Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist completes his “The Last Things” section as he attempts to counter the belief in “A Thousand-Year Reign” held by some Protestants.
Many evangelical Christians believe in a literal, thousand-year, millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon the Earth following His second coming based upon the text of Revelation 20:
“…They will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:6
Catholicism does not teach premillennialism, the literal, thousand-year reign of Christ. The RCC subscribes to the amillennial view, which teaches that there will not be a literal thousand-year reign. Broussard offers two arguments to defend the Catholic position:
(1) Broussard suggests that the “thousand years” referred to in Revelation 20 is strictly symbolic. He presents examples of Bible verses where the number 1000 is used symbolically such as in Psalm 50:10 and 1 Chronicles 16:15 and argues a symbolic interpretation is also intended for Revelation 20.
(2) Broussard argues that “the contextual details (of Rev. 20) suggest that the thousand years overlaps with the ministry of Jesus and the Church age” (p. 231). The details Broussard cites are those that describe Satan as being “bound.” Broussard argues that Satan was bound during Jesus’s earthly ministry and is bound now, during the Church age, so that he cannot hinder the preaching of the gospel as Christ builds His Church.
Let’s now respond to Broussard.
Evangelicals are divided over the three views connected with millenarianism:
Premillennialism – the belief that Jesus Christ will return and set up a literal 1000-year reign upon Earth.*
Postmillennialism – the belief that the preaching of the Gospel and the increasing conversion of souls over a period of time symbolized by the “1000-years” in Rev. 20 will usher in the return of Jesus Christ. This view was once overridingly popular among mainline Protestant denominations, but it’s not even a consideration for them any longer in this era of mainline Protestant apostasy.
Amillennialism – the belief that there will not be a literal 1000-year reign, but that Christ currently reigns on Earth through the church and His followers.
As a new Christian, I was discipled at a Gospel-preaching church that taught the pre-trib rapture and the pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ. I’m comfortable with those views, but I know many genuine Christians believe differently. I’m definitely not passionate when it comes to eschatology, so I generally keep my endtimes beliefs to myself. Some Christians do have strongly-held views on the endtimes. Debates on the topic, some quite heated, can be found all over the internet.
Here’s the most important takeaway from this chapter for me: Catholic apologist Broussard is quibbling over details of endtimes eschatology, while his church teaches a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. It’s like being on an airliner flying eight miles above the ground and arguing with the stewardess about the cabin temperature while one of the plane’s engines is visibly aflame. Let’s keep our focus on the “first things.” Broussard defends his church’s amillennialist view, claiming that Satan is bound while the RCC advances its works-righteousness gospel. Does not compute. Satan is VERY pleased that the RCC teaches anti-Biblical, works-righteousness salvation. I would suggest, as did all of the Reformers, that Satan played/plays a part in the creation and perpetuation of the RC false church. But why does the Catholic apologist quibble about endtimes details when the RCC officially teaches that people of all religions – Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc., and even atheists – all of whom generally have NO CLUE regarding the difference between premillennialism and amillennialism – may also merit their salvation if they are “good” and sincerely “follow the light they are given”?
What is millenarianism?
*Premillennialism is further divided into Historic Premillennialism and Dispensational Premillennialism. See here.
Next up: “Doctrines of Demons”