Posts tagged ‘Postmillennialism’

April 28, 2019

Time, History and Eternity

The above graphic depicts an understanding of the phrases “this age” and “the age to come”, in their biblical/historical context. This understanding underlies the proper perception of our present situation, and affects our eschatological outlook. Satan is NOT “the god of this age” that we are in now. He was “the god of this age” when Paul wrote 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4; Rom. 16:20, etc. Jesus crushed Satan’s head and bound him in the first century, cf. Matt. 12:29; Luke 10:18; Rev. 20:2; etc. Not to say that the evil one is not still active other than in wholesale deception of the nations the way he was before, but the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning now! cf. Ps. 2; Ps. 110; Dan. 7:13-14; 1Cor. 15:25; etc.

An “age” is a period of time. There is no other age that will follow the present age of Christ’s mediatorial reign (what the New Testament, written prior to the termination of the Old Covenant age with the destruction of the temple, refers to as “the age to come”). We are now in the final age of time and history, as the ascended Lord Jesus Christ reigns from on High and through His Spirit indwelling His people, living stones in the new living temple – His body. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:24-26).

Premillennialists claim that there will be another age after Christ’s Second Coming, when He will reign upon the earth for 1,000 years prior to the final judgment, with a variety of flavors espousing a rebuilt temple, multiple resurrections, etc., etc. which is all patently unbiblical. An older version of postmillennialism taught that there will be a separate “golden age” in time and history after the present age and before the Second Coming; proponents of that view may have acquiesced to the lack of scriptural warrant for it.

Against “the age to come” as eternity

Ephesians 1:17-21:
…the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age (aion) but also in that which is to come.*
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (NKJV)

*Note: the age “which is to come” here can hardly refer to eternity without conflicting with 1 Corinthians 15:28:

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
28Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

The Ephesians passage presents the ages in time/history; the passage in 1 Corinthians presents the end: eternity. Jesus’ ascension took place in what were the last days of “this age” for the writers New Testament. In this final age now present (the “age to come” for the N.T. writers), Jesus is reigning from on High and by His Spirit indwelling His people, living stones in a living temple, His body; (He also rules over the nations with a rod of iron). By contrast, in eternity, we shall eat and drink with Jesus Himself, as we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is! (1 John 3:2) cf. Matthew 26:29.

Paul wrote in the last days of the old covenant age when the temple was still standing. The “age to come”, which was then at hand, is fully here now: the gospel age, the “millennium” of the mediatorial reign of the King Jesus.

In those same last days of the old covenant age when the temple was still standing, shortly before He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; rose again from the dead; and ascended into heaven, Jesus said to the high priest: “I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.(Matt. 26:64) The hereafter our Lord foretold is the termination of the old covenant economy with the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the final end of that age, the outworking of AD 30 when Christ made the once-for-all sacrifice of Himself; which was also foretold by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel:

“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation*, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:26-27)

*i.e. the consummation of the ages, the transition from the Jewish to the Christian: the mediatorial kingdom of the gospel age, the final age before the end, the millennial reign of the risen, ascended Lord Jesus Christ as written of in Ephesians 1.

(click to enlarge)

February 10, 2019

The Last from the Past

The last days are not a future period of time leading up to the rapture of the church and the end of the world. Nor are the last days describing the full contemporary Christian era. It hardly seems consistent to associate the term “days” with two millennia of years! A closer look at the New Testament usage of the term will reveal that the last days represented a now historical period of time. It was a fitting description of the final days of the Old Covenant, a period lasting a little over forty years. The first century earthly ministry of Jesus ushered in these last days. In this way, the “last days” of the New Testament were actually the “first days” of the New Testament church.1

The prophet Joel described some miraculous activities that would characterize the last days (Joel 2:28-31). The apostle Peter used the prophetic words of Joel to explain the miraculous events that were ocurring at that time (Acts 2:16-17). The fact that those events were ascribed as being a fulfillment of the words of Joel indicated that the last days had arrived. If the inspired prophet was referencing the entire Christian era from Pentecost until the present, would we not expect these same miraculous activities to still be genuinely ocurring — “in the last days”?2

It is sometimes said that the whole period between the incarnation and the end of the world is regarded in the New Testament as ‘the end of the age.’ But this bears a manifest incongruity in its very front. How could the end of a period be a long protracted duration? Especially how could it be longer than the period of which it is the end? More time has already elapsed since the incarnation than from the giving of the law to the first coming of Christ: so that, on this hypothesis, the end of the age is a great deal longer than the age itself.3

Those Last Days Now Past

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1)

A video presentation by a prominent creationist ministry, which promotes a biblical view of the earth’s age over and against the uniformitarian “millions of years” view, takes in to account the catastrophic effects of the global flood as recorded in the book of Genesis. However, the impact of the otherwise excellent production is weakened as the presenter states that today’s secular scientists whom disregard Scripture’s record of the Genesis flood are examples of the “scoffers” which the apostle Peter wrote would come in “the last days” (cf. 2 Peter 3:3-6). The devastating problem with this statement is that the inspired apostle wrote those words in the 1st century when the last days of the old covenant were at hand; so that the last days referred to were then, not now.

This is a major interpretive error made by modern-day Christians, which has become well ensconsed in many hearts and minds, especially with the high volume of book sales along with seminary teachings by authors and professors based on the misapplication of the past to our present and near future. It is as if someone were to write in broad, non-specific terms about the last days of the Obama federal administration when they were (thankfully) nearing, and someone were to read it two thousand years or so from then, and assume the dynamics of the situation described to be directly applicable to the reader there and then, instead of relevant to the U.S.A. in the year of our Lord 2016.

When it comes to the Holy Bible which is the word of God, surely there is far-reaching application as well as eternal truth to be gleaned, but the correct interpretation must be gathered based upon the historical context and the understanding of the original audience. The last days from two thousand years ago cannot be the same last days today, or they would not have been the last days then. The realization that the “last days” were in the past, and that much of Bible prophecy (not all!) was fulfilled in the 1st century is key to sound discernment of the Scriptures.

Holy writ indeed informs us that the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning now. Peter also quoted Psalm 110:1 and said Jesus is exalted at God’s right hand (position of authority), to rule from the Majesty on High (cf Acts 2:34-36Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Himself said, just prior to His ascension, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Hence, He is now King at God’s right hand, just as the Psalm prophesied. The apostle Paul further expounded that He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). This has not happened yet, and of course we cling to the blessed hope of the resurrection of the body when the end comes and Jesus returns in final judgment and to usher in the eternal state. Until then, the almighty, Triune God we serve is certainly to be victorious in time and history.

So the Messianic kingdom has already been established, i.e. we are in the “millennium” now. The last days of the old covenant, including the great tribulation prophesied in Matthew chapter 24, were the days leading up to and including the destruction of the temple, the city of Jerusalem and apostate Israel when the Son of Man “came” with judgment in A.D. 70. “The last days” are now in the past, and followed from the work that He “finished” in A.D. 30 (cf John 19:30). The once for all sacrifice of the Lamb of God has superceded the old system of animal sacrifices, and now its up to the church, with steadfast faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, to look forward to and work towards the building of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven… for, also as it is written, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).

The effectiveness of biblical apologetics as well as the fruitfulness of Christian cultural engagement efforts will be greatly increased by our faithful witness to the truth that the last days are in the past. The long haul to triumph will likely extend beyond the relatively short lifetimes of those of us alive today; there’s no time to waste. Let’s get busy using our talents in good and faithful service to our King (cf Matthew 25:23), leaving an example for future generations to follow. Keep the faith. Stand strong in the Truth. The worst is past and the best is yet to come.

– – – –
1 John M. Buttrey II, The Book of Revelation – A Brief Commentary and study Guide
2 Ibid
3 James Stuart Russell, The Parousia – The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming*
*Russel’s work teaches that Christ’s Second Coming took place in 70 AD, at which time the dead saints were resurrected and caught-up to Heaven, and the living saints were bodily caught-up to Heaven :-o. Even while not concurring with that startling conclusion, one can appreciate the many astute observations he makes such as the above on what is indeed the “manifest incongruity” of the “end of the age” being longer than the age of which it is the end of; akin to the “last days” lasting for thousands of years.

August 25, 2012

Chronology, Creation and Compromise (includes a Movie Review)

The year is 1890 and Bible professor Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin) has written a new manuscript entitled “The Changing Times.” His book is about to receive a unanimous endorsement from the board members of the Grace Bible Seminary until his colleague Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin Macleod) raises an objection. Dr. Anderson believes that what Carlisle has written could greatly affect the future of coming generations. Using a secret time machine, Anderson sends Carlisle over 100 years into the future, offering him a glimpse of where his beliefs will lead.

As is obvious from the above plot description appearing on the back of the DVD case, the movie Time Changer (a Rich Christiano film) is a work of fiction. Absent of high-budget special effects, and with a Christian theme, it has not reached anywhere near popular blockbuster status. Nevertheless, the film makes the enduring case for steadfast adherence to the authority of the Word of God. Carlisle’s manuscript makes a plea for morality and righteousness but begs the question, “By what standard?”. Anderson objects to the teaching of the law apart from the law-Giver, of preaching morality apart from the authority of the Word of God. After finally submitting to Anderson’s insistence, Carlisle travels to the future where he sees the disastrous results of mankind’s rejection of the infallible standard of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from Him no one is righteous, no – not one. In one scene, Carlisle tells a hot dog snatching girl that it is not right to steal, and the girl responds “Says who?”.

In another scene in the movie Carlisle, in the future (the year 2000), perceived that he was in the “end times” and commented that therefore Jesus must be coming shortly to “set up His kingdom on earth”. This of course is indicative of a premillennial view of eschatology (end times). To anyone reading this blog who is at all familiar with eschatology, it must be apparent by now that I embrace a postmillennial view, which is that the return of the Lord Jesus (“the second coming”) will take place after His kingdom has been well established here on earth during this present age. While premillennialism does not detract from the excellent message of the film, the eschatological viewpoint of Christ returning a “millennium” before the final judgment, with the resurrection of believers when He comes, and then another resurrection of unbelievers at the end of His earthly reign is a problematical interpretation of Scripture mainly because it is out of accord with biblical chronology.

A greatly overlooked passage of Scripture which presents us a timetable of end time events is 1 Corinthians 15:25-26: For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. The context is Christ’s reign in heaven, which is where He sits at the right hand of Majesty on High since His ascension. Death is destroyed (general resurrection) at the end – at the last day – in a moment, the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52), not a prolonged drama for 1,000 years. So all of the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ and His church are being put under His feet, and then comes the end, when death is destroyed. “The logic of Paul is inescapable” as per respected theologian B.B. Warfield. Other key texts of Scripture teach one particular day of resurrection/judgment for all which takes place when Jesus comes back (cf Acts 17:31; Acts 24:15 ).There will be a day of resurrection/judgment for ALL men – when Jesus comes (Matthew 25:31 ff). Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). Notwithstanding that it may be the most widely held eschatological perspective in the church today, it can reasonably be said that the premillennial view of the book of Revelation is chronologically untenable based on unavoidable presuppositions derived from the full counsel of Scripture.

There is much more that can be said about end times chronology and the difficulties presented by the book of Revelation which is apocalyptic literature rendered in signs & symbols (the “first resurrection” of Revelation 20 is symbolic of spiritual regeneration!), but let us turn our chronometers from the end back to the beginning — to the book of Genesis and the creation account. Here we have clear-cut historical narrative, presenting the account of the magnificent work of almighty God creating all things ex nihilo (out of nothing) in six literal (24-hour) days. This is wonderful truth for the believer. Indeed the pattern for the days and weeks of our lives were thereby established. Our God is an awesome God! Just as we believe steadfastly in the virginal birth and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hold to a “young earth” as plainly depicted in the earliest history recorded in Genesis 1-11. We believe God’s word is inerrant and infallible, and we stand by its irrefutable truth as interpreted from the original language text in accordance with well established and scholarly accepted grammatical-historical methodology.

The compromise comes in by what I call the 3 Ws. That is, when a professing believer is either weak, wanting or wicked. The attack on God’s word is from the outside, in the form of the secular/humanist religion of evolution. Under the flag of so-called “science”, millions of years is presented for injection into the Bible’s chronology of creation. The weak accept it to avoid ridicule, or to get along. They fear men more than they fear God. The biblical worldview of others is compromised as they are wanting for a proper defense of the faith, and are overwhelmed by not having an answer to ungodly dogma presented as accepted fact. The wicked trample on the blood of Jesus, accepting the concept of death and sin before the fall, which overturns the gospel, promoting that lie to lead others astray. Make no mistake about it beloved, this is a foundational issue. Abortion, homosexuality, racism, adultery, broken families, attacks on the institution of marriage, and all such perverse problems are the symptoms of the undermining of the authority of God’s word.

So where do we go from here? Well first of all, if you have swallowed the wicked lie of evolution in any way, shape or form then I urge you to vomit it up and spit it out. Hold fast to your faith, and don’t be afraid to speak up. What position does your local church take on the inerrancy of God’s word? Have they compromised on the creation account of the Bible? Take heart, eyes are being opened, minds are being renewed. God is giving zeal for His Truth to His people, and help is available! Go to the AnswersInGenesis website where you can arm yourself with reliable information and resources. Another excellent website is the Institute for Creation Research. Get yourself a copy of The Beginning of the World – A Scientific Study of Genesis 1-11 by Dr. Henry Morris (remember Kindle Edition books are less expensive and readable on any PC or MAC with the free reading app). Stay tuned for more…

Let us pray that things don’t have to get much worse before God’s church arises to insist that the Bible is authoritative for all of life, from beginning to end.


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)