Part 1: Chapter 8

Gary North and Gary Demar

Narrated By: Daniel Banuelos & Devan Lindsey
Book: Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t
Topics:

00:00
9:01

Subscribe to the Audiobook

iTunes Google Spotify RSS Feed

Chapter Text

PREMILLENNIALISM’S FAITH IN BUREAUCRACY

Our hope is not in taking over this world, but in being taken to heaven by our Lord, to be married to Him in glory and then to return with Him as part of the armies of heaven to rescue Israel, destroy His enemies and participate in the Millennial reign.

Dave Hunt[1]

Hunt makes it clear: when Christians are in complete charge, “Justice will be meted out swiftly.”[2] Premillennialism’s promised New World Millennial Order will by governed by the most powerful bureaucracy in the history of man. Premillennialism is a religion of millennial bureaucracy. It implies that only a top-down bureaucracy run at the top personally by Jesus (and by Christians in all lower levels, of course) can restore justice to mankind.

Premillennialism is therefore an eschatology based on faith in total bureaucracy. Its appeal today is based on the presupposition that God-fearing Christian people, by preaching the gospel and obeying God’s law, are doomed to failure in history until Jesus comes bodily to set up a reign of terror against evil-doers. The key to social regeneration, the premillennialist says, is a bureaucracy personally administered by Christ. Until then, nothing significant can be done to heal this world.

This means that nothing positive that Christians do today will survive the Great Tribulation. All our good works will inevitably be destroyed, either pre-tribulationally (historic pre-millennialism) or post-tribulationally (conventional dispensationalism). There will be no’ institutional continuity between today’s church with the church of the future millennium. This is a denial of history, for “history” in premillennial theology gets broken; there can be no historical continuity with the millennium. The Great Tribulation will intervene.[3] Everything Christians leave behind will be swallowed up. This is great news, not tribulation news, Dave Hunt tells us.

While the Rapture is similar to death in that both serve to end one’s earthly life, the Rapture does something else as well: it signals the climax of history and opens the curtain upon its final drama. It thus ends, in a way that death does not, all human stake in continuing earthly developments, such as the lives of the children left behind, the growth of or the dispersion of the fortune accumulated, the protection of one’s reputation, the success of whatever earthly causes one has espoused, and so forth.[4]

This is why premillennialism is inherently, inescapably pessimistic with regard to efforts of social reform.

Only Christ’s millennial bureaucracy can bring peace and freedom in history, we are told. We Reconstructionists ask: How can any bureaucracy make men or societies righteous? How can a top-down bureaucratic order change the nature of man? It cannot. Premillennialists would obviously admit this. So, the premillennialist is left with this defense of the millennial bureaucracy: men will be so afraid of the consequences of doing evil that they will obey God’s law. (Question: Did Adam obey?)

(Side question: Where will people learn about the details of this Kingdom law? The answer is obvious – in the Old Testament, just as the Reconstructionists assert – but this answer sounds so theonomic that they never mention it.)

A Distant Supreme Judge

Then why aren’t people today afraid of disobeying God? Apparently only because Jesus is not bodily present on earth. But in a world of billions of people, He will be as good as invisible for most people most of the time. (Will His throne of judgment be televised? Will anyone watch?) What about the long lines in front of Jesus’ court of final appeal? Why will it be any shorter than the line was in Moses’ day, when Jethro advised Moses to set up a hierarchical appeals court (Exodus I8)? It will

be a lot longer: He will have billions of people to judge, not just the 1.2 million adults who left Egypt with Moses.

What about the quality of judgments from millennial judges? Why will they be superior to judgments rendered today? In what way? How? Just because only Christians will be empowered to render civil judgment? But this points directly to theocracy – a theonomic ideal. What will happen to the modern ideal of democracy during the millennium? Why is democracy the premillennialists’ political ideal today and theocracy the ideal for the coming millennium? Why should theocracy work better then than now? After all, Jesus will be busy rendering judgments, day and night. He can’t do it all by Himself. What makes the human judges’ judgment better in the future millennium than it is today?

I can see only one possible answer: a belief that Christians during the millennium will be in some way supernaturally transformed. They will get new wisdom. But where in the Bible does it even hint that Jesus’ mere bodily presence can in some way, in and of itself, change His people into competent judges? Yet if this belief in near-magical transformation is not the unstated heart and soul of premillennial-dispensational political theory – as I argue that it is – then what difference in 99.99% of the court cases will it make that Jesus is bodily present thousands of miles away? Not very much.

This is why I say that premillennialism is a social theory based on faith in bureaucracy. A similar faith in the transforming power of bureaucracy is the essence of the power religion, Le., the religion of secular humanism. Premillennialists share with liberal humanists the basic outlook of this faith with respect to the question of social transformation. They are power religionists with respect to the coming millennium. They think they or their spiritual heirs will bash heads for Jesus, bringing swift justice for all.

This view of the future implies (though never admits publicly) that political freedom is morally corrupt. Why is political freedom corrupt in such a worldview? Because political freedom, contrary to secular humanists, is impossible under extensive bureaucracy. This would be as true with a bureaucracy ruled by Jesus as it is under any other bureaucracy. The reliability of Jesus’ handful of daily judgments would not automatically transform the character or the competence of the earthly judges under Him. Men and civil judges would still need to turn to the Bible in search of justice, just as they need to do now.

What men need is freedom under Bible-revealed law, not more bureaucracy. What they need is the Holy Spirit, not more bureaucracy. What they need is a theonomic revival, not more bureaucracy. What they need is a Bible-based social theory that teaches that covenant-keepers can successfully transform institutions today, including the State, for the glory of God.

The pro-bureaucracy, premillennial view of civil government is one more element in the traditional pietist-humanist agreement. It goes back to 1660 in England – the restoration of King Charles II after the death of Oliver Cromwell – and much farther back on the continent of Europe.

The Christian Reconstructionist rejects such a view of the Kingdom of God in history. He argues that it is the presence of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God – the traditional creed of orthodox Christianity – that alone makes possible the transformation of men and covenantal associations. Because Jesus reigns from on high, He and His Father have sent the Holy Spirit to bring men to saving faith in Christ. It is this Holy Spirit-directed transformation, rather than the establishment of a future international bureaucracy, that is the only legitimate biblical basis of comprehensive social transformation.

[1] Dave Hunt, “Looking for that Blessed Hope,” Omega Letter (Feb. 1989), p. 15.

[2] Dave Hunt, Beyond Seduction: A Return to Biblical Christianity (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1987), p. 250.

[3] The Great Tribulation actually took place at the fall of Jerusalem in AD. 70. See David Chilton, The Great Tribulation (Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1987).

[4] Dave Hunt, “Looking for that Blessed Hope,” Omega Letter (Feb. 1989), p. 14.