"The Theocratic Kingdom"

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by bookslover, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Has anyone read The Theocratic Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus, the Christ" (1884) by George N. H. Peters (1825-1909)? It's 3 fairly huge volumes. It's premillennial but not dispensational.

    I believe that Peters, a Lutheran minister, worked on it for the 30 years leading up to its publication. I think I've read that Peters caught some flak from some in his denomination, since many (most?) Lutherans in his time were postmillennial.

    Any thoughts?
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I want to, but I haven't. It's supposed to be a classic.
  3. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    I purchased a used set from RHB late last year and made reading through the three volumes my goal for 2020. I'm not far enough into volume one to comment extensively, but what I've read thus far has been fantastic (I'm way behind on the pace needed to finish reading them by year's end). The organizational structure of the work, which reminds me of the Puritan style of writing, leads with a main proposition and then expounds it in a series of subpoints making it easy to spot the main argument and supporting evidence quite clearly. In my opinion this style lends itself to nibbling off manageable chunks while wading through this massive work.

    Here is a rather long quote attributed to Wilbur M. Smith on it:

    "No writer of a major work in the field of Biblical interpretation in modern times could have lived and died in greater oblivion, and experienced less recognition for a great piece of work, than the author of these three great volumes devoted to Biblical prophecy...Yet, this clergyman, never becoming nationally famous, never serving large churches, passing away in such comparative obscurity...wrote the most important single work on Biblical predictive prophecy to appear in this country at any time during the nineteenth century.

    The author of these volumes must have read everything of importance in the major areas of history, science, literature, and theology. From an examination of the index, one learns that over four thousand different authors are quoted from the Church Fathers of the second century down to his own decade. No one else has ever written a work on predictive prophecy in which statements are so heavily supported, with reference to the relevant literature, as has Peters.

    One does not need to agree with all of his statements, nor even with all of his interpretations, to recognize the greatness of this work that must have cost him a lifetime of research, prayer, investigation, and laborious writing -- these were the days before typewriters."
    If you can find a used set I would definitely recommend purchasing a copy. In the past few months I've seen two sets available on RHB for $50-60. I purchased one set and nearly bought the second to give away, but someone else was quicker than I and there all gone now.

    Have a joyful day in the Lord.
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  4. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    Thanks for putting this on my radar. I've seen it around but never paid much attention to it.
    I am about to embark on an extensive study of the OT Prophets. This work could prove to be a tremendous resource to accompany the study.
    Logos has it for $29.99.
  5. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

  6. Jonathco

    Jonathco Puritan Board Freshman

  7. Reformed Quest

    Reformed Quest Puritan Board Freshman

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  8. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting. After reading the Logos description I ran a couple searches and found one other site that describes it as a "systematic work of dispensational apologetics" as well.

    I find this description to be a bit puzzling. Nothing I've read about George N. H. Peters pegged him as a dispensationalist, though I can see where his ardent defense of the premillennial position would be popular in those circles perhaps. Not sure. I would need to read more.

    Here's a bit from pages 404-406 of Volume 1, which Jon provided a link to in his post above. This is just a short sample of Peters' work of course, but he clearly doesn't see a distinction between Israel and the Church like classic dispensationalists do.

    PROPOSITION 63. The present elect, to whom the Kingdom will be given, is the continuation of the previous election, chiefly in another engrafted people. This follows from what has preceded, and is thus thrown into a Proposition to impress it upon the mind. The previous, and the present, election is founded on the promises and oath to Abraham.

    Obs. 1. Both elect are the seed, the children of Abraham; bоth sets of branches are on the same stock, on the same root, on the name olive tree; both constitute the same Israel of God, the members of the same body, fellow-citizens of the same commonwealth; both are "Jews inwardly", and of the true "circumcision" (Phil. 3 : 3), forming the same "peculiar people," "holy nation," and "royal priesthood" both are interested in the same promises, covenants, and kingdom; both inherit and realize the same blessings at the same time. From these and other considerations, involving identity, we find this election a continuous one, by which the faithfulness of God shall be exhibited to the Patriarchs, to their obedient descendants, and to the engrafted believers taken from other nations.

    Obs. 2. This continuous election of the same body is manifested not only in the predictions of the prophets, in the reigning with the twelve tribes, in participating with the Patriarchs in the blessings of the Kingdom, etc., but it is surprisingly represented even in the description of the New Jerusalem, which has the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (Rev. 21 : 12), showing that only those who are the children of Abraham have the privilege of constant association therewith.

    Obs. 3. This engrafting and continued election confirms what has already been said respecting "the wall of partition" being broken down, not between the Jewish nation and Gentile nations, but between Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ.

    Obs. 4. In various works, the theory is advocated that the Christian Church is so entirely new in its institution, etc., that it is no continuation of the old order. Thus e.g. Alex. Campbell (Strictures, Ap. to Debate on Baptism, p. 25), says: "the Jews were the typical congregation or church of God, but Christians are the real congregation or church of God." This, however, is hostile to the entire tenor of the Divine Plan as unfolded, and antagonistic to the covenants and election. The reply to this has already been given. It would be surpassing strange indeed to require engrafting upon a mere "typical " stock or olive-tree, and to promise us an inheritance with previous "typical " members of the church. Admitting that there is a newness in the arrangement by which Gentiles are embraced on the principle of faith, thus causing, through the defection of the Jews and the sacrifice of Jesus, a change in ordinances, etc., yet the expressive language by which it is carefully guarded, warns us to regard the past and the present church of God as one grand, continuous reality in the progress of the fulfilment of covenanted blessings.

    Obs. 5. The quite early church view, as seen in the writings of the Fathers, made no such unjust discrimination between the ancient and modern elect. Both were regarded in the name light and as belonging to the same body, and such persons as Barnabas, Ireneus, Justin Martyr, and others pointedly traced the election of believers to their being grafted into the elect Jewish nation, i.e. that portion of the natural seed of Abraham which also believed and rendered obedience, and thus becoming, through adoption, members of the elect nation. We have already quoted language of theirs, illustrative of this feature, under previous Propositions. It may be added, that so identified, through faith in Jesus, did they feel them selves with the Patriarchs to whom the covenants were given, that (as e.g. Lactantius, Div. Insti., B. 4, ch. 10), they called them " our ancestors." and vividly expressed the hope, in virtue of being adopted as their seed, of finally inheriting with them.

    Obs. 6. While in relation to "the times of the Gentiles" and their calling, this might be named, as some do, a "Gentile dispensation," yet it is a phrase not strictly correct, because it implies that the Jews were not also called and eligible to the Kingdom, that the Gentiles stood in a position independent of the Jews (i.e. were not grafted in, etc.), and that there is an unjust (to the Jews) discrimination in behalf of the Gentiles. Hence, careful writers avoid the phrase.

    Obs. 7. This adoption and continued election, materially aids in throwing light upon the difficult question, why it was that the apostles and first Christians, with their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, continued faithful Jews, attending the religious services in the temple and synagogue; and that we have no distinctive utterance from the apostles, even when in council together considering the admission and circumcision of the Gentiles, respecting the abrogation of the Mosaic ceremonial law, etc., excepting by Paul afterward. The views entertained respecting virtual adoption, incorporation, and election caused them to occupy such a posture.

  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Dispensationalism then was still in an early state of development. He wrote before Scofield. Keep that in mind.
  10. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    His short Wikipedia page says that he was not a Dispensational. I've seen that elsewhere, also, over the years. Being a conservative Lutheran writing in the late 19th century, I doubt he was dispensational.

    It's also possible - I'd say very possible - that, when thinking of premillennialism, to almost automatically assume dispensationalism, too. Perhaps the Logos writer did that: saw "premil" and assumed "Dispensational." Dispensationalism did a lot of damage to premillennialism back in the day. Poisoned the premil well, so to speak.
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    That's exactly it. Any time I bring up conservative and reserved elements of premillennial thought, people scoff at me "Oh, you believe in blood moons, right?" Or as someone on this board once implied to me, "That's just the same as Mormons baptizing for the dead."

    Most people don't want to deal with Kaiser or Kurschner or Henebury or the like.
  12. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    Do you think it is more of an ignorance issue than an unwillingness?
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Part of it is that dispensationalists have been victims of their own publishing success. When most of the world is reading Lahaye and Lindsey, it's hard for me to say, "Maybe you should read more scholarly writers."

    And dispensationalism today has changed. Some Reformed guys learn their reformed theology from guys like Berkhof, who had to battle old school dispensationalism. Therefore, no one is engaging more modern treatments.

    Case in point: Take Gary Demar. He still uses the same arguments that he used against Thomas Ice 30 years ago. That's why he lost the debate against Michael Brown.


    (Note: I do not agree with Brown on every point regarding post-trib)

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