Eschatology - What are the Options?

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Peter

Puritan Board Junior
More destructive to Premillennialism in my opinion is that they inject a 1000 yrs between Christ's return and his judgment.

2Th 1:7-10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
So, Rev. Winzer, are you saying that the premil view breaks down because it would have Christ coming out of heaven for 1,000 years? Would it not also then be destructive to sound theology to have him come out of heaven for 2 seconds at His second coming? What about the new heavens and the new earth? Or am I misunderstanding your assertion?

The one strong point I see in favor of premillennialism is that it seems to have been the predominant view among the early Church fathers.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by A2JC4life
So, Rev. Winzer, are you saying that the premil view breaks down because it would have Christ coming out of heaven for 1,000 years? Would it not also then be destructive to sound theology to have him come out of heaven for 2 seconds at His second coming? What about the new heavens and the new earth? Or am I misunderstanding your assertion?

The one strong point I see in favor of premillennialism is that it seems to have been the predominant view among the early Church fathers.

I think his point was that for Christ to return to earth and rule over a sinful world would be a step down from his present glory. Especially since His return is suppose to usher in the new heavens and the new earth.

As I remember, though some church fathers held to chiliasm, the church as a whole rejected it. I don't remember which council it was though....
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Such an exception to Pre-millennialism is itself frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity. If He is God, then His going one place does not entail His leaving another. In fact, we who are A-millennial believe that He now reigns upon the earth, even though He is seated at the Father's right hand. He intercedes for us presently, even though He proclaimed, "It is finished!" long ago.

As an A-millennialist, the best that I can say is that I don't understand why Pre- or Post-millennialists believe what they do. I know some of these people personally, and find that they mostly don't know what they are talking about, but that doesn't mean that all Pre- and Post-millennialists don't know what they are talking about. It doesn't even mean that what the best of them says about their respective view is the final word on their view; or that it has any authority added to it by virtue of their reputation.

We just don't know enough about the millennium to be dogmatic about it, and we ought all to admit that about our own views before we sit in judgment of others' views. Judging a particular person's understanding by what he says is justified, but that has no particular bearing upon the general view itself. These are the types of things that I would warn about in reading up on the views.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
As I remember, though some church fathers held to chiliasm, the church as a whole rejected it. I don't remember which council it was though....

Really? I would be interested in knowing more about this. My husband's systematic theology text concluded that the majority of the early church fathers believed in premil, and offered numerous quotes. It is, of course, written by a man who will have his own biases :), but he did not conclude that premil is most biblical. (He arrived at a postmil conclusion, but I don't necessarily agree with all of his reasoning.)
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
I know Polycarp is a noteable ECF who believed in Premill but I can't think of any other.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, I was somewhat misremembering my source. The systematic theology text I was thinking of does draw that conclusion, but the quotes came from hubby's seminary professor's notes and he IS a pre-trib premillennialist. According to both texts, premil dominated in the early church, with the dominant view only changing with Augustine.

"The first three centuries of the church were probably dominated by what we would today call premillennialism, but in the fourth century an African Donatist named Tyconius propounded a competitive view. Although Augustine was an archopponent of the Donatists, he adopted Tyconius's view of the millennium." (from Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson - a.k.a. "The Big Green Monster":) )

Dr. Akin quotes Ignatius, Clement of Rome, Barnabus, Papius, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, and Tertullian in favor of premillennialism, and demonstrates a shift toward amillennialism with Origen, Eusebius, and Augustine.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by A2JC4life
So, Rev. Winzer, are you saying that the premil view breaks down because it would have Christ coming out of heaven for 1,000 years? Would it not also then be destructive to sound theology to have him come out of heaven for 2 seconds at His second coming? What about the new heavens and the new earth? Or am I misunderstanding your assertion?

The one strong point I see in favor of premillennialism is that it seems to have been the predominant view among the early Church fathers.

Christ will come again "in His glory" to judge the world in righteousness. He will not be abdicating His throne but asserting it. On the other hand, to descend to this earth to "reign" for a thousand years is to abdicate His heavenly throne for an earthly one. A carnal dream which rises no higher than Jewish expectations!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by JohnV
Such an exception to Pre-millennialism is itself frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity. If He is God, then His going one place does not entail His leaving another. In fact, we who are A-millennial believe that He now reigns upon the earth, even though He is seated at the Father's right hand. He intercedes for us presently, even though He proclaimed, "It is finished!" long ago.

As reformed theology does not believe our Lord's human nature is ubiquitous, it is sound to speak of Christ leaving one place and going to another. Acts 1:11, "this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by A2JC4life
Dr. Akin quotes Ignatius, Clement of Rome, Barnabus, Papius, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, and Tertullian in favor of premillennialism, and demonstrates a shift toward amillennialism with Origen, Eusebius, and Augustine.

Yes, the premil historiography likes to represent amillennialism as emerging with the rise of allegorical interpretation. The problem is, it is uncertain to what degree the other fathers are themselves speaking figuratively and simply adopting the imagery of Scrpture.

It doesn't matter how early the view is if it is erroneous. I think you can trace premillennialism back to the apostolic age, particularly in the early ignorance of the disciples concerning the "restoration of Israel," wherein they shared the same carnal expectations as their fellow Jews.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
It doesn't matter how early the view is if it is erroneous.

I agree! I just don't like to be *too* quick to throw out something that was understood a certain way from the beginning, in favor of something "newer." I'm not convinced that amillennialism was not around at all during that time, but I do want to be careful not to consider myself wiser than those who knew Jesus (incarnate), and those who knew those who knew Him. :)
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer
Originally posted by JohnV
Such an exception to Pre-millennialism is itself frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity. If He is God, then His going one place does not entail His leaving another. In fact, we who are A-millennial believe that He now reigns upon the earth, even though He is seated at the Father's right hand. He intercedes for us presently, even though He proclaimed, "It is finished!" long ago.

As reformed theology does not believe our Lord's human nature is ubiquitous, it is sound to speak of Christ leaving one place and going to another. Acts 1:11, "this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

I was merely addessing, in defence of my Pre-millennial brothers, that this does not at all address what they actually believe concerning Christ's reign. It does not reflect what I believe as an A-millennialist either.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by JohnV
Originally posted by armourbearer
Originally posted by JohnV
Such an exception to Pre-millennialism is itself frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity. If He is God, then His going one place does not entail His leaving another. In fact, we who are A-millennial believe that He now reigns upon the earth, even though He is seated at the Father's right hand. He intercedes for us presently, even though He proclaimed, "It is finished!" long ago.

As reformed theology does not believe our Lord's human nature is ubiquitous, it is sound to speak of Christ leaving one place and going to another. Acts 1:11, "this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

I was merely addessing, in defence of my Pre-millennial brothers, that this does not at all address what they actually believe concerning Christ's reign. It does not reflect what I believe as an A-millennialist either.

Be that as it may, your objection starts from a faulty premise. Hence your assertion that my exception is "frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity" is unacceptable by reformed standards. That makes your belief as an amillennialist, with its acceptance of their belief of premillennialism, untenable according to my traditional belief of realised millennialism.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer
Originally posted by JohnV
Originally posted by armourbearer
Originally posted by JohnV
Such an exception to Pre-millennialism is itself frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity. If He is God, then His going one place does not entail His leaving another. In fact, we who are A-millennial believe that He now reigns upon the earth, even though He is seated at the Father's right hand. He intercedes for us presently, even though He proclaimed, "It is finished!" long ago.

As reformed theology does not believe our Lord's human nature is ubiquitous, it is sound to speak of Christ leaving one place and going to another. Acts 1:11, "this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

I was merely addessing, in defence of my Pre-millennial brothers, that this does not at all address what they actually believe concerning Christ's reign. It does not reflect what I believe as an A-millennialist either.

Be that as it may, your objection starts from a faulty premise. Hence your assertion that my exception is "frought with denials of Christ's sovereignty, if not deity" is unacceptable by reformed standards. That makes your belief as an amillennialist, with its acceptance of their belief of premillennialism, untenable according to my traditional belief of realised millennialism.

These "reformed standards" are what I am appealing to. Though I may agree with you that some Pre-millennialists go too far, just as some Post-millennialists go too far, yet I am sensitive to the fact that lately some A-millennialists have gone too far in response to allegations made against the A-millennial point of view.

Through my experiences of late, I have noticed an eight-fold demarcation of the eschatological views. There are the four already mentioned, but each of these may be divided into two distinct categories: those that place too much on them, and those that recognize the limitations.

So the Dispensational view is eliminated by virtue of the fact that doctrine is built upon their particular view, and thereby subjects Scripture to man's reasoning. Both Dispensational views are eliminated, therefore, since both share this characteristic. That leaves six: Pre-mil, Post-mil, A-mil, essential Pre-mil, essential Post-mil, and essential A-mil.

Of these we may eliminate the last three. Though these three do not necessarily build doctrine upon their eschatological view, yet they deem their view as essential doctrine instead of adiaphora. The millennial views are not essential, and each may hold his view if it does not interfere with sound doctrine.

This is what I am concerned about. I have been subjected to the "essential Post-mil" view. But it was actually worse than that, because for this person his millennial view was not only essential, it was definitive for understanding all doctrine. In other words, though the Post-milllennial view itself is acceptable by Reformed standards, this man who wielded ecclesiastical authority held to a Post-millennial view which was more akin to the Dispensaitional methodolgy of eschatology, namely that of making it necessary and prior to doctrine and interpretation itself. This is not even Reformed, much less acceptable to Reformed theology.

I was referred to a work by a famous apologist on the matter. If his defense of Post-millennialism was the standard, then Post-millennialism was to be utterly rejected. But, fortunately, I also had access to a more sound defense of Post-millennialism, which did not arrogate too much to the view. So here were two very distinct approaches to Post-millennialism. It was this work that alerted me to these distinctions.

We need to be careful of what we say about these matters when we sit in judgment of others' views. Equivocating on the terms is not a solution to the problem. Certainly, understanding is called for here, especially an understanding of the limitations of the parts of eschatology which are not essential to the faith in comparison to those which may not be denied. When we cross that line, we usually cross more lines than just that one line. There is inherent denial of Christ Himself wrought in the judging of others who bear the marks of the covenant and of faith.

In summary, I think it is important to present day studies on eschatology to mark the difference not merely between the four major views, but also the difference within each view as to its readiness to be submissive to objective Scripture. And I believe that some Pre-millennialists are of this latter sort, and cannot be lumped in with those few who assert too much to the view. The ones you were referring to were the essential Pre-mil, which does not include by necessity all Pre-millennialists. I would make the same distinction for each of the millennial views, including A-millennialism. I am fully within Reformed standards by accepting as serious the belief of a brother in the Pre-millennial view. What I cannot accept is even an A-millennial view which arrogates too much to itself.

I believe this to be in accord with the Reformed standards. This is the stance taken by the Reformed churches. Three views are acceptable to the Reformed faith, as not violating those doctrines which are defined within the confessions of submission to Scripture in the church. They are held in their proper place, though we may disagree with each other, by the grace of God, for our mutual edification.




Thank you for fixing the link, Andrew.
 

A2JC4life

Puritan Board Freshman
Well said, John. I have appreciated all of your posts regarding balance and humility in this area. :)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by JohnV
These "reformed standards" are what I am appealing to. Though I may agree with you that some Pre-millennialists go too far, just as some Post-millennialists go too far, yet I am sensitive to the fact that lately some A-millennialists have gone too far in response to allegations made against the A-millennial point of view.

The reformed standards teach that Christ's "exaltation" consists in sitting at the right hand of God, and that He will come again to execute judgment (Westminster Larger Catechism, answers 55, 56). That rules out a millennial reign on earth as understood by premillennialists of whatever view, for they all posit a personal and visible coming of Christ to this earth. Any form of amillennialism which accommodates this erroneous view must share its inability to see the significance of Christ's exaltation to the right hand of God, and is thus unworthy of the name amillennialism or "realised millennialism."
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I'll leave off the discussion with that, Matthew. I've already exceeded my own limit.

Thank you, Rachel. I hope its been helpful to your study.
 
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