PMT-2015-054 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I often receive questions asking how modern postmillennialism differs from, say, Puritan postmillennialism. As is the case with all eschatological positions, postmillennialism has experienced some changes over time.
Two of the most significant changes in modern postmillennialism are:
(1) The “millennium” is no longer deemed distinct era that will arise toward the end of the Church age. Rather, modern postmillennialism understands John’s “millennium” to be another way of speaking of Christ’s kingdom, which extends from the first century until the end of history. (2) Older postmillennialism tended to be governed by either historicism or futurism, whereas the modern postmillennial school is largely (though not universally) associated with preterism.
In this brief series I will be focusing on the preterist element in modern postmillennialism. I will be providing the justification for preterism in an evangelical world largely committed to futurism. Why would anyone adopt a preterist approach to biblical prophecy?
In this brief study I will present a four-fold exegetical justification for preterism in Revelation. These justifications are rooted in interpretive demands derived from the text itself, not from theological predispositions (e.g., anti-premillennialism) or from traditional predilections (e.g., John Lightfoot emulation). In this article I will focus on the Temporal Indicators
The leading preterist evidence derives from John’s temporal delimitations, which he emphasizes by strategic placement, didactic assertion, frequent repetition, and careful variation.
He strategically places them twice in his introduction (1:1, 3) and five times in his conclusion (22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20), thereby bracketing the highly wrought drama within (4:1–22:6). In these didactic passages John employs two terms demanding preterism: tachos / tachu (1:1, cp. 22:7, 12, 20) and eggus (1:3; cp. 22:10). For example:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly [tachos] take place. . . . Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near [eggus].” (Rev 1:1a, 3)
Tongues-Speaking: Meaning, Purpose, and Cessation
(Book) by Ken Gentry
A careful study of the biblical material defining the gift of tongues.
Shows they were known languages that served to endorse the apostolic witness
and point to the coming destruction of Jerusalem, after which they ceased.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Here we see that John immediately impresses upon his reader the nearness of his prophetic events. Opening Revelation to its first page should settle the matter of preterism v. futurism. Unfortunately, prophecy enthusiasts (who often call themselves and their back-patting friends, “prophecy experts”) tend to pole-vault over the first chapter into the exciting parts that speak of nuclear weapons, China’s population, computer warfare, and so forth.
Lexicographers agree on the temporal significance of tachos in Revelation: The Baur-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker Lexicon (BAGD) notes that en tachei means: “soon, in a short time Lk 18:8; Ro 16:20; 1 Ti 3:14 v.1; Rv 1:1; 22:6; 1 Cl 65:1; shortly Ac 25:4.” Thayer offers the following range of meanings: “quickness, speed and quickly, shortly, speedily, soon,” listing Revelation 1:1 and 22:6 with the “speedily, soon” entries. Abbott-Smith concurs: 1:1 and 22:6 mean “quickly, speedily, soon.”
Greek text editors F. J. A. Hort, Kurt Aland, and Howard Marshall agree. Hort translates it “shortly, soon.” Aland comments: “In the original text, the Greek work used is tachu, and this does not mean ‘soon,’ in the sense of ‘sometime,’ but rather ‘now,’ immediately.” Marshall cites Revelation 1:1 and 22:6 as evidence that the normal use of the phrase en tachei “suggest[s] that soon is the meaning.”
In fact, all English versions translate it either as: “soon” (NIV, RSV, Beck, NRSV, NAB, CEV, ESV, NET), “shortly” (KJV, ASV, Weymouth, NEB, NASB, NKJV), or “very soon” (Moffatt, Phillips, Williams, TEV). Tachos obviously indicates temporal brevity elsewhere (e.g., Lk 18:8; Ac 12:7; Ro 16:20). The same is true of its related form tachus (Mt 5:25; Mk 9:39; Lk 15:22; cp. Rev 2:16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7, 12, 20).
This evidence is reinforced by John’s linking tachos with eggus in the same contexts, as if to provide a two-fold witness (1:1, 3; 22:6, 10). BAGD provides the following entry for eggus: “of time near a. of the future: kairos Mt 26:18; Rv 1:3; 22:10.” The other lexicons cited above concur. TDNT notes that the term means “temporally near at hand” and observes that “like the Synpt., Rev. uses eggus only as a term for the near coming of the kingdom of God. Thus we have ho gar kairos eggus in 1:3; cf. 22:10″ (3:330, 331). The various samples of eggus in the NT all agree: some relating spatial, others temporal nearness (Mt 24:32, 33; 26:18; 13:28, 29; Lk 19:11; 21:30, 31). And again, all translations of Revelation agree; all versions cited above have either “near” or “at hand.”
Revelation, God and Man
(24 mp3 lectures by Ken Gentry)
Formal Christ College course on the doctrines of revelation, God, and man.
Opens with introduction to the study of systematic theology.
Excellent material for personal study or group Bible study.
Strongly Reformed and covenantal in orientation.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Perhaps the most interesting proof of the meaning of these terms is the various competing, innovative, counter-intuitive attempts to get around their obvious significance! Indeed, if these terms do not express temporal nearness, what terms could John have used to do so? I am firmly convinced John prophesies the fast approaching destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70.