You have to tamper with every hermeneutical principle that takes anything seriously related to any kind of timing and just sort of chuck that out. God probably isn’t serious. Do you really want to tamper with God’s references to time periods? The book of Revelation tells us that Heaven lasts forever; do you want to mess with that? God probably isn’t serious—that’s such a long time.Now, I agree in principle with the pastor's analogy between prophecies about the first and second coming. But I'm a bit surprised that he would overlook the obvious presence of imagery in prophetic books, particularly apocalyptic texts. So here are my questions for anyone out there who thinks his argument makes sense:
Now, for the record, there are other views. I don’t want to put you to sleep but let me give them to you: Amillennialism is the view that the church simply inherited the promises of the kingdom and Christ is simply ruling in our hearts and there will be no literal 1000 year reign. You take passages like Revelation 20 and say “That’s just a nice idea. It's spiritual, it’s some sort of metaphysical truth and um and these prophecies must be taken figuratively instead of literally.”
Enough of that view. The view that we're talking about is taking prophecies at face value and we believe that those prophecies of Christ’s first coming happened physically and literally. Why not prophecies of his second coming? You have to put your hands over your eyes, close up your ears in order to somehow discount it all.
Surely you take all the prophetic imagery in Revelation literally, right? Surely not just the timing! You believe God is really serious, don't you? I mean, Jesus is a lamb with seven heads and seven horns wearing a sash and a long robe with a sword coming out of its mouth, right? Oh and this lamb is somehow a lion too. Maybe somebody can explain to me how that all works . . . literally. But obviously, if you don't want to tamper with time periods, you must not want to tamper with how God describes his own Son! Right? That's kind of a big deal, isn't it? God's serious about Jesus, isn't he?
Brothers and sisters, let's not pretend that one millennial view or one hermeneutic has the corner on "literalism." (And if it did, let's not pretend that would be a virtue.) And let's certainly not pretend that one approach has the corner on taking God seriously. I hope we all realize, by now, that's certainly not true.
Or do we need still more evidence of things not worth saving?