I thought I would take some time and look at some errors of which are found in the end time teachings which are commonly called “Premillennialism”. This teaching is common among Western Evangelicals and often involves some sort of “rapture”.
1 )It Attacks Some of Christ’s Redemptive Work
One of the notable achievements of Christ’s redemptive work was to break down the middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:14). Judaistic Premillennialists attempt to prove that this wall will again be raised. By perpetuating the distinction between Jews and Gentiles, they deny this accomplishment of Christ either completely or as being temporary in nature. It is well nigh incredible that Christians do this, but the facts cannot be denied.
The work of Christ also abolished the law. In order for Christ to become our high priest, the Mosaic law had to be set aside. The main reason for this is that the law confined this office to descendents of Levi and Aaron, whereas Christ was from Judah (Heb. 7:11-14). A restoration of the law of Moses and its animal sacrifices, as many Premillennialists teach, is another very serious attack on the redemptive work of Christ, and His continuing high priesthood.
2)It Makes the New Covenant Future with the Jews
The eternal priesthood of Christ and our salvation are closely related to the new covenant. Dispensationalists and many other Premillennialists deny that Christ established the new covenant of Jeremiah 31 at His first advent. But the law of Moses was set aside in order for Christ to become our high priest. And the law of Moses is the heart of the old covenant. This means that the old covenant was abolished. Then either the new covenant was established at Christ’s first advent, or we Christians are operating without a covenant.
3) It Exalts the Old Testament Above the New Testament
That Premillennialism depends too much on the Old Testament is recognized by most. But this is the reverse of what is proper and correct. The New Testament is a fuller, more complete revelation than the Old. The New explains the Old. The Old is full of types and shadows (Heb. 8:5), whereas the New contains the realities. If Old Testament prophecies are explained in the New Testament, the explanation given in the New Testament takes precedence over any interpretation one might consider or give to the Old Testament record. But Premillennialists often refuse to accept New Testament interpretations. They continue to insist that their interpretation of Old Testament prophecy is correct, even when the New Testament says otherwise.
The following are but a few of the many examples which could be cited in this connection. Amos prophesied that at some future time the “tabernacle of David” would be raised up (Amos 9:11-12). James clearly interprets this as applying to the Gentile converts which were accepting Christ through the labors of Paul and others (Acts 15:13-18). But Premillennialists refuse to accept this plain statement by James, placed in the Bible by inspiration. By one means or another, it is claimed that it applies to a future age.
Dispensationalists and many other Premillennialists refuse to accept the New Testament teaching that the Abrahamic covenant has its fulfillment in Christ, rather than through those who are racial descendents of Abraham and Jacob. Paul contends, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). According to this inspired statement, individual descendents of Abraham have no promise based solely on their descent from Abraham. The promise is to Christ. Thus, only as one believes into Christ does the promise take him in. Unbelieving Jews have no promise.
Premillennialists are likely to be literalists, but the Bible itself, and the New Testament in particular, spiritualizes the Abrahamic covenant. Paul argues that there is no longer “Jew nor Greek, … And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:28-29). Those who attempt to maintain the Old Testament distinction between Jews and Gentiles do so at the expense of denying or twisting the intent of New Testament inspiration. A Gentile Christian is just as much a descendent of Abraham, insofar as God is concerned, as those who are genetically descended from Abraham.
This leads to the further conclusion that the Church is the Israel of the New Testament.
4) It Reflects on the Importance of the Church
Dispensationalists contend that the Church is an after-thought of God. They say that no Old Testament prophecy foretold of the Church, and that God instituted it because Christ was unable to establish an earthly kingdom during His first advent. This makes the Church a substitute for what God really wanted. Other Premillennialists may not reflect on the Church quite to this degree, but there is a tendency to exalt the millennium age above the Church age. To show that the Old Testament does speak of the Church, two passages which have been discussed in this chapter are again mentioned.
Chapters 8-9-10 of the Hebrews epistle definitely state that the new covenant of Jeremiah 31 was functioning at the time that letter was written. It was Christian believers who were receiving the sanctifying grace made possible by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. This does indeed speak of the Church. Therefore, when Jeremiah prophesied of the new covenant, he was prophesying of the Church. The prophecy of Amos regarding the raising up of the tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11) does refer to the activity of the Church according to the New Testament (Acts 15:13-17).
In the New Testament, the fact that Jesus died for the Church (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27) is some indication of its importance to God and Christ. Christ died for no other institution. For this reason no other institution can have the meaning to God that the Church does. But all Premillennialism causes the Church to stand in the shadow of the so-called millennium. This is not the way it should be. Any doctrine that reflects on the Church is reflecting on Christ’s prized possession—His bride.