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As a subscriber and reader of the Standard Bearer magazine, I have read with interest your various articles on the errors of premillennialism as opposed to the truth of amillennialism. In this regard I enclose a pamphlet published some years ago entitled “Amillennialism Examined” by David McAllister, at that time a Brethren missionary in Zambia. He is now editor of Assembly Testimony magazine, which is published by the Brethren denomination, they being staunch adherents of premillennialism, as doubtless you know.

In this pamphlet he takes amillennialism to task, believing it to be contrary to the Bible. I thought you would like to have this. I have Rev. Angus Stewart’s “Covenant Reformed News” and am in contact with him from time to time. I have recently purchased the book Behold, I Come Quickly.

You may be interested to know that I am a member and deacon of the Gospel Standard Strict and Particular Baptists. We are completely detached from all other branches of the Baptist community and are not, as some in the PRC maintain, free-will Arminians nor Dispensationalists. We would subscribe to the five points of Calvinism.

One of our chapels (we use that term in preference to churches) is located (or should I say three) in the USA.

I leave with you. May the Lord be pleased to continue to grant to you His presence and help in the labor of love in which He has placed you until He comes or calls.

Lance Y. Morley

United Kingdom

 

Response:

With regard to the booklet, “Amillennialism Examined,” by David McAllister, that you sent me (which, I understand, is not your own theology), it is the standard premillennial and dispensational attack on amillennialism, and defense of itself.

All of its content I have examined in my series on the last things in the Standard Bearer. I hope that you have forwarded the series on the millennium to Mr. McAllister. If you have not, I ask that you do so.

I comment on one element of the booklet. This element, by itself, exposes premillennial dispensationalism, not merely as eschatological error, but as grievous heresy—denial of the gospel of salvation by Jesus Christ alone. This is the booklet’s defense of a future rebuilding of the Old Testament temple by the Jews for a right worship of God and, with this, a resumption of animal sacrifice (p. 29 of the booklet; all future references are to the booklet you sent me). Premillennial dispensationalism is compelled thus to interpret Ezekiel 40-48 by its insistence, fundamental to its theology, on interpreting the passage literally and by its denial that OT Israel was the type of the NT church as the spiritual kingdom of Christ.

A rebuilding of the material temple of God, even though for a restored nation of Israel, is, as such, denial of the work of Jesus Christ of building the church as the house of God, as taught in Hebrews 3:1-6 and in I Peter 2:4-10. Then to teach that in this material building there will be a resumption of animal sacrifice is, as such, denial of the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ, contrary to Hebrews 7:26-28; Hebrews 9:11-28; and the New Testament in its entirety.

That a renewed earthly priesthood is contrary to Hebrews’ teaching that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the OT priesthood, so that there can be, and may be, no earthly priesthood ministering in a material temple as a resumption of the typical service of the OT priesthood, would go without saying, were it not for premillennial dispensationalism. Hebrews 5-10 teaches nothing if it does not teach that the high priesthood of Jesus Christ fulfills the earthly priesthood of the Old Testament with all its merely earthly ministrations in and around a material building.

Reformed, indeed, Protestant, Christianity makes two additional comments that expose premillennial dispensationalism’s eschatology. First, Ezekiel 40-48 does not describe a temple service of merely “memorial” sacrifices. This is the standard dispensational dodge of the charge that resumption of animal sacrifice is a denial of the one sacrifice of Christ. Ezekiel describes sacrifices that (typically) atone for sins (see Ezek. 43:18-27; 44:11; 45:17-25; 46:12-15).

The desperate attempt to justify this resurrection of the sacrificing of animals for sin is itself condemnable. The explanation is that the sacrifices will be symbols to Israel of the death of Christ: “the system of sacrifices will continually be a memorial to them [the Jews in the coming millennium—DJE] of what the death of God’s Son has done for them. Thus, as a commemoration, they will not be inappropriate at all” (p. 29). This defense of a restoration of animal sacrifices for sin is grievous error in two respects. First, the age of animal sacrifices as symbolic (typical) of the death of Christ is over, is once-and-for-all in the past. The reality has happened. Jesus died for sin. The only way in which this sacrifice for sin, once having been accomplished, is taught and remembered is the preaching of the cross as the message of the gospel (Gal. 3:1).

The second error is that animal sacrifices as memorials to the Jews puts Israel once again back into its immaturity in the Old Testament. The true Israel of God, whether believing Jews or believing Gentiles, has grown up. It no longer lives in the age of shadows, adapted to infants. When the church (not the fundamentally different nation of Israel) was a mere child, in the Old Testament age, its members were “in bondage under the elements of the world” (Gal. 4:3). Restoring animal sacrifices, even as memorials, is a deliberate return to infancy and its bondage. It is worse, much worse, but at best it amounts to having a doctor of theology devote himself to reciting the “A, B, C’s.” The coming of Christ does not bring His people back into infancy. It takes them into maturity.

On this one, fundamental issue, namely, what dispensationalism does with the prophecy of Ezekiel 40-48 concerning a rebuilt temple and its services, premillennial dispensationalism is cross-denying heresy. By this one, fundamental doctrine alone, every Christian must conclude that premillennial dispensationalism is denial of the gospel of the cross of Christ.

The issue in the controversy that the Reformed faith has with this recent theology (dating from the nineteenth century) is not so much its false, absurd doctrine of the end-times—the church as “interim,” a rapture; and two or more comings of Christ. The issue is denial of the once-for-all redemption of the cross of Jesus Christ.  

DJE