PMT 2014-146 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I have an occasional practice of asking Facebook friends and PostmillennialismToday readers for some questions about eschatology that they might have. Be aware: I usually upload blog articles several weeks in advance. So your question might come slowly, rather than what you might expect: “the time is near.” Send your questions to me at: KennethGentry@cs.com
Chris Comis asks: “What is your response to the ‘pilgrim/sojourner’ motif in the Scriptures, especially as it is often presented by amills and premills from 1 Peter? Just curious.”
Anytime you discern a motif in Scripture, you must recognize that it just that: a motif, a general pattern. It is not a universal, controlling structure. Just as narratives may involve multiple motifs, so does Scripture and theology.
Several different motifs may appear regarding a single entity. For instance, regarding Christ, we find a shepherding motif in Scripture. We also find a suffering motif. And we discover a warrior motif, as well. Indeed, Jesus is both a lamb and a lion in Scripture. All of these are true, but must be understood in their different contexts and for their differing purposes.
Motifs must be understood in their proper settings. The motif of a pilgrim people should be understood over against the permanent status of our eternal home. Even postmillennialists believe that temporal history will give way to the eternal estate, which is far more glorious. Thus, the pilgrim motif shows God’s people as engaged in a journey to a greater glory. We have an ultimate destiny beyond this mortal veil.
This pilgrim motif is especially helpful for encouraging the church when it is under siege, as was early Christianity. The persecuted believer must understand that though he is currently suffering and beleaguered, this temporal life is not all there is to the Christian faith. He must understand that he has a greater glory beyond this veil of tears. The pilgrim motif does not contradict postmillennialism.