"The Essential Point In Premillennialism" - No. 5
The bare and bald assertions of any premillennialist on any prophetic passage is their proof of what that passage; means regardless of any number of plain and unequivocal passages that may be adduced as evidence on the same point. The plain passages must yield to vague interpretations and all rules of Biblical exegesis and hermeneutics must stand aside before the "must" and the "will" calendar of arbitrary assertions. The one who follows the teaching of any premillennialist, and Boll is no exception to the rule, must take his word for it. Their attitude is always the same. In substance they say: "Just park your reason here and come with me!"
Having examined one by one the Old Testament proof texts (?) of the Bollistic Chattanooga document, exposing the absolute absurdities of its assertions, let us now analyze the New Testament passages "cited," with the same result--the complete collapse of the arguments claimed by R. H. Boll himself and upon which he has staked his premillennial cause.
"WHEN THE GROANING OF CREATION SHALL CEASE" (Rom. 8:18-23)
According to R. H. Boll's pronouncement, "the groaning of creation" cannot cease, if Christ does not start an earthly millennium when he comes! He insists that all of us, including the Lord himself, must take his word for that.
It is in order, as in the other cases, to take a look at the passage, to see if his reference has even an inference of the thing that he asserts it "bears out."
18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.
21. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
The Bollistic Chattanooga document asserts that this passage contains the "essential point in premillennial teaching" by assuming that when the "groaning" is lifted from "the whole creation" it will be the millennium! That depends, at least in part, on the meaning of "the creature" and "the creation," and the "bondage" and the "adoption" and the "redemption" which are referred to in the text.
1. The creation does not include the children of God, because verse 19 says that it waits for the manifestation of the children of God, and verse 21 also mentions it in contrast with the children of God.
2. The creation does not include Paul, because in verse 23 he says "but ourselves also," thus referring to the creation in contrast with and over against himself. And he further states that it shall be delivered into the liberty of the children of God, which could not mean that the children of God will be delivered into themselves.
3. The "creation" does not refer to mankind since Paul holds himself and the children of God over against and in contrast with the creation by saying "not only so, but we ourselves." If it means mankind, then Paul and the children of God would be no part of mankind.
4. It does not refer to the sinner for sinners will not be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
a. The conclusion is that the creation refers to the world, apart from humanity, in its cursed state, represented as "groaning" (figuratively) until the time that the children of God shall be delivered from the earthly, corruptible existence into the liberty of the incorruptible, resurrection or eternal state.
Beginning with the 15th verse of the chapter the apostle assures the Roman Christians, living under the yoke of the virtual slavery of a pagan power, that they had not received the spirit of slaves, as before their conversion, to serve in fear, but the spirit of children, who by adoption can claim all the privileges of a child, and an heir. The Holy Spirit and their own spirit, through divine revelation, had united in a conjoint testimony, one giving and the other receiving the witness to this fact (verse 16). But if we are to be joint-heirs with Him, shall we be exempted from His sufferings? No; joint-heirship must be had upon the condition of joint suffering--if we are heirs with him, we must suffer with him (verse 17). But these sufferings are insignificant when compared with the benefits of the resurrection state which shall be so much greater and which shall be "revealed in us" in the resurrection from the grave (verse 18). But during this "present time" the world itself is under the blight of sin and suffers corruption and decay (verses 19, 20), until the children of God receive their new adoption--the redemption of the body from death and corruption (verses 21-22), when they shall be manifested in the resurrection without the bondage of earthly existence (verse 23) in the "new heavens and the new earth" (II Pet. 3:13).!
The apostle then declares that we are saved in this hope (verse 24) of deliverance from the grave and the glory that follows: and we are willing to wait and suffer in this world for such a redemption (verse 25).
For premillennialists to insist that there will be a millennium between the "redemption of the body" and the "new heavens and the new earth" is but another example of arbitrary assertion. Premillennialists themselves put "the new heavens and the new earth" in their scheme of things, after the millennium. (See Neal's "Light in a Dark Place" and Tingley's "Unveiling the Future.") Their order is: (1) the second coming; (2) the first resurrection; (3) the millennium; (4) the second resurrection; (5) the "new heavens and earth," the final or eternal state. In their own order of things, therefore, "when the groaning of creation shall cease" can refer to the "new heavens and the new earth" just as well as it can refer to their manufactured millennium--and that is the truth of the matter in Rom. 8, as in II Pet. 3. The admissions of premillennialists on this point are fatal to their theory, and when Rom. 8:18-23 is paralleled with II Cor. 4:17 to 5:1-4, and II Pet. 3:3-13, it can be readily seen that these grand passages set forth the glories of the eternal state in the home of the soul, and not an earthly state robbed of its earthliness here on this earth and in this world.
So, stripping the Bollistic document of Rom. 8:18-23, we will now take up the references in that document to Revelation.
"WHEN THE KINGDOM OF THE WORLD SHALL BECOME THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST" (Rev. 11:15)
This outline of the essential point of premillennialism puts the two references from the Book of Revelation as follows:
"--when Satan shall be dethroned, bound and imprisoned (Rev. 20:1)--when the kingdom of the world shall become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15)--if there is ever to be such a time as that (and the word of God bears that out)--then Christ must and will come before that time."
It is evident to anyone familiar with premillennial doctrine that the only purpose the author of the millennial document under review could have had in throwing the two passages together in the above fashion was to confuse the reader, create a vagueness and raise a smoke screen. I make this charge for this reason: R. H. Boll and all premillennialists know that in their own scheme of things Rev. 11:15 refers to the end of time and not to the millennium. I say this is conceded by their own theory, for in Rev. 11:15 the seventh trumpet has sounded and the end of time has come. Why, then, should R. H. Boll refer to Rev. 11:15 and, with his pious gesture, declare that "Christ must and will come before that time"? It only amounts to saying that Christ must and will come before the end of time! What has that to do with any point of premillennialism? Absolutely nothing. But quoting the passage in that connection gives it the sound of teaching premillennialism, and the use of it in the connection in which it is used is sheer hypocrisy and crass deception. Read the passage:
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev. 11:15.)
Notice the structure of this verse: The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and o f His Christ. It is evident that "our Lord" in the passage is not Christ, for it says "and of His Christ." Then, the expression, "and He shall reign for ever and ever" cannot refer to the reign of Christ, for the pronoun "He" refers to "our Lord" as its antecedent. It therefore reads: The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord (God) and of His Christ (Jesus) ; and He (God) shall reign for ever and ever.
In Corinthians 15:24-28, Paul pictures the end, when Christ at his coming, delivers the kingdom to God, when death, the last enemy, has been destroyed, when all things are subdued and Christ himself, having delivered the kingdom to God, is subject to the Father-and God is "all in all." Rev. 11:15, even by premillennialists, must be assigned that place-at the end. It is too late for the millennium. It pictures the time when God is "all in all" and He (God, not Christ) shall reign for ever and ever. That will be in eternity, not in time, in heaven, not on earth.
There seems to be no limit to the devices of deception to which these theorists in the church will resort to beguile the simple.
In our next, we shall expose their misuse of the twentieth chapter of Revelation, after which will come the closing number of this series on "Some Utterances From Alexander Campbell," concerning which they have made so many intimations. The simple truth of the matter is, that R. H. Boll and his party have nothing in fact or in fancy upon which to stand, and not one single "point" will be left in their "premillennial teaching."
Premillennial Articles Commended "Dear Brother Foy: Brother Allen Robertson has just brought into the office sixty-five copies of the BIBLE BANNER for each month, January, February, March. I want to thank you for this donation. I shall hand them to our boys and urge their reading of every line and especially of your review of R. H. Boll. Your comment on Isa. 2 is, without doubt, the truth regarding "swords" and "spears." Such has been my conception of the passage for a number of years. I hope all may be well with you.-N. B. HARDEMAN.
(NOTE: The copies of the BIBLE BANNER were sent in response to a request from the body of young preachers at Freed-Hardeman College--a very fine group, indeed.--Editor.)