In one of our prior studies in Acts 2, we mentioned a false doctrine called "premillennialism" and stated that we would consider it in greater depth at a later time. Well, that time has come. In this lesson we will introduce the basic components of premillennialism. Then, we will proceed to begin refuting it with the Scriptures. Why are we spending time exposing this false doctrine now in the midst of our study in the book of Acts? Because Acts 2 is an important passage of Scripture for illustrating some errors of premillennialism, and because many people have been deceived by this false doctrine and need to be shown the truth.
Let's begin by defining premillennialism:
- "Pre" means before,
- "millennium" means 1000 years, and
- "ism" refers to a doctrine, theory, or system.
When we put these all together, we see that premillennialism is a doctrine concerning a period of 1000 years. More specifically, it is a doctrine that concerns the Lord's coming back before a period of 1000 years.
The fundamental aspects of premillennialism can be stated in two primary points:
- Christ failed to establish His kingdom as He planned to when He came to Earth the first time because the Jews, to His surprise, rejected Him and killed Him.
- At His next coming, Jesus will return to Jerusalem to establish His kingdom and to rule on David's throne for 1000 years.
Let's analyze these two key elements one at a time.
Did Christ fail to establish His kingdom as He planned to when the Jews rejected Him in the first century? We have seen from our study of Acts 1 & 2 that such is not the case. Jesus most certainly did not fail to establish His kingdom in the first century! The church is His kingdom (cf. Matt. 16:18,19), and that was His plan all along. The church was part of God's eternal purpose (cf. Eph. 3:9-11)! It was not a last-minute afterthought or unplanned substitution. God planned for Jesus to build the church precisely as He did build it (i.e., after being rejected by His people and crucified; cf. Isa. 53).
More proof of this can be seen when comparing the prophecy of Isaiah 2 with the history of Acts 2. Let's consider the parallels briefly:
- "In the latter days"
- "The mountain of the Lord's house
- shall be established" in Jerusalem (cf. 2:1)
- "All nations shall flow to it"
- "Many people shall come and say, 'Come,
and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord'"
- "He will teach us His ways"
- "They shall beat their swords into plowshares" (symbolic of peace)
- "In the last days"
- God's house is His church (cf. I Tim. 3:15)
- The apostles were gathered in Jerusalem (cf. 2:5)
- "Devout men, from every nation"
- "The multitude came together" and many
more would seek God's church soon
- Peter taught them the gospel (cf. 2:14-40)
- Peter preached the gospel of peace (cf. Eph. 2:14-18)
As we have seen, the kingdom or church came precisely when, where, and how it was supposed to. The church is referred to as existing from Acts 2:47 onward (e.g., Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9). If the kingdom was not yet established, then these other verses are inaccurate (which is a conclusion I reject). Friends, the first fundamental aspect of premillennialism is false.