PMW 2021-051 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As we enter the New Testament record Christ’s birth immediately confronts us. The birth of “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Mt 1:1) gloriously echoes the Old Testament victory theme, showing that his first coming begins the fruition of the promises (Lk 1:46–55, 68–79). The fullness of time comes in the first century through Christ’s incarnation (Gal 4:4; Eph 1:10; Tit 1:2–3).
Christ’s covenanted kingdom comes near in his early ministry because the “time was fulfilled” for it to come (Mk 1:14–15; Mt 3:2). Thus, John Baptist is something of a marker separating the fading Old Testament era from the dawning kingdom era (Mt 11:11–14; Mk 1:14–15; Jn 3:26–30).
During his earthly ministry we witness Christ’s power over demons as evidence that the kingdom has come (Mt 12:28). It does not await his second advent (Lk 17:20–21), for as he preaches the gospel, he claims to be king while on earth (Jn 12:12–15; 18:36–37). Following his resurrection and ascension, Pentecost becomes the celebration of his enthronement in heaven (Ac 2:30–36). From then on we hear of his being in a royal position at the right hand of Almighty God (Mk 16:19; Ro 8:34; Eph 1:20; 1Pe 3:22; Rev 3:21).
Because of this, first-century Christians proclaim him as a king (Ac 3:15; 17:7; Rev 1:5) possessing regal dignity, authority, and power (Eph 1:22; Php 2:9). Beginning in the first century people at conversion enter into the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:12, 13; 4:11; 1Th 2:12). Christ’s kingdom rule goes where his people go, for they are the subjects of his kingdom (Rev 1:6, 9) and are now mystically seated with him in a rulership position (Eph 1:3; 2:6; 1Co 3:21–22; Rev 3:21).
He Shall Have Dominion
(paperback by Kenneth Gentry)
A classic, thorough explanation and defense of postmillennialism (600+ pages). Complete with several chapters answering specific objections.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The actual starting point of Christ’s kingly victory is at his resurrection from the dead (Mt 28:18–20; Ac 2:30–31; Ro 1:3–4) and his ascension to God’s right hand (Da 7:13–14, 27; Lk 22:69; 24:46–53). Celebrating his cosmic victory over sin, death, and Satan, he pours out his Spirit to empower his faithful subjects for kingdom service (Ac 2:32–33; Eph 4:8).
Christ’s kingdom is essentially spiritual in nature (Jn 18:36–37; Ro 14:17) and operates from within the heart (Lk 17:20–21). We enter his kingdom through salvation (Col 1:12, 13; Jn 3:3). He rules his kingdom by his mystical presence from heaven (Jn 18:36; Eph 4:8–14) and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Jn 7:39; Ro 8:9; 1Co 3:16). The basic power of the kingdom is the “gospel of the kingdom” (Mt 4:23; 9:35; Mk 1:14–15), for it is the power of God unto salvation (Ro 1:16; 1Co 1:18; 2Co 6:7). The basic function of the kingdom is to promote God’s truth (Jn 18:37; 2Co 10:4–5).
The kingdom is not a future, Armageddon-introduced, earthly, political kingdom. By misreading Scripture, the first-century Jews seek a political kingdom to overthrow Rome, and when Christ does not offer them this they reject him (Jn 6:15). Even his disciples are confused and disappointed for a time (Lk 24:21–27). Israel as a geo-political entity is once for all set aside as the specially favored nation of God (Mt 8:11–12; 21:43), because of her prominent role in crucifying Christ (Ac 2:22–23,36; 3:13–15; 5:30; 7:52; 1Th 2:14–15). The Messianic kingdom includes people of all races on an equal basis (Isa 19:19–25; Zec 9:7; Ro 10:12; Gal 3:28; Eph 2:12–17; Col 3:11). Though God judges Israel in the first century and removes her “most favored nation” status, he does not irrevocably abandon the Jews, for eventually great numbers of them will enter his kingdom (Ro 11:11–25).
As God’s focus shifts from the single race of Israel, a confined land, and a single temple, the New Testament-phase church becomes “the Israel of God” (Gal 6:16), “the circumcision” (Php 3:3), “the seed of Abraham” (Gal 3:7, 29), the “Jerusalem above” (Gal 4:24–29), the “temple of God” (Eph 2:21), “a royal priesthood” and a “peculiar people” (1Pe 2:9–10). Consequently, we learn that promises to Israel apply to the church (Jer 31:31–34; Mt 26:28; Ac 15:12–17).
Evangelism is the essential pre-condition to postmillennial success. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jn 15:5; Mt 19:26); in him we can do all things (Php 4:13, 19; Mt 17:20). Because he possesses “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt 28:18; cp. Eph 1:19–22; Php 2:9–11), his Great Commission expects his people to win converts, baptize them into his body, and then instruct them in “all things” that he taught (Mt 28:19). Due to Christ’s glorious presence with us, the Great Commission expects all nations to convert to Christ (Mt 28:19; Jn 12:32), just as do the prophets (Ps 22:27–28; Isa 2:1–4; Mic 4:1–4). The kingdom comes gradually, growing and ebbing ever stronger as history unfolds over time (Da 2:35ff; Eze 17:22–24; 47:1–9; Mt 13:31–33; Mk 4:26–29).
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
The Christian witness involves exposing evil (Eph 5:11) and calling men to repentance from all unrighteousness in every realm (Lk 3:8; 24:47), so that Christ may take “every thought captive” (2Co 10:5). As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, Christians are to engage every area of life with body, soul, mind, and strength (Mk 12:37) to the glory of God (1Co 10:31; Col 3:17), for they will give an account of every word and deed (Mt 12:36; 2Co 10:5). God’s redemption in Christ will bring the world as a system to salvation (Jn 1:29; 3:17; 1Jn 2:2) as the vast majority of the world’s population converts to him (Jn 12:31; 1Ti 2:6). The stumbling of the Jews in rejecting Christ opens up the prospect of mass conversions from among the Gentiles (Ro 11:12). Eventually the vast majority of Jews and Gentiles alike will convert, leading to the “reconciliation of the world” (Ro 11:15, 25).
Christ is presently ruling and reigning from heaven (1Co 15:25a). He will not return in his second advent until “the end” of history (1Co 15:24), when he turns the kingdom over to the Father (1Co 15:28). His second advent will not occur until he conquers his earthly enemies (1Co 15:24). He will conquer his last enemy, death, at his return when we arise from the dead (1Co 15:26).
Christ’s gifts to his church well equip her for the task of winning the world to him. God the Father delights in the salvation of sinners (Eze 18:23; Lk 15:10). The gospel is nothing less than “the power of God unto salvation” (Ro 1:16; 1Co 1:18, 24). Therefore, the church has the certain hope of victory, not due to her own strength but God’s promise (Ac 13: 47–48; 15:14–19), Christ’s presence (Mt 28:20; Ac 18:10), and the Spirit’s power (Ro 8:9; 1Co 3:16).
Christ binds Satan in principle (i.e., definitively) during his ministry (Mt 12:28–29), thus casting him down from his dominance (Jn 12:31; Lk 17:10) on the basis of his redemptive labor (Col 3:15). Therefore, despite Satan’s great power, Christians may resist him, causing him to flee (Jas 4:7). They may even crush him beneath their feet (Ro 16:20) because “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1Jo 4:4).