27. Does the bible clearly teach pre-, a-, or postmillennialism?
While the bible does clearly teach against the Dispensational variety of premillennialism (see questions 18-21 above), it is much more open to historic premillenialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism. Both premillennialists and postmillennialists will look to Old Testament prophecies of a golden age of gospel success on the earth (e.g. Psalm 22:25-31; Psalm 72; Isaiah 2:1-5), and say that the nature of these prophecies requires a time in which the earth will not be in its eternal state, when no one marries or dies any more, but vastly more prosperous than it is now, when the Church is always afflicted and persecuted. Amillennialists, on the other hand, look to the many New Testament passages that suggest that, when Christ returns, he will at once raise the wicked and righteous dead, enact his final judgment, dissolve the old heavens and earth, and bring in the new, eternal state. When he comes, the Church will still have her enemies and persecutors, and evil men and imposters will be waxing worse and worse (see Dan. 12:1-2; Mat. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 2 Thes. 1:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; 2 Pet. 3:3-14). All of the Old Testament prophecies they would see as having either a spiritual fulfillment, so that the prophecy of a lion's lying down with a lamb, for instance, could be fulfilled by the gospel's bringing together in peace and love representatives of two different tribes that had historically hated and killed each other. Of course, this sort of thing is happening all over the world, wherever the gospel is going out. And then, amillennialists see the nature of some of those prophecies employed by post- and premillennialists as demanding a final fulfillment in the eternal state. Today in the Church, we receive a foretaste of those prophecies; but we will not see them perfectly fulfilled until God creates the new heavens and the new earth, where righteousness dwell.
Amillennialists probably have the most solid case for their interpretation of Revelation 20. Passages such as 2 Thes. 1:6-10, which clearly teach that Christ's coming and eternally judging the wicked, while glorifying the saints, will take place at a time when there is persecution of the Church. Against premillennialism, Christ's coming demands an immediate and final judgment and establishment of the eternal state. Against postmillennialism, his coming will not be after a golden era, but in the midst of the same sort of persecution that the Thessalonian church was even then experiencing. Then, the mention of Satan's binding, in Revelation 20, corresponds well with related New Testament teaching (see Mat. 12:26-29; Luke 10:17-18; John 12:31-33; 16:8-11; Heb. 2:14-15). And it is only reasonable that the highly symbolic, and most likely recapitulatory visions of John's Apocalypse should be interpreted in light of the clearer didactic teachings of the New Testament epistles. However, it should also be acknowledged that historic premillennialists and postmillennialists have reasonable arguments for their convictions, which should not be scoffed at.
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