In my previous blog I addressed the issue concerning how numbers are to be understood in prophetic and apocalyptic literature. There is also the issue of how symbols are to be understood as well, and I will address that as I review the book of Revelation and Matthew 24-25 in future blog posts.
In my first blog post, I briefly touched on the issue of the Millennial Reign of Christ and how it only appears in Revelation 20 and nowhere else in scripture. In fact, you cannot build doctrine based upon one passage of scripture as is the case by dispensationalists when it comes to the Millennial Reign of Christ. This inevitably led me to question whether the Millennial Reign will literally take place in the future, or is the Millennial Reign symbolic and/or spiritual? In my quest to find the Millennial Reign mentioned in other scriptures besides Revelation 20, I noted that throughout the New Testament, references were made to “this age” and “the age to come”. So I thought, well, let’s start there. I found the following references:
Matthew 12:32 – Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. Please note that these words were spoken by Jesus.
Mark 10:30 (and the parallel Luke 18:30) – but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. Again, words spoken by Jesus.
Note that Jesus never mentioned another age sandwiched in between the present age and the age to come. And further note that in the age to come, there is eternal life – that sinless state that is often referred to as the “new heaven and the new earth” in Rev 21-22. You would think that Jesus would have clearly stated that there were three ages – the present age, His millennial reign, and the eternal state – not only here in these two passages, but elsewhere throughout the New Testament scriptures, such as in:
Ephesians 1:21 – far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Spoken by Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.)
Ah, you are ready to jump me over Matthew 24, right? Let’s take a look at that verse:
Matthew 24:3 – As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
In the previous verse, Jesus mentioned the destruction of the temple. And the disciples were obviously perplexed and asked Jesus for further clarification, hence the question. This was prior to the cross and the disciples still had the mistaken view held by the Jews at that time for an expectation of a conquering non-divine Messiah that will destroy all powers and institute a golden age of rule. It wasn’t until after Pentecost that the disciples better understood the teachings of Christ, under the inspiration of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. In light of this, the above question is answered by Jesus, but not in the way that they expected: Jesus spoke about the current age in verses 4 to 35 and the age to come in verses 36 to 51. You may be saying “What? No way! You are dead wrong Jenny!” right now. However, I am asking you to be patient and read what I document concerning this issue when I review Matthew 24 and 25 in future blog posts, since these two chapters are the most cited by dispensationalists other than the book of Revelation. Again, no mention of a literal 1000 year reign of Christ in Matthew 24 or 25.
There are other verses that mention characteristics of the two ages:
Mark 10:29-30 (parallel Luke 18:29-30) – those who forsake family or work for the sake of Christ and His gospel will receive hundredfold in this present age as well as persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
Luke 20:34-35 – in this age people are given in marriage; in the age to come, there will be no marriage.
1 Cor 1:18-25 – God has made foolish the wisdom of the world in this age.
1 Cor 2:6-8 – the wisdom and rulers of this age are coming to nothing.
Gal 1:4 – Jesus gave of himself to rescue us from the present evil age.
2 Cor 4:4 – Satan is the god of this age.
So, in the present age, we see that good and evil are present. But in the age to come, there is only good – no more sin is present (Rev 21-22). So, if that’s the case, where would the dispensationalist place the literal 1000 year reign of Christ? You can’t place it in the age to come – that’s eternal life and no more sin. And if there’s only two ages and the second age is sinless, but according to dispensationalists, there will be sin during the millennial reign of Christ, the dispensationalist MUST place it in the present age where good and evil abound. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that there is no separate age for the millennial reign of Christ. The scriptures indicate that there are only TWO ages – the present age and the age to come. I could not find any reference to a millennial age between the present age and the age to come in any scriptures.
Mind-blowing. This was a major shock for me and was, without exaggeration, the first big cry I experienced. How could dispensationalists consistently ignore these scriptures in terms of the different ages? In fact, I fought over this concept with myself for quite a while, before coming to the realization that scriptures don’t lie…we do, when we overlook, ignore or misinterpret the scriptures – we lie to ourselves and boy, did I…big time…
There’s one more aspect to look at – if there is no separate age for the millennial reign of Christ and by necessity I must place the millennial reign of Christ in this present age, where would I place it? That question led me to look at what the scriptures tell me concerning what OCCURS during the end of this present age.
And I will explore that in my next blog post. I pray that you will join me in my quest of discovery.