The study of Amillennialism is of utmost importance in order to understand the past and current understanding of Christians in regard to the New Testament. Since it is the oldest continuous understanding of the Apocalypse and what the Second Coming means to the Church, we must acknowledge, analyze and treat it critically (not by its own claims) but by the greater authority of the Bible, in general, and the New Testament, in particular. This is in order to navigate and communicate why the Church is experiencing cognitive dissonance around the premise that, 'Yes', Jesus, the Apostles and the early Christians believed and expected the Parousia to happen within the lifetime of the generation of people who witnessed Jesus' earthly ministry, but, 'No', Jesus, in fact, never fulfilled that (but the New Testament is nevertheless 'true') in spite of this major breach of promises.
Furthermore, a comprehension of the nuances of Amillennialism may also aid believers in understanding the sensitive and sometimes litigious attitudes authorities exhibit as soon as it becomes clear that a Christian can no longer accept the inconsistancies that characterize the Amillennial theory and its exegetical strategy of understanding (1) the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy, (2) An Exegesis of Matthew 24, (3) the date of authorship, internal evidence and structural narrative of the Book of Revelation, (4) the downfall and disappearance of the Second Jewish Commonwealth and (5) the whole field of specifics surrounding word studies and parallel Jewish historical research related to New Testament eschatology.
Amillennialism telescopes past the events of the end of the Second Jewish Commonwealth in order to achieve its desired interpretive results; this is a major mistake! A companion study The Role of Nero During 'Jacob's Trouble' helps highlight how swerving into 'Roman realities' to explain the Book of Revelation, is exactly what's gotten Christians in trouble with these studies in the first place. We suggest remaining within Semitic realities will yield staggering results and bring research in this field of studies to satisfactory conclusions; give it a chance.
Amillennialism is the official eschatological doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church; it is also embraced by the majority of conservative communities, including the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, Eastern and Greek Orthodox Churches, Presbyterian and American Restoration Movement churches, hence, more Christians believe in Amillennialism than any other paradigm within the Christian world today.
Amillennial realities need to be understood in order for Christians to speak to issues affecting our reputation and standing within established Christian faith communities. If we are unable to believe major New Testament beliefs are valid (apart from traditional abstractions, abnegations and equivocations) we need to be clear what we want and be able to ask ourselves, 'Can we compromise and can we remain? or is it important enough to warrant establishing separate academies, associations and worship arrangements?
The breadth of historical material that has remained dorment for years and years makes it possible for traditions to displace the reasons why early Christians remained convinced that Jesus was, indeed, the Christ, after the types and shadows were catastrophically swept away in the wake of Zealot efforts to defeat the Roman Empire and establish the promised kingdom of God by force of arms. Amillennialism has gotten completely away from these truths and we need to come back and look at what happened and understand the New Testament from a different angle.
Beginning here we press into the issues which demonstrate that Amillennialism represents more than an alternative way of understanding Bible prophecy: It represents a breach in understanding of too many aspects of the New Testament and an erosion of insight into fundamental aspects of the New Testament and God's promises to the Christian people and, importantly, their fulfillment ON TIME.
In this essay we go a step further and show how the New Testament (with the Book of Revelation), relates significantly (and surprisingly) to the historical realities that one would expect to see if the sacred texts were, indeed, written in a Biblical environment, a Semitic environment and a Diaspora setting. These events happen along a continuum of time starting in A.D.66 and lead out seven decades into the early 30s of the second century. You will find that here we have enormous clusters of corollaries that, if rejected out of hand, not a single notable parallel can ever hope to be found (which is precisely where the assumptions and insinuation of the Roman Empire into these affairs erroneously led the traditional Church inquiry in the first place).
To begin this study, we want to examine Amillennialism's idiosyncratic interpretive strategy in the Book of Revelation, it will be quickly recognized from the outset, that assumptions and premises which are not well grounded in cultural realities, contextual constraints and exegetical standards will tend to put us at a very great disadvantage just as soon as we try to make heads or tails out of Revelation's signs, symbols and metaphors. We strongly suggest to Christians that Amillennialism's interpretive strategy can be significantly sharpened and give examples why that needs to happen and why that is important for the well-being of the Church.
The realization of the entirety of Danielic prophecies from Nebuchadnezzar's dream (in Daniel 2:1-45), to Daniel's Night Vision, (in Daniel 7:1-28). These clear-cut prophecies call for a complete, logical and exhaustive sketch of what that looks like and how that pertains to antiquity past, the here and now and where we go from here into the future and beyond our physical lifetime. The Bible has those answers and the answers we give must not abbreviate, tangle or ignore the time-table of events that is clearly spelled out and regularly insisted upon in the Scriptures.
Now, the Atavist view aims to take responsibility and own up to what the Bible advocates for itself, without patronizing oversimplications, equivocations and denials of tradition, or succumbing to the temptations of 'sacrosanct' current-events prophecy mania.
It is entirely possible to develop a view of time and prophecy that disregards and ignores evidences which appear in Sacred texts in plain sight. A second ingredient that would help to ensure disappointment would be to study the wrong history in search of evidence. Such an exercise has already happened when the Jewish designation of the Roman Empire as the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy was accepted as true in the Church. But with the march of time the Roman Empire proved to be quite enduring and, after years and years of false alarms and misteps, Christians, more and more, became disillussioned with the whole idea of a impending Second Coming of Jesus and a speedy end of the age. With the colossal failures of Dispensational Premillennialism and Watchtower sectarian eschatology, recent memory has given the people of God more reasons than not to flee from this subject.
But we believe the evidence of truth is, basically, hidden in plain sight! The words, used by inspiration, point to immediacy. And the kingdom doomed to destruction, from a careful reading of Daniel 11:32 cf. 1 Maccabees 13:41-42 in Jewish salvation history, does not at all appear to be the Roman Empire, but Judæa itself! All the available evidence at our disposal points to the close of the age of Moses and the Law and Temple-State animal sacrificial period as the object of New Testament warnings. It is this, situated in the middle of the commotions and confusions of Jewish messianic ambitions and nationalistic wars stoked by it, that appears to be the story of dark days and stormy gales out of which Christianity emerged triumphant in the third decade of the second century.
Give this study a chance and look and see how it might enrich your own Christian convictions of the voracity of Jesus of Nazareth being exactly Who he claimed to be, while he did exactly what he said he would do in the lifetime of a generation of people he was perfectly clear it would happen to (Matthew 11:16-19; 12:43-45 and Matthew 24:34 cf. Revelation 22:6, 10, 20). Jesus is a God who keeps his promises and you can put your trust in him. Amen.