Premillennialists are not consistently literal as they claim to be. Shame on them!
After reading this article, Premillennialists will adapt their views in one of 3 ways...
- They will stop claiming their view is literal when it is clearly not, or
- They will accept my view, a strictly literalmodified form of Amillennialism,or
- They will accept standard Amillennialism is based on an allegoricalmethodology of interpretation.
End Time Prophecy Leads to Rome | The Kingdom of Israel
Revelation 20:1-7 is packed with images. Even though premillennialists claim to interpret the Bible literally, their literalness is very selective; some words and phrases are interpreted literally and others figuratively. This is nowhere more apparent than this passage.
Here is a breakdown of the key phrases and words in this passage and whether premillennialists interpret them figuratively or literally...
Only this one image is interpreted literally...
- 1,000 years— the duration of the millennium
All the other images are interpreted figuratively (but since premillennialists claim to use literal interpretation, these should be interpreted literally)...
- Great chain — presumably made of iron?
- Key — a physical key?
- Abyss(prison) — isn't this a figurative term meaning a place of imprisonment for fallen angels and demons?
- Satan bound — a figurative expression meaning that Satan's activities are restricted. He is not literally bound by a chain.
- Locked and sealed the abyss— implies a literal door or opening which can be physically blocked.
- Image of the beast — literal?
- Mark of the beast on their foreheads or hands. Premillennialists often claim this refers to an electronic bar code embedded within someone's skin, but the word "mark" doesn't literally mean this.
- Beast — from other chapters in the book we learn this word is used figuratively.
- Thrones — are there really physical thrones from which these unspecified people or angels judge?
- Souls who were beheaded — how can a soul have a head? unless the word is used figuratively for a person.
- Beheaded — does this really mean beheaded, or is it a figure of speech referring to any kind of killing?
This image is interpreted figuratively by premillennialists, and the text explicitly interprets it this way...
- Dragon, the ancient serpent who is the Devil, or Satan
What justification can there be for interpreting the phrase 1,000 yearsliterally when just about everything else in this passage is figurative — and this according to premillennialists themselves?
Interpreted figuratively by premillennialists
- I will create new heavens and a new earth — the passage (verse 17) starts off with this line.
- I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy — the next line (verse 18) is interpreted to refer to the millennium with no hint at a transition in the text. A literal interpretation would consider this as referring to the new heavens and new earth.In this case amillennialism is literal but premillennialism is figurative.
Interpreting the following lines from Isaiah 65 literally leads to contradictions:
- He who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth — implying that:
- People will live to be hundreds of years old
- Some people will die at a hundred years old
- At a hundred years old a person will still be called a mere youth (does this mean they will be too young to marry at a hundred and that their bodies will still be growing?)
- He who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed — implying that some people will die even before a hundred years old.
- Never again will there be an old man who does not live out his years — but wait, the previous statements explicitly say some will die at a hundred years old or younger. This would mean that before a person reaches the age of one hundred years old there is a chance they might die. But after that age they will not die until they have reached a full lifespan for an old person. This is a weird side-effect of interpreting this passage as strictly literal.
A more consistent interpretation would be that this passage is figurative. It lists things considered to be curse in this world and negates them, and mentions things we would wish for in this world and affirms them.
Premillennialists don't apply the literal method of interpretation to the following passage. It is usually interpreted figuratively with the weapons listed as modern weapons of war.
Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up — the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. (Ezekiel 39:9)
The following passage from Isaiah 9:7 is usually interpreted figuratively by premillennialists:
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. (Isaiah 9:7)
The word forever is usually interpreted to mean until the second coming. But this is not a literal interpretation. In fact, this phrase can't be interpreted literally because:
(1) The phrase "David's throne" is assumed to be a literal, earthy, political throne, and since the world will end some day, the throne (and its power and authority) will also end.
(2) Even the phrase David's throne is figurative since the throne of David ended a long time ago.
(3) Even if we assume that Christ as David's descendant will someday rule, it will not be from David's throne.
(4) And using the word throne to refer to a kingdom very different in character from the kingdom that David ruled is figurative, not literal.
The premillennial viewpoint is not based on a consistently literal method of interpretation, but rather is selectively literal and selectively figurative. But how are we to decide which words and phrases should be interpreted literally and which ones figuratively? There needs to be an overarching principle to provide this answer but there is none.
The standard amillennial viewpoint is consistent in its approach by emphasizing the New Testament writers' interpretations of the Old Testamentand basing other interpretations on these.
My view of modified Amillennialism is strictly literal.