The Doctrine of the Millennium Part II: Spiritual Life in the Millennium -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 115:458 (Apr 1958)
Article: The Doctrine of the Millennium Part II: Spiritual Life in the Millennium
Author: John F. Walvoord

The Doctrine of the Millennium
Part II:
Spiritual Life in the Millennium

John F. Walvoord

One of the objections frequently raised against the doctrine of the millennium is that it substitutes a materialistic and earthly kingdom for one which is primarily spiritual. Augustine, for instance, is cited as one who forsook millennialism because of its alleged carnal and sensuous character. Amillenarians frequently attempt to refute premillennial doctrine by evidence that the kingdom introduced by Jesus was a spiritual kingdom. Oswald T. Allis, for instance, writes: “The Kingdom announced by John and by Jesus was primarily and essentially a moral and spiritual kingdom” (Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 70). He goes on to say: “…from the very outset Jesus not merely gave no encouragement to, but quite definitely opposed, the expectation of the Jews that an earthly, Jewish kingdom of glory, such as David had established centuries before, was about to be set up” (ibid., p. 71).

In answer to this common objection, premillenarians first of all concede that there is a present spiritual kingdom, a rule of God existing now in the hearts of men who are willingly obedient to God. To this kingdom every Christian in the present dispensation belongs. This kingdom, however, is to be

contrasted to the future millennial kingdom, not by the demonstration that the future kingdom is devoid of spirituality, but rather by the fact that its spirituality is expressed in a special way, namely, the rule of Christ on earth with many accompanying special features of spiritual life and activity. Instead of a carnal and materialistic concept of the kingdom, the Scriptural description of the millennium presents a rule of God fulfilling the highest standards of spirituality.

The glorious presence of Christ in the millennium. Of central importance in the spiritual life of the millennial kingdom is the fact that Christ in His glorious person will be present and visible in the world during this period. This was the burden of Old Testament prophecy according to Peter: “…who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them” (1 Pet 1:10–11). The glories that were predicted to follow are not only that glory which is Christ’s in heaven but that which is manifested to the earth at His second advent. It is stated also in Matthew: “…then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the cl...

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