PMW 2021-065 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I have been presenting the postmillennial understanding of the millennial hope in this five-part series. Hopefully this series will be useful as an introduction to postmillennialism for those unfamiliar with it or, as yet, unpersuaded by its argument.
In this article we will very briefly consider one of the key texts in Paul’s writing, from the vitally important fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. So then, let us now consider:
Paul and the Postmillennial Hope
Several passages in Paul’s writings encourage the postmillennial outlook, including most prominently Romans 11 and 1 Corinthians 15. We will focus brief on 1 Corinthians 15:20–27 where we discover a Pauline statement that vigorously declares Christ’s kingdom victory in the present era.
1 Corinthians 15:22–24 reads: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end.” This verse contradicts premillennialism in teaching that the resurrection of believers is the finale of history, not the initiation of a new 1000 year period. The resurrection punctuates the end; no new era follows — and certainly no millennium.
Postmillennialism Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)
Basic introduction to postmillennialism. Presents the essence of the postmillennial argument and answers the leading objections. And all in a succinct, introductory fashion.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
In 1 Corinthians 15:24 Paul makes a statement that rebuts the amillennial position: “then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.” Here he notes that when the end comes “He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father.” But he also observes that this end will not come until after he has “abolished all rule and all authority and power.”
The Greek here is important. The NASB translates the pertinent phrase as: “when he has abolished.” But the NIV and ESV offer better translations: “after he has abolished.” In the Greek text the hotan is followed by the aorist subjunctive, katargēsē. Such a construction indicates that the action of the subordinate clause precedes the action of the main clause.
Thus, the end will not come until after Christ abolishes all rule and authority. This is not only grammatically necessary, but contextually. The next verse continues: “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (1 Cor 15:25). That is, he is currently reigning and must continue to reign until all of his enemies are vanquished.
This is the postmillennial hope. As Isaiah put it “Now it will come about that In the last days / The mountain of the house of the LORD / Will be established as the chief of the mountains, / And will be raised above the hills; / And all the nations will stream to it. / And many peoples will come and say, / ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD’” (Isa 2:2–3).
As Christ expresses it as he approaches the cross: “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:31–32).
As Paul declares: “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (1 Cor 15:23–25).
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