Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chiliasm and rapture issues.

Chiliasm refers to the idea of the thousand year reign
of Christ on earth after the Second Coming and
before the Final Judgement.

First off, any idea that Jesus' Second Coming results in
a rule on earth that is limited in its time is wrong. Clearly
Jesus will rule forever, fulfilling the Messianic expectation
in its political and forever rule, never dying, form. This
expectation the Jews had when Jesus came the first time,
not paying attention to other issues in the Messianic
prophecies, though those who DID pay attention to these
accepted Jesus including many priests according to The
Book of Acts.

(Which is why we Orthodox Christians retain a pronunciation
of The Divine Name that is lost to Jews, who stopped using
it out of fear.)

The typical chiliastic statement is, "the thousand year reign
of Christ on earth." This is dead wrong. That is only phase
one of His rule on earth, or in fact phase two, the Kingdom
of Heaven having been established, but not fulfilled, on
earth at His first coming. Daniel speaks of a great boulder
that pounds the statue to dust and that this refers to a kingdom
that in the days of the legs and toes of iron would be
established, and never overthrown.

The first coming of Messiah (Hebrew for Anointed, Christos
in Greek) accomplished this, and this rule is seen in the
Church, but many Church writers have thrown such a focus
on this as to miss that this is only a starting point, while
the dominionist/kingdom now etc. heretics (such as Pat
Robertson in less obvious forms, and the New Apostolic
Reformation in more dangerous forms) thinks the church
(meaning usually whoever agrees with them) will fully
establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, take over nations
and finally the world for Jesus and present this to Him to
rule over when He comes back. (disputes about the antichrist
and the rapture in all this vary.) This is essentially what is
called post millenial eschatology, that the Christians will
rule earth for a thousand years, then Jesus comes back and
does the Judgement.

Pre trib is pre tribulation rapture, which may occur in
post mil and amil and pre mil contexts. the terms trib
and mil are sometimes confused.

Pre Millennialism has Jesus coming back to establish
His literal physical rule over all the earth, but while this
is more biblically correct, it still focusses on the idea
of a thousand year rule of Christ, as if this comes to
an end.

It doesn't.

As The Creed says, "of His kingdom there shall be no

Chiliastic movements, often accompanied by heresy
and hysteria, have been well documented in western
Europe through Roman Catholic dominated times and
after The Protestant Reformation.

A good example of a more recent event was the Russellite
expectation of The Second Coming in AD 1844, the
failure of which led to many sects developing incl. the
Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
(The alleged restoration of the original church is also a
part of these movements, and the restoration movement
of the 1800s gave rise also to Mormonism via a fake
vision, of which there are two or three conflicting accounts
hand written by Joseph Smith, who profiteered off this
popular concern. Baptists also to some extent are into this
notion, and the Landmark Baptists go whole hog crazy
claiming a lineage through every last damn heretical often
anti trinitarian sect ever persecuted by Rome.)

Chiliasm was denounced early on by the Eastern Orthodox
Church (before it was called that, just called Catholic
meaning universal, before Rome hived away and copped
the term "catholic" to mean only themselves), because of
the focus on the thousand years, as if there was a limit to
Christ's reign.

To counter this, the phrase entered the Creed, "of His
Kingdom there shall be no end."

The following shows the present Orthodox position on all
this, from

"The Inconsistency of Chiliasm.

There is presently a teaching about the thousand-year 
kingdom of Christ on earth prior to the Universal 
Judgment that is gaining increased acceptance 
among different Christian denominations. This 
teaching is known as chiliasm, from the Greek 
chiliasmos, meaning "a thousand years." The 
essence of this teaching is as follows: Long before 
the end of the world, Christ will once again 
return to earth, defeat the Antichrist, resurrect 
the righteous only, and establish a kingdom on 
earth in which the righteous, as a reward for 
their struggles and sufferings, will reign with Him 
for a period of thousand years, enjoying all the 
good things of temporal life. After this, another 
resurrection will follow in which the rest of the 
people will be raised from the dead. Then the 
Universal Judgment will take place, and God 
will reward the righteous and punish the sinners. 
The defenders of this teaching base their arguments 
on the vision of the Apostle John in the 20th 
chapter of the book of Revelation.

"There it is said that an Angel descended from 
heaven and bound satan for a thousand years and 
that the souls of those beheaded for their witness 
of Jesus Christ and the word of God came to 
life and reigned with Christ for a thousand 
years. "This is the first resurrection," says 
the book of Revelation (Rev. 20:5). "When 
the thousand years have expired, Satan will be 
released from his prison and will go out to 
deceive the nations" (Rev. 20:7-8). Soon there 
follows the judgment of the devil and of those 
who were deceived by him. The dead will be 
raised up and judged according to their deeds: 
"... And anyone not found written in the Book of 
Life was cast into the lake of fire … This is the 
second death" (Rev. 20:14-15). Upon those who 
have been resurrected in the first resurrection, 
however, the second death will have no power.

|Chiliastic views in antiquity were spread chiefly 
among heretics. The Second Ecumenical Council 
in 381 AD., condemning the heretic Apollinarius, 
condemned his teaching about the thousand-year 
Kingdom of Christ. To put a stop to further 
attempts at introducing this teaching, the Fathers 
of the Council inserted into the Creed the words 
about Christ: "His Kingdom shall have no end." 
In other words, when Christ's reign begins there 
will be no interruptions in His eternal Kingdom. 
In more recent times, chiliastic views were 
resurrected in some Protestant sects. 

"As has been indicated, in this teaching there are 
proposed two future resurrections and two 
judgments: one for the righteous and later another 
for sinners; and there are two future comings 
of the Savior. "

Let's stop right there. YES, THIS IS TOTALLY 
WRONG, if anyone holds this view. There is only
one Second Coming, and there is no interruption 
to Jesus' reign on earth, though a revolt is 
attempted but put down. 

There are not two future judgements but one 
judgement, apparently those in the first resurrection 
all of whom were true to Jesus and many if not 
most died for Him, are not at risk at the 
Judgement. However, there are others out there, 
especially those born during the initial phase of the
earthly rule, and all those who never knew Jesus, 
or who knew and fell away from Him, who are 
subject to this judgement.

Jesus speaks of gradations of damnation, and 
of Sodom and Gomorrha having it better in the 
Judgement Day because they would have repented 
if they had had the opportunities of some cities 
who had those opportunities and did not repent, 
than for those cities. 

Double Second Comings are definitely taught in the
pre tribulation rapture scenarios that involve a secret
coming by Christ to take the believers out of the way
of persecution by the antichrist, then another public
Second Coming to destroy the antichrist. This is 
totally wrong, refuted in Matt. 24 and II Thess 

The image of rebellion in Revelation that is suppressed, 
is like a reenactment of the situation where Absalom 
rebelled against David. Never did David get conquered 
or cease being king, and Absalom was defeated. 
(or you could say this was a pre play of what Revelation 
says will happen.)

"There is a purely earthly reign of Christ with 
the righteous ones as a definite historical epoch. 
Formally, this teaching is based on an incorrect 
understanding of the expression first 
resurrection, while inwardly its cause is rooted 
in many contemporary sectarians' loss of faith in 
eternal life and in the blessedness of the 
righteous in Heaven, with whom they have 
no communion in prayer. Another cause is to 
be found in utopian dreams hidden behind 
religious ideas and inserted into the mysterious 
images of the book of Revelation.

It is not difficult to see the inconsistency of the 
chiliastic interpretation of the 20th Chapter of the 
book of Revelation. Parallel passages in Sacred 
Scripture clearly indicate that the first resurrection 
signifies spiritual rebirth into eternal life through 
baptism. Here are some typical passages in 
apostolic epistles:"Awake, you who sleep, arise 
from the dead, and Christ will give you light … 
You are risen with Christ" (Eph 5:14; Col. 3:1 
and 2:12; Eph. 2:5-6). Proceeding from this, 
by the thousand-year reign we must understand 
the period of time from the very beginning of the 
Church of Christ until the end of the world. In 
the 20th chapter of Revelation, St. John consoles 
the faithful with the thought that those who were 
killed for Christ did not perish. Instead, they reign 
in Heaven with their Savior."

While this understanding is not wrong, it is incomplete.
Those passages point out that being died and risen 
with Christ in baptism, we have the beginning of the
life of The Kingdom of Heaven, which we will not have
in full until we are in Heaven, and later resurrected to
live forever. 

"The second death signifies the condemnation of sinners 
after the Universal Judgment. It does not concern 
"the resurrected in the first resurrection." 
This means that those spiritually regenerated in 
Christ and cleansed by God's grace will not be 
subject to Condemnation but will enter the blessed 
life of Christ's Kingdom."

Well, yes, even the chiliasts would agree with that.

"It is important to understand that the 20th chapter of 
the book of Revelation does not introduce any new 
teaching about the end of the world and the Second 
Coming of Christ."

Correct, you can find elements formally compiled and
developed in Revelation, present in Old and New 
Testament writings.

" Its purpose is to summarize the battle between 
the devil and the Church which permeates the whole 
history of mankind. The devil is defeated twice: 
first spiritually, by the redemptive death of the 
Savior, and at the end of the world, completely 
and finally, when he will be thrown into the lake 
of fire. Christian martyrs began to celebrate their 
victory over satan immediately following their 
death for Christ."

Yes, the devil is bound in the sense of being crippled,
but that he is bound in the sense Revelation speaks
of is false, or he wouldn't be able to tempt believers
and unbelievers even more so. The Orthodox faith
involves an ongoing battle against the demonic as well
as fleshly and worldly temptations, so clearly the 
binding that done to the devil by Jesus Christ is more 
like a crippling. A very severe crippling. 

Revelation speaks of the devil not being able to tempt
the nations, until he is released for one more time, and
those nations will follow him in revolt and face 

So if all this refers strictly to the time of the Church on 
earth, when did the release of satan occur? True there is
severe crippling of him. An old pagan oracle could not
function until its demon was fed by many blood sacrifices,
then all it could do was explain that the relics of a very
holy Christian man nearby impeded the demon too much
for it to function.

The great error of chiliasm is to put a limit on Christ's rule.
There is no end to His rule, but the present views of many
Orthodox churchmen on the fine details in Revelation can
still be in error. amillennialism is a notion that almost 
started with St. Augustine, who brought a lot of Manichaean
baggage with him, and created such notions as extreme
predestination that Orthodoxy has always rejected. These
notions, also rejected by RC, were taken up by Luther and

Augustine in doing this was reacting to Pelagianism, which
denied that the fallen human was all that fallen, and claimed
one could be perfectly good without divine help if one just
used one's will all the time correctly. While a certain amount
of righteousness possibility and rejection of extreme and
obvious unrighteousness is possible is shown in many of God's
statements OT and NT, it is also stated and obvious that people
tend not to make these right choices, or they do so only
intermittently and that they choose many other things that
are less obviously bad, more deceptive. 

Jesus says none can come to Him unless The Father draws 
them, so extreme is the bondage of the will BUT THAT 
DOESN'T MEAN that the person in this condition is 
without fault, and it doesn't mean that more people can't
be added by God to the list of those being drawn to Jesus, 
in response to prayer by Christians.

This whole issue of predestination vs. free will is a Mystery
but one thing is clear, that the early church writers denounced
determinism and predestination notions in general as pagan.

So the tack taken by the Calvinists is not entirely biblical and
not part of early church teaching.

Augustine practically invented amillennialism as a response
to the delay in Christ's Second Coming. RC and mostly EO
are technically amil, so is Church of Christ and probably
some others. These do not expect a reign on earth by Christ
in two segments one Second Coming but two phases of rule,
rather, a Second Coming resulting in an immediate Judgement.
The possibility that the events are telescoped where Scripture
makes it look like this, and more detailed in Revelation, is

Regarding the Rapture the same page (different writer)
says this.

"Why does St. Paul speak of an ascension of the righteous? 
The Fathers suggest at least three answers to this question. 
St. Gregory of Nyssa says that the ascension is a 
natural consequence of the purity of the transfigured 
resurrection body: "...this change which takes place...
when the resurrection trumpet sounds which awakens 
the dead in an instant transforms those who are left 
alive to incorruptibility according to the likeness of those 
who have undergone the resurrection change, so that 
the bulk of the flesh is no longer heavy nor does its 
weight hold them down to earth, but they rise up 
through the air..." ("On the Making of Man" 22,6).

St. John Chrysostom and others say that it is to provide 
Christ with a proper escort for His appearance on 
earth and to demonstrate His favor toward the 
faithful. "If He is about to descend, why shall we 
be taken up? For the sake of honor. When a king 
enters a city, those who are in his favor go out to 
meet him, but the condemned await their judge 
inside. Or, when a loving father comes, his children, 
and also those worthy of being his children, are 
taken out in a chariot to see and kiss him, but the 
servants who have offended him remain indoors. 
So we are carried out upon a chariot to our Father...
See how great our honor is? As He descends we go 
out to meet Him, and what is more blessed, we shall 
be with Him always" (Homily 8 on Thessalonians)."

discussing the timing however, the writer observes:

"We must interpret 24:40-42 in light of Christ’s 
insistence that He will return "at an hour you do 
not expect" (24:44). It would seem strange if 
Christ were to make this point over and over in 
the early verses of chapter 24, then in verses 40-42 
describe an occurrence which would certainly tip 
everyone off that something was about to happen, 
and all the more peculiar if that tip-off were to 
happen seven years before His appearance, as the 
dispensationalists assert. "

The dispensationalists, whose special notions are 
NOT necessary to biblical faith on the one hand, or to
any last days events calculations on the other, are dead
wrong in thinking the great tribulation lasts seven years,
when Revelations says clearly it would be three and a
half years. 1260 days. 

But Jesus does says "immediately after the tribulation of
those days" He would appear in the sky, visible to all. 
Now while part of this discourse can include a veiled 
reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and 
The Temple in AD 70 there are events that don't fit all
that and there is a pattern of a sort of foreshadowing of
fulfillment of prophecy in Scripture. a double fulfillment.

Jesus said that when ALL these things start happening
at once, THEN take note and be happy for your 
redemption draws near. Redemption is not only done by
payment but by raid and taking out of captivity or 
destroying the tyrant that has you captive. THE Redemption
of course was done at the Cross, but this laid the groundwork
for the final redemption of the body as well as soul St. Paul
refers to meaning the resurrection of the believers, and of
course the redemption of those fleeing the antichrist or hiding
from him or being tortured or killed by him for not worshipping
him and not taking his mark in hand or head, this redemption
of believers would be by the destruction of the antichrist.

So Jesus DOES give a list of indicators, if they occur all at
once, that point to His imminent Second Coming, the day and
hour cannot be anticipated, but the year can be, but only after
the antichrist has made himself disgustingly obvious.

shows that St. Ephrem the Syrian clearly depicts a post
tribulation Rapture, contrary to the out of context and
dishonest misquote of him by some pre tribbers.

St. Ephrem also shows no particular gap between the
Second Coming and Last Judgement, though this may
just be a telescoping, expecting readers of Revelation
to get the details. c. AD 306-373.

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