The Gnostic School of Learning or The Bible?
2 Peter 1:19-21 19.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20.Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Amillennialism: Sam Smith in his writings on The Non-Christian and Anti-cosmic Roots of Amillennialism writes this:
The pedigree of amillennialism.
Tracing the major movements of Platonic and Gnostic thought within the early (2nd – 5th century) church, we will begin with Philo, a Jewish philosopher and interpreter of the Old Testament who lived in the 1st century A.D. (c. 20 B.C. – c. A.D. 40). Philo was one of the first Jewish interpreters to make extensive use of allegorization in Old Testament interpretation (likely this was due to Stoic influence; the Stoics were noted for their allegorization of Greek mythic
literature). Many early Christian interpreters were heavily influenced by Philo’s method of “spiritualization”—that is, interpreting a passage according to a supposed “spiritual” (i.e., supernatural) meaning (as opposed to the actual meaning of the statements).
While not holding strictly to a Platonic cosmology, Philo’s cosmology was nonetheless heavily influenced by Platonism. Philo, while viewing God as the framer of ideas (and necessarily transcendent), viewed the material world as an expression of those ideas that existed more perfectly in the heavenly realm. While not strictly Platonic (the Platonists did not view God as transcendent), Philo’s concept of the nature of the creation and its relationship to the realm of ideas certainly shows the influence of Platonism, and may have served as the framework for early Gnosticism. Philo lived in Alexandria Egypt, and Alexandria was the epicenter of the revival of Greek philosophy in the first and second centuries A.D.
It is probably not coincidental that Philo, Valentinus, Basilides, Clement, and Origin—five of the most influential figures that helped to ensconce allegorical and anti-cosmic interpretation in the Church (though Philo was not a Christian) all lived in Alexandria in the second century A.D., and there undoubtedly interacted with both Platonism and Stoicism.
It is also probably not coincidental that the individuals in this string of figures, particularly Origen, were a major influence in the development of Augustine’s hermeneutics—and as we know, Augustine’s influence was the single greatest factor in the eventual adoption of amillennialism in the western church. End of Quote.
It seems quite logical, to conclude that the thought pattern that eventually brought about the teaching of A millennialism, had its roots in the Gnostic school of Alexandria.
Philo, a Jewish contemporary of Jesus, set out to blend Hebrew and Greek thought.
By the allegorical method of interpretation, he explained away everything in the Old Testament that was not in harmony with the philosophy of Plato. In doing this, Philo was simply applying to the Old Testament the principle that the Greeks had employed for centuries in the interpretation of Homer.
This allegorizing method of interpretation of Scripture was established in the great centre of learning at Alexandria. Here, it was passed on to Clement of Alexandria, Dionysus and Origen.
It was Origen that did more than any other, to popularize this method of interpretation.
Augustine who was originally a Manichaean and a Gnostic, (Later he rejected both) picked this idea up from Origen and introduced it into the Roman Catholic church.
Mani, born in 216 in southern Mesopotamia, was brought up in an ascetic Judaeo-Christian sect which he left in his mid-twenties. He believed himself to be the Paraclete, the Advocate who, as Jesus promised to his followers (John 14:26), would lead them into all truth. Revelations from his divine twin taught him the doctrines and the organisation of Manichaeism, and instructed him to travel and preach. His teaching spread eastward and westward, adapting to existing religious beliefs and practices: some of the most important Manichaean texts, written in various Central Asian languages, were found at Turfan in China.
In the Roman empire, Manichaeism was regarded by Christians as heretical and by the state as a dangerous import from the rival power, Persia (Iran).
A prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church, partly of pre-Christian origin. Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.
The Roman Catholic church holds to this A millennial interpretation today. As do many of the Protestant churches.
The Early Church was not “A” Millennial, it was Premillennial. Millennialism,or Millennarianism, ( Chilliasm ) was the original faith of Christendom, the early church fathers, (Anti Nicene) of the first, second and third centuries.
Charles Feinberg, in his book Premillennialism or Amillennialism, says: "Every book that we have read and studied on the question of the millennium, whether it was favorable or unfavorable to the doctrine, or whether it gave full force and value to the testimony or tried to dissipate its implications,admitted freely that the entire Church of the first three centuries was premillennial, almost to a man.
"Premillennialists of the early church included, Montanus, Justin Martyr and Polycarp (who was a disciple of the Apostle John, the writer of Revelation. Polycarp was also a bishop of the church at Smyrna, a recipient church of one of the letters by John to the seven churches in Asia), Papias, ( a follower of Polycarp) and Irenaeus. There were also, many other early church fathers that were Millennialist. Barnabas, Lactantius, Clement of Rome, Tatian of Assyria, Ignatius of Antioch, Theophilus of Antioch, Hippolytus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau, Methodius Bishop of Tyre, Nepos an Egyptian bishop, Cyprian Bishop of Carthage, Commodians a Christian historian and at least sixteen others could be added to the list.
The early church was premillennial because early Christians believed in a characteristically literal interpretation of the Word of God. The departure from the truth of premillennialism on the part of the Catholic church, which is so well inscribed on the pages of history, came as a result of the adoption of the allegorizing or spiritualizing method of interpreting the Scripture, popularized by Origen. Because of Origen’s influence in this respect, Milner, the great English historian, said: "No man, not altogether unsound and hypocritical, ever Injured the Church more than Origen did."
Augustine of Hippo and the later "church fathers" took up this method of interpreting the scriptures. From them it passed on to scholastic theologians and was adopted by some Protestant scholars such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Augustine was looked on as a brilliant scholar and therefore there was no need to develop this Amillennial teaching any further.This view stood firm throughout the Reformation and the Premillennial view was suppressed and looked on as inferior and superstitious.
The Amillennial view was only questioned seriously during the advent of the non conformist churches. Just as the modernist has allegorized the first chapters of Genesis, so the amillennialist allegorized scriptures that refer to the regathering and conversion of the Jews and the personal reign of Christ on the earth.
Most people that hold to this view also believe that God is finished with the Jews as a nation (Replacement Theology).
That the sacrificial system of the Jews could not in anywise be restored without abrogating the new covenant. They believe that Christ and the glorified saints could not rule on this earth over men in natural bodies.Is this what the scriptures really teach, or is this interpreting the scriptures to make them agree with Amillenniaism?
Where do the A Millennialist get the rule from, to allegorize scripture instead of taking it in a literal sense?
Where are we told that the rules of interpreting scripture, has changed?
Where is the rule that says we can literalize one part of scripture and then spiritualize or allegorize another?
Amillennialism, "non-millennialism." spiritualize the binding of Satan and the reign of Christ with the saints for one thousand years. God’s word pictures in Revelation 20 the complete restraint of Satan during the millennium, but amillennialists say that Satan is already bound. He was bound at the cross but only partially bound and will be released for a short time at the end of this age. Amillennialism spiritualize God’s word concerning Christ’s throne. Amillennialism says that Christ is now on His throne, the throne of David, which was promised to Him (Lk. 1:32) but the Bible says that Christ is now on the Father’s throne and that He will ascend His own throne when He comes in glory (Rev. 3:21; Mt. 25:31).
Amillennialism does not accept the teaching of God’s word that the Beast of Revelation is a Man.
The Bible teaches unmistakably that the beast is a man by declaring his number is "the number of a man" (Rev. 13:18) and by revealing that he will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10) but amillennialism says the beast only represents a system or abstract conception.
Since amillennialists do not believe that the second coming of Christ is pictured in Revelation 19, saying that the destruction of the beast portrayed therein is but the triumph of Christianity over Roman paganism, they are logically forced to deny that the man of sin in II Thessalonians 2:3-8, is the same as the beast of Revelation because the man of sin is to be destroyed with the brightness of Christ’s coming. Yet nothing is plainer than that the man of sin and the beast are one and the same.
Some Amillennialists says that the loosing of Satan (Rev. 20:7), which they put, of course, before the second advent, will be the revival of paganism; and he says that there will emerge "some kind of collectivism whose paganism embodied in some kind of world state of government, will vent its wrath against the saints, to stamp out the remembrance of them and historic Christianity in the earth. In fact the Bible teaches that Satan will be bound at the beginning of the millennial Kingdom and loosed at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ.
Amillennialism places the second coming of Christ in the latter part of Revelation 20, where God makes no mention of it but does mention the binding of Satan and the Millennial reign. It says that we don’t have the second coming of Christ in Revelation 19, where it is plainly pictured. God has very clearly indicated that Revelation 19 sets forth the second coming of Christ by revealing in Zechariah 14:1-4 that at the time when Christ takes vengeance against all nations in the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:17-21), "his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives." but amillennialism, by representing the thousand years of Revelation 20 as being before Christ’s coming and being the church age which has lasted now for much more than one thousand years, takes all the meaning out of such representation as noted. As plainly as language can express it, God’s Word describes a resurrection in which only the righteous take part. (See I Thess. 4:15-16; I Cor. 15:21-23; Rev. 20:5-6). Then it tells of another resurrection in which only the wicked have part (Rev. 20:11,15), but amillennialists put the two together and teach only one resurrection.
Does God Repent Concerning His Promises?
God says He does not repent of His gifts and calling (Rom. 11:29) but amillennialism says that He does. They admit that God once called the nation of Israel and bestowed national blessings upon them, but they say that these have now been forfeited forever and that the church has replaced Israel.
Although the scripture tells us (Romans 11:25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Thus, according to amillennialism, God has reneged on His promises.
The truth is that God will honor His covenants with Israel because His gifts and callings are without repentance (Rom 11v29); He doesn’t change His mind.
Amillennialists say that when Jesus comes again He will not re-establish the Jewish nation at earthly Jerusalem. However, Jesus and the prophets said that He would.
In Matthew 19:28 Jesus said: "Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
This is not, as amillennialists say, that the "regeneration" here is the triumph of Christianity over paganism in the first three centuries or at any other time.
The apostles have not yet sat on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Moreover the "regeneration" is represented as coinciding in time with the sitting of Christ on the throne of His glory, and this is to be when he returns (Mt. 25:31).
This regeneration connects with the "restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21) and with Isaiah 65:17-25, where we have described a state of affairs in Jerusalem that could exist only in earthly Jerusalem.
It is a state that will involve death, sinners, building houses, planting, labouring, and prayer.
As we can see, the error of amillennialism is found in the way that it interprets scripture, by using the Gnostic way of looking at scripture and allegorizing or spiritualizing passages.
We must make sure that our interpretation is based on the solid foundation of the Word of God and not on the teachings of men, especially not Gnostic ideas based on philosophical ideals.
Is it correct to allegorize or to spiritualize scripture to fit a particular view point. Or should we take scripture as we read it, literally?
Does not God say what He means and means what He says?
The early church fathers seemed to take the scriptures literally. The 1st century leaders and teachers must be more reputable than those that followed later, having sat at the feet of the early Apostles like John and walked and talked to those who knew Jesus personally.
Is it safe to trust the beliefs of such men as Origen and Augustine, who came under the influence of Greek philosophers and had their beginnings in the Gnostic schools of Alexandria?