“Because Scripture says so……”
I am sure you have heard this reply when asking or hearing about some Christian point of view. The other party is adamant they are right, and you are wrong: “Because Scripture says so……,” or “Because Scripture teaches that ……,” or words to that effect.
But let’s face it, to win an argument, we have all said this and we all say this, whether or not we have in truth carried out a detailed study of the Bible, or not. What we are doing in reality, is taking the teachings we have been given and the religious traditions and rituals which we deem to be biblically true and correct, and assert that they are the result of our own study. But in truth, they almost never are.
For the last few years I have been on the receiving end of such whitewash, and have kept quiet. Not initially by choice, I must honest, but because I can never instantly remember the chapter and verse of Bible verses to quote in my defence, but mainly because I don’t want to make a public scene. Actually in one instance I prayed about it at the time and the Lord told me clearly to leave well alone and He would deal with it, since this person was under His authority. As I understood from the Lord, James 3:1 is still in operation today, saying: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others” (ISV). So I did my best to leave it to Him.
As I was reading recently this issue came again into the picture, confirming that what I had felt all along, was indeed correct. The explanation goes like this: Suppose we take a simple non-life-threatening theological concept derived from Revelation 20:4-6 which reads:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
From this, theologians have derived two separate and opposing theories or positions: “premillennial” and “amillennial.” Wikipedia says “Premillennialism” is the belief that Jesus will literally and physically be on the earth for his millennial reign, at his second coming; while “Amillennialism” is the rejection of the theory that Jesus Christ will have a thousand-year long, physical reign on the earth. There are only two views, so one is incorrect.
Now, if one asks a premillennialist why they support that position, they will undoubtedly substantiate their belief on the assertion that it is “Because Scripture says so!” Yet, the same happens to the amillennialist, for their belief too is premised on the assertion that it is “Because Scripture says so!”
One position must be wrong. Let us assume for argument’s sake it is the premillennialist position. That means that no matter what the premillennialist argument was, it was wrong and therefore could not have been truly supported by scripture as had been attested and protested. If the premillennialist position had been supported by scripture, it would not have been wrong! The premillennialist agreement, therefore, must have been supported by something other than Scripture, for the Bible has no errors and is never wrong.
Please recognise that what we have shown here is true for both the premillennial and the amillennial positions. They cannot be based on Bible Scripture alone and it is a false and intentionally misleading premise to assert that they are.
What then, was and is the true position behind the errant premillennial or amillennial position, (as the case may be), since neither can be correctly established in Scripture alone? I argue it was and is Church religious tradition and rituals which cause the problem and cause unnecessary division in the Church. It is man’s pride and desire to be better, to be more pious, to be more holy, to be more knowledgeable, which allows a differences in interpretations to split the Church unnecessarily.
I argue that it is the job of the Christian theologian and the Christian teacher to be honest and simply say: there are two available interpretations, and here they are….. saying “You pray about these and when the Holy Spirit tells you which is correct, come and tell me too, please!”
Will the holy spirit do that? Does the Holy Spirit still do that today? The answer to both in my experience is Yes, but at the time and at discretion of the Holy spirit, not usually immediately at our asking.
What I have learnt, and the purpose of this article, is to rely on my own reading of the Bible supported by the Holy Spirit and supported by others, and not to read the Bible in support of another’s theory.
Both the Amillennialists and the Premillennialists have used the Bible scripture to support their positions. As good Christians in these troubled biblical end-times, we need study the Bible diligently and take positions which support the Bible, not arguing Bible Scriptures to support our positions!
Unity is important to God. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 4:2-3, imploring them (and us) to be “forbearing one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” and saying in 4:13 “and this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
While we cannot all agree on all interpretations of the Bible all the time, I pray we will be more pragmatic and simply acknowledge and accept our differences and move forward together in Christian brother and sisterhood with love and forbearance.
Amen and Amen.