Brother Bartanen wrote:
> I was raised in southern Indiana, near Louisville, KY, the heart of
> premillennialism in Churches of Christ. Sermons I heard were constantly
> opposing this position. Somebody put my parents on the mailing list for
> Word & Work, which you may be familiar with. I was more impressed with the
> emphasis upon the grace of God than I was with their view of the 2nd
> coming. When I went to Freed-Hardeman College (’51-54) I took a course
> opposing the premillennial view, and of course read Foy E. Wallace’s book.
> However, through it all I could not be convinced that this was a salvation
> issue. As I continued to study the matter, I realized some of the
> arguments against premillennialism were a distortion and misrepresentation
> of what was really being taught. I corresponded some with premill
> brethren, and in ’62 was invited to consider working with a premill
> congregation in Louisville. I accepted it–not because I was necessarily
> premill, but more as a statement of Christian liberty, and

James Replies:
I have never known much of anything about the premill churches. I grew up in the amill churches and only knew what little I had read about the premill ones. I thought the only ones left were around middle Tennessee, but now I find that there are more around Louisville and Evansville.

Brother Bartanen wrote:
> a refusal to stay withdrawn from fellow-Christians.

James replies: I don’t know how brother Foy Wallace ever worked the millennial doctrine into a fellowship issue.

Brother Bartanen wrote:
> I worked with the congregation for 5 years before accepting a work with
> another amill church. I still am uncertain about the millennium.

James replies: The millennium is a topic that has caused me a great deal of difficulty. I have concluded that it must be an event on earth during this present age that ran parallel to His reign in heaven. There is no time after Jesus comes again when the millennium of Rev 20 could occur, because when He begins His reign on David’s throne, His reign there is unending (Lk 1:33) and not just a 1000 years. Also, He cannot return to earth until He restores everything (Acts 3:21), and that includes raising the dead (I Cor 15:26). Therefore, the millennium must end before He comes again and raises the dead, because Satan is released after the Millennium, makes war with the saints, and is destroyed at Christ’s Second Coming (Rev 19:20). When Jesus comes again, He will destroy the last enemy, death (I Cor 15:25-26). He cannot return until the last enemy is destroyed (I Cor 15:25-26). Therefore, Satan cannot be released after Jesus comes again. There is, however, obviously a 1000 yr reign some time (Rev 20:4). I think it was in parallel with Christ’s reign in heaven. I think in some way the ones who were sitting on the thrones in Rev 20:4 reigned with Christ over the earth. I don’t know exactly how they did it; maybe through the ministry of angels, but it is the only viable option. Foy was right about one thing: when Jesus comes again, the show is over (II Pet 3:7). When Jesus comes, He comes as the Conquering Christ and as David, the Warrior King (Rev 19:11-12, 15), and He claims His rightful dominion over the earth (Ezek 37:24-28). There is no place for the 1000 year reign of Rev 20 after Jesus comes to destroy the LAST enemy (I Cor 15:26).

Brother Bartanen wrote:
>However, I find myself in agreement on many areas of prophecy. I believe
>there will be a time of great tribulation, the time of “Jacob’s trouble”,
>in which Israel will come to faith in Christ. I believe there will be a
>personal antichrist who will head a global government. I believe Matt. 24
>has a dual application–the tribulation of the Jews in 70 AD and the final
>great tribulation followed by the return of Christ. Somehow, believers
>will be under divine protection at that time. We are to pray that we be
>”counted worthy to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of
>Man.” That sounds powerfully like a rapture-event. Anyway, as you can
>see, I’m conflicted within myself.

James replies: The brethren who object to the premill doctrine often cite the things like the theories of the horses that breathe fire and have snake tails being Cobra helicopters and the like. I can sympathize with their exasperation over such fantasies. However, my view does not incorporate any of that stuff. There are some unorthodox aspects of what I believe, but it is based on what I read, not a fanciful imagination such as some of the Pentecostals have with respect to Revelation.

I agree with the things that you have said above. The evidence for it is abundantly clear if you are willing to take the Bible for what it says. While I agree that I Thes 4:16 is a rapture, I do not take the position that Christ leaves then with the righteous to let the earth fester in its own juices. I believe that He raises the righteous in I Thes 4:14ff, and they immediately thereafter descend with Him to fight the enemy in the Battle of Armageddon (Rev 19:14-21, Jer 49:22, Micah 2:12-13). They are gathered together to be with Christ, and apparently are given white raiment and horses (Rev 19:14).

Since there can be no thousand year reign interrupted by war after Jesus comes (Isa 9:7), then the millennium of Rev 20:4 must occur before the end of the world, must be a limited reign, must be by proxy from heaven, and must allow time on earth for Satan’s little season.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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