Not a Good Time to Be a Postmil?

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Well a central argument Boettner uses in his Millennium to defend the Postmil position is exactly this: that, in his view, at the time of writing the book, there was a great flourishing of Christian culture in the world (even using things like the many Christian magazines and radio shows at the time as evidence of the Postmil position). I read that book looking for a defence of the Postmil position and I was less convinced in it after reading the book than I was before. I thought he made a very weak case. On the other hand his treatment of Premil is excellent and that is where the book is most valuable.

Amen. Me too!
 

Unique Name

Puritan Board Freshman
Someone on Twitter noted that 2020 is a bad year for postmillennialism.

I can buy that.
It's been two thousand years. How many times were people "justified" in saying something akin to "bad year to be postmil"? But as we know, the world didn't end. For "empirical" data I would refer you to the atheist book "enlightenment now" by steven pinker. He gives a lot of evidence for world progress. I am personally amil, but I find these conversations to be missing the point. Most true postmils are very very patient when it comes to progress. They don't focus on their own time as the litmus test for their theology.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Well a central argument Boettner uses in his Millennium to defend the Postmil position is exactly this: that, in his view, at the time of writing the book, there was a great flourishing of Christian culture in the world (even using things like the many Christian magazines and radio shows at the time as evidence of the Postmil position). I read that book looking for a defence of the Postmil position and I was less convinced in it after reading the book than I was before. I thought he made a very weak case. On the other hand his treatment of Premil is excellent and that is where the book is most valuable.

I think it's fair to say that Boettner's brand of postmillennialism is not a great example of standard postmillennial thought.
 

Challer

Puritan Board Freshman
Our local church has a mix of folks with varying eschatological positions across the whole spectrum. Our Pastor advocates amillenialism (as does Dr. Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, of which I attend their LRBS seminary), whereas some in our local church body advocate postmillenialism.

I, myself, am an advocate for premillenialism as I can find no scriptural support for the other two positions. A plain reading of Matthew 24 and its parallels seems to affirm the premillennial position.

I recently watched an interesting discussion 'An Evening of Eschatology' from 2009. For those who haven't seen it, it can be found here. I went hunting for more resources such as these after reviewing a paper examining the eschatology of C.H. Spurgeon, with whom I am privileged to share three initials. :p

With all that out of the way, to reply directly to the thread, I don't think any time is a good time to advocate postmillenialism. However, eschatological positions aren't separating issues for me, personally.

We should all, in my opinion and as that discussion records, "be prepared to change our theology in mid-air."

God bless.
 
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Unique Name

Puritan Board Freshman
Our local church has a mix of folks with varying eschatological positions across the whole spectrum. Our Pastor advocates amillenialism (as does Dr. Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, of which I attend their LRBS seminary), whereas some in our local church body advocate postmillenialism.

I, myself, am an advocate for premillenialism as I can find no scriptural support for the other two positions. A plain reading of Matthew 24 and its parallels seems to affirm the premillennial position.

I recently watched an interesting discussion 'An Evening of Eschatology' from 2009. For those who haven't seen it, it can be found here. I went hunting for more resources such as these after reviewing a paper examining the eschatology of C.H. Spurgeon, with whom I am privileged to share three initials. :p

With all that out of the way, to reply directly to the thread, I don't think any time is a good time to advocate postmillenialism. However, eschatological positions aren't separating issues for me, personally.

We should all, in my opinion and as that discussion records, "be prepared to change our theology in mid-air."

God bless.
Hello good sir. I think talk about the "plain" reading is not helpful because there are always counterexamples of "plain" readings being insufficient. I can imagine the theological conservatives during Jesus' day thinking that the Jesus movement was abusing the "plain" reading of scripture. I digress. What is the plain reading of these: “some of you standing here will not taste death until you see the kingdom come”; “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place [your Matt. 24 reference]”; “ye shall not have gone through the cities of Palestine till the Son of Man come”. What is the plain reading of Ezekiel's future temple and sacrificial system, with it's circumcision requirements? What about the plain understanding of Hosea 11:1? Does Mathew's gospel understand the "plain" reading when he interprets Hosea 11:1 to be a prophecy about Jesus return from Egypt? Those are not even among the better counterexamples I suspect.

Respectfully.
 

Challer

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello good sir. I think talk about the "plain" reading is not helpful because there are always counterexamples of "plain" readings being insufficient. I can imagine the theological conservatives during Jesus' day thinking that the Jesus movement was abusing the "plain" reading of scripture. I digress. What is the plain reading of these: “some of you standing here will not taste death until you see the kingdom come”; “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place [your Matt. 24 reference]”; “ye shall not have gone through the cities of Palestine till the Son of Man come”. What is the plain reading of Ezekiel's future temple and sacrificial system, with it's circumcision requirements? What about the plain understanding of Hosea 11:1? Does Mathew's gospel understand the "plain" reading when he interprets Hosea 11:1 to be a prophecy about Jesus return from Egypt? Those are not even among the better counterexamples I suspect.

Respectfully.

Great questions. May the LORD bless the labor of His workman. Let's jump in.

"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." - Matthew 16:28 (KJV)

Like many prophecies, we have here something I believe may be best understood with the 'inaugurated, but not yet consummated' (or 'already, but not yet') hermeneutic as it pertains to eschatology. We can see this same unfolding in other areas of God's Word, such as with the appearance of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah as opposed to the Conquering King of the OT, as well as in some matters related to the state of believers. This is obliquely what's in view in verses like Romans 7:16, Revelation 6:10 and many others. In instances where there is an already but not yet interpretation in view, there is often the very real prescence of an earnest. This earnest was most probably made manifest in the events that took place during AD 70, suggested by the use of the LORD's word 'some'.

"But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another: for truly I say to you, You shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." - Matthew 10:23 (KJV)

Regarding this verse, I like Ellicott's treatment and find it to be sufficient:

"Explanations have been given which point to the destruction of Jerusalem as being so far “a day of the Lord” as to justify its being taken as a type of the final Advent, and they receive at least a certain measure of support from the way in which the two events are brought into close connection in the great prophetic discourse of Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21. But the question meets us, and cannot be evaded, Were the two events thus brought together with a knowledge of the long interval by which they were in fact to be divided from each other, and if so, why was that knowledge kept from the disciples? Some reasons for that reticence lie on the surface. That sudden widening of the horizon of their vision would have been one of the things which they were not able to bear (John 16:12). In this, as in all else, their training as individual men was necessarily gradual, and the education of the Church which they founded was to be carried on, like that of mankind at large, through a long succession of centuries. The whole question will call for a fuller discussion in the Notes on Matthew 24. In the meantime it will be enough humbly to express my own personal conviction that what seems the boldest solution is also the truest and most reverential. The human thoughts of the Son of Man may not have travelled in this matter to the furthest bound of the mysterious horizon. He Himself told them of that day and that hour, that its time was known neither to the angels of heaven, nor even to the Son, but to the Father only (Mark 13:32)."

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Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." - Matthew 24:34 (KJV)

I appreciate Matthew Henry's approach to this text, which is similarly echoed in Matthew 23:36.

"24:29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them."

However, it's worth noting that other millenial positions don't resolve these difficulties so easily, either. For this reason, I'm less inclined to take Matthew Henry's explanation as a cop out. In my estimation, not one of the other positions do a great job of interpreting this differently, from what I've seen.

Regarding Ezekiel's future temple.

I haven't studied this text carefully, but I imagine it may be referring to the Third Temple. Granted, it is difficult to read any prophetic text plainly. I do, however, think that Matthew 24 and its parallels are the most plainly recorded of all the eschatological prophecies we have in God's Word. The Prophets of the Old Testament seem to use much more colorful, symbolic and even vague language. Why shouldn't they? In times of old, God spoke to us through the prophets. Praise God, when Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks, God is speaking.

"And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." - Matthew 2:15 (KJV)

This verse and its reference to Hosea 11:1 may seem mysterious to us today, but during the time it was easy enough to understand. Scholars during that period of time would often quote portions of a passage while citing neighboring passages. It was broadly understood what was meant when this occurred, and Our Lord Jesus Christ employed this method Himself throughout the Gospels on multiple occasions. To answer your question directly, it is the return of baby Jesus from Egypt that fulfills this prophecy. While "it is true that there are no extant Jewish uses before or after the first century that explicitly link Hosea 11:1 with this typology, nor did they understand it as explicitly messianic" according to Beale, this is commonplace in matters pertaining to prophecy and one of the areas where the textual criticism fails spectacularly. Authors can certainly pen things by way of inspiration which may be richly blessed with meaning that escapes the author's present understanding.

(1) Note that the babies being put to the sword in and around Bethlehem by Herod in 2:16-18 and its similarity to what Pharoah had done in Egypt.
(2) Note that Jesus Christ would be found faithful during His fast in the wilderness, unlike Israel after the Exodus.
(3) Note that Jesus Christ would perfectly fulfill the Law, where Israel could not.
(4) Note that Jesus Christ would feed His flock in the wilderness, as God fed the Israelites during their time in the wilderness.
(5) Note that Jesus Christ would heal others who had eyes to see and looked upon Him in faith, just as the Nehushtan.
(6) Note that Jesus Christ would have power over the elements, similar to what was displayed during the Exodus.
(7) Note that Jesus Christ would choose twelve Apostles, just as twelve tribes were represented in Israel.

So what this verse is really pointing toward (despite the absence of unanimously forward looking Old Testament saints) is Jesus Christ as faithful Israel.

What I meant by a 'plain reading of Matthew 24', to be clear, is the recorded sequence of events that would seem to support a premillennial position.

Quite happy to address any other verses that come to your mind. I do hope you will prayerfully consider what I've written here. God bless.
 
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