“Well,” I said as we finished breakfast Wednesday morning, “are we all ready?”
“Almost,” Steve answered.
“Where are we going today?” Susie asked.
“Jackson,” I replied. “I thought we’d go to Jackson; it’s another hour and a half.”
“Well let’s go ahead and go,” Felicity stated. “Did you want your water?”
* * * * *
“Good evening,” Peter greeted us that evening as we walked into the church. “I’m Peter Burkholder.”
“Amos Kauffman,” I replied, and introduced the others.
“Do you have a ten-gallon hat?” I asked him.
He smiled. “No, but I ought to,” he replied.
“David told us you were from Texas,” I told him.
“Where ya’ll from?” Peter asked.
“Kearney,” I answered.
“Oh!” Peter exclaimed. “That’s a long ways away.”
“Only about seventeen hours one way,” I told him.
“Wow,” he replied. “Seventeen hours.”
“We’re staying here for the whole conference,” I assured him.
“Well I’d reckon you’d stay here; you couldn’t drive back and forth,” he replied.
Suddenly an idea struck me. “What hotel are you staying in?” I asked.
“Motel 6,” Pete replied.
“Really?” I asked. “Which room?”
“It’s on the lower story,” he said.
I chuckled. “We’re on the upper story in the same hotel,” I stated.
“Really?” he asked in disbelief. “That’s funny.”
“So now I’m going to ask,” Peter began, “just because I’m curious, how’d you meet Pastor Mast?”
“We get a newsletter from Antoine and his ministry, and he announced the conference,” I said. “David told us what everyone did and where everyone is from; we already knew about Antoine, but the rest were new.”
The prelude began. We departed to our seats and sat down.
After the opening, Pastor handed it over to Brother Daniel Shelley.
“Good evening,” Brother Shelley began. “Please take your Bibles and turn to Revelation 22:20-21. Revelation 22:20-21. My title is ‘I Come Quickly’.
“‘He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.’
“Jesus gave John the vision of the Book of Revelation,” Brother Shelley began. “In Revelation chapter 1, we see Jesus appearing to John on the Isle of Patmos. Jesus tells him to write what he’s seen and what he’ll see down, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia. Now, I don’t believe this church-age thing; the system of belief that Martin Luther was the angel of the Philadelphian age or the Reformation era; or that this certain church ‘father’ was the angel for this age; or that age; or that this ‘preacher’—whatever his name is, William Branham, I think—is the angel for the Laodicea age. I do believe, however, that the churches represent the entire course of church history, but like someone else pointed out, the Rapture could only be imminent if all the churches were to represent a period of time until the Rapture. I believe that each church represents one age that began at a certain time and will continue until the Rapture, but the Rapture could have taken place during any church period. For example, the letter to Smyrna mentions ‘tribulation ten days’; I believe Jesus could be referring to the ten periods of Roman persecution. But at any rate, John was given this revelation concerning things to come.”
Daniel looked around at the congregation.
“How many of you here believe in Amillennialism?” he asked.
No hands went up.
“How many of you aren’t entirely sure as to what you believe about eschatology?” he asked next.
A few hands went up; I almost put mine up. Felicity looked at me. We both had struggled with this subject before.
“I believe it was Brother Antoine who asked about Mennonites and Amish; how many of you knew that both of those groups believe in Amillennialism?”
A few hands went up, including ours.
“Amillennialism comes in two varieties: Preterism and Historicism. Historicists believe that the Book of Revelation has or is happening progressively over the course of church history. According to their own definition, historicism ‘contends that Revelation is a symbolic presentation of the entire course of the history of the church from the close of the first century to the end of time’. David Koresh of Waco; Texas was an historicist. Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons are all historicists.
“Mennonites and Amish (and a few others) are Preterists. Preterists believe that all the events in Revelation up to at least chapter 20, verse 6 occurred around 70 A.D.; Nero was the Antichrist; Jesus was the Roman armies; those white rocks the Romans catapulted at the Jews were those seventy-five pound hailstones mentioned in Revelation 16; etc.”
Daniel took a drink. “We don’t have time to cover everything there is to cover about Amillennialism, but I want to cover a few things. Number one: the origin of Amillennialism. Amillennialists think that dispensationalism came from Darby, Scofield, and Irving; to the contrary, dispensationalism began with the Bible, and, more specifically, with the Apostle Paul himself. Four times Paul uses the word dispensation: 1st Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10 and 3:2 and Colossians 1:25. 1st Corinthians 9:17 says, ‘For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.’ Ephesians 3:2 says, ‘If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:’. So don’t tell me it was some heretics that started dispensationalism; it is founded upon the Bible and the Apostle Paul himself.Continue reading