REVELATION’S DIFFICULTY

What me worryPMW 2021-036 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Evangelical laymen love to hear about the book of Revelation. Unfortunately, they tend to approach it as if it were a child’s toy. Many of contemporary dispensationalism’s best-sellers focus on Revelation. In a childish, shallow way.

We must recognize that even the trained, diligent scholar must approach Revelation with extreme caution, humbly recognizing that he is opening a book that has perplexed the finest minds and confounded the most godly saints throughout Christian history.

Gaius of Rome (d. 296) laments that “having formed an idea of it as a composition exceeding my capacity of understanding, I regard it as containing a kind of hidden and wonderful intelligence on the several subjects which come under it. For though I cannot comprehend it, I still suspect that there is some deeper sense underlying the words. And I do not measure and judge its expressions by the standard of my own reason, but, making more allowance for faith, I have simply regarded them as too lofty for my comprehension; and I do not forthwith reject what I do not understand, but I am only the more filled with wonder at it, in that I have not been able to discern its import” (Dion., Works 1:1:3). Continue reading

LITERALISM AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

LiteralPMW 2021-116 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

From time-to-time, I am try to answer questions that readers send in. Here is one that I have received in a few different forms. I thought PMW readers might appreciate this brief Question and Answer.

Reader question:

I have a question for you. I recently heard a postmill/amill debate. The amill gave a criticism against postmill that I am really stuck on. Maybe you can help.

He said that postmills apply the restoration Psalms and prophecies like dispensationalists do, in a literalistic, types and shadows fashion. For example, regarding Psalm 2:8 the amill said that postmills apply the terms “nations” and “earth” in a way that Jesus and the apostles never intended (political entities, etc.). From his perspective, the NT teaches that for Christ to make the nations and earth His footstool refers to the salvation of the Gentiles from every tribe tongue and nation, not Christ’s influence on political structures, etc. Continue reading

REVELATION AND DOUBLE FULFILLMENT

PMW 2021-108 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Double image

I frequently have folks respond to my presentation of the preterist argument for Revelation in an unusual way. They see the strength of the preterist analysis of Revelation. They recognize that it is difficult to get around Revelation’s opening and closely comments regarding the temporal nearness of its prophecies. After all, Revelation 1:1 states rather clearly:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place.

And Revelation 22:6 closes the book on the same note:

These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

Since these statements are so clear and compelling, some believers attempt an end-run around them. Continue reading

AMILLENNIAL PESSIMISM

FearfulPMW 2021-033 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Amillennialists often complain that postmillennialists wrongly categorize them as “pessimistic.” They generally reject this evaluation for two reasons: (1) It is negative sounding in itself. And (2) it overlooks the fact that they believe that ultimately Christ and his people win the victory at the end of history. Still other amillennialists deny this designation because they call themselves “optimistic amillennialists.”

What do postmillennialists mean by categorizing amillennialism as “pessimistic”? Is the charge legitimate. I believe it is.

Obviously all evangelical eschatological perspectives are ultimately optimistic — even dispensationalists who make a very nice living from books on cultural decline, despair, and doom. After all, Christ does lead his people to victory in saving them from their sins in history, resurrecting them from the dead at the end of history, and establishing them in righteousness in eternity. Continue reading

THE GRADUALISM PRINCIPLE

slow down 1PMW 2021-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The principle of gradualism has long been the method of God and the experience of God’s people in Scripture. I will be showing below that if we are to properly understand Scripture’s eschatological victory, we must recognize this important redemptive-historical means of divine operation. In short, this principle expects the kingdom’s developmental unfolding and incremental expansion to grow slowly over time in the historical long run.

Contrary to postmillennialism, though, the dispensational and premillennial views operate on the basis of the principle of catastrophism. Continue reading

MY FAVORITE POSTMILLENNIAL VERSES

Bible pointingPMW 2021-031 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I became a postmillennialist after becoming dismayed with dispensationalism, while studying at Grace Theological seminary. But I did not leap from dispensational despair to postmillennial progress in a single bound. Nor was my move faster than a speeding bullet. Nor did I deem it necessary to wear a red cape to do this. (I’ll see how many of you watched Superman on TV in the 1950s.)

Eschatological journey

I was converted in a dispensational ministry: my dispensationalist uncle’s church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Then I enrolled in Tennessee Temple College, a fundamentalist Baptist operated school, where I secured a B.A. in Biblical Studies. Now armed-and-dangerous with dispensational proof-texts, I set sail to Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. There I was being trained in a higher level, more scholarly version of dispensationalism. Continue reading

PERSECUTION AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

PMW 2021-030 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Critics of postmillennialism will often turn to negative sounding passages in the New Testament in order to discredit any postmillennialism optimism regarding the future.

For instance, Matthew 10:23 is a favorite in this regard:

“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”

Since postmillennialism expects a future in which Christianity reigns supreme, and in which righteousness and peace will prevail throughout the world, texts such as this one must be explained. Postmillennialism cannot be true if Christians will always be hated and the only hope we have is our bare endurance.

But does this passage teach such? I do not believe that it does. We must read the verse in its context to grasp what our Lord is actually declaring.


three views millennium

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (ed. by Darrell Bock)

Presents three views on the millennium: progressive dispensationalist, amillennialist, and reconstructionist postmillennialist viewpoints. Includes separate responses to each view. Ken Gentry provides the postmillennial contribution.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


In Matt 10 Jesus appoints his disciples as apostles, investing them with great authority (Matt 10:1–2). And at this stage of his ministry he limits their outreach to Israel alone: “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (Matt 10:5–6). Of course, this is not the way it was always to be, for later at the end of his ministry he commissions his church to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt 28:19).

Furthermore, immediately after his limiting their mission to Israel, he teaches them what they are to preach: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt 10:7). This also shows the early phase of his ministry. The kingdom has not yet come, though it is close at hand.

He then directs them to go from city-to-city in Israel to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and so forth (Matt 10:8–15). He notes that he is sending them “as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt 10:16). And in doing so he warns them: “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles” (Matt 10:17–18). This clearly speaks of their ministry to Israel, for it mentions the trouble they will experience from the synagogues.

He further warns that “brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death” (Matt 10:21). Then we read the verse that raised our question: “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matt 10:22).

Then following this warning he promises: “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes” (Matt 10:23). We must ask: “Whenever who persecutes you?” Contextually, it is speaking expressly of Jewish opposition.

What Matt 10:22 is declaring then is that as his twelve disciples (who are all dead by now!) engage the mission to Israel, they must hang tough, they must endure through the raging of Israel against Christ and his followers. Not only so, but he promises he will come in judgment against Israel before they have finished going through all the cities of Israel. This refers to the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the specific “end” in view.

A similar statement to Matt 10:22 is found in Matt 24:13: “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” And again, the context points to the time preceding the fall of Jerusalem, for he is answering a question about the coming destruction of the temple (Matt 24:2–3).

Thus, Matt 10:22 (and Matt 24:13) do not speak of relentless persecution to the end of history (are you persecuted to death?). Rather it is referring to Jewish persecution of the Christian faith that leads up to AD 70.


The Harrowing of Hell (by Jay Rogers)
This postmillennial book examines the power of the Gospel, not only to overcome all opposition, but to rise far above the powers of hell. The term “Harrowing of Hell” refers to idea that Christ descended into Hell, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed.

For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com