Bible pointingPMT 2015-029 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I became a postmillennialist after becoming dismayed with dispensationalism. 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 (which just closed down this week!) 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.

But something did not click for me. I began seeing problems with the system, and longed for something less complicated, more clear, and more biblical. In the GTS library I stumbled upon O. T. Allis’s Prophecy and the Church. And that did it. I raptured out of dispensationalism. And never looked back (except to pick up my hat — it was snowing that day).

Rather than jumping into postmillennialism, by default I stopped off at amillennialism for about a year while in seminary. This was the final few months of my enrollment at Grace Theological Seminary and the first few of my classes at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.

I have often called amillennialism the “parking lot” of eschatology. It is a comfortable place to get away from the eschatological debate and the heavy traffic it generates when you have “no particular place to go” (pardon me, Chuck Berry). As an amill you are not in a fast lane going north or going south. You are just sitting there conserving energy (and dreaming that one day you too may be Dutch).

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

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

Yet while at Reformed Seminary, I took a class called “Eschatology and History” which was taught by Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen. He was not Dr. Bahnsen then though. He was Dr. Joe Cleveland. Just kidding. He was in process of getting his doctorate, so he did not have his Ph.D. yet. He was simply “Mr. Bahnsen.”

Through the first few weeks of the class I resisted him. I “kicked against the goads,” you might say. But Bahnsen could be very persuasive, bringing pretty big goads against you. He was armed with a great command of the Bible and theology, as well as keen skills in logical persuasion. (And he would often throw in a little rhetoric, just for fun.) Before the semester was out: I had overhauled the ole Gentrymobile, exited the amill parking lot, and entered into the postmillennial fast lane to the future. And the rest, as they say, is aluminum foil. (Well, not many people say, that. Most will say “the rest is history,” but I like to mix things up a bit.)

Bahnsen persuaded me with his double-barreled, whole-Bible approach to eschatology. He did not load mainly from the Old Testament, nor mainly from the New Testament. He was interested in showing what the whole Bible has to say about eschatology. And the whole Bible, he argued, is postmillennial in its orientation and character.

Leading verses

Now the question arises: What verses were most influential in persuading me? Just to pick two passages from each testament, I would say in the Old Testament Psalm 72 and Isaiah 2 greatly impacted my thinking. Then in the New Testament the Kingdom Parables (Matt 13//) and the great commission (Matt 28:18-20) did the trick.

Amillennialism v. Postmillennialism Debate
(DVD by Gentry and Gaffin)

Formal, public debate between Dr. Richard Gaffin (Westminster Theological Seminary)
and Kenneth Gentry at the Van Til Conference in Maryland.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

In Psalm 72 we learn of Christ’s ruling “from the River to the ends of the earth” (Psa 72:8). And we learn that this will occur before the consummational conflagration (2 Pet 3:10-12) that produces the new heavens and new earth, because he will reign “till the moon is no more” (Psa 72:7).

In Isaiah 2 we see that God’s righteousness and peace will come with the exaltation of his kingdom “in the last days” (Isa 2:2). That is, during the last days we will witness “many peoples” streaming into the kingdom of God where they will taught God’s ways (Isa 2:2-3). Then eventually this will issue forth in worldwide peace (Isa 2:4).

This is the foundation to the New Testament hope, which Jesus promoted — and taught his disciples. In the Kingdom Parables we see that the kingdom will grow incrementally to world dominance (Matt 13:31–33).

The Old Testament hope is also the spark that leads Jesus to give his great commission. In that commissioning Jesus calls his small flock to “disciple the nations” so that they might be baptized and learn to observe all things he teaches us (Matt 28:18–20).

These are not the only verses that lead to the postmillennial hope. In fact, it was hard to reduce my “favorite” postmillennial passages to just two Old Testament and two New Testament passages. My book He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology has over 600 pages and deals with hundreds of verses.

Interested request

But now, I wonder: What verses were most influential in leading you to postmillennialism? I would love to hear from you.

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  1. Manny Garza March 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    “All authority in heaven & on earth has been given to me” – Jesus

  2. Lindsey Ward March 6, 2015 at 10:44 am

    The Lord’s prayer ..thy kingdom come , thy will be done …

  3. Jed Shirley March 6, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Dan. 7:13-14;
    Matt. 12:28,24:34;

  4. N. T. Bennett March 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Hebrews 1:3. He sat down. The crucified one arose, ascended and was sessioned. That means he is ruling and reigning right now.

  5. Greg Follis March 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

    “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1Cor.15: 25,26

  6. "Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as thy inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy possession." March 6, 2015 at 10:54 am

    “Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as thy inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy possession.”

  7. Daniel Jansky March 6, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Acts 3:19-21.

  8. Carter M. C. Johnson March 6, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Micah 4.

  9. Tony Denham March 6, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Matthew 13:33 The yeast in the dough.

  10. Manuel E. Del Toro II March 6, 2015 at 11:34 am

    For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14).

  11. Manuel E. Del Toro II March 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

    All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,
    And all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s
    And He rules over the nations.
    All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,
    All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,
    Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.
    Posterity will serve Him;
    It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.
    They will come and will declare His righteousness
    To a people who will be born, that He has performed it (Psalm 22:27-31).

  12. David Paulk March 6, 2015 at 11:42 am

    For me it was Psalm 2:7-9 and Habakkuk 2:14 from the Old Testament. In the New Testament I would have to agree with Ken about the Kingdom Parables and Matthew 28:18-20, but what really awakened me from my Dispensational slumber was the way Paul expects a victorious Christ and church at the second coming of the Lord in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

  13. Matt Trewhella March 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    “Take place shortly”, “the time is near”, “the time is at hand”. John says: “Do not seal the words of the prophecy” vs. Daniel saying: “shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end.”

  14. Blake Johnson March 6, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Psalm 2; Psalm 72; The Lord’s Prayer.

  15. Douglass McFarland March 6, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Matt 13 kingdom parables

  16. Jason Sanchez March 6, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Reading these instead of just reading past them.

  17. Seni O. Adeyemi March 6, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:2-3 KJV)

    And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (Genesis 15:5 KJV)

    The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Genesis 49:10 KJV)

  18. R. I. Hardesty March 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Ps 2, Ps 110, I Cor. 15, it’s the only view which organically rises out of the Gospels.

  19. Justin R Ryan March 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Justin R Ryan Since most are here already I’ll add to them:

    Zechariah 9:9-10 ESV

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

    Zechariah 13:1-2 ESV

    “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. “And on that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.

    Zechariah 14:9 ESV

    And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

    Amos 9:11-13 ESV

    “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord , “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.

  20. Blake Johnson March 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    This has became my favorite:

    31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.
    32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
    Matthew 13:31-32

  21. N. Bennett March 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    John 3:16

  22. The Seeking Disciple March 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26.

  23. Ronald Kirk March 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Psalm 110

  24. Bill Lliorca March 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2; Isaiah 2:2-4; Romans 4:13
    …and all the others Ken Gentry explained in “He Shall Have Dominion.”

  25. Blaine Newton March 6, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I would concur with you on the Great Commission in Matt. 28:18 ff, but coupled with Luke 10:17-19:

    Luke 10:17-19: 17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and OVER ALL POWER OF THE ENEMY [caps are mine].

    The Great Commission passage is always my personal favorite starting point when talking eschatology with someone…

    Secondly, I think Rom. 1:16 is often overlooked as a good postmil verse:

    ~~ Rom. 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…

    If the gospel is the power of God, then how could anything possibly prevail over it?

  26. brinkpn March 6, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Mat. 24, the olivet discourse and the commentaries by Sproul and DeMar [and then later also by Gentry!:)] that explained the seemingly END of the world vs. the end of an age language.

  27. Richard Stals March 8, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    “And never looked back except to pick up my hat…”
    Kenneth Gentry – the Indiana Jones of Eschatology.

  28. Kenneth Gentry March 9, 2015 at 6:12 am

    I will accept this analogy so long as I don’t have to crash my plane while flying Solo.

  29. J.P. Narkinsky March 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I think a big one that just stuck in my craw was Malachi 3:1ff. Some speaker at the church took that as a prophecy of the future, but to the New Testament authors very clearly saw John the Baptist as the fulfillment of it. I had been nibbling at the edge of Postmillennialism for a while, but that sort of exploded it in my brain — took it from “interesting idea” to “this is true.”

  30. Jack March 23, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    My favorite Postmillennial verse is “The kingdom of God is like a monstrosity…” I’m 15 years old and I laughed out loud when I read that page of your book. I love it, your humor does not go unnoticed.

  31. Joe July 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    The bible continually references the entire world and it people as the prize/goal which Jesus Christ will claim as His–form the outset of the Gospel this is clearly mentioned and in focus.
    Romans 1:5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith ****among all the nations*****, for his name’s sake;

  32. Joseph September 15, 2016 at 10:11 am

    The Olivet Discourse… Partial Preterism…

  33. Kenneth Gentry September 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Thanks. It is sad that we are forced to use the phrase “partial preterism.” The concept of preterism has long involved its “partial” nature. Only with the arising of hyper-preterism have we been forced for distinction’s sake to declare that we are “partial” preterists.

    We must do this to let Christians know that we are still within orthodoxy and have not forsaken the faith once for all given to the saints. We are not doing this as some hyper-preterists think “to make more money” (which allows them to side-step the question of historic Christian doctrine and charge us with covetousness, of all things).

    See my book: Have We Missed the Second Coming?

  34. grace2give March 27, 2018 at 12:24 am

    1 Corinthians 15:24-26

  35. Eugene Henson February 29, 2020 at 12:24 am

    There are many, but one of my favorites is Acts 2:29–36…

    Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.

  36. John June 4, 2020 at 3:40 am

    I can’t say I agree. The scope of the passages in Psalm 72 doesn’t fit with the audience. The context is addressing the Messianic reign of Christ in all
    different places from sea to sea. Isaiah 2 is dealing with all types of people from outside of Israel make up he many people groupsz

  37. Russel Ocampo July 5, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Thanks Dr. Gentry! You are the reason I became a brave Postmillennialist! -Russel Ocampo, from the Philippines.

  38. Kieffer Gilbert September 10, 2020 at 11:55 am

    I have a question about Isaiah 2. In vs 4 it says they shall not learn war anymore yet Postmill believes in a brief rebellion at the end of the millennium so how do you believe Isaiah 2 is current?

  39. Kenneth Gentry September 11, 2020 at 6:17 am

    This speaks of the cessation of mankind’s habitual engagement of war. That is, there will come a long period of time during which war will not be the practice of humanity. Though at the end, there is also prophesied a brief conclusion to history that allows Satan one last hurrah before he is forever judged.

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