Chapter 4: Introduction to Postmillennialism

Kenneth L Gentry

Narrated By: Aidan McGuire
Book: He Shall Have Dominion
Topics: ,


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Chapter Text

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

We do not hold with the philosophy of linguistic analysis that problems of definition lie at the heart of all ambiguity.[1] Yet often enough, carefully defining a theological position will help correct many unnecessary misconceptions. Probably more than any of the three other evangelical views, postmillennialism has suffered distortion through improper definition by its opponents. In this chapter, I will attempt to set forth a succinct theological explanation of postmillennialism, as well as briefly to engage the question of postmillenniaiism’s historical origins.

Confusion Regarding Postmillennialism

It is remarkable that there are some noted theologians who do not appear to have an adequate working definition of post-millennialism. This leads them to misclassify certain postmillennial scholars. For instance, dispensational theologians are notorious for classifying leading postmillennial scholars Benjamin B. Warfield and O. T. Allis as amillennialists. One has even misidentified W. G. I Shedd as an amillennialist.[2] In Warfield’s case, this misconception is based largely on his view of Revelation 20, despite his many clear statements elsewhere regarding postmillennialism. (This illustrates anew the inordinate role of Revelation 20 in the eschatological debate.) In Allis’ case, his silence regarding his eschatological persuasion in his classic Prophecy and the Church seems to be partly responsible for the confusion. He is assumed by many to be amillennial, since postmillennialism, which some critics do not understand, is presumed dead.

Walvoord writes in this regard: “A new type of amillennialism has arisen, however, of which Warfield can be taken as an example which is actually a totally new type of amillennialism. “[3] Chafer (1948), Ryrie (1953), Pentecost (1958), Culver (1977), Feinberg (1980), Johnson (1983), and Lightner (1990) promote the same Warfield-as-amillennialist error.[4] Ryrie continues his earlier error, when he comments (1986): “Though Augustinian amillennialism is generally followed in this modern time… another form of amillennialism arose. B. B. Warfield… taught that the Millennium is the present state of the saints in heaven.”[5]

Of Allis, Pentecost writes: “Amillennialism today is divided into two camps. (1) The first, of which Allis and Berkhof are adherents….”[6] Walvoord follows suit: “However, in view of the evidence that many amillenarians consider it, as Allis does.”[7] Culver (1977), C. Feinberg (1980), Ryrie (1986), J. Feinberg (1988), and Lightner (1990) concur.[8]

It is clear from Warfield himself,[9] as well as other eschatological writers[10], that he was a postmillennialist. While expressly discussing the “premillennial” and “postmillennial” positions, Warfield writes of his own view: “[T]he Scriptures do promise to the church a ‘golden age,’ when the conflict with the forces of evil in which it is engaged has passed into victory… [T]he ‘golden age’ of the church is the adorning of the bride for her husband, and is the preparation for his coming…. [P]recisely what the risen Lord, who has been made head over all things for his church, is doing through these years that stretch between his first and second comings, is conquering the world to himself; and the world is to be nothing less than a converted world.” “The ministry which Paul exercised, and which everyone who follows him in proclaiming the gospel exercises with him, is distinctively the ministry of reconciliation, not of testimony merely, but of reconciliation. It has as its object, and is itself the proper means of, the actual reconciliation of the whole world.”[11]

Interestingly, Allis, in his book that is widely cited by dispensationalists, even calls Warfield a “postmillenarian who looked for a future golden age of the Church on earth. “[12] More interesting is the resistance of one dispensationalist to admit what he suspects may be the case in this regard. Speaking of “modern amillennialism – B. B, Warfield School,” Culver writes: “I have called Warfield an amillennialist because he denies any connection of the ‘thousand years’ with a reign of Christ or His saints on earth, either after Christ’s second coming or before it. It may be true, as former students of his classes have told me, that he regarded himself as a postmillennialist.”[13]

That Allis was postmillennial is evident, as well. In his Foreword to Roderick Campbell’s postmillennial work, Israel and the New Covenant, Allis wrote: “[M]y own studies in this and related fields have convinced me that the most serious error in much of the current ‘prophetic’ teaching of today is the claim that the future of Christendom is to be read not in terms of Revival and Victory, but of growing impotence and apostasy…. The language of the Great Commission is world-embracing; and it has back of it the authority and power of One who said: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ The duty of the church is to address herself to the achieving of this task in anticipation of her Lord’s coming, and not to expect Him to call her away to glory before her task is accomplished.”[14] Although his postmillennialism is not clearly spelled out in his classic study Prophecy and the Church, it is in this Foreword and elsewhere.[15]

A careful definition of an eschatological system will help to keep one from making such mistaken identifications. Hence, the significance of this chapter.

A Definition of Postmillennialism

The dispensational error in defining non-premillennial eschatological systems is traceable to its focusing on Revelation 20, in its assumption that this passage controls those systems (as is evident in the Culver quotation above).[16] The postmillennialist, however, is reluctant to begin systemic definition with one of the last and most symbolic books of the Bible. Consequently, the much debated Revelation 20 passage is, frankly, not determinative for postmillennialism.[17]

An appropriate, systematic definition of postmillennialism would include a number of key elements. It should be understood, of course, that ancient church fathers who held optimistic expectations for the progress of Christianity, and who may be called “postmillennial,” would not hold to a full-blown systematic postmillenialism as outlined below. This is as true for postmillennialism as for premillennialism. “It must be conceded that the advanced and detailed theology of pretribulationism is not found in the Fathers, but neither is any other detailed and ‘established’ exposition of premillennialism. The development of most important doctrines took centuries. “[18] Bearing this in mind, let us consider the nature of postmillennialism.

First, postmillennialism is that system of eschatology which understands the Messianic kingdom to have been founded upon the earth during the earthly ministry and through the redemptive labors of the Lord Jesus Christ. This establishment of the “kingdom of heaven” was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophetic expectation. The kingdom which Christ preached and presented was not something other than that expected by the Old Testament saints. In postmillennialism, the Church becomes the transformed Israel, being called “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16).[19]

Second, the fundamental nature of that kingdom is essentially redemptive and spiritual rather than political and corporeal. Although it has implications for the political realm, postmillennialism is not essentially political, competing with temporal nations for governmental rule. Christ rules His kingdom spiritually in and through His people in the world (representation), as well as by His universal providence.

Third, because of the intrinsic power and design of Christ’s redemption, His kingdom will exercise a transformational socio-cultural influence in history. This will occur as more and more people are converted to Christ, not by a minority revolt and seizure of political power. “[T]he essential distinctive of postmillennialism is its scripturally derived, sure expectation of gospel prosperity for the church during the present age.”[20]

Fourth, postmillennialism, thus, expects the gradual, developmental expansion of the kingdom of Christ in time and on earth. This expansion will proceed by means of the full-orbed ministry of the Word, fervent and believing prayer, and the consecrated labors of His Spirit-filled people. Christ’s personal presence on earth is not needed for the expansion of His kingdom. All of this kingdom expansion will be directed and blessed by the ever-present Christ, Who is now enthroned as King at the right hand of God, ruling and reigning over the earth.

Fifth, postmillennialism confidently anticipates a time in earth history (continuous with the present) in which the very gospel already operative in the world will have won the victory throughout the earth in fulfillment of the Great Commission. “The thing that distinguishes the biblical postmillennialist, then, from amillennialists and premillennialists is his belief that the Scripture teaches the success of the great commission in this age of the church.”[21] During that time the overwhelming majority of men and nations will be Christianized, righteousness will abound, wars will cease, and prosperity and safety will flourish. Of the postmillennial kingdom at its fullest expression David Brown writes: “It will be marked by the universal reception of the true religion, and unlimited subjection to the sceptre of Christ.” “It shall be a time of universal peace.” “It will be characterised by great temporal prosperity.[22]

It should be noted at this juncture that there are some important differences between two types of postmillennialism today: pietistic and theonomic postmillennialism. “Among current postmils, to be sure, there are some who are not reconstructionists….  Nonreconstructionist postmils would naturally deny any such connection” between theonomic ethics and postmillennialism.[23] Pietistic postmillennialism (as found in Banner of Truth circles)[24] denies that the postmillennial advance of the kingdom involves the total transformation of culture through the application of biblical law. Theonomic postmillennialism affirms this.

Seventh, possibly “we can look forward to a great ‘golden age’ of spiritual prosperity continuing for centuries, or even for millenniums, during which time Christianity shall be triumphant over all the earth.”[25] After this extended period of gospel prosperity, earth history will be drawn to a close by the personal, visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ (accompanied by a literal resurrection and a general judgment) to introduce His blood-bought people into the consummative and eternal form of the kingdom. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Confusion Regarding Millennial Development

Unfortunately, serious errors have brought distortion into the understanding of the historical rise of millennial views. A recent work comments: “The early church was solidly chiliastic until the time of Augustine.”[26] Another boldly asserts that “the church from the beginning was premillennial in belief.”[27] Still another states that “a premillennial belief was the universal belief in the church for two hundred and fifty years after the death of Christ.”[28] This is commonly heard today.

Frequently the false historical data is traceable to the seriously flawed, long-discredited claims of George N. H. Peters.[29] Peters commented on premillennialism in history: “Now let the student reflect: here are two centuries… in which positively no direct opposition whatever arises against our doctrine.”[30] His claims, though still persisting and highly regarded by some, have been shown to be quite erroneous.[31] Because my primary concern is to provide data for tracing the rise of postmillennialism, I will only briefly comment on the general historical confusion regarding postmillennialism. But it does deserve at least passing comment.

The errors of Peters’ analysis and others like it have been exposed by a number of scholars. The three leading, most detailed, and helpful are: Alan Patrick Boyd (a dispensationalist), D. H. Kromminga (a premillennialist), and Ned Stonehouse (an amillennialist).[32] Also noteworthy are studies by Louis Berkhof, Philip Schaff, Albertus Pieters, and W. J. Grier.[33] Kromminga carefully examines the sub-apostolic writings, including: Clement of Rome’s 1 Clement, the pseudo-Clementine 2 Clement, The Didache, the Ignatian epistles, Polycarp’s Epistle, The Letter of the Church at Smyrna on the Martyrdom of Polycarp, Barnabas, Hermas, Diognetus, Fragments of Papias, and Reliques of the Elders. He convincingly shows that only Papias among the sub-apostolic fathers is premillennial. He concludes that “an inquiry into the extent of ancient chiliasm will serve to show the untenableness of the claim that this doctrine was held with practical unanimity by the Church of the first few centuries.”[34]

Put in the best light, the most that Peters could say is: “[I]t would seem that very early in the post-apostolic era millenarianism was regarded as a mark neither of orthodoxy nor of heresy, but as one permissible opinion among others within the range of permissible opinions.”[35] Dispensationalist Lightner has admitted that “None of the major creeds of the church include premillennialism in their statements.”[36] Not even the second century Apostles’ Creed.[37] In fact, “early millennialism was held mostly among Jewish converts. A few Apostolic Fathers held it as individuals, but those who do not mention the millennium had greater weight of authority and influence: Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp.”[38] This is borne out by premillennialism’s failure to receive creedal status. Even Tertullian and Irenaeus (who were premillennial) record brief creeds with no allusions to a millennium.[39] What has happened to the evidence for “pervasive” premillennialism?

Peters’ mistakes were powerfully analyzed and conclusively rebutted in a 1977 Dallas Theological Seminary master’s thesis by dispensationalist Alan Patrick Boyd. According to Boyd, he “originally undertook the thesis to bolster the [dispensational] system by patristic research, but the evidence of the original sources simply disallowed this.” He ends up lamenting that “this writer believes that the Church rapidly fell from New Testament truth, and this is very evident in the realm of eschatology. Only in modern times has New Testament eschatological truth been recovered.”[40] As a consequence of his research, Boyd urges his fellow dispensationalists to “avoid reliance on men like Geo. N. H. Peters whose historical conclusions regarding premillennialism in the early church have been proven to be largely in error.”[41]

Boyd goes on to admit that “it would seem wise for the modern [i.e., dispensational] system to abandon the claim that it is the historical faith of the Church.”[42] Of Ryrie’s bold statement that “Premillennialism is the historic faith of the Church,” he states: “It is the conclusion of this thesis that Dr. Ryrie’s statement is historically invalid within the chronological framework of this thesis.”[43] Boyd even states: “This validates the claim of L. Berkhof…. ‘[I]t is not correct to say, as Premillenarians do, that it (millennialism) was generally accepted in the first three centuries. The truth of the matter is that the adherents of this doctrine were a rather limited number.'”[44]

It is clear upon reading certain of the ancient advocates of premillennialism that they faced opposition from orthodox non-millennialists. For instance, consider Justin Martyr’s response to Trypho regarding the hope of “a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built.” Justin replied: “I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion, and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise.”[45] Note the reference to “many” who “think otherwise.” There was no unanimity regarding the millennium.

Another premillennialist, Irenaeus (ca. A.D. 180), observes that “some who are reckoned among the orthodox” do not hold to his premillennial views.[46] Eusebius (ca. A.D. 325) points to premillennialist Papias (A.D. 60-130) in explaining the spread of premillennialism: “But it was due to him that so many [not “all”!] of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man.”[47] The fact that premillennialism was in no way approaching “universal” in extent is evident also in that Dionysius (A.D. 190-264) successfully dealt with “this doctrine” in a certain area where it prevailed and split “entire churches.” He won the day in that Egyptian district and turns the majority away from premillennialism.[48] Later, Epiphanius (A.D. 315-403) wrote: “There is indeed a millennium mentioned by St. John; but the most, and those pious men, look upon those words as true indeed, but to be taken in a spiritual sense.”[49]

The Origins of Postmillennialism

Concomitant with a confusion as to the proper identity of certain modern postmillennialists and an unbalanced perception of the early influence of premillennialism is a widespread confusion regarding the origins of postmillennialism. One dispensationalist has stated of postmillennialism: “Its advocates admit that it was first taught in the seventeenth century.”[50] There are also those who wrongly assume that postmillennialism may be traced back only as far as Daniel Whitby in 1703. Often Whitby is alleged to be “the originator of what is known as postmillennialism.”[51] This is the argument of Wayne House (at the time a Dallas Seminary professor) and Thomas Ice:

Daniel Whitby first put forth his view in a popular work entitled Paraphrase and Commentary on the New Testament (1703). It was at the end of this work that he first set forth what he calls in his own words ‘A New Hypothesis’ on the millennial reign of Christ. Thus, the system called postmillennialism was born in the early 1700s as a hypothesis. Whitby and his modern followers present their arguments and explanations based upon unproved assumptions – assumptions resulting in a hypothesis rather than something which is the fruit of the study of Scripture or even the voice of the church.[52]

It should be noted that Whitby was not the founder of postmillennialism – even of its more systematic, modern expression. Rodney Peterson writes that “this perspective had undergone changes, particularly since Thomas Brightman (1562-1607).”[53] Brightman, who died in 1607, was one of the fathers of Presbyterianism in England. His postmillennial views were set forth in detail in his book, A Revelation of the Revelation. In fact, this work is considered the “most important and influential English revision of the Reformed, Augustinian concept of the millennium.”[54] This was a century before Whitby’s 1703 article.

Whitby was helpful in “popularizing”[55] postmillennialism because he presented postmillennialism’s “most influential formulation.”[56] Ball categorically denies Whitby’s foundational role.[57] Whitby was simply not the “founder” of postmillennialism; he was a modern systematizer. At this very late date, it is time for dispensational authors to retract their previous statements regarding Whitby as the founder of postmillennialism.

Early Origins of Postmillennialism

It is clear that postmillennialism has undergone much systematization in the post-Reformation era. In its simplest form, however, adumbrations of it appear in antiquity. Simply put, postmillennialism is the view that Christ will return to the earth after the Spirit-blessed Gospel has had overwhelming success in bringing the world to the adoption of Christianity. Obviously, systematization is developmental, issuing from the diligent labors of many minds over a period of time as they build on the research of those who have gone on before. There should be no problem with the slow, developmental systematization, for dispensationalists can even write: “The futurist interpretation is the approach used by the earliest church fathers. We do not argue that they had a sophisticated system, but the clear futurist elements were there.”[58] I argue similarly for postmillennialism. After all, did not Ryrie argue regarding dispensationalism’s “recency”: “Informed dispensationalists … recognize that as a system dispensationalism was largely formulated by Darby, but that outlines of the dispensationalist approach to the Scriptures are found much earlier”?[59]

There are indicators in antiquity of a genuine hope for the progress of the gospel in history. Premillennialist Kromminga has noted that although most Montanists were premillennialists, “others were at least containing also the germs for later fullfledged Postmillennialism.”[60] This nascent postmillennialism was resultant from the hope (rooted in Scripture) that there would be a period of the Holy Spirit’s dominance in the affairs of history.[61] This perspective on the future of the Church had considerable influence in the thinking of other Church fathers.

Origen (A.D. 185-254)

Although much in Origen is unacceptable, he is a noteworthy church father of considerable influence. As Philip Schaff has noted regarding Origen’s views, there was in them a place for a great evidencing of the power of the gospel: “Such a mighty

revolution as the conversion of the heathen emperor was not dreamed of even as a remote possibility, except perhaps by the far-sighted Origen.” “Origen seems to have been the only one in that age of violent persecution who expected that Christianity, by continual growth, would gain the dominion over the world.”[62]

Origen comments:

[I]t is evident that even the barbarians, when they yield obedience to the word of God, will become most obedient to the law, and most humane; and every form of worship will be destroyed except the religion of Christ, which will alone prevail. And indeed it will one day triumph, as its principles take possession of the minds of men more and more every day.[63]

This sort of statement is of the essence of postmillennial optimism.

Eusebius (A.D. 260-340)

In Eusebius, there is an even fuller expression of hope that is evident. In Book 10 of his Ecclesiastical History, he is convinced he is witnessing the dawning of the fulfillment of Old Testament kingdom prophecies. Of Psalms 108: 1, 2 and 46:8, 9, which he specifically cites, he writes that he is “Rejoicing in these things which have been dearly fulfilled in our day.”[64]

Later in chapters 4 through 7 of Book 10 he cites dozens of other such passages as coming to fulfillment. He writes: “For it was necessary and fitting that as her [the Church’s] shepherd and Lord had once tasted death for her, and after his suffering had changed that vile body which he assumed in her behalf into a splendid and glorious body, leading the very flesh which had been delivered from corruption to incorruption, she too should enjoy the dispensations of the Saviour.”[65]

After quoting several passages from Isaiah, Eusebius writes: “These are the things which Isaiah foretold; and which were anciently recorded concerning us in sacred books; and it was necessary that we should sometime learn their truthfulness by their fulfillment.”[66]

Of Christ he writes:

What god or hero yet, as he has done, has set aside all gods and heroes among civilized or barbarous nations; has ordained that divine honors should be withheld from all, and claimed obedience to that command: and then, though singly conflicting with the power of all, has utterly destroyed the opposing hosts; victorious over the gods and heroes of every age, and causing himself alone, in every region of the habitable world, to be acknowledged by all people as the only Son of God? .. What god or hero, exposed, as our Saviour was, to so sore a conflict, has raised the trophy of victory over every foe?[67]

After discussing how Psalm 110:1 and how “even to this day [Christ] is honored as a King by his followers throughout the world,”[68] he writes:

It is admitted that when in recent times the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ had become known to all men there immediately made its appearance a new nation; a nation confessedly not small, and not dwelling in some corner of the earth, but the most numerous and pious of all nations, indestructible and unconquerable, because it always receives assistance from God. This nation, thus suddenly appearing at the time appointed by the inscrutable counsel of God, is the one which has been honored by all with the name of Christ.[69]

Following this, he cites Genesis 12:3, regarding the Abrahamic promise of Christ’s blessing all nations.[70] Eusebius later states:

Long since had his passion, as well as his advent in the flesh, been predicted by the prophets. The time, too, of his incarnation had been foretold, and the manner in which the fruits of iniquity and profligacy, so ruinous to the works and ways of righteousness, should be destroyed, and the whole world partake of the virtues of wisdom and sound discretion, through the almost universal prevalence of those principles of conduct which the Saviour would promulgate, over the minds of men; whereby the worship of God should be confirmed, and the rites of superstition abolished.[71]

Athanasius (A.D. 296-372)

Athanasius has been called “the patron saint of postmillennialism.”[72] He was certain of the victory of Christ for now “the Saviour works so great things among men, and day by day is invisibly persuading so great a multitude from every side, both from them that dwell in Greece and in foreign lands, to come over to His faith, and all to obey His teaching.”[73] “For where Christ is named, and His faith, there all idolatry is deposed and all imposture of evil spirits is exposed, and any spirit is unable to endure even the name, nay even on barely hearing it flies and disappears. But this work is not that of one dead, but of one that lives – and especially of Cod.”[74] In fact, regarding idols, Christ “chases them away, and by His power prevents their even appearing, yea, and is being confessed by them all to be the Son of Cod.”[75] Athanasius goes on to exult in Christ’s continuing victory:

The Saviour does daily so many works, drawing men to religion, persuading to virtue, teaching of immortality, leading on to a desire for heavenly things, revealing the knowledge of the Father, inspiring strength to meet death, shewing Himself to each one, and displacing the godlessness of idolatry, and the gods and spirits of the unbelievers can do none of these things, but rather shew themselves dead at the presence of Christ, their pomp being reduced to impotence and vanity; whereas by the sign of the Cross all magic is stopped, and all witchcraft brought to nought, all the idols are being deserted and left, and every unruly pleasure is checked, and every one is looking up from earth to heaven…. For the Son of God is ‘living and active,’ and works day by day, and brings about the salvation of all. But death is daily proved to have lost all his power, and idols and spirits are proved to be dead rather than Christ.[76]

Athanasius applies prophecies of the triumph of Christ to the Church age and even rhetorically asks: “But what king that ever was, before he had strength to call father or mother, reigned and gained triumphs over his enemies?”[77] He then writes: “All heathen at any rate from every region, abjuring their hereditary tradition and the impiety of idols, are now placing their hope in Christ, and enrolling themselves under Him. “[78] He continues:

But if the Gentiles are honouring the same God that gave the law to Moses and made the promise to Abraham, and Whose word the Jews dishonoured, – why are [the Jews] ignorant, or rather why do they choose to ignore, that the Lord foretold by the Scriptures has shone forth upon the world, and appeared to it in bodily form, as the Scripture said…. What then has not come to pass, that the Christ must do? What is left unfulfilled, that the Jews should not disbelieve with impunity? For if, I say, – which is just what we actually see, – there is no longer king nor prophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them, but even the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, and the gentiles, leaving their godlessness, are now taking refuge with the God of Abraham, through the Word, even our Lord Jesus Christ, then it must be plain, even to those who are exceedingly obstinate, that the Christ is come, and that He has illumined absolutely all with His light…. So one can fairly refute the Jews by these and by other arguments from the Divine Scriptures.[79]

….[I]t is right for you to realize, and to take as the sum of what we have already stated, and to marvel at exceedingly; namely, that since the Saviour has come among us, idolatry not only has no longer increased, but what there was is diminishing and gradually coming to an end: and not only does the wisdom of the Greeks no longer advance, but what there is is now fading away…. And to sum the matter up: behold how the Saviour’s doctrine is everywhere increasing, while all idolatry and everything opposed to the faith of Christ is daily dwindling, and losing power, and falling…. For as, when the sun is come, darkness no longer prevails, but if any be still left anywhere it is driven away; so, now that the divine Appearing of the Word of God is come, the darkness of the idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are illumined by His teaching.[80]

The great progress of the gospel is expected, according to Athanasius’ view of Scripture (Isa. 11:9; Matt. 28:19; John 6:45:): “And then, from Dan to Beersheba was the Law proclaimed, and in Judea only was God known; but now, unto all the earth has gone forth their voice, and all the earth has been filled with the knowledge of God, and the disciples have made disciples of all the nations, and now is fulfilled what is written, ‘They shall be all taught of God.'”[81]

The adumbrations of the ultimate pacific influence of the gospel are being felt in his day:

Who then is He that has done this, or who is He that has united in peace men that hated one another, save the beloved Son of the Father, the common Saviour of all, even Jesus Christ, Who by His own love underwent all things for our salvation. For even from of old it was prophesied of the peace He was to usher in, where the Scripture says: ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their pikes into sickles, and nation shall not take the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ And this is at least not incredible, inasmuch as even now those barbarians who have an innate savagery of manners, while they still sacrifice to the idols of their country, are mad against one another, and cannot endure to be a single hour without weapons: but when they hear the teaching of Christ, straightway instead of fighting they turn to husbandry, and instead of arming their hands with weapons they raise them in prayer, and in a word, in place of fighting among themselves, henceforth they arm against the devil and against evil spirits, subduing these by self-restraint and virtue of soul.[82]

Many other such references could be cited from Athanasius.[83] There is insufficient space at this point to do so.

The most influential theologian among the ancient church fathers has yet to be heard from: Augustine. He was no premillennialist.

Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

Augustine looms as the greatest Christian thinker of the early church. Although he is often assumed to hold views that correspond more closely to amillennialism, there is evidence of postmillennial-type thinking in his writings, as scholars have noted.[84] Historic premillennialist Erickson admits Augustine is postmillennial and that “all three millennial positions have been held virtually throughout church history.”[85] He cites as evidence for Augustine’s postmillennialism Augustine’s Sermon 259:2.

A number of statements in Book 18 of The City of God certainly give the appearance of a postmillennial optimism. Of Nahum 1:14 and 2:1, Augustine states: “Moreover, we already see the graven and molten things, that is, the idols of the false gods, exterminated through the gospel, and given up to oblivion as of the grave, and we know that this prophecy is fulfilled in this very thing” (City of God 18:31).” ‘The tents of Ethiopia shall be greatly afraid, and the tents of the land of Midian;’ that is, even those nations which are not under the Roman authority, being suddenly terrified by the news of Thy wonderful works, shall become a Christian people. ‘Wert Thou angry at the rivers, O Lord? or was Thy fury against the rivers? or was Thy rage against the sea?’ This is said because He does not now come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (18:32).

He comments on Haggai 2:6: ” ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet one little while, and I will shake the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will move all nations, and the desired of all nations shall come.’ The fulfillment of this prophecy is in part already seen, and in part hoped for in the end…. so we see all nations moved to the faith; and the fulfillment of what follows, ‘And the desired of all nations shall come,’ is looked for at His last coming. For ere men can desire and wait for Him, they must believe and love Him” (City of God, 18:35). His comments on Psalm 2 could also be cited.

Medieval Postmillennialists

Somewhat later in history, but still pre-Whitby, is the case of the medieval Roman Catholic Joachim of Florus (1145-1202). Several non-postmillennial scholars cite him as a postmillennialist,[86] due to his view of a coming outpouring of the Spirit, initiating the Age of the Spirit.[87] As Kromminga puts it: “In fact, modern Postmillenarianism of the orthodox type with its expectation of a glorious final Church Age, brought about through the ordinary operation of the Word and the Spirit, embodies nothing but this Pure Church ideal, dissociated from Joachim’s expectation of a future coming of the Holy Spirit.”[88] Strangely, Walvoord points to Joachim as a postmillennialist, then speaks of postmillennialism “originating in the writings of Daniel Whitby,” despite Whitby’s writing five centuries later![89]

Other postmillennialists well before Whitby include the following: the Franciscans Peter John Olivi (d. ca. 1297) and Abertino de Casale (fl. 1305); the Dominicans Ghehardinus de Burgo (fl. 1254), Mechthild of Magdeburg (d. 1280), Fra Dolcino (fl. 1330); another Roman Catholic scholar Arnaldus of Villanova (fl. 1298); and the forerunner of John Huss, Jan Miliciz of Kremsier (fl. 1367).[90]

A century and a half before Whitby, John Calvin (1509-1564) clearly held optimistic prophetic views that are commonly associated with postmillennialism. Such postmillennial expectations may be found at various places in his commentaries, such as at Isaiah 2:2-4; 65:17; Matthew 24:26; 28:18-20; Romans 11:24. “John Calvin’s commentaries give some scholars cause for concluding that he anticipated the spread of the gospel and true religion to the ends of the earth.”[91] Indeed, in his Prefatory Address to King Francis I of France, Calvin writes: “Our doctrine must tower unvanquished above all the glory and above all the might of the world, for it is not of us, but of the living God and his Christ whom the Father has appointed King to ‘rule from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the ends of the earth…. And he is so to rule as to smite the whole earth with its iron and brazen strength, with its gold and silver brilliance, shattering it with the rod of his mouth as an earthen vessel, just as the prophets have prophesied concerning the magnificence of his reign.”[92] This is not the language which is commonly associated with eschatological pessimism, and it was adopted by Calvin’s Puritan and postmillennial successors. They had good reasons to see in Calvin a postmillennial optimism.

I have already mentioned the most important systematizer of English postmillennialism, Thomas Brightman (1562-1607). In addition to him, there was a growing and influential number of English Puritans that held postmillennial views well before Whitby, as a number of important historical works have amply demonstrated.[93] We think of Thomas Goodwin (1600-1679), John Owen (1616-1683), William Gouge (1575-1653), John Cotton (1585-1652), Thomas Brooks (ca., 1662), James Renwick (d. 1688), John Howe (1678), William Perkins (1558-1602), and others. John Cotton’s The Churches Resurrection, or the Opening of the Fift and Sixt Verses of the 20th. Chap. of the Revelation [sic.], written in 1642, was quite influential and shows obvious influence by Brightman.[94]

The Westminster Standards (1640s) set forth a postmillennial hope. The kingship of Christ is said to be evidenced to God’s people by Christ’s “overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory” (Larger Catechism, 45). Indeed, “Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies” (Shorter Catechism, 26). The evidence of His exaltation is made visible to His Church when He does “gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies” (Larger Catechism, 54).

In the Westminster Standards, the Lord’s Prayer speaks of the second petition faithfully calling up God “that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called… [and] the fullness of the Gentiles brought in.”[95] This follows the first petition in which prayer is righteously made “that he would prevent and remove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profaneness, and whatsoever is dishonorable to him; and, by his over-ruling providence, direct and dispose of all things to his own glory.”[96]

Congregationalism’s Savoy Declaration of 1658 is a strong and unambiguous postmillennial document promising that “in the latter days, antichrist being destroyed, the Jews called, and the adversaries of the kingdom of His dear Son broken, the churches of Christ being enlarged and edified through a free and plentiful communication of light and grace, [they] shall enjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceable, and glorious condition than they have enjoyed.”[97]

After a lengthy and informative discussion of a host of names, premillennialist Kromminga has concluded: “In actual fact there is quite a strain of Postmillennialism in Reformed theology from Cocceius [1603-1669] onward…. Reformed theology can therefore in view of these phenomena not well be said to have been uniformly amillenarian, as is rather frequently assumed.”[98] And as was shown in the preceding chapter, some of the great reformed scholars of the last 100 years have been postmillennial.

Simply put: Daniel Whitby was not the “founder” of postmillennialism. Postmillennialism’s distinctive theme of gospel victory in history is hoary with age.

Representative Adherents to Postmillennialism

As in the earlier chapter, here I will summarily list some noteworthy adherents to postmillennialism. In the ancient church: Eusebius (A.D. 260-340), Athanasius (A.D. 296-372), and Augustine (A.D. 354-430). In the modern church: J. A. Alexander, O. T. Allis, Greg Bahnsen, Albert Barnes, David Brown, John Calvin, Roderick Campbell, Robert L. Dabney, John Jefferson Davis, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, A. A. Hodge, Charles Hodge, Erroll Hulse, Francis Nigel Lee, Marcellus Kik,]. Gresham Machen, George C. Miladin, Iain Murray, John Murray, Gary North, John Owen, R. J. Rushdoony, Steve Schlissel, W. G. T. Shedd, Norman Shepherd, Augustus H. Strong,]. H. Thomwell, Richard C. Trench, B. B. Warfield, and many of the Puritans.[99]


Systematization of the various theological loci naturally developed over time, engaging the gifts and minds of spiritually sensitive Christian leaders. Most biblical theologians would agree that eschatology has certainly been one of the loci that has undergone the most development in history. As I indicated earlier, eschatology is extremely deep and involved, intertwining itself with the very essence of Christianity itself. Because of this, the antiquity of an eschatological system, as such, is not absolutely essential to its orthodoxy. Nevertheless, the eschatological factors in Scripture cannot have been without some apparent impact upon the nascent development of early Christendom’s perception of the flow of history. An eschatology lacking any historical rooting in antiquity is rightly suspect.

Much popular literature leaves the impression that postmillennial thought is a recent novelty. I have shown that postmillennialism is not without historical precedent in the early centuries of the Christian Church. Indeed, it has been the framework of some of the noted minds of the Church. The crucial elements of postmillennialism – the presence of a biblically informed, historically relevant, and ultimately optimistic temporal hope – is clearly present in antiquity.

Furthermore, the postmillennial position has been held in more recent centuries by noted and devout defenders of the faith. Postmillennialism is not a fringe eschatology. It has been particularly influential in reformed circles, as the list on page 91 demonstrates.

When postmillennialism is properly defined, it expresses the glorious hope of all of Scripture. When its advocates are carefully read, its antiquity and influence may be better understood. The widespread confusion regarding postmillennialism’s nature, origins, and advocates is to be lamented. The modern Church, sapped of the power of hope, largely through poor exegesis and a lack of an understanding of Church history, is the weaker for it.

[1] Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in his preface to his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that “what can be said at all can be said clearly.” Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, trans. by D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness (New York: Humanities Press, 1961), p. 3.

[2] Charles F. Baker, A Dispensational Theology (Grand Rapids: Grace Bible College, 1981), p. 617.

[3] Walvoord, “The Millennial Issue in Modern Theology,” Bibliotheca Sacra 106 (Jan. 1948) 44. Strangely, Walvoord apparently comes to realize the true position of Warfield, but does not inform any of his colleagues at Dallas Theological Seminary: “Warfield is more optimistic, hence is usually classified as a postmillenarian.” John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), p. 286. If he is “usually” so classified, why do we not hear such from dispensationalists?

[4] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1948), 4:281; 7:238. Chafer seems to be the source of this error. See also: Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros., 1953), p. 30;J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 387; Robert D. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (2nd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1977), p. 24; Charles Lee Feinberg, Millennialism: The Two Major Views (3rd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 314; Alan F. Johnson, Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), pp. 181-182; Robert P. Lightner, The Last Days Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Different Views of Prophecy (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), p. 77.

[5] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986), p. 449.

[6] Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 387.

[7] John F. Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, 3 vols. in 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 2:56. See also: Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 286. Walvoord, “Revelation,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament Edition, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1983), p. 978.

[8] Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, p. 24. Feinberg, Millennialism, p. 49. Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 449. John S. Feinberg, “Systems of Discontinuity,” Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments, Feinberg, ed. (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1988), p. 67. Lightner, Last Days Handbook, 91.

[9] See: Warfield, “Jesus Christ the Propitiation for the Sins of the Whole World” (1921), in Selected Shorter Writings I, John E. Meeter, ed. (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1970), pp. 167-177. “Antichrist” (1921), ibid., pp. 356-364. “The Importunate Widow and the Alleged Failure of Faith” (1913), in SSW-II (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1973), pp. 698-711. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies, Samuel E. Craig, ed. (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1952): “Are There Few That Be Saved?” (1915), pp. 334-350; “The Prophecies of St. Paul” (1886), pp. 463-502; “God’s Immeasurable Love” (n.d.), pp. 505-522. Warfield, Biblical Doctrines (New York: Oxford University Press, 1929), pp. 663ff. Warfield, “The Millennium and the Apocalypse,” Princeton Theological Review (Oct. 1904).

[10] For example see: historic premillennialist Ladd, Crucial Questions, pp. 46-47. Amillennialist Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), pp. 176ff.

[11] Warfield, “The Gospel and the Second Coming,” Selected Shorter Writings I, pp. 349-350. This essay was originally published in The Bible Magazine 3 (1915) 303-309. It is a strong polemic against the premillennial position. In this article, he specifically called himself a postmillennialist. This should remove all confusion about his eschatological position.

[12] O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed. 1945). p. 287.

[13] Robert D. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (2nd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1977), p. 213.

[14] O. T. Allis, “Foreword,” Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler, TX.: Geneva Divinity School Press, [1954] 1981), p. ix.

[15] See also: Allis, “The Parable of Leaven,” Evangelical Quarterly 19:4 (Oct. 1947) 254-273.

[16] See Footnote 6 regarding Berkhof in the preceding chapter. Cf. Richard B. Gaffin, “Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Postmillennialism,” Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), p. 199. Walvoord speaks of Revelation 20 as “one of the great chapters of the Bible.” Walvoord, Revelation. p. 282.

[17] This is not to say that the passage is unimportant. It is just to say that this one passage has been allowed unduly to dominate the eschatological discussion.

[18] John E Walvoord, The Rapture Question (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), p. 52.

[19] See: Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “The Israel of God: A Study of the Role of Israel in Scripture” (unpublished manuscript). The church as the elect of God existed in the Old Testament, despite dispensational claims. Jerry W. Crick, “The Church and the Kingdom” (ordination thesis) (Greenville, SC: Calvary Presbytery, 1990), pp. 1-6.

[20] Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism,” Journal of Christian Reconstruction 3:2 (Winter 1976-77) 66.

[21] Ibid.

[22] David Brown, Christ’s Second Coming: Will it be Premillennial? (Edmonton, AB: Still Waters Revival, [1882] 1990), pp. 399,401.

[23] Gaffin, “Theonomy and Eschatology,” Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, p. 197. For more detail see: Rousas John Rushdoony, God’s Plan for Victory: The Meaning of Postmillenniali5m (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn, 1977). Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989). Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), especially Chapter 10.

[24] The Calvinists who are associated with this group are self-consciously identified with the revivalistic postmillennialism of Jonathan Edwards rather than with the theonomic postmillennialism of the colonial American Puritans. See: Iain Murray, The Puritan Hope: A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1971). The reprints of Puritan works issued by the Banner of Truth are pietistic rather than Cromwellian, introspective rather than cultural.

[25] Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1958), p. 29.

[26] H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: MuItnomah, 1988), p. 200.

[27] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), p. 389.

[28] Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 374 (italics his). But then he quotes Schaff as saying it was not creedally endorsed by the church, but was “widely current” among distinguished teachers. How he leaps from “widely current” to “universal” we probably will never know.

[29] George N. H. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom, 3 vols. (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1884).

[30] Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 375, citing Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, 1:494-496.

[31] Walvoord calls it “a classic work.” John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Findley, OH: Dunham, 1959), p. 119. Other dispensationalists employ his findings. See: Chafer, Systematic Theology, 4:270-274; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 373-384; and Leon J. Wood, The Bible and Future Events (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), pp. 35ff.

[32] Alan Patrick Boyd, “A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr)” (Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary master’s thesis, 1977); D. H. Kromminga, The Millennium in the Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1945), pp. 29-112; Ned Stonehouse, The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church (Goes, Holland: Oosterbaan and LeCointre, 1929), pp. 13ff.

[33] Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1937] 1975), p. 262; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 vols. (5th ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1910] n.d.), 2:615; Albertus Pieters, two articles: “Chiliasm in the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers” (1938), cited by Kromminga, Millennium, p. 41; W. J. Grier, The Momentous Event (London: Banner of Truth, [1945] 1970), pp. 19ff.

[34] Kromminga, Millennium, pp. 30, 41, 42.

[35] Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Traditions, vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), p. 125.

[36] Lightner, Last Days Handbook, p. 158.

[37] A. Harnack, “Apostle’s Creed,” The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious

Knowledge, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1907] 1949), 1:242.

[38] W. G. T. Shedd, A History of Christian Doctrine, 2 vols. (Minneapolis, MN: Klock & Klock, [1889] 1978), 2:390-391. Papias’ famous passage on the millennium was taken from the Jewish Apocalypse of Baruch 29:1-8. See Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, [1930] 1991), p. 233.

[39] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1:10; 3:4; Tertullian, Virgin 1; Against Praexus 2; The Prescription Against Heretics 13.

[40] Boyd, “Dispensational Premillennial Analysis,” p. 91n.

[41] Ibid., p. 92.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid., p. 89.

[44] Ibid., p. 92.

[45] Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 80 (emphasis mine).

[46] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:31:1 (emphasis mine). W. G. T. Shedd comments ‘on this statement: “Irenaeus… speaks of opposers of Millenarianism who held the catholic faith, and who agreed with the Gnostics only in being Anti-Millenarians; although he is himself desirous to make it appear that Anti-Millenarianism is of the

nature of heresy.” Shedd, History of Christian Doctrine, 2:394.

[47] Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3:39. Pelikan observes: Eusebius “was certainly speaking for a large body of theological opinion in the East when he called Papias’s millenarianism ‘bizarre’ and ‘rather mythological.'” Pelikan, Christian Traditions, vol. 1, p. 125.

[48] Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 7:24; cf. Dionysius 5:6.

[49] Epiphanius, Heresies 77:26.

[50] Baker, Dispensational Theology, p. 623.

[51] Chafer, Systematic Theology, 4:280-281.

[52] House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 209.

[53] Rodney Peterson, “The Debate Throughout Church History,” Continuity and

Discontinuity, p. 31.

[54] Peter Toon, ed., Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel (Cambridge: James Clarke, 1970), p. 26. See also: Bryan W. Ball, A Great Expectation: Eschatological Thought in English Protestantism to 1660 (Leiden, Holland: E. J. Brill, 1975).

[55] John J. Davis, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom: Postmillennialism Reconsidered (Grand

Rapids: Baker, 1986), pp. 16-17.

[56] R. G. Clouse, “Millennium, Views of the,” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), p. 717.

[57] W. Ball, A Great Expectation, p. 170n.

[58] House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 275.

[59] Charles Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), p. 66.

[60] Kromminga, Millennium, p. 76.

[61] Ibid., p. 84.

[62] Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 2:591, 122. He cites Neander, General History of the Christian Religion and Church (12th ed.), 1:129.

[63] Origen, Against Celsus 8:68.

[64] Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 10:1:6.

[65] Ibid. 10:4:46:

[66] Ibid. 10:4:53; cf. sections 46-52. Citing Isaiah 51:10-11; 54:4; 54:6-8; 51:17, 18, 22-23; 52:1,2; 49:18-21.

[67] Eusebius, The Oration of the Emperor Constantine 17:13-14. Though obviously prematurely, he sees in the spread of Christianity the anticipated conquest of the world, Church History 1:3:12; 2:3:1; 8:1:1-2, 6.

[68] Eusebius, Church History 1:3:19.

[69] Ibid. 1:4:2-3.

[70] Ibid. 1:4:13.

[71] Eusebius, Constantine, 16.

[72] David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), p. 5.

[73] Athanasius, Incarnation 30:4.

[74] Ibid. 30:6.

[75] Ibid. 30:7.

[76] Ibid. 31 :2-3. This is particularly significant in that idolatry was a world-wide phenomenon (2 Kgs. 17:29; 1 Chron. 16:26; Psa. 96:5) in which Satan exercised control of men through demonic power (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; Psa. 106:37; 1 Cor.

10:19-20). Satan’s binding (Rev. 20:2-3; Matt. 12:28-29) is increasing “day by day.”

[77] Ibid. 36:1. He cites sections from Num. 24:5-17; Isa. 8:4; Isa. 19:1 (Sec. 33 [context = Secs. 30-31]); Dan. 9:24ff; Gen. 49:10 (Sec. 40); Isa. 2:4 (Sec. 52:1); 11:9 (Sec. 45:2; Discourse Against the Arians 1:59); Psa. 110:1 (Discourse Against the Arians 2:15:14, 16); etc.

[78] Ibid. 37:5.

[79] Ibid. 40:5, 7.

[80] Ibid. 55:1-3.

[81] Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians 59:8.

[82] Athanasius, Incarnation 52.

[83] For example, Ibid. 46-48; 50; 53-55.

[84] William Sanford LaSor, The Truth About Armageddon: What the Bible Says About the End Times (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982), p. 160. D. W. Bebbington, Patterns in History: A Christian View (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1979), p. 54. Adolf von Harnack, “Millennium,” Encyclopedia Britannica (9th ed.; New York: Scribner’s, 1883), 16:314ff. Thomas N. Finger, Christian Theology: An Eschatological Approach (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1985), pp. 113-115. Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), pp. 19, 22,

161, 239. Boettner, Millennium, p. 10. Paul Erb, Bible Prophecy: Questions and Answers (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1978), pp. 101-102. Even Walvoord is aware of these tendencies in Augustine: Millennial Kingdom, p. 8.

[85] M. J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), 3:1206-07.

[86] See: Kromminga, Millennium, pp. 20; 129ff; he cites Benz, Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, 1931. See also: W. Möller, in Philip Shaff, A Religious Encyclopedia (rev. ed.; New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), 2:1183. Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 443.

[87] Joachim of Florus, Concordia Veteris et Novi Testamenti, Expositio super Apocalypsin, and Psalterium Decem Chordarum.

[88] Kromminga, Millennium, p. 132.

[89] Walvoord, Millennial Kingdom, pp. 7, 19.

[90] Kromminga, Millennium, pp. 135-136, 159ff, who cites the following sources: Johann Heinrich Kurtz, Henry Hart Milman, J. A. W. Neander, and Johann Jacob Herzog. See also: Moller in Schaff, Religious Encyclopedia, 2:1183; Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church (3rd ed.; New York: Scribner’s, 1970), p. 237; Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity, 2 vols. (rev. ed.; New York: Harper & Row, 1975), 1:435.

[91] J. A. DeJong, As the Waters Cover the Sea: Millennial Expectations in the Rise of Anglo-American Missions 1640-1810 (Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1970), p. 8. See also: J. T. McNeill, ed., Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. by Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 2:904; Murray, Puritan Hope, pp. 89ff; Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism,” pp. 69-76; James R. Payton, Jr., “The Emergence of Postmillennialism in English Puritanism,” Journal of Christian Reconstruction 6:1 (Summer 1979) 87-106; Aletha Joy Gilsdorf, The Puritan Apocalyptic: New England Eschatology in the 17th Century (New York: Garland, 1989).

[92] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1:12.

[93] Toon, Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel; Richard H. Popkin, ed., Millennialism and Messianism in English Literature and Thought 1650-1800 (Leiden, Holland: Brill, 1988); Ball, Great Expectation. See also: the previous references to historical works by Iain Murray, J. A. DeJong, James R. Payton, Greg L. Bahnsen, A. J. Gilsdorf.

[94] Ball, A Great Expectation, pp. 160-161.

[95] LC 191.

[96] LC 190.

[97] Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, With a History and Critical Notes, 3 vols. (6th ed.; New York: Harper & Bros., 1919), 3:723. Reprinted by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1990.

[98] Kromminga, Millennium, p. 303.

[99] J. A. Alexander, Commentary on Isaiah (1847). O. T. Allis, “Foreword,” Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (1954). Greg Bahnsen, “The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism,” op. cit. (1977). Albert Barnes, Isaiah (1860). Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (1957). David Brown, Christ’s Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial? (1849). Robert L. Dabney, Lectures in Systematic Theology (1878). John Jefferson Davis, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom (1986). Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (1834). Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary (1714). A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology (1860). Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (1871). Erroll Hulse, The Restoration of Israel (1968). Francis Nigel Lee, Will Christ or Satan Rule the World? (1977). Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory (1971). J. Gresham Machen, in Ned Stonehouse,]. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (1954), pp. 187,245,261. George C. Miladin, Is This Really the End? (1972). Iain Murray, The Puritan Hope (1971). John Murray, Romans (1965). Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (1990). John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. 8 (1850-1853). R. J. Rushdoony, God’s Plan for Victory (1977). Steve Schlissel, Hal Lindsey and the Restoration of the Jews (1990). W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (1888). Norman Shepherd, in Zonderoan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, 4:822-823 (1975). Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (1907). J. H. Thornwell, Collected Writings, vol. 4 (1871). Richard C. Trench, Notes on the Miracles and Parables of Our Lord (1875). B. B. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings (1970). Note: On the Puritans, see: Peter Toon, Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel (1970).