The Kingdom, Jewish Fables, and Chiliasm
By, Apostle John Eckhardt, www.impactnetwork.net
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Not giving heed to JEWISH FABLES, and COMMANDMENTS of MEN, that turn from the
Many Christians are not aware of the JEWISH MYTHS, FABLES,
and DOCTRINES brought out of BABYLON and taught as
DOCTRINE during CHRIST'S and the APOSTLES' ministry.
They both had to contend with these fables and the commandments of
men. This is also true concerning JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY and
their CONCEPT of the KINGDOM.
Titus would encounter Jewish teachings. Titus is replete with warnings
concerning false doctrines which were Jewish in origin and nature.
Paul explained, "for there are many unruly and vain talkers and
deceivers, especially they of the circumcision" (1: 10).
The keeping of genealogies was unimportant because it mattered not if
one was of Jewish descent (3: 1; cf. Gal. 3: 25-29). Justification is "by
His grace" Paul emphasized to Titus (3: 7). "Jewish fables" were
Jewish myths and teachings.
The "commandments of men" were teachings which found their
origin in men as opposed to God (see Matt. 15:9) .
CHILIASM is the belief in an EARTHLY 1000 year reign (I
emphasize EARTHLY, because the phrase "1000 years" in found in
the book of REVELATION, in which some interpret as symbolic of
perfection and eternity).
Many Christians are not aware that his teaching (CHILIASM) has
been condemned as HERESY by many in the history of the church.
Although we must not base our doctrine on whether it was condemned,
but on the WORD OF GOD, We must remember that Jesus spoke of a
KINGDOM WITHOUT OBSERVATION (LUKE 17:20)
Chiliasm is not unique with the Christian religion. Its roots can be
found in most religions throughout the world. A key element which
exists in most religions is that there will be a time when evil will be
destroyed by the powers of good followed by a long period of peace.
Historically, then, the word Chiliasm has taken on the added meaning
of a time of universal peace.
According to Schaff, the belief of a period of a thousand years of
peace from evil powers had its origin with the religion of
Zoroastrianism. This religion began prior to the Babylonian captivity
and was in vogue during the time of the captivity.
Zoroastrians believe that they were the ones who first taught the
concept of one all powerful god, and the coming of a redeemer to save
the world from the evil powers that pervade upon the earth.
The Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament are filled with
speculations of a time of universal peace, which would be ruled by the
people of God. Only in these books do we find the doctrine of Chiliasm
among God's people.
The Old Testament scriptures do not teach such a doctrine. If we
consider the period in which these books were written, and the
uninspired nature of these books, then this doctrine can be put into its
proper place. It was a period of religious turmoil and persecutions by
the enemies of God's people.
The influence of Zoroastrian chiliasm was evident, thus the climate
was ripe for the hope that God would intervene, destroying the enemy,
and ushering in a period of universal peace.
Vos does not agree that the entire scope of Judaism eschatology
should rest upon the roots of paganism. He says that "so far back as
the period of canonical prophetism we find the twofold representation,
on the one hand that the final order of things will be called into being
by the appearance of a Messianic King, and on the other hand that it
will come through the appearance and interposition of God Himself,
so that the two conceptions of a Messianic Kingdom and a Kingdom of
God appear at this early stage side by side without any attempt at
harmonizing, then it would seem, that in this ancient prophetic
diversity, we have a fully adequate explanation of the origin of the two
successive kingdoms, without having to go to Babylonia and Persia, or
deriving the whole from Apocalyptic dissatisfaction with the world."3
Vos does provide sufficient evidence of the pagan doctrines and their
counterparts in the Apocryphal books. We cannot deny that some of
these pagan influences did not find their way into uninspired writings.
Our Lord had to contend with these views. (Lonnie Kent York)
Whether the Jews borrowed their materialistic conception in regard to
the future kingdom from ancient Babylonian eschatology as is
maintained by Dr. Bavinck, Hoekstra, and others, or whether Dr. Vos
is correct in ascribing this Jewish view to their own carnal
interpretation of Old Testament prophecy, is a question of minor
importance for our present purpose.
We believe with Dr. Vos that the charge of Babylonianism need not be
laid against Chiliasm. It is not difficult for us to understand that
Judaism with its external legalism and carnal expectation would come
to such a materialistic conception of the Messianic reign. We do not
believe that the Jews borrowed their views from heathen eschatology.
The later Jewish eschatology which was written during the time of the
apostles and the early church is far more sensualistic than that which
precedes. Baruch is especially typical of this sensualistic coloring.
He speaks of the destruction of the enemies at Christ’s coming. After
the evil forces are subdued there will follow a period of prosperity and
great joy. It is said that a vine will then have a thousand branches,
every branch a thousand clusters and every cluster a thousand grapes,
We also read, “In those days reapers will not have to exert themselves,
and those that build will not have to toil, for of themselves all work will
have progress together with those who labor thereon.”
The Jewish Talmud, which is of later origin, tells us that the promised
Messiah will destroy the fourth world kingdom which is predicted by
Daniel. Israel will be redeemed from the bondage and be gathered
from the dispersion to their own land.
The Messiah will raise the dead. Jerusalem and the temple will be
rebuilt, law and ceremony restored and the kingdom of glory
established. During this time the Gentiles shall live in servitude to
Israel and the kings of the world will honor the Messiah with costly
gifts and sacrifices. (William Masselink)
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