MacArthur's Biblical Doctrine Systematic Theology Book

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Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
MacArthur's 1000+ page systematic theology book, Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Biblical Truth is now available: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MS83T7K/

It looks to be a worthwhile read from its table of contents. Fortunately, Google Books affords ample access to the new book: https://goo.gl/ZmPRpp

I was hoping for an even-handed treatment of eschatology, but given his dispensational leanings, MacArthur's treatment of amillennialism is not unexpected:
Amillennialism has problems that disqualify it. First, it is an overspiritualized position and does not adhere to a consistent use of historical-grammatical interpretation. Without exegetical warrant, it transforms physical and national promises to Israel into spiritual promises for the church and holds that the church has become the new or true Israel. Also, amillennialism does not fit the Bible’s storyline or do justice to what the Scripture says about Jesus’s kingdom. The rule of the last Adam—Jesus (1 Cor. 15:45)—must occur from the same realm over which the first Adam was tasked to rule but failed. God’s plan is for man to reign successfully over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28), which is dramatically improved due to the Messiah’s presence (Isaiah 11). Yet amillennialism offers a spiritual kingdom from heaven with little or no influence on the earth. It posits a millennial kingdom of Jesus with no change on earth and where the enemies of God run rampant in rebellion. This is refuted by Revelation 5:10, which says that the reign of Jesus and the saints will be “on the earth” with God’s enemies defeated (Rev. 19:20-20:3). Jesus’s kingdom will not be a hidden kingdom. When it is in operation, all will know about it and submit to it (Zech. 14:9).

Second, amillennialism’s separation of Revelation 20 from the second-coming events of Revelation 19 is unwarranted. Revelation 19 describes the return of Jesus with the defeat of his enemies, including the kings of the earth, the beast, and the false prophet. Then Revelation 20 describes the incarceration of God’s greatest enemy—Satan. All three enemies are engaged at this time. Also, it is best to view Revelation 20:1-3 as the imprisonment of Satan at the second coming of Jesus. The language of binding, sealing, and shutting in the Abyss indicates a personal imprisonment and a complete cessation of Satan’s activities. The amillennial scenario oddly holds that Revelation 20 takes the reader back to the first coming of Christ and allows Satan to be very active except for one activity—deceiving the nations. And even on this point except for one activity—deceiving the nations. And even on this point there is a problem since Revelation 12 and 13 state that Satan is indeed deceiving the nations of the earth between the two comings of Jesus.​

On the matter of election and the frequent claim of the anti-Calvinist, that election is corporate, MacArthur is more aligned with the our views:
Another argument for corporate election is built on Paul’s statement that believers are chosen in Christ. Since Christ is God’s archetypal elect one (Isa. 42:1; Luke 9:35; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2:4, 6), God has chosen only Christ as an individual; believers become part of the elect at the moment of faith by virtue of their union with Christ.295

Several problems arise from this position.

First, it fails to do justice to the fact that Paul says that God “chose us” in Christ (Eph. 1:4); the direct object of God’s electing is “us,” not “him.”

Second, corporate election is foreign to the context, for each of the salvific blessings outlined in Ephesians 1:3-14 is received by individuals. In salvation, individuals receive spiritual blessings (1:3); individuals are made holy and blameless (1:4); individuals are adopted as sons and daughters of God (1:5); individuals receive freely bestowed grace (1:6); and individuals have been redeemed (1:7-8) and sealed with the Spirit (1:13). These final two blessings are unquestionably personal and individual; each individual believer, not merely an undefined group, has been ransomed by Christ and sealed with the Spirit. In the same way, individuals are the proper object of the spiritual blessing of election.

Third, Paul elsewhere teaches that God chose foolish, weak, and base individuals—not merely an unnamed, faceless mass—in order that no individual may boast before him (1 Cor. 1:27-31). God did not elect Christ and leave humanity to unite themselves with Christ by faith. As Boettner says, such a scheme “makes the purposes of Almighty God to be conditioned by the precarious wills of apostate men and makes temporal events to be the cause of His eternal acts.” Yet Paul teaches that God chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), not at the moment of our faith. It is by his doing—not ours—that we are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:30).

Therefore, while it is indeed true that God has chosen his people to be a fellowship, the corporate body of the church is made up of individual members, whom God knows personally by name (Ex. 33:12, 17; Isa. 45:4). Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, insisted that he personally knew his sheep (John 10:14)—even those who had not yet existed (John 17:20-21)—who were given to him by the Father (John 10:28; cf. 6:37, 39, 44, 65; 17:2). He even said to the Father of his sheep, “Yours they were, and you gave them to me” (John 17:6). From all eternity, the Father has so chosen particular individuals that they are said to be his, and it is these precious sheep that he entrusts to the Shepherd. Election is so intimately personal that the names of those chosen by the Father have been written in the book of life from before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 21:27). Clearly, God has chosen individuals for salvation.​

At the Google Books link above, enter some of your favorite search terms (next to the Go button on the left) and explore what comes up to get a better sense of this new addition to systematic theology.
 

KGP

Puritan Board Freshman
He's not always been charitable toward other millennial views, but it was his own set of sermons from the 80's - a jet tour through Revelation - that really had me scratching my head. He went through the book quickly and it just seemed so disjointed and unreal. I was halfway to the amillennial position; I've since come (very nearly) all the way.

I've appreciated his sermon series and word by word exposition, probably nobody else has influenced my Christian worldview as much as he has through his preaching.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
It posits a millennial kingdom of Jesus with no change on earth and where the enemies of God run rampant in rebellion.
I love Dr. MacArthur, but if salvation for all nations and tongues under the universal lordship of Christ who is reigning at the right hand of God the Father in heaven is not a "change" for MacArthur, I don't know what is.
 

joebonni63

Puritan Board Freshman
I have thought of going to his college here in Los Angeles but I am really not into dispensation at all seems like a big waste.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Dr. MacArthur was very formative to me and I am glad for him. But, I have moved past dispensationalism and onto Purer waters so I'd give him a pass.
 

Beezer

Puritan Board Freshman
I plan to pick up a copy. It'll make a good addition to my shelf of systematics. I don't have to agree with all of his positions to enjoy and benefit from it.
 

astroh24

Puritan Board Freshman
I have thought of going to his college here in Los Angeles but I am really not into dispensation at all seems like a big waste.
I am currently a student at The Master's University, and it is somewhat frustrating when the profs misrepresent an amillennial perspective let alone a covenantal one. But I have found my education thus far to be edifying, to say the least. I would recommend going here, in spite of the moderate hostility towards covenantal theology. P.S. It is one of the few Christian colleges that does not have liberalism floating around, which is nice.
 

johnny

Puritan Board Sophomore
QUOTE: Without exegetical warrant, it transforms physical and national promises to Israel into spiritual promises for the church and holds that the church has become the new or true Israel.

Without exegetical warrant??? Is this the pot calling the kettle black?
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
Without exegetical warrant??? Is this the pot calling the kettle black?
It truly is frustrating when people say things like this and, as if the statement is just patently and obviously true, just move on to something else. I hate to tell Dr. MacArthur (again, for whom I am thankful and from whom I have benefited greatly), but just saying things does not make them true. If one is going to dismiss an entire hermeneutic, there needs to be some argumentation. Why does the amillennial position have no exegetical warrant? This kind of allegation needs more than just a sentence of treatment if it truly seeks to be fair.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
To be fair, in defense of his position, MacArthur writes in the book, (which I purchased yesterday):

"In order to teach that the millennium is present and spiritual, amillennialism has to rely heavily on a recapitulation view of Revelation. In this approach, Revelation does not present events sequentially but rather captures events between the two comings of Jesus from multiple angles (perhaps as many as seven) that describe the same period of time. This recapitulation understanding allows the amillennialist to view the second coming of Revelation 19 as occurring at the end of the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 and not before. So Revelation 20 does not follow Revelation 19 chronologically but takes the reader back to the beginning of the age between Jesus’s two comings, a time that includes the binding of Satan (Rev. 20: 1-3) and the reign of the saints (Rev. 20:4). For amillennialists, Satan is bound in this age in the sense that he was defeated at the cross by Christ and is unable to stop the spread of the gospel to the nations. And the saints of God are currently reigning with Jesus. When this era of the millennial kingdom runs its course, then Jesus will return from heaven. At that time, there will be one general resurrection and judgment of the righteous and the wicked, and then the eternal state will commence. Important to amillennialism is that both tribulation and Christ’s millennial kingdom reign run concurrently in this age. These are present, not future, events.

"...amillennialism’s separation of Revelation 20 from the second-coming events of Revelation 19 is unwarranted. Revelation 19 describes the return of Jesus with the defeat of his enemies, including the kings of the earth, the beast, and the false prophet. Then Revelation 20 describes the incarceration of God’s greatest enemy— Satan. All three enemies are engaged at this time. Also, it is best to view Revelation 20:1-3 as the imprisonment of Satan at the second coming of Jesus. The language of binding, sealing, and shutting in the Abyss indicates a personal imprisonment and a complete cessation of Satan’s activities. The amillennial scenario oddly holds that Revelation 20 takes the reader back to the first coming of Christ and allows Satan to be very active except for one activity— deceiving the nations. And even on this point there is a problem since Revelation 12 and 13 state that Satan is indeed deceiving the nations of the earth between the two comings of Jesus. It is odd to posit a scenario in which the kings of the earth, the beast, and the false prophet are judged at the return of Jesus, but Satan’s imprisonment is separated from the judgment of these other groups. It is better to view all these groups, including Satan, as being judged at the return of Jesus.

"...the amillennial claim based on Revelation 20:4 that the saints are reigning in this age is also inaccurate. Revelation 20:4 describes the victorious reign of the martyrs on earth (Rev. 5:10) who were killed for their testimony for Jesus, according to Revelation 6: 9-11. The Scripture consistently presents the church as persevering under trials and persecution from wicked people and Satan in this age (Revelation chapters 2, 3). The church is not reigning now, but the church is promised positions of reigning in the future if it remains faithful in this age (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).


"...amillennialism makes an unnatural distinction between the first resurrection and the second resurrection of Revelation 20:4-5. Amillennialists claim that the first resurrection is a spiritual resurrection to salvation or regeneration, while the second resurrection is a bodily resurrection. Yet the Greek term for “came to life” (ezēsan) is the same in both cases. It is difficult to argue persuasively that this term refers to spiritual resurrection in 20:4 when it clearly means bodily resurrection in 20:5. The better answer is that both uses of ezēsan refer to physical resurrection. Since this is the case, amillennialism cannot be correct because no bodily resurrection has ever occurred (except for Jesus’s), and thus these must both be future from our standpoint in history."
 
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joebonni63

Puritan Board Freshman
I am currently a student at The Master's University, and it is somewhat frustrating when the profs misrepresent an amillennial perspective let alone a covenantal one. But I have found my education thus far to be edifying, to say the least. I would recommend going here, in spite of the moderate hostility towards covenantal theology. P.S. It is one of the few Christian colleges that does not have liberalism floating around, which is nice.
That's awesome to hear it's funny thing in calif is so liberal I have been here 50 years and this is the worst it's ever been
 

Alex Foo

Puritan Board Freshman
well, MacArthur is also very formative to me, considering the fact that i was saved from Charismatics teaching from his Strange Fire conference. I'm now in purer water, i.e., reformed soteriologically (no one told me what is reformed for the past 8 years of my Christian walk, nor sound doctrine and theology).

If you would advise a man like me, who listens to MacArthur regularly, and sort of swallowing all his doctrines, including the eschatology, what resource would you direct me, in order that you may win me over to purer water, i.e., amil/covenant theology?

I read only the Bible for the first few years of my Christian infancy (saved since I started attending university). The argument on literal interpretation does grip me to be convinced of premil/dispensationist as well.

Thank you. Love Puritans. Guess what? It is through MacArthur's sermon also that he mentioned about the Puritans, the Reformers, and Mr. Google led me to this wonderful place =)
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
To be fair, in defense of his position, MacArthur writes in the book, (which I purchased yesterday):

"In order to teach that the millennium is present and spiritual, amillennialism has to rely heavily on a recapitulation view of Revelation. In this approach, Revelation does not present events sequentially but rather captures events between the two comings of Jesus from multiple angles (perhaps as many as seven) that describe the same period of time. This recapitulation understanding allows the amillennialist to view the second coming of Revelation 19 as occurring at the end of the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 and not before. So Revelation 20 does not follow Revelation 19 chronologically but takes the reader back to the beginning of the age between Jesus’s two comings, a time that includes the binding of Satan (Rev. 20: 1-3) and the reign of the saints (Rev. 20:4). For amillennialists, Satan is bound in this age in the sense that he was defeated at the cross by Christ and is unable to stop the spread of the gospel to the nations. And the saints of God are currently reigning with Jesus. When this era of the millennial kingdom runs its course, then Jesus will return from heaven. At that time, there will be one general resurrection and judgment of the righteous and the wicked, and then the eternal state will commence. Important to amillennialism is that both tribulation and Christ’s millennial kingdom reign run concurrently in this age. These are present, not future, events.

"...amillennialism’s separation of Revelation 20 from the second-coming events of Revelation 19 is unwarranted. Revelation 19 describes the return of Jesus with the defeat of his enemies, including the kings of the earth, the beast, and the false prophet. Then Revelation 20 describes the incarceration of God’s greatest enemy— Satan. All three enemies are engaged at this time. Also, it is best to view Revelation 20:1-3 as the imprisonment of Satan at the second coming of Jesus. The language of binding, sealing, and shutting in the Abyss indicates a personal imprisonment and a complete cessation of Satan’s activities. The amillennial scenario oddly holds that Revelation 20 takes the reader back to the first coming of Christ and allows Satan to be very active except for one activity— deceiving the nations. And even on this point there is a problem since Revelation 12 and 13 state that Satan is indeed deceiving the nations of the earth between the two comings of Jesus. It is odd to posit a scenario in which the kings of the earth, the beast, and the false prophet are judged at the return of Jesus, but Satan’s imprisonment is separated from the judgment of these other groups. It is better to view all these groups, including Satan, as being judged at the return of Jesus.

"...the amillennial claim based on Revelation 20:4 that the saints are reigning in this age is also inaccurate. Revelation 20:4 describes the victorious reign of the martyrs on earth (Rev. 5:10) who were killed for their testimony for Jesus, according to Revelation 6: 9-11. The Scripture consistently presents the church as persevering under trials and persecution from wicked people and Satan in this age (Revelation chapters 2, 3). The church is not reigning now, but the church is promised positions of reigning in the future if it remains faithful in this age (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).


"...amillennialism makes an unnatural distinction between the first resurrection and the second resurrection of Revelation 20:4-5. Amillennialists claim that the first resurrection is a spiritual resurrection to salvation or regeneration, while the second resurrection is a bodily resurrection. Yet the Greek term for “came to life” (ezēsan) is the same in both cases. It is difficult to argue persuasively that this term refers to spiritual resurrection in 20:4 when it clearly means bodily resurrection in 20:5. The better answer is that both uses of ezēsan refer to physical resurrection. Since this is the case, amillennialism cannot be correct because no bodily resurrection has ever occurred (except for Jesus’s), and thus these must both be future from our standpoint in history."
Would you agree that a lot of this for both positions wraps around wither the first resurrection mentioned would be the physical one at the Second Coming event itself?
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Would you agree that a lot of this for both positions wraps around wither the first resurrection mentioned would be the physical one at the Second Coming event itself?
I cannot speak thoroughly for MacArthur on this.

Rather than providing a full-throated view of his reasoning process, I can only speculate that he has taken Rev. 20:4 and Rev. 20:5 as his locus classicus for his view and worked backward from there. He sees the coming to life (ezēsan) therein to imply a physical resurrection of believers at the start of the millennium followed by another physical resurrection of unbelievers at the last judgment at the end of the millennium.

Leaving aside the many theological implications of what that means to the dead that die in the interim, lost and elect, it also appears the thrones spoken of are on earth, not in heaven. To me, Rev. 20:13 seems clear that there is but one bodily resurrection (see also John 5:28-29). Apparently this physical first resurrection of dead saints in Revelation 20:4-6, per MacArthur, does not include their reception of glorified bodies (Phil. 3:21). Lastly, as he offers up no explanation, how exactly MacArthur's view can be reconciled with Paul's discussion of the defeat of the last enemy, death, in 1 Cor 15, escapes me.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
If you would advise a man like me, who listens to MacArthur regularly, and sort of swallowing all his doctrines, including the eschatology, what resource would you direct me, in order that you may win me over to purer water, i.e., amil/covenant theology?
While I assume you do not really intend it (swallowing all...), let no man become your regula fidei. In no particular order, you might avail yourself of some of the following:

Sam Storms: Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative
Kim Riddlebarger: A Case for Amillennialism
Cornelius Venema: Promise of the Future
David Engelsma: A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism (a more complete book here.)
Dennis Johnson: Triumph of the Lamb
William Hendricksen: More Than Conquerors
G. K. Beale: NIGTC Commentary on Revelation

Personally, not knowing the extent of your depth of knowledge, I recommend you start with Riddlebarger or Storms, and finish with Beale (facility with Greek will be helpful with Beale).
 

Branson

Puritan Board Freshman
well, MacArthur is also very formative to me, considering the fact that i was saved from Charismatics teaching from his Strange Fire conference. I'm now in purer water, i.e., reformed soteriologically (no one told me what is reformed for the past 8 years of my Christian walk, nor sound doctrine and theology).

If you would advise a man like me, who listens to MacArthur regularly, and sort of swallowing all his doctrines, including the eschatology, what resource would you direct me, in order that you may win me over to purer water, i.e., amil/covenant theology?

I read only the Bible for the first few years of my Christian infancy (saved since I started attending university). The argument on literal interpretation does grip me to be convinced of premil/dispensationist as well.

Thank you. Love Puritans. Guess what? It is through MacArthur's sermon also that he mentioned about the Puritans, the Reformers, and Mr. Google led me to this wonderful place =)

MacArthur was very formative for me also. That being said, I did come to very different views from him in the areas of covenant theology and eschatology. The works that were most helpful to me in coming to these views were:
Ligon Duncan's transcripts of a covenant theology class at RTS.
https://www.monergism.com/covenant-theology-biblical-theological-and-historical-study-gods-covenants

O Palmer Robertson's 'The Christ of the Covenants'
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0875...+robertson&dpPl=1&dpID=51hirykTuzL&ref=plSrch


Louis Berkhof's 'Systematic Theology', the chapters on the covenant of works and covenant of grace
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I cannot speak thoroughly for MacArthur on this.

Rather than providing a full-throated view of his reasoning process, I can only speculate that he has taken Rev. 20:4 and Rev. 20:5 as his locus classicus for his view and worked backward from there. He sees the coming to life (ezēsan) therein to imply a physical resurrection of believers at the start of the millennium followed by another physical resurrection of unbelievers at the last judgment at the end of the millennium.

Leaving aside the many theological implications of what that means to the dead that die in the interim, lost and elect, it also appears the thrones spoken of are on earth, not in heaven. To me, Rev. 20:13 seems clear that there is but one bodily resurrection (see also John 5:28-29). Apparently this physical first resurrection of dead saints in Revelation 20:4-6, per MacArthur, does not include their reception of glorified bodies (Phil. 3:21). Lastly, as he offers up no explanation, how exactly MacArthur's view can be reconciled with Paul's discussion of the defeat of the last enemy, death, in 1 Cor 15, escapes me.
How does his view regarding the timing of the first resurrection differ from historical premil, if any then? And how would Postmil fall into these passages, as some reformed do hold to that view?
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
How does his view regarding the timing of the first resurrection differ from historical premil, if any then? And how would Postmil fall into these passages, as some reformed do hold to that view?
Detailed answers are the proper subject of a separate thread. Best that one seek out one of the more thorough treatments I listed above.

For me at least, any view, including, dispensational, and even historic premillennial (so-called non-dispensational Premillennialism), that encompasses earthly millennial reigning dishonorably implies Our Lord has abdicated from sitting at the right hand of God (e.g., Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-4; Rom. 8:34). I refuse to go there. ;)

Post-millennial views are basically amillennial views, with recapitulation—parallels covering the same ground from different perspectives (Rev. 1-3; Rev. 4-7; Rev. 8-11; Rev. 12-14; Rev. 15-16; Rev. 17-19; Rev. 20-22.)—progressively applied to the symbolism of Revelation (see explanation in Hendrickson's More Than Conquerors), said symbolism being such that many fulfillments in the unfolding of church history could be allowed. As an example, in amillennialism, Rev. 20:1 is not describing something following in chronologically order what is described in Rev. 19 (Second Coming). Rather, Rev. 20:1 moves us to the start of the New Testament era and recapitulates the entire present age.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Some reformed through history have held to the historical PreMil position though, correct? And not sure why Jesus coming to earth to set up the Kingdom would mean that He was no longer in position to rule, as he would be moving going from status as High Priest to the ruling King then?

And would not Post Mil viewpoint have the problem of having the Church bringing the Kingdom in full here upon the earth, and yet Jesus and the Apostles all wrote that it will be getting worse, not better before he returns?
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Some reformed through history have held to the historical PreMil position though, correct?
David,

Are you asking me a question (1) you do not have an answer to or (2) are you merely seeking my confirmation or rejection of what you have discovered on your own? If (2), the feel free to share what your own studies have revealed to save those of us responding to you some time. This will relieve me of the uneasy feeling of being cross-examined. ;)

Note:
Detailed answers are the proper subject of a separate thread. Best that one seek out one of the more thorough treatments I listed above.
Nevertheless, some of my final thoughts in this thread on this topic follow:

The words, chilia etē—a thousand years—appear six times in Rev. 20:2-7. Chiliasm was not unheard of in the first three centuries of the church militant, which relied upon Daniel 2, 7, 9, 11-12 in relation to this future thousand years and assumed that Rev. 20 followed Rev. 19 chronologically. Let's check in on what Culver (1916-2015), a premillennialist, had to say on the matter in his 1200 hundred page, small-font (about 900 words per page) book, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical, (Great Britain: Mentor, 2005), Robert Duncan Culver, pp. 1139-1140:
It may well be that this thinking {nb: chiliasm based upon Daniel} was influenced toward a literal future fulfillment by Jewish apocalypse (another very large subject), but that hardly accounts for the way educated and sophisticated Christians such as Justin or Irenaeus, both scholars conversant with classical Greek literature, were convinced of thoroughgoing millennialism and vigorously propagated it. Philip Schaff, whose authority as church historian has hardly been exceeded, wrote: 'The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, that is, the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment.'

Schaff cites as examples 'Barnabas,' Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius. Hippolytus should be added, as outstanding (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. ii (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans rep. 1973), p. 614).

Schaff was no advocate of millennialism, hence, this is not a tendentious report. Adolph Harnack held no admiration for Christian orthodoxy, much less the notion of a future 'millennial reign'. Yet his article 'Millennium,' retained through several editions of Britannica, forcibly declares belief in a future much like that of Jewish apocalypse 'shorn of its sensual attractions.' was prevalent among early Christians (Adolph Harnack, 11th ed., Britannica, Vol. 18, 1911, p. 462).

Harnack says:

Amongst the early Christians (50-150)... a fixed element [was] (1) the notion that a last terrible battle with the enemies of God was impending; (2) the faith in the speedy return of Christ; (3) the conviction that Christ will judge all men, and (4) will set up a kingdom of glory on earth (Adolph Harnack, 11th ed., Britannica, Vol. 18, 1911, p. p. 461).

He remarks of Justin Martyr's millenarian views:

That a philosopher like Justin, with his bias towards an Hellenic construction of the Christian religion, should nevertheless have accepted its chiliastic elements is the strongest proof that these enthusiastic expectations were inseparably bound up with the Christian faith down to the middle of the 2nd century.

Yet millennialism (chiliasm, premillennialism) did not entirely hold the field. Over-ardent premillenarians do well to take note of all Justin Martyr (110-165) had to say in his Dialogue With Trypho about millennial expectations. Toward the end of chapter 80 he wrote:

I and others who are right-minded [orthodox] Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead and a thousand years in Jerusalem which will then be built, adorned and enlarged [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare (Justin Martyr, ANF, Vol. i, p. 239).

He acknowledges, however, earlier in the chapter that not all the 'right-minded' (= orthodox, Catholic) agreed on this millennial prospect, and that he had been acknowledging the same over a period of time, as follows:

I admitted to you [Trypho, the Jew] that I and many others are of this opinion, and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise (Justin Martyr, ANF, Vol. i, p. 239).

Jean Cardinal Danielou, without peer among twentieth-century historians of very early Christian doctrine, has a long chapter on millenarianism. He says that the doctrine is of

an earthly reign of the Messiah before the end of time.... It seems hard to deny that it contains a truth which is a part of the common stock of Christian teaching, and which occurs in 1-2 Thessalonians, in 1 Corinthians and in the Revelation of John [and] is to be found as early as Ezekiel [and, he goes on to say, in several apocryphal books] (Jean, Cardinal Danielou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity: A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicea, trans. John A. Baker (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964/1978), p. 377)

Danielou thinks that the doctrine, though very widely accepted, may not have been accepted universally or consistently, for he points out that as ardent a millenarian as Irenaeus was willing to apply some of Isaiah's prophecies of a renewed heaven over a reconciled earth to the church age and remarks, 'It is worthy of note that neither Clement of Rome nor Hermas make any allusion to millenarianism—indeed, with the latter the emphasis is placed on the times of the church as immediately preceding the final judgment [i.e, amillennialism]' (Jean, Cardinal Danielou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity: A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicea, trans. John A. Baker (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964/1978), p. 386).

In fairness one should add that only a few Fathers before ad 150 wrote anything now extant about an earthly reign of Christ. W. J. Grier takes advantage of this fact to refute the verdict that the early Church was fully millenarian. He also claims that Origen's argument against chiliasm prevailed and that 'Lactantius was the only man of note in the fourth century who still held the system' (W. J. Grier, The Momentous Event: A Discussion of Scripture Teaching on the Second Advent (London, Banner of Truth Trust, 1970), p. 27).

While the church remained a persecuted minority in the pagan world of the Roman Empire it was easy for Christians to see themselves as candidates for deliverance from a great tribulation by the return of Jesus to be followed by a thousand years when they would 'live and reign with Christ.' When, however, the Roman government became their protector and then sponsor, it seemed impolitic, if not incorrect and false, to regard that government and its emperor as the beast (Antichrist). Thus a reversal took place and for more than a thousand years millennialism (premillennialism, chiliasm) almost disappeared.

Though there is some evidence Augustine (354-430) borrowed it from North African Donatist schismatics, it was he who first fully articulated the new views. He grew up in Roman Africa, more Latin than Italy itself, and in his magnum opus, reinterpreted Revelation 20 for both the Western and Eastern church and formulated the roots both of postmillennialism and amillennialism.

Concerning your...
And not sure why Jesus coming to earth to set up the Kingdom would mean that He was no longer in position to rule, as he would be moving going from status as High Priest to the ruling King then?
...I will just restate my opinion in view of what I think Scripture is teaching me: any view, including, dispensational, and even historic premillennial (so-called non-dispensational Premillennialism), that encompasses earthly millennial reigning appears to dishonorably imply Our Lord has abdicated from what Scripture perspicuously describes as His sitting at the right hand of God (e.g., Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-4; Rom. 8:34). I am not seeing these sort of passages as being merely metaphorical, or, contrary to the law of non-contradiction, relying upon the omnipresence of the Divine Logos, having Christ both physically in heaven and physically on earth in the same sense and at the same time. The implications of such a view should be obvious.

And would not Post Mil viewpoint have the problem of having the Church bringing the Kingdom in full here upon the earth, and yet Jesus and the Apostles all wrote that it will be getting worse, not better before he returns?
In in the post millennial view the Kingdom of God is a spiritual phenomena experienced on earth through the Christianizing effect of the Gospel. The millennium is an era (not a literal 1000 years) during which Christ will reign over the earth, not on the earth from an literal and earthly throne, but through the gradual increase of the Gospel and its power to change lives, in spite of the trials you refer to. After this gradual Christianization of the world—hence, post millennial—Christ will return and immediately usher the church into their eternal state after judging the wicked.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
David,

Are you asking me a question (1) you do not have an answer to or (2) are you merely seeking my confirmation or rejection of what you have discovered on your own? If (2), the feel free to share what your own studies have revealed to save those of us responding to you some time. This will relieve me of the uneasy feeling of being cross-examined. ;)

Note:


Nevertheless, some of my final thoughts in this thread on this topic follow:

The words, chilia etē—a thousand years—appear six times in Rev. 20:2-7. Chiliasm was not unheard of in the first three centuries of the church militant, which relied upon Daniel 2, 7, 9, 11-12 in relation to this future thousand years and assumed that Rev. 20 followed Rev. 19 chronologically. Let's check in on what Culver (1916-2015), a premillennialist, had to say on the matter in his 1200 hundred page, small-font (about 900 words per page) book, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical, (Great Britain: Mentor, 2005), Robert Duncan Culver, pp. 1139-1140:
It may well be that this thinking {nb: chiliasm based upon Daniel} was influenced toward a literal future fulfillment by Jewish apocalypse (another very large subject), but that hardly accounts for the way educated and sophisticated Christians such as Justin or Irenaeus, both scholars conversant with classical Greek literature, were convinced of thoroughgoing millennialism and vigorously propagated it. Philip Schaff, whose authority as church historian has hardly been exceeded, wrote: 'The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, that is, the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment.'

Schaff cites as examples 'Barnabas,' Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius. Hippolytus should be added, as outstanding (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. ii (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans rep. 1973), p. 614).

Schaff was no advocate of millennialism, hence, this is not a tendentious report. Adolph Harnack held no admiration for Christian orthodoxy, much less the notion of a future 'millennial reign'. Yet his article 'Millennium,' retained through several editions of Britannica, forcibly declares belief in a future much like that of Jewish apocalypse 'shorn of its sensual attractions.' was prevalent among early Christians (Adolph Harnack, 11th ed., Britannica, Vol. 18, 1911, p. 462).

Harnack says:

Amongst the early Christians (50-150)... a fixed element [was] (1) the notion that a last terrible battle with the enemies of God was impending; (2) the faith in the speedy return of Christ; (3) the conviction that Christ will judge all men, and (4) will set up a kingdom of glory on earth (Adolph Harnack, 11th ed., Britannica, Vol. 18, 1911, p. p. 461).

He remarks of Justin Martyr's millenarian views:

That a philosopher like Justin, with his bias towards an Hellenic construction of the Christian religion, should nevertheless have accepted its chiliastic elements is the strongest proof that these enthusiastic expectations were inseparably bound up with the Christian faith down to the middle of the 2nd century.

Yet millennialism (chiliasm, premillennialism) did not entirely hold the field. Over-ardent premillenarians do well to take note of all Justin Martyr (110-165) had to say in his Dialogue With Trypho about millennial expectations. Toward the end of chapter 80 he wrote:

I and others who are right-minded [orthodox] Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead and a thousand years in Jerusalem which will then be built, adorned and enlarged [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare (Justin Martyr, ANF, Vol. i, p. 239).

He acknowledges, however, earlier in the chapter that not all the 'right-minded' (= orthodox, Catholic) agreed on this millennial prospect, and that he had been acknowledging the same over a period of time, as follows:

I admitted to you [Trypho, the Jew] that I and many others are of this opinion, and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise (Justin Martyr, ANF, Vol. i, p. 239).

Jean Cardinal Danielou, without peer among twentieth-century historians of very early Christian doctrine, has a long chapter on millenarianism. He says that the doctrine is of

an earthly reign of the Messiah before the end of time.... It seems hard to deny that it contains a truth which is a part of the common stock of Christian teaching, and which occurs in 1-2 Thessalonians, in 1 Corinthians and in the Revelation of John [and] is to be found as early as Ezekiel [and, he goes on to say, in several apocryphal books] (Jean, Cardinal Danielou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity: A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicea, trans. John A. Baker (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964/1978), p. 377)

Danielou thinks that the doctrine, though very widely accepted, may not have been accepted universally or consistently, for he points out that as ardent a millenarian as Irenaeus was willing to apply some of Isaiah's prophecies of a renewed heaven over a reconciled earth to the church age and remarks, 'It is worthy of note that neither Clement of Rome nor Hermas make any allusion to millenarianism—indeed, with the latter the emphasis is placed on the times of the church as immediately preceding the final judgment [i.e, amillennialism]' (Jean, Cardinal Danielou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity: A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicea, trans. John A. Baker (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964/1978), p. 386).

In fairness one should add that only a few Fathers before ad 150 wrote anything now extant about an earthly reign of Christ. W. J. Grier takes advantage of this fact to refute the verdict that the early Church was fully millenarian. He also claims that Origen's argument against chiliasm prevailed and that 'Lactantius was the only man of note in the fourth century who still held the system' (W. J. Grier, The Momentous Event: A Discussion of Scripture Teaching on the Second Advent (London, Banner of Truth Trust, 1970), p. 27).

While the church remained a persecuted minority in the pagan world of the Roman Empire it was easy for Christians to see themselves as candidates for deliverance from a great tribulation by the return of Jesus to be followed by a thousand years when they would 'live and reign with Christ.' When, however, the Roman government became their protector and then sponsor, it seemed impolitic, if not incorrect and false, to regard that government and its emperor as the beast (Antichrist). Thus a reversal took place and for more than a thousand years millennialism (premillennialism, chiliasm) almost disappeared.

Though there is some evidence Augustine (354-430) borrowed it from North African Donatist schismatics, it was he who first fully articulated the new views. He grew up in Roman Africa, more Latin than Italy itself, and in his magnum opus, reinterpreted Revelation 20 for both the Western and Eastern church and formulated the roots both of postmillennialism and amillennialism.

Concerning your...

...I will just restate my opinion in view of what I think Scripture is teaching me: any view, including, dispensational, and even historic premillennial (so-called non-dispensational Premillennialism), that encompasses earthly millennial reigning appears to dishonorably imply Our Lord has abdicated from what Scripture perspicuously describes as His sitting at the right hand of God (e.g., Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-4; Rom. 8:34). I am not seeing these sort of passages as being merely metaphorical, or, contrary to the law of non-contradiction, relying upon the omnipresence of the Divine Logos, having Christ both physically in heaven and physically on earth in the same sense and at the same time. The implications of such a view should be obvious.

In in the post millennial view the Kingdom of God is a spiritual phenomena experienced on earth through the Christianizing effect of the Gospel. The millennium is an era (not a literal 1000 years) during which Christ will reign over the earth, not on the earth from an literal and earthly throne, but through the gradual increase of the Gospel and its power to change lives, in spite of the trials you refer to. After this gradual Christianization of the world—hence, post millennial—Christ will return and immediately usher the church into their eternal state after judging the wicked.
Thanks for your response, and my question on historical premil was based upon that still not sure if Reformed theology allows for that view, as some I have read see it as being biblical, others deny it due to not being allowed by the Confessions. Did not even think about Jesus being at same time on earth and in heaven still, as thought that He is still localized in His glorified Body? Thought that even A mil would teach that the world will be getting worse until Jesus returns ? Do you see support for the Church taking over culture and society and transforming it then?And those theologians that you mentioned , would you consider them as being any good?
And how much of the Post Mil viewpoint is also tied into Theonomy and Reconstructionism, or are they separate from this discussion?
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Can everyone check Amazon and see what price shows up for the Kindle edition of this book? It seems that most are showing $39.36 but some say they see it at $7.28. It shows $CDN 9.59 when I check the Canadian site. Maybe it only on sale in certain countries.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Can everyone check Amazon and see what price shows up for the Kindle edition of this book? It seems that most are showing $39.36 but some say they see it at $7.28. It shows $CDN 9.59 when I check the Canadian site. Maybe it only on sale in certain countries.
Amazon's price is $39+ as stated in the OP: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MS83T7K/

I doubt it will drop to the usual $9.99 for most Kindle books. As it is a 2017 work, it will likely settle to around $20 in a year or more as do most systematics. Given that I was quoting from the Google Books site, I thought it proper to purchase the book at the high price and find some shelter behind "fair use" copyright laws.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Thanks for your response, and my question on historical premil was based upon that still not sure if Reformed theology allows for that view, as some I have read see it as being biblical, others deny it due to not being allowed by the Confessions. Did not even think about Jesus being at same time on earth and in heaven still, as thought that He is still localized in His glorified Body? Thought that even A mil would teach that the world will be getting worse until Jesus returns ? Do you see support for the Church taking over culture and society and transforming it then?And those theologians that you mentioned , would you consider them as being any good?
And how much of the Post Mil viewpoint is also tied into Theonomy and Reconstructionism, or are they separate from this discussion?
David,

Rather than derailing the purpose of this thread, it would be best to start another thread in the Rev. and Eschatology forum: https://www.puritanboard.com/forums/revelation-eschatology.46/ if you want to discuss all these end times topics. I am confident there are members who are willing to discuss the matter, but have refrained from doing so in this thread for the reasons I have just stated. ;)
 

God'sElectSaint

Puritan Board Freshman
A good read to check out the postmill view is "Israel and the New Covenant" by Roderick Campbell. It's a very interesting read and exceptionally scholarly for a lay theologian. Though I myself remain in the Amill camp I recommend it.
 
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