Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Why I Am A Postmillennialist" by Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen -- Part 2

Question 2: What does the Bible teach about the nature of Christ's kingdom in earthly history before Christ's return? (little physical success? or lots of physical success?)

Matt. 28:18-20 Jesus has all power in heaven and earth. He is with the church and tells the church to disciple the nations.
Heb. 10:9-13 Christ is now sitting at the right hand of God reigning over all creation expecting that His kingdom is going to subdue all enemies.
Rev. 11:15 The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever. Jesus has already established His kingdom and is reigning.
Math. 12:28 Christ has already established His kingdom.
Psalm 2:8 The Son merely needs to ask the Father, and the Father will give Him the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.
Matt. 12:29 Jesus tells us that the establishment of His kingdom will have the effect of spoiling Satan's house. He has bound the strong man so that now He can take whatever the strong man once controlled (what was once under Satan's domination).
Rev. 20:1-3 When Jesus came into this world, He bound Satan. Christ did this, so that Satan would deceive the nations no more. Satan is still active but Christ specifically curtails Satan's ability to ruin the religious mentality of the nations, to lead the nations into superstition, idolatry, and unbelief.
Matt. 16:18 Christ is building His kingdom in the world through the church by the power of His Spirit. The gates of Hell shall not hold up against the onslaught of the church.
Heb. 2:9 Jesus is crowned with glory and honor.

Premillennialism teaches that Christ's enemies will be subdued, but physically by violence and threats AFTER Jesus returns.

But Scriptures teach that Christ is working through His Spirit to persuade the hearts of men to follow Him willingly.
Ps 110:3 People will give themselves willingly in the day of Christ's power.
Amillennialism teaches that Christ's enemies will be subdued, but AFTER Jesus returns, because in the New Heavens and New Earth all enemies will be banished. (Typically, the amillennialist thinks of the subduing of the nations [understood as the gentiles] in history as the kingdom of God being established in the gentile regions, but it does not mean that the gentiles in mass will be subdued. It is a representative conversion, rather than a wide spread conversion that is anticipated by the Great Commission.)
Thus, both premils and amils believe that the subduing of Christ's enemies occurs AFTER He returns.
It is distinctive to postmillennialists to believe that the Holy Spirit will bring a day of revival and that this world will belong to the Lord Jesus Christ someday if the church is faithful to its commission.
The postmillennialist asks the amillennialist to follow out his basically correct premises. If Satan is bound, then what do you expect to take place? The Bible gives reasons for confidence. Pick it up. Run with it. Let's go.
According to Paul, what is the timing of the subduing of the enemies of Christ? Consider 1 Cor. 15:20-28 >> Christ has risen from the dead. His rising is only the first fruits of a great harvest that is coming. Because Jesus rose from the dead, all of His people will rise from the dead. Christ's people will rise from the dead at His coming, then the end will ensue. When Christ comes and delivers the kingdom to His Father, He will have subdued all other opposition. The last enemy to be abolished is death. Death is defeated by the resurrection of the dead. The enemies of Christ must be subdued before the last enemy is subdued. Christ comes back, then we rise from the dead.
Thus the postmillennialist expects this glorious success for the kingdom to take place before Christ returns.
The confidence of the postmillennialist comes only from believing the promises and power of God.
Isaiah 9:6-7 Jesus will come and be made the Prince of Peace (God's king). And of the increase of His government and righteousness and justice and peace, there shall be no end. And this shall be accomplished not by human agency but by the zeal of Jehovah.
God is going to see to it that this kingdom grows in a mighty way. At Christ's return there will be a history of success with the church, not set backs.
The kingdom is like a mustard seed: from a very small start it grows to hugh proportions.
The kingdom works very subtlely but very thoroughly to permeate all areas, like leaven in bread dough that permeates throughout the loaf and causes it to rise.
According to the New Testament, Jesus is spoiling Satan's house right now. Christ is going to have every enemy subdued before the end. Jehovah's zeal is going to see to it.
Daniel 2:35,44,45 The day will come when mighty kingdoms will no longer exist. God is going to set up a kingdom that will supplant the kingdom of men. God's kingdom will grow into a mountain that will fill the earth: this is certain and sure.
Isaiah 2:2-4 In the latter days God will establish His house in His hill above all the others. God is going to exalt the church above all other kingdoms. As all nations come into the church they will learn God's law. As a result, the nations will no longer be consumed with matters of warfare.
Psalm 72:7-11 All nations shall serve Christ while moons (months) endure (while history is in operation). Those who dare to oppose Him are going to lick the dust.
Psalm 22:27 All the nations on earth are going to be converted (turned to Jehovah). This will occur before Jesus returns, because at His return there will be no more opportunity for conversion, because it will then be the end of history.
Isaiah 11:9 In that day (when all the above things promised are accomplished) the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the water covers the sea (not just little representative puddles or drops here or there as in the amillennial view). This refers not to representative conversions from the nations, but of wide spread conversions.
Typically, the amillennialist professes no confidence of widespread growth of Christ's kingdom in history. Rather, some see the optimistic biblical promises as referring to the New Heavens and New Earth AFTER Christ's return. Others see these promises as referring to spiritual blessings within the church. However, some amillennialists expect almost a total lack of success of the church in history.
But the postmillennialist believes the expectations of Christ: that all His enemies will be subdued prior to His return. Yes, there will be suffering and struggles in many battles along the way. But in the end, Christ and His church will win and will triumph over all opposition in history. Then Christ will return and defeat the last enemy, death.
1 Corinthians 15:57 In spite of corruption, death, etc., God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. But be steadfast, for our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Suffer? Yes, but unto victory.

1 comment:

  1. "...The Bible gives reasons for confidence. Pick it up. Run with it. Let's go."

    Amen, indeed let's go! In our area I have found it is typically the churches that have amils who are aggressive in the outreach programs. For instance, our music in our worship service is blended with contemporary and traditional. We look for ways to make the worship service accessible to someone without a church background without compromising the Reformed faith. We took on a Boy Scout Troop because our community has lots of nonchristian families who are interested in Scouts. We make sure the leadership are members of our church. We are always looking for ways to get the community onto the church campus. We have home fellowship groups and encourage them to be open to friends. Periodically we teach series on evangelism. We see new convert baptisms each year -- we'd like to see more.

    The postmil churches in our area tend not to do these kind of things, but I am glad you are serious to Christ to the nonchristians now. Great! I agree with you! Let's do more!! It's part of our church's vision to see all of Atlanta worshiping Christ within the next few years. You've hit on one of my passion buttons. Great! Our presbytery is organized to start as many churches as it can because those usually are the ones that bring in the nonchurched. Our church and presbytery send missionaries around the world and we are organizing to do more.

    I'm glad you're on the same page!! Absolutely, the field is white for harvest! Do it and do it now!


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