PRIMER ON POSTMILLENNIALISM (2)

what-is-postmillPMW 2021-062 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last article I began considering the distinctive approach to the millennium in the postmillennial view, and as over against amillennialism. Though amillennialism and postmillennialism are closely related, they are distinct.

Defining Postmillennialism

So now: What is the postmillennial outlook? Why is it called post-millennial? And what are its expectations?

Postmillennialism teaches that Christ will return to earth after a long era of gospel progress and worldwide righteousness. As the gospel wins greater influence the world will witness a long era of social stability, economic development, and international peace.

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PRIMER ON POSTMILLENNIALISM (1)

rainbowPMW-2021-061 Kenneth L. Gentry,

Postmillennialism and amillennialism are closely related. In fact, they are both “post” millennial in that they believe the current age (the Church Age, if you will) is the “millennium,” and that Christ will return “post” (after) the millennium.

Both Post- and Amillennialists note that the “thousand year” reign of Christ occurs in only one passage in Scripture, Revelation 20:1–6. We further observe that it appears in the most symbolic book in all of Scripture. In Revelation we see a seven-headed beast, fire-breathing horses, locusts with the faces of men and the teeth of lions, a woman standing on the moon, and many more symbolic features. Consequently, we prefer that eschatological discussion begin elsewhere in more didactic portions of Scripture, and that it be controlled by passages other than the apocalyptically-charged, highly-wrought symbolic images in Revelation Continue reading

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AD 70

Temple destroyedPMW 2021-060 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

CREATION, EDEN, AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

EdenPMW 2021-059 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The God of creation is a God of covenant. Scripture structures God’s relationship to and rule over both man and creation in covenantal terms.

Creation Covenant

Though the term “covenant” (Heb.: berith) does not appear in Genesis 1, the constitutive elements of a covenant are there. Jeremiah, however, uses the word “covenant” of creation. In Jeremiah 33:24-25 the creation covenant that secures the regularity of the days and seasons serves as a ground of hope in God’s covenantal faithfulness to his people in the world: “This is what the Lord says: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’” Continue reading

PROBLEMS WITH THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION (4)

Seven churchesPMW 2021-058 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my final study of the leading objections to the early date. I am using Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John (2d. ed.: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) in considering the arguments.

The historical situations of the seven churches (Rev. 1:4; 2; 3), suggest a late date. Since these are historical churches to which John wrote, the letters may contain historical allusions helpful in dating Revelation. As Morris states it, the “indication is that the churches of Asia Minor seem to have a period of development behind them. This would scarcely have been possible at the time of the Neronic persecution, the only serious competitor in date to the Domitianic period” (Morris, 38). Mounce, Swete, Kümmel, Guthrie, and Beale employ the same argument.

Since I have not previously touched upon this evidence it deserves a little lengthier treatment. I will consider the four strongest arguments from this perspective, once again following the order found in Morris’s work on Revelation. Continue reading

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (3)

Nero redivivusPMW 2021-057 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

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (2)

Roman persecutionPMW 2021-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Revelation’s early date is generally held by modern postmillennialists of the preterist variety. I have argued elsewhere positively for the early date. So here I am offering a short series that briefly responds to late-date evidences. I am focusing on Leon Morris’ arguments, due to their cogency, succinctness, and his stature as a Revelation commentator.

Morris discovers “indications that Revelation was written in a time of persecution.” This evidence is felt to accord “much better with Domitian.” [1] W. G. Kümmel is quite confident that “the picture of the time which the Apocalypse sketches coincides with no epoch of the primitive history so well as with the period of Domitian’s persecution.” [2] Morris, Kümmel, and a number of other scholars list this as among their leading arguments for the A.D. 95-96 date. Continue reading