What is Postmillennialism

To quote a Postmillennial champion, R.J. Rushdoony writes: “Postmillennialism is the belief that Christ, with His coming, His atonement, and His continuing regenerative power in those whom He calls, creates in His redeemed people a force for the reconquest of all things. The dominion that Adam first received and then lost by his fall will be restored to redeemed man. God’s people will then have a long reign over the entire earth, after which, when all enemies have been put under Christ’s feet, the end shall come, and the last enemy, death, will be destroyed.” R.J. Rushdoonyfrom “Back to the Future”

What are we to think of this view? Is this taught in Scripture? After investigating this question for myself, I personally have come to the conclusion that the Golden Age theory does not correspond to biblical teaching. It is the opinion of all Amil’s that a post-millennial eschatological framework (in which they interpret the O.T texts) is insufficient in that it does not seem to be sensitive enough to the two eschatological ages of the N.T. Clearly, N.T does not teach the Post Mill view of a gradual removal of the temporal effects of sin and evil. Nor does it see the victory of the gospel in terms of social, economic and political transformation. Rather, the N.T maintains the eschatological tension between the two ages so that “this age” (Rom 12:2) and its evil implications is antithetical to the age to come when Christ returns to consummate all things.Instead of a gradual transformation, the N.T teaches a cataclysmic end to Satan Kingdom (it will be crushed – not slowly squeezed see Dan 2:44; Matt 13:39-40; Rom 16:20; Rev 19:11ff) then, and only then we will hear the voices from heaven declare “the Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.” (Rev 13:15)

Having said that, I am a Reformed A-Millennialist, and I want to argue that the Kingdom will advance during this age, however, I do not see the issue turning on the betterment of evil in this present age, but rather in the gathering of the elect (plundering of the strong man’s home see Mk 3:27) through the proclamation of the Gospel until all the elect are gathered into the Kingdom and then the Lord will return and will crush Satan and his Kingdom forever (Consummation).

The Bible teaches this tension between the Kingdom now and the kingdom come. We are taught throughout the N.T about this tension, that’s why we need to patiently wait (Rom 8:25). Moreover, Christ’s eschatological victory is what encourages us to press on even though we are hard pressed, because though we share in the suffering of Christ we know we shall also share in his vindication and victory at the consummation (2 Cor 4:7-11; Phil 3:10) and this is the biblical meaning of what it means for the Church to be Victorious. Consequently, the premise of Post Millennialism that Kingdom of God speak of a fleshly kingdom that will witness the gradual amelioration of evil in this age is in my view the real issue at hand. I believe Riddlebarger is correct on this point, the debate is not over the success but rather on what we believe constitutes the success. The Realized Mil position believes the success is seen now in the plundering of the strong man’s house (gathering of the elect) and the Post Mill expects it to manifest through a golden age where evil is eradicated (almost) and culture, politics etc are transformed. Therefore, to promote the expansion of the kingdom through the conquering of the gospel (the fulfillment of the great commission) in no way implies some earthly golden age that at best is actually gold plated especially for the version of Postmillennialism that also anticipates an Apostasy before Christ return.Yes, it is true that God has promised a time of universal worship, peace, and prosperity, but that will occur only, as the consistent witness of the NT declares, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Postmillennialism repeatedly emphasizes that the struggle between Christ and Satan is a historical struggle that ends in historical victory. TRUE. But this it will end in TOTAL and PERFECT victory at the END of history. In other words, God’s elect and God’s created cosmos enter into COMPLETE (to telos) and perfect deliverance from sin and its consequences (see Rom. 8:18-23). The present earth and heavens will replaced with a “new heaven and a new earth”, “the HOME of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). God’s creational purpose (creative covenant) will be fulfilled in the NEW creation.

Postmil assert that Christ will be with His people to oversee the task of successfully completing its commission and that this is the postmil hope, and also claim that ONLY the postmil view can account for this, is not true at all. The Realized Mil certainly believe that this age will not end until Christ’s purposes are fulfilled.

The postmil view has failed to establish the making disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them requires that fulfillment be in Postmil terms.

The Lord only knows of TWO ages, the present age and the age to come. Postmil view teach THREE ages, the present evil age, an intermediate future golden age, and the age to come. I am fully aware that our Postmil brothers will reject the description of their view that it has three ages as they assert that this present age will gradually merge with the “golden age” and claim it is really only two ages in agreement with us Amils but Jesus NOWHERE predicts some glorious future on earth before the end of the world, as the postmil view would have us believe. On the contra, the things He Himself experienced are the things that His Church will experience. A disciple is not above his teacher or a slave above his master. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, “deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:12,13).As the reign of the truth of the gospel is extended, also the forces of evil will gather strength, especially towards the end consider the parable of the wheat and tares taught by Christ in Matt 13:24-30. The Gospels only speak of two ages. This age is temporal, the age to come eternal. Matthew 13 is explained as the kingdom age, then the judgment, followed by eternity with the Father. Postmillennialism repeatedly emphasizes that the struggle between Christ and Satan is a historical struggle that ends in historical victory. TRUE. But this will end in TOTAL and PERFECT victory at the END of history. The postmil view has failed to establish the making disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them requires that fulfillment be in Postmil terms.

Postmillennial Proof  Texts

Old Testament passages frequently cited to substantiate the reality of an unrealized millennium(either in its Pre- or Post- form) do not hold any weight.

Isaiah 65:17-25 in one clear example. We both would agree that the passage speaks of a golden-age. The Postmil (as well as the Premil) will argue that the passage mentions children dying at one hundred years old, and sinners accursed at the end of the same period time. Hyper-literalizing this passage they insist that it must refer to an imperfect golden-age. And since the one thousand years obviously pertain to a time in which sin and death remain, they feel it is perfectly natural to superimpose the one passage on another.

Careful examination, however, shows two faults with this presupposition. First, there must be unquestionable evidence for identifying the Isaiah prophecy with Revelation 20. This evidence is totally lacking. The two are brought together in an unnatural union. Who can prove, scripturally, that when Isaiah wrote “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together”, he was speaking of the SAME period that John calls the “thousand years”? There are indications in the passage itself that it is not to be treated literally like “dust” becoming the serpent’s food can hardly be literal.

In many discussions with my Postmil brothers they unanimously are armed and ready to refer to Isaiah 65 as a clear proof text of a era of peace before the return of Christ. What they fail to realize is that the contents of Isaiah’s poetic prophecy are no more literal than the description of the eternal state in Rev. 21 and 22. Who can interpret all the details of those two chapters literally? In both, Isaiah and Rev., language is used, in terms of what was considered most pleasant and astonishing in that day, to get across what words with their present limitations are incapable of correctly expressing. How else can perfection be described in words which have imperfect objects and concepts as recipients? This is what is called “Anthropomorphic Language”. It is difficult to understand why this passage should be misinterpreted when it clearly is identified with the eternal state by the New Testament. The millennial references are totally without evidence, but its identification with the eternal state is affirmed by an abundance of biblical evidence. This one passage has been singled out to demonstrate the way in which OT passages which actually refer to restoration from captivity, the New Testament age, and the eternal state are erroneously applied to the assumed golden-age. Amillennialists are in agreement with the Postmillennialists that we expect the millennium to be an age of imperfection. In opposition, we do not view it as the fulfillment of the golden-age prophecies. We believe the prophesies to be truly golden not gold plated. This is not to say that no OT prophecies refer to the present age, quite the contrary. But in accord with both Old and New Testament teaching, they find fulfillment of the “golden-age” prophecies in the eternal state, only then can it be said that all that glitters is Gold. I find it extremely interesting and suspicious that postmil have to resort to OT prophesies that speak nothing of a golden age but refer unanimously to the golden age of new heaven and new earth which is Heaven.

To quote Dr. Herman Bavinck “to interpret the prophecy of the Old Testament literally means that one breaks with Christianity and lapses back into Judaism” I agree!

Furthermore, there is nothing in Psalm 2, 22, 110, Dan 2, Zech 9, Isaiah 2 and especially Isaiah 65 that cannot be understood to be referring to the consummation. Dan. 2 conveys to us the invincibility and ultimate victory of the Kingdom and even its inauguration (Mk 1:15). But, it does not speak to the issues relating to what constitutes victory. Indeed, the promise of Psalm 2 revolves around the content of the Messiah’s inheritance not the timing of it, Psalm 2 does not even speak to the issue that separates Realized Mill aka Amil and Post Mil. Similarly, Zech 9 only confirms what both camps readily agree on that the King’s dominion will extend over all the earth. That Psalm 22 affirms that the Messiah will fulfill, inherit both the Abrahamic and Davidic promises is undisputed among reformed students. Psalm 22 speaks about the content of His inheritance (the families/nations). That Postmils interpret “all the families of the earth will remember and turn…” as a promise of a golden age is a possible interpretation, but hardly the only one. Moving on to the New Testament it knows absolutely nothing of imperfect golden-age preaching. While there is a consistent appeal to look for the perfect golden-age of heaven, nothing can be found about an imperfect interim. Everywhere the eternal state is held out as the future hope of the church militant. The millennium is never preached as such. The only satisfactory explanation is that the millennium is a present reality not a future hope. None of the verses offered by our Postmil brothers necessitate a postmil interpretation but rather seeing these fulfillments in Christ coming to once and for all destroy all His enemies hence the “until” and “til” key words, is to correctly exegete these passages. I believe that there is NO biblical warrant to put these events before His coming, if the golden age was such an important event why is the NT not decisive on an era pre-dating Christ return? The silence of in the New Testament record is deafening especially when it is supposed to be explaining and bringing to light the Old Testament. That fact alone should raise a brow and cause reflection and caution.

Optimism vs Pessimism?

In regards to the Postmil accusation that their view is “optimistic” and the Amils is “pessimistic”. I think the folks who talk about that are referring to what life in this world is like, so if some of us don’t think the present millennium means raging political success, we’re pessimists. I rather resent that notion as it is a false claim and it really doesn’t seem as if Scripture is encouraging us to have such an approach to the success of the Gospel, as if its all about our political success now. The Scripture says in this world we will have tribulation which can mean political persecution as well as other things. Yet even in those circumstances the Gospel continues to spread. Of course, Amils believe that eventually things will get worse, and no one wants to hear that. But I don’t feel it’s too optimistic to say it never gets better than this, I’m looking forward, optimistically, to the new heaven and new earth, where righteousness dwells. That doesn’t excuse inaction in sharing the Gospel and helping our neighbors and trying to restrain depravity as God allows us.But the problem is that the Postmil would say that gospel succession can only mean a Christianization of all nations ushering in the golden age but the Amil will say that gospel succession means that it will save God’s elect who are in all nations but not that it will Christianize entire nations or most of the nation so then the Postmil will accuse the Amil of pessimism because they don’t have a million kabillion trillion or whatever people getting saved hence God loses cause there are more people in hell than heaven, that’s silly to be quite frank. If being optimistic means to believe that the gospel will do its job, then for heaven’s sake we are all optimistic, don’t you think. There needs to be more clarification on the whole optimism vs. pessimism thing cause again quite frankly its ridiculous if you ask me. Also I believe that the correct understanding of Christ’s commission is that we are to make disciples OUT OF every nation not make every nation a disciple. Again I see a superimposing of the text in postmil terms. If we allow, as we are supposed to, the New to interpret the Old then we will observe that “all families” and “all gentiles” must mean families and gentiles OUT OF every tongue, nation, and tribes (Revelation) the fullness of the Elect.

Well, there you have it. These are my main reasons as to why I reject the Postmillennial view of eschatology. We as Christians should be placing our hope in the Victorious return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, placing our hope in anything else is misplaced at best and one not taught in Scripture.

In Christian charity…………………Grace and Peace

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Comments
  1. Larry Bray says:

    I think you do a disservice to your postmill brothers by saying that they are “Hyper-literalizing” the Isa 65 passage.

    I would like to ask, in your amill position on Isa 65, how do you interpret the death and sin found in the passage?

    • rickyroldan says:

      Wassup Larry, thanks for your reply. I apologize if I was offensive for that was not my intent but it is my position that to take Isaiah 65 literal is the mistake Postmils make. With that said.

      Are you suggesting that the language of Isaiah 65:20 when it states “But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed” is to be taken literal, meaning that there will be sinners still around in the so called “golden age”? Will they also have a long life and live til 100yrs old? Thats pretty cool for them being sinners.

      Again, this passage in Isaiah is using language in terms of what was considered most pleasant and astonishing in that day, to get across what words with their present limitations are incapable of correctly expressing in other words apocalyptic language.

      Amil’s do not interpret this passage literally as do dispensational hermeneutics but realize the symbolic character of prophetic texts as needed and all depends on the grammatical nature of the text, this is reformed hermeneutics.

      So no I do not have death in the eternal state. BUT allow me to ask you a question now, if you don’t mind.

      Do people actually die at 100yrs old literally? There will be no weeping in the golden age? Lions will cease to eat other animals and chill with the lambs and just eat straw like horses? Snakes will eat dirt?

      In his commentary on Isaiah 65:17-25 John Calvin writes:

      “17. For, lo, I will create new heavens and a new earth. By these metaphors he promises a remarkable change of affairs; as if God had said that he has both the inclination and the power not only to restore his Church, but to restore it in such a manner that it shall appear to gain new life and to dwell in a new world. These are exaggerated modes of expression; but the greatness of such a blessing, which was to be manifested at the coming of Christ, could not be described in any other way. Nor does he mean only the first coming, but the whole reign, which must be extended as far as to the last coming, as we have already said in expounding other passages.

      Thus the world is (so to speak) renewed by Christ; and hence also the Apostle (Hebrews 2:5) calls it “a new age,” and undoubtedly alludes to this statement of the Prophet. Yet the Prophet speaks of the restoration of the Church after the return from Babylon. This is undoubtedly true; but that restoration is imperfect, if it be not extended as far as to Christ; and even now we are in the progress and accomplishment of it, and those things will not be fulfilled till the last resurrection, which has been prescribed to be our limit.”

      And in commenting on verse 20 he states:

      “Here it ought also to be observed, that blessings either of soul or body are found only in the kingdom of Christ, that is, in the Church, apart from which there is nothing but cursing. Hence it follows that all who have no share in that kingdom are wretched and unhappy; and, however fresh and vigorous they may appear to be, they are, nevertheless, in the sight of God, rotten and stinking corpses.”

      Cursed sinners will be excluded from the new world, existing everlastingly under God’s curse in hell (Is. 65:20b; cf. Rev. 21:8)

      So in verse 20 the reference to “the sinner shall be accursed” is no other than the sinner when Christ comes will be punished in hell. To validate my position allow me to use Dr. Bavinck, the great Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck wrote:

      “And this kingdom (of Messiah -DJE) is sketched by the prophets in hues and colors, under figures and forms, which have all been derived from the historical circumstances in which they lived…. But into those sensuous earthly forms prophecy puts everlasting content…. Prophecy pictures for us but one single image of the future. And this image is either to be taken literally as it presents itself but then one breaks with Christianity and lapses back into Judaism or this image calls for a very different interpretation than that attempted by chiliasm (millennialism DJE).”

      As is typical of Old Testament prophecy, the prophet announced this coming deathless world in figurative language: long, earthly life (v.20). No baby will die in infancy; to die at 100 years of age would be accounted mere childhood; all the inhabitants will fill their days. The reality is: no death! everlasting life in resurrected soul and body, because the life of the people of God in the new world will be the immortal life of the risen Christ. The New Testament gives this explanation of this and similar, figurative Old Testament prophecies everywhere, e.g., John 5:25, 26. Revelation 21:4, the authoritative New Testament interpretation of Isaiah 65:20, puts beyond any doubt that this is what Isaiah meant: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death.”

      Please consider Rev. 21 as a parrallel passage with Is. 65 both speaking of NH and NE again symbolic language is being used to describe the utopia of our final state in God’s redemptive plan. Always remember the NEW Test. interprets the OLD Test.

      Rev. 21:1-4

      21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place [1] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, [2] and God himself will be with them as their God. [3] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

      Is. 65:17-25

      17 “For behold, I create new heavens
      and a new earth,
      and the former things shall not be remembered
      or come into mind.
      18 But be glad and rejoice forever
      in that which I create;
      for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
      and her people to be a gladness.
      19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
      and be glad in my people;
      no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
      and the cry of distress.20 No more shall there be in it
      an infant who lives but a few days,
      or an old man who does not fill out his days,
      for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
      and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
      21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
      they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
      22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
      they shall not plant and another eat;
      for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
      and my chosen shall long enjoy [3] the work of their hands.
      23 They shall not labor in vain
      or bear children for calamity, [4]
      for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
      and their descendants with them.
      24 Before they call I will answer;
      while they are yet speaking I will hear.
      25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
      the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
      and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
      They shall not hurt or destroy
      in all my holy mountain,”
      says the Lord.

      This is clear. I forgot to mention that when verse 20 states that the there will be no dying until 100yrs old, this is a Jewish poetic description of no more death.

      This is the correct interpretation of the Isaiah passage in context.

      In humble respect, Ricky

  2. Larry Bray says:

    Ricky,

    It’s not that you were offensive…I thought you were very respectful. Rather you did a dis-service by labeling us as “hyper-literalizing.” Postmillers don’t necessariyl have an overly-literal reading of the passage. I agree that it must be read within the context of prophetic imagery and yet i’m still a postmiller.

    For instance i don’t think the passage means that all people will literally live to 100 years old. Now you believe that is a reference to eternal life and i believe it’s a reference to long life.

    Let’s think about that one thing for a minute…the 100 years of life. It’s not hyperbolic to the extent that it would imply eternal life. If you could show me anywhere else in the Bible where 100 years is a term used to identify our eternal life i will admit my err. As it is, when one sees 100 years it is hardly a stretch to think of it as a long earthly life. Therefore, though it’s not literal, it certainly points to an earthly life rather than an eternal one.

    The number 100 can be seen as a reference to earthly things in other parts of Scripture, but never as a reference to eternal things: Prov 17:10; Ecc 6:3; Ecc 8:12; Mat 18:12; Mat 18:28; Rom 4:19

    The millenium itself is considered 1,000 years…and we both agree that is figurative. But how strange it would be that this non-eternal reign of Christ would be considered 1,000 years but eternal life considered 100.

    Please tell me your interpretation of the following from this passage…

    1. Building houses and planting vineyards without others eating the fruit of them (Isa 65:21-22). This type of imagery is used in Scripture to describe earthly things, never to describe the eternal state (Jer 35:7)

    2. Not bearing children in vain (Isa 65:23). This type of imagery is used in Scripture to describe earthly things, never to describe the eternal state (Deut 28:57)

    • rickyroldan says:

      Actually, I thought I refuted this argument when I contrasted Isaiah 65 with Rev. 21. Also, it seems that you are totally ignoring the ANTHROPOMORPHIC language Isaiah uses to describe eternal and heavenly things. I already dealt with your contentions in my original article.

  3. Larry Bray says:

    Rev 21 specifically says that there will be no death, so i fail to see how that addresses my question of the 100 years in Isa 65 not being hyperbolic enough to indicate the eternal state.

    Rev 21 also says nothing of not bearing children in vain.

    Am i missing sometihng?

    • rickyroldan says:

      Simple, Rev. 21 is interpretating what Isaiah 65 means since they are parallel passages. Not sure what else to say at this point. If you parallel them both as I did above you will see that they speak of the same age, the eternal state.

  4. Larry Bray says:

    But even in the two being parallel, why make the one reading to be eternal rather than the other being temporal?

    Consider what the Geneva Bible note says on Rev 21:2…

    “The state of this glorious Church is first described generally to (Rev_21:3-8), and then specially and by parts, in the verses following. The general description consists in a vision shown afar off, (Rev_21:2) and in speech spoken from heaven. In the general these things are common, that the Church is holy, new, the workmanship of God, heavenly, most glorious, the spouse of Christ, and partaker of his glory in this verse. ”

    Why force an interpretation of eternal things to Isa 65 when Rev 21 speaks of the temporal leading into the eternal.

    Consider…

    And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Rev 21:14)

    What are the apostles foundations in if not the Church (Eph 2:20) ?

    By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, (Rev 21:24)

    Are you suggesting that there will still be national boundaries in heaven? I would say, “no,” rather this describes the Church age in victory over the nations.

    And since we must allow for figures in the prophetic imagery and not take it too literally, we ought not to make one verse that talks about no more death override all of the other passages…

    He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)

    This can be an image of there being no more death or tears due to the persecution of the Church since it ends up being victorious.

    A more direct contextual interpretation could be that it’s referring to the first death as opposed to the second death (Rev 21:8).

    • rickyroldan says:

      Brother Bray stated: “But even in the two being parallel, why make the one reading to be eternal rather than the other being temporal?”

      Because as you know the New interprets the Old.

      You continue: “Consider what the Geneva Bible note says on Rev 21:2…

      “The state of this glorious Church is first described generally to (Rev_21:3-8), and then specially and by parts, in the verses following. The general description consists in a vision shown afar off, (Rev_21:2) and in speech spoken from heaven. In the general these things are common, that the Church is holy, new, the workmanship of God, heavenly, most glorious, the spouse of Christ, and partaker of his glory in this verse. ”

      Why force an interpretation of eternal things to Isa 65 when Rev 21 speaks of the temporal leading into the eternal.”

      I don’t see anything temporal at all referenced in that verse nor in that commentary. What I read is the depiction of an eternal state as is in harmony with the rest of the context of chapter 21 and 22. So I would have to reject your assertion that I am forcing an interpretation of eternal things in the Isaiah passage when the actual context calls for it.

      Consider the New Geneva study bible commentary on 21:1-8:

      “The voice of God announces the descent of the New Jerusalem against the backdrop of total renovation, a new heaven and a new earth. God is the Alpha (1:8 note), the Creator whose purposes were expressed from the beginning, and the Omega, the Consummator who brings His purposes to final realization. God’s glory, power, and beauty within the sphere of heaven (chpt. 4) now extend to all His people (vs. 3). Evil and pain are abolished in the new creation, in contrast to the pain, suffering, and struggles running through the earlier parts of Revelation. The promises made to overcomers are now fulfilled (2:7 note)”

      This is clear, its the Eternal state of the consummation and if Rev. 21 is paralleled with Isaiah 65 then allowing scripture to interpret scripture Isaiah 65 text is also referring to the same New Heavens and New Earth that Rev 21 is speaking of. I just don’t see any way around that brother.

      Lastly you said: “Are you suggesting that there will still be national boundaries in heaven? I would say, “no,” rather this describes the Church age in victory over the nations.

      And since we must allow for figures in the prophetic imagery and not take it too literally, we ought not to make one verse that talks about no more death override all of the other passages…

      He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)

      This can be an image of there being no more death or tears due to the persecution of the Church since it ends up being victorious.

      A more direct contextual interpretation could be that it’s referring to the first death as opposed to the second death (Rev 21:8).”

      This is a major stretching of the context brother and it seems that you Postmillerians super-impose postmillennial presuppositions into the text that doesnt call for it.

      Great discussion!

  5. Larry Bray says:

    So even though verse 8 speaks of the “second death” you think it’s a stretch to think that verse 4 is speaking of the “first death”??

    We are told that the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Rev 21:2). It’s this new Jerusalem that sets the stage for the rest of the chapter. Since it came down to earth from heaven it represents God’s Church on earth rather than in heaven. This terminology “dwelling place of God” (Rev 21:3) is found in Scripture to describe God’s dwelling with His people on earth rather than in heaven (e.g. 2 Sam 15:25).

    Notice also that in Rev 21:5 God “is making all things new” rather than “has made all things new.” It is an ongoing action that depicts a growing Church rather than a consumated heavenly reality. We know that this new creation is part of the present reality in the Church (2 Cor 5:17).

  6. rickyroldan says:

    Larry, with all due respect you are comparing to mentions of death that have nothing to do with the other.

    You stated: “So even though verse 8 speaks of the “second death” you think it’s a stretch to think that verse 4 is speaking of the “first death”??”

    The “second death” is to be contrasted with the “first death”. In the Amil view the first death is physical death and the second death is eternal death in hell. Verse 4 speaks to us believers who will be eternally alive hence the reference to “no more death”. It doesn’t say no more “first death”. These should be interpreted in light of the other terms that are similar in regards to the Elect as in “First Resurrection” and “Second Resurrection”. The former is spiritual/regeneration and the latter is physical resurrection.

    Rev. 20:6,14
    “6.Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”

    “14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

    Again I reiterate this is reference to the Eternal State aka the Consummation.

    You continued: “We are told that the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Rev 21:2). It’s this new Jerusalem that sets the stage for the rest of the chapter. Since it came down to earth from heaven it represents God’s Church on earth rather than in heaven. This terminology “dwelling place of God” (Rev 21:3) is found in Scripture to describe God’s dwelling with His people on earth rather than in heaven (e.g. 2 Sam 15:25).”

    Exactly, the Consummation of all things where the ENTIRE Church as a WHOLE will be joined together for eternity.

    Grace and Peace….

    side note: You guys at TNARS accepting students yet?

  7. Larry Bray says:

    Ricky,

    You are certainly correct about the 1st and 2nd death…excellent job bringing that up.

    You’ve done a very commendable job in defending your Amill stance.

    We currently have a couple of openings at the master and doctoral levels. I can always make room for you if you’d like to give us a shot 🙂

    • rickyroldan says:

      Thank you for the kind words sir but as you know Soli Deo Gloria!

      I would love to brother…..I tried a few years ago but I didn’t have the means via internet to stay faithful but this time I want to focus on getting my credentials and checking in every month like I was suppose to lol……..I know that you guys were limited on mentors and what not but if you guys would have me I would love to get a degree from you guys. But I don’t have college or none of that only a GED soooo…I don’t know you tell me lol

  8. Larry Bray says:

    What is your take on…

    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Mat 16:18)

    As a Postmiller this is an obvious declaration of not only the witness of the Church, but also the victory of it.

    • rickyroldan says:

      My take on Matt. 16:18? Reference to the authority of the Pope of course………Sike naw. JK!

      Well, as an Amillerian I see the same thing you see but the only difference is that this victory will be at the end of the Church age militant at the consummation when Christ comes to consummate the Church in triumph becoming the Church Triumphant.

  9. Larry Bray says:

    I agree that total victory won’t be until Christ returns. But certainly the text speaks of the Church having victory over the Enemy by breaking down the gates of Hell as a continual victory leading up to the ultimate victory at the return of Christ…right?

  10. Larry Bray says:

    Ricky,
    I’d like to work with you regarding TNARS. I’d be honored to have you as a graduate of TNARS eventually. Email me at lbray@tnars.net and we can discuss how to get you back in!

  11. Larry Bray says:

    Yes…my Pastor is also an “optimistic” amiller…we’ll get you guys on board eventually 😉

  12. Hugh McCann says:

    You’re doing the church a service defending the truth and refuting error. And in encouraging those who will eventually become burned out waiting in vain for a pre-consummational carnal kingdom fulfillment that is never to be!

    Keep it up, and stay optimistic! Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

    Eph. 2:6 and other such “already” texts ought to give us great cheer.

    Yet we also yearn for the “not-yet” (but we don’t look for a renovated old heavens and old earth)!

  13. Greetings all,

    I have read parts of the other comments, but not all. So… My comment isn’t in response to other comments but to the article itself. 🙂

    I found this article very useful to me personally. (I first encountered it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/406499679416905/574873019246236/)

    I studied some of the basic differences between amillennialism and postmillennialism in a Bible School (in YWAM), but haven’t engaged in much debate and discussion between the two.

    I do see the point about “optimism” verses “pessimism.”

    Perhaps confident postmillennials should clarify that they mean “our position is more optimistic about how much the Gospel can and will change every area of life even before the bodily return of Christ.”

    It does see that in that sense, postmillennials are more “optimistic;” but they are not “more” optimistic in the eternal sense.

    Just curious Ricky, Larry, and others. Do you agree with me, that in that sense postmillennialism is “more optimistic?”

  14. rickyroldan says:

    Thank you Jon for your comment.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that Postmils are “more” optimistic but rather they are more “hopeful”. But then we must define what this means as well. While Postmils hope in a golden age, Amils hope in the return of Christ.

    The question then you would have to ask yourself is, where in the New Testament does any writer speak of an age in between this age and the age to come. The Bible only speaks of two ages and everywhere in the New Testament the writers tell us that our hope in this evil world is the coming of Christ when He will destroy our enemies. I cannot find any reference to any hope in a golden age of peace and christian prosperity in the New Testament prior to Christ consummation of all things. The verses quoted by Postmils do not remotely suggest a Christianized world PRIOR to Christ return but is rather inserted into the texts using their presupposition already affirmed.

  15. May I suggest one more possibility for “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Hell is seen in the NT as a place of torments; but it is also seen throughout Scripture, both OT and NT as the grave (hades). Thus my understanding is that while death may prevent some human endeavors from reaching the fulness intended for them it is not so with the church. Yes, all the apostles died; but the church lives on. The gates of the grave (hades) have not prevailed because the church will continue to bind and loose not only on earth, but in heaven as well.

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