Category Archives: History

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (3)

Nero redivivusPMT 2015-050 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a brief series on problems scholars have with the early (pre-AD 70) date of Revelation. I am using his Leon Morris’ book: The Revelation of St. John (2d. ed.: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) as my main source. Let’s get to work!

A most unusual phenomenon seems to appear in Revelation, according to Morris. His third argument is very popular among late-date theorists. This evidence regards the very unusual and ancient legend known as the Nero Redivivus myth. Morris briefly explains the myth and confidently employs it: “Again, it is urged that the book shows evidence of knowledge of the Nero redivivus myth (e.g. xvii. 8, 11). After Nero’s death it was thought in some circles that he would return. At first this appears to have been a refusal to believe that he was actually dead. Later it took the form of a belief that he would come to life again. This took time to develop and Domitian’s reign is about as early as we can expect it” (Morris 37). Continue reading

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ESCHATOLOGY IN THE CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY (2)

Philosophy History 2PMT 2015-043 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Postmillennialism involves the whole system of biblical doctrine. In the basic Christian philosophy of history, eschatology is a key plank. In my last blog article I began a brief overview of the basic elements of the Christian view of history. In that article I focused on the basic doctrine of God. I will now complete my overview by considering the remaining elements.

Creation

All of reality derives from a personal, moral, sovereign being. The Christian’s creational viewpoint puts man under God and over nature (Ge 1:26–27; Ps 8). It imparts transcendent meaning to temporal history and sets before man a high calling. Continue reading

ESCHATOLOGY IN THE CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY (1)

Philosophy History 1PMT 2015-042 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Eschatology is a greatly abused feature of systematic theology. The modern evangelical world is filled with Rapture-theorists, Armageddon-fearers, and Antichrist-identifiers. The integrity of the Christian faith has taken a powerful hit due to the naivete of so many publications by “prophecy experts.”

Yet, eschatology is an important element within a full-orbed systematic theology. Despite its abuse by televangelists and novelists, we must be careful not to avoid it as an embarrassment to our holy faith. Indeed, we need to reclaim it as a fundamental feature of a Christian philosophy of history.

In this two-part study, I will outline some key elements of a biblical, Christian philosophy of history. At the end of this brief overview we will see how eschatology is one of those key elements that help define the faith. Continue reading

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AD 70

 

Temple destroyedPMT 2015-031 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Today we are so distant from the events of AD 70, so removed from the ancient culture, so little acquainted with the first-century Jewish outlook, and so accustomed to the Christian perspective, we tend to overlook the enormous redemptive-historical significance of AD 70. Those events are not merely another sad instance in the history of “man’s inhumanity to man which makes countless thousands mourn.” They serve not as demonstration of “nature, red in tooth and claw.” Neither do they merely remind us of “the carnage of war, the blood-swollen god.”

But such is mistaken. Rather the devastating events of the Jewish War are the historical manifestations of the furious wrath of the offended God of Israel. Transcendent realities stand back of these temporal events. With Nahum we see the smoke of destruction as the dust clouds from God’s feet (Na 1). We learn that truly “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:27) for “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 10:31). Continue reading

AUGUSTINE, OPTIMISM, AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

AugustinePMT 2015-026 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Modern postmillennialism is the result of a growing understanding of biblical eschatology. And though it undergoes much systematization from its nascent beginnings to the present, in its most basic form, clear adumbrations of it appear in antiquity.

Scholarly Analysis

Most scholars would agree with Millard J. Erickson that “all three millennial positions have been held virtually throughout church history” (he collapses dispensationalism into premillennialism in mentioning only three basic views) (Erickson, Christian Theology, 1212). Robert G. Clouse writes: “Whereas the other strains of millennialism all have deep roots in the history of the church, the dispensational variety is of recent origin” (Clouse, et al. New Millennial Manual, 56). Donald G. Bloesch goes even farther: “Postmillennialism has been present throughout Christian history” (Bloesch, Last Things, 102). Continue reading

LIGHTFOOT, REV 22, AND TONGUES (2)

Lightfoot JohnPMT 2014-102 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this article I conclude the citation of John Lightfoot’s notes on Revelation 22, wherein he discusses miraculous gifts and tongues-speaking as apostolic signs that were not to continue after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Except that those gifted with these phenomena before the fall would continue until they themselves died, and so would end such gifts.

Here is the conclusion to Lightfoot’s comments begun in PMT 2014-101:

At the first dispersing of the gospel, it was absolutely needful, that the first planters should be furnished with such extraordinary gifts; or else, it was not possible it should be planted. As this may appear by a plain instance: — Paul comes to a place, where the gospel had come never come; he stays a month or two, and begets a church; and then he is to go his way, and to leave them. Who now, in this church, is fit to be their minister? they being alike but very children in the gospel: but Paul is directed by the Holy Ghost, to lay his hands upon such and such them; and that bestows upon them the gift of tongues and prophesying; and now they are able to be ministers and to teach the congregation. Continue reading

LIGHTFOOT, REV 22, AND TONGUES (1)

PMT 2014-101 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Tongues Speaking book

In that I am reading the works of Reformed scholar, Westminster Divine, and rabbinic authority John Lightfoot (1602–75), I will present some of his insightful materials. Though he is an historicist (see PMT 2014-100), his historicism focuses much on the first stage of the historicist movement in AD 70.

And in that I believe the gift of tongues was an eschatological phenomenon providing a sign that the last days had begun with the final establishing of the new covenant in AD 70, I will present his interesting notes on Revelation 22. These are found in vol. 3 of The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot (vol 3, pp. 368–71). Continue reading