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Notes on Millennialism
Well, now. This question* is obviously intended to provoke a more
fervent commitment to eschatology than I recently sent to you, specifically to
post-millennialism. I am reminded of a one or two question probe David Hall
asked me during our last meeting with him. I forget the questions, but his
point was, given my answer, that I was obviously amillennial. It is just
not that simple. In fact, that kind of false simplicity has been played
out with me so often that I have developed a callus at that point; I am no
longer sensitive to it.
Let me answer North's question* as a pretribulational dispensationalist
might, which is the one eschatological position I do NOT hold to, for
sure. My point is to demonstrate that eschatology is extremely difficult
and I think deliberately so as God delights sometimes to conceal a matter.
Pre-trib dispensationalist: "God will obviously not be a 'loser' in
history. He will be found to have been precisely accurate in honoring His
promises to the Jews, His chosen people. Whereas the world will see the
gradual descent into worse and worse sin, the "lifeboat" rapture and later
destruction of the earth as God's 'loss,' it is the wrong way to score the
outcome. God is the God of history. He decides how the scoring
works. He has promised to destroy the earth by fire at the end and to
create a new heaven and a new earth. He has promised to judge the wicked,
and this He will be doing at Armageddon and at the final judgment of Satan and
all Satan's minions. God's rescue of His saints from the declining, dying
old creation is His victory, capped at the end by His rapture of the saints at
that last time. His Jewish saints will reign forever in their recreated
promised land of Jerusalem while all His enemies are cast into the lake of fire
and outer darkness." I could elaborate, but will spare you.
Now, as an a-millennialist, which is more difficult, since their eschatology
is virtually invisible.
"God is continually being the winner as we see His hand triumphing over sin
and Satan. It will thus be like a tide in and out of an estuary, wherein
for a time, it appears that Satan has won, then judgment comes upon him and his
servants as a kingdom falls, a sinner is snatched at the last moment from the
fire, as a lie is exposed. The church is invisible, so it is not proper to
make a victory judgment when we cannot even see which team the players actually
belong to. There will indeed be a final judgment at the close of earth
history, but it is a mistake to suppose that it will necessarily be preceded by
incremental obedience or dominion of the church."
Finally, as a postmillennialist. "God has not set up history as a play in which it is a tragedy wherein, He loses, forsaking His promises and the people He sent His Son to die for.
The proper audience for history is not only God Himself and His angels, fallen
and unfallen, but for all people to comprehend His holiness, His justice, and
His grace. The audience will include the elect and the reprobate, the
former rejoicing in the King's victory and the latter lamenting their obstinance
and disbelief. Though the precise scenes, sequence, and rate cannot be
known, we can be sure that there will be a progression in holiness, justice, and
grace demonstrated in His church as He prepares His bride for the consummation
of history. We are preparing for a wedding in the last day, and it will be
a glorious day. We will be able to see the bride groomed for her union
with her Lord. Though not perfectly until the second coming of Christ,
there will be increasing dominion and sanctification among His people as history
North's question might be a reasonable springboard for discussion, but if
he uses it to make a case for post-millennialism, it is just not
*Gary North's question Is the Holy Spirit a Loser in History?




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