Areas of agreement between different eschatologies

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
This subject often provokes vigorous debate. I do not wish to discourage healthy dialogue on this issue but I thought it would be interesting for a change to talk about the common ground that may exist between pre-, post-, and amillennialists. While I am a postmillennialist, I often find myself agreeing with amillennial and premillennial brethren on various specific issues when I read their writings. Here are a couple of cases in point:

1. I tend to agree with the premils in seeing more of a place for national Israel than many amils or postmils would do. I think that J. C. Ryle makes a valid point (I cannot immediately remember where) when he says that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel cannot all be reduced to the NT church and nothing else.

2. I tend to agree with my so-called "pessimistic" amil brethren concerning the immediate future. I was intrigued to read J. L. Giradeau arguing, as a postmil, that there will be a Great Tribulation prior to the beginning of the millennium. That point interested me because it does seem that we are on the brink of such a tribulation now, though I obviously disagree with my amil brethren as to the outcome of it.

Can anyone else highlight areas of agreement that they might have with those who hold positions other than their own on eschatology?
 
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83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
I tend to be amil, but have greatly appreciated the postmil emphasis on the promise of success in evangelism as a motivator for doing evangelism and working diligently for Christ. We can expect God to work through us, because He has promised to do so.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Which is precisely why I do not like referring to "pessimistic" amillennialists. There is nothing pessimistic about recognising that the Lamb of God ultimately triumphs, which is a point on which we all agree.
To be fair, the “pessimistic” and “optimistic” labels are describing the flavor of disposition an eschatological position has with regard to what happens in between now and then. In that area there is often significant difference between eschatological positions. Eschatology speaks of more than just the very end, after all.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
To be fair, the “pessimistic” and “optimistic” labels are describing the flavor of disposition an eschatological position has with regard to what happens in between now and then. In that area there is often significant difference between eschatological positions. Eschatology speaks of more than just the very end, after all.

I am aware that is what it means, but I still think that it has an unduly pejorative ring to it.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Can anyone else highlight areas of agreement that they might have with those who hold positions other than their own on eschatology?
1. I tend to agree with the premils in seeing more of a place for national Israel than many amils or postmils would do.

This postmil has big expectations for national Israel, as per Romans 11. Jesus is, after all, "the Savior of the world.” John 4:42
 
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Unique Name

Puritan Board Freshman
1. I tend to agree with the premils in seeing more of a place for national Israel than many amils or postmils would do. I think that J. C. Ryle makes a valid point (I cannot immediately remember where) when he says that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel cannot all be reduced to the NT church and nothing else.
I don't mean to stray from the prompt, but when you say Ryle makes a valid point, it should be mentioned that amils such as Hoekema have stressed the importance of the New Heavens and New Earth as a final "restoration" of sorts. Hoekema was responding to similar charges, that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel cannot all be reduced to the NT church and nothing else. The claim may have been "valid" then, but in my mind it is not valid today. I.e., amils stress the New Heavens and the New Earth as the final fulfillment of the restoration prophecies, and they do not reduce them to being completely fulfilled in the church. (Although many believe the church is essentially Israel, but I digress).
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I don't mean to stray from the prompt, but when you say Ryle makes a valid point, it should be mentioned that amils such as Hoekema have stressed the importance of the New Heavens and New Earth as a final "restoration" of sorts. Hoekema was responding to similar charges, that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel cannot all be reduced to the NT church and nothing else. The claim may have been "valid" then, but in my mind it is not valid today. I.e., amils stress the New Heavens and the New Earth as the final fulfillment of the restoration prophecies, and they do not reduce them to being completely fulfilled in the church. (Although many believe the church is essentially Israel, but I digress).

I think this point highlights the problem of definition when it comes to these discussions. When someone says pre-, post-, or amils believe X, then someone else can point out examples of pre-, post-, and amils believing Y. It thus becomes very difficult to neatly pigeon-hole people.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
I think this point highlights the problem of definition when it comes to these discussions. When someone says pre-, post-, or amils believe X, then someone else can point out examples of pre-, post-, and amils believing Y. It thus becomes very difficult to neatly pigeon-hole people.
I agree totally. While I would claim to be in the amil camp, I love hearing from the other camps and have been edified by all views. This subject always always makes me appreciative of how our confessional forefathers handled the subject in the historic confessions (mainly Westminster and LBC). The end times chapters highlight the unity that all orthodox views have in common. So while I enjoy getting in the weeds from time to time, no man-made work beats the refreshing certainties expressed in Westminster.:detective:

Chapter 33 - Of the Last Judgment.​

Section 1.) God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ,(1) to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.(2) In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged,(3) but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.(4)
(1) Ac 17:31 (2) Jn 5:22,27 (3) 1Co 6:3; Jude 6; 2Pe 2:4 (4) 2Co 5:10; Ecc 12:14; Ro 2:16; Ro 14:10,12; Mt 12:36,37
------------------------------------
Section 2.) The end of God's appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.(1)
(1) Mt 25:31 to the end; Ro 2:5,6; Ro 9:22,23; Mt 25:21; Ac 3:19; 2Th 1:7-10
------------------------------------
Section 3.) As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity 1) so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.(2)
(1) 2Pe 3:11,14; 2Co 5:10,11; 2Th 1:5-7; Lk 21:7,28; Ro 8:23-25 (2) Mt 24:36,42,43,44; Mk 13:35-37; Lk 12:35,36; Rev 22:20
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Plenty of amills see a future for the direct descendents of Abraham but not as any kind of nation state -- see John Murray on Romans 11.

I'd say there's a commonality between amill and 1980s postmil positions in seeing Christ's kingdom established at his ascension. We amills might do a better job at holding the tension in the "time between the times" particularly noted in the work of G. Vos.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
One big area of agreement: already-not yet. Even progressive dispensationalists are saying that, and the term came into widespread evangelical usage because of a historic premillennialist.

And if I ever say a position is pessimistic, I am not using it as an insult. I'm a fairly pessimistic person (I wish I could get raptured right now) and I think my eschatology is quite pessimistic.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Plenty of amills see a future for the direct descendents of Abraham but not as any kind of nation state -- see John Murray on Romans 11.

I'd say there's a commonality between amill and 1980s postmil positions in seeing Christ's kingdom established at his ascension. We amills might do a better job at holding the tension in the "time between the times" particularly noted in the work of G. Vos.

When I read Geerhardus Vos's Reformed Dogmatics I noticed that he seemed to be a lot closer to postmillennialism/optimistic amillennialism than I imagined that he would be.

Edit: I once asked the son of W. J. Grier (author of a basic work on amillennialism, The Momentous Event) what his father thought of the nation of Israel in relation to the fulfilment of prophecy? He told me that his father would not have completely ruled Israel out as being of some significance. Admittedly, this point is anecdotal and I never heard it from the horses' mouth (who may have died before I was born) but it would be a significant observation if I could verify it. I would probably have to go through old Mr Grier's articles in the Irish Evangelical/Evangelical Presbyterian Magazine or his correspondence with J. G. Machen and Carl McIntyre to see if there are any references to the modern nation of Israel.
 
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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
When I read Geerhardus Vos's Reformed Dogmatics I noticed that he seemed to be a lot closer to postmillennialism/optimistic amillennialism than I imagined that he would be.
I believe the professor's Dogmatics was written at a younger age and you can get a better sense of his mature thinking in his Pauline Eschatology. He would have refuted the postmill viewpoint of his day.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
When I read Geerhardus Vos's Reformed Dogmatics I noticed that he seemed to be a lot closer to postmillennialism/optimistic amillennialism than I imagined that he would be.

Edit: I once asked the son of W. J. Grier (author of a basic work on amillennialism, The Momentous Event) what his father thought of the nation of Israel in relation to the fulfilment of prophecy? He told me that his father would not have completely ruled Israel out as being of some significance. Admittedly, this point is anecdotal and I never heard it from the horses' mouth (who may have died before I was born) but it would be a significant observation if I could verify it. I would probably have to go through old Mr Grier's articles in the Irish Evangelical/Evangelical Presbyterian Magazine or his correspondence with J. G. Machen and Carl McIntyre to see if there are any references to the modern nation of Israel.
The Momentous Event is the first book that persuaded me of Amillenialism. I followed that up with Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillenialism and became sold.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
The Momentous Event is the first book that persuaded me of Amillenialism. I followed that up with Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillenialism and became sold.
Were you aware this book had a helpful update a couple of years ago. Riddlebarger added two new chapters, and added a helpful introduction where he responded to some of John MacArthur's recent attacks on Reformed eschatology.
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
This subject often provokes vigorous debate. I do not wish to discourage healthy dialogue on this issue but I thought it would be interesting for a change to talk about the common ground that may exist between pre-, post-, and amillennialists. While I am a postmillennialist, I often find myself agreeing with amillennial and premillennial brethren on various specific issues when I read their writings. Here are a couple of cases in point:

1. I tend to agree with the premils in seeing more of a place for national Israel than many amils or postmils would do. I think that J. C. Ryle makes a valid point (I cannot immediately remember where) when he says that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel cannot all be reduced to the NT church and nothing else.

2. I tend to agree with my so-called "pessimistic" amil brethren concerning the immediate future. I was intrigued to read J. L. Giradeau arguing, as a postmil, that there will be a Great Tribulation prior to the beginning of the millennium. That point interested me because it does seem that we are on the brink of such a tribulation now, though I obviously disagree with my amil brethren as to the outcome of it.

Can anyone else highlight areas of agreement that they might have with those who hold positions other than their own on eschatology?
I have found there are not only (as you have rightly highlighted) areas of agreement between sundry eschatological millennial views, but even within the hermeneutical framework of apocalyptic genre by which we come to such conclusions. Showing my own cards, as the saying goes, I am historicist-postmil. However, in my studies I've grown to appreciate the facts that:

1) Like partial-preterists and futurists, I believe that prophecy is fulfilled in a singular and historical sense (whether that be history past, present or future);
2) And, like idealists, I believe that there are very challenging, devotional and pastoral applications that should be drawn from prophetic texts.

I apologize if I diverted from the narrow query in the original post by bringing up broader eschatological hermeneutics, but having recently finished a study through the book of Daniel on Sabbath evenings, the topic has been fresh on my mind; and I have found that the recognition of these areas of common ground have helped in my discussions with and appreciation of others who may approach an eschatological text differently than myself.
 
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