Question: Amillennialism and the Land Promise

This question came to me via Spirit & Truth, a website I am privileged to have a part in.

Question:

Thanks very much for your TELOS series of Biblical Covenantalism. I stumbled upon this at just the time I needed it – and therefore believe God led me to your sight.

The minister of our church is staunchly amillenialist, and I am involved in discussions with him. The question he will get me on, unless you can provide me with a biblically based answer is this:
If the land promise to Abraham and his descendants is a literal piece of real estate, and it has been given as an EVERLASTING possession, what happens to the EVERLASTING nature of that covenant promise in the New Heavens and the New Earth?

My Answer:

Thanks for your question.
In the first place your pastor’s position is unreasonable, putting the burden of proof where it doesn’t belong. Since he clearly knows that the text(s) say the land was given to Israel by God, by challenging it with such a question he is demanding of the Bible that it answers his queries before he will believe it. This is a symptom of the all-too-common problem of making unaided reason an authority over the clear wording of Scripture.

If you want an idea of why he is being unreasonable, ask him to explain how Christ can be both 100% God and 100% man at one and the same time. Ask him to explain it (don’t let him fob you off with the Chalcedonian Creed). My point is that certain Christian truths (like the dual natures of Christ) are difficult because Scripture does not pander to our wish to have all our questions answered. It expects faith in what is said (which is enough for us).

As far as a biblically-based answer; well, what is to prevent Israel having a designated piece of real estate on the new earth? We know there are nations and kings there (Rev. 21:24, 26).

I want you not to make an issue of this with your pastor. He will not change if he does not see. And he will not see if he has certain presuppositions: lenses through which he interprets the Bible.

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11 comments

  1. Is it too harsh just say to the guy “Leave that church and go find one that teaches biblical truth”? I personally think that the issue of amillennialism is quite dangerous — is there anyone in the heretical, hate-filled, anti-semitic BDS movement that isn’t amillennial?

  2. I am not an amillenialist; I am post. The question that always bothers me is this: What about the spiritual Israel and those circumcised in the heart? What about the elect gathered from one end of THE (starry?) heaven to the other (Matt.24:31)? There are amillenialists who are not hate-filled toward the nation that is called Israel today. The disagreements between all of the positions require a great deal of time, study, and mercy from the Lord. And there are many questions about the present day Israel like the differences between Askenazis and the Sephardics? And then there are for the millennial issue these: The prophecies like Jonah’s to the city of Nineveh, that were unconditional in statement and yet did not come to pass exactly as written. Even Pentecost mentioned this in his work? Disagreements over eschatology does not necessarily a heretic make. It is something else, when it comes to the deity and humanity of our Lord or the divine and human elements in the inspiration of Scripture or the trinity and unity of God or education and illumination in the qualifications of ministers to preach the Gospel.

    1. James,

      You are right that being a post, a-, or premil does not make anyone a heretic. Although I have a DVD, ‘The Marks of a Cult’ by Jerry Johnson, an associate of Knox Seminary, that puts Dispensationalists in the category of false teachings (i.e. heresy). Knox Seminary, of course, are hardly friendly to Dispensationalism.

      I see no “spiritual Israel” in the Bible; unless one means saved Jews. Those circumcised in heart are Jews and Gentiles in the Church. The elect of Matthew 24 is Israel “after the tribulation”.

      True, there are amils who are not anti-Israel, but they are not in the majority. Steve Hays of Triablogue is a blessed exception. But the rhetoric of most amils and postmils I have read is not very friendly towards modern Israel, and is often pro-Palestinian (see the work of Paul Wilkinson for documentation).

      The present nation of Israel is not really an issue. There have always been Jews in the land, and Jews have historically been very careful not to mix. Indeed, were this not so we would be in trouble in beating off the Divine-man myth a la Greco-Roman practice and fostered onto Jesus by liberal and atheist critics of Christianity like Robert Price.

      The conditionality of promises must be understood in relation to whether they are covenanted and what kind of covenant oath was sworn. Places where repentance led to an alteration of a doom upon persons are not paradigm instances of the mutability of God’s covenant oaths.

      Thank you for your comment.

      kind regards,

      Paul H

      1. Paul, I can back up on what you said. have had recent first hand experience from two doctrinaire amil believers, who are beyond reasonable doubt, anti-Israel in my own church circle.

  3. even abraham looked for a heavenly city whose builder and maker was God. the promises were made to abraham & his Seed (not seeds) but Christ, and in Romans 4 we are told that in reality that abraham inherited the world

    1. Bruce,

      Abraham was specifically told that he would die in the land and that the nation coming from him would come up to it after 400 years (Gen. 15). Abraham knew he would not actually have call the land his. So there is no conflict with him looking for the heavenly city. As far as Rom 4 is concerned, we must look at what Paul is arguing for (justification), and not misinterpret him to be saying Abraham inherited the physical planet. The reference is to Gen. 12:3 and 15:6.

      This article is also pertinent I think: https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/galatians-3-the-land-and-the-abrahamic-covenant-what-was-paul-thinking-pt-1/

      God bless,

      Paul H

  4. The problem it seems is timing.
    When Christ came everyone in Israel was looking for King to free Israel temporally and squash Rome. Even Christ’s disciples believed that until after Jesus’ resurrection.
    Simply put Amills believe they will bring in the kingdom now and of course mayn Amills and Postmills believe the Church has displaced Israel.
    Scripture is clear if you read it looking for the author’s plain meaning and not allegorizing the text.
    Christ promised believers “life everlasting with Him, but that doesn’t occur in time–rather in eternity. In the same way Israel is not given the land in time, but in the New Heaven and the New Earth–the New Jerusalem.
    In other word Israel doesn’t get the Land in the corporeal, but in the eternal.

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