"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.II Pg.9-11
September 1941

Who Is Right On The Millennium

John T. Lewis

When two teachers teach the opposite on any Scripture both may be wrong, one must be. To illustrate, if I teach that Eph. 5:18,19, and Col. 3:16 prescribe only vocal music in the worship, and some one else teaches that both vocal and instrumental music are prescribed, one of us must be wrong. Again, if I teach that only a burial is included in the term baptism, and some one else teaches that sprinkling, and pouring are included in the term, one of us must be wrong, and neither goodness, morality, piety, nor humility can change this self-evident truth.

Brother Armstrong, says, he is forced to class the Bible Banner as "bad, and divisive literature", and therefore does not subscribe for it. I would like for him to tell me how he classes The Word and Work, and if he subscribes for it? The teachings of these two papers, on the Millennium, are antipodes, and if he will answer my questions we will know whether he considers both papers wrong, or whether he considers The Word and Work right. I believe Brother Armstrong will give me a frank answer to the above questions, because he told me what he thought of The Bible Banner without being asked. It will be interesting, and instructive to read the antipodal teaching of J. M. Armstrong, and R. H. Boll on the millennium. So here we go.

"Some Things I Do Not Believe"

"1. Though many Bible students believe in the return of the Jews to Palestine—Bible students far superior to me—I do not believe it; I see no indication of it."-J. N. Armstrong.

I wish Brother Armstrong had mentioned some of those "Bible students far superior" to him, who taught the return of the Jews to Palestine, none of the Pioneers ever taught it. After giving scriptural arguments to show that the Jews would not, and could not be converted as a nation, and returned to Palestine, Dr. T. W. Brants says: "It requires a greater degree of credulity than we can command to believe this will ever occur". He further says "Still others believe that the millennium will consist in the return of the Jews to Jerusalem as a nation, and their conversion to the Christian religion; and that Christ will literally come to Jerusalem and reign among them in person. Some go so far on this line as to assume that after the Jews shall be converted, they will go out as missionaries to convert the world, and that through their agency the world is yet to be converted to Christ—that the nation that rejected and crucified the Lord of Glory, is to be the means of converting the world to him. This may be all true, but it is, to our mind, not only unscriptural, but wholly unreasonable. We have two good reasons for not believing it. (1) The Bible does not teach it--(2) The Bible teaches just the opposite". This is from Dr. Brent's "Sermon on the millennium". I quote this here, because Brother Armstrong and all of Boll's apologists try to make it appear that Dr. T. W. Brents, J. A. Harding, et al, taught R. H. Boll's vagaries on the millennium, which is but to misrepresent, if not to slander the dead.

"2. I do not believe Jesus will ever reign in earthly Jerusalem on a material throne and thus establish a material kingdom."-J. N. Armstrong.

In the "Boles-Boll Debate," R. H. Boll affirmed "The scriptures teach that Israel (fleshly descendants of Abraham through Jacob) shall be nationally restored." He sums up his first affirmative as follows. "We have seen from the testimony of the scriptures:

1. That the nation of Israel scattered by God's hand shall by his hand be recovered and regathered and restored to their own land. (Bro. Armstrong says: "I do not believe it; I see no indication of it")

2. That they shall accept their Messiah, be converted and saved.

3. That all the blessings and promises shall come unto that people just as surely and as literally as their predicted punishment have come upon them.

4. That once so restored, they shall never again fall away or be removed from their land.

5. That their national conversion and restoration will be a blessing to all the world. The scriptures do with abundant clearness and fullness teach "that Israel (fleshly descendants of Abraham through Jacob) shall be nationally restored". Dr. T. W. Brents says: "It requires a greater degree of credulity than we can command to believe this will ever occur." Therefore Robert H. Boll teaches, in unequivocal language, that, "The scriptures do with abundant clearness and fullness teach" the restoration of fleshly Israel to Palestine. Brother J. N. Armstrong says: "I see no indication of it." To be true to its name I think Harding College should have as "Dean of the Bible" the best in the brotherhood not only in teaching ability, but in humility and piety. I am sure that Brother Armstrong himself would not hesitate to declare that R. H. Boll combines all the qualities. It seems to me therefore that "J. N. Armstrong, President Emeritus and Dean of Bible" at Harding College could well afford to take leave of absence, go to Louisville, Ky., and take a special course under Bro. Boll. Maybe then he could see some "indication" of what "The Scriptures do with abundant clearness and fullness" teach.

We continue with Bro. Armstrong's limited (?) knowledge of the Bible. He says:

"3. I do not believe that Christ will ever sit on the literal throne of David, but I believe he is now sitting and reigning on all the throne on which he shall ever sit."J. N. A.

We will now hear R. H. Boll on this point. In his book, "The Kingdom of God," page 59, Brother Boll quoted Acts 2:30, 31, then asked, "Does He Now Sit On David's Throne?" His answer follows: "It is this passage, that demands our especial examination; for it is relied upon as the positive and final proof that Jesus is now sitting and reigning on David's throne. We shall consider it carefully, and impartially, to see if that is so. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, that if such is the meaning—or whatever may be the meaning—of these words I am well pleased to have it just as it is. Having no position to force or creed to defend we feel free to take all God has said and just as he said it. (Has Brother Armstrong" a position to force or a creed to defend," or does he feel as free in this matter as R. H. Boll? J. T. L.) But if upon examination we see the passage does not say what is claimed for it, of course no human authority and no consideration of the general views of the brotherhood should weigh in the matter.

And what do we see in Peter's statement? A declaration that Jesus is sitting upon David's throne now? That God has actually seated Him on the throne of David? If so that settles it for evermore. But what do we find? simply that David, foreseeing that of his natural descendants God would set one (the great promised son) upon his (David's) throne—spoke of the resurrection of the Christ. In other words, the promised Christ of David's line was to be raised from the dead in order that He might be seated on his father David's throne. This Son of David, this Jesus (Peter declares) was so raised up. He therefore is the rightful claimant. He is the God-appointed Heir of David's throne. To Him and to Him exclusively the throne of David belongs by every right. But that He is now already occupying that throne is precisely that which Peter does not say, still less does he say that the throne of David—which always meant simply the divinely delegated sovereignty over the nation of Israel, the "house of Jacob," Luke 1:32, 33—was now spiritualized and removed to heaven. The risen Lord Jesus is indeed exalted and enthroned now. But the position of authority He occupies up there was in no sense inherited from His father David. David never occupied that throne, nor could have; just as it is equally evident that the Lord Jesus has never yet exercised the authority of David's sphere of sovereignty. It is a position of supreme authority held by Him as the glorified God—man-- "until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet." (Ps. 110:1); upon which it will be surrendered. (1 Cor. 15:25-28). It is a joint sharing of God's throne, on which no mere creature ever yet sat nor could sit. The throne of David, however, is His own peculiarly or David's son; the throne which is His by right of human descent as David's righteous branch." Thus Armstrong's position on David's literal throne, and Boll's position are diametrically opposed to each other—one must be wrong. If Boll is right, Brother Armstrong's position is so far, from the truth I do not believe he could qualify as "Dean of Bible" over "that host of faithful disciples in the brotherhood today who hold that R. H. Boll's position on the millennium is not vitiating, not harmful enough to be made a ground for division or strife and disfellowship." As Brother C. M. Pullias would say: "And that isn't all."

"4. I do not believe that the Roman Empire will ever come back and be again the world power that it once was. Surely there is no Bible proof of this. I think nobody would

have ever thought of such a thing had it not been needed to complete a theory."-J. N. A.

Page 19, of his book, R. H. Boll says: "Here then, we see this some Beast (for it can be no other) reappearing in the future, and meeting its doom at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes with the ten thousands of His saints to execute vengeance upon the rebellious, and to assert His authority in the earth. It is told by John, by way of explanation: "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition." Again it is repeated, he was, and is not, and is yet to come (Greek, "shall be present"). Rev. 17:8. This is not dark symbolism but Divine interpretation, which needs no more interpreting. The Roman world power then, though now it does not exist, is to return when it returns, the Roman power will be in the form of a ten-kingdom confederacy under one dominant head; which fact is indicated by the toes of the image; more fully set forth in the ten horns of the fourth beast (Dan. 7); and clearly revealed to John in Revelations."

Although Brother Armstrong declares he does not believe this "Divine interpretations, which needs no more interpreting," I do not believe he has turned a blatant infidel, therefore I conclude he just does know the difference between "dark symbolism," and "Divine interpretation, which needs no more interpreting." His understanding therefore of "Divine interpretations" is so limited (?) I do not believe he could qualify for "Dean of Bible" even in a kindergarten. I believe "that great host of disciples among us" who think so much of Brother Boll will agree with me. If Boll's position is right, Brother Armstrong's position is wrong, and I do not believe he should be encouraged to teach a doubtful doctrine, especially as "President Emeritus and Dean of Bible" at one of "our" Colleges. Let us read some more of Brother Armstrong's unbelief.

"5. I do not believe that, because Christ was rejected by the Jews, the Lord turned from his original purpose and gave the church as a 'substitute'; and that at his coming again he will carry out his original plan and will restore, or establish, a kingdom with Christ on David's throne in Jerusalem."-J. N. A.

Let us read some more from Boll's book, "The Kingdom of God," chapter VI. "When John the Baptist lifted up his voice in the Wilderness of Judea and announced, the Kingdom of heaven at hand" he used a phraseology which was already common and current among the Jews, and which was perfectly understood by all. John took for granted that it was understood: never a word of explanation was given, so far as the record shows; and never a question or dispute arose between John and his countrymen as to the nature of the Kingdom. To the Jews the announcement meant but one thing. The promise of the Messianic Kingdom, with all it involved—the appearance of the Great King of David's line; the destruction of the Gentile world power; the deliverance and national restoration of Israel, and her exaltations to earthly sovereignty; the promises God made to the fathers, and the prophets' visions of the future glory of the people, the land, the city, and the Kingdom "in that day"—had imbedded itself in the very hearts of the people... All this we mention merely to show what expectation was existing in Israel at the time of John's announcement, and how the very words John used had their common and current meaning among the people. The burden of proof would certainly lie wholly and heavily with any man who would maintain that this Kingdom of John's announcement was a thing entirely different from that which Israel was expecting. (Bro. Armstrong simply says he does not believe it; but offers absolutely no proof to show "the announcement was different from that which Israel was expecting." This is not the way I believe a "President Emeritus and Dean of Bible" should dispose of a doctrine he does not believe. Jno. T. L.) The very suggestion that God would so trifle with the hope of the people, and by adopting their own language without explanation would leave them under so fundamental a mistake; yes, and would base His call to repentance upon this mistake, and would so confirm them in it, is quite repugnant and unworthy of God the more so when it is remembered that their kingdom expectations were legitimately derived from the language of their scriptures." Therefore, according to R. H. Boll, Brother Armstrong's teaching on this point "is quite repugnant and unworthy of God." I wonder what "that host of faithful disciples in the brotherhood today who hold that R. H. Boll's position on the Millennium is not vitiating, not harmful enough to be made a ground for division and strife and disfellowship" think of J. N. Armstrong's teaching? It seems to me that teaching "quite repugnant and unworthy of God" would be "harmful enough to be made a ground for division and strife and disfellowship." But we read again from Boll's book: "In Matthew's gospel we have thus far found the announcement of the Kingdom to Israel—the Kingdom foretold in the prophets and expected by the people. Now we arrive at an important crisis, which indeed had been brewing from Chapter 4 on, but comes to an issue in Chapter 12." Therefore according to R. H. Boll, all the teaching of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the seventy, and the apostles under the limited commission up to the 12th chapter of Matthew had references only to the restoration of David's earthly Kingdom. Brother Armstrong knows this is Boll's teaching, and he knows that all gospel preachers do not preach the truth on this subject, according to Boll's position. From Chapter 12 on, Boll says: "These parables are really an announcement of the new and unexpected aspect the Kingdom would assume during an anticipated age of the King's rejection and absence from the world. We have here the Savior's prediction of the circumstances as we find them unto this day. Therefore the church as we have it today, is only an "unexpected aspect of the Kingdom," that was announced by John and Jesus Christ. Brother Boll underscores the above statements to challenge the readers attention to their importance. Now Brethren you know Brother R. H. Boll is such a profound Bible student, so humble, consecrated, and pious, that he knows what he is talking about, and certainly he would not mislead you. But Harding College has sent out a "Bulletin on Premillennialism," in which Brother Armstrong declares he does not believe these things. I am wondering what "that great host of brethren among us" who think so much of Brother Boll and his teaching are going to do about Brother Armstrong's infidelity (?) on these matters? I do not believe he should be allowed to be "President Emeritus and Dean of Bible" of Harding College so long as he denies, or declares his unbelief in these scriptures (?) and at the same time proclaims his faith and confidence in R. H. Boll. And since there is perfect unity at Harding college on these issues, no action could be expected from that source, and here the matter must rest.