Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 19, 1951

Mark Vs. Millennial Misconceptions

N. W. Allphin, Tahoka, Texas

As I proceed further with the study of problems posed by the premillennial theory, let me say first that I have no feeling of personal dislike for any who believe that doctrine. I respect their sincerity, and admire their zeal—a zeal that is worthy of a better cause. I do not question the integrity of the rank-and-file. Many of them I know, and they are good people. So, this is not a personal matter, but a candid effort to show honest inquirers, not the unwholesome character of their witnesses, but the faultiness of the testimony they are asked to believe. Undoubtedly, a large majority are trustfully following certain leaders who are blinded by the Jewish veil of which Paul speaks in II Cor. 3:13-15; hence, they have accepted conclusions that are at once unscriptural and anti-scriptural. This is the charge; and if it has a semblance of truth, it behooves everyone to consider carefully what New Testament writers have said on the general subject.

It is generally conceded that not all premillennialists are in perfect agreement with each other; not all of them are willing to defend or even accept what some others propose. They are divided on several issues; yet on the futurity of Christ's kingdom, and that his will be a literal reign on the earth, they are agreed. And here, I may say, a chief objection to be lodged against the theory is that its votaries are too much at variance for their arguments to favorably impress any considerable number who are constant and careful Bible students. Not only do they contradict plain Scriptures, and each other, but their arguments are often self-contradictory. Now, assuming that most readers are familiar with the general theory, let us examine some Scriptures bearing on the question.

Previously we have quoted John at some length, and have consulted Matthew; so at this time we will hear from Mark, comparing what he says with the misconceptions of leading premillennialists. But in one article I shall not have space enough to notice all such passages, nor give extended comments. First, Jesus said, in Mark 1:15: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand." Countering this, premillennialists say, it could not have been then at hand (1920 years ago), because it has not been set up yet. Who is right—which witness knew the truth about it? You answer this, please. Jesus also said, in verse 38: "Let us go elsewhere into the next towns that I may preach there also; for to this end came I forth." But millennial teachers argue that he did not come just to preach and heal the sick, but to establish himself as earthly king over his people; but that the Jews, by their rejection of him, through a misunderstanding, thwarted his plans, and the kingdom was postponed. There is not a verse nor a phrase in the New Testament that hints that he came to be king over any kingdom other than that in which were Paul, the Colossians and other Christians in the first century A.D.—the one over which he reigns today. In Mark 4:31-f, Jesus said: "It (the kingdom) is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all seeds . . . yet when it is sown, groweth up, and becometh greater than all the herbs, and putteth forth great branches." But masters in millennialism tell us that when the kingdom comes it will be grown up already; that it is not to have a small beginning, and grow up, but will be full fledged—complete "under the heavens" from the start. No; they don't deny the Lord, they just doubt his word. Jesus said, in Mark 8:31: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders . . . and be killed, and after three days rise again." Here he foretells his trials and death. This was not said as a probability, but was determined before and was certain; he came knowing how everything would terminate. But what do premillennial reign doctors say? They have to deny that his death was foretold by the prophets, and foreknown by himself, and that through it he accomplished the things originally designed by Jehovah! Reader, would you do that? I wouldn't. Yes, Jesus knew from the first, while some men will persistently guess to the last. In Mark 9:1, Jesus said: "There are some here of them that stand by, who shall no wise taste death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power." But futurists, though unable to produce a live witness from among them that stood by and heard it, still insist that God's kingdom is not yet here. Ponder this seriously: All who heard this have died. Did Jesus, amidst their anxiety, promise them an impossibility? We know he didn't!

In Mark 10:32, the Lord again foretells his approaching death; and in the next verses he gave them a preview of his trials. Does this sound like his death and founding of the church were a lately devised scheme, because a few belligerent Jews had greater power than (El Shaddai) God Almighty? Next, in verse 45 he said he came "to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many," whereas, millennialists say he came primarily to set up a temporal kingdom on earth, but the tragedy of Calvary interrupted his plan. Listen, Jesus spoke the words his Father gave him (John 12:49 and 14:24), and uttered not one sentence that suggests that he came to "set up" any sort of kingdom. God promised a long time ago to set up a kingdom (Dan. 2:44), which he did set up; and he gave it to his Son, and set him in authority over it (foreshown in Dan. 7:13f; fulfilled as shown in Matt. 28:18 and Acts 2:30f). In turn Jesus appointed it to his disciples before his death (Luke 22:29, 30); and they received it (Heb. 12:28), and were in it during the life of the apostles. (Col. 1:13) Many, living before the cross, lived to see it manifested. (Mark 9:1) Jesus had no thought of remaining alive to conduct the affairs of a temporal kingdom. He said; "My kingdom is not of this world," futurists to the contrary notwithstanding. (More from Mark in my next letter.)