Is it true that the early church is pre millennial?

Discussion in 'Revelation & Eschatology' started by user12009, Jun 7, 2019.

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  1. user12009

    user12009 Puritan Board Freshman

    Is it true that the early church were pre millennial, is it because of Agustine rejection of the earthly reign of Christ, the entire church, especially Roman Catholic Church became Amillennial.The protestant reformers did not alter the Roman Catholic view?

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  2. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    No, though it often claimed so. Read Charles Hill's Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity. It's true that some prominent church fathers were premillennial (though not what we would recognize as dispensational premillennial), but many were not. Hill argues that premilliennialism was a minority position associated with other eschatological errors (especially soul sleep). I don't know that he demonstrated the dominance of proto-amillennialism conclusively, but he certainly did show that it did not start with Augustine.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    One of the temptations we have to avoid is to speak of the Early Church being more monolithic than they really were. I think we can establish that communities in Asia Minor were premillennial, as well as Irenaeus. But to then say they whole church was premillennial (or Calvinist or postmillennial, pace FN Lee) is simply to go beyond the evidence.

    You can find premillennial evidence in the Didache as well as Justin Martyr. I've seen it argued that Methodius of Olympus was premillennial, but I didn't find it conclusive. I've also seen it argued that Hippolytus was, but I haven't read those documents.
  4. Joseph Knowles

    Joseph Knowles Puritan Board Freshman

    When most people today say "pre-millenial" they are effectively using that as shorthand for "dispensational pre-millenialism" (or so it has been in my experience). That version of pre-millenialism certainly did not exist in the early church.

    As others have pointed out already, there are at least roots of a "historic pre-millenialism" in the early church, but it would be pretty far removed from what many modern pre-millenialists would claim to believe.
  5. sovereigngrace

    sovereigngrace Puritan Board Freshman

    The RCC did not develop until well into the 300s. The Church government centered in Antioch, Syria and Alexandria, Egypt after being moving out of Jerusalem.

    All of the early orthodox writers in the first 100 years apart from Papias (who we can acknowledge was a Chiliast) were non-Chiliast. But a Chiliast and a Premil were 2 completely different animals. I am talking about the grandsons of Jude (1st century), The Didache (A.D. 65-80), Mathetes (A.D 90), The Shepherd of Hermas (written in 88-99 AD), Clement (Died around 99 A.D.), 2 Clement (Early 2nd century), Ignatius (A.D. 98-117), Polycarp (Born AD 68,writes about AD 110, martyred about AD 155), Barnabus (A.D. 70-131), The Ascension of Isaiah (late 1st century to early 2nd century) and Aristides (120-130 AD).

    We do not have one single clear or obscure quote teaching any of the following Premillennial fundamentals in the first 100 years after the cross:

    1. The very mention of a future 1000 years.
    2. The elevation of natural Israel to their old covenant place of favour over all other nations.
    3. The restoring of Israel back to her ancient borders.
    4. The return of the whole old covenant arrangement.
    5. The rebuilding of a brick temple in earthly Jerusalem.
    6. The restarting of the mass slaughter of innocent animals on the new earth.
    7. The resuscitation of the ancient old covenant priesthood again in a future millennium.
    8. Christ’s kingship and kingly reign being suspended until the second coming.
    9. The multiplication of carnal pleasures on a future new earth, involving excessive gluttony and the proliferation of procreation in the age to come.
    10. The final removal of Satan from heaven at the second coming.
    11. The binding of Satan at the second coming.
    12. His placement in the abyss for 1000 years after the second coming.
    13. The release of Satan 1,000 years+ after the second coming.
    14. The revival of Satanism 1,000 years+ after the second coming as the wicked in their billions overrun the Premil millennium.
    15. Sin continuing unabated on a future millennial earth.
    15. Corruption continuing unabated on a future millennial earth.
    17. The wicked inheriting a future millennial earth.
    18. Mortals inheriting a future millennial earth.
    19. Decay continuing unabated on a future millennial earth.
    20. The curse continuing unabated on a future millennial earth.
    21. Satan operating on a future new earth.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  6. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Yes. The pre-millennial position was around long before the Dispensationalists showed up in the mid-19th-century and poisoned the pre-millennial well.
  7. Colin

    Colin Puritan Board Freshman

  8. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    One thing I’ve learned over the years is that, while it is interesting to see which of the early fathers thought what concerning eschatology, it is not fruitful to base our own views in 2019 on their thinking. Of all the Biblical doctrines most are fairly settled—despite some hardened differences—with the stark exception of eschatology, even these near two millennia later. And why is this? A thought:

    Geerhardus Vos, although speaking of discerning the Antichrist, enunciated a principle applicable here,

    “[It] belongs among the many prophecies, whose best and final exegete will be the eschatological fulfillment, and in regard to which it behooves the saints to exercise a peculiar kind of eschatological patience.” (The Pauline Eschatology, p. 133)​

    O.T. Allis in his book, Prophecy and the Church, expressed the same sentiment:

    “The usual view on this subject [‘the intelligibility of prophecy’] has been that prophecy is not intended to be fully understood before its fulfilment, that it is only when God ‘establishes the word of his servants and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,’ that the meaning and import of their words become fully manifest.” (p 25)​

    Stuart Olyott in his,Dare to Stand Alone: Daniel Simply Explained, thinks likewise:

    “We must realize that some of the Bible’s teachings relating to the very last days will not be understood until we are inthose days. That is why it is both unwise and dangerous to draw up detailed timetables of future events. Some parts of the Word of God will not become obvious in their meaning until the days of which they speak have dawned.” (p 166)​

    [These three men are all of the Amillennial school of eschatological interpretation.]

    It is now, after much examination and thought, and observing the world about us, and the times that are presently upon us, we have some perspective that earlier believers did not have.

    The various views that were current around the time of the Reformation, some of which were historicist, were pretty much discarded when William Milligan posted his “idealist” view (the primitive forerunner of modern Amillennialism / modified idealism), suggesting that a symbolism detached from history was the genre of the Book of Revelation. A number of writers, such as William Hendriksen and Michael Wilcock, and building on them men like Greg Beale, Dennis E. Johnson, Stephen Smalley, Vern Poythress, etc. rescued eschatology from the effete merely symbolic “consistent” idealism of Milligan (and to some extent Warfield) to a more robust Biblical fidelity and discernment, which we find presently in the Amillennial school of our times.

    I have posited a new development in amil studies around the phenomenon of Biblical sorcery / pharmakeia, which, in my view, opens a lot of understanding in this area. I’ll attach a recent booklet of mine with three brief essays unpacking that, OUR SORCEROUS AGE: Prelude to Armageddon.

    In case one hasn’t noticed, these days we’re in have witnessed opening salvos in an emerging Open Occult Warfare; following the recent hearings on Justice Kavanaugh, in NYC a large gathering of witches openly pronounced curses on him, which were reported in the media. An article in The American Interest, “The Rise of Progressive Occultism”, looks at this trend, though Peter Jones and his many books on this topic are also available.

    Two new developments can be seen in the news: Denver legalizes magic psilocybin mushrooms, and, Oakland becomes 2nd US city to legalize magic mushrooms. We are entering a time of high-velocity psychic power openly manifested. The NYTimes has been pushing this agenda (of hard psychedelics) for years. What remains to be seen are the players to utilize these satanic energies.

    Attached Files:

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  9. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    I read this through non stop Steve. I thanks God you posted this booklet. Because of my medical condition I have been encouraged by others to try medical MJ. I see now the harm it could cause. Thanks again. With your permission I’d like to send this to some friends and family.
  10. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Sure, James - it's in the public domain, with no copyright restrictions, as are all my writings and books.
  11. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    As I've said for a long time: the church, over the last nearly 2,000 years, has teased out the three basic millennial positions from the same biblical material. That should be a hint to the church that we don't know as much about eschatology as we like to think we do (and which we are, sometimes, too proud to admit). Whichever eschatological position you hold to, hold it sincerely, but hold it lightly - because we could all be wrong!

    God knows all, but only tells some.
  12. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Richard,

    Is not this a ‘counsel of despair’ — saying we cannot understand what God has given to us to keep: “blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev 22:7), promising a blessing also to those who do?

    Rather, is it not simply the projection of your own uncertainty regarding understanding the prophecy, and saying that, like yourself, we all should hold whatever we hold “sincerely, but…lightly - because we could all be wrong”?

    There are some things we should “earnestly contend for” (Jude 3) concerning the faith, and I would say that the final — and the climax of all — prophecy is one of them, first, due to the blessing promised those who do, and second, because understanding this word of God to us is of vital importance.

    If you think the amil school is wrong, then attempt to substantiate that by exegesis and exposition, but please don’t say that God has not told us clearly what He has deemed vital for us to know — particularly as concerns our welfare and understanding as the present age winds down in chaos and turbulence.

    “…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…” (Isa 30:15)​
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Major Premise: Preach the whole counsel of God.
    Minor Premise: Revelation 20 is in the whole counsel of God.
    Conclusion: Preach Revelation 20
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