Also in the March 15, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer,under the rubric “Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass”, Prof. (emeritus, PRC Seminary) David J. Engelsma delves deeper into the errors of premillennialism by taking on its explanation of Revelation 20, a key passage for a proper understanding of the doctrine of the last things (eschatology) and the believer’s hope of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Among the serious errors that Engelsma addresses in this article is the error of teaching that the NT church (Christians) will avoid the “great tribulation” (trial of persecution) at the end of this age. Properly showing how dangerous this is to the life and hope of the believer, Engelsma makes these comments – comments that ought to alert us to our true hope of the one coming of Christ – after the tribulation – indeed, to deliver His own out of the midst of this fierce battle with its great personal cost.
Let every Reformed, indeed Protestant, reader take note that premillennialism has the coming great tribulation fall upon the Jews. We Christians will be exempt, for we, of course, are supposed to be in the air somewhere or other while the tribulation rages. All Christians will have been raptured before Antichrist rampages on the stage of world history.
…This exemption of the church and the Christian from the persecution of Antichrist is an outstanding sin of premillennial doctrine. The sin is eminently practical. Premillennialism does not prepare God’s people for the looming threat of persecution for Christ’s sake at the hands of the antichristian world-power. In this respect, premillennialism is one with postmillennialism. Both of the millennial errors assure the church of the 21st century that she has nothing to fear, or prepare for, with regard to suffering the great tribulation. Premil-lennialism tells the church that she will be raptured prior to Antichrist’s raging in the world, and that the object of his hatred will be the Jews. Postmillennialism preaches to the church that, whoever the Antichrist was and whenever he carried out his antichristian work, Antichrist and his fulminations are safely in the past.
Exempting the church from the persecution by Antichrist helps explain the popularity of the two millennial errors. Humans shrink from persecution, especially from that persecution about which our Lord said, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21).
Nevertheless, this is altogether the wrong attitude of Reformed Christians with regard to the coming persecution. The believer should regard it an unspeakably great privilege to be counted worthy by the Savior to confess that Jesus is Lord in the face of the greatest attack on God and His Anointed in all history, and to seal this confession with his suffering and even with his blood. And the divine reward for this spiritual battle against the beast and this faithfulness to Jesus will be correspondingly great. This reward is described in Revelation 20:4-6: resurrection in the soul at the moment of death into the life and glory of heaven, where they reign with Christ.