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Putting the millennial ‘cart’ before the Rider of the white ‘horse’

By StefyMante via Wikimedia Commons

By StefyMante via Wikimedia Commons

Many mainstream Pentecostal and charismatic Christians who have just started to follow the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation are in for a big surprise: their end-time views are about to be turned upside down. Specifically, they will have to stop waiting for Christ to return and start working to set up God’s kingdom themselves–before Christ returns.

What do I mean?

Historically, most Pentecostals and charismatics have been “premillennialists.” This fancy theological word simply means they believe that Christ will return to earth first and then, only after He returns, will He will set up the millennial kingdom. The fact that most Pentecostals and charismatics believe that way is because this is the order of events presented in the Book of Revelation–starting in Revelation 19:11 with a vision of Christ returning on a white horse, followed in Revelation 20 with the binding of Satan and the establishment of the kingdom. But the NAR apostles and prophets reverse this order.

The End Time as Taught by NAR Leaders

But this end-time view doesn’t mesh with the view that is taught by the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), including such notables as Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner and Bill Hamon.

According to these apostles and prophets, it is the task of the church–under their divinely appointed leadership–to take dominion of the earth now. This dominionist teaching goes hand-in-hand with another view of the end time known as “postmillennialism”–which teaches that the church will eventually Christianize the world and usher in God’s kingdom before Christ’s return.

In fact, this “kingdom now” teaching–as dominionism is commonly called–is part of the huge appeal of the NAR, which portrays conventional evangelicalism as lazy-boned, irrelevant and impotent. The NAR leaders, in contrast, promise to put power in the hands of their followers–that is, power to take control of the governments and cultures of the nations. And, to give their followers credit, the NAR also appeals to more noble desires to right the world’s wrongs and solve the problems that plague humanity, such as poverty and injustice. However, the error lies in their disregard for Scripture’s ordering of events.

Why This Stuff Matters

This change in end-time views–as NAR leaders seek to portray it–is from one of helpless waiting to empowered establishing. And the change does not just involve theoretical, pie-in-the-sky beliefs. This stuff really matters. What people believe about the end time will make a huge difference in how they lives their lives. Thus, NAR teachings present a fork in the road–that is, a choice between faithfully preaching the gospel of salvation from sin or going about the business of taking dominion.

Yet, for some people, the change won’t be a big shift. After all, some people have never really formed their own views of the end time, and so it will be easier for them to accept the NAR teaching that they are supposed to set up God’s earthly kingdom. Yet, a major shift will be required for those people who have already become convinced that Christ will return first.

NAR Leaders Teach Postmillennialism–Overtly and Covertly

Some NAR leaders are overt in their kingdom now beliefs. For example, Martin Trench–co-author of the book Victorious Eschatology–states directly that he embraces postmillennialism.

But other NAR leaders are not so overt. C. Peter Wagner–one of the movement’s most influential apostles–never states explicitly that he holds to postmillennialism. Nonetheless, the view he describes in his books appears to be  exactly that. This can be seen from what he has written about the arrival of God’s kingdom prior to Christ’s return:

Seriously, I will confess that up until recently I knew what eschatology I did not believe–namely, the traditional Left Behind futuristic view–but I was not able to verbalize what I actually did believe. My changing point came when I read Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench. Victorious eschatology fits dominion theology like a hand in a glove. Eberle and Trench say, ‘Before Jesus returns, the Church will rise in glory, unity, and maturity. The Kingdom of God will grow and advance until it fills the Earth.'” (Dominion!, page 61)

And other NAR leaders muddle their views even more than Wagner does. They claim that they are still premillennialists and that somehow their NAR teachings can be reconciled with premillennialism. For example, Mike Bickle–the founder of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri–teaches his own NAR variety of premillennialism that he calls “historic premillennialism.” Actually, Bickle’s use of the term “historic premillennialism” is misleading as his teaching does not accurately reflect historic premillennialism. Rather, it is more of a hybrid of postmillennial and premillennial views–and the result looks much more like postmillennialism. See Bickle’s odd hybrid teaching here. Yet I don’t believe NAR teachings can be reconciled with premillennialism, no matter how hard the Mike Bickle’s of the NAR world might try to reconcile these views. But I will have to say more about this in a future post.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

For the time being, however, it seems that many followers of NAR apostles and prophets have yet to see the incompatibility between their long-held premillennial views and the evolving postmillennial teachings of the apostles and prophets. I wonder what will happen when they do see it. Will their loyalty to the NAR apostles and prophets be so blind that they will be willing to reverse the clear order of events in Revelation and–to make wordplay on a popular metaphor–put the “cart” of the millennial kingdom before the Rider of the white “horse”?

— Holly Pivec

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6 Responses to “Putting the millennial ‘cart’ before the Rider of the white ‘horse’”

  1. Peter Says:

    Hi Holly,
    This is the first time on your site, as I was directed here via the deceptioninthechurch link. I am completely on-side with you as far as the NAR stuff is concerned. However, I am having a little bit of disagreement with your view of eschatology, insofar as it espouses that pre-millenialism is in the category of “the spirit of error”. In all my hours of searching the web, I have never come across an adamant view that pre-millenialism is the orthodox position, and other views are outright heresy. (If I am mistaken in my conclusion – forgive me). With all due respect, I think the differing views of the millennium are up for discussion – and of the various choices, only one can be the correct view. I would say, though, that if one finds themselves holding to one of the other views, I don’t think that puts them in the position of being a false teacher, a cultist or the anti-christ. I just think that means that they are wrong – but having the wrong theology (in this category) does not affect their right standing with God.
    I don’t have a post-millenial viewpoint myself, but there are some serious questions that the pre-millenial position must answer. Ie. What happens at the end of Christ’s millennial  rule in Revelation 20? According to Rev 20:7-10, Satan is released from the abyss and sets about deceiving the nations, which have already been judged in Rev 19:15. Satan organizes them for battle against the camp of God’s people, then fire comes down from heaven and consumes the rebels along with the devil who deceived them. But who are these people who are deceived by Satan, who then revolt against God, only to be consumed by fire from heaven? Premillennialism says that one group of people on earth during the millennial age are the redeemed. No one believes that it is possible for such people who have been raised from the dead in the general resurrection, and who are now glorified, to participate in a revolt against God.  It would seem that (according to premillennialism) the millennium is a period in which people who have been raised from the dead and who now live on the earth in resurrected bodies coexist with people who have not been raised from the dead and who remain in the flesh. How can this be? Where does Scripture teach about such a mixture of resurrected and un-resurrected individuals? The New Testament writers all anticipated the final consummation to occur at the time of the second Advent. They do not anticipate the halfway step of an earthly millennium before the final consummation, such as that associated with all forms of premillennialism.
    For lack of space and time, I will not go into other inconsistencies and impossibilities with premillennialism. However, my point is that there are many holes that can be poked into this doctrinal position. That being said, I am failing to see how you can proclaim it as truth and all others as false. To do so, is to be dogmatic about something that I believe is false.
    Where then, do we go from here?  No wonder James said that teachers will be judged mored strictly. Best to be careful about how we present our doctrinal positions. I think we can afford to be confident about some things such as the trinity, the deity of Jesus and the resurrection etc., as well as definite error in the church – such as dominionism (as you do a good job of exposing), but a lot of good people are on each side of the millennial debate.

    Peter

  2. Paul Says:

    Hi Peter, Matthew 25 is giving us alot about the millennial kingdom. The sheep nations are the ones that will go in to inherite the earth. Onlt saved nations will be there. Many people will have kids during that time. During the thousand year reign many will not accept the rules that Christ sets up,kids that is , and is why He will have rule them with a rod of Iron. Hold back the rain and deal out punishment. Out of these children, Is who the devil gethers at the end of the 1000 year reign.This shows the depravety of man. Even when Christ is on earth, there will still be rebellion. But this is what will happen, Rature first, seven years of Tribulation, Daniel 9:27, middle of the tribulation antichrist breaks the covenent with many and Rev.12 the devil and his demons are cast out of heaven by Michial the arch angel to the earth and the time of Jacob,s trouble will begin. Last half of the tribulation. Christ will return Bodily to set up His kingdom and defeat the antichrist at the battle of Armageddon.Rev.1. Second coming.Every eye shall see Him. Not at the Rature. I hope this helps. In Christs service, paul Moody.

  3. Mark Says:

    Hi
    I have neither one view or another as pre or post but this view, “when the Son of Man returns will He find faith on the earth?”

    I need to be found of faith,obeying and waiting for my Lord. Whether that means shackled in a dungeon or sitting at my desk or in midst of being “taken up”.

    I need to be watching for HIM,
    every moment and every second of the day.

    It is about personal responsibilty and accountability to Him. How and where it happens in my circumstances remains to be seen.

  4. paroikos Says:

    Peter asked some valid questions which were poorly answered by Paul–who describes a  Millennium which is a nest of  roiling depravity held back by the authoritarian, non-permissive “reign” of Christ Jesus. Paul’s  “Golden Age” is, in fact, no different from the world in which we now live. Scripture, however,  says absolutely nothing about a Millennium of dealing out punishment to the ”depraved children” of resurrected, righteous saints. The teaching that  the Saviour (who defeated Satan at Calvary and was resurrected to Glory) will have to endure the failure of His divine 1000-year rule over mankind, is a  vile denial of the plain truth: that He will return “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2 Thess. 1:8-10).” The Pre-Millennialist fantasy  rejects the absolute finality of His vengeance on that day.

  5. Victoria Bingham Says:

    I am writing to amen Mark’s letter.
    Indeed, the best place to be found when Christ returns to gather his church is ‘in faith’, which can be best defined by carrying out whatever he directed us to do in our personal ministry of reconciliation in the body of Christ, and cease from what Paul described as ‘contentions and strivings about the law’.  

  6. Lance Wonders Says:

    Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? by Tom Ice and Wayne House or Crucial Questions About the Kingdom of God by George Eldon Ladd are good places to start for more in-depth study of what Scripture has to say about the sequence of our Lord’s return and the advent of the Millennial Kingdom.  In answer to two of the questions among the responses here to Holly, (1) Jesus spent 40 days walking the earth with the disciples — at one point with 500 of them at once, according to Paul in I Cor. 15 — “intermingling” His own resurrection humanity at that point with the disciples’ “natural life”, without apparently any problems occurring!  What is the issue, then, with remnants of the nations inheriting the final phase of human history under the Risen Lordship of Jesus Christ, along with the co-rule of resurrected saints, for a longer period of time?  “The Day of the Lord” does bring judgment, then restoration and “peace on earth good will among men” and “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” for 1000 years, followed by the Final Judgment of all things and the eternal New Heavens and New Earth.  A day with the Lord is as a thousand years…. (2) Satan is bound throughout this time-frame.  Not “total sanctification” but real, demonstrable obedience and therefore a true “golden age” on earth will then be possible during that time. vindicating the Lord’s call for fidelity during both the Old and New Testament eras, and demonstrating high levels of glory as a result.  The ultimate, yes, comes afterwards; but the 1000 years does “prove God’s point” as to what could and should have occurred among us earlier!  God completes what He starts, this “covenant” will not be forsaken without first being fulfilled to the Father’s own glory!  — LW

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