committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

Three Millennial Views


note.gif (869 bytes) TRR EDITOR'S NOTE: These distinctions are often not as clear-cut between positions as this chart may make it appear. There really is a whole spectrum, including varied views even within the same eschatological group.  For instance, within the Dispensational camp, there are major differences, and the Progressive camp of Dispensationalists may be closer to the Historic PreMillennial position on this chart than to the Dispensational PreMillennial position as represented on this chart.

Confessional, Theonomic and American Postmillennialism must be correctly defined and applied.  Those wishing to denounce or refute Postmillennialism will sometimes resort to distorted facts and even an absence of fact.  Even though Postmillennialism and Amillennialism share much in common, there is still much they do not have in common.   There is an aspect of Amillennialism (figurative 1000 year reign, etc.) within Postmillennialism while the two sharply disagree in other areas.

The central issue within each position is (should be) Christ, His Exaltation and His Sovereignty.  Any position weak or even lacking in these areas will also find themselves faulty (at least in some areas) in their eschatological conclusions.

This chart is not to be considered an exhaustive eschatological conclusion.

Sam Hughey, The Reformed Reader

POSTMILLENNIALISM, AMILLENNIALISM,  PREMILLENNIALISM and accompanying footnotes are taken from  Credenda Agenda, Volume 10 Number 3, Jack Van Deventer. 

Additional comments have been added that are not part of the original document

Original document by Jack Van Deventer may be found at the following URL and is in PDF format:  http://www.credenda.org/pdf/cred10-3.pdf (pages 36-37) - link is no longer active.

 

POSTMILLENNIALISM1
CONFESSIONAL
THEONOMIC
AMERICAN
AMILLENNIALISM
REFORMED
PREMILLENNIALISM
HISTORIC/COVENANT
DISPENSATIONAL
PROGRESSIVE DISPENSATIONAL
( A work in slow progress)
HISTORICITY Tychonius (350ad) was early proponent; existed side-by-side with a-mil positions in Roman and Reformation streams because differences are relatively small. Popular among non-dispensational evangelicals in the 19th century before the world wars.

Three schools: Confessional, Theonomic, American.

Figurative thousand years embraced by E. Orthodox church (under Origen's influence), later Espoused by Augustine and embraced by Western church by 400ad. Held by Roman Catholic church as well as by Reformers, and written into the Augsburg and Westminster Confessions..1 a. Without question, the best and most influential historic premillennialist was the late George Eldon Ladd of Fuller Theological Seminary. Through the work of Ladd, historic premillennialism gained scholarly respect and popularity among Evangelical and Reformed theologians. Other major historic premillennialists include the late Walter Martin, John Warwick Montgomery, J. Barton Payne, Heny Alford (the noted Greek scholar), and Theodore Zahn (the German NT specialist). The best examples of current historical premillennial work would the many scholars of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Evangelical Free).

b. Historic premillennialism draws its name from the fact that many of the early Church Fathers (i.e. Ireneaus [140-203], who as a disciple of Polycarp, who had been an disciple of the apostle of John, Justin Martyr [100-165], and Papias [80-155]), apparently believed and taught that there would be a visible kingdom of God upon the earth, after the return of Christ.

c. Several major Evangelical seminaries have some historic premillennial representation such as Fuller and Trinity. Surprisingly, a number of the faculty of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis (a Reformed institution), held to a covenantal form of premillennialism -- J.O. Buswell, J. Barton Payne and R. Laird Harris. However, all of these men have recently departed for glory, and the Reformed varieties of premillennialism are probably gone with them.

Dispensationalism Espoused by Darby and the Brethren movement beginning in mid-1800's. Continues in Bible School movement and Annotated Bibles (Scoffield, Revised Scoffield, and Ryrie).

Three schools: Classical, Moderate, and Progressive.

For a history of Premillennialism, see Historic Premil. History section.

The public debut of PD "was made on November 20, 1986, in the Dispensational Study Group in connection with the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Atlanta, Georgia. . . . Actually, the label 'progressive dispensationalism' was introduced at the 1991 meeting, since 'significant revisions' in dispensationalism had taken place by that time" (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, p. 161). Some view Kenneth Barker's presidential address at the 33rd annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society on December 29, 1981 as the precursor to some of the views of PD. His address was called, "False Dichotomies Between the Testaments"(see Ryrie, en. 1, p. 179).

DISTNCTIVE OVERVIEW a. Generally speaking, postmillennialists affirm that the millennium is a period of one thousand years of universal peace and righteousness in this world, which precedes the return of Jesus Christ to earth in judgement. Postmillennialists are divided as to whether or not the period of time is a literal one thousand years, and whether or not the millennial age begins abruptly or gradually. Some see the millennial age as entirely future, others argue that it may have already begun to gradually emerge. Postmillennialists also disagree as to the events that mark the beginning of the millennial age, such as the conversion of Israel (Romans 9-11), the binding of Satan (Revelation 20), and the defeat of Antichrist.

b. Postmillennialism is in one sense the historic position of the church since the days of St. Augustine. Since all amillennial Christians (to be discussed below) are also technically postmillennial in their understanding of the millennium, (though self-consciously "postmillennial" Christians cannot not be "amillennial" in any sense) and since the term "amillennialism" was not coined until after the beginning of the twentieth century, it was common for Protestant dogmaticians to speak of the contrast between "pre" and "post" millennialism, without distinguishing between "a" and "post" millennialism. Therefore, the difference between amillennial and postmillennial Christians centers upon the character and length of the millennial age. Postmillennialists see the millennial age as commencing at some point during the present age, and as a period in which the kingdom of God triumphs over the kingdoms of this world. Amillennial Christians see the millennial age as occupying the entire period of time between the first and second coming Christ. Generally speaking, amillennial Christians see the millennial age as one of both the triumph of the spiritual kingdom of God and the corresponding rise of evil in opposition.

c. According to postmillennialists, there will be universal preaching and acceptance of the Gospel, and a complete and total victory of the kingdom of God, over the forces of Satan and unbelief. Postmillennialism is an optimistic eschatology of the victory grace of God in subduing evil in the world. During this period Satan will be effectually bound by the triumph of grace. Israel be converted somewhere near the beginning of the millennial Postmillennialists do disagree however, about the nature and details of these events.

d. At the end of the millennial period, Satan will be released the period of great tribulation and the apostasy described in Revelation 20 occurs, culminating in Gog and Magog and the Battle of Armageddon. Christ then returns in judgement (the "great throne judgement"), the resurrection occurs, and there is the creation of a new heaven and earth.

e. Postmillennialism was popular among American Evangelicals in the period of unprecedented technological growth between 1870 and 1915. World War I largely served to squash the tremendous optimism regarding the growth of technology and the related optimism about the future of man, which was carried over in church in the form of an optimistic eschatology. Many Reformed theologians of this period are generally considered postmillennial, including the "Old-Princetonians," Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, and B. B. Warfield.

f. Recently, postmillennialism has seen a resurgence, with the rise of Christian reconstructionism and theonomy. In addition, there is mass confusion generated by critics of postmillennialism, such as Dave Hunt and Hal Lindsey, who portray the movement as taking two quite different and confusing forms -- that of "Theonomy," and that of "Dominion Theology." Thus many Evangelicals fail to see these two forms as distinct and divergent movements. Setting out the differences between the two forms then is helpful.

    1). The "theonomic" form of postmillennialism was initially presented by J. Marcellus Kik, and reworked into a full--blown ethical system known as "theonomy" or "reconstructionism" by R. J. Rushdoony. The business of the church was to work to see a theocracy restored upon the earth by emphasizing the continuity of OT law (civil, ceremonial and moral) with the NT. Once established, this victorious church would be the divine vehicle from which the ever advancing kingdom of God would bind Satan and subdue all evil in the world. The emphasis of theonomic postmillennialism is that it is God who exercises dominion through his church establishing His law as the law of the land. Other theologians in the postmillennial theonomic movement are, the late Greg Bahnsen, Ray Sutton and Gary North. Popular writers include Gary DeMarr, Kenneth Gentry, and Peter J. Leithart.

    2). The "dominion" form of postmillennialism (though not all "dominion" advocates are postmillennial) is exclusively Pentecostal. This form believes the charismatic revival "Latter Rain") is God's means of binding Satan and allowing the Spirit-lead church to reclaim material possessions and wealth, which had been surrendered to unbelief and the kingdom of Satan. Once the Church understands its role and potential for dominion, through the work of the Spirit, be able to establish the kingdom of God on earth in it fullness, thereby bringing in a millennial age. The emphasis here is that it is the believer who must learn to exercise dominion if he is to take part in the advancing kingdom. Bishop Earl Paulk, Paul Yongli Cho and perhaps Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin and Pat Robertson.

g. The older form of postmillennialism, as practiced by Reformed theologians such as Hodge and Warfield, has little in common in emphasis with the modern theonomic approach to eschatology, which emphasizes the rise of a theocracy as the vehicle of dominion. The modern form raises serious questions about the Reformed understanding of the distinction between law and gospel. The result in many circles a peculiar hybrid, (a tertium quid, if you will) with a propensity for making strange bed-fellows.

a. The "a" millennial (literally meaning "no" millennium) position is the eschatological view of historic Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed Christianity. It would be my educated guess that about two-thirds of the Christian family espouse an amillennial eschatology. The amillennial position is as well the position of the vast majority of Reformed and Lutheran theologians. The position portrayed in these lectures is the Reformed understanding of amillennialism, which is better understood as "present" millennialism [or "realized" millennialism], since Reformed eschatology argues for a real, present, though "invisible" non-spatial millennium.

b. Amillennialists insist that the promises made to national Israel, David and Abraham, in the OT are fulfilled by Christ and the Church during this age, which is the millennium, that is the entire period of time between the two advents of our Lord. The "thousand years" are therefore symbolic of the entire inter-advental age. Satan is bound by Christ's victory over him and the establishment of the kingdom of God via the preaching of the gospel, and Satan is no longer free to deceive the nations, through the presence of Christ is reigning in heaven during this period with the martyrs who come out of the great tribulation. At the end of the millennial age, Christ returns in judgement of all men. The general resurrection occurs, final judgement takes place for all men and women, and a new Heaven and Earth are established.

c. In most forms of amillennialism, immediately before the return of Christ, Satan is unbound, there is a great apostasy, and a time of unprecedented satanically inspired evil. This last Satanic gasp and subsequent rebellious activity is destroyed by our Lord at his return.

d. Amillennialism has always been the majority position of the Christian family. It was first articulated by St. Augustine, and has been given a distinctive Reformed emphasis through the work of Geerhardus Vos (the "Biblical-Theological" approach). As the "dispensational" movement captured the hearts and minds of conservative American Evangelicals, amillennialism was equated with "liberalism" or Roman Catholicism. The supposed interpreting prophecy "spiritually" or "not-literally" has lead to the rejection of amillennialism by many. In addition, amillennialism suffered greatly from the failure of Reformed and Luthern writers to defend the position against the likes of Dave Hunt, Chuck Missler and Hal Lindsey, who has labeled the position as "demonic and heretical," and the root of modern anti-semitism.

e. Leading contemporary "amill" theologians would include popular writers such as J. I. Packer, Mike Horton, [the late] Calvin seminary professor, Anthony Hoekema, and RC Sproul. In addition, all of the Reformers, as well as the Reformed and Lutheran confessional traditions, as a whole, have been amillennial.

a. While often popularly confused with "dispensational premillennialism" with but a mere disagreement as to the timing of the "rapture," historic premillennialism is, in actuality, a completely different eschatological system, largely rejecting the whole dispensational understanding of redemptive history.

b. The basic features of historic premillennialism are as follows. When Jesus began his public ministry the kingdom of God was manifest through His ministry. Upon His ascension into heaven and the "Gift of the Spirit" at Pentecost, the kingdom is present through the Spirit, until the end of the age, which is marked by the return of Christ to the earth in judgement. During the period immediately preceding the return of Christ, there is great apostasy and tribulation.

C. After the return of Christ, there will be a period of 1000 years (the millennium separating the "first" resurrection from the "second" resurrection. Satan will be bound, and the kingdom will consummated, that is, made visible during this period.

d. At the end of the millennial period, Satan will be loosed and there will be a massive rebellion (of "Gog and Magog"), immediately preceding the "second" resurrection or final judgement. After this, there will be the creation of a new Heaven and Earth.

a. Dispensationalists argue for the necessity of the literal interpretation of all of the prophetic portions of Scripture. Charles Ryrie makes this point very clearly:

    When the principles of literal interpretation both in regard to general and special hermeneutics are followed, the result the premillennial system of doctrine... If one interprets literally, he arrives at the premillennial system.

    This means that all promises made to David and Abraham under the Old Covenant are to be literally fulfilled in the future millennial age.

b. Dispensationalists insist that God has two redemptive plans, one for national Israel, and one for Gentiles during the "church age." This presupposition forms the basis for the dispensational hermeneutic. As John Walvoord states regarding the dispensational hermeneutic, "Pretribulationism distinguishes clearly between Israel and the church and their respective programs."

c. There is a "rapture" of believers when Jesus Christ secretly returns to earth before the seven year tribulation period begins (the seventieth week of Daniel, cf. Daniel 9:24-27). Believers do not experience the persecution of the Anti-Christ who rises to prominence during this "tribulation period." The Biblical data dealing with the time of tribulation is referring to unbelieving Israel, not the church. Therefore, church age, or the "age of grace," is to be seen as that period of time in which God is dealing with Gentiles prior to the coming of the kingdom of God during the millennium.

d. The visible and physical second coming of Christ occurs after the great tribulation. Those who are converted to Christ during the tribulation, including Jews (the 144,000) who turn to Christ, go on into the millennium to re-populate the earth. Glorified believers rule with Christ during his future reign.

e. Jesus came to earth bringing with him an "offer" of the kingdom to the Jews, who rejected him. God then turned to dealing with the Gentiles -- thus, the church age is a parenthesis of sorts. The rapture is the next event to occur in Biblical prophecy. The signs of the end of the age (i.e., the birth of the nation of Israel, the revival of the Roman empire predicted in Daniel as seen through the emergence of the EEC [common market], the impending Russian-Arab invasion of Israel, etc.) all point to the immediacy of the secret return of Christ for his church. Antichrist is awaiting his revelation once the believing church is removed.

f. The millennium is marked by a return to Old Testament temple worship and sacrifice to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ. At the end of the millennium, the "great white throne" judgement occurs, and Satan and all unbelievers are cast into the lake of fire. There is the creation of a new heaven and earth.

HERMENEUTICS

Historical, grammatical. Context and genre are important interpretive considerations. Scripture interprets Scripture.

Revelation either mostly figurative or mostly fulfilled in 70ad (Mt. 24:34)

Context determines whether literal or figurative

Interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament.

Historical, grammatical. Context and genre are important interpretive considerations. Scripture interprets Scripture.

Progressive Parrallellism in Revelation (Earth's history repeated 7 times) OR Pretoristic: interpret in terms of meaning to 1st century church--reassurance of Christ's victory over Roman persecutors.

Context determines whether literal or figurative

Interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament.

Historical, grammatical. Context and genre are important interpretive considerations. Scripture interprets Scripture.

"Natural reading" of Revelation
Context determines whether literal or figurative

Interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament (Hos. 1:9/Rom 9:25-26, Jer.31:33ff/Heb. 8)

Millennium must be Christ-Centered

Historically, grammatical. Strong inclination toward literalism. Scripture is divided into dispensationS. Prophecy is to be interpreted literally.1

Whole Bible is divided into 7 dispensations/time periods in which God acts in different ways toward man.

Interpretation must be literal whenever possible

Interpret the New Testament by the Old Testament.
Meaning of texts can change: The following quotes show that Blaising and Bock believe the meaning of biblical texts can change.
  1. "Since Scripture is about linked events and not just abstract ideas, meaning of events in texts has a dynamic, not a static, quality" (Progressive Dispensationalism, p. 64).

  2. "Meaning emerges from an event's relationship to subsequent events" (Ibid., p. 65).

  3. ". . . meaning of events, like those recorded in Scripture, is part of a dynamic sequence: meaning is influenced by the sequel of events growing out of the original event, as well as by the point of view brought to it. . . . In other words, an event's meaning is not one-dimensional, but rather multidimensional" (Ibid., p. 66).

  4. "The reality of a mediated text about events and the presence of a divine author carries with it important implications for meaning in the biblical text. These factors allow a text to speak beyond its human author, so that once a text is produced, commentary on it can follow in subsequent texts. Connection to the original passage exists, but not in a way that is limited to the understanding of the original human author" (Ibid., pp. 66-67).

  5. "Does the expansion of meaning entail a change of meaning? . . .The answer is both yes and no. On the one hand, to add to the revelation of a promise is to introduce 'change' to it through addition" (quote of Bock in Thomas, p. 421).

Preunderstanding as part of the interpretive process: The PD emphasis on "preunderstanding" as part of the interpretive process is confusing (Progressive Dispensationalism  pp. 58-62). If all they mean by it is that the interpreter should be aware of one's predetermined ideas so that he can suppress them and come up with the intended meaning of the text, it is a good thing. They do not say this, though. The implication of their writings is that we all have presuppositions and preunderstandings that influence our understanding of Scripture but they say nothing on how to deal with these. What are they getting at? Does this mean all our interpretations are the product of our preunderstandings? Is it not possible with the help of the Holy Spirit to lay aside our biases and come up with the intended meaning of the text? This is one area where PD advocates are too vague. What they say, in and of itself is not wrong, but it could lead to faulty conclusions.

The complementary hermeneutic:  "According to this approach, the New Testament does introduce change and advance; it does not merely repeat Old Testament revelation. In making complementary additions, however, it does not jettison old promises. The enhancement is not at the expense of the original promise" (Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, pp. 392-93). For example, with PD, the Davidic throne is both earthly (as revealed in the OT) and heavenly (as supposedly revealed in the NT).

Evaluation of PD hermeneutics:  Part of the confusion over PD is that its adherents claim to hold to the grammatical-historical method of interpretation but by it they mean something different. Historically, the grammatical-historical method meant that biblical texts had only one meaning that could not change. This meaning was what the biblical author intended. This meaning could be found as the believer put aside his biases, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and sought the author's meaning by looking at the grammar of the text and taking into account the historical situation facing the biblical author. PD advocates, though, say the meaning of texts can change and we cannot be sure of our findings because of our "preunderstandings." This approach places PD outside the realm of dispensationalism.

REVELATION 19:20 Not Chronological

Ch. 19 speaks not of II coming, but of the church between the two advents of Christ

Saints reign in heaven

Rev. 20 speaks of Christ's coming and of Church age

resurrections are spiritual

Not necessarily Chronological. Parallelists say break b/w 19 and 20, Pretorists say just a figurative description of Christ being triumphant over enemies. Purpose is to comfort persecuted believers.

Saints reign in heaven (In heaven in Rev.6, and thrones are usually in heaven.)

"And I saw" indicates a new vision.--20:1-3 is earthly parallel to the heavenly scene in 20:4-6 going on at same time

resurrections spiritual ("souls")

Chronological

Enthroned saints are on earth "angel came down to earth" (20:1)

2 physical resurrections

Describes the destruction of the beast, the false prophet, and the devil.
Necessarily chronological

Enthroned saints are on earth

Two physical resurrections

SECOND COMING

Christ’s second coming comes after the millenium (i.e., postmillennial) and initiates general resurrection, the judgment of all men, and the eternal state for believers and unbelievers. Christ’s second coming comes after the millenium (i.e., postmillennial) and initiates general resurrection, the judgment of all men, and the eternal state for believers and unbelievers. Christ comes before the millennium (i.e., premillennial), but after the tribulation.
Christ comes before the millennium (i.e., premillennial). Christ comes and raptures the Church, followed by a 7-year tribulation, then He comes again to establish an earthly kingdom.

KINGDOM, TIMING OF

God’s kingdom is a present earthly reality that began at the first advent. God’s kingdom is a present reality that began at the first advent. God’s kingdom is a present reality that began at the first advent.1
An earthly kingdom will be established during the future millennium. The kingdom is in no sense present today.2

KINGDOM, NATURE OF

The kingdom is spiritual in nature, encompassing heaven and earth. It will grow gradually as more and more turn to Christ and are saved. God’s kingdom will fill the whole earth. The kingdom is spiritual in nature. The Kingdom is growing in that the gospel will reach every tribe, tongue and nation.1 However, relatively few will be saved. The kingdom has come, but not with transforming power. Neither good nor evil will prevail.
The second coming will establish the kingdom suddenly and cataclysmically. Christ does not reign as king now. The future earthly kingdom will be primarily Jewish.
Progressive dispensationalism, however, teaches that the Lord Jesus is now reigning as David's king in heaven at the right hand of the Father in an 'already' fulfillment aspect of the Davidic kingdom and that He will also reign on earth in the Millennium in the 'not yet' aspect" (Ryrie, p. 21). (see Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, p. 46.). Thus, according to PD, the Davidic throne and the heavenly throne of Jesus at the right hand of the Father are one and the same. The use of Psalm 110 and 132 in Acts 2 are used to support this claim that Jesus is currently reigning as Davidic King. HOWEVER, This view is suspect for a number of reasons:
  1. Distinction in thrones In Revelation 3:21, Jesus makes a distinction between His throne (the Davidic throne) and the Father's throne (of which He is on now in heaven). Thus, the throne Jesus is currently on (the throne of deity) is different than the one He will assume when the millennium starts (Davidic throne). The writer of Hebrews also indicates that Jesus "sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" not the throne of David (12:2).
  2. Matthew 25:31 places Christ's seating on David's throne at the time of the second coming: "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne."
  3. Acts 2 shows identity not function In Acts 2, Peter argues that Jesus' resurrection is proof that Jesus is the King. He does not state that Jesus is currently reigning as King. Acts 2, then, shows Jesus' identity  as King not a present function  of His reigning as king. (It should be noted that David was anointed king before His actual reign began.) In fact, nowhere in the NT is Jesus said to be currently reigning as messianic king. His reign is associated with His second coming and Kingdom (see Matt. 25:31; Rev. 11:15; 20:6).
  4. NOTE: PD proponents Blaising and Bock differ somewhat from Saucy on this issue. Blaising and Bock equate the "right hand of God" with "David's throne" and see a current reign  of Jesus as Davidic King. Saucy also equates the right hand of God with the throne of David but does not see Christ ruling from this throne. According to Saucy, being at the right hand of God, i.e. David's throne "affirms the present exaltation of Jesus but not a present function of ruling" (The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, pp. 72-73).
  5. Evaluation There is not enough biblical evidence to show that David's throne is the same as the right hand of God in heaven. It is best to understand David's throne as an earthly throne that Christ will assume at His second coming.

KINGDOM, CHRIST'S REIGN IN

Christ reigns now from heaven. His kingdom is on earth. He will continue to rule until "He has put all enemies under His feet" (1 Cor. 15:25) Christ’s reign is not an earthly reign, but a heavenly one. Christ reigns in heaven over the souls of believers who have died.2 Christ reigns now in heaven, but His present reign is invisible to the world. Only Christians see it by faith. The public manifestation of Christ’s glory will not take place on earth until the millennium.2
Christ will reign in a future millennium in bodily form on the earth after the second coming. He will rule from a physical throne in Jerusalem. The kingdom has a political dimension to it.
The kingdom was near in proximity not arrival Saucy, again disagreeing with Blaising and Bock, shows the improbability of this view: "Jesus said this kingdom was 'at hand.' Though some scholars have said the term eingiken  [near] means that the kingdom had actually arrived, most see it as indicating only that the kingdom had drawn near or was imminent. Kummel says the term denotes 'an event which is near, but has not yet taken place.' According to Hill, 'to declare that the kingdom is at hand means that the decisive establishment or manifestation of the divine sovereignty has drawn so near to men that they are now confronted with the possibility and ineluctable necessity of repentance and conversion.' Thus in Jesus' preaching the kingdom had drawn near, but its actual arrival had not yet occurred. The disciples could still be taught to pray for its coming  (Matt. 6:10)" ("The Presence of the Kingdom in the Life of the Church," p. 34) (italics mine).

Kingdom is future If the kingdom arrived with Jesus' first coming why did the apostles see the kingdom as future in Acts 1:3-7?

The "already/not yet" unproven: PD sees the kingdom as already here but also awaiting a future fulfillment as well. This already/not yet construct, popularized by C.H. Dodd in 1926, though, is highly suspect. This is evident by the confusion shown by those who accept it. Amillennialists, Covenant premillennialists and PD's all accept the idea but disagree on the outworking of what is "already" and what is "not yet" (see "Prophetic Fulfillment: The Already and Not Yet," by Elliott Johnson in Issues in Dispensationalism  for an excellent critique of the already/not yet view).

MILLENNIUM, DESCRIPTION

We are in the millennium now. The millennium will slowly, progressively become a "golden age". Some older advocates believed that the millennium proper would begin at a future date, but most now hold that it began with Christ’s death and resurrection. We are in the millennium now, but the millennium will never become a "golden age". The millennium is the church age. After the millennium will be the second coming followed by the eternal state, the latter being a "golden age".3 The millennium is future. Christ will rule with absolute control. It will be a time of righteous rule.3
The millennium is future. Righteousness will prevail. The O.T. Jewish economy will be restored. Temple worship, priestly order and animal sacrifices will be restored.

MILLENNIUM, DURATION

A prolonged period of time, greater than a 1000 year period of time. The second coming follows the millennium. A prolonged period of time, greater than a 1000 year period of time.4 The second coming follows the millennium. Generally (but not always) thought to be 1000 years. The second coming precedes the millennium.
Exactly 1000 years. The second coming precedes the millennium.

SATAN'S BINDING AND CURRENT STATUS

At Christ’s death and resurrection, Satan was bound, meaning his ability to deceive the nations was restricted thus opening the door for worldwide evangelism. The preaching of the gospel has a deleterious effect on satanic activity. God, not Satan, control world events. At Christ’s death and resurrection, Satan was bound, meaning his ability to deceive the nations was restricted. Binding does not mean that Satan’s ability to deceive is stopped altogether. It means he cannot prevent the nations from learning the truth about God. The binding of Satan does not take place until the second coming.4 This age is a present evil age (Gal. 1:4); Satan is its god (2 Cor. 4:4).5
The future second coming causes Satan to be bound 1000 years. Satan is not bound now. Satan rules the kingdom of this present world3 and controls the world system.4    "Satan is alive and well on planet earth."

TRIBULATION

Culminated in 70 AD. Roughly 64-70, beginning with the persecution of Christians by Nero. Was predicted by Christ to be within a generation (Matt. 24:34) and was experienced by John (Rev. 1:9) The church is in the tribulation now, but the tribulation will grow progressively worse. Christians must expect to suffer tribulation and persecution during the entire church age.6 A future 7-year period immediately preceding the second coming. The Church will go through the tribulation.6
A future 7-year period immediately preceding the second coming. The Church escapes the tribulation via rapture. Jews who subsequently believe remain behind.

ANTICHRIST(S)

The Antichrist is viewed in the past, as various individuals, a movement or "spirit" (1 John 4:3) of deception. John wrote "even now many antichrists have come" (1 John 2.18).2 There will be a future "establishment of the kingdom of Antichrist over the entire world".7

The Antichrist is an individual.
A future Antichrist (an individual) will inflict persecution on Christians before the rapture.7
A future Antichrist (an individual) will become the world dictator and persecute both Jews and Christians. He will reach his dominant political position after the rapture.5

RAPTURE

The rapture occurs at the end of the millennium when believers who have just been raised from the dead, together with believers who have just been transformed are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. The rapture occurs at the end of the millennium when believers who have just been raised from the dead, together with believers who have just been transformed are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.8 Posttribulation: rapture will take place at the end of a future tribulation but before the millennium.
Pretribulation: rapture will take place at the beginning of a future tribulation and before the millennium. The Church gets raptured out of the world. Believing Jews remain and suffer persecution.

THE TEMPLE

The temple and the O.T. sacrificial system are done away with forever. The temple and the O.T. sacrificial system are done away with forever. The temple and the O.T. sacrificial system are done away with forever.8
The Jewish temple will be physically rebuilt. The sacrificial system will be reinstated.
THE RESURRECTION 1 resurrection of all the dead, as per Jn. 5:28ff & Acts 24:15.

"Resurrections" in Rev. 20 are spiritual. The "First resurrection" is the passing of the soul into God's presence, the "second death" is eternal damnation (Rev. 20:14)

2 Resurrections as per Rev. 20, first of saints before the millennium, then of everyone else after the millennium
Approx. 4 Resurrections:
  1. Rapture: Christ will make an incomplete appearance and take the Christians to heaven (I Thes. 4:16), sparing them from approximately seven years of severe tribulation on the earth. (Rev. 6-19). These saints are a "Spiritual Aristocracy/Nobility" who will reign with Christ. Rev. 20:4ff)
  2. The second resurrection is of tribulation-era saints and O.T. saints at the beginning of the millennium (Rev. 20:4, Is.26:19ff, Dan. 12:1ff)
  3. Company of saints after the millennium (I Cor. 15:23ff)
  4. Finally of the wicked (Rev. 20:11ff)

JUDGEMENT

One judgement at the end

Rev. 22:12, Mt. 16:27, 25:31ff, Jude 14ff, II Thes. 1:7ff
3 judgements:

First of the raptured believers (I Cor. 3:13ff)

Second of the nations at the beginning of the millennium (Joel 3:2, Matt. 19:28)

Lastly of the wicked at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:15)

ISRAEL

The prophecies and promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Church. Ethnic Jews will ultimately be converted over time through the preaching of the gospel. The prophecies and promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Church. Jews will continue to be converted to Christ until the second coming.9 The prophecies and promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Church. There will be a future salvation of Israel.9
God’s original plan to establish the kingdom at the first advent was thwarted when the Jews rejected Christ. The Jewish kingdom will be set up at Christ’s second coming.

ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

The Church is spiritual Israel. It is "the Israel of God". There is neither Jew nor Greek, all are one in Christ. The Church is spiritual Israel. It is "the Israel of God." There is neither Jew nor Greek, all are one in Christ. The Church is spiritual Israel. It is "the Israel of God." There is neither Jew nor Greek, all are one in Christ.
Israel and the Church are separate and distinct peoples of God. The Church is an interruption of God’s program for Israel brought about by Israel’s rejection of the kingdom offer.6

THE CHURCH

Over time the Church will grow and flourish. The Great Commission will be fulfilled. The Church can look forward to increasing apostasy, tribulation, and persecution toward the end times.10 The world’s hatred of the gospel will lead to "a last convulsive persecution that decimates the church."10
The Church will eventually lose influence, fail its mission and become corrupt.

HISTORIC EXPECTATION

Optimistic. Prophecies of destruction are viewed preteristically (in the past). Over time the nations will be converted to Christ through the preaching of the gospel. The Great Commission will be fulfilled. Pessimistic. Only a small portion of the world will be saved. The kingdom of evil is growing. Apostasy and tribulation will culminate in the emergence of a personal Antichrist. The idea of widespread conversions and societal improvements is rejected. Pessimistic. Unbelief and apostasy will increase. Prophecies of destruction are viewed futuristically. The gospel will be preached to all nations, but will not be effective.
Pessimistic. Unbelief and apostasy will increase. Prophecies of destruction are viewed futuristically. The gospel will be preached to all nations, but will not be effective.

THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH

The conversion of the nations through the spread of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. "The eternal state is held out as the future hope of the church."11 The post-tribulation rapture.
The pretribulation rapture.
NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH Set up at Christ's second coming, immediately after the resurrection and the judgement (Is. 65:17, 66:22, Rev. 21:1) Realized after millennial earthly reign is over and end has come
Realized in the earthly millennium with a curse partly lifted. (Is. 65:17)

Jewish temple rebuilt along with sacrificial system (Ez.40-48)

After millennium is merged with eternal kingdom (I Cor. 15:24ff, Rev. 21:1ff, 22:1ff)

AGREEMENT

All positions agree that:
1) The Bible is the word of God, fully inspired and authoritative
and
2) There was a first advent and there will be a personal, visible, glorious, and objective 2nd advent.

POSTMILLENNIALISM

1Postmillennial Views, Confessional Postmillennialism, Theonomic Postmillennialism, American Postmillennialism, Myths "Against" Postmillennialism
2Kenneth Gentry, He Sahll Have Dominion (tyler, TX:Institute for Christian Economics,1992)p.373.

AMILLENNIALISM

1Jay E. Adams, The Time is at Hand (Greenville, SC:A Press,1987) p.44
2Anthony A. Hoekema, "Amillennialism," in Robert G. Clouse, The Meaning of the Millennium:Four Views (Downer's Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press,1977)p.169.
3Adams, The Time is at Hand,pp.9-10.
4Hoekema, "Amillennialism,"p.155.
5William E. cox, Amillennialism Today (Phillispburg,NJ):Presbyterian and Reformed,1966)p.139.
6Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and The Future (Grand Rapids,MI:Erdmans,1979)pp.150-151.
7David J. Engelsma, "A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism."
8Hoekema, "Amillennialism,"pp.182-183.
9Hoekama, The Bible and The Future,p.147.
10Louis Berkof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids,MI:Baker Book House,1977)p.718.
11Adams, The Time is at Hand,p.13.

PREMILLENNIALISM
HISTORIC

1Erickson, Contemporary Options in Eschatology, (Grand Rapids,MI:Baker book House,1977)p.106.
2George Eldon Ladd,"Historic Premillennialism," in Robert G. Clouse, The Meaning of the Millennium,p.32. Also, Erickson, Contemporary Options,pp.101-102.
3Erickson, Contemporary Options,p.17.
4Ladd,"Historic Premillennialism,"p.17.
5George Eldon Ladd, "The Antichrist And The Great Tribulation" (pages 58-72) in The Last Things, An Eschatology For Laymen (Grand   Rapids,MI: Eerdmans,1956)/.75.
6Erickson, Contemporary Options, p.145.
7George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope (Grand Rapids,MI: Eerdmans,1956)p.74
8Ladd, "Historic Premillennialism," p.26.
9Ladd, "Historic Premillennialism," p.28.
10 George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI:Eerdmans,1974)p. 203.

PREMILLENNIALISM
DISPENSATIONAL

1Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, (Chicago:Moody,1969)p. 88.
2Robert P. Lightner, The Last Days Handbook (Nashville,TN:thomas Nelson, 1990)p. 113.
3John MacArther, Alone with God (Wheaton, IL:Victor Books, 1995)p. 69.
4John A. Witmer, "A Review of 'Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth,'" Bibliotheca Sacra (July/September 1992)p. 272.
5John F. Walvoord. Major Bible Prophecies (New York:Harper Paperbacks, 1991)pp. 373-374.
6J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come (Grand Rapids, MI:Zondervan, 1958)p. 201.

 
 
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