Ten Things You Should Know About The Post-Millennial View Of The Kingdom Of God

In terms of eschatology, it is so important to accurately portray an opposing position before engaging with it. So often, this is not the case and the result is a complete failure of any kind of productive dialog. As far as I understand the issues involved, I think Dr. Storms does a fine job of accurately representing the post-millennial view in this article below: (original source here)

stormsBefore I delineate the 10 things all of us should know, let’s look at a definition of postmillennialism by one of its advocates, Lorainne Boettner. He describes postmillennialism as,

“that view of the last things which holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ is to occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace commonly called the ‘Millennium.’ . . . The Millennium to which the Postmillennialist looks forward is thus a golden age of spiritual prosperity during this present dispensation, that is, during the Church age, and is to be brought about through forces now active in the world. It is an indefinitely long period of time, perhaps much longer than a literal one thousand years. The changed character of individuals will be reflected in an uplifted social, economic, political and cultural life of mankind. . . . This does not mean that there ever will be a time on this earth when every person will be a Christian, or that all sin will be abolished. But it does mean that evil in all its many forms eventually will be reduced to negligible proportions, that Christian principles will be the rule, not the exception, and that Christ will return to a truly Christianized world” (The Millennium, 14; emphasis mine).

(1) According to postmillennialism, the Kingdom of God is primarily the rule or reign of God spiritually in and over the hearts of men. Thus the kingdom is truly present in this age and is visibly represented by the Church of Jesus Christ. In other words, the kingdom “arrives” and is “present” wherever and whenever people believe the gospel and commit themselves to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as Lord.

(2) The kingdom is not to be thought of as arriving instantaneously or wholly by means of some cataclysmic event at the end of the age (an event such as the Second Coming of Christ). Indeed, the very name POST-millennialism indicates that Christ will return only after the kingdom has come in its fullness. The “arrival” of the kingdom, therefore, is gradual or by degrees. There may well be extended seasons in the life of the church where little visible and tangible progress is detected, indeed, even times when the church appears to regress in terms of its global influence. But postmillennialists are quick to remind us that we must take the long view and not succumb to the pessimism that easily grows in the soil of short-term setbacks. Whereas Satan’s kingdom may appear at times to experience a growth parallel to, if not greater than, that of Christ, the latter will most assuredly overcome all opposition in every sphere of life until the nations are brought into submission to him.

(3) The means by which the kingdom extends itself is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The continuing spread and influence of the gospel will increasingly, and in direct proportion thereto, introduce the kingdom. This gradual (but constantly growing) success of the gospel will be brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Church. Eventually the greater part, but not necessarily all, of the world’s population will be converted to Christ. As Greg Bahnsen explains, “the essential distinctive of postmillennialism is its scripturally derived, sure expectation of gospel prosperity for the church during the present age” (“The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism,” in The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, III, Winter 1976-77, 66).

As Doug Wilson explains: “the gospel will continue to grow and flourish throughout the world, more and more individuals will be converted, the nations will stream to Christ, and the Great Commission will finally be successfully completed. The earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. When that happens, generation after generation will love and serve the Lord faithfully. And then the end will come” (Heaven Misplaced, 10). Continue reading

Eschatology Overview

Sam_Waldron2Last weekend, Arizona. The sessions can now be heard on sermon audio at this link.

Dr. Waldron also taught a Sunday School lesson “The One Olive Tree” based on Romans 11:16-24 found here.

The Charge of Replacement Theology

I don’t always find myself in agreement with Gary DeMar but some very good points are made in the following article entitled, “The Charge of Replacement Theology is a Cover for Fuzzy Theology” found here.

An Amillennialist Challenge to Historic Premillennialism

orion-nebula-new-image-from-hubbleArticle: An Amillennialist Challenge to Historic Premillennialism by J. Brandon Burks (original source I would like to consider what an Amillennialist might say to a Historic Premillennialist. That is, Wayne Grudem, Craig Blomberg, Douglas Moo, Jim Hamilton, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Randy Alcorn, or Thomas Schreiner (note: Schreiner has since returned to Amillenialism)? Perhaps in another post we can pose this question in reverse.

In good Van Tillian fashion, this post will use the insights of Sam Storms to deconstruct the Premillennialist position, and then G.K. Beale and others to offer an alternative understanding of Revelation 20:4.

Sam Storms gives six problematic beliefs that must necessarily accompany a Premillennialist view of end times. [For some back and forth on this, see Justin Taylor vs. Jim hamilton]. According to Storms, a Historic Premillennialist must necessarily believe:

1. That physical death will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s second coming (Rev. 20:7-10).

2. That the natural creation will continue, beyond the time of Christ’s second coming, to be subject to the curse imposed by the fall of man.

3. That the New Heavens and New Earth will not be introduced until 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ [not at His return].

4. That unbelieving men and women will still have the opportunity to come to saving faith in Christ for at least 1,000 years subsequent to his return.

5. That unbelievers will not be finally resurrected until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ [though Scripture speaks of only one resurrection]

6. That unbelievers will not be finally judged and cast into eternal punishment until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ.[1]

Storm concludes: “’So what is wrong with believing these things’, asks the premillennialist? What’s wrong is that these many things that premillennialists must believe (because of the way they interpret Scripture), the New Testament explicitly denies.”[2]

Having seen some of the potential problems with holding to a Historic Premillennialist position, G.K. Beale and others will offer an alternative position.

Revelation opens with these words: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” The phrase “make known” is the aorist form of the Greek word ???????, and it comes in a context that makes allusions to Daniel 2:28-30, 45.[3] This is significant because the only places in the Bible where the clause “’revelation… God showed… what must come to pass… and he made known (???????)’ occur together is in Daniel 2 [LXX] and Revelation 1:1.”[4] Continue reading

Every Chapter Better Than The One Before

aslan11Dan Phillips: For some reason, for days I’ve been thinking again and again of the ending of Lewis’ The Last Battle:

“And as He [Aslan] spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Can’t read it without tears.

A Present or Future Millennium?


Most American Evangelicals are firmly committed to the idea that an earthly millennial age will begin immediately after our Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Advent. Since premillennialism is so dominant in American church circles, many who encounter historic Protestantism for the first time are quite surprised when they discover that all of the Protestant Reformers and the entire Reformed and Lutheran traditions are amillennial. Amillennialism is that understanding of eschatology which sees the millennium not as a future golden age as does premillennialism (the age of the church triumphant), but instead as the present course of history between the First and Second Advents of our Lord (the age of the church militant). Indeed, there are many readers who will express shock and disappointment upon learning of my own amillennial convictions. But I am convinced, however, that many readers simply do not understand the basic end-times scenario found in the New Testament.

Part of the problem is that dispensational premillennial writers have completely dominated Christian media and publishing. There are literally hundreds of books, churches, and parachurch ministries all devoted to taking premillennialism and the “pretribulation” rapture idea to the masses. And so, I can only lament the fact that my own tradition has done so little to produce popular books introducing and defending amillennialism. It is my guess that many who read this article will have never heard the case for the classical position held by the church regarding the return of Christ and the millennial age.

Another problem encountered when examining this subject is that discussions of it often generate a great deal of heat but not very much light. One local prophecy pundit has quipped that the people in heaven with the lowest IQs will be amillennial. Hal Lindsey goes so far as to label amillennialism as anti-Semitic, demonic and heretical. (Hal Lindsey, The Rapture – New York: Bantam Books, 1983, 30.)

It is not uncommon to hear prophecyteachers label amillennial Christians as “liberal” or to accuse them of not taking the Bible literally. The result of such diatribes is that American Christians cannot help but be prejudiced by such unfortunate comments, and many simply reject outright (without due consideration of the other side) the eschatology of the Reformers and classical Protestantism–an eschatology that is amazingly simple, biblical, and Christ centered. And so, if you should be in that camp, instead of simply turning me off at this point, please bear with me, hear my case, and then decide for yourself on the basis of Scripture.

Unfortunately, it is all too fashionable to interpret the Bible in light of the morning newspaper and CNN. Yes, it is fun to read the Bible through the filter of every geopolitical crisis that arises in our modern world. This adds relevance to the Bible, we are told. It most assuredly sells thousands and thousands of books and provides for slick programs on Christian TV and radio documenting every move by the European Union, and every possible technological breakthrough that may prepare the way for the coming mark of the beast. These sensational end-times dramas heighten the sense of urgency regarding the coming of our Lord. They supposedly give the church missionary zeal. However fascinating these schemes may be, I do not believe that they accurately reflect the Biblical data.

There is, in addition, a quite serious side effect produced by this approach to Bible prophecy: The Bible no longer speaks for itself because it is twisted into a pretzel by each of its interpreters, who do their best to show that the upheaval of the nations described in the Book of Revelation has nothing whatsoever to do with the original reader in the first century struggling under Roman persecution, but is instead somehow related to the morning headlines. How many times can we tell our hearers that Jesus is coming back soon (No, we really mean it this time!) and then tie that message to a passing despot like Saddam Hussein or a tenuous political figure like Mikhail Gorbachev? How do we keep those who need to hear about Christ’s Second Advent the most from becoming increasingly cynical about the message of his coming? But then again this too is a sign of the end, for scoffers will come and say “where is this ‘coming’ he promised?” (2 Pt 3:3-4).

How tragic that prophecy speculators actually contribute to the very skepticism they themselves acknowledge as a key sign of the end. The classical Protestant tradition has helpful answers to these problems, as it does to many other crises facing the modern church that, by and large, have been forgotten by today’s Evangelicals.

All of the Protestant Reformers, were they to come back to give us counsel in these areas, would insist that we must start with the notion that the Bible itself must be read with the analogia fidei (the analogy of faith), meaning that Holy Scripture must be allowed to interpret Scripture. In other words, we must inductively develop a biblical model of eschatology by utilizing all of the passages that relate to the return of Christ, the resurrection, the judgement, the millennium, and so on. We should never study eschatology merely by finding Bible verses (often out of context) that we think describe current events. And so, by utilizing the analogy of faith, we begin with the clear declarations of Scripture regarding the coming of our Lord and use them to shed light on passages that are less clear. Continue reading

Amillenialism & Revelation

lion08by Benjamin L. Merkle, associate professor of New Testament & Greek at Southeastern Seminary.

Original source here.

Interpreting the book of Revelation from an amillennial perspective has a long history in the Church and, discount in fact, has been the predominant eschatological position of Christianity since the time of Augustine (though it was not called “amillennialism” until more recent times).

It is also a position many Baptists have embraced, including Hershey Davis, W. T. Conner, Herschel Hobbs, Edward McDowell, H. E. Dana, Ray Summers and James Leo Garrett. Indeed, some have claimed it was the dominant view of Southwestern Seminary from the 1930s–1990s. Even John Walvoord (a dispensational premillennialist) admits, “The weight of organized Christianity has largely been on the side of amillennialism” (Millennial Kingdom, 61).

The amillennial view of Revelation affirms that the 1,000-year binding of Satan refers to the period between the two advents of Christ. Two items should be noted about this interpretation. First, it recognizes that Revelation contains figurative or symbolic imagery typical of prophetic or apocalyptic literature. This means that the images are not to be taken literally, although they point to literal events and realities (e.g., the dragon John sees is not to be taken literally, but the dragon represents Satan who is real).

So, although the angel coming down from Heaven in Revelation 20 is pictured as having a literal chain to bind Satan and a literal key to lock him up, these symbols relate to us God’s intention to limit Satan’s influence on the world. This binding is said to last 1,000 years. If the chain, key and prison are symbolic pictures, then it is likely that the 1,000 years is also symbolic and represents a certain period of time. Second, John tells us that Satan is bound “so that he might not deceive the nations any longer” (Rev. 20:3). Thus, Satan’s influence is not completely removed, but is specifically tied to his ability to deceive the nations. In contrast to the Old Testament era, when nations were living in darkness oblivious to God’s special revelation, now the Gospel is being taken to all the nations. This will result in people from every tribe, language, people and nation being represented before the throne of God (Rev. 5:9).

One of the strengths of the amillennial approach is that it is Gospel-centered. That is, it views the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ as the center of redemptive history. Because of His work on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus has conquered death, defeated Satan and now reigns in Heaven waiting until all His enemies will be put under His feet. Thus, at His first coming Jesus defeated Satan by binding “the strong man” in order to “plunder his house” (Matt. 12:29).

During His ministry, Jesus said He “saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven,” which was symbolic of his fall from power (Luke 10:18). The author of Hebrews informs us that the incarnation of the Son was necessary so that “through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). Similarly, the apostle John states, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Jesus was able to commission His disciples by stating that “all authority in heaven and on Earth” had been given to Him (Matt. 28:18). Thus, the decisive battle took place at the cross and resurrection where Satan’s ultimate defeat was sealed. Indeed, he is still a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but he is a lion on a leash (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

The book of Revelation offers the believer in Christ amazing confidence and hope. It is not simply a book about the future, but about how knowing the future affects us today. The apostle John was given this incredible vision to give comfort and hope to persecuted Christians in Asia Minor by letting them know the outcome of history—that Satan’s final doom is certain, and that God will vindicate His people. The message of Revelation is that Christ is the reigning and returning King who rules over all creation—including Satan and his forces. Difficult times are sure to come, but in the end, Christ and His people are given the victory.

A missionary once asked some persecuted believers in a third world country which book of the Bible was their favorite. They responded, “Revelation!” Somewhat surprised by their response, the missionary asked them why they cherished this book above the others. They quickly added, “Because God wins in the end.” The book of Revelation offers encouragement for the believer, especially in times of hardship and trial. Even though life may be difficult now, the result is assured—God wins in the end. Christ is the One Who will come triumphantly to once and for all defeat His enemies and reign with His people. The victory belongs to the Lord!

Recommended Books:
1) Summers, Ray. Worthy Is the Lamb: Interpreting the Book of Revelation in Its Historical Context. Nashville: B&H, 1951 (reprint 1999).
2) Johnson, Dennis E. Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2001.
3) Hoekema, Anthony A. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979.
4) Riddlebarger, Kim. A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003.

Revelation 19-22

Evangelical Movement of Wales – Aber Conference 2016

Joel Beeke – Revelation 19 – The Great Marriage and the Great King’s Return

Joel Beeke – Revelation 20 – The Great Millennium and the Great White Throne

Joel Beeke – Revelation 21 – The Great Life in the New Jerusalem

Joel Beeke – Revelation 22 – The Great Saviour’s Imminent Coming and His Great Invitation

Here also is another exposition of Dr. Beeke on Revelation 20:1-10:

1 The binding of Satan (vv. 1-3)
2 The reign of the saints (vv. 4-6)
3 The loosing of Satan (vv.7-10)

Eschatology Re-visited

Dr. Kim Riddlebarger

What’s a Thousand Years Among Friends? – The Millennial Debate

Interpreting Biblical Prophecy: A Christ-Centered Reading of the Bible

To Him Who Loves Us – Daniel 7:1-18; Revelation 1:1-8

1. Revelation – The Big Picture of Redemptive History
2. Why Satan Hates the Church & How he Works
3. The Church’s Witness to the World
4. Comfort for a Suffering, Persecuted People

Eschatological Israel — Political or Spiritual?

1. Does Romans 11 teach a future millennial age?
2. Is there a future for national Israel?
3. How do we understand ‘All Israel’?

This Age vs. the Age to Come

Matthew 24 Part 1

Matthew 24 Part 2

Questions and Answers