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Christian theology and consequently Christian ethics are largely understood and practiced on the
framework of our eschatology (i.e., our view of the end of all things). Where did we come from,
and where are we going and how does that influence our present reality, are the questions behind
all philosophy, theology and ethics, no matter what religion or philosophy to which you adhere.
Even atheism or agnosticism find this tripartite inquiry inevitable.
Christianity has always answered the query in one decisive way. Despite differences of opinion
regarding the out-workings of Christian doctrine, there is one basic concept to which all Christian
thought conforms regarding last things. That constant is that the Kingdom of God, through Christ,
shall have world-wide dominion. Ultimately, Jesus Christ shall rule all the world, and His law shall
be established through all the earth. Despite our different interpretations of how this comes about,
we all agree on that one basic point.
Scripture bears testimony to this idea, validating it, and the idea itself is so thorough-going in
Christendom because it is founded on that very Scriptural testimony. Below are just a few of the
great many passages from the Bible that are the foundation for the premise. All quotes are from the
King James Version unless otherwise noted. 1.
Numbers 14:21: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Psalm 86:9: All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall
glorify thy name.
Psalm 22:27: All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds
of the nations shall worship before thee.
Psalm 2:8: Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost
parts of the earth for thy possession.
Psalm 72:8-11, 17-19: He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends
of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the
dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall
offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be
blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who
only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be
filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
Psalm 110: The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy
footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine
enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the
womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou
art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike
through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places
with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in
the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
Isaiah 2:1-4: The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall
come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top
of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many
people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the
God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall
go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and
shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into
pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Daniel 2:44: And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall
never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces
and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Read the whole chapter for the context.
The vast majority of commentators down through Jewish and Christian history agree that “the days of
these kings” refers to the Roman Empire.)
Habakkuk 2:14: For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the
waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 42:1-4 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my
spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor
cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax
shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged,
till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
Luke 13:18-21: Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed
a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said, Whereunto
shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of
meal, till the whole was leavened. (The growth of the Kingdom of God is universally extensive.)
Acts 13:44-49: And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things
which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and
said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put
it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so
hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest
be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and
glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word
of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
Revelation 7:1-10: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth,
holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor
on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and
he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our
God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an
hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of
Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe
of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe
of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed
twelve thousand. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed
with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God
which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. (All the elect of Israel are saved, and also an
innumerable company out of all the nations. Yes, God is still interested in saving the Jewish people!)
Revelation 11:15-18: And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying,
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign
for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their
faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and
art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were
angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou
shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name,
small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (Note that the past tense is used
throughout the passage. 2 The Kingdoms of this world HAVE BECOME the Kingdoms of God. God has taken
power, and has reigned.)
Revelation 15:3,4: And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,
saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King
of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all
nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Ephesians 1:20-23: Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his
own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion,
and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put
all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body,
the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (All authority in heaven and earth is NOW, since the
resurrection of Christ, put in subjection to Him through His body, the Church.)
The world-wide dominion of Jesus Christ is obvious in these passages, and in many more not even here
presented. The Kingdom of God rules over the kingdoms of men. That is one of the clearest declarations
of Scripture. It is beyond a doubt that it is the most important doctrine of all Christian eschatology
regardless of any particular views of how the Kingdom of God works out in history. As Christians, we
all believe that Jesus Christ is, or is ultimately proven to be, The King of kings and Lord of lords.
To deny such is to deny Christianity. Whatever we believe about the historical out-workings of the
Kingdom of God, if we are serious about the Bible, we whole-heartedly believe that Christ is King,
and that His kingdom is destined to overtake the entire world.
Postmillennialism and premillennialism both take these passages literally. Postmills see a present
fulfilment, and premills see a future fulfilment. The former see the Kingdom of God (KOG) coming to
pass in the present age due to the spread of the Gospel worldwide. The KOG is coextensive with the
expansion of the Gospel throughout the earth. The believing Church is the fountainhead of that expansion.
The latter (premillennialism) see the KOG arriving after Christ returns to earth to set up a literal
political empire in Jerusalem that will subject all the nations under His world-wide political autonomy.
(In this, they are not much different from the Jewish zealots of Jesus’ own time on earth.)
Amillennialism is the contrarian opinion even though it has a very long history. It goes back at least
as far as the 4th century, and may even be traced to a few of the post-apostolic fathers. None of the
earliest writers can be securely tied to any millennial viewpoint; they had better things to worry about,
and were often fed to lions before they had a chance to kick back and contemplate the finer points of
Amillennialism interprets the millennium spiritually, as opposed to pre- and postmillennialism’s literal
interpretations. Amill thought views the millennium as a reference to our salvation. The millennial hope
is that the believer is saved from eternal death. It is equivalent to going to heaven rather than hell.
There is a large amount of ambivalence on this approach among traditional amillennialists however, many
of whom are closer to the postmill view. (Gerhardus Vos, Cornelius Van Til, et al.)
The developmental nature of the KOG is obvious from the passages set forth above. The Kingdom starts
small and eventually envelops the entire earth. That is the whole point of the mustard seed parable
and the leaven in the loaf parable. The slow developmental growth of God’s kingdom until it eventually
absorbs the entire world appears to be missed by amillennialism. The growth principle inherent in such
parables is consistent with postmillennialism. Since premill thought is also more literal about the
political nature of the KOG, it is only a small step away from the “kingdom now” vision of
postmillennialism. Both subscribe to a literal view of Christ’s rule over the nations. The only
difference is when that political rule takes place.
Amillennialism fails because it does not recognize the developmental nature of the KOG. It has no sense
of history being modified by the resurrection of Christ. The world continues one path toward hellish
oblivion and the Church’s only hope is to die and go to heaven. Premills are not much far removed, in
as far as the dispensationalist premill waits to die or go up through a hole in the sky (the “rapture”)
before the eschatological millennium of the future.
Premill critics will say “We see no evidence that the world is getting better.” They conveniently ignore
the last 2000 years of history, forgetting how horribly wicked the world was before Christ. We live in a
far more humane world environment today than has ever before existed. Postmillennialism admits the steady
upward climb toward a triumphant world history. In consideration of the last 2000 years of history we
fare better now than before. It is not yet as good as it shall be, but it shall be better as the Gospel
becomes more entrained in the hearts and governments of man. That is the undeniable teaching of the
Gospel. It is why it is Good News.
Postmillennialism is the true “eschatology of victory” as J. Marcellus Kik called it. 3 The world is
still struggling against a fallen and defeated foe, but our preeminence is becoming more evident as
history moves forward. Amillennialism is an eschatology of indifference. We should hold on as best we
can, but we have no hope in this life, so just get saved and die. Not much victory there.
Premillennialism encourages us that Christ will reign someday in the future, but for now we are in a
losing battle. Their millennial future will force a political détente when Jesus becomes the world
dictator for good by deposing the world’s dictator of evil (their “anti-christ” figure).
Premills, as well as the amills, conveniently ignore history, but in their case it is the fictionally
predicted “history” of their millennium. Their millennium is a dark one by the simple fact that Christ
must reign as a totalitarian dictator. This is an admission that the millennium they look forward to
is not one of loving submission to God’s Law, but of harrowing discipline against multitudes who resent
His rule. Arthur H. Lewis poignantly referred to this as “the dark side of the Millennium” in his book
of the same name. 4 The fact that their dark “millennium” includes much that is contrary to the Kingdom
of God is enough to question the futurist interpretation of premillennialism. How is that millennium any
different from the present age except that it has a better autocrat?
Premillennialism is a schizophrenic form of eschatology. It is amillennial in its analysis of the current
world events and postmillennial in its future expectations. The evidences for this are set forth below.
For the premill the KOG is only concerned with the saving of souls in the present age. Don’t waste your
time saving the sinking ship. Sell the ship’s mortgage and man the lifeboats! Jesus is coming to soon to
waste time on education. Forget planning for a future. The end is near. Repent or perish. In this sense
it is an apocalyptic form of amillennialism.
The other side of premill schizophrenia is its insistence on a great future that is always a twinkling
of an eye away from the present, but like the donkey’s carrot, never obtained. It is a future always
ahead of us, after the second advent of Christ. Only then will the promises of worldwide evangelism be
fulfilled. Only then will all the nations finally serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then will peace and
prosperity visit all mankind. Premillennialism is a futurist (and again, apocalyptic) form of
Premillennialism is essentially both amillennial and postmillennial at the same time, with an
apocalyptic (end-of-the-world) twist. It is an attempt to justify an ethics of the political abandoning
of this present world to Satanic kingdoms, and of saving them politically in the apocalyptic “future”
Premillennialism hopes for a postmillennial future and lives in an amillennialist present. It is
schizophrenic. It is schizophrenic because of its’ insistence on apocalyptic eschatology even though
the Revelation of John on the isle of Patmos was written as a polemic against the Judeo-Roman political
synthesis that opposed Christianity at that time. Revelation was written as a preterist diatribe against
the soon to be deposed Judaic opponents of the Christian “cult” and the Roman Empire that supported the
anti-Christian political system. A large group of modern historians agree that Revelation was penned by
John prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. 5
Postmillennialism, or as Lewis called it, historical millennialism, is consistent with all the passages
set forth above, and the many more not discussed. It acknowledges the presence of evil in the world, but
clearly teaches that Christ is King NOW! His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom not waiting to be fulfilled,
but is being fulfilled and proven to be true through the course of history. History is the process of His
Kingdom being fulfilled step by step in all our lives, to be consummated at His Glorious Second Coming.
1. I owe much attribution to Greg Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics, pp.411-414, for the
Scripture references. Most of this article however, is based on my own observations which are compiled
in my marginal notes within my copy of Dr. Bahnsen’s book. While Bahnsen clearly writes from a
postmillennial point of view, in the cited pages he does not reference pre-, post- or amillennialism
specifically. I am following his presentation of Scriptural references almost exactly, but the subject
matter I am presenting does not follow his train of thought. Bahnsen is pursuing a study of the separation
of Church and State, and his arguments are sound. I am taking his references in a different direction,
being more interested in how these passages bear light on the three views of the millennium:
Premillennialism, postmillennialism and amillennialism.)
2. Bahnsen noted this fact in the above reference.
3. J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, 1971.
4. Arthur H. Lewis, The Dark Side of the Millennium, 1980. In his Preface, page 6, Lewis says
“The point of view herein defended is not amillennial, if that label means a negation of a real millennial
age. Rather, it should be called historical millennialism, since it will assert the present reality of all
aspects of the “thousand years” as described in Revelation 20:1-10.” Historical millennialism is, for Lewis,
equivalent to post-millennialism, although he chooses to avoid the term.
5. See for instance John A. T. Robinson’s authoritative Redating the New Testament, 1976. This is
just one of many very influential modern scholars that insist that the entire New Testament was written
prior to 70 AD. The old theory that the Revelation was written post 70 AD and just prior to the opening of
the second century is now completely demolished by modern Biblical criticism.
Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at
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