The Gospel in Joshua...The Story of Rahab By Jack Kelley It’s not what you know…
7 Ways Amillennialism Negates God’s Promises to Israel
By Jonathan C. Brentner
Although Israel miraculously emerged as a nation seventy years ago fulfilling many biblical prophecies, many today still reject the idea that God will keep His promises to restore a kingdom to His people. Those who hold to this this position, often referred to as amillennialists, see no future for Israel in God’s prophetic program.
It has long been my contention that in their quest to negate God’s promises to Israel, amillennialists glorify the church rather than Jesus. They make God’s future kingdom all about what the church does by making life better in our current world. Can you see how over time this might open the door to socialism as a way to accomplish this? This is happening today in churches with a long history of amillennialism.
This downward path, as I examined in an earlier post, begins with a discrediting of prophetic portions of God’s Word. By adopting an allegorical approach to Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel, along with that amillennialists negate God’s covenants and promises with the nation.
1. Amillennialism Negates the Abrahamic Covenant of the Land
In Genesis 15:12-21, God made a covenant with Abram regarding the Land. By causing a deep sleep to come upon the Patriarch, the Lord emphasized that the fulfillment of this promise depended solely upon Himself and not the behavior of Abram and the descendants he represented at the time.
David later referred this covenant regarding the Land, later “confirmed to Jacob,” as an “everlasting covenant to Israel” (1 Chron. 16:14-18; see also Psalm 105:8-11). Because God based it on His behavior; it exists as an “everlasting covenant” as David proclaimed.
Has Israel ever realized the fulfillment of this covenant? No! The nation has never possessed all the land the Lord promised to them in Genesis 15:018-21. This leaves us with two choices. First, God has broken His “everlasting covenant” with Abram regarding the Land. Or secondly, God’s promise to the Patriarchs still awaits a future fulfillment.
Amillennialism opts for the first alternative. However, this makes the Lord a defaulter on His solemn covenant with the patriarchs, does it not? And besides that, If He can renege on His promises to the likes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, what does that say about His unconditional promises to us?
2. Amillennialism Repudiates the Davidic Covenant
Amillennialism repudiates the Lord’s covenant with King David. In speaking of Solomon, God promised to “establish the throne of his kingdom forever’ (2 Sam. 7:13). We see from David’s prayer in response to God’s promises that the king regarded the covenant as permanent; as something that would “continue forever” (1 Chron. 17:20-27).
We also see this covenant reiterated in the words of Isaiah as he promised that the Messiah would someday rule from “the throne of David” (Isa. 9:6-7) and again as the prophet later wrote that a “shoot from the stem of Jesse” would someday rule as king over all of the earth (11:1-5).
The angel Gabriel, when announcing the birth of Jesus, reiterated the promises of the Davidic covenant to Mary, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). This is not a reference to Christ’s headship over the church, but to His reign as King over Israel.
Scripture nowhere repudiates the Davidic covenant; it remains in effect!
3. Amillennialism Contradicts Many Old Testament Prophecies Regarding Israel
In order to deny a future kingdom for Israel with Jesus seated on the throne of David, the Lord must renege on countless promises in the Old Testament regarding the restoration of a kingdom to Israel. Yes, amillennialists apply these prophecies spiritually to the church. However, this attempt fails to recognize the specificity of the promises of a kingdom to Israel as well as the large volume of passages that speak to the restoration of Israel.
And, they overlook the literal and precise way of how Jesus fulfilled the prophesies regarding His first coming.
4. Amillennialism Disavows Jesus’ Assurance to His Disciples
In Acts 1:6 the disciples asked this question of Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel.” At this point, they clearly believed the Old Testament prophecies regarding a future kingdom for the Israelites. If this was no longer the case, would not Jesus have made it clear to them?
His response, however, does not deny their underlying assumption of a restored kingdom for Israel, but rather Jesus simply tells them their timing is wrong, “It is not for you to know times and seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7). The Lord then turned their attention to the current task at hand: that of proclaiming the Gospel to the nations.
If, as the amillennialists assume, God had already rejected Israel, why did Jesus not make this clear to His closest followers? Why did He ascend back to heaven with the disciples still clinging to the hope of a restored kingdom for Israel?
After listening to Jesus teach about the kingdom for the forty days after His resurrection, surely the disciples had a firm basis for assuming the Lord would someday restore a kingdom to Israel.
5. Amillennialism Refutes the Father’s Promise to the Son
In Psalm 2:8, the Father makes this promise to the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends if the earth your possession.” Yes, Jesus will reign forever over the earth in the eternal state after sin and death have been forever vanquished. However, Psalm 2 makes it clear that sin exists during this time of the Son’s dominion on the earth, something not seen in Revelation 21-22.
Zechariah 14:9-19 clearly pictures Jesus reigning over the entire earth at a time with nations are capable of rebelling against the Lord.
In Psalm 2 and in other passages, the Old Testament pictures a time with Christ reigning over the nations of the world before sin and death are eradicated in the eternal state. This fits perfectly with the thousand year reign of Jesus in Revelation 20:1-15 followed by the destruction of Satan, the White Throne judgment, and the eternal state where sin and death no longer exist.
6. Amillennialism Discredits God’s Character
In the midst of proving that the Lord has not rejected Israel, the apostle Paul makes this statement in Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God called out a people with eternal, sovereign purposes. God will not be remiss in His calling of Israel as His people; it’s an “irrevocable” call.
The claim that God has now rejected Israel makes God a failure in His sovereign purposes regarding Israel. It casts dispersion upon God’s character, upon His faithfulness to His people.
I know that many will shriek at my above assertions and in response many will attack me. However, God does not fall short on any of His purposes and that includes His eternal design for Israel as demonstrated through His covenants and large sections of the Old Testament dealing with His intent to restore a kingdom to Israel.
Though some will strongly disagree with me here, I believe I have a solid Scriptural basis for my stand. After all, the apostle Paul expressed shock and great dismay that anyone would say God had rejected Israel (Rom. 11:1-7).
7. Amillennialism Ignores the Miracle of Israel’s Rebirth as a Nation
Irenaeus (140 – 202 AD) wrote about Israel’s future rebirth as a nation is his work Against Heresies. In the eighteenth century, Isaac Newton wrote copious notes about a time when God would again restore Israel as a viable nation. Premillennialists from the beginning of the second century AD have predicted the rebirth of Israel, even during times when such an idea seemed utterly impossible and preposterous.
This great miracle occurred in May of 1948 when the modern state of Israel came into existence. Only God could take a people who existed without a homeland for over 2,000 years and again make them a prosperous nation as they are today. Just as Ezekiel predicted in the sixth century BC, against all imaginable odds Israel now exists as a people with a land (Ezek. 37:1-14).
And, as Zechariah tells us, someday they will recognize that One they pierced is indeed their true Messiah (Zech. 12:10-13:1).
I believe the miraculous restoration of the nation of Israel on the land God promised to Patriarchs so long ago flies in the face of all claims that God has rejected Israel. This is not a matter of basing theology on experience, but of recognizing the Lord’s hand in fulfilling prophecy, in keeping His promises.
I reject amillennialism because it negates the Lord’s promises to His people and calls into question His character as a covenant-keeping God. It also overlooks the work of God in fulfilling many prophecies right before our eyes.