Is Amillennialism Scripture Twisting and Heresy?


Do you think amillennialism a heresy that comes as the result of Scripture twisting?

The timing of the tribulation or the meaning of the millennium is not something that we want to affix the word “heresy.” This is something that we can debate vigorously as Christians but we simply do not have to divide over. Therefore, I would not affix the word “heresy” to this.

There are Christians who believe that the millennium is a period of time between the first and second comings of Christ, so they still associate an indiscriminate amount of time, perhaps two thousand or more years, to this time frame (i.e. amillennialism). We do not at this point or an amillennial cannot tell you exactly how much time will lapse because the Second Coming of Jesus Christ has not yet taken place.

Some Christians take the millennium to be a kind of semi-golden age that comes about either before (postmillennialism) or after (premillennialism) the return of Jesus Christ.

The premillennial position is a position which says that after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ people will be saved, and there will be a one-thousand-year semi-golden age with a rebuilt temple and reinstituted temple sacrifices, and some even say that those temple sacrifices will atone for sin. Then there will be a great apostasy at the end of this millennial age and then the eternal state.

I personally do not agree with the millennium being a period of time. What Revelation is communicating is not quantity of time, but a quality of vindication for the martyrs. In other words, they will suffer for a short-time their vindication will be an eternal vindication.

The most well known use of the symbolic number “thousand” in Scripture is found in John’s encouraging promise to the persecuted first-century church that the saints who would be martyred for resisting the mark of the Beast would reign in glory with Christ for “a thousand years” (Revelation 20:1-7). Failing to read Revelation in its appropriate historical and literary context, many have misconstrued John’s words in Revelation 20 as a literal prophetic chronology according to which Satan will literally be bound for one thousand years while the resurrected martyrs reign with Christ until the end of the “millennium” at which time the rest of the dead will be raised and Satan will be released to wage war against Christ and the resurrected saints. Rather than allowing one metaphorically rich passage in the apocalyptic letter of Revelation to override the rest of the clear passages in Scripture that teach a single, general resurrection of the dead (e.g. John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), we must be willing to interpret this markedly symbolic passage in light of the rest of Scripture. When we do so, it becomes clear that in keeping with the traditional use of “a thousand” as a numeric symbol of ultimate completion, John is simply here promising his readers that though God would allow the Beast to execute his reign of terror for “ten days”—a relatively short time—God would vindicate the martyred believers by allowing them to reign with Christ for “a thousand years”—a comparatively limitless time. By suggesting that Satan would be bound during this period and that the rest of the dead would not be resurrected until after the thousand years had ended (vv. 2-3, 5, 7), John was simply using symbolic chronological bookends to highlight the qualitatively (as opposed to quantitatively) unique vindication that the martyrs of this great persecution will experience at the general resurrection of the dead. John’s vision of the vindication of “the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God” (20:4) is thus the climactic answer to the prayer for vindication—“How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”—that was called out in chapter six by “the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained” (6:9-10). (Hank Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible REALLY Says About the End Times…and Why It Matters Today [Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007], 256-257)

Now I think ultimately to settle this in your mind requires something that I think few people spend enough time with, and that is an understanding of the art and science of biblical interpretation. To understand the Book of Revelation —this includes Revelation 20 where this idea of thousand years is repeated six times—you have to have a good understanding or good grasp of the Old Testament Scriptures. If you do not, you might get caught going off on a fantastic fantasy journey as opposed to grounding yourself in the well-spring of the Old Testament.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Learn more about understanding end time passages in the Bible in Hank Hanegraaff’s books The Apocalypse Code and Has God Spoken.

This blog adapted from “What’s your view on Amillennialism, is it heretical?



Christianity in an Age of Pro-Life Criminalization and Bible Warning Labels

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-pro-life-crime_1A recent LifeSite article by Pete Baklinski entitled “French government votes to ban pro-life websites” indicates “the socialist government of France passed a bill after one day’s debate that criminalizes websites that might dissuade women from abortion.” If convicted website owners could face two-years imprisonment. Jean-Frederic Poisson, member of the Christian Democratic Party, “blasted the bill on Twitter for what he saw as the government’s double standard in banning sites that propose ‘alternatives’ to abortion but [ironically] not ‘jihadist websites.’”

Hugo Martin in an article for the Los Angeles Times indicated that “More hotels are checking out of the Bible business.” He states that “hotels also have been under pressure lately from atheist groups.” The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which is a non-profit group that promotes separation of church and state, “wrote to 15 major hotel companies last year, asking them to keep Bibles out of hotel rooms.” That foundation also “created a sticker that reads: ‘Warning: Literal belief in this book may endanger your health and life,’” and “the group has encouraged its supporters to affix the stickers on any hotel room Bible they find.”

I think in a climate like this—the climate in which we have anti-abortion being legislated against, in other words if you are pro-life, the legislation is against you in countries in the West like France, and then you have groups that are opposing the Bible on the ground that the Bible might be dangerous to your health—this is an age in which we must always be ready give an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within us with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15).

We have to be able to demonstrate that the Bible is divine as opposed to merely human in origin, and that through the Bible we find the way in which we can live life and life to the full.

We also should be able to demonstrate that abortion is the painful killing of an innocent human being. It is painful because the child that is killed has been burned, smothered, dismembered or crushed. It is killing in that from the beginning that which is terminated fulfills the criteria necessary for the establishing the existence of biological life including metabolism, development, the ability to react to stimuli, cell reproduction, and the child is innocent in the sense that a pre-born infant deserves protection not capital punishment. The pre-born is a, of course, a human being in that the child who was killed is the offspring of human parents and has a totally distinct genetic code. Abortion again is nothing short of terminating the life of a person that is created in the image of God. We as Christians must be able to make that point with gentleness and respect.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following equip.org resources:

What is Abortion? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Should Abortion Be Permitted in the Case of Rape or Incest? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Do We Know the Bible is Divine Rather than Human in Origin? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Folly of Denying God (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is Christianity Bad for Your Health (A.A. Howsepian)

Village Atheists with Vengeance (C. Wayne Mayhall)

Enlightenment Humanism: Our Savior from Violence? (Angus J.L. Menuge)

Antitheist Faith and History (Jeffrey Burton Russell)

This Blog adapted from the December 5, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Life, Afterlife, and Resurrection

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-life-afterlife-and-resurrectionWhat exactly happens after we die?

Here is what happens. I start out my book Resurrection with an anecdote, and that anecdote is personal, it is the death of my dad in 1997. What happens is the body goes to the ground, but when my dad breathed his last his soul went to be with the Lord. That’s what Paul talks about—absent from body present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).

Now my dad is incomplete. He’s in the presence of the Lord but he is incomplete. He’s awaiting something. The Christian faith is not platonic. It is physical. So we await the physical resurrection of the dead. One day my dad’s soul will return to his body. According to 1 Corinthians 15, the body will rise immortal, imperishable, incorruptible, and that body will be changed from mortality to immortality. My dad will be clothed in a resurrected body for all eternity. He is going to be a body-soul unity for all eternity. That happens when Christ’s returns. This is, of course, exactly what Jesus said. He said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29, NIV).

We have a picture of the afterlife in Luke 16. Remember the Lord told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? There is a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus lying at his gate. A time came when the rich man died and Lazarus died. Lazarus ends up in Abraham’s bosom or paradise, which is a way of talking about being in the presence of God. But the rich man dies and he ends up in torment. There is a gulf between the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is in torment and he is awaiting the resurrection just like Lazarus is awaiting the resurrection.

What happens when Jesus comes back is that will be a separation that takes place for all eternity.

Do the saints absent in the body yet present with the Lord waiting for the resurrection experience time in the same way as those living on earth?

I can’t really tell you what the answer is to this question in that I do not know what existence will be like in the state of being non-corporeal beings. That is what happens when we die. If you die right now prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, your body goes to the grave, and the non-corporeal aspect of your humanity—the soul or the spirit—is with the Lord. The way the Bible talks about that is the sense of relationship to God rather than any locational place. It is not locational language it relational language. The reason I say this is that souls by definition are non-physical; therefore, where-ness does not apply. We know that they are in relationship to God, and they are awaiting in some sense the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ or the time that their souls will return to their bodies.

Can we anticipate seeing pets in heaven?

We do not know that petted pets will be in heaven; though there is nothing in the Bible that precludes that notion. What we do know— I think—from the consistency of Scripture is that there is warrant to believe that there will be animals in heaven. Animals are among God’s most avant-garde and creative creations. There is no reason to suppose that if there’re animals in paradise lost there would not be animals in paradise restored. We just do not know that the same set that lived on this planet will also live in the world to come. There is no biblical evidence for that, but there is certainly no biblical evidence against it either. There are even a lot of people from C.S. Lewis to Joni Eareckson Tada that think that that might very well be consistent with the nature of God.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from “What happens to us when we die?” and “Will we see our pets in heaven, and what is it like for those awaiting resurrection?


Truth & Post-Truth

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-post-truthIt is quite stunning. The editors of the Oxford Dictionaries have selected their word of the year for 2016. It is hard to imagine what it might be. Even harder to imagine that this is the word for the year when you actually hear the word. Their choice could not be more apropos as a sign of the times. It is an authentic reflection of the state of our culture. The word of the year? Well, here it is—post-truth.

Post-truth is an adjective defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Think about that for a moment. Objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. The Oxford editors actually explain that:

The concept of post-truth has been in existence for the past decade, but Oxford Dictionaries has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom [Brexit] and the presidential election in the United States. It has also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase ‘post-truth politics’.

The OUPblog indicates,

Post-truth has gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary, now often being used by major publications without the need for clarification or definition in their headlines.

The bottom line here is that post-truth in the year 2016 stands in stark opposition to plain truth in the past. One is based on subjectivism, the other on objective facts.

All of this of course begs a simple question: What is truth? Or maybe more importantly: Why is truth important? To answer that question, it might be significant to go back a time when Jesus Christ stood before Pontius Pilate. “What is truth?” was the very question that Pontius Pilate posed to Jesus Christ (John 18:38). Here the Roman prefect of Judah was standing toe to toe with the personification of truth and yet he missed its reality.

I would say that postmodern people who hold that emotion trumps fact, that feelings trump biology, that there is no such thing as objective truth, very much like Pilate, miss truth’s very essence. They stare at truth but they fail to recognize its identity. What is that identity? Well, truth is an aspect of the very nature of God Himself; therefore, to put on truth is to put on Christ, for Christ is truth (John 14:6; Eph, 4:24; 6:14). Christians are to be the bearers of truth.

I love what Os Guinness said when he articulated that Christianity is not true because it works, that would be not truth but pragmatism. It is not true because it feels right that is subjectivism. It is not true because it is my truth that is relativism. Christianity is true because it is anchored in the person of Jesus Christ the one who spoke and the universe leaped into existence. Truth, therefore, we must say, clearly and correctly is anything that corresponds to reality. As such, truth should never yield to the size and the strength of the latest lobby group. Nor is truth really a matter of preference or opinion; rather, truth is true even when everyone denies it and a lie is a lie even if everyone affirms it including the editors of the Oxford Dictionaries. Truth properly understood is essential for you and I to have a realistic worldview.

It is sad to say that sophistry, sensationalism, Scriptorture, superstition, and post-truth subjectivity has sabotaged truth in our epic of time. Our view of reality is seriously skewed when that happens. The death of truth spells—this is pretty serious—the death of truth spells the death of civilization. As such, the redefinition of truth in post-Christian America is no small thing. I think we ought to stand with Alexander Solzhenitsyn who initiated the Velvet Revolution and he did so because he understood that one word of truth properly defined outweighs the entire world.

—Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from the November 21, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Astrology: A Proper Use or Flagrant Abuse of the Stars?

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-astrology-and-biblical-use-of-starsMy Christian friend and pastor occasionally posts his horoscope on Facebook. I was trying to remember biblical verses to support my concern that he was in error. Can you help me with that?

Scripture clearly condemns astrology as a practice that is detestable to the Lord in Deuteronomy 18:9-21. Isaiah goes so far as to say that the council of the astrologers and stargazers who make predictions month by month not only wore out the Babylonians but did not save them from their future ruin (Isa. 47:12-15).

Despite the clear condemnation of Scripture, there are still those who maintain that there is a biblical precedent to use stars to chart the future. What they do is they mistakenly cite passages, for example the Magi (Matt. 2), but if you look at the context, it reveals that the star that the magi followed was not used to foretell the future but to forthtell the future. In other words, the star of Bethlehem did not prophesy the birth of Christ, it pronounced the birth of Christ.

One other point is that astrology has been debunked as a pseudo-scientific paradigm that based on the odd predilection that galaxies rather than genes determine inherited human characteristics. Not only so, astrology cannot account for the problem posed by mass tragedies and twins. For example, people with a wide variety of horoscopes all perished on 9/11 and twins born under the same sign of the Zodiac frequently end up with widely diverse futures.

Remember Daniel 2. Even King Nebuchadnezzar’s astrologers recognized the impotence of their craft. When Nebuchadnezzar asked them to remind him of his dream then interpret it? Well, they responded in terror saying no man on earth can do what the king asks. In other words, when Nebuchadnezzar—recognizing they were gaming him—put their lives on the carpet, they exclaimed the truth. They do not know the future nor could they tell the future. They could not as so much be able to tell the dream much less what it portended for the future.

I think what you have with astrology is the subverting of the natural use of the stars, which is of course ordained by God, for a superstitious use of the stars, which God clearly distains. Genesis 1:14-19 points to the natural use of the stars to separate the day from the night, to serve as signs, to mark seasons, days and years, to illuminate the earth. Of course, they can also rightly be used for all kinds of purposes ranging from navigation to natural revelation (Psa. 19:1-6). Therefore, sailors could use astronavigation to chart their course but we as Christians should not use astrology to chart our careers. This is something clearly spoken out against in the very first text that I cited from Deuteronomy 18.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you (Deut. 18:10-12, NIV).

For further reading, please access the following equip.org resources:

Matthew and the Magi: A Case for Astrology? (Gregory Rogers)

What is the Occult? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Witnessing to People in the Occult (Marcia Montenegro)

This blog adapted from the November 13, 2012 Bible Answer Man broadcast.