A Case for Historic Premillennialism (Blomberg)

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by BayouHuguenot, Mar 8, 2018.

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  1. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Borrow this book; don't buy it. I write this as someone sympathetic with historic premillennialism, but the essays are woefully uneven. The first few dealing with its Hebraic background are quite good. The essay on Ezekiel notes how prophetic language is to be interpreted (e.g., we can only spiritualize it when the author gives us the key to spiritualize it, like in Ezekiel 37), suggests, even with all of its problems, that Ez 40-48 was meant to be read literally since it chiastically parallels the physical, literal temple in chapters 8-9. This does suggest problems in the New Testament teachings on the Temple. The author admits that, but doesn't worry about it. The same God wrote both testaments.

    There is an interesting essay on modern-day Jewish life-after-death thought.

    The central essay is Blomberg's one on post-tribulationism. While he does offer several point-by-point critiques of pretribulationism, his argument mainly focuses on the central New Testament theme that God's children must suffer tribulation. Further, he quickly dispenses with dispensationalism's semi-pathetic claim that we must be raptured before the tribulation because God's children will never have to face his “wrath.” Blomberg ends his essay with a few interesting comments on the nature of postrib premillennialism. Responding to critics that post-trib precludes an “any-moment” return of Christ, Blomberg responds that 1) the events per Antichrist and tribulation can happen rather quickly or simultaneously and thus make possible an any-moment return.

    Fairbairn's essay on the early church's eschatology is quite good. He demonstrates that many (but not all) ante-Nicene fathers held to a form of postribulationism and the millennial reign. This position would fall out of favor with the gnostic tendencies of Origen and the hyper-Platonism of Augustine. While the early church was largely premillennial, it really doesn't fit into any modern categories of premillennialism, so any comparison must stop here.

    The two weakest essays are on Reformed Covenantalism (Chung) and Premillennial Method (Payne). The former suggests that Reformed amillennialism “spiritualizes” away most of the promises of an earthly restoration. Chung argues that this is so because of the Reformed insistence on the Covenant of Works. I remain unconvinced and Chung offers little more than assertions. Honestly, I have no idea how these two assertions are connected. Payne's essay had more promise, but does little more than explain why premillennialists interpret Scripture “literally.” He mentioned Thomas Reid's Scottish Common Sense realism, but failed to demonstrate how this affects hermeneutics. He should have argued that our cognitive faculties are reliable and when information is presented in a straight-forward way, we are to understand it in a straight-forward way. Second premise: the eschatological promises in the Old Testament are presented in a straight-forward way. Ergo, premillennialism. Payne doesn't do this (I have done in three sentences what his entire essay failed to do).

    Conclusion:

    Because this book is focused against dispensationalism, it is of limited use to those who are not dispensationalists. There are a number of valuable exegetical insights that are helpful to those of all persuasions, and the historical overviews are quite good. The book as a whole is uneven and its lasting importance will demonstrate it to be quite limited.
     
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  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Ezekiel 40-48 does not describe an earthly temple. For one thing, being measured means it already existed at the time of the vision (and no earthly temple of God existed at the time Ezekiel received this vision). For another thing, the Second Temple looked nothing like Ezekiel's temple. I believe that Ezekiel 40-48 describes the archetypal, heavenly temple: God's own throneroom. Therefore, it gives us a theology of space, much like the tabernacle details of the last part of Exodus.
     
  3. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    His best work was with dealing with how many ECF held to a form of Historical premil understanding of the End Times, and also in how one can be a premil without buying into the Dispensational pretrib Rapture issue.
     
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    There were some, enough to cause some "trad" apologists historical embarrassment, but it wasn't an overwhelming amount. Premiller Justin Martyr concedes as much.
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps. I was simply summarizing the chapter. My own thoughts are undecided.
     
  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Historical premil seems to be the viewpoint that was prominent in the Church before Augutine came in and his end time views, and seems to be a neglected view among the Reformed.
     
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Again, Justin Martyr disagrees. Yes, it was important but it was not dominant. It was prominent in Asia Minor. Maybe Syria. It certainly was not prominent in Egypt.
     
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    The historical premil was still a significant position being held in the early Church, and some prominent reformed have had that viewpoint, but it seems to be third behind A Mil and Post Mil among reformed.
     
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It was significant, certainly, and I think a case can be made that it is at least preferable to the heavy Platonizing that happened afterwards.
     
  10. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    It would be interesting to have a listing of some prominent Reformed who held to Historical premil convictions.
     
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Schaeffer
    James Boice
    William Twisse
    Some of the 5th Monarchy Men.

    That's about all I can think of.
     
  12. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Moderator

    Here is a good podcast (a conversation with Jeff Jue from WTS) on Reformed Forum summarizing some of the dominant eschatological views of the Westminster Divines. It is interesting that many did hold to some form of premil, but they did not put it into the Confession.

    https://reformedforum.org/ctc31/
     
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Toon, Peter. Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel: Puritaneschatology, 1600 to 1660: A Collection of Essays. Cambridge: James Clarke, 1970.

    Most important book on the topic. Good luck (as Calvin would say) finding it cheap. I used to look for years.
     
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I read that Charles Spurgeon held to some form of Historical premil also.
     
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    This is interesting to me, will listen to this, as did not know that Historical premil was a viable option in Reformed circles, as mainly saw just the Post Mil/A Mil options available from the Confessions.
     
  16. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Moderator

    If by "viable" you mean it's allowed, then yes, some forms of historic premil have been allowed in Confessional circles. Dispensationalism however would not be allowed.
     
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Historic premil is allowed, if only because no one would have the temerity to call the moderator of the Assembly a heretic. But it is *not* the norm. I say that as one who is sympathetic to historic premil and rejects a lot of platonic allegorizing and spiritualising.
     
  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    The majority viewpoint would still be A Mil, with some PostMill then?
     
  19. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Even that is kind of anachronistic, since you don't see those terms used. They would have been amil regarding the timing of the millennium, which includes postmil, but they would have been more optimistic than, say, Westminster California.
     
  20. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Don't forget the Bonars.
     
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Of course. I used to have all these names down.
     
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