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What Is
The WORD of GOD?


Statement On The Holy Scriptures;

The ‘Lens’ Through Which All Knowledge Is Understood;


"IF" there exists any such thing as 'The Word of God'; [and ALL evidence proves such does exist:]

"THEN" by inherent definition - it must be:

    Holy, Inspired, Inerrant, Intrepid, Infallible, Infinitive, Invincible, Indestructible, Inexhaustible, Inalienable, Immutable, Implacable, Impossible-to-Improve: Eternal and Indubitable NEVER FAILING and ALL CONQUERING!

    DEDUCTING from the simple fact - that God equates His Word with Himself:

      "In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, . . ." John 1:1 (and other Scriptures),
Thus 'GOD'S WORD' can have no lesser standard than stated above;


    As true in history, archeology, geography, Earth science, medical science, nutrition, gerontology, agriculture, botany, astronomy, physics, chemistry, climatology, government, law, psychology, sociology - and every subject it touches - as in Theology, Divinity and Doctrine:

And "IF IT BE NOT" - true in all subjects mentioned above; and And "IF IT BE NOT"

    Holy, Inspired, Inerrant, Intrepid, Infallible, Infinitive, Invincible, Indestructible, Inexhaustible, Inalienable, Immutable, Implacable, Impossible-to-Improve: Eternal and Indubitable in EVERY FIELD OF KNOWLEDGE:
Whatever else it may be, it cannot be ‘The Incomparable Word’ of the Great Creator God!

God's Eternal Guarantee!

"Heaven and Earth Shall Pass Away;
But GOD'S WORDS Shall NOT Pass Away!"

--Jesus the Messiah, AD-33 (Matthew 5:18)


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Please Visit Top Prophecy Webpages


[2] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - How Many Will be SAVED: 1 in 10? 1 in 100? 1 in 1000?

[3] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - What is the Best PLAN of Evangelization! (Very Brief!)

[4] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Jesus said: “I Will (ALWAYS BE BUILDING) Church!”
(But Did He Really Mean It? Will it REALLY Conquer the "GATES OF HELL?")

[5] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Alarming Church News! USA! (Brief)

[6] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Christ’s Commission: Does it Mean “Global Domination?”

[7] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Can You Face The RAPTURE Truth?

[8] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - A Futurist View of Revelation: A Catholic Doctrine: WHY?

[9] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Jesus and Paul on the “End-of-the-World”

[10] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Activists: "Who's Who in Christian Politics?

[11] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Is Modern Church Ignorant of Rapture Purpose?

[12] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Why Jesus did not come back in 2010! (Do you Know?)

[13] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Greatest "LAST DAYS Sin: (Are You guilty?)

[14] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Christ LAST DAYS Warning

[15] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - OPEN LETTER to Fellow Laborers

[16] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Are All Denominations Wrong?

[17] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Who Will save Christianity?

[18] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - A Last Days Revival!

[19] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - "The USA Rides The Titanic!

[20] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Founding Fathers’ “KINGDOM NOW” Dominion!

[21] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – What Was Great Falling Away

[22] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Biblical End of World, Basic Terms

[23] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Christianity Is Dying! WHY?

[24] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Christian Myths! Do You Believe Them?

[25] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Church Growth Goals Priority Page

[26] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Modern Christianity Is A Mess!

[27] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – The “Anti-Christ Home Page


[29] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Christ END TIME Commands!

[30] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Christianity Is Confusing and WHY?

[31] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Every Minister A Hero

[32] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” - Legal Abortion: Is It Good for Christians?

[33] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Southern Baptists Dying: WHY?


[35] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – LAST DAYS Truth Test-3 Questions

[36] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Evangelicals Call for Government School Exodus!

[37] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – "Hall of Faith Ministers, 20th Century"

[38] "RAPTURE-READY – Early Church Outlaws Homosexuality!



[41] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – "Rush Limbaugh Quotes" on Christ!

[42] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” –"Republican Power and Catholics!"


[44] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – "Hall of Faith Activist Ministers, A>

[45] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Early Church Outlaws Homosexuality!


[47] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Guaranteed in Bible: “Civil & Human” Rights!

[48] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – "Rush Limbaugh Quotes" on Christ

[49] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – Some Sobering Questions; (Very Brief!)

[50] “BEFORE THE RAPTURE!” – "God v. Satan” WHO WINS? (Very Brief!)



Modern Myths About END TIMES!

What are the MYTHS Many Christians Believe?

Many Fine Bible Scholars are UNAWARE of Christ's Great Parable covering the whole Prophetic Overview of His Kingdom, His Coming and His Greatest SIGN OF THE TIMES! (SEE "TARES-&-WHEAT!")



Simply Move Your "ARROW" over any Scripture Reference
Scripture will appear in KJV and Young's Literal Translation (YLT)!

Do You Qualify for
An Honorary "Doctor of Divinity" from Cambridge Theological Seminary?
If you believe God's Word as Stated Above:
(Click for a Free Evaluation)




Do You Qualify for
An Honorary "Doctor of Divinity" from Cambridge Theological Seminary?
If you believe God's Word as Stated Above:
(Click for a Free Evaluation:)



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    "The BIBLE is the WORD of GOD!



      *HIGHEST AUTHORITY on Earth!


      >> I will NEVER 'GO' against, 'VOTE' against, or 'SPEAK' Against,

      >> The WORD of GOD,

      >> So Help me GOD!


      Please "CLICK" the following to Affirm your Commitment as a CHRISTIAN AMERICAN to the Word of God upon the Earth!

    This Christian American BELIEVES in the WORD OF GOD!

Many Fine Bible Scholars seem unaware,
Of Christ's Great Parable covering the whole Church Age,
From His Sowing First Seed and His Great End-Time Harvest of Souls!
To Final Judgment of the Unsaved and their Damnation;
To Christ’s Presence and Eternal Kingdom!

(See Greatest Parable on End of Times!)
Christ’s Greatest Parable on End of Times: Brief Overview





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With Cambridge Theological Seminary™, AD-2000;

Translation Axiom: God's Word! "INSPIRED-INERRANT!"




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How To Use This Page

** To SEARCH for any word, subject or Scripture on this website, use the GOLD-BOX SITE SEARCH near top of page: over 600,000 pages available from Cambridge Theological Seminary Archives;

** To SEARCH for anyword, subject or Scripture on this SINGULAR-WEB-PAGE you are now on, (which may be from 100-3,000 regular notebook sized pages);

    [1] Go to the TOP TOOLBAR of your Monitor and find EDIT

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    [3] Type in word, Scripture or whatever you are looking for;

    [4] Then Click "MATCH CASE" if you need it;

    [5] Then Click "NEXT" or "PREVIOUS" to search as much as you desire!

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Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

Greetings in Jesus!

    May God's Greatest Blessing be upon you who "Preach the Gospel!", you who "Preach ALL the Counsel of God" - as Apostle Paul declared - in Acts 20:27.

    (HOW MANY Gospel Preachers can claim to Preach "ALL the Counsel of God" - as Paul Professed?

        FACT! True Gospel-Bible Preachers are THE ONLY HOPE FOR THIS WORLD!

        FACT! The Imminent Rapture Preachers have the best heart for Souls of ALL End-Time Preachers!

      * It is NOT Politicians who have the answers!

      * It is NOT Republicans & Democrats who have the answers!

      * It is NOT United Nations who has the answers!

      * It is NOT Harvard and Yale who have the answers!

      * It is GOSPEL PREACHERS. . .and the WORD OF GOD ONLY! who have the answers for this world's problems!

    We guarantee you fellow Ministers of the Gospel - our whole ministry, our major prayer, our earnest burden is for YOU - the Beloved Ministers - "CALLED BY CHRIST" to a Lost-&-Dying world!

    Thus our website name:

    '' - this is our goal, our striving, our prayer and out plea - for ALL who are preaching Salvation ONLY in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) our Lord and Saviour, our KING of Kings, and LORD of Lord!

    We prayerfully beg of you - you who are the MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH . . . Before you begin with the article you clicked on to read - we beg of you to take 'Just a moment or so' to read a PARABLE of JESUS . . .

    - with great 'thoughtfulness' as to the PROPHECY aspect of it, as usually it is only considered for salvation, judging, etc.:


    And . . .we plead in the Name of Jesus, to read the ONLY SCRIPTURE that gives a complete prophetic overview of the New Testament Age: "The Parable of the Tares and Wheat:"

    In this brief but complete overview of the entire Church Age - from when Christ begins sowing Good Seed in His Kingdom, . . . until He sends His Angels for the final reaping and gathering, then final judgement, then casting the damned into Outer-Darkness, with the Saints shining in Eternal Glory:

    Please, prayerfully keep in mind the following:

      [1] Jesus Himself is doing the teaching;

      [2] This is the ONLY parable the Disciples asked Jesus to explain further!

      [3] This is the ONLY Scriptural teaching with a full-view of End-Time-Prophecy from Christ beginning, to His Angel's final gathering, destruction of the damned, etc;

      [4] This is the ONLY Scriptural teaching of End-Time-Prophecy with a clear, simple, chronological sequence, from the very beginning to the very end;

      [5] That this is ONE complete teaching, in ONE Scriptural setting, making it the ONE most valuable End-Time Prophetic passage in Scripture, as it puts ALL THINGS in order in ONE simple teaching;

    Thanks again for Coming to;

    And PLEASE . . . let us know HOW we can serve your needs better, and EMPOWER YOU as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!



Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

Christ's Overview of the Whole New Testament Age:

    Christ's Parable of Tares and Wheat:

    Matthew 13:36-43
      "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, 'Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field'.

      "Jesus answered and said unto them;

        He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; The good seed are the children of the kingdom; But the tares are the children of the wicked one;

        The enemy that sowed them is the devil; The harvest is the end of the world: And the reapers are the angels.

        'As' therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; So shall it be in the end of this world.

        The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather OUT of his kingdom, all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

        'Then' shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:36-43

      Let's break it down to the stated facts:

        [1] He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; Matthew 13:37

        [2] The field is the world; Matthew 13:38

        [3] The good seed are the children of the kingdom; Matthew 13:38

        [4] But the tares are the children of the wicked one; Matthew 13:38

        [5] The enemy that sowed them is the devil; Matthew 13:39

        [6] The harvest is the end of the world: Matthew 13:39

        [7] And the reapers are the angels. Matthew 13:39

        [8] 'As' therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; Matthew 13:40

        [9] So shall it be in the end of this world. Matthew 13:40

        [10] The Son of man shall send forth his angels, Matthew 13:41

        [11] and they shall gather OUT of his kingdom, Matthew 13:41

        [12] all things that offend, Matthew 13:41

        [13] AND them which do iniquity; Matthew 13:41

        [14] And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:42

        [15] 'Then' shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43

        [16] *** Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:43

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;


    ** (1) Do you see JESUS SAYS: "The tares are gathered FIRST, and not the wheat?

    ** (2) Do you see JESUS SAYS: "The tares being gathered FIRST - are the ONES TAKEN - and not the wheat?

    ** (3) Do you see JESUS SAYS: "The tares are TAKEN AWAY and the Wheat are the ONES LEFT BEHIND?

    ** (4) Do you see that the Angels come to EARTH to "gather OUT OF Christ's Kingdom,"

      (A) "ALL things that offend" (all manner of sinful entities, alcohol, drugs, etc,;

      (B) And "ALL Them that DO INIQUITY!"

    ** (5) Then Jesus says: The RIGHTEOUS that are left behind - INHERITING THE WHOLE EARTH (as MANY, MANY Scriptures promise, from Christ's Beatitudes to Psalm 37), and with the evils gone, the RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH as the SUN!


    Re-study All of the prophetic Scriptures that are 'Bits-&-Pieces' - 'taken-out-of-context' from 'here-&-there' and put them together in Christ's framework!

    THEN, you will come to a SIMPLE understanding, easily agreeable, that ALL have believed from Christ to 1900 - until the MODERN LAODICEAN AGE - with even the FICTION WRITERS of Hollywood making mythical ARMAGEDDON movies! . . .

    . . . and the Truth of Scripture was lost to the most of the MODERN, LUKEWARM CHURCH, END-TIMES THEORIES!

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

Read Christ's Insight into End-Time Events!

    Christ's Full Teaching on Kingdom Age:

      Thus in the Parable of Tares and Wheat, there is no room for the massive number of different prophecy schemes filling the bookstores and airwaves today, that come from the following:

      Taking 'tiny snatches' of Scripture out of context:

        >> Take a verse or two from the Revelation;

        >> Take a sentence or two from Daniel;

        >> Take some Scripture from Ezekiel that is CLEARLY for His day, but make it pertain to our day, 2600 years later!

        >> Split some of the sentences right in the middle . . . making one part apply to one era, and the rest apply to another era!

        >> Make "numbers" have "Secret meanings: "5" means this, "6" six means that; "7" means something else, and "10 means . . .

      FACT: "Numerology" is PURE nonsense!

      FACT: No two 'Number Systems' by the "Superstitious-Numbers" people AGREE on what the numbers mean!

      FACT: There is not even a HINT in Scripture that a "2", a "4", a "6", or a "12", etc, means anything besides the numerical value it is given!

      FACT: If you believe this NON-SCRIPTURAL foolishness, please send us YOUR number scheme, with Scriptural Proof why YOURS is correct and all others are wrong; also send Scriptural proof where you have the authority to make numbers mean whatever you want them to mean . . .

      AND We'll publish your Scheme and give you $100,000 IMMEDIATELY! . . . for settling this 100-year-old Christian Confusion for the whole Church!

    Adding a hidden meaning to numbers that the numbers do not have, that Scripture does not authorize or call for us to do, is simply superstitious, mystical, gnostic, and SINFUL by ADDING to the Word of God THAT which GOD did not give us!

    If you ever want to understand Prophecy, you MUST give up Human Myth-Making and Hollywood Hype with utterly foolish non-Scriptural conjecturing by those making $$MILLIONS$$ selling books to silly-superstitious people.

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

Is God the "Author of Confusion?"

    God declares He is NOT the Author of Confusion! I Corinthians 14:33;

    Why then, is there SO MUCH CONFUSION in the Greatest Prophecy of the Great Book, that God - who is NOT the Author of Confusion - ever Authored?

    Obviously, the problem is with us the readers, and NOT God the Author.


    What do we Bible and Prophecy Students do in discerning Prophecy interpretation, that MIGHT lend itself to mass-confusion in Prophecy?


    When asked, here is what MANY Bible Scholars and students find very troubling in understanding the Word of God.

      ** Using part of a sentence from one Scripture, and part of a sentence from another Scripture, preachers and teachers are putting together PIECEMEAL THOUGHTS, CONCEPTS and IDEAS . . .

        . . . that NO ONE in Scripture EVER taught, and NO ONE in Scripture EVER put together in the Word of God!

      This method MISUSES Scripture and ABUSES the Word of God.

      This method of taking BITS and SNATCHES of Scripture from here, there and everywhere is used to make God's Word SEEM to teach:

        >> any position,

        >> on any doctrine,

        >> that anyone wants to teach!

        >> Thus we have 10,000 denominations in the USA;

        >> and 38,000+ worldwide, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia!

      This False-Teacher, False Prophet method - that of making a "Pre-Text" out of "Context" to use for a "Proof-Text" . . .

      . . . is what CAUSES the EVER-SPLINTERING of denominations, . . .

      . . . making Christianity the most confusing subject ever attempted to be taught in the world . . .

      . . . with Prophecy the most confusing issue of Christianity!


    >> Our national leaders reject us as blubbering, blabbering, blathering fools, having hundreds of Bible-versions, thousands of Denominations, unable to agree on ANYTHING the Bible says, . . .

    . . . FAR WORSE than the fools who argued on 'how many angels could dance on the head of a pin' . .

    . . . while nations drown in sin and ignorance . . .

    . . . while our local Churches are ever-more sickeningly lukewarm . . .

    . . . while losing our youth and closing Church-houses at the rate of 10 a day . . .

    . . . with TV Preachers spending more time preaching 'THE ANTICHRIST . . . than the CHRIST!!! . . .

    . . . and we dare wonder "What's Wrong?"

With our Competing, Criticizing, Condemning, Confusing, CORPORATE CHURCH CONGLOMERATIONS called "ABOMINATIONS" . . .(Sorry!!! . . . make that DENOMINATIONS . . .

. . . Where does it say in the Bible to start STATE-APPROVED CORPORATE-DENOMINATIONS ANYWAY?)

These thousands of denominations present such diverse views, with not even a hint of a way to exercise "Church Discipline",


    o The Bible is a BOOK that cannot be clearly understood;

    o Christ's MESSAGE also cannot be clearly understood;

    o Therefore, into whatever arena you bring Christianity, YOU INCREASE DISAGREEMENT and DIVISION, CONFUSION and CONDEMNATION!. . .

    o . . . just like in the feuding, fussing, fighting, fatally-stricken Churches in EVERY TOWN, USA.


    >> Thus this modern generation rejects our confusing teaching as worthless, incoherent, and are ever becoming more unwilling to even listen;

    >> The unsaved but seeking, don't know whom to believe!

    >> Judges, Legislators and bureaucratic leaders are simply OUTLAWING Christ, Christianity, His Name, and His Word, from all phases of public debate - to AVOID THE CONFUSION!

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

The Greatest Sin for Believers?

    Do you realize what a great sin it is to 'divide the Body of Christ?'

      You DO realize that Jesus prayed perspiring blood in the Garden of Gethsemane - NOT just the three times asking "If it be possible, let this cup...," . . .

      . . . but do you realize He PRAYED FIVE TIMES for "all believers to be ONE?"

    Why is this 'UNITY OF BELIEVERS SO IMPORTANT' to Jesus?

    BECAUSE, by discarding pride, humbling ourselves and uniting to become ONE in the Great Quest to carry out Christ's GREAT COMMISSION, . . . JESUS GUARANTEED:

      >> That this UNITY and ONENESS would PROVE to the whole world that He WAS the Christ, THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW!

        John 17:23 - "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know..."

      >> This would CAUSE the whole world to Believe on Him AS Christ, THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE!

        John 17:21 - "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:

        that the world may believe..."

      >> Precious Brethren: We beg of you to read, and re-read, John 17 ever so carefully!

      >> And see that these things are TRUE!

    >> In fact, we challenge you, to see if you can find the FIVE TIMES Jesus prayed for the UNITY of BELIEVERS in John 17!

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

God says He has made the way PLAIN!

    God's Purpose is NEVER to confuse us, neither on Prophecy, nor any other doctrine. God gave The Apocalypse to REVEAL Prophecy to us!

      *FACT! The word 'APOCALYPSE' is the "unveiling" and "the making known" of a matter!

      *FACT! The word 'Apocalypse' has NOTHING to do, inherently, with end-times, last days, tribulation, war etc.

      *CHALLENGE! You have an internet and Greek study books available: Check it and see for yourself!

      *FACT! Modern Ministers, we say RESPECTFULLY - even radio and TV ministers - are so ASLEEP to God's Truth, that they accept the MODERN MEDIA DEFINITION, the 20th Century English Dictionaries' definition of "APOCALYPSE!!!"

        They choose the Media Definition INSTEAD of the Bible Definition of the First Century Greek word as it was given!

    Absolute Scriptural Facts!

      *FACT: The word "Apocalypse" is NOT in the King James Version (nor is it in most versions), so WHERE does this word come from, and how did it get it's modern meaning - "THE END OF THE WORLD!" - that we hear on the secular, atheist, Christ-hating newscasts continually?

    * FACT: Consider the actual Bible Book, "The Revelation!" Look at the word of the Title: It is the 'REVEALING', the 'REVEALED', the 'REVELATION' the 'MAKING KNOWN' . . . not the confusing, the hidden, the disguised, and the mysterious - known only to one teacher here or there!

    * PLEA: We beg of you to Let God's Words be your words, . . . BELIEVING and RECEIVING exactly what God is clearly and distinctly declaring!

      Revelation 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

    *PLEA: WE BEG OF YOU, read through The Revelation again - TAKING OFF 20th-21st century "Movie-Making" - "Money-Making" - "Thief-In-The-Night" blinders!

    Scripture GUARANTEES us Believers - we the "Children of the Day!" - THAT Christ's Coming SHALL NOT come upon us as a Thief!

      "But ye, brethren, are NOT in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief!" 1 Thessalonians 5:4

    The Great book of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" - PROMISED special blessings to those people to whom it was sent!

      >> for reading it,

      >> for teaching it,

      >> for hearing it, and

      >> for heeding it . . . THEN! . . . nearly 2,000 years ago!

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

Mystery of the Seven Churches!

    ***PLEASE CONSIDER: Why was The Revelation sent to "The Seven Churches in Asia", with NONE to the many Churches in Greece, Judea, Alexandria, or Rome?

    ***PLEASE CONSIDER: There is not a shred of evidence to say the 7-Church letters represent 7-Church Ages,in succession, one after the other.

      xx This is MYTH and cause of great error!

      xx Like the False Numbers Teachers, NO TWO agree on when the "wildly-assumed" 7-Church ages begin and end!

      xx What's really amazing and terribly devastating - since millions lived through all of those ages - and HAD NOT A CLUE from Scripture that there were:

        > Seven Distinct Church ages;

        > With Seven Distinct sets of rules and commands;

        > With Seven Distinct sets of sins and purposes;

        >>> However, since NO ONE WHO EVER LIVED during these many centuries knew this "Modern-Mumbo-Jumbo--Nunmerology-Mythology . . .

        >>> They didn't even know what they were supposed to be doing in their OWN particular Church age!!!

        >>> Amazing! God supposedly gave these seven Church ages specific commands to carry out . . . and NONE OF THESE AGES knew about the seven Church ages!!!



Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;

Grave Fact For Prophecy Experts!

    A Grave Fact for Modern Prophecy experts to consider is as follows:

      FACT-A: "IF" the Seven Churches of Asia DID represent Seven Church Ages;

      FACT-B: "THEN" all of the NEW IDEAS that no one ever believed in the whole history of the church (a) "prophecy numerology" ideas, (b) all of the "7-Church-ages" ideas, (c) all of the "Secret-rapture-at-any-moment" myths (no one who EVER lived believed Christ could come back any day . . .

      . . . ALL believed the Church MUST do what Christ commanded - as Jesus said - and THEN He would return . . . and NOT ONE DAY BEFORE!

      FACT-B, CONT'D: All of these MODERN DOCTRINES ALL HAVE DEVELOPED in the Last Church Age - that of Laodicea, of which The Scripture tells us:

        >> The LAODICEAN CHURCH had not ONE redeeming quality!

        >> Not EVEN ONE good thing could Christ say!

        >> That HE, Jesus, was NOT even in this apostate Church, and He knocked on the door, hoping to be invited in, Himself!

        >> That this "assumed-last-Church-Age" was naked, wretched, miserable, BLIND, and needed "spiritual eye-salve", that they might SEE their apostasy;

      FACT-C: If "The 7-Church-Age Teaching" were true . . .

        ** . . .then they make themselves heretics . . . as they are ALL RICH TEACHERS OF THE "APOSTATE LAST-CHURCH AGE!" . . .

        ** . . . the one that is SICKENINGLY LUKEWARM . . .

        ** . . . that Jesus said He vomits up!

        ** This LAODICEAN CHURCH AGE is the age that produced the devastating RAPTURE ESCAPISM THEORY!

      QUESTION: Then how valuable is NEW TEACHING of the sickeningly lukewarm Laodicean Church-age - the hersey of the Vomit-Inducing Church-age theologians?

      QUESTION: Is it wise to accept the End-Time teaching by the APOSTATE CHURCH as the correct teaching?

      QUESTION: Is it wise to believe the End-Time teaching by the APOSTATE CHURCH when Jesus says this Church age did NOT even have Him in their midst?

      QUESTION: Is it wise to REJECT all of the End-Time teaching by Christ in the TARES PARABLE, and ALL the teachers for 1700 years . . .

      . . . then accept the End-Time teaching by the APOSTATE MONEY-MAKERS . . .

      . . . getting rich off teaching FEAR of the ANTICHRIST???


    Is this wise?

    We urge you to embrace the GREAT COMMISSION (Matthew 28:18-20) and reject the RAPTURE ESCAPISM THEORY that is so DESTROYING THE USA!



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

We urge you to RE-THINK Prophecy Understanding!

    ***WE BEG OF YOU: look for whole teachings given by Christ, an Apostle or Prophet - not "snippets Snatched" from here and there, NEVER give as part of a whole!

    REALIZE: In any field of study - such as anti-aging, cancer, Alzheimer's, etc., - when there are several contradicting explanations for something, this is evidence that NONE understand it CLEARLY enough to convince the others!

    When the "Clearly Correct Explanation" is put forth with evidence, the errors will go away when the generation of stubborn leaders who wont admit error dies off.

    [6] Currently, there are many conflicting and contradicting beliefs for how Christ returns:

      >> PRE-TRIB Rapture, the Hal Lindsay/Grant Jeffery position who guaranteed us Christ would return by 1976, 1988, 2000, etc.;

      >> MID-TRIB Rapture, Comes at the 'Last Trump';

      >> POST-TRIB Rapture, Comes at the 'Last Day';

      >> NO-TRIB Rapture, The Kingdom grows and leavens whole Earth;

      >> SECRET Rapture, [Thief in the night!];

      >> OPEN Rapture, [Paul says that day will NOT over take us as a thief!];

      >> MANY Raptures: Old Testament Resurrected saints at Christ's resurrection; the Church initially, the 144,000 separately, the tribulation saints, etc.;

      >> PRE-MILL Return of Jesus, most TV evangelists, 20th century;

      >> POST MILL Return of Jesus, most of the Reformation leaders, last 500 years;

      >> A-MILL Return of Jesus, the Orthodox Churches for 1500 years;

      >> PAN-MILL . . . multitudes of current believers who admit EACH position has "Proof Texts" that contradict each other - and NONE of them can explain the other's Proof-Texts - so the HONEST THEOLOGIANS admit it is a MESS, but the still believe it is all going to PAN-OUT alright!



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

Will you research for yourself?


What has the Church ALWAYS BELIEVED,
UNBROKEN, from Christ through Today?

[7] It appears certain to us - having spent life-times studying what the Church has ALWAYS BELIEVED, PREACHED & TAUGHT - IN UNBROKEN SEQUENCE FROM THE APOSTLES THROUGH EVERY GENERATION WITH - WITH NOTHING ADDED, NOTHING NEW" . . .

that ALL of the "modern popular theories are in error" and contrary to Scriptural truths taught in every previous generation . . . from Charles Spurgeon back to Jesus and Paul!

[8] Surely you realize that the most popular theories were devised in the recent generations, that NONE of God's Great Leaders and Martyrs of the ages believed them, or ever thought of them, that they were never preached or in print!

The Modern TV Theories are just bits and pieces, snatches of scriptures, taken from here and there, RIPPED completely out of Context - MANY Times even 'Partial-Sentences' - made to to create a false picture to sell a book (or a million or two . . .

[9] Surely you know that that NONE of the few men, whom God ordained to write commentary on the whole Bible:

    >> John Calvin's Notes on the whole Geneva-Pilgrim's Bible, early 1600's;

    >> Matthew Henry, Commentary of the whole Bible in Six-Volumes, around AD 1700;

    >> Adam Clarke, Commentary of the whole Bible in Six-Volumes, around 1800's;

    >> Charles Spurgeon, exegetical sermons on the whole Bible in 57 Volumes, later 1800's;

NONE of these great men ever found such convoluted, cockamamie theories as are taught today, as the most popular theories devised in the recent generations.



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

What did JESUS TEACH on Prophecy?

For all Doctrines, ALWAYS start with Words of Jesus! IF Jesus did NOT mentioned it, how important can it be?

[10] Dearest Fellow Believer: WHAT DID JESUS TEACH CLEARLY?

PLEASE take FIVE-MINUTES and read the Tares and Wheat Parable below - the ONLY teaching in all of Scripture that gives us a full, complete, overview of the whole New Testament era: simple, clear, concise, NEEDING NO other Scriptures to understand!

    THEN take this clear outline of the whole Kingdom Age - From Christ beginning to sow the Good Seed . . . UNTIL the final Harvest by the Angels, judgement of the damned and eternal bliss of the saved with their Heavenly Father;

    AND . . . use this clear outline of Christ's to help you interpret Daniel, The Revelation, Matthew 24-25, Paul's writings etc.



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

Please Consider Christ's Great Commission:

    [11] Dearest Fellow Believer: DO YOU BELIEVE THE GREAT COMMISSION? That Christ meant for us to OBEY HIM and do what He Commanded?

    OR, do you believe Jesus wasn't serious about this command, and didn't mean it in the least; that He was just letting off steam because He was "pumped-up" after the resurrection?

    Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven 'and in earth'.

    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    Teaching them to observe ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE TAUGHT YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    [Obviously the capital letters are ours, for emphasis, to make sure you see that:

Christ's Great Commission is NOT:

    >> Running through the streets Preaching, (USA or Uganda);

    >> Shouting John 3:16 only;

    >> Praying a 10-second prayer;

    >> Tossing them a copy of the Gospel of John - or usually just telling them to "find a church somewhere";

    >> Rushing on to the next person cause Jesus might come back today!

Nothing could be of greater damage to "Understanding the Cause of Christ", and Confusing the Commission of Christ to His Church!



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

Christ's Great Commission:


    >> Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to EVERY CREATURE!

    >> Teaching "ALL Nations" - Yes, including the 57 Muslim nations of 1.5 BILLION MUSLIMS too! (of which Christians are currently in almost NONE of their nations openly!)


    >> EVERY Parable, EVERY Principle, EVERY Scripture, EVERY Prophecy,

    >> EVERY WORD that came out of His mouth (this is what we are to live by - EVERY WORD - not bread alone!)

    >> As "EVERY WORD is SPIRIT" Jesus said;

    >> And "EVERY WORD is LIFE" Jesus said;Whatever you believe

GREAT QUESTION for American Preachers

    Would you honestly say we have accomplished this yet in the USA?

    CHRIST'S GREAT COMMISSION must be fulfilled BEFORE the Return of Jesus, so say God's many Great Church Leaders of all ages!



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

Christ's Parable of Tares and Wheat: AGAIN;

Christ's Overview of the Whole New Testament Age:

Matthew 13:36-43
    "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, 'Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field'.

    He answered and said unto them,

      * He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

      * The field is the world;

      * The good seed are the children of the kingdom;

      * but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

      * The enemy that sowed them is the devil;

      * the harvest is the end of the world;

      * and the reapers are the angels.

    As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

    The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

    And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.



TOP 100 Modern-Times Experts;

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and welcome to "PROPHECY EXPERTS TOP 100 at;

Some questions on Parable of Tares:


    ** (1) Do you see JESUS SAYS: "The tares are gathered FIRST, and not the wheat?

    ** (2) Do you see JESUS SAYS: "The tares being gathered FIRST - are the ONES TAKEN - and not the wheat?

    ** (3) Do you see JESUS SAYS: "The tares are TAKEN AWAY and the Wheat are the ONES LEFT BEHIND?

    ** (4) Do you see that the Angels come to EARTH to "gather OUT OF Christ's Kingdom,"

      (A) "ALL things that offend" (all manner of sinful entities, alcohol, drugs, etc,;

      (B) And "ALL Them that DO INIQUITY!"

    ** (5) Then Jesus says: The RIGHTEOUS that are left behind - INHERITING THE WHOLE EARTH (as MANY, MANY Scriptures promise, from Christ's Beatitudes to Psalm 37), and with the evils gone, the RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH as the SUN!


    Re-study All of the prophetic Scriptures that are 'Bits-&-Pieces' - 'taken-out-of-context' from 'here-&-there' and put them together in Christ's framework!

    THEN, you will come to a SIMPLE understanding, easily agreeable, that ALL have believed from Christ to 1900 - until the MODERN LAODICEAN AGE - with even the FICTION WRITERS of Hollywood making mythical ARMAGEDDON movies! . . .

    . . . and the Truth of Scripture was lost to the most of the MODERN, LUKEWARM CHURCH, END-TIMES-THEORIES!




    Prophecy Teachers Alphabetical Order




    Following The List of the "TOP-100!"

    Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Adam Clarke, B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodges, James Stuart Russell, John Calvin, John Wesley, John Knox and MORE!

    These Based Prophecy Understanding on the Bible Alone!

    The following "TOP-100 All use Television and Current events to Interpret the Prophecy of God's Word

      EXAMPLE of egregious Error!

        >> ALL of the Rapture Prophecy Greats from World War-2 through Hal Lindsay's "Late, Great, Planet Earth" did as follows:

        >> ALL SAW the great nemesis of Christ as the COMMUNIST SOVIET UNION in Prophecy as the KING of the NORTH!

        >> NONE SAW - or even hinted at the terrible rise if Radical, Anti-Christ ISLAM in prophecy - NOT EVEN ONE RAPTURE PERSON!

      TODAY, POST-AD-2,000:

        >> ALL SEE the terrible rise if Radical, Anti-Christ ISLAM all through Bible Prophecy!

        >> NONE SEE - The now disbanded USSR (Soviet Union) in prophecy, and in fact, the former Soviet Union is RAPIDLY being overrun by Islam, at a much faster rate that Hispanic growth in the USA!

      THE CERTAIN TRUTH IS, the Rapture Teachers were NOT understanding prophecy in the 50's, 60's and 70's by Scripture but by the NEWS and HOW THE WORLD LOOKED TO THEM . . . with the USSR threatening the Christian World!

      They are STILL IGNORING SCRIPTURE . . .the growth of Christianity that EVANGELIZES THE WHOLE WORLD before Christ returns, . . .

      . . . and are STILL understanding prophecy by HOW THE WORLD LOOKS TO THEM TODAY . . . with the ISLAM threatening the Christian World!

    Surely, if you are an honest scholar of God's Word, you see this easily and clearly, as sad as it may be to admit.

    The Radical Rapture Authors - Lindsay, LaHaye, Van Impe, Grant Jefferies, Perry Stone, Paul Crouch, and many more - they are true Christians! They are NOT bad men (though money-oriented and Anti-Christ Rapture books sell!), . . .

    But they do interpret PROPHECY BY THE NEWS, then use the NEWS as "PROOF" they are correct!

    If they knew "BEANS!" about Bible Prophecy, why did they NOT see the Rise of Islam in the Scripture THEN . . . as they "conveniently" are finding it now?

    We are praying earnestly for you as you study God and His His Word!

Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;


Alert! ALERT!


Are You READY for the RAPTURE?

Read Christ's Amazing Overview of End-Time Events!

(All RAPTURE-READY from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

    Precious Greetings, "End-Time Prophecy Students and Scholars!" God Bless You and WELCOME to "PROPHECY EXPERTS HEADQUARTERS" at;


    HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONOther books by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.The Christian Case Against Abortion, 1982, rev. 1989The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages, 1986The Charismatic Gift of Prophecy: A Reformed Response to WayneGrudem, 1986, rev. 1989The Beast of Revelation, 1989Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation, 1989House Divided: The Break-up ofDispensational Theology (with GregL. Bahnsen), 1989The Lord ofthe Saved: Getting to the Heart ofthe LordshiP Controversy(1992)God's Law in the Modern World: A Non-'ll!chnical Introduction toTheonomic Ethics (1992)Contributions to:David L. Bender, ed., The Welfare State: Opposing Viewpoints(1982)Gary North, ed., Theonomy: An Informed Response (1992)HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION

    Author Last Name



    prophecy, theology

    Book Title

    He Shall Have Dominion




    Eschatology - 0930464621

    Year of Publication - 1992

    Price of Paper Format - $19.95

    Edition - 1st

    Long Description

    Is Christ's Church Predestined To Failure?The vast majority of those who call themselves evangelical Christians believe that the Church of Jesus Christ has been predestinated by God to fail in history. "It cannot possibly succeed!" Millions of Christians believe that the Church will be "raptured" soon, removing Christians from the turmoils and responsibilities of this life.

    Rev. Kenneth L. Gentry Th.D., argues otherwise in He Shall Have Dominion. He shows that Christians have many great things to accomplish for Christ before Christ returns bodily to earth.Two centuries ago, Protestant Christians believed that they would die before Jesus came back to earth. This affected the way they thought, prayed, worked, and saved. They built for the future. They were future-oriented. They were upper-class.

    Today, many Protestants believe that Jesus is coming back soon, so they will not have to die. This belief affects the way they think, pray, work, and save. They are present-oriented. They are lower-class. He Shall Have Dominion refuted this outlook, verse by verse.

    Most Protestants today believe that Jesus cannot rule successfully through His people in every area of life until He returns to earth bodily and sits on a political throne in Jerusalem. (Mormons believe this too, only they think the throne will be in Independence, Missouri.)

    Other evangelical Christians believe that Jesus cannot rule through His Church until after the final judgment, after Satan is cast into the lake of fire, and that He will never sit on a throne in Jerusalem.One tiny group believes that Jesus, just like Satan, does not need to be physically present in order for His people to exercise dominion in every area of life.

    The kingdom of God in history, just the kingdom of Satan in history, operates as God always intended: without the bodily presence of its Master. Jesus, like Satan, rules in history representatively. He Shall Have Dominion shows why.

    Most Christians believe that the healing effects of Christ's gospel of salvation are limited to the individual soul, the Christian family, and the institutional Church.

    They believe that the gospel can heal personal governments, family governments, and Church governments, but it cannot heal civil governments. They believe that the power of sin in history is greater than the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, at least outside of the Church and the family.

    One tiny group believes that Christ's salvation is as comprehensive as Adam's rebellion, and more powerful in history as time goes on. He Shall Have Dominion makes this case.

    He Shall Have Dominion is a positive book: positive about the future of the Church. He Shall Have Dominion teaches that Christians will exercise dominion in history. It therefore teaches responsibility. This is why its message is hated. Today's Christians have been taught that they must flee responsibility, for Jesus' sake.

    They would rather believe that God has predestined His Church to failure than believe that they are personally responsible for transforming society. This is why the Church is so weak in our day.

    Inside Flap

    In This World, But Not of This WorldIf you were to ask the average Christian, "Are you of this world?", he would probably answer: "I am in this world, but I am not of this world." What is he talking about?

    He means that his citizenship is in heaven, where Jesus Christ sits on His throne. He means that the origin of his true legal condition is outside of this world. He is saved by grace, and grace is not of this world. But grace is surely in this world. The only place where sinners can receive God's saving grace is in this world. The Christian understands that there is a huge difference between being in this world physically and being of this world spiritually.

    Want to confuse the average Christian? Ask him a second question: "Does this mean that Christ's kingdom, like you, is not of this world but equally in this world?"

    The moment you take this obvious theological step from the two-fold condition of the individual Christian - in this world but not of this world - to the two-fold condition of Christ's kingdom, you confuse him. Why Because fear produces confusion.

    Why does this idea scare him? Because Christ's kingdom is as extensive as Satan's kingdom is. It is designed by God to extend just as far as sin extends. It is a civilization.

    But if Christ's kingdom is in this world, and the Christian is also in this world, then his is part of Christ's earthly kingdom. He is therefore responsible for extending Christ's kingdom in history. This scares him. More than this: it angers him. He will not hear of such a thing.

    To say that Christ's kingdom is not of this world but is surely in this world means that he has responsibility beyond the local church and his family. He has been taught all his life that Christians have no responsibility other than to preach a world-rejecting, world-fleeing gospel. He has been taught that social responsibility is ungodly - an form of liberalism.

    Outraged, he will quote Jesus' words to Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world." This means, he insists, that Jesus' kingdom is exclusively spiritual. It is not in this world. End of argument.

    But this is not the end of the argument. It is only the first half of the argument. Jesus' kingdom, like the Christian's salvation, is not of this world. It comes from God, who is a spirit. It comes from heaven. But Jesus' kingdom is no less in this world than the Christian is in this world. And because both the Christian and Christ's kingdom are in this world, the Christian has a responsibility before God to extend God's kingdom in history.

    All of this is explained by Kenneth L. Gentry in He Shall Have Dominion. He presents the Bible's theology of maximum personal responsibility, which is matched by maximum kingdom optimism.

    He shows that both authority and power flow to those who exercise responsibility, and Christians are told by God to become fully responsible in history. Christ shall have dominion in history representatively: through His people.

    Gentry shows, verse by verse, that the Bible teaches that Christ's kingdom will triumph in history. This means that Christians are on the winning side - not just at the end of history, but in history. If they were of this world, they would lose. If Christ's kingdom were of this world, it would lose. But neither they nor Christ's kingdom are of this world.

    When Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," He was announcing His kingdom's victory in history, for He is king over history. He shall dominion progressively in history, for He rose from the grave in history and ascended into heaven over history.

    Catalog Description

    The vast majority of those who call themselves evangelical Christians believe that the Church of Jesus Christ has been predestined by God to fail in history. Millions of Christians believe that the Church will be "raptured" soon, removing Christians from the turmoils and responsibilities of this life.

    Gentry argues otherwise.

    He shows that Christians have many great things to accomplish for Christ before He returns bodily to earth. A Postmillennial EschatologyKenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Institute for Christian EconomicsTyler, Texas92-15890CIPCopyright, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., 1992Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataGentry, Kenneth L.He shall have dominion / Ken Gentryp. em.Includes bibliographical references and indexes.ISBN 0-930464-62-1 (alk. paper) : $19.951. Eschatology. 2. Millennialism. 3. Postmillennialism.4. Dominion theology. 5. Calvinism. 6. ReformedChurch - Doctrines.I. TitleBT821.2.G46 1992236' .9--dc20Institute for Christian EconomicsP. O. Box 8000Tyler, TX 75711TABLE OF CONTENTSForeword, Gary North IXPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. xlPART I: INTRODUCTION1. The Significance of Eschatology 12. The Purpose of This Treatise 283. The Pessimistic Millennial Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504. Introduction to Postmillennialism 65PART II: INTERPRETATION5. The Revelation of Truth 976. The Covenants of Redemption 1067. The Righteousness of God 1228. The Hermeneutic of Scripture 144PART III: EXPOSITION9. Creation 17710. Anticipation 18711. Realization 21012. Expansion 23213. Consummation 269PART IV: SPECIFICATION14. Time Frames . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30915. Features 33716. Characters 36617. Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394PART V: OBJECTIONS18. Pragmatic Objections 42519. Theological Objections 44920. Biblical Objections 468PART VI: CONCLUSIONConcluding Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497Appendix A: Cultural Antinomianism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505Appendix B: Postmillennialism and Suffering 526Bibliography 540Select Scripture Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 551Author Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 560Subject Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 565About the Author 585In memory oftwo valiant servants of Christ:Dr. Cornelius Van Til(who taught me to think as a Christian)andDr. Loraine Boettner(who taught me to hope as a Christian)"Christ Shall Have Dominion"(From The Psalter, 1912)Based on Psalm 72Christ shall have dominion Over land and sea;Earth's remotest regions Shall His empire be;They that wilds inhabit Shall their worship bring,Kings shall render tribute, Nations serve our King.When the needy seek Him He will mercy show;Yea, the weak and helpless Shall His pity know;He will surely save them From oppression's mightFor their lives are precious in His holy sight.Ever and forever Shall His name endure,Long as suns continue It shall stand secure;And in Him forever All men shall be blest,And all nations hail Him King of Kings confessed.Unto God Almighty Joyful Zion sings;He alone is glorious, Doing wondrous things.Evermore, ye people, Bless His glorious name;His eternal glory Through the earth proclaim.FOREWORDGary NorthSo shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not returnunto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shallprosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55: 11, KJV)The gospel message of personal salvation is this: eternal life isby God's grace through saving faith in the completed work of JesusChrist. When a Christian shares this gospel message with anyone,he sends out God's holy Word. This Word never returnsto God empty. Sometimes it saves. Sometimes it damns.What is the legal basis of this message of eternal life? It beginswith history. Jesus Christ, who was both a perfect man andthe incarnate son of God, came down from heaven into history,perfectly met God's standards of righteousness, suffered injusticeat the hands of unrighteous men, was crucified, dead, andburied. On the third day, He rose from the dead. He ascendedinto heaven and now sits at the right hand of God, the Fatheralmighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living andthe dead. Any objections so far? I hope not.Then what about eternal life? It also begins in history. Thosepeople who believe and publicly confess in this life that JesusChrist's representative legal work of redemption is their only legalclaim to mercy before God, both now and in eternity, are saved,x HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONassuming that they continue in this profession of faith untiltheir physical death. Once a person is saved by God's judicialdeclaration of "not guilty" (i.e., justification), he remains saved,but the internal and external evidence of the legal fact of thissalvation is the person's continuing belief in the gospel message.Those who refuse to believe this message are lost. "He thatbelieveth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believethnot the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth onhim" Uohn 3:36). God's grace and wrath both begin in history.This means that Jesus' work of redemption in history is twofold:reconciliation and condemnation. Same work, two effects.Same gospel, two effects. This two-fold aspect of the gospelreflects the two-fold aspect of God's judgment: blessing andcursing (Lev. 26; Deut. 28).1 This means that whenever a Christianshares the message of God's reconciliation through JesusChrist, he is also sharing the message of God's condemnation byJesus Christ. There is no escape from God's two-fold judgment.The threat of condemnation is unavoidable. Jesus said:"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came notto send peace, but a sword" (Matt. 10:34). Ifthe recipient of thegospel message fails to respond in faith, he is worse off thanbefore he heard the gospel. As in the parable of the two evilservants, the one who knew better will receive greater punishment."And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and preparednot himself, neither did according to his will, shall bebeaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did committhings worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be muchrequired: and to whom men have committed much, of him theywill ask the more" (Luke 12:47-48). As surely as there is a heavenand a hell, Christ's gospel reconciles some and condemns others.1. Ray R. Sutton, That }flu May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant (2nd ed.; Tyler,Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), ch. 4. Sutton is president of thePhiladelphia Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church.Foreword XlThe Gospel's Effects in HistoryWhen a person is legally reconciled to God, this changes thekind of person he is. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he isa new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all thingsare become new" (2 Cor. 5: 17). This transformation is bothjudicial and moral. It happens all at once. But its effects do nothappen all at once. As in the case of a newborn baby, it takestime in order for the new person in Christ to mature spiritually.It takes time, as the Bible says, to work out the salvation thatis ours in fear and trembling (Phil. 2: 12). It is all sanctification- God's sovereign act of setting us apart from the world morally butthere are three aspects of this sanctification, even thoughthey constitute one process. Theologians speak of definitivesanctification - the complete moral perfection that we receive bygrace at the moment when we are saved - and progressive sanctification:the working out in history of the moral perfection thatis in principle ours already by grace. There is also final sanctification:the perfection that we receive by grace after the resurrectionat the end of history. It is all sanctification. It is all bygrace, ordained from the beginning, including our good works:For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man shouldboast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus untogood works, which God hath before ordained that we shouldwalk in them (Eph. 2:8-10).We can see this "definitive-progressive-final" process inoperation in the first chapter of Genesis. God created the worldin six days. At the end of each day, He pronounced His workgood. "God saw that it was good" occurs repeatedly in thechapter. God's daily work was good in the morning; it was goodall day long; and it was good in the evening. At the end of sixdays, His work was complete. It, too, was good. More thangood: very good (Gen. 1:31). Work completed is better than work justxu•. HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONbegun. If there were not sin in this world, everything we dowould be like that: all good, but getting better all the time.Forever. This is what life will be like after the resurrection forall those saved by grace through faith. From the first things(creation) to the final things Uudgment), and everything inbetween: it would all be good.Of course, there is sin in this world. There is perpetualconflict in history between good and evil: God vs. Satan, angelsVS. demons, covenant-keepers vs. covenant-breakers, eternal lifevs. eternal death. The question that we need to get answeredcorrectly is this: Is the principle of evil more powerful in history thanthe principle of good? Christians know that Satan is surely nomatch for God in terms of power. History is not some sort ofcosmic arm-wrestling match between God and Satan. If it were,God would win ten rounds out often. But the primary issue inhistory is not power; the primary issue is ethics. This does notmean that history does not involve questions of power. It doesmean that questions of power are subordinate to questions of ethics.Might does not, in and of itself, make right. Agreed?But there is this nagging question: Is might in some wayanoutcome of right, or an aspect of right? Put another way, ismight always actively opposed to right? Put yet another way,must right eventually produce might? Or does right eventuallyproduce weakness? By eventually, I do not mean "overnight"; Imean over long periods of time. Put in language of moderneconomics, do the good get richer and the bad get poorer overtime? Or is it the other way around? The Bible has an answer:But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I willgive it unto you to possess it, a land that Howeth with milk andhoney: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you fromother people. (Lev. 20:24)And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight ofall Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must gowith this people unto the land which the LoRD hath sworn untoForeword Xllltheir fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to (Deut. 31 :7)His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.(Psa. 25: 13)For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,they shall inherit the earth. (Psa. 37:9)But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselvesin the abundance of peace. (Psa. 37:11)For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and theythat be cursed of him shall be cut off. (Psa. 37:22)Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee toinherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.(Psa. 37:34)And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out ofJudah aninheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, andmy servants shall dwell there. (!sa. 65:9)Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).This process ofinheritance culminates in final judgment: "Thenshall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessedof my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you fromthe foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). The biblical principleis easy to state: righteousness is the foundation of inheritance.The point is, this process does not apply only to final judgment;it is definitive, progressive, and final. It is therefore historical.EschatologyNow we come to the topic of this book: eschatology. Eschatologyis that part of systematic theology which deals with "finalthings." As I hope to show in this Foreword, only very recentlyXIV HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONhas Protestant, evangelical eschatology begun to deal with thefirst things about the last things. We have not had a developed,comprehensive, exegetically defended presentation of exactlyhow the Church ofJesus Christ is required by God to conductitself ethically as it moves from the here and now to those "lastthings." Nor have we had a detailed presentation of exactlywhat the Church should expect to happen along the way if itconducts itselfaccording to God's ethical requirements, or whatwill happen when it refuses to do so.But that was then, and this is now. He Shall Have Dominionremedies the problem, and does this comprehensively, exegetically,and in a style that is easy to follow for the reader whopays attention. It fills the gap as no other book has so far.Take a look at the book's contents. There are a lot of Bibleverses cited: thousands. There are a lot of footnotes to booksand articles. It had to be this way. Dr. Gentry is arguing for anancient and respected view of eschatology: postmillennialism.This places him at a disadvantage. There have not been manytheologians in the twentieth century who have held this view ofthe comprehensive future success of the gospel. This was notthe case a century ago, but it is the case today. Thus, he comesbefore an audience that is disinclined to believe him. He has toovercome this resistance. Like a conservative college studenttaking an exam from a liberal professor, he has to outperformthe liberal students in the class in order to get the same grade.He is also doing his best to overcome a lot of misinformationthat has been taught in conservative seminary classrooms formany decades. He knows; he attended two of them: one dispensational,the other amillennial. Although Dr. Gentry hasmade the postmillennial position clear in previous books, andalthough the Institute for Christian Economics has sent outcopies of these books free of charge to offending faculties, thesame misinformation continues to be presented in the classroomto vulnerable, trusting students. (I much prefer the wordlies to "misinformation," since this gets across to the readerForeword xvwhat is really going on in seminary classrooms, but I am tryingto be a Christian gentleman, since Dr. Gentry is.2)By carefully documenting everything that he says about theBible, Dr. Gentry does his best to gain the reader's confidencein what he is saying. In documenting with footnotes what hesays that other theologians have written, he is doing the same.Any reader who thinks Dr. Gentry is exaggerating has beengiven proof of the truth of what he is saying. The critic canread the verbatim citation in the text, or check the originalsource, whether it is a Bible verse or a quotation from a bookor an article. This will not persuade many contemporary criticsof postmillennialism - the price of conversion is high - but itwill silence those with any integrity. Dr. Gentry has followed mylong-term strategy: stuff the critics' mouths with footnotes.He has expended considerable effort to accomplish the followinggoals: (1) to persuade the reader that his analysis iscorrect; (2) to provide supporting evidence for every statement;(3) to avoid exaggeration; (4) to present a positive case for whathe believes; (5) to summarize accurately~the arguments againsthis position; (6) to refute the major critics of postmillennialism;(7) to present the implications of his position; and (8) to statethe implications of rival positions. This is why the book is long.2. Here is an example of this systematic, deliberate misinformation. Threestudents at Dallas Theological Seminary came to Tyler to videotape me and RaySutton in 1985. The very first question that the interviewer asked was this: "Why doyou say that Israel is identical to the Church?" We replied (approximately): "Wedon't. We believe that Israel will be brought to Christ prior to the millennium. Thishas been taught by Robert Haldane, Charles Hodge, and John Murray. It is the viewof Scottish Presbyterianism. The Westminster Larger Catechism instructs us to prayfor the Jews: Answer 191." The interviewer was so stunned that he had his partnershut off the video camera. (I kept my audio cassette recorder running.) He then toldus that they had all been taught in class that Christian Reconstructionists believe thatIsrael is identical to the Church. I had argued against this view in my 1981 book,Unconditional Surrender: God's Prot;ram for Victory (Tyler, TX: Geneva, 1981), p. 199.They had never been told of the traditional Scottish postmillennial interpretation ofRomans 11. This is unconscionable. It is also typical. It is this lack of both integrityand scholarship that is toppling dispensational seminaries one by one.XVI HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONI know of no book that presents the case for any view of eschatologythat is equally painstaking. He covers every base.Notice, too: his book has a positive aspect and a negativeaspect. As with the gospel, this book has a two-fold goal: reconciliationand condemnation. There is no escape from thesegoals. When we share the gospel, we are bringing God's covenantlawsuit, just as Jonah brought it before the people of Nineveh.This lawsuit offers blessings and cursings. Therefore, HeShall Have Dominion is designed to achieve the following results:(1) to give confidence and greater information to those whoalready believe its general position; (2) to persuade those whohave not yet made up their minds; (3) to persuade those whoare still open to new evidence; (4) to silence the critics.An honest critic, if he goes into print against He Shall HaveDominion, should do the following: (1) show how Gentry hasgenerally misinterpreted biblical eschatology, i.e., demonstratea pattern of misinterpretation; (2) provide several examples ofthis pattern; (3) refer the reader to equally detailed and equallycomprehensive studies. in eschatology that offer biblical solutionsto the problems that Gentry raises; (4) show how Gentryeither ignored this missing book or completely misrepresentedit. While a short book review cannot match Gentry's massivedocumentation, the reviewer had better be able to point thereader to a book or books of equal or greater exactness as HeShall Have Dominion. If he fails to do the third task - suggest anexegetically superior book - he is implicitly admitting thatGentry has offered the most exegetically impressive case thatanyone has made so far. My belief is that no reviewer will publiclyidentify the definitive book on eschatology; this wouldinvolve too much commitment on his part. No reviewer todaytrusts any book on eschatology unless it is his own, but reviewersrarely have the chutzpah to say this in print. So, Gentry wins.This leads me to a discussion of the state of eschatologicalwriting in this, the final decade of the second millennium afterthe life, death, resurrection, and ascension ofJesus Christ, theForeword XVllSecond Person of the Trinity, the perfect son of man. The year2000 is fast approaching, yet the Church has not done its eschatologicalhomework. To prove this statement, I need to gointo a brief history of a long series of inconclusive debates overthe earthly future of the Church. To explain why He Shall HaveDominion is so important, I need to show what has preceded it.An Ancient AccusationHe Shall Have Dominion defends theonomic or covenantalpostmillennialism. More than once, some critic of ChristianReconstruction in general and postmillennialism in particularhas confronted me with this statement: "There has never beenan exegetical case made for postmillennialism." My answeralways is the same: "What about Roderick Campbell's?" The critic'sanswer is always the same: "I've never heard of RoderickCampbell."Roderick Campbell, a Canadian layman and businessman,wrote Israel and the New Covenant in the early 1950's. It waspublished in 1954 by Presbyterian & Reformed PublishingCompany. These were the years before The Genesis Flood (1961)and Competent to Counsel (1970) provided P&R with a widermarket and a lot more income. Campbell's book did not receivea great deal of attention. Reformed (Calvinist) theological bookswritten by businessmen rarely do - a lesson that I have personallylearned, painfully and expensively.Campbell's book is a masterpiece: short chapters, tightlywritten, filled with Bible verses and clear exposition. It is a littleover 350 pages long, so the average reader has no excuse fornot finishing it. The book's Preface was written by O. 1: Allis,one of the greatest Old Testament scholars of all time, authorof The Five Books of Moses (1943) and Prophecy and the Church(1945), a devastating exegetical critique of dispensationalismthat has yet to be answered in equal or greater detail, almostXVlll HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONhalf a century after its publication.3 Contrary to a widely heldopinion, Allis was a postmillennialist, not an amillennialist - atrue heir of the theology of the old (pre-1929) Princeton TheologicalSeminary, including its eschatology. This is why he wasso enthusiastic about Israel and the New Covenant. The book wentout of print in the late 1960's. It was reprinted jointly by P&Rand Geneva Divinity School Press in 1981. It is again out ofprint. But this is not to say that it never was in print, which iswhy the critics are wrong when they assert that there has neverbeen an exegetical case for postmillennialism.They are wrong for many other reasons. There have beenmany presentations of various aspects of postmillennialism overthe years. There is David Brown's Christ's Second Coming: Will ItBe Premillennial?, published in 1842 and reprinted in 1990.4There is the postmillennial interpretation of Romans 11: theconversion of the Jews, which will launch a great era of God'sblessing on the Church. This interpretation has appeared repeatedlyin Calvinist expositions, such as in the commentariesby Robert Haldane, Charles Hodge, and John Murray. Thereis the huge Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah by PrincetonSeminary theologian J. A. Alexander, which is not well knownbecause of its enormous bulk and detailed argumentation.There are the theological writings of Benjamin B. Warfield,another Princeton Seminary theologian, who carried on thePrinceton eschatology until his death in 1921. There is Loraine3. Charles C. Ryrie's short book, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press,1965), attempted a generation ago to refute Allis' case for continuity in New Testamenthistory - that is, no dispensational "secret" rapture in the midst of history, nopremillennial Second Advent of Christ prior to the final judgment - by citing ultradispensationalism'sarguments for discontinuity in history. Then he used Allis-typearguments for prophetic continuity in order to refute uitradispensationalism'sarguments that the Church did not begin in Acts 2 or Acts 4, but later, after Paul wascalled to minister to the Gentiles. For a more detailed consideration of the issuesraised by Ryrie, see my comments in Publisher's Foreword, Greg L. Bahnsen andKenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler,TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. xxiv-xxv.4. Edmonton, Alberta; Canada: Still Water Revival Books (1882 edition).Foreword XIXBoettner's book, The Millennium (1958), which presents a defenseof the traditional Princeton eschatology, as well as a critiqueof amillennialism (brief) and premillennialism. There is].Marcellus Kik's An Eschatology of Victory (1971). There is R. J.Rushdoony's Thy Kingdom Come (1970). Last, but hardly least,there is David Chilton: Paradise Restored (1985), The Days ofVengeance (1987), and The Great Tribulation (1987). (Some scholarswould include Geerhardus Vos in this list.5) There alsohave been lesser-known defenders throughout the twentiethcentury. Gentry mentions some of them in Chapter 2.One thing is sure: postmillennialism, contrary to Alva J.McClain's 1956 assertion, has not disappeared.6 What has disappearedare systematic, detailed defenses of dispensationalismwritten by theologians teaching at dispensational seminaries.7An Incomplete Case for Every Previous PositionIt is true that there has not been a recent, definitive, comprehensive,detailed exegetical presentation of the case forpostmillennialism - a book about which large numbers of postmillennialistshave said with confidence: "Yes, here is our book.Sink this, and you will have seriously damaged our position."What needs to be pointed out is that the postmillennialists arein no worse shape in this regard than historic premillennialists,dispensational premillennialists, and amillennialists. The fact is,5. Vos wrote in some passages as though he held to postmillennialism, mostnotably in his comments on Romans 11: the conversion of the Jews. He specifies thatthe conversion of the Jews must take place before the Second Advent, and that thisconversion will inaugurate "seasons of refreshing." Vos, "Eschatology of the NewTestament," International Standard Biblical Encyclopedia, 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,[1929] 1943), II, p. 983. He is usually regarded as amillennial.6. Alva J. McClain, "Premillennialism as a Philosophy of History," BibliothecaSacra, CXIII (1956), p. 113.7. The last full-scale defense of the dispensational system was Charles Ryrie's20D-page Dispensationalism Today (1965), which is still being sold without revisions in1992. Ryrie was dismissed by Dallas Seminary a decade ago. The question is: Whatare the details of the "new, improved" dispensationalism? As Gentry's monthlynewsletter says, dispensationalism is in transition.xx HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONnone of the four major Protestant eschatological positions has beendefended exegetically by a large body ofscholarly, comprehensive books.All eschatological positions in the twentieth century have restedon a comparative handful ofbooks that at best sketch the broadexegetical case for their respective positions. None of thesebooks has developed a comprehensive worldview based on itsparticular system. (I exempt here the Christian Reconstructionists,who have been self-conscious about the comprehensivenature oftheir system, which is why the Reconstructionists havemade so many enemies in so many camps.)1 need to suggest something. What 1 am about to say shouldnot be very controversial. It is this: biblical eschatology providesGod's people with a philosophy of history. Any objections? Any criesof "this is an outrageous exaggeration"? No? Fine. Let me adda corollary: any suggested eschatological system that does notoffer a philosophy of history that is theologically consistent withthe suggested system of interpretation is in an incomplete state.This has long been the situation facing every traditional view ofeschatology: no public philosophy of history. Until now.Three Key QuestionsLet me ask you three questions. First, do you hope that yourwork on earth will leave a positive legacy to future generations,no matter how small the legacy is, even if no one in the futureremembers who you were or what you did? Of course you do.Second, does God's Word return to Him void? No. Third, as acovenant-keeper, can you legitimately expect that your goodwords and good deeds will have more impact in the future thanyour evil words and evil deeds? 1 am not speaking merely ofbuilding up treasures in heaven; 1 am speaking also of yourlegacy in history to earthly heirs. 1 am speaking ofinheritance inthe broadest sense. If you answer yes, 1 think you have the rightattitude about yourselfand your work in God's kingdom. If youanswer no, 1 think you are in need of professional Christiancounseling. You are headed for a mental crisis. First, you haveForeword XXIa problem with your lack of self-esteem (and covenant-keepershave a right to self-esteem as legally adopted sons of God: John1: 12). Second, you have a problem with your lack of confidenceregarding God's willingness to bless your work. You have neglectedGod's promise: "Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith,I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father,should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be itfar from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and theythat despise me shall be lightly esteemed" (1 Sam. 2:30).The three questions I have asked here with respect to yourlegitimate expectations about the historical outcome of yourpersonal efforts also need to be asked with respect to Christianityin general: the kingdom (civiliULtion) of God. When we begin toseek Bible-based answers to these three questions regarding thekingdom of God in history, we have necessarily raised the issueof a biblical philosophy of history. Each of the major views ofeschatology has a specific philosophy of history. This connectionis not always discussed in public. In most cases, the implicationsof eschatology for a philosophy of history are implicit ratherthan explicit, since the defenders of the various positions tendnot to discuss these implications. But there is no escape fromthose implications. There is no eschatological neutrality. This isone of the themes in He Shall Have Dominion.Historic PremillennialismHistoric premillennialists are not dispensationalists. They donot believe in a coming secret "rapture" or the supposed sevenyearabsence of the Church from the earth after the return ofJesus to "rapture" the Church into heaven. They believe thatJesus will come back to the earth to rule for a thousand yearsbefore the final judgment. They believe that the Great Tribulationis still in the future: it will precede the return of Christ toset up His kingdom. They are therefore post-tribulationists.There are not many historic premillennialists these days.Two centuries ago, there were far more people who held thisXXll HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONposition. In the late nineteenth century, the Baptist CalvinistCharles Haddon Spurgeon was a well-known historic premillennialist,although his language was often very optimistic withrespect to the spread of the gospel, and he believed in thefamiliar postmillennial doctrine of the future conversion of theJews. He did not have much use for millennial theories. "I amnot now going into millennial theories, or into any speculationas to dates. I do not know anything about such things, and Iam not sure that I am called to spend my time in such researches.I am rather called to minister the gospel than to openprophecy."8 In our day, the most famous American historicpremillennialist has been the Calvinist Presbyterian author,Francis Schaeffer, although he rarely wrote about his Calvinism,his Presbyterianism, or his premillennialism. (It does present aproblem for historic premillennialists when their most famousrepresentatives prefer not to write about eschatology.)Historic premillennialists can appeal to recent books byGeorge Eldon Ladd. But I am aware of no book that discussesthe premillennial view of the era of the Church prior to Christ'sreturn to earth to set up His kingdom, i.e., no book on thepremillennial philosophy of history. The focus of all historicpremillennial works is on the Second Coming: the great futurediscontinuity that supposedly will inaugurate the judiciallyvisible phase of Christ's kingdom in history, when Jesus willreign in person to rule on earth. Only then does the idea ofChristian civilization become significant in historic premillennialism.Christendom is ignored until after the Second Coming.Even with respect to this future era, there is never any detaileddiscussion of ethical cause and effect in history, i.e., abiblical philosophy of history. There is no detailed discussion ofhow Jesus Christ will rule on earth through His people. Willthere still be politics? Will government be entirely bureaucratic?8. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews"(June 16,1864), Sermon No. 582, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 10 (1864) p. 429.Foreword XX111What laws will Jesus require governments to enforce? Whatpenalties will be imposed? Will civil judges and juries still handdown sentences? How will appeals be conducted? Will the lineofjustice-seekers in front ofJesus' headquarters be a thousandtimes longer than the line in front of Moses' tent (Exo. 18:13)?We are not told - not by historic premillennialists or dispensationalpremillennialists.DispensationalismThe question facing historic premillennialism also facesdispensational premillennialism: What is the premillennial philosophyof history? What is the relationship between the faithfulpreaching of the gospel and the extension of Christ's kingdomin history? What are the cultural effects of this extension ofChrist's kingdom in history, and why? This is another way ofasking: What is the relationship between ethics and authority inhistory? Is there a predictable cause-and-effect relationship, longterm, between personal righteousness and success, and personalunrighteousness and failure? What about corporate righteousness?What about corporate unrighteousness?In the spring of 1956, Alva J. McClain, the president ofGrace Theological Seminary, wrote an essay for BibliothecaSacra, the journal published by Dallas Theological Seminary.Both schools were (and are) dispensational. The essay wastitled, "The Premillennial Philosophy of History." It was onlyfive and a half pages long. Most of it was devoted to criticizingother views. When he had finished with them, he had only halfa page remaining to present the premillennial view. He did notsay what it is. All he said was this: "The Premillennial philosophyof history makes sense. It lays a Biblical and rational basisfor a truly optimistic view of human history." But he neverexplained what he meant by "history." Since dispensationalismteaches that the Church will not succeed in converting largenumbers of people to Christ in the "Church Age," and that itwill suffer increasing persecution until the rapture, McClainXXIV HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmust have been defining history as the post-rapture millennialdispensation. But this totally new era will begin only after therapture and after the seven-year Great Tribulation, meaningafter every trace of the gospel's effects in history will be blotted out. So,what legitimate optimism does dispensationalism offer to aChristian regarding the long-term historic effects of his life'swork? McClain did not say, but the answer is obvious: none.Dispensationalists can appeal to modern books on eschatologyand the millennial kingdom written by McClain and JohnWalvoord, but the major presentation of their eschatologicalposition is found in Things to Come (1958) by Dallas Seminaryprofessor J. Dwight Pentecost. Unknown to most readers, hehas significantly revised the book in a key area, and in doingso, he has abandoned the traditional dispensational case for theinevitable defeat of the Church in what the dispensationalistscall the "Church Age." In the original edition, he argued forthe eventual triumph of unbelief in this, the "Church Age." Hewrote that Jesus' parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32)points to the expansion of an evil tree in history, "a monstrosity.. . . The parable teaches that the enlarged sphere of professionhas become inwardly corrupt. This is the characteristic of theage" (p. 147). In his exposition of the parable of the leaven, heargued: "This evidently refers to the work of a false religioussystem. . . . This figure is used in Scripture to portray thatwhich is evil in character..." (p. 148). Summarizing, he wrote:"The mustard seed refers to the perversion of God's purpose inthis age, while the leaven refers to a corruption of the divineagency, the Word, through which this purpose is realized" (p.148). Pentecost's focus here was ethics: the progressive triumphof evil through time, during the "Church Age." This could atleast serve as the foundation of a dispensational philosophy ofhistory: the defeat of the saints. His book did not provide a developedphilosophy of history; it provided only a starting point.Three decades later, he abandoned even this, but very few ofhis followers are aware of the fact. The 1987 reprint is not aForeword xxvreprint but a strategically revised edition. It is nowhere identifiedas such. Dr. Pentecost had the typesetter carefully superimposea crucial revised section. The switch is almost undetectable, yetit is a devastating admission for dispensationalism. Here is hisrevised exposition of Christ's kingdom during the "ChurchAge." Mustard Seed: "This part of the parable stresses the greatgrowth of the kingdom when once it is introduced. The kingdomwill grow from an insignificant beginning to great proportions"(p. 147). There is not a word about its ethical corruption.Leaven: "When leaven is used in Scripture it frequently connotesevil. ... Its use in the sacrifices that represent the perfectionof the person of Christ (Lev. 2: 1-3) shows that it is notalways so used. Here the emphasis is not on leaven as thoughto emphasize its character, but rather that the leaven has beenhidden in the meal, thus stressing the way leaven works whenonce introduced into the meal" (p. 148). In short, there is now nofocus on ethics: not one word about any evil effects of either themustard seed or the leaven. Today his focus is on the growth ofthe kingdom of Christ in history - the postmillennial focus:"The parable of the mustard and the leaven in meal, then,stress the growth of the new form of the kingdom" (p. 148).If Christ's kingdom is not being corrupted in our dispensation,then it is either ethically neutral (the kingdom of Christas ethically neutral?!?) or positive. Pentecost's theological problemis obvious: there can be no ethical neutrality. If the necessarilyexpanding kingdom of Christ is not being steadily underminedby theological and moral perversion, then it must be growing inrighteousness. This interpretation is the postmillennial view ofthe kingdom of God: expansion over time. Matthew 13 is notdiscussing Satan's kingdom; it is discussing Christ's. Dr. Pentecosthas very quietly overthrown the heart and soul of thetraditional dispensational system's account of the inevitableprogress of evil in this, the "Church Age."g Yet no one inside9. Gary DeMar spotted this shift in early 1992. He looked up l'entecost's sectionXXVI HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe dispensational camp has been willing to discuss in publicthe implications of this radical alteration by Pentecost, or explainexactly why it has not, if correct, overthrown the dispensationalsystem. The dispensational system is in transition.10AmillennialismAmillennialism is the most widely held interpretation ofprophecy, primarily because Roman Catholics generally hold it,although they rarely discuss eschatology. Lutherans also hold it.Episcopalians, like Roman Catholics, have rarely emphasizedeschatology, so amillennialism has won by default. EuropeanCalvinists (today, this means mainly Dutch Calvinists) have heldit for the last two centuries. They have been the major expositorsof the amillennial system in the twentieth century.The amillennialist believes that the next major eschatologicalevent will be the Second Advent of Jesus Christ at the finaljudgment. The unified series of events which is called the raptureby dispensationalists is identified by the amillennialist asimmediately preceding the final judgment. Like the premillennialistand the postmillennialist, he believes in the coming ofChrist in the clouds, to whom the living and dead in Christ willbe raised. Like the postmillennialist but unlike the premillennialist,he does not believe that this unified event will take placea thousand years before the final judgment. It will take placeon the day of final judgment. That is to say, he denies thatthere will be any eschatological discontinuity between today andjust before the Second Advent (final judgment). There will behistorical continuity for the gospel. Unlike the postmillennialistbut like the premillennialist, he insists that this is a continuity ofcultural decline and defeat for Christianity until Jesus comes again.on leaven in the 1987 edition. He found that it was not what Gentry had quoted. Hecalled Gentry, who looked it up in the 1958 edition. The two versions differed.10. Dr. Gentry writes a monthly newsletter, Dispensationalism in 1ransition, publishedby the Institute for Christian Economics: P. O. Box 8000, Tyler, TX 75711.Foreword XXVllAmillennialist authors have written short books that mixpersonal eschatology (death, resurrection, and final judgment)with cosmic eschatology (New Testament prophecy, the Church,the Second Advent, final judgment, and the world beyond).What is conspicuously absent in all of them is a detailed amillennialexposition of the New Testament era from the fall ofJerusalemin A.D. 70 to the Second Advent. Anthony Hoekema'sThe Bible and the Future (1979) attempts this, but not in anysystematic or comprehensive exegetical fashion, and it is virtuallyalone in attempting even this much. This is not to say thatamillennialists do not have a philosophy of history. They do,but it is rarely discussed and never developed in detail or usedto develop a distinctly amillennial social theory.Let me offer an example of the amillennial approach toquestions of the outcome of the gospel in history. There is abook by an amillennialist titled, A New Heaven and a NewEarth. ll The title is taken from a biblical eschatological phrase.This phrase appears twice in the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:13;Rev. 21:1) and twice in the Old Testament (Isa. 65:17; 66:22).The passage in Isaiah 65 prophesies of a coming era on earthand before the final judgment (since sinners will still be active)in which there will be great external blessings, including verylong life spans. Here is the complete passage:For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and theformer shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be yeglad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, Icreate Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I willrejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice ofweeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old manthat hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundredyears old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be11. Archibald Hughes, A New Heaven and a New Earth (Philadelphia: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1958).XXVlll HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONaccursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; andthey shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shallnot build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and anothereat: for as the days of a tree are the days ofmy people, and mineelect shall long ertioy the work of their hands. They shall notlabour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seedof the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. (Isa.65:17-23, emphasis added)A postmillennialist can interpret this passage literally: acoming era of extensive millennial blessings before Jesus returnsin final judgment. So can a premillennialist: the era after Jesusreturns to earth but before final judgment. But the amillennialistcannot admit the possibility of such an era of literal, culturewideblessings in history. His eschatology denies any literal,culture-wide triumph of Christianity in history. Therefore, hehas to "spiritualize" or allegorize this passage.So, how did the author handle this passage? He didn't. Hesimply ignored it. "It isn't in my Bible," he seems to be saying.In a 233-page book on the new heavens and the new earth,there is no discussion of Isaiah 65:17-23. The Scripture indexrefers the reader to pages 139 and 157. On page 139 there is areference to Isaiah 65:17-25, but not one word of commentary.On page 157, there is neither a reference nor a comment. Thebook is filled with thousands of Bible references, but nowheredoes the author comment on the one passage, more than anyother passage in the Bible, that categorically refutes amillennialism.Yet this book is regarded by amillennial theologians as a scholarlypresentation of their position. There are very few otherbooks that present a detailed exegetical case for amillennialism.Most amillennial discussions of ethical cause and effect inhistory are limited to the unpleasant conclusion that evil menwill get ever-more powerful culturally, while the righteous willbecome progressively weaker culturally.12 In other words, the12. This was Cornelius Van Til's view, presented in his book, Common GraceForeword XXIXprogressive sanctification of God's people will lead to theirprogressive enslavement and isolation from culture. This meansthat the amillennial view of history rests on a view of ethicalcause and effect in which right makes weakness and unrighteousnessmakes might. This conclusion is so unpleasant - and so despairing- that amillennialists prefer not to discuss it, which leavesthem without a publicly articulated philosophy of history. Aboutthe only exception to this view is Meredith G. Kline's 1978essay, in which he argued that God's sanctions in history areethically random from the human point of view.13 But sincewe live in an era in which the Church is on the defensive, therecan be no legitimate hope on Kline's basis of a comprehensivevictory. He has been quite willing to admit this.Historic PostmillennialismIn many respects, earlier defenses of postmillennialism alsofailed to present a case for ethical cause and effect in history.The future era of blessing was seen as the result of the outpouringof the Holy Spirit, which it surely will be, but not theproduct also of ethical transformation. God's law and God'scovenantal sanctions - blessing and cursing - were rarely discussed.This was especially true of the postmillennialismpreached by Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century.Except in the writings of seventeenth-century Puritans prior to1660, postmillennialism has long been stripped of any necessaryconnection between God's Bible-revealed law and God's corporatesanctions in history. This view of God's predictable sanctionsin history is an extension of the "no New Covenant back-up"argument regarding covenant lawsuits. This form of postmillennialismis inherently antinomian: denying the willingness of(1947). It has been reprinted by Presbyterian & Reformed in a larger book, CommonGrace and the Gospel (1972).13. Meredith G. Kline, "Comments on an Old-New Error," Westminster TheologicalJournal, XLI (Fall 1978), p. HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONGod to defend His covenant law through the imposItion ofhistorical sanctions. Consistent men ask: "If God will not applysanctions, then how can Christians dare to apply them?" But ifGod's judicial sanctions are not applied, then Satan's judicialsanctions will be. There is no judicial neutrality in history.By refusing to acknowledge either God's revealed law orGod's predictable corporate sanctions in history, defenders ofpostmillennialism have generally abandoned a philosophy ofhistory. They have proclaimed a pietistic postmillennialismrather than covenantal postmillennialism.14 They have proclaimedChristianity's victory in history, but without specifyingthe legal foundations of the kingdom (civilization) of God.The Key Issue: Ethics With Historical SanctionsEthics cannot successfully be divorced from eschatology, butneither can the question of God's sanctions in history. The unifiedquestion of ethics and corporate sanctions cannot be evaded.The eschatological issue is this: Do Christians have legitimatehope for the positive historical effects of their efforts, bothpersonal and corporate, in history? Do their sacrifices reallymake a difference in history? Of course they make a differencein eternity; this is not the question. Do Christians' individualand corporate efforts make a positive difference in history?If all that Christians can accomplish in history is to presentGod's covenant lawsuits against individuals, allowing the HolySpirit to pull a few people out of the eternal fire, then whyshould they go to college, except to serve as witnesses to collegestudents? Why should they become lawyers, except to witness tolawyers? Is everything we do or build doomed to destruction,either in some future great tribulation or in the final rebellion14. Ray R. Sutton, "Covenantal Postmillennialism," Covenant Renewal (Feb. 1989);Sutton, "A Letter from Loraine; or a Covenantal View of the Millennium" CovenantRenewal (May 1989). Copies of these two newsletters are available on request from theInstitute for Christian Economics, P. O. Box 8000, Tyler, TX 75711.Foreword XXXiof Satan's forces at the end of time? Does everything we leavebehind get swallowed up by Satan's historically successful kingdom(civilization)? Should every dollar that Christians spendtoday on education above the twel(th grade be sent instead tomissionaries? Are our struggling little Christian colleges nothingmore than very expensive dating and marriage broker services?(I would have said "universities," but evangelicals and fundamentalistsdo not have one: an accredited institution that grantsearned Ph.D.s in the liberal arts and sciences.) Are Christianssupposed to live in a cultural ghetto forever, either premillennialor amillennial, praying for the Second Advent as their onlymeans of escape from historic impotence?15The Missing Link: A Biblical Philosophy of HistoryWhat has been absent in every eschatological camp is a selfconsciouspresentation of an explicitly biblical philosophy ofhistory. There has been no such presentation based on a comprehensiveexegesis of the Bible - specifically, a philosophy ofhistory derived from the biblical doctrine of the last things. Inthe field of systematic theology, eschatology is obviously thesection in which such a discussion should be presented. Yet wefind no such discussion. This is, to put it mildly, a bit peculiar.This glaring hole in "applied eschatology" is not something thatseminary-based theologians have often discussed in public.Furthermore, a biblical philosophy of history is a necessityfor any eschatology that is designed for those still living in thisworld. The absence of a detailed presentation of a biblical philosophyof history does not keep Christians from having one.They inevitably adopt one. They just do not adopt one that hasbeen systematically developed anywhere. For example, theyhave strong opinions about such matters as the legitimacy andwisdom of social action in the name of Christ. They have strong15. See my essay, "Ghetto Eschatologies," Biblical Economics Today, XIV (ApriVMay 1992), published by the Institute for Christian Economics.XXXII HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONopinions on what the Church can expect in the future. And themore pessimistic these expectations, the more ready those whohold them are to imagine that the Church has very little timeremaining. Facing (they beljeve) the threat of persecution in thefuture, and facing also (they believe) the inevitable (predestined)historical irrelevance of their efforts to turn back the satanic tide,Christians who hold to either premillennialism or amillennialismplace their hope in a future, discontinuous, supernaturalescape from the cares of this world, meaning an escape frompersonal and institutional responsibility in this world. I do not meanthat they place their hope in death; I mean they place hope in"getting out of life alive": the dispensational rapture or theamillennial Second Advent. "It's just around the corner!"The eschatological concern of evangelical, Protestant Christianityin the twentieth century has not been on ethics andChristians' responsibility - ethical cause and effect in history butrather on the transcending of Christians' responsibilitythrough a future divine intervention into history, either to setup Jesus' One World State bureaucracy (premillennialism) or toremove sinners from history by ending history (amillennialism).The eschatological focus has been on our legitimate (becauseeschatologically inevitable) escape from corporate responsibilityas Christians. The psychological motivation has been the questfor theological justification for the Christians' escape from anyobligation to work to extend the kingdom (civilization) of Godin history: bystander Christianity. Eschatology has been employedto justify retroactively the fact that the Protestant Church since166016 has not accomplished much in the way of presentingan explicitly biblical alternative to the competing worldviews ofthe many forms of covenant-breaking. There is a reason for thislack of an alternative: a missing link. This missing link is atheory of cause and effect in history.16. The restoration of Charles II to the throne of England and the rejection ofthe Puritans' holy commonwealth ideal.Foreword XXXlllEthical Cause and Effect: Historical SanctionsThe missing eschatological link has been a theory of NewCovenant history that is forthrightly based on ethical cause andeffect. The Old Covenant saints had such an ethics-based theoryof history, which is outlined in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy28: blessings in history for those who obey God's Bible-revealedlaw, and cursings in history for those who disobey God's Biblerevealedlaw.17 Today, the premillennialists and the amillennialistsagree: such a system of ethical cause and effect no longeroperates in New Covenant history. Thus, biblically speaking,ethical cause and effect either leads nowhere in particular(God's random sanctions in history) or, more widely believed,it leads to the cultural defeat of Christianity in history untilJesus comes again in person to judge His enemies.This is an odd view of history, theologically speaking. Weknow that God backed up His prophets in the Old Covenantera. When they brought a covenant lawsuit, God would prosecuteit. But, we are assured, this is no longer the case in theNew Covenant. The Church can no longer successfully invokesuch divine power in history. Question: If Jesus' death, resurrection,and ascension to the right hand of God has left HisChurch even more powerless than the Church was in MosaicIsrael, then what have been the culturally significant effects (if any)ofJesus' death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God?Both the amillennialists and the premillennialists avoid answeringthis question at all costs, for they keep coming up with thishighly embarrassing answer: almost no effects whatsoever. This isjust too embarrassing to admit in public. They must be pushed,and pushed hard, to get them to admit it. (I do the pushing.)The postmillennialist insists that Jesus' ascension to thethrone of God is the transcendent mark of His absolute sover-17. Gary North, Boundaries and Dominion: The Politil:al Economy ofLevitil:us (Tyler,TX: Institute for Christian Economics, forthcoming), ch. 32: "Ethical Cause, EconomicEffects."XXXIV HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONeignty over history. The postmillennialist argues that Jesus willnot leave this throne to return to earth until all His enemies aresubdued (1 Cor. 15:24-28).18 But supernatural postmillennialismhas not been taken seriously in the twentieth century. Today,theonomic postmillennialism raises two very divisive issues:(1) personal and corporate responsibility; (2) legitimate avoidancethereof. To take this eschatology seriously raises questionsregarding the Church's responsibility for the transformation ofculture. This raises even more questions regarding the level ofpersonal responsibility in the lives of Christians. Christianstoday fear what the answers might be. So, th~y prefer to avoidconsidering the biblical case for theonomic postmillennialism.The standard response to covenantal (theonomic) postmillennialismis to argue that the world cannot improve ethically untilJesus comes again to rule with a rod of iron. But why shouldthis be the case? How strong is Satan's rod in New Covenanthistory? I know of no premillennialist who argues that Satanmust sit on an earthly throne in order for his kingdom to bemanifested in history. They all understand that Satan's kingdomis manifested representatively through his human disciples.Yet they all insist that for Christ's kingdom to be "truly" manifestedin history, Jesus Christ must return bodily from heavento sit on an earthly throne, probably in Jerusalem. Question:Why does the Son of God need to be bodily present in order toenable His human servants to rule effectively in history, whenthe human servants of the devil, who was defeated definitively atCalvary, have no problem whatsoever in ruling over Christ'srepresentatives in history? To put it starkly, why has the sendingof the Holy Spirit left Christianity culturally impotent in history?The amillennialists and premillennialists refuse to respond tothis question. One can hardly blame them. It is so much easierto sit quietly and pray silently that the postmillennialists who18. Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, Texas: Institute forChristian Economics, 1990), pp. 280-282.Foreword xxxvkeep asking it will either go away soon or else Jesus will comeagain, thereby shutting the mouths of the postmillennialists.But neither event takes place: the postmillennialists keep askingthe question, and Jesus remains on His heavenly throne.The amillennialists and the premillennialists agree: Christianscan leave nothing of significance behind that will survivethe horrors of the satanic oppression that inevitably lies ahead.Only the institutional Church will survive, and a besieged andshrinking institution it will be until Jesus comes again.Gentry says that they are wrong. Gentry says that the Biblesays they are wrong.19 It is now incumbent on premillennialand amillennial theologians to refute Gentry: point by point,verse by verse. Silence is no longer golden.The Link Is No Longer MissingDr. Gentry has already defended exegetically the comprehensiveimplications and applications of Jesus' Great Commission.20 In doing so, he has offered the culturally retreatist anddefeatist theology of pietism its most detailed exegetical challengein the twentieth century. He has also documented inexhaustive detail the dating of the Book of Revelation: beforeA.D. 70.21 This has removed the most significant criticism of19. Gentry is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which leftthe Presbyterian Church of the U.S. (Southern Presbyterians) in the early 1970'swhen the PCUS became far more liberal theologically. Gentry is an heir of thepostmillennial tradition of Southern Presbyterian theologians James Thornwell andRobert Dabney. Both of these theologians prior to 1861 had been members of thePresbyterian Church in the U.SA. (Northern Presbyterians), sometimes known as theOld School Presbyterians, whose chief theologians taught at Princeton Seminary:Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, J. A. Alexander, and B. B. Warfield. They were alsopostmillennial. On the postmillennialism of nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterianism,see James B. Jordan. ''A Survey of Southern Presbyterian Millennial ViewsBefore 1930," Journal of Christian Reconstruction, III (Winter 1976-77).20. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Greatness of the Great Commission: The ChristianEnterprise in a FaUen World (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990).21. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation(Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).XXXVI HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe preterist (past tense, i.e., historically completed) interpretationof the Book of Revelation. The preterists argue that all theprophecies regarding the Great Tribulation were fulfilled withthe fall ofJerusalem in A.D. 70.22 The preterist interpretationwas easily criticized by those who argued that the Book of Revelationwas written in A.D. 96. This counter-argument can nolonger be easily sustained. Gentry demolished it in Before JerusalemFell. So far, there has been no detailed published refutation.Now Gentry comes with an explicitly theonomic case forpostmillennialism. No longer is the question of ethical causeand effect stripped out of postmillennialism. God's Bible-revealedlaws and their apProPriate sanctions in history lie at the veryheart of his discussion of postmillennialism. The reader needsto understand that this book is the first detailed, exegeticalpresentation of covenantal (theonomic) postmillennialism. It isnot just that Gentry argues for the continuing authority ofGod's law - what might be called barebones theonomy. It is notjust that he argues for postmillennialism - what might be calledbarebones postmillennialism. What is significant about He ShallHave Dominion is that it links together these two positions bymeans of a covenantal doctrine of God's predictable historicalsanctions in history.23 Gentry defends the continuation ofGod's sanctions in history as a theologically necessary componentof postmillennialism's doctrine of the comprehensive triumphof the kingdom of God in history. Without this link, there canbe no ethics-based Christian philosophy of history. Paraphrasingthe philosopher Immanuel Kant, "Theonomy without postmillennialismis impotent; postmillennialism without theonomyis blind." Theonomic postmillennialism is a unified system.This is why He Shall Have Dominion is so important. Fromthis point forward, this book will represent the position known22. David Chilton, The Days ofVengeam;e: An Exposition ofthe Book ofRevelation (Ft.Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987); Chilton, The Great Tribulation (Ft. Worth, TX:Dominion Press, 1987).23. Chapters 6 and 10.Foreword XXXVllas theonomic postmillennialism. All future expositions in thename of this position will have to build self-consciously on HeShall Have Dominion. As the old advertisement used to put it,''Accept no substitutes!"Gentry got to the finish line first. To the victor belong thespoils. This will not win him cheers from the also-rans.The Task of the CriticsConsider the wealth of documentation in this book. It willnot be sufficient for a critic to conclude in some two-page reviewthat "Gentry's book just does not prove his case." If anyonetries this stunt, the careful reader should ask: "Then whattheologian has produced an equally comprehensive book thatdefends a rival position?" At this stage of history - approachingthe year 2000 - to refute Gentry's book will require a comprehensivepositive case presenting a rival eschatology with equalor greater diligence. The critics should not expect to be able torefute something this comprehensive with anything less comprehensiveand detailed. I must remind the critics of an oldpolitical slogan: "You can't beat something with nothing."First, let me remind the reader of the disastrous attempts sofar by a few theologians to refute both theonomy and postmillennialism.Westminster Seminary's attack, Theonomy: A ReformedCritique (1990), called forth my book, Westminster's Confession(1991), Bahnsen's No Other Standard (1991), and the collectionof essays, Theonomy: An Informed Response (1991). In it, Gentryrefuted amillennialist Richard Gaffin's feeble essay, point bypoint. Gentry had already refuted in great detail the embarrassinglyweak criticisms of postmillennialism that were set forthby Rev. Thomas D. Ice in Ice's section of the co-authored andill-fated book, Dominion Theology: Ble.ssing or Curse?24 There was24. H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?(Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988). House left Dallas Seminary the next year to jointhe faculty of an obscure Baptist college in Oregon. In 1992, he departed from thatXXXVlll HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONnothing left of substance in Ice's critique after Gentry finishedhis polite, scholarly dissection.25Second, and more important, premillennial and amillennialcritics will not be able to appeal successfully to some well-developedbody of theological opinion in order to buttress theirrejection of Gentry's thesis. There is no such body of publishedopinion. The footnotes are not there. Each respective school ofeschatological opinion has been flying exegetically by the seat ofits pants for over a century. (Dispensationalism appeared onlyaround 1830.) There has been no integrated, exegetical presentationby any school of eschatological opinion that (1) offers adetailed, Bible-based defense of its position and (2) applies thiseschatological viewpoint to the relationships among the Church,Christian culture, anti-Christian rivals, and the future effects ofthe gospel prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Such a bookdoes not exist in any of the rival camps. In short, there is not asingle eschatological treatise in any of the rival competingcamps - let alone dozens of treatises - which answers FrancisSchaeffer's ethical question: "How Shall We Then Live?" (Hedid not answer it, either.)This is why He Shall Have Dominion is unique. It brings togetherthree themes: biblical ethics, God's historical sanctions,and the future of Christianity. It provides what no previousbook on eschatology has provided, namely, a theologically integratedsystem of eschatology: ethics, sanctions, and prophecy.ConclusionFrom this time forward, as surely as critics of postmillennialismwill have to respond in detail to Chilton's Days of Vengeance,so will they also have to respond to Gentry's He Shall HaveDominion. In my Publisher's Preface to Chilton's book, I predictedschool because of a dispute. I think House should write another book, Dispe'TMationalProfessorships: Blessing or Curser25. Bahnsen and Gentry, House Divided, Part II.Foreword XXXIXthat critics would not be able to handle Chilton theologically orstylistically. Since that time, I have yet to see a published exceptionto my prediction. That book's one weakness - Chilton'sfailure to defend in detail the pre-A.D. 70 authorship of theBook of Revelation - was solved by Gentry's Before JerusalemFell. I now offer a similar prediction about this book. The criticswill not be able to handle Gentry theologically. This book maynot silence them, but it will reduce them to murmuring inprivate conversations. In public, they will have to play thefamiliar academic game of "Gentry? Who's Gentry?"A few theologians may take up my challenge, although Idoubt it. If they are to look their students in the eye and tellthem, "Chilton's Paradise Restored, Chilton's Days of Vengeance,Gentry's Before Jerusalem Fell, and Gentry's He Shall Have Dominionare without theological merit," they must first prove theircase in print, where Gentry can respond. Murmuring in privateconversations is not an academic argument. Neither are authoritativeproclamations by seminary professors to captive studentsbehind closed doors. Neither is the tried and true refrain, "Ishall not dignify such shoddy and amateurish scholarship witha reply." Theonomy is now too well established for that responseto work. Theonomists have too many books on the table.Critics, it is time to reply. Silence in the face of this book andthe others is no longer a wise strategy. The word is getting out.The brighter seminary students are figuring out what is goingon. Representatives of the various schools of eschatologicalopinion had better start producing their own comprehensivebooks on these topics. It is too late for critics to expect to bottleup theonomic postmillennialism by ignoring it or murmuringabout it in private. If the critics cannot answer these books inprint, then the theonomists will win the debate by default.I have in mind primarily amillennialist critics, and more tothe point, Calvinists. Historic premillennialism barely existstoday, and its public defenders are few. Meanwhile, dispensationalpremillennialism is in a never-ending transition. Its pubxlHE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONlic defenders are mostly writers of paperback books on Bibleprophecy. Few of them are trained theologians. They are moreoften accountants, lawyers, or cable television evangelists. Thosefew defenders of dispensationalism who are academic theologiansare either at the end of their careers (e.g., Walvoord,Pentecost, Ryrie) and are no longer willing or able to interactwith academic critics, or else they are younger seminary professorswho are involved in an on-campus, semi-private, seeminglynever-ending revision of the original dispensational system.They never present anything like an integrated, completedversion of their "new, improved" dispensationalism. They neverdemonstrate how the traditional dispensational system can berevised without collapsing. They keep tinkering with the unravelingsystem. They never present a finished product.Younger dispensational seminary professors are well awarethat traditional Scofield-Chafer-Ryrie dispensationalism hasbecome defenseless. They just want to keep their jobs. Arminiandispensationalist professors do not need to respond to CalvinisticChristian Reconstructionists in order to keep their jobs,so they keep silent. Thus, my challenge is directed primarily toCalvinistic amillennialists. Calvinist seminary professors have aproblem: their brighter students read. We theonomists keeppicking off these bright students, since we write, and not onlywrite: we speak to the burning social issues of our day. Nobodyexpects dispensational professors to speak with authority to theissues of the day; their system declares the futility of doing so.Calvinist theologians are expected to. 26 But amillennialism offersno blueprints, no solutions, and no earthly hope. Theonomy does.One thing is certain: the next time some critic says to me,"There has never been an exegetical case made for postmillennialism,"I shall not reply, "What about Roderick Campbell's?"I shall instead try to sell him a copy of He Shall Have Dominion.26. Gary DeMar, "Calvinism and Theonomy," Part I of Theonomy: An InformedResponse, edited by Gary North (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).PREFACEIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times.So began Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. And such isan appropriate introduction to the present work. For this studyin eschatology is also a tale of two cities: the City of God andthe City of Man. And we today may declare that in many respectsit is the best of times, while in other respects it is theworst of times.As I write this book, modern man is witnessing remarkableworld events. It has not been too many months since the BerlinWall dividing the two Germanys fell (1989), Eastern Europefreed itselffrom Soviet Communist domination (1990), and Eastand West Germany reunited (1991). The Beirut hostage crisishas finally come to an end, after many years of frustration(1991). Within the past few weeks of my writing these words,the Soviet Union has officially vanished, having broken intotwelve independent democratic republics (1992). In addition,there are remarkable revivals of Christianity in various ThirdWorld countries, as well as in the former Soviet Union. Suchwould suggest the best of times.1 Five years ago, who would1. Not all would agree that these are good signs. Dispensationalist theologianRobert P. Lightner comments: "Even the present evident failure of atheistic, communisticgovernments brings great fear and uncertainty." Lightner, The Last DaysHandbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Different Views of Prophecy (Nashville:Thomas Nelson. 1990). p. 161. Amillennialist John Heys agrees: "At the momentwhat is happening in Russia, and for us because of the 'changes' in Russia(which some trust). seems to say that the antichrist is not far away. to realize the onexliiHE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONhave thought that these world-shaking events would occur? Thebleak shadow that the Soviet Bear cast over the earth has vanishedwith the dawn of a new day. In many respects, theseevents signal the best of times for those long afflicted by Communismand the rest of us who were threatened with nucleardestruction by its existence.But these are also the worst of times. The Chinese Communistsare still brutally repressing free speech. Not long ago, Iraq'sSaddam Hussein started (and lost) a cruel and potentially disastrouswar, but he still remains in power (1992). There is fearthat the turbulent Middle East will buy up the brains and weaponryof the former Soviet Union. Abortion still ranks as one ofAmerica's leading surgical procedures and is widely practicedthroughout the world. The AIDS epidemic shows no signs ofabating, but rather of increasing; the same is true of the nearlyincurable strain of tuberculosis that now accompanies AIDS.The federal government's debt is enormous and growing rapidly.Though there are bright historical and social rays of hope,these are too often eclipsed by the clouds of political gloom andthe smoke of cultural upheaval.One day the world events listed above will be understood interms of the all-controlling plan of God. "Our God is in heaven;He does whatever He pleases" (Psa. 115:3). For right now wecan only surmise what God might be doing and what the endresult will be. But I have not written this work as a propheticcommentary on the times; I am not interested in newspaperexegesis. Christianity has been embarrassed by too many failedprophets in this century.2world kingdom in which he will, because of the inventions, and the satellites whichhe will have placed in the sky, be able to rule the whole world and know whether allthe citizens of his kingdom have that mark of the beast on their right hand orforehead." Heys, "Our Hope for Our Savior's Return," StandtLrd Bearer 66:7 Gan. I,1990) 152.2. See: Dwight Wilson, Annageddon Now! Tlu PremUlenarian Response to Russia andIsra-el Since 1917 (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, [1977] 1991); GaryDeMar, Last Days Madness: Tlu FoUy of Trying to Predict W!un Christ Will Return (BrentPrefacexliiiYet I believe there is a system of biblical eschatology that hasin the past and will yet again demonstrate itself a valid force inthe development of world events. And that eschatology is postmillennialism.For the last fifty years many Christians (wrongly) deemedpostmillennialism a theologically dead issue.3 It held too optimistica prospect for the future for those who lived in an erathat witnessed the rise of Communism and two World Wars.But postmillennialism has begun to make headway once againas a theologically credible alternative to the more popular eschatologiesof despair. And it is important to realize that itsremarkable resurgence antedates the collapse of Soviet andEastern Bloc communism. These events cannot be laid down asthe psychological bases for the modern resurgence of postmillennialoptimism.The market for works on eschatology is ripe. Many of thebest-selling Christian works in the last few years have dealt withprophecy. In this work I hope to set forth compelling reasonsfor a return to postmillennialism by evangelical Christians.These reasons will be shown to be pre-eminently exegetical andtheological. For the Christian, exegesis and theology shouldprovide the basis of expectation for the future, not currentevents.I would like to thank several friends for assisting me inproofreading the chapters: Tim Martin, Bill Boney, EdmondSandlin, and Kim Conner. Their friendship, assistance, advice,and encouragement are much appreciated. They are Christianswho are persuaded that He Shall Have Dominion. Thanks also tomy son Stephen for spending several days helping me to double-check direct quotations for accuracy.wood, TN: Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1991).3. See discussion in Chapters 4 and 18.



    THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ESCHATOLOGYRemember the former things ofold, for [ am God, and there is no other;[ am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning,and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, "Mycounsel shall stand, and [will do all My pleasure." (Isaiah 46:9-10)The English term "eschatology" is a fairly late theologicalterm, apparently not used before the nineteenth century.l"Eschatology" is derived from the compounding of two Greekterms: eschatos, which means "last," and logia, which means"word, discourse." Etymologically, then, eschatology is "thestudy of the last things."2 The term is derived from certainScriptural passages that speak of "the last days" (2 Tim. 3: 1;Reb. 1:2), "the last time" (1 Pet. 1:20; Jude 18), "the last hour"(1 John 2:18), and other comparable statements. We find simi-1. Oscar Cullmann and W. Georg Kiimmel, "Eschatology," The Oxford Dictionaryof the Christian Church, F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds. (2nd ed.; Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1974), p. 469. TM Compact Edition of the Oxford EnglishDictionary, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 1:893, cites George Bush'sAnastasis; or the Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, written in 1845, as the earliestwork employing the term "eschatology."2. Some theologians and dictionaries define it as: "The department of theologicalscience concerned with 'the four last things: death, judgement, heaven, and hell'."Compact Edition, 1:893. See also: Cullmann and Kiimmel, Oxford Dictionary of theChristian Church, p. 469.2 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONlar examples in the Septuagint, the second-century, B.C., Greektranslation of the Old Testament.3Eschatology is generally divided into two categories. Thereis that branch that we may call "cosmic eschatology," whichdeals with the consummational history of the world system andthe human race.4 Cosmic eschatology involves the study of thebiblical data regarding the providentially governed flow ofhistory as it develops toward its foreordained consummation.Cosmic eschatology especially focuses on the developmentalunfolding of the kingdom of God in history, the Second Adventof Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, andthe eternal state.Then there is what we may call "personal eschatology,"which is concerned with the destiny of the individual at death.5This necessarily involves a study of physical death, the immortalityof the soul, and the intermediate state. Ofcourse, becauseit ushers the individual out of the temporal and into the eternalworld, it also involves a consideration of heaven and hell.The present treatise will focus on cosmic eschatology. Eschatologyis vitally important to a proper understanding of thebiblical revelation. As Geerhardus Vos has noted regardingPaul's theology, "not only Christology but also the Soteriologyof the Apostle's teaching is closely interwoven with the Eschatology,that, were the question put, which of the strands is more3. See the Septuaginteschatai hemerai (Gen. 49:1; Isa. 2:2;Jer. 37:24; Ezek. 38: 16;Hos. 3:5; Mic. 4:1; Dan. 10:14) and eschaton ton hemeron (Num. 24:14; Deut. 4:30;31:29; Jer. 23:20; 25:18).4. Berkhof calls it "general eschatology"; Murray and Vos call it "collectiveeschatology"; Bruce calls it "world eschatology." L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 666. John Murray, "The Last Things," inCollected Writings ofJohn Murray, 4 vols. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977),2:403.Geehardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed,[1930] 1991), p. 5. F. F. Bruce, "Eschatology," Baker's Dictionary of Theology, EverettF. Harrison, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960), p. 188.5. Berkhof, Murray, Vos, and Bruce prefer "individual eschatology." Berkhof,Systematic Theology, p. 667. Murray, "The Last Things," 2:401. Vos, Pauline Eschatology,p. 5. Bruce, "Eschatology," p. 187.The Significance of Eschatology 3central, which more peripheral, the eschatology would have asgood a claim to the central place as the others. In reality, however,there is no alternative here; there is backward and forwardmovement in the order of thought in both directions.,,6Although 'eschatological matters have always been before theChurch,' it is widely recognized that eschatology has only relativelyrecently come to prominence as an area of systematic inquiry.Berkhof notes in this regard: "When Klieforth wrote hisEschatologie, he complained about the fact that there had neveryet appeared a comprehensive and adequate treatise on eschatologyas a whole.... In general it may be said that eschatologyis even now [1941] the least developed of all the loci of dogmatics."s This concern has come very late in Church history.Though this deficiency has been somewhat alleviated oflate,9 it is unfortunately the present situation that the field ofeschatology is largely dominated by writers offering eitherrationalistic assessments (e.g., Rudolf Bultmann, JUrgen Moltmann,Wolfhart Pannenberg), dispensationalistic novelties (e.g.,Charles C. Ryrie, John F. Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost), orsensationalistic prognostications (e.g., Hal Lindsey and DaveHunt). Ofcourse, there are exceptions (e.g., Anthony Hoekemaand George Eldon Ladd). Nevertheless, a careful and systematic6. Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 29.7. Some of the earliest of post-apostolic Christian literature dealt with eschatologicalissues. See especially The Shepherd of Hennas (ca. AD. 80s); Barnabas (ca. AD.100), Epistle, ch. 15; Fapias (ca. AD. 60-130), Against Heresies 5:33; Justin Martyr (ca.AD. 100-165), Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, chaps. 32, 51, 110 and Apology 1:50-52;and Irenaeus (ca. AD. 100-200). Against Heresies 5:23-26. Many early creeds andliturgies alluded to eschatological issues. See the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed,Clementine liturgy, liturgy ofJames, and the liturgy of Mark in Philip Schaff, Historyof the Christian Church (5th ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1910] 1985),2:598.8. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 664.9. In the third edition of Charles L. Feinberg, Millennialism: The Two Major Views(3rd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 32, we read: "Eschatology remains a muchneglected field of theological study and research. If one were to scan the standardwork of theology, he would be surprised to find the little attention that is given toeschatology," This, apparently, is from the earliest edition (1936) and was not amendedin the 1980 version.4 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpresentation of the optimistic eschatology of Scripture remains agenuine need within the Church.lO I hope that this work willpartially meet that need.There are those who lament the introduction of new ideas orthe resystematization of older views in the theological marketplaceof eschatology. One theologian writes that "we do notneed another defense of a particular view of the future andcertainly not a new view."ll Another comments in a review ofa new work on eschatology that he "sincerely questions ... thenecessity of adding a fifth position to an already overcrowdedrapture debate."12 Yet it is vitally important that continuedinquiry, systematization, and correction be made in our understandingof this important field of theology. Let me presentthree justifications for a new work on eschatology.The Priority of ScripturePaul informs us in 2 Timothy 3: 16 that "All scripture isgiven by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, forreproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Consequently,the study of any of Scripture's doctrines will be beneficialto the Christian. And eschatology is certainly one of themajor fields ofbiblical theology. Scripture, not experience, mustbe the foundation of our eschatology.As I will demonstrate in more detail later, the material ofbiblical eschatology begins at the very genesis of universal historyand extends to its ultimate consummation. Thus, its sweepencompasses the whole of time and the entirety of the biblical10. Even here there is no total lack, though there is no really full-blown systematictheological treatment. See: Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler,TX: Geneva Divinity School Press, [1954] 1981); Loraine Boettner, The Millennium(Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1957); David Chilton, Paradise Restored: ABiblical Theology of Dominion (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1985).11. Robert P. Lightner, The Last Days Handbook (Nashville: Nelson, 1990), p. 93.12. Gerald B. Stanton, ''A Review of The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church," BibliothecaSacra 148 Gan./March 1991) 90.The Significance of Eschatology 5record. As Jiirgen Moltmann puts it: "From first to last, and notmerely in the epilogue, Christianity is eschatology, is hope,forward looking and forward moving, and therefore also revolutionizingand transforming the present.',13 J. J. Van Oosterzeeagrees: "All true Theology is at the same time Teleology,which must of itself lead to Eschatology."14 Or, to put the matterstatistically in this econometric age, some research suggeststhat the prophetic element in Scripture accounts for more thanone-fourth, or about 27% of the biblical record, because predictiveprophecy is found in 8,352 of the Bible's 31,124 verses. I5Berkhof puts the significance of eschatology in proper perspectiveregarding its relation to the other branches of systematic(or dogmatic) theology:In theology it is the question, how God is finally perfectly glorifiedin the work of His hands, and how the counsel of God isfully realized; in anthropology, the question, how the disruptinginfluence of sin is completely overcome; in christology, the question,how the work of Christ is crowned with perfect victory; insoteriology, the question, how the work of the Holy Spirit at lastissues in the complete redemption and glorification ofthe peopleof God; and in ecdesiology, the question of the final apotheosisof the Church. All these questions must find their answer in thelast locus of dogmatics, making it the real capstone of dogmatictheology. 1613. Jiirgen Mohmann, Theology of Hope, trans. by J. W. Leitch (New York:Harper & Row, 1967), p. 16. Berkhof also laments the epilogical placement ofeschatology: "In such a scheme eschatology could only appear as the finale of history,and not at all as one of the constitutive elements of a system of truth:' Berkhof,Systematic Theology, p. 664.14. J.J. Van Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, 2 vols. (New York: Scribner's, n.d.),2:581.15. J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (New York: Harper & Row,1973), pp. 675, 681. Of course, this is not to say that all of these prophecies arefuture to our time.16. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 665.6 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONMcDonald boldly asserts ofJesus' teaching: "It is much morethan a mere paradox to say that the first things in the Gospelsis their presentation of the last things. Their theology, like anysound theology which is true to its biblical perspective, involvesan eschatology, a doctrine of end events."l'For the evangelical Christian, the Scripture holds a dominantsway over his worldview.l8 With such a heavy biblical emphasison matters of eschatological significance, we should notoverlook this field of study. In fact, this matter leads us to ournext, related concern: the philosophy of history.The Christian Philosophy of HistoryDoes history have any meaning, purpose, or significance? Isthere a unified movement in history? Is history going anywhere?These are important questions for us as we begin astudy of biblical eschatology; the first two prepare for and thelast one speaks of cosmic eschatology. Mter all, the issue ofeschatology is "notjust one of how to interpret Rev. 20, but onethat bears on the entire philosophy of history."l9Carl Henry observes that 'judeo-Christian revelation hasnurtured a universal conviction that no theology or philosophycan be comprehensive unless it deals with the direction of historyand the goal of the universe, with the matter of man's ultimatedestiny and the problem of death.,,20 Vos notes:It is no wonder that such energetic eschatological thinking tendedtowards consolidation in an orb of compact theological structure.For in it the world-process is viewed as a unit. The end is17. H. D. McDonald, Living Doctrines ofthe New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,[1971] 1972), p. 116.18. See Chapter 5, below.19. G. C. Berkouwer, The Return of ChriJt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), p.234n.20. Carl E H. Henry, God Wlw Stands and Stays: Part Two, in Henry, God, Revelation,and Authority, 6 vols. (Waco, TX: Word, 1983),6:492.The Significance ofEschatologyplaced in the light of the beginning, and all intermediate developmentsare construed with reference to the purpose a quo andthe terminus ad quem. Eschatology, in other words, even that ofthe most primitive kind, yields ipso facto a philosophy of history,be it of the most rudimentary sort. And every philosophy ofhistory bears in itself the seed of a theology.... [A]ll eschatologicalinterpretation of history, when united to a strong religiousmentality cannot but produce the finest practical theologicalfruitage. To take God as source and end of all that exists andhappens, and to hold such a view suffused with the warmth ofgenuine devotion, stands not only related to theology as the fruitstands to the tree: it is by reason of its essence a veritable theologicaltree of life.2\


    Although we will not flesh out a full philosophy of history,we do need to be at least generally aware of its significance.22Basically, three approaches to history are significant to ourinquiry, as presented by Reinhold Niebuhr and Arthur F.Holmes.23 These views are the pagan cyclical view, the Christianlinear view, and the secular evolutionary view.A Brief Historical SketchThe study of history is a complicated task. The difficulty ofarranging all the evidence we have (which gives us but a fractionof all that occurred) is truly imposing. Tolstoy is reportedto have commented that "History would be an excellent thingif only it were true."24 In the late 1600's, systematic historicalPyrrhonism arose, which discounted the value of history due to21. Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 61.22. For a helpful introduction to some of the elements of a Christian philosophyof history, see: Rousas John Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History (Nutley, NJ:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1969). For an historical study see: D. W. Bebbington,Patterns in History: A Christian View (Downer's Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1979).23. Reinhold Niebuhr, Faith and History (New York: Scribner's, 1949), p. 17.Arthur F. Holmes, Contours of a Christian Worldview (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983).24. Cited by Bebbington, Patterns in History, p. 8.8 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe philosophical skepticism regarding all human knowledge.25 Developing an explicitly biblical philosophy of historyis a task of great significance for the Christian.Although "societies have existed, and continue to exist,where there is little awareness of the ongoing historical process,"26 there eventually arose in the ancient pre-Christianworld a cyclical view of history.27 The cyclical interpretation ofhistory held (and in some cases still holds) a strong influence inthe East: China, India, and Persia. This cyclical view of historyinfluenced the West through Greece and Rome.28 Based onthe seasonal rhythm of nature, it presented history as an endless,recurring series of cycles.Given the pagan conception of recurring cycles and theunconnectedness of reality under competing gods, there couldbe no unified conception of reality. Such a view destroyed anyhope of historical progress, thereby trapping men in a deadenduniverse of relentless political cycles.29 In Greece, therewas a "rigorously anti-historical metaphysics,"30 as a result ofthe influence of Aristotle's concern with the eternal.Aristotle wrote: "For indeed time itself seems to be a sort ofcircle" (Physics 4: 14). The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus25. La Mothe Ie Vayer in 1668 was an early systematizer of historical Pyrrhonism.Pyrrhonism is based on the philosophy of the Greek skeptic Pyrrho (365-275B.C.), who argued that all knowledge, including knowledge based on the senses, isuncertain.26. Bebbington. Patterns in History, p. 21.27. For a fuller discussion of the cyclical view of history. see: Bebbington, Patternsin History. ch. 2. John Marsh, The Fullness of Time (London: Nisbet, 1952) and HendrikusBerkhof, Christ the Meaning of History. trans. by L. Buurman (4th ed.; Richmond:John Knox, 1966).28. The three fundamental eastern forms were Chinese dynasticism, the recurrentworld cycle, and the Persian pattern of decline from a golden age. See Bebbington,Patterns in History, p. 33.29. For a brief discussion of the debate over whether the Greeks held to historicalprogress, see: Gary North, Moses and Pharaoh: Dominion Religion Versus PowerReligion (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), ch. 17: "The Metaphorof Growth: Ethics."30. R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1946), p. 20.The Significance of Eschatology 9(A.D. 56-117) wrote that "not only the seasons but everythingelse, social history included, moves in cycles" (Annals 3:55).Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (A.D. 121-180), the Stoic philosopherand Roman emperor, clearly expressed the cyclical view:"Future generations will have nothing new to witness, even asour forefathers beheld nothing more than we of today, but thatif a man comes to his fortieth year, and has any understandingat all, he has virtually seen - thanks to their similarity - allpossible happenings, both past and to come" (Meditations 11: 1).The philosophically and ethically self-conscious Christian hasa wholly different conception of reality. His realistic conceptionof history gives rise to a distinctive and meaningful philosophyof history. Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (A.D. 354-430),may rightly be called the father of the philosophy of history.31He set forth a philosophy of history that had its meaning rootedin the redemptive work ofJesus Christ, which was an importantaspect of the eternal plan of Almighty God, Creator ofheaven and earth.Eventually, the calendar of the West was dated Anno Domini,"in the year of our Lord." This was first done by DionysiusExiguus in 525. It was not until the eighteenth century that thepreceding era was designated "B.C.," Before Christ. Cullmannobserves: "Our system of time does not number the years in acontinuous forward moving series that begins at a fixed initialpoint. ... Our history does not proceed from an initialpoint, but from a center This event is the birth of JesusChrist of Nazareth."32Augustine argued that what gave meaning to history was theprovidential intervention of God. In addition, "since, accordingto Augustine, human history is but the unfolding of the divine31. However, we should understand that Augustine was not the first Christianthinker to oppose the pagan cyclical worldview. See: Justin Martyr, The Dialogue withTrypho the Jew 1:5. Cited in Bebbington, PaUems in History, p. 52.32. Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time: The Primitive Christian Coru;eption of Time andHistory, trans. by Floyd V. Filson (3rd ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964), p. 1,7.10 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONdrama, history has direction."33 He saw that history is movingto a glorious conclusion; hence, he viewed history as linearrather than cyclical.34 The three basic elements of a Christianview of history are these: (1) linear movement, (2) divine intrusion,and (3) teleological orientation.The Christian, Augustinian view of universal history reignedwith great influence throughout the Medieval period. It waslargely displaced by a secular philosophy of history influencedby the Renaissance concern with classical antiquity. For a brieftime in 1792, the leaders of the French Revolution attempted toimpose a new calendar on France. In fact, the very designations"Middle Ages," "Medieval Period," "Dark Ages," and so forth,evidence a bias against the Christian influence on history. Theperiod of the dominant influence of Christianity in the MiddleAges is considered to be a dark period separating the goldendays of pagan Greece and Rome from its glorious modern heirsin secular humanism. Notice the dim view that the Marquis deCondorcet had of the Middle Ages: "Man's only achievementswere theological day-dreaming and superstitious imposture, hisonly morality religious intolerance."35 But the ancient paganand modern secular views of history are not glorious at all.36Christian historian C. Gregg Singer relates an experience hehad at an annual meeting of the American Historical Associationin the early 1970s. He was at an informal small group33. W. T. J ones, The Medieval Mind, vol. 2 in A HiJtory of Western Philosophy (2nded.; New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1969), p. 135.34. Although secularist intellectuals are still debating the origin of the linearconception of history, most accept that it derives from the Bible. Victor Ferkiss,Technological Man (New York: Mentor, 1969), pp. 22, 43-44. See also: Cullmann,Christ and Time, chaps. 1-2.35. Marquis de Condorcet, Sketch for a HiJtorical Picture of the Progress of theHuman Mind, trans: by June Barraclough (London, [1795] 1955), p. 77.36. It is more than a little interesting that this century, which has been praisedas the age of the triumph of humanism, is also noted for being the bloodiest centuryknown to man. See: Gil Elliot, The Twentieth Century Book of the Dead (New York:Scribner's, 1972). See also: Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., "The Greatness of the GreatCommission," Journal of Christian Reconstruction 7:2 (Winter 1981) 19-24.The Significance ofEschatololfJ 11meeting with several leading historians. The subject underdiscussion was the meaning and purpose of history. The sixother historians present were convinced that history "lacks anydecisive meaning and any discernible purpose.'>37 Singer responded:"If this be the case, then why do we teach history?"His query was met with surprise and disgust, the group brokeup, and all the historians went to their various discussion seminarson the subject they teach in colleges, but which by theirown estimation has no inherent meaning.According to the various competing modern, secular, evolutionaryviews, history can really have no meaning, purpose,value, or direction.38 The floor of reality is Chance. In such asystem, the ultimate foundation of the rational, therefore, becomesthe irrational. Thus, not only is there no ultimate meaningand purpose, but no foundation for ethics, i.e., for moralvalues. The chaos of modern culture is the fruit of the widespreadpermeation of this modern philosophy of history.Presuppositions of the Christian Philosophy of HistoryThe presuppositions undergirding the Christian philosophyof linear history include the following several elements, whichwill only be briefly stated. It is important that we bear these inmind from the outset. Eschatological inquiry will be radicallyaltered and thrown into hopeless confusion if these presupposi-37. C. Gregg Singer, "History," Foundations of Christian Scholarship: Essays in theVan Til Perspective, Gary North, ed. (Vallecito, CA: Ross House, 1976), p. 53.38. The modern Western intellectual rules out in principle "the possibility thatthe universe might be ordered teleologically." Huston Smith, Chance and Necessity(New York: Vintage, 1972), p. 21. In some circles the cyclical view of history wasrevived in mild forms since the Renaissance, such as in Niccolo Machiavelli's TheDiscourses. And "although no fully articulated cyclical theory is popular in the Westtoday," it should be noted that "cyclical theory is not dead." Bebbington, Patterns inHistory, p. 40. In fact, some physicists who hold to the Big Bang fluctuation theory ofthe universe do hold to a cyclical view of reality. See Gary North, Is the. World RunningDown? Crisis in the Christian WiJrldview (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics,1988), ch. 2.12 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONtions to our study are not properly understood as givens. Thesewill be brought to bear in our treatment of the biblical eschatologicalsystem set forth in the present work. The fundamentalpresuppositions of the Christian philosophy of history, whichare discovered in both testaments,39 are: God, creation, providence,fall, redemption, revelation, and consummation.God. God exists and is absolutely independent and whollyself-sufficient. In Exodus 3:14, He defines Himselfvia His specialcovenantal name "YHWH" ('Jehovah"). Here He identifiesHimself as "I am that I am." This self-designation is peculiarlyimportant to our understanding of God. This statement isfound in the imperfect tense in Hebrew, thereby distinguishinga constantly manifested quality. From this name we may discerncertain of God's intrinsic qualities: (1) His aseity: God exists ofHimself. He is wholly uncreated and self-existent. There is noprinciple or fact back ofGod accounting for His existence Uohn5:26). (2) His eternity: He is of unlimited, eternal duration. Thecombination of the verb tense (imperfect) and its repetition ("Iam" / "I am") emphasize His uninterrupted, continuous existence(Psa. 90; 93:1-2; Isa. 40:28; 57:15). (3) His sovereignty: Heis absolutely self-determinative. He determines from within Hisown being. As the Absolute One, He operates with unfetteredliberty. He is not conditioned by outward circumstance. He iswhat He is because He is what He is. He is completely selfdefinitionaland has no need of anything outside of Himself(Isa. 40:9-31).Creation.40 There is a personal, moral, sovereign origin ofall of reality. The Christian's creational viewpoint puts manunder God and over nature (Gen. 1:26-27; Psa. 8). It impartstranscendent meaning to temporal history and sets before man39. There are those who (wrongly) argue that the Old Testament operates froma cyclical view of history. J. B. Curtis, ''A Suggested Interpretation of the BiblicalPhilosophy of History," Hebrew Union College Annual 34 (1963).40. See Chapter 9, below, for more detail.The Significance of Eschatology 13a high callingY The entire universe from the smallest atomicparticle to the largest and farthest flung galaxy was created exnihilo. It exists solely because of the exercise of God's creativewill, and was brought into being by His sovereign, successivedivine fiats (Gen. 1:1; Exo. 20:11; Heb. 11:3). All facts and laws,all people and materials, trace their origin, meaning, and purposeback to God.42Providence. God has an eternally decreed, minutely detailed,sovereignly determined, and unfailingly certain plan for theuniverse; this plan is personally and intimately administered byHim and for His own gloryY Providence imparts transcendentmeaning into the control of history. God works all thingsafter the counsel of His holy will (Eph. 1:11; cr. Psa. 33:11; Isa.45: 10-11). Providence is the alternative to the Chance andbrute factuality (i.e., the unrelatedness of reality) of the nonChristianviewpoint.Fall. Because of God's testing of Adam, which resulted inAdam's Fall (Gen. 3:1-8), history has become the battlegroundof Christ and anti-Christ (Gen. 3:15). Sin affects every aspect ofhuman endeavor, distorting all of reality. Our historical situationcannot be understood apart from the unnaturalness of sin.Neither may we think of man's fundamental problem as ontological,related to his finite being. Adam's pre-Fall abilities wereremarkable (Gen. 2:15, 19-20), as will be our post-temporalexistence (1 Cor. 15:42-53). Man's fundamental problem is anethical one, related to His rebellion against the Law of God(Rom. 5:10; 8:7-8). Because of this he labors under God's curse(Gen. 3:15; Rom. 5:12-19; Gal. 3:10). But history is not abandonedby God due to man's Fall. It does, however, witness therise of a new factor: redemption.Redemption. The major motif of history is the redemptive41. Rushdoony, Biblical Philosophy of History, p. 3.42. Psa. 24:1; John 1:4; Rom. 11:36ff; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 4:11.43. Psa. 115:3; Prov. 16:1-4,9; Dan. 4:35; Matt. 10:29, 30.14 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONactivity of God in reconciling creation back to Himself (Gen.3:15; Col. 1:19-23). This will very strongly and directly affectour understanding of biblical eschatology. God has establishedthe plan of redemption in order to bring wayward man back tohimself. No proper understanding of historical progress anddirection can be held with reference only to the Fall of man.We must take into account also the restorative acts of God inredemption.44 The division of history into B.C. and A.D. isindicative of the realization of Christ as the focal point of thehistorical process.45 Such an historical designation has theologicalimplications. That some scholars opt for B.C.E. and is a sign of an anti-Christian bias.46Revelation.47 God has revealed Himself and various aspectsof His will infallibly and inerrantly in His Holy Word, the BibleUohn 10:35; 2 Tim. 3: 16,17; 2 Pet. 1:20,21). The providentialgovernance of history employs the causative prophetic word ofthe Creator. God's eternal decree, from which His propheticWord springs into history, is neither abstract nor random; it isconcrete and rational. It is not raw force, but structured power.God's Word gives intelligible construction to all things (Psa.33:11; 148:5; Heb. 1:3; 11:3).Consummation. Not only does history have a beginning, but itis providentially being guided to a particular end (Isa. 46: 10;55:11). Our labor in the Lord here on earth is not in vain (lCor. 15:58). We labor in the present with a view to the futureand ultimately to the consummation and the eternal state. Infact, it must be realized that "it was the Christian view of historythat gave western civilization its remarkably widespread convic-44. North, Is Th£ World Running Down?45. Cullmann, Christ and Time, pp. 18-19.46. Before the Common Era and Common Era. For instance, see the practiceand debate in Biblical Archaeology Review 15:2 (March/April 1989) 56; 15:4 (July/ Aug.1989) 16-17,46; 16:4 (July/Aug. 1990) 12.47. This factor of the Christian philosophy of history will be brought to bearmore precisely regarding the eschatological question in Chapter 5, below.The Significance ofEschatology 15tion that the future offers hope."48At this juncture, I can afford to devote no more space to thisimportant matter of the philosophy of history, but readersshould keep these general statements in mind as they read thisstudy of biblical eschatology. We are dealing with a very importantmatter: the Christian philosophy of universal history. We mustrecognize that "Scripture affirms that all history has a purposeand goal, that history is unrepeatable, and that it moves towardthe final triumph of the good."49 To read much of populareschatological literature, one would surmise that the Bible is aneschatological jigsaw puzzle, a grand trivial pursuit.50 Such isnot the case.It means everything to eschatological inquiry whether or notthe entire course of world history is under the absolutely sovereignadministration of the infinitely personal God of Scripture.It is of fundamental consequence whether or not we view theuniverse as the creature of God designed for His glory. If Godwere not absolutely sovereign, some competing God or somecountervailing principle or some unforeseen fortuity couldthrow a dark blanket of obscurity over our knowledge of theultimate eschatological outcome of universal history and humanexistence. This would undermine any hope for a moral conclusionto world and universal history.51It is of extreme importance regarding the facts of eschatologicaleventuation that we understand this: God has an eternalplan that absolutely governs the origin, process, and outcome ofhistory.A Christian philosophy of history must insist that His will is48. Bebbington, Pattl!mS in History, p. 42.49. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, 6:493.50. Samuel Bacchiocchi, Hal Lindsey's Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle: Five Predictions ThatHave Failed! (Berrien Springs, MI: Biblical Perspectives, 1987). T. Boersma, Is theBible a Jigsaw Puzzle: An Evaluation of Hal Lindsey's Writings (St. Catherines, Ontario:Paideia, 1978).51. See Greg L. Bahnsen, "The Problem of Evil," Biblical Worldview 7: 11 (Nov.1991) and 7:12 (Dec. 1991).16 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONdeterminative rather than responsive. God is not merely respondingto forces inherent within the processes of history,whether resultant from a competing spiritual being or beings,or in consequence of autonomous human activity, or due to"natural" phenomena. It matters immensely whether or not God hasgraciously and objectively revealed Himself and His will to man. Ifneither of these biblical "givens" is true, then, as regards theformer, God Himself cannot certainly know the future, becauseit would be definitionally random and unknowable. Regardingthe latter, we could have no hope ourselves of lifting the veil ofthe future; our inquiry would be pure guess-work.The Cultural Implications of EschatologyAs will become evident in the following chapters, eschatologyhas a tremendous effect on the Christian's worldview and,consequently, on his practical, daily living. In this book, I willespecially highlight one particular eschatological theme that isquite dominant in the entire prophetic Scriptures and that ismost influential in promoting a full-orbed Christian witness andBible-based social activism: the gospel victory theme.The omission of the gospel victory theme in much of moderneschatology should be lamented. Its replacement with a defeatistscheme for Christian enterprise has paralyzed the Christiancultural enterprise, emptied the Christian worldview ofpractical significance, and given Christians a sinful "comfort inlethargy," because it tends "to justify social irresponsibility."52It has left the earth (which is the Lord's, Psa. 24: 153) to a conqueredfoe and the enemy of our Lord and Savior, JesusChrist. This paralysis is all the more lamentable because it hascaused the forfeiture of great gains made by the tireless and52. Ted Peters, Futures: Human and Divine (Atlanta: John Knox, 1978), pp. 29,28.-53. Exo. 9:29; 19:5; Lev. 25:23; Deut. 10:14; 1 Sam. 2:8; 1 Chron. 29:11, 14; 2Chron. 29:11,14; Job 41:11; Psa. 24:1; 50:12; 89:11; Psa. 115:16; 1 Cor. 10:26,28.The Significance of Eschatology 17costly labors of our Christian forefathers, particularly from theReformation era through the early 1900s.Eschatological PessimismThree of the four major evangelical eschatolqgical systems54may be categorized as "pessimistic," whereas the view to be setforth in the present work may be seen as "optimistic." In categorizingthem as pessimistic, I am speaking of the followingIssues:(1) As systems of gospel proclamation each teaches the gospelof Christ will not exercise any major influence in the worldbefore Christ's return;(2) As systems of historical understanding each holds that theBible teaches that there are prophetically determined, irresistibletrends downward toward chaos in the outworking and developmentof history; and therefore(3) As systems for the promotion of Christian discipleship,each dissuades the Church from anticipating and laboring forwide-scale success in influencing the world for Christ during thisage.The pessimism/optimism question has very much to do withthe practical endeavors of Christians in the world today.55 Allevangelical Christians are optimistic in the ultimate sense thatGod will miraculously win the war against sin and Satan at theend of history by direct, supernatural intervention, either in anearthly millennial kingdom introduced by Jesus at the Second54. See Chapters 3 and 4 for a study of the four major evangelical eschatologicalsystems.55. Gary North has stated that Christians who are either premillennial oramillennial tend to become operational postmillennialists when they begin to getinvolved in social action projects, whether or not these are political activities. North,"Ghetto Eschatologies," Biblical Economics Today 14:3 (April/May 1992) 3-4, 6. Hepoints out that dispensational activists in the United States after 1975 ceased discussingin public the details of their eschatology (p. 3).18 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONComing"6 or at the final judgment, which introduces the NewHeavens and New Earth.57Dispensationalism. The Dispensationalist urges believers toaccept the view that "the church age will end in apostasy, notrevival" because it is so destined (although they rarely say predestined)by Gdd.58 Furthermore, believers today are taught bythis view that "this current world is headed toward judgment.Mter that judgment, Christ will take control of the world andrule it. But until that happens, the message and activities forbelievers should be, 'Flee the wrath to come by finding safety inJesus Christ.' "59 "We are witnessing in this twentieth centurythe collapse of civilization. It is obvious that we are advancingtoward the end of the age.... I can see no bright prospects,through the efforts of man, for the earth and its inhabitants.,,60 As this book was going to press, another sample ofpessimism crossed my desk: "This present world is rapidlycoming to an end. It is on an irreversible collision course withdestiny."61 This is the language of predestination.Because of this, dispensationalists dogmatically teach theirfollowers: "Christians have no immediate solution to the problemsof our day."62 In fact, they aver that "to attempt to estab-56. For example: "The Bible expects the world to be conquered not by Christianity,but only by the second coming of Christ." John F. Walvoord, "Review ofHouse Divided," Bibliotheca Sacra Guly/Sept. 1990) 372. "The premillennialist seesChrist intervening catastrophically in a moment of history, resulting in an establishmentof his mediatorial rule." H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, DominionTheology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988), p. 140.57. Hoekema has written: "Old Testament prophecies interpreted by postmillennialistsas referring to a future millennial golden age picture the final state of the redeemed community... [in] a new heaven and a new earth." Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 177. Cf. Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 33.58. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, pp. 390, 378.59. Ibid., p. 356.60. Lehman Strauss, "Our Only Hope," Bibliotheca Sacra 120 (ApriVJune 1963)154.61. Jack Van Impe, "There Is Hope!" (Troy, MI: Jack Van Impe MinistriesInternational, December, 1991), p. 1.62. John F. Walvoord, "Why Are the Nations in Turmoil?" Prophecy and theThe Significance of Eschatology 19lish a long-term change of institutions before Christ returns willonly result in the leaven of humanism permeating orthodoxChristianity"63 and "that our main business should be to rescuepeople out of the mess and not try to improve it or preserveits good characteristics."64 Dispensationalists are prone tolament: "Without the hope of our Lord's return ... what futuredo any of us have?,,65I am not taking these statements out of context. They arequite conventional. The language of social and political disengagementis basic to the dispensational outlook. Hal Lindsey66states the situation about as strongly as can be: "Christ died forus in order to rescue us from this present evil age. These versesshow what ourfocus, motivation, and hope should be in this presentage. We are to live with the constant expectation of the anymomentappearing of our LORD to this earth.,,67 In fact, hewrites, "the world will progressively harden its heart against theGospel and plunge itself into destruction.,,68 His call to Christiansis: "We should be living like persons who don't expect tobe around much longer."69 As R. A. Torrey put it: "The darkerthe night gets; the lighter my heart gets.,,70 Christianity hasSeventies, Charles Lee Feinberg, ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 212. Walvoordcontinues: ''A solution to this unrest and turmoil is provided in the Bible, and thereis no other. That solution is that Jesus Christ Himself is coming back to bring peaceand rest to the world." Ibid., p. 210.63. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 340.64. George H. Dollar, A History ofFundamentalism in America (Greenville, SC: BobJones University Press, 1973), p. 278.65. Salem Kirban, }bur Last GoodUye (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1969), p. 252.66. Lindsey is best known for his 35-million best-seller, The Late Great PlanetEarth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), the largest-selling book ofthe 1970s. Consequently,his ideas exercise a great influence over untold numbers of Christians.67. Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989), p. 279.68. Ibid., p. 36.69. Lindsey, Late, Great, p. 145.70. Cited from Dwight L. Wilson, Armageddon Now! The Premillenarian Response toRussia and Israel Since 1917 (Tyler, "IX: Institute for Christian Economics, [1977]1991), p. 37. The implication of the theological necessity of cultural withdrawalcannot easily be evaded, and American dispensationalists until the mid-1970's did not20 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONno future in this view for "we are in the time of the end."nDispensationalists have no practical, long-range hope for theChristian in the here and now. "It would appear the great] udge is poised on the threshold of a new age just ready tousher in the next major movement in His plan for the worldGames 5:9).... [E]very saint should be standing on tiptoe inanticipation:>72 Charles C. Ryrie73 denies any optimistic gospelvictory, when he teaches that "defection and apostasy,among other things, will characterize [the] entire period" ofChurch history.74 Dave Hunt7S argues that "only a small percentageof mankind is willing ... to come to Christ in repentanceand be born again by the Spirit of God" and that "thevast majority of people will continue to reject Christ in thefuture just as they have in the past.,,76 The dispensationalist isalarmed at the thought of Christian cultural transformation. Inhis view, to attempt such "is to err so grievously as to lead oneinto a program that is hopeless; it calls necessarily for the adoptingof means that are unauthorized, and the setting of a goalthat is unattainable as it is unscriptural. Herein lies the greatmistake of the 'kingdom builders' (their tribe decreases) whohave as their goal a vision of Christianizing the world:'"seek to evade it. From the mid-1970s on, this language of cultural retreat created aproblem for dispensational activists. In 1982, Gary North warned that this wouldcreate a major crisis in dispensationalism: North, "The Intellectual Schizophrenia ofthe New Christian Right," Christianity and Civilization 1 (Spring 1982) 1-40.71. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 31.72. Herman Hoyt, The End Times (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), p. 13.73. Ryrie is perhaps the most influential dispensationalist theologian alive today.He is a former Dallas Theological Seminary professor, who has trained hundreds ofevangelical pastors. His best-selling Ryrie Study Bible alone gives him an influence wellbeyond other dispensationalist theologians.74. Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986), p. 461.75. Hunt is a best-selling author whose books are found in virtually everyChristian bookstore in America.76. Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House,1988), pp. 178, 274.77. Charles E. Stevens, "The Church of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ inContrast," Prophecy and the Seventies, p. 101.The Significance of Eschatology 21Historic premillennialism. Historic premillennialists would joinin the denial of the gospel victory theme. J. Barton Payne believesthat "evil is present in our world as predicted in the HolyBooks" (of the Bible). This evil must occur because it is a forecastof Christ's imminent return.7S Robert H. Mounce lamentsthat "it is difficult to see from history alone any cause for optimism."He is certain that it will be a "persecuted church [that]will witness the victorious return of Christ,,79 rather than aworld-conquering Church. George Eldon Ladd concurs: "Inspite of the fact that God had invaded history in Christ, and inspite of the fact that it was to be the mission ofJesus' disciplesto evangelize the entire world (Matt. 24:14), the world wouldremain an evil place. False christs would arise who would leadmany astray. Wars, strife, and persecution would continue.Wickedness would abound so as to chill the love of many."soAmillennialism. Among amillennialists we discover the samesort of despair. William Hendriksen comments that "the majoritywill ever be on the side of the evil one."Sl Cornelius Vanderwaalwrites that "I do not believe in inevitable progress towarda much better world in this dispensation" and God's "churchhas no right to take an optimistic, triumphalistic attitude."s2H. de J ongste and J. M. van Krimpen are forthright in theirdeclaration that "there is no room for optimism: towards theend, in the camps of the satanic and the anti-Christ, culture willsicken, and the Church will yearn to be delivered from its78. J. BaTton Payne, Biblical Prophecy for Today (GTand Rapids: BakeT, 1978), p.10.79. RobeTt H. Mounce, The Book ofRevelation (New International Commentary on theNew Testament) (GTand Rapids: EeTdmans, 1977), p. 47; cf. p. 44.80. George Eldon Ladd, The Last Things: An Eschatology for Laymen (GrandRapids: EeTdmans, 1978), p. 58.81. William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (GTand Rapids: Baker, [1939]1967), p. 228.82. Cornelius Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy (St. Catherine's,Ontario: Paideia, 1978), pp. 44, 45.22 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONdistress.,,83Van Riessen writes that "Babylon will be the city of theend.,,84 Amillennialist Donald Guthrie, according to dispensationalistJohn F. Walvoord, "readily agrees that the biblicalpoint of view is pessimistic, that is, the world as it is now constitutedwill not be revived and improved, but instead, will bedestroyed and replaced."85 Hendrikus Berkhof notes the effectof such thinking on the average Christian: "The average Christiandoes not expect to see any positive signs of Christ's reign inthe world. He believes that the world only becomes worse andraces in the direction of the antichrist."86 Dale H. Kuiperblasts postmillennialists because "they are fiercely opposed tospeaking of a parallel development of good and evil, of God'skingdom and Satan's kingdom, of the world becoming progressivelyworse and falling away, of the church's tribulation increasingand the end of the world finding the church lonelyand sorely beset.,,87 Hanko insists that "we must indeed expectan age when the powers of darkness shall rule in the earth."Consequently, "there is nothing optimistic here or filled withhope for the future."88An entire issue of The Standard Bearer of the amillennialProtestant Reformed Church is dogmatic in its despair. "The83. H. deJongste andJ. M. van Krimpen, The Bible and the Life of the Christian(Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1968), p. 27.84. Hendrik van Riessen, The Society of the Future (Philadelphia: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1957), p. 233. See a similar sentiment in Raymond O. Zorn, Church andKingdom (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1962), pp. 182-184.85. John F. Walvoord, "Review of Donald Guthrie, The Relevance ofJohn's Apocalypse"Bibliotheca Sacra 147 (ApriVJune 1990) 251.86. Berkhof, Christ the Meaning of History, p. 174.87. Dale H. Kuiper, "What Constitutes Victory? An Analysis of the PostmillennialismEspoused by Chalcedon, Especially in Rushdoony's God's Plan for Victory"(unpublished conference paper: South Holland, IL: South Holland ProtestantReformed Church, 1978), pp. 51-52.88. Herman Hanko, "An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism" (unpublishedconference paper: South Holland, IL: South Holland Protestant ReformedChurch, 1978), pp. 22, 23.The Significance of Eschatology 23hope of the Reformed Christian is not in any kingdom in thissorry world. Why, after all, would he want to place it there?For, what is the Taj Mahal, even compared to the mansionprepared for him in heaven Another decade has ended.We are a step closer [to the end]. We do well to meditate onthat."s9 "In all his or her 'sorrows and persecutions,' the childof God living in January, A.D. 1990 longs for one thing, andone thing only: the coming of Christ to judge the living and thedead, by which he and all Christ's chosen ones shall be translatedto Christ.... All other hopes are miserable delusions andpipe dreams."9oThe woe continues: The "world [is] filled with sin and gettingworse, a hopeless situation beyond repair and impossible tosalvage" is before us. Thus, the postmillennial hope of thegrowth of the true Christian faith to dominance "holds beforeus an illusory hope.... It is a mirage, therefore, a false hope.. . . It is a mirage because the kingdom which the Postmillennialistsdescribed is, in fact, the kingdom of Antichrist.... Thehope of the believer, and for this I am profoundly grateful, isnot on any kingdom in this sorry world, but is fastened witheagerness, with longing and with great optimism, on the everlastingkingdom of righteousness which shall be realized only inthe new heavens and in the new earth where sin shall be nomore.,,91 "Because of God's curse, man lies in the midst ofdeath with no escape. Man goes in a circle, a vicious circle. Hehas made progress, but his progress consists only in that heruns his miserable circle at a faster pace. The best of man'searthly life is labor and sorrow (Psalm 90:10). Nothing is free89. Don Doezema, "In This Issue... ," Standard Bearer 66:7 (Jan. 1, 1990) 146.90. David J. Engelsma, "The Reformed Faith - Theology of Hope," ibid. 149.This dramatic overstatement reduces all Christian hope to one event: the SecondAdvent. It effectively undermines the missionary and evangelistic hope of bringingothers to Christ - as well as other such hopes - in that "all other hopes are delusions."91. Herman Hanko, "The Illusory Hope of Postmillennialism," ibid., 159, 160.24 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONfrom becoming dust.,,92 ''Apostasy grows worse and worse astime goes on. We live in the last days and we know that ourLord prophesied that in our days there would be few in theworld that believe.,,93Few things have been more destructive to the implementationof a well-rounded, biblically grounded Christian worldviewthan an incorrect perspective on the end times. A classic,though inadvertent, illustration of this is available in a 1977interview with evangelist Billy Graham:Q. If you had to live your life over again, what would you dodifferently?A. One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. Iwish I had studied more and preached less.... Donald Barnhousesaid that if he knew the Lord was coming in three yearshe would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I'mtrying to make it Up.94A similar problem is admitted by Tim LaHaye. Many Christiansare committed to the approaching end of the age, with allof its horror (according to their dispensational view):Most knowledgeable Christians are looking for the Second Comingof Christ and the tribulation period that He predicted wouldcome before the end of the age. Because present world conditionsare so similar to those the Bible prophesies for the lastdays. . . , they conclude that a takeover of our culture by theforces of evil is inevitable; so they do nothing to resist it.9592. Ronald VanOverloop, "The Hope of Every Believer Regarding His FutureEarthly Life," ibid. 162.93.. Arie denHartog, "Hope and the Protestant Reformed Churches' MissionCalling," ibid. 165.94. "Taking the World's Temperature" (interview), Christianity Today (Sept. 23,1977) 19.95. lim LaHaye, The Battle for the Mind (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1980), p. 217.The Significance of Eschatology 25Such an outlook is not conducive to the promotion of a fullorbedChristian worldview. A book review in Christianity Todayfurther illustrates this mindset. There we read that "Myers callsus 'not to change the world, but to understand it.' " The reviewalso notes that author Myers writes: "If we cannot expect ourculture to be a holy enterprise, we can at least try to avoidparticipating in its profanities."96It is not unusual for the defenders and extenders of pessimisticeschatologies to speak of suffering and sorrow as the lotof Christians throughout the Christian history, with no hope of alet up. Writes amillennialist professor Richard Gaffin of WestminsterTheological Seminary: "Over the interadvental periodin its entirety, from beginning to end, a fundamental aspect of thechurch's existence is (to be) 'suffering with Christ'; nothing, theNew Testament teaches, is more basic to its identity thanthat."97 "The normal situation for the community of Jesus isnot to be influential and prosperous but poor and oppressed.,,98 "The church is called to suffer in this world.',99 "Suchtolerance as [Christians] receive on the part of the world is dueto this fact that we live in the earlier, rather than in the later,stage of history."looConclusionThe study of eschatology is a worthy Christian endeavor. Itssignificance to the Christian worldview is evident in the large96. Steve Rabey, "Review of Kenneth A. Myers, All God's Children and Blue SuedeShoes: Christians and Popular Culture," Christianity Today 34:12 (Sept. 10, 1990) 43.97. Richard B. Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Postmillennia1ism,"Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey, eds.(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), pp. 210-211 (emphasis mine).98. Van Riessen, Society of the Future, p. 234.99. John R. Muether, "The Era ofCommon Grace: Living Between the 'Already'and the 'Not Yet,' " RTS Ministry 9 (Summer 1990) 18. This magazine is publishedby Reformed Theological Seminary.100. Cornelius Van Til, Common Grace and the Gospel (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1972), p. 85.26 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONrole it plays in Scripture, which holds priority in the developingof a truly Christian worldview. It is also crucial to the developmentof a distinctively Christian philosophy of history, which isfundamental to the Christian understanding of the here andnow. In addition, eschatology significantly impacts the Christian'scultural endeavors because it sets before the Christian theforeordained pattern of the future. If that pattern is one ofpessimism, it will tend to discourage and thwart the Christiansocial enterprise.IOIIn this work, I will set forth a biblical eschatology that givesprominence to the gospel victory theme. The optimistic eschatologicalperspective from which I write is that of postmillennialism- a postmillennialism generated neither by a contemporaryReagan-era optimism nor by a Kierkegaardian leap of faith, butby a careful exegetical and theological study of the eschatologicaldata of Scripture.I believe, with Roderick Campbell, that "the church todayneeds this kind of vision - the vision of her reigning Lord withall the resources of heaven and earth under His command forthe help and protection of His church and the ingathering ofHis elect."I02 In the Foreword to that book, O. T. Allis wrote:[M]y own studies in this and related fields have convinced methat the most serious error in much of the current 'prophetic'teaching of today is the claim that the future of Christendom isto be read not in terms of Revival and Victory, but of growingimpotence and apostasy, and that the only hope of the world isthat the Lord will by His visible coming and reign complete thetask which He has so plainly entrusted to the church. This claim... is pessimistic and defeatist. I hold it to be unscriptural. Thelanguage of the Great Commission is world-embracing; and ithas back of it the authority and power of One who said: "All101. See: North, Is the World Running Down? andJames B.Jordan, ed., Christianityand Civilization 1 (Spring 1982): "The Failure of American Baptist Culture."102. Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant, p. 79.The Significance of Eschatologypower is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye thereforeand make disciples of all nations." The duty of the church is toaddress herself to the achieving of this task in anticipation of theLord's coming, and not to expect Him to call her away to glorybefore her task is accomplished.103103. Allis, "Foreword," in ibid., p. ix.27


    THE PURPOSE OF THIS TREATISESanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give adefense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3: 15)The writer of Ecclesiastes remarks that "of making manybooks there is no end" (Eccl. 12:12a). Today this seems especiallyto be the case with eschatological books. As I noted in thepreceding chapter, there are those who complain about thefielding of additional material relating to the "overcrowdedfield" of eschatology.It necessary to provide a chapter setting forth the purposeand rationale of the present work. In this book, I intend toaccomplish the following goals. First, to furnish helpful informationon the eschatological debate. Second, to give carefulexposition to major eschatological themes in the Bible. Third,to set forth a detailed vindication of that eschatological positiongenerally known as postmillennialism. Finally, to provide abiblical invitation to the reader to adopt the postmillennialeschatology. I have therefore divided this chapter into four sectionsthat encompass these four goals: information, exposition,vindication, and exhortation.The Purpose of This TreatiseInfonnation29

    Theological AwarenessChristians should be aware of contemporary theology, particularlyevangelical formulations. Too few Christians today havean adequate grasp of the doctrines of Scripture. This is due toa widespread disinterest in doctrinal preaching and deep reading.John A. Sproule laments: "The tragedy today ... is theapparent disinterest in the preaching of doctrine in the church.. . . Caught up in the craze for 'Christian' entertainment andpsychology, the church is worse off for it."l This problem,though intensified in our day, is not new: "The growth of ignorancein the Church is the logical and inevitable result of thefalse notion that Christianity is a life and not also a doctrine; ifChristianity is not a doctrine then of course teaching is notnecessary to Christianity."2Regarding the material in Christian bookstores, R. C. Sproulcomments that "My guess is that in the current Christian bookstorethe simplistic books outweigh the simple books by at least10 to 1. I've often wondered where Jesus would apply Hishastily made whip if He were to visit our culture. My guess isthat it would not be money-changing tables in the temple thatwould feel His wrath, but the display racks in Christian bookstores."3 Much of the doctrine evangelical Christians todayhave picked up has been through informal instruction that islargely inadequate and often downright heretica1.4The doctrine of eschatology, because of its theological complexity,historical breadth, and practical significance requires1. John A Sproule, "A Tribute to S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.: Theologian and Preacher,"Continuity and DiJcontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and NewTestaments, John S. Feinberg, ed. (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1988), p. 318.2. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and LiberaliJm (New York: Macmillan, 1923),p. 177. Reprinted by William B. Eerdmans Co., Grand Rapids.3. R. C. Sproul, Lifeviews (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1986), p. 184.4. Michael Horton, ed., The Agony of Deceit: What Some TV Preachers Are ReallyTeaching (Chicago: Moody Press, 1990).30 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONintense study and careful reflection. The need of care in thisarea is evidenced by the proliferation of "last day" cults overthe last 150 years, such as Seventh-Day Adventists, Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e., Mormons), Jehovah'sWitnesses, Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God,the Children of God, the Unification Church, and others.A divine lament in Scripture is quite apropos today: "Mypeople are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6). Christiansare urged to "be diligent to show themselves approved,workmen of God that need not to be ashamed, handling accuratelythe word of truth" (2 Tim. 2: 15). Light is an emphasizedmetaphor of the Christian faith;5 consequently, obscurantismand ignorance are not virtues for the people of God.6 We needto get things bright and clear, theologically and ethically.Because of both our sin and our finitude, we cannot knowanything exhaustively (though we can know truly what we doknow).7 Consequently, no one knows all there is to know regardingScripture, so we always need to study it more in orderto gain a better understanding of it.8 The Scripture teachesthat "a wise man will hear, and will increase learning" (Prov.1:5). And the better we apprehend and apply Scripture, thecloser will be our walk with God, for sanctification comes5. The word "light" occurs seventy-six times in the New Testament. It is usedmetaphorically most often.6. The call to "know" is a frequent refrain in the New Testament, particularly inPaul's writings, where it occurs no less than sixty-one times. The rebuke "know yenot" occurs fifteen times; see: Rom. 6:3, 16; 7:1; 1 Cor. 3:16; 5:6; 6:2, 3, 9, 15, 16,19; 9:13, 24; 2 Cor. 13:5;Jms. 4:4. "I would not have you ignorant [i.e., unknowing]"occurs seven times; see: Rom. 1:13; 11:25; 1 Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 2 Cor. 1:8; 2:11; 1Thess. 4: 13. "We/ye know" occurs thirty times; see: Rom. 3:19; 7: 14, 18; 8:22, 26, 28;1 Cor. 2:12, 14; 8:1, 2,4; 12:2; 15:58; 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:1; 8:9; 13:6; Gal. 3:7; 4:13;3:19; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 2:22; 4:15; 1 Thess. 3:3; 4:2; 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:6; 3:7; 1 Tim. 1:8;3:5. "I would have you know/that ye may know" occurs nine times; see: 1 Cor. 11 :3;2 Cor. 2:4; Eph. 1:18; 6:21, 22; Col. 4:6; 1 Thess. 4:4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 3:1.7. Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (3rd ed.; Philadelphia: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1967), ch. 3.8. Psa. 1:2-3; 119:97; Matt. 13:23; Acts 17:11.The Purpose of This Treatise 31through the means of the Word of God: "Sanctify themthrough thy truth: thy word is truth."gAll Christians, therefore, should "desire the sincere milk ofthe word, that [they] may grow thereby" (1 Pet. 2:2). As wegrow in the knowledge of the Word of Truth, we should striveto reach a level of understanding that would equip us to becompetent teachers of the Word (Reb. 5: 12-14; contra John3:10). None of us "knows it all." Thus, the study of issues ofcontemporary concern is always practically beneficial to theChristian. And the labor of diligent and systematic study ofScriptural issues is essential to the Christian's pleasing God.My concern in this work is with an evangelical audience.Consequently, I will give only occasional and passing referenceto the various eschatological formulations by liberal theologians,such as might be discovered in process theology, liberationtheology, and the like. This approach does not imply that astudy of the errors involved in rationalistic eschatological formulationsis unneeded.Io For a full-orbed Christian witness,we should strive to understand and be able to respond to thosewho would subvert doctrine within the church. Nevertheless,due to space limitations, this will not be engaged in the presentwork.Hasty PostmortemsMany evangelical treatments of eschatology obscure the factsof contemporary options, sometimes through ignorance, sometimesthrough overstatement. Whatever the reason, a great9. John 17:17; cf. John 8:32; 15:3; Eph. 5:26; 2 Thess. 2:13; Jms. 1:21.10. For helpful introductions to liberal eschatological views, see: Millard J.Erickson, Contemporary options in Eschatology: A Study ofthe Millennium (Grand Rapids:Baker, 1977), chaps. 1-2, and Erickson, Christian Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids:Baker, 1985), 3:1155ff. Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1979), pp. 288-315 (Appendix: "Recent Trends in Eschatology"). John N.Oswalt, "Recent Studies in Old Testament Eschatology and Apocalyptic," Journal ofthe Evangelical Theological Society 24:4 (Dec. 1981) 289-302.32 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONdisservice is done to the unsuspecting reader who inadvertentlyadopts and then labors under a delusion.For instance, it is often stated that postmillennialism is dead,supposedly having totally collapsed because of World War I. Althoughit is true that postmillennialism fell upon hard timesafter World Wars I and II, it is not true that it totally disappearedfrom the Church. Here are several statements fromdifferent decades regarding the alleged death of postmillennialismand show that at best such are misleading overstatementsand at worst downright erroneous.llIn 1936, Lewis Sperry Chafer stated: "postmillennialism isdead.... [I]t is dead in the sense that it offers no living voice inits own defense when the millennial question is under discussion.,,12 "It exists only in the limited literature which it createdand with no living voice to defend it" (1948),13 In 1956, Culbertsonand Centz observed: "Devout Postmillennialism hasvirtually disappeared."14 In 1958, J. Dwight Pentecost wrotethat "Postmillennialism is no longer an issue in theology. . . .Postmillennialism finds no defenders or advocates in the presentchiliastic discussions within the theological world.,,15 In 1959,Walvoord suggested that "Postmillennialism is not a current11. For a brief analysis of the theological problems inherent in such statements,see: R. J. Rushdoony. "Introduction," in J. Marcellus Kik. An Eschatology of Victory(n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1971), pp. vii-ix. Although the three statements tofollow all come from dispensationalists, the problem is not one limited to that schoolof thought. Premillennialists and amillennialists are also guilty ofsuch hasty postmortems.See for example, amillennialistJay E. Adams, The Time Is at Hand (Nutley. NJ:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1966), pp. 2, 4, 96.12. Lewis Sperry Chafer, "Foreword to the First Edition [1936]," in Charles L.Feinberg, Premillennialism or Amillennialism. This work is entitled Millennialism: TheTwo Major Views (3rd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 9 (emphasis mine).13. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas: Dallas TheologicalSeminary Press, 1948) 4:281. This set went out of print in 1988.14. W. Culbertson and H. B. Centz, ed., Understanding the Times (Grand Rapids:Zondervan, 1956), p. 22.15. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1958), pp. 386, 387 (emphasis mine).The Purpose of This Treatise 33issue in millennarianism" and that "in eschatology the trendaway from postmillennialism became almost a rout with theadvent of World War 11."16 In 1961, Merrill F. Unger claimedof postmillennialism: "This theory, largely disproved by theprogress of history, is practically a dead issue.,,17 In 1970, HalLindsey commented: "There used to be a group called 'postmillennialists'....No self-respecting scholar who looks at theworld conditions and the accelerating decline ofChristian influencetoday is a 'postmillennialist.' ,,18 As late as 1990, JohnWalvoord wrote: "Postmillennialism largely died out in the firstquarter of the 20th century. World War I dashed the hopes ofthose who said the world was getting better and Christianitywas triumphing."19The impression left by such statements is simply untrue. Infact, the statements were incorrect when originally made. Chafer's1936 statement demonstrates little awareness of the strongpostmillennialism current in Southern Presbyterian circles inthe 1920's leading up to the era of his statement.20 Importantarticles on postmillennialism were published after World War Iin Union Seminary Review by Eugene C. Caldwell in 192221 and1: Cary Johnson in 1923.22 A postmillennial book by Russell16. John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Findlay, OH: Dunham, 1959), p.9.

    17. Merrill F. Unger, "Millennium," Unger's Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.; Chicago:Moody Press, 1961), p. 739.18. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970),p. 176 (emphasis mine).19. John F. Walvoord, "Review ofHouse Divided," Bibliotheca Sacra 147 Guly/Sept.1990) 371.20. The following material and bibliographic data regarding Southern Presbyterianpostmillennialism is derived from James B. Jordan, "A Survey of SouthernPresbyterian Millennial Views Before 1930," Journal of Christian Reconstruction 3:2(Winter 1976-77) 106-121.21. Eugene C. Caldwell, ''A Kingdom That Shall Stand Forever," Union SeminaryReview 33 Gan. 1922) 112. Caldwell was professor of Greek New Testament at UnionTheological Seminary.22. T. CaryJohnson, "The Signs ofthe Times," ibid. 35 (Oct. 1923) 47ff. Johnsonwas professor of systematics at Union. This was written after World War I and in34 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONCecil was published in 1923.23 And sometime after 1921 Davids. Clark published a postmillennial commentary on Revelation.24 J. Gresham Machen, who died in 1937, was a widelyknown writer, who fought valiantly against encroaching liberalismin the Church and in society. He also was a postmillennialist.25 Chafer was simply in error when he stated that postmillennialismwas "dead" and had "no living voice" in his time.J. Dwight Pentecost had even less reason to assert postmillennialism'stotal demise in 1958. In the 1940s, premillennialistD. H. Kromminga and amillennialist Floyd E. Hamilton werecontending with postmillennialists. Kromminga wrote in 1945:"That all three major eschatological views are still persistingamong Protestants and in our country, Floyd E. Hamiltonmakes clear.,,26 o. T. Allis, an important defender of the faithspite of it to show that Christ "is going to disciple all the nations of the earth....[F]urther triumph is ahead for the church."23. Russell Cecil, Handbook of Theology (Richmond: The Presbyterian Committeeof Publication, 1923), p. 101.24. David S. Clark, The Message from Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on theBook of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Baker, rep. 1989). The book is undated, but onpage 9 he refers to the "very recent" publication of A. S. Peake's commentary onRevelation, which was published in 1919, and on page 39 he refers to a 1921 articlein Century Magazine.25. See: Ned B. Stonehouse,]. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (3rd ed.;Philadelphia: Westminster Theological Seminary, [1954]1978). Machen urges Christiansto go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God" (p. 187)."And despite all ridicule of peace movements I cherish the hope that the gospel isgoing to win" (p. 245). "I do believe that there is going to be a spiritual rebellion ofthe common people throughout the world which if taken at the flood may sweepaway the folly of war" (p. 261). See also: Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 49,152, 178, 180. Gary North writes: "I once asked [Paul] Woolley what eschatologicalviews were held by J. Gresham Machen. . . . Woolley replied that he had been apostmillennialist, to the extent that he ever announced his views, which I gatheredwas infrequently." North, "Editor's Introduction," Journal of Christian Reconstruction3:2 (Winter 1976-77), 3-4. Professor Norman Shepherd subsequently told North thatWoolley had said much the same thing to him about Machen's views.26. D. H. Kromminga, Prophecy and the Church: Studies in the History of ChristianChiliasm (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1945), p. 257. See: Floyd E. Hamilton, The Basisof the Millennia/. Faith (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1942).The Purpose of This Treatise 35and a writer well-known to Pentecost27, was defending postmillennialismin 1947 and 1954, just prior to Pentecost's Thingsto Come.28 Not long before Pentecost's statements, J. M. Kik(1948, 1954), Allan R. Ford (1951), Roderick Campbell (1954),and Loraine Boettner (1958) made important contributions tothe eschatological debate.29 In 1952, premillennialist GeorgeE. Ladd (in a book referenced in Pentecost's Things to Come)admitted that "the postmillennial interpretation ... is not altogetherdead.,,30 In 1953, there was enough interest in postmillennialismto justify reprinting David Brown's postmillennialwork, Christ's Second Coming. Pentecost's statements were simplynot justified by the evidence.In the case of the statement by popular prophecy writer, HalLindsey, there is no excuse for the error. In 1989, fellow dispensationalistThomas Ice admits that "the last twenty years hasseen an upsurge of postmillennialism."31 Just two years afterPentecost's work and a decade before Lindsey's, E. F. Kevanwrote: "There are many evangelical believers who hold these27. The first two quotations and six of the thirty-four quotations in the firstchapter of Pentecost's Things to Come were from Allis' Prophecy and the Church.28. We can point to at least two postmillennial contributions to the debate byAllis, one in 1947, the other in 1954. O. T. Allis, "The Parable of the Leaven,"Evangelical Quarterly 19:4 (Oct. 1947) 254-273 and Allis, "Foreword." in RoderickCampbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler. TX: Geneva Divinity School Press,[1954] 1981), pp. vii-x.29. J. Marcellus Kik produced two book-length contributions to the discussion.See: Eschatology of Victory. This book is a collection of two smaller books by J. M. Kikdated 1948 and 1954 (as well as a short series of lectures given at WestminsterSeminary in 1961). For the two earlier dates see: Loraine Boettner, The Millennium(Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1958). pp. 12, 385. See also: Allan R. Ford."The Second Advent in Relation to the Reign of Christ," Evangelical Quarterly 23(1951) 30-39; Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant; Boettner. The Millennium.30. George E. Ladd, Crucial Oy,estions About the Kingdom of God (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1952), pp. 47-48. In 1978, he spoke of it as "a minority view today."Ladd, The Last Things: An Eschatology for Laymen (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), pp.108-110.31. H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curser(Portland, OR: Multnomah. 1988), p. 210. Emphasis mine.36 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpost-millennial views...."32 The classic dispensational commentaryon Revelation by one of Lindsey's seminary professors,John Walvoord, clearly pointed out in 1966 that Boettner'spostmillennial work "has revived" postmillennialism.33By Lindsey's time, postmillennialism had begun to make itsreinvigorated presence strongly felt. John Murray's postmillennialcommentary on Romans was published in 1965.34 ErrollHulse's postmillennial work, The Restoration of Israel, precededLindsey's book by two years.35 Boettner's book had gonethrough six printings by the time Lindsey published his statement.The Banner of Truth Trust was established in the 1950sand had been republishing many Puritan postmillennial booksfor more than a decade before Lindsey. It was also republishingpostmillennial articles in its popular magazine.36 In fact, postmillennialcontributions in The Banner of 1ruth Magazine in theyear Lindsey published his book (1970) included articles byDonald Macleod, Donald Dunkerley, lain Murray, AlexanderSomerville, S. M. Houghton, and W. Stanford Reid.37 Also,32. Ernest Frederick Kevan, "Millennium," Baker's Dictiorwry of Theology, EverettF. Harrison, ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960), p. 353.33. John F. Walvoord, The Revelation ofJesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966),p.289.34. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (New Intcrrwtional Commentary on theNew Testament), vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965). Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., seemsto be mistaken as to Murray's amillennialism, based on reviewing Murray's earlierwork (1954) rather than his later work (1965). Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology:Reflections on Postmillennialism," Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, William S. Barkerand w: Robert Godfrey, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), p. 199.35. Erroll Hulse, The Restoration of Israel (Worthing, Sussex: Henry E. Walter,1968).36. In the very year of the publication of Lindsey's book (1970), issues 76through 88 of the monthly Banner of Truth were published. In the first article theseneo-Puritans mentioned their numbers had "grown steadily over the last decade,"despite widespread liberalism and defection around them. Anonymous, "The End ofthe Sixties," Banner of Truth, No. 76 (Jan. 1970) 3.37. Donald Macleod, "The Second Coming of Christ," Banner of Truth, Nos. 82/83 (July/August 1970) 16-22. Donald Dunkerley, "Review of The Time Is at Hand,"ibid., Nos. 83/83 (July/Aug. 1970) 46-47. lain Murray, "The Hope and MissionaryActivity," ibid., No. 84 (Sept. 1970) 7-11. This is a reprint of Alexander Somerville'sThe Purpose of This Treatise 371970 witnessed the publication ofR. J. Rushdoony's postmillennialbook Thy Kingdom Come and Peter Toon's Puritans, theMillennium and the Future of Israel. 38 In the next year was publisheda major postmillennial work that had already been advertisedand promoted in 1970: lain Murray's The Puritan Hope:Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy.39To quote Mark Twain, the postmillennial system could wellcomplain, "The rumours ofmy death are greatly exaggerated."Dispensationalists have only recently even begun to admit thepresence of postmillennialism.40The Waxing and Waning of Eschatological SystemsDespite the extreme exaggerations of some regarding thedemise of postmillennialism, it is true that by the mid-1900s itsfortunes had been greatly reduced from its earlier times of neardominance (the 1600s-1800s).41 Through most of the 1800s,nineteenth century article, "The Evangelisation of the World," ibid., No. 84 (Sept.1970) 31-35. S. M. Houghton, "Maintaining the Prayer for the World-wide Outreachof the Gospel," ibid., No. 84 (Sept. 1970) 36-37. W. Stanford Reid, "Christian Realismand Optimism," ibid., No. 85 (Oct. 1970), 3-6.38. R. J. Rushdoony, Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation (n.p.:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1970). Peter Toon, Puritans, the Millennium, and the Futureof Israel (London: James Clark, 1970).39. lain Murray, The Puritan Hope: Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy(Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1971). See the advance notice through publication ofa chapter entitled "The Hope and Missionary Activity," Banner of Truth, No. 84 (Sept.1970) 7-11.40. See: House and Ice, Dominion Theology; John F. Walvoord, The ProphecyKnowledge Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990), p. 17; Robert P. Lightner, The LastDays Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Different Views of Prophecy(Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), p. 85.41. For a brief history of postmillennialism, see Chapter 4, below. "Postmillennialismbecame the eschatological position of the theologians who dominated theologicalthinking for the past several centuries." J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p.386. An illustration of this change of fortunes for postmillennialism may come fromcomparing W.E.B.'s [William E. Blackstone] 1878 Jesus is Coming (Old Tappan, NJ:Revell, [1898, 1908, 1932]) with Charles L. Feinberg's 1936 (first edition) Premillennialismor Amillennialism, republished as Millennialism: The Two Major Views. Blackstone's1878 work defended premillennialism against postmillennialism only; Fein38HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpostmillennialism could be called "the commonly receiveddoctrine," as it was in 1859.42 Historians can state that the variouspremillennial views "were scattered throughout the majordenominations, but none of those successfully challenged thehegemony of postmillennialism before the last decades of thecentury.,,43 Such has certainly not been the case in the 1900s.Although any historical analysis of the decline of postmillennialismis complex, there does appear to be merit in the viewthat "in a word, the erosion of postmillennialism was part of thewaning of supernaturalism" in the early 1900s.44 Evangelicalpostmillennialism held to a high supernaturalism that couldshake heaven and earth. With the decline of a widespreadcommitment to supernaturalism in conjunction with the arisingof various radical critical theories, interest in postmillennialismwaned.Nevertheless, "postmillennialism, since 1965, has experienceda renaissance.,,45 As indicated above, there has begunto flow an ever increasing stream ofpostmillennialliterature. Inthe 1980s, that stream has become a flood. Yet at the same time(and at least partly because of the renewal of postmillennialadvocacy) there is evidence of a decline in adherence to premillennialism,the dominant evangelical view of the 1900s.Some recent dispensational works have begun mentioningthe slipping of the numbers of premillennialists. One dispensaherg's1936 book defended premillennialism against amillennialism, with virtually nomention of postmillennialism.42. James H. Moorhead, "Millennialism in American Religious Thought,"Journalof American History 71:3 (Dec. 1984) 525.43. Ibid. See also: "History of Opinions Respecting the Millennium," AmericanTheological Review 1 (Nov. 1859) 655. George M. Marsden, The Evangelical Mind andthe New School Presbyterian Experience: A Case Study ofThought and Theology in NineteenthCenturyAmerica (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970), pp. 185ff.44. James H. Moorhead, "The Erosion of Postmillennialism in American ReligiousThought, 1865-1925," Church History 53 (1984) 76.45. Gary North, "Towards the Recovery of Hope," Banner of Truth, No. 88 (Jan.1971) 12.The Purpose of This Treatise 39tionalist writes that "today, a growing number of Christians are[sic] exchanging the hope for the rapture for a new hope." Ofdispensational adherents, he laments: "the numbers are dwindling."46 Two other recent dispensational writers comment:"In fact, the premillennial position is probably more on thedecline at the present time than the other two views.,,47 Stillanother observes that "in the last quarter of the 20th century amovement has begun to return to the Reformation as a basis oftheology, and with it an abandonment of dispensationalism andpremillennialism."48 Another bemoans that "premillennialism,though still entrenched within many local churches, is no longerbeing taught from the pulpit and is rapidly falling from favor."49 The question is: Why? Why now and not a centuryago? Has it something to do with too many failed prophecies?As with the decline of postmillennialism, the ascertaining ofthe exact reasons for premillennialism's decline are certainlynumerous and complex. Yet a case can be made that premillennialism- particularly its young offspring, dispensationalism - isbeing embarrassed to death. The temptation to date-setting is justtoo ingrained in the premillennial mindset to resist, particularlyas the year 2000 approaches.50 One premillennialist admits:46. Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House,1988), back cover copy; p. 9. See also: pp. 31,68,70, 72.47. House and Ice, Dominion Tlwology, p. 210.48. Walvoord, "Review of House Divided," 372.49. Douglas Shearer, Political Power: Battle for the Soul ofthe Church (Sacramento,CA: New Hope Christian Fellowship, 1988), p. 16.50. "As the year 2000 approaches there will undoubtedly be increased interest inpremillenarian ideas and even more hazardous speculation that this third millenniumwill be the Thousand Year Kingdom of Christ." Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now! TIwPremillenarian Response to Russia and Israel Since 1917 (Tyler, TX: Institute for ChristianEconomics, [1977] 1991), p. 13. Examples ofa tendency to a mild form of datesettingamong noted dispensationalist scholars may be found in Charles C. Ryrie, TIwLiving End (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1976), pp. 128-129; Herman A. Hoyt, "DispensationalPremillennialism," TIw Meaning of the MiUennium: Four Views, Robert Clouse,ed. (Downer's Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977), p. 63; and John F. Walvoord,TIw Nations, Israel, and the Church in Proplwcy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), p. xiv.40 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION"The premillenarians' credibility is at a low ebb because theysuccumbed to the temptation to exploit every conceivably possibleprophetic fulfillment. ... It is not likely that the situationwill change greatly."51 In the late 1980s, there was an agreementsigned by a number of dispensationalists, urging againstsuch a lamentable situation, but the addiction continues.Even those dispensationalists less prone to date-setting admitthe problem. Lightner comments: "Sometimes individuals whoembrace a particular view of end-time events embarrass otherswho hold the same view and they even put the view in poorlight by their radical and extreme viewpoints.... I refer particularlyto date setting for Christ's return.,,52 He specificallymentions Edgar C. Whisenant's Why the Rapture Could Be in1988 and Hal Lindsey's 1980's: Countdown to Armageddon. ThomasD. Ice laments: "U]ust this week (the week before Christmas)I received in the mail from an anonymous sender, a bookentitled Blessed Hope, 1996 ... by someone from the Houstonarea named Salty Doc. You guessed it, the Rapture is slated for1996.... Unfortunately, both advocates and antagonists of dispensationalismare woefully ignorant that the "ery Biblicalassumptions underlying dispensationalism are themselves hostileto the date-setting of the Rapture. Much harm has beendone by the supposed friends, not to mention the critics ofdispensationalism by these distortions."5351. Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now!, p. 218. As I write these words, just acouple of weeks after the conclusion of the Allied victory in the Gulf War of 1991, Iam aware of a large number of books pointing to Saddam Hussein and Babylon asharbingers of the end. Christianity Today, Newsweek, and other magazines have runarticles on the flood of evangelical doom sayers. Joe Maxwell, "Prophecy BooksBecome Big Sellers," Christianity Today 34:3 (March II, 1991) 60. Some of the titlesmentioned in Christianity Today are: John Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the MiddleEast, an update of his 1974 book; Charles H. Dyer, The Rise ofBabylon: Sign of the EndTimes; Edgar C. James, Arabs, Oil and Armageddon; Charles C. Ryrie, Crisis in theMiddle East.52. Lightner, The Last Days Handbook, p. 171. A 1991 offender is John Walvoord.53. Thomas D. Ice, "Dispensationalism, Date-Setting and Distortion," BiblicalPerspectives 1:5 (SeptjOct. 1988) 1.The Purpose of This Treatise 41For instance, dispensational theologian]ohn F. Walvoord isdogmatic that the rapture of the Church must be always imminent,when he writes: "There is no teaching of any interveningevent. The prospect of being taken to heaven at the coming ofChrist is not qualified by description of any signs or prerequisiteevents.,,54 Yet he cannot resist the excitement generatedby the recent Gulf War (the" 1OO-day war"). In an interview inU.S.A. Today, we read his words: "Bible prophecy is being fulfilledevery day. . . . Q. SO the prophetic clock is ticking? A:Yes.,,55 In one of his recent books, Walvoord includes a tablerecording "Predicted Events Relating to the Nations:' Amongthose "predicted events" he lists: "1. United Nations organizedas first step toward world government in 1946. . . . 6. RedChina becomes a military power.... 8. The Arab oil embargoin 1973," and other such "predicted events:•56It is likely that a continuing flood of failed expectations willeventually sink premillennial views. It would seem that thecurrent decline (halted only temporarily by the Gulf War) ofpremillennialism might be attributable to failed expectations.ExpositionI have in mind several major reasons for the publication ofthe present book. My first desire is to set forth in the contemporarydebate a careful, exegetically rigorous foundation forpostmillennialism. Care will be taken to treat the major eschatologicalpassages of Scripture in establishing the case for postmillennialism.There are some Christians. including Christianscholars. who seem remarkably unaware of the existence of anexegetical case for postmillennialism. Others doubt that postmil-54. John F. Walvoord. TIu! Rapture Question (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1979), p. 73. See Chapter 14, below, for a critique of the imminence doctrine.55. Barbara Reynolds, "Prophecy clock is ticking in Mideast," U. S. A. Today (Jan.19, 1991), Inquiry section.56. Walvoord, Proplu!CJ Knowledge Handbook, p. 400.42 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONlennialism can be demonstrated from the New Testament,although they recognize a certain plausibility based on OldTestament exegesis. (The case can be made from the NewTestament, but even if it could not, does this mean that weshould therefore ignore the Old Testament?)1. Complaints Against PostmillennialismTwo Dutch Reformed pastors complained: "Postmillenarianscan not produce a single passage of Scripture in defense oftheir spiritualizing system - NOT ONE. This is a great difficulty.,,57 Dale H. Kuiper lodges as his first complaint againstpostmillennialism: "In the first place, we do not find a carefulexegesis of Scripture which takes into account the nature ofprophecy and vision.... We do not find exegesis of passageswhich would seem to oppose postmillennialism."58L. S. Chafer writes off postmillennialism as wholly devoid ofbiblical foundations: "Doubtless the stress upon Bible study ofthe present century has served to uncover the unscripturalcharacter of this system. Its advocates have not been able tomeet the challenge made to them to produce one Scripturewhich teaches a millennium before the advent of Christ, or thatteaches an advent of Christ after the Millennium."59John Walvoord protests in a similar vein: "the contenders forpostmillennialism never set up their own view in a solid way.Mter all, the issue is whether postmillennialism is taught in theBible.,,60 Thomas D. Ice complains:, "Mter fourteen years ofstudy it is my belief that there is not one passage anywhere in57. John T. Demarest and William R. Gordon, Christocracy: Essays on the Comingand Kingdom of Christ (3rd ed.; New York: R. Brinkerhoff, 1878), p. 378.58. Dale H. Kuiper, "What Constitutes Victory? An Analysis of the PostmillennialismEspoused by Chalcedon, Especially in Rushdoony's God's Plan for Victory"(unpublished conference paper: South Holland, IL: South Holland ProtestantReformed Church, 1978), p. 54.59. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 4:281.60. Walvoord, "Review of House Divided," 370.The Purpose of This Treatise 43Scripture that would lead to the postmillennial system. The bestpostmillennialism can come up with is a position built upon aninference."61 Richard A. Young writes: "The primary weaknessof postmillennialism ... is that it lacks exegetical support."62Mter citing an optimistic, postmillennial conception of history,amillennialist George Murray complains of the doctrine'sabsence in the New Testament. "One cannot but regret, however,that with the Bible in his hand, the writer did not producechapter and verse to prove his contention. The obvious reasonis that no such plain promise could be quoted from the NewTestament, for neither Jesus Christ nor His apostles gave theslightest indication of any real rest for the church until sheenters upon the rest prepared for the people of God on theother side of death."63 Erickson largely agrees: "Perhaps moredamaging to postmillennialism is its apparent neglect of Scripturalpassages (e.g., Matt. 24:9-14) that portray spiritual andmoral conditions as worsening in the end times. It appears thatpostmillennialism has based its doctrine on very carefully selectedScriptural passages."64Amillennialist Richard B. Gaffin also doubts the New Testamentalvalidity of postmillennialism, when he criticizes postmillennialadvocacy. "Briefly, the basic issue is this: Is the NewTestament to be allowed to interpret the Old - as the best, mostreliable interpretive tradition in the history of the church (andcertainly the Reformed tradition) has always insisted? ... Willthe vast stretches of Old Testament prophecy, including itsrecurrent, frequently multivalent apocalyptic imagery, thus beleft without effective New Testament control and so become avirtual blank check to be filled out in capital, whatever may be61. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, pp. 9-10.62. Richard A. Young, "Review of Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?" GraceTheological Journal 2:1 (Spring 1990) 115.63. George Murray, Millennial Studies: A Search for Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker,1948), p. 86.64. Erickson, Contemporary options in Eschatology, p. 72.44 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONits source, that is something other than the result of soundexegesis?"65In addition, some passages of less significance for the establishmentof postmillennialism per se are of great interest to thestudent of biblical prophecy. Some of these are familiar passagesthat are being abused today by seeking to apply them withoutbiblical warrant to contemporary fulfillments. Many of theseintriguing passages will be covered, as well.2. An Apologetic for PostmillennialismAs my second goal, I hope to provide a book that is a worthyapologetic of postmillennialism through a careful, systematic,theological, and historical development of the postmillennialsystem. There are many contemporary systematic eschatologicalworks on the various non-postmillennial systems. Unfortunately,systematic formulations of postmillennialism tend to beeither somewhat dated66 or, if contemporary, more introductorythan thorough.67 Thomas Finger is not too far wrongwhen he comments: "Postmillennialism has not been expoundedin as minute detail as has dispensationalism."68 I hope thatthis work will serve as a foundational text for postmillennialismin the contemporary debate.65. Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Postmillennialism,"TMonomy: A Reformed Critique, pp. 216-217.66. See: Loraine Boettner's rather thorough, though politically flawed, TMMillennium and Roderick Campbell's thematic Israel and the NeW Covenant.67. Helpful recent postmillennial works indude:JohnJ. Davis' excellent (thoughsmall) introductory work, Christ's Victorious Kingdom: Postmillennialism Reconsidered(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986). David Chilton's extremely helpful, symbolism-basedapproach to eschatological optimism themes, entitled Paradise Restored: A BiblicalTMology of Dominion (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1985). Also see: Greg L.Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: TM Break-up of DispensationalTMology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Part 2. But none ofthese is a full-blown systematic theology textbook on postmillennialism.68. Thomas N. Finger, Christian TMology: An Eschatological Approach (Nashville:Thomas Nelson, 1985), p. 114.The Purpose of This Treatise 453. Interaction With Rival ViewsThird, a major design of the present work is to provide acomparison and interaction with the other major evangelicalmillennial views. It is too often the situation today in popularmillennialliterature that many make unwarranted assumptionsimplying the universal recognition of a particular view, withoutinforming the reader of competing systems. This is particularlytrue in dispensational circles, especially among the popular proponents,more so than among the theologians. Thus, I willinteract with the non-postmillennial systems, attempting tosummarize their salient features and expose their flaws, asunderstood from a biblically based postmillennial viewpoint.Interestingly (or perhaps, tragically), the resurgence of postmillennialismhas been rather harshly attacked recently by somedispensationalist writers.69 The underlying assumption in theseworks is always dispensationalism's implicit monopolistic claimto orthodoxy.70 There is a distressing ignorance in too manyChristians today regarding the existence of non-premillennialeschatologies among Bible-believing, evangelical Christians.7lA kind of blackout exists within dispensational circles.Hunt, with historical naIvete, castigates the resurgent postmillennialismof the 1980s: "When confronted with an allegedkey doctrine that men and women of God have failed to uncoverfrom Scripture in 1900 years of church history, we havegood reason to be more than a little cautious. Mter all, this is69. A helpful corrective and rebuke to such may be found in Bob and GretchenPassantino, Witch Hunt (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), see especially Chapter 8.It needs to be pointed out that the authors are premillennialists.70. Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heavenr; Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocawt (NewYork: Bantam, 1989).71. In a taped program in February of 1989, I was interviewed with dispensationalistThomas D. Ice on a Christian radio program in Austin, Texas. The dialogueregarded dispensationalism and postmillennialism. On several occasions the interviewer,who tried (at first) to be "objective" in his interview, kept referring to dispensationaldistinctives in common dispensationalism parlance: he called these "dispensationaltruths." Who can argue with truth?46 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe stuff of which cults are made. It takes a certain arrogance toclaim to have discovered a vital teaching that the entire churchhas overlooked for 1900 years.,,72 This, you understand, comesfrom a man who defends an eschatological position, pre-tribulationaldispensationalism, whose origin which can be traced backno earlier than the 1820s, and probably no earlier than 1830.VindicationOne of the frustrating barriers that postmillennialists face inthe modern debate is the tendency by some to distort postmillennialism.Many of the average Christians-in-the-pew havesuch a flawed view of postmillennialism that it is sometimesdifficult to gain a hearing with them. Postmillennialism isdeemed to be utterly "this-worldly" in an unbiblical sense. It isoften considered an aspect of the "social gospel" of liberalism.Or it is thought to throw out valid hermeneutical procedures tobend and twist Scripture into a liberal system. Still otherswrongly assume postmillennialism involves a union of Churchand State. Again, popularizers of other viewpoints are generallythe source of the problem.73Even worse, there are some fundamental misunderstandingsof postmillennialism, even by noteworthy theologians. Andsome of these published errors have been in print for decadeswithout any attempt at correction. This deserves exposurebecause it is the tendency of many simply to pick up on confidentstatements found in published works and promote them astruth. Such errors will be dealt with in detail in later chapters.ExhortationFinally, a strong concern in producing this work is to issuea challenging exhortation to evangelical Christians to adopt the72. Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven?, p. 224.73. See Part Five, "Objections," below.The Purpose of This Treatise 47Christ-promoting, optimistic, culture transformingpostmillennialeschatology. I do not desire merely to produce an academicwork which merely presents the case for postmillennialism, butone that will in fact promote its adoption. If there is a strongbiblical case for postmillennialism (and I believe there is), andif that case can be convincingly presented (which I pray I willdo), then the Christian reader must let the biblical case have itsultimate influence in his thinking. He must allow this; he mustnot merely maintain his former position because of ecclesiastical,social, or familial pressures.It is difficult to cast off one's eschatology in order to adopt anew one. I know; I have done it.74 It is difficult intellectually,as well as ecclesiastically and socially. Intellectually, an eschatologicalsystem affects every realm of one's theological understandingand philosophical worldview. A correction in eschatologynecessarily produces far-reaching effects throughout one'ssystem of thought and conduct. Ecclesiastically, a systemic correctionin one's eschatological position can have disruptiveeffects in some church circles (particularly those requiringdispensational adherence among its officers). Socially, such achange can cost one his fellowship with some Christians (again,this is particularly true among dispensationalists who convertfrom the system). Yet the Scripture urges: "Let God be true,but every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4a). If the case for postmillennialismcan be effectively presented, the challenge is issued.Practically, with the presentation of the postmillennial system,there is set forth a challenge to Christian social activism.75With the adoption of a full-orbed, biblical worldview based onpostmillennialism, the Christian is urged to confront secular74. See my testimony in the Preface (entitled "Why I Could Not Remain aDispensationalist") to Bahnsen and Gentry, House Divided, pp. xlvii-Iii.75. See Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, TX: Institute forChristian Economics, 1990), pp. 254ff. This 400-page work presents a challenge topessimistic eschatologies regarding the call to practical Christian activism in theworld.48 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONsociety with the radical claims of Christ by means of personalevangelism, church revitalization, and cultural transformation.76 Some critics of reconstructionist postmillennialism77recognize the strongly practical element in postmillennialism.Postmillennialist lain Murray writes: "In the light of historywe can hardly say that matters prophetic are too secondary towarrant our attention. The fact is that what we believe or donot believe upon this subject will have continual influence uponthe way in which we live. The greatest spiritual endeavors andachievements in the past have been those energized by faithand hope."78 R. J. Rushdoony has provided an excellent briefstudy of the impact of a positive, optimistic eschatology onChristian endeavor. In that study, he notes: ''A study of hospitalpatients in relationship to their life expectancy reportedly cameto the conclusion that there was a strong correlation betweenlife expectancy and future oriented thinking. A man whosemind looked ahead to activities a year hence was more likely tolive than one whose thinking was only in terms of the dailyhospital routine. Those without a future in mind had no future,as a rule.'>79 His historical analysis following this statementdemonstrates the same truth on the cultural level regardingsociety's future orientation. For such a reason, Milne has admitted:"There is one aspect of postmillennialism however which isworth retaining. That is its optimism concerning the work ofthe gospel.,,80 His problem is the problem of all amillennialistsand all premillennialists: How to retain this optimism, which iscontrary to the implications of their eschatological systems?76. Rousas John Rushdoony, God's Plan for Victory: The Meaning of Postmillennialism(Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, 1977).77. See discussion ofreconstructionist and pietistic postmillennialism in Chapter4, below.78. Murray, Puritan Hope, p. xxii.79. Rushdoony, God's Plan for Victory, p. 17.80. Bruce Milne, What the Bible Teaches About the End of the World (Wheaton, IL:Tyndale, 1979), p. 81.The Purpose of This Treatise 49ConclusionChristianity, and only Christianity, is the world's legitimatehope. Postmillennialism sets forth a vibrant, biblically based,life-changing, culture-transforming Christianity. My concernwith the advancement of the postmillennial eschatology is notmerely academic; it is intensely practical. When there is ignoranceand confusion regarding the optimistic hope of Scripture,there is a consequent ebbing of the power and vitality from theChristian faith itself. I am convinced that there is a relationshipbetween the rise and acceptance of dispensationalism in thenineteenth century and the decline of Christian influence inAmerican society in the twentieth. It is my heartfelt desire toencourage the adoption of the biblical eschatology: postmillennialism.3

    THE PESSIMISTIC MILLENNIAL VIEWSTherefore, when they had come together; they asked Him, saying, "Lord,willlVu at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)The discussion of cosmic eschatology necessarily involves theentire sweep of history, including the spiritual forces that impelthe forward movement of history toward its God-predestinedconsummation. It also includes the complex series of eventsassociated with the end of history. There is one aspect of thepopular debate, however, that has risen to dominance. This isthe idea of the millennium, which has been called "one of themost controversial and intriguing questions of eschatology."lThe Millennia} IdeaThe word "millennium" is derived from the Latin, being acombination of mille (thousand) and annus (year). This theologicalterm, employed as early as 1638 by Cambridge scholar JosephMede,2 is ultimately based on the reference to the "thousandyears" of Christ's reign in Revelation 20:2-7. The Greek-1. Alan F. Johnson, Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), p. 180.2. "Millennium," The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1971),1:1797.The Pessimistic Millennial Views 51based derivation is chiliad, from the Greek "thousand" (chilias)."Millennialism" and "chiliasm" etymologically have the sameconnotation and are used interchangeably in eschatologicaldiscussion, although the term "millennialism" is far more commontoday.Though common in modern discussion and debate, thereference to a thousand-year millennium as associated with thedivine kingdom in history is rare in Scripture. In fact, it isfound only in the first few verses of one chapter in all of Scripture.Oftentimes it seems the eschatological debate is somewhathampered due to the inordinate influence of Revelation 20.3Princeton Seminary's postmillennial theologian Benjamin B.Warfield commented on this as long ago as 1915: "The term'Millennium' has entered Christian speech under the influenceof the twentieth chapter of the book of Revelation. From thatpassage, imperfectly understood, there has also been derivedthe idea which is connected with this term.... 'Pre-millennial,''post-millennial' are therefore unfortunate terms, embodying,and so perpetuating, a misapprehension of the bearing of animportant passage of Scripture."4 Hoekema notes that "theBook of Revelation speaks of certain individuals who are said tolive and reign with Christ a thousand years (chap. 20:4). Divergentinterpretations of this passage have led to the formation of3. "Certainly one of the most controversial and intriguing questions of eschatologyis that of the legitimacy of the expectation of a thousand-year reign - the millennium- before the return of Christ.... Obviously one's view of the thousand yearsof Revelation 20 is intimately connected with the rest of his eschatology. How hethinks of this passage gives a specific color and structure to his expectation." G. C.Berkouwer, The Return of Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), p. 291. For a briefinterpretation ofthe Revelation 20's millennium, see Chapter 14, below. Of Revelation20, when compared to the broad sweep of Pauline eschatology, Vos writes: "Theminor deliverances ought in the harmonizing process be made to give way to the farsweeping,age-dominating program of the theology of Paul." Geerhardus Vos, ThePauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, [1930]1991), p. 226.4. Warfield, "The Gospel and the Second Coming" (1915), The Selected ShorterWritings of Benjamin B. Waifield - I, John E. Meeter, ed. (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1970), p. 348.52 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONat least four major views about the nature of the millennium orthe millennial reign here described."5It is often the case that premillennial theologians and dispensationaltheologians are more enamored with Revelation 20than are others.6 Writing of some of the great non-premillennialChristian theologians of this century, dispensationalist L. S.Chafer derides such exegetes because of their view of Revelation20: "Their abandonment of reason and sound interpretationhas but one objective in mind, namely, to place chiloi('thousand') years - six times repeated in Revelation, chapter 20- back into the past and therefore something no longer to beanticipated in the future. The violence which this interpretationimposes upon the whole prophetic revelation is such that nonewould propose it except those who, for lack of attention, seemnot to realize what they do.... In sheer fantastical imaginationthis method surpasses Russellism, Eddyism, and Seventh DayAdventism...." He speaks of "antimillennialism" as a "strangetheory, the origin of which is traced to the Romish notion thatthe church is the kingdom."7In a calmer tone, historic premillennialist Ladd admits: "Wemust recognize frankly that in all the verses cited thus far itwould seem that the eschatological Kingdom will be inauguratedby a single complex event, consisting of the Day of the Lord,the coming of the Son of Man, the resurrection of the dead,and the final judgment. However, in the one book which isentirely devoted to this subject, the Revelation of John, thistime scheme is modified.... The theology that is built on thispassage is millennialism or chiliasm.... This is the most natu-5. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 173.6. "There are some who connect with the advent of Christ the idea of a millen niurn,either immediately before or immediately following the second coming. Whilethis idea is not an integral part of Reformed theology, it nevertheless deservesconsideration here, since it has become rather popular in many circles." LouisBerkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 708.7. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas: Dallas TheologicalSeminary Press, 1948),4:281-282.The Pessimistic Millennial Views 53ral interpretation of the [Rev. 20] passage, and it is the view ofthe present author. One thing must be granted: this is the onlyplace in Scripture which teaches a thousand-year reign ofChrist."sThe Standard Millennial PositionsIn developing a systematic eschatology, the standard evangelicalviewpoints have tended to be sorted out along millenniallines. The term "millennium" is used in association with prefixesthat tend to modify the Second Coming of Christ as to itsrelation to the millennium: amillennial, premillennial, and postmillennia!.The privative a in "amillennialism" emphasizes thatthere will be no earthly millennial kingdom as such.9 Theprefix pre indicates that system of eschatology that expects thereto be a literal earthly millennial kingdom that will be introducedby the Return of Christ before (pre) it. The prefix post points tothe view of the millennium that holds there will be a lengthy(though not a literal thousand years) earthly era of righteousinfluence for the kingdom that will be concluded by the Returnof Christ. Puritan era postmillennialism tended to expect aliteral thousand-year millennium introduced by the conversion8. George Eldon Ladd, The Last Things: An Eschatology for Laymen (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1978), pp. 108-110.9. Many amillennialists are disturbed by the negative prefix: "The term amillennialismis not a very happy one. It suggests that amillennialists either do not believein any millennium or that they simply ignore the first six verses of Revelation 20,which speak of a millennial reign. Neither of these two statements is correct." Hoekema,Bible and the Future, p. 173. Hamilton, Adams, and Hughes agree. Philip E.Hughes, Interpreting Prophecy: An Essay in Biblical Perspectives (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1976), pp. 99-100 and Floyd E. Hamilton, The Basis of the Millennial Faith(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1942), p. 35. See the discussion of the problem with aproposed solution to it in: Jay E. Adams, The Time Is at Hand (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1966), pp. 7-11. There are amillennialists, however, who do notmind the term, when literally interpreted: The word 'amillennial' is "a term whichindicates a denial of any future millennium of one thousand years' duration." GeorgeL. Murray, Millennial Studies: A Search for Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1948), p. 87.See also Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 708.54 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONof the Jews (rather than the Return of Christ) as the last stageof Christ's earthly kingdom. Modern postmillennialism tends tosee the thousand years as a symbolic figure covering the entiretyof the Christian era.10There is an important sub-class in the premillennial viewthat has arisen since the 1830s. It is known as "dispensationalism."It is worth noting that historic premillennialists stronglydisavow any systemic commonality with dispensationalism.Premillennialist George E. Ladd vigorously protests the equationof dispensationalism and historic premillennialism. Heeven calls any equating of the two a "mistake."ll This explainswhy the popular book edited by Robert G. Clouse is entitledThe Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views. 12Dispensationalists are aware of their own distinctive differences,as well. 13 Ryrie even comments: "Perhaps the issue of premillennialismis determinative [for dispensationalism]. Again theanswer is negative, for there are those who are premillennialwho definitely are not dispensational. The covenant premillennialistholds to the concept of the covenant of grace and thecentral soteriological purpose of God. He retains the idea of themillennial kingdom, though he finds little support for it in theOld Testament prophecies since he generally assigns them to10. Some postmillennialists have accepted the possibility that there may be afuture millennial era of unique blessings within the general millennial era of the NewCovenant. See Gary North, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments(Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), pp. 86-92: "The SabbathMillennium."11. George E. Ladd, The Blessed Hope (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), pp. 31ff;Ladd, Crucial Questions About the Kingdom of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952), p.49.12. Robert G. Clouse, ed., The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Downer'sGrove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977). See my discussion in Greg L. Bahnsen andKenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler,TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 234-238.13. See also: Rolland Dale McCune, "An Investigation and Criticism of 'Historic'Premillennialism from the Viewpoint of Dispensationalism" (unpublished Th.D.dissertation, Grace Theological Seminary, 1982). Gleason L. Archer, et al., TheRapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984).The Pessimistic Millennial Views 55the Church. The kingdom in his view is markedly different fromthat which is taught by dispensationalists since it loses much ofits Jewish character due to the slighting of the Old Testamentpromises concerning the kingdom."14There is a helpful theological sorting device, created by O.1: Allis and modified by Jay Adams, that works generally wellin classifying the three basic millennial positions.15 Two questionstend to sort the positions into one of the three most basicschools. These questions are: (1) What is the chronology of thekingdom? (2) What is the nature of the kingdom? The questionof chronology has to do with the timing of Christ's SecondAdvent in relation to the establishment of the kingdom. If Hiscoming is before the kingdom, then the position is premillennial;if it is after the kingdom, then it may be either amillennial orpostmillennial. The question as to the nature of Christ's kingdomhas to do with the historical character of the kingdom. Ifthe kingdom is to have a radical, objective, transforming influencein human culture, it is either premillennial or postmillennial;if it is not to have such, it is amillennial.I will now turn to a summary of the millennial positions anda brief listing of some their leading advocates. The positions willbe considered in alphabetical order. Three millennial positionswill be defined in this chapter; postmillennialism will be dealtwith in the following chapter and in somewhat more detail.Two qualifications need to be borne in mind as the list of adherentsis surveyed. First, the ancient examples of the variousmillennial views hold to certain distinctive features of the millennialviews, and would not necessarily adhere to a full-blownsystematic presentation. Second, it should be understood thatany particular adherent to one of the following views may disagreewith some aspect as presented in my summation. There14. Charles C. Ryrie, Dispen.sationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), p. 44(emphasis mine).15. O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian &: Reformed,1945), p. 4. Adams, Time Is at Hand, pp. 8-11.56 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONare always differences of nuance among adherents to any particularsystem. Nevertheless, the presentation attempts to portrayaccurately the salient features of the systems.AmillennialismDefinition. Hoekema describes amillennialism in the followingwords:... Amillennialists interpret the millennium mentioned in Revelation20:4-6 as describing the present reign of the souls of deceasedbelievers with Christ in heaven. They understand thebinding of Satan mentioned in the first three verses of this chapteras being in effect during the entire period between the firstand second comings of Christ, though ending shortly beforeChrist's return. They teach that Christ will return after thisheavenly millennial reign.Amillennialists further hold that the kingdom of God is nowpresent in the world as the victorious Christ is ruling his peopleby his Word and Spirit, though they also look forward to a future,glorious, and perfect kingdom on the new earth in the lifeto come. Despite the fact that Christ has won a decisive victoryover sin and evil, the kingdom of evil will continue to existalongside of the kingdom of God until the end of the world.Although we are already enjoying many eschatological blessingsat the present time (inaugurated eschatology), we look forwardto a climactic series of future events associated with the SecondComing of Christ which will usher in the final state (future eschatology).The so-called 'signs of the times' have been presentin the world from the time of Christ's first coming, but they willcome to a more intensified, final manifestation just before hisSecond Coming. The amillennialist therefore expects the bringingof the gospel to all nations and the conversion of the fullnessof Israel to be completed before Christ's return. He also looksfor an intensified form of tribulation and apostasy as well as forthe appearance of a personal antichrist before the Second Commg.The amillennialist understands the Second Coming of ChristThe Pessimistic Millennial Viewsto be a single event, not one that involves two phases. At the timeof Christ's return there will be a general resurrection, both ofbelievers and unbelievers. Mter the resurrection, believers whoare then still alive shall be transformed and glorified. These twogroups, raised believers and transformed believers, are thencaught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Mter this'rapture' of all believers, Christ will complete his descent toearth, and conduct the final judgment. Mer thejudgment unbelieverswill be consigned to eternal punishment, whereas believerswill enjoy forever the blessings of the new heaven and thenew earth. 16Engelsma adds:As the theology of hope, the Reformed faith [amillennialism]directs the saints' expectation to the great good in the future thatis the genuine object of hope. This is not some event within timeand history, but the event that is the end of time and history: thecoming ofJesus Christ. ... Faithful to its calling as the theologyof hope, the Reformed truth [amillennialism] vigorously uprootsall false hopes that spring up among Christians: earthly success;establishing the kingdom of Christ on the earth in a carnal form,before the Day of Christ (utopia)....1757

    Descriptive Features. 1. The Church Age is the kingdom eraprophesied by the Old Testament prophets. I8 The people ofGod are expanded from Israel of the Old Testament to theuniversal Church of the New Testament, becoming the Israel ofGod.2. Satan is bound during Christ's earthly ministry at HisFirst Coming. His binding prevents him from totally hindering16. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 174.17. David J. Engelsma. "The Reformed Faith - Theology of Hope," StandardBearer 66:7 (Jan. 1, 1990) 149.18. Unlike earlier amillennialists, Hoekema sees the fulfillment of the kingdomprophecies in the New Heavens and New Earth, rather than in the Church: Bible andthe Future, ch. 20.58 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe proclamation of the gospel. This allows for the conversionof great numbers of sinners to Christ and insures some restraintupon evil.3. Christ now rules spiritually in the hearts of believers.There will be but occasional, short-lived influences of Christianityon culture, where Christians live out the implications oftheir faith.4. History will gradually worsen as the growth of evil acceleratestoward the end. This will culminate in the Great Tribulation,with the arising of a personal Antichrist.5. Christ will return to end history, resurrect and judge allmen, and establish the eternal order. The eternal destiny of theredeemed may be either in heaven or in a totally renovatednew earth.Representative Adherents. In the ancient church, the followingare non-millennialists, who seem best to fit in with the amillennialviewpoint: Hermas (first century), Polycarp (A.D. 69-105),Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-100), and Ignatius (ca. A.D. 107).19In the modern church, we may note the following: Jay E. Adams,Louis Berkhof, G. C. Berkouwer, William E. Cox, RichardB. Gaffin, W. J. Grier, Floyd E. Hamilton, Herman Hanko,William Hendriksen, Jesse William Hodges, Anthony A. Hoekema,Philip E. Hughes, Abraham Kuyper, R. C. H. Lenski,George L. Murray, Albertus Pieters, Vern S. Poythress, HermanRidderbos, Ray Summers, E. J. Young, and Bruce K. Waltke.2019. This is according to the research of dispensationalist Alan Patrick Boyd, "ADispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers(Until the Death of Justin Martyr)" (Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary Master'sThesis, 1977), p. 50 (n. I), 91-92. Premillennialist D. H. Kromminga providesevidence in this direction, as well, in his book, The Millennium in the Church: Studies inthe History of Christian Chiliasm (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1945), pp. 267ff. See also:Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrine (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, [1937]1969).20. Adams, The Time Is at Hand (1966). Louis Berkhof, The Second Coming ofChrist(1953). G. C. Berkouwer, The Return of Christ (1972). William E. Cox, AmillennialismToday (1966). Richard B. Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Postmillennialism"in William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey, eds., Theonomy: A ReformedThe Pessimistic Millennial Views 59DispensationalismDefinition. Ryrie, the leading dispensational theologian of ourtime, defines dispensationalism in the following manner:Premillennialists [sc., dispensationalists] believe that theirs is thehistoric faith ofthe Church. Holding to a literal interpretation ofthe Scripture, they believe that the promises made to Abrahamand David are unconditional and have had or will have a literalfulfillment. In no sense have these promises made to Israel beenabrogated or fulfilled by the Church, which is a distinct body inthis age having promises and a destiny different from Israel's. Atthe close of this age, premillennialists believe that Christ willreturn for His Church, meeting her in the air (this is not theSecond Coming of Christ), which event, called the rapture ortranslation, will usher in a seven-year period oftribulation on theearth. After this, the Lord will return to the earth (this is theSecond Coming of Christ) to establish His kingdom on the earthfor a thousand years, during which time the promises to Israelwill be fulfilledYElsewhere he defines the idea of a "dispensation" within thedispensational schema of history:A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking ofGod's purpose. If one were describing a dispensation he wouldCritique (1991). W. J. Grier, The Momentous Event (1945). Floyd E. Hamilton, The Ba.sisof the Millennial Faith (1942). Herman C. Hanko, "The Illusory Hope of Postmillennialism,"Stanrklrd Bearer, 66:7 Oan. 1, 1990). William Hendriksen, Israel in Prophecy(1974).J. W. Hodges, Christ's Kingdom and Coming (1957). Anthony A. Hoekema, TheBible and the Future (1979). P. E. Hughes, Interpreting Prophecy (1976). AbrahamKuyper, Chiliasm, or the Doctrine ofPremillennialism (1934). R. C. H. Lenski, the InterpretationofSt. John's Revelation (1943). George Murray, Millennial Studies (1945). AlbertusPieters, The Seed ofAbraham (1937). Vern S. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists(1987). Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom (1962). Ray Summers, WorthyIs the Lamb (1950). Bruce K. Waltke, "Kingdom Promises as Spiritual," in John S.Feinberg, ed., Continuity and Discontinuity (1988). E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel(1945).21. Charles C. Ryrie, The Ba.sis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: LoizeauxBros., 1953), p. 12.60 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONinclude other things, such as the ideas of distinctive revelation,testing, failure, and judgment.22Descriptive Features. 1. The Davidic Kingdom, an earthly,political kingdom, was offered by Christ in the first century. Itwas rejected by the Jews and thereby postponed until the future.23

    2. The Church Age is a wholly unforseen and distinct era inthe plan of God. It was altogether unknown to and unexpectedby the Old Testament prophets. It is called a "parenthesis."3. God has a separate and distinct program and plan forracial Israel, as distinguished from the Church. The Church ofJesus Christ is a parenthetical aside in the original plan of God.4. The Church may experience occasional small scale successesin history, but ultimately she will lose influence, fail inher mission, and become corrupted as worldwide evil intensifiestoward the end of the Church Age.5. Christ will return secretly in the sky to rapture livingsaints and resurrect the bodies of deceased saints (the firstresurrection). These will be removed out of the world beforethe Great Tribulation. The judgment of the saints will be accomplishedin heaven during the seven-year Great Tribulationperiod before Christ's bodily return to the earth.6. At the conclusion of the seven-year Great Tribulation,Christ will return to the earth in order to establish and personallyadminister a Jewish political kingdom headquartered atJerusalem for- 1,000 years. During this time, Satan will bebound, and the temple and sacrificial system will be re-estab-22. Ryrie, DispensaJionalism Today, p. 29.23. There is a growing fragmentation in dispensationalism today over the notionof the kingdom. Some have recently begun to teach a "now and not yet" approachto the kingdom, which allows for a spiritual presence of the kingdom in the present.See: Robert L. Saucy, "The Presence of the Kingdom and the Life of the Church,"Bibliotheca Sacra 145 (Jan./March 1988) 33ff;John S. Feinberg, "Systems of Discontinuity,"and Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., "Kingdom Promises As Spiritual and National,"Continuity and Discontinuity, chaps. 3 and 13.The Pessimistic Millennial Views 61lished in Jerusalem as memorials.7. Toward the end of the Millennial Kingdom, Satan will beloosed and Christ surrounded and attacked at Jerusalem.8. Christ will call down fire from heaven to destroy Hisenemies. The resurrection (the second resurrection) and judgmentof the wicked will occur, initiating the eternal order.Representative Adherents. In the ancient church: none (createdca. 1830).24 In the modern church: Robert Anderson, GleasonL. Archer, Jr., Charles F. Baker, Emery H. Bancroft, Donald G.Barnhouse, W. E. Blackstone, James M. Brookes, Richard H.Bube, L. S. Chafer, John Nelson Darby, M. R. DeHaan, WilliamEvans, Charles Lee Feinberg, John S. Feinberg, Paul Feinberg,A. C. Gaebelein, Norman Geisler, James M. Gray, Harry A.Ironside, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., William Kelly, Hal Lindsey,Robert P. Lightner, Alva J. McClain, G. Campbell Morgan, J.Dwight Pentecost, Charles C. Ryrie, C. I. Scofield, Henry C.Thiessen, John F. Walvoord, and Warren Wiersbe.2524. "Indeed, this thesis would conclude that the eschatological beliefs of theperiod studied [to A.D. 150] would be generally inimical to those of the modernsystem (perhaps, seminal amillennialism, and not nascent dispensational premillennialismought to be seen in the eschatology of the period)." "This writer believes thatthe Church rapidly fell from New Testament truth, and this is very evident in therealm of eschatology. Only in modern times has New Testament eschatological truthbeen recovered. Dispensational premillennialism is the product of the post-Reformationprogress of dogma." Boyd, "Dispensational Premillennial Analysis," pp. 90-91.See also: Harry A. Ironside, The Mysteries of God (New York: Loizeaux, 1908), p. 50.25. Gleason L. Archer, Jr., in The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulationai? (1984).Charles Baker, A Dispensational Theology (1971). Donald Gray Barnhouse, His OwnReceived Him Not, But... (1933). William E. Blackstone,Jesus Is Coming (1878). LewisS. Chafer, Dispensationalism (1951). J. N. Darby, Synopsis of the Books of the Bible (18571867).M. R. DeHaan, The Jew and Palestine in Prophecy (1950). William Evans, GreatDoctrines of the Bible (1949). Charles Lee Feinberg, Millenniaiism: Two Major Viewpoints(1980). John S. Feinberg, Continuity and Discontinuity (1989). Paul D. Feinberg, in TheRapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulationai? (1984). William Kelly, Lectures on the Gospelof Matthew (1868). Arno C. Gaebelein, The Harmony of the Prophetic Word (1907).Norman Geisler, "A Premillennial View of Law and Government," Moody Monthly(Oct. 1985)James M. Gray, Prophecy and the Lord's Return (1917). Harry A. Ironside,The Great Parenthesis (1943). Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. in Continuity and Discontinuity (1989).Robert P. Lightner, The Last Days Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding theDifferent Views of Prophecy (1990). Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (1989). AlvaJ.62 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONPremillennialismDefinition. George Eldon Ladd, a leading advocate of historicalpremillennialism in recent times, defines the system for us:... Premillennialism is the doctrine stating that after the SecondComing of Christ, he will reign for a thousand years over theearth before the final consummation of God's redemptive purposein the new heavens and the new earth of the Age to Come.This is the natural reading of Revelation 20: 1-6.Revelation 19: 11-16 pictures the Second Coming of Christ asa conqueror coming to destroy his enemies: the Antichrist, Satanand Death. Revelation 19: 17-21 pictures first the destruction ofAntichrist and the hosts which have supported him in oppositionto the kingdom of God. Revelation 20 then relates the destructionof the evil power behind the Antichrist . . . . this occurs intwo stages.First, Satan is bound and incarcerated in 'the bottomless pit'(Rev. 20: 1) for a thousand years.... At this time occurs the 'firstresurrection' (Rev. 20:5) of saints who share Christ's rule overthe earth for the thousand years. Mter this Satan is loosed fromhis bonds, and in spite of the fact that Christ has reigned overthe earth for a thousand years, he finds the hearts ofunregeneratedmen still ready to rebel against God. The final eschatologicalwar follows when the devil is thrown into the lake of fire andbrimstone. Then occurs a second resurrection of those who hadnot been raised before the millennium....26Elsewhere he adds:The gospel is not to conquer the world and subdue all nations toMcClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (1959). J. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come(1990). Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (1986). C. I. Scofield, Rightly Dividing the ffiJrdof 'Fruth (1920). Henry Thiessen, WiU the Church Pass Through the Tribulation' (1941).John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (1990). Warren W. Wiersbe. The BibleExposition Commentary (1989).26. George E. Ladd, "Historic Premillennialism," Meaning of the Millennium, p.17.The Pessimistic Millennial Viewsitself. Hatred, conflict, and war will continue to characterize theage until the coming of the Son of Man.... [E]vil will mark thecourse of the age.2763

    Descriptive Features.1. The New Testament era Church is the initial phase ofChrist's kingdom, as prophesied by the Old Testament prophets.2. The New Testament Church may win occasional victoriesin history, but ultimately she will fail in her mission, lose influence,and become corrupted as worldwide evil increases towardthe end of the Church Age.3. The Church will pass through a future, worldwide, unprecedentedtime of travail. This era is known as the GreatTribulation, which will punctuate the end of contemporaryhistory. Historic premillennialists are post-tribulational.4. Christ will return at the end of the Tribulation to rapturethe Church, resurrect deceased saints, and conduct the judgmentof the righteous in the "twinkling of an eye."5. Christ then will descend to the earth with His glorifiedsaints, fight the battle ofArmageddon, bind Satan, and establisha worldwide, political kingdom, which will be personally administeredby Him for 1,000 years from Jerusalem.6. At the end of the millennial reign, Satan will be loosedand a massive rebellion against the kingdom and a fierce assaultagainst Christ and His saints will occur.7. God will intervene with fiery judgment to rescue Christand the saints. The resurrection and the judgment of the wickedwill occur and the eternal order will begin.Representative Adherents. In the ancient church: Papias (60130),Justin Martyr (100-165), Irenaeus (130-202), and TertulHan(160-220). In the modern church: Henry Alford, E. B.27. George Eldon Ladd, Theology ofthe New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1974), pp. 202, 203.64 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONElliott, W. J. Erdman, A. R. Faussett, Henry W. Frost, F. Godet,H. G. Guinness, Robert H. Gundry, S. H. Kellog, D. H. Kromminga,George Eldon Ladd, Philip Mauro, J. Barton Payne,George N. H. Peters, Alexander Reese, R. A. Torrey, S. P.Tregelles, Nathaniel West, and Theodor Zahn.28ConclusionCertainly each of the millennial views presented above hascharacteristic features that are different enough to distinguishthem. These differences are of no small consequence. Yet onething unifies these millennial views: overall pessimism regarding thehope for Christian civilization in present history. Such pessimism isa fundamentally important matter when men attempt to developand promote a Christian worldview. It is this intrinsic pessimismthat is a characteristic distinctive of these views whenclassed together in opposition to postmillennialism.In the next chapter, I will tum to consider postmillennialismin a somewhat fuller manner. As I do, it will be important toappreciate the optimism inherent in postmillennialism - anoptimism that is of the very essence of a genuinely Christianworldview and which is so essential to the building of a Christiancivilization. The kingdom of God in history is a civilization assurely as the kingdom of Satan in history is a civilization. Both kingdomsare spiritual; both are civilizations. One wins in history.28. Henry Alford, The Greek Testa7lU!nt (1872), 4:732ff. William J. Erdman, TheParousia of Christ a Period of Ti7lU!; OT, When Will the Church be Translated? (1880). A. R.Fausseu, Com7lU!ntary, Critical and Explanatory (ca. 1885). Henry W. Frost, The SecondComing and Christ (1934). F. Godet, Studies on the New Testa7lU!nt (1873), pp. 294ff. H.Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End of the Age (1880). Robert H. Gundry, TheChurch and the Tribulation (1973). George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope (1956). S. H.Kellogg in Premillennial Essays (1957). Philip Mauro, The Gospel of the Kingdom (1929).George N. H. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom (1884). J. Barton Payne, Bible Prophecyfor 'RJday (1978). Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ (1932). S. P.Tregelles, The Hope of Christ's Second Coming (1886). R. A. Torrey in Archer, TheRapture (ca., 1910). Nathaniel West, "Introduction," Premillennial Essays ofthe PropheticConference Held in the Church of the Holy Trinity, New Thrk City, Oct. 3D-Nov. 1, 1878(1879). Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament (1909).4

    INTRODUCTION TOPOSTMILLENNIALISMThe LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Tilll make l'burenemies l'bur footstool." (Psalm 11 0: 1)We do not hold with the philosophy of linguistic analysisthat problems of definition lie at the heart of all ambiguity.lYet often enough, carefully defining a theological position willhelp correct many unnecessary misconceptions. Probably morethan any of the three other evangelical views, postmillennialismhas suffered distortion through improper definition by its opponents.In this chapter, I will attempt to set forth a succincttheological explanation of postmillennialism, as well as briefly toengage the question of postmillenniaiism's historical origins.Confusion Regarding PostmillennialismIt is remarkable that there are some noted theologians whodo not appear to have an adequate working definition of post-1. Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in his preface to his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicusthat "what can be said at all can be said clearly." Wittgenstein, Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus,trans. by D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness (New York: HumanitiesPress, 1961), p. 3.66 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmillennialism. This leads them to misclassify certain postmillennialscholars. For instance, dispensational theologians are notoriousfor classifying leading postmillennial scholars Benjamin B.Warfield and O. I Allis as amillennialists. One has even misidentifiedW. G. I Shedd as an amillennialist.2 In Warfield'scase, this misconception is based largely on his view of Revelation20, despite his many clear statements elsewhere regardingpostmillennialism. (This illustrates anew the inordinate role ofRevelation 20 in the eschatological debate.) In Allis' case, hissilence regarding his eschatological persuasion in his classicProphecy and the Church seems to be partly responsible for theconfusion. He is assumed by many to be amillennial, sincepostmillennialism, which some critics do not understand, ispresumed dead.Walvoord writes in this regard: "A new type of amillennialismhas arisen, however, of which Warfield can be taken as anexample which is actually a totally new type of amillennialism.,,3 Chafer (1948), Ryrie (1953), Pentecost (1958), Culver(1977), Feinberg (1980), Johnson (1983), and Lightner (1990)promote the same Warfield-as-amillennialist error.4 Ryrie con-2. Charles F. Baker, A Dispensational Theology (Grand Rapids: Grace Bible College,1981), p. 617.3. Walvoord, "The Millennial Issue in Modern Theology," Bibliotheca Sacra 106(Jan. 1948) 44. Strangely, Walvoord apparently comes to realize the true position ofWarfield, but does not inform any of his colleagues at Dallas Theological Seminary:"Warfield is more optimistic, hence is usually classified as a postmillenarian."John F.Walvoord, The Revelation ofJesus Christ: A Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966),p. 286. If he is "usually" so classified, why do we not hear such from dispensationalists?4. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas, TX: Dallas TheologicalSeminary, 1948),4:281; 7:238. Chafer seems to be the source of this error. See also:Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the PremilLennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros.,1953), p. 30;J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 387; Robert D. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (2nded.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1977), p. 24; Charles Lee Feinberg, MilLennialism: The TwoMajor Views (3rd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 314; Alan F. Johnson, Revelation(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), pp. 181-182; Robert P. Lightner, The Last DaysHandbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Different Views ofProphecy (NashIntroductionto Postmillennialism 67tinues his earlier error, when he comments (1986): "ThoughAugustinian amillennialism is generally followed in this moderntime ... another form of amillennialism arose. B. B. Warfield... taught that the Millennium is the present state of the saintsin heaven."sOf Allis, Pentecost writes: "Amillennialism today is dividedinto two camps. (1) The first, of which Allis and Berkhof areadherents...."6 Walvoord follows suit: "However, in view ofthe evidence that many amillenarians consider it, as Allis does.• . •"7 Culver (1977), C. Feinberg (1980), Ryrie (1986), J. Feinberg(1988), and Lightner (1990) concur.sIt is clear from Warfield himself,9 as well as other eschatologicalwriters10, that he was a postmillennialist. While expresslydiscussing the "premillennial" and "postmillennial" positions,Warfield writes of his own view: "[T]he Scriptures do promiseville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), p. 77.5. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986), p. 449.6. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 387.7. John F. Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, 3 vols. in 1(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 2:56. See also: Walvoord, The Revelation ofJesusChrist, p. 286. Walvoord, "Revelation," The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New TestamentEdition, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1983), p. 978.8. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, p. 24. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 49. Ryrie,Basic Theology, p. 449. John S. Feinberg, "Systems of Dicontinuity," Continuity andDiscontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments, Feinberg,ed. (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1988), p. 67. Lightner, Last Days Handbook, 91.9. See: Warfield, jesus Christ the Propitiation for the Sins of the Whole World"(1921), in Seleded Shorter Writings - I, John E. Meeter, ed. (Nudey, NJ: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1970), pp. 167-177. "Antichrist" (1921), ibid., pp. 356-364. "The ImportunateWidow and the Alleged Failure of Faith" (1913), in SSW-II (Nudey, NJ:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1973), pp. 698-71 1. Warfield, Biblical and TheologicalStudies, Samuel E. Craig, ed. (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1952): "AreThere Few That Be Saved?" (1915), pp. 334-350; "The Prophecies of St. Paul"(1886), pp. 463-502; "God's Immeasurable Love" (n.d.), pp. 505-522. Warfield,Biblical DOdrines (New York: Oxford University Press, 1929), pp. 663ff. Warfield,"The Millennium and the Apocalypse," Princeton Theological Review (Oct. 1904).10. For example see: historic premillennialist Ladd, Crucial Questions, pp. 46-47.Amillennialist Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1979), pp. 176ff.68 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONto the church a 'golden age,' when the conflict with the forcesof evil in which it is engaged has passed into victory.... [T]he'golden age' of the church is the adorning of the bride for herhusband, and is the preparation for his coming.... [P]reciselywhat the risen Lord, who has been made head over all thingsfor his church, is doing through these years that stretch betweenhis first and second comings, is conquering the world tohimself; and the world is to be nothing less than a convertedworld." "The ministry which Paul exercised, and which everyonewho follows him in proclaiming the gospel exercises withhim, is distinctively the ministry of reconciliation, not of testimonymerely, but of reconciliation. It has as its object, and isitselfthe proper means of, the actual reconciliation of the wholeworld."IlInterestingly, Allis, in his book that is widely cited by dispensationalists,even calls Warfield a "postmillenarian who lookedfor a future golden age of the Church on earth.,,12 More interestingis the resistance of one dispensationalist to admit what hesuspects may be the case in this regard. Speaking of "modernamillennialism - B. B, Warfield School," Culver writes: "I havecalled Warfield an amillennialist because he denies any connectionof the 'thousand years' with a reign of Christ or His saintson earth, either after Christ's second coming or before it. Itmay be true, as former students of his classes have told me, thathe regarded himself as a postmillennialist."13That Allis was postmillennial is evident, as well. In his Forewordto Roderick Campbell's postmillennial work, Israel and the11. Warfield, "The Gospel and the Second Coming," Selected Shorter Writings - I,pp. 349-350. This essay was originally published in The Bible Magazine 3 (1915) 303309.It is a strong polemic against the premillennial position. In this article, hespecifically called himself a postmillennialist. This should remove all confusion abouthis eschatological position.12. O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed.1945). p. 287.13. Robert D. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (2nd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press,1977), p. 213.Introduction to Postmillennialism 69New Covenant, Allis wrote: "[M]y own studies in this and relatedfields have convinced me that the most serious error in muchof the current 'prophetic' teaching of today is the claim that thefuture of Christendom is to be read not in terms of Revival andVictory, but of growing impotence and apostasy.... The languageof the Great Commission is world-embracing; and it hasback of it the authority and power of One who said: ~l poweris given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore andmake disciples of all nations.' The duty of the church is toaddress herself to the achieving of this task in anticipation ofher Lord's coming, and not to expect Him to call her away toglory before her task is accomplished."14 Although his postmillennialismis not clearly spelled out in his classic study Prophecyand the Church, it is in this Foreword and elsewhere.ISA careful definition of an eschatological system will help tokeep one from making such mistaken identifications. Hence,the significance of this chapter.A Definition of PostmillennialismThe dispensational error in defining non-premillennialeschatological systems is traceable to its focusing on Revelation20, in its assumption that this passage controls those systems (asis evident in the Culver quotation above).16 The postmillennialist,however, is reluctant to begin systemic definition with oneof the last and most symbolic books of the Bible. Consequently,14. o. T. Allis, "Foreword," Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant(Tyler, TX.: Geneva Divinity School Press, [1954] 1981), p. ix.15. See also: Allis, "The Parable ofLeaven," Evangelical Quarterly 19:4 (Oct. 1947)254-273.16. See Footnote 6 regarding Berkhof in the preceding chapter. Cf. Richard B.Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Postmillennialism," Theonomy: AReformed Critique, William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey, eds. (Grand Rapids:Zondervan, 1990), p. 199. Walvoord speaks of Revelation 20 as "one of the greatchapters of the Bible." Walvoord, Revelation. p. 282.70 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe much debated Revelation 20 passage is, frankly, not determinativefor postmillennialism.17An appropriate, systematic definition of postmillennialismwould include a number of key elements. It should be understood,of course, that ancient church fathers who held optimisticexpectations for the progress of Christianity, and who maybe called "postmillennial," would not hold to a full-blown systematicpostmillenialism as outlined below. This is as true forpostmillennialism as for premillennialism. "It must be concededthat the advanced and detailed theology of pretribulationism isnot found in the Fathers, but neither is any other detailed and'established' exposition of premillennialism. The developmentof most important doctrines took centuries.,,18 Bearing this inmind, let us consider the nature of postmillennialism.First, postmillennialism is that system of eschatology whichunderstands the Messianic kingdom to have been foundedupon the earth during the earthly ministry and through theredemptive labors of the Lord Jesus Christ. This establishmentof the "kingdom of heaven" was in fulfillment ofOld Testamentprophetic expectation. The kingdom which Christ preachedand presented was not something other than that expected bythe Old Testament saints. In postmillennialism, the Church becomesthe transformed Israel, being called "the Israel of God"(Gal. 6: 16).19Second, the fundamental nature of that kingdom is essentiallyredemptive and spiritual rather than political and corporeal.Although it has implications for the political realm, postmillen-17. This is not to say that the passage is unimportant. It is just to say that thisone passage has been allowed unduly to dominate the eschatological discussion.18. John E Walvoord, The Rapture Question (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), p.52.19. See: Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., "The Israel of God: A Study of the Role ofIsrael in Scripture" (unpublished manuscript). The church as the elect ofGod existedin the Old Testament, despite dispensational claims. Jerry W. Crick, "The Churchand the Kingdom" (ordination thesis) (Greenville, SC: Calvary Presbytery, 1990), pp.1-6.Introduction to Postmillennialism 71nialism is not essentially political, competing with temporalnations for governmental rule. Christ rules His kingdom spirituallyin and through His people in the world (representation),as well as by His universal providence.Third, because of the intrinsic power and design of Christ'sredemption, His kingdom will exercise a transformational socioculturalinfluence in history. This will occur as more and morepeople are converted to Christ, not by a minority revolt andseizure of political power. "[T]he essential distinctive of postmillennialismis its scripturally derived, sure expectation of gospelprosperity for the church during the present age."20Fourth, postmillennialism, thus, expects the gradual, developmentalexpansion of the kingdom of Christ in time and onearth. This expansion will proceed by means of the full-orbedministry of the Word, fervent and believing prayer, and theconsecrated labors of His Spirit-filled people. Christ's personalpresence on earth is not needed for the expansion of His kingdom.All of this kingdom expansion will be directed and blessedby the ever-present Christ, Who is now enthroned as King atthe right hand of God, ruling and reigning over the earth.Fifth, postmillennialism confidently anticipates a time inearth history (continuous with the present) in which the verygospel already operative in the world will have won the victorythroughout the earth in fulfillment of the Great Commission."The thing that distinguishes the biblical postmillennialist, then,from amillennialists and premillennialists is his belief that theScripture teaches the success ofthe great commission in this age ofthechurch."21 During that time the overwhelming majority of menand nations will be Christianized, righteousness will abound,wars will cease, and prosperity and safety will flourish. Of thepostmillennial kingdom at its fullest expression David Brown20. Greg L. Bahnsen, "The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism,"Journal ofChrntian Reconstruction 3:2 (Winter 1976-77) 66.21. Ibid.72 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONwrites: "It will be marked by the universal reception of the truereligion, and unlimited subjection to the sceptre of Christ." "It shall bea time of universal peace." "It will be characterised by greattemporal prosperity.'022It should be noted at this juncture that there are some importantdifferences between two types of postmillennialismtoday: pietistic and theonomic postmillennialism. "Among currentpostmils, to be sure, there are some who are not reconstructionists....Nonreconstructionist postmils would naturallydeny any such connection" between theonomic ethics and postmillennialism.23 Pietistic postmillennialism (as found in Bannerof Truth circles)24 denies that the postmillennial advance of thekingdom involves the total transformation of culture throughthe application of biblical law. Theonomic postmillennialismaffirms this.Seventh, possibly "we can look forward to a great 'goldenage' of spiritual prosperity continuing for centuries, or even formillenniums, during which time Christianity shall be triumphantover all the earth.,,25 Mter this extended period of gospelprosperity, earth history will be drawn to a close by thepersonal, visible, bodily return ofJesus Christ (accompanied bya literal resurrection and a general judgment) to introduce His22. David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will it be Premillennial? (Edmonton, AB:Still Waters Revival, [1882] 1990), pp. 399,401.23. Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology," Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, p. 197.For more detail see: Rousas John Rushdoony, God's Plan for Victory: The Meaning ofPostmillenniali5m (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn, 1977). Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L.Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, TX: Institutefor Christian Economics, 1989). Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler,TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), especially Chapter 10.24. The Calvinists who are associated with this group are self-consciously identifiedwith the revivalistic postmillennialism ofJonathan Edwards rather than with thetheonomic postmillennialism of the colonial American Puritans. See: lain Murray,The Puritan Hope: A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (Edinburgh:Banner of Truth, 1971). The reprints of Puritan works issued by the Banner ofTruth are pietistic rather than Cromwellian, introspective rather than cultural.25. Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed,1958), p. 29.Introduction to Postmillennialism 73blood-bought people into the consummative and eternal formof the kingdom. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.Confusion Regarding Millennial DevelopmentUnfortunately, serious errors have brought distortion intothe understanding of the historical rise of millennial views. Arecent work comments: "The early church was solidly chiliasticuntil the time of Augustine."26 Another boldly asserts that "thechurch from the beginning was premillennial in belief."27 Stillanother states that "a premillennial belief was the universalbelief in the church for two hundred and fifty years after thedeath of Christ.,,28 This is commonly heard today.Frequently the false historical data is traceable to the seriouslyflawed, long-discredited claims of George N. H. Peters.29Peters commented on premillennialism in history: "Now let thestudent reflect: here are two centuries ... in which positively nodirect opposition whatever arises against our doctrine.,,30 Hisclaims, though still persisting and highly regarded by some,have been shown to be quite erroneous.31 Because my primaryconcern is to provide data for tracing the rise of postmillennialism,I will only briefly comment on the general historical26. H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion TMOlogy: Blessing or Curse?(Portland, OR: MuItnomah, 1988), p. 200.27. Paul Enns, TM Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), p.389.28. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 374 (italics his). But then he quotes Schaff assaying it was not creedally endorsed by the church, but was "widely current" amongdistinguished teachers. How he leaps from "widely current" to "universal" we probablywill never know.29. George N. H. Peters, TM TMocratic Kingdom, 3 vols. (New York: Funk andWagnalls, 1884).30. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 375, citing Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, 1:494-496.31. Walvoord calls it "a classic work." John F. Walvoord, TM Millennial Kingdom(Findley, OH: Dunham, 1959), p. 119. Other dispensationalists employ his findings.See: Chafer, Systematic TMOlogy, 4:270-274; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, pp.373-384; and Leon J. Wood, TM Bible and Future Events (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1973), pp. 35ff.74 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONconfusion regarding postmillennialism. But it does deserve atleast passing comment.The errors of Peters' analysis and others like it have beenexposed by a number of scholars. The three leading, mostdetailed, and helpful are: Alan Patrick Boyd (a dispensationalist),D. H. Kromminga (a premillennialist), and Ned Stonehouse(an amillennialist).32 Also noteworthy are studies by Louis Berkhof,Philip Schaff, Albertus Pieters, and W. J. Grier.33 Krommingacarefully examines the sub-apostolic writings, including:Clement of Rome's 1 Clement, the pseudo-Clementine 2 Clement,The Didache, the Ignatian epistles, Polycarp's Epistle, The Letter ofthe Church at Smyrna on the Martyrdom of Polycarp, Barnabas,Hermas, Diognetus, Fragments of Papias, and Reliques of theElders. He convincingly shows that only Papias among the subapostolicfathers is premillennial. He concludes that "an inquiryinto the extent of ancient chiliasm will serve to show the untenablenessof the claim that this doctrine was held with practicalunanimity by the Church of the first few centuries."34Put in the best light, the most that Peters could say is: "[I]twould seem that very early in the post-apostolic era millenarianismwas regarded as a mark neither of orthodoxy nor ofheresy, but as one permissible opinion among others within therange of permissible opinions."35 Dispensationalist Lightnerhas admitted that "None of the major creeds of the church32. Alan Patrick Boyd, "A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatologyof the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr)" (Dallas: DallasTheological Seminary master's thesis, 1977); D. H. Kromminga, TM Millennium in theChurch (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1945), pp. 29-112; Ned Stonehouse, The Apocalypsein the Ancient Church (Goes, Holland: Oosterbaan and LeCointre, 1929), pp. 13ff.33. Louis Berkhof, TM History of Christian Doctrines (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1937]1975), p. 262; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 vols. (5th ed.; GrandRapids: Eerdmans, [1910] n.d.), 2:615; Albertus Pieters, two articles: "Chiliasm in theWritings of the Apostolic Fathers" (1938), cited by Kromminga, Millennium, p. 41; W.J. Grier, The Momentous Event (London: Banner of Truth, [1945] 1970), pp. 19ff.34. Kromminga, Millennium, pp. 30,41,42.35. Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Traditions, vol. 1 (Chicago: University ofChicago Press, 1971), p. 125.Introduction to Postmillennialism 75include premillennialism in their statements.,,36 Not even thesecond century Apostles' Creed.37 In fact, "early millennialismwas held mostly amongJewish converts. A few Apostolic Fathersheld it as individuals, but those who do not mention the millenniumhad greater weight of authority and influence: Clement,Ignatius, Polycarp."38 This is borne out by premillennialism'sfailure to receive creedal status. Even Tertullian and Irenaeus(who were premillennial) record brief creeds with no allusionsto a millennium.39 What has happened to the evidence for"pervasive" premillennialism?Peters' mistakes were powerfully analyzed and conclusivelyrebutted in a 1977 Dallas Theological Seminary master's thesisby dispensationalist Alan Patrick Boyd. According to Boyd, he"originally undertook the thesis to bolster the [dispensational]system by patristic research, but the evidence of the originalsources simply disallowed this." He ends up lamenting that"this writer believes that the Church rapidly fell from New Testamenttruth, and this is very evident in the realm of eschatology.Only in modern times has New Testament eschatologicaltruth been recovered."40 As a consequence of his research,Boyd urges his fellow dispensationalists to "avoid reliance onmen like Ceo. N. H. Peters whose historical conclusionsregarding premillennialism in the early church have beenproven to be largely in error."4136. Lightner, Last Days Handbook, p. 158.37. A. Harnack, "Apostle's Creed," The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia ofReligiousKnowledge, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1907] 1949), 1:242.38. W. G. T. Shedd, A History of Christian Doctrine, 2 vols. (Minneapolis, MN:Klock & Klock, [1889] 1978),2:390-391. Papias' famous passage on the millenniumwas taken from the Jewish Apocalypse of Baruch 29:1-8. See Geerhardus Vos, ThePauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, [1930]1991), p. 233.39. Irenaeus,Against Heresies 1:10; 3:4; Tertullian, Virgin 1; Against Praexus 2; ThePrescription Against Heretics 13.40. Boyd, "Dispensational Premillennial Analysis," p. 91n.41. Ibid., p. 92.76 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONBoyd goes on to admit that "it would seem wise for themodern [i.e., dispensational] system to abandon the claim thatit is the historical faith of the Church.,,42 Of Ryrie's bold statementthat "Premillennialism is the historic faith of the Church,"he states: "It is the conclusion of this thesis that Dr. Ryrie'sstatement is historically invalid within the chronological frameworkof this thesis."43 Boyd even states: "This validates theclaim of L. Berkhof. ... '[I]t is not correct to say, as Premillenariansdo, that it (millennialism) was generally accepted in thefirst three centuries. The truth of the matter is that the adherentsof this doctrine were a rather limited number.' "44It is clear upon reading certain of the ancient advocates ofpremillennialism that they faced opposition from orthodox nonmillennialists.For instance, consider Justin Martyr's response toTrypho regarding the hope of "a thousand years in Jerusalem,which will then be built." Justin replied: "I admitted to youformerly, 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 tothe pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise."45 Note the reference to "many" who "think otherwise."There was no unanimity regarding the millennium.Another premillennialist, Irenaeus (ca. A.D. 180), observesthat "some who are reckoned among the orthodox" do not hold tohis premillennial views.46 Eusebius (ca. A.D. 325) points topremillennialist Papias (A.D. 60-130) in explaining the spreadof premillennialism: "But it was due to him that so many [not42. Ibid.43. Ibid., p. 89.44. Ibid., p. 92, n 1.45. Justin Martyr, DiabJgue with Trypho the Jew 80 (emphasis mine).46. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:31: 1 (emphasis mine). W. G. T. Shedd comments'on this statement: "Irenaeus ... speaks of opposers of Millenarianism who held thecatholic faith, and who agreed with the Gnostics only in being Anti-Millenarians;although he is himself desirous to make it appear that Anti-Millenarianism is of thenature of heresy." Shedd, History of Christian Doctrine, 2:394.Introduction to Postmillennialism 77"all"!] of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion,urging in their own support the antiquity of the man.,,47 Thefact that premillennialism was in no way approaching "universal"in extent is evident also in that Dionysius (A.D. 190-264)successfully dealt with "this doctrine" in a certain area where itprevailed and split "entire churches." He won the day in thatEgyptian district and turns the majority away from premillennialism.48 Later, Epiphanius (A.D. 315-403) wrote: "There isindeed a millennium mentioned by St. John; but the most, andthose pious men, look upon those words as true indeed, but tobe taken in a spiritual sense.,,49The Origins of PostmillennialismConcomitant with a confusion as to the proper identity ofcertain modern postmillennialists and an unbalanced perceptionof the early influence of premillennialism is a widespreadconfusion regarding the origins of postmillennialism. One dispensationalisthas stated of postmillennialism: "Its advocatesadmit that it was first taught in the seventeenth century."soThere are also those who wrongly assume that postmillennialismmay be traced back only as far as Daniel Whitby in 1703.Often Whitby is alleged to be "the originator of what is knownas postmillennialism."sl This is the argument of Wayne House(at the time a Dallas Seminary professor) and Thomas Ice:Daniel Whitby first put forth his view in a popular work entitledParaphrase and Commentary on the New Testament (1703). It was at47. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3:39. Pelikan observes: Eusebius "was certainlyspeaking for a large body of theological opinion in the East when he called Papias'smillenarianism 'bizarre' and 'rather mythological.' " Pelikan, Christian Traditions, vol.1, p. 125.48. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 7:24; cf. Dionysius 5:6.49. Epiphanius, Heresies 77:26.50. Baker, Dispensational Theology, p. 623.51. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 4:280-281.78 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe end of this work that he first set forth what he calls in hisown words 'A New Hypothesis' on the millennial reign of Christ.Thus, the system called postmillennialism was born in the early1700s as a hypothesis. Whitby and his modern followers presenttheir arguments and explanations based upon unproved assumptions- assumptions resulting in a hypothesis rather than somethingwhich is the fruit of the study of Scripture or even thevoice of the church.52It should be noted that Whitby was not the founder of postmillennialism- even of its more systematic, modern expression.Rodney Peterson writes that "this perspective had undergonechanges, particularly since Thomas Brightman (1562-1607)."53Brightman, who died in 1607, was one of the fathers of Presbyterianismin England. His postmillennial views were set forth indetail in his book, A Revelation of the Revelation. In fact, thiswork is considered the "most important and influential Englishrevision of the Reformed, Augustinian concept of the millennium.,,54 This was a century before Whitby's 1703 article.Whitby was helpful in "popularizing"55 postmillennialismbecause he presented postmillennialism's "most influentialformulation."56 Ball categorically denies Whitby's foundationalrole.57 Whitby was simply not the "founder" of postmillennialism;he was a modern systematizer. At this very late date, it istime for dispensational authors to retract their previous statementsregarding Whitby as the founder of postmillennialism.52. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 209.53. Rodney Peterson, "The Debate Throughout Church History," Continuity andDiscontinuity, p. 31.54. Peter Toon, ed., Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel (Cambridge:James Clarke, 1970), p. 26. See also: Bryan W. Ball, A Great Expectation: EschatologicalThought in English Protestantism to 1660 (Leiden, Holland: E. J. Brill, 1975).55. John J. Davis, Christ's Victorious Kingdom: Postmillennialism Reconsidered (GrandRapids: Baker, 1986), pp. 16-17.56. R. G. Clouse, "Millennium, Views of the," Evangelical Dictionary of Theology(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), p. 717.57. W. Ball, A Great Expectation, p. 170n.Introduction to Postmillennialism 79Early Origins of PostmillennialismIt is clear that postmillennialism has undergone much systematizationin the post-Reformation era. In its simplest form,however, adumbrations of it appear in antiquity. Simply put,postmillennialism is the view that Christ will return to the earthafter the Spirit-blessed Gospel has had overwhelming success inbringing the world to the adoption of Christianity. Obviously,systematization is developmental, issuing from the diligentlabors of many minds over a period of time as they build on theresearch of those who have gone on before. There should be noproblem with the slow, developmental systematization, fordispensationalists can even write: "The futurist interpretation isthe approach used by the earliest church fathers. We do notargue that they had a sophisticated system, but the clear futuristelements were there.,,58 I argue similarly for postmillennialism.Mter all, did not Ryrie argue regarding dispensationalism's"recency": "Informed dispensationalists ... recognize that as asystem dispensationalism was largely formulated by Darby, butthat outlines of the dispensationalist approach to the Scripturesare found much earlier,,?59There are indicators in antiquity of a genuine hope for theprogress of the gospel in history. Premillennialist Krommingahas noted that although most Montanists were premillennialists,"others were at least containing also the germs for laterfullfledged Postmillennialism."60 This nascent postmillennialismwas resultant from the hope (rooted in Scripture) that therewould be a period of the Holy Spirit's dominance in the affairsof history.61 This perspective on the future of the Church hadconsiderable influence in the thinking of other Church fathers.58. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 275.59. Charles Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), p. 66.60. Kromminga, Millennium, p. 76.61. Ibid., p. 84.80 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONOrigen (A.D. 185-254)Although much in Origen is unacceptable, he is a noteworthychurch father ofconsiderable influence. As Philip Schaff hasnoted regarding Origen's views, there was in them a place fora great evidencing of the power of the gospel: "Such a mightyrevolution as the conversion of the heathen emperor was notdreamed of even as a remote possibility, except perhaps by thefar-sighted Origen." "Origen seems to have been the only onein that age of violent persecution who expected that Christianity,by continual growth, would gain the dominion over theworld.,,62Origen comments:[I]t is evident that even the barbarians, when they yield obedienceto the word of God, will become most obedient to the law,and most humane; and every form of worship will be destroyedexcept the religion of Christ, which will alone prevail. And indeedit will one day triumph, as its principles take possession ofthe minds of men more and more every day.53This sort of statement is of the essence of postmillennial optimIsm.Eusebius (A.D. 260-340)In Eusebius, there is an even fuller expression of hope thatis evident. In Book 10 of his Ecclesiastical History, he is convincedhe is witnessing the dawning of the fulfillment of OldTestament kingdom prophecies. Of Psalms 108: 1,2 and 46:8,9,which he specifically cites, he writes that he is "Rejoicing inthese things which have been dearly fulfilled in our day."6462. Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 2:591, 122. He cites Neander, GeneralHistory of the Christian Religion and Church (12th ed.), 1:129.63. Drigen, Against Celsus 8:68.64. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 10: 1:6.Introduction to Postmillennialism 81Later in chapters 4 through 7 of Book 10 he cites dozens ofother such passages as coming to fulfillment. He writes: "For itwas necessary and fitting that as her [the Church's] shepherdand Lord had once tasted death for her, and after his sufferinghad changed that vile body which he assumed in her behalfinto a splendid and glorious body, leading the very flesh whichhad been delivered from corruption to incorruption, she tooshould enjoy the dispensations of the Saviour.,,65Mter quoting several passages from Isaiah, Eusebius writes:"These are the things which Isaiah foretold; and which wereanciently recorded concerning us in sacred books; and it wasnecessary that we should sometime learn their truthfulness bytheir fulfillment.,,66Of Christ he writes:What god or hero yet, as he has done, has set aside all gods andheroes among civilized or barbarous nations; has ordained thatdivine honors should be withheld from all, and claimed obedienceto that command: and then, though singly conflicting withthe power of all, has utterly destroyed the opposing hosts; victoriousover the gods and heroes of every age, and causing himselfalone, in every region of the habitable world, to be acknowledgedby all people as the only Son of God? .. What god orhero, exposed, as our Saviour was, to so sore a conflict, hasraised the trophy of victory over every foe?67Mter discussing how Psalm 110:1 and how "even to this day[Christ] is honored as a King by his followers throughout theworld,"68 he writes:65. Ibid. 10:4:46:66. Ibid. 10:4:53; cf. sections 46-52. Citing Isaiah 51:10-11; 54:4; 54:6-8;51:17,18,22-23; 52:1,2; 49:18-21.67. Eusebius, The Oration of the Emperor Constantine 17: 13-14. Though obviouslyprematurely, he sees in the spread of Christianity the anticipated conquest of theworld, Church History 1:3:12; 2:3:1; 8:1:1-2, 6.68. Eusebius, Church History 1:3: 19.82 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONIt is admitted that when in recent times the appearance of ourSaviour Jesus Christ had become known to all men there immediatelymade its appearance a new nation; a nation confessedlynot small, and not dwelling in some corner of the earth, but themost numerous and pious of all nations, indestructible andunconquerable, because it always receives assistance from God.This nation, thus suddenly appearing at the time appointed bythe inscrutable counsel of God, is the one which has been honoredby all with the name of Christ.69Following this, he cites Genesis 12:3, regarding the Abrahamicpromise of Christ's blessing all nations.70 Eusebius later states:Long since had his passion, as well as his advent in the flesh,been predicted by the prophets. The time, too, ofhis incarnationhad been foretold, and the manner in which the fruits of iniquityand profligacy, so ruinous to the works and ways of righteousness,should be destroyed, and the whole world partake of thevirtues of wisdom and sound discretion, through the almostuniversal prevalence of those principles of conduct which theSaviour would promulgate, over the minds of men; whereby theworship of God should be confirmed, and the rites of superstitionabolished.71Athanasius (A.D. 296-372)Athanasius has been called "the patron saint of postmillennialism.,,72 He was certain of the victory of Christ for now "theSaviour works so great things among men, and day by day isinvisibly persuading so great a multitude from every side, bothfrom them that dwell in Greece and in foreign lands, to come69. Ibid. 1:4:2-3.70. Ibid. 1:4: 13.71. Eusebius, Constantine, 16.72. David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition ofthe Book ofRevelation (Ft.Worth, 'IX: Dominion Press, 1987), p. 5.Introduction to Postmillennialism 83over to His faith, and all to obey His teaching. ,,73 "Forwhere Christ is named, and His faith, there all idolatry is deposedand all imposture of evil spirits is exposed, and any spiritis unable to endure even the name, nay even on barely hearingit flies and disappears. But this work is not that of one dead,but of one that lives - and especially of Cod.,,74 In fact, regardingidols, Christ "chases them away, and by His powerprevents their even appearing, yea, and is being confessed bythem all to be the Son of Cod.,,75 Athanasius goes on to exultin Christ's continuing victory:The Saviour does daily so many works, drawing men to religion,persuading to virtue, teaching of immortality, leading on to adesire for heavenly things, revealing the knowledge of the Father,inspiring strength to meet death, shewing Himself to eachone, and displacing the godlessness of idolatry, and the gods andspirits of the unbelievers can do none of these things, but rathershew themselves dead at the presence of Christ, their pompbeing reduced to impotence and vanity; whereas by the sign ofthe Cross all magic is stopped, and all witchcraft brought tonought, all the idols are being deserted and left, and every unrulypleasure is checked, and every one is looking up from earthto heaven. . .. For the Son of God is 'living and active,' andworks day by day, and brings about the salvation of all. Butdeath is daily proved to have lost all his power, and idols andspirits are proved to be dead rather than Christ.76Athanasius applies prophecies of the triumph of Christ to theChurch age and even rhetorically asks: "But what king thatever was, before he had strength to call father or mother,73. Athanasius, Incarnation 30:4.74. Ibid. 30:6.75. Ibid. 30:7.76. Ibid. 31 :2-3. This is particularly significant in that idolatry was a world-widephenomenon (2 Kgs. 17:29; 1 Chron. 16:26; Psa. 96:5) in which Satan exercisedcontrol of men through demonic power (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32: 17; Psa. 106:37; 1 Cor.10:19-20). Satan's binding (Rev. 20:2-3; Matt. 12:28-29) is increasing "day by day."84 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONreigned and gained triumphs over his enemies?,,77 He thenwrites: ''All heathen at any rate from every region, abjuringtheir hereditary tradition and the impiety of idols, are nowplacing their hope in Christ, and enrolling themselves underHim.'t78 He continues:But if the Gentiles are honouring the same God that gave thelaw to Moses and made the promise to Abraham, and Whoseword the Jews dishonoured, - why are [the Jews] ignorant, orrather why do they choose to ignore, that the Lord foretold bythe Scriptures has shone forth upon the world, and appeared toit in bodily form, as the Scripture said.... What then has notcome to pass, that the Christ must do? What is left unfulfilled,that the Jews should not disbelieve with impunity? For if, I say,- which is just what we actually see, - there is no longer king norprophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them, buteven the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, andthe gentiles, leaving their godlessness, are now taking refugewith the God of Abraham, through the Word, even our LordJesus Christ, then it must be plain, even to those who are exceedinglyobstinate, that the Christ is come, and that He hasillumined absolutely all with His light. . . . So one can fairlyrefute the Jews by these and by other arguments from the DivineScriptures.79... [I]t is right for you to realize, and to take as the sum of whatwe have already stated, and to marvel at exceedingly; namely,that since the Saviour has come among us, idolatry not only hasno longer increased, but what there was is diminishing andgradually coming to an end: and not only does the wisdom ofthe Greeks no longer advance, but what there is is now fading77. Ibid. 36:1. He cites sections from Num. 24:5-17; Isa. 8:4; Isa. 19:1 (Sec. 33[context = Secs. 30-31]); Dan. 9:24ff; Gen. 49:10 (Sec. 40); Isa. 2:4 (Sec. 52:1); 11:9(Sec. 45:2; Discourse Against the Arians 1:59); Psa. 110:1 (Discourse Against the Arians2:15:14,16); etc.78. Ibid. 37:5.79. Ibid. 40:5, 7.Introduction to Postmillennialismaway.... And to sum the matter up: behold how the Saviour'sdoctrine is everywhere increasing, while all idolatry and everythingopposed to the faith of Christ is daily dwindling, andlosing power, and falling. . . . For as, when the sun is come,darkness no longer prevails, but if any be still left anywhere it isdriven away; so, now that the divine Appearing of.the Word ofGod is come, the darkness of the idols prevails no more, and allparts of the world in every direction are illumined by His


    The great progress of the gospel is expected, according toAthanasius' view of Scripture (Isa. 11 :9; Matt. 28: 19; John6:45:): ''And then, from Dan to Beersheba was the Law proclaimed,and in Judea only was God known; but now, unto allthe earth has gone forth their voice, and all the earth has beenfilled with the knowledge of God, and the disciples have madedisciples of all the nations, and now is fulfilled what is written,'They shall be all taught of God.' "SIThe adumbrations of the ultimate pacific influence of thegospel are being felt in his day:Who then is He that has done this, or who is He that has unitedin peace men that hated one another, save the beloved Son ofthe Father, the common Saviour of all, even Jesus Christ, Whoby His own love underwent all things for our salvation. For evenfrom of old it was prophesied of the peace He was to usher in,where the Scripture says: 'They shall beat their swords intoploughshares, and their pikes into sickles, and nation shall nottake the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.' And this is at least not incredible, inasmuch as even nowthose barbarians who have an innate savagery of manners, whilethey still sacrifice to the idols of their country, are mad againstone another, and cannot endure to be a single hour withoutweapons: but when they hear the teaching of Christ, straightway80. Ibid. 55: 1-3.81. Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians 59:8.86 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONinstead of fighting they turn to husbandry, and instead of armingtheir hands with weapons they raise them in prayer, and ina word, in place of fighting among themselves, henceforth theyarm against the devil and against evil spirits, subduing these byself-restraint and virtue of sou1.82Many other such references could be cited from Athanasius.83There is insufficient space at this point to do so.The most influential theologian among the ancient churchfathers has yet to be heard from: Augustine. He was no premillennialist.Augustine (A.D. 354-430)Augustine looms as the greatest Christian thinker of theearly church. Although he is often assumed to hold views thatcorrespond more closely to amillennialism, there is evidence ofpostmillennial-type thinking in his writings, as scholars havenoted.84 Historic premillennialist Erickson admits Augustine ispostmillennial and that "all three millennial positions have beenheld virtually throughout church history."85 He cites as evidencefor Augustine'S postmillennialism Augustine'S Sermon259:2.82. Athanasius, Incarnation 52.83. For example, Ibid. 46-48; 50; 53-55.84. William Sanford LaSor, The Truth About Armageddon: What the Bible Says Aboutthe End Times (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982), p. 160. D. W. Bebbington,Patterns in History: A Christian View (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1979), p. 54.Adolf von Harnack, "Millennium," Encyclopedia Britannica (9th ed.; New York:Scribner's, 1883), 16:314ff. Thomas N. Finger, Christian Theology: An EschatologicalApproach (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1985), pp. 113-115. Gary North, Millennialismand Social Theory (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), pp. 19, 22,161, 239. Boettner, Millennium, p. 10. Paul Erb, Bible Prophecy: Questions and Answers(Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1978), pp. 101-102. Even Walvoord is aware of these tendenciesin Augustine: Millennial Kingdom, p. 8.85. M. J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985),3:1206-07.Introduction to Postmillennialism 87A number of statements in Book 18 of The City of God certainlygive the appearance of a postmillennial optimism. OfNahum 1:14 and 2:1, Augustine states: "Moreover, we alreadysee the graven and molten things, that is, the idols of the falsegods, exterminated through the gospel, and given up to oblivionas of the grave, and we know that this prophecy is fulfilledin this very thing" (City of God 18:31)." 'The tents of Ethiopiashall be greatly afraid, and the tents of the land of Midian;' thatis, even those nations which are not under the Roman authority,being suddenly terrified by the news of Thy wonderfulworks, shall become a Christian people. 'Wert Thou angry atthe rivers, 0 Lord? or was Thy fury against the rivers? or wasThy rage against the sea?' This is said because He does not nowcome to condemn the world, but that the world through Himmight be saved" (18:32).He comments on Haggai 2:6: " 'Thus saith the Lord ofhosts, Yet one little while, and I will shake the heaven, and theearth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will move all nations,and the desired of all nations shall come.' The fulfillmentof this prophecy is in part already seen, and in part hoped forin the end.... so we see all nations moved to the faith; and thefulfillment of what follows, 'And the desired of all nations shallcome,' is looked for at His last coming. For ere men can desireand wait for Him, they must believe and love Him" (City of God,18:35). His comments on Psalm 2 could also be cited.Medieval PostmillennialistsSomewhat later in history, but still pre-Whitby, is the case ofthe medieval Roman Catholic Joachim of Florus (1145-1202).Several non-postmillennial scholars cite him as a postmillennialist,86 due to his view of a coming outpouring of the Spirit,86. See: Kromminga, Millennium, pp. 20; 129ff; he cites Benz, Zeitschrift furKirchengeschichte, 1931. See also: W. Moller, in Philip &haff, A Religious Encyclopedia(rev. ed.; New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883),2:1183. Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 443.88 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONinitiating the Age of the Spirit.87 As Kromminga puts it: "Infact, modern Postmillenarianism of the orthodox type with itsexpectation of a glorious final Church Age, brought aboutthrough the ordinary operation of the Word and the Spirit,embodies nothing but this Pure Church ideal, dissociated fromJoachim's expectation of a future coming of the Holy Spirit."88Strangely, Walvoord points to Joachim as a postmillennialist,then speaks of postmillennialism "originating in the writings ofDaniel Whitby," despite Whitby's writing five centuries later!89Other postmillennialists well before Whitby include thefollowing: the Franciscans Peter John Olivi (d. ca. 1297) andAbertino de Casale (jl. 1305); the Dominicans Ghehardinus deBurgo (jl. 1254), Mechthild of Magdeburg (d. 1280), Fra Dolcino(jl. 1330); another Roman Catholic scholar Arnaldus ofVillanova (jl. 1298); and the forerunner of John Huss, JanMiliciz of Kremsier (jl. 1367).90A century and a half before Whitby, John Calvin (1509-1564)clearly held optimistic prophetic views that are commonly associatedwith postmillennialism. Such postmillennial expectationsmay be found at various places in his commentaries, such as atIsaiah 2:2-4; 65:17; Matthew 24:26; 28:18-20; Romans 11:24.'1ohn Calvin's commentaries give some scholars cause for concludingthat he anticipated the spread of the gospel and truereligion to the ends of the earth.,,91 Indeed, in his Prefatory87. Joachim of Florus, Concordia Veteris et Novi Testamenti, Expositio super Apocalypsin,and Psalterium Decem Chordarum.88. Kromminga, Millennium, p. 132.89. Walvoord, Millennial Kingdom, pp. 7, 19.90. Kromminga, Millennium, pp. 135-136, 159ff, who cites the following sources:Johann Heinrich Kurtz, Henry Hart Milman, J. A. W. Neander, and Johann JacobHerzog. See also: Moller in Schaff, Religious Encyclopedia, 2:1183; Williston Walker, AHistory of the Christian Church (3rd ed.; New York: Scribner's, 1970), p. 237; KennethScott Latourette, A History of Christianity, 2 vols. (rev. ed.; New York: Harper & Row,1975), 1:435.91. J. A. Dejong, As the Waters Cover the Sea: Millennial Expectations in the Rise ofAnglo-American Missions 1640-1810 (Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1970), p. 8. See also: J. T.McNeill, ed., Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. by Ford Lewis BattlesIntrodUl:tion to Postmillennialism 89Address to King Francis I of France, Calvin writes: "Our doctrinemust tower unvanquished above all the glory and aboveall the might of the world, for it is not of us, but of the livingGod and his Christ whom the Father has appointed King to'rule from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the ends ofthe earth.... And he is so to rule as to smite the whole earthwith its iron and brazen strength, with its gold and silver brilliance,shattering it with the rod of his mouth as an earthenvessel, just as the prophets have prophesied concerning themagnificence of his reign."92 This is not the language which iscommonly associated with eschatological pessimism, and it wasadopted by Calvin's Puritan and postmillennial successors. Theyhad good reasons to see in Calvin a postmillennial optimism.I have already mentioned the most important systematizer ofEnglish postmillennialism, Thomas Brightman (1562-1607). Inaddition to him, there was a growing and influential number ofEnglish Puritans that held postmillennial views well beforeWhitby, as a number of important historical works have amplydemonstrated.93 We think of Thomas Goodwin (1600-1679),John Owen (1616-1683), William Gouge (1575-1653), JohnCotton (1585-1652), Thomas Brooks (ca., 1662), James Renwick(d. 1688), John Howe (1678), William Perkins (1558-1602), andothers. John Cotton's The Churches Resurrection, or the Opening ofthe Fift and Sixt Vt!rses of the 20th. Chap. of the Revelation [sic.],(Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960),2:904; Murray, Puritan Hope, pp. 89ff; GregL. Bahnsen, "The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism," pp. 69-76; JamesR. Payton, Jr., "The Emergence of Postmillennialism in English Puritanism," Journalof Christian Reconstruction 6: 1 (Summer 1979) 87-106; AlethaJ oy Gilsdorf, The PuritanApocalyptic: New England Eschatology in the 17th Century (New York: Garland, 1989).92. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1:12.93. Toon, Puritans, the Millennium and the Future ofIsrael; Richard H. Popkin, ed.,Millennia/ism and Messianism in English Literature and Thought 1650-1800 (Leiden,Holland: Brill, 1988); Ball, Great Expectation. See also: the previous references tohistorical works by lain Murray,J. A. DeJong, James R. Payton, Greg L. Bahnsen, A.J. Gilsdorf.90 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONwritten in 1642, was quite influential and shows obvious influenceby Brightman.94The Westminster Standards (1640s) set forth a postmillennialhope. The kingship of Christ is said to be evidenced to God'speople by Christ's "overcoming all their enemies, and powerfullyordering all things for his own glory" (Larger Catechism, 45).Indeed, "Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us tohimself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining andconquering all his and our enemies" (Shorter Catechism, 26).The evidence of His exaltation is made visible to His Churchwhen He does "gather and defend his church, and subduetheir enemies" (Larger Catechism, 54).In the Westminster Standards, the Lord's Prayer speaks ofthe second petition faithfully calling up God "that the kingdomof sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagatedthroughout the world, the Jews called... [and] the fullness ofthe Gentiles brought in.,,95 This follows the first petition inwhich prayer is righteously made "that he would prevent andremove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profaneness, and whatsoeveris dishonorable to him; and, by his over-ruling providence,direct and dispose of all things to his own glory."96Congregationalism's Savoy Declaration of 1658 is a strongand unambiguous postmillennial document promising that "inthe latter days, antichrist being destroyed, the Jews called, andthe adversaries of the kingdom of His dear Son broken, thechurches of Christ being enlarged and edified through a freeand plentiful communication of light and grace, [they] shallenjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceable, and glorious conditionthan they have enjoyed."9794. Ball, A Great Expectation, pp. 160-161.95. LC 191.96. LC 190.97. Philip Schaff, The Creeds ofChristendom, With a History and Critical Notes, 3 vols.(6th ed.; New York: Harper & Bros., 1919),3:723. Reprinted by Baker Book House,Grand Rapids, 1990.Introduction to Postmillennialism 91Mter a lengthy and informative discussion of a host ofnames, premillennialist Kromminga has concluded: "In actualfact there is quite a strain of Postmillennialism in Reformedtheology from Cocceius [1603-1669] onward.... Reformedtheology can therefore in view of these phenomena not well besaid to have been uniformly amillenarian, as is rather frequentlyassumed."98 And as was shown in the preceding chapter,some of the great reformed scholars of the last 100 years havebeen postmillennial.Simply put: Daniel Whitby was not the "founder" of postmillennialism.Postmillennialism's distinctive theme of gospel victoryin history is hoary with age.Representative Adherents to PostmillennialismAs in the earlier chapter, here I will summarily list somenoteworthy adherents to postmillennialism. In the ancientchurch: Eusebius (A.D. 260-340), Athanasius (A.D. 296-372),and Augustine (A.D. 354-430). In the modern church: J. A.Alexander, O. T. Allis, Greg Bahnsen, Albert Barnes, DavidBrown, John Calvin, Roderick Campbell, Robert L. Dabney,John Jefferson Davis, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, A. A.Hodge, Charles Hodge, Erroll Hulse, Francis Nigel Lee, MarcellusKik,]. Gresham Machen, George C. Miladin, lain Murray,John Murray, Gary North, John Owen, R. J. Rushdoony,Steve Schlissel, W. G. T. Shedd, Norman Shepherd, AugustusH. Strong,]. H. Thomwell, Richard C. Trench, B. B. Warfield,and many of the Puritans.9998. Kromminga, Millennium, p. 303.99. J. A. Alexander, Commentary on Isaiah (1847). O. T. Allis, "Foreword," RoderickCampbell, Israel and the New Covenant (1954). Greg Bahnsen, "The Prima FacieAcceptability of Postmillennialism," op. cit. (1977). Albert Barnes, Isaiah (1860).Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (1957). David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will ItBe Premillennial? (1849). Robert L. Dabney, Lectures in Systematic Theology (1878). JohnJefferson Davis, Christ's Victorious Kingdom (1986). Jonathan Edwards, The Works ofJonathan Edwards (1834). Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary (1714). A. A.Hodge, Outlines of Theology (1860). Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (1871). Erroll92 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONConclusionSystematization of the various theological loci naturally developedover time, engaging the gifts and minds of spirituallysensitive Christian leaders. Most biblical theologians wouldagree that eschatology has certainly been one of the loci thathas undergone the most development in history. As I indicatedearlier, eschatology is extremely deep and involved, intertwiningitself with the very essence of Christanity itself. Because ofthis, the antiquity of an eschatological system, as such, is notabsolutely essential to its orthodoxy. Nevertheless, the eschatologicalfactors in Scripture cannot have been without some apparentimpact upon the nascent development of early Christendom'sperception of the flow of history. An eschatology lackingany historical rooting in antiquity is rightly suspect.Much popular literature leaves the impression that postmillennialthought is a recent novelty. I have shown that postmillennialismis not without historical precedent in the early centuriesof the Christian Church. Indeed, it has been the frameworkof some of the noted minds of the Church. The crucial elementsof postmillennialism - the presence of a biblically informed,historically relevant, and ultimately optimistic temporalhope - is clearly present in antiquity.Furthermore, the postmillennial position has been held inmore recent centuries by noted and devout defenders of theHulse, The Restoration of Israel (1968). Francis Nigel Lee, Will Christ or Satan Rule theWorld? (1977). Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory (1971).J. Gresham Machen, inNed Stonehouse,]. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (1954), pp. 187,245,261.George C. Miladin, Is This Really the End? (1972). lain Murray, The Puritan Hope(1971). John Murray, Romans (1965). Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory(1990). John Owen, The Works ofJohn Owen, vol. 8 (1850-1853). R. J. Rushdoony,God's Plan for Victory (1977). Steve Schlissel, Hal lindsey and the Restoration of the Jews(1990). W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (1888). Norman Shepherd, in ZonderoanPictorial Bible Dictionary, 4:822-823 (1975). Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology(1907). J. H. Thornwell, Collected Writings, vol. 4 (1871). Richard C. Trench, Notes onthe Miracles and Parables of Our Lord (1875). B. B. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings(1970). Note: On the Puritans, see: Peter Toon, Puritans, the Millennium and the Futureof Israel (1970).Introduction to Postmillennialism 93faith. Postmillennialism is not a fringe eschatology. It has beenparticularly influential in reformed circles, as the list on page91 demonstrates.When postmillennialism is properly defined, it expresses theglorious hope of all of Scripture. When its advocates are carefullyread, its antiquity and influence may be better understood.The widespread confusion regarding postmillennialism's nature,origins, and advocates is to be lamented. The modernChurch, sapped of the power of hope, largely through poorexegesis and a lack of an understanding of Church history, isthe weaker for it.



    THE REVELATION OF TRUTHSo shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not returnto Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper inthe thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55: 11)An important element in the Christian philosophy of history,as I noted in Chapter 1, is revelation. God has revealed Himselfand His will for man in the Scriptures of the Old and NewTestaments. I will not provide an apologetic for the orthodoxview of Scripture here - that would take us well beyond ourfocus. 1 Nevertheless, it is important that the orthodox view ofScripture from which I operate as a postmillennialist be statedand applied to the subject at hand.God's Word is InerrantThe sixty-six books of Scripture are personally and directlyrevealed by God to the human writers through the inspirationof the Holy Spirit of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). AsCalvin says, the Scriptures have come to us "by the ministry of1. But see: Benjamin B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (Philadelphia:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1948). EdwardJ. Young, Thy Word Is Truth: SomeThoughts on the Bib/kal Doctrine of Inspiration (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957). J. I.Packer, God Has spoken (Downer's Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1979).98 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmen from God's very mouth.,,2 God so carefully revealed HisWord to His prophets that it might be stated of the prophet: "Iwill put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto themall that I shall command him" (Deut. 18:18b3). Consequently,a constant refrain of Scripture is, "Thus saith the Lord."Being the personally revealed Word of the Living and TrueGod, the Scriptures are inerrant in their original autographa inanything they assert. This is as true in historical matters as inspiritual.4 Christ affirmed: "Thy word is truth" Gohn 17: 17).God's wisdom is infinite and unsearchable.5 There is no limitationor imperfection in His knowledge Gob 37: 16). He knowsall things fully and exhaustively.6 His Word is inerrant and willalways be demonstrated in history as such. Thus, the eschatologicalprophecies of Scripture, when properly interpreted, mustabsolutely come to pass.If the Bible teaches that anything is true and to be expected,then no matter how difficult for us to imagine, no matter howstrongly arrayed against it are the historical forces of Satan, wemust bow to the authority of Scripture. "With God all thingsare possible" (Matt. 19:26). No historical or philosophical argumentcountetpoised against Scriptural revelation regardingeschatological eventuation may be allowed to prevail in thethought of the Christian. The fundamental framework of the2. John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) 1:7:5.3. Cf.Jer. 1:9, 17; John 14:26; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13. Althoughit is true that the ultimate reference of Deut. 18: 18 is to the Great Prophet, JesusChrist, it is also true that this reference involves all the divinely commissionedprophets of Scripture, establishing and authorizing the prophetic line. See: Gentry,The Charismatic Gift ofProphecy: A Reformed Response to Wayne Grudem (2nd ed.; Memphis:Footstool, 1990), ch. 1.4. Greg L. Bahnsen, "Inductivism, Inerrancy, and Presuppositionalism," Evangelicalsand Inerrancy, Ronald F. Youngblood, ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984), pp.199-216.5. Job 11:7-8; 37:5,14,23; Isa. 40:28; 55:10ff; Rom. 11:33-36.6. Psa. 147:5; Provo 15:3; Acts 15:18; 1 John 3:20.The Revelation of Truth 99Christian eschatology must be rooted firmly in the Bible if it isto be realistic and true.The Scriptures stand as absolute authority over man, providinga sure record of supernaturally revealed, propositionaltruth. For instance, the apostles of the New Testament insistedon the acceptance of their authority.' The commands of Scripturecompel obedience for the believer, despite and against thewisdom of man and the power of Satan. "The weapons of ourwarfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pullingdown of strong holds," therefore we are obliged to be about theduty of "casting down imaginations, and every high thing thatexalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing intocaptivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor 10:45).Indeed, Paul commands: "Be not conformed to this world:but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that yemay prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, willof God" (Rom 12:2).The Word of God is not only the theoretical foundation of theChristian worldview, but is a practical revelation of Truth, servingas a motivation to action in terms of that Truth. It spirituallyand intellectually equips the believer for every task in everyrealm of human endeavor. "All scripture is given by inspirationof God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God maybe perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim.3: 16-17).8 Because of this the godly labor of the believer is "notin vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).9 When the prophetic dataof Scripture compel us to a particular historical hope and certaincourse of action, we are in error when we refuse them. Wealso stand in sinful unbelief when we fearfully doubt them.7. 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Cor. 1l:3ff; 13:2-10; Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2:13; 2 Thess.2:13-15; 3:6-15; 2 Tim. 2:1ff; 3:13ff; Titus 1:9; 2 Pet. 1:12-2:3; 1 John 2:21-24.8. See also Heb. 13:21; 2 Tim. 2:21.9. Cf. 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 9:8; Phil. 4:13.100 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONGod's Word is PowerfulThe very Word of God which maps out the plan of historyis also the causative power insuring the success of that plan.This may be seen from several angles.The Creative WordThe Bible opens with a strong and determinative statementregarding the absolute power of God's spoken Word. The universeexists solely because of the exercise of God's creative will,and was brought into being by His sovereign, successive divinefiats. By His Word the universe was created: "and God said" isa significant recurring element in the creation record. 1o Thecreation record sets forth a creation ex nihilo in six literaldays.11 Such is the causative power of God's Word. The universeis not a self-evolving, non-personal, naturalistic phenomenonlacking meaning or purpose.The relationship between the creative Word of God and therevelatory Word is important to grasp. The Scriptures clearlytie the two together. The clearest evidence of this is found inPsalm 33:4-6: "For the [revelatory] word of the LORD is right;10. Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24,26,28,29. See also later confirmation of thisin Psa. 33:6; Heb. 11 :3.11. Each of the six days of creation was a literal twenty-four-hour day: (1) "Day"is qualified by "evening and morning" (Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31), which specificallylimits the time-frame. (2) The very same word "day" is used on the fourth day todefine a time period that is governed by the sun, which must be a regular day (Gen.1:14). (3) In the 119 instances of the Hebrew word "day" (yom) standing in conjunctionwith a numerical adjective (first, second, etc.) in the writings of Moses, it nevermeans anything other than a literal day. Consistency would require that this structuremust so function in Genesis 1 (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19,23,31). (4) Exodus 20:9-11patterns man's work week after God's original work week, which suggests the literalityof the creation week. (5) In Exodus 20: 11 the plural for the "days" of creation isused. In the 702 instances ofthe plural "days" in the Old Testament, it never meansanything other than literal days. (6) Had Moses meant that God created the earth insix ages, he could have employed the more suitable Hebrew term olam. See the massof scientific literature produced by the Creation Research Society, El Cajon, California.The Revelation of Truth 101and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousnessand judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. Bythe [creative] word of the LORD were the heavens made; and allthe host of them by the breath of his mouth."The Providential WordBy God's Word the universe is providentially upheldthrough the continued application of its inherent power. TheGod of Scripture is no deistic Creator; He is intimately andpersonally involved in every aspect of His creation to maintainand preserve it by His active Word. The divine Christ is said tobe "upholding all things (ta panta) by the word of his power"(Heb. 1:3; cr. 2 Pet. 3:7). His Word will never pass away (Matt.24:35).The sovereignty of God must be brought to bear upon thismatter. The Scripture teaches that the Triune God is in totaland absolute control of every eventuat~on in every corner of theuniverse. God's total, absolute, unchangeable control of allthings is rooted in His predetermined plan from eternity past.God is not a finite creature, limited to the confines of time, thesuccession of moments, and the competition of other forces. Heis the Eternal Now, existing always in the present (Exo. 3:14)."God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counselof his own free will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoevercomes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author ofsin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor isthe liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, butrather established" (Westminster Confession of Faith 3: 1).God controls the universe as a system and rules the "natural"phenomena on earth.12 "And He is before all things, andin Him all things consist" (Col. 1:17; cf. Isa. 45:7a; Heb. 1:3).For the Christian "natural law" is but a convenient phrase to12. Nah. 1:3-6; Isa. 45:7b; Psa. 29; 104:21; Job 36:32; 37:3; 28:23-27; 38:1239:30; Amos 4:7; Matt. 5:45; 6:28-30; Acts 14: 17.102 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONexplain the phenomena of the universe in terms of their orderliness.Since the universe is permeated by the very presence ofGod (1 Kgs. 7: 17; Jer. 23:23-24), the Christian worldview necessitatesthat we live in an ultimately personal universe. On theChristian view the universe does not operate under its owninternal power (naturally), but under the constant direction ofthe ever-present God (supernaturally). What scientists call "naturallaw" is actually "divine providence."God governs the ebb and flow of historyI3 and determinesthe purpose and the end of all things. 14 He "works all thingsaccording to the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1: lIb). The universeand earth history exist for the glory of God and are beingcontrolled to that end. The universe exists neither of itself norfor itself. God's omnipotence and omniscience guarantee thatthe ultimate outcome of the sum total of all the events of historywill conform to His plan or counsel, despite the railings ofman and resistance of Satan. God's will cannot be thwarted.God controls even the minute details of life. I5 His plan isnot merely a general sketch of the course of historical development,but a detailed plan that evidences in its every phase Hisown absolute sovereignty. All the parts of the plan are marshalledforth in subservience to the whole. Considered in termsof ultimate reality, there is neither accident nor luck. All thingsoccur according to the plan of God, despite their random orfortuitous appearance from the perspective of man.This sovereign control by God includes even the free acts ofmen.l6 Man has "free moral agency." He cannot do just anythingby an act of his will; he is limited. Man is not floating13. Ezra 6:22; 7:6; Psa. II5:2; 135:6; Pro. 21:1; Isa. 44:28; 54:16; 55:11; Jer.27:5; Dan. 2:21; 4:17, 35; Eeel. 3:1-8, II; Rom. 8:28; 13:1,4.14. Psa. 24:1; 33:II; Prov.16:4; Isa. 43:7; 46:10; Rom. II:36; Rev. 4:11.15. 1 Kgs. 22:28, 34; Job 1:21; 2:10; 14:5; PIa. 37:23; 139:16; Prov.16:33; Eeel.7:14; Isa. 46:10-11; Jer. 10:23; Lam. 3:37-38; Matt. 6:26; 10:29, 30; Acts 17:24-26;Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11.16. Gen. 45:5-8; Deut. 2:30; Ezra 7:6; Provo 16:1; 19:21; John 19:11.The Revelation of Truth 103about in a vacuum with nothing to "push" against; he operateswithin the all-encompassing plan of God. It is up against theplan of God that he gets his "footing." God's control of man,however, is not "across the board," as our control of anotherwould have to be. Rather it is a control that cuts across planes:God above and man below. Such a control guarantees man truesignificance (he is no automaton), while guaranteeing God'strue sovereignty (all things issue forth under the direction ofHis wise counsel).God's control governs both the evil acts of free moralagents,!7 as well as their righteous acts. IS The classic evidenceof this is Peter's statement: "For truly against Your holy ServantJesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate,with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered togetherto do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determinedbefore to be done" (Acts 4:27-28).Though our holy and righteous God is not implicated in sin,nevertheless, He ordains it and controls it toward a goodend.I9 God not only ordains all the events of history, he hasalso ordained the free moral agency of man and the secondarycauses associated with all events. The evil act is always that ofthe individual agent performing it; nevertheless it is also alwaysunder the all-controlling power of God. Those who act in anevil manner thereby admit their own responsibility, despiteGod's ultimate control. Of course, the classic illustration of thisis in the crucifixion of Christ, which is definitely the most evilact of history. Yet, it was prophesied and foreordained of God(Acts 2:23; 4:26-28).17. Gen. 50:20; Exo. 4:21; 9:12,16; Josh. 11:20; Jdgs. 9:23; 1 Sam. 2:25; 16:14;2 Sam. 17:14; 24:1, 10; 1 Kgs. 12:11, 15; 22:20-23; Matt. 21:42; Luke 22:22; John12:39-40; 17: 12; Acts 3: 18; 4:27-28; 13:27-29; Rom. 9:22; 11:8; 1 Pet. 2:8: 2 Pet.2:12; Jude 4; Rev. 17:17.18. John 15:5, 16; 1 Cor. 12:6; 15:10; Eph. 1:12; 2:10; Phil. 1:6; 2:12, 13; Heb.13:2l.19. Greg L. Bahnsen, "The Problem of Evil" (Parts I and II), Biblical Worldview3:9 (Oct. 1991) and 3:11 (Dec. 1991).104 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe Prophetic WordIt is just this powerful, determinative Word of God thatissues forth in prophecy. And that prophecy is not a mereprescience, but is a constantly active, irresistibly causative powerin history. "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of mymouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplishthat which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto Isent it" (Isa. 55:11; cf. Isa. 46:10-11). That powerful word evenslays His enemies.20The Restorative WordAs regards the material of prophetic expectation, I will seekto demonstrate in the course of this work that God's Word isalso restorative. We should note that immediately upon the Fallof Adam in Eden (whence sin entered the human race), theLord immediately spoke a restorative word of redemption."And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hastdone this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above everybeast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shaltthou eat all the days of thy life: I will put enmity between theeand the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shallbruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:1415),21 Hence the presence of Edenic terminology in many eschatologicalpassages, as we shall see.22ConclusionThus, God's Word is creative, providential, prophetic, andrestorative. There is a real and important sense in which historyis "his story." God created the world and man for His own20. 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:15; d. Psa. 2:9 (Rev. 19:15); Isa. 45:23; Jer. 5:14;23:29; Ezek. 20:47.21. See fuller discussion of the protoevangelium in Chapter 9, below.22. See: David Chilton, Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion (Ft.Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1985), Part Two: "Paradise: The Pattern for Prophecy."The Revelation of Truth 105glory (Rom. 11:36; Rev. 4:11). The Scriptures teach that God isin control of history by the exercise of His almighty wisdomand power. In fact, the whole idea of predictive prophecy is de~pendent upon this view of history, in that for any prophesiedevents to occur requires that all preceding and concurrentrelated events throughout the world and history must fall intoplace according to plan, as well. Almost always (Christ and JohnBaptist being notable exceptions) the person involved in thefulfillment of prophecy is unaware that his free action is fulfillingthe predetermined prophecy of God.The Word of the sovereign God is creatively constructive.That is, it brought reality into existence (Gen. 1; Heb. 11 :3) andit directs the outworking of all historical processes (Isa. 46: 10;55:11). This two-fold reality - the creative Word and the providentialWord - ties in the authority of God's Word to humanlife. The psalmist notes that the Word of the Lord both sovereignlymade and providentially governs the heavens and theearth (Psa. 33:6-11). He also notes that it is His creative andsovereign Word that is the revelation to man of righteousnessand justice: "For the word of the Lord is upright; and all Hiswork is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice"(Psa. 33:4-5a). The word/command of God is the standard ofright and wrong obligations, as it was in the garden of Eden.Even Adam, while untainted by sin, was not an ultimatemoral standard, but a derivative one. As Van Til says, Adamwas receptively reconstructive of God's Word, rather than creativelyconstructive. He was to think God's thoughts after Him,on the creaturely level. Even in his unfallen state, he knew thathe was created to live by supernatural, positive revelation, notautonomously. The method by which Adam was to know goodand evil was to be due to God's interpretive word/command.6

    THE COVENANTS OF REDEMPTIONAt that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealthof Israel and strangers from the covenants ofpromise, having nohope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)Structuring the relationship of God to man and exercising agreat influence on the redemptive flow of history is the biblicalidea of "covenant." Biblical theologian Geerhardus Vos writesthat "redemption and eschatology are co-eval throughout biblicalhistory,"l meaning of equal duration, so the covenant concepthas a tremendous bearing on eschatology.Covenantal ScriptureCovenant DefinedA covenant may be defined as a legal bond, which establishes afavorable relation between parties based on certain specified terms, andwhich promises blessings for faithful adherence to those terms, whilethreatening curses for man's unfaithful departure from them.21. Geehardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian &Reformed, [1930] 1991), p. 325.2. Helpful studies of the covenant in Scripture are found in Ray Sutton, That l'buMay Prosper: Dominion By Covenant (2nd ed.; Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian EcoTheCovenants of Redemption 107In a covenant, the parties are ,solemnly sworn to maintainthe specified obligations. Scripture notes of God's covenant withAbraham: "Since He could swear by no one greater, He sworeby Himself" (Heb. 6: 13). As legal obligations, favorable covenantalrelations can be maintained only by the faithful keeping ofthe stipulated terms. Of the covenant set before Israel underMoses, we read: "I have set before you today life and prosperity,and death and adversity. . . . I have set before you life anddeath, the blessing and the curse" (Deut. 34: 15,19). Obedienceto covenantal demands brings blessings; disobedience bringscursings. Thus, a covenant establishes a legal bond that establishesand protects specified rights.3Covenant and ScriptureThe Bible is very much a covenant document, as even acursory reading of Scripture demonstrates. The biblical wordsfor "covenant" appear often in Scripture. The Hebrew berithoccurs 285 times in the Old Testament, while the Greek worddiatheke appears thirty times in the New Testament.4 Thus, itmight well be said that "the Biblical category which does thenomics, 1992) and D. Palmer Robertson, The Christ ofthe Covenants (Phillipsburg, NJ:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1980). Sutton's work demonstrates the formal structure ofthe covenant from various portions of Scripture. Robertson's work outlines theparticular divine covenants as a unifying principle for the structuring of redemptivehistory.3. In fact. the Hebrew word for "covenant" (berith) is probably from the Akkadianroot beritu. which means "clasp or fetter," indicating a bond. Moshe Weinfeldpoints out the difficulty of ascertaining its etymology, but opts for this derivation asthe better one. Weinfeld, "berith," in G. Johannes Botterwick and Helmer Ringgren,eds., Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, trans. by John T. Willis (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1975),2:255. A common biblical representation of covenantal inaugurationis "to cut" a covenant, indicating the self-maledictory oath and consequentbinding obligation resultant therefrom (1 Sam. 11:1, 2; 20:16; 22:8; 1 Kgs. 8:9; 2Chr. 7:18; Psa. 105:9; Hag. 2:5).4. Sometimes the Hebrew berith is translated either "confederacy" (Dba. 7) or"league" (Josh. 9:6ff; 2 Sam. 3:12ff) In the King James Version New Testament theGreek word for "covenant" (diatheke) is sometimes rendered "covenant" and othertimes (poorly) "testament."108 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONgreatest justice to the persistence of God's activity among hispeople is the covenant relation."5 That the covenant idea is adominant biblical theme is held by a host of Bible scholars.6Mutually established covenants were common among theancients, examples of which are plentiful both in Scripture andin ancient non-biblical texts.' By way of example, we mightnotice the covenants between Abraham and Abimelech (Gen.21:22-32), Isaac and Abimelech (Gen. 26:26-31), Jacob andLaban (Gen. 31:43-55), Joshua and the Gibeonites Gosh. 9:315),and Solomon and Hiram (1 Kgs. 5:12). Such mutuallyestablished covenants are similar to modern contracts and treaties,although with some important differences.s These humancovenants were between roughly equal parties: man to man.Also revealed in Scripture are the much more importantsovereignly established divine covenants. The parties in theseare decidedly unequal: the infinite God and finite man. The5. C. H. Dodd, cited by Alan Richards and W. Schweitzer, eds., Biblical Authorityfor Today (London: SCM Press, 1951), p. 201. This is not to say that "covenant" is theunifying principle of Scripture, or of Reformed theology. The Scripture is much toorich and complex to be organized around one principle.6. For example: Walter Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, trans. by J. A.Baker, vol. I (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961); Ludwig Kohler, Old TestamentTheology, trans. by A. S. Todd (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1957), pp. 60ff; GerhardVon Rad, Old Testament Theology, trans. by D. M. G. Stalker, vol. 1 (New York:Harper & Row, 1962); Richardson and Schweitzer, Biblical Authority for Today; Robertson,The Christ of the Covenants; Willem Van Gemeren, "Systems of Continuity,"Continuity and Discontinuity, John S. Feinberg, ed. (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1988),ch. 2. (For a helpful bibliography of historical treatments of covenant theology, seehis footnote I.) T. C. Vriezen, An Outline of Old Testament Theology, trans. by S.Neuijen (3rd ed.; Oxford: Blackwell, 1970), pp. 139ff.7. See M. G. Kline, Treaty of the Great King (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963). G.E. Mendenhall, Law and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East (PittsbuIgh:Biblical Colloquium, 1955). Delbert R. Hillers, Covenant: The History ofa Biblical Idea(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969).8. Covenant and contract cannot be equated. Contracts are not established by aself-maledictory oath under God. See Gary North, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and theTen Commandments (Tyler, TX: Institu te for Christian Economics, 1986), pp. 65-70.See also: Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, pp. 127. John Murray, The Covenant ofGrace (PhillipsbuIg. NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, [1953] 1988), pp. 5ff.The Covenants of Redemption 109history-structuring divine covenants of epochal significance inScripture are those established with Adam (Hos. 6:7), Noah(Gen. 6:18),9 Abraham (Gen. 15:18),10 Israel (Exo. 24:8), andDavid (Psa. 89:3)Y Off in the future from the Old Testamentperspective lay the glorious, final, consummative "New Covenant"Ger. 31:31-34). These divine covenants are unique to thebiblical record, for "outside the Old Testament we have noclear evidence of a treaty between a god and his people."12The significance of these covenants for Scripture will bedealt with below in the section demonstrating the relationshipof "Covenant and Redemption."Covenant and CreationEven the very creation of the world must be understood interms of covenant. The creation account portrays a covenantalaction,13 even though it does not employ the word "covenant"(berith).14 I argue this on three bases.First, the elements of a covenant are there, even though theword is lacking. When God created Adam, he entered into ablessed relationship (Gen. 1:26-27) with him that established alegal bond on the basis of specified terms (Gen. 2:15-17). Inthat bond, God promised life for obedience and death for disobedience(Gen. 2:16-17; cf. 3:15-21). This forms the essence ofa covenantal relation.9. The nature of that covenant is expanded in Gen. 6:17-22; 8:20-22; 9:1-17.10. See also: Gen. 12:1-4; 17:1ff.11. 2 Sam. 7; 23:5; 2 Chr. 6:14-17; 21:7; Psa. 89:3-4; 132:11-18.12. Ronald E. Clements, Abraham and David: Genesis 15 and Its Meaningfor IsraeliteTradition (Naperville, IL: Allenson, 1967), p. 83.13. See: Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, pp. 19-21. Willem Van Gemeren,The Progress of Redemption (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), p. 60.14. The word "covenant" is first used in Genesis 6:18. This should not beassumed an insuperable problem for covenant theology, even by anti-covenantaldispensationalists. One of the universally recognized covenants of Scripture, theDavidic Covenant, lacks the word "covenant" in the accounts ofits establishment. See:2 Sam. 7; 1 Chr. 17.110 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONSecond, later references actually employing covenantal terminologyspeak of the creation as a covenantal action.15 InJeremiah, we read: "Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break mycovenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and thatthere should not be day and night in their season" Ger. 33:20)."Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day andnight, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heavenand earth" Ger. 33:25).As Robertson has carefully pointed out,16 in Jeremiah 33:25the Hebrew structure of the verse parallels "ordinances (huqot)of heaven and earth" with the "covenant (berith) with day andnight,"l7 pointing back to the orderly creation ordained ofGod. This seems clearly to harken back to Genesis 1:14a: ''AndGod said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven todivide the day from the night."Some might rather see this as an indicator of the NoahicCovenant mentioned in Genesis 8:22: "While the earth remaineth,seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer andwinter, and day and night shall not cease."lS But in a passagepressing the same point elsewhere, Jeremiah employs the term"ordinance" (huqoth) to speak of the sun, moon, and stars asbearers oflight Ger. 31:35), as does Genesis 1, but not Genesis 8.Even the reference to "stars" is lacking in Genesis 8, thoughappearing in Jeremiah 31:35.Third, Hosea 6:7a is another passage employing "covenant"15. As in the case of the Davidic covenant, it is called a "covenant," even thoughit is not so designated at its establishment. 2 Sam. 23:5; Psa. 89:3; Isa. 55:3; Jer.33:21.16. Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, pp. 18-21.17. Berith and huqoth are paralleled elsewhere in Scripture: Lev. 26:15; Josh.24:25; 1 Kgs. 11:11; 2 Kgs. 17:15; Psa. 50:16; 105:10.18. Interestingly, in Genesis 6:18 the term employed of the "establishment"(Heb., qum) of the Noahic covenant may literally mean "re-establish." If this is thecase, the Noahic covenant would dearly harken back to a formal covenant in thecreation in Genesis 1-2. See: W. J. Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation (Nashville:Thomas Nelson, 1984), pp. 16-20.The Covenants of Redemption 111in reference to the creation. Speaking of Israel God declares:"they like Adam have transgressed the covenant." Although theHebrew term adam may be translated either "Adam" (in particular)or "man" (in general), either would point back to theoriginal covenant with Adam in Eden.19 Yet the particularman "Adam" seems to be in view here for several reasons.In the first place, the significance of Adam's sin would bringout the force of the comparison with Israel's rebellion morespecifically. Adam's role as the great sinner is familiar to theJews (Gen. 3). Job 31:33 serves as a parallel: "If I covered mytransgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom."Furthermore, if "man" were adopted in Hosea 6:7, the versewould be "altogether expressionless."2o How else could theyhave sinned than like men? In addition, the reference ("theyhave transgressed") is to Ephraim and Judah (Hos. 6:4), not tothe priests. Thus, the contrast is not one between priests andordinary men, but between "Ephraim and Judah" and thehistorical Adam.Certainly the Scriptures are pre-eminently a covenant document.Even the pattern for creation is developed covenantallyin the revelation of God.Covenant and RedemptionThe unity of Scripture may be traced in the unity of thecovenants, which set forth the overarching Covenant of Grace.The heart of God's "covenants of the promise" (diathekon tesepaggelias, Eph. 2:12) is: "I will be your God and you will be My19. For an historical study of the various interpretations of the passage, see:Benjamin B. Warfield, "Hosea vi.7: Adam or Man?" (1903), The Selected ShorterWritings of Benjamin B. Warfield - I, John E. Meeter, ed. (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1970), pp. 116-129. Though not unanimously so, according to A. Cohen,Jewish commentators have generally taken the position that Adam's sin in Eden is thehistorical reference here. See Cohen, The Twelve Prophets, Hebrew Text, English Translationand Commentary (London: Soncino Press, 1948), pp. 23ff.20. Keil and Delitzsch, The Book ofJob (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1966] 1975),2:193.112 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpeople," This idea occurs a great number of times in Scripture.21 The redemptive covenants are established in order tosecure a favorable relationship between God and His people.22By means of the covenant, the covenant people become intimatelyrelated to the Lord of heaven and earth.23Covenantal development is onion-like, layer upon layer:"[E]ach successive covenant supplements its predecessors."24We may easily see this in comparing the structural and thematiccontinuity between the covenants,25 For instance, in preparingfor the establishment of the Mosaic covenant, we learn that"God remembered his covenant with Abraham" (Exo. 2:24).26Under the Davidic Covenant, we find reference to and deliver-21. Gen. 17:7; Exo. 5:2; 6:7; 29:45; Lev. 11:45; 26:12,45; Deut. 4:20; 7:9; 29:1315;2 Sam. 7:24; Psa. 105:9; Isa. 43:6; Jer. 24:7; 31:33; 32:38; Ezek. 11:20; 34:24;36:28; 37:23; Hos. 1:10; Zech. 8:8; 13:9; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 21:3, 7. God's people arehis "special treasure," His "own possession," "his people," and the like, Exo. 19:4,5;Deut. 4:20; 9:26, 29; 32:9; 1 Kgs. 8:51, 53; 2 Kgs. 11:17; 2 Chr. 23:16; Psa. 28:9;33:12; 78:71; 94:14; Isa. 19:25.22. This, of course, would not include the pre-Fall Creation Covenant.23. The covenantal structure of redemption is reflected in the forensic terminologyassociated with redemption, such as 'judgment/condemnation' (kri1U!in), "justification"(dikaio), "imputation" (logizomai) , 'judgment seat" (bema), God as "judge"(dikaois), judgment based on "law" (nomos), etc. In Acts 16:4 the dogmata kekrimena("decrees having been decided upon") is "court-terminology." Vos, Pauline Eschatology,p. 268.24. Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, p. 28. An earlier dispensationalist positionwas that "the dispensation of promise was ended when Israel rashly accepted thelaw." The Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, [1909] 1917),p. 20n. Rashly accepted?!? Though recanted by later dispensationalists, this boldstatement ("Israel rashly accepted the law") well illustrates what is still a continuingtendency in dispensationalism to a strong discontinuity between the covenants.25. In passing, I will note only briefly that the three initial covenants could beincluded in the survey to follow, as well. They are all foundational to the outworkingof God's redemptive purpose: The Creation Covenant establishes man as the imageof God, whom God will redeem (Gen. 1:26-28). The Adamic Covenant accounts forthe sinfulness of man and the actual initiation of the redemption that will overcomethat sin (Gen. 3:15). The Noahic Covenant is a preservative for the world, so thatGod's redemptive purpose might be realized (Gen. 8:22).26. A number of Scriptures speak of the conquest of the Promised Land underthe Mosaic covenant as a development of the Abrahamic: Exo. 3:16, 7; 6:4-8; Psa.105:8-12,42-45; 106:45.The Covenants of Redemption 113ance under the Mosaic Covenant frequently mentioned,27 aswell as to the Abrahamic.28 And, of course, the relationship ofthe New Covenant with earlier covenants is contained in thevery formula of the New Covenant: "Behold, the days come,saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the houseof Israel, and with the house ofJudah" Ger. 31:3129).

    Interestingly, Ezekiel combines the Abrahamic, Mosaic, andDavidic Covenants in the chapters in which he deals with theNew Covenant:And David my servant shall be king over them [Davidic]; andthey all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in myjudgments, and observe my statutes, and do them [Mosaic]. Andthey shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob myservant, wherein your fathers have dwelt [Abrahamic]; and theyshall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and theirchildren's children for ever: and my servant David shall be theirprince for ever [Davidic]. Moreover I will make a covenant ofpeace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them[New]: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set mysanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezek. 37:24-26)In the New Covenant era itself, we discover continuity withthe preceding covenants. Romans 16:20 harkens back to theAdamic Covenant. Second Peter 3:5-7 draws a parallel with theNoahic Covenant. Romans 4:16 founds the New Covenant onthe Abrahamic. Romans 3:31 demonstrates the validity of theMosaic. Romans 15:22 harkens back to the Davidic Covenant.As mentioned above, Paul summed up the various Old Testamentcovenants as being "the covenants [plural] of the promise[singular]" (Eph. 2: 12). There is both a basic unity undergird-27. 2 Sam. 7:6, 23; 1 Kgs. 2.:3ff.; Psa. 77:20; 103:7; 105:26; Dan. 9:11,13; Mic.6:4.28. 1 Kgs. 18:36; 2 Kgs. 13:23; 1 Chr. 16:15-18; 29:18; 2 Chr. 20:7; 30:6; Neh.9:7; Psa. 105:6,9,42; Isa. 41:8; 51:2; Jer. 33:26.29. See also Ezelc.. 34:20ff, where the New Covenant is related to the Davidic.114 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONing the divine covenants, as well as a progressive developmentin them. Thus, with the coming of the New Covenant in theministry of Christ, "the fullness of time" has been reached (Gal.4:4).30 And these concern redemption - a redemption, as weshall see, that shall overwhelm the world.31The major competitor to covenantal theology among evangelicalstoday is dispensationalism.32 Dispensationalism allowsthe historic, biblical covenants to playa large role in its theology.33 Yet dispensational theology and covenantal theologyare, in the final analysis, "irreconcilable."34 Indeed, "reformedcovenant doctrine cannot be harmonized with premillenarianism"35 because the dispensationalist's "dispensations are notstages in the revelation of the covenant of grace, but are distinguishinglydifferent administrations of God in directing theaffairs of the world.,,36 Thus, the major difference betweencovenantal theology and dispensational theology is that covenantaltheology traces a relentless forward moving, unified, anddevelopmental progress ofredemption, generally understood in30. "That the Covenant is a basic assumption throughout the New Testament isevident from such passages as: Luke 1:72; 22:20; Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke24:25-27; John 6:45; Acts 2:39; 3:25; Rom. 11:27; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6ff; Gal.3:14-17; Eph. 2:12; Heb. 7:22; 8:6-13; 9:1, 15-20; 10:16; 12:24; 13:20. The basicidea, nature, and purpose of the covenants made with Abraham, Israel, and Davidare carried over into the New Covenant and require no explicit repetition in the NewTestament." Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler, TX: GenevaDivinity School Press, [1954] 1981), p. 53n.31. See Chapter 10 for the postmillennial significance of these covenants.32. See Chapter 3 for a definition of dispensationalism.33. The role of covenants in dispensationalism produces a strange anomaly inthe system: it results in a pandemonium of history-structuring devices. History isdivided by dispensations, while at the same time it is structured by covenants covenantsthat do not always coincide with the dispensations! For instance, the AbrahamicCovenant is considered unconditional and everlasting, but the dispensation ofpromise (the Abrahamic era) is dosed by the giving of the Law. See: Robertson, Christof the Covenants, pp. 202ff, 211.34. Charles Lee Feinberg, Millennia/ism: The Two Major Views (3rd ed.; Chicago:Moody Press, 1980), p. 87.35. Ibid., p. 69.36. Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), p. 16.The Covenants of Redemption 115Reformed theology as the Covenant of Grace. Dispensationaltheology, however, moves forward rather fitfully, backing up inthe final dispensation to a Jewish era involving a temple and(memorial) sacrificial cultus, the millennium.37For better or for worse, the very system name "dispensationalism"tends to throw the focus on the system's discontinuous,compartmental view ofhistory, despite the protests of dispensationalists.38 This is because "a dispensation is a distinguishableeconomy in the outworking of God's purpose. If one weredescribing a dispensation he would include other things, suchas the ideas of distinctive revelation, testing, failure, and judgment.,,39 Dispensations, then, "are not stages in the revelationof the covenant of grace, but are distinguishingly differentadministrations of God directing the affairs of the world."40This necessarily has a fragmenting effect on biblical history.In fact, as one dispensationalist notes, "the more one moves inthe continuity direction, the more covenantal he becomes; andthe more he moves in the discontinuity direction, the more37. And this is only after leaping over the parenthetical Church Age, duringwhich the "prophetic time clock" is stopped. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 150.38. Of covenant theologians, Pentecost writes: "These theologians claimed thatthey alone had a system that unified the Scriptures into a consistent whole; anyother, they insisted, destroyed the unity of the Bible." J. Dwight Pentecost, ThyKingdom Come: Tracing God's Kingdom Program and Covenant Promises Throughout History(Wheaton: Victor, 1990), p. 9.39. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, p. 29. This definition is really not true to thesystem and contradicts Ryrie's assertions elsewhere. For dispensationalism posits twopurposes in history: "The dispensationalist believes that throughout the ages God ispursuing two distinct purposes: one related to the earth with earthly people andearthly objectives involved, which is Judaism; while the other is related to heavenwith heavenly people and heavenly objectives involved, which is Christianity." Ryrie(p. 45) citing Chafer. It is remarkable that this statement allows the religion ofJudaism(notjust Israel the people) to have an equal role in history with the Christian religion- even in the future, post-Christian millennium! And even more remarkable is Ryrie'sexpressed satisfaction following this statement: "This is probably the most basictheological test of whether or not a man is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedlythe most practical and conclusive" (p. 45)!40. Ibid., p. 16.116 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONdispensational he becomes.,,41 Certainly, then, discontinuity inredemptive history is a major effect of dispensationalism. I willshow later that this has a major bearing on the development ofthe redemptive purpose of God in history and thus on theeschatology of Scripture, when I compare the catastrophicallyintroduced millennial kingdom of dispensationalism and thegradually developed kingdom of postmillennialism.42Although there are many covenants specified and implied inScripture, the overarching redemptive purpose of God throwsa special emphasis on a select few of these. These covenantsinclude the Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and Christ's NewCovenant. It is unfortunate that dispensationalism suggests asecular understanding of some of these covenants, rather thana redemptive one (e.g., the Creation, Adamic, and NoahicCovenants). I will prove this in a later chapter when I focus onthe postmillennial outworking of redemptionYCovenantal ObligationDue to the covenantal influence in Scripture, we learn thatman'5 obligations are not fundamentally individualistic, but rathercorporate. As we shall see in later chapters, this fits well with apostmillennial eschatology and its strong view of social responsibility.44 Here is outline the case for the societal obligations ofcovenantalism.Man was purposefully created as an organic, unified race.45Whereas all mankind traces its origin back to Adam, including41. John S. Feinberg, "Preface," Continuity and Discontinuity, p. xii; see also p. 64.Feinberg is a dispensationalist.42. See Part Three, below.43. See Chapter 10.44. See Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, TX: Institute forChristian Economics, 1990). R. J. Rushdoony, God's Plan for Victory: The Meaning ofPostmillennialism (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn, 1977).45. The development of the seed-line in history is a significant aspect of thebiblical revelation, as the genealogies of Scripture attest. See especially Matthew 1 andLuke 3.The Covenants of Redemption 117Eve herself (Gen. 2:21-22; Acts 17:26), animals were created enmasse (Gen. 1:20-25). Even angels were created en masse as nonprocreativeindividuals (Matt. 22:30): a host.The organic unity of the human race is vitally important tothe redemptive plan of God, as seen in Romans and 1 Corinthians.Adam was the federal head of all mankind: a legal representative.In him, we are legally and judicially dead (Rom. 5:12-19;1 Cor. 5:22). Christ is the federal head of all those "chosen outof" (eklektos) mankind. In Him, we are legally and judiciallydeclared alive (Rom. 5:15-19; 1 Cor. 15:22). Christ became fleshin order that He might attach himself to the unified race andbecome its Redeemer (Phil. 2:5ff; Heb. 2:14).46That God's covenant has societal implications may be seen inits being established with Abraham and his seed (Gen. 12:1-4).The significance of Israel's organic connection is illustrated inher portrayal as a vine (Psa. 80:8-16; Isa. 5:1-7). In addition,when God made covenant with Israel in the wilderness, it includedfuture generations (Deut. 5:3).Because of this, God specifically promises covenant blessingsand warns of covenant curses running in communities of people.Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 detail specifics of communitycurses and blessings, transported from generation to generationand expansively covering the broad community. This covenantalfactor is also demonstrated in Israel's history. For example,the whole nation of Israel suffered defeat in war due to thegrievous sin ofAchan Gosh. 7:1). They were learning corporateresponsibility through this "lesson" from God. Outside of Israel,pagan communities were destroyed for their corporate evil.47Neither may Christianity be properly understood in terms of46. There is no corporate guilt for angels, but neither is there salvation for fallenangels.47. Josh. 2:10; 6:21; Exo. 20:16-18;Josh 8:1,2,24-29; 10:29-43; 1 Sam. 15:3. Cf.Lev. 18:24-27. See: Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., God's Law in the Modern World (Phillipsburg,NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, forthcoming), ch. 6. Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomyin Christian Ethics (rev. ed.; Presbyterian & Reformed, 1984), Part 7.118 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONradical individualism. By God's grace, we are in covenant withHim as a community. This may be seen from a number ofangles. (1) We are grafted into the community of God's people asa branch into a tree (Rom. 11: 17-18). (2) We are adopted intothe commonwealth of Israel and partake of the covenants of "thepromise" (singular, Eph. 2:12-16). Thus, we are included in the"household" of God (Eph. 2: 19-22) as stones in a building (lPet. 2:5). (3) We are constituted one, inter-related body (1 Cor.12:12-27). (4) We are part of one, connected vine Oohn 15:1-8).(5) Our blessings as members of the Christian community flowfrom our Head, Jesus Christ, through the body to us (Eph.1:20ff).The common societal unit among men is the family. Familysolidarity involves covenantal succession, as is evident from thefollowing: (1) Marriage, the world's first institution (Gen. 1:2628;2: 18-24; Matt. 19:4), was established as a permanent obligationamong men (Matt. 19:5,6; Gen. 2:24). (2) Adam's fulfillmentof his mandate to subdue the earth required family procreationand solidarity (Gen. 1:28). (3) The principle of familysolidarity is clearly illustrated in God's sparing the families ofrighteous men during judgments. See the cases of Noah, Abraham,and Lot.48 (4) Due to this covenant, responsibilities centeredaround the family. Diligent child training was commanded(Deut. 6:4ff; Psa. 78: 1ff; Proverbs, passim). Family protectionwas mandated (Prov. 13:22; 19:14; 1 Tim. 5:8). Three of theTen Commandments specifically guard the family while theothers relate to the family (Exo. 20:12,14,17). (5) Families aredeclared to be an heritage from the Lord.49 Fruitfulness is ablessing, while barrenness is lamented.50 (6) God's blessingsrun in family generations, as may be seen in the cases of Noah,Japheth, Abraham, Rahab, and covenant people in general,5148. Gen. 6:8,9,18; 7:1,7; 12:1-3; 17:1,2,7; 19:12-16.49. Psa. 127; 128; Gen. 33:5; 48:9; !sa. 8:18.50. Gen. 25:41; EXQ. 23:26; Deut. 7:14; Psa. 113:9.51. Gen. 9:9; 9:27; 17:2-7; Josh. 2:12-14; Psa. 103:17,18; 105:8; 115:13,14;The Covenants of Redemption 119By the same token, God's curses also run in family generations.52

    Because of God's covenantal love, He graciously sanctifiesthe offspring of the covenant faithful (1 Cor. 7: 14; Rom. 14: 17).In the New Testament, even, His blessings are framed in termsinclusive of family generations, rather than terms excludingfamily generations (Acts 2:38,39; 16:31; 11:14): inheritance.In all of this, we learn something of the wider obligations ofthe Christian faith. "We should always bear in mind that thereis a collective responsibility, and that there are always sufficientreasons why God should visit cities, districts or nations with direcalamities."53 In the soil ofcovenantal corporate responsibility, postmillennialeschatology takes root and grows in the light ofGod's Word.Objective BlessednessThe covenantal foundation of the eschatological hope encouragesthe anticipation of God's historical blessings in history.54The biblical worldview is concerned with the material world,the here and now. Christianity's interest in the material hereand now is evident in that God created the earth and man'sbody as material entities, and all "very good,"55 Christ came inthe flesh to redeem man,56 His Word directs us in how to livein the present, material world,57 and God intends for us to remainon the earth for our fleshly sojourn, and does not removeus upon our being saved by His grace.58 As is obvious from37:25,26: Prov. 3:33.52. Exo. 20:5; 34:6,7; Deut. 5:9. Note: Gen. 9:24-25; Hos. 9: 11-17; Psa.109: 1,2,9,10; Provo 3:33.53. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 260.54. See Chapter 6, below. See also: North, Millennialism and Social Theory.55. Gen. 1:1-31; 2:7.56. Rom. 1:3: 9:5; 1 John 4:1-3.57. Rom. 12:1-2: Eph. 5:15-17; 2 TIm. 3:16-17.58. John 17:15; Job 14:5; 2 Cor. 5:9-10.120 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthese four observations, Christians have a genuine concern withtheir objective environment.At death, all men enter the spiritual world, the eternal realm(either heaven or hell).59 But prior to our arrival in the eternalstate, all men live before God in the material world,60which He has created for His own glory, as the place of man'shabitation.61 His covenant sanctions (blessings for the righteous;curses for the unrighteous) may, therefore, be expected inhistory. That is to say, these sanctions are predictable.The objectivity of covenantal blessing, which undergirds thepostmillennial eschatology, is clearly set forth in Deuteronomy28 and Leviticus 26. When God's covenant people are faithfulto His Law-word, He will bless them in all areas of life.62When they fail Him, His curses will pursue them to overtakethem (Deut. 28: 15-68; Lev. 26:21-39).Such blessings are alluded to in a number of places andunder a variety of images. Among these blessings are the reductionof disease,63 abundant food production,64 temporal longevity,65 blessings upon offspring,66 economic prosperity,67national stability and peace.68 In fact, such passages providethe biblical basis of progress in history, not just linear move-59. 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Luke 16:22-23. On the doctrine of hell, see: GaryNorth, Sandions and Social Theory (forthcoming). See Chapter 13, below.60. 2 Chr. 16:9; Psa. 33:13-15; Provo 15:3; Acts 17:28; Heb. 4:13. No U. S.Supreme Court "right-to-privacy" decision can alter this truth.61. Psa. 24:1; 115:16; Provo 15:3; Dan. 5:23; Acts 25:24-31; Rev. 4:11.62. Deut. 28:1-14; Lev. 26:3-20,40-46. Cf. Psa. 37:25; 112:1-3; ProVo 13:22.63. Exo. 15:26; 23:25; Deut. 7:15; Psa. 103:3.64. See Exo. 23:24-25; Deut. 8:7-9; Psa. 67:6; Isa. 30:23-24; 65:21-23; Jer. 31:12;Ezek. 34:26-27; 36:29-38; Amos 9:13; Zech. 8:12ff.65. Deut. 4:40; 5:33; 32:46,47; !sa. 65:20; Zech. 8:4.66. Deut. 5:29; 7: 13.67. Deut. 7:12-16; 8:18; 28:1-15; Psa. 112:3; Provo 13:22. See Gary North, "AnOutline of Biblical Economic Thought," in North, An Introduction to Christian Economics(Nutley, NJ: Craig, 1973), ch. 18.68. Josh. 1:5; !sa. 2:4; Mic. 4:3; Isa. 11:6-9.The Covenants of Redemption 121ment, but upward linear progression.69The material things of life must be kept in perspective, butChrist promises they will be given to His people: "But seek firstthe kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these thingsshall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). He even promises Hispeople that if they leave all for Him, they will receive manytimes more in this life: "Then Peter said, 'See, we have left alland followed You.' So He said to them, ~suredly, I say to you,there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers orwife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shallnot receive many times more in this present time, and in theage to come everlasting life' " (Luke 18:28-30).ConclusionAll of the various covenants in Scripture are equally "thecovenants of the promise" (Eph. 2: 12). The covenant conceptruns throughout Scripture. It frames God's creational process,structures His dealings with man, and, most important for thisbook's thesis, insures the success of His divine prog;ram in history.This program is not the defeat of Christ's redemptive work inhistory: the gospel of salvation, the building of His Church, andthe establishment of His comprehensive, worldwide kingdom:Christendom.7oThe decline of covenant theology since the late nineteenthcentury has led to the decline of Christian influence in society.Postmillennialism is fundamentally covenantal, presenting a full-orbedChristianity in its pristine authority and power. The specific covenantsof the Old and New Testaments support the postmillennialposition, as I will show in greater detail in Chapter 10.69. See the path-breaking economic commentaries on the Bible by Gary North,The Dominion Covenant (1982), Moses and Pharaoh: Dominion Religion Versus PowerReligion (1985), The Sinai Strategy: Economics (1986), Tools of Dominion: The Case Lawsof Exodus (1990). All are published by Institute for Christian Economics.70. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Greatness of the Great Commission: The ChristianEnterprise in a Fallen World (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990)7

    THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD~ are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewithshall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out,and to be trodden under foot of men. ~ are the light ofthe world. A citythat is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:13-14)In the familiar words of our Lord cited above, we learn thatChristianity is to act as "salt" and "light" in the world. Covenantalobligations involve both the individual and the community,as I noted in the last chapter. Consequently, the Christian faithought to have a distinctive, redemption-based, covenantallyframed, revelation-controlled system of ethics for both personaland social morality. Because we are commanded to be perfectand holy on the basis of the divine Exemplar (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet.1: 15), our personal walk and our social theory must reflect thevery righteousness of God. But because of dependence on thefallen mind and heart (Eph. 4: 17ff; Rom. 1: 18ft), a nonbiblicalethic cannot be expected to produce either a righteous personal ethic orrighteous social theory. Christianity alone can do this.Unfortunately, the Christian ethic of our era is confused anddisoriented. For instance, a prominent liberal denominationalleader has commented: "Biblical ethics and Christian ethics forthe church today are not the same thing." Consequently, hisThe Righteousness of God 123church committee was proposing "new moral standards forsexual behavior" for his denomination.l There also are evangelicalswho reveal confusion about ethics when they suggestthat the Christian "is not under the law as a rule of life," butunder "wisdom." They state that "law can govern any area oflife, such as civil, family, personal, and religious institutions. Onthe other hand, wisdom is advice with no legal penalties."2This leads to an ambiguous and optional ethic: "This is not tosay that you cannot obey the laws given to Moses, but you arenot obligated to them in order to be faithful to God."3This problem in Christian ethics is due to a variety of factors.One factor, which is perhaps a summation of these, is rooted inthe whole idea of the biblical worldview and its implications forthe Christian approach to culture. Broadly speaking, there havebeen three approaches to culture in Christian history. Theseapproaches may be identified as the Identijicationist Model, theSeparationist Model, and the Transformationist ModeUThree Models for the Christian WorldviewThe Identificationist Model essentially represents the positionof the left wing of Christianity. It sees the Church's role asflowing alongside ofand sanctifying the evolutionary changes inculture, and adapting to them. It is wholly this-world in orientation.It adopts the contemporary worldview. Consequently, anunchanging ethic based on Scripture is deemed anathema. Theethic of the Old Testament and the ethic of the New Testament1. John Carey, Chairman, Special Committee on Human Sexuality, PresbyterianChurch USA Quoted by Randy Frame in "Sexuality Report Draws Fire: PresbyterianChurch (USA)," Christianity Today 35:5 (April, 29,1991) 37.2. H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?(Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988), pp. 184, 186.3. Ibid., p. 86.4. After I had completed this chapter, I came across J. Gresham Machen's article,"Christianity and Culture," Princeton Theological Review 11 (1913) 1-15; reprinted inWhat Is Christianity? He also identified these three views: subordination to the prevailinganti-supernatural culture, destruction of culture, and consecration of culture.124 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONare seen to be but stages in evolving culture, phases in thereligious self-awareness of man. Liberation theology and mainline denominations are contemporary representatives of thisview. This approach is sometimes called situation ethics.The Separationist Model is representative of the right wingof Christianity. It sees the Church's calling as keeping itselfwholly separated from contemporary culture. The focus of thisview is on heavenly citizenship, seeing the Church as but apilgrim community passing through this world to a greaterworld above. It is essentially retreatist, recognizing the power ofsin at work in the world and seeking to avoid staining itself withsuch tendencies. It concentrates on what it calls a New Testamentethic. Fundamentalism is a notable contemporary representativeof this view.When contrasted to the two views above, the TransformationistModel may be seen to be represented in the truly centristwing of historic, orthodox Christianity. It sees the Church'scalling as that of leading human culture to the unfolding ofGod's creation according to the directives of the Word of God.Such is done with a view to the ethical and spiritual transformationof every area of life. The Transformationist Model sees thesignificance of this world in light of the world above and seeksto promote God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven. Itpromotes godly culture in the stead of an ungodly culture. Itconcentrates on a whole Bible ethic, including God's Law, asopposed to a truncated, separationist, "New Testament only"ethic. Confessional Presbyterianism has been representative ofthis view. Machen was typical (note 4, above).Realizing these varying approaches, let us turn to a biblicotheologicalconsideration of the question of the continuingvalidity of the Law of God in the New Covenant era. Has Godchanged His covenantal demands in the New Covenant era soas to abolish the Law as the normative standard of Christianethics? Approaching the question of ethical righteousness froma covenantal perspective, we can discern a transformationistThe Righteousness of God 125ethic know as Theonomic Ethics.5 Such an ethic works handin-glove with a Bible-based postmillennial eschatology.The Ultimate Source of Ethics .As I emphasized in the last chapter, the Lord God is a covenantGod, and the covenant idea necessarily involves socialstructure. The Law-word of God, therefore, mandates what amoral person and a moral society should be like. Man has both apersonal and a corporate responsibility before God, accordingto the covenantal structure of God's Law-word. This ultimatelyis traceable to the very being of God, for He is a tri-unity(hence the Trinity). As the One-in-Three, God is equally interestedin individuals (the many: diversity) and in social life (theone: unity).6Our primary concern in this chapter is to concentrate on thematter of formal obligation in ethics: to consider the normativeperspective of ethics in our inquiry into the substance of godlymorality. What is the ultimate source of moral authority? Fromwhence may we derive a just and defensible moral authoritywhich is at the same time relevant and practical? Is the Christianethic (what ought to be) practical in light of the Christianeschatology (what will be)?The Ultimate Standard of RighteousnessThe Christian ethic is a theistic ethic that traces the ultimatesource of ethical authority to the transcendent yet also immanent,self-contained ontological Trinity.' He alone supplies5. For fuller information, see: Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authorityof God's Law lOday (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985). See also: R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutley, NJ: Craig, 1973) and Law andSociety (Vallecito, CA: Ross House, 1982). See also: Gentry, God's Law in the ModernWorld (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, forthcoming).6. R. J. Rushdoony, The One and the Many: Studies in the Philosophy of Order andUltiTIWCJ (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, [1971] 1978).7. Cornelius Van Til, Christian Theistic Ethics (n.p.: den Dulk Foundation, 1974).126 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONman with valid law. Consequently, only Christianity can provideuniversal statements of moral obligation, on the basis of thebeing of this God. This truth is fundamental to a transformationistethic and a Reconstructionist postmillennial eschatology.If there is any moral attribute of God that might be considereda controlling attribute, that attribute is holiness. Consideringthe extreme ends of the spectrum, God's love and Hiswrath are both controlled by His holiness. Indeed, there aresystematic theologians who deem holiness not to be a moralattribute at all, but rather the consummate perfection of all Hismoral attributes. The Scripture teaches that our God is a thriceholyGod (Isa. 6:3) who cannot look favorably upon iniquity(Hab. 1:13). Because God is such a holy God, ethics is offundamentallyimportance for us as Christians. Not only is it the casethat we ourselves must "prove what the will of the Lord is"(Rom. 12:2) in order to please Him, but also that we might bea testimony to the nations, a light for all the world (Matt. 5:14).Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 summarizes man's ethical obligation wellwhen it states: "The conclusion, when all is heard, is: fear Godand keep His commandments, because this applies to everyperson. Because God will bring every act to judgment, everythingwhich is hidden, whether it is good or evil." Furthermore,"the earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world, andthose who dwell in it. For He has founded it" (Psa. 24: 1, 2a).Consequently men owe it to God to seek His good pleasure.Next to justification by the grace of God, that which is mostneedful to man is sanctification by the Holy Spirit of God, "forwithout holiness, no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). Andsanctification necessarily involves the question of ethics.In addition, Reformed Christians are not interested in "ethicsin general." We believe in a supernatural God to Whom weR. J. Rushdoony, By What Standard' (Tyler, TX: Thobum Press, [1959] 1983). Greg. L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics (2nd ed.; Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1984), Part III.The Righteousness of God 127must answer on Judgment Day. Autonomous, neutral ethics isa myth; it must be renounced, as we will see momentarily. Butneither are we concerned ultimately with a merely theistic ethic.We believe in the one true God Who has created all things andhas graciously revealed Himself in Scripture and in Christ. TheGod we believe in is the Triune God of Scripture. Theistic formsof non-Christian ethics are as useless and dangerous as atheistic ethics.Our ethical concern, therefore, is with Christian theistic ethics.As Christians, we necessarily have a distinctive metaphysics.We understand all of reality on the basis of the Creator God ofScripture "Who works all things after the counsel of His ownwill" (Eph. 1:11). Given our distinctive metaphysics, it mustfollow that we also have a distinctive meta-ethics. Our ethic isrooted in our theology. It is impossible to have a "neutral" metaethic,contrary to what most secularists have claimed. Ethics iseither autonomous (based on self-law) or theonomous (based ondivine law). Meta-ethics deals with the principles or philosophybehind ethics. It gives the ultimate justifications for ethical theory.Van Til has stated that "the key motif in humanistic ethics isaway from the True God." As Van Til argues, all unbelievingsystems posit false dichotomies: unsolvable contradictions.The absolute, infinite, eternal God of Scripture has a characterof infinite moral goodness, perfection, and purity. Summarilystated, God is infinitely holy,8 good,9 and righteous.lO Heis such in and ofHimself. His own intrinsic being is the standardof "holiness," "goodness," and "righteousness." If He were notthe standard, there would be a principle independent of andmore ultimate than God; God would cease to be God. Thus,God sovereignly determines right and wrong from within Hisown moral being. Good is good because God says so autonomously.8. 1 Sam. 2:2; Isa. 57:15; Psa. 99:9; John 17:11; Rev. 15:4.9. Psa. 145:9-16; Matt. 5:45; Mark 10:18.10. Ezra 9:15; Psa. 145:17; Jer. 12:1.128 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe Proximate Standard of RighteousnessA fundamental theological assertion of orthodoxy is this: theunity of God. Consequently, there is no reason flowing from thisunified God that either compels us or predisposes us to expectthat His one creation has two plans operative in its historicalprogress. We should reject all ethical systems that propose twosystems of law or two decrees of God. I have in mind here thedualistic theory of a universally logical natural law for nonChristians(Gentiles) and Bible-revealed law for Christians.Man's sanctification (moral restoration) is definitive, progressive,and final. One God, one covenant law: through time andacross borders. The successive covenants of Scripture reallyrecord for us a gradual historical unfolding of one overarchingcovenant, rather than the successive, compartmental establishingof distinctively different capsule covenants. This is clearly expectedin the initial covenant directive of God for history thatflows out of the Genesis 3:15 curse, which mentions only onebasic struggle between two seeds, the Satanic and the Messianic.This also is clearly asserted in Paul's argument in Ephesians,chapter 2. In this passage, Paul speaks not of the establishing ofa new and distinct community separate from Israel, but of God'sannexing ofadditional people - the Gentiles - into His one people.He speaks in verse 12 of "the covenants of the promise"(Greek), which defined His singular purpose. In verses 14-16,he speaks of the removal of the dividing wall between]ew andGentile, so that the Gentiles might be included in God's oneredemptive purpose. In verses 19-22, he speaks of the mergingof these two peoples into one, indivisible temple.Thus, the very unity of God's covenantal dealings with manflows out of the unitary being of God, as well as the explicitlyrevealed plan of God. These truths should predispose us toassume continuity, as opposed to discontinuity, in the ethicaldictates of God.It may be summarily stated that God's Law is binding (inthat we are obliged to obey it for our sanctification), relevant (inThe Righteousness of God 129that all our Lord does is governed by all-wisdom and all-knowledge,thus making His Word practical for all times and applicablefor all situations), when properly interpreted (taking intoaccount the full significance, purpose, and situation of theoriginal intent of the various laws individually considered) and .-properly applied (the unfolding of redemptive history must betaken into account and the New Testament precepts and principlesmust be given their full significance). Thus, the details ofthe Law are essential to law-keeping (they form an essentialpart of the Law, as parts to the whole), and are meant to beequitably observed by man on the personal, social, and civillevels of human existence. In short: "One covenant, one law!"The focal standard of Christian theistic ethics, then, is theLaw of God. God's Law is the transcript of His holiness, as isevident from its own nature:(l) The Law represents the presence of God. God's Law is therevelational expression of His holy character and the moralrepresentation of His presence to man. The summary statementof His Law, the Ten Commandments, was written by the veryfinger of God, as no other portion of Scripture was.11 Consequently,bearing His own divine imprint, it necessarily sharesHis moral perfections. This truth is underscored by the factthat the Ark of the Covenant, which was housed in the Holy ofHolies in the center of Israel, contained within it the summaryof the Law of God, the Ten Commandments written onstone.12 At the most holy place of Israel, where the Shekinahglory of God was resident, God's Law was housed as an expressionof God's holy presence among and will for His people.(2) The Law reflects the character of God. The Law which Hehas given to His people is a transcript of His holy character,possessing the very moral attributes of God Himself. God is11. EXQ. 31:18; 32:16; Deut. 4:13; 9:10; 10:4.12. Deut. 10:5; 31:25ff.130 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONspiritrightgood,I3 holy,14 perfect,I5 righteous,I6 just,I7 anduaU8 Likewise, Ris Law is good,19 holy,20 perfect,21eous,22 just,23 and spiritual.24(3) The Law expresses the legal relation between God and Hispeople. The Law of God is desc...ribed in Scripture as the Book ofthe Covenant (Reb. 9: 19). Because of this, the Law of God liesat the heart of the New Covenant, which has been in effectsince the crucifixion of Christ.25 "I will put my law26 in theirinward parts, and write it in their hearts (fer. 31 :33). The biblicalethic, therefore, is constituted as a covenantal theonomy. Thenormative center of Christian ethics and morality can be nothingless than the whole law of God as revealed in Scripture, includingthe Mosaic Law. In short: "One covenant, one law!"The Continuing Validity of God's LawIt is important to recognize that the Law continues as themoral standard of righteousness into the New Testament andthroughout the New Covenant era. In broad evangelicalismtoday, as in the past, there is a tendency to reduce or deny the13. Psa. 143:10; Mark.l0:18.14. Isa. 6:3; Rom. 7:12; Rev. 15:4.15. 2 Sam. 22:31; Psa. 18:30; Matt. 5:48.16. Deut. 32:4; Ezra 9:15; Psa. 116:5.17. Deut. 32:4; Psa. 25:8,10; Isa. 45:21.18. John 4:24; Jer. 31:3.19. Deut. 12:28; Psa. 119:68; Rom. 7:12, 16.20. Num. 15:40; Rom. 7:12.21. Psa. 19:7; Jms. 1:25 (cf. 2:8-12).22. Deut. 4:8; Psa. 19:7; Rom. 2:26; 8:4.23. Provo 28:4, 5; Zech. 7: 9-12; Rom. 7:12.24. Rom. 7:14; I John 3:24; Rom. 8:4.25. Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; I Cor. 1l:25; 2 Cor. 3:7ff; Heb. 8:6ff.26. The Law of Moses is identified time and time again as the Law ofJehovah:e.g., Deut. 30:10; Josh. 24:26; 2 Kgs. 10:31; 17:13; 21:8; I Chr. 22:12; 2 Chr. 6:16;31:21; Ezra 7:6, 12, 14, 21; Neh. 8:8, 18; 9:3; 10:28, 29; Psa. 78:1; 81:4; 89:30;119:34, 77,92,97, 109, 174; Isa. 1:10; Jer. 6:19; 9:13; 16:11; 26:4; 31:33; 44:10;22:26; Dan. 6:5; Hos. 4:6; 8: 1.The Righteousness of God 131role of the Mosaic law in discussions of social righteousness. Infact, there is widespread antipathy to the Mosaic law. Yet astrong and compelling case may be made for the use of theMosaic law today.In Matthew 5:13-16, Christ calls His Church to exercisecultural significance.27 He sovereignly declares that His followersare to be "the salt of the earth." Salt is both a preservativeand a flavor-enhancer. The imagery here is of the Church'scalling to preserve the good of human culture and to enhancelife. We are not called to be wholly separate from the world inthe sense of avoiding involvement in it. Rather, we are to be avital and distinctive aspect of it, just as salt is distinctively presentin the flavoring of food. Indeed, He says that if we do notdo so we are "good for nothing" (v. 13). In short, Christ hasdenied the morallegtimacy of the Separationist Model.In verses 14-16, we are called to be "the light of the world."Light, the first aspect of the original Creation, is a positive andpenetrating energy that dispels darkness and brings things intoclear focus. The Christian light exhibits the glory of God (v.16). Light is essential for life itself and for direction. Paul reflectsthis idea in Ephesians, chapters 4-5. In Ephesians 5:11, hecalls us to "expose the works of darkness."But these are general exhortations to holy living before Godand to the glory of God. The pair of specific normative questionsremain: (1) How may we properly be the salt ofthe earth?(2) How may we properly be the light of the world? Jesus gaveanswers. Immediately following upon these general directives,the Lord provides the specifics needed, when He directlyaffirms the Law's validity in Matthew 5:17-19.Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: Iam not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you,27. For a detailed exposition of the passage, see: Bahnsen, Theonomy in ChristianEthi£s, ch. 2, and Bahnsen, No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Criti£s (Tyler, TX:Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), Appendix A: "The Exegesis of Matthew 5."132 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONtill heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wisepass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shallbreak one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so,he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoevershall do and teach them, the same shall be called great inthe kingdom of heaven.In the context of this statement, Jesus is speaking of ethicalconduct and urging righteousness in order to glorify God (cf.Matt. 5: 16, 21ft). In this regard, He specifically says He has notcome to "destroy" the "law or the prophets." The word "destroy"(kataluo, v. 17) means to "do away with, abolish, annul,make invalid."28 Instead, He has come to do the very opposite,for He employs the strong adversative "but" (alta, v. 17) to setup a contrast. He has not come to destroy but "to fulfill" (v.17). Jesus here contrasts "fulfill" with "destroy.""Fulfill" cannot in this context mean "to live out" or "complete"the Law, so as to do away with it, for it is contrasted with"destroy." It provides strong contrast, as in Matthew 10:34,which exactly parallels the Matthew 5: 17 structure. There Jesussays, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I camenot to send peace, but a sword." Just as sending a sword is theopposite of sending peace, so fulfilling is the opposite of "notabolishing!'The fulfillment in view here, then, must mean either one oftwo things: (1) It may mean Christ came to "confirm" or "establish"the Law.29 If this is the meaning (and it certainly fits thecontext), it parallels Romans 3:31: "Do we then make void thelaw through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Rom.3:31). And surely Christ would not be contradicted by Paul. Or:28. W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testammtand Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p.415.29. Dalman gives the meaning "confirm," according to Arndt and Gingrich,Lexicon, p. 677.The Righteousness of God 133(2) it may mean "fill up to full measure."30 This would indicaterestoring it to its true meaning, in opposition to Pharisaic distortions(Matt. 5:2031). Both of these interpretations are compatible,as well as contextually justifiable."For" (gar, v. 18) introduces an explanation of verse 17.Christ here emphatically declares the continuing validity of theLaw, for it will last until "heaven and earth pass away" (v. 18).This indicates a comparison of the stability of the Law to that ofthe world (cf. Eccl. 1:4).His reference to the ''jot'' and "tittle" (v. 18) is important.This statement emphatically declares that the smallest aspects ofthe Law will not be annulled. "Till all be fulfilled" (v. 18) parallels"heaven and earth pass away" and may literally be translated:"Until all things be accomplished." His prohibition against anytampering with the "least commandment" (v. 19) repeats theemphasis of the small aspects of the Law in order to show itsbinding significance.Following this strong statement of the Law's validity, Christrebuts scribal distortions of the Law: their adherence to oraltradition (Matt. 5:21ff). He is not criticizing adherence to theLaw. Note: (1) The contrast drawn in Matthew 5:21-47 is betweenthat which is "said of old" or "said by the ancients"(ekousate hoti errethe tois archaiois) and that which Christ says (egode lego). The contrast is not between what "is written" (gegraptai,which is the normal manner of speaking of God's Word32) andwhat Christ says. The contrast is between Christ's words andrabbinic tradition (cf. Matt. 15:1-8). (2) He had just made astrong statement as to the Law's continuing validity. Exegetical30. Under the "fulfill" nuances in the pleroo entry, Arndt and Gingrich note ofMatthew 5:17: "[D]epending on how one prefers to interpret the context, pleroo isunderstood here either asfulfill = do, carry out, or as bring to full expression = showit forth in its true mng., or as fill up = complete." Arndt and Gingrich, Greek-EnglishLexicon, p. 677.31. Cf. Matt. 15:3-9; 23:23.32. Matt. 2:5; 4:4, 6,7,10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24, 31.134 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONconsistency requires that Matthew 5:21ff not be viewed as underminingHis teaching on the permanence of the Law of God.Christ emphatically taught the Law's continuing relevance.Even the little tithes are important (Matt. 23:23). The Law isthe Golden Rule of service to God and man (Matt. 7:12; 22:3640).He even upheld the Law's civil function (Matt. 15:3-6).The New Testament Confirmation of the LawThe broader New Testament confirmation of the Law maybe illustrated from a number of angles.The New Testament expressly confirms the Law. Christ based Histeaching on the Law.33 Even the details of the Mosaic case lawsare cited by the Apostles as binding directives.34 Paul, the Apostleof Faith, declares that faith confirms the Law (Rom. 3:31).He even speaks of the perfection of the Law for the New Testamentpeople (Rom. 7:12, 14).Christian conduct is based on Law obedience. Law obediencedefines the Golden Rule of social conduct (Matt. 7:12) andcharacterizes the conduct of love.35 Keeping God's commandmentsis deemed important to holy living,36 in that it promotesspirituality,37 and evidences holiness, justice, and goodness.38Gospel preaching depends on the relevance ofthe Law. The Law ofGod has a multiple usefulness for the Christian today. It definessin39 and then convicts men of sin,40 condemns transgression/I drives men to Christ,42 restrains evil,43 guides sanc-33. Matt. 7:12; 12:5; 19:4; Luke 10:26; 16:17; John 8:17.34. 1 Tim. 5:17 (Deut. 25:4), 2 Cor. 6:14 (Deut. 22:10), Rom. 10:6-8 (Deut.30:11-13), Acts 23:1-5 (Exo. 22:28; Lev. 19:15; Deut. 25:2); 1 Cor. 14:34.35. Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:10; Gal. 5:14; Jms. 2:8.36. 1 Cor. 7:19; 1 John 2:3,4; 5:3.37. Rom. 7:12, 16; 8:3-4.38. Rom. 2:13; 1 Tim. 1:8-10; Reb. 2:2; 1 TIm. 1:8-10; Reb. 8:10.39. 1John 3:4; Rom. 5:13; 7:7. Cf. Matt. 7:23; Titus 2:14; Rom. 3:20 ("iniquity"is literally "lawlessness").40. Matt. 19:16-24; John 7:19; Acts 7:53; Rom. 7:7, 9-11; Jms. 2:9; 1 John 3:4.41. Deut. 11:26,28; Rom. 4:15; 7:10; Gal. 3:10; Jms. 2:10.The Righteousness of God 135tification,44 and serves as the standard for Judgment Day.45Consequently, he who is not subject to the Law of God in theNew Covenant era is at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7).The Universality of the Law of GodA frequently heard objection to God's Bible-revealed Lawtoday is that the Law was expressly designed and intended foruse only in Old Covenant Israel. Its relevance therefore wasonly for the special redemptive nation in pre-Christian times,and for no other. This view is inherently dispensational, even whenargued by Reformed theologians.Dispensationalists argue: "The stipulations of Sinai were notfor the nations in general but to a people under grace. . . .Since the nations around Israel were not called to adopt theMosaic Covenant, it seems evident that the pagan nations wouldnot be judged by the law of Moses."46 Even some reformedtheologians suggest that: "Israel as a nation was chosen by God'out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people,his treasured possession' (Dt 7:6). No other nation of the ancientor modern world is like Israel in its place in redemptivehistory.... Before applying a case law from the Old Testamenttoday, therefore, we must consider not only cultural adaptationsbut also discontinuities that result because of the difference inredemptive status between Israel and any modern society.,,47The dispensationalist objection (above) confuses moral commandmentsand covenantalform. Theonomists have always insisted42. Rom. 7:10; Gal. 3:24.43. Psa. 119:11; 1 Tim. 1:8-10.44. Lev. 20:8; Psa. 119:105; Prov. 6:23; Rom. 8:4; 1 Cor. 6:21.45. Matt. 7:23; 13:41; Rom. 2:12-15;Jms. 2:10-12. For the Final Judgment, see:Chapter 13 below.46. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, pp. 128, 129.47. Tremper Longman III, "God's Law and Mosaic Punishments Today,"Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey, eds. (GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1990), pp. 47, 48.136 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthat the moral commands are distinguishable from the covenantalsystem in which they are found. For example, in both theNew Testament and the Old Testament, we are commanded tolove father and mother (d. Deut. 5:16 and Eph. 6:2). This doesnot mean that the Old Covenant and the New Covenant are thesame! The Old Covenant form, which included the sacrificialsystem and such-like, which was established only with Israel, encodednumerous divinely ordained moral requirements, whichare the perpetually obligatory commandments of God. Moralrequirements must be distinguished from the historical andredemptive trappings in which they are found. Moral commandments(justice-defining) are distinguishable from distinctiveceremonial laws (redemption-expounding).48It should be noted that a prima facie reason may be urged toinsist upon a continuity between God's expectations for Israel'srulers and for pagan rulers outside of Israel: (1) God createdthe whole world and has a right to its governance (Gen. 1; Psa.24:1). Thus, Scripture represents Him as the King of all nations.49 (2) He is one God, with but one holy will (Deut. 6:4ff;Isa. 46: 10ft). (3) He is specifically said to be no respecter ofpersons in terms of His justice.50 (4) The Scripture is silent onany other ethical standard being applied to the nations beyondIsrael. But, as before, the matter is not one left solely to primafacie considerations..God's Law was, in fact, designed to be a model for the nations:"Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdomand your understanding in the sight of the peoples who willhear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a48. Hos. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:22; Psa. 51:14-17; Provo 21:3; Isa.l:l0-17. See: Bahnsen,in Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: TM Break-up of DispensationalTMology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), ch. 3. See also: F. F.Bruce, Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), pp. 28ff.49. Psa. 47:2, 7ff; 22:28; 83:18; 99:2; 113:4; Mal. 1:14.50. Psa. 119:118; Rom. 2:11,12. See also: 2 Chr. 19:7; Job 34:19; 37:24; Eph.6:9; 1 Pet. 1:17.The Righteousness of God 137wise and understanding people: For what great nation is therethat has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, forwhatever reason we may call upon Him?"51 The Law was amodel for the nations beyond Israel (Deut. 4:5ff). It must bespoken before kings (Psa. 119:46; cr. 2:9ff). It is a "light" to thewhole world (Isa. 51 :4), despite the fact the entire earth hastransgressed it (Isa. 24:5).52 Were not the Canaanites judgedfor its breach (Lev. 18:24-27; Deut. 12:29-3153)? By it are notall the wicked condemned (Psa. 119:118-119; Rom. 3:19)?God is said to judge the world in righteousness, the fundamentalethical quality of God's Law (Psa. 9:7-8; 98:9; Amos 1:32:3; etc.) Interestingly, the rulers of Babylon were condemnedon the same basis as those of Israel by the prophets (e.g., cf.Hab. 2:12 with Mic. 3:10). This indicates a parity ofstandard employedin the judgment of both nations. As a matter of fact,God's judgment upon the pagan nations of the Old Testamentwas rooted in the universality and equity of His Law. Often theprophetic condemnations were applied to whole pagan culturesdue to their disobedience to God (Isa. 14:4-20; 19:1, 13, 14,22;30:33). Sodom was a city that was destroyed for its "unlawfulness"(2 Pet. 2:6-8). Thus, Sodom serves as a paradigm in Scripturefor God's just judgment upon unlawfulness (Deut. 19:23;Isa. 1:9-10; Jer. 23:14; Lam. 4:6; Ezek. 16:46-56; Amos 4:11;Zeph. 2:9; Matt. 10:15;Jude 7; Rev. 11:8). Nineveh was threatenedwith God's judgment for its wickedness in God's sight0"on. 3; Luke 11 :30, 32). His righteous standards applied to it.In their better moments - under the influence of God'sSpirit - pagan rulers acknowledged the just rule of God's Law.Cyrus of Persia commanded all the nations to serve God (Dan.6:25ff). Nebuchadnezzar told the nations that God rules over all51. Deut. 4:6-7. See also: 1 Kgs. 10:1,8-9; Isa. 24:5; 51:4; Psa. 2:9ff; 47:1-2:97:1-2; Psa. 94:10-12; 119:46,118-119; Provo 16:12; Ecd. 12:13.52. E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969),2:156-157.53. p. C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy (NICOT) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1976), pp. 219-220.138 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONand demands righteousness from kings (Dan. 4: 1, 25ft). Artaxerxescommanded Ezra to appoint magistrates "beyond theRiver" which would enforce God's Law (Ezra 7:25ft). Ezra thenpraised him for this (Ezra 7:27).Most importantly, the moral justification for Israel's expulsionof the Canaanites from the land rests upon the Canaanites'breach of God's Law (Lev. 18:24-27). In this passage, Israel isthreatened with the same punishment as the Canaanites if theycommit the lawless acts of the Canaanites. Again, we clearly seea parity of standard employed in the judgment of pagan nations,as in the judgment of Israel.54 This comports well withthe universal call to submission to God's will in Psalm 2.Thus, we have seen that the spiritual, temporal, and geographicalseparation of pagan states from Israel did not effecta separation of moral obligation. Because of this, the nationsaround Israel were often judged for breaching God's moralstandards, but never for breaching the Mosaic covenantalform.55 The same truth may be seen earlier in Abraham's dayin the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:15 (2Pet. 2:9).Are the Ten Commandments obliged upon pagans, despitethe Decalogue's beginning with a distinct reference to Israel'sredemption from pagan bondage (Exo. 20: 1-3; Deut. 5:6-7)?Dispensationalists answer: no. Are the Ten Commandments,then, expressly for the covenant community? They answer: yes.People from all nations are under obligation to God's Lawtoday: Romans 1:32 (this speaks of the complex of sins preceding,not anyone particular sin); 2:12-15; 3:19; 12:19-13:10; 1Timothy 1:8. This is expected in light of the coming of theMessiah (Isa. 2:3-4). God's Law in our era is considered to be54. See also: Deut. 7:5-6, 16,25; 8:11-20; 9:4-5; 12:1-4, 29ff.55. They were judged for such things as slave trade, loan abuse, witchcraft, andother non-ritual sins. Lev. 18:24-27; Deut. 7:5-6,16,25; 12:1-4; 19:29-32; Amos 1:6(Exo. 21:16; Deut. 24:7); Nah. 3:4 (Exo. 22:18; Lev. 19:21); Hab. 2:6 (Exo. 22:25-27;Deut. 24:6, 10-13); Hab. 2:12 (cf. Mic. 3:10).The Righteousness of God 139"just" (Rom. 7:12; Heb. 2:2) and "good" (Rom. 7:12; 1 Tim.1:8).The Civil Magistrate and God's LawChurch and State were separate under the Mosaic Law.There was a distinction between the civil ruler, Moses, and thepriestly head, Aaron; between the offices of priest and king (notwith Melchizedek: unique); between the temple and palace: 1Samuel 13:11; 2 Chronicles 19:5-11; 26:16-21. Yet the Law wasthe standard of civil justice. The same is true in the New Testamentera, as an analysis of Romans 12 and 13 shows.In Romans, Paul speaks to the problem of evil in society:"Repay no one evil [kakon] for evil [kakou]" (Rom. 12:17). Heurges them: "Beloved, do not avenge [ekdikountes] yourselves,but rather give place to wrath [orgel" (Rom. 12:19a). Why? "Forit is written, 'Vengeance [ekdikesis] is Mine, I will repay,' says theLord" (Rom. 12: 19). Thus, he urges the Christian not to takethe law into his own hands: "Be not overcome of evil [kakon]"(Rom. 12:21). He then engages a discussion of the God-ordainedrole of the civil magistrate as God's avenger.56In Romans 13, the matter of the civil magistrate is approachedprescriptively, rather than descriptively.57 As such,he has been "ordained of God" (Rom. 13:2) so that "he doesnot bear the sword in vain. He is, in fact, God's minister, anavenger [ekdikos] to execute wrath [orgen] on him who practicesevil [kakonl" (Rom. 13:4). Clearly, then, the magistrate is toavenge the wrath of God against those who practice evil (Rom.13:4, 6).As he continues, Paul makes express reference to the Law ofGod, citing four of the Ten Commandments (Rom. 13:9a) and56. The very contextual flow (Rom. 12:17ff leads directly to Rom. 13:1ff) isvalidated by lexical similarity between the two chapters.57. Gentry, "Civil Sanctions in the New Testament," Theonomy: An InformedResponse, Gary North, ed. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), ch. 6.140 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONa summary case law from Leviticus 19:18 (Rom. 13:9b). Finally,he concludes the thought regarding personal vengeance, whichhe began in Romans 12:17-19: "Love does no harm [kakon,"evil"] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of thelaw" (Rom. 13: 10). This involves appropriate social conduct thatis incumbent upon all men, especially Christians - conduct thatavoids "carousing and drunkenness" and "sexual promiscuityand sensuality" (Rom. 13: 13).His reference to God's Law58 in this context is most important.Ultimately, God's eternal vengeance is according to His holy Law(cf. Rom. 2:3,5-6, 12-15), which is encoded in the Mosaic Law.Proximately and mediatorially, however, God's temporal "minister,"the civil magistrate, must mete out the "just reward"(Heb. 2:2; cf. Rom. 7:12; 1 Tim. 1:8) for those for whom thepenalties of the Law were designed: evil-doers. Paul specifiesthis even more particularly elsewhere: "The Law is not madefor a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate,for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane,for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars,for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary tosound doctrine."59 And all of this was "according to the gloriousgospel of the blessed God which was committed to mytrust" (1 Tim. 1:9-11), not according to a passe example.The theonomic position is that God's Law is the standard forjustice in all areas of life, including criminal penology (i( supportedby careful exegesis of the text of each penal sanction). This canbe legitimately deduced from the Romans 12-13 passage. In58. Earlier he deemed this Law "established" (Rom. 3:31) and called it "holy,just, and good" (Rom. 7:12).59. A case may be made for Paul's generally following the order of the TenCommandments. H. D. M. Spence, "I and II Timothy," Ellicott's Commentary on theWhole Bible, Charles John Ellicott, ed., 8 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, rep. n.d.),7:180. At the very least, it may be said that "the apostle now gives a summary of thelaw of the Ten Commandments." William Hendriksen, I and II Timothy and Titus: NewTestament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957), p. 67.The Righteousness of God 141fact, a self-conscious refusal to comment on this passage is acommon failure on the part of those who criticize theonomy'sview of civil government. They refuse to discuss the civil magistrateasa minister of God (Rom. 13:4). They need to.ConclusionGiven the fact that God is Creator and man His creature, thevery fact that God has uttered the Law makes man obligated toit. God's Law is ethically self-attesting and cannot be questioned,appealed, ignored, or replaced. The sanctity of the Lawis underscored by the covenantal warning (sanctions) attached tothe Law prohibiting its alteration by addition or subtraction(Deut. 4:2; 12:32). It is the covenantal Word of God, not ofman; it must be kept inviolable.In short, the Christian is obligated on the basis of the fact ofGod and His covenant to keep the whole law of God because itis a pattern for both personal sanctification and social righteousness.The call to follow the biblical pattern of ethics must be to followit in its all of its far-reaching details. Obedience must not bearbitrarily cut short by personal desire, preconceptions, orcomplacency, or by ecclesiastical, traditional, cultural situation,or emotional appeal. There is one covenant and one law.God loves us in a specific and extensive fashion; He is concernedfor the details of our lives (Matt. 10:24-33). He expectsus to respond with an all-encompassing devotion to Him byloving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark12:33). We believe in the ubiquity of ethics: every word or deedis a moral action, whether we eat or drink or whatever we do (1Cor. 10:31). This is because these are done in God's worldeither for or against Him.60 All words and deeds are subject tojudgment (Matt. 12:36; 2 Cor. 5:10).Consequently, God did not deliver to us some broad, general,vague moral principles. Rather, He revealed to us in His60. Matt. 12:30; Luke 9:50; 11:23.142 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONLaw very extensive, specific, and all-encompassing commands. TheLaw is explicit in regard to moral directives and correctives.Man is given concrete standards possessing ultimate authorityover man's ethical guidance in personal and social ethics. NonChristianethics has long since divided between facts and values.But such cannot be the case in Christian ethics. The CreatorGod of all facts is also the Righteous God of all values. There isno divorce between metaphysics and ethics in Christianity.It is the well-known Law of God that the prophets saw asestablished in the future Messianic Kingdom (a consequence ofthe work of Christ and the spread of the gospel). In Isaiah 2:24,we read of the glory of the Messianic future:Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain ofthe Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains,and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shallflow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us goup to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God ofJacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths."For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LoRDfrom Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shallrebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares,and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not liftup sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.In Jeremiah 31:33-34, we discover the spiritual applicationof that righteous Law to the very heart of man, as a vital aspectof the saving work of God:"But this is the covenant that 1 will make with the house ofIsrael: After those days," says the LORD, "I will put My law intheir minds, and write it on their hearts; and 1 will be their God,and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach hisneighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LoRD,'for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatestof them," says the LORD. For 1 will forgive their iniquity, andtheir sin 1 will remember no more."The Righteousness of God 143The postmillennial kingdom in history grows on the basis ofthe God-blessed - positive sanctions - proclamation of the gospelof God's saving grace. God's Word does not return to Himculturally void. As God's kingdom expands in history, it producesan explicitly Christian and biblical culture - Christendom - bymeans of the comprehensive application of biblical law. In thissense, the kingdom of God is a true civilization, one whichrivals all other civilizations in history. It is a kingdom that hasthree aspects: heavenly, spiritual, and institutional.The defenders of the various humanist kingdoms deny boththe heavenly and the supernaturally spiritual aspects of civilization,while pietism denies the institutional aspect (outside offamily and church). As Rushdoony has said, humanism deniesGod but affirms history, while pietism affirms God but denieshistory. Theonomy affirms both God and history. It is in thissense a creationist worldview. It proclaims Calvin's view ofhistory: the Creator God of the Bible decrees all that comes topass in history. The connection between God and history isjudicial: God's law-based, sanctions-governed covenant. Thiscovenantal view of history can be summarized as follows:The absolutely sovereign Creator God governs every historicalfact in terms of His authoritative revealed Word in history, theBible, which declares His comprehensive, specially revealed law,with its judicially mandatory sanctions (both positive and negative),in order to implement progressively His universal kingdom(civilization) in history: Christendom.(It is difficult to say which group hates this covenantal viewof New Testament history most of all: humanists, dispensationalists,or the disciples of Meredith G. Kline.)6161. Gentry, "Whose Victory in History?" Theonomy: An Inforrru!d Response, ch. 8.8

    THE HERMENEUTIC OF SCRIPTUREKnowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.(2 Peter 1:20)An issue that has received much attention in the eschatologicaldebate among evangelicals is hermeneutics: the principle ofbiblical interpretation. How are we to approach the propheciesof Scripture? For instance, what are the historical expectationsof eschatological significance set forth by the Old Testamentprophets? Although I will not go deeply into hermeneuticdiscussion,1 it is necessary that certain aspects of the debate behighlighted. There are full-length books that more than adequatelyset forth the principles of biblical interpretation.2 Threeparticularly relevant issues that I will consider are literalism,preterism, and Israel.1. For the most part my hermeneutic will be illustrated below in the actualexposition of key passages in Part III: Exposition.2. An excellent study in prophetic hermeneutics is Hans K. LaRondelle's TheIsrael of God in Prophecy: Priru:iples of Prophetic Interpretation (Berrien Springs, MI:Andrews University, 1983), even though he is premillennial (non-dispensational). Seealso: Vern Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1987). Milton Terry's classic on the history of interpretation is also helpful: BiblicalHermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments (GrandRapids: Zondervan, [n.d] 1983).The HefflU!neutic of Scripture 145Literalism and ProphecyIt has been especially since the rise to prominence of dispensationalismin the late nineteenth century that interpretiveprinciples have become a major focus of eschatological discussion.3 One of the leading arguments of dispensationalists istheir claim to consistent interpretive literalism. Ryrie sets forthinterpretive literalism as a sine qua non of dispensationalism:"Dispensationalists claim that their principle of hermeneutics isthat of literal interpretation.... The dispensationalist claims touse the normal principle of interpretation consistently in all hisstudy of the Bible.,,4Ryrie is a prominent dispensationalist. A few examples ofliteralism from his writings serve as illustrations of the dispensationalapproach to hermeneutics. He chides Mickelsen for suggestingthat the ancient weapons and chariots of Ezekiel 39(which both Ryrie and Mickelsen deem to be in the future) aresymbolic equivalents of modern weaponry: "If specific detailsare not interpreted literally when given as specific details, thenthere can be no end to the variety of the meanings of a text.,,5Here the principle of consistent literalism is so vigorously heldthat we are left with what non-dispensational evangelicals wouldconsider an absurdity, despite attempted explanations.6Elsewhere, Ryrie writes: 'Jerusalem will be exalted (Zech.3. For the evolution of literalism in fundamentalism, see: George M. Marsden,iUndamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism,1870-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).4. Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), pp. 86,89.5. Ibid., pp. 89-90. Elsewhere he suggests that horses will playa role in Armageddonbecause of Ezekiel 38:4, 15. Ryrie, The Living End (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell,1976), p. 54.6. "With the worldwide catastrophes evident during the first three and one-halfyears of Daniel's 70th Week (Matt. 24:6-8; Rev. 6), a reversion to more primitivemethods of warfare might become possible." Charles H. Dyer, "Ezekiel," The BibleKnowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2 vols. (Wheaton,IL: Victor, 1983). I: 130I.146 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION14:10), and there is no reason to doubt but that this will beliteral and that the city by means of certain physical changesshall be exalted above the surrounding hills,,!7 Of the "future"battle of Gog and Magog, Ryrie suggests: "A cavalry in this dayofjets and atom bombs? It does seem unbelievable. But Ezekielsaw the mighty army from the north coming against the land ofIsrael on horses (Ezekiel 38:4, 15)."8 Can anyone accept suchviews as reasonable, especially since it is so easy to understandthese elements as figurative?Ryrie gives three arguments for the literalistic hermeneutic.9(1) "Philosophically, the purpose of language itself seems torequire literal interpretation. . . . If God be the originator oflanguage and if the chief purpose of originating it was to conveyHis message to man, then it must follow that He, being allwiseand all-loving, originated sufficient language to convey allthat was in His heart to tell man. Furthermore, it must alsofollow that He would use language and expect man to use it inits literal, normal, and plain sense." (2) "[P]rophecies in the OldTestament concerning the first coming of Christ - His birth,His rearing, His ministry, His death, His resurrection - were allfulfilled literally. There is no non-literal fulfillment of theseprophecies in the New Testament."l0 (3) "If one does not usethe plain, normal, or literal method of interpretation, all objectivityis lost."Despite the vigorous assertions of dispensationalists, "consistentliteralism" is an impossible ideal. Consider the followingproblems for the Ryrie-style consistent literalist.7. Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: LoizeauxBros., 1953), p. 148.8. Ryrie, The Living End, p. 54.9. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, pp. 87-88.10. See also: Charles L. Feinberg, Millennialism: The Two Major Views (3rd ed.;Chicago: Moody Press, [1936] 1980), p."41; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: AStudy in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 10; Robert P.Lightner, Last Days Handbook (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), pp. 126-127.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 147The Philosophy of Language ArgumentThe immediately striking point about Ryrie's first proof isthat it is a preconceived hermeneutic. This is quite evident inRyrie's statement that "principles of interpretation are basic andought to be established before attempting to interpret theWord...."11 Does not his approach to language function disallowthe possibility of a spiritual interpretation at the very outset?Why must we begin with the assumption of literalism? Maynot so rich a work as the Bible, dedicated to such a lofty andspiritual theme (the infinite God's redemption of sinful man),written by many authors over 1,500 years employ a variety ofliterary genres? No symbols? No metaphors? No analogies?Even dispensationalists admit that biblical revelation oftendoes employ figures of speech. But this brings up the verycontroversy before us: when is prophecy to be interpreted literally,and when figuratively? Poythress rightly suspects thatdispensationalists "may have conveniently arranged their decisionabout what is figurative after their basic system is in placetelling them what can and what cannot be fitted into the system.The decisions as to what is figurative and what is notfigurative may be a product of the system as a whole ratherthan the inductive basis of it.,,12 This fact is evidenced in Ryrie'sstatement that "The understanding of God's differingeconomies is essential to a proper interpretation of His revelationwithin those various economies.,,13 In other words, youmust have a dispensational framework ("understanding God'sdiffering economies") in order to do "proper interpretation"!1411. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, p. 86.12. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists. p. 53. For a discussion betweenPoythress and two leading dispensationalists over Poythress' arguments. see: GraceTheological Journal 10:2 (Fall 1989) 123-160.13. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, p. 31.14. This is despite Ryrie's complaint: "Thus the nondispensationalist is not aconsistent literalist by his own admission, but has to introduce another hermeneuticalprinciple (the 'theological' method) in order to have a hermeneutical basis for the148 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONFeinberg agrees: "Every prophecy is a part of a wonderfulscheme of revelation; for the true significance of any prophecy,the whole prophetic scheme must be kept in mind and theinterrelationship between the parts in the plan as well.,,15The dispensationalist presumption of a consistent literalism isunreasonable. "To assert, without express authority, that prophecymust always and exclusively be one or the other, is asfoolish as it would be to assert the same thing of the wholeconversation of an individual throughout his lifetime, or ofhuman speech in general."16In addition, Ryrie's first argument begs the question. Ryrieargues that because God created language, "the purpose of languageitself seems to require literal interpretation" on the basisthat "it must ... follow that He would use language and expectman to use it in its literal, normal, and plain sense."17 This isnot very convincing.IS Is Jesus literally a door Oohn 10:9)?Finally, the dispensational practice of hermeneutics tends tobe immune to criticism by its exclusion of countervailing evidence.As Poythress demonstrates, dispensationalists applyprophecies in a non-literal way by calling them "applications,,19 or "partial fulfillments,"20 or by classifying them assystem he holds." Ryrie, Dispensatiotullism Today, p. 94.15. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 40.16. J. A. Alexander, Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, 2 vols. in one (GrandRapids: Zondervan, [1875] 1977), 1:30.17. A problem of which dispensationalists seem to be unaware is the question asto whom a prophecy is "plain." The dispensational practice is to try to make it plainto the 20th-century reader. What about the ancient audience to whom it was written?18. Pentecost follows suit: "Inasmuch as God gave the Word of God as a revelationto men, it would be expected that His revelation would be given in such exactand specific terms that His thoughts would be accurately conveyed and understoodwhen interpreted according to the laws of grammar and speech. Such presumptiveevidence favors the literal interpretation, for an allegorical method of interpretationwould cloud the meaning ofthe message delivered by God to men." Pentecost, Thingsto Come, p. 10.19. J. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990), p. 80.20. For example. Psa. 69:25 in Acts 1:20. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 51.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 149spiritual level fulfillments,21 or arguing that sometimes originalprophecies contained figures themselves. Poythress queries,how can we know this in advance?22 His point is well-taken.The First-Coming Fulfillment ArgumentThis literalism argument is one of the most frequently employed.But it also suffers from question-begging. Pentecostholds that this is "one of the strongest evidences for the literalmethod." He vigorously asserts: "When the Old Testament isused in the New it is used only in a literal sense." "No prophecywhich has been completely fulfilled has been fulfilled anyway but literally."23 Walvoord argues that "the literal fulfillmentof promises pertaining to the first coming is a foreshadowingof the literal -fulfillment of promises pertaining to thesecond coming."24 They need to prove this, not just assume it.The New Testament does not support this bold claim. To saythat all prophecies that were fulfilled in the New Testamentwere fulfilled literally requires that one's system already be inplace. In other words, there is no such thing as hermeneuticalneutrality. The interpretation of a passage is grounded in theexpositor's original presupposition. Literalism dejinitionallywrites off all non-literal fulfillments. It ignores Old Testamentprophecies of the establishment of the kingdom that find fulfillmentin the ministry of Christ, though not as a literalistic, politicalconception (Matt. 12:28; Luke 17:20-21).25 These propheciesmust find fulfillment beginning in the first century, for the21. For example, the Church's participation in the New Covenant. John F.Walvoord, Prophecy Krwwledge Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990), pp. 502-503.22. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, pp. 53-55.23. Pentecost, Things to COTlUJ, pp. 10-11. See also: H. Wayne House and ThomasD. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988), pp.321-323.24. John F. Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, 3 vols. in I(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 3:61.25. This whole matter will receive careful exposition in Chapter II, below.150 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONprophecies of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which is associatedwith them, did come to pass (Acts 2).26Even apart from the debate regarding Christ's kingdom, thedispensationalist argument is unfounded. For instance, althoughMatthew often interprets Old Testament propheciesliterally, he does not always do so. Crenshaw and Gunn havecarefully demonstrated that "out of 97 OT prophecies only 34were directly or literally fulfilled, which is only 35.05 percent.,,27 They show there are other types of fulfillments thanliteral ones in the New Testament. Typical fulfillments are usedby Matthew: God's calling Israel up out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1)was fulfilled when the young Jesus returned from His flight toEgypt (Matt. 2:15). Analogical fulfillments are also used, aswhen the weeping of Rachel for her children Qer. 31:15) isfulfilled in Bethlehem's weeping for its children (Matt. 2:18).7Ypes are fulfilled in their antitypes. There are a number oftypes that come to fulfillment and are spiritually transformed inthe New Testament. For instance, historicalJerusalem is typical ofits antitype, the heavenly city. Paul sets the New Covenant overagainst the Old Covenant, and the heavenly Jerusalem overagainst the earthly Jerusalem in teaching that Christianity representsthe heavenly Jerusalem: "For this Hagar is Mount Sinai inArabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is inbondage with her children; but the Jerusalem above is free,which is the mother of us all" (Gal. 4:25-26; cf. 22-31). Thewriter of Hebrews does the same, when he says that New CovenantChristian converts (Heb. 12:24) from Old CovenantJudaismare now come "to Mount Zion and to the city of the livingGod, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company ofangels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn whoare registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits26. See Isa. 32:14-17; Ezek. 36:25-27;Joel2:28ff. Cf. John 7:39; 16:12ff.27. Curtis Crenshaw and Grover Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, andTomorrow (Memphis: Footstool, 1985), p. 22. See their helpful chart on pages 14-22.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 151ofjust men made perfect" (Heb. 12:22-23). John sees the NewJerusalem coming down out of heaven to earth in the establishmentof Christianity (Rev. 21: 1, 2).28 This was the heavenly citythat Abraham ultimately sought beyond the temporal (andtypical) Promised Land promise (Heb. 11:10, 16).Premillennialist LaRondelle insightfully observes: "In dispensationalismwe face the fact that the hermeneutic of literalismaccepts Christian typology for some selected historical parts ofthe Old Testament. But it suddenly rejects each typologicalapplication of God's covenant with Israel to Christ's new covenantwith His Church. This seems to be an arbitrary, speculativeuse of typology with the Old Testament."29 This is a tellingadmission on his part.A classic and eschatologically relevant spiritual fulfillment ofthe Old Testament in the apostolic era is found in Acts 2.30Peter interprets the Davidic kingdom prophecies in general(Acts 2:30) and Psalms 16:8-11 (Acts 2:25-28) and 110:1 (Acts2:34-35) specifically as coming to fulfillment in the ascensionand session of Christ: "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowingthat God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit ofhis body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christto sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning theresurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades,nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up,of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to theright hand of God, and having received from the Father thepromise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you nowsee and hear" (Acts 2:30-33).28. For a brief statement regarding the New Jerusalem/Church connection, seeChapter 17, below. It seems dear from the time statements in Revelation followingthe New Jerusalem imagery that this must come to pass not long after John wrote(Rev. 22:6, 7, 10). See my forthcoming book, The Divorce ofIsrael: A Commmtary on theRevelation.29. LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy, p. 48.30. We will treat another important passage below: Acts 15: 15-17, p. 169.152 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONLater, Paul preaches that the Davidic promise to Israel hasbeen fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ: "And we declare toyou glad tidings; that promise which was made to the fathers.God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raisedup Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are MySon, today I have begotten You,' And that He raised Him fromthe dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:'I will give you the sure mercies of David' " (Acts 13:32-34).The Objectivity ArgumentBecause of the alleged "objectivity" factor, it is common fordispensationalists to deem liberal any employment of a nonliteralinterpretation of any particular passage of Scripture:Although it could not be said that all amillennialists deny theverbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, yet, as it will beshown later, it seems to be the first step in that direction. Thesystem of spiritualizing Scripture is a tacit denial of the doctrineof the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures.... Thus theallegorical method of amillennialism is a step toward modernism.31

    Elsewhere, we read that postmillennialism "is a system of theologybased upon a subjective spiritualizing of Scripture" that"lends itself to liberalism with only minor adjustments,',32 Consequently,"it is a fact that there are few, if any, theologicallyliberal premillenarians because premillennialists follow theliteral method of interpreting all the Bible."33Of course, literalism is not necessarily protective of orthodoxy.It is easy to point out that many cults approach Scriptureliteralistically - and erroneously. Consider the Mormon doc-31. Ryrie, Basis of the Premillennial Faith, pp. 34, 35, 46.32. John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959),pp. 34, 35.33. Lightner, Last Days Handbook, p. 106.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 153trine that God has a literal, tangible body. Mter citing Genesis1:26-27 regarding Adam's creation "in the image and likenessof God," LeGrand Richards, an Apostle of the Church ofJesusChrist, Latter-day Saints, writes: "Attempts have been made toexplain that this creation was only in the spiritual image andlikeness of God.... Joseph Smith found that he was as literallyin the image and likeness of God and Jesus Christ, as Seth wasin the likeness and image of his father Adam.,,34Besides being na'ive, the dispensational claim to "consistentliteralism" is frustrating due to its inconsistent employment. Forinstance, several Old Testament prophecies regarding David'sreign in the millennium are not always literally understood.Dispensationalist H. A. Ironside writes: "I do not understandthis to mean that David himself will be raised and caused todwell on the earth as king.... [T]he implication is that He whowas David's Son, the Lord Christ Himself is to be the King.,,35On what basis can a consistent literalist allow this view?Neither is it necessary that Elijah's coming as prophesied inMalachi 4:5-6 be literally understood. Pentecost writes: "Theprophecy is interpreted by the Lord as being fulfilled, not inliteral Elijah, but in one who comes in Elijah's spirit and power.,,36 Here he breaches two hermeneutic principles of his dispensationalism:He allows the New Testament (Luke 1: 17) tointerpret the Old Testament (Mal. 4:5-6), and he drops hisconsistent literalism. This is convenient but illegitimate.The "millennial" sacrifices in the prophecy of Ezekiel 45 areexpressly said to "make reconciliation" (Ezek. 45: 15, 17, 20),34. LeGrand Richards, A Maroelous Work and Wonder (Salt Lake City: Deseret,1958), p. 16. There are even non-Mormons who point to the biblical references toGod's "hand" as indicative of a body: F. J. Dake, Annotated Reference Bible (Atlanta:Dake Bible Sales, 1965), New Testament, p. 280.35. Harry A. Ironside, Expository Notes on Ezekiel the Prophet (New York: LoizeauxBros., 1949), p. 262, cited inJ. D. Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 498-499. Cf. Ryrie,Basis of the PremiUennial Faith, p. 88. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 60.36. Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 311-313; cf. E. Schuyler English, "The TwoWitnesses," Our Hope 47 (April 1941) 666.154 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONusing the piel of the Hebrew kaphar (as in Lev. 6:30; 8: 15;16:6tr7). But Pentecost notes that "the sacrifices will be memorialin character.,,38 Yet this question needs to be faced by selfprofessedliteralists: what literalist, reading the phrase "makereconciliation," would surmise that this was only "memorial"?Where is the consistent literalism here?39 Some dispensationalistsallow that this passage "is not to be taken literally," but ismerely "using the terms with which the Jews were familiar inEzekiel's day.,,40 This is convenient but illegitimate.Isaiah 52: 15 says of Messiah: "So shall he sprinkle manynations." The New Scofield Reference Bible comments: "Comparethe literal fulfillment of this prediction in 1 Pet. 1: 1-2, wherepeople of many nations are described as having been sprinkledwith the blood of Christ.,,41 Literal? When was Jesus' bloodliterally sprinkled on the nations? This sounds more like "spiritualizing"than "consistent literalism."Of Isaiah 13:17-22, we learn that these verses "predict thedestruction of the literal Babylon then existing. The verses alsolook forward to the destruction of both political Babylon and37. Often sacrifices in Scripture speak figuratively of prayer (Psa. 141:2), praise(Psa. 44:6; Jer. 17:26; 33:11), thanksgiving (Psa. 107:22; 116:17), joy (Psa. 27:6),righteousness (Psa. 4:5; 51:19), confession (Psa. 66:13), contrition (Psa. 51 :17), and soforth.38. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 525. See also Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie StudyBible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 1299.39. The whole idea of a re-instituted sacrificial system is repulsive to the biblicalscheme of things (see Hebrews). The dispensational system presents an unnecessaryconfusion here. Consider: By Christ's appointment, the Lord's Supper is the sign ofthe New Covenant (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; I Cor. 11:25). It is to bekept until He comes (1 Cor. 11:25-26). But in the dispensational system, when Christcomes to establish the New Covenant with Israel for a millennium, the Lord's Supper(which is the sign of the New Covenant) will be done away with while the sacrificialsystem (which is an Old Covenant foreshadowing of Christ's redemptive labor, Heb.10:1-3) will be reinstituted as a "memorial." And this memorial will be done in Hisvery presence!40. The New Sco.fUld Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967),p. 888, note 1 (at Ezek. 43: 19).41. Ibid., p. 758, note 3.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 155ecclesiastical Babylon in the time of the Beast."42 At Revelation18:2 we read: "The term 'Babylon' in prophecy is sometimesused in a larger sense than mere reference to either the ancientcity or nation...."43 I agree. This is exactly the case. Thissame approach is true in many other such cases, as with Israel(Gal. 6:16; Reb. 8:6-13), David's throne (Luke 1:32; Acts 2:2931),circumcision (Phil. 3:3; Col. 2:11), sacrifices (Rom. 12:1; 1Pet. 2:5), the temple (1 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 2:19-22), the tabernacle(Acts 15:16; Reb. 9:11), and so forth. But, when it suits them,dispensationalists vigorously argue for literalism. For instance,of Isaiah 9:7 we read: " 'The throne of David' is an expressionas definite, historically, as 'the throne of the Caesars,' and doesnot admit of spiritualizing... :'44The catastrophic judgment prophecy in Jeremiah 4:23-28,where the heavens become black and the mountains shake andall the birds flee, is not to be understood literally, according toCharles R. Dyer. 'Jeremiah pictured God's coming judgmentas a cosmic catastrophe - an undoing of creation. Using imageryfrom the Creation account (Gen. 1) Jeremiah indicated thatno aspect of life would remain untouched." The universal catastropheimagery had to do with "the approaching army of Babylon."45 John A. Martin, writing in the same dispensationalcommentary, explains the language of Isaiah 13:10-13, wherethe sun, moon, and stars are darkened and the earth is movedout of its place: "The statements in 13:10 about the heavenlybodies (stars . .. sun . .. moon) no longer functioning may figurativelydescribe the total turnaround of the political structure of42. Ibid., p. 724, n 3.43. Ibid., p. 1369.44. Ibid., p. 721. Poythress (p. 24n) cites many examples of non-literalism in thenotes of the original Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press,[1909] 1917): Gen. 1:16; 24:1; 37:2; 41:45; 43:45; Exo. 2:2; 15:25; 25:1, 30; 26:15;Ruth Intro; Ezek. 2:1; Zech. 10:I;John 12:24. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists,p. 24n.45. Charles H. Dyer, 'Jeremiah," Bible Knowledge Commentary, 1:1136, 1135.156 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe Near East. The same would be true of the heavens tremblingand the earth shaking (v. 13), figures of speech suggesting allencompassingdestruction."46 Politics? Figures of speech?Rather than such "objective" interpretations, the Christianexegete must allow the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament."The Christian interpreter comes to the Old Testament with adifferent theological perspective than the Jewish expositor.,,47As Van Gemeren well states: "Christian students of the OldTestament must pass by the cross ofJesus Christ on their return to theOld Testament, and as such they can never lose their identity asa Christian."48 Simply put: "We cannot forget what we havelearned from Christ."49 This approach to biblical interpretationallows the conclusive revelation of God in the New Testamentauthoritatively to interpret incomplete revelation in the Old.The dispensationalist resists this: "As a result of the covenantof grace idea, covenant theology has been forced to place as itsmost basic principle of interpretation the principle of interpretingthe Old Testament by the New.,,50 But the Scripture suggeststhat even the prophets could not always fathom their ownpredictions,51 because of the nature of predictive prophecy(Num. 12:8). Nor could the pre-resurrection, pre-pentecostaldisciples.52 Nor could the last prophet of the Old Covenant era,John Baptist (Matt. 11:2-6). Why not? Because "with respect toeschatology, people in the Old Testament were not in the sameposition as they were for short-range prophecy.... The exactmanner of fulfillment frequently could not be pinned down46. John A. Martin, "Isaiah," ibid., 1:1059.47. LaRondelle, Israel of God in Prophecy, p. 7.48. Willem Van Gemeren, The Progress of Redemption: The Story of Salvation fromCreation to the New Jerusalem (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), p. 21.49. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, p. 104.50. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, p. 187.51. 1 Pet. 1:10,11. See: Dan. 8:27; 12:8; Zech. 4:13; Rev. 7:13-14; 17:8-9. Youngdefends the view that Daniel did not understand his prophecies in Dan. 8:27 and12:5. E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), p. 182.52. Matt. 16:21-22; Luke 18:31-34; John 2:22: 20:9,The Hermeneutic of Scripture 157until the fulfillment came."S3 The conclusive New Testamentrevelation was needed (Heb. 1: 1-2).The Emmaus disciples. holding to current literalistic Jewishconceptions. needed to have Christ open the Scriptures to them(Luke 24:32. 45). Christ rejected the political Messianism of theliteralistic Jews.54 The Jews had a dullness of understanding5sthat seems to be accounted for (at least partially) in that "theprevailing method of interpretation among the Jews at the timeof Christ was certainly the literal method of interpretation:•s6Mter all. when Christ confronted Nicodemus. He pointed tothis very problem: 'jesus answered and said to him. 'Are youthe teacher of Israel. and do not know these things? ... If Ihave told you earthly things and you do not believe. how willyou believe if I tell you heavenly things?' " (John 3:10. 12).Literalism plagued the Jews throughout Jesus' ministry.s7 Fewwould dispute the fact that the Jews of Christ's day looked fora political Messiah (John 6: 14-15; 18:33-36). The Emmausdisciples were rebuked for just such a conception (Luke 24: 1721.25-26). Christ suffered. then entered immediately into Hisglory.s8 The cause of Israel's rejection of Christ is due (at leastpartially) to their not knowing He fulfilled prophecy (Luke53. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, p. 107.54. Matt. 23:37-38; Luke 19:41-42; 24:21-27; John 6:15; 18:36.55. 2 Cor. 3:14; cr. Matt. 13:15; John 8:12; 12:46; Acts 28:26-27; Rom. 11:7-8.The dullness led eventually to their ascribing Satanic influence to Christ (Matt. 12:2228).56. Pentecost, Things to Comt!, p. 17. See also: Richard Longenecker, BiblicalExegesis in the Apostolic Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), ch. 1. Bernard Ramm,Protestant Biblical Interpretation (Boston: W. A Wilde, 1950), pp. 48f. In fact, thefundamental idea of a premillennial kingdom seems to be traceable back to theliteralistic Jewish conception, and thus it may be said that "premillennialism is adescendent of ancient Judaism." William Masselink, Why Thousand ~aTS? (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1930), p. 20. See also: Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 234; Henry B. Swete, Commentary on Revelation(Grand Rapids: Kregal, [1906] 1977), p. cxxxiii; Feinberg, Millennialism, pp. 34-35.57. See: John 2:19-21; 3:5-7; 4:10-15, 31-38; 6:31-35, 51-58; 8:21-22, 32-36;8:51-53; 9:39-40; 11:11-14; 13:33-37; 18:33-37.58. Luke 24:26; I Pet. 1:11. Cf.John 12:23-24; Phil. 2:8-9.158 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION19:42-44; Matt. 23:37, 38).59Consequently, "it is irresponsible to jump unprepared intothe area of end-time prophecies of Scripture. By consideringsuch apocalyptic portions of Holy Scripture by themselves, inisolation from the total prophetic-messianic framework, one willnecessarily fall into the pitfall of a geographic and ethnic literalism.,,60 The whole concept of progressive revelation points to thistruth. Thus, the historical-grammatical analysis "cannot beseparated from interpretation 'in faith.' The Bible requirescontinual submission of our understanding to what the spirit ofGod has inspired (1 Cor. 2: 12-15)."61In recent years, literalism - the previously popular, linchpinhermeneutical argument, promoted by leading Dallas Seminarydispensationalists - has been losing adherents. For instance,John S. Feinberg, a noted contemporary dispensationalist, hasadmitted that on hermeneutics, "Ryrie is too simplistic."62Nevertheless, we find that less well-informed dispensationalauthors still insist on identifying a broader hermeneutic as thedanger of a non-dispensational eschatology.6359. Ultimately, their spiritual condition is the source of their rejection, with themisapprehension of prophecy a result of that.60. LaRondelle, Israel of God in Prophecy, p. 7. As Young notes: "In speaking ofthe future or Messianic age, Isaiah, as a prophet of the Old Testament, uses thethought forms and the figures which were current in that age. It is obvious that thelanguage of the prophet cannot be interpreted in a consistently literal sense. Rather,Isaiah takes the figures which were the property of the Old Testament economy andmakes them the vehicles of expression for the truths of salvation and blessing whichwere the characteristics of the age of grace." E. J. Young, Isaiah (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1965), 1:99.61. Van Gemeren, Progress of Redemption, p. 27.62. John S. Feinberg, "Systems of Discontinuity," Continuity and Discontinuity:Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments, Feinberg, ed. (Westchester,IL: Crossway, 1988), p. 73. One m;;yor theologian who converted fromdispensationalism is former Dallas Seminary professor S. Lewis Johnson, who warnsof the anti-apostolic nature of literalism, which he says interprets "woodenly." S. L.Johnson, The Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), p. 83.63. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, ch. 14; Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened toHeaven' (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1988), ch. 12; Hal Lindsey, The Road toHolocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989), ch. 3.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 159Preterism and ProphecyAnother important hermeneutic issue (but one that does nothave a necessary relation to the broader question of postmillennialism,in that not all postmillennialists adopt it), is that ofpreterism. The term "preterism" is based on the Latin preter,which means "past." Preterism refers to that understanding ofcertain eschatological passages which holds that they have alreadycome to fulfillment. Actually, all Christians - even dispensationalists- are preteristic to some extent. This is necessarily sobecause Christianity holds that a great many of the Messianicpassages have already been fulfilled in Christ's first coming.64On these points, Christians differ from the "futurism" of OrthodoxJudaism. Orthodox Jews today and also in antiquity haveinsisted that Christians are misapplying the Old Testament'sMessianic prophecies to past events. Of the incarnation as revealedin prophecy, early church father Athanasius wrote: "Sothe Jews are trifling, and the time in question, which they referto the future, is actually come.,,65The preterist approach teaches, for instance, that many ofthe prophecies of Revelation and the first portion of the OlivetDiscourse have already been fulfilled. Matthew 24:1-34 (andparallels) in the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled in the eventssurrounding the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.66 In Revelation,most of the prophecies before Revelation 20 find fulfillment inthe fall ofJerusalem (A.D. 70). The preterist has strong exegeticalindicators undergirding his system, which I will briefly64. See the list of thirty-one such passages in House and Ice, Dominion Theology,pp. 321-322.65. Athanasius, Incarnation 40: 1.66. In this I differ from some preterists who go much farther and claim all of theOlivet Discourse has been fufilled, and even the Second Advent, resurrection, andjudgment at the destruction of Jerusalem. See: Milton Terry, Biblical HeT'Tl'lerU!utics(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.); J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia: A Study of the NewTestament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1887] 1983).Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ: The Two Dimensions of One AgeChangingEschaton (Warren, OH: Writing and Research Ministry, 1987).160 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONillustrate. But first I need to refer to my hermeneutic.The Exegetical Basis of PreterismIt should always be the Christian's hermeneutic practice that:(1) the clearer (didactic discourse) statements interpret the lessclear (figurative imagery) and (2) Scripture interprets Scripture.I will briefly illustrate the preteristic argument from the OlivetDiscourse and Revelation, based on these two principles.67 Icontend that rival views frequently dishonor both principles.The Olivet Discourse. The fulfillment of Matthew 24:4-33 inthe destruction of Jerusalem is a most reasonable and evennecessary conclusion. Even futurists are pressed to admit tosome preteristic elements in the discourse. Dispensationalistsgenerally hold that: "The Olivet discourse did predict the comingdestruction ofJerusalem, which is today a past event, but atthe same time the bulk of the passage deals with the yet futureevents of Christ's coming and the end of the age.,,68 AmillennialistsHendriksen, Lenski, and Berkhof, as well as postmillennialistsAlexander and Henry, hold that this passage mergesboth the A.D. 70 event with the Second Advent.69That Matthew 24:4-33 en toto has been fulfilled seems quite67. For additional insights into the preteristic approach to the Olivet Discourse,see Chapter 15; for Revelation, see Chapter 17. See also: David Chilton, The OreatTribulation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987). J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatologyof ViI;tory (n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1971).68. House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 271. See also: Pentecost, Thy KingdomCome, p. 249. Warren W. Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor,1989), 2:86. John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 381. Louis A. Barbieri,Jr., "Matthew," Bible Knowledge Commentary, 2:76. James F. Rand, "A Survey ofthe Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse," Bibliotheca Sacra 113 (1956) 166.69. William Hendriksen, The Gospel ofMatthew (New Testament Commentary) (GrandRapids: Baker, 1973), pp. 867-869. R. C. H. Lenski, Interpretation of Matthew's Gospel(Columbus: Wartburg, 1932), pp. 929-930. Louis Berkhof, Systematil; Theology (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 704. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary (OldTappan, NJ: Revell, [1721] n.d.), 5:356-360. Joseph A Alexander, The Gospel Accordingto Mark (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1858] 1980), p. 363.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 161obvious on the two following bases.7o First, its introductorycontext strongly suggests it. In Matthew 23, Jesus sorely rebukesthe '~scribes and Pharisees" of His own day (Matt. 23:2f1), urgingthem finally to "fill up then the measure of your fathers" whokilled the prophets (23:31-32).71 Christ says that they are a"generation" of vipers (23:33) that will persecute and slay Hisdisciples (23:34). He notes that upon them will come all therighteous blood shed on the earth (23:35). He then dogmaticallyasserts: "[V]erily I say unto you, all these things shall comeupon this generation" (23:36).72Then, in Matthew 23:37-24:2, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem,and declares that its temple will be destroyed, stone-by-stone,despite His disciples' surprise. It is of these things that thedisciples ask, "When shall these things be?" As a matter ofhistorical record we know the temple was destroyed, stone bystone, in August, A.D. 70.70. The preterist view is held by amillennial theologians 31so: George L. Murray,Millennia! Studies: A Search for Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1948), p. 1l0; AlfredPlummer, The Gospel According to St. Luke (Inte17Ultional Critical Commentary) (NewYork: Scribner's, 1910), p. 338. A. B. Bruce, Synoptic Gospels (The Expositor's GreekTestament) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.), p. 296. William L. Lane, The Gospel ofMark (New International Commentary on the New Testament) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1974), pp. 479-480. A dispensationalist has even been moved close to this view, andhas stated: "The manner in which dispensationalism has traditionally handled thissection is thus weak on several fronts.... Contemporary dispensationalists shouldrethink this area of NT exegesis." "It must be concluded that the futurist view, heldby traditional dispensationalists, is unconvincing. It does not satisfactorily handle thecontextual emphasis on the fall ofJerusalem...." David L. Turner, "The Structureand Sequence of Matthew 24: 1-41: Interaction with Evangelical Treatments," GraceTheological Journal 10:1 (Spring 1989) 7,10.71. As did John Baptist before Him (Matt. 3:1-12).72. The phrase is found in Matthew 1:17; 1l:16; 12:39-45; 16:4; 17:17; and23:36. It is only with great difficulty that any of these references may be given ameaning other than the contemporary generation in Jesus' day. In the five otherinstances in Matthew where the word genea is coupled with the near demonstrativeto read "this generation," it clearly refers to the generation then living. These passagesare Matthew 11:16; 12:41,42,45; and 23:36. In Scripture the idea of a "generation"of people involves roughly twenty-five to forty years. A. T. Robertson, Word Picturesin the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1930), 1:194. See: Num. 32:13;Psa.95:10.162 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONSecond, its express temporal indicators demand it. We mustnot miss the clear references to the contemporary expectation.Enclosing the relevant portion of the discourse, we haveChrist's own time-element designation. In 23:36, he dogmaticallyasserts "all these things shall come upon this generation." Hecloses the relevant portion of the prophecy by repetition of thetime frame: Matthew 24:34 says, "Verily I say unto you, thisgeneration shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Andjust forty years later Jerusalem was destroyed! Contextually the"this generation" of Matthew 24:34 must speak of the same ideaas that of Matthew 23:36.In verse 34, the matter is solemnly affirmed by Christ. He isquite dogmatic when He begins a statement with: "verily."Thus, Christ emphatically draws the disciples' attention to whatHe is about to say, just as He did in 24:2, where He made thestatement that led to the whole discourse.In addition, the dogmatism of His statement is further underscored.He does not just tell them; He emphatically introduceswhat He is about to say by saying, "I tell you." He hasnot left the temporal expectation to them to figure out. Furthermore,the literal rendering of the Greek reads: "Truly I tellyou that by no means passes away generation this until all thesethings happen."73 The "by no means" is a strong, double negative(ou me). Jesus places it early in His statement for addedemphasis. He is staking His credibility,74 as it were, on theabsolute certainty of this prophetic pronouncement.But what does He so dogmatically and carefully tell them?Whatever the difficult apocalyptic imagery in some of the precedingverses (e.g., vv. 29-31) may indicate, Jesus dearly saysthat "all these things" will occur before "this generation" passesaway. He employs the near demonstrative for the fulfillment of73. Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Grand Rapids:Zondervan, 1959), p. 10874. He contrasts the durability and integrity of His prophetic word here withthat of the material universe (24:35).The Hermeneutic of Scripture 163verses 2-34: these events will come upon "this generation:' Heuses the far demonstrative in 24:36 to point to the SecondAdvent: "that day." The coming "tribulation" (24:21; cf. Rev.1:9) was to come upon "this generation" (23:36; 24:34; cr. 1Thess. 2:16) and was to be foreshadowed by certain signs (24:48).But the Second Advent was to be at "that" far day and hour,and was not to be preceded by particular signs of its nearness,for no man can know it (24:-36). Preterism is well-establishedin Matthew 24:3-34, as many early church fathers recognized.7s

    The Book of Revelation.76 The past fulfillment of most of theprophecies in Revelation 4-19 is compellingly suggested by thevarious time indicators contained in its less symbolic, moredidactic (instructional) introduction and conclusion.Revelation 1: 1 opens the prophecies of Revelation and preparesthe reader to understand them: "The Revelation ofJesusChrist, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servantsthings which must shortly [en tachei] come to pass:' He repeatsthis assertion using different, though synonymous, terminologyin Revelation 1:3c, when he says "the time is at hand" (kairoseggus). He again repeats these ideas as he closes. Revelation22:6: "These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God ofthe holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants thethings which must shortly be done" (genesthai en tachei). Revelation22: 10: "And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecyof this book: for the time is at hand" (ho kairos gar eggusestin). The point is clear: John expected imminent fulfillment.75. See especially Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3:7: 1-2; The Clementine Homilies3: 15; and Cyprian, Treatises 12: 1:6, 15. For more detail, see Greg L. Bahnsen andKenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispew;ational Theology (Tyler,TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 276-282.76. See Chapter 17, below, for a brief outline survey of Revelation. For moredetail regarding preterism in Revelation, see my Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Bookof Revelation (Tyler, TX: Institu te for Christian Economics, 1989).164 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe text-bracketing temporal indicators, pointed to by preterists,cannot lightly be dismissed. John is writing to seven historicalchurches (Rev. 1:4, 11; 22:16), which are expecting troublesometimes (Rev. 2-3). He testifies to being with them in "the tribulation"(Rev. 1:9, en te thlipsei). He expects those very churches tohear and understand (Rev.l:3; 22:10) the revelation (Rev. 1:1)and to heed the things in it (Rev. 1:3; 22:7), because of thenearness ofthe events (Rev. 1:1,3; 22:6, 10). One of the agonizingcries from his fellow sufferers receives emphasis. In Revelation6, the martyred souls in heaven plead for God's righteousvindication: "They cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long,o Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our bloodon those who dwell on the earth?' And a white robe was givento each of them; and it was said to them that they should resta little while longer" (Rev. 6:10-11).Original relevance, then, is the lock and the time-texts thekey to opening the door of Revelation. What terms could Johnhave used to speak of contemporary expectation other thanthose that are, in fact, found in Revelation 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10 andother places?77Preterism has a sound basis in historical and textual exegesis,as illustrated from the Olivet Discourse and Revelation.Israel and ProphecyThe role of Israel as a distinct people radically distinguishedfrom the Church is the leading feature of dispensationalism. Infact, as Poythress suggests, this theological presupposition isprobably the raison d'etre of the literalistic hermeneutic: "Thedualism of Israel and the church is, in fact, the deeper dualismdetermining when and where the hermeneutical dualism of'literal' and 'spiritual' is applied."78 Non-dispensational evan-77. For ancient preterist exposition, see: Andreas of Capadocia and Arethas. Formore references see: Gentry, Before Jerusalem FeU, pp. 133-145.78. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, p. 24.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 165gelical exegetes are in agreement against the radical IsraeVChurch dichotomy of dispensationalism.It is important that non-dispensationalists grasp the significanceof dispensationalism's understanding of Israel, for herein liesa fundamental error of the entire system. This crucial errordistorts the entire idea of the progress of redemption, the unityof God's people, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the interpretationof Scripture.Ryrie points to the distinctiveness of Israel as the first of thethree sine qua non of dispensationalism: ''A dispensationalistkeeps Israel and the Church distinct.,,79 Elsewhere, he is evenmore detailed:(1) The Church is not fulfilling in any sense the promises toIsrael. (2) The use of the word Church in the New Testamentnever includes unsaved Israelites. (3) The church age is not seenin God's program for Israel. It is an intercalation. (4) TheChurch is a mystery in the sense that it was completely unrevealedin the Old Testament and now revealed in the New Testament.(5) The Church did not begin until the day of Pentecostand will be removed from this world at the rapture which precedesthe Second Coming of Christ.80The Scripture does not support such theological assertions,as I will demonstrate.Israel in ScriptureThe Israel of the Old Testament is the forerunner of andcontinuous with the New Covenant phase of the Church, whichis the fruition of Israel. Thus, New Testament Christians may79. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, p. 44. See also: Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come,p. 9. Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, "Nations" section, pp.56ff. Feinberg, "Systems of Discontinuity," Continuity and Discontinuity, pp. 81ff. Houseand Ice, Dominion Theology, pp. 29ff.80. Ryrie, Basis of the Premillennial Faith, p. 136.166 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONeven call Abraham our father (Rom. 4: 16) and the Old Covenantpeople our "fathers" (1 Cor. 10:1). This clearly evinces aspiritual genealogical relation. Employing another figure, we aresaid to be grafted into Israel (Rom. 11: 16-19) so that we becomeone with her, partaking of her promises (Eph. 2:11-20).In fact, the Lord appointed twelve apostles in order to serve asthe spiritual seed ofa New Israel, taking over for the twelve sons ofOld Covenant Israel. Both the names of the twelve tribes (asthe Old Covenant representatives) and the twelve apostles (asthe New Covenant representatives) are incorporated into theone city of God, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12, 14).Dispensationalists strongly assert that "the Scriptures neveruse the term Israel to refer to any but the natural descendantsofJacob.,,81 Nevertheless, we are designated by terms associatedwith the Old Covenant people: we are called the "seed ofAbraham,"82 "the circumcision,"83 "a royal priesthood,"84"twelve tribes" ams. 1:1), "diaspora" (1 Pet. 1:1), the "temple ofGod."85 Do not these terms clearly speak to the essence of Israel'scovenantal identity? The Jews trusted in and boasted ofdescendeney from Abraham,86 and circumcision was a distinguishingcovenantal mark of the J ews87 - yet these conceptsare applied to Christians. Peter follows after Paul's thinking,81. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 230. See also: The New Scofield Reference Bible, p.1223. "The term Israel is nowhere used in the Scriptures for any but the physicaldescendants of Abraham." Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 127.82. Rom. 4:13-17; Gal. 3:6-9, 29.83. Rom. 2:28-29; Phil. 3:3; Col. 2: 11,84. Rom. 15:16; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10. See: Exo. 19:6.85. 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 1:16; Eph. 2:21.86. We read often of" the God ofAbraham" (Gen. 28:13; 31:42, 53; Exo. 3:6, 1516;4:5; 1 Kgs. 18:36; 1 Chr. 29:18; 2 Chr. 30:6; Psa. 47:9; Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:36;Luke 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32). The Jews expected blessings in terms of their Abrahamicdescent(Matt. 3:9; 8:11; Luke 3:8; Luke 13:16, 28; Luke 16:23-30; 19:9;John8:39,53; Rom. 11:1; 2 Cor. 11:22).87. Circumcision is the special sign of God's covenant with Abraham and Israel(Gen. 17:10, 13). Circumcision is mentioned 86 times in the Scriptures; the uncircumcisedare mentioned 61 times.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 167when he designates Christians as "stones" being built into a"spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:5-9). But he does more; he drawsupon several Old Testament designations of Israel and appliesthem to the Church: "... a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,an holy nation.,,88 He, with Paul, also calls Christians "apeculiar people" (1 Pet. 2:10; Titus 2:14), which is a familiarOld Testament designation for Israel.89If Abraham can have Gentiles as his "spiritual seed,,,gO whycannot there be a spiritual Israel? In fact, Christians are called bythe name "Israel": "And as many as walk according to this rule,peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God"(Gal. 6:16). Although dispensationalists attempt to understandGalatians 6:16 as speaking of Jewish converts to Christianity"who would not oppose the apostle's glorious message of salvation,"91 such is surely not the case, as we shall see.The entire context of Galatians is set against claims to a specialJewish status or distinction, as urged by dispensationalists. "Foryou are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For asmany of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in ChristJesus" (Gal. 3:26-28). In Christ, all racial distinction has been doneaway with. Why would Paul hold out a special word for JewishChristians ("the Israel of God"), when he had just stated thatthere is no boasting at all, save in the cross of Christ (Gal.6:14)? Mter all, "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcisionavails anything, but a new creation" (Gal. 6: 15). Thatnew creation is spoken of in detail in Ephesians 2:10-22, whereJew and Gentile are united in one body. This is the Church.It is important to note, as does Poythress, that the Church is88. 1 Pet. 2:9-10; Exo. 19:5-6; Deut. 7:6.89. Exo. 19:5; Deut. 14:2; 26:18; Psa. 135:4.90. New Scofield Refereru:e Bible, p. 1223 (at Rom. 9:6).91. Ibid. See also: Ryrie,Dispensationalism Today, p. 139; Pentecost, Things to Come,p. 89; Donald K. Campbell, "Galatians," Bible Knowledge Commentary, 1:611.168 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONnot a "straight-line" continuation of Israel. It fulfills Israelthrough Christ.92 All God's promises are "yea" and "amen" inChrist (2 Cor. 1:20). Since we are all the sons of Abraham (Gal.3:29) through Christ, we receive the fullness of blessingthrough Him (Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:23; Col. 2:10).The well-known and vitally important "New Covenant" isoriginally framed in Jewish terminology: "Behold, the dayscome, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with thehouse of Israel, and with the house of Judah" Qer. 31:3193).

    But despite the contortions dispensationalists go through toavoid the obvious - some even declaring there are two NewCovenants94- this New Covenant specifically comes to existencein the days of Christ. We should note that the New Covenantis specifically applied to the Church: (a) Pentecost is quitecorrect, when he writes of the establishment of the Lord's Supper:"In its historical setting, the disciples who heard the Lordrefer to the new covenant ... would certainly have understoodHim to be referring to the new covenant of Jeremiah 31."95What could be more obvious? (b) In fact, the sudden appearanceof the "New Covenant" designation in the New Testamentrecord, without qualification or explanation, demands that itmust refer to the well-known New Covenant ofJeremiah (Matt.92. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, p. 126.93. See also: Ezek. 11:16-21; Joel 2:32; Zeph. 3:12-13.94. See Ryrie, Basis of the Premillennial Faith, ch. 6, and Pentecost, Things to Come,ch. 8, for more detail. There has been a serious division even within dispensationalcircles over the function of the New Covenant as illustrated in Ryrie's work. Thoseviews are: (1) The Jews Only View. This is "the view that the new covenant direcdyconcerns Israel and has no relationship to the Church" (p. 107). (2) The One CovenantffwoAspects View: The one "new covenant has two aspects, one which appliesto Israel, and one which applies to the church" (p. 107). (3) The Two New CovenantsView. This is Ryrie's view; it actually "distinguishes the new covenant with Israelfrom the new covenant with the Church. This view finds two new covenants in whichthe promises to Israel and the promises to the Church are more sharply distinguishedeven though both new covenants are based on the one sacrifice of Christ" (p.107).95. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 126.The Hermeneutic of Scripture 16926:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). The apostle tothe Gentiles even promotes the New Covenant as an importantaspect of his ministry (2 Cor. 3:6). He does not say he is aminister of a "second new covenant" or "another new covenant."In short, "One Church-one New Covenant."Hebrews 8, on everyone's view, cites Jeremiah's New Covenantin a context in which he is speaking to New TestamentChristians. Yet Ryrie argues that "the writer of the Epistle hasreferred to both new covenants,,!96 This is literalism?Though Ryrie dogmatically affirms "Israel means Israel" viahis literalistic hermeneutic, he does so on the basis of an inconsistentlyapplied principle. Elsewhere, Ryrie fails to demandthat "David" means "David." He cites Jeremiah 30:8-9 as proofof Messiah's millennial reign: "They shall serve the Lord theirGod, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them."Then he says: "[T]he prophet meant what he said - and whatelse can we believe... ?" He cites also Hosea 3:4-5, where"David their king" will be sought in the millennium, then comments:"Thus the Old Testament proclaims a kingdom to beestablished on the earth by the Messiah, the Son of David, as theheir of the Davidic covenant."97 This is literalism?Other passages illustrating how the Church fulfills propheciesregarding Israel are found in the New Testament. CitingAmos 9:11-12, James says God is rebuilding the tabernacle ofDavid through the calling of the Gentiles (Acts 15:15ff).98 InRomans 15:8-12, Paul notes that the conversion of the Gentilesis a "confirming of the promises to the fathers." And at leastone of the verses brought forth as proof speaks of Christ'sMessianic kingdom rule (Rom. 15: 12). In Acts, the preaching ofthe gospel touches on the very hope of the Jews, which was96. Ryrie, Basis o/the Premillenniol Faith, p. 121.97. Ibid., pp. 86-87, 88. (emphasis mine)98. O. Palmer Robertson, "Hermeneutics of Continuity," Continuity and Discontinuity,ch. 4.170 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmade to the fathers (Acts 26:6-7). The promises did not set forth aliteral, political kingdom, but a spiritual, gospel kingdom. Psalm 2begins its fulfillment in the resurrection of Christ - not at theSecond Advent (Acts 13:32-33). The prophecy was fulfilled.Ryrie's argument that "Church" never includes the unsavedIsraelites is not a good argument. Not only do we not discoverunsaved Israelites in the Church, neither do we find unsavedGentiles there - if by "Church" Ryrie means the invisibleChurch. But ifhe is speaking of the visible Church, there surelywere unsaved Israelites in it, just as there were unsaved Gentilescaught up in it during the first century. The idea of theChurch is not racial; it represents a purified Israel (Rom. 2:2829),not a wholesale adoption of the Jewish race. Ryrie's argumentis irrelevant. The Church fulfills OT prophecy.Regarding the "parenthesis" or intercalation view of theChurch, I have already noted that there were Old Testamentprophetic passages that did apply to the calling of the Gentilesin the New Testament. They spoke ofthe Church. Another illustrationin addition to those given above is Paul's use of Hosea 1:910and 2:23. In Romans 9:24-26, Paul interprets these verystrong Jewish-contexted verses as referring to Gentile salvationin the New Covenant phase of the Church: fulfilled prophecy.Neither should we deem the New Covenant era, internationalChurch as a mystery that was "completely unrevealed in theOld Testament," as Ryrie does. The clarity of the revelationincreases in the New Testament, and the audience that hears itexpands, but the revelation itself was given in the Old Testament.The question is: for whom was the revelation a mystery?Ephesians 3:3-6 reads: "By revelation he made known untome the mystery ... which in other ages was not made knownunto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostlesand prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs,and of the same body, and partakers of His promise inChrist." In Romans 16:25-26, Paul points out that the "mystery"of Gentile salvation was hidden only from the Gentiles (which inThe Hermeneutic of Scripture 171Ephesians 3 Paul calls "the sons of men"), not from the Old Testamentprophets, for he defends his doctrine of the mystery from"the scriptures of the prophets." He speaks of "the revelation ofthe mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, butnow is made manifest, and by the scriptures ofthe prophets, accordingto the commandment of the everlasting God, made known toall nations for the obedience of faith." Paul says that the "mystery"that was kept secret is "now made manifest" to "all nations,"not just to Israel. The Church is no "parenthesis."In Luke 24:44-47, the Lord taught that it was necessary forHim to die in order to fulfill Scripture in bringing salvation tothe Gentiles. "All things must be fulfilled, which were written inthe law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerningme. Then opened he their understanding, that theymight understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus itis written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise fromthe dead the third day: and that repentance and remission ofsins should be preached in His name among all nations."The distinction between Jew and Gentile has forever beendone away with. Paul points out this fact in Ephesians 2:11-16:"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles inthe flesh ... at that time ye were without Christ, being aliensfrom the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenantsof promise, having no hope, and without God in theworld: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far offare made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, whohath made both one, and hath broken doum the middle wall ofpartitionbetween us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even thelaw of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make inhimself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that hemight reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, havingslain the enmity thereby."Thus, "there is neither Jew nor Greek ... for ye are all onein Christ" (Gal. 3:28) and "there is neither Greek nor Jew,circumcision nor uncircumcision" (Col. 3:11). Yet dispensation172HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONalists see the Church as a temporary parenthesis in God's plan!Mter the Great Tribulation, they teach, the Church will besuperseded by a rebuilt Jewish temple and its animal sacrifices!Many of the early church fathers - even those claimed aspremillennialists by modern dispensationalists - understood theChurch to be the recipient of Israel's promises. It is appropriateat this point to cite the Th.M. dissertation of Dallas Seminarytrainedhistorian Alan Patrick Boyd: "The majority of the writers/writings in this period [A.D. 70-165] completely identifyIsrael with the Church."gg He specifically cites Papias, 1 Clement,2 Clement, Barnabas, Hermas, the Didache, and JustinMartyr. 100 Boyd notes that "In the case of Barnabas, . . . hehas totally disassociated Israel from the precepts of the OldTestament. In fact he specifically designates the Church to bethe heir of the covenantal promises made to Israel (4:6-7; 13:16;14:4_5)."101 Elsewhere, Boyd writes: "Papias applied muchof the Old Testament to the Church.,,102 Of Hermas he notes"the employment of the phraseology of late Judaism to makethe Church the true Israel . . . ."103 Of Justin Martyr, saysBoyd, "he claims that the Church is the true Israelitic race,thereby blurring the distinction between Israel and theChurch."104 While dispensationalists may be embarrassed byBoyd's discoveries, they had better take them seriously.99. Alan Patrick Boyd, "A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatologyof the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death ofJustin Martyr)" (Dallas: DallasTheological Seminary Master's Thesis, 1977), p. 47.100. Papias, Fragment 6; 1 Clement 3:1; 29:1-30:1; 2 Clement 2:1-3; 3:5; Barnabas,Epistles 2:4-6,9; 3:6; 4:6-7; 5:2,7; Hermas, Similitudes 9:16:7; 9:15:4; 9:12:1-13:2;the Didache (14:2,3), and Justin Martyr (Dialog'IU 119-120, 123, 125). See Boyd,"Dispensational Premillennial Analysis:' pp. 46, 60, 70, 86.101. Boyd, ibid., p. 46.102. Ibid., pp. 60-61103. Ibid., p. 70.104. Ibid., p. 86.The Hermeneutic of ScriptureConclusion173The Bible is the revelation of the holy and gracious God tosinful, rebellious man. It is a vast and deep work touching ontime and eternity that was written over a period of fifteen centuriesby "holy men of God [who] spoke as they were moved bythe Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). Because of the richness of itsexpression and the glory of its content, it must be approachedwith a holy reverence for God and a fearful appreciation of itsown majesty and grandeur. The Scripture is not a cold mathematicalformula that may be scientifically worked out. It is theliving Word of God to man concerning the plan of redemption.There are, of course, general rules of interpretation that areessential to recognize if one is to understand its message. Postmillennialistsfollow the general evangelical approach to Scriptureknown as the grammatico-historical hermeneutic. Thisview is shared with evangelical premillennialists and amillennialists.Postmillennialists stand with these over against thepeculiar literalism common to dispensationalism.It is not always the case that the "plain and simple" approachto a passage is the correct one. This is why Jesus can beheard saying, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." This iswhy He often was misunderstood in His preaching - as notedso often in John. Biblical interpretation requires carefulthought and reflection, rather than mechanical manipulation.In the material presented above, I focused in on three criticalissues in order to illustrate the reasonableness of the postmillennialuse of hermeneutics. Those issues were literalism in kingdomprophecy, preterism regarding certain judgment passages,and the function of Israel in Scripture. Objections are frequentlyurged against these views by some expositors, particularlydispensationalists. So, instead of rehearsing the common principlesof biblical interpretation - principles that are found inmany hermeneutics manuals - I concentrated on these pointsof contention. The remainder of the book will illustrate thepostmillennial hermeneutic in action.



    CREATIONFor by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are onearth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalitiesor powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And Heis before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)We move now to the actual exposition of the postmillennialeschatology. A predominant and distinguishing theme of biblicaleschatology is that of a sure expectancy of gospel victory in timeawl on earth. This may be seen in various ways in the Old Testamentrevelation.We begin with the Creation record. The Christian faith hasa genuine interest in the material world, as noted in Chapter 6.God created the earth and man's body as material entities, andall "very good" (Gen. 1:1-31; 2:7). Consequently, the record ofCreation is important for developing a Christian worldview,and, therefore, for understanding biblical eschatology.In order to understand a thing aright, it is always helpful tounderstand its purpose according to its designer and builder.Eschatology is a theological discipline that is concerned withteleology, with discovering the divinely revealed, long-rangepurpose of the world and of history. What will the consummationbe? What are its precursors? How will it be brought about?178 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONWhen will it occur? By necessity, then, eschatology must be concernedwith creation, for it is the divinely decreed fruition of creation.In short, the end is tied to the beginning.1Genesis is of primary significance to the Christian faith. Thevery title "Genesis" is derived from the Greek of the Septuaginttranslation of Genesis 2:4a: "This is the book of the generation[geneseos] of heaven and earth.,,2 The word geneseos means "origin,source." It is in the opening chapters of Genesis (chapters1-3) that we find the foundational elements of biblical eschatology.The end is found in the beginning. Creation had a purpose.The Edenic Expectation of VictoryGod has created the world for a purpose. Despite the confusionbrought into the question by certain leading dispensationalists,Reformed theology sees as the ultimate goal of universalhistory, the glory of God.3 His creational intent in bringing theworld into being was for the manifestation of His own glory:"You are worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor andpower; for You created all things, and by Your will they existand were created" (Rev. 4:11).4 All men live before God in thematerial world,s which He has created for His own glory, asthe place of man's habitation.6At the very outset of history, God created man in His own"image and likeness" (Gen. 1:26). In its setting, the CreationMandate occurs as the "swelling ofjubilant song" at the accom-1. !sa. 46:10; see the Edenic imagery in Rev. 21:6; 22:13.2. The term geneseos occurs frequently in Genesis as a heading to various sections.See: Gen. 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 36:9; 37:2.3. Reformed theology's emphasis on God's glory is expressed in its most basic,covenantal creed: the Westminster Standards. See the Confession of Faith (3:3, 7;4:1; 5:1; 6:1; 16:2,7; 18:1; 33:12), the Larger Catechism (Q. 1, 12, 13, 190), and theShorter Catechism (Q. 1,2, 7, 47, 66, 101, 102, 107).4. Psa. 8:1; 19:1-16; 89:11b; 82:8b; Rom. 11:36; Rev. 4:11.5. 2 Chr. 16:9; Psa. 33:13-15; Provo 15:3; Acts 17:28; Heb. 4:13.6. Psa. 24:1; 115:16; Prov. 15:3; Dan. 5:23; Acts 25:24-31; Rev. 4:11.Creation 179plishment of God's creative activity.7 At that time, the creationhad just been completed and pronounced "very good" (Gen.1:31-2:2). One vital aspect of that image is that ofman's acting asruler over the earth and under God. This is evident in the closeconnection between the interpretive revelation regarding man'screation in God's image and the divine command to exerciserule over the creation order: "Then God said, 'Let Us makeman in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them havedominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, andover the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thingthat creeps on the earth" (Gen. 1:26-27). Because man is theimage of God, he has the capacity and responsibility for dominion.The image of God in man is constitutive to man; it is priorto and definitive of man's duty, dominion.s Man, however, isnot, nor was he ever, an absolute sovereign; he is God's viceregent(gerent). God created him and granted him temporalsovereignty, putting him under command to act obediently interms of God's ultimate sovereignty.9 All of this is done in genericworship to God, for "the setting of six days of labor in thecontext of one day of worship and rest indicates the true perspectivefrom which man's dominion over the earth is to beviewed."lo Thus, the temporal "sovereignty" of man must beunderstood as derivative and interpreted in terms of the abso-7. C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, in Commentary on the Old Testament(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [n.d.] 1975), 1:64.8. Amillennialist Herman Hanko insists that through the Fall, "the image of Godwas changed in him to the image of Satan" and "that the fall brought about a completeloss of the image." Herman Hanko, "An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism"(unpublished conference paper: South Holland, IL: South Holland ProtestantReformed Church, 1978), pp. 23, 22. The Scripture, however, grants that even fallenman is still in the image of God, although it is a fragmented and corrupted image(Gen. 9:6; J ms. 3:9; 1 Cor. 11 :7). This image testifies to him of his sin. It is renewedand strengthened in holiness and righteousness in a redeemed man (Col. 3: 10).9. Gary North, The Dominion Covenant: Genesis (2nd ed.; Tyler, TX: Institute forChristian Economics, 1987), ch. 3.10. O. Palmer Robertson, Christ of the Covenants (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1980), p. 80.180 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONlute sovereignty of God: God created (Gen. 1:26), God blessed(Gen. 1:27), God gave (Gen. 1:28), and God commanded (Gen.2:16); man is to worship God (Gen. 2:3; Exo. 20:11). Man livesup to His creational purpose as he multiplies (Gen. 1:28) andacts as a social creature exercising righteous dominion in theearth. God has implanted within man the drive to dominion. 11The Creational (or Dominion) Mandate was given at the verycreation of man, distinguishing him from and elevating himabove the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms and defininghis task in God's world in accordance with God's plan.Adam's naming of the animals in Genesis 2 must be understoodin the Semitic sense of naming. "In Israel as among other peoplesthere was awareness of the significance attached to a name,and of the power which resided in it. ... By giving someone aname, one establishes a relation of dominion and possessiontowards him. Thus acc. to Gn. 2: 19f. Adam names all the animals.This means that he exercises dominion over creation andrelates it to his own sphere. To name a conquered city (2 S.12:28) or lands (Ps. 49:11) is to establish a right of possessionand to subject them to one's power.,,12We should not assume that Adam's sovereign dominion wasto be limited to Eden. Eden was only his starting point. Adamwas, in essence, to extend the cultured condition of Eden (Gen.2: 17) throughout the world (Gen. 1:26).Not only was the Cultural Mandate given at creation beforethe Fall, but it remains in effect even after the entry of sin. Thisis evident in many ways. Consider just two of them. First, the11. See: Francis Nigel Lee, Culture: Its Origin, Development, and Goal (Cape May,NJ: Shelton College Press, 1967); Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, [1898] 1961); Henry R. Van Til, The Calvinistic Concept of Culture(Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1959); Francis Schaeffer, How Should WeThen Live': The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Old Tappan, NJ:Fleming H. Revell, 1976).12. Hans Bietenhard, "onoma," Theological Dictionary o/the New Testament, GerhardKittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., 10 vols., trans. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1967),5:253.Creation 181revelational record of man's beginnings show man acting asdominical creature and without disapprobation, subduing theearth and developing culture. Indeed, from the very beginningand continuing into the post-Fall world, Adam and his descendantsexercised dominion. This dominion impulse operated ata remarkably rapid rate, contrary to the primitivist view of manheld by evolutionary anthropologists. 13 Man quickly developedvarious aspects of social culture: raising livestock, creating musicand musical instruments, crafting tools from metal, and so forth(Gen. 4:20-22). Because man is a social creature (Gen. 2:8), hisculture-building includes the realm of political government, aswell. This is evident in God's ordaining of governmental authority(Rom. 13:1-2). Upon his very creation, not only wasman commanded to develop all of God's creation, but he actuallybegan to do so. Culture is not an accidental aside in thehistorical order. Any primitiveness that may be found in man'scultures is a record of the developmental consequence of sin andof estrangement from God, not of original creational status.Second, the Creation Mandate is specifically repeated inScripture. This assertion bothers Hanko, who argues: "Adamdid not abandon the cultural mandate; sin and the curse madeit impossible for Adam to continue it. This is not a mere quibblingover words; this strikes at the very heart of the [millenniallquestion. Forgotten is the fact that sin and the curse madeit forever impossible for the cultural mandate to be fulfilled inthis present world.,,14 This view deliberately ignores Scripture.The Cultural Mandate is repeated as still in force in bothtestaments (Gen. 9:1ff; Heb. 2:5-8).15 Psalm 8 clearly evidencesthe Cultural Mandate: "What is man that You are mindful ofhim, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have13. That apes, lemurs, and monkeys are called "primates" (from the Latin primus,"first") is indicative of the evolutionary view of man.14. Hanko, "An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism," p. 10.15. See allusions elsewhere: Gen. 3:15-20; Ecd. 3:1-17; 5:18-19; 9:9,10; 1 Cor.10:31; 15:22-28; Heb. 4:9-16; 6:7-11; Rev. 20:12; 21:24-22:5.182 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmade him a little lower than the angels, And You have crownedhim with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominionover the works of Your hands; You have put all thingsunder his feet" (Psa. 8:4-6).The optimistic expectations of postmillennialism comportwell with God's creational purpose as evidenced in the CulturalMandate. They highlight the divine expectation of the true,created nature of man qua man. Postmillennialism expects theworld as a system (kosmos)16 to be brought under submission toGod's rule by the active, sanctified agency of redeemed man,who has been renewed in the image of God (Col. 3: 10; Eph.4:24). In other words, postmillennial eschatology expects in historywhat God originally intended for history. It sees His plan as maintainedand moving toward its original goal, but now on the newbasis of God's sovereign and gracious redemption. Hanko'sobjection to postmillennialism's employment of the CulturalMandate is rooted in a very deep sense of the genuine fearsomepower of sin. The postmillennialist, however, sees God's continuanceof the Cultural Mandate, but upon a new principle: thevery real and even greater power of redemption in Christ.The Post-Fall Expectation of VictoryThe first genuinely eschatological statement in Scriptureoccurs very early: in Genesis 3:15. In keeping with the progressivelyunfolding nature of revelation, this eschatological datumlacks the specificity of the order of later revelation. "Revelationis the interpretation of redemption; it must, therefore, unfolditself in installments as redemption does.... The organic progress[of redemptive revelation] is from seed-form to the attainmentof full growth; yet we do not say that in the qualitativesense the seed is less perfect than the tree.... The truth is in-16. Kosmos ("world") is the Greek word (used in the New Testament) that isexpressive of the orderly system of the world; it is contrary to chaos. For a discussionof this concept, see Chapter 12, especially pp. 263-68.Creation 183herently rich and complex, because God is so Himself.,,17 Atthat nascent stage of revelation, the identity of the coming Redeemerwas not sharply exhibited; it would take later revelationto focus the picture, a picture not perfectly clear until Christcame. Yet the broad outlines drawn by this original eschatologicalstatement are clear enough: "0.1: Revelation approachesthe concept of a personal Messiah very gradually. It sufficedfor fallen man to know that through His divine power andgrace God would bring out of the human race victory over theserpent."18 A sore heel does not save the rebellious head.Orthodox Christian Bible students recognize the reference inGenesis 3: 15 as referring to the coming redemptive labor ofJesus Christ as the Promised Redeemer.19 He is promised asOne coming to crush His great enemy - undoubtedly Satan, thehead of a nefarious kingdom of evi1.20 This verse portrays inone sentence a mighty struggle between the woman's seed(Christ and His kingdom)21 and the serpent's seed (Satan andhis kingdom).22 "[U]nless we want to separate the second partof the verse completely from the first part and apply the deepermeaning only to the second part while taking the first partstrictly literally, we cannot escape the conclusion that the firstpart of the verse announces the ongoing spiritual conflict betweenthe seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. In17. Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1948), pp. 14, 15, 16.18. Ibid., p. 55.19. Some liberal scholars argue that this prophecy must be understood etiologicallyrather than messianically. Gerhard Von Rad, Genesis, trans. by John Marks(Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961), pp. 89-90.20. Rev. 12:9, 14-15; 20:2; cf. John 8:44; 1 John 3:8.21. Although there must be a specific reference to Christ as the Seed, clearly herewe have reference to a collective seed, as well. Eve is called the "mother of all living"(Gen. 3:20). Cf. Matt. 25:40, 45; Luke 10:18; John 8:44; 15:1-7; Acts 13:10; Rom.16:20; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; 1 John 3:10; Rev. 12:7-9.22. See the conflict between Adam and Satan, Abel and Cain, the Sethites andCainites, Noah and Nimrod, Abraham and the Chaldeans, Israelites and Canaanites,Christians and pagans.184 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONother words, what we have portrayed here is the constant conflictbetween the children of the devil and the children of thekingdom."23 "This first gospel promise, therefore, despite theterse and figurative language in which it is expressed, providesa true perspective of the whole sweep of human history.,,24This, then, explains the struggle in history: God's creationalpurpose is being resisted. (It also helps to explain the Bible'sconcern with genealogies leading up to and culminating inChrist, Luke 3:23-38.)This, then, is the establishment of the covenant of grace, forthis is the first promise of a redeemer.25Despite this great struggle in history, the fundamental pointof this poetic datum is that of the victorious issue by the woman'sseed, Christ. Later revelation in the New Testament shows thatthis prophecy began to find fulfillment at the death and resurrectionof Christ;26 it is not awaiting some distant beginning ofits fulfillment. Christ has already ascended to God's throne.Yet, citing Genesis 3:15, Hoekema asserts that "the expectationof a future golden age before Christ's return does not dojustice to the continuing tension in the history of the worldbetween the kingdom of God and the forces of evil. "27 Hedraws too much out of this terse statement. Why may we notrefer it to Christ's first corning in the establishment of His kingdomand Church (cr. Col. 2:15; Rom. 16:20)?28 Later revelationdeveloped the nature of the struggle and its outcome inhistory, as Hoekema himself admits: "We may say that in this23. Gerhard Charles Aalders, Genesis (Bible Student's Commentary) trans. by WilliamHeynen (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981),1:107. See also: Robertson, Christ of theCovenants, pp. 97ff.24. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Interpreting Prophecy: An Essay in Biblical Perspectives(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), p. 11.25. Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979),p.180.26. 1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14; Col. 2:14,15.27. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 180.28. On the binding of Satan, see below: pp. 258-259,413-415.Creation 185passage God reveals, as in a nutshell, all of his saving purposewith His people. The further history of redemption will be anunfolding of the contents of the mother promise."29 In addition,the verse seems clearly to relate Satan's death blow withChrist's heel-wound, i.e., with Christ's crucifixion, which occurredat His first coming. His wound has empowered His Church.Thus, here we have at the very inception of prophecy thecertainty of victory. Just as the Fall of Adam had a world-widenegative effect, so does the salvation of God, on the basis of theresurrection of Christ, the Last Adam, have a world-wide positiveeffect (Rom 5: 15ff; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45).30 The crushing ofSatan is not awaiting a consummative victory of Christ overSatan at the end of history. The idea (as we will see more fullylater) is that Satan the Destroyer, his nefarious kingdom, and itsevil effects are overwhelmed progressively by the superior strengthand glory of Almighty God the Creator through Jesus Christ.ConclusionThe stage for the optimistic prospects of redemption is set inthe opening chapters of Genesis. The creation of man is for thepurpose of ruling the world under God and to His glory. Manis commanded to develop culture, to exercise dominion in theearth. Postmillennialism expects the fulfillment of this mandate.Man falls from favor with God by the intrusion of the tempter,Satan. Rather than scrapping His original purpose for theworld, the Lord immediately begins to work out His redemptiveplan in history. The outcome of that plan is prophetically clear:the seed of the woman will crush the seed of the serpent. God'scovenantal dominion will be extended in history through His covenantkeepingrepresentatives in history. The spiritual heirs of the SecondAdam will progressively fulfiill the comprehensive task that was29. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 5.30. Gary North, Is the World Running Down? Crisis in the Christian Worldview(Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1988).186 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONoriginally assigned to the First Adam. Redemption progressivelytriumphs in history over reprobation. The resurrection ofChrist was and remains more powerful than the Fall of Adam:not just judicially but also culturally.This understanding of the power of Christ's resurrection andHis ascension to the right hand of God is denied by amillennialism.31 The amillennialist sees the fall of Adam as by far themore powerful force in mankind's cultural development. Hesees Christ's redemption as "souls-only, Church-only, Christianfamilies-only." He draws the line at culture, which is to say, hedraws a judicial boundary around the transforming power of theGospel. This is because he has already drawn an eschatologicalboundary around the transforming power of the Gospel.32The historical outworking of God's redemptive plan is covenantal,as I noted in Chapter 6. The development of covenantalredemption is traceable from these opening chapters of Genesisthroughout the Scriptures. Let us next trace the progress ofredemption through the Old Testament revelation. Again,theonomic postmillennialism fits well with this prophetic expectation,co-ordinating the redemptive and creative actions ofGod.31. It is also denied by premillennialism in its view of Church history prior tothe bodily return ofJesus to set up his thousand-year earthly kingdom.32. Perhaps it is the other way around. Van Til argued that ethics is primary;intellectual error is secondary. Thus, Gary North suggests that it is Christians' desireto escape personal and corporate responsibility for fulfilling the terms of the DominionMandate that has led them to invent false, pessimistic eschatologies.10

    ANTICIPATIONAnd I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and makethy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them thatbless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all familiesof the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:2-3)As noted in the previous chapter, the divinely ordainedcalling of man to exercise dominion over the earth was given atCreation, while Adam's redemptive restoration to that callingbegan immediately after his Fall. Following this, the revelationof God in Scripture begins tracing the line of the Redeemer,developing the hope-filled eschatological expectation of thecomprehensive redemption that He will surely bring.Anticipation in the Pre-Mosaic and Early Mosaic ErasThe Noahic CovenantThe various features of the Noahic Covenant are found inGenesis 6: 17-22 and 8:20-9: 17. In this covenant, we have aclear reaffirmation of the Cultural Mandate, which is fundamentalto the outworking of God's eschatological purposethrough man.l We also have a continuance of God's gracious1. Cf. the references to the birds, cattle, etc. (Gen. 6:20; 8: 17 with Gen. 1:24, 25),188 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONredemptive relation as the ongoing basis of the Cultural Mandate,which is likewise necessary to eschatology.2This covenant is established with God's people: the family ofNoah, who alone escaped the deluge by the grace of God.Thus, this should not be deemed solely a common-grace covenant,for it was directly made with God's people (Noah's family),was established on the basis of grace and redemptive sacrifice(Gen. 6:8; 8:20-22), and is united with God's other redemptivecovenants (cf. Hos. 2: 18 with Gen. 6:20; 8: 17; 9:9ff).3 TheCultural Mandate, then, has an especial relevance to the functionof God's people in the world: the Noahic reaffirmation ofthe Mandate is expressly made with God's people, the "you" ofGenesis 9:1-12. On the basis of divine covenant, God's peopleare called to the forefront of cultural leadership, with the religiousaspects of culture being primary.In the Noahic covenantal episode, we also witness the objectivityof God's relationship with man: the world was judged inhistory for its sin. The rainbow, which signifies God's covenantmercy, is established with Noah and all that are with him, andtheir seed (Gen. 9:12).4 This indicates that the world will beprotected from God's curse through the instrumentality of theChurch (the people of God). This covenant is only made indirectlywith unbelievers, who benefit from God's protection onlyas they are not opposed to God's people. Because of God's lovefor His people, He preserves the orderly universe (Gen. 8:2022).His enemies serve His people: common grace (Gen. 9: lOb).the command to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 9:1, 7 with Gen. 1:28), and thedominion concept (d. Gen. 9:2 with Gen. 1:28).2. O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ ofthe Covenants (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1980), p. 111. He refers to L. Dequeker, "Noah and Israel. The EverlastingDivine Covenant with Mankind," Questions disputees d'Ancien Testament, Metlwdeet Theologie (Gembloux, 1974), p. 119.3. James B. Jordan, "True Dominion," Biblical Horizons, Special Edition (Dec.1990), p. 1. Cf. Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, p. 111.4. It seems that the rainbow did not exist prior to this time. Apparently, theFlood was the first instance of rain (and the rainbow): Genesis 2:5-6.Anticipation 189Thus we see the objective corporate sanction of God against sinin the Flood, which also serves as a type of Final Judgment (2Pet. 3:4-6). We also see God's judicial sanctions in history in Hisordaining of capital punishment (Gen. 9:6). God's objectivejudgment therefore finds civil expression in the affairs of man.His grant of legitimate authority to the civil government toenforce capital punishment is based on a religious principle,namely, the image of God in man (Gen. 9:6), and is given tothe world through the Church (i.e., Noah's family).5 God ordainscivil sanctions as a means for preserving the human racefor His redemptive purposes (cf. Rom. 13:1-4; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).The Abrahamic CovenantAs the scarlet thread of redemption - a non-literal metaphor- is progressively woven more distinctively into the fabric ofScriptural revelation and history, the eschatological pattern ofredemptive victory becomes more evident and more specific.The patriarchal and Mosaic eras demonstrate this. fact. Here Iwill survey a few of the more significant references in these erasin order to illustrate this truth.In Genesis, the Abrahamic Covenant continues the redemptivetheme begun in Genesis 3:15 and traced through Genesis6-9. The active redemptive restoration of the fundamental relationshipof man with the God of the covenant is greatly intensifiedthrough God's establishing of His gracious covenant with Abrahamand his seed: "Now the LORD had said to Abram: 'Get outof your country, from your family and from your father'shouse, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a greatnation; I will bless you and make your name great; and youshall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I willcurse him who curses you' " (Gen. 12:1-3a).Here we may discern three aspects of the promise: the pro-5. This does not mean that the institutional Church has the authority to executecriminals.190 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmise applies to (1) a seed,6 (2) a land,? and (3) the nations.8The land and seed promises are given prominence in Genesis15:5 and 18: "Then He brought [Abram] outside and said,'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able tonumber them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendantsbe.' On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,saying: 'To your descendants I have given this land, from theriver of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates' " (Gen.15: 18). This promise was covenantal, for it involved sanctions.The divine promise clearly involved temporal blessings forAbraham, including a seed and a land. According to the emphaticdeclaration of the Scriptures, history witnesses the fulfillmentof the national aspects of the temporal blessings of theseed9 and the land10 promises. ':Judah and Israel were as numerousas the sand by the sea in multitude.... So Solomonreigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of thePhilistines, as far as the border of Egypt" (1 Kgs. 4:20-21). "Sothe LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn togive to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt init.... Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD hadspoken to the house of Israel" Oosh. 21 :43, 45). "You alsomultiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and broughtthem into the land which You had told their fathers to go inand possess" (Neh. 9:23).The dispensationalist argues for a future fulfillment based onthe promise that God will give Abraham the land "forever"(Gen. 13:15), as an "everlasting" possession (Gen. 17:8). This6. Gen. 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 16:10; 17:2-6; 18:18; 22:17; cf. Gen. 20:4; 28:4, 14;32:12.7. Gen. 12:2,7; 13:15,17; 15:7, 18; 24:7; cf. Gen. 28:4.8. Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; d. Gen. 26:4; 28:14. See also the prophetic and NewTestament era development of this universal theme.9. Exo. 12:37; Num. 22:11; Deut. 1:10; 10:22; 1 Kgs. 4:20; 1 Chr. 27:23; 2 Chr.1:9; Heb. 11 :12. Notice that Christ is the special seed, John 8:56.10. 1 Kgs. 4:21; 8:65-66; 2 Chr. 9:26.Anticipation 191argument is not persuasive, however. In the first place, there isa common use of olam ("forever/everlasting") where it is employedof long-term temporal situations.ll Secondly, it is evidentthat God's covenants and promises are conditioned upon ethicalobedience, even when this is not specifically stated: no conditionsnocovenant. "It is the conditional nature of all prophecy thatmakes the outcome contingent on the ethical decisions ofmen.,,12 For instance, Jonah was clearly told that Ninevehwould be overthrown in forty days Qon. 3:4), yet God "repented"of His determination Qon. 3: 10),13The Abrahamic Covenant was conditioned on the ethicalobligation to "keep the way of the Lord" (Gen. 18:17-19).14This is why it was accompanied by circumcision. Israel's forfeiture ofthe Land promised in the Abrahamic Covenant was clearlypossible, as God's Word makes abundantly clear.15Consequently, we must understand the biblical view of theland. The land of Israel is "His holy Land" (Lev. 25:23; Psa.78:54). It depended on His favor upon Israel (Hos. 9:3; Jer.2:7) and His dwelling therein (Num. 35:34; Lev. 26), whichcontinued as long as Israel was obedient to Him (Deut. 4:40;Isa. 1:19; Jer. 15:13-14; 17:1-4). When Israel is rejected byGod, the promise of the Land is rejected by God: sanctions.11. Exo. 12:14; 40:15; Num. 25:13; 2 Chr. 7:16. "Figuratively also the term isapplied to objects of impressive stability and long duration, as mountains, hills (e.g.Gen 49:26; Hab 3:6)." James Orr, "Everlasting," The International Standard BibleEncyclopedia. James Orr, ed., 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1929] 1956),2:1041.12. Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, 'IX: Institute for ChristianEconomics, 1990), p. 120. B. B. Warfield, "The Prophcies of St. Paul" (1886), Biblicaland Theological Studies (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1952), pp. 470ff.Sidney Greidanus, The Modem Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and PreachingBiblical Literature (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), pp. 232ff.13. Cf. also 1 Sam. 2:30; Isa. 38:1-6; Jer. 26:13-19; Joel 2:13-14. See: KennethJones, ''An Amill Reply to Peters," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 24:4(Dec. 1981) 333-341.14. Cf. Gen. 17:9-14; 22:18; 26:5; Heb. 11:8.15. Exo. 19:5; Deut. 28:15ff; 30:5-19; Lev. 26:14ff; Josh. 8:34; 24:20 1 Kgs.2:3,4; 9:2-9; 11:11; 2 Kgs. 21:8; 1 Chr. 28:76; 2 Chr. 7:19-22; Jer. 18.192 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONFurthermore, the Promised Land served as a type of thewhole earth (which is the Lord's, Psa. 24:1). It is, as it were, atithe to the Lord of the entire earth. As such, it pictured the restbrought by Christ's kingdom, which shall cover the earth (seeHebrews 3-4). "Hebrews 11 :8-16 shows that although Abrahamreceived the physical land of Canaan, he was looking forward tothe eternal city and Kingdom of God. Canaan is a type of thenew heavens and earth that began with the first advent ofChrist, in seed form (Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22-29)."16 In Psalm37: 11, the psalmist speaks of God's promise to His people: "Butthe meek shall inherit the land." But Jesus takes this promiseand extends it over the entire earth in Matthew 5:5! Abrahamapparently understood the land promise as a down paymentrepresenting the inheriting of the world (Rom. 4:13). Paul expandsthe Land promises to extend across all the earth, whenhe draws them into the New Testament (Eph. 6:3). In severaldivine covenants, we can trace the expansion of these Landpromises: Adam was given a garden (Gen. 2:8); Abraham's seedwas given a nation (Josh. 1); the New Covenant Church wasgiven the world (Matt. 28:18-20),17But the fundamental blessedness of the Abrahamic Covenant,like that of the Adamic Covenant before it, was essentiallyredemptive rather than political. The seed line was primarilydesigned to produce the Savior; the Land promise was typologicalof the Savior's universal dominion. The Abrahamic Covenantinvolved a right relationship with God, as indicated inGenesis 17:7: "And I will establish My covenant between Meand you and your descendants after you in their generations,for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendantsafter you." That which is most important in the plan of God isthe spiritual relation, rather than the relation of blood (John16. W. Gary Crampton, "Canaan and the Kingdom of God - Conclusion,"Journey 6 (Jan./March 1991) 19.17. See my The Greatness ofthe Great Commission: The Christian Enterprise in a FallenWorld (Tyler, 'IX: Institute for Christian Economics. 1990). Part II.Anticipation 1938:44, cf. Matt. 12:47,50). As Paul says, so it was even in the OldTestament era: "[H]e is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor isthat circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jewwho is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, inthe Spirit, and not in the letter" (Rom. 2:28-29).18Now let us consider the postmillennial victory expectationsinherent in the Abrahamic Covenant. The redemptive line ishere narrowed from "the seed of the woman" to the family ofAbraham. It will continue to narrow until it issues forth in thesingular seed, Christ (Gal. 3:16; John 8:56; cr. Luke 3:23-38).Nevertheless, the redemptive promise ultimately would include"all the families of the earth."19 The Hebrew word for "families"here is mispachah, which includes nations.20 Thus, theAbrahamic Covenant will include the nations beyond Israel. Theultimate purpose of the Abrahamic Covenant, in keeping with theAdamic Covenant earlier, is nothing less than world conversion(as we shall point out more particularly in our next section),rather than Jewish exaltation, as per dispensationalism.21 Thisshould be expected since the Lord is King of the whole earth22and desires the world to know Him.2318. The internal and ethical are always back of the external and national, andhold priority. For instance, see the emphasis on the spiritual significance of thesacrifices: Psa. 40:6; 51:17; Isa. 1:10-18; 66:2-3; Jer. 6:19-20; Amos 5:21-24; Mic. 6:68;Mal. 1:10.19. Gen. 12:2-3; 13:14-16; 15:5; 16:10; 18:18; 22:17-18; 26:4; 28:14; 1 Kgs.13:23.20. Psa. 22:27-28; Jer. 1:15; Ezek. 20:32; Amos 3:2; Zech. 14:18.21. According to dispensationalists, in the millennium, when the AbrahamicCovenant comes to fruition: "The redeemed living nation of Israel, regenerated andregathered to the land will be head over all the nations of the earth.... So he exaltsthem above the Gentile nations.... On the lowest level there are the saved, living,Gentile nations." Herman Hoyt, "Dispensational Premillennialism," The Meaning oltheMillennium: Four Views, Robert G. Clouse, ed. (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsityPress, 1977), p. 81. On this Zionistic tendency in dispensationalism, see below: pp.228-231.22. Psa. 22:28; 27:5; 47:2, 7, 8, 29; 66:7; 96:lOa; 97:1; 99:1; 103:19; Dan. 4:17,25,32.23. 1 Kgs. 8:43,60; 2 Chr. 6:33; Psa. 83:18; Oba. 21.194 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe New Testament clearly informs us of the spiritual implicationsof the seed, in terms of the blessings for the nations.Abraham has become "the father of circumcision to them whoare not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the stepsof that faith of our father Abraham.... Therefore it is of faith,that it might ~e by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to allthe seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that alsowhich is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all"(Rom. 4:12, 16). "Know ye therefore that they which are offaith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture,foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shallall nations be blessed.... If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham'sseed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:7-8,29). Thus, as we shall see in our next section, the Old Testamentkingdom prophecies anticipate the sharing of the covenantalglory with others universally.24Due to redemption, the curse of Genesis 3 upon all men iscountered by the Abrahamic covenant, in which begins the"nullifying of the curse.,,25 The expectation of victory is sostrong that we may find casual references based on confidentexpectation. The seed is promised vi.ctory in accordance withthe original protoevangelium. Abraham's seed is to "possess thegates of the enemy" (d. Gen. 22:17 with Matt. 16:18).26 Genesis49:8-10 promises that Judah shall maintain the scepter of24. Isa. 25:6; 45:22; 51:4-6; Mic. 4:1ff.25. G. Charles Aalders, Genesis, trans. William Heynen, 2 vols., in The BibleStudent's Commentary (rand Rapids: Zondervan, [n.d.] 1981), 1:270. See also: Hans K.LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University,1983), p. 91.26. "Enmity" in Genesis 3:15 ('ybah) is related to the verb ('yb). In participial formit "occurs repeatedly, alluding frequently to the very struggle between God's andSatan's people." Abraham possesses the gates of his enemies (Gen. 22: 17). 1udahovercomes his enemies (Gen. 49:8). God shatters His enemies (Exo. 15:6) and will bean enemy to Israel's enemies (Exo. 23:22). The Canaanites are Israel's enemies(Deut. 6:19). Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, p. 96n.Anticipation 195rule until Shiloh [Christ] shall come and then to Him "shall bethe obedience of the peoples." We should notice the plural"peoples"; Shiloh's winning of obedience is not among the jewsonly (the people, singular). Here is the first express mention ofa personal redeemer, and that redeemer is promised rule over allthe peoples. Ezekiel and Paul both allude to this reference withconfidence - Ezekiel in anticipation (Ezek. 21 :27), Paul in realization(Gal. 3: 19).Numbers 14:21 confirms the victorious expectation with aformulaic oath: "Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled withthe glory of the LORD." In Numbers 24:17-19, Balaam harkensback to jacob's prophecy in Genesis 49:10. He foresees an allpowerful,world-wide dominion for the Messiah: "A star shall comeforth from jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shallcrush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all thesons of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir, its enemies,also shall be a possession, while Israel performs valiantly.One from jacob shall have dominion, and shall destroy theremnant from the city." First Samuel 2: 10 promises that "Theadversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; from heavenHe will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends ofthe earth. He will give strength to His king, and exalt the hornof His anointed." Thus may it be said from the New Testamentperspective: "For the promise that he would be the heir of theworld was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, butthrough the righteousness of faith" (Rom. 4: 13).Anticipation in the Messianic PsalmsIn the prophetic era, we discover a rich development of therevelation of God's plan of redemption, and with it the surepromise of a glorious victory for the redeemed. I offer hereonly a brief consideration of a few of the leading psalmic references.196 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONPsalm 2Particularly significant in this regard are the MessianicPsalms. In Psalm 2, Jehovah God laughs at the opposition ofman to Him and to His Messiah.27 Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:26show that the term "messiah" (i.e., anointed one) was commonlyunderstood to designate the great Deliverer and King.28 Kingswere "anointed" in the Old Testament.29 "King" and "Messiah"are used interchangeably in certain places in ScriptureUohn 1:41, 49; Mark 15:32; Luke 23:2).30According to Peter, the opposition of the "nations" to "theLord and His Messiah" includes the Jews (Acts 4:25-2831) andoccurred in the ministry of Christ, at His crucifixion. In Hebrews1:5 and 5:5, Christ is seen as already having fulfilledPsalm 2:7, which occurred at the resurrection (Acts 13:33).Consequently, Psalm 2 can be neither an amillennial nor apremillennial proof-text. The scene of this resistance is on theearth (contra amillennialism) and in the past (contra premillennialism).The scene of God's victory over rebels is also in history.Rather than at the Second Advent,32 this Psalm's fulfill-27. For the theonomic implications of Psalm 2, see: Greg L. Bahnsen, "TheTheonomic Position," God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government,Gary Scott Smith, ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1989), pp.28-30.28. J. A. Alexander, The Psalms Translated and Explained (Grand Rapids: Baker,[1873] 1977), p. 13.29. 1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13,14; 2 Sam. 2:4,7; 3:39; 5:3,17; 12:7; 19:10; 1 Kgs. 1:39,45; 5:1; 2 Kgs. 9:3,6, 12; 11:12; 23:30; 1 Chr. 11:3; 14:8; 29:22; 2 Chr. 23:11; Psa.18:50.30. See also the close association of kingdom and Christ in Acts 8: 12; Eph. 5:5;2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 11:15.31. '~cording to Acts 4:25-28, vv. 1 and 2 have been fulfilled in the confederatehostility ofIsrael and the Gentiles against Jesus the holy servant of God and againstHis confessors." Franz Delitszch, The Psalms, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1867]1973), 1:90. Israel's priority in resisting Christ is indisputable. See: Matt. 22:33-46;23:29-38; Luke 19:14; John 11:47; 19:14-15; Acts 5:17,33; 1 Thess. 2:16.32. Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979),p. 178. Allen P. Ross, "Psalms," The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, JohnF. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1985), p. 792.Anticipation 197ment is spoken of in Acts 13:33-34 as set in motion with theresurrection of Christ: "God has fulfilled this for us their children,in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in thesecond Psalm: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You.'And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return tocorruption, He has spoken thus: 'I will give you the sure merciesof David.' " The exaltation of Christ (including His resurrection,ascension, and session) established Him as king (Rom.1:4; Matt. 28:18). It was atJerusalem, the location of Zion (Psa.2:6), where Jesus was crucified (suffering the resistance andrage of the nations, Psa. 2:1-3) and resurrected (Psa. 2:7; Acts13:33). It was there also that the gospel was first preached inthe New Covenant era (Luke 24:49-52; Acts 1-2).The Messiah is promised dominion over the "nations" (notjust one nation, Israel) and "the ends of the earth" (not just oneregion, Palestine) as His permanent "possession" (Psa. 2:8).Though they would resist Him (Psa. 2:1-3), He would breakthem (Psa. 2:9) in His dominion. On the basis of this promise,the kings and judges of the earth are exhorted to worship andserve the Son (Psa. 2:10-12). It anticipates progressive fulfillment,in time and on earth.Psalm 22In Psalm 22, it is prophesied that "all the ends of the earth[extensive] will remembe~3 and turn to the Lord, and all thefamilies [intensive] of the nations will worship before Thee" (v.27).34 Interestingly, like Psalm 2, it opens with a reference toChrist's suffering. In fact, Psalm 22: 1-21 is universally recognizedamong evangelicals as prophesying the crucifixion. Verse 1 is33. They "remember" because oftheir being created in God's image (Gen. 1:26)and having an innate awareness of the Creator (Rom. 1: 19-20).34. Cf. Psa. 66:4; 68:31-32; 82:8; 86:9. In the Old Testament, worshiping beforeGod meant worshiping in Jerusalem. But in Messiah's day it means worshipinganywhere: Matt. 18:20; John 4:21; Isa. 66:23; Mal. 1:11.198 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONuttered by Christ in His agony on the cross (Matt. 27:46); verse18 is also fulfilled at the cross (john 19:2). But it immediatelymakes its way to His glorious dominion (vv. 22-31), as per thepattern applied to His crucifixion and resurrection in the NewTestament: sufferings, then glory (Luke 24:26; 1 Pet. 1: 11).Mter the suffering, His praise will be declared in the Church(Psa. 22:22; Heb. 2: 12). That praise includes the fact that theChurch ("great assembly," Heb. 12:23) will proclaim His victory(Psa. 22:27ff). The reason He will save the earth is that theearth is His by right (Psa. 22:28); He created the material earthfor His glory.Alexander and Hengstenberg both note that there is aninteresting collusion of Christ's concluding words on the cross("It is finished") with the closing words of this Psalm whichspeaks of the cross and the glory to follow: "He has performedit.,,35 The performance of His work is redemptive, includingthe cross and the crown.This obviously anticipates the fruition of the covenant of Godgiven to Abraham and expanded in Moses and David. Thiscannot be understood amillennially as in heaven or in the NewEarth, for it speaks of the earth as turning and remembering,i.e., conversions. It also speaks of death (v. 29) and later generationsfollowing their fathers (Psa. 22:30-31).Psalm 72Here the Messianic victory theme is tied to pre-consummativehistory, before the establishmentof the eternal New Heavensand Earth. "Let them fear Thee while the sun endures, and aslong as the moon, throughout all generations. May he come downlike rain upon the mown grass, Like showers that water theearth. In his days may the righteous flourish, and abundance ofpeace till the moon is no more, may he also rule from sea to35. Alexander, Psalms, p. 107; E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament,2 vols. (McLean, VA: MacDonald, [1854] n.d.), 1:396.Anticipation 199sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (vv. 5-8).Psalm 72 is a "glowing description of the reign of the Messiah,as righteous (vv. 1-7), universal (vv. 8-11), beneficent (vv.12-14), perpetual (vv. 15-17)."36 It speaks of the social (vv. 2-4,12-14) and economic benefits of His reign (v. 16), as well as thespiritual benefits (vv. 5-7, 17). The imagery of pouring rainhere reflects the spiritual presence of Christ in the Person ofthe Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9; John 14:16-18) being poured outupon the world from on high (Isa. 32: 15; 44:3; Ezek. 39:29;Joel 2:28-29; Zech. 12:10; Acts 2:17-18). Christ is "in" us via theHoly Spirit, which is poured out upon us since Pentecost.According to the Psalmist, kings of the various nations willrule in submission to Him (vv. 10-11). Because of His beneficentreign, there will be a population increase (v. 16b; Zech.2:4). The flourishing of the righteous (v. 7) in the city (v. 16)indicates a rapid increase in population under His beneficence,as wars and pestilence cease. Population increase is associatedwith Messiah's reign in prophecy (Psa. 110:3; Isa. 9:2; 49:20;Zech. 2:4). This is in harmony with the Cultural Mandate (Gen.1:26ff) and covenantal blessing (Deut. 28:4; Lev. 26:9).37Psalm 110Psalm 110:1 is the Old Testament passage most frequentlyquoted and alluded to in the New Testament.38 It has a greatbearing on New Testament theology. Psalm 110:1-2 reads: "TheLORD said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, Till I make Yourenemies Your footstool.' The LORD shall send the rod of Yourstrength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!"36. Alexander, Psalms, p. 301.37. See also: Gen. 9:1, 7; 17:6; 28:3; 35:11; 48:4; Psa. 128:3; Jer. 23:3.38. Quotations include: Matt. 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36; 14:62; Luke 20:42-43;22:69; Acts 2:34-35; Heb. 1:13. Allusions may be found in: 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:2022;Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12,13; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 3:21. For a detailed studyof this psalm's impact in both Jewish and Christian literature, see David M. Hay,Glory at the Right Hand: Psalm 110 in Early Christianity (Nashville: Abingdon, 1973).200 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe Psalm is a purely prophetic Psalm, having no referenceto David himself, as is obvious from Jesus' teaching in Matthew22:42-45 and in that David was not a priest (v. 4). And it clearlyanticipates Christ's enemies being subjugated by Him. But Hedoes this while sitting at the right hand of God ("sit until,,39),not in arising, leaving heaven, and returning to the earth at theSecond Advent. That this Psalm is now in force, expecting theultimate victory of Christ is evident in both its numerous NewTestament allusions and in that He is already the Melchizedekanpriest, mentioned in verse 4 (cf. Heb. 7). This peculiarpriest was one who was both king and priest, according toGenesis 14: 18, as is Christ.His strong rod will rule from Zion, which portrays the NewCovenant-phase Church as headquartered at Jerusalem wherethe gospel was first preached. He rules through His rod, whichis His Word (Isa. 2:3; 11 :4). He leads His people onward intobattle against the foe (v. 3). The allusion to kings in verse 5,following as it does the reference to Melchizedek in verse 4,probably reflects back on Abraham's meeting with Melchizedekafter his conquest of the four kings in Genesis 14. Because"kings" is in the emphatic position in Hebrew, it indicatesChrist will not only rule the lowly, but also kings and nationsthrough His redemptive power, as in Psalms 2 and 72. His ruleshall be over governments, as well as individuals; it will besocietal, as well as personal.Anticipation in the ProphetsThe prophets greatly expand the theme of victory under theMessiah. I will highlight several of the prophetic pronouncementsregarding victory. Due to space limitations only three ofthese from Isaiah will be given a fuller treatment.4039. The Hebrew adverbial particle 'd indicates duration. See: ].]. Stewart Perowne,The Book of Psalms, 2 vols. (Andover, MA: Warren F. Draper, 1894),2:292-293.40. For fuller helpful exposition see: Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old TestaAnticipation201Isaiah 2:1-4In Isaiah 2, we learn that in the "last days," there will be auniversally attractive influence of the worship of God, an internationaldispersion and influence of Christianity, issuing forthin righteous living on the personal level and peace on the internationallevel. This is because there will be judgment in history:"He shall judge between the nations, And shall rebuke manypeople; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and theirspears into pruninghooks" (v. 4a). Isaiah indicates the "lastdays" will be the era that witnesses these things - not some eraafter these last days. The "last days" begin with the coming ofChristY Isaiah's younger contemporary, Micah, repeats thisprophecy almost verbatim (Micah 4:1-3).Here the reference to 'Judah and Jerusalem" stand for thepeople of God, as "Israel and Judah" do in Jeremiah 31:31,which is specifically applied to the Church in the New Testament.42 The reference to the "mountain," the "house of theGod ofJacob," and "Zion" refer to the Church, which, accordingto the express revelation of the New Testament, is thetemple and house of God43 and the earthly representation ofthe city of God (Reb. 12:22; 1 Pet. 2:644) that is set on a hill(Matt. 5:14; Reb. 12:22).45 Again, we must remember that itwas in Jerusalem where the historical redemption by Christ wasment; J. A. Alexander, Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah.41. That is, in the times initiated by Christ at His First Advent, Acts 2: 16, 17, 24;1 Cor. 10:11; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:1,2; 9:26; Jms. 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18.For a discussion of "the last days," see pp. 324-328, below.42. See my previous discussion: pp. 168-169.43. The Church is the "temple of God," 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph.2: 19-22; 1 Pet. 2:5. She is specifically designated "the house of God," 1 Tim. 3: 15;Heb. 2:6; 1 Pet. 4:17. See my discussion on pp. 349-360, below.44. The heavenly city of God comes to earth in the establishment of Christ'skingdom and Church, Rev. 3: 12; 21 :2, 10, 14ff. See my brief discussion of Revelation21-22 on pp. 418-420, below.45. See discussion of "The Holy Mountain": David Chilton, Paradise Restwed: ABiblical Theology of Dominion (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1985), ch. 4.202 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONwrought (Acts 10:39; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6)46 and where Christianitybegan (Acts 1-2).Isaiah's statement that it will be "established" (hun) in "thetop of the mountains" indicates Christ's Church will be "permanentlyfixed, rendered permanently visible."47 After the introductoryphrase "last days," Isaiah places the word "established"first for emphasis. In the eschatological portrayals of Ezekieland Zechariah, this house is gigantic (Ezek. 40:2); Jerusalem isseen towering over a plain (Zech. 14: 10). Christianity, the laststage of God's redemptive plan in history, will be so establishedas to be firmly fixed.48 In Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:1, there is aniphal participle that "must be understood ofan enduring condition,and the same is implied in the representation in vss. 3, 4of Jehovah's teaching function, of his judging between manynations and of the state of peace and security prevailing, everyman sitting under his vine and fig-tree and to make none ofthem afraid (the last in Micah only)."49It is to this eschatological phenomenon that "all nations shallflow" (Isa. 2:2-3), that will witness "the gathering of the people"(Gen. 49:10), and shall enjoy the flowing in of "many peopleand strong nations" (Zech. 8:20-23).The nations shall flow there like a river to worship the Lordas a result of the desire wrought in conversion; they shall be46. A well-known phenomenon in Luke's gospel is his emphasis on Jerusalem,particularly Christ's determination to go there for His crucifixion. It was eschatologicallynecessary for Him to die in Jerusalem, so that His redemption would flow fromthe "city of peace" to effect "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1; 15:33; 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:11;Phil. 4:9; 2 John 3): "Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the dayfollowing; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside ofJerusalem" (Luke13:33). See also: Conzelmann's discussion of Jerusalem in Luke's eschatology. H.Conzelmann, The Theology of St. Luke (New York: Harper & Row, 1957), pp. 132ff.47. J. A Alexander, The PropheciRs of Isaiah (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, [1875]1977), 1:97.48. Matt. 7:24-27; 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20; 2 Tim. 2:19; Heb. 12:28; Rev.21:9ff.49. Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed,[1930] 1991), p. 7.Anticipation 203discipled in His ways and learn the strictures of holiness fromHis Law (!sa. 2:3). The coming of the eschatological fulfillmentof redemption (Gal. 4:4) leads to the permanent establishmentof Christianity as an agency of gracious influence in the worldto salvation and sanctification. Evangelism is indicated in theflowing river of people urging others to "come, go ye" to thehouse of God (Isa. 2:3). With the overwhelming numbers beingconverted to a saving knowledge of Christ and being discipledin God's Law,so great social transformation naturally follows(Isa. 2:4). "It is a picture of universal peace that Isaiah gives,but it is a religiously founded peace."Sl The peace with God(vv. 2-3) gives rise to peace among men (v. 4).Amillennialist Hanko disposes of this postmillennial text astreated by Boettner with an incredible sweep of the hand:"Now it is true that Mount Zion has a symbolic and typicalmeaning in Scripture. It is also true that the reference is oftento the Church ofJesus Christ - as Boettner remarks in connectionwith Hebrews 12:22. But one wonders at the tremendousjump which is made from the idea of Mount Zion as symbolicof the Church to the idea that 'the Church, having attained aposition so that it stands out like a mountain on a plain, will beprominent and regulative in all world affairs.' There is not somuch as a hint of this idea in the text. The conclusion is whollyunwarranted.',s2 Having granted that Mount Zion is "symbolicof the Church," how can Hanko legitimately call the postmillennialargument a "tremendous jump" with "not so much as ahint" and "wholly unwarranted"? Hanko's argument is merelya loud denial rooted in his pre-disposition to amillennialism.What we need here is careful exegesis, not loud assertions as asubstitute for exegesis.50. See Gentry, Greatness of the Great Commission; North, Millennialism and SocialTheory.51. E. J. Young. The Book of Isaiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1965), 1:107.52. Herman Hanko, ''An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism" (SouthHolland, IL: South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, 1978). p. 6.204 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONIsaiah 9:6-7To understand Isaiah 9:1-7, we need to notice the closeconnection between the birth of "the son" (His redemptivehumiliation, v. 6) and the devolving of universal governmentupon Him (at His exaltation at the resurrectionl ascension).The promise is that this kingdom will grow, issuing forth in peace (v.7). When Messiah is born into the world, He will be grantedHis kingdom. The preceding context points also to the firstcoming of Christ for the beginning of the fulfillment of thisprophecy. The reference in verse 2 to the people in darkness,who see a great light, finds fulfillment in Christ. In fact, thegreat light is Christ Oohn 8:12; 12:46). According to Matthew4: 16 this began to be fulfilled in the ministry of Christ.In verse 3, the Lord promises to multiply Israel. This isaccording to the Abrahamic Covenant promise of a great seedand influence among the nations. It is accomplished by thecalling of the Gentiles as the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29),which involves the ingrafting of them into the stock of Israel(Rom. 11:16-19), the merging ofjew and Gentile into one body(Eph. 2:11-17). The increase of Israel's joy (verse 3) indicatesthe joy in the coming of the Savior (Luke 2: 10; john 3:2953).As in Isaiah 2:3-4, the coming of Christ will result in the cessationof oppression and war (verses 4-5), which is here portrayedin the burning of the garments of soldiers, symbolizing they willno longer be needed,54 just as the swords were cast off earlier(Isa. 2:4).The reign of Christ over His kingdom, which was entered atHis first coming,55 will be "progressive and perpetual.,,56 Inprophecy, Christ is referred to as the son or branch of David53. Christ bringsjoy to His people,John 15: 11; 16:20ff. Where Christianity goes,joy follows, Acts 8:8; 13:52; 15:3; Rom. 14:17; 15:13; 1 Pet. 1:8; 1 John 1:4.54. Young, Isaiah, 1:328.55. For argumentation, see Chapter 11, below.56. Alexander, Prophecies of Isaiah, 1:205.Anticipation 205Ger. 23:5; 33:13), or as David himself Ger. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23,23; 37:24; Hos. 3:5). At His resurrection, He was raised up tothe throne of David (Acts 2:30-31), which represented thethrone of the Lord (1 Chr. 28:5; 29:23). Again, His reign bringspeace, for He is the "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). This peacegrows incrementally through history: Christ "extends its boundariesfar and wide, and then preserves and carries it forward inuninterrupted progression to eternity.,,57 His righteous rulebegins at the first coming of Christ (Luke 1:32-33).Isaiah 11:9Isaiah 11: 1-10 speaks gloriously of the eschatological hopebegun with Adam, flowing through Noah, and expanded withAbraham. The rodlbranch from the stem/roots spoken of herecontinues the thought of the preceding context. The collapse ofDavid's house and of the Jewish government is set in contrastto the fall of Assyria (Isa. 10). The remaining, nearly extincthouse of David, reduced to a stump, still has life and will budwith a branch. That branch is Christ: He restores the house ofDavid in the New Testament,58 hence the emphasis in theNew Testament on his genealogy from David (Matt. 1: 1-17;Luke 3:23-3859).This coming of Christ (His First Advent as a stem or branch),was with the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11 :2)60 and leadsto judgment upon His adversaries (v. 4, particularly first-centuryIsrael, Matt. 3:1-12; 24:2-34; Rev. 1-19). As in the otherprophecies surveyed, there is the promise of righteousness andpeace flowing after Him. Isaiah describes the peace between57. Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, trans. William Pringle(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [n.d.] 1948), 1:96. See later discussion ofthe principle ofgradualism in Chapter 12, below.58. Matt. 1:17,18; Mark 11:10; Acts 2:34-36; 13:34; 15:16.59. See also: Luke 1:27, 32, 69; 2:4; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9, 15; Rom.1:3; Rev. 3:7; 5:5; 22:16.60. Matt. 3:16-4:1; 12:17-21; Luke 4:14-21;John 3:34; Acts 10:38.206 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmen as a removal of the enmity between wolf and lamb, bearand cow, lion and calf, leopard and kid, serpent and child.6lTheir warring nature is changed by the grace of God (cr. Eph.2:1-4).The future of the eanh is seen as glorious: "They shall not hurtnor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be fullof the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Isa.11 :9).62 This comes about gradually, beginning "in that day,"when the "root ofJesse" shall stand as a banner (signal, place ofrendezvous63) to the Gentiles (v. 10) followed by the conversionof the Jews (v. 11). The calling of the Gentiles to Christbeginning in the first century is clear evidence of the fulfillmentof verse 10 being underway to this very day (Rom. 15:4-12, seeespecially v. 12). The future conversion of the Jews will concludethe fulfillment (Rom. 11:12-25).64 We learn later thateven the arch-enemies of God and His people, Egypt and Assyria,will be healed and will on an equal footing worship withIsrael (Isa. 19:22-24). The God of the Bible is the Healer of thenations.61. It may be that this imagery speaks of an actual domestication of wild animals(Calvin, Hengstenberg, and North). See North, The Dominion Covenant: Genesis (2nded.; Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1987), p. 113. In light of thepaucity of the evidence for such elsewhere (this imagery occurs in Isaiah 11 and65:25), the preceding Isaianic prophecies of international peace among men, and thelimitation of the subject to "in my holy mountain" (where men worship) would seemcounter to such a view, however. Several of these dangerous creatures are comparedto Satan and sinners elsewhere: wolves (Ezek. 22:27; Zeph. 3:3; Matt. 7:15; 10:16),bears (Prov. 28:15; Lam. 3:10; Dan. 7:5; Rev. 13:2), serpents (Psa. 140:3; 2 Cor. 11:3;Rev. 12:9ff), leopards Ger. 13:23; Dan. 7:6; Rev. 13:2), and lions Ger. 12:8; Ezek.22:25; Dan. 7:4; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 13:2). Three of them converge in the Daniel 7 andRevelation 13 image of wicked rulers, perhaps suggesting that Isaiah speaks of thepacification of rulers through conversion.62. The employment of the future tense in the first clause ("they shall not hurtor destroy") and a preterit in the second clause ("the earth shall be full of the knowledgeof the Lord" suggests the initial fulfillment of the spread of righteousnessthrough faith, followed by peace.63. Cf. John 11:52; 12:32.64. See later discussion in Chapter 15. See also: Alexander, Isaiah, 1:257ff.Anticipation 207Additional PropheciesJeremiah foresees the day when the ark of the covenant willno longer be remembered, but in which "all the nations will begathered before" the "throne of the Lord" (Jer. 3:16-17). TheNew Covenant (initiated by Christ, Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25)will issue forth in worldwide salvation (Jer. 31 :31-34). Naturalenemies of God's Old Testament people will be brought toblessing in the era of the last days: Moab Oer. 48:47), Ammon(Jer. 49:6); Elam (Jer. 49:39).65With Isaiah, Daniel sees the expansion of the kingdom to thepoint of worldwide dominion (Dan. 2:31-35,44-45; cf. Isa. 9:67).Christ's kingdom shall crush the world .kingdom, expressedin the Lord's day in the Roman Empire.66 The Messiah's ascensionand session will guarantee world dominion: "I waswatching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son ofMan, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancientof Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then toHim was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that allpeoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominionis an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, andHis kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:1314).We must notice that Daniel 7:13-14 speaks of the Christ'sascension to the Ancient of Days, not His return to the earth. It isfrom this ascension to the right hand of God67 that there will65. See also: Egypt and Assyria (Isa. 19:23-25); the Gentiles (Isa. 49:23); Edom(Amos 9: 12); many nations (Zech. 2: 11); the Philistines (Zech. 9:7).66. Although the imagery in Daniel 2 suggests on the surface a rapid destructionof the image, it is not uncommon for the occurrence to come about gradualisticallyin prophecy (see pp. 249-253, below, on the principle of gradualism in prophecy)."Thus the threatening against Babylon, contained in the thirteenth and fourteenthchapters of Isaiah, if explained as a specific and exclusive prophecy of the MedoPersianconquest, seems to represent the downfall of the city as more sudden andcomplete than it appears in history." However, that prophecy should be "regardedas a panorama of the fall of Babylon, not in its first inception merely, but through allits stages till its consummation." Alexander, Isaiah, 1:30.67. See later discussion of His present Kingship in Chapter II, below.208 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONflow forth universal dominion: days of prosperity, peace, andrighteousness lie in the future.68 Particularly in Isaiah andEzekiel, "the catholicity of the Church's worship is expressed byall nations flowing to Jerusalem, and going up to the mountainof the Lord, to the house of the God ofJacob; whereas in Malachi,instead of them going to the temple, the temple is represented ascoming to them. ... [W]e must understand both representationsas designed to announce just the catholicity and spirituality of theGospel worship."69These and many other such references refer to the interadventalage, not to the Eternal State (as per the amillennialview); for the following reasons.First, numerous prophetic references speak of factors inappropriateto the eternal state, such as the overcoming of activeopposition to the kingdom (e.g., Psa. 72:4, 9; Isa. 11: 4, 13-15;Mic. 4:3), birth and aging (e.g., Psa. 22:30-31; Isa. 65:20; Zech.8:3-5) the conversion of people (Psa. 72:27), death (e.g., Psa.22:29; 72:14; Isa. 65:20), sin (e.g., Isa. 65:20; Zech. 14:17-19),suffering (e.g., Psa. 22:29; 72:2, 13, 17), and national distinctionsand interaction (e.g., Psa. 72:10-11, 17; Isa. 2:2-4; Zech.14:16-17).Second, though reduced to minority proportions, there willbe the continuance of the curse, despite the dominance of victory(Isa. 65:25). Isaiah 19:18 may suggest a world ratio of fiveChristians to one non-Christian.7oThird, some prophetic language is indisputably applied tothe First Advent of Christ. Isaiah 9:6 ties Christ's Messianic rule inwith His birth: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is68. Psa. 22:27; 46:8-10; 47:3; 66:4; 67:4; 86:9; 67:2; 72: 11, 17; 82:8; 86:9;102:15; !sa. 2:2-3; 25:6-7; 40:5; 49:6, 22-23; 52:15; 55:5; 60:1-7,10-14; 61:11; 66:1920;Jer. 3:17; 4:2; Dan. 7:14; Amos 9:11-15; Mic. 4:1-3; 5:2-4,16-17; 7:16-17; Hab.2:14-20; Hag. 2:7ff; Zeph. 3:10; Zech. 2:11; 8:22-23; 9:9-10; 14:16; Mal. 1:11; 3:1-12.69. David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial'! (Edmonton,Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books, [1882] 1990), p. 347.70. Alexander, Isaiah, 1:357.Anticipation 209given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and hisname shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). InDaniel 2, He appears as the destroyer of the world empires inthe days of the fourth kingdom, Rome (Dan. 2:35ff).Fourth, some prophetic passages expect the present, pre-consumrnntiveorder of things to continue into that glorious era, suchas the continuance of the sun and the moon (Psa. 72:5,7,17).Fifth, hermeneutically it would seem that prophetic figuresshould not be figures offigures. For instance, if the nations' breakingtheir bows and spears is a figure of peace, would the propheticbreaking of bows and spears be a figure of peace (theabsence of carnal warfare), which would, in turn, be a figure ofsalvation (the absence of spiritual warfare with God)?ConclusionThe Old Testament anticipates the coming, development,and victory in history of the Messianic kingdom. This hope istraceable from the earliest days of God's covenantal dealingswith man. The divine covenants of the Old Testament frame inthe covenantal hope of dominion, while the prophets fill outthat Messianic expectation. There is the sure expectation of theuniversal acquiescence of man to the rule of Messiah. This ruleis founded in the spiritual realm, but is not limited to it. Hisrule will have objective effects in all areas of life - not just thesoul, the family, and the local church. Christ's redemption is ascomprehensive as sin is, and more powerful. Christ's bodilyresurrection was more powerful than death. So are the objectiveeffects of His resurrection in history.It will be interesting if some amillennial expositor ever decidesto go into print with a detailed discussion the doctrine ofChrist's resurrection and bodily ascension in relation to theamillennial view of Christianity's defeat in history. Here is thequestion that the amillennialist must answer: How is it thatChrist's victory over death in history will not transform culture?11

    REALIZATIONAfterJohn was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospelof the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdomof God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1: 1415)The Scriptures, being an infallible and unified revelation ofGod, continue the prophetic victory theme into the New Testament.This is despite the charges by some amillennialists thatthe postmillennial hope cannot be sustained in the New Testament:"Whatever support postmillennialism may draw from itsown interpretation of the Old Testament, we question seriouslywhether the New Testament gives any valid encouragement tothis theory."l As I shall show, such c/w,rges are wholly withoutmerit. There is ample witness to the postmillennial hope in theNew Testament revelation. While dispensationalism's Zionisticapproach to the kingdom promises of the Old Testament runsinto serious problems in the New Testament, such is not thecase with postmillennialism.1. George L. Murray, Millennial Studies: A Search for Truth (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1948), p. 86. See also: Richard B. Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology:Reflections on Postmillennialism," Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, William S. Barkerand W. Robert Godfrey, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), p. 217.Realization 211On the one hand, it seems to be the case that premillennialismfinds its greatest strength in the Old Testament, whendivorced from the New. This is undeniably the situation withdispensational premillennialism. On the other hand, amillennialismgarners its strongest arguments from the New Testament,when interpreted apart from the New Testament's OldTestament foundations. Postmillennialism alone relates both theOld and New Testament revelation into one unified eschatologicalframework. To test my assertion, let us then turn our attentionto the New Testament record.InaugurationThe Birth of the KingIn paradigmatic, biblico-theological fashion, Luke, in the firstchapter of his gospel, draws upon and arranges the Old Covenantexpectations that were uttered in response to the announcementof Christ's birth. As he brings the Old Testamentexpectations over into the New Testament, he rephrases theprophecies in terms of their New Covenant fruition. Interestingly,most of these are in poetic-song format, indicating thejoyousness of the expectations.In the angelic annunciation to Mary of the nativity of herSon, Christ is promised the Davidic throne of rule, which willknow no end: " 'He will be great, and will be called the Son ofthe Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of Hisfather David. And He will reign over the house ofJacob forever,and of His kingdom there will be no end' " (Luke 1:32-33).This is surely an "echo of the sublime prediction" in Isaiah 9:67.2We should remember from our earlier study that Isaiah 9:67ties kingdom dominion in with the birth of the king as historicallysuccessive realities. As I will show later, Daniel 7: 13 equates2. David Brown. "Matthew," A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old andNew Testaments, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Faussett, and David Brown, eds. (Hartford:S. S. Scranton, n.d.), 2:97.212 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONChrist's coronation with His historical ascension leading to Hissupra-historical session. Daniel 2 also speaks of His kingdomcoming in the days of the fourth kingdom, Rome (Dan. 2:4045).The pattern of the New Testament is: humiliation followedimmediately by exaltation (John 7:39; Luke 24:26; 1 Pet. 1: 11).Later I will show that He presently rules as Messianic king andthat His rule will extend into eternity. But we must recognizethat Christ did receive "David's" throne ordained in propheticimagery (Acts 2:29-36; 3:13-15; 5:29-31; Rev. 3:7).The reference in Luke 1:33 to Christ's ruling over "thehouse of Jacob" is significant. Jacob was the father of the"twelve tribes of Israel." Thus, this reference should be understoodas alluding to the totality of the "Israel of God," whichincludes all of the redeemed, Jew and Gentile alike. Luke'scompanion, Paul, makes this especially clear (Gal. 3:29; 6: 16;Eph. 2: 12-22).3Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) reverberates with the victorytheme. In verses 47 and 48, she exalts the Lord as Savior,recognizing God's glorious blessing upon her: "From this timeon all generations will count me blessed." Why this universalhomage? Because "the Mighty One" (v. 49) has begun to movein history in a powerful way, using Mary for His glory. Theprognostication is guided by the prophetic victory theme, notby despair, lamentation, and expectation of perpetual suffering.She recognizes that in the soon-coming birth of Christ, God willdo "mighty deeds with His arm," He will "scatter the proud" (v.51). He will "bring down rulers" and "exalt those who arehumble" (v. 52). He will fill "the hungry with good things" (v.53). He will do it through His people (v. 54) in keeping withthe Abrahamic Covenant (v. 55). There is absolutely no intimationof defeat here. Victory is representative: through God's people.3. See my earlier discussion, above: pp. 164-172. Even the premillennialistadmits that in their Millennium Christ rules over all people, not just the "house ofJacob" literally conceived.Realization 213Zacharias' prophecy continues the glad tidings. He seesChrist's birth as bringing tidings of victory -for God's peopleover their enemies (Luke 1:68-71). This, again, is in fulfillmentof the Abrahamic Covenant (v. 73; cr. Rom. 15:8-12). Christ is thesunrise that will "shine upon those who sit in darkness and theshadow of death" (vv. 78-79). Elsewhere this refers to the Gentiles(Isa. 9:1,2; Matt. 4:16). This light is later seen as a positiveforce, dispelling darkness in the present age (Rom. 13:11-13; 1John 2:8). Because Christ has come, He will bring "peace onearth" (Luke 2:14a). It is His birth at His first coming that insuresthe peace on earth, not His second coming (although inthe consummative New Earth this peace will come to perfect,eternal realization4).

    The Approach of the KingdomIn sure expectation of the fulfillment of the Old Covenantexpectations and nativity prophecies, Christ's ministerial appearanceon the scene of history is introduced with a pronouncementof the nearness of the kingdom.John Baptist, Christ's divinely commissioned forerunner,preached "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"(Matt. 3:2). In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus took up the same theme:''And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came intoGalilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time isfulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believethe gospel.' " This is a very important statement. Let usnote three crucial aspects of this declaration.First, Christ asserts "the time" is fulfilled. What is "the time"to which He refers here? The Greek term employed is kairos,which indicates "the 'fateful and decisive point,' with strong,though not always explicit, emphasis ... on the fact that it isordained by God."s This "time" surely refers to the prophetical-4. See below, pp. 299-304.5. Gerhard Delling, "kairos," Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Gerhard214 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONly anticipated time, the time of the coming of David's greaterSon to establish His kingdom, for He immediately adds, "thekingdom ofGod is at hand." Christ was sent by the Father in "thefullness of time" (Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1: 10),6 to initiate the "favorableyear of the Lord" (Luke 4:16-21).7 This time is "the acceptedtime"l"the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). It is the very day righteousmen and angels desired to see.8Second, Christ dearly asserts that the time "is fulfilled." Actually,a better translation of the verb tense and voice here (theperfect passive) would be: "[T]he time has been fulfilled." Luke4:21 is similar to Mark 1: 14-15 in regard to the time fulfillment:''And He began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilledin your hearing: " The perfect tense

    EXPANSIONAnother parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heavenis like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, whichindeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater thanthe herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds ofthe air come and nest inits branches." Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom ofheavenis like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of mealtill it was all leavened." (Matthew 13:31-33)We have seen that the Messianic kingdom prophesied in theOld Testament was introduced during the earthly ministry ofthe Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament vision is of a massiveuniversal influence for the kingdom.Though the New Testament era did witness a remarkableexpansion of the faith, it did not experience a universal dominance.Yet it is clear that the New Testament also anticipatesthe worldwide victory of the gospel in the same era in which it wasinaugurated and remains continuous throughout. The New Testamentclearly expects an era of Christian dominion to occurprior to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ in powerat the final judgment. This era of dominion will produce theworldwide transformation of society through the preaching ofthe gospel and individuals' widespread positive response to themessage of redemption - a continuity of dominion.Expansion 233Recently there have been some who have recoiled at themention of the word "dominion,"l when applied to the progressof the gospel. Yet the concept of dominion is a revealedexpectation. The word "dominion" is used in significant ways inScripture.2 'God's providential rule over the universe is His"dominion" over His kingdom (Psa. 145:13; Dan. 4:3). The OldTestament anticipates Christ's "dominion" in history (Psa. 72:8;Dan. 7:14; Zech. 9:10). Of course, those who lament the employmentof "dominion" are not concerned about its referenceto God's rule, but to the rule of His people in contemporaryhistory. Yet, as we saw in Chapter 9, "dominion" is a generalcalling given to man as God's image (Gen. 1:26-28; Psa. 8:6).The expectation of "dominion" specifically for God's redeemedis also legitimate in that we currently have a kingship based onChrist's "dominion" (Rev. 1:6). Ours is a derivative, subordinatedominion under God and over His creation: representative.Unfortunately, due to imprecise thinking by some, dominionis wrongly thought to imply a carnal militarism (such as inIslamic fundamentalism) or an ecclesiocracy (such as in medievalRomanism). Nevertheless, dominion is both commandedand assured in the New Testament record.Dominion CommandedIt is important to note that the postmillennial view is theonly one of the three major evangelical eschatologies that buildsits case on the very charter for Christianity, the Great Commission(Matt. 28: 18-20). David Brown wrote over a century ago:The disciples were commissioned to evangelize the worldbefore Christ's second coming; not merely to preach the Gospel,1. Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989), ch. 2; H.Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland,OR: Multnomah, 1988), chaps. 1, 15; Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Eugene,OR: Harvest House, 1988), chaps. 10-11.2. The English word "dominion" is derived from the Latin dominus, "lord:'234 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION'for a witness,' to a world that would not receive it till he cameagain ... but to accomplish, instrumentally, the actual 'discipleshipofall nations,' to baptize them when gathered in, and to trainthem up as professed Christians in the knowledge and obedienceof the truth, for glory - all before his second coming. In thedoing of this, He promises to be with them - not merely to standby them while preaching a rejected Gospel, and to note theirfidelity, but dearly to prosper the work of their hands unto theactual evangelization of the world at large, before his coming.3Less than a half century ago, postmillennialist O. T Allis citedthe Great Commission and commented: "There is no room forpessimism or defeatism in these words. The Captain of oursalvation is an invincible commander. His triumph is sure andassured.,,4Dispensationalists scoff at postmillennialists because the latter"believe that the Great Commission will be fulfilled."5 Amillennialistsalso note the postmillennial reliance upon the GreatCommission.6 But the postmillennial case, based (in part) on theGreat Commission, is not so easily dismissed.In the last chapter, I briefly dealt with the Great Commissionas evidence in Christ's kingly authority. Here I mention it as NewTestament evidence for Christianity's victorious future.The Great Commission reads:Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority hasbeen given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore andmake disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name ofthe Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them3. David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial (Edmonton,Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books, [1882] 1990), p. 298.4. O. T. Allis, "The Parable of the Leaven," Evangelical Quarterly 19:4 (Oct. 1947)272.5. Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986), p. 441. See also:Lindsey, Road to Holocaust, p. 49; House and Ice, Dominion Theology, pp. 139-160.6. Anthony A Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1979), p. 177.Expansion 235to observe all things that I have commanded you; and 10, I amwith you always, even to the end of the age. Amen." (Matt.28:18-20)Here were the disciples, just days after the government ofRome oversaw the cruel crucifixion of their Lord. Christ confrontsthe little group, who had all forsaken Him and fled(Matt. 26:56) in fear of the Jews (John 20:19). Though earlierHis commands had limited their ministry to Israel (Matt. 10:56;15:24), He now commissions them to disciple "all the nations."The nascent progress of the gospel among the nations istraced in Acts, which takes up the history of the Christian faithwhere the Gospels leave off. Acts opens with the commissiongiven to the same few disciples to promote the message ofChrist in 'jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to theend of the earth" (Acts 1:8) and ends in Acts 28 with Paul inRome (Acts 28:16). This progress from Jerusalem to Romewitnesses thousands of conversions, testifying to the dramaticspread of Christianity.7It is only after claiming possession of the unbounded authorityof the Lord God over heaven and earth (cf. Matt. 11:25) thatChrist commissions His disciples. With these words, He doesnot merely send "forth his disciples into all nations" (Adams) tobe a "witness" (Feinberg), providing a "testimony" that "calls fora decision" (Hoekema). Nor does He simply commission them"to proclaim a message to the ends of the earth" (Pentecost) or"to preach the gospel unto all nations" (denHartog) or "to urgeuniversal proclamation of the gospel" (Hoyt) in order to draw"out a people from among the peoples or nations of the world"(Ice).8 According to the clear words of the Commission, Christ7. Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 9:35,42; 11:24-26; 17:2; 18:8, 10; 19:18,26.8. jay E. Adams, The Time Is at Hand (n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1966), p.44 (emphasis mine). Charles Lee Feinberg, "Thejew Mter the Rapture," Prophecy andthe Seventies, Feinberg, ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 182. Hoekema, Bible andthe Future, p. 138. j. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton, IL: Victor,236 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONcommands His disciples to make disciples ofall the nations. Understandwhat this means. God's disciples are under God's authority.They are under His law. They are under His sanctions. Therefore,they inherit the earth. In this case, those who are to bemade disciples in history are clearly identified as corporate entities:nations.Christ certainly has the authority to command and effectsuch, as Matthew 28:18 testifies. A great number of scholarsrecognize that the Great Commission "is a clear reference to theprophecy in Daniel 7:14, not only as to the fact but in thewords themselves."g Daniel's passage clearly provides that afterHe ascends to the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7: 13), "to Him wasgiven dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples,nations, and languages should serve Him" (Dan. 7:14). This isprecisely what the Great Commission expects: that all nationswill be discipled under His universal authority, with the resultthat they will be baptized into the glorious Name of the TriuneGod. Though His disciples were fearful and fumbling, Christpromises that He will be with them (and all His people)"throughout all the days" (pasas tas hemeras) until the end (Matt.28:20) to see that the task is successfully completed.Clearly pessimistic assessments of the Great Commission,such as the following, are without warrant: "We do not imagine1990), p. 221. Arie denHartog, "Hope and the Protestant Reformed Churches'Mission Calling," Standard Bearer 66:7 (Jan. 1, 1990) 166. Herman A. Hoyt, "ADispensational PremiIlennial Response" (to postmiIlennialism), The Millennium: FourViews, Robert G. Clouse, ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), p. 145. House andIce, Dominion Theology, p. 159.9. Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom (Philadelphia: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1962), p. 467. Gaston writes that Matthew 28:18-20 "has been formulatedquite consciously in terms of" Daniel 7:13-14. Lloyd Gaston, No Stone on Another:Studies in the Significance of the Fall ofJerusalem in the Synoptic Gospels (Leiden: Brill,1970), p. 385. See for example the comments of the foIlowing scholars: D. A. Carson,Fr';lnk E. Gaehelein, Henry Alford, R. T. France, W. F. Albright, C. S. Mann, B. T.D. Smith, Frank Stagg, R. H. FuIler, W. C. Allen, John A. Broadus. For bibliographicdata, see: Gentry, The Greatness of the Great Commission: The Christian Enterprise in aFallen World (Tyler, "IX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), p. 44, note 15.Expansion 237that there will be a worldwide conversion of all or even of themajority of peoples on the earth. The Lord gathers unto Himselfa remnant according to the election of His grace."lO TheGreat Commission strongly supports the postmillennial eschatology,commanding God's people to seek the discipling of allthe nations.Dominion AssuredNot only is dominion commanded, but is given the authorityof the one commanding it. The New Testament assures this.The Great Commission command from Christ is given on thebasis of His prior eschatological teachings. We must consider brieflya few of the important passages in this regard.Matthew 13In Matthew 13, we have the famous Kingdom Parables thatsketch some of the basic aspects of the spiritual kingdom thatChrist was establishing. The Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-23)identifies those who are the righteous subjects of the kingdom:those who rightly receive the word of God (by the sovereigngrace of God, of course). Their numbers will greatly increase,thirty-fold, sixty-fold, and a hundred-fold.The Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36:43) and the Parableof the Net (Matt. 13:47-50) point out that despite the growthof the righteous, the kingdom will include a mixture of therighteous and the unrighteous. These will not be separatedabsolutely until the resurrection.The Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Matt. 13:44) and theParable of the Pearl of Great Price (Matt. 13:45-46) speak of thepriceless value and blessings of the kingdom. The Parable of theMustard Seed (Matt. 13:31-32) and the Parable of the Leaven10. A denHartog, "Hope and the Protestant Reformed Churches' MissionCalling," 166.238 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION(Matt. 13:33) instruct us as to the gradual development andultimate outcome of the kingdom. Let us consider a little moreclosely the outcome of the kingdom, as spoken of in the last twoparables mentioned.The Parable of the Mustard Seed reads: "The kingdom ofheaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed inhis field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when itis grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so thatthe birds of the air come and nest in its branches" (Matt. 13:3132).11 The imagery is unquestionably of something magnificentbeyond expectation: a minuscule mustard seed gives rise to a tree.To this tree flock the birds of the air in order to build theirnests for their young. The Old Testament imagery involvedhere is interesting. Birds singing among the branches is a pictureofpeaceful serenity and divine provision (Psa. 104:12, 17). InDaniel 4:12 and Ezekiel 31:3, 6, Babylon and Assyria (whichGod providentially prospered, Jer. 27:5-8; Ezek. 31 :3, 912) areportrayed as massive kingdoms to which birds flocked to nest intheir branches. Daniel 4:12 indicates that this speaks of a lovelyprovision of food for all; Ezekiel 31 shows that this symbolizesthe kingdom's fairness, greatness, and provision for all greatnations. That is, they were great kingdoms which for a timesecured provisions and shelter for men.But God has a kingdom that also will be a great tree providinga nesting place for the birds and their young. Ezekiel17:22-24 reads: "I will also take of the highest branch of thehigh cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of hisyoung twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain.In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: andit shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodlycedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the11. An excellent exposition of this parable may be found in Richard C. Trench,NoteJ on the Miracles and the Parables of Our Lord, 2 vols. in 1 (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell,[n.d.] 1953), 2:109-115.12. Cf. Psa. 75:6-7; Dan. 2:21; 4:17,32; Job 12:23.Expansion 239shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all thetrees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought downthe high tree, have exalted the low tree." The portrayal here isof a universal magnificence and exaltation of the kingdom of heaven,which will graciously provide shelter for all, when it comes tofull fruition. This seems to provide the specific backdrop ofChrist's parable, which he adapted to mustard seed imagery.Both point to the dominance of Christ's kingdom: the twig isplanted on a high mountain above all the trees; the mustardseed becomes the largest plant in the garden. The MustardSeed Parable speaks of the extension of the kingdom in theworld.The Parable of the Leaven reads: "The kingdom of heaven islike leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures ofmeal till it was all leavened" (Matt. 13:33).13 This parabledoubtless speaks of the kingdom'S intensive progress in theworld. Leaven is a penetrative agent that diffuses itself throughoutits host from within (cf. Luke 17:20-21). The emphaticstatement is that the whole of that into which the leaven is put(the world, cr. Matt. 13:38) will be thoroughly penetrated. Theleaven parable, then, parallels in sentiment the glorious expectationfor the kingdom of heaven in the other parables. Thekingdom will penetrate all (Matt. 13:33). It will produce up to ahundred-fold return (Matt. 13:8). It will grow to great stature (Matt.13:31-32). It will dominate the field/world (having sown the wheatseed in the world, that world to which Christ returns will be awheat field, not a tare field, Matt. 13:30).14The kingdom parables, then, comport well with the victoriousexpectation of the Old Testament. The kingdom of the Godof heaven (Dan. 2:44) will grow to dominance in the world. Itwill manifest itself progressively as a true civilization, encom-13. For an excellent treatment of this parable, see: Allis, "The Parable of theLeaven," Evangelical Quarterly, op. cit. 254-273.14. Cf. pp. 477-479, below, for a response to amillennialism's view of the Parableof the Tares.240 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpassing every aspect of cultural life.Dispensational Objections (Discontinuity)But there are objections. Dispensationalists resist the employmentof the Kingdom Parables as evidence for a desirable gradualisticgrowth of the kingdom. Consider, for example, J.Dwight Pentecost's treatment of three of the parables: "Duringthe course of the age there will be a decreasing response to thesowing of the seed, from 'a hundredfold' to 'sixty' to 'thirty.'Such is the course of the age. Mark 4: 13 reveals that this parable,with the revelation of the program which it makes, is basicto the understanding of the other parables in the discourse.,,15Two objections may be urged against this severe misreading:First, the parable obviously is speaking of a wondrous multiplicationof effect. Even a mere (1) thirty-fold increase in an investmentshould be considered glorious. The Lord is not informingHis disciples of the decline of gospel influence, but of its increase.As such, it is akin to the Abrahamic Covenant, which promised thatAbraham's seed would become as the sands of the sea and thestars of heaven for multitude.16 Mter all, Abraham is associatedin the Gospels with the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:11;Luke 13:28).Second, in the Gospel records of Christ's references to the15. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 146.Apparently Pentecost's views on this parable have changed as later printings of thiswork indicate. Nevertheless, his older comments are still representative of manydispensationalists: See also: John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton,IL: Victor, 1990), pp. 374-376). Louis J. Barbieri, Jr., "Matthew," The BibleKnowledge Commentary: New Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds.(Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1983), p. 51. Edward E. Hindson, "The Gospel According toMatthew," Liberty Commentary on the New Testament, E. E. Hindson and WoodrowMichael Kroll, eds. (Lynchburg, VA: Liberty, 1978), p. 52. Warren W. Wiersbe, TheBible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1989), 1:46. Historic premillennialistLadd argues that the parable merely contrasts the beginning of the kingdom with thefinal apocalyptic transformation, without any idea of "gradual permeation." GeorgeEldon Ladd, A Theology ofthe New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), p. 99.16. Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 26:4; 32:12; Exo. 32:13; Deut. 1:10; 10:22; Neh. 9:23.Expansion 241increase, the order has absolutely no intended bearing on theinterpretation ofthe parable, despite Pentecost's assertion. Thisshould be obvious when Matthew 13:3-9 is laid alongside Mark4:3-8. These two records of the parable are virtually identical,except for the order of increase. Consequently, we must assumethat the order of listing is eschatologically unimportant.Consider Pentecost's teaching on the Mustard Seed Parable,which is representative of dispensationalism. "As the age progressesseveral facts are to be observed. (1) The age is characterizedby an abnormal external growth. That which was to bean herb has become a tree - it has developed into a monstrosity.(2) This monstrosity has become the resting place for birds.In the first parable the birds represented that which was antagonisticto the program of God. and consistency would demandthat they be so interpreted here.... The parable teaches thatthe enlarged sphere of profession has become inwardly corrupt.That is the characterization of this age."17That this interpretation is patently erroneous should beobvious in the parable's opening words: "The kingdom of heavenis like a mustard seed." Is Jesus saying "The kingdom ofheaven is like a monstrosity"? Furthermore, birds are not necessarilytypes of evil in Scripture.I8 Similarly, the lion is not necessarilya type of evil (1 Pet. 5:8; cf. Rev. 5:5). It would seemless disruptive of Christ's teaching to note that the birds, whichoriginally sought to destroy the seed of the kingdom in theground (Matt. 13:4, 19), finally become converted to the influenceof the seed grown to a great plant (Matt. 13:32). Mter all,each of Christ's converts was at one time His enemy.19Regarding the Parable of the Leaven (Matt. 13:33), Pentecostcomments: "The progress of the age is marked, according tothis parable, (1) by the ministry of the woman. This evidently17. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 147.18. Gen. 1:20; Deut. 14:20; !sa. 31:5; Matt. 6:26.19. Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:1-4; 1 TIm. 1:15.242 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONrefers to the work of a false religious system (Rev. 2:20; 17: 1-8).. . . (2) The age is marked by the introduction of the leaven.This figure is used in Scripture to portray that which is evil incharacter (Exo. 12:15; Lev. 2:11; 6:17; 10:12; Matt. 16:6; Mark8: 15; 1 Cor. 5:6, 8; Gal. 5:9).... There is a different emphasisin the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven. The mustardseed refers to the perversion of God's purpose in this age,while the leaven refers to a corruption of the divine agency, theWord, through which this purpose is realized."20This distorts Christ's teaching on the kingdom of heaven.Christ clearly states: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven." IsHe saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like evil?" Will, then,"the gates of hell prevail against it"? Furthermore, women arenot necessarily types of evil in Scripture.21 Jesus employs themin a good sense in His parables (Matt. 25: 1-2; Luke 15:8). Itjust so happens that women normally bake bread (Lev. 26:26;1 Sam. 28:24), much like the three measures being an amountwhich would be normal (Gen. 18:6; J dgs. 6: 19; 1 Sam. 1:24).The woman imports the leaven into the meal, as Christ's kingdomcomes from without (John 18:36; Rev. 21:2) and workswithin (Luke 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17).Pentecost's Scriptural evidences for his view are not convincing.Leaven does not always represent evil, for it is found inofferings in Leviticus 7:13 and 23:7. Exodus 12:15 forbidsleaven in the Passover because the people were to portray thehaste with which God would remove them from Egypt (Exo.12: 11). The offerings in Leviticus do forbid leaven, but do nottie this prohibition to leaven's evil symbolism. Even honey isforbidden, despite its symbolizing the Promised Land.22 InMatthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; and 1 Corinthians 5:6, 8, the leaven20. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 148. Cf. The New Scofield Reference Bible (NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 1015.21. Provo 9: 1-3; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 12: I, 2; 21:2.22. Exo. 3:8; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13:27; Deut. 6:3; Josh. 5:6.Expansion 243references are all modified by such phrases as: "of the Pharisees"and "of malice." In Galatians 5:9, Paul happens to bespeaking of the danger of false doctrine when he alludes to ageneral maxim, that can be used in either a good or an evilsense: "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." Actually, thesubtle penetrative power of leaven is the source of its legendaryinterest. When used in analogy it can be used of the penetrativeinfluence of either good or evil.Contrary to dispensationalists, the kingdom of heaven is neithergrotesque nor a perversion of the work of God. The Gospels presentJesus as He preached the "kingdom of heaven" or "of God."23He urgently preached: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven isat hand" (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15). The kingdom was so spirituallyglorious that those who were "poor in spirit" and "persecutedfor righteousness sake" were given it (Matt. 5:3, 10; Luke6:20). To enter that kingdom, men "must be converted andbecome as little children" (Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:15; Luke 18: 17),by the new birth via God's Holy Spirit Gohn 3:3, 5). He warnedthat to enter this kingdom it was necessary to "do the will ofmyFather" (Matt. 7:21). Those who did so would share with thepatriarchs in the kingdom's glory (Matt. 8:11; Luke 13:29). Itwas so glorious that even John Baptist would be surpassed bythe "least" in it (Matt. 11:11; Luke 7:28). Consequently, thekingdom of heaven is compared to "a treasure" that brings such"joy" that a man would "sell all that he has" to attain it (Matt.23. There is no internal Scriptural evidence that the kingdom of heaven (theterm used in Matthew) is different from the kingdom of God (the term used in theother three Gospels). C. I. Scofield made this distinction foundational to his dispensationalsystem, defining the kingdom of heaven as signifying "the Messianic earth ruleof Jesus Christ, the Son of David." The Scofield Reference Bible (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1909), p. 996, note 1: Matthew 3:2. This unsustainable interpretationwas quietly abandoned by the editors of the New Scofield Reference Bible. Theyargue that the kingdom of heaven refers to the earthly manifestation of God'skingdom among men, while the kingdom of God sometimes includes angels. Theyadmit that "The kingdom of heaven is similar in many respects to the kingdom ofGod and is often used synonymously with it, though emphasizing certain features ofthe divine government." New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 994, note 3.244 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION13:44). Indeed, the kingdom of heaven is like a "goodly pearl"(Matt. 13:45). Truly the "kingdom of heaven" is majestic!John 12:31-32In these verses, Christ powerfully and confidently asserts:"Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this worldwill be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, willdraw all men to Myself" Uohn 12:31-32).The moment of His greatest weakness (His crucifixion), willbecome the key to His great strength: the drawing of all men toHimself. Here He speaks of the "judgment" of the world, thecasting out of Satan, and the drawing of all men. And this isabout to occur: "now is." Calvin's comments on the word judgmentused here are helpful:The word judgment is taken as "reformation" by some and "condemnation"by others. I agree rather with the former, whoexpound it that the world must be restored to due order. Forthe Hebrew word mishpat which is translated as judgment meansa well-ordered constitution.... Now we know that outsideChrist there is nothing but confusion in the world. And althoughChrist had already begun to set up the kingdom of God, it wasHis death that was the true beginning of a properly-orderedstate and the complete restoration of the world.24The chaos and evil that Adam's submission to Satan had broughtinto the world were about to be definitively corrected. Taskerwrites: "By His own forthcoming conflict with evil in His passion,the situation created by the fall of Adam will be reversed.It was because of disobedience that man was driven by God outof the garden of Eden for having submitted to the prince of thisworld (31); now by the perfect obedience of Jesus on the cross24. John Calvin, T~ Gospel According to St. John (1553), Calvin's New TestamentCommentaries, David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, eds. (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1961),2:42.Expansion 245the prince of this world will be deposed from his present ascendaney."25

    The means of the restoration is immediately appended: Hewill cast out the great hinderer of men, Satan,26 and will beginredemptively drawing all men to Himself. The same word for"draw" (elkuo) here is used in John 6:44. It speaks of the spiritualdrawing power of the Holy Spirit. It implies a certainamount of resistance that is ultimately overcome. This is evidentin its usage in John 21:11, where Peter "draws" a heavy-ladennet full of large fishes to shore by himself.The massive influence of Christ's death is to be experiencedin history through the drawing of all men so that the world asa system27 might be moved back to God. This is not to be accomplishedby political imposition, but spiritual transformation. The finalresult, however, is not an each-and-every universalism of salvation.Rather, it is a massive, systemic conversion of the vastmajority of men, who then progressively transform the world.1 Corinthians 15:20-28Here we come to one of the strongest New Testament passagessupportive of postmillennialism. Paul here teaches notonly that Christ is presently enthroned, but also that He isenthroned and ruling with a confident view to the subduing ofHis enemies. (I here employ the New International Version asour basic English translation.)In 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, Paul speaks of the resurrectionorder: Christ has been resurrected as a first-fruits promise ofour resurrection. In verses 23-24, we read further of the orderof and events associated with the resurrection: "But each in hisown turn:28 Christ the first fruits; then, when he comes, those25. R. V. G. Tasker, The Gospel According to St. John (1Jndale New TestamentCommentaries) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), p. 150.26. For the demise of Satan, see below: pp. 258-259.27. See the discussion of kosmos below, pp. 263-267.246 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONwho belong his to him. Then the end will come." With Paul weare now in the era awaiting the end-time coming of Christ,when all believers will be resurrected in glory. When Christ comesthis will be. "the end,,!29 There will be no millennial age on thepresent earth to follow. 30But notice the expectation preceding the end: Verse 24 says,"the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to Godthe Father." The end of earth history is brought about "whenever,,31 Christ "hands over" the kingdom to the Father. In thesyntactical construction before us, the "handing over" (NIV) or"delivering up" (KJV) of the kingdom must occur in conjunctionwith "the end.,,32 Here the contingency is the date: "whenever"it may be that He delivers up the kingdom, then the endwill come. Associated with the predestined end here is theprophecy that the kingdom of Christ will be delivered up to theFather only "after he has destroyed all dominion, authority andpower.,,33dispensationalists - see B. B. Warfield, "The Prophecies of St. Paul" (1886), Biblicaland Theological Studies (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1952), p. 484.29. The Scripture is clear that the resurrection is a "general resurrection" ofboththe righteous and unrighteous (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15), which willoccur on the "last day" (John 6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48). See Chapter 13, below.30. For helpful discussions of this prohibition ofan intervening kingdom (Zwischenreich)era prior to the end, see: C. K. Barrett, From First Adam to Last (London:Black, 1962), p. 101; Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ:Presbyterian & Reformed, [1930] 1991), pp. 238-258; Herman Ridderbos, Paul: AnOutline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), pp. 556-559; W. D. Davies,Paul and Rabbinic Judaism (New York: Harper, 1967), pp. 291-298. See also: A. T.Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1930),4:191.31. A better translation ofhotan is "whenever." We know not "when" this will be,Matt. 24:36.32. The Greek for "hands over" here is paradidoi, which is in the present tenseand subjunctive mode. When hotan is followed by the present subjunctive it indicatesa present contingency that occurs in conjunction with the main clause: here thecoming of the end. Arndt-Gingrich, Lexicon, p. 592.33. In the Greek text the hotan is here followed by the aorist subjunctive, katargese.Such a construction indicates that the action of the subordinate clause precedesthe action of the main clause. Arndt-Gingrich, Lexicon, p. 592.Expansion 247Gathering these exegetical data together, we see that the endis contingent: it will corne when He delivers up the kingdom toHis Father. But this will not occur until "after He has destroyedall dominion, authority and power." Consequently, the end willnot occur, and Christ will not tum the kingdom over to theFather, until after He has abolished all opposition. Here again is thegospel victory motif in the New Testament in a way co-ordinatewith Old Testament covenantal and prophetic expectations.Notice further: Verse 25 demands that "He must [dei] reignuntil He has put all His enemies under His feet." Here thepresent infinitive ("reign") indicates the continuance of Hisreign. We have already seen in Chapter 11 that He is presentlyreigning, and has been so since His ascension. References elsewhereto the Psalm 110 passage specifically mention His sitting atGod's right hand. Sitting at the right hand entails active ruling andreigning, not passive resignation. He is now actively "the ruler overthe kings of the earth" and "has made us kings and priests toHis God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion foreverand ever" (Rev. 1:5).34 Here in 1 Corinthians 15:25, we learnthat He must continue to reign, putting His enemies under Hisfeet. Until when? The answer is identical to that which hasalready been concluded: His reign from heaven extends to theend ofhistory. Earlier, it was awaiting the definitive abolition of all34. R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of Paul's First and Second Letters to theCorinthians (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961), p. 672. F. F. Bruce, I & II Corinthians(New Century Bible Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), p. 147. W. R. G.Loader, "Christ at the Right Hand - Ps. 110:1 in the New Testament," New TestamentStudies 24 (1978) 208.1. Lambrecht, "Paul's Christological Use of Scripture in 1 Cor.15:20-28," New Testament Studies 28 (1982) 506. This is contrary to how dispensationalistMcLeod sees Psalm 110 used in Hebrews: He admits that Psalm 110 employstokens of kingship (vv. 3,8-9,13): Christ's "throne, scepter, and kingdom - all tokensof power and dominion are mentioned." Yet he goes on to comment on the use ofPsalm 110:3 in Hebrews: "Closer examination, however, reveals that Hebrews has noemphasis 'on Christ as present ruler of the world... .' The expression 'He sat down'carries the sense of a finished work of sacrifice (10: 12) rather than that of a presentreign as King.... At the present time Christ sits at God's right hand waiting for theday when He shall return to earth to reign (1:6,13; 10:13)," David]. Macleod, "ThePresent Work of Christ in Hebrews," Bibliotheca Sacra 148 (ApriV1une 1991) 199.248 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONrival rule, authority and power (Matt. 28: 18). His bodily returnis delayed until progressively "He has put all His enemies underHis feet." The repetition of the expectation of His sure conquestbefore the end is significant. Furthermore, the last enemythat will be subdued is death, which is subdued in conjunctionwith the final resurrection that occurs at His coming.35 Theprogressive subduing of His other enemies in history occursbefore this final resurrection.In verse 27, it is clear that He has the legal title to rule, for theFather "has put everything under His feet." This is the Paulineexpression (borrowed from Psa. 8:6) that is equivalent toChrist's declaration that "all authority has been given Me."Christ has the promise of victory, and He has the right to victory.Psalm 110, especially as expounded by Paul in 1 Corinthians15, shows that He will have the historical, pre-consummation victoryas His own before His Second Advent. This verse from Psalm110 is one of the most frequently referred to Old Testamentpromises to appear in the New Testament. The expectation ofcomprehensive victory is a frequently recurring theme!Other PassagesThere are numerous other passages in the New Testamentthat we could cite to fill out the victory motif. Ephesians 1: 1923praises the "mighty power" of God evidenced in Christ'sresurrection as a stepping stone to Christ's being raised "farabove all principality and power and might and dominion, andevery name that is named." Because of this we may rest assuredthat God has "put all things under His feet, and gave Him tobe head over all things to the church" (Eph. 1:22). The Church,which is His body, has as its head the exalted Christ. How canthere be historical failure under such a glorious One? The Head of35. Contrary to dispensationalist confusion, the resurrection of the lost is notmentioned here only because his primary concern (as in 1 Thess. 4:13) is withChristians and their ethical actions.Expansion 249the Church, which has been given the task of baptizing thenations (Matt. 28: 19), is a sovereign Lord.The writer of Hebrews contrasts the Old Covenant and theNew Covenant (Heb. 12:18-24), pointing out that the recipientsof the New Covenant are in the very process of receiving

    CONSUMMATIONBut each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes,those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands overthe kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion,authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)Postmillennialism is quite close to amillennialism in its understandingof the events associated with the final consummation.As such, it is in harmony with the historic creeds of theChurch, which know nothing of a millennial era in redemptivehistory, nor allow for more than one resurrection and judgment.I Consequently, regarding consummational events, postmillennialismstands in direct opposition to all forms of premillennialism,whether historic (e.g., George E. Ladd and RobertMounce), dispensational (e.g., Charles Ryrie and John F. Walvoord),or cultic (e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter-day Saints[Mormons]). It stresses continuity: until the day ofjudgment.The balanced postmillennial preterism2 promoted in thiswork is set in partial contrast, as well, to the radical preterism1. See: Philip Schaff, ed., The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols. (New York: Harper &Bros., 1919). Reprinted by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1990.2. For "preterism" see Chapter 8: "Interpretation"; Chapter 15: "Features"; andChapter 17: "Revelation."Consummation 271of a few writers, who see the second advent (including the"rapture," resurrection, and judgment) as occurring in A.D.70.3 The preteristic approach taken herein is fully orthodox. Indemonstration of this, my focus will be on the Second Advent,the resurrection, the final judgment, and the eternal state.Because the purpose of this work is to set forth the optimisticdistinctives of postmillennial eschatology, certain relatively noncontroversialareas of these matters will be given only brieftreatment.Second AdventA common error regarding the Bible's view of Christ'S comingis this one: too many expositors overlook the different waysin which Christ "comes." Such error is especially rampantamong eschatological populists, particularly those of the dispensationalschool. Not all references to His coming are to the secondadvent at the close of history. This is an important qualificationto prophecies of His "coming" that needs to be understoodbefore we turn to consider the second advent itself.4The Various Comings of ChristChrist comes spiritually to the believer in the ministry of theHoly Spirit. He expressly teaches this when He says: "I will pray3. See especially the masterfully written book by J. Stuart Russell, entitled TheParousia: A Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming (GrandRapids: Baker. [1887] 1983). See also: Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics: Treatiseon the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. [n.d.]1983). For more recent works see: Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy (Warren.OH:Author. 1971) and Cross and the Parousia: Two Dimensions of One Age-Changing Esr:haton(Warren. OH: Parkman Road Church of Christ, 1987); Ed Stevens, What Happenedin 70 A.D.: A Study in Bible Prophecy (Bradford. PA: Author. 1988).4. We should recognize also that parousia is not a technical term for the SecondMvent. There are several passages in which Paul speaks of his own parousia or thatof his fellow-laborers in the ministry: 1 Cor 16:7; 2 Cor. 7:6,7; 10:10; Phil. 1:26; 2:12.Geerhardus Vos. The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed,[1930] 1991). p. 74.272 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He mayabide with you forever.... I will not leave you orphans; I willcome to you" Uohn 14:16, 18, cf. vv. 23, 28). Since the Pentecostevent, this coming is His coming in soteric regeneration. Thosewho are not saved by the grace of God are, by definition "withoutChrist" (Eph. 2: 12).5 Salvation, then, requires a "coming"of Christ into their lives to save them.Christ comes spiritually to believers in fellowship, as theyworship and serve Him. "Behold, I stand at the door andknock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I willcome in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20).The spiritual implications of Christian fellowship, thus considered,are far deeper than any human friendship relations (cf. 1Cor. 12:13ff).He comes among His people spiritually when they worshiptogether before Him. "For where two or three are gathered togetherin My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt.18:20). Though the word "come" does not appear in this reference,the implication of a coming is very clear. For wherevertwo or three are not gathered together in His name, He is notpresent in this sense. There is a special, holy, covenantal sensein which Christ comes into the worship service of the saints thatis different from His coming in salvation and fellowship. This,of course, heightens the spirituality and seriousness of worship,when fully realized.He comes spiritually to believers at death. "And if I go andprepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you toMyself; that where I am, there you may be also" Uohn 14:3).65. Mark 4:11; 1 Cor. 5:12-13; Col. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:12; 1 TIm. 3:7; cf.John 15:1-7.

    6. W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, [1894] n.d.),2:654. A. M. Hills, Fundamental Christian Theology: A Systematic Theology (Salem, OH:Schmul, 1980),2:356. Even premillennialistJ. Barton Payne interprets John 14:3 asa reference to Christ's coming in the believer's death. Payne, Eru:yclopaedia of BiblicalProphecy (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973), p. 561.Consummation 273We know that the disciples (and other believers) are with theLord in heaven after their deaths (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:6-9).Hence, this statement must mean He comes to them at theirdeaths. Though Stephen's death is unique in Scripture, it mayindicate something of Christ's personal involvement in thedeaths of all His saints (Acts 7:59). Are we left to find our wayto heaven? Or does Christ personally receive His own into thepresence of the Father? Mter all, Jesus said, "I am the way, thetruth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except throughMe" Oohn 14:6).He comes into the presence of the Father at His ascension, inorder to receive His kingdom. "I was watching in the nightvisions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with theclouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and theybrought Him near before Him" (Dan. 7: 13). He leaves theworld so that He may "come" to the Father: "Now 1 am nolonger in the world, but these are in the world, and 1 come toYou.... Now I come to You, and these things 1 speak in theworld" Oohn 17:11, 13a).7Beyond these spiritual comings and in addition to the bodilysecond advent, there is another sort of coming. This is a providentialcoming of Christ in historical judgments upon men. In theOld Testament, clouds are frequently employed as symbols ofdivine wrath and judgment. Often God is seen surrounded withforeboding clouds which express His unapproachable holinessand righteousness.s Thus, God is poetically portrayed in certainjudgment scenes as coming in the clouds to wreak historicalvengeance upon His enemies. For example: "The burdenagainst Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, and willcome into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence,and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst" (Isa. 19: 1).9 This7. See: Luke 9:51; 24:51; John 8:14; 13:1,3; 14:28; 16:28; Acts 1:10.8. Gen. 15:17; Exo. 13:21-22; 14:19-20; 19:9, 16-19; Deut. 4:11;Job 22:14; Psa.18:8ff; 97:2; 104:3; Isa. 19: 1; Ezek. 32:7-8.9. 2 Sam. 22:8,10; Psa. 18:7-15; 68:4, 33; 97:2-39; 104:3; Isa. 13:9; 26:21; 30:27;274 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONoccurred in the Old Testament era, when the Assyrian kingEsarhaddon conquered Egypt in 671 B.C. .obviously it is not tobe understood as a literal riding upon a cloud, any more sothan Psalm 68:4: "Sing to God, sing praises to His name; ExtolHim who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, And rejoicebefore Him."l0The New Testament picks up this apocalyptic judgmentimagery when it speaks of Christ's coming in clouds of judgmentduring history. Matthew 26:64, for instance, must be understoodas some sort of first century "coming to judge." Christsays this will be witnessed by His accusers in the Sandhedrin:"Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Mansitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on theclouds of heaven" (Matt. 26:64). According to Matthew 24:30the Jews of "this generation" (Matt. 23:36; 24:34) would see asign that the Son of Man was in heaven: "Then will appear thesign of the Son of man in heaven."u The sign that the Son ofMan is in heaven was the smoking rubble ofJerusalem, whichHe had prophesied beforehand (Matt. 24:2, 15-21; cf. Acts2: 16-22, 36-40).12God's judgment on Israel is taught in parabolic form inMatthew 21 :40. There the Lord asks: "Therefore, when theowner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?"The interpretation is evident even to many premillennialists.Henry Alford, for instance, makes the following importantJoel 2:1, 2; Mic. 1:3; Nah. 1:2ff; Zeph. 1:14-15.10. See even the dispensational commentary: John A. Martin, "Isaiah," BibleKnowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2 vols. (Wheaton:Victor, 1983), 1:1066.11. Alfred Marshall, TM Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (2nd ed.; GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1959), p. 108. The Greek word order is important here. TheNew American Standard Bible alters that word order thus confusing the reader. Thismay be related to the premillennial commitment of the translators, which commitmentsare evident in paragraph headings also.12. In Scripture the bellowing of smoke clouds from a scene ofjudgment oftenserve as evidence of that judgment (Gen. 19:28; Josh. 18:20; 20:40; Psa. 37:20; Isa.14:31; 34:10; Rev. 14:11; 18:9).Consummation 275observation: "We may observe that our Lord makes 'when theLord cometh' coincide with the destruction ofJerusalem, which isincontestably the overthrow of the wicked husbandmen. Thispassage therefore forms an important key to our Lord's prophecies,and a decisive justification for those who like myself,firmly hold that the coming of the Lord is, in many places, to beidentified, primarily, with that overthrow.,,13The Second AdventIn Chapter 1, I pointed out that the Christian conception ofhistory is linear. Because of this, God-governed history had abeginning and it will have a conclusion. The Scripture not onlyinforms us of the world's beginning, but also of its end. Thatend will be brought about by the personal, sovereign interventionof the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory. Theuniverse will not suffer a naturalistic heat death under randomatomic forces, as per secular scenarios. It will be a heat renovationbrought about through supernatural intervention at thepre-ordained time.That there is a personal, visible, glorious return of Christ isevident in Scripture.Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, Hewas taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Andwhile they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up,behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said,"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? Thissame Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will socome in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1;911)Here we have a clear and compelling reference to the secondadvent. Let us briefly consider this passage.13. Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament, 4 vols. (Chicago: Moody Press, [18491861]1958), 1:216 (emphasis his).276 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONLuke is careful to say the disciples were "beholding" (bleponton,present participle, Acts 1:9a) Him as He ascended; He wasreceived "from the eyes of them" (apo ton ophthalmon auton, v.9b); they were "gazing" (atenizontes I4) as He was "going" (v.10); they were "looking" (blepontes, v. 11); they "beheld" (etheasasthe,from theaomaiI5). Clearly His ascension was a visible andglorious phenomenon involving His tangible resurrectedbody.16 And there was an actual visible cloud associated withit (v. 10). This cloud "is probably to be interpreted as the cloudof the Shekhinah," the same cloud witnessed at thetransfiguration. 17The angelic messengers resolutely declare that "this sameJesus" (i.e., the Jesus they knew for over three years, who isnow in a tangible resurrected body) will "so come in like manneras you saw Him go into heaven" (v. 11). The Greek on troponliterally means "what manner." The Greek phrase "never indicatesmere certainty or vague resemblance; but wherever itoccurs in the New Testament, denotes identity of mode ormanner..18 (e.g., Acts 7:28; 2 Tim. 3:8). Consequently, we haveexpress biblical warrant to expect a visible, bodily, gloriousreturn of Christ paralleling in kind the ascension. This gloriousevent is mentioned in a number of Scripture passages.1914. "The Greek verb strictly denotes tension or straining of the eyes." J. AAlexander, The Acts of the Apostles Explained, 2 vols. (3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan,[1875] 1956),1:14.15. This is the word from which we derive the English "theater." It speaks ofcontemplative observing, not casual noticing. See the emphasis on the careful contemplationof the physical nature of Christ in 1 John 1: 1.16. For a discussion as to the nature of His resurrected body, see the next majorsection below: "The Resurrection," pp. 281ff.17. F. F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts (New International Commentary on the NewTestament) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.), p. 41. A M. Ramsey, "What was theAscension?" Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, Bulletin II, Oxford, 1951, pp. 43ff.See: Exo. 16:10; 19:16; 24:15; 40:34-38; Matt. 17:5.18. Alexander, Acts, p. 16.19. For example, to list but a few: Matt. 13:30,39-43; 24:36-24:56; 1 Cor. 11:26;15:23-24,51-52; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; Titus 2:13; Rev. 20:9.Consummation 277When the Lord returns at His second advent, this event willsigna! the end of history. Paul notes that when Christ returns,the end will come. "Christ the firstfruits, afterward those whoare Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when Hedelivers the kingdom to God the Father" (1 Cor. 15:23-24a).This is why the era we have been living in since the coming ofChrist is known as "the last days" (Heb. 1: 1-2). There are noother days to follow!20 The resurrection occurs at the "lasttrump" (1 Cor. 15:52). Christ's coming does not open a wholenew era of redemptive history, known as the millennium. Rather,it concludes history.Consequently, just as Christ was involved in the beginning ofhistory (John 1:3; Col. 1:16), so will He be gloriously involvedin the conclusion of history (1 Cor. 15:23-24). He is the ''Alphaand the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Rev 1:8; cf. 1: 11;21:6; 22:13). (Below I will survey a few of the major concomitantevents associated with His second advent.)A Dispensational DistortionScripture teaches that Christ's eschatological return is asingular, visible, glorious event. Dispensationalism, with itssystemic pandemonium, however, teaches multiple literal comingsof Christ from heaven to earth, with the initial one (the"rapture") being a secret coming: First Corinthians 15:51-52"cannot refer to the Second Coming of Christ because thatevent was not a mystery unrevealed in the Old Testament. Thereference is to something distinct, that is, the rapture of theChurch before the tribulation." First Thessalonians 4:13-18"speaks of the same event.,,21 "The rapture as expressed in 120. See next chapter for a discussion of the last days, pp. 324-328.21. Charles C. Ryrie, TM Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: LoizeauxBros., 1953), p. 133. Other dispensationalists agree: John F. Walvoord, ProphecyKnowledge Handbook (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990). p. 481. J. Dwight Pentecost.Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton. IL: Victor, 1990), pp. 248-249 and Things to Come(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), pp. 206-207. Thomas L. Constable. "I Thessaloni278HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThessalonians 4 seems to be a private event involving thechurch only, and unseen and unknown to the world.... Theactual event seems to be a secret experienced only by thechurch." "First He comes secretly to rapture away Hisbride."22 "There is no indication, however, that residents ofearth will be able to see the church thus raptured.,,23 Therapture "will be a secret appearing, and only the believers willknow about it.,,24Thus there are in the dispensational view at least two moreliteral eschatological comings of Christ: a second coming and athird coming. Some dispensationalists teach that "the secondcoming of Christ involves several stages."25 But this semanticploy is unworkable. In the first place, most leading dispensationalistsadmit to two distinct eschatological comings. Chaferdogmatically asserts of the distinction between the rapture andthe second advent: "The first event is in no way whatsoever apart of the second event.,,26 Walvoord disagrees with thosewho make "the Rapture a phase of the second coming ofChrist" or who teach "the Rapture will be a part of the SecondComing."27 Pentecost and Ryrie say that these are separate"events.,,28 Also, in that these two events are separated by sevans,"Bible Knowledge Commentary, 2:704. Benjamin C. Chapman, "1 Thessalonians,"Liberty Commentary: New Testament, Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll,eds. (Lynchburg: Liberty Press, 1978), p. 586.22. Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House,1989), pp. 303, 304.23. John F. Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, 3 vols. in 1(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 3:83.24. Herschel W. Ford, Seven Simple Sermons on the Second Coming (Grand Rapids:Zondervan, 1946), p. 51.25. See discussion in Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor,1986), p. 478.26. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas, TX: Dallas TheologicalSeminary Press, 1948), 5:288.27. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 494.28. Pentecost. Things to Come, p. 206. Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the PremillennialFaith, p. 133.Consummation 279en years, involve different peoples (the Church vs. Tribulationsaints), and two different purposes (removal of the Churchfrom history vs. the establishment of the new era of the millenniumin history), it is impossible to make such a qualification.The Bible, however, speaks only of a "second" eschatologicalcoming. Hebrews 9:28 says: "So Christ was once offered to bearthe sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall heappear the second time without sin unto salvation." In regard toHis physical coming to earth, the Bible speaks of His comingagain (Acts 1: 11), not of His "comings" or His "coming againand again" or of a "third coming."But let us note just one of dispensationalism's major prooftexts:1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18. Walvoord feels that "a carefulstudy of this passage in 1 Thessalonians will do much to set thematter in its proper biblical revelation," demonstrating "thedifference between the Rapture of the church and Christ'ssecond coming to judge and rule over the earth.,,29 Anotherdispensationalist author comments that "this is undoubtedly theprimary passage on the Rapture of the Church.,,30 As a postmillennialist,I believe that this passage refers to the visible,glorious, second advent to conclude history, not an invisiblerapture to remove believers in preparation for the setting up ofanother era of redemptive history (the millennium).On the very surface it is remarkable that one of the noisiestverses in Scripture is said to picture the secret rapture. Paulsays: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with ashout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.And the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thess. 4: 16). By allappearance, this seems emphatically to be a very public event,even if we do not take these elements as literal trumpets andshouts.31 Besides, this event involves millions of resurrections29. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 481.30. Gerald B. Stanton, "Biblical Evidence for the Pretribulational Rapture,"Biblical Perspectives 4:4 (July/Aug. 1991) 2.31. Remarkably. Walvoord, a dispensational literalist, even allows the possibility280 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION(on the order of Christ's) and the transformation of millions ofliving believers and their removal from the world. This has tohave a public impact.In addition, the passage teaches that "so shall we ever bewith the Lord." It says nothing of Christians going with Him toheaven for seven years and then returning to the earth to rulein a thousand-year millennium. Some (not all) dispensationalistshold that: "The locale of their future is not permanent as theywill be in heaven during the time preceding the Second Coming[Le., during the seven-year Great Tribulation]. They will beon earth during the millennial kingdom...."32 If this is sucha "significant" passage for the dispensational view, why are notthe dispensational distinctives found here?That the resurrection of the wicked is not mentioned here isno indicator of two resurrections, and thus of two distinct comingsof Christ, for two important reasons: (1) The resurrectionof the righteous and that of the wicked operate on differentprinciples. The righteous are in Christ; their resurrection is toglory. It is not so for the unrighteous. (2) The purpose of thepassage is not so much to deal with the total implications of theresurrection. Rather, as Walvoord himself admits: "Though thispassage is more informative concerning the nature of the Rapture,it is designed to be an encouragement to those who areliving for Christ."33 Paul is comforting Christians regardingtheir deceased love ones. If there were a millennium in whichthey would be ruling and reigning, it would seem that it shouldbe mentioned here as a word of comfort. But, rather than that,Paul places all believers in the presence of the Lord - forever.Walvoord's main argument for distinguishing this eventfrom the second advent is: "Most significant in this passage isthat the "clouds" may be figurative allusions to the great numbers of saints involved!Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 484.32. Ibid.33. Ibid.Consummation 281the fact that there are no preceding events, that is, there are noworld-shaking events described as leading up to this event. Asa matter of fact, the church down through the centuries couldexpect momentarily the Rapture of the church, which hopecontinues today. By contrast the second coming of Christ willbe preceded by divine judgments on the world...."34But how can this prove a distinction between the raptureand the second advent? Does not Walvoord admit a limiteddesign for the passage: to comfort Christians concerning theresurrection of deceased loved ones? Why would Paul have toprovide the whole complex of eschatological phenomena? Thedispensational argument is one from silence, based on a preconceivedtheory. "In addition, this is the very same Walvoordwho teaches that the seven churches of Revelation portray longages of church history leading up to our own time (he is notalone in this contradiction)t35 If these ages had to occur byprophetic portrayal, how could the rapture be deemed imminentor momentary, with no intervening events expected?This leads naturally to a consideration of:The ResurrectionAn important feature of the eschatological complex is thatthere will be a bodily resurrection of the dead, both of the justand the unjust. God created angels to dwell in the spiritualrealm (Psa. 104:4; Reb. 1:7, 13-14) and man to dwell in thematerial realm (Gen. 2:7), hence the resurrection.36 This will34. Ibid.35. Walvoord, The Revelation ofJesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), p. 52.Hal Lindsey, There's a New World Coming (Santa Ana, CA: Vision House, 1973), pp.38ff. C. I. Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press,[1909] 1945), pp. 1331-2. The New Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford U.P.,1967), p. 1353. Charles C. Ryrie, Revelation (Everyman's Bible Commentary) (Chicago:Moody Press, 1965), pp. 21ff. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 149.36. The Bible clearly teaches a future existence beyond the grave: Gen. 5:22, 24;15:15; 25:8; 35:29; 37:35; Num. 20:24; 27:13; Matt. 10:28; 20:30; 22:32; 25; Luke16:26; John 5:24; 8:51; 11:25; 12:25; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; 1 Cor. 15; Heb. 2:16; Jude 14-282 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONbe accomplished by the almighty power of God and will be oneresurrection involving all men, often designated the "generalresurrection." This great resurrection will not be followed by amillennial reign on earth; it is consummational, bringing to anend the temporal order.Such a doctrine is so clear in Scripture and so important toorthodoxy that it is a constant refrain in the historic creeds ofthe Church. This doctrine is evident in such ancient creeds asthe Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Council of Constantinople,and the Athanasian Creed. It appears as well in latercreeds, including the Tetrapolitan Confession, the First andSecond Confessions of Basle, the Second Helvetic Confession,the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the OrthodoxConfession of 1642, the Westminster Confession of Faith,37 theThirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, and the AugsburgConfession.38 Of course, our primary concern here iswith the Scriptural evidence.I will not here engage the age-old philosophical questionsrelative to the difficulty of the resurrection of long-destroyedbodies.39 My concern is with issues relevant to systematic theologyregarding the general conception of the eschatologicalresurrection.15. Ancient Greeks and Romans had a conception of the afterlife, but these werePlatonic, denying the resurrection and calling for the immortality of the soul only(Acts 17:18,32; 26:8). For example: Socrates' Phaedrns and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations10; Pliny, Natural History 1:7; cr. Tertullian, Apology 48 and Against Mardon 5:9;Origen, Against Celsus 5:14; Julian Against the Christians (known only through Cyril,Contra Julian 1:7).37. It is strange that a church as strongly committed to creedal theology asPresbyterianism would tolerate any form of premillennialism. The WestminsterStandards are strongly anti-premillennial. Robert L. Dabney, Lectures in SystematicTheology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, [1878] 1976), p. 839.38. Schaff, Creeds ofChristendom. See: John H. Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Wordof Truth (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1991), pp. 9,14.39. For briefand insightful discussions see: Dabney, Lectures in Systematic Theology,pp. 834-836; Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,[1871-1873] 1973),3:774-780.Consummation 283The Nature of the ResurrectionThe Scripture is clear that Christ was resurrected in thesame body in which He died, though with certain super-addedspiritual powers.40 His resurrection was not a mere revivificationof a lifeless cadaver; nor was it a creation of a new body.His was the resurrection of the very body in which He died,just as He had prophesied Uohn 2: 19-22). As such, it was amiraculous attestation to the truth of His divine mission onearth.41This is why the tomb and burial clothing were empty: Hisphysical body had departed from them (Matt. 28:6; John 20:411,15). The gospels present the resurrected Christ in a materialbody that could be touched and handled (Luke 24:39), andwhich still had the wounds of the cross Uohn 20:27; cf. Rev.5:6). On other occasions He bids Mary Magdalene to quit clinging(haptomai) to Him Uohn 20: 17). The women who met theLord later "held [krateo] him by the feet, and worshiped" (Matt.28:9). He even is shown to eat food (Luke 24:42-43; John21:11-14) while in His resurrection body. Any record of Hisfriends not recognizing Him is explained either by their visionbeing distorted by tears Uohn 20:11-16) or by supernaturalintervention (Luke "24: 16), not by a radical morphologicalchange.Likewise is it with the final resurrection. The general resurrectionwill be a resurrection of the body Uob 19:23-27; Isa.26: 19; 1 Thess. 4: 16), which is why it occurs at the place of40. Tragically, there is a renewed debate among evangelicals as to whether"Christ arose from the dead in the same material body of flesh and bones in whichHe died." John G. Stackhouse, Jr., "Evangelical Fratricide," Christianity Today 35:6(May 27, 1991) 64-66. Norman L. Geisler, The RoJtle for the Resurrection (Nashville:Thomas Nelson, 1991). Murray J. Harris, From Grave to Glory: Resurrection in the NewTestament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1990). Clark Pinnock, "Toward an EvangelicalTheology of Religions," journal ofthe Evangelical Theological Society 33:3 (Sept. 1990).41. John 2:18-21; cf. Matt. 12:39-41; 16:1-4; Luke 11:29.284 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONburial (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28).42 Scripture calls the resurrectedChrist "the first-fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:23) and"the firstborn of the dead" (Col. 1: 18; Rev. 1:5; cr. Rom. 8:29).Yet we know that others physically arose from the dead prior toHim, some during His own ministryY Thus, His resurrectionwas of a different order, a different order that made Him a"first" in that respect. That difference distinguishes His resurrectionas eschatological: unlike other resurrections (miraculousrevivifications), His body possessed elevated powers of the spiritthat would render that body incapable of dissolution (1 Cor.15:28, 41-4244), thus suited for the eternal order.The Scripture clearly patterns the resurrection of men afterChrist's resurrection (Rom. 8:11). Consequently, the nature ofHis resurrection experience is a paradigm for ours (Phil. 3:2021;cf. John 14:19). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul deals at lengthwith the resurrection. In verses 23 and 24 Gust mentionedabove), he informs us that Christ is "the firstfruits." The idea ofa "firstfruits" necessarily involves a harvest of like kind: Whatfirstfruits harvest in the agricultural realm gives rise to a whollydifferent crop? First Corinthians 15:47-50 clearly affirms aglorious resurrection experience in which we return to ourphysical bodies, though with enhanced "glory," as did Christ:the body that is "planted" is the body that is "raised" (1 Cor.15:37-38, 42-44). The Corinthians passage does not teach asubstitution, but a transformation of the body; it teaches resurrection,not creation. In fact, the very word anastasis (ana, up;histemi, stand) necessarily implies that the body which fell is thesame one raised, as Tertullian argued long ago.45 The Scriptureis clear that our mortal bodies are those which are raised42. Dabney, Lectures in Systematic Theology, pp. 831-837, 845-846.43. 1 Kgs. 17:17-23; 2 Kgs. 4:24-37; Matt. 27:52; Heb. 11:35. See Christ'smiracles in Matt. 9:18-26; 10:8; Mark 5:22-23,35-42; Luke 7:12-15; John 11:14-44.44. For some of the unusual functions of His resurrected body, see: Luke24:31ff; John 20:13ff; 21:7; Acts 1:9-11.45. Against Marcion 5:9.Consum1TUltion 285(Rom. 8: 11, 23; Phil. 3:20).In Colossians 1: 18 and Revelation 1:5, He is called "the firstbegotten 'from the dead." This also implies our being begottenfrom the dead in like manner to His resurrection. I have alreadynoted that Christ was resurrected in a tangible body, thevery body in which He died, even though it was controlled byheightened spiritual powers.46But dispensationalism multiplies resurrections - as they docomings of Christ. Adams has called this phenomenon "premillennialdiplopia."47 The dispensational system gets so boundup in its conflicting programs and divergent peoples of Godthat it necessarily multiplies resurrections. Most prominentlydispensationalism, with its mother premillennialism, emphasizestwo resurrections: one of the just and one of the unjust. Theseresurrections are separated by at least 1000 years, on the solebasis of the highly wrought symbolism found in Revelation20: 1-6. What is worse, the system requirements of dispensationalismend up in several resurrections.Dispensationalists teach: "The Bible knows nothing of onefuture general resurrection.',48 "All bodily resurrections fallinto two categories" and the first "resurrection will includeseveral groups: the dead saints of this Church Age (1 Thes.4:16), the dead saints of Old Testament times (Dan. 12:2), andmartyrs of the Tribulation period (Rev. 20:4). These resurrectionsof the saints of all ages constitute the first resurrection(Rev. 20:6). . . ."49 The first "resurrection is made up of a46. Hence its designation as a "heavenly" and "spiritual" body (1 Cor. 15:44,4849).The description "spiritual body" (l Cor. 15:4) does not indicate a non-materialbody, but a body more directly controlled by the spirit. The same word pneumatikosis used ofa Christian in 1 Cor. 2:14-15. See Geerhardus Vos, Pauli1U! Eschatology, pp.166-171. Dabney, Systematic Theology, pp. 832-835.47. Jay E. Adams, The Timl! Is at Hand (n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1966), ch.3.

    48. James L. Boyer, For a World Like Ours: Studies in 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids:Baker, 1971), p. 141.49. Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 518.286 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONnumber of component parts" and "includes within it all who, atany time, are raised to eternallife.,,50 "The important thing todiscover is whether or not the first resurrection must be a simultaneousresurrection of all the just at one definite moment,or whether the first resurrection may be understood to meanthe resurrection of all the just, to be sure, but in a series of twoor more ascensions.,,51But there are various angles whereby we may see that theBible allows for only one eschatological resurrection at the endof history, a resurrection of both the saved and the lost.52First, the resurrection is to occur on the last day. ''And this isthe Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hathgiven me 1 should lose nothing, but should raise it up again atthe last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlastinglife: and 1 will raise him up at the last day" Uohn 6:3940).He does not say, "I will raise him up 1,007 years before thelast day," allowing for a millennium, tribulation, and resurrectionof the unjust to follow (as per dispensational doctrine53).Christ is clear that the resurrection will be simultaneously of"all who are in the graves" Gohn 5:28). John's gospel record isquite clear on this matter Gohn 6:44, 54; 11 :24). The resurrectionoccurs in conjunction with "the end" and at the "lasttrump" (1 Cor. 15:23-24, 52).The premillennial system absolutely depends on a literalinterpretation of Revelation 20: 1-6 in order to assert two resur-50. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 397.51. E. &huyler English, Re-thinking the Rapture (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros.,1954), p. 32.52. "[I]t must be admitted that [the resurrection of the wicked] does not standout prominently in Scripture. The soteriological aspect of the resurrection is clearlyin the foreground, and this pertains to the righteous only. They, in distinction fromthe wicked, are the ones that profit by the resurrection," Louis Berkhof, SystematicTheology (4th ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), p. 723.53. New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1131, note 1; Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 400.Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 408.Consummation 287rections. It is enlightening to note: (1) This fundamental passageis in the most highly figurative book in the Bible. Revelationis widely regarded as the most difficult book of Scriptureby eminently qualified biblical scholars.54 (2) The material istaken from a scene that is manifestly figurative. It involves, forinstance, a chain binding a spiritual being (Satan). (3) Thispassage is written by the very John who speaks of the resurrectiononly on the last day, and involving both the just and theunjust simultaneously (John 5:28-29, see next point).(4) Just after the verses in question we come upon Revelation20:11-15. "If ever language expressed the doctrine of asimultaneous and universal resurrection, surely we have it here.,,55John clearly is speaking of all men, as is evident in his language:'(a) He says the dead "small and great" will be judged.This terminology is applied at times to believers in Revelation(Rev. 11:18; 19:5). (b) The righteous are judged on the basis oftheir works, as those here are (Rom. 2:5-6; 14:11-12; 2 Cor.5:10). (c) He mentions the "book of life" here (Rev. 20:12,15),which clearly involves the righteous.56Second, the Lord's teaching in the Kingdom Parables demandsthat there be a general resurrection. "But he said, 'No,lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheatwith them. 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at thetime of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together54. B. B. Warfield, "The Book of Revelation," A Religious Encyclopedia, PhilipSchaff, ed., 3 vols. (NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), 2:80. Milton S. Terry, BiblicalHermerurutics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, [n.d.] 1983), p. 466. Henry B. Swete,Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids: Kregal, [1906] 1977), p. xii. G. R. BeasleyMurray,Tlw Book of Revelation, in New Century Bible, R. E. Clements and MatthewBlack, eds. (London: Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1974), p. 5. George Eldon Ladd,ACommentary on the Revelation ofJohn (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), p. 10. EduardWilhelm Reuss, History of the Sacred Scriptures ofthe New Testament (Edinburgh: T & TClark, 1884), p. 155. Isbon T. Beckwith, Tlw Apocalypse ofJohn: Studies in Introduction(Grand Rapids: Baker, [1919] 1967), p. 1.55. David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial? (Edmonton,Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books, [1882J 1990), p. 195.56. Rev. 3:5,8; 17:8; 21:27; 22:19; cr. Phil. 4:3.288 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gatherthe wheat into my barn" (Matt. 13:29-30; see also vv. 49-50). Ifanything, this parable teaches that the resurrection of the wickedprecedes that of the righteous!S7Third, since there is but one resurrection, there is no resurrectioncenturies from the end. "There will be a resurrection ofthe dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24: 15). "Thehour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear Hisvoice and come forth; those who have done good, to the n~surrectionof life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrectionof condemnation" Uohn 5:28-29).Premillennialists attempt to maneuver around the rockyshoals presented in John 5:28-29 by arguing that the hour "allowsfor its extension over a long period."s8 This permits thereference to cover the 1,007 years necessary for their position.It is true that "hour" can encompass a long period of time. Butto argue such here involves the dispensationalist in manifestabsurdity: It allows that the "resurrection to life" occurs overthe entirety of the 1,007 years involved! It suggests that the"shout/trump" of Christ in John 5:28-29, 1 Corinthians 15:51,and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 continues throughout the period, forthis shout/trump is that which is causative to the resurrection.It also involves the system in internal contradiction: It permitsthe resurrection to damnation to occur over that same period,despite the assertion that it occurs at the end (and only in onephase).Actually "It is not the length of time which this word 'hour' isdesigned to mark . . . but it is the unity of period and actionwhich alone is intended...."59 That is, there is a general resurrection,which will involve both the just and unjust.57. The key issue here is historical continuity. This continuity from the establishmentof Christ's kingdom until He returns in final judgment denies the possibility ofa discontinuous Rapture that intervenes between today and the final judgment.58. Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 400.59. Brown, Christ's Second Coming, p. 191.Consummation 289Fourth, the resurrection is that which signals the destructionof death: "But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits,afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comesthe end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father,when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.The last enemy that will be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:2326).Clearly the "last enemy" is destroyed at "the end," andboth occur in conjunction with the resurrection.The Final JudgmentThe covenant God of Scripture deals with men legally, reckoningto them their just desserts on the basis of their infractionsof His Law, which is a divine transcript of His holy character.60 Man desperately needs salvation because he is a covenant-breaker (Isa. 24:5; Hos. 6:2). He has transgressed God'sLaw (Gal. 3:10; Jms. 2:10), which calls forth God's "righteousjudgment" (Rom. 1:32; 2:5; 2 Thess. 1:5). God's judgment ischaracteristically described by use of forensic terminology, suchas krinein ("to judge"), krisis (,'judgment"), and dikaios ("justification").The Law of God is naturally the legal standard ofjudgment.In the context of speaking of the day ofjudgment (Rom. 2:5),Paul says: "when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by naturedo the things contained in the law, these, although not havingthe law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the lawwritten in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness,and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusingthem, in the day when God will judge the secrets of men byJesus Christ, according to my gospel" (Rom. 2:14-16; cf. Matt.7:23; 13:41; Jms. 2:10-12). Although the temporal aspects ofGod's justice occur in history,51 there are complex providential60. See discussion of the Law of God in Chapter 7. above.61. Lev. 26: Iff; Deut. 9:5; 28: Iff; Psa. 9: Iff; 37:28; 59:13; Provo 11:5; 14:11; Isa.290 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONfactors involved in the historical process that oftentimes obscureGod's blessing and judgment in the eyes of men.62 On judgmentday men will be judged relative to their every word,thought, and deed.63There must be an eternal resolution to the sin problem inthat man has broken God's eternal law (Psa. 119: 142, 144). Thisis necessary also in that man is a creature, who continues toexist forever after his being created (Eccl. 3:11; Luke 16:23).64He will either exist always as one made righteous at the resurrectionor as one left in sin. Furthermore, this eternal resolutionwill be made public in front of all rational creatures andwill involve man in his total being, that is, in body and soul(made possible by the resurrection). The Scriptural view of manis radically different from the Platonic view, which denigratesthe material aspect of man and elevates the spiritua1.65The consummation of history, brought about by the secondadvent of Christ, involves both a general resurrection (as wehave seen) and a general judgment. This judgment has beencommitted to the God-man, Jesus Christ: "The Father judgesno one, but has committed all judgment to the Son" Qohn 5:22;d. Matt. 11 :27; John 3:35). The reason for Christ's leading rolein the judgment is related to His incarnational relation to the32:16, 17; Lam. 5:7. For a discussion of God's historical sanctions, see Gary North,Political. Polytheism: The Myth of Plural.ism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics,1989), ch. 3.62. Job; Psa. 73; Isa. 5:8-19; Jer. 17:15; Mal. 2:17; 3:14-15.63. Matt. 6:4, 6, 18; 10:26; 12:36; 25:35-40; Luke 12:2; Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:8;4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Eph. 6:8; 1 Tim. 5:24-25; Heb. 10:30; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 20:12.64. For a briefbut insightful study of the question of the immortality of the soul,see Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), ch.8. "Ifwe wish to use the word immortal.ity with reference to man, let us say that man,rather than his soul, is immortal" (p. 91).65. The Christian faith is concerned with the material aspect of man's being, aswell as the spiritual. (1) God created the earth and man's body as material entities,and all "very good" (Gen. 1:31; 2:7). (2) Christ came in the flesh to redeem man(Rom. 1:3; 9:5; 1 John 4:1-3). And, of course, (3) the resurrection. A denial of amaterial resurrection would capitulate to Platonic gnosticism.Consummation 291human race: "He has given Him authority to execute judgmentalso, because He is the Son of Man" Uohn 5:27). It also servesas the necessary outcome of His incarnation: "It was right thatwhen the Lord of all condescended, in His unspeakable mercy,to assume the form of a servant, and endure the extremistindignities of His enemies, He should enjoy this highest triumphover them, in the very form and nature of His humiliation,,66 (Phil 2:9-11). Christ's prominence in the final judgmentis a frequent theme in the New Testament.67The doctrine of the general judgment (i.e., of all men in onescene) may be discerned from various angles. First, there iscoming a judgment "day." "He has appointed a day on whichHe will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom Hehas ordained" (Acts 17:31a). This singular judgment day isevident in a number of Scriptures.68 As in the case of the dayof resurrection, this day of judgment cannot be stretched outover a I,007-year period, as per dispensationalism (see abovediscussion).Second, judgment day involves both the saved and the lost.It is at the day of resurrection that both the just and the unjustwill enter into their judgment, one to life, the other to condemnation:"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in whichall who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth;those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, andthose who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation"Uohn 5:28-29).Romans 2:5-8 clearly speaks of a day of judgment that willencompass both classes of men: "In accordance with your hardnessand your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourselfwrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous66. Dabney, Systematic Theology, p. 846.67. Matt. 25:31-32;John 5:22,27; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom. 2:16; 14:9-10; 2 Cor.5:10; Phil. 2:9-11; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8.68. Dan. 7:10; Matt. 7:22; 11:22; 12:36; Rom. 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:10-12; 4:8; 2 Pet.3:7; 1 John 4:17.292 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONjudgment of God, who will render to each one according to hisdeeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doinggood seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those whoare self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness;indignation and wrath."The simultaneity of the judgment is inescapable in Matthew25:31-46, where we read (in part): "When the Son of Mancomes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then Hewill sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gatheredbefore Him, and He will separate them one from another,as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats" (Matt. 25:3132).The judgment occurs when Christ returns, not hundredsof years later. This general judgment is found elsewhere inScripture.69Although thejudgment is one concomitant event encompassingboth the just and the unjust, there will be an order to it. Itseems that the wicked will be judged immediately prior to therighteous, according to the order of events in Matthew 13:30,41, 43 and Matthew 25:46. It is "as if, in some literal sense,'with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of thewicked' (Psalm 91 :8)."70Of course, the judgment of the righteous is not to condemnation,but is to future reward.71 And we should understandthat "the relation between our works and our future rewardought, however, to be understood not in a mechanical butrather in an organic way. When one has studied music and hasattained some proficiency in playing a musical instrument, his69. Dan. 12:2; Ecd. 12:13-14; Matt. 12:36; 13:41; Matt. 25:14-30; Acts 10:42;Rom. 3:6; 2 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:27-31; Jude 14-15;Rev. 20:11-15.70. David Brown, "The Gospel According to S. Matthew," A Commentary, Criticaland Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, Robert Jamieson, A. Faussett, andDavid Brown, eds., 2 vols. (Hartford: S. S. Scranton, n.d.), 2:44.71. Rom. 2:5-10; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 3:8; 15:32, 58; 2 Cor. 4: 16; 5: 10; 9:6-8; Gal. 6:510;Phil. 1:10,26; 2:16; Col. 1:5; 3:24; 1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Tim. 2:18;4:8; 5:25; 6:18-19; 2 TIm. 2:11; 4:4-16.Consummation 293capacity for enjoying music has been greatly increased. In asimilar way, our devotion to Christ and to service in his kingdomincreases our capacity for enjoying the blessings of thatkingdom, both now and in the life to come.,,72Dispensational DistortionAs with other features of eschatology, dispensationalistsmultiply judgments. They attempt a partial justification of thisby assembling temporal and spiritualjudgments together in listswith eschatological judgments. E. S. English writes: "Among themany judgments mentioned in Scripture, seven are investedwith especial significance. These are: (1) the judgment of thebeliever's sins in the cross of Christ ... , (2) the believer's selfjudgment...; (3) the judgmentof the believer's works... ; (4)the judgment of the individual Gentiles at the return of Christto the earth... ; (5) the judgment of Israel at the return ofChrist to the earth... ; (6) the judgment of angels after the1000 years... ; and (7) ... the judgment of the wicked deadwith which the history of the present earth ends.'t73This is a patently erroneous conception, however. As in thecase with the resurrection, the Scriptural evidence is of a singular(Acts 17:31), unified (Rom. 2:16) episode. That event willoccur at the last day: "He who rejects Me, and does not receiveMy words, has that which judges him; the word that I havespoken will judge him in the last day" Oohn 12:48). In fact, theresurrection introduces men to the judgment. "Resurrectionand Judgment are the two correlated acts of the final consummationof things."74 And since there is a general resurrection,there will be a general judgment.72. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 264. See: Leon Morris, The Biblical DoctrineofJudgment (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), p. 73££.73. New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1375, n 1 (at Rev. 20:12).74. Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 261.294 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe Eternal StateTemporal history comes to an end with the final judgment,but life goes on in the eternal state. The Bible does not tell usas much about that estate, particularly our glorious heavenlyabode, as we might like to know. Berkouwer refers to its revelationin this area as a mere "whisper," according to Hoekema,who agrees.75 Nevertheless, it is crystal clear that there is aneverlasting existence for man beyond the judgment, and thatthe final estate is, in keeping with the covenantal sanctions(Deut. 11 :26-29; 30: 1, 19), two-fold: eternal bliss for the justand everlasting wrath for the unjust.In 1 Corinthians 15, we learn that eventually, after Christ'senemies have been put down during history and disposed of atthe end of history, then God the Son will tum His kingdomrule over to the Father. "Now when all things are made subjectto Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him whoput all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (l Cor.15:28). This passage speaks of the kingdom being turned overto the Trinity, not God the Father. The work of redemption isno longer being prosecuted by the Mediator in eternity.76HeavenThe final state for the righteous will be in the glorious presenceof God.77 It will be an existence of holy perfection78 andimpeccability (1 Thess. 4:17; Heb. 4:9; 12:23). Heaven is not astate, but a place, for there reside Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24; Heb.11:5), Elijah (2 Kgs. 2:1, 11), and Christ (Acts 1:9-10) in theirbodies. Not surprisingly there are more people who believe in75. See: Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 94n. He disputes the English translationof G. C. Berkouwer's The Return of Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), p.63.76. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:690ff.77. John 14:1-3; cf.Job 19:27; Psa. 17:15; John 17:24.78. Eph. 5:27; Rom. 8:21; Heb. 12:23; I John 3:2.ConsumrtUltion 295heaven than believe in hell. A recent Gallup poll noted that 78percent of the American public believe in heaven; only 60percent believe in hell. Among non-believers the disparity issimilar: 46 percent believe in heaven; 34 percent believe inhell.79 Because there is little evangelical debate on the matterof heaven, I now turn to disputed matters of the final-estate.HellThe doctrine of eternal punishment in hell has long been asubject of vigorous debate, occasionally even among Consequently, the doctrine has been a prominent factorin Christian theodicies due to its terrifying nature. Of course,absurdities generated by its popular treatment have not helpedpromote the understanding of this dreadful biblical doctrine,either.s1The doctrine of hell has been accepted by the vast majorityin orthodox circles from ancient times. Though recognizing theclear dominance of the orthodox view, Henry overstates thecase, however: "[E]xcept for Origen, whose views on the subjectwere condemned, the entire Christian movement had remainedunchallenged for more than sixteen centuries ... in teachingeternal punishment of the impenitent wicked."s2 In fact, eternalhell was denied by Gregory of Nyssa (d. A.D. 395), Didorus79. "Heaven and Hell: Who Will Go There and Why," Christianity Today 35:6(May 27, 1991) 29.80. Ibid. (May 27,1991) 29ff. The May, 1989, meeting of the National Associationof Evangelicals refused to affirm the doctrine of hell. WOrld (June 3, 1989) 9. StevenH. Travis denies eternal hell in his book, I Believe in the Second Coming ofJesus (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1982). See: J. I. Packer, "Is Hell Out of Vogue in this ModernEra?" United Evangelical Action 48 (Sept. 1989) 10-11. M. J. Erickson, "Is UniversalisticThinking Now Appearing Among Evangelicals?" United Evangelical Action 48(Sept./Oct. 1989) 4-6.81. Patricia Parrott, "Hell Found Under Siberia," Biblical Archaeology Review 16:6(Nov.lDee. 1990) 6.82. Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), p.278.296 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONof Tarsus (d. AD. 396), Theodore of Mopsuestia (d. A.D. 429),and others. Augustine states that in his day there were "multitudeswho did not believe in eternal punishment."83 Nevertheless,the doctrine was held by such church fathers as Barnabas(ca. AD. 120), Ignatius (d. A.D. 117), Justin Martyr (A.D. 110165),Irenaeus (AD. 130-202), Tertullian (A.D. 160-220).84Denial of hell was condemned by the Council of Constantinople(A.D. 543).Basically there are three false views of the afterlife of thewicked promoted among biblical scholars: Universalism teachesthat the wicked will all be saved in the afterlife. Advocacy ofuniversalism range from Origen, "the first Christian Universalist,"85 to modern writers such as Nels Ferre, D. P. Walker,William Barclay, and Thomas B. Talbot.86 F. D. E. Schleiermacherwas the most influential popularizer of universalism inthe nineteenth century, laying the ground work for its appearanceamong twentieth-century Christians, where it is experiencing"a significant resurgence in recent years.,,87Restorationists argue that the wicked will be punished for a83. Cited in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 vols. (5th ed.; GrandRapids: Eerdmans, [1910] 1985),2:612.84. Martyr, Apology 1:8, 21; Irenaeus, Against Heresies 2:28:7; 3:4:1; Barnabus,Epistle 20. For a list of early fathers holding to the doctrine, see: Harry Buis, "Hell,"The Zonderuan Pictorial Bible Encyclopaedia, Merrill C. Tenney, ed. (Grand Rapids:Zondervan, 1976), p. 116. Hereafter cited as ZPEB.85. Schaff, History, 2:611. Though many think Origen taughtthe final restorationof Satan, this does not seem to be the case. See: Epistle to the Romans 1:8:9 (Opera4:634) and Ad quosdam amicos Alexandria (Opera 1:5), as cited in Schaff, 2:611, n 3. Fora brief history of universalism, see: RichardJ. Bauckham, "Universalism: A HistoricalSurvey," Evangelical Review of Theology 15 Gan. 1991) 22-35.86. D. P. Walker, The Decline of Hell (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964).Nels Ferre, The Christian Understanding of God (New York: Harper, 1951), pp. 228ff.William Barclay, A Spiritual Autobiography (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), pp. 60ff.Thomas B. Talbott, "The Doctrine of Everlasting Punishment," Faith and Philosophy7 Gan. 1990) 19-42. In addition see John A T. Robinson, In the End God (2nd ed.;London: Collins, 1968), chaps. 10-11. Paul Knitter holds there are more true religionsthan Christianity. Knitter, No Other Name (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1985).87. Erickson, "Is Universalistic Thinking Now Appearing Among Evangelicals?"Action (SeptJOet. 1989) 4-6.Consummation 297time and then be allowed into the body of the redeemed.88This is a rare view.Annihilationists hold that the unrepentant will be punished toelimination. Arnobius (ca. A.D. 327) was an ancient annihilationist.89 Modern evangelical annihilationists include Philip E.Hughes, John R. W. Stott, and Clark H. Pinnock.90 Annihilationistsgenerally argue that only believers receive immortality,as a consequence of their union with Christ.91 A recent pollamong evangelical college and seminary students showed thatalmost one-third agreed that "the only hope for heaven isthrough personal faith in Jesus Christ except for those whohave never had the opportunity to hear ofJesus Christ." Thishas been interpreted by James Davison Hunter as agreeing withClark Pinnock's second chance before annihilation viewpoint.92We should note that unbelieving thought is a species of annihilationism.Bertrand Russell, the famous atheistic philosopher,held that man is simply an accidental collection of atoms, whichin the very nature of the case is annihilated.Hell is the judicial outcome of God's covenantal curse uponrebellious man, who is created with an ever-living soul. Hellrepresents the final legal sanction upon all those who have re-88. John Hick, Evil and the God of Love (New York: Macmillan, 1975). Hick wasonce an evangelical theologian.89. Arnobius, Against the Nations 2: 14.90. John R. W. Stott, Evangelical Essentials (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsityPress, 1988). 'lohn R. W. Stott on Hell: Taking a Closer Look at Eternal Torture,"World Christian 8 (May 1989) 31-37. Philip E. Hughes, The True Image: The Origin andDestiny of Man (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989). Philip Edgcumbe Hughes wasrelieved of his duties at Westminster Theological Seminary in the late 1980s due tohis denial of hell. Regarding Pinnock, see John H. Gerstner, Repent or Perish (Ligonier,PA: Soli Deo, 1990) and Erickson, "Is Universalistic Thinking Now AppearingAmong Evangelicals?" 6.91. D. A. Dean, Resurrection: His and Ours (Charlotte, NC: Advent ChristianGeneral Conference of America, 1977), pp. 11 Off. Edward William Fudge, The FireThat Consumes (Houston: Providential Press, 1982).92. Cited by Erickson, "Universalistic Thinking," 6. On the growing liberalism ofevangelicalism, see: James Davison Hunter, Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).298 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONbelled against God's eternal Law, both humans and demons. Assuch, hell is a place of conscious torment, as the Scripture demonstrates(Luke 16:23; Rev. 14: 11). This torment is of endlessduration,93 though the degree of this torment is proportionedaccording to the extent of one's rebellion.94 Its horrible natureis directly due to the withdrawal of the presence of God (Matt.25:41, contra. v. 34).Interestingly, despite the revulsion of some to the doctrine,"the strongest support of the doctrine of Endless Punishment isthe teaching of Christ, the Redeemer of man.,,95 Due to thesame language of eternal duration being applied to hell as toheaven (e.g., Matt. 25:46), "We must either admit the endlessmisery of Hell, or give up the endless happiness of Heaven.,,96The classic study on hell is W. G. 'f. Shedd's, The Doctrine ofEndless Punishment (1886). A helpful recent defense of the doctrineis John H. Gerstner's Repent or Perish (1990).97New EarthThough not agreed on by all postmillennialists, there isample evidence suggestive of a refashioning of the earth for theeternal abode of the saints. The teaching of Scripture is often93. Matt. 10:28; 13:41-42,49-50; 18:8; 23:16,23; 25:32-33,41,46; Mark 9:4348;Luke 3:17; 16:22-23; Jude 7; Heb. 6:2; Rev. 14:10-11; 20:10). See also: John5:29; Jude 13. Although many orthodox scholars, while holding to the grievous,conscious misery involved, doubt whether literal flames of fire are used in thetorment of the wicked. See: A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology (Edinburgh: Banner ofTruth, [1878] n.d.), p. 580. Dabney, SysterruJ,tic Theology, pp. 853-854.94. Matt. 10: 15; Luke 12:48. This is also implied in there being books ofjudgment,Rev. 20.95. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:675. See: C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (NewYork: Macmillan, 1944). Cf. Buis, "Hell," ZPEB. 3:114.96. Moses Stuart, Several Words Relating to Eternal Punishment (Philadelphia:Presbyterian Publishing Committee, n.d.), p. 89.97. See also: Robert Morey's Death and the Afterlife (Minneapolis, MN: BethanyHouse, 1984), which is a refutation of Fudge, Fire That Consumes. Roger Nicole, "ThePunishment of the Wicked," Christianity Today aune 9, 1958). J. I. Packer, "TheProblem of Eternal Punishment," Crux 26 (Sept. 1990) 18-25.Consummation 299distorted, when the "now/not yet" understanding of the kingdomis overlooked. Just as there is a "now" aspect of the MessianicKingdom (Matt. 12:28), as well as a "not yet" aspect (Matt.6: 10), so there is a "now" aspect of the new creation (2 Cor.5: 17), as well as a "not yet" future to it (2 Pet. 3: 13). Becausethis present chapter is devoted to the consummational featuresof eschatology, I am dealing with the "not yet" aspects of thenew creation. For a discussion of the spiritual new creation,which precedes and prepares us for the material new creation,see Chapter 15.That a renovated new earth is expected is suggested on thefollowing bases: First, the language in some portions of Scripturestates that the earth is permanent: "He built His sanctuarylike the heights, Like the earth which He has established forever"(Psa. 78:69).98 Yet at the same time there are verses indicatingit will pass away: "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, andlook on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish awaylike smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment" (Isa.51 :6).99 These two statements are capable of harmonization ifthe earth is to be transformed, passing through the cleansingfire ofjudgment to renewal.Second, we may expect a renewed earth on the analogy ofthe individual's transformation. Just as we receive a new bodyat the resurrection (Eph. 1:14), so we will inherit a renewedearth on which to dwell with that body. "For the earnest expectationof the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sonsof God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the cre-98. Psa. 104:5; 119:90; Ecc1. 1:4. It should be noted that olam, which is oftentranslated "forever," does not necessarily indicate eternality. It is employed in othersenses: of the Passover (Ex. 12:24), a slave to a master (Exo. 21:6), the lamp burningin the Tabernacle (Ex. 27:20), various levitical functions (Ex. 29:28; 30:21; Lev. 6:18,22; 7:343, 36; 10:15; 16:29,31; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Num. 18:8; etc.),Joshua'smemorial stones Gosh. 4:7).99. Psa. 102:26; Isa. 51:6; Heb. 1:11.300 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpangs together until now. And not only they, but we also whohave the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan withinourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption[resurrection] of our body" (Rom. 8: 19-23). The comprehensivenature of sin and redemption (involving both soul and body),demands a comprehensive new earth (spiritual and material).For what other purpose would we be returned to our bodies viaresurrection, if we were to remain solely and forever in thespiritual, heavenly realm?lOOContinuity and DiscontinuityThere is both a continuity and a discontinuity between thepresent world and the new world. Things we do righteously arepatterned after God's Law and will. Of the righteous who enterthe eternal realm, we read: "Then I heard a voice from heavensaying to me, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord fromnow on. Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from theirlabors, and their works follow them'" (Rev. 14:13). Our temporallabor(which is commanded of God, Gen. 1:26-30) is a trainingground for eternity. The biblical concept of rewards seemsto come to play in this arena: "His lord said to him, 'Well done,good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things[in earth history], I will make you ruler over many things [ineternity in the new earth?]. Enter into the joy of your lord' "(Matt. 25:21).As we strive to subdue the earth in a holy and spiritual fashion,we approach God's design for man. Thus, we should expectour present cultural labors to have eternal significance, for we arecommanded, in light of Christ's bodily resurrection, to "besteadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of theLord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1Cor. 15:58). Amillennialist Hoekema goes too far in assigning100. See: Patrick Fairbairn, The Typology of Scripture, 2 vols. in one (GrandRapids: Zondervan, [n.d.] 1963), 1:350.Consummation 301steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of theLord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1Cor. 15:58). Amillennialist Hoekema goes too far in assigningobviously spiritual refer~nces (e.g., Isa. 65: 17) and many kingdomvictory passages (Psa. 72) to the consummate new heavensand new earth.10l Nevertheless, he well states the significanceof our present cultural labors in the light of eternity: "[W]e mayfirmly believe that products of science and culture produced byunbelievers may yet be found on the new earth. . . . [O]urmission work, our attempt to further a distinctively Christianculture, will have value not only for this world but even theworld to come.,,102 This comports well with the postmillennialdrive to cultural and spiritual activity. The difference is, Hoekemadid not believe that Christians will achieve this in history.2 Peter 3The key passage for the consummate new heavens and newearth is found in 2 Peter 3. Unfortunately, this passage hasbeen the source of a good deal of confusion. Somedispensationalists hold that it refers to the earthly millennium,while others argue that it speaks of the consummate new creation.lo3 Some postmillennialists hold that it refers to the presentera introduced by the destruction of Jerusalem,104 othersapply it to the consummate new heavens and new earth.105Many amillennialists refer the new creation concept in all of101. Hoekema, Bibl£ and the Future, pp. 177-178,201-203.102. Ibid., pp. 39-40.103. See the brief discussion in Walvoord, Prophecy Krwwl£dge Handbook, pp. 510513,633.104. Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler, TX: Geneva DivinitySchool Press, [1954]1981), ch. 13. See also the amillennialist and preterist CorneliusVanderwaal, Search the Scriptures (St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1979), pp. 52-53.105. See: John Calvin, Hebrews and I and II Peter (1549), Calvin's New TestamentCommentaries, David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, eds. (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1963), pp. 363-366. Dabney, Systematic Theology, pp. 850-852. Shedd,Dogmatic Theology, 2:665.302 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONScripture solely to the final consummate order, using this passageas determinative of the others. 106A part of the problem with 2 Peter 3 lies in the fact that thepassage employs terminology that is sdmetimes used to designatethe spiritual new creation and at other times is used inreference to the destruction ofJerusalem in A.D. 70. This passage,however, does not speak either of the spiritual new creation(!sa. 65:17) or the conflagration ofJerusalem (Heb. 12:2529).It points instead to the consummate order to follow theresurrection and final judgment, as is evident from the followingconsiderations.First, the thrust of the book seems to promote a spiritualperseverance in anticipation of the historical long run - a longrun that ends up in the eternal new creation. Peter urges theperseverance of his readers (1 Pet. 1:6) and warns against shortsightedness(l :9). It is only through long-term perseverancethat we may expect access to the eternal kingdom of JesusChrist (1: 11). Peter himself expects to die soon (1: 13-14; as didPaul, 2 Tim. 4:6-8). Consequently, he urges his readers to recallthese things after he is gone (1: 15), apparently not expecting arapture of the Church in A.D. 70 (as per radical preteristsl07).

    Peter gives Noah and Lot as examples of those who perseveredthrough hard times, like those facing the looming destructionof Jerusalem. They came out on the other end stillupon the earth (2:5-9). The rescue of believers from the oncomingtemptation (2:9a) associated with A.D. 70 (by preservingthem in trial, Luke 21: 18-22) is set in contrast to the reservingof the fallen angels and the ungodly until the (later) JudgmentDay (2:4, 9b). While contemplating the judgment cleansing of106. See for example: Hoekema, Bible and the Future, ch. 20. Adams, Time Is atHand, pp. 13ff. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Interpreting Prophecy (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1976), pp. 131-135. G. C. Berkouwer, The Return of Christ (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1972), ch. 7. Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1962), p. 274.107. Russell, Parousia, Preface, and pp. 126, 137, 165, 168, 199,445, 525.Consummation 303the earth, we are urged to "holy livings" and "pieties" (Greekplurals of these words occur only here, 3: 11), suggesting manyacts of righteousness for the long term. The book ends with acall to perseverance, as well (3: 15, 17).Second, the mockers scoff at the promised second advent ofChrist due to the long wait associated with it (2 Pet. 3:3-4, 9).Despite the trials to come soon (2:9), Peter even suggests it maybe thousands of years before Christ's return, in that the delayis based on God's time rather than m~'s: "But, beloved, do notforget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousandyears, and a thousand years as one day" (3:8). This fitswell with Christ's "now/not yet" teaching elsewhere, where Hecontrasts the short time until the destruction of Jerusalem(Matt. 23:36; 24:34) with that of the long wait for the secondadvent to end history (Matt. 25:5, 14).108Third, the longsuffering of the Lord is due to a process thatis necessarily age-long: "The Lord is not slack concerning Hispromise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering towardus, not willing that any should perish but that all should cometo repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9 NKJV). "Account that the longsufferingof our Lord is salvation" (2 Pet. 3:15a). The process ofcalling the "all" to "repentance" unto salvation is one that spansthe entire inter-advental era and is still continuing today. This"slowness" (bradutes, v. 9) of Christ's second advent is so that thepostmillennial kingdom victory might continue to grow untofull fruition. looIn verse 12a, Peter urges Christians to: "hasten (speudo,"speed up") the coming of the day of God" (3: 12). Vincentcomments: "I am inclined to adopt, with Alford, Huther, Salmond,and Trench, the transitive meaning, hastening on; i.e.,'causing the day of the Lord to come more quickly by helping108. See Chapter 14, below.109. For a discussion on the gradualistic principle of the kingdom, see pp. 249252.above.304 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONto fulfil those conditions without which it cannot come; that daybeing no day inexorably fixed, but one the arrival of which it isfree to the church to hasten on by faith and by prayer.' "110This is in keeping with "the cumulative evidence from Scripture,inter-testamental literature, and Jewish sources" regardingthe term speudo.lll The way that we "hasten the coming of theday of God" (3:12) is by evangelistic endeavor. Hence, theearnest prayer "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earthas it is in heaven" (Matt. 6: 10; cr. Acts 3: 19ft).Fourth, the reference to the unraveling and conflagration ofthe heavens and the earth is expressly tied to the materialcreation. Hence, it seems clearly to refer to the consummation,and not to A.D. 70, despite certain similarities. Peter expresslyrefers to the material creation order: "from the beginning ofcreation" (3 :4; cf. Gen. 1: 1112); "by the word of God the heavenswere of old, and the earth standing out of water and in thewater" (3 :5; cr. Gen. 1:2, 9113); "the heavens and the earthwhich now exist" (2 Pet. 3:7). He seems clearly to be definingthe "heavens and earth" to which he is referring. He is notcontemplating the destruction of the old Jewish order, but thematerial heavens and the earth.Fifth, the strong detailed language of the destruction of theheavens and the earth seems to go beyond apocalyptic imagery,referring to the actual consummation: "the heavens will passaway with a great noise, and the elements will melt with ferventheat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burnedup" (2 Pet. 3: 10). "The heavens will be dissolved being on fire,110. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 4 vols. (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, [1887] 1985), 1:707.Ill. Simon Kistemaker, Peter and Jude (New Testament Commentary) (GrandRapids: Baker, 1987), p. 338. Cf. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament,6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1933), 6: 177.112. The Petrine phraseology (apo arches ktiseos) reflects that of the Lord's whenHe spoke of the creation of the material universe. See: Mark 10:6 and 13:9.113. The phraseology is reminiscent of Psalm 33:6-7 [Psa. 32:6-7 in Hebrew],which speaks of the creative act of God in making the world.Consummation 305and the elements will melt with fervent heat" (3:12). In theapocalyptic-symbolic passages thought to parallel 2 Peter 3, wefind time frame factors1l4 and cultural limitations.ll5 Neitherdoes this destruction terminology appear in Isaiah 65: 17ff,where the phrase "new heavens and new earth" first appears.In conjunction with "the promise" of His coming (3:4, 9), weare to await the ultimate "new heavens and new earth" (3: 13).Peter obviously employs the terminology of Isaiah 65: 17 (whichspeaks of a spiritual event, see Chapter 15). Yet as an inspiredapostle he expands on that truth, looking to the ultimate outcomeof the spiritual new heavens and earth in the eternal newcreation.The new creation, then, of 2 Peter 3 is the renovated materialworld that will succeed the present temporal order. It will bepurified by fire and refashioned by the hand of God. It is onthis new earth that the saints will dwell forever.ConclusionAs indicated in Chapter 1, Christianity provides a distinctivephilosophy of history. History is linear in its movement; it hasa starting point in creation and a concluding point at the SecondAdvent. Both the creation and the consummation aredivinely ordained events. They are not brought about by naturalisticforces. The consummational events - Second Advent,resurrection, judgment, the eternal state - indicate the personalinvolvement of the Lord God in the operation of the universe.These events also indicate the ethical nature of reality: historyis moving somewhere specific; final judgment is coming.Postmillennialism fills out the general Christian conceptionof linear history. Postmillennialists speak not only of linearmovement, but of upward progression. The redemptive powerof the work of the Lord]esus Christ is progressively drawing114. For example, see: Matt. 24:29, cr. v. 34; Rev. 6:13-14, cf. Rev. 1:1, 3; 6:10.115. For example, see: Isa. 13:10, cf. 1,14-21.306 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmen and nations to Himself. From a postmillennial perspectivethe Second Advent of Christ is truly consummational: it bringsabout the eternal resolution of the affairs of history, rather thansetting up another scenario (as per premillennialism and dispensationalism).That glorious consummational day will richlyevidence the mighty power of God. Not only will He catastrophicallyintervene to end history with a glorious display ofHis sovereignty, but He will do so after a long era of righteousness,which will have brought the vast majority of the humanrace to salvation.PART IVSPECIFICATION


    TIME FRAMESDaniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever andever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and theseasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to thewise And knowledge to those who have understanding." (Daniel 2:2021)I have presented the postmillennial view of the major flow ofbiblical eschatology, from creation to new creation. In this andthe next three chapters, I survey some of the more detailedspecifics that are often debated in eschatological discussion. Ofcourse, the proper understanding of most of these issues dependson the system of eschatology already set in place by theScriptural research I have presented. Specific questions thatarise in the millennial discussion must be capable of resolutionfrom within one's exegetically derived eschatological system.Any system of eschatology that does not provide consistent,exegetically based resolutions should be discarded.In this chapter, I shall begin with an inquiry into certain ofthe prophetic time frames that are generally well-known. The bulkof this chapter will be given over to a study of Daniel's SeventyWeeks, due to its significance in the eschatological debate.310 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe Seventy WeeksThe chronology provided in Daniel's prophecy of the SeventyWeeks (Dan. 9:24-27) is a linchpin in the dispensationalsystem, although it is not crucial to any of the other millennialsystems. Walvoord comments that the "interpretation of Daniel9:24-27 is of major importance to premillennialism as well aspretribulationism." Being such, it is the "key" to prophecy and,consequently, "one of the most important prophecies of theBible." Surely Allis is correct when he observes that "the importanceof the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Dispensationalteaching can hardly be exaggerated."lThis dependence upon Daniel 9 is unfortunate for dispensationalismfor two reasons. First, historically: Great difficulties areassociated with the interpretation of this passage. J. A. Montgomerycalls the prophecy "the Dismal Swamp of Old Testamentcriticism."2 Young comments: "This passage ... is one ofthe most difficult in all the OT: and the interpretations whichhave been offered are almost legion."3Second, theologically: This "extremely important prophecy"is the most difficult for dispensationalists to make credible tothose outside of their system. Even dispensationalist RobertCulver admits: "The difficulty of the verses that now lie beforeus is evident.,,4 "Premillennial writers of two or three genera-1. John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), p.24. John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press,1971), pp. 201, 216. O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian& Reformed, 1945), p. 111. See also: AlvaJ. McClain, Daniel's Prophecy ofthe 70 Weeks(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1940), p. 9. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 240. E. Schuyler English, "The Gentiles in Revelation,"Prophecy and the Seventies, Charles Lee Feinberg, ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p.242.2. J. A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel(International Critical Commentary) (New York: Scribner's, 1927), p. 400.3. E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1949] 1977),p.191.4. Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (2nd ed.; Chicago: MoodyPress, 1977), p. 144.Time Frames 311tions ago were very far apart on the details. Much of the samediversity appears in premillennial contemporary writers.,,5 Infact, Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy leads dispensationalisminto one of its most strained peculiarities: the doctrine of thegap theory of the Church Age.6 I will consider this later.Covenantal StructureAs we get started, it is crucial to grasp the structure of theprophecy. Meredith Kline provides a thorough presentation ofthe strongly covenantal cast of Daniel 9 which leads up to theprophecy, noting that it is "saturated with formulaic expressionsdrawn from the Mosaic treaties, particularly from the Deuteronomictreaty" (cf. Dan. 9:4-6, 10-15).' This prayer regardingcovenant loyalty (hesed, 9:4) is answered in terms of the covenantalsabbath pattern of the seventy weeks (9:24-27), whichresults in the confirmation of the covenant (9:27). Daniel 9 isthe only chapter in Daniel to use God's special covenant name,YHWH (vv. 2, 4, 10, 13, 14, 20; cf. Exo. 6:2-4).Recognizing the covenantal framework of the Seventy Weeksis crucial to its proper interpretation. It virtually demands thatthe focus be on the fulfillment of redemption in the ministry ofChrist. Let us see why this is so.The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks is dearly framed interms of sabbatic chronology. The first phase of the SeventyWeeks is "seven weeks," or (literally) "seven sevens" (Dan. 9:25),which results in a value of forty-nine. This reflects the time5. Ibid., p. 144.6. Allis mentions this teaching flowing out of the dispensational approach toDaniel 9:24-27 as "one of the dearest proofs of the novelty of that doctrine as well asof its revolutionary nature." Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 109. Kline's analysis ofDaniel 9 leads him to call dispensationalism an "evangelical heresy." Meredith Kline,"Covenant of the Seventieth Week," The Law and the Prophets: Old Testament Studies inHonor of Oswald T. Allis, John H. Skilton, ed. (n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1974),p.452.7. Kline, "The Covenant of the Seventieth Week," p. 456.312 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONframe leading up to the redemptively significant Year ofJubilee(Lev. 25:8ff). The total period of "seventy sevens" is also covenantal.Seventy represents ten seven-week periods: ten jubilees.The seventy sevens (weeks) appear to point to a complete redemptiveJubilee. This appropriately points to Christ, whobrings in that ultimate Jubilee (cf. Luke 4:17-21; Isa. 61:1-3;Matt. 24:31), and who is the leading character in Daniel's prophecy.Consequently, the time frame revealed to Daniel demarcatesthe period in which "the Messianic redemption was to beaccomplished."8Chronological ValueThe seventy weeks represent a period of seventy times sevenyears, or 490 years: (1) In the preceding context, the originalseventy years of Jeremiah's prophecy is in Daniel's mind (Dan.9:2). (2) The sabbath year (the seventh year of the sabbath period)is frequently referred to simply as "the sabbath."g (3) Thereis Scriptural warrant for measuring days in terms of years insome passages (Gen. 29:27-28; Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6).The "command" spoken of in Daniel 9:25 is "Know thereforeand understand, that from the going forth of the commandto restore and build Jerusalem...." At first appearanceit would seem to be Cyrus' decree to rebuild the Temple in 538B.C. This command is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 andin Ezra 1: 1-4; 5: 13, 17, 6:3. Daniel, however, specifically speaksof the command to "restore and build Jerusalem," which is animportant qualification.1OThough half-hearted efforts were made to rebuild Jerusalemafter Cyrus' decree, for a long time Jerusalem was little more8. E. J. Young. "Daniel," Eerdmans Bible Commentary, Donald Guthrie and J.Motyer, eds. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970). p. 698.9. Lev. 25:2-5; 26:34, 35.43; 2 Chr. 36:21; etc.10. E. W. Hengstenberg. Christology of the Old Testament. 2 vols. (McLean, VA:MacDonald, [1854] n.d.), 2:884ff.Time Frames 313than a sparsely populated, unwalled village. Daniel speaks ofthe command to "restore" (shub, return) Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25).This requires that it be returned to its original integrity andgrandeur "as at the first" Ger. 33:7). It was not until the middleof the fifth century B.C. that this was undertaken seriously.llThe first period of seven weeks must indicate something, forit is set off from the two other periods. Were it not significant,Daniel could have spoken of the sixty-nine weeks, rather thanthe "seven weeks and sixty-two weeks" (Dan. 9:25). This sevenweeks (or forty-nine years) apparently witnesses the successfulconclusion of the rebuilding ofJerusalem.12The second period of sixty-two weeks, extends from theconclusion of the rebuilding ofJerusalem to the introduction ofthe Messiah to Israel at His baptism at the beginning of Hispublic ministry (Dan. 9:25), sometime around A.D. 26. Thisinterpretation is quite widely agreed upon by conservativescholars, being virtually "universal among Christian exegetes,,13 - excluding dispensationalists. The third period ofone week is the subject of intense controversy between dispensationalismand other conservative scholarship. I will turn tothis shortly.Interpretation of Daniel 9:24In Daniel 9:24, the overriding, glorious expectation of theprophecy is stated: "Seventy weeks are determined for yourpeople and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, tomake an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, tobring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy,and to anoint the Most Holy."11. Ibid., 2:884-911.J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia ofBiblical Prophecy (New York:Harper & Row, 1973), pp. 388ff. C. Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel(London: SPCK, 1923), pp. 195ff.12. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, 2:894ff.13. Montgomery, Daniel, p. 332.314 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe six infinitival phrases of verse 24 should be understoodas three couplets (Payne, Terry, Maurer, Hitzig, and the Massoretes),rather than as two triplets (Keil and Young).14 Clearly,these six results are the main point of the prophecy, serving asthe heading to the explication to follow. The "know thereforeand understand" statement in verse 25 begins that explication.The general view of Daniel 9:24 among non-dispensationalevangelicals is that "the six items presented ... settle the terminusad quem of the prophecy,"15 that is, they have to do withthe First Advent. Dispensationalists, however, hold that theseevents are "not to be found in any event near the earthly lifetimeof our Lord.,,16 Rather they teach that "God will onceagain turn His attention in a special way to His people the Jewsand to His holy city Jerusalem, as outlined in Daniel 9:24."17The dispensationalist takes a decidedly futurist approach to theprophecy, when he gets past the first sixty-nine weeks.Let us notice, first, that the Seventy Weeks will witness thefinishing of the transgression. As just noted, Daniel's prayer ofconfession was regarding Israel's sins (Dan. 9:4ff) and the prophecy'sfocus is on Israel (Dan. 9:24a). Consequently, thisfinishing(kala) the transgression has to do with Israel's finishing, i.e.,completing, her transgression against God. The finishing ofthattransgression occurs in the ministry of Christ, when Israelculminates her resistance to God by rejecting His Son and14. For couplet view, see: J. Barton Payne, "The Goal of Daniel's SeventyWeeks," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 21:2 (June, 1978) Ill; MiltonTerry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ(Grand Rapids: Baker, [1898] 1988), p. 200. Young lists the other two: F. Maurer,Commentarius grammaticus criticus in Vetus 1estamentum, vol. 2 (Leipzig: 1838); F. Hitzig,Das Buch Daniel (1850). For the triplet view, see: C. F. Keil, "The Book of Daniel,"Commentary on the Old 1estament, C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, eds. (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, [1877] 1975), p. 341. E. J. Young, Prophecy of Daniel, p. 197.15. Keil and Delitzsch, "Daniel," p. 201.16. Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (Westwood, NJ: Revell,1954), p. 155.17. Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986), p. 465.Time Frames 315having Him crucified (Matt. 21:37-38; cf. 21:33-45; Acts 7:5152).18

    The second part of the couplet is directly related to the first:Having finished the transgression against God in the rejectionof the Messiah, now the sins are sealed up (NASV marg.; c!w,t!w,m). The idea here is, as Payne observes, to seal or to "reservesins for punishment."19 Because of Israel's rejection of Messiah,God reserves punishment for her: the final, conclusivedestruction of the temple, which was reserved from the time ofJesus' ministry until A.D. 70 (Matt. 24:2, 34). The sealing orreserving of the sins indicates that within the "Seventy Weeks"Israel will complete her transgression, and with the completingof her sin, by crucifying Christ, God will act to reserve (beyondthe seventy weeks) her sins for judgment.The third result (beginning the second couplet) has to dowith the provision of "reconciliation for iniquity."20 The Hebrewword kaphar is the word for "atonement," i.e., a covering of sin.It clearly speaks of Christ's atoning death, which is the ultimateatonement to which all temple rituals looked (Heb. 9:2621).This also occurred during His earthly ministry - at His death.The dispensationalist here prefers to interpret this result asapplication rather than effecting. He sees it as subjective appropriationinstead of objective accomplishment: "[T]he actualapplication of it is again associated with the second advent asfar as Israel is concerned.,,22 But on the basis of the Hebrewverb, the passage clearly speaks of the actual making reconciliation(or atonement).18. Matt. 20:18-19; 23:37-38; 27:11-25; Mark 10:33; 15:1; Luke 18:32; 23:1-2;John 18:28-31; 19:12, 15; Acts 2:22-23; 3:13-15a; 4:26-27; 5:30: 7:52.19. Payne, "Goal of Daniel's Seventy Weeks," p. 111.20. The definite article, which occurred before "transgression" and "sins," islacking here. There it referred to the particular situation of Israel. Here it considersthe more general predicament of mankind.21. Heb. 1:3; 7:27; 9:7-12, 26, 28; 10:9-10. See also: John 1:29; Rom. 3:25; 2Cor. 5:19; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2.22. Walvoord, Daniel, p. 222.316 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONBecause of this atonement to cover sin, the fourth result isthat everlasting righteousness is effected. That is, the final, completeatonement establishes righteousness. This speaks of theobjective accomplishment, not the subjective appropriation ofrighteousness. This was effected by Christ within the seventyweekperiod, as well (Rom. 3:21-22a).The fifth result (the first portion of the third couplet) has todo with the ministry of Christ on earth, which is introduced atHis baptism: He comes "to seal up vision and prophecy." By this ismeant that Christ fulfills (and thereby confirms) the prophecy(Luke 18:31; cr. Luke 24:44; Acts 3:18).23Finally, the seventy years are for the following goal: "toanoint the Most Holy." This anointing [mashach] speaks of theChrist's baptismal anointing for the following reasons: (1) Theoverriding concern of Daniel 9:24-27 is Messianic. The templethat is built after the Babylonian Captivity is to be destroyedafter the seventy weeks (v. 27), with no further mention madeof it. (2) In the following verses, the Messiah (mashiyach,"Christ," "Anointed One") is specifically named twice (vv. 25,26). (3) The "most holy" phraseology speaks of the Messiah,who is "that Holy One who is to be born."24 It is of Christ thatthe ultimate redemptive Jubilee is prophesied by Isaiah (Isa.61:1-2a; cf. Luke 4:17-21). It was at His baptismal anointingthat the Spirit came upon Him (Mark 1:9-11). This was introductoryto His ministry, of which we read three verses later:'1esus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of23. Walvoord slips by allowing this prophecy to cover "the cessation of the NewTestament prophetic gift seen both in oral prophecy and in the writing of theScriptures." Walvoord, Daniel, p. 222. This, however, does not occur in either thefirst sixty-nine weeks (up to "just before the time of Christ's crucifixion") or in theseventieth week (the future Great Tribulation), the periods which he claims involvethe 490 years. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 258. Yet he specifically saysthat the "six major events characterize the 490 years"! Ibid., p. 251.24. Luke 1:35; cf. 4:34, 41. See also: Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14; 4:27, 30; 1John 2:20;Rev. 3:7; He is called the "anointed one" (Psa. 2:2; Isa. 42:1; Acts 10:38).Time Frames 317God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled [the Sixty-ninth week?25],and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in thegospel" (Mark 1: 14-15). Christ is pre-eminently the AnointedOne.26The Seventieth WeekThe Messiah now experiences something "after the sixty-twoweeks" (Dan. 9:26), which follow the preceding "seven weeks"(v. 25). This is to occur, then, sometime after the sixty-ninthweek. A natural reading of the text shows this is in the seventiethweek, for that is the only time frame remaining for theaccomplishment of the goal of the prophecy listed in verse 24.That which occurs at this time is: "Messiah shall be cut off." TheHebrew word translated "cut off" here (karath) "is used of thedeath penalty, Lev. 7:20; and refers to a violent death,"27 i.e,the death of Christ on the cross.Given the Hebraic pattern of repetition, we may easily discerna parallel between verses 26 and 27; verse 27 gives an25. Interestingly, there was a current and widely held belief that a ruler fromwithin Israel was to arise "at that very time," i.e., during the Jewish War. Tacitus,Histories 5:13: "The m~ority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of theirpriests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and fromJudaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecyreally referred to Vespasian and Titus...." Suetonius, Vespasian 4: "An ancientsuperstition was current in the East, that out ofJudaea at this time would come therulers of the world. This prediction, as the event later proved, referred to a RomanEmperor...." Josephus even picks up on this idea, when he ingratiates himself toVespasian by declaring he was the one to rule (Wars 3:8:9). The only prophecyregarding Israel that actually dates Messianic era events is Daniel 9:24-27. Josephusalso applies the Daniel 9 passage to the rule of the Romans in another context: "Inthe very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, andthat our country should be made desolate by them. All these things did this manleave in writing, as God had shewed them to him...." (Ant. 10:11:7).26. Psa. 2:2; 132:10; Isa. 11:2; 42:1; Hab. 3:13; Acts 4:27; 10:38; Heb. 1:9.Vanderwaal denies the Messianic referent of this passage, preferring a Maccabeanpriestly referent. Cornelius Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy (St. Catherines,Ontario: Paideia, 1978), p. 37.27. Young, Daniel, p. 206.318 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONexpansion of verse 26. Negatively, Messiah's cutting off in verse26 is the result of Israel's completing her transgression andbringing it to a culmination (v. 24) by crucifying the Messiah.28Positively, verse 27 states this same event: "He shall confirm acovenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the weekHe shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering." Consideredfrom its positive effect, this confirming of the covenant withmany makes reconciliation and brings in everlasting righteousness(v. 24). The confirming of a covenant (v. 27) refers to theprophesied covenantal actions of verse 24, which come about asthe result of the Perfect Covenantal Jubilee (Seventy Weeks)and are mentioned as a result of Daniel's covenantal prayer (cr.v. 4). The covenant mentioned, then, is the divine covenant ofGod's redemptive grace.29 Messiah came to confirm the covenantalpromises (Luke 1:72; Eph. 2:12). He confirmed the covenantby His death on the cross (Heb. 7:22b).30The word translated "confirm" (higbir) is related to the angelGabriel's name, who brought Daniel the revelation of the SeventyWeeks (and who later brings the revelation of Christ'sbirth [Luke 1:19,26]). "Gabriel" is based on the Hebrew gibbor,"strong one," a concept frequently associated with the covenantGod.31 The related word found in Daniel 9:27 means to "makestrong, confirm.,,32 This "firm covenant" brings about "everlastingrighteousness" (Dan. 9:24) - hence its firmness.28. Matt. 20:18-19; 27:11-25; Mark 10:33; 15:1; Luke 18:32; 23:1-2;John 18:2831;19:12, 15; Acts 2:22-23; 3:13-15a; 4:26-27; 5:30; 7:52.29. When "covenant" is mentioned in Daniel, it is always God's covenant, see:Daniel 9:4; 11:22, 28, 30, 32. This includes even Daniel 11:22. See: J. DwightPentecost, "Daniel," Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck,eds., 2 vols. (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1985), 1:1369. Hereafter referred to as BKC.30. Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:8, 13;9:15; 12:24.31. Deut. 7:9, 21; 10:17; Neh. 1:5; 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 9:4. Hengstenberg arguesconvincingly that the source of Daniel 9 seems to be Isaiah 10:21-23, where God isthe "Mighty God" who blesses the faithful remnant.32. Young, Daniel, p. 209; Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 122; Hengstenberg,Christology of the Old Testament, 2:856.Time Frames 319Daniel's prayer was particularly for Israel (Dan. 9:3ff), and itwas uttered in recognition of God's promises of mercy uponthose who love Him (v. 4). Therefore, the prophecy holds thatthe covenant will be confirmed with many for one week. Thereference to the "many" speaks of the faithful in Israel. "Thusa contrast is introduced between He and the Many, a contrastwhich appears to reflect upon the great Messianic passage,Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and particularly 53:11. Although the entirenation will not receive salvation, the many will receive."33This confirmation of God's covenant promises to the "many"of Israel will occur in the middle of the seventieth week (v. 27),which parallels "after the sixty-two [and seven] weeks" (v. 26),while providing more detail. We know Christ's three-and-onehalf-year ministry was decidedly focused on the Jews in the firsthalf of the seventieth week (Matt. 10:5b; cf. Matt. 15:24). For aperiod of three and one-half years after the crucifixion,34 theapostles focused almost exclusively on the Jews, beginning first"in Judea" (Acts 1:8; 2:14) because "the gospel of Christ" is "forthe Jew first" (Rom. 1:16; cr. 2:10; John 4:22).Although the event that serves as the terminus of the sixtyninthweek is clearly specified, such is not the case with theterminus of the seventieth. Thus, the exact event that ends theseventieth is not so significant for us to know. Apparently at thestoning of Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity, the covenantalproclamation began to be turned toward the Gentiles(Acts 8:1). The apostle to the Gentiles appears on the scene atStephen's death (Acts 7:58-8:1), as the Jewish persecutionagainst Christianity breaks out. Paul's mission is clearly stated asexceeding the narrow Jewish focus (Acts 9:15).This confirmation of the covenant occurs "in the middle ofthe week" (v. 27). I have already shown that the seventieth33. Young, Daniel, p. 213.34. Payne, "The Goal of Daniel's Seventy Weeks," p. 109n; Boutftower, In andAround the Book of Daniel, pp. 195ff; Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament,2:898. Young, Daniel, p. 213.320 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONweek begins with the baptismal anointing of Christ. Then, afterthree and one-half years of ministry - the middle of the seventiethweek - Christ was crucified (Luke 13:6-9; Eccl. Hist.1:10:3). Thus, the prophecy states that by His conclusive confirmationof the covenant, Messiah will "bring an end to sacrificeand offering" (v. 27) by offering up Himself as a sacrifice for sin(Heb. 9:25-26; cf. Heb. 7:11-12, 18-22). Consequently, at Hisdeath the Temple's veil was torn from top to bottom (Matt.27:51) as evidence that the sacrificial system was legally disestablishedin the eyes of God (cf. Matt. 23:38), for Christ is the Lambof God Uohn 1:29).The Destruction ofJerusalemBut how are we to understand the latter portions of bothverses 26 and 27? What are we to make of the destruction ofthe city and sanctuary (v. 26) and the abomination that causesdesolation (v. 27), which most non-dispensational evangelicalcommentators agree occurred in A.D. 70?In verse 26, we learn there are two events to occur after thesixty-ninth week: (1) The Messiah is to be "cut off," and (2) thecity and sanctuary are to be destroyed. Verse 27a informs usthat the Messiah's cutting off (v. 26a) is a confirmation of thecovenant and is to occur at the half-way mark of the seventiethweek. So, the Messiah's death is clearly within the time frame ofthe Seventy Weeks (as we expect because of His being the majorfigure of the fulfillment of the prophecy).The events involving the destruction of the city and thesanctuary with war and desolation (vv. 26b, 27b) are the consequencesof the cutting off of the Messiah and do not necessarilyoccur in the seventy weeks time frame. They are an addendum tothe fulfillment of the focus of the prophecy, which is stated inverse 24. The destructive acts are anticipated, however, in thedivine act of sealing up or reserving the sin of Israel for punishment.Israel's climactic sin - their completing of their transTimeFrames 321gression (v. 24) with the cutting off of Messiah (v. 26a) - resultsin God's act of reseroing Israel's sin until later. Israel's judgmentwill not be postponed forever; it will come after the expirationof the seventy weeks. This explains the "very indefinite"35phrase "till the end of the war": the "end" will not occur during theseventy weeks. That prophesied end occurred in A.D. 70, exactlyas Christ had made abundantly clear in Matthew 24:15.The Dispensational InterpretationThe Gap in the Seventy WeeksDispensationalism incorporates a gap or parenthesis betweenthe sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. This gap spans the entiretyof the Church Age from the Triumphal Entry to the Rapture.36 The dispensational arguments for a gap of undeterminedlength between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks arenot convincing. Let us consider a few of their leading argumentsfor a gap.First, the peculiar phraseology in Daniel: Daniel places the cuttingoff of the Messiah "after the 62 'sevens,' not in the 70th'seven.' "37 This is so stated to allow for a gap between thesixty-ninth and seventieth-weeks. If the cutting off did notoccur during the sixty-ninth week or during the seventiethweek, there must be a gap in between wherein it does occur.In response, it is obvious that seventy occurs after sixty-nine,and thus fits the requirements of the prophecy. Consequently,35. Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 115.36. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, pp. 256-257. Ryrie, Basic Theology,p. 465. Pentecost, "Daniel," BKC, 1: 161. Walvoord, Daniel, pp. 230-231. It is interestingto note that the early Fathers held to a non-eschatological interpretation of theSeventieth Week, applying it either to the ministry of Christ or to A.D. 70. See:Barnabas, Epistles 16:6; Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1: 125-26; Tertullian, AnAnswer to the Jews 8; Julius Africanus, Chronology 50. See: L. E. Knowles, "The Interpretationofthe Seventy Weeks of Daniel in the Early Fathers," Westminster TheologicalJournal 7 (1945) 136-160.37. Pentecost, "Daniel," BKC, p. 1364. See: Walvoord, Rapture Qyestion, p. 25.322 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONsuch an argument does not prove that the "after" requires a gap.Besides, Daniel mentions only seventy weeks and, as LaRondellehas pointed out, Daniel most certainly does not say "aftersixty-nine weeks, but not in the seventieth.,,38 Such an explanationis a gratuitous assumption. Since Daniel has yet to dealwith the seventieth week, and he has clearly dealt with the precedingsixty-nine weeks (v. 25), it is quite natural to assume thiscutting off of the Messiah must be sometime within the sevenyearperiod covered by the seventieth week.Second, a fatal admission: "Historically the destruction of] erusalem occurred in A.D. 70 almost forty years after thedeath of Christ.,,39 Since this was given in Daniel's prophecyand was to occur within the seventy weeks, "the continuousfulfillment theory [is] left without any explanation adequate forinterposing an event as occurring after the sixty-ninth seven bysome thirty-eight years.,,40I have already explained the relation of the seventy weeks tothe destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 (see above). The goalof the Seventy Weeks is not the A.D. 70 destruction of the Temple,which is not mentioned in verse 24. That destruction is alater consequence of certain events brought to fulfillment withinthe seventy weeks. The actual act of God's reserving judgment(v. 24) occurred within the seventy weeks; the later removal ofthat reservation did not. There is no necessity at all for a gap.Third, the general tendency in prophecy: Walvoord writes:"Nothing should be plainer to one reading the Old Testamentthan that the foreview therein provided did not describe theperiod of time between the two advents. This very fact confusedeven the prophets (cf. 1 Pet. 1:10-12)."41 His argument then isthis: Old Testament prophecy can merge the First and Second38. Hans K. LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy (Berrien Springs, MI:Andrews University, 1983), p. 173.39. Walvoord, Daniel, p. 230.40. Ibid., p. 230.41. Walvoord, Rapture Question, p. 25.Time Frames 323Advents into one scene, though separated by thousands ofyears. Consequently, we have biblical warrant for understandingthe sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks as merged into onescene, although separated by a gap of thousands of years.This argument is wholly without merit. It must be noted thatthe Seventy Weeks are considered as a unit, though sub-dividedinto three unequal parts: (1) It is one period of seventy weeksthat must transpire in order to experience the events mentioned.The plural "seventy weeks" is followed by a singularverb "is decreed," which indicates the unity of the time period.(2) An overriding concern of the prophecy, in distinction to allother Messianic prophecies, is that it is designed as a measuringtime frame. If the dispensational gap theory regarding theseventieth week is true, then the gap separating the seventiethfrom the sixty-ninth week is almost 2000 years long, or fourtimes the whole time period of the seventy weeks or 490 years!The concept of measuring is thus destroyed.The Dispensational CovenantThe confirmation of the covenant mentioned in verse 27 iswoefully misunderstood by dispensationalists. According toWalvoord: "[T]his refers to the coming world ruler at the beginningof the last seven years who is able to gain control overten countries in the Middle East. He will make a covenant withIsrael for a seven-year period. As Daniel 9:27 indicates, in themiddle of the seven years he will break the covenant, stop thesacrifices being offered in the temple rebuilt in that period, andbecome their persecutor instead of their protector, fulfilling thepromises of Israel's day of trouble aer. 30:5-7)."42Several problems plague this interpretation, some of whichhave already been inqicated in another connection: (1) Thecovenant here is not made, it is confirmed. This is actually the42. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 257. Pentecost, "Daniel," BKe, p.1364.324 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONconfirmation of a covenant already extant, i.e., the covenant ofGod's redemptive grace confirmed by Christ (Rom. 15:8).(2) As noted above, the term is related to the name of theangel of God who delivered the message to Daniel: Gabriel("God is strong"). The lexical correspondence between the nameof the strong angel of God and the making strong of the covenantis in itself suggestive of the divine nature of the covenant.In addition, covenantal passages frequently employ relatedterms, when speaking of the strong God of the covenant.43(3) The parallelism with verse 26 indicates that the death ofthe Messiah is directly related to the confirming of the covenant.He is "cut off" but "not for himself" (v. 26a), for He "confirmsthe covenant" for the "many" of Israel (v. 27a). His "cuttingoff" brings the confirmation of the covenant, for "withoutshedding of blood there is no remission" (Reb. 9:22).(4) The indefinite pronoun "he" does not refer back to "theprince who is to come" of verse 26.44 That "prince" is a subordinatenoun; "the people" is the dominant noun. Thus, the"he" refers back to the last dominant individual mentioned:"Messiah" (v. 26a). The Messiah is the leading figure in the wholeprophecy, so the destruction of the 1emple is related to His death. Infact, the people who destroy the Temple are providentially "Hisarmies" (Matt. 22:2-7).The Last DaysAn eschatological theme that is as widely misunderstood asit is commonly discussed in popular prophetic literature is thatof the "last days." In a popular work, the writer commentsabout those of us living among the "generation" (Matt. 24:34)43. Deut. 7:9, 21; 10:17; Neh. 1:5; 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 9:4. See earlier discussionabove.44. Kline provides interesting arguments for the reference "the prince who is tocome" (v. 27) being to "Messiah the Prince" (v. 25). If this were conclusive. the "he"would then refer back to the Messiah in either view.Time Frames 325of World War I: "There is no question that we are living in thelast days.... The fact that we are the generation that will be onthe earth when our Lord comes certainly should not depressUS."45 This factor of eschatological chronology is an importantconcept that requires a deep appreciation of the complexity ofGod's sovereign governance of history and the outworking ofHis redemptive purposes.Properly understood, the idea of the last days is focused onthe most important episode of history: the life of Jesus Christlived out in fulfillment of divine prophecy and of redemptivehistory. Christ is the focal point ofall Scripture. He is anticipated inthe Old Testament revelation and realized in the New: "Yousearch the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternallife; and these are they which testify of Me" Gohn 5:39).46 Assuch, He stands as history's dividing line - hence the historicalappropriateness and theological significance of dividing historybetween B.C. and A.nYThere are many prophetic references looking forward to the"Messianic age of consummation" introduced by Christ.48 Thisera is frequently deemed "the last days" or "the latter days."49"The expression then properly denoted the future times in general;but, as the coming of the Messiah was to the eye ofaJew themost important event in the coming ages, the great, glorious,and crowning scene in all that vast futurity, the phrase came to45. Tim LaHaye, The Beginning of the End (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1972), pp.171-172. See also Charles H. Dyer, The Rise of Babylon: Sign of the End Times (Wheaton,IL: Tyndale, 1991). The latter book has to do with Saddam Hussein in contemporaryIraq.46. Luke 24:25-27; John 1:45; 5:39, 46; Acts 3:24; 10:43; 2 Cor. 1:20; Rev.19:10.47. Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time: The Primitive Christian Conception ofTime andHistory, trans. by Floyd V. Filson (3rd ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964), pp. 1819.48. C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, in Commentary on the OldTestament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [n.d.] 1975), 1:387.49. Gen. 49:1, 10; Num. 24:14; Deut. 4:30; 31:29; Isa. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; 30:24;48:47; 49:39; Dan. 2:28; Hos. 3:4; Mic. 4:1.326 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONbe regarded as properly expressive of that.... It was a phrasein contrast with the days of the patriarchs, the kings, the prophets,etc. The last days, or the closing period of the world,were the days of the Messiah."so His corning was "nothing lessthan the beginning of the great eschaton of history.',slIt is when Christ carne that "the fullness of times" was realized:"The phrase plero11UL tou chronou, Gal. iv. 4, implies anorderly unrolling of the preceding stages of world-history towardsa fixed end.,,52 Hence, the preparatory preaching at thebeginning of His ministry: "[T]he time is fulfilled, the kingdomof God is at hand" (Mark 1: 15; Matt. 4: 17). Prior to this, theOld Testament era was typological and anticipatory. The OldTestament era served as the "former days" (Mal. 3:4)53 thatgave way to the "last days," the times initiated by Christ's coming:"God, who at various times and in different ways spoke intime past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last daysspoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of allthings" (Heb. 1:1-2).Thus, we find frequent references to the presence of the lastdays during the New Testament time. The last days are initiatedby the appearance of the Son (Heb. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20) to effectredemption (Heb. 9:26) and by His pouring out of the Spirit(Acts 2:16,17,24; cf. Isa. 32:15; Zech. 12:10). The "ends of theages" came during the apostolic era (1 Cor. 10:11). These willrun until "the last day," when the resurrection;judgment occursto end history Oohn 6:39; 11 :24; 12:48). But before the finalend point is reached, perilous times will punctuate the era ofthe end (2 Tim. 3:1) and mockers will arise (2 Pet. 3:3).50. Albert Barnes, Barnes' Notes on the New Testament, 1 vol. edition (GrandRapids: Kregal, [n.d.] 1962), p. 381.51. Herman Ridderbos, The Coming ofthe Kingdom (Philadelphia: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1962), p. 36.52. Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed,[1930] 1991), p. 83.53. See: Jer. 46:26; Lam. 1:7; Amos 9:11; Mic. 7:14, 20.Time Frames 327The last days of Old Testament prophecy anticipated theestablishment of Mount Zion/Jerusalem as the enduring spiritualand cultural influence through the era.54 This came in thefirst century, with the establishment of the New Covenant phaseof the Church, the focal point of the kingdom of Christ (cr. Joel2 with Acts 2:16ff; Heb. 12:18-27).Because the last days have been with us since the first centurycomingof Christ,55 there is no days to follow. There is no millenniumthat will introduce another grand redemptive era inman's history (see discussion of "Millennium" below). With thecoming of Christ, earth history reached "epochal finality."56The idea of the appearance of Christ as the "Last Adam" (1Cor. 15:45) is indicative that there is no different historical ageto follow. The finality has come, though it has undergone continuousdevelopment since its arrival in the ministry of Christ.57It is primarily in the dispensational literature of the millennialdiscussion that reference to the "last days" generates erroneousconclusions. Dispensationalists point to contemporary internationalsocial decline as indicative of the onset of the "lastdays": "The key that would unlock the prophetic book wouldbe the current events that would begin to fit into the predictedpattern.,,58 "The conflicts that we see in our world today aresymptoms of the day in which we live. They may be symptomsof the last days...."59 Such observations overlook the biblical54. Isa. 2:2; 24:23; 37:32; Joel 2:32; Dba. 1:17,21; Mic. 4:7.55. The last day resurrection has yet to occur (Matt. 13:39-40,49). The GreatCommission is still in effect (Matt. 28:20).56. Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 28.57. Contrary to Richard B. Gaffin, "Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections ofPostmillennialism," Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, William S. Barker and W. RobertGodfrey, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), ch. 9. See my response to Gaffin:"Whose Victory in History?" Theonomy: An Informed Response, Gary North, ed. (Tyler,TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), ch. 8.58. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970),p. 181. Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 154ff.59. John F. Walvoord, "Why Are the Nations in Turmoil?" Prophecy and theSeventies, pp. 211-212.328 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONfunction of the "last days" in regard to the grand sweep ofredemptive history. The postmillennial view of the "last days"is that the last days of the Old Covenant era introduced the greatera of historical victory for the Church of jesus Christ. Dispensationalism's"last days" (maybe today!) introduce the collapse ofculture; the Great Tribulation looms (maybe tomorrow!). Sevenyears later, a major discontinuous event happens: the bodilyreturn ofJesus Christ to establish His personal reign on earth.ImminenceOne of the remarkable features of prophetic interest is theChristian market's conviction that we are living in the shadowof the Second Coming.60 In conjunction with a radical misunderstandingof the last days is often found the doctrine of theimminent return ofChrist, among dispensationalists, premillennialists,and amillennialists.61The doctrine of imminency is explained by john Walvoord:"The hope of the return of Christ to take the saints to heavenis presented in john 14 as an imminent hope. There is noteaching of any intervening event. The prospect of being takento heaven at the coming of Christ is not qualified by descriptionof any signs or prerequisite events.,,62 (Strangely, this is heldquite inconsistently among dispensationalists, who are alsoconvinced that the entirety of the Church Age up into the1900s is outlined in the to the Seven Churches in Revelation2 and 3!63 How could the return of Christ have been60. Timothy P. Weber, living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism,1875-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).61. Even amillennialists can sound like dispensationalists when they cry thealarm: "The year 1990 and the decade it initiates will bring that tribulation evercloser." Dale Kuiper, "The Illusory Hope of the Rapture," Stando,rd Bearer 66:7 (Jan.1,1990) 155.62. Walvoord, Rapture Question, pp. 78-79.63. John F. Walvoord, The Revelation ofJesw Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966),p. 52; Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 149; Charles C. Ryrie, Revelation (Chicago: MoodyPress, 1968), pp. 24ff; James L. Boyer, "Are the Seven Letters of Revelation 2-3Time Frames 329imminent before the 1900s, if the 1900s are foreshadowed inRevelation 2-3?)Due to this doctrine of perpetual imminence, dispensationalistsshould be the last people to seek signs of the approaching end. Such aquest undermines their most distinctive doctrine: the everimminent,sign-less, secret rapture. Yet, date-setting has longbeen a problem associated with premillennialism, especiallydispensationalism.64 The last twenty years have been particularlyrife with cries of the approaching end. Alden Gannet(1971): "While many of God's people through the centurieshave looked for Christ's imminent return, it is only in ourgeneration that the events of Ezekiel 37 are beginning to cometo pass." Charles Ryrie (1976): "[T]ake a good look again atcurrent events. . . . How do you account for these unusualevents converging in our present day? Jesus said: 'Even so,when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right atthe door' (Matthew 24:33 NIV)." Herman Hoyt (1977): "Themovement of events in our day suggests that the establishmentof the kingdom is not far away."65 Hal Lindsey (1980): "Thedecade of the 1980's could very well be the last decade of historyas we know it." Dave Hunt (1983): "This is strong evidenceindeed that the Antichrist could appear very soon - whichmeans that the rapture may be imminent." In 1988, Edgar C.Whisenant created an uproar among expectant dispensationalists,when he published his 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could BeProphetic?" Grace Theological Journal 6:2 (Fall 1985) 267-273; Hal Lindsey, There's aNew World Coming (Santa Ana, CA: Vision House, 1973), pp. 38ff; The Scofield ReferenceBible (New York: Oxford University Press, [1909] 1945), pp. 1331-2; The NewScofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 1353.64. See the classic historical study on the problem: Dwight L. Wilson, ArmageddonNow! The Premillenarian Response to Russia and Israel Since 1917 (Tyler, 'IX: Institutefor Christian Economics, [1977] 1991). For an exegetical study ofthe error, see: GaryDeMar, Last Days Madness: The FoUy of Trying to Predict When Christ Will Return (Brentwood,TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991).65. It is ironical that his niece, a postmillennialist, was one of the proofreadersof my manuscript.330 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONin 1988. Richard Ruhling (1989): "Dr. Ruhling says the 50thjubilee in 1994 correlates with Usher's Chronology that ourworld will be 6,000 years old in 1996.... The seventh millennium"will begin shortly thereafter.66 Grant Jeffrey suggeststhat "the year A.D. 2000 is a probable termination date for the'last days.' ,,67In 1990-91, needless American fears over the 30-day GulfWar - Iraq's great tribulation - fueled the flames of date-setting,much like what occurred in World War 1.68 Lindseywrites: "At the time of this writing, virtually the entire worldmay be plunged into a war in which this city [Babylon] mayemerge with a role and destiny that few have any inkling of."Later he sums up: "This is the most exciting time to be alive inall of human history. We are about to witness the climax ofGod's dealing with man."69 Even noted dispensational theolo-66. Dave Hunt, Peace Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust (Eugene, OR: HarvestHouse, 1983), pp. 255-256; Hal Lindsey, The 1980's: Countdoum to Armageddon (NewYork: Bantam, 1980), p. 8; Herman A. Hoyt, "Dispensational Premillennialism," TheMeaning of the Millennium: Four Views, Robert G. Clouse, ed. (Downer's Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press, 1977), p. 63; Charles C. Ryrie, The Living End (Old Tappan, Nj:Revell, 1976), pp. 128-129; Alden A. Gannett, "Dry Bones Coming Alive," Prophecyand the Seventies, pp. 178-179: Edgar C. Whisenant, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture CouldBe in 1988 (Nashville: World Bible Society, 1988); Review of Richard Ruhling, M.D.,Sword Over America, in Chattanooga News - Free Press (Oct. 21, 1989).67. Grant R. jeffrey, Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny (Toronto: FrontierResearch, 1989). Walvoord, at age eighty, "expects the Rapture to occur in his ownlifetime." Kenneth L. Woodward, "The Final Days Are Here Again," Newsweek (March18, 1991) 55.68. Arthur Pink wrote: "Brethren, the end of the Age is upon us. Allover theworld, reflecting minds are discerning the fact that we are on the very eve of anotherof those far-reaching crises which make the history of our race.... Those who lookout on present conditions are forced to conclude that the consummation of thedispensation is at hand.... The sands in the hour glass of this Day of Salvation havealmost run out. The signs of the Times demonstrate it. ... [T]he Signs are so plainthey cannot be mis-read, though the foolish may close their eyes and refuse toexamine them." Arthur W. Pink, The Redeemer's Return (Ashland, KY: Calvary BaptistChurch, [1918] n.d.), pp. 318-19.69. Hal Lindsey, "The Rise of Babylon and the Persian Gulf Crisis: A SpecialReport" (Palos Verdes, CA: Hal Lindsey Ministries, 1991), pp. 2, 51. See also: BettyLynn, "The Gulf War and the Coming Fall of Babylon," Christian World Report 3:2Time Frames 331gians are becoming involved in date-setting. Ironically, in thesummer of 1990, as the Gulf's war clouds loomed, Walvoord'sbook review appeared in which he wrote disparagingly of myinsistence that dispensationalists are date-setters: "So premillennialismand dispensationalism have been derided as a datesettingsystem of doctrine, even though very few of its adherentsindulge in this procedure.,,7o By the time this review waspublished, Walvoord's clock of prophecy was ticking audibly inhis ears.71The New Testament teaches, however, that the Lord's glorious,bodily return will be in the distant and unknowable future.It has not been imminent and will not be datable. Theologically-"distinctive to [postmillennialism] is the denial of the imminentphysical return" of Christ.72His return has not been imminent since the Ascension. Jesus clearlytaught: "While the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumberedand slept" (Matt. 25:5). "For the kingdom of heaven is like aman traveling to a far country, who called his own servants anddelivered his goods to them.... Mter a long time the lord of(Feb. 1991) 1.70. John F. Walvoord, "Review of House Divided," Bibliotheca Sacra 147 GulylSept. 1990) 372. Even as I write these words, on this very day, I have received in themail a leaflet sent to me on "Christ's Second Coming." The author, Thomas W.Staggs of Wichita, Kansas, announces: "Russia attempts to invade Israel. Ezlt. 38-39."Beside this statement the author wrote: "Soon. Watchman let your people know." Onthe top of the leaflet, he wrote: "The Truth," The envelope is postmarked: December3, 1991.71. Barbara Reynolds, "Prophecy clock is ticking in Mideast" (interview withJohn F. Walvoord), U. S. A. Today, Inquiry section, January 19, 1991. A spate ofdispensational prophetic best-sellers were generated by the Gulf War. See: Joe Maxwell,"Prophecy Books Become Big Sellers," Christianity Today 34:3 (March 11, 1991)60. One of them was Walvoord's hastily revised 1974 book, Armageddon, Oil and theMiddle East Crisis: What the Bible says about the future of the Middle East and the end ofWestern Civilization (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990). Within months, it had sold amillion and a half copies. Time (Feb. 11, 1991).72. Greg L. Bahnsen, "The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism,"Journal of Christian Reconstruction 3:2 (Winter 1976) 60. Cf. Allis, Prophecy and theChurch, pp. 173-174.332 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthose servants came and settled accounts with them" (Matt.25:14, 19). There is no expectation here of an any-moment return- there is quite the opposite.Just before His ascension, Christ had to deal with the problemof imminence among His often-confused disciples: "Theyasked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdomto Israel?' And He said to them, 'It is not for you to knowtimes [chronos] or seasons which the Father has put in His ownauthority" (Acts 1:7). The chronos time-reference in Christ'sanswer indicates a long period of time of uncertain duration. Infact, it is found in the plural, which indicates "a rather longperiod of time composed of several shorter ones.'>73 Accordingto Urwick, "the only errors mentioned in the New Testamentrespecting the time of our Lord's coming, all consist in datingit too early.,,74Matthew 28:20 says that the Great Commission will stretchthrough "all the days" (literal translation of the Greek). Thisindicates a great many days before the end. The parables of themustard seed and leaven set forth gradualistic growth and developmentfor the kingdom until it dominates the world's landscape andpenetrates all of the world's cultures. This surely is suggestiveof the passage of a long period of time. As I showed in Chapter13, 2 Peter 3 allows a long delay in His coming as evidence ofthe "longsuffering" of God. This fits well with postmillennialeschatology, for it allows time for the advancement and victoryof Christ's kingdom in the world and encourages a future-orientationto the labors of God's people.Neither will His return be datable. Rather than giving specificsigns that allow even generalized date-setting, the Scriptureforthrightly states: "of that day and hour no one knows, no, noteven the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matt. 24:36).73. William F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NewTestament (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 896.74. Quoted in David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial7(Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival, [1882] 1990). p. 41n.Time Frames 333This is why there is a danger that some of His own people willbe caught unawares: they will let down the guard because thedate is unknowable (Matt. 25: 1ff). Although prophecy portraysa long era in history in which Christianity will reign supreme,it never gives information that allows the determination of thetemporal end of His kingdom. The glorious rule of Christthrough his covenant people will be for a long time before Hereturns in judgment, but for how long, no man knows.The MillenniumAs indicated in Chapter 3, a time frame that has played a fargreater role in the eschatological debate than it warranted is thereference to the millennium, or the thousand years, in Revelation20: 1-6. It is almost incredible that the various eschatologicalschools have been denominated "millennial" schools on thebasis of this passage. Amillennialist William Cox writes: "Mostmillennial thinking begins with Revelation 20, since this is theonly place in the entire Bible where the thousand years is mentioned.We feel that Revelation 20 ought to be our last stop, notour first. ,,75 Indeed, "this is one of the most hotly debated issuesin the whole field of eschatology."76The role of Revelation 20 in the debate, which is absolutelyessential to premillennialism, is surprising for at least two majorreasons. First, the only place in all of Scripture that associates"one thousand years" with the reign of Christ is in the first sixverses of this one chapter! Against such a complaint, premillennialistLadd comments: "the fact that the New Testament inonly one place teaches an interim kingdom, between this ageand the Age to Come is no reason for rejecting it."" Yet the75. William E. Cox, Biblical Studies in Final Things (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian &Reformed, 1966), p. 174.76. Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief (Downer's Grove,IL: InterVarsity Press, 1982), p. 262.77. Ladd,"A Historic Premillennial Response," Meaning ofthe Millennium, p. 190.334 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONpostmillennial complaint is well-justified. If a literal earthlymillennium is so prominent in Scripture and such an importantera in redemptive history (as premillennialists and dispensationalistsargue), then why should we not expect that a reference tothe thousand years should appear in more than one passage?This is even more difficult to conceive of in light of oursecond observation: the mention ofthe thousand-year reign occurs inthe most figurative and difficult book in all of Scripture. If it is aliteral time frame, why is it that it is only mentioned in thishighly symbolic book? It is a bit odd, too, that this time frameis so perfectly rounded and exact, which seems more compatiblewith a figurative view. Warfield is surely correct, when hecomments "we must not permit ourselves to forget that there isa sense in which it is proper to permit our understanding of soobscure a portion of Scripture to be affected by the clearerteaching of its more didactic parts.... [T]he order of investigationshould be from the clearer to the more obscure." But thishermeneutical principle has not often been honored. "Nothing,indeed, seems to have been more common in all ages of theChurch than to frame an eschatological scheme from this passage,imp~rfectly understood, and then to impose this schemeon the rest of Scripture vi et armis."78Clouse is correct about the place of the millennium in thediscussion: "These categories [amillennial, premillennial, postmillennial],although helpful and widely accepted, are in certainrespects unfortunate as the distinctions involve a great dealmore than the time of Christ's return.',79 Nevertheless, postmillennialistBoettner is scolded by amillennialist Hoekema fornot giving exposition to Revelation 20: 1-6 in his presentation ofthe postmillennial conception of the kingdom!8078. B. B. Warfield, "The Millennium and the Apocalypse," Princeton TheologicalReview, 2 (Oct. 1904) 599.79. Clouse, "Introduction," Meaning of the Millennium, p. 7.80. Anthony Hoekema, "An Amillennial Response," ibid., p. 150.Time Frames 335The proper understanding of the thousand-year time framein Revelation 20 is that it is representative of a long and gloriousera and is not limited to a literal 365,000 days. The figurerepresents a perfect cube of ten, which is the number of quantitativeperfection.81 The thousand here is no more literal thanthat which affirms God's ownership of the cattle on a thousandhills (Psa. 50: 10), or promises Israel will be a thousand timesmore numerous (Deut. 1: 11), or measures God's love to a thousandgenerations (Deut. 7:9), or expresses the desire for a thousandyears in God's courts (Psa. 84: 10), or compares a thousandyears of our time to one of God's days (Psa. 90:4).The millennial designation, then, is John's visionary portrayalof the kingdom of Christ, which was established at Christ'sfirst coming. Revelation 20: 1 clearly establishes the passage asa vision; John opens with: "and I saw" (Rev. 20: la). This isstrongly suggestive of its symbolic import and is evidenceagainst a strictly literal interpretation of the one thousandyears. In addition, the first event seen in the vision is the bindingof the angel Satan with a chain, which surely is not literal(especially since His binding is shown to be spiritual elsewhere:Matt. 12:2982). Revelation 20:4-6 speaks of the saints livingand reigning with Christ, which is elsewhere presented as aspiritual reality in the present experience of God's people (l Cor.13:21-22; Eph. 1:3; 2:6; Col. 3:1-2). This reigning of the saintswith Christ on thrones pictures the kingdom of Christ, which isalready established (cf. Chapter 11).83 His kingdom, then, is81. Perhaps the figure's symbolic importance is partially due to the fact that it isa period of time beyond man's reach. The oldest living man ever, Methusaleh, fellshort of this perfect number. He lived only to be 969 years old (Gen. 5:27). I take thehistorical account of Methusaleh to be literal. When the names and ages of thegenealogies in Genesis 5 and 10 are set forth, it is obvious that long life spans wereconsistent before the Flood of Noah's day, but dropped off quickly thereafter.82. The binding of Satan during Christ's earthly ministry and until His SecondAdvent was known in ancient times. See: Acts of Pilate 22:2.83. Older postmillennialists and some more recent ones hold that the millenniumis a distinct final stage in the advance of Christ's kingdom. See: David Brown336 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONdefined chronologically as a complete and perfect time.Besides, elsewhere the Second Coming of Christ is associatedwith "the end" (1 Cor. 15:23-24) and brings in "the last day":resurrection (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). "Therefore, in view of thetotal absence of supporting evidence from the New Testament,it is exceedingly hazardous to claim that a thousand years intervenebetween Christ's coming and the end of the world on thegrounds that Revelation 20 teaches a millennium."84The millennial era has already turned out to be almost 2,000years; it may continue another 10,000 or more for all we know.It is the perfect time of Christ's rule in His kingdom (Rev. 1:5) - atime that shall eventually result in the subduing of all nations.ConclusionChristianity is an historical faith: it is intimately intertwinedwith objective reality. Our God not only originated history(creation) but governs it (providence) and involves Himself init (incarnation). Consequently, the issues of time are relevant toChristianity as it operates in the temporal realm.There are a number of prophetically significant time framesestablished in Scripture. I have only dealt with a few of themore prominent ones. I hope I have done so in such a way asto demonstrate the legitimacy of biblical postmillennialism. Godis governing history on the basis of His redemptive plan. Thetime frames dealt with above demonstrate the temporal impactof God's comprehensively redemptive action in history.(1800s) and Steve Schlissel (1990), Hal Lindsey and the Restoration of the Jews (Edmonton,ALB: Still Waters Revival, 1990).84. lain Murray, TM Puritan Hope: Revival and the Interpretation of PrOPMCJ(Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1971), pp. xvii-xviii.15

    FEATURESNow as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples carne to Him privately,saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be thesign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3)In this chapter, I turn to three of the familiar features of theeschatological debate that I have not considered in detail so far.The features I will deal with in this chapter are the Great Tribulation,the rebuilding of the Temple, and the New Creation.It is ironic that the biggest-selling prophetic studies publishedtoday deal with the horrible Great Tribulation.1 Despitethe prominence of the glorious millennium in the eschatologicaldebate, it seems that the Christian public has more interest inthe tribulational woes than in the millennial glory. What isworse, the Great Tribulation is greatly misinterpreted - evenbeing placed at the wrong end of history.In this book, space does not permit a thorough analysis ofthe Great Tribulation.2 A truly preteristic approach to the1. Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970) hassold over 35 million copies in fifty-four languages. Recent books on the GulfWar andthe supposed looming Great Tribulation have sold millions.2. For more detail, see: Gentry, The Abomination ofDesolation: A Study in EschatologicalEvil (forthcoming).338 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONGreat Tribulation is denied by all premillennialists and by manyamillennialists.3 In the next few pages, I will sketch the generalargument for a preterist understanding of the Great Tribulation.My focus will be on its presentation in Matthew 24 (whichwas briefly mentioned in Chapter 8).Matthew 24: InterpretationsMatthew 24 is held by some to be contra-indicative to postmillennialism:"Postmillenarians have a different problem inthat they want to support their view that the world is going toget better and better as the Gospel gradually triumphs; but thispassage of Scripture does not support this and, in fact, predictsincreasing evil with the climax at the Second Coming."4 Postmillennialism"stands in sharp contrast with that whole body ofbiblical data which describes the days prior to the coming ofChrist as days in which lawlessness abounds (Matthew 24:12)"and "Matthew 24 itself is strong proof of all this."5Due to the prominence afforded the Great Tribulation inpopular study, I have allotted more space to it than to theother features to be considered. It is the key to the preteristinterpretation. If the Great Tribulation refers to the fall ofJerusalemin A.D. 70, all '1uturist" interpretations collapse. So does the pessimismcreated by an eschatology of predestined defeat.3. Amillennialists Anthony Hoekema (The Bible and the Future [Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1979], pp. 112-117, 178) and Herman Ridderbos (The Coming of theKingdom [Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1962], pp. 498ft) deny the preteristview. AmillennialistsJay Adams (The Time Is at Hand [n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed,1966], Appendix B) and George Murray (Millennial Studies: A Search for Truth [GrandRapids: Baker, 1948], pp. 110ft) affirm it.4. John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990).p.381.5. Herman Hanko, "The Illusory Hope of Postmillennialism," Standard Bearer66:7 Gan. 1, 1990) 158. Hanko. "An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism"(unpublished conference paper: South Holland, IL: South Holland ProtestantReformed Church, 1978), p. 27.Features 339The Key 1extAs I noted in Chapter 8, the key to understanding the GreatTribulation in Matthew 24 is the time statement in verse 34:''Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means passaway till all these things are fulfilled." This is the statement thatmust be reckoned with by the futurist or historicist viewpoints.Some point to Matthew 24:34 and such verses as "difficulttexts" requiring that we "look at them carefully.'•6 The difficultyis generally held to be due to two problems. (1) The necessityof reconciling the nearness statement of verse 34 withverse 36, which reads: "But of that day and hour no oneknows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only."(2) How to understand the reference to "all these things," whenmany of these seem to be of worldwide effect and/or are consummationaland incapable of application to the first century(e.g., Matt. 24:14, 21, 27, 29-30).Arnillennialist theologian Anthony Hoekema holds that "thisgeneration" is used in a qualitative sense, as of an "evil" (Matt.12:45), "adulterous" (Mark 8:38), or "perverse" (Matt. 17:17)generation. "By 'this generation,' then, Jesus means the rebellious,apostate, unbelieving Jewish people, as they haverevealed themselves in the past, are revealing themselves in thepresent, and will continue to reveal themselves in the future.,,7Ridderbos' amillennial view is similar to Hoekema's, but issomewhat broader. With Hoekema, he sees in "all these things"a compaction oftwo events: the A.D. 70 destruction of the Templeand the consummative Return of Christ.s Consequently, "allthese things" are to occur upon "this generation," which in hisunderstanding refers not just to the Jewish race, but to all6. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 113.7. Ibid. F. Biichsel, "genea," Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, GerhardKittel, ed., 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 1:663.8. Ridderbos, Coming of the Kingdom, p. 502. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p.178.340 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION"people of this particular disposition and frame of mind whoare averse to Jesus and his words." Matthew 24:34, then, servesas "a pronouncement upon the certainty of the fulfillment,without any further limitation of the time."gSome dispensationalists hold that "this generation" means"this race," i.e., generic Israel. This was the view of Dr. Pentecostin the 1950s: "[T]he word generation is to be taken in its basicusage of 'race, kindred, family, stock, breed,' so that the Lordis here promising that the nation Israel shall be preserved untilthe consummation of her program at the second advent."lOSo, "this generation" = Israel throughout the ages. But. ...Other dispensationalists hold Pentecost's current view: "Sincethese signs will all occur in the seven years of Daniel's seventiethweek, the generation that sees the beginning of these signswill 'not pass away until all these things happened' (v. 34), forthey all will fall within a brief span of time.... [T]hese signswill be given to a generation that cannot begin until after thechurch has been translated."Il So, "this generation" = Israelduring the post-Rapture Great Tribulation. It would be helpful ifthe commentators, including Pentecost, would go into greaterdetail about why there was a need for this new interpretation.The proper view is much simpler, as we shall see. I shallpresent arguments that undermine all the of previously mentionedviews. First, however, I need to point out specific difficultiesin the other interpretive suggestions.9. Ridderbos, Coming of the Kingdom, p. 502.10. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 281.Cf. L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary,1948), 4:316. C. I. Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford UniversityPress, [1909] 1945), p. 1034. E. Schuyler English, Studies in the Gospel According toMatthew (New York: Revell, 1935), p. 179. William Kelly, Lectures on the Gospel ofMatthew (New York: Loizeaux Bros., 1911), pp. 451-453.11. Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990), p. 256. See also:Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary p. 89. H. Wayne House andThomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah,1988), pp. 286-287. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, pp. 391ff.Features 341ResponsesRegarding Hoekema's view that "this generation" is a qualitativepronouncement, it must be noted that this does notcrowd out the more obvious view that He spoke of His contemporarygeneration. In fact, it harmonizes with it. The Jews ofthat very era were a rebellious generation. Theirs was a mostheinous transgression ("the transgression," Rom. 11: 11-12, inthe Greek): the crucifixion of Christ the Lord (John 19:41612),an unrepeatably horrible act (Matt. 21:33-45). It is importantto understand that it was because the Jews of that erarejected the Son of God that they were deemed by God anadulterous, perverse, evil generation. God's judgment fell onthem.Ridderbos' view that Matthew 24:34 simply means that theseevents are certain to transpire upon people of that "frame ofmind" fares no better. We must note that if this speaks of boththe A.D. 70 event and an end time Great Tribulation (as he argues),then these events do not occur to all people "who areaverse to Jesus and his words." The negative sanctions fall onlyupon those living when "all these things" occur, which in hisview was in A.D. 70 and will be at the Return of Christ!Pentecost's 1958 view says that "this generation" means "therace of Israel." Ridderbos correctly notes that such a view endsup as a mere truism if "this generation" simply means "Israel asa nation."13 It would mean that Israel will not pass away untilall these things happen to Israel. But in the dispensationalview, Israel will never pass away. So, the statement would be irrelevantas a means of identifying any prophetic time context.What about Pentecost's 1990 view that "this generation"refers to a distantly future generation that will see the outbreak12. Matt. 20:18-19; 27:11-25; Mark 10:33; 15:1; Luke 18:32; 23:1-2;John 18:2831;19:12.15; Acts 2:22-23; 3:13-15a; 4:26-27; 5:30; 7:52; 1 Thess. 2:14-15.13. H. N. Ridderbos, Commentary on Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1987).p.450.342 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONof "all these things"? The Lord was speaking to His presentdisciples, who had just pointed out the stones of the historicalTemple (Matt. 24: 1). It was that Temple which was to be destroyed(v. 2). It was His statement regarding that Temple'scoming destruction which gave rise to His entire discourse (v.3). The signs were identified by Jesus as things that they wouldexperience: "Let no one deceive you" (v. 4), "they will deliveryou up to tribulation" (v. 9), "when you see the abomination" (v.15), and "when you see all these things" (v. 33).The Proper ViewThe proper view is that "this generation" means the contemporaryhearers of Christ, the very Jews ofthat era who rejected Him.This view is defensible from a number of angles. First, althoughthe Greek genea ("generation") is commonly used in Matthew,it is only employed of a contemporary generation of people.Matthew 1: 14 illustrates the temporal generation view: "So all thegenerations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations,from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations,and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ arefourteen generations.,,14 Here one generation follows uponanother. A generation comes; then it goes. That generation went.Second, in the five other instances in Matthew where theword genea is coupled with the near demonstrative to read "thisgeneration," it dearly refers to the generation then living (Matt.11:16; 12:41,42,45; and 23:36). In Scripture, the idea of a"generation" of people involves roughly twenty-five to fortyyears (Num. 32:13; Psa. 95:10).Third, the phrase "this generation" appears in the verycontext intimately related to and leading into Matthew 24 (cf.23:36-38 with 24:1-2). In Matthew 23:36, "this generation"unquestionably speaks ofJesus' contemporaries, as even dispen-14. See also: Matt. 11:16; 12:39-45; 16:4; 17:17; and 23:36.Features 343sationalists are forced to admit. 15 Here Jesus is condemningHis contemporary adversaries, the scribes and Pharisees (23:2,13-16, 23-29). He says that they will "fill up the measure of theguilt" of the generations preceding them (23:32). They will dothis by persecuting Jesus' followers (23:34), so that "upon you[scribes and Pharisees] may fall the guilt of all the righteousblood shed" (23:35). He concludes: "Verily I say unto you, Allthese things shall come upon this generation." This employs thesame crucial terms as Matthew 24:34.A Survey of Matthew 24:1-36Precursory signs. It is important to notice that the approachingdestruction of the Temple to be experienced by "this generation"is preceded by certain signs. Jesus did not want His disciplesto become confused by these signs (24:4ff). The first fewmentioned are but pre-indicators of the final judgment on theTemple (24:8). This point is significant because later He turnsto instruct the disciples regarding His glorious Second Advent(24:36ff). He specifically says of "that"16 distant event therewill be no such signs (24:36-44).He warns His disciples that false Christs will arise and misleadmany (24:5). There are a number of examples of greatpretenders who almost certainly made Messianic claims, such asSimon Magus (Acts 8:9, 10). Justin Martyr mentions him andothers: "[A]fter Christ's ascension into heaven the devils putforward certain men who said that they themselves were gods"(First Apology 26). Josephus, who witnessed the fall ofJerusalem,mentions the "deceivers and impostors, who under the pre-15. Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., "Matthew," The Bible Knowledge Commentary: NewTestament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1983), p.75. John F. Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, 3 vols. in 1(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 2:106. Edward E. Hindson, "Matthew," LibertyCommentary on the New Testament, Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll,eds. (Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Commentary, 1978), p. 77.16. A far demonstrative, in contrast to the near demonstrative "this" in v. 34.344 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONtence of divine inspiration fostering revolutionary changes"(Wars 2:13:4) and "the Egyptian false prophet" (Wars 2:13:5; cf.Acts 21 :38) who even operated at the Mount of Olives.We read in the next verses of "wars and rumors of wars"(Matt. 24:6-7a). These serve as signs of the end of the Templebecause of the dramatically successful Pax Romana. Origen (A.D.185-254) ..,peaks of the "abundance of peace that began at thebirth of Christ" (Origen, Romans 1:3). Historians observe that"in the Roman Empire proper, this period of peace remainedcomparatively undisturbed until the time of Nero."l7 It was rupturedwith the outbreak of the Jewish War and the Roman CivilWars in the violent Year of Four Emperors (A.D. 68-69), whichfor Rome "was almost the end" (Tacitus, Histories 1: 11).In Matthew 24:7-11, many woes are prophesied. All of thesewoes are abundantly accounted for in the events of the eraleading up to the crisis of A.D. 70: famines,ls pestilences,l9earthquakes,20 persecution,2l apostasy, and false prophets.22The "world" witness. In verse 14, we read: "And this gospel ofthe kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to allthe nations, and then the end will come." The word "world"(oikumene) often stands for the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1; Acts17. Bo Reicke, The New Testament Era: The World ofthe Bible from 500 B.C. to A.D.100 (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968), p. 11 O.18. Acts 11:28; Josephus, Ant. 20:2:5; Wars 5:10:2-5; Tacitus, Annals 12:43;Suetonius, Life of Claudius 18:2; Dio Cassius, History 60:11; Eusebius, Chronicle, Yearof Abraham 2065; Orosius, History 7:6: 17.19. Annals 16:13; Suetonius, Nero 39.20. Wars 4:4:5; Tacitus, Annals 2:47; 12:58 14:27; 15:22; Pliny, Natural History2:86; Suetonius, Nero 48: Galba 18; Philostratus, Life of Apollon 4:11; Orosius 7:7;Seneca, EPistles 91.21. Acts 4:3; 5:18-33; 6:12; 7:54-60: 8:1ff: 9:1-4,13,23; 11:19; 12:1-3; 13:45-50:14:2-5,19; 16:23; 17:5-13: 18:12; 20:3,19; 21:11, 27; 22:30; 23:12,20,27,30; 24:59;25:2-15; 25:24: 26:21; 2 Cor. 11:24; 2 Thess. 2:14-15; Heb. 10:32-34: Rev. 2:9;3:9. This was followed by the Neronic Persecution (A.D. 64-68) just preceding theTemple's destruction (AD. 67-70): Tacitus, Annals 15:44.22. Acts 13:6; 20:29; Rom. 16:17,18; 2 Cor. 11:13,26; Gal. 2:4; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2Pet. 2:1; 1 John 4:1: Josephus, Wars 6:5:2-3.Features 34511 :28; 24: 15). The phrase "all the nations," is epexegetical,referring to those nations that were subsumed under the imperialauthority of Rome. The world to which the "gospel of the kingdomwas preached" was provided a witness: "the gospel whichhas come to you, as it has also in all the world.... [T]he gospelwhich you heard, which was preached to every creature underheaven" (Col 1:6,23; d. Acts 2:5; Rom. 1:8; 10:18).The Abomination of Desolation. Jesus warns: "Therefore whenyou see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken ofby Daniel theprophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let himunderstand)" (Matt. 24:15). This refers to the A.D. 70 event, aswe may discern from several angles: (1) The Temple was thenstanding in the "holy city" (Jerusalem, Matt. 4:5; 27:53). (2)That Temple had just been pointed to by the disciples (Matt.24: 1), giving rise to this very discourse (Matt. 23:38-24:3). (3)Christ pointed to that particular Temple to speak of its destruction(Matt. 24:2). (4) The specific time frame demands an A.D.70 reference for the "abomination" (Matt. 24:34).The "abomination of desolation," so dreaded as to give riseto desperate flight from the area (Matt. 24:16-20), was to occur"in the holy place." Surely the Temple is involved here, but thereference is broader, speaking of both the city and the Temple. Twoproblems present themselves to the Temple-only view: (1) Luke21 :20 interprets the phrase as the surrounding of the city,which did indeed happen (Josephus, Wars 5:12:1). Jerusalemwas considered a holy place, being the capital of the "holy land"(Zech. 2:12).23 (2) The original Old Testament context mentionsboth "the city and the sanctuary" (Dan. 9:26).The events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem andthe Temple by the Roman armies are summarily designated bythe Lord by citing Daniel's phrase, the "abomination of desola-23. Jerusalem is a holy place: Neh. 11:1, 18; Isa. 48:2; 52:1; 66:20; Dan. 9:16,24; Joel 3:17. For Jewish references to Israel as the "holy land," see: 2 Baruch 63:10;4 Ezra 13:48; 2 Maccabees 1:7.346 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONtion." During the days leading up to Jerusalem's final destruction,revolution was stirred within the city which resulted in"the outer Temple [being] all of it overflowed with blood" (Wars4:5:1; cf. 5:1:1-3; 5:13:6).Ultimately, of course, Titus' victory is completed. Upon thatvictory the Romans burned "the holy house itself, and all thebuildings lying round about it, brought their ensigns to theTemple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and theredid they offer sacrifices to them" (Wars 6:6: 1). It was particularlydistressing to the Jew that the abominable Gentile (Acts10:28; 11:2-3; cf. Eph. 2:14) would ultimately enter into theTemple of God. The "abomination of desolation" involves thedestruction of Jerusalem (beginning with its encircling) andculminates in this final abominable act.The eagles and lightning. This very conclusion seems to be inChrist's mind, when Christ states: "For wherever the carcass is,there the eagles [aetos] will be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28NKJV). The Roman ensigns set up by Titus in the holy ofholies in the Temple were eagles (Wars 3:6:2). According toverse 27, the coming of the Roman armies under the directionof Christ (Matt. 22:7) is a death-dealing, destructive judgmentcoming on Israel "like lightning."24Great tribulation. Matthew 24:21 is often brought forth tooverthrow the broad-based argument for a preterist interpretationof Matthew 24: 1-34. "Interpreted literally, the tribulationclearly eclipses anything that the world has ever known by wayof destruction."25 Hoekema agrees.26But against such comments I would argue: First, the coven-24. Lightning is a frequent symbol of destructive power: 2 Sam. 22:15; Job36:32; Psa. 18:14; 78:48-49; 140:6: Ezek. 19:16; 20:18; 21:10; Zech. 9:14; Rev. 11:19;16:18.25. Walvoord, TM Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, 3: 129. See also:David L. Turner, "Structure and Sequence of Matthew 24: 1-41: Interaction withEvangelical Treatments," Grace Theological Joumal 10:1 (Spring 1989) 13.26. Hoekema, Bible and the Future. p. 178.Features 347antal significance of the loss of the Temple stands as the mostdramatic redemptive-historical outcome of the Jewish War.Because of the carnage, Josephus laments the destruction ofJerusalem in words similar to our Lord's: "[T]he war which theJews made with the Romans hath been the greatest of all those,not only that have been in our times, but, in a manner, of thosethat ever were heard of" (Wars, Preface, 1,4; d. 5:10-5).Second, the events must be regarded as the holy judgment ofGod for the wicked crucifixion of His Son by the Jews.27 Thisis clear in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matt. 21:37-41) and inChrist's lament (Luke 19:41-44). Worst sin = worst judgment:The issue was covenantal.Third, just a few verses after Matthew 24:21-22, the Lordmentions the Noahic Flood (vv. 38-39), which actually did destroythe entire world, except for one family. Even the futuristssee their Great Tribulation as stopping far short of leaving onlyone family alive! The issue was therefore the magnitude of thecovenantal transformation, not the magnitude of the death toll.Fourth, Christ's language is apocalyptic hyperbole, well justifiedby the gravity of the situation. Such apocalyptic language wasstock-in-trade terminology in the Bible's prophetic writing. Itwas applied to the tenth plague on Egypt (Exo. 11 :6) and theBabylonian captivity (Ezek. 5:9). Both of these were covenantaljudgments in history: radical changes in legal and social life .Astronomical signs. In Matthew 24:29-30, we read: "Immediatelyafter the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened,and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fallfrom heaven," and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, andthen all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see theSon of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and27. So emphasized in the New Testament. TheJews were responsible: Acts 2:2223;3:13-15a; 4:26-27; 5:30; 7:52; 1 Thess. 2:14-15. They demanded that the Romanscrucify Him: Rev. 17; Matt. 20:18-19; 27:11-25; Mark 10:33; 15:1; Luke 18:32; 23:12;John 18:28-31; 19:12, 15.348 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONgreat glory." Futurists see these verses as "of particular importance"in demonstrating the error of preterism,28 showing that"this approach to 24:29-31 cannot be sustained.,,29The darkening of the sun and moon is common apocalypticlanguage for the collapse of nations, such as in Old Testamentjudgments on Babylon (Isa. 13:1, 10, 19), Idumea (Isa. 34:3-5),Israel Ger. 4:14, 16, 23ff;Joel. 2:10-11), and Egypt (Ezek. 32:2,7-8, 11_12).30 This interpretation of the apocalyptic languageof these passages is not exceptional. Even allegedly literalisticdispensationalists can write of Isaiah 13: 10: "The statements in13:10 about the heavenly bodies ... no longer function mayfiguratively describe the total turnaround of the political structureof the Near East. The same would be true of the heavenstrembling and the earth shaking (v. 13), figures of speech suggestingall-encompassing destruction."31 He figured it out.The final collapse ofJerusalem and the Temple will be thesign that the Son of Man, whom the Jews rejected and crucified,is in heaven (Matt. 24:30).32 The fulfillment of His judgmentword demonstrates His heavenly position and power. Thiscauses the Jewish tribes of the Land (ge) to mourn (kopto, cr.Luke 23:27-28). Through these events the Jews were to "see"the Son of Man in His judgment-coming in terrifying cloudglory:clouds are symbols of divine majesty often entailingstormy destruction (Isa. 19:1; cf. Psa. 18:10-14; Lam. 2:1; Ezek.30:3-5). The members of the Sanhedrim and others wouldexperience such in their life times (Matt. 26:64; Mark 9: 1; cf.Rev. 1:7 with Rev. 1: 1, 3).28. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 178.29. Turner, "Structure and Sequence of Matthew 24:1-41," p. 19.30. See: David Chilton, Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion (Ft.Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1985), pp. 98-100.31. John A. Martin, "Isaiah," Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, p. 1059.See also: comments at Isa. 34:2-4 (p. 1084); J er. 4:23-28 (p. 1136); Joel 2:2a, 10-11(pp.1415-1417).32. Chilton, Paradise Restored, pp. 100-101.Features 349The trumpet gathering. Matthew 24:31 portrays the ultimateJubilee of salvation, decorated with imagery from Leviticus 25.Following upon the collapse of the Temple order, Christ's"messengers,,33 will go forth powerfully trumpeting the gospelofsalvific liberation (Luke 4:16-21; Isa. 61:1-3; cf. Lev. 25:9-10).Through gospel preaching the elect are gathered into the kingdomof God from the four corners of the world, from horizonto horizon.34The remainder of the Olivet Discourse looks beyond thesigns for "this generation" (near demonstrative) to "that" (fardemonstrative) sign-less day and hour (Matt. 24:34-36). Thus,the Lord's attention turns from the imminent events of thatgeneration to His Second Advent at the end of history.There is abundant, clear evidence that the Great Tribulationwas an event of the first century. It punctuated the end of theJewish era and the Old Covenant: the separation of Christianityfrom its Jewish mother, as by "birth pangs" (Matt. 24:8).The Rebuilding of the TempleThere are a few prophecies in the Old Testament that seemon first reading to predict a rebuilding of the Temple of Israelat some time in the future, i.e., the New Covenant era. Amongthe passages so understood are: Isaiah 56:7; 66:20-23; Jeremiah33:18; Zechariah 14:16-21; and Malachi 3:3-4.The concept of the]ews returning to their Land so that thereturned Messiah can rule over an exalted Jewish kingdom,complete with a re-establishedJewish Temple and the sacrificialsystem, has long been attractive to dispensationalists. Some evenhold such teachings to be cardinal Scriptural truths.35 John33. ''Angels'' (aggeloi) should be understood here as "messengers," as in Matt.11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52. Chilton, Paradise Restored, pp. 103-105.34. For the phrase "one end of heaven to the other," see: Deut. 30:4; Neh. 1:9.The proclamation of the gospel is to be worldwide, Isa. 45:22; Psa. 22:27; Luke13:29; Acts 13:39.35. Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989); Dave Hunt,350 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONWalvoord freely admits that "most thoroughgoing students ofpremillennialism [i.e., dispensationalism] who evince understandingof the relation of literal interpretation to premillennialdoctrine usually embrace the concept of a literal temple andliteral sacrifices.,,36 Grace Theological Seminary professor JohnWhitcomb has put it even more strongly: "[C]onsistent dispensationalismmust teach the practice ofanimal sacrifices for a restoredand regenerated Israel in the Millennium."37A recent work entitled The Coming Temple: Ce!"ter Stage for theFinal Countdown clearly reveals this dispensational longing:"How can we be so sure that the Temple will really be rebuilt?Because the Bible says so." The book shows that there areChristians today who are raising money for this rebuilding!38The fundamental passage upon which this view is based isthe extensive description in Ezekiel 40-48. According to dispensationalists,"the land will be redistributed among the twelvetribes, and the Temple will be rebuilt with the sacrifices, asmemorials, reinstituted (Ezek. 40-48)."39 "Ezekiel's temple is aliteral future sanctuary to be constructed in Palestine as outlinedduring the millennium."40Whatever Happened to Heaven' (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1988); Don Stewart andChuck Missler, The Coming Temple: Center Stage for the Final Countdown (Orange, CA:Dart, 1991), especially p. 188. See: Ken Sidey, "For the Love of Zion," ChristianityToday 36:3 (March 9, 1992) 46-50.36. John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Findlay, OH: Dunham, 1959), p.315. See also: Thomas D. Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Planto Rebuild the Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992); David AllenLewis, Prophecy 2000: Rushing to Armageddon (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf, 1990), pp.130ff.37. John C. Whitcomb, "Christ's Atonement and Animal Sacrifices," GraceTheological Joumal 6:2 (1985) 215.38. Stewart and Missler, Coming Temple, p. 171. The book is dedicated: "To ourwonderful friends in Israel this book is lovingly dedicated." A m.yor group workingto this end is the Jerusalem Temple Foundation in Los Angeles, California (p. 189).39. Charles L. Feinberg, Millennialism: The Two Major Views (3rd ed.; Chicago:Moody Press, 1980), p. 186.40. Merrill F. Unger, "The Temple Vision of Ezekiel," Bibliotheca Sacra 105 (Oct.1948) 423. See also: A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Ezekiel (New York: Our Hope,Features 351The doctrine of a rebuilt Temple is so patently erroneous,both theologically and exegetically, that it is called by some the''Achilles' heel of the Dispensational system of interpretation."41 Even dispensationalists recognize that "the future functionof the millennial temple (Ezekiel 40-48) has long beenproblematic for dispensationalists."42The Dispensatio'YU1l ViewWalvoord presents the dispensational position on Ezekiel'smillennial Temple: "In the Millennium, apparently, sacrificeswill also be offered, though somewhat different than thoserequired under the Mosaic Law, but this time the sacrifices willbe memorial, much as the Lord's Supper is a memorial in theChurch Age for the death of Christ."43 This raises an obviousbut never-answered question: A memorial to what? And why? Ishe saying that the Lord's Supper is merely a temporary sacramentsuitable only for the "Church Age"? It seems so.The argument for such a Temple is ultimately due to theliteralistic hermeneutic employed by dispensationalists. It ismaintained that a symbolic interpretation of Ezekiel's revelationis hermeneutically flawed in that it leaves "unanswered whysuch specific details were revealed" to Ezekiel. Furthermore,Walvoord admits, "those who adopt the figurative interpreta-1918), p. 312; Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 514; Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook,pp. 198ff; Stewart and Missler, Coming Temple, p. 225.41. O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed,1945), p. 248.42. John C. Whitcomb, "Christ's Atonement and Animal Sacrifices in Israel,"201.43. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 202. Fellow dispensationalistWhitcomb disagrees that the sacrifices will be memorial: "[F]uture animal sacrificeswill be 'efficacious' and 'expiatory' only in terms of the strict provision for ceremonial(and thus temporal) forgiveness within the theocracy of Israel." Whitcomb, "Christ'sAtonement and Animal Sacrifices," p. 210. But Walvoord's view is the predominantview in dispensationalism, as is demonstrated by John L. Mitchell, "The Question ofMillennial Sacrifices," Bibliotheca Sacra 110 (1953) 2480'.352 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONtion have not agreed as to the meaning of this temple"44 (as ifdifferences of opinion were absent in dispensational discussionsof this issue!45). Here is his rationale for a rebuilt Temple:"Though it is objectionable to some to have animal sacrifices inthe millennial scene, actually, they will be needed there becausethe very ideal circumstances in which millennial saints will livewill tend to gloss over the awfulness of sin and the need forbloody sacrifice. The sacrifices offered will therefore be a reminderthat only by the shedding of blood and, more specifically,the blood of Christ, can sin be taken away.,,46 Question:With the death and resurrection ofJesus Christ behind us, whyshould anyone in the future need a reminder other than theLord's Supper and the gospel message? I ask: "Do what inremembrance of Christ?" Shed the blood of animals? This wouldmean the annulment of Hebrews 9. Yet it is presented in the nameof faithfulness to the biblical text.Problems with the Dispensational ViewFirst, the dispensational view is hermeneutically flawed. Wehave already commented on the error of the literalism of dispensationalismas a basic hermeneutic (Chapter 8). What ismore, in Ezekiel we have a vision. This fact could easily militateagainst literalism, because spiritual truths in the Bible are oftenconceptualized ideally in visions. This approach matches wellthe tendency in earlier visionary chapters in Ezekiel, wherespiritual truths are framed in terms of concrete realities. See particularlyEzekiel 1-3 and 8-11 (cr. the distinction between a vision44. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 202. Cf. Stewart and Missler, TheComing Temple, pp. 227ff.45. Two prominent dispensationalists who deny a future Temple are: H. A.Ironside, Ezekiel the Prophet (New York: Loizeaux Bros., 1949), pp. 284ff; J. SidlowBaxter, Explore the Book (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960), p. 32ff. Some such asWhitcomb have disputed the common explanation of the sacrifices as "memorials."Whitcomb, "Christ's Atonement and Animal Sacrifices in Israel," pp. 201-217.46. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 202Features 353and direct revelation in Num. 12:6).In fact, there clearly are aspects of the vision that cannot betaken literally: (1) The site of the Temple is on a "very highmountain" (Ezek. 40:2), although there is no "very high mountain"in the area of1erusalem. (2) The source and flow of theriver is incredible - flowing from under the threshold of theTemple it becomes a great rive,r (Ezek. 47:1-2). (3) The functionof the river in making the Dead Sea fresh and bringing life toall that it touches (Ezek. 47:6-12) is surely symbolism. (4) TheTwelve Tribes are provided parallel tracts of land, which wouldbe awkward in real geography (Ezek. 47:13ff). The exegeticalpressures against the dispensational view of future sacrifices arejust too great. The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967) notes ofthe sin offering sacrifices in Isaiah 43: 19: "the reference to sacrificesis not to be taken literally."47 This is a major concessionto the critics of dispensationalism.The "problem" with particular details militating against anideal portrayal is no problem, as Fairbairn demonstrated in1851.48 This is quite common in Ezekiel. When Isaiah speaksof the king of Tyre, he does so in a few verses in brief, generalterms (Isa. 23:1-17). But Ezekiel provides many details in threechapters dealing with the greatness and the fall of that king(Ezek. 26-28). The same sort of detailed portrayal occurs inEzekiel in regard to judgments upon Egypt and Jerusalem.The special details of the Temple vision flow from the fact ofEzekiel's being a priest (Ezek. 1:3). He even characterizes thesin of Israel as centered in the Temple (Ezek. 8-11). We mustremember that even Solomon's Temple was a material symbolof heavenly and spiritual truths that were important in its construction.So why should not a vision allow for such detail inportrayal of spiritual truth?47. New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 888, note l.48. See: Patrick Fairbairn, An Exposition of Ezekiel (Minneapolis: Klock & Klock,[1851] 1979), pp. 431-450.354 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONFurthermore, John's vision of the New Jerusalem obviouslyreflects back in some ways upon Ezekiel's vision. John seems tohave adapted Ezekiel's vision as a portrayal of the kingdom ofGod in history.49 But John's is manifestly a symbolic portrayal,for the city's size is a 1,342-mile cube. This would cause the topof the city to extend 1000 miles beyond the orbit of today'sSpace Shuttle! Like John's vision, Ezekiel's is an ideal symbol,not a prophecy of a literal city.50Second, the dispensational view is redemptively retrogressive.As David Brown complained over a century ago: Such a positionis guilty of ':Judaizing our Christianity, instead of Christianizingthe adherents ofJudaism."51Ezekiel's Temple vision, if interpreted literally, would reimposecircumcision and displace baptism (at least for males): "Noforeigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh,shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is amongthe children of Israel" (Ezek. 44:9). This re-establishes thatwhich has forever been done away with, according to the clearteaching of the New Testament.52 The circumcisional separating"partition" between Jew and Gentile has been permanentlybroken down, according to the New Testament (Eph. 2:11-21).A literalistic approach to Ezekiel's vision would re-instituteredemptive sacrifices, despite their fulfillment and removal in theNew Testament (Heb. 7:27; 9:26; 10: 1-14). It re-institutes "theburnt offering. the sin offering, and the trespass offering"(Ezek. 40:39; cr. 43:21), though these were taken away in Christ(Heb. 10:5, 9, 18). Why would the Lord return again to the49. G. R. Beasley-Murray, "Ezekiel," The Eerdmans Bible Commentary, DonaldGuthrie andJ. A. Motyer, eds. (3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 684.50. I have seen no example of a dispensational defender of literalism apply hisliteralist hermeneutic to this passage. This is not to say that some dedicated but obscureauthor has not done so.51. David Brown, Christ's Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial? (Edmonton,Alberta: Still Waters Revival, [1882] 1990), p. 352.52. Acts 15; Rom. 2:26-29; 4:9-12; 1 Cor. 7:18-19; Gal. 5:2-6; 6:12-15; Phil. 3:3;Col. 2:11; 3:11.Features 355"weak and beggarly elements" of the ceremonial law (Gal. 4:9)?These are the redemptive sacrifices of the Levitical priesthoodperformed by the sons of Zadok (Ezek. 40:46; 43:19; 44:15;48: 11), despite the existence of a new order of priest: JesusChrist who is the Melchizedekan priest (Heb. 5:5-10; 6:20; 7: 1121).53

    John 4:21 anticipates the removal of the Temple order: "Thehour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor inJerusalem, worship the Father." Various other Old Testamentprophecies are found to transcend the Mosaic pattern of worshipin the Temple environs (Isa. 19:19; Jer. 3:16; Zech. 14:21;Mal. 1:11). Which shall we follow? References that transcendTemple worship or those that reintroduce it? Obviously, we aredealing with symbolic language. There is no contradictionbetween the two sorts of references, when properly interpreted.It is important to note that there is absolutely no hint thatthese sacrifices will be "memorial," as per dispensationalists(and contrary to their literalism!). Dispensationalist Whitcombwrites: "Ezekiel, however, does not say that animals will beoffered for a 'memorial' of Messiah's death. Rather, they will befor 'atonement' (45:15, 17, 20; cf. 43:20, 26)."54 He is correct.The Ezekelian sacrifices are those established by Moses in theLevitical system - for these sacrifices are those sacrifices renewed,if literally conceived. The Scripture clearly speaks oftheir legal function in the Old Testament as actually makingreconciliation. In fact, in Ezekiel 45: 15, 17,20, the sacrifices to beoffered in the alleged future Temple are specifically said to"make reconciliation" or "atonement." They are not merrwrials.53. Clowney offers an interesting paradox of the re-establishing of the Leviticalpriesthood, given the fact that Jesus was of the tribe ofJudah (Heb. 7:14): "Imagine... a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem where the Risen Lord, returning to rule, would bebarred from the sanctuary while sons of Levi mediated between him and the Father!"Edmund Clowney, "The Final Temple," in Studying the New Testamen, Today (n.p.:Presbyterian & Reformed, 1974), p. 111.54. Whitcomb, "Christ's Atonement and Animal Sacrifices in Israel," p. 211.356 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe phraseology used here - the piel form ofkaphar - is identicalto that employed in Leviticus and Numbers.55How could the "millennial scene" require bloody sacrifices"because the very ideal circumstances in which millennial saintswill live will tend to gloss over the awfulness of sin and theneed for bloody sacrifice"? Does this mean that the universalprevalence of the righteous knowledge of God (Isa. 11 :9) underthe direct administration of Christ "glosses over the awfulnessof sin" in the dispensational millennium? Would not such universal,deeply rooted righteousness make sin all the more heinousand conspicuous? And does not the Lord want us todaydeeply to recognize the awfulness of sin? Why then did not thesacrificial system continue in the present? Do not the words inthe administration of the Lord's Supper point to the awful factof sin, without animal sacrifices (1 Cor. 11 :23-32)?The Postmillennial ViewTo understand the significance of Ez:ekiel's visionary Temple,we must keep in mind the conceptual idea embodied in theTemple structure and services. The essence of the Temple isthat it stands as a symbol. That is, it is symbolic of the covenantalrelationship of God with His people. The essence of the covenantis contained in that most important promise: "I will be yourGod, you will be My people."56 The Temple was the specialplace where God dwelt among His people (1 Kgs. 6:12-13; Jer.7:4-7), as He did in the Tabernacle preceding it (Exo. 29:42;25:22; 30:36). The glory of God was especially present in Hissanctuary (1 Kgs. 8:11; 2 Chr. 7:1-2), although no Templecould contain His immense being (l Kgs. 8:27; Isa. 66:1; Jer.55. Lev. 6:30; 8:15; 16:6, 11,24, 30; Num. 5:8; 15:28; 29:5.56. See earlier discussion in Chapter 6. See: Gen. 17:7; Exo. 5:2; 6:7; 29:45; Lev.11:45; 26:12,45; Deut. 4:20; Deut. 7:9; 29:14-15; 2 Sam. 7:24; Psa. 105:9; Isa. 43:6;Jer. 24:7; 31:33; 32:38; Ezek. 11:20; 34:24; 36:28; 37:23; Hos. 1:10; Zech. 8:8; 13:9;2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 21:3, 7.Features 35723:24).This idea is clearly related to Ezekiel's Temple ViSion in48:35: "The name of the city from that day shall be: The Lordis There." That visionary Temple is symbolic of the gloriouspresence of God in the Kingdom of Christ coming in the NewCovenant era. And it is so because even further defined, it issymbolic of Christ Himself. Christ is the true presence ofGod whichcould only be hinted at in the temple construction. "Ezekiel'svision of the new temple is part of this prophetic pattern of arestoration so total that it sublimates the ceremonial structure inglory. Ezekiel's restoration returns David to the throne, andsees a temple that is a sanctuary of Paradise, where the river oflife flows from God's throne past trees whose leaves are for thehealing of the nations.',57One of the closing prophecies of the Old Testament is Malachi3:1: ''And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come toHis temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom youdelight." This coming is the message of the New Testament: theLord has come to "tabernacle" among us Uohn 1: 14~ Greek; cf.John 1:1; 1 John 1:1-3). When He came, He was first visited byshepherds, who had been out in the fields keeping sacrificialsheep destined for the Temple.58 When presented forty dayslater in the Temple, He was praised as the "glory of Yourpeople Israel" (Luke 2:32) - language reflecting the Shekinahglory of God, which evidenced God's presence in the Temple(Exo. 40:34, 35; 1 Sam. 4:21-22).He so stands as the glorious realization of the meaning ofthe Temple that he who had seen Him had seen the FatherUohn 14:9), for "in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godheadbodily" (Col. 2:9). He even was transfigured in a glorious dis-57. Clowney, "The Final Temple," p. 106. I am indebted to Clowney for hisinsights presented in this article. several of which I relate below.58. William Hendriksen, TM Gospel of Luke (NI'C) (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978),p. 150. The presence of shepherds in the fields in winter months was indicative ofthe tending of sacrificial sheep.358 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONplay of His true identity (Matt. 17: 1-8; Mark 9:2-8). Consequently,He justly claims to be greater than the Temple (Matt.12:6), for He is its fulfillment, being the very presence of God.In fact, He is "the stone which the builders rejected" which"has become the chief cornerstone" of God's new Temple (Matt.21 :42).59Consequently, as prophetic His ministry opens, He stands inthe shadow of the earthly Temple and informs Jerusalem ofthis glorious truth: "Destroy this temple, and in three days Iwill raise it up," by which "He was speaking of the temple ofHis body" Oohn 20:19, 21), a Temple "not made with hands"(Mark 14:58). Therefore, He offers Himself to men as the heavenlymanna, which was once housed in the Ark of the Covenantin the Temple.60 He offers the living waters of Ezekiel's Temple(Ezek. 47; cf. Joel 3: 18; Zech. 14:8) to His hearers Oohn4:10-15; 7:38-39). He is the sacrificial "Lamb of God" destinedfor Temple service Oohn 1:29). As He establishes the NewCovenant (Luke 22:20), He impresses upon the hearts of Hisfollowers the Law of God Oer. 31:31-34; 2 Cor. 4:3, 6; Heb.8:8-11), which was formerly kept on tables of stone in the Holyof holies (Exo. 25:21; Deut. 10:5; Heb. 9:4). Thus, when Hedies, the Temple era is formally ended with the rending of theveil (Matt. 27:51). When He speaks of the absolute destructionof the physical Temple in A.D. 70, He leaves no intimation ofits God-endorsed rebuilding (Matt. 2461).

    Christ, then, is the True Temple. And His people, who are inmystical union with Him, are called His "body" (Rom. 12:5; 1Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12). Consequently, we who are His people59. See R.J. McKelvey, "Christ the Cornerstone," The New Temple, Alan Cole, ed.(London: Tyndale, 1950), pp. 195-204. Joachim Jeremias, "litlws," Theological Dictionaryof the New Testament, 4:268ff.60. John 6:49-58; Rev. 2:17; cr. Exo. 16:33-34; Heb. 9:4.61. Compare our study of Daniel 9:24-27 in the preceding chapter with theGreat Tribulation study above (particularly Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27). The Temple isto be finally destroyed, never to be endorsed by God again.Features 359are also designated a "temple."62 This is due to His indwellingpresence among His people, so that we, having the True Templewithin, may be called a temple. Christ in us is the hope ofglory (Col. 1:27). Not only is He Who is the True Temple in us,but we are also spoken of as being "in Christ.,,63Thus, the prophetic notion of the rebuilding of the Temple(when not making reference to Zerubbabel's Temple) speaks ofChrist and the building of His Church (Matt. 16:18; cr. Zech.6:12-13). He Himself is the foundation and cornerstone (1 Cor.3:11, 16-17; Eph. 2:20). As Christ's people we are priests (Rom.15:16; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6) who offer our bodies as livingsacrifices (Rom. 12: 1-2) and our service as acceptable sweet smellofferings (2 Cor. 2:14-16; Phil. 4:18; Heb. 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:5).Thus, "we have an altar from which those who serve the tabernaclehave no right to eat" (Heb. 13: 10). As more people areconverted by His sovereign grace, His New Covenant Templegrows stone by stone (Eph. 2:21; 4:12, 16; 1 Pet. 2:5,9). As amaster builder Paul labored in that Temple (1 Cor. 3:9-17).Through a series of Old Testament Temple and ritual allusions,Paul points to the New Iemple of God: "And what agreementhas the temple of God with idols? For you are the templeof the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them andwalk among them. 1 will be their God, and they shall be Mypeople: Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate,says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I willreceive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sonsand daughters, says the LORD Almighty.' Therefore, havingthese promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthinessof the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of62. 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-20; 1 Pet. 2:5-9.63. Rom. 3:24; 6:11, 23; 8:1, 2; 39; 9:1; 12:5; 15:17; 16:3,7,9,10; 1 Cor. 1:2,30;3:1; 4:10,15,17; 15:18, 19,22,31; 16:242 Cor. 1:21; 2:14, 17; 3:14; 5:17,19; 11:3;12:2,19; Gal. 1:22; 2:4, 16; 3:14,17,26,28; 5:6; 6:15; Eph. 1:1, 3, 10, 12,20; 2:6,7, 10, 13; 3:11; 4:32; Phil. 1:1, 13; 2:1,5; 3:3,9, 14; 4:21; Col. 1:2,4, 28; 2:5; 1Thess. 2:14; 4:16; 5:18; 1 Tim. 1:14; 2:7; 3:13; 2 Tim. 1:1,9,13; 2:1, 10; 3:12,15.360 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONGod" (2 Cor. 6:16-7:1). So, as Clowney well notes, "we mustrecognize that this is not spiritualization in our usual sense ofthe word, but the very opposite. In Christ is realization. It isnot so much that Christ fulfills what the temple means; ratherChrist is the meaning for which the temple existed."64Taylor well distills the basic ideas in Ezekiel's complex Templevision. (1) The immaculate symmetry of the building portraysthe perfection of God's plan for His people. (2) The meticulousdetail of the rites indicates the centrality of worship inthe New Covenant era. (3) The central idea of the Templepoints to the abiding presence of God with His redeemed community.(4) The waters oflife flowing from the Temple expressthe life-giving operation of the Holy Spirit in the new age. (5)The careful allocation of levitical duties and land apportionmentspeak of the duties and privileges of God's people in thefuture.65New CreationIn Chapter 13, I made reference to the new creation. ThereI focused on the consummational aspect of the eternal New Heavensand New Earth. In this chapter, I will concentrate on thepre-comummational new creation which I only briefly alluded toin that chapter.Oftentimes the tremendous redemptive historical transformationinitiated by Christ in His incarnation is not fully appreciatedin non-postmillennial eschatologies. Premillennial eschatologiestend to postpone the radical transformation to the endof history, after the historically discontinuous Second Advent.66 Amillennial eschatology tends to remove the transform-64. Clowney, "The Final Temple," p. 119.65. John B. Taylor, Eukiel: An Introduction and Commentary (1)ndale) (Downer'sGrove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1969), pp. 253-354.66. See: Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, Texas: Institute forChristian Economics, 1990).Features 361ational blessings above or beyond history, either to heaven or tothe consummational New Earth.67 Postmillennialism, however,expects the redemptive labor of Christ to have a transformationaleffect in time and on earth, continuous with presentspiritual realities already set in motion by Christ.The major passage setting forth the spiritual conception ofthe change wrought by Christ in history is Isaiah 65:17-25. Inthat vast scene, we have a sweeping picture of the full extent ofthe coming gospel economy, a reality established by Christ atHis first coming. This economy will develop through "a multistageprocess that culminates at the final judgment."68 This isa redemptive economy that will gradually so transform the worldethically and spiritually that it is here portrayed as a "newheavens and a new earth" of which "the former shall not beremembered or come to mind" (Isa. 65:17).This Isaianic vision is in the background of Paul's statementin 2 Corinthians 5:17, which refers to contemporary spiritualrealities: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;old things have passed away; behold, all things have becomenew."69 According to New Testament theology, the SecondAdam, Christ, stands at the head ofa new creation (Rom. 5:14;1 Cor. 15:22,45).Calvin viewed Isaiah 65:17-25 as a New Covenant blessingthat resulted from a change in covenantal administration:67. See my response to amillennialist Richard B. Gaffin's article "Theonomy andEschatology: Reflections on Postmillennialism": Gentry. "Whose Victory in History?"Theonomy: An Informed Response. Gary North, ed. (Tyler. TX: Institute for ChristianEconomics. 1991). pp. 207-230. See also: North. Millennialism and Social Theory. ch. 5.68. North, Millennialism and Social Theory, p. 104.69. See: John Calvin, The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, and the Epistlesto Timothy, Titus and Philemon (1577), David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance.eds., trans. by T. A Smail (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), pp. 75-76. F. F. Bruce,I & II Corinthians (New Century Bible Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971). p.209. See also: Geerhardus Vos. The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian& Reformed. [1930] 1991), pp. 48-49.362 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONBy these metaphors he promises a remarkable change of affairs;as ifGod had said that he has both the inclination and the powernot only to restore his Church, but to restore it in such a mannerthat it shall appear to gain new life and to dwell in a new world.These are exaggerated modes ofexpression; but the greatness ofsuch a blessing, which was to be manifested at the coming ofChrist, could not be described in any other way. Nor does hemean only the first coming, but the whole reign, which must beextended as far as to the last coming.70The transformational effect of the gospel kingdom is suchthat those who are newly born of its power71 are thereby constitutednew creatures, so that "in Christ Jesus neither circumcisionnor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation"(Gal. 6: 15). The transforming power of the gospel creates a"new man" of two warring factions, Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:1518).Gospel- transformed new creatures are to lay aside the oldself and take on the new (Eph. 4:22-23), which is "createdaccording to God, in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph.4:24; cf. Col. 3:9-11). This is because they are "His workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God preparedbeforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2: 10).This glorious conception involves both a re-created 'Jerusalem"and "people" (Isa. 65:18-19). Interestingly, in Galatians 6Paul speaks of the new creation in the context of a transformed"Israel of God" existing in his day: "For in Christ Jesus neithercircumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a newcreation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace andmercy be upon them, even upon the Israel ofGod" (Gal. 6:15-16;cf. Rom. 2:28-29).72 In that same epistle, he urges a commitmentto the 'Jerusalem above" (the heavenly Jerusalem, Heb.70. John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (1559), trans. byWilliam Pringle, 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, [n.d.] 1979),4:397-398.71. John 3:3; Jms. 1:18; I Pet. 1:23; 1John 2:29; 3:9; 5:1, 18.72. See previous discussion of this passage in Chapter 8, pp. 164-172.Features 36312:22) rather than to the cast out Jerusalem that now is (thehistorical capital city of Israel, Gal. 4:25-26).The heavenly Jerusalem is the bride of Christ that came downfrom God to replace the earthly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2-5) in thefirst century (Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10). With the shaking and destructionof the old Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the heavenly (re-created)Jerusalem replaced her: His "voice then shook the earth;but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake notonly the earth, but also heaven.' Now this, 'Yet once more,'indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, asof things that are made [i.e., the Levitical ritual system73], thatthe things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore,since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let ushave grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverenceand godly fear" (Heb. 12:26-28).Contrary to amillennialism, there is no reason, neither isthere "substantial evidence ... for identifying [Isaiah 65: 17ft]with the perfect eternal state.,,74 Isaiah speaks of glorious elevatedconditions, but conditions still continuous with the present.This is evident in the experiencing of birth, aging, death,time, sin, and curse: "No more shall an infant ['ol, "suckling"]from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has notfulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, butthe sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed" (Isa.65:20). Sinners will not be in the post-resurrection perfect state.Adams defends the amillennial interpretation of these elementswith a rhetorical question: "How else can perfection bedescribed in words which have imperfect objects and concepts73. Heb. 9:11 (cf. vv. 2, 8, 24) reads: "Christ came as High Priest of the goodthings to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands,that is, not of this creation." The old Tabernacle!Temple system was "made withhands" (Heb. 9:24, cf. 2, II) and was of "this creation," whereas the new is heavenly(8:5; 9:23). Notice the contextual contrast between Mt. Sinai, where the ceremonialsystem was received, (12:18-21) and heavenly Mt. Zion (12:22-25).74. Adams, Time Is at Hand, p. 15.364 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONas referents?,,75 The answer is: Easily! Surely it is not impossibleto think of post-resurrection perfection without mentioningsix elements of temporal imperfection in the same sentence!Fellow amillennialist Hoekema also deals with the passagerhetorically by reference to Isaiah 65: 19: "Can one imaginedeath without weeping?"76 This is surely less difficult thanimagining death without death (cf. 65:20). But in the context,the reference is to be understood culturally: when God's blessingscome upon His city and people, the "old things" (65: 17) ofcultural judgment, devastation, and sorrow due to sinful rebellion(65:2-8, 11-12), will pass away. In Isaiah's day, the Lordnoted: "Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but youshall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for grief of spirit" (Isa.65: 14). The rejoicing of God in His people collectively consideredwill lead to the relief of their sorrow caused by His past displeasureand cultural wrath (cf. Deut. 28: 15ff; Psa. 137). No longerwill the "cry of distress" be heard from His people (cf. 2 Sam.22:7; Psa. 18:6; Isa. 19:20), because the world will be dominatedby them and not by the oppressor (65:25).The covenantal language here shows that culture-wide disinheritancecaused by rebellion will be a thing of the past. Instead,covenantal inheritance will prevail: "They shall build housesand inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plantand another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days ofMy people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of theirhands" (Isa. 65:21-22). This reverses covenantal curse language(which Isaiah spoke so much about): "You shall betroth a wife,but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, butyou shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shallnot gather its grapes" (Deut. 28:30; cf. Zeph. 1:13; Mic. 6:15).The New Heavens and New Earth here (and many places75. Ibid.76. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 202.Features 365elsewhere) has reference to the New Covenant era. It characterizesthe system-wide transformation that will occur with thespread of the gospel.ConclusionAlthough one's millennial view should flow out of a comprehensiveapproach to Scripture, often it is the case that particularbiblical features play an inordinately significant role in millennialdebate. A misapprehension ofthese discrete features candistort the overall system of biblical eschatology.I have surveyed several prominent features of God's propheticWord to show how they are understood within the postmillennialframework. Though some of these aspects of biblicalrevelation are thought to be contra-indicative of postmillennialism(e.g., the Great Tribulation, the rebuilding of the Temple)we have seen that they are perfectly accounted for in the postmillennialsystem. The Great Tribulation was the fall ofJerusalemin A.D. 70. The rebuilt Temple is the bride of Christ, Hisbody, the Church.Dealing with the New Heaven and New Earth language inIsaiah 65 poses no problem for the postmillennialist, nor shouldit pose a problem for the premillennialist. That a period of unprecedented,literal blessings is in store for mankind prior tothe resurrection and the final judgment is not a hermeneuticalproblem for either system of interpretation. It is, however, adecided problem for the amillennialist. It is perhaps the greatestsingle exegetical problem facing amillennialism, which iswhy amillennialists rarely comment on the passage, and whenthey do, they do not make a great deal of sense.7777. Cf. North, Millennialism and Social Theory, pp. 96-106.16

    CHARACTERSHe who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather withMe scatters abroad. (Matthew 12:30)As in the last chapter, I consider some stray issues that areoften associated with eschatological studies. In this chapter, Iturn to various eschatologically significant characters.Elijah the ProphetIn Malachi 4:5, the last word spoken by God to Israel beforethe coming of Christ, there is a short reference of eschatologicalsignificance that has caused a good deal of debate betweendispensationalists and other evangelicals. That brief referencereads: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before thecoming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Mal. 4:5).The Significance of Malachi 4:5The significance of this reference to Elijah is two-fold. First,because of it, there was a widespread anticipation among theJews that the literal Elijah would appear before the end. Thegreat student of the Talmud John Lightfoot noted: "It wouldbe an infinite task to produce all the passages out of the JewishCharacters 367writings which one might concerning the expected coming ofElias."l Consequently, Elijah was deemed by the Jews "theloftiest prophet of the aT," so that "no aT hero fills a largerplace in Jewish tradition."2 No other Old Testament prophetis named so many times as Elijah in the New Testament. Hisname appears thirty times.Second, Elijah and this reference are even alluded to severaltimes in conjunction with the ministry of Christ. Due to theMalachi 4:5 reference, the Jews held that Elijah was to comebefore the great Day of the Lord (Matt. 17:10-12; Mark 9:1112).Consequently, during John Baptist's ministry, he wasthought to be Elijah returned Uohn 1:21-25), because hepreached in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1: 17). WhenJohn denied he was Elijah returned, many thoughtJesus mightbe (Matt. 16: 13-14; Mark 8:27-28; Luke 9:7-8, 18-19). As Christwas dying, some mistakenly thought He was calling for Elijahfrom the cross (Matt. 27:47-49; Mark 15:35-36). There is aliteral sense in which Elijah did come during the ministry ofChrist, for He appeared with Moses when the Lord wastransfigured (Matt. 17:3-4; Mark 9:4-5; Luke 9:30-33). Two ofthese references note that this event brought the Malachi 4reference to the mind of the three disciples who witnessed it(Matt. 17:13-15; Mark 9:12-13).The Fulfillment of Malachi 4:5The evidence is really quite clear that Malachi's Elijianicprophecy was fulfilled during the ministry of Christ. This fulfillmentis counter-indicative to both dispensationalism's hermeneuticand its eschatology, as well as being supportive of thepreteristic hermeneutic and postmillennial eschatology.1. John Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica,4 vols. (Peabody, MA: [1658] 1989), 2:243.2. J. Strachan, "Elijah," A Dictionary ofthe Bible, James Hastings, ed., 5 vols. (Peabody,MA: Hendrikson, [1898]1988),1:687,691. See: Sirach 48: Iff.368 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONIn Matthew 17:10-13, we read: "And His disciples askedHim, saying, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah mustcome first?' Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Elijah trulyis coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you thatElijah has come already, and they did not know him but did tohim whatever they wished... " Then the disciples understoodthat He spoke to them ofJohn the Baptist."Here Christ dogmatically teaches His disciples that JohnBaptist had fulfilled the Malachi prophecy covenantally, whichthe Jews did not understand. John had introduced the restorationof all things, i.e., the coming of the final phase of redemptivehistory through the kingdom of Christ, with its power progressivelyto bring the world to salvation (as per postmillennialism,Matt. 13:31-33; John 3:17; Rom. 11:15). Christ established thekingdom and then returned to heaven to await the historicalconquest of all His enemies (Acts 2:33-35; 1 Cor. 15:21-27; cf.Matt. 28:18-20). He will not return until all things have beenrestored under His providential rule (Acts 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:25).Objections to the Fulfillment of Malachi 4:5Dispensational objections sometimes approach desperation.Some commentators even forsake their literalism and allow thatJohn did fulfill the passage. Pentecost writes: "The prophecy isinterpreted by the Lord as being fulfilled, not in literal Elijah,but in one who comes in Elijah's spirit and power,',3Others focus in on (and misinterpret) a reference similar toMatthew 17. In a critique of postmillennialist Loraine Boettner,dispensationalist Herman Hoyt writes: "When citing a prophecyfrom Malachi 4:5 and the New Testament reference to it, Boettnererred in ignoring part of the text in Matthew (11: 14).Christ said that John the Baptist would have stood for Elijah if3. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 312(emphasis mine); cr. E. S. English, "The Two Witnesses," Our Hope 47 (April 1941)666.Characters 369they would receive him. But they did not, which must meanthat Elijah is yet to come. The reason Christ could make referenceto John the Baptist as he did was that John the Baptistcame in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1: 17). It thereforeseems obvious that there was a principle in relation to Elijahwhich was also true of John the Baptist, and the referencemade by Christ was by way of application and not interpretation.,,4 In short, John might have been Elijah, but was not."Close, John, but no cigar!"But Matthew 17 is unambiguously clear. In Matthew 11,Christ is rebuking the spiritual obstinacy (11: 16ft) of the crowdsthat came to hear Him (11:7). He urges them to hear andunderstand (11: 15). He does not fear that they will derail propheticfulfillment by their unbelief! When He says, "He who has ears tohear" (11: 15), He does not imply the possible invalidity of Hisobservations on John, but alludes to the spiritual dullness ofthose hearers who reject those observations (Matt. 13:9, 43;Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8; 14:35). The reason why John came in the"spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1: 17), and why he shouldhave been received as "Elijah who was to come" (Matt. 11:14),is because he was the literal fulfillment of the Elijah prophecy.Neither may John Baptist's denial ofbeing Elijah Qohn 1:21)be inimical to his fulfilling the prophecy.5 His denial was withregard to his being the actual corporeal return of Elijah fromheaven which was widely anticipated among the Jews. At oneplace in the Talmud it is written: "But when God shall bring[Elijah] to life in the body, he shall send him to Israel beforethe day ofjudgment."6 This sounds dispensational to me!4. Herman Hoyt, "A Dispensational Response," The Meaning of the Millennium:Four Views, Robert G. Clouse, ed. (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977), pp.147-148. Cf. Louis A Barbieri, Jr., "Matthew," The Bible Knowledge Commentary: NewTestament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. (Wheaton: Victor, 1983), p. 60.5. John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990),p.339.6. See sampling of Talmudic references in: Lightfoot, Commentary on the NewTestament from the Talmud and Hebraica, 2:243-247.370 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONThe AntichristPerhaps more than any other evil figure in Scripture, theAntichrist is one who is the most feared. Many dispensationalistsare convinced that he is alive today. In an interview inEternity magazine in 1977, Hal Lindsey responded to a questionregarding the Antichrist: "[I]n my personal opinion, he's alivesomewhere now.,,7 One poorly timed 1988 book was Gorbachev:Has the Real Antichrist Come?8 Of course, this sort of belief hasfor generations been the tendency among dispensationalists,who have pointed out a number of possible Antichrist candidates.9 One best-selling dispensationalist writes that there "isstrong evidence indeed that the Antichrist could appear verysoon - which means that the rapture may be imminent."l0 Heis convinced that "somewhere, at this very moment, on planetEarth, the Antichrist is almost certainly alive."llIronically, the least helpful verses for developing the dispensational,premillennial, and amillennial view of the Antichristare the only ones that expressly mention him! "Antichrist" appearsonly four times in all of Scripture: 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3;and 2 John 7. (Walvoord in his comprehensive Prophecy KnowledgeHandbook does not even mention these verses in his treatmentof "Prophecy in 1, 2, and 3 John and the Epistle ofJude"- or anywhere else in his 800-page work.)127. Hal Lindsey interview, "The Great Cosmic Countdown: Hal Lindsey on theFuture," Eternity (Jan. 1977) 80.8. Robert W. Faid, Gorbachev: Has the Real Antichrist C07M? (Tulsa, OK: VictoryHouse, 1988).9. Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now!: The Premillennial Response to Russia and IsraelSince 1917 (Tyler, 'IX: Institute for Christian Economics, [1977] 1991). Gary DeMar,Last Days Madness: The Folly of Trying to Predict When Christ will Return (Brentwood,TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991).10. Dave Hunt, Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust (Eugene, OR: HarvestHouse, 1983), p. 256. Commas were not in the original title.11. Dave Hunt, Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist (Eugene, OR: HarvestHouse, 1990), p. 5.12. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, pp. 513ff. On the cover and beneaththe title of this massive work we read: "All the prophecies of Scripture explained inCharacters 371Often other figures, such as Daniel's Little Horn, Paul's Manof Sin, and John's Beast, are deemed to be references to Antichrist:The "organic development of sin finally culminates inthe 'man of sin' (II Thessalonians 2:3-12). That is the kingdomof Antichrist."13 "Plainly the idea [in Rev. 13: 18] is that theworld ... ultimately will bring forth the antichrist, who is herecalled the beast.,,14 But such do not appear to be so. None ofthese is called "Antichrist" - not even the Beast, who appears inthe writings of the one who does employ the word "antichrist"elsewhere, John.IsThe origin of the doctrine of Antichrist in the first century isobscure. It does seem that the Antichrist was thought to he aparticular individual: "You have heard that the Antichrist iscoming" (l John 2: 18b). John's point in mentioning him, however,is due to what his readers are hearing - and he sets out tocorrect the false views current on the notion. This is certainly aworthy task in our own time. Many things were heard amongthe early Christians, but were not properly understood. Johneven corrects a false notion regarding his living until Christ'sreturn Oohn 21:22-23). Paul uses a false teaching regardingbaptism for the dead to drive a point home regarding the resurrection(l Cor. 15:29). Paul often urges his followers to hearhim and preserve those things he teaches (Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess.2:13; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:2).one volume." Pentecost cites 1 John 4:2-3 once, but does not explain it or allude tothe other verses in his treatment of '~tichrist" in his recent 350-page work. J.Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton. IL: Victor, 1990), pp. 302ff.13. Herman Hanko. "Response to 'The "Other Side" of Postmillennialism',"Standard Bearer. 66:8 (Apr. 1, 1990) 298.14. John Heys, "Our Hope for Our Savior's Return," ibid. 66:7 Gan. I, 1990)152.15. Dispensationalist Walvoord mentions Antichrist in his discussion of the LittleHorn in Daniel 8. which he also draws into his treatment of the Man of Lawlessnessand the Beast. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook. pp. 240. 493. AmillennialistAnthony A. Hoekema and premillennialist George Eldon Ladd do. as well: Hoekema.The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), pp. 154-162; Ladd, The LastThings (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), ch. 6.372 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONIt is terribly important to observe that in John's correcting ofthe Antichrist notion, "he makes three declarations concerningAntichrist which appear to traverse its implications. He transposesAntichrist from the future to the present. He expandshim from an individual to a multitude. He reduces him from aperson to a heresy."16 With these three observations, the bulkof modern Antichrist discussion is wholly undermined.Antichrist's TimeJohn's readers had heard Antichrist was not yet on the scenebut rather "is coming." John informs them that this "antichrist""is now already in the world" (1 John 4:3). As Warfield notes"that post-posited 'already' [carries] with it the utmost strengthof assertion.,,17 "And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, whichyou have heard was coming, and is now already in the world"(1 John 4:3b). That which they "heard was coming" is expresslythat which "is now already in the world." In addition, Johnremarks: "As you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, evennow many antichrists have come" (1 John 2:18). Because of theappearance of these Antichrists, they were to know that "it isthe last hour" (2: 18). The appearance of these antichrists wasnot a harbinger of a future coming Antichrist, for their presencewas the signal that "the last hour" had already "come"(gegonasin). The "even now" emphasizes the presence of thatwhich they feared ("as you heard").An objection from one amillennialist theologian against postmillennialismis postmillennialism's removal of the antichrist notonly from our future expectation but from the very center oftime! "More and more that kingdom of darkness comes tomanifestation as time progresses. At the very center of time16. Benjamin B. Warfield, "Antichrist" (1921), The Selected Shorter Writings ofBenjamin B. Wa1field, John E. Meeter, ed., 2 vols. (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed,1970), 1:358.17. Ibid.Characters 373therefore, stands the development of the Antichristian worldpower. Really, postmillennialism has no room for Antichrist inits thinking.... Antichrist cannot be taken seriously."18Antichrist's ImpersonalityIn redirecting his readers' focus from the futurity of theAntichrist to his contemporary existence, John points out thatthe Antichrist is a movement, rather than an individual. In dealingwith the idea of "the Antichrist," John says "even now manyantichrists have come" (1 John 2:18). In fact, Antichrist is a"spirit" (l John 4:3) that pervades these many "antichrists" (1John 2:18), which are represented as "many deceivers" (2 John7). Such views as Hoekema's are surely mistaken: "[T]he NewTestament also teaches us to look for a single, final antichrist inthe future (see 2 Thess. 2:3_4)."19Antichrist's lind-eneyThus, Antichrist really is not a multitude of people, butrather the "spirit" (1 John 4:3) among them that would promotedeception (2 John 7) regarding Christ. "Who is a liar buthe who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist whodenies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22). John dearlyapplies the conception of the one Antichrist (ho antichristos) tothe generic tendency to promote lies about the identity ofChrist. He repeats this point in his second letter: "For manydeceivers have gone out into the world who do not confessJesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and theantichrist [ho antichristos]" (2 John 1:7).On the basis of these four references we may learn that18. Herman C. Hanko, "An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism" (unpublishedconference paper: South Holland, IL: South Holland Protestant ReformedChurch, 1978), pp. 25-26.19. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 70. See discussion of 2 Thessalonians 2,below, pp. 383-392.374 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONAntichrist is not an individual, malevolent ruler looming in ourfuture. Rather, Antichrist was a wntemporary heretical tendencyregarding the person of Christ that was current among many inJohn's day. Hoekema is mistaken when he writes: "Yet it wouldnot be correct to say that John had no room in his thinking fora personal antichrist, since he still looks for an antichrist who iscoming."20 As we shall see below, the Beast of Revelation andthe Man of Lawlessness were also contemporary realities in thefirst century - though distinct from Antichrist.The Beast of RevelationNext to Antichrist, the Beast of Revelation is probably one ofthe best-known eschatological images in Scripture.21 Much hasbeen written about him - much of it is worthless because afundamental element necessary to properly identifying theBeast is often glossed over. That element is the exegetical determinationof John's own expectations regarding the timing ofthe events of Revelation.The Beast's TimeAs I showed in Chapter 8, John clearly expected the eventsto occur in his day. Revelation opens and closes with anticipationof the imminent occurrence of the events specified within.Revelation 1:la reads: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, whichGod gave Him to show His servants; things which must shortlytake place." Revelation 22:10 warns: "Do not seal the words ofthe prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand."In light of the original significance of Revelation to its firstcenturyaudience (Rev. 1:4, 11; 2-3), the Beast must be someoneof relevance to that audience. Revelation 13 portrays himas a horrible and powerful foe of God's people and of all righ-20. Ibid., p. 158.21. For a more detailed argument see my book, TM Beast of Revelation (Tyler,'IX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).teousness.Characters 375The Beast's IdentityMost commentators agree that the Beast imagery in Revelationshifts between the generic and the specific.22 That is,sometimes the Beast seems to picture a kingdom, sometimes aparticular, individual leader of that kingdom. At some placesthe Beast has seven heads, which are seven kings collectivelyconsidered. In Revelation 13: 1, John notes that he "saw a beastcoming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads."Revelation 17: 10 specifically notes that the seven heads represent"seven kings." Thus, the Beast is generically portrayed as akingdom. Kingdoms, however, have representatives. This is why,in the very same contexts, the Beast is also spoken of as an individual.John urges his readers to "calculate the number of thebeast, for the number is that ofa man" (Rev. 13:18). In Revelation17: 11, the interpretive angel tells John and his readers"the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, andis one of the seven." This frustrating feature is recognized bymany commentators of various schools of interpretation.His Generic Identity. The generic identity of the Beast is theancient Roman Empire of the first century. According to Revelation17:9, the seven heads of the Beast represent "sevenmountains." Perhaps no point is more obvious in Revelationthan this: It is Rome that is here symbolized by the seven mountains.Mter all, Rome is the one city in history that has been distinguishedby and recognized for its seven mountains.23 The ref-22. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 582. See also: Leon Morris, TheRevelation of St.John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), pp. 210-211; R. H. Charles,A Critkal and Exegetif;al Commentary on the Revelation ofSt. John, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: T.Be T. Clark, 1920). 1:349; Philip Mauro. Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass (rev. ed.:Swengel, PA: Reiner Publications, [1925] 1984), p. 402; Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come,pp. 306-307.23. See pagans writers: Ovid, De Tristia 1:5:69 and Elegiae 4; Claudian, In Praiseof Stilif;on 3:135; Statius, Sylvae 1: 2: 191; Pliny, Natural History 3:5, 9: Virgil, Aeneid376 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONerent is virtually beyond doubt: the very Rome existing in theday of the Seven Churches of Revelation 2-3 - not a "revivedRoman Empire," as per dispensationalism.His Specific Identity. But who is the Beast individually considered?John tells us that the Beast imagery is also of "a man."The Beast in his personal incarnation is Nero Caesar. He andhe alone fits the bill as the specific or personal expression of theBeast. This vile character fulfills all the requirements of theprinciples derived from the very text of Revelation. Notice thefollowing:First, the number of the Beast. In Revelation 13:18, the numberof the beast is the number of "a man." That famous numberis "666." The usefulness of this number lies in the fact thatin ancient days, alphabets served as both phonetic symbols andarithmetical values.24 It is quite relevant that a Hebrew spellingof his name was Nrum Qsr, which provides the numerical sum666.25 Hebrew would not have been widely known by nonJewish,Greek-speaking Roman informers. (If postmillennialistswrote best-selling paperback books, I would pick a flashy title:John the Apostle, Secret Agent.)Second, the textual variant. The number 666 in some ancientmanuscripts of Scripture is actually changed to 616. The differencesurely is no accident of sight made by an early copyist.The numbers 666 and 616 are not similar in appearance in theoriginal Greek - whether spelled out in words or written out as6:782 and Georgics 2:535; Horace, Carmen Secularae 7; Propertius 3:10, 57; Martial4:64; Cicero, Ad Atticum 6:5. Christians: Tertullian, Apology 35; Jerome, Letter toMarcella; and Sibylline Oracles 2:18; 11:114; 13:45; 14:108.24. For the Hebrew values of the alphabet see: For Hebrew see: Gesenius' HebrewGrammar, E. Kautzsch, ed., A. E. Cowley, trans. (28th ed.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1946),p. 30. Or see the appropriate letters at their entries in A Hebrew and English Lexiconofthe Old Testament, Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, eds. (Oxford:Clarendon, 1972).25. D. R. Hillers, "Revelation 13:18 and A Scroll from Murabba'at," Bulletin oftheAmerican Schools of Oriental Research 170 (April 1963) 65. Marcus J astrow, A Didionaryof the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and llirushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (London:1903). For a description of how this works, see below, p. 409.Characters 377numerals. Textual scholars agree: it must be intentional.26Although we cannot be absolutely certain, a strong and mostreasonable case may be made for the following conjecture.John, a Jew, used a Hebrew spelling of Nero's name in order toarrive at the figure 666. But when Revelation began circulatingamong those less acquainted with Hebrew, a well-meaningcopyist who knew the meaning of 666 might have intended tomake its deciphering easier by altering it to 616. It surely is nomere coincidence that 616 is the numerical value of "NeroCaesar," when spelled in Hebrew by transliterating it from itsmore common Latin spelling.Third, the beastly image. In Revelation 13, the one behind the666 riddle is both called and portrayed as a "beast." Because ofits natural association, the term "beast" is often quite aptly usedfiguratively of persons with a bestial nature. It is almost universallyagreed that Nero was one who was possessed of a bestialnature. Nero was even feared and hated by his own countrymen,as ancient Roman historians agree.27 The pagan writerApollinius of Tyana, a contemporary of Nero, specifically mentionsthat Nero was called a "beast.,,28Fourth, the war with the saints. The Beast is said to "make warwith the saints and to overcome them" (Rev. 13:7). In fact, heis said to conduct such blasphemous warfare for a specific periodof time: 42 months (Rev. 13:5). The Neronic persecution,which was initiated by Nero in A.D. 64,29 was the first everRoman assault on Christianity, as noted by Church fathers Eusebius,Tertullian, Paulus Orosius, and Sulpicius Severus, as well26. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (London:United Bible Societies, (971), pp. 751-752.27. Suetonius, Nero 7:1; 27: I; 12:1; 28-29; 33-35; Tacitus, Histories 4:7; 4:8; Pliny,Natural History 7:45; 22:92; Juvenal, Satire 7:225; 10:306ff; See also: Dio, RomanHistory 61:1:2; Ascen.!wn of Isaiah 4:1; Sibylline Oracles 5:30; 12:82.28. Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 4:38.29. Herbert B. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, [1906] (980), p. 22; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 vols.(3rd. ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1910] (950), 1:379.378 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONas by Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius.30 The persecutionfinally ended when Nero died on June 8, A.D. 68, 42months later, but for a few days.31 Nero's own end even carnewith a sword, as per Revelation 13:14.32The Great HarlotIn Revelation 17:3-6, John views a horrifying sight. Seatedupon the dreadful Beast is the sinful Harlot:I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names ofblasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the womanwas arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with goldand precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her handfull of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And uponher forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THEGREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONSOF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken withthe blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs ofJesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.Since the woman is seated upon the seven-headed Beast,some have thought that she is representative of the city ofRome. She is resting upon the seven hills of Rome, and she iscalled "Babylon," the Old Testament oppressor of God's people,which seems to be a reference to her New Testament oppressor,Rome. But since the Beast itself is representative ofRome, it would seem redundant to have the woman representingthe same. Also, the name "Babylon" does not historically30. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2:25:3; Sulpicius Severus, Sacred History 2:28;Tertullian (AD. 160-220), On the Mantle 4; Apology 5; Paulus Orosius (AD. 385-415),The Seven Books of History Against the Pagans, 7:7; Tacitus, Annals 15:44; Suetonius,Nero 16.31. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation (San Francisco:Harper & Row, 1984), p. 36; John Laurence von Mosheim, History of Christianityin the First Three Centuries, 2 vols. (New York: Converse, 1854), 1:138-139.32. Suetonius, Nero 49.Characters 379belong either to Rome or Jerusalem, and thus cannot be proofthat the city is Rome rather than Jerusalem.33 I am convincedbeyond any doubt that this Harlot is first-century Jerusalem.The evidence for the identifying of Jerusalem as the Harlot isbased on the following considerations.First, in Revelation 14:8, "Babylon" is called "the great city."But in the first mention of "the great city" in Revelation 11 :8,the reference indisputably pointed to Jerusalem, "where alsoour Lord was crucified" (cf. Luke 9:31; 13:33-34; 18:31; 24:1820).This greatness is especially in regard to her covenantal statusin the Old Testament.34 Even pagan writers spoke highly ofJerusalem. Tacitus called it "a famous city." Pliny the Elder saidof Jerusalem that it was "by far the most famous city of theancient Orient." Appian, a Roman lawyer and writer (ca. A.D.160) called it "the great city Jerusalem.,,35 The Sibylline Oracles,Josephus, and the Talmud concur in calling Jerusalem "agreat city.,,36 Thus, the first interpretive clue to the identity ofBabylon points to Jerusalem: the great city.Second, the Harlot is filled with the blood of the saints accordingto Revelation 16:6; 17:6; 18:21,24. Of course, with theoutbreak of the Neronic persecution, which had just com-33. Most commentators. even dispensationalists. recognize the term "Babylon" assymbolic. See: John F. Walvoord. The Revelation ofJesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press.19!>6). p. 218. Charles Dyer has recently (and wrongly. I believe) suggested it may beancient Babylon that is actually rebuilt in his The Rise of Babylon: Sign of the End Times(Wheaton. IL: Tyndale, 1991). This book became a best-seller during the PersianGulf crisis: August. 1990. to February. 1991.34. The adjective "great" is applied to Jerusalem in ancient Jewish writings: "Inopposition to her rival Alexandria. which was designated 'the little,' Jerusalem wascalled 'the great.' " Alfred Edersheim. Sketches ofJewish Social Life in the Days of Christ(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. [1876] 1970), p. 82.35. Tacitus. Histories 5:2; Fragments ofthe Histories 1; Pliny. Natural History 5:14:70;Appian. The Syrian Wars 50.36. Silrylline Oracles 5:150-154, 408-413;Josephus. Wars 7: 1: 1; 7:8:7. For Talmudicreferences. see: Edersheim. Sketches ofJewish Social Life. p. 82. For a discussion ofthis issue, see my Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, TX:Institute for Christian Economics, 1989). pp. 169ff.380 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONmenced when John wrote Revelation,37 Rome was stained withthe blood of the saints. But Rome had only recently entered thepersecuting ranks of God's enemies. Throughout Acts, Jerusalemis portrayed as the persecutor and Rome as the protector ofChristianity.38 Interestingly, in the Olivet Discourse context,Jesus reproaches Jerusalem: "Therefore, indeed, I send youprophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill andcrucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagoguesand persecute from city to city, that on you may come all therighteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteousAbel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom youmurdered between the temple and the altar.... Jerusalem,Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those whoare sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your childrentogether, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but youwere not willing!" (Matt. 23:34-35, 37). Before his stoning,Stephen rebukes Jerusalem: "Which of the prophets have notyour fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who showedbefore of the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have beennow the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:51-52).Paul warns of Jewish persecution: "For you, brethren, becameimitators of the churches of God which are in Judea inChrist Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from yourown countrymen, just as they did from the Jews, who killedboth the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecutedus; and they do not please God and are contrary to allmen, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may besaved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; butwrath has come upon them to the uttermost" (1 Thess. 2:1416).37. Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell.38. See for example: Acts 4:3: 5:18-33; 6:12; 7:54-60; 8: Iff; 9:1-4,13,23: 11:19;12:1-3; 13:45-50; 14:2-5, 19; 16:23: 17:5-13; 18:12: 20:3,19; 21:11, 27; 22:30; 23:12,20, 27, 30; 24:5-9; 25:2-15; 25:24; 26:21. See also: 2 Cor. 11:24; 2 Thess. 2:14-15;Heb. 10:32-34; Rev. 2:9; 3:9; etc.Characters 381Third, the Harlot is arrayed in Jewish priestly colors of scarlet,purple, and gold (Exo. 28).39 She has a blasphemous tiara onher forehead, which reads: "Mystery, Babylon the Great, theMother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth" (Rev.17:5). This gives a negative portrayal of the holy tiara that theJewish high priest wore, which said "Holy to the Lord" (Exo.28:36-38). Also, the Harlot has a gold cup in her hand, as didthe high priest on the Day of Atonement, according to theJewish Talmud.Fourth, Rome could not commit adultery against God, forRome had never been God's wife. But Jerusalem was God's wife(Jer. 31:31), and she is often said to commit adultery againstHim.40 The imagery of the Harlot better suits an adulterouswife, and the biblical record points to Jerusalem as that adulterouswife.Fifth, there is an obvious literary contrast between the Harlotand the chaste bride, suggesting an intentional contrast with theJerusalem below and the Jerusalem above (Rev. 21:2; cr. Gal.4:24ff.; Heb. 12: 18ff.). When we read Revelation 17:2-5 andRevelation 21:1ff, we see that the contrast is remarkable andexact. We must remember that the bride is specifically calledthe "New Jerusalem" from heaven. We see six contrasts:First, notice how John is introduced to the Harlot: "Then oneof the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talkedwith me, saying to me, 'Come, I will show you the judgment ofthe great harlot who sits on many waters' " (Rev. 17: 1). Second,notice how he is introduced to the bride: "Then one of theseven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven lastplagues came to me and talked with me, saying, 'Come, I willshow you the bride, the Lamb's wife' " (Rev. 21 :9).Third, the two women are contrasted as to character: "Come,39. Cf. Rev. 17:4-5 with Exo. 25:2.4; 26:1, 31, 36; 27:16; 28:1-2,5-12, 15, 17-23,33.40. Isa. 1:21; 57:8; JeT. 2:2. 20; 3:1-20; 4:30; 11:15; 13:27; Ezek. 16; Hos. 2:5;3:3; 4:15.382 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONI will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits onmany waters" (Rev. 17:1). "Come, I will show you the bride, theLamb's wife" (Rev. 21 :9).Fourth, the two women are seen in contrasting environments towhich John is carried by the angel. "So he carried me away inthe Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on ascarlet beast" (Rev. 17:3). "And he carried me away in the Spiritto a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city,the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God" (Rev.21:10).Fifth, the dress of each is detailed and contrasted: "The womanwas arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with goldand precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a goldencup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication"(Rev. 17:4). "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in finelinen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous actsof the saints ... having the glory of God. And her light was likea most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal" (Rev.19:8; 21:11).Sixth, the names are contrasted. Jerusalem had previouslybeen called by pagan names quite compatible with the designation"Babylon." In Revelation 11 :8, she is called "spirituallySodom and Egypt." In an earlier day, Isaiah identified Jerusalemas Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 1). The idea is that ratherthan conducting herself as the wife of God, she had becomeone of God's enemies, like Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon.The fact that the Harlot is seated on the seven-headed Beast(representative of Rome, as shown above) indicates not heridentity with Rome, but her alliance with Rome against Christianity.The Jews demanded Christ's crucifixion and constantlystirred up the Romans against the Christians (cf. Matt. 23:37ff.;Acts 8:1; 12:1-3; 17:5-7; 1 Thess. 2:14-17).The evidence establishes that the Harlot is Jerusalem,4l John's41. Joseph Balyeat, Babylon, The Great City ofRevelation (Sevierville, TN: OnwardCharacters 383Revelation contrasts the Jerusalem below with the Jerusalemabove, as in Hebrews 12:22 and Galatians 4:25-26. The Jerusalembelow has forsaken her husband in denying the Messiah.The Man of LawlessnessWe come now to another of those very difficult passages ofScripture, one rivaling Daniel 9 in the intensity of interpretivecontroversy: 2 Thessalonians 2. This famous eschatologicalreference contains Paul's reference to the "Man of Lawlessness"(Nestle's Text) or "Man of Sin" (Majority Text).The passage is noted for its exceptional difficulty. The notedchurch father Augustine writes of a certain portion of the passage:"I confess that I am entirely ignorant of what he means tosay." New Testament Greek scholar Vincent omits interpretingthe passage in his four volume lexical commentary: "I attemptno interpretation of this passage as a whole, which I do notunderstand." Renowned Greek linguist Robertson despairs ofthe task of interpreting this passage because it is "in such vagueform that we can hardly clear it up." Morris urges "care" inhandling this "notoriously difficult passage." Bruce notes that"there are few New Testament passages which can boast such avariety of interpretations as this.,,42 There are even some dispensationalistswho admit that it is an "extremely puzzlingpassage of Scripture that has been a thorn in the flesh of manyan expositor."43As with the hotly debated Daniel 9:24-27 passage, so it ishere: an exceedingly difficult prophecy becomes a key text for dispensa-Press, 1991).42. Augustine is cited in Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament, 4 vols. (Chicago:Moody Press [n.d.] 1958),2:82. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament,4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1887]1985),4:67. A. T. Robertson, Word Picturesin the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1930),4:51. Leon Morris, The Firstand Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (NICNT) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), p.213. F. F. Bruce, New Testament History (Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1969), p. 309.43. E. S. English, Rethinking the Rapture (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux, 1954), p. 72.384 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONtionalism! Note the following comments by dispensationalists.Constable observes that "this section of verses contain truthsfound nowhere else in the Bible. It is key to understandingfuture events and it is central to this epistle." According toWalvoord, the Man of Lawlessness revealed here is "the key tothe whole program of the Day of the Lord." Of2 Thessalonians2 Chafer notes: "though but one passage is found bearing uponthe restraining work of the Holy Spirit, the scope of the issuesinvolved is such as to command the utmost consideration."Ryrie and Feinberg employ 2 Thessalonians 2:4 as one of thefew passages used "to clinch the argument" for the rebuildingof the Temple.44 There is no doubt that anti-postmillennialcommentators place considerable weight on this passage.Because of its enormous difficulties, 2 Thessalonians 2 hasgenerated lively debate in eschatological studies. In the pessimisticeschatologies of amillennialism, premillennialism, anddispensationalism, there is frequent employment ofthis passageas evidence of worsening world conditions until the final apostasy.When setting forth objections against postmillennialism,amillennialist Hoekema makes but a cursory reference to thispassage in a mere two sentences, confident that it offers a selfevidentrefutation of postmillennialism.45 Though a perplexingpassage requiring caution, there are sufficient data in it toremove it at least as an objection to postmillennialism.The Historical SettingDuring Paul's visit to Thessalonica he preached to the Jews44. Thomas L. Constable, "2 Thessalonians," Bible Knowledge Commentary: NewTestament, p. 717. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 493. Lewis SperryChafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1948),6:85.Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros.,1953), p. 151. See also: Charles Lee Feinberg, "The Jew Mter the Rapture," Prophecyand the Seventies, Feinberg, ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 181.45. Hoekema, Bible and the Future, p. 178. See also: Hanko, "An ExegeticalRefutation of Postmillennialism," p. 26.Characters 385that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 17: 1-3). Though some Jewsbelieved Paul, others were riled to mob action regarding theChristian message (17:4-5). They dragged "some of the brethrento the rulers of the city" complaining: "These who haveturned the world upside down have come here too. Jason hasharbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decreesof Caesar, saying there is another king - Jesus" (17:6-7). Mtertaking security from Jason and the others, the civil rulers letthem go (17:9). This allowed Paul to depart safely to Berea.The Jews were not so easily quieted, however, for "when theJews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God waspreached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred upthe crowds" (17: 13). This resulted in the immediate sendingaway of Paul to Athens (17: 14-15).This explains the strong language against the Jews in theThessalonian epistles, and helps uncover some of the moresubtle concerns therein. In his first letter, he writes: "For you,brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are inJudea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same thingsfrom your own countrymen, just as they did from the Jews,who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, andhave persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contraryto all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles thatthey may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of theirsins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost" (1 Thess.2: 14-16).This Jewish context is important for grasping the situationPaul confronts. I show in the exposition to follow that there area number of allusions to the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discoursespeaks of the destruction of the Temple and the judgmentof the Jews for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Matt.23:35-24:2; cr. Acts 17:3; 18:5).4646. Page attempts to draw the parallel with Revelation 20, comparing the restraintand deception of Satan and the flaming coming of Christ there with the decep386HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONExposition of the Textverses 1-2. Paul's reference "concerning the coming of ourLord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him" (2Thess. 2:1) is the crux interpretum of this passage. Paul is herespeaking of the A.D. 70 judgment on the Jews - the very judgmentgiven emphasis in the first portion of the Olivet Discourse,the Book of Revelation, and several other passages ofScripture.Though he speaks of the Second Advent just a few versesbefore (1:10), he is not dealing with that issue here. In 2 Thessalonians1:10, Paul even employs a different word for the comingof Christ (elthe) from what he uses in 2:1 (parousia). Therethe Second Advental judgment brings "everlasting destructionfrom the presence of the Lord" (1 :9); here a temporal "destruction"(2:8). There the Second Advent includes "his mightyangels" (1:7); here the temporaljudgment makes no mention ofthese mighty angels (2:1-12). Thus, the Second Advent providesan eternal resolution to their suffering; the A.D. 70 Day of theLord affords temporal resolution (cf. Rev. 6:10).Furthermore, the "gathering together to Him" mentioned byPaul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 picks up on the reference of ourLord in Matthew 24:31. The word translated "gather together"here is episunagoge. Its cognate verb form is found in Matthew24:31, where the gathering is tied to "this generation" (Matt.24:34) and signifies the calling out of the elect into the body ofChrist with the trumpeting in of the archetypical Great Jubilee(cf. 2 Thess. 1:11; 2:14).47 Here it functions the same way. Withthe coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Christianswould henceforth be "gathered together" in a separate andtion, restraint, and coming here. Sydney H. T. Page, "Revelation 20 and PaulineEschatology," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23: 1 (March 1980) 31-44.47. See: pp. 333-349, above, for a discussion of the Great Tribulation passage inMatthew 24. Cf. J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory (n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed,1971), pp. 144-150. David Chilton, The Great Tribulation (Ft. Worth, TX:Dominion Press, 1987), pp. 25-28.Characters 387ate and distinct "assembly" (episunagoge; the Church is called asunagoge in James 2:2). Mter the Temple's destruction, Godwould no longer tolerate going up to the Temple to worship (itwould be impossible!), as Christians frequently did prior to A.D.70.48Paul consoles them by denying the false report that "the dayof Christ had come" (2 Thess. 2:2). Apparently, the very reasonfor this epistle, written so soon after the first one, is that someunscrupulous deceivers had forged letters from Paul and hadclaimed erroneous charismatic insights relevant to eschatologicalconcerns. In his earlier letter, he had to correct their griefover loved ones who had died in the Lord, as if this precludedtheir sharing in the resurrection (1 Thess. 4: 13-17). Now neweschatological deceptions were troubling the young church (2Thess. 2:1-3a): Some thought that the Day of the Lord hadcome49 and, consequently, they quit working (2 Thess. 3:6-12).The word "trouble" (throeo; 2:2) is in the present infinitiveform, which signifies a continued state of agitation. It is thesame word used elsewhere only in the Olivet Discourse (Mark13:7; Matt. 24:6). There it is even found in the same sort oftheological context: one warning ofdeception and trouble regardingthe coming of the Day of Christ (Mark 13:5-7).*rses 3-7. Paul is quite concerned about the deception beingpromoted (v. 3a). To avoid the deception and to clarify the true48. Acts 1:4; 1:8; 18:21; 20:16; 24:11. Even in this early post-commission Christianity,believers continued to gravitate toward the Jews: engaging in Jewish worshipobservances (Acts 2:1ff.; 21:26; 24:11), focusing on and radiating their ministry fromJerusalem (Acts 2-5), frequenting the Temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1ff.; 4:1; 5:2Iff.; 21:26;26:21), and attending the synagogues (13:5, 14; 14:1; 15:21; 17:1ff.; 18:4,7, 19,26;19:8; 22:19; 24:12; 26:11).49. Greek: enesteken. A. M. G. Stephenson, "On the meaning ofenesteken he hemeratau kuriou in 2 Thessalonians 2:2," Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geshichte der altchristlichenLiteratur 102 (1968) 442-451. W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-EnglishLexicon ofthe New Testament (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 266. See:Morris, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, p. 215. Note the agreement among the followingtranslations: NASB, NKJV, NEB, TEV, Moffatt's New Translation, Weymouth,Williams, Beck.388 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONbeginning of the Day of the Lord upon Jerusalem, Paul informsthem that "that Day will not come unless the falling away comesfirst, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition" (2Thess. 2:3). Before they could say the Day of the Lord "iscome," then, there must first (see RSV) be the falling away andthe revelation of the man of lawlessness, who is also called "theson of perdition." (These do not have to occur in the chronologicalorder presented, as even dispensationalists admit.50Verse nine is clearly out of order and should occur in the midstof verse eight, if strict chronology were important.)The word "falling away" is apostasia, which occurs in the NewTestament only here and in Acts 21 :21. Historically, the wordcan apply to a revolt: either political or religious.51 But towhich does it refer here? Does it refer to a future worldwideapostasy from the Christian faith, as per pessimistic eschatologies?Amillennialist William Hendriksen writes that this teachesthat "by and large, the visible Church will forsake the truefaith." Dispensationalist Constable comments: "This rebellion,which will take place within the professing church, will be adeparture from the truth that God has revealed in HisWord.,,52 Or does the apostasia refer to a political rebellion ofsome sort?A good case can be made in support of the view that itspeaks of the Jewish apostasy/rebellion against Rome. Josephuscertainly speaks of the Jewish War as an apostasia against theRomans Gosephus, Life 4). Probably Paul merges the two conceptsof religious and political apostasy here, although empha-50. Constable, "2 Thessalonians," p. 718. Non-dispensationalist Marshall comments:"The argument is difficult to follow, partly because of the way in which Paultackles the theme in a non-chronological manner." I. Howard Marshall, 1 and 2Thessalonians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), p. 185.51. For political apostasia see the Septuagint at Ezra 4:12,15,19; Neh. 2:19; 6:6.For religious apostasia, see: Septuagint at Josh. 22:22; 2 Chr. 29:19; and 33:19, andin the New Testament Acts 21 :21.52. Hendriksen, I and II Thessalonians (NTC) (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1955), p.170. Constable, "2 Thessalonians," p. 718.Characters 389sizing the outbreak of the Jewish War, which was the result oftheir apostasy against God. The emphasis must be on the revoltagainst Rome because it is future and datable, whereas the revoltagainst God is ongoing and cumulative. Such is necessary todispel the deception that Paul was concerned with. In conjunctionwith this final apostasy and the consequent destruction ofJerusalem, Christianity and Judaism were forever separatedand both were exposed to the wrath of Rome.53The Man of Lawlessness is Nero Caesar, who also is theBeast of Revelation, as a number of Church Fathers believed.54 The difficulty of this passage lies in the fact that Paul"describes the Man of Sin with a certain reserve" (Origen, Celsus6:45) for fear of incurring "the charge of calumny for havingspoken evil of the Roman emperor" (Augustine, City of God20: 19). Paul and his associates had already suffered at thehands of the Thessalonican Jews for "acting contrary to thedecrees of Caesar, saying there is another king - Jesus" (Acts17:7). Wisdom demanded discreetness in referring to imperialauthority; his recent (1 Thess. 2: 17) personal ministry amongthem allowed it: they were to "remember" that while with themhe "told [them] these things" (2:5).It is at least clear from Paul that something is presently (ca.A.D. 52) "restraining" (present participle) the Man of Sin "thathe may be revealed in his own time" (2:6). The Man of Lawlessnesswas alive and waiting to be "revealed." This implies thatfor the time being, Christians could expect at least some protectionfrom the Roman government: the Roman laws regardingreligio licita were currently in Christianity's favor, while it wasconsidered a sect of Judaism but before the malevolent Nero53. See: Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell, pp. 293-298. Warfield, "The Prophecies ofSt. Paul," Selected Shorter Writings, 1:473-475.54. For example: Augustine, City of God 20: 19; Chrysostom cited in Alford, GreekTestament, 2:80. If we are correct in equating him with the Beast, we could add:Victorinus, Apocalypse 17:16; Lactantius, On the Death of the Persecutors 2; SulpiciusSeverus, Sacred History 2:28, 29. See my book, Beast of Revelation.390 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONascended the throne. Paul certainly was protected by the Romanjudicial apparatus (Acts 18: 12£1) and made important useof these laws in A.D. 59 (Acts 25: 11-12; 28:19) as protectionfrom the malignancy of the Jews. He expressed no ill-feelingsagainst Rome when writing Romans 13 in A.D. 57-59: duringthe early reign of Nero, the famous Quinquennium Neronis.55When Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians 2, he was under the reignof Claudius Caesar. It may be that he employs a word play onClaudius' name. The Latin word for "restraint" is claudere,which is similar to "Claudius.,,56 It is interesting that Paulshifts between the neuter and masculine forms of "the restrainer"(2 Thess. 2:6, 7). This may indicate he includes both theimperial law and the present emperor in his designation "restrainer."While Claudius lived, Nero, the Man of Lawlessness,was without power to commit public lawlessness. Christianitywas free from the imperial sword until the Neronic persecutionbegan in November, A.D 64.Remarkably, the Jews were kept so in check by imperial lawthat they did not kill James the Just in Jerusalem until aboutA.D. 62, after the death of the Roman procurator Festus andbefore the arrival ofAlbinus Qosephus, Ant. 20:9:1). With theseevents the "mystery of lawlessness" was being uncovered as the"revelation of the Man of Lawlessness" (the transformation of theRoman imperial line into a persecuting power in the person ofNero) was occurring.The evil "mystery of lawlessness" was "already working,"though restrained in Claudius' day (2 Thess. 2:7). This is perhapsa reference to the evil conniving and plotting of Nero'smother, Agrippina, who may have poisoned Claudius so thatNero could ascend to the purple (Tacitus, Annals 12:62ff; Suetonius,Claudius 44). The Roman emperor, according to Paul,55. Trajan, Epistle 5; cf. Suetonius, Nero 19. See: B. W. Henderson, The Life andPrincipate of the Emperor Nero (London: Met:1Uen, 1903), ch. 3.56. Bruce, New Testament History, p. 310.Characters 391"exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped"(2 Thess. 2:4a). The evil potential of emperor worshipwas publicly exhibited just a few years before, when the emperorCaligula (Gaius) attempted to put his image in the Templein Jerusalem Uosephus, Ant. 18:8:2-3).The phrase "so that he sits as God in the temple of God,showing himself that he is God" is interesting. When hoste ("sothat") is followed by an infinitive (kathisai, "to sit"), it indicatesa purpose intended, not necessarily a purpose accomplished.57 Itwas Caligula's intention to sit in "the temple of God" in Jerusalem;it was the emperor's desire to "show himself that he isGod." In fact, Philo tells us that "so great was the caprice ofCaius [Caligula] in his conduct toward all, and especially towardthe nation of the Jews. The latter he so bitterly hated that heappropriated to himself their places of worship in the othercities, and beginning with Alexandria he filled them with imagesand statues of himself."58This was for all intents and purposes accomplished by futureemperor Titus, who concluded the devastation ofJerusalem setin motion by Nero. Titus actually invaded the Temple in A.D.70 Gosephus, Wars 6:6:1). This parallels Matthew 24:15 andfunctions as Paul's abomination of desolation, which was to occurin "this generation" (Matt. 24:34).Not only so but in Nero the imperial line eventually openly"opposed" (2 Thess. 2:4) Christ by persecuting His followers.Nero even began the persecution of Christians when he presentedhimself in a chariot as the sun god Apollo, while burningChristians in order to illuminate his self-glorifying party.59li'rses 8-9. Verses 8 and 9 read: ''And then the lawless one57. As in Luke 4:29, where the Jews led Jesus to a hill "so as to cast him down(hoste katakremnisai auton)." E. Best, Commentary on First and Second Thessalonians(London: Black, 1977), pp. 286-290. H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A ManualGrammar of the Greek New Testament (Toronto: Macmillan, 1955), p. 214.58. Philo, Legatio ad Caium 43, as cited by Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2:6:2.59. Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell, pp. 279-284. Tacitus, Annals 15:44.392 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONwill be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breathof His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.The coming of the lawless one is according to the working ofSatan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.,,6o As indicated,the lawless one was eventually openly revealed. The mysteryform of his character gave way to a revelation of his lawlessnessin Nero's wicked acts. This occurred after the restrainer [Claudius]was "taken out of the way," allowing Nero the public stageupon which he could act out his horrendous lawlessness.In that judgment-coming against Jerusalem, there is alsojudgment for the Man of Lawlessness, Nero. There is hope andcomfort in the promised relief from the opposition of the Jewsand Nero (2 Thess. 2:15-17). Not only was Jerusalem destroyedwithin twenty years, but Nero himself died a violent death inthe midst of the Jewish War Oune 8, A.D. 68). His death, then,would occur in the Day of the Lord in conjunction with thejudgment-coming of Christ. He would be destroyed by thebreath of Christ, much like Assyria was destroyed with thecoming and breath of the LORD in the Old Testament (Isa.30:27-31) and like Israel was crushed by Babylon (Mic. 1:3-5).ConclusionThere are a number of prominent characters who dot theprophetic Scriptures. Often it seems that these are betterknown than the general flow of eschatology itself What contemporaryevangelical Christian has not heard and spokenabout the Beast and the Antichrist? So many of these charactersare evil minions of Satan and are thought by adherents topessimistic eschatologies to be inimical to the postmillennialhope. We have seen that this pessimistic concern regarding thepersecutors prophesied in the New Testament is no longer60. Such imperial arrogance would produce alleged miracles as confirmation.Vespasian is called "the miracle worker, because by him "many miracles occurred."Tacitus, Histones 4:81; Suetonius. Vespasian 7.Characters 393legitimate. When the characters highlighted above are carefullystudied in terms of their historical context, the propheciesconcerning their imminent appearance are shown to mesh wellwith postmillennialism. This is largely due to the preteristicconception of these characters - good (Elijah) and bad (theHarlot) - in terms of a proper biblical hermeneutic. The historicalElijah had gone to his reward long before Jesus appeared;he will not be back. The covenantal, baptizing Elijah has donethe same. So has the Harlot, Jerusalem, in A.D. 70, destroyedby the corporate Beast, Rome. The personal Beast, Nero, hadgone to his reward the year before. Unlike out-of-print dispensationalprophecy books,61 they cannot be revived.61. John F. Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis: What the Biblesays about the future ofthe Middle East and the end of Western Civilization (Grand Rapids:Zondervan, [1974] 1990).17

    REVELATIONThen he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." And the LordGod of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His seroants the thingswhich must shortly take place. (Revelation 22:6)IntroductionRevelation stands apart from all other New Testament booksas the one pre-eminently concerned with prophetic questions.A substantially wrong view of this capstone of biblical prophecyis therefore inimical to any hope for a truly biblical eschatology.Indeed, non-postmillennial scholars often point to the woes ofRevelation as contra-indicative to postmillennialism.1 Althoughwe cannot delve deeply into Revelation, it is important that weat least grasp its fundamental drift and major features.2 Thevantage point from which I approach Revelation is that ofpreterism,3 which I introduced briefly in Chapter 8. Despite1. For example, Floyd E. Hamilton, The Basis of the Millennial Faith (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1942), p. 33; Bruce Milne, What The Bible Teaches About the End ofthe World (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1979), pp. 80-81.2. For more information see my: The Divorce ofIsrael: A Commentary on Revelation(forthcoming) and David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book ofRevelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987).3. The preterit tense is the definitively past tense: completely over, finished,done with, as in the Greek aorist tense. It is worth noting that Hal Lindsey's scurriRevelation395popular opinion, Revelation is a prophetic work that has largelybeen fulfilled in the past. Mter introducing several interpretivelysignificant aspects of Revelation, I will survey its propheticflow.Original AudienceWhen interpreting any book of the Bible, it is important tounderstand the audience to which it was originally directed.The concern of the evangelical interpreter is to understand thegrammar of a passage in light of its historic context, not despitethat context. There are at least three factors in Revelation thatemphasize the original audience and their circumstances. Theseare strongly supportive of a preterist position. When these arecombined with the matter of the expectation of Revelation, thepreterist approach becomes justified on the basis of soundhermeneutical principle.First, in Revelation John was writing to particular, historic,individual churches that existed in his day. Revelation 1:4 providesa common epistolary opening: 'john to the seven churcheswhich are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from himwhich is, and which was, and which is to come." In verse 11, hespecifically names the seven churches to whom he writes: Ephesus,Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, andLaodicea. We know these cities as historical cities containingactual churches.In Revelation 2 and 3, these seven churches are addressedwith individual exhortations and warnings. Interestingly, anumber of the historical, geographical, and political allusionscontained in the letters show that John did, in fact, have inview the specific churches addressed.4lous attack on Christian Reconstruction, The Road to Holocaust (NY: Bantam, 1989),is copyrighted by The Aorist Corporation. This seems fitting.4. See: William Ramsey, The Letters to the Seven Churches (Grand Rapids: Baker,[1904] 1963); Robert H. Mounce, The Book ofRevelation (New Intematiorud Commentary)396 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONSecond, we learn thatJohn wrote to those churches in orderto be understood. The first sentence ofJohn's work has becomethe title of the work. And from that title we know John fullyintended that his work be a "revelation." The Greek word for"revelation" is apokalupsis, which means an "opening up, uncovering."John intended his book to be an opening up of divinetruth for his original audience.Furthermore, in Revelation 1:3 we read: "Blessed is he whoreads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keepthose things which are written in it; for the time is near." Themembers of the churches to whom Revelation was addressedare expected to read, understand, and keep the directives inRevelation. Revelation calls upon each church to give careful,spiritual attention to its words.5Third, in Revelation John notes that he and the seven churcheshave already entered "the tribulation," which is a major propheticexpectation of the book (cf. Rev. 7:14): "I John, who also amyour brother, and companion in the tribulation" (Rev. 1:9a). InRevelation 2 and 3, there are allusions to greater problemsbrewing on the world scene.6John is clearly writing to particular historical churches abouttheir current grave circumstances. The original audience factorcannot be overlooked; the message of Revelation must be relevantto them.Contemporary ExpectationAs mentioned in Chapter 8, one of the most obvious, yetmost overlooked features of Revelation is John's expectancy.The expectation of the occurrence of the events of Revelationis urgent and impending. The "time is at hand"; the events"must shortly come to pass." This temporal expectation is stra-(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), chaps. 3 and 4.5. Rev. 2:7, 11,17,29; 3:6, 13,22.6. Rev. 2:10, 22-23, 25; 3:9-11.Revelation 397"must shortly come to pass." This temporal expectation is strategicallyplaced: it appears three times in the opening, introductorychapter (Rev. 1:1, 3, 19) and four times in the final,concluding chapter (Rev. 22:6, 7, 12, 20). Its appearance inboth of these chapters is significant because these bracket thehighly wrought symbolism of the prophetic body of the bookwhich is contained in the section from Revelation 4: 1 through22:6. These portions of Revelation in which the time indicatorsare embedded are generally of a more historical than propheticcharacter.With the particularity of the audience emphasized in conjunctionwith his message of the imminent expectation of occurrenceof the events, I do not see how a preterism of some sortcan be escaped. Nevertheless, there are those who do attemptto escape such logic.Some commentators, such as John Walvoord, understandthese terms as indicating that whenever the events do startcoming to pass, they will occur with great speed, following oneupon the other with great rapidity. Others, such as RobertMounce, view them as indicating that such events as John prophesiedare always imminent. That is, the events are always readyto occur, though they may not actually occur until thousands ofyears later. Still others, such as Leon Morris, see John's referencesas a measure of God's time, not man's. That is, John issaying that these events will come to pass "shortly" from God'sperspective. But, then, we must remember that "a day with theLord is as a thousand years" (2 Pet. 3:8).7But are these attempts capable of overthrowing our evidence?We must remember that John was writing to historicalchurches existing in his own day. He and they had alreadyentered the earliest stages of "the tribulation" (Rev. 1:9a). It7. John F. Walvoord, The Revelation ofJesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966),p. 35. Mounce, Revelation, pp. 64-65. Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 45.398 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONwould be a cruel mockery of their circumstances for John to tellthem that when help comes, it will come with swiftness - eventhough it may not come until two or three thousand years later.Or tell them that the events are always imminent - even thoughthe readers of his letter may never experience them. Or thatGod will send help soon - according to the way the EternalGod measures time: just a few days, or perhaps millennia.In addition, each of these approaches is destroyed by thevery fact that John repeats and varies his terms as if to dispelany confusion. Think of it: If these words in these verses do notindicate that John expected the events to occur soon, what wordscould John have used to express such? How could he have said itmore plainly?Date of WritingThe date of the writing of the Book of Revelation is certainlypre-A.D. 70, and probably as early as A.D. 65-66. I will notrehearse here the argument for this "early date" (as opposed toA.D. 95-96), because I have dealt with this in depth in anotherplace.8 But we do need to keep this in mind, because a largeportion of the prophecies in Revelation find fulfillment in theera leading up to the destruction of the Temple, as I will show.Revelational ThemeThe theme of Revelation is set forth in Revelation 1: 7: "Behold,He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him,even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth willmourn over Him." This theme is easily applicable to Christ'sjudgment-coming on first-century Israe1.9 This cloud-coming ofChrist in judgment is reminiscent of Old Testament cloud-8. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem FeU: Dating the Book of Revelation(Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).9. For the different ways in which Christ is said to "come" in Scripture, see pp.271-277, above.Revelation 399comings of God in judgment upon ancient historical peopleand nations. God "comes" upon Israel's enemies in general(Psa. 18:7-15; 104:3), upon Egypt (Isa. 19:1), upon disobedientIsrael in the Old Testament (Jod 2: 1, 2), and so forth. It is notnecessary that it refer to His final, Second Advental coming toend history. This is so for the following reasons.(1) The coming will be witnessed by "those who pierced him."The clear testimony of the New Testament record is that of theguilt of the Jews of the first century.lO (2) The reference tothose who pierced him is reinforced by the designation of themourners. They are called "all the tribes of the earth." Here the"earth" (ge) should most probably be translated "land," i. e. thePromised Land (see discussion below). The idea of the "tribes"in Revelation is of Israel's Twelve Tribes (Rev. 7:1ft). Whenever"tribes" is applied beyond Israel, the application adds the notionof "every tongue and kindred." Furthermore, the focus ofthis "tribulation" (Rev. 1:9; 7:14) is said by Christ to be Judea(Matt. 24: 16, 21). (3) This coming is expected by an inspiredwriter as occurring soon. The Second Advent has not occurredyet, while over 1,900 years have transpired since the time inwhich this coming was expected "quickly" (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20).In regard to the Jews, the Jewish War with Rome from A.D.67 to 70 brought about the deaths of tens of thousands of theJews in Judea, and the enslavement of thousands upon thousandsmore. The Jewish historian Josephus, who was an eyewitness,records that 1,100,000 Jews perished in the siege ofJerusalem, though this figure is disputed. J. L. von Mosheim,the great ecclesiastical historian, wrote that "throughout thewhole history of the human race, we meet with but few, if any,instances of slaughter and devastation at all to be comparedwith this."ll10. See: Acts 2:22, 23, 36; 3:14, 15; 4:8-10; 5:30; Matthew 21:33-35; 23:29-34:2;Luke 23:27-31; John 19:5-15; 1 Thess. 2:14-16.11. John Laurence von Mosheim, History of Christianity in the First Three Centuries,3 vols. (New York: Converse, 1854) 1:125.400 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONBut as awful as the Jewish loss oflife was, the utter devastationofJerusalem, the final destruction of the Temple, and theconclusive cessation of the sacrificial system were lamented evenmore. The covenantal significance of the loss of the Templestands as the most dramatic outcome of the War. Hence, anyJewish calamity after A.D. 70 would pale in comparison to theredemptive-historical significance of the loss of the Temple.So then, the expectation of a judgment-coming of Christ inthe first century is easily explicable in terms of the biblical andhistorical record. Thus, the point remains: John clearly expectedthe imminent occurrence of the events of Revelation.Primary FocusOne of the most common terms of significance in Revelationis the Greek word ge. It occurs eighty-two times in the twentytwochapters of Revelation. This word may be translated in twoways: (1) "earth" (indicating the entire globe) or (2) "land"(referring to a particular portion of the earth, such as the PromisedLand). It would seem that the overwhelming majority ofoccurrences of this term in the context of Revelation wouldsuggest its reference as being to "the Land," i. e., the famousand beloved Promised Land.12 The reasons justifying such atranslation are as follows:The very Jewish nature of Revelation suggests the plausibilityof such a translation. The lexical and syntactical peculiaritiesof Revelation are extremely Hebraic.13 Furthermore, the firstoccurrence of the term appears in the theme verse in Revelation1:7 and must mean the Promised Land (see previous argument).In addition, it is used later in ways strongly suggestive of12. "Palestine was to the Rabbis simply 'the land', all other countries beingsummed up under the designation of 'outside the land.' " Alfred Edersheim, SketchesofJewish Social Life (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1876] n.d.), p. 14.13. See R. H. Charles, The Revelation of St. John, 2 vols. (EdinbUlgh: T. & T.Clark, 1920), 1:cxvii-clix.Revelation 401a Palestinian reference. It is sometimes set against the "world"(Rev. 3:10) or "every nation" (Rev. 11:9,10; 13:7, 8; 14:6). InRevelation 7, the devastation on the "land" awaits the sealing of144,000 Jews representing all twelve tribes (cf. Rev. 14:3). Mterthis, the Christians from the rest of the world are considered(Rev. 7:9).Having now considered these interpretive factors, we willsurvey Revelation itself.Preparation for JudgmentIn the first part of Revelation (Rev. 1-5), John and his audienceare prepared for the terrifying judgment scenes to follow.Despite the turmoil, Christ is seen among the seven churches astheir Defender (Rev. 1: 12ft). He knows their tribulation andwill cut it short for the faithful (Rev. 2-3; especially: 2:10; 3:10).Then John and his readers are steeled against the storm ofGod's Judgment by a vision of the heavenly role in the u pheavaland devastation. Almighty God is seen in glorious, serene,sovereign control seated upon a throne of judgment (Rev. 4).The Lord Jesus Christ is seen as the Judge of Israel (Rev. 5; cf.Matt. 26:64). The identification of the scroll that Christ is givenis important to the message of Revelation in that it representsGod's divorce decree against Israel. Divorce in the Bible is alwaysby execution, either literal or covenantal.The Divorce of IsraelThe Seven-Sealed Scroll: DivorceIn Revelation 6-19, the judgment of Israel is portrayed incyclical fashion. The Seven-Sealed Scroll seems quite certainlyto represent God's "bill of divorcement" handed down by theJudge on the throne against Israel. It is known that divorcedecrees were written out among the Jews in the biblical era.1414. Deut. 24:1, 3; Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:8; Matt. 5:31; 19:7; Mark 10:4.402 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONIt is equally certain that marriage was based on a covenant contract.15 That the scroll in Revelation 6 would be a bill of divorcementis suggested on the following considerations.First, in Revelation we have prominent emphases on twoparticular women, two women who obviously correspond asopposites to one another. The two women are the wicked harlotof the beast (Rev. 17-18) and the pure bride of Christ (Rev. 21).They correspond with the earthly Jerusalem, which was the sceneof Christ's crucifixion (Rev. 11 :8), and the heavenly Jerusalem,which is holy (Rev. 21: 10), as I show below. The flow and driftof the book is the revelation and execution of the legal (Rev.15:3; 16:5-7) judgment on the fornicating harlot and the comingof a virginal bride, obviously to take the harlot's place aftera marriage supper (Rev. 19).Second, the apparent Old Testament background for thisimagery is found in Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 2:9-10, Israel's judgmentis portrayed as written on a scroll on the front and backand given to Ezekiel. This corresponds perfectly with Revelation5: 1. In Ezekiel, chapters 2 and following, the devastation ofIsrael is outlined, which corresponds with Revelation 6ff. InEzekiel 16, Israel is viewed as God's covenant wife who becamea harlot (see also Jer. 3: 1-8; Isa. 50: 1) that trusted in her beautyand committed fornication, just as Jerusalem-Babylon of Revelation(Rev. 18). She is cast out and judged for this evil conduct.Third, following the "divorce" and judgments associated withthem, John turns to see the coming of a new "bride" out ofheaven (Rev. 21-22). It would seem that the new bride could notbe taken until the harlotrous wife should first be dealt with legally.John imports the imagery of the harlot, bride, and marriagefeast; this is not being read into the text from outside. Thus,the imagery of divorce fits the dramatic flow of the work.The judgment of the fornicating harlot is begun when Christbegins opening the seven seals on the scroll: God the Father15. Prov. 2:17; Ezek. 16:8; Mal. 2:14.Revelation 403turns over the judgment to Christ, who will open the scroll,thus having judgment authority committed to Him Oohn 5:22;d. Rev. 5:4-7). Jesus tells Caiaphas and those later associatedwith him in the crucifixion, that they shall see the "Son of Mancoming with the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 26:64). This fits wellwith the Pauline imagery of the casting out of the one wife(Hagar who is representative of the Jerusalem below) and thetaking of the other wife (Sara who is representative of the J erusalemabove) in Galatians 4:24ff.As the seals are opened, the judgments begin. At the openingof the first seal (the white horse) we have a picture of theRoman army victoriously entering Israel toward Jerusalem(Rev. 6:1-2). This cannot be Christ, because: (1) The whitehorse is the only similarity with Revelation 19: 11. (2) Christ isopening the seals in heaven. (3) The Living Creatures wouldnot command Christ to "come!" This one is God's "avenger"upon Israel. The white horse indicates victory, not holiness.God often uses the unjust to bring His judgments in history.I6The second seal (the red horse) speaks of the eruption ofJewish civil war (Rev. 6:3-4). In Greek, "the peace" is emphasized.It refers to the famous Pax Romana covering the RomanEmpire.I7 Hence, the significance of "rumors of wars" (Matt.24:6) in such a peaceful era. Josephus notes that the civil war inthe Land was worse than the carnage wrought by the Romansthemselves.I8 The third seal (black horse) portrays famineplaguing Israel (Rev. 6:5-6). Black symbolizes famine (Lam 4:8;5:10). One of the most horrible aspects ofJerusalem's woes was16. Deut. 28:15,49; Isa. 10:5-6; 44:18-45:4.17. "Building on the foundations laid by his uncle, Julius Caesar, [Augustus]brought peace.... The internal peace and order which Augustus achieved endured,with occasional interruptions, for about two centuries. Never before had all theshores of the Mediterranean been under one rule and never had they enjoyed suchprosperity. The pax Romana made for the spread of ideas and religions over the areawhere it prevailed." Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity, 2 vols. (2nded.; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1975),1:21.18. Josephus, Wars 4:3:2; 5:1:1,5.404 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONthe famine caused by civil strife.19 The fourth seal (pale horse)witnesses the death of one-fourth of Israel (Rev. 6:7-8). Thepale horse is death personified. The animals devouring thedead indicate covenantal curse (Deut. 28: 15, 26).With the opening of the fifth seal, we get another look intoheaven. We see the altar in heaven and hear vindication promisedChristian martyrs (Rev. 6:9-11). This vindication is to occurin "a little while" (Rev. 6: 10). It comes through the final collapseof Israel.The sixth seal (stellar phenomena) symbolizes the fall of Israel'sgovernment (Rev. 6:12-17). Such symbolic phenomenaare often associated with the collapse of governments: Babylon(Isa. 13:1, 10, 19); Egypt (Ezek. 32:2,7-8, 16, 18); Idumea (Isa.34:3-5); Judah (jer. 4:14, 23-24). Josephus mentions that theJews actually sought refuge underground during the A.D. 6770war, as per the symbolic imagery.2o Christ warned that thiswould happen to that generation (Luke 23:27-30).At Revelation 7: 1 there is a gracious interlude between seals(Rev. 7:1-8). The "four angels" temporarily hold back the"winds of destructioo"21 and counter the four destroying horsemen.This providential halt in the judgments allows the minoritypopulation of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem to flee as theRoman General Vespasian is distracted (with the fall of Neroand the Roman Civil Wars) before he reaches Jerusalem.22There is a prophecy (Luke 21 :20-22) and an historical record23that Christians would be preserved through Jerusalem'stribulation.Here we are introduced to the 144,000 sealed saints of God.It should be noted initially that the figure" 144,000" is a perfectnumber composed of exactly twelve squared times 1,000. The19. Ibid., 5:10:2-5.20. Ibid., 6:7:3 (cf. 7:2: 1).21. Jer. 49:36, 37; 51:1, 2; Dan. 7:2; Matt. 7:24ff.22. Josephus, Wan 4:9:2; 4:11:5.23. Eusebius, Ecclesi&tit:al History 3:5.Revelation 405numerical figure itself is obviously stylized symbolism. But ofwhat?The 144,000 saints seem to be representative ofJewish convertsto Christianity who dwelt in Israel, for the following reasons:(1) The particular reference to the Twelve Tribes and the factthat they are the "first fruits" (Rev. 14:4). Christianity's firstconverts were from Jerusalem (Acts 2). (2) Their distinctionfrom the great multitude from every nation (Rev. 7:9). (3) TheOld Testament background in Ezekiel 9:4 clearly specifies theirhabitation at Jerusalem. (4) They are protected by God in "theLand" (ge), which is being judged (Rev. 7:1-3). This fits wellwith the forgoing action as being in Israel. (5) Such a designationis compatible with Christ's warning His followers to fleeJerusalem before its final overthrow (Matt. 24: 15-16; Luke21 :20-24). He promised that His followers who heeded Hisprophecy would be protected (Luke 21:18-19). (6) The eventsofRevelation are spoken in anticipation of their soon occurring.This fits perfectly the historical outcome of the flight of theChristians from Jerusalem prior to her fall.The Seven TrumpetsWith the opening of the seventh seal, we hear the sounding ofthe seven trumpets (Rev. 8:1-6). The first four trumpets showjudgments upon things, the last three upon men. They reviewand intensify the chaos of the seals: destruction increases fromone-fourth (Rev. 6:8) to one-third (Rev. 8:7-12). Regardingearthquakes and eruptions, James Moffatt writes: "Portents ofthis abnormal nature are recorded for the seventh decade ofthe first century by Roman historians.... Volcanic phenomena... in the Egean archipelago ... are in the background of thisdescription, and of others throughout the book; features suchas the disturbance of islands and the mainland, showers ofstones, earthquakes, the sun obscured by a black mist of ashes,and the moon reddened by volcanic dust, were the naturalconsequences of eruption in some marine volcano, and there -406 HE SHALL HAVE DOMINIONadjoining Patmos - was in a state of more or less severe eruptionduring the first century.,,24 W. Boyd Carpenter writes:"Perhaps no period in the world's history has ever been somarked by these convulsions as that which intervenes betweenthe Crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephusrecords one in Judea (Wars 4:4:5); Tacitus tells of them inCrete, Rome, Apamea, Phrygia, Campania (Ann. 12:58; 14:27;15:22); Seneca (Ep. 91), in A.D. 58, speaks of them as extendingtheir devastations over Asia (the proconsular providence, notthe continent), Achaia, Syria, and Macedonia."25These judgments reflect the plagues upon Egypt at theExodus.26 Jerusalem has become the equivalent of Egypt (seeRev. 11 :8). She and other cities in Israel are worse than Nineveh(Matt. 12:41), Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom (Matt. 11 :21-23).She has become a "synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).With the fifth trumpet, we witness an outbreak of demonictorment (Rev. 9: 1-21). The fallen star here is Satan, "the angel"of the pit (v. 11). The demons confined to the pit (2 Pet. 2:4;Jude 6; Luke 8:31) are loosed to torment Israel (vv. 2, 3; cf.Rev. 18:2), just as Christ warned (Matt. 12:43f). The period oftorment is "five months," which indicates the final siege ofJerusalem by Titus, when the Jews were driven mad as theywere hopelessly trapped.27 This siege lasted five months: "Titusbegan the siege of Jerusalem in April, 70. The defendersheld out desperately for five months, but by the end of Augustthe Temple area was occupied and the holy house burneddown, and by the end of September all resistance in the city24. James Moffatt, Revelation, in W. R. Nicoll, The Expositor's Greek Testament, 5vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [n.d.] 1980),5:404. See: Seneca, Lucilius 91; Tacitus,Histories 1:2-3 and Annals 12:58; 14:27; 15:22.25. W. Boyd Carpenter, "The Gospel According to Matthew," Ellicott's Commentaryon the Whole Bible, John C. Ellicott, ed., 8 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.),6:146.26. Cf. Rev. 8:5 with Exo. 19:16£, Rev. 8:7 with Exo. 9: 18ff; 8:8-9 with Exo 7:20£;8:11 with Exo. 10:21. Cf. Deut. 28:15, 60ff.27. Josephus, Wars 5:1:1, 5.Revelat