The Kingdom of Israel

Amillennialism is not accepted by many denominations but even so, there are plenty of amillennialist theologians. It is common in the Reformed Tradition, and within Covenant Theology, and is the official viewpoint of the Catholic Church.

Augustine was an amillennialist (some have interpreted his writings as postmillennial but they are clearly amillennial).

This viewpoint has problems(as all end times prophecy viewpoints do) which I note.

Although I am an amillennialist, my view is a modified versionbased on a strictly literal interpretation.

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The problems with amillennialism fall into the following general categories...

(I should mention: I don't see these as problems, but I'm documenting what others consider to be problems. Regarding the first point, there is a good reason to interpret the passages allegorically— because the New Testament writers interpret the passages in this way.Regarding the second point, I don't believe the book of Revelation is discussing a great tribulation of the kind that premillennialists envision).

Update September 8, 2013: Since originally writing this article I've adopted a strictly literalmethodology of Bible interpretation. I claim the 1,000 yearsof Revelation 20 is the time from the Resurrection of Jesus to the great schismbetween eastern and western Christendom in 1054 A.D.

Problems with Amillennialism

Augustine's Viewpoint

The following excerpts are from Augustine's book entitled "City of God," Book XX, Chapters 7 and 9. The following passage in Chapter 7 clearly shows Augustine's end-time viewpoint as being amillennial (the 1,000 yearmillennium of Revelation 20 is spiritual, not carnal).

Note that Augustine is using the name "Millenarians" (and "Chiliasts") to refer to those who believe that the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 are inhabited by those who were bodily resurrected. But he would not object if the joys in the millennium were spiritual instead of carnal — in fact, he too used to believe that.

Note that he also observes that those Millenarians believe that the first resurrection is future (as opposed to a spiritual reality in the present as amillennialism claims).

For the Apostle John says in the foresaid book, "And I saw an angel come down from heaven. . . . 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."

Those who, on the strength of this passage, have suspected that the first resurrection is future and bodily, have been moved, among other things, specially by the number of a thousand years, as if it were a fit thing that the saints should thus enjoy a kind of Sabbath-rest during that period, a holy leisure after the labors of the six thousand years since man was created, and was on account of his great sin dismissed from the blessedness of paradise into the woes of this mortal life, so that thus, as it is written, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years,and a thousand years as one day," there should follow on the completion of six thousand years, as of six days, a kind of seventh-day Sabbath in the succeeding thousand years; and that it is for this purpose the saints rise, viz., to celebrate this Sabbath.

And. this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints in that Sabbath shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God; for I myself, too, once held this opinion.

But, as they assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only to shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal.

They who do believe them are called by the spiritual Chiliasts, which we may literally reproduce by the name Millenarians.

In the following passage in Chapter 7 (a continuation of the previous) Augustine offers two suggestions about how we are to interpret the 1,000 yearsof Revelation 20 symbolically.

Now the thousand years may be understood in two ways, so far as occurs to me: (1) either because these things happen in the sixth thousand of years or sixth millennium (the latter part of which is now passing), as if during the sixth day, which is to be followed by a Sabbath which has no evening, the endless rest of the saints, so that, speaking of a part under the name of the whole, he calls the last part of the millennium — the part, that is, which had yet to expire before the end of the world — a thousand years; or (2) he used the thousand years as an equivalent for the whole duration of this world, employing the number of perfection to mark the fullness of time.

Note also that Augustine believed that when he was alive (in the 4th century) that it had already been between 5,000 and 6,000 years since Adam was created. Augustine, therefore, would have expected the second coming of Christ to occur no later than 1,400 A.D. But, of course, that didn't happen. The idea that human history will last 6,000 yearsis a flawed idea and has contributed to much misunderstanding concerning the millennium.

In Chapter 9 Augustine makes a statement which cannot be interpreted to mean anything other than the amillennial view.

But while the devil is bound, the saints reign with Christ during the same thousand years, understood in the same way, that is, of the time of His first coming. For, leaving out of account that kingdom concerning which He shall say in the end, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you," the Church could not now be called His kingdom or the kingdom of heaven unless His saints were even now reigning with Him, though in another and far different way; for to His saints He says, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."