Optimistic Amillennial Commentaries

Discussion in 'Commentaries' started by TylerRay, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Does anyone know of any commentaries on Revelation from an Idealist standpoint that take an optimistic view of the visible progress of the Church throughout history?
  2. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    William Hendriksen's "More Than Conquerors" is a classic.
  3. psycheives

    psycheives Puritan Board Freshman

  4. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

  5. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hi Tyler,

    It depends how you would define "an optimistic view of the visible progress of the Church throughout history". Visible to whom? God? Man? That it's outwardly growing? Transforming the nations to godliness, or at least outward conformity to God's law? If you had said "an optimistic view of the invisible [or spiritual] progress of the Church throughout history" it would be a different matter altogether.

    The standard amil view, held by almost all contemporary amil commentators, holds the optimistic view – even in the face of devastating murderous persecution of the invisible progress of the church, and these following could be listed:

    G.K. Beale, New International Greek Testament Commentary: Revelation; The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: 1-2 Thessalonians; Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament; Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation; and The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John
    Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation
    Cornelis P. Venema, The Promise of the Future
    William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors; and Three Lectures on the Book of Revelation
    Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation
    Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy; and The Theology of the Book of Revelation
    Kim Riddlebarger, The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist; and, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times
    David J. Engelsma, Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom: A Defense of Reformed Amillennialism (A shortened online version); and The Messianic Kingdom and Civil Government (article)
    Stephen S. Smalley, The Revelation To John: A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Apocalypse
    Vern Poythress, The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation
    R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation
    Stuart Olyott, Dare to Stand Alone: Daniel Simply Explained
    Samuel E. Waldron, The End Times Made Simple
    Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future
    Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Revelation
    Arturo Azurdia, An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (81 MP3 sermons)
    William E. Cox, Amillennialism Today
    Leon Morris, The Book of Revelation (Revised Edition)
    G.B. Caird, The Revelation of Saint John
    Richard Bewes, The Lamb Wins
    Sam Storms, Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative (he was premil, and now uses his old knowledge to expose its errors)
  6. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Thank you all for your replies. What I mean by "an optimistic view of the visible progress of the Church throughout history" is exactly what a postmillennialist would mean by it.
  7. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

  8. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Pretty well all postmils today take the position that the millennium began in the first century, rather than that it will begin at some point in the future. In the nineteenth century the amil and postmil positions and camps didn't seem to be as sharply defined as they are now.

    It's just that although the postmils believe the millennial kingdom was realised in the first century, they believe it makes incremental progress, in history as well as in eternity, such that e.g. the stone of Daniel will one day become a mountain that fills the earth. There is no indication of an eschatalogical intervention - like the Eschaton - between the stone appearing on the scene of history and its becoming a mountain that fills the earth. Of course postmils do not believe that the world and church and kingdom of God before the Eschaton will ever be perfected. To perfect the work He has been doing in history, Christ will return.

    If I read "proper" optimistic amils correctly (not postmils) , these tend to see the church growing until near the end, but surrounding society and culture getting wickeder and wickeder. This can sometimes be the case in the short term of a church's ascendency in , e.g., a land, but generally when the church has been in the ascendent for any length of time, you eventually see a health-giving and restraining effect on wider society, the effects of pervasive saving grace and common grace. So presumably the same would hold on the wider scale of world church history.

    Not to overload you with recommendations, but Patrick Fairbairn has been ranked with Vos as one of the great biblical theologians. He was postmil and idealist/historicist. His great book on biblical prophecy "The Interpretation of Prophecy" is worth studying.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  9. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    This way up toward the top of my reading list. As you might have guessed by my avatar, Fairbairn is a personal favorite. His commentary on Ezekiel changed the way I read prophecy.

    I'm quite aware that most postmillennialists today do not believe in a literal millennium; however, am I wrong in thinking that many would balk at the term "postmillennialism" being applied to someone with a strictly idealist and/or apocalyptic view of Revelation? Most modern postmillennialists are partial preterists. Is it legitimate in the theological lingua franca of today to call a person with an idealist view of Revelation who believes in the Church's expansion and establishment in the entire earth before the return of Christ a postmilliennialist? Is that not why we have the term "optimistic amillennailism" to begin with? Perhaps I am mistaken. Any comments would be appreciated.

    Thank you all for your recommendations. Does anyone know of a commentary on John's Apocalypse that meets these qualifications?
  10. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I didn't recognise the avatar, as it is rather small on my phone.

    Maybe someone else can tease out the terminolgy vis-a-vis postmil, optimistic amil and amil, as it is somewhat of a mystery to me too.

    Although I believe the millennial period is to be identified with the whole interadventual age and that the nations as nations will be converted in history ( they can't be converted when the end comes), I call myself a postmil rather than an optimistic amil.

    Marcellus Kik has an interesting exposition of Revelation 20 in his "Eschatology of Victory" (P&R) which is Optimistic Amil in the sense you are talking about.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
  11. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Tyler, you may find these works helpful in your search; William Milligan is one of the few "full idealists", though Warfield is similar in some respects:

    BB Warfield: The Millennium and the Apocalypse


    William Milligan, Lectures On The Apocalypse (access it here, or here [different sources])

    William Milligan, The Book of Revelation


    Here are two PB discussions on them, and the "full or consistent idealism" and "modified idealism":

    Contemporary Amillennialism contra the “full idealist” view [2012]

    (I start in post #21)

    Revelation: inspirational drama of poetic symbols, or multi-genre prophecy? [2012]

    (Continuing discussion re "Full Idealist" view of William Milligan vs. "Modified Idealist" of G.K. Beale et al)
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  12. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Thank you, Steve. You have given me some good suggestions.
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