Appendix: What Say the Scriptures?
The premillennialists find ample proof for their position in Scripture. Christ is coming “with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him and his work before him”—before Him, not behind Him, as the postmillennialists teach (Isa. 40:10).
Though not all the premillennialists agree, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is coming to initiate the steps that will bring about the Millennium. Far from returning to a world of peace and righteousness, it pictures him breaking into history at a time when the “sea and the waves” are “roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25-26). His return will precipitate a time of trouble “such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1). Isaiah says that “when the enemy shall come in like a flood…the Redeemer shall come to Zion” (Isa. 59:19-20).
Jesus in parable compared Himself to a nobleman who goes into a “far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (Luke 19:12). The comparison would be incorrect if Christ came back to a kingdom already set up and an earth already in a perfect state.
Jesus’ words in His post-ascension message reveal the same promise: that Christ will return to an unconverted world. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him,hellip;and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Rev. 1:7). Also His words to His disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.…Likewase also as it was in the days of Lot;…Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).
History confirms that the early Christians were looking for the visible, bodily return of Jesus to set up His kingdom (Acts 1:10-11), and this teaching prevailed during the early year after the apostles, though it soon encountered opposition. The Alexandrian school, particularly Origen, also oopposed it. One of the first known opponents of Pre-Millennialism was Caius, a Roman presbyter about the year 200. According to one historian, “one great reason for the remarkable change of sentiments [from the expectation of the early return of Jesus to the belief that the Church was the kingdom] is to be found in the altered condition and prosepects of eth Church. Christians at first yearned for the reappearance of the Lord. Moreover, it was impossible for them to raise their faith and hopes so high as to expect the conquest of the Roman Empire by the moral power of the cross, independently of the personal and supernatural interposition of Christ. But as the Gospel made progress, the possibility and probability of a peaceful victory of the Chrsitian cause over all its adversaries, by the might of truth and of the Spirit, gained a lodgment in the convictions of good men” (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol 6. p.265).
The early church was looking for Jesus to return and bring in the Millennium, and we today, nearly two thousand years nearer, share the same bright expectation.