06. The Danger of Denying the Literal Thousand Year Kingdom

     The early reformers never totally freed themselves from the allegorical method of Origen and from the church/kingdom concept of Augustine.  Most Reformed theologians are still entrapped and crippled by these approaches to the prophetic word.  In contrast, the dispensational approach insists that Biblical prophecies be interpreted in their plain, obvious and normal sense.

Reformed theologians also teach a general resurrection at the end of the age and  a general judgment. They understand that all men, saved and unsaved, are raised up at the last day and all are judged.  In contrast to this the Bible teaches that there are several different judgments which take place at different times, and two resurrections (one for the unjust and one for the just) separated by a thousand years. See the following study: “Discerning Between the Two Comings of Christ, the Five Judgments and the Two Resurrections” (Chapter 13 in our notes entitled Shedding Light on Dispensations).

Harry Bultema (1884-1952) pastored Christian Reformed churches in Iowa and Michigan.  He was a Reformed theologian but in his study of prophecy he came to realize that the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, did not teach one general resurrection.  He published his findings in his book Maranatha–A Study of Unfulfilled Prophecy.   This book was republished by Kregel Publications in 1985 (it was originally published in the Dutch language).  His discussion on the first resurrection is very insightful and more detailed than most of the writings of dispensationalists who treat this subject.  Bultema also has a fascinating chapter entitled “From the Reformation to the Present” where he identifies the men who were Chiliasts (or Premillennialists), including many of the Reformed persuasion.

     See our paper entitled Comparison Between the Present Age, the Millennium and the Eternal State (10¢), What the Bible Teaches Concerning the Rapture (50¢) and our set of notes entitled, Prophecy–Preview of Coming Events ($1.50). Recommended books:  The Greatness of the Kingdom (Alva Mc­Clain), The Theocratic Kingdom (George Peters), The Basis of the Premil­lennial Faith (Charles Ryrie), Millennialism (Charles Feinberg) and The Interpretation of Prophecy (Paul Lee Tan).