Often you will hear some Amillennialists say that they take the Bible literally. But when you start to ask questions, you find out that they mean something different than most non-amillennialists. When you start to quiz, you will find out that the part of Scripture they do in fact take literally are the parts that are:
So the issue becomes what method of interpretation do they apply to Scripture that is prophetic of a time after Christ’s earthly ministry. Well, they take them allegorically or as some would call it spiritualizing the scripture.
Once when speaking to an avid amillennialist regarding this, he took me to task telling me that they do not allegorize these scriptures, they merely treat them as metaphors. This person was an intelligent person and a thinker. Yet he failed to know his dictionary. Check out Merriam-Webster’s and you will find out that an allegory is merely a long metaphor. The Book of Revelation seems to be a bit long to call just a metaphor!
But then that is the whole point isn’t it. Do words mean what they mean, in their context! Or are they some code that we have to figure out what they really mean? And who gets to be the judge of what they really mean? Sounds a bit Gnostic to me.
Well there are a few amillennialists that are honest to themselves, and us, about this. The following quotes from two amillennialists of the past which clearly acknowledge that premillennialism is the fruit of a historical-grammatical-literal method, and amillennialism is not.
Floyd Hamilton, an amillennialist, wrote:
Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just such a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the Premillennialist pictures…The Jews were looking for just such a kingdom as that expected by those premillennialists…1
Oswald Allis, another amillennialist, wrote:
One of the most marked features of Premillennialism in all its forms is the emphasis which it places on the literal interpretation of Scripture.2
Here’s a quick question to ask. Do you believe in a literal earthly 7-year tribulational period prior to the coming of Christ. Amillennialists will say no. But the Scriptures define that seven year period in at three different ways:
Well my question, is…How many different ways does the Holy Spirit have to tell you it is 3-1/2 years before you get it! What is really interesting is that many (if not most) of the same amillennialists believe in a literal 6-day creation. Yet, there is more ambiguity in the original language over the Hebrew word translated day, than there is in the Greek words translated as noted above. I believe in both a literal 6-day creation and a 7-year tribulation. God literally meant what he said in the beginning and at the end.
1. Hamilton, Floyed E., The Basis of the Millennial Faith. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1942), pp. 38-39
2. Allis, Oswald T., Prophecy and the Church. (London, James Clarke & Co., 1945), p.17