by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 0842361901, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:
A plot summary is here.
FINALLY! After 5 1/2 years, I’ve made it to the end of this series! It’s hard to believe it’s been so long–I could swear I just started this–But then, at my age, the years just fly by like the snowy owls we have around here: One moment you see it, the next it’s gone.
Now for my final review:
The Millennial Kingdom is described in the early pages. Now Jesus is in charge of the whole world, and it seems rather Taliban-like: If you don’t get saved by age 100, you die and spend eternity in Hell. (This does not apply to Jews.)
If you sin, you can get incinerated–or not.
And it seems that the Old Testament Law, which even the Apostles deemed too oppressive to put over Christians, is now back in effect, even the sacrifices and holidays! Things which the Apostles and other Early Church leaders scolded their flock not to do, are now being done.
And now the Jews are the Chosen People again, and Gentile Christians are the “foreigners.” What about everyone being equal?
First we have “The Millennial Kingdom,” a chapter which claims to describe what will happen during the Millennium. Not what the authors think will happen, but what life will be like. It’s things like [italics mine],
“Everyone will be assigned temporary housing until Jesus reconstructs the earth.”
An earthquake will have caused a residue that makes the entire planet sea-level.
“You may be a stellar student or an athlete or even a bit of a techie, but you will not have to be good with your hands. You may not be a gardener let alone a farmer, and perhaps you always pay to have carpentry, wiring, or plumbing done around the house. But in that day God will plant within you the desire–and the acumen–to do all those things yourself.”
How the heck do the authors know these things will happen? Isn’t this all just speculation?
On page xli, we learn that the moon and sun are “supercharged by the Shekinah glory of Christ,” so you can’t go outside without sunglasses, and even at night it’s bright. (I wear my sunglasses at night….) It’s hard to adjust to sleeping in the light.
Sounds like the sun is going into supernova; isn’t that a bad thing, meaning the imminent end of the earth? But then, at the end of the 1000 years, the earth is destroyed by fire from the heavens and from within the earth (p. 350)–Oh, hey, it IS a supernova!
And it sounds too frickin’ bright, not like paradise at all. You need the night and its cooling for sleep; nocturnal animals need the night, too.
Also, now everyone speaks Hebrew fluently. The rationale is Zephaniah 3:9, which says, “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”
How does that translate to Hebrew? Why Hebrew and not some other language that’s actually still being used? Hebrew is not designed for 21st-century life. I bet their word for “cellphone” is English, not Hebrew!
What’s wrong with, say, a heavenly language? How is Hebrew better than any other language? Is it because the Bible was written in it? The Bible was also written in Aramaic and ancient Greek–Why not one of those?
This version of the Millennium is also not the only one in Christendom. It’s called premillennialism. There is also post-millennialism and amillennialism.
Orthodoxy goes with amillennialism, or that the Millennium is symbolic of the time after Christ. (More info here.) Then at the end, Christ comes back, there is the Judgment (not a bunch of little judgments as in the Left Behind books), and then:
Thus, in its faith in resurrection and eternal life, the Orthodox Church looks not to some “other world” for salvation, but to this very world so loved by God, resurrected and glorified by Him, tilled with His own divine presence.
At the end of the ages God will reveal His presence and will fill all creation with Himself. For those who love Him it will be paradise. For those who hate Him it will be hell. And all physical creation, together with the righteous, will rejoice and be glad in His coming.
…When the Kingdom of God fills all creation, all things will be made new. This world will again be that paradise for which it was originally created. This is the Orthodox doctrine of the final fate of man and his universe.
It is sometimes argued, however, that this world will be totally destroyed and that God will create everything new “out of nothing” by the act of a second creation….
Because the Bible never speaks about a “second creation” and because it continually and consistently witnesses that God loves the world which He has made and does everything that He can to save it, the Orthodox Tradition never interprets such scriptural texts as teaching the actual annihilation of creation by God.
It understands such texts as speaking metaphorically of the great catastrophe which creation must endure, including even the righteous, in order for it to be cleansed, purified, made perfect, and saved….See full article at The Symbol of Faith: Eternal Life, OCA website
This also contradicts the LaHaye/Jenkins vision of the final end of everything after the Millennium ends and God’s opponents are incinerated: the earth is incinerated as well, replaced with a new one.
I’ve also noted that the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern part of the Roman Empire which lived on after the Western part fell into the Dark Ages, lasted for about 1000 years–then was laid waste by the Ottomans.
Since the Byzantine Empire was Christian, it works well as a literal Millennium–except for the end, of course. How could God’s Empire end with the evil side winning Armageddon?
On page 7, Irene is in the middle of reminiscing about Heaven: “She was able to describe the very portals of the house of God, a great, cathedral-like expanse where the redeemed of the ages were arrayed in purest white….”
Hmmmm….Last I recall, from The Rapture, they were all nekkid.
Fans of the Slacktivist‘s Left Behind reviews, have joked about the Millennium’s “steaming piles of fresh produce, drenched in butter.” Well, here they are on pages 2 and 11!
You see, meat is no longer used for food, despite the sacrifices (which are once again started in the Temple) and the eating of perfect meat after Armageddon (see Glorious Appearing).
So veggies drenched in butter are suddenly feasting food….I’m not quite sure I get the attraction….Where’s the cheese dip? the ranch dressing?
On page 13 is a reference to “new wine,” and we soon learn that people drink wine in the Millennium. But…I thought “new wine” was actually grape juice, according to Evangelical lore, and that wine is evil, so we’re not supposed to drink it at communion?
(Seriously, that’s how I was raised. It was a huge adjustment to take actual wine for communion in the Orthodox church, because I’d always taken grape juice.)
The hills and mountains now literally drip with “new wine” and flow with milk instead of water. But….What if you’re lactose intolerant? Chaim quotes some passage of the Bible where this image comes from. Yeah….I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be a metaphor.
To be continued.