The Early Fathers and their eschatology

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sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
On another thread Pergamum made a comment that the early church father were mainly Chiliast. From my research over the years I believe they were mainly Amil.

Of my still ongoing research, out of about 90 writers/creeds/councils, I am of the opinion 11 are Chiliast, 2 are Premil, 3 are difficult to pin down and 74 are Amil.

If we take 30AD as the cross, I will place them in 100yr eras (up until 430AD). One major character that some may question is Barnabus. I believe he was Amil. Premils claim him as their own. I believe there is strong evidence to support the fact he was a consummationist.

I have ammended my post to diverentiate between Chiliasts and Premils, for the sake of clarity.

I will put whom I believe is Chiliast in green, the 'don't knows' in red. Amils in blue. I believe there are 2 modern-day type Premils, I will do them in Orange.

I would be interested in your feedback. I am open to be corrected or have further info added to my list.

AD30-AD130 (10 Amils, 1 Chiliasts)

The Didache (or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)
Palestine
(A.D. 65-80)
Mathetes
Greece
(A.D 90
The grandsons of Jude
Palestine
(1st century)
The Shepherd of Hermas
Rome, Italy
(written in 88-99 AD)
Clement
Bishop of Rome, Italy
(Died around 99 A.D.)
2 Clement
Rome, Italy
(Early 2nd century)
Ignatius
Bishop of Antioch, Syria
(A.D. 98-117)
The Ascension of Isaiah
Palestine
(late 1st century to early 2nd century)

Papias
Hierapolis, Turkey
(A.D. 98-117)

Polycarp
Bishop in Smyrna, Turkey
(Born AD 68, writes about AD 110, martyred about AD 155)
Aristides
Athens, Greece
(120-130 AD)


AD130-AD230 (15 Amils, 5 Chiliasts, 1 unknown)

Barnabus
(Alexandria, Egypt)
(Written in A.D. 130-131)
The Apocalypse of Peter
Palestine
(written between the years 132-135)
Epistula Apostolorum (Epistle of the Apostles)
Asia Minor (now Turkey)
(The 140s)

Justin
Asia Minor (now Turkey)
(AD 100-166)
Irenaeus
Bishop of Lyons, Gaul, (now France)
(AD 150)

The Odes of Solomon
Syria
(Middle of the 2nd century)

Polycrates
Bishop of Ephesus, ancient Greek city (now Turkey)
(flourished c.130 - 196)

Aviricius Marcellus
Bishop of Hieropolis, Lesser Phrygia, Turkey
(flourished about 163AD)

Tatian
Syrian
(A.D. 170)
Athenagoras
Athens, Greece
(wrote A.D. 177)
Letter from Vienna and Lyons, Gaul (now France)
(AD177-AD178)
Hegesippus
Jerusalem, Palestine
(flourished between 150 and 180 A.D)
Melito
Bishop of Sardis, Asia Minor (now Turkey)
(d. c. 180)
Theophilus
Bishop of Antioch, Syria
(His death probably occurred between 183 – 185)
Claudius Apollinaris
Bishop of Hierapolis, Turkey
(2nd century)
Old Roman Symbol (or Old Roman Creed)
(Rome, Italy)
(200AD)
Clement
Alexandria, Egypt
(c.150 - c. 215)
The Gospel of Nicodemus (or Acts Of Pilate)
(probably Palestine)
(150-255 AD)

Hippolytus
Rome, Italy
(AD 170 – 236)
Tertullian
Carthage, Africa, (now Tunisia)
(c. 160 – c. 220 AD)

The Acts of Thomas
Syria
(200-225 AD)


AD230-AD330 (14 Amils, 3 Chiliasts, 2 Premils, 2 unknown)

Nepos
Egyptian bishop
(c.230-250)

Origen
Alexandria, Egypt
(185-254)
Novatian
Rome, Italy
(circa 200 – 258)
Cyprian
Carthage, North Africa, (now Tunisia)
(AD 200-258)

Minucius Felix
Rome, Italy
(Flourished 200-240 AD; died c. 250)

Dionysius
Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt
(AD 248 - November 17, 265)

Commodianus
Africa
(wrote between AD 251 and 258)

Gregory Thaumaturgus
Bishop of Neocaesarea, Turkey
(213 AD - 270-275 AD)

Victorinus
Pettau, Hungary
(270AD)

Coracion
Egypt
(AD 230-280)
Lucian
Presbyter of Antioch
, Syria
(240-312 AD)
Lactantius
Africa
(cir. 250 - 317 AD)

Caius
Rome, Italy
(17 December, AD 283 to 22 April, AD 296)

Council of Elvira
Spain
(Approximately 305-306AD)

Methodius
Bishop of Olympus, Asia Minor (now Turkey)
(died 311 A.D)

Eusebius
Caesarea, Palestine
(263-339)
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles
Syria?
(before A.D. 325)
Synod of Antioch
Syria
(A.D. 325)
Council of Nicene
Nicea, Asia Minor (now Turkey)
(AD 325)
Alexander
Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt
(Bishop from 313, died 326 or 328)
Antony
Egypt
(c. 251–356)


AD330-AD430 (35 Amils, 2 Chiliasts)


Aphrahat
Syria
(270–345AD)
1st Synod of Antioch
(Antioch, Syria)
(Summer 341AD)
2nd Synod of Antioch
(Antioch, Syria)
(Summer 342 AD)
The Council of Sardica (Western Bishops)
Sardica, Dacia (now Sofia, in Bulgaria)
(Probably in 343)
The Council of Philippopolis (Eastern Bishops)
(Philippopolis, Bulgaria)
(AD 343)
The Council of Antioch
(Antioch, Syria)
(344 AD)
Firmicus Maternus
Sicily (modern Italy)
AD 346
The Council of Sirmium
(modern day Serbia)
(11th June 351 AD)
The Council of Ariminum (Western Bishops)
Ariminum (modern Rimini, Italy)
(July 359 AD)
The Council of Seleucia (Eastern Bishops)
(Seleucia Isauria (now Silifke, Turkey)
(359 AD)
The Council of Nike
(in Thrace)
(10th October 359AD)
The Council of Constantinople
(Constantinople, Turkey)
(Jan 360AD)
Hilary
Bishop of Poitiers, Gaul (modern-day France)
(300 –368AD)
The Apostles’ Creed
Council in Milan, Italy
(AD 390)
Athanasius
Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt
(296 - 373)
Ephraem
Nisibis, Syria
(306-373 AD)

Apollinarius
Laodicea, Asia Minor (now Turkey)
(310 - 390 AD)

Basil the Great
Caesarea Mazaca, Turkey
(AD 329-379)
Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed
First Council of Constantinople, (modern Turkey)
(381 AD)
Cyril
Jerusalem, Palestine
(+ ca. AD 386)
Gregory the Theologian
Nazianzus, Turkey
(AD 325-389)
Tyconius
Africa
(c. 330-390)
Gregory
Bishop of Nyssa, Turkey
(AD 336-395)
Epiphanes
Greece
(315-403)
Jerome
Working from Rome, Italy
(331-420 AD)
Ambrose
(Bishop of Milan, Italy)
(339 – 4 April 397)
John Chrysostom
Archbishop of Constantinople, Turkey
(c. 349–407)
Asterius
(Bishop of Amasea, Pontus, Asia Minor, now Turkey)
(c. 350 – c. 410 AD)
Tyrannius Rufinus
(340/345 – 410)
Aquileia (now Italy)
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens
Tarraconensis (now Northern Spain)
(348-413)

Gaudentius
Bishop of Brescia, Italy
(Bishop from about 387 until his death 410)

Evodius of Uzala
Africa
(AD 412)
Theodore
Bishop of Mopsuestia (Modern Yakapinar, Turkey)
(350 – 428)
Sulpicius Severus
Gaul (now France)
(AD 360-425)
Paulinus (Paolino)
Bishop of Nola, outside Naples, Italy
(354 – June 22 431)
Maximus
Bishop of Turin, Italy
(DOB unknown – death between 408 and 423)
Augustine
(Hippo Regius, Numidia (now Annaba, Algeria)
(354-430 AD)


Paul
 
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Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Very interesting. But are you saying that there were no post-mils among the ECFs, or are you generalizing and grouping them with the a-mils?
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Phil

If you are talking about a literal future thousand year period of bliss on the earth before Christ's return, I couldn't find anything evidential. Nothwithstanding, I am using Amil as default for those that believed in an impending climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity. If you have a thought (or evidence to the contrary) on any of the early writers/creeds that you think are Postmil I would be happy to present my findings.

Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia, (Friend of Ambrose) is the only one I wonder at. I have him as a Premil as he sounds like it, but my research is still ongoing. This is a quote that may be Postmil:

“We expect, that truly holy day of the seventh thousand years, that shall come after those six days, or six thousand years of time, which, being finished, shall begin that holy rest for all true saints and for all those faithful believers in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Most take this as a Premil statement, but it might be Postmil.

Paul
 
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elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Nothwithstanding, I am using Amil as default for those that believed in an impending climactic return of Christ.

The chiliasts believed in an impending climactic return of Christ as well, so I don't think that's indicative of an amillennial position for the early church.

Note James F. Stitzinger's paper for the Masters Seminary Journal, in which he has several citations from chiliasts that they believed in the imminent return of Christ.

http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj13e.pdf
 
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sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Don

I believe you are correct concerning all the Chiliasts apart from Commodianus and Lactantius. I will reword my statement if you wish: Amil believes in an impending climactic return of Christ, immediately followed by eternity. The majority of early church Chiliasts believed in a climactic return of Christ, followed by a thousand yrs, followed by eternity.

I disagree with the oft stated error that Stitzinger articulates in your link: "A cursory examination of the early church fathers reveals that they were
predominantly premillennialists or chiliasts." This is wrong, and has been repeated without justication for yrs.

Stitzinger's whole argument on imminency is weak. What is more, many Amils and many (non-Pretrib) Premils believe in the impending return of Christ. I don't consider his conclusions as factual or objective. He is clearly a convinced Pretrib yet his evidence for the lack of Pretrib before 1830 is absent, including his thoughts on Ephraem (who wasn't even a Chiliast/Premil).

Paul
 
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elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I'm no church historian, but I have read the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas, and I don't recall reading anything in them that militated against chiliasm.

I believe you are correct concerning all the Chiliasts apart from Commodianus and Lactantius. I will reword my statement if you wish: Amil believes in an impending climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity. The majority of early church Chiliasts believed in a climactic return of Christ, followed by a thousand yrs, followed by eternity.

Therein lies the disagreement. An amillennialist will take a pericope like Matthew 24 and say "there's a climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity" and say it teaches amillennialism because no millennium is mentioned.

Premillennialists, however, interpret Matthew 24, accepting that "there's a climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity," but think that Matthew 24 lacks details that Revelation 20 provides. For the premillennialist, arguing that Matthew 24 is amillennial because it doesn't mention the millennium is an argument from silence.

If your approach to determining if someone believes amillennialism vs. premillennialism is whether they mention a millennium when discussing the return of Christ, you're going to end up with a lot of "amillennialists" who may in fact be premillennial.

A better approach would be to find all the early church fathers that discuss the millennium, and then determine whether they believe it to be a future, earthly millennium or a present, spiritual millennium.

I think historians understand the early church fathers not to be amillennial because the ones that wrote specifically on eschatology and the millennium were chiliasts.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Paul, what criteria are you using to assign categories?

Also, have you read Regnum Caelorum by Charles Hill? It argues that early church chiliasm was linked to the doctrine that souls did not immediately proceed to heaven upon death. Rather, the Millennium was a time for training and purification, so that the fullness of communion with God could be attained. For these writers, the millennium filled a very similar place to that of of purgatory a few generations later.
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Paul, what criteria are you using to assign categories?

Also, have you read Regnum Caelorum by Charles Hill? It argues that early church chiliasm was linked to the doctrine that souls did not immediately proceed to heaven upon death. Rather, the Millennium was a time for training and purification, so that the fullness of communion with God could be attained. For these writers, the millennium filled a very similar place to that of of purgatory a few generations later.

Charlie

I have read Hill’s book and believe it to be a scholarly work. It certainly gives us some good insight into the early fathers. However, I am not completely sold on his main premise re “the early church chiliasm was linked to the doctrine that souls did not immediately proceed to heaven upon death.”

I guess I haven’t kept my research as narrow as Hill. I have tried to build up as much evidence that is owned by the respective schools of thought to ascertain the writer’s beliefs.

Premil

I have tried to detect classic Premil evidence of a future millennium after the return of Christ for Premil. I am looking for any sign of the bondage of corruption surviving the return of Christ. I am looking for sin, death, decay and rebellion on a future millennial earth. I am looking for evidence of the wicked surviving the Coming of Christ and the populating of the new earth with countless mortals and countless wicked. This all exists in the Premil millennium. I am looking for evidence of 2 future resurrections / judgments separated by a thousand yrs, the binding of Satan at Christ’s return and/or the devils’ release 1,000 yrs after, and the uprising of a mammoth wicked army 1,000 yrs after the return of Christ (as the sand of the sea) to surround the camp of the saints.

I am looking for evidence that the writer held Israel as a separate favoured entity that will have a central or important part to play in the future (either prior to Christ’s return or after). I am examining for any teaching on the rebuilding of the temple in earthly Jerusalem and the return of animal sacrifices to the new earth.

Premil has a lot more to prove. It is a complex school of thought, but equally there are so many facets to Premil that there is more opportunity of detecting it.

Amil

No avocation of a millennial period after the return of Christ. A climax to time – involving the ending of mortal life and the bondage of corruption. Evidence of the completion of salvation at the Second Coming. Evidence of the destruction of all the wicked at the Second Coming. The appearing of Christ to judge the living at the dead. The resurrection and judgment of the righteous and the wicked at the Coming of Christ. The binding of Satan at Christ’s 1st Advent. The Church being the Israel of God.

Postmil

A literal thousand yrs in the future before Christ’s return and/or proof of a progressively improving society prior to the Second Coming.

Pretrib

Evidence of a rapture of the Church, immediately followed by a literal seven-year tribulation, immediately followed by a 3rd Coming of Christ.

Conclusion

This is not a comprehensive list. Obviously the more pieces the surer we can be what they held. Whilst some of the above on their own may be proof of a particular belief the more aspects that are found the surer we can be of a held position.

Paul

 
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sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm no church historian, but I have read the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas, and I don't recall reading anything in them that militated against chiliasm.

I believe you are correct concerning all the Chiliasts apart from Commodianus and Lactantius. I will reword my statement if you wish: Amil believes in an impending climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity. The majority of early church Chiliasts believed in a climactic return of Christ, followed by a thousand yrs, followed by eternity.

Therein lies the disagreement. An amillennialist will take a pericope like Matthew 24 and say "there's a climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity" and say it teaches amillennialism because no millennium is mentioned.

Premillennialists, however, interpret Matthew 24, accepting that "there's a climactic return of Christ, followed by eternity," but think that Matthew 24 lacks details that Revelation 20 provides. For the premillennialist, arguing that Matthew 24 is amillennial because it doesn't mention the millennium is an argument from silence.

If your approach to determining if someone believes amillennialism vs. premillennialism is whether they mention a millennium when discussing the return of Christ, you're going to end up with a lot of "amillennialists" who may in fact be premillennial.

A better approach would be to find all the early church fathers that discuss the millennium, and then determine whether they believe it to be a future, earthly millennium or a present, spiritual millennium.

I think historians understand the early church fathers not to be amillennial because the ones that wrote specifically on eschatology and the millennium were chiliasts.

Don,

First, when I say "climactic" I mean all-consummating. I am talking about the end! The Second Coming is not final or the end to Pretrib or Premil. It is a blip (albeit a significant blip) on the radar towards the end, which is 1000 yrs+ away (or 1007 yrs+ away).

Second, Premillennialists, do not accept there is a climactic return of Christ at the Second Coming, immediately followed by eternity. They have a sin-cursed, goat-infested, death-blighted millennial age in-between. They resurrect all the bondage of corruption that exists in our day and place in into a future millennium. They also populate a new future millennial earth with countless mortals and countless wicked. Amils and Postmils consider the new earth to be perfect and only for the righteous.

Third, the early fathers I have submitted speak of the Second Coming, whether Amil, Premil or unknown. It is not just Premils that speak of it.

Fourth, which early fathers/writers/creeds or councils (in your opinion) were Premil that I have not highlighted? Who have I mislabelled?

Paul
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
"A cursory examination of the early church fathers reveals that they were predominantly premillennialists or chiliasts."

That is the viewpoint that I hold to now, but I would be more than happy to amend my views, especially since I am amil and would like to think the early church agreed with me largely.

I will re-study this issue.

Corinthes, who is thought to have been a contemporary of the Apostle John, believed that Christ would have an earthly reign lasting a thousand years with His seat in Jerusalem. Papias in the middle of the second century holds the same view. Likewise, Justin Martyr (about 150 A.D.) says that the majority of the Christians at his time were looking forward to an earthly kingdom, but he adds that there were also good Christians who had other opinions. Irenaeus (latter part of 2nd century) believed that after the destruction of the Roman Empire, Christ would return and would literally bind Satan with a rope.

from

"The History of Chiliasm" by William Masselink Though the author denies that premillenialism was the majority view.


Also, this link is to a book review from a book arguing that the premil position was not universal, supporting your theory: Chiliasm and the Early Church |

Here is a link to a blog about the Didache's eschatology:

Christianity In History: The Amillennialism of the Didache [60-200 AD]


Here is also an interesting link: End Time Prophecy | Chiliasm of Early Church Fathers
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
"A cursory examination of the early church fathers reveals that they were predominantly premillennialists or chiliasts."

That is the viewpoint that I hold to now, but I would be more than happy to amend my views, especially since I am amil and would like to think the early church agreed with me largely.

I will re-study this issue.

Corinthes, who is thought to have been a contemporary of the Apostle John, believed that Christ would have an earthly reign lasting a thousand years with His seat in Jerusalem. Papias in the middle of the second century holds the same view. Likewise, Justin Martyr (about 150 A.D.) says that the majority of the Christians at his time were looking forward to an earthly kingdom, but he adds that there were also good Christians who had other opinions. Irenaeus (latter part of 2nd century) believed that after the destruction of the Roman Empire, Christ would return and would literally bind Satan with a rope.

from

"The History of Chiliasm" by William Masselink Though the author denies that premillenialism was the majority view.


Also, this link is to a book review from a book arguing that the premil position was not universal, supporting your theory: Chiliasm and the Early Church |

Here is a link to a blog about the Didache's eschatology:

Christianity In History: The Amillennialism of the Didache [60-200 AD]


Here is also an interesting link: End Time Prophecy | Chiliasm of Early Church Fathers

Pergumum

I read Hill's book recently and my findings would generally agree with it. Also, another scholarly book I read recently supporting the same and would recommend is The Hope of the Early Church by Brian Daley. It is excellent.

Paul
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Paul, If I bought one of the two, which one is better/more readable? I, too, want to research this topic further.
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Paul, If I bought one of the two, which one is better/more readable? I, too, want to research this topic further.

Pergamum

Daley, but you should also read Hill. they are 2 excellent scholarly works. most of what is out there is biast, unobjective and ill-researched. whilst Hill builds his initial argument on a debatable point (that early Chiliasts believed that the righteous would be held in Abraham's bosom until the resurrection) his later research and evidence is otherwise quite compelling.

Paul
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Here's more interesting links:

http://www.krisandsusanna.com/Documents/The%20Millenium%20and%20the%20Anti-Nicene%20Fathers.pdf

This link: Premillennialism - An Historical Fact states the following:

Peters lists those influential men who were Pre-Mill advocates down through the 3rd Century. Of the influential men during all that time ALL but four were Pre-Mill. For the complete quote see Volume IV, Chapter XIV, V, pg. 271.

Pre-Mill Advocates of the 1st Century:
1. Andrew
2. Peter
3. Philip
4. Thomas
5. James
6. John
7. Matthew
8. Aristio
9. John the Presbyter


Peters states regarding the above: "These all lived between A.D. 1-100; John, it is supposed -- so Mosheim, etc. -- died about A.D. 100. (All these are cited by Papias, who, according to Irenaeus, was one of John's hearers, and intimate with Polycarp. John is also expressly mentioned by Justin. Now this reference to the apostles agrees with the facts that we have proven: (a) that the disciples of Jesus did hold the Jewish views of the Messianic reign in the first part of this century, and (b) that, instead of discarding them, they linked them with the Sec. Advent)."

10. Clement of Rome A.D. 40-100
11. Barnabas A.D 40-100
12 Hermas A.D 40-150
13 Ignatius A.D. 50-115
14 Polycarp A.D. 70-167
15. Papias A.D. 80-163


None can be cited in this century to be against The Premillennial view.

Pre-Mill Advocates of the 2nd Century:
1. Pothinus A.D. 87-177
2. Justin Martyr A.D. 100-168
3. Melito A.D. 100-170
4. Hegisippus A.D. 130-190
5. Tatian A.D. 130-190
6. Irenaeus A.D. 140-202
7. The Churches of Vienne and Lyons - a letter A.D. 177
8. Tertulian A.D. 150-220
9. Hippolytus A.D. 160-240
10 Apollinaris A.D. 150-200


None can be cited in this century to be against Premillennialism. The common belief of the Church was Chiliastic (Premillennial).

Pre-Mill Advocates of the 3rd Century:
1. Cyprian A.D. 200-258
2. Commodian A.D. 200-270
3. Nepos A.D. 230-280
4. Coracion A.D. 230-280
5. Victorinus A.D. 240-303
6. Methodius A.D. 250-311
7. Lactantius A.D. 240-330


There were only four in this century that opposed the Premillennial view:
1. Caius (or Gaius), wrote about A.D. 210
2, Clemens Alexandrinus, died A.D. 202, great influence on Origin
3. Origin A.D. 185-254
4. Dionysius A.D. 190-265


There were others who were influenced
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
Here's more interesting links:

http://www.krisandsusanna.com/Documents/The%20Millenium%20and%20the%20Anti-Nicene%20Fathers.pdf

This link: Premillennialism - An Historical Fact states the following:

Peters lists those influential men who were Pre-Mill advocates down through the 3rd Century. Of the influential men during all that time ALL but four were Pre-Mill. For the complete quote see Volume IV, Chapter XIV, V, pg. 271.

Pre-Mill Advocates of the 1st Century:
1. Andrew
2. Peter
3. Philip
4. Thomas
5. James
6. John
7. Matthew
8. Aristio
9. John the Presbyter


Peters states regarding the above: "These all lived between A.D. 1-100; John, it is supposed -- so Mosheim, etc. -- died about A.D. 100. (All these are cited by Papias, who, according to Irenaeus, was one of John's hearers, and intimate with Polycarp. John is also expressly mentioned by Justin. Now this reference to the apostles agrees with the facts that we have proven: (a) that the disciples of Jesus did hold the Jewish views of the Messianic reign in the first part of this century, and (b) that, instead of discarding them, they linked them with the Sec. Advent)."

10. Clement of Rome A.D. 40-100
11. Barnabas A.D 40-100
12 Hermas A.D 40-150
13 Ignatius A.D. 50-115
14 Polycarp A.D. 70-167
15. Papias A.D. 80-163


None can be cited in this century to be against The Premillennial view.

Pre-Mill Advocates of the 2nd Century:
1. Pothinus A.D. 87-177
2. Justin Martyr A.D. 100-168
3. Melito A.D. 100-170
4. Hegisippus A.D. 130-190
5. Tatian A.D. 130-190
6. Irenaeus A.D. 140-202
7. The Churches of Vienne and Lyons - a letter A.D. 177
8. Tertulian A.D. 150-220
9. Hippolytus A.D. 160-240
10 Apollinaris A.D. 150-200


None can be cited in this century to be against Premillennialism. The common belief of the Church was Chiliastic (Premillennial).

Pre-Mill Advocates of the 3rd Century:
1. Cyprian A.D. 200-258
2. Commodian A.D. 200-270
3. Nepos A.D. 230-280
4. Coracion A.D. 230-280
5. Victorinus A.D. 240-303
6. Methodius A.D. 250-311
7. Lactantius A.D. 240-330


There were only four in this century that opposed the Premillennial view:
1. Caius (or Gaius), wrote about A.D. 210
2, Clemens Alexandrinus, died A.D. 202, great influence on Origin
3. Origin A.D. 185-254
4. Dionysius A.D. 190-265


There were others who were influenced

Will try and address this tomorrow, God willing.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Yes, thanks for your research. Is this research for education or a book, or merely a private hobby/obsession?
 

FedByRavens

Puritan Board Freshman
:applause: You, my friend, are quite the student. I can't make heads or tails of my own eschatology, much less dozens of theologians!
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
it started off as a private hobby/obsession but it may become or a book. :eureka:

I pray that it does become a book if you continue to dig. That way you can bless the Whole Church through your studies, even it is merely the gathering of primary quotes from the fathers themelves with minimal commentary.


Do you think the claim that the early church was overwhelmingly premil is due to Dispensationalist revisionist history?
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I am looking for evidence that the writer held Israel as a separate favoured entity that will have a central or important part to play in the future (either prior to Christ’s return or after). I am examining for any teaching on the rebuilding of the temple in earthly Jerusalem and the return of animal sacrifices to the new earth.

You probably know this, but there are many premillennialists who don't hold to eschatological significance of Israel or a rebuilding of the earthly temple and return of animal sacrifices.

Second, Premillennialists, do not accept there is a climactic return of Christ at the Second Coming, immediately followed by eternity. They have a sin-cursed, goat-infested, death-blighted millennial age in-between. They resurrect all the bondage of corruption that exists in our day and place in into a future millennium. They also populate the new earth with countless mortals and countless wicked.

Goat-infested? Death-blighted? Bondage of corruption? That doesn't sound like a millennial description of any premillennialists that I've read. If you're looking for a description of an earthly millennium as having "all the bondage of corruption that exists in our day," you probably won't find very many.

The ones I've read teach a millennial reign of Jesus in which there is much peace, righteousness and justice, though not completely consummated.

Grudem (Systematic Theology, 1127), for example, cites the following passages as taking place in the millennial period:

No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. (Isa. 65:20)

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. (Isa. 11:6-11)

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!
For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight. (Ps. 72:8-14)
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Don,

Why would we relegate these promises from Grudem to a mere 1,000 years and not as indicative of the eternal state?


Also, if this 1,000 years is so good, why does (afterward) it get so bad immediately following the 1,000 years? It all goes to hell in a handbasket asap when the millennium ends, according to many.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Currently I don't hold a strong eschatological position. I defaulted to Grudem's position when I first studied the issues a decade ago, and haven't been swayed from it since.

Why would we relegate these promises from Grudem to a mere 1,000 years and not as indicative of the eternal state?

So, Grudem says ...

Several Old Testament passages seem to fit neither in the present age nor in the eternal state. These passages indicate some future stage in the history of redemption which is far greater than the present church age but which still does not see the removal of all sin and rebellion and death on the earth.

<quotes Isaiah 65:20>

Here we read that there will be no more infants who die in infancy, and no more old men who die prematurely, something far different from this present age. But death and sin will still be present, for the child who is one hundred years old shall die, and the sinner who is one hundred years old "shall be accursed."

<quotes Isaiah 11:6-9>

This passage clearly speaks of a momentous renewal of nature that takes us far beyond the present age, a time in which "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."

<continues with Isaiah 11:10-11>

Here some are still seeking the Messiah and apparently coming to salvation, and here also the Lord is still gathering the remnant of his people from various nations of the earth. It does not seem, therefore, that the eternal state has begun, yet the reversal of nature far exceeds anything that will happen in this present age. Does this not indicate a future millennial kingdom?

<quotes Psalm 72:8-14>

This passage certainly speaks of a messianic rule far more extensive than that experienced by David or Solomon, because this messiah's kingdom extends "to the ends of the earth" and "all nations will serve him." This will be a reign in righteousness, in justice -- but it certainly will not be the eternal state. There are still "the needy who cry out" and "the afflicted who have no one to help"; there are still people who need to be rescued "from oppression and violence."

Also, if this 1,000 years is so good, why does (afterward) it get so bad immediately following the 1,000 years? It all goes to hell in a handbasket asap when the millennium ends, according to many.

Because Satan is released at the end of the millennium.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev. 20:1-3)

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (Rev. 20:7-8)

Pergy, how do you as an amillennialist interpret the release of Satan? I know amillennialists generally teach the binding of Satan allows for the spread of the gospel and growth of the kingdom on earth, but what how is that reversed when Satan is released? I assume that this would also mean that things would become suddenly bad. Is there going to be great apostasy at the end?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I believe that the Gospel will spread forth and the world world will be evangelized to some degree. I even believe that a multitude of Jews will come in. Then, I believe that towards the end of the millennium (this time between the first and second advent of Christ) that Satan will be loosed a bit (the little horn) and there will be a last apostasy and the appearance of a personal Antichrist, which Christ will destroy at His Coming. At his coming, the Last Trumpet will sound, the dead raised and all judged and then afterwards will be only the eternal state with heaven and the renewed earth for the saints to enjoy.

How does that sound?
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I believe that the Gospel will spread forth and the world world will be evangelized to some degree. I even believe that a multitude of Jews will come in. Then, I believe that towards the end of the millennium (this time between the first and second advent of Christ) that Satan will be loosed a bit (the little horn) and there will be a last apostasy and the appearance of a personal Antichrist, which Christ will destroy at His Coming. At his coming, the Last Trumpet will sound, the dead raised and all judged and then afterwards will be only the eternal state with heaven and the renewed earth for the saints to enjoy.

How does that sound?

Sounds fine. Like historic premill, amillennialism has a long history, and is internally consistent and coherent. If the first work of eschatology had been amill instead of historic premill, that might have been my default.

A few things keep me premill.
1) The passages that Grudem quoted above.
2) The devil is cast into the lake of fire "where the beast and the false prophet are" (Rev 20:10) suggests that this occurs chronologically after Rev. 19:20 (with the millennium in between). In the amill view, Rev 19 and Rev 20 are in parallel, so these occur during the same events.
3) The early church witness. Specifically, Papias was a chiliast and a "hearer of the apostle John" according to Eusebius. What better person to interpret the millennium than a disciple of the man who wrote Revelation?
4) Prominent Reformed Baptists past and present being premill. John Gill and Charles Spurgeon in the past, D. A. Carson, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and Al Mohler today.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
They also populate the new earth with countless mortals and countless wicked. Amils and Postmils consider the new earth to be perfect and only for the righteous.

Paul,

Nice to have you here.

Are you sure you're not conflating dispensationalism with historic premil here? Historic Premil does not have the NH & NE until after the end of the millennium and thus would not differ from amil and postmil in that respect. On second thought, I think this statement is not really an accurate representation of what many dispensationalists believe regarding the NH and NE. One of the more powerful illustrations I've seen of the New Jerusalem and the absurdity of any unrighteousness there was preached by W.A. Criswell, a dispensationalist. If you meant to type millennium I can see your point but that wouldn't appear to make sense given the context.

Also, please update your signature per board requirements before the mods get ya. :)
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Eschatology is a difficult area to understand, and there are a lot of views, questions and sub-views.

Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism, is quite helpful in understanding what "amillennialism" is, and by derivation what the other views (i.e. pre-millennialism) are not.

Remember that "amillennialism" was not a term used historically because the times were not dominated by a pre-millennial view (as they are now, in the West). "Premill" was not the standard to which all other views were compared.

Today, it is presented as if premill believes there is a millennium, whereas "a"mill believes there is not. This is a misunderstanding, a basic one, and it leads to much confusion in this whole area.

"Amillennialism" means REALIZED millennium, one that began with Christ's ascension that continues to the end of the world (His return as Judge of all men).

Historically, both "amill" and "postmill" were both "post" because they believed in a present aspect of the Kingdom of God, not a wholly future one. In fact, amillennialism historically is viewed as a form of postmillennialism-
which is why "amill" and "postmill" are, really, closely related.

The key distinction,
Christ's reign is now and continues until His return.
He taught and brought the Kingdom of God.

This is, by far, the majority report of believers historically, whatever it might now be called.

---------- Post added at 06:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:32 PM ----------

Here is a detailed thread that looked at pre-millennialism and the Westminster Confession:
http://www.puritanboard.com/f30/premillennialism-westminster-confession-faith-52471/

I now understand pre-millennialism is at variance with the Westminster Standards (it took a while to understand this), in at least a couple of points.

That means, at minimum, a couple of exceptions would need to be requested to hold that view because it is not the confessed theology.

And the implications of such, being potentially quite large, would need to be thoroughly evaluated.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I believe that the Gospel will spread forth and the world world will be evangelized to some degree. I even believe that a multitude of Jews will come in. Then, I believe that towards the end of the millennium (this time between the first and second advent of Christ) that Satan will be loosed a bit (the little horn) and there will be a last apostasy and the appearance of a personal Antichrist, which Christ will destroy at His Coming. At his coming, the Last Trumpet will sound, the dead raised and all judged and then afterwards will be only the eternal state with heaven and the renewed earth for the saints to enjoy.

How does that sound?

Sounds fine. Like historic premill, amillennialism has a long history, and is internally consistent and coherent. If the first work of eschatology had been amill instead of historic premill, that might have been my default.

A few things keep me premill.
1) The passages that Grudem quoted above.
2) The devil is cast into the lake of fire "where the beast and the false prophet are" (Rev 20:10) suggests that this occurs chronologically after Rev. 19:20 (with the millennium in between). In the amill view, Rev 19 and Rev 20 are in parallel, so these occur during the same events.
3) The early church witness. Specifically, Papias was a chiliast and a "hearer of the apostle John" according to Eusebius. What better person to interpret the millennium than a disciple of the man who wrote Revelation?
4) Prominent Reformed Baptists past and present being premill. John Gill and Charles Spurgeon in the past, D. A. Carson, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and Al Mohler today.

Don,

I don't read Revelation as a chronological book. It actually appears cyclical in places (the same events given from different perspectives).

Also, in the clearer NT verses found in places other than Revelation, only two ages are spoken of - (1) This Age and (2) The Age to Come. There is no other stage of history after this one besides the eternal state and the NT describes this present time as "these last days."

Finally, I believe Satan is presently bound. Jesus has bound the strong man and is plundering his house now in this Gospel Age. He is no longer deceiving the nations but we are going forth and occupying/liberating all the nations. Even though there is still unbelief/persecution, the trend is definitely one of optimism (whereas it seems the premil position can sometimes sound quite negative, as if the Gospel in the world will end in failure).
 

sovereigngrace

Puritan Board Freshman
it started off as a private hobby/obsession but it may become or a book. :eureka:

I pray that it does become a book if you continue to dig. That way you can bless the Whole Church through your studies, even it is merely the gathering of primary quotes from the fathers themelves with minimal commentary.


Do you think the claim that the early church was overwhelmingly premil is due to Dispensationalist revisionist history?

I think it has simply been partial selective study. People are so embroiled in their own belief that they want to believe a certain scenario. There are so many wild unsubstantiated claims that need to be examined.

---------- Post added at 06:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:02 PM ----------

I am looking for evidence that the writer held Israel as a separate favoured entity that will have a central or important part to play in the future (either prior to Christ’s return or after). I am examining for any teaching on the rebuilding of the temple in earthly Jerusalem and the return of animal sacrifices to the new earth.

You probably know this, but there are many premillennialists who don't hold to eschatological significance of Israel or a rebuilding of the earthly temple and return of animal sacrifices.

Second, Premillennialists, do not accept there is a climactic return of Christ at the Second Coming, immediately followed by eternity. They have a sin-cursed, goat-infested, death-blighted millennial age in-between. They resurrect all the bondage of corruption that exists in our day and place in into a future millennium. They also populate the new earth with countless mortals and countless wicked.

Goat-infested? Death-blighted? Bondage of corruption? That doesn't sound like a millennial description of any premillennialists that I've read. If you're looking for a description of an earthly millennium as having "all the bondage of corruption that exists in our day," you probably won't find very many.

The ones I've read teach a millennial reign of Jesus in which there is much peace, righteousness and justice, though not completely consummated.

Grudem (Systematic Theology, 1127), for example, cites the following passages as taking place in the millennial period:

No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. (Isa. 65:20)

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. (Isa. 11:6-11)

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!
For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight. (Ps. 72:8-14)

Mr Grudem needs to take another look.

Isaiah 65:17-21 says, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping 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 man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.”

(1) Do you believe there will be sinners on the new earth?
(2) Do you believe there will be sickness on the new earth?
(3) Do you believe there will be wickedness on the new earth?
(4) Do you believe there will be war on the new earth?
(5) Do you believe there will be rebellion on the new earth?
(6) Do you believe there will be death on the new earth?
(7) Do you believe there will be corruption on the new earth?
(8) Do you believe there will be decay on the new earth?
 
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