous are ushered into the eternal kingdom of the new heaven and new earth.
— And so shall we ever be with the Lord.
— No millennial kingdom between the return of Christ and our eternal state.
That’s it! It’s a clean eschatological position, because that’s what the Bible actually teaches.
On the other hand, Premillennialism has Jesus ruling over an earthly kingdom, where there will still be sin, where the resurrected redeemed will return to once again live in a world of sin. Premillennialists talk about this kingdom as if it’s something to look forward to. Where is the sense in leaving the glory of a sinless Heaven, just to return to earth and a world of sin again?! How is that something Christians should be looking forward to? Even with Jesus ruling over such a kingdom, sin will still be alive and well….even if crime will be kept under control. But how much control? And will Jesus judge every type of sin? Will people be judged for every sinful thought, every sinful word, every little sinful act? Where will the line be drawn in such a kingdom? And will Jesus judge sin instantly, where they die, or are they thrown into prison for every sin committed? Prisons would be overflowing and overwhelmed, if that’s the case. Will it just be unbelieving sinners that are judged? What about believers who sin? How will they be dealt with? Too many questions without answers, which reveals a lot of confusion. None of these things are ever spoken of in the Bible, because such a kingdom is not described in the Bible.
Furthermore, according to Premillennialism, there will be survivors of God’s judgment (the “tribulation period”), who will enter this earthly millennial kingdom, where Christ will sit upon His throne as King over the whole world. Think about that. Will He rule as Judge or as Savior? Will He rule as both Judge and Savior? Both? At the same time? Thereby making it both an age of grace and an age of judgment? Because the Bible teaches that during the age of grace, Jesus is Savior of the world. He will not take on the role as Judge of the world until His Church is complete (Rev 5:9; Rev 7:9) and all that is left are unbelievers.
The sensible and straightforward theology of Amillennialism is what’s revealed and talked about in the Bible. And again, it’s without having to make radical assumptions to fit the theology. Premillennialism presents far too many conflicting ideas to be feasible. It requires too much explanation to make it “work.” But even after doing so, it still makes little sense and still leaves us with too many questions.
To summarize Premillennialism, it has us now living in a world of sin, dying and going to a sinless Heaven that is filled with light, then going back to a world (kingdom) of sin and darkness in our glorified bodies (even with Christ ruling), then going back to a sinless Heaven (Rev 21 & 22) filled with light! It also has us going from an age of grace (Church age), to the age of judgment (tribulation period and return of Christ in judgment), and back to and age of grace again (1000 yr kingdom)—where in such a kingdom there will be sinners getting saved and where there will also be judgment for sin (to what degree, we don’t know) — because for Jesus to rule with authority and bring peace to the world, He would have to keep everyone in control. Because without that control, it would be just like our world today, where everything is out of control. And then to top it off, at the end of this millennial kingdom (an age of grace), the whole world will once again experience the outpouring of God’s judgment—which is a return to an OT type of judgment upon the world.
Where is all this back and forth between grace and judgment taught in Scripture? Is this what you see when you read your Bible? Does any of this make sense to you? Truth is consistent. And this consistency does not teach an earthly, sinful, millennial kingdom, where Christ reigns over such a kingdom. Yes, Jesus reigns over His people now, while we’re in these bodies of sin and in a world of sin. But once we’re resurrected, we’ll never experience or be exposed to sin ever again. For upon our resurrection, we’ll go directly into the glorious Eternal Kingdom of the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21 & 22, where sin will be no more.