I am in the process of turning my 2017 PPW lectures on The Problems for Postmillennialism into an article series. After that, I will be turning them over to be put into a book (along with some of my material in HD). I am hoping to have some co-authors in the book as well – but I’m waiting on that possibility.
I will be implementing and following five major premises in critiquing Postmillennial Partial Preterism when it comes to Jesus’ teaching of the eschatological wedding feast, the parable of the wheat and tares and His teaching in the Olivet Discourse. These are as follows:
Premise #1 – The Analogy of Faith or Analogy of Scripture Hermeneutic. Scripture teaches us (and the creeds teach us), that Scripture interprets Scripture and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.
Premise #2 – Since #1 is true, basic mathematics and logic can be used such as If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.
Premise #3 – Since Christ came to fulfill every “jot and tittle” of the law and prophets, and Paul’s “one hope” centered around him preaching no other things except that which could be found in the law and prophets, when Jesus or a NT authors quotes or echo’s an OT passage, it should be addressed and then it’s context should be developed.
Premise #4 – While OT prophecy does contain typology which may have more than one fulfillment, the NT however is the full or anti-type “in Christ” New Covenant fulfillment of those OT promises. Therefore, the Second Coming, end of the age, judgment and resurrection of the living and dead along with the arrival of the New Creation do not have further typological, double or mixed fulfillments.
Premise #5 – The Holy Spirit has organically guided the Church in eschatology: When combined, the classic Amillennial and Postmillennial Partial Preterist views actually FORM Full Preterism.
Premise #6 – The WCF itself informs us that creeds and confessions have erred in times past and may continue to be wrong: Therefore, since the creeds are in error on the time and nature of fulfillment concerning the Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the living and dead and the arrival of the New Creation, they must be revised to align themselves with Scripture.
Premise #7 – This may take considerable time. Related to #3 and #4, since the Reformed doctrine of forensic justification was a relatively new doctrine (prior to Luther it was not taught for 1,500 years), it may take the Church (through the Holy Spirit) considerable time to formulate a Biblical position or synthesize (“Reformed and always reforming”) it’s views on any given doctrine to make it Biblical and consistent. If it took the Church 300 years to formulate it’s view on the deity of Christ and the Trinity and it took 1,500 years for the doctrine of forensic justification to emerge, it cannot logically and historically be denied that Full Preterism can be (and we believe is) the organic development emerging from the Church in the last 100 years.
Introduction & Overview of Postmillennialism’s Problems
Let me briefly give a summary of some of the hermeneutical and theological problems contained within Postmillennialism that caused me to leave that system.
While Postmillennialists such as Kenneth Gentry have criticized Dispensationalism for teaching TWO two comings of Jesus and TWO resurrections for the dead (due to it’s TWO plans for the Church and Israel), Gentry and Postmillennialism have created in essence the same problem for itself. In essence Postmillennialism has created TWO “already and not yet” NT eschatons where the Bible only teaches there is one. Full Preterists and other systems have been critical (and rightly so) of this false teaching:
- Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO Great Commissions to be fulfilled (Mt. 13:37-38; 24:14; 28:18-20/Mrk. 16:15-17, 20; Acts 1:8)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
- Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO comings of the Son of Man per Mt 16:27-28; 24:27, 30-31, 25:31/1 Thess. 4-5/1 Cor. 15; Rev. 1:1—22:20)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
- Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO end of the age resurrections and judgments of the living and dead per Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3, 13/1 Cor. 15/Rev. 11; 20/1 Pet. 4:5-7)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
- Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO eschatological weddings or wedding feasts connected to ONE or TWO resurrections (Isa. 25:6-9; Mt. 8:11-12; Mt. 22:1-14; Mt. 25:1-13; Rev. 19-21)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
- Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO arrivals of the New Creation or passing away of heaven and earth per Mt. 5:17-18; 24:35; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 21-22; Rms. 8:18-23YLT?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
Postmillennialism Continues to Concede Texts and Views to Full Preterism
- Matthew 5:17-18 – John Brown and Postmillennialists such as DeMar believe that the “heaven and earth” here represents the OC system which passed away in AD 70. If this is true, then “ALL” the “jots and tittles” of the promises contained in the law and prophets were fulfilled at this time (including the resurrection of Isa. 25:6-9; Hos. 13 and Dan. 12).
- Matthew 24-25 – Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison believe the OD cannot be divided and therefore the coming of Christ in both chapters were fulfilled spiritually in AD 70. Full Preterism harmonizes the correct view that the coming of the Son of Man in the OD is the Second Coming event, and the progressive Postmillennial view that it was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.
- Matthew 13:39-43 – Postmillennialists Peter Leithart and Joel McDurmon believe the parable of the wheat and tares was fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “generation” and at the end of the OC age in AD 70. Reformed theology teaches this is the time frame for the millennium at which time the judgment and resurrection takes place. Therefore, the judgment and resurrection was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (see next point).
- Daniel 12:2-3, 13 & Revelation 20 – Postmillennialist James Jordan believes there was a spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection for Israel and the Church between AD 30 – AD 70. At Christ’s parousia in AD 70 righteous souls were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life and reign with Christ on thrones. Just a side note – Jordan has basically stolen the Full Preterist view of the resurrection and not given us the credit! He also believes AD 30 – AD 70 was a “kind of a millennium” while Postmillennialist Sam Frost believes it was the millennium (but is constantly changing his views or uncertain of them). If the resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and it IS the judgment and resurrection of Revelation 20:5-15, then Revelation 20:5-15 contain events that were “about to take place” or be fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19YLT—Rev. 22:6-7, 20).
- Romans 8:18-23YLT – Postmillennialist John Lightfoot believed the creation groaning and the decay in this passage have nothing to do with the physical planet and the second law of thermal dynamics, but rather man groaning inwardly for the redemption coming in Christ. Gary DeMar believes this glorification of the Church (and thus contextually the redemption of the body) was “about to be” (Greek mello in 8:18YLT) fulfilled at Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70. Reformed theology teaches Romans 8:18-23 is the “salvation” that would be “at hand” for “all Israel” (13:11-12 and 11:26-27) and stemming from the redemption and coming of Christ in Jesus’ generation (Lk. 21:27-28). We of course agree with these connections and the inspired AD 70 time frame they generate.
- Romans 11:26-27 – Postmillennialists Gary DeMar and James Jordan believe “all Israel” was “saved” in AD 70. This demonstrates that AD 70 was much more than a physical deliverance, salvation and redemption, but one that resulted in the taking away of sin (vs. 27). DeMar is also on record as teaching the New Covenant was “consummated” when the Old passed away in AD 70. Again, this would teach a soteriological and inward salvation and redemption for the Church was achieved in AD 70 (as Full Preterism teaches).
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – Postmillennialist Mike Bull (and Milton Terry whom Postmillennialist draw from), teach and have taught, that Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:30-31 here, and therefore this passage finds it’s fulfillment in AD 70.
- Acts 1:11 – Again Postmillennialist Mike Bull (and Milton Terry whom Postmillennialists draw from), correctly teach this coming of Christ is the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 that was fulfilled in AD 70.
- The “Last days” – Postmillennialists such as DeMar and McDurmon believe this NT phrase is descriptive of Israel’s last days from AD 30 – AD 70 and not for the Church stretching out to the end of world history. The Reformed Church teaches the millennium is present during the “last days” and encapsulates the periods between Christ’s first and second comings – at the end of which is the arrival of the ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the New Creation.
- “This age and the age to come” – Postmillennialists such as DeMar and McDurmon believe “this age” is the OC age and the “age to come” is the NC age. Between AD 30 – 70 was the transition of these ages when the OC age passed away and according to DeMar the New was “consummated.” Again, the Reformed Church using the two age model has correctly taught that the “this age” and “age to come” is the millennial period – at the end of which is the arrival of the ONE Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the dead, followed by the ONE arrival of the New Creation. The Holy Spirit has used both of these orthodox views to form the truly orthodox (that is straight or consistent) view of Full Preterism.
Postmillennialism is Inconsistent in it’s Use of Imminence and Recapitulation
- Since Gentry now believes the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, and yet all commentators agree Paul in Acts 24:15YLT is appealing to this judgment and resurrection. Therefore, there is no reason why Paul was not teaching this passage was “about to be” fulfilled spiritually in AD 70! Even if mello here was to be translated “will” instead of “about to be,” there is no reason why Paul does not have the spiritual fulfillment in AD 70 in view (per Gentry’s view). And since Gentry appeals to BDAG to argue that mello here should not be translated as “about to be,” where is Gentry’s support for BDAG informing us that mello in Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as the glory that was “about to be revealed in” the Church?!? After all here in Romans 8:18 we have the same Greek construction as Revelation 1:19 which Gentry argues should be translated with imminence and pointing to AD 70.
- Postmillennialists claim to take the imminent time texts literally and AD 70 fulfillments are not supposed to have double or mixed fulfillments. They also claim there are two different eschatology’s – one for Israel in AD 70 and an Adamic one that will be fulfilled at the end of world history. Therefore, Romans 16:20 creates a problem for them in that it uses an imminent time text “shortly” and appeals to the Adamic eschatology of Genesis 3:15. Apparently Satan’s final “crushing” (Gen. 3:15/Rms. 16:20) was not fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 per Paul, but rather is turned into “a” crushing or one of many in redemptive history. Of course that is not what the text teaches and exegetes over the centuries have been correct to connect this crushing and final defeat of Satan in Romans 16:20 with the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25:31-46 and Revelation 20:10—22:6-12, 20. Therefore, the final crushing and judgment of Satan was fulfilled “shortly” and Christ’s “soon” spiritual coming in AD 70.
- Kenneth Gentry appeals to the imminent time texts and recapitulation within Revelation to prove chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70. But then this hermeneutic is abandoned and not applied to Revelation 20. Why? Because he believes the creeds are “infallibly certain” to teach we are still in the millennium and at the end of this period there will be a physical resurrection and a physical passing away of heaven and earth. Gentry knows he can’t cross this line and therefore based upon the traditions of men (not exegesis or following his own hermeneutic), he becomes more than inconsistent and arbitrary. We agree with Gentry that Revelation 1-19; 21-22 was fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 while also agreeing with Amillennialists such as Kistemaker and Poythress, whom point out that if these chapters were fulfilled in AD 70, then sRevelation 20:5-15 must also have been fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70. This is because the time texts in Revelation 1—22 form bookends or an inclusio to the entire prophecy. Not only this, but Revelation 20 recapitulates the same judgment scene as the other chapters. The time texts and recapitulation in Revelation (and in Matthew 24-25) sink Gentry’s bogus and creedally arbitrary hermeneutic.
Postmillennialists Can Never Agree on Which Texts Were Fulfilled Spiritually in AD 70 and Which One’s Allegedly Are Physically Fulfilled at End of World History
Anyone reading the exegesis of Postmillennialists such as Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar and Mike Bull on such passages as Daniel 12:1-4; Matthew 24-25; 1-2 Thessalonians; 1 Corinthians 15 or 2 Peter 3 can readily see an inconsistent or contradictory hermeneutic within this system regarding Christ’s parousia. Personal pronouns such as “you” and “we” point to an AD 70 fulfillment or they don’t! The coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and forms the eschatology of Paul, Peter and John in ALL of 1-2 Thessalonians; 2 Peter 3 and ALL of Revelation or it doesn’t! And since the OD forms NT eschatology, we can use “parallels” and “similar language” between the OD with other NT eschatological texts or we can’t. And when we read the classic Amillennialist and Historic Premillennialist and the way they connect these passages, we are further led into Full Preterism.
The Earthly Kingdom “Manifestation” of Dominion Postmillennialism is Carnal, Violent and “Heretical”
We agree with Amillennial creeds and theologians that see the earthly kingdom fulfillments/manifestations of Premillennialism and Postmillennialism to be on par with “Jewish dreams” and therefore “heretical.”
Postmillennial Dominionism believes the following must take place before Jesus’ THIRD coming can be fulfilled:
- The biology of man is in the process of changing whereby he will live to be in the 900’s before Christ’s coming can be fulfilled.
- Animal anatomy is in the process of changing whereby their desires to eat meat will end and they will only desire to eat hay and grass. Likewise, poisonous snakes will no longer desire to bite children when they fall into their dens or when children desire to play with them.
- The rights of unbelievers to vote are to be taken from them. In certain circumstances unbelievers and even Christian “heretics” that do not conform to Dominion Postmillennialism and it’s understanding of the Scriptures will be stoned to death (or shot in the head) when they disobey or disagree with these standards.
Ken Talbot is Sam Frost’s mentor and an important board member for DeMar’s American Vision. He stated, in a lecture entitled, “The History of Creation, Part 5” (26:20 – 28:35):
“WHEN we are in charge [i.e., when people who agree with Ken Talbot ‘s Theonomic Postmillennialism are in charge], WHEN the law of God is there, folks it’s either obey, or get hung. Take your choice. Well, you can throw stones if you want to (that Gary North’s view), but I think there’s better ways of doing it than throwing stones. Just quick executions…because God says you’re incorrigible. And you’re a blight on society, and you are a road bump that we don’t want to deal with in our kingdom. And you’re gone.”
Of course Jesus nor any NT author EVER taught ANY of these Dominion Postmillennial concepts to be connected with an earthly manifestation/fulfillment of the kingdom. And they most definitely didn’t say they were necessary before His THIRD coming could be fulfilled. These violent, seeing double of everything and science fiction theories arising from Postmillennialism makes the violent, seeing double of everything and science fiction of Dispensationalism look like nothing! Yet Postmillennialist’s such as Gary DeMar claim the real problem today is the un-bibical and science fiction eschatology Dispensationalism?!? And he won’t adopt Full Preterism because he likes the un-bibical and science fiction “worldview” of Dominion Postmillennialism? Wow, go figure!
My First Lecture of the PPW 2017 Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – My Approach and Methodology http://fullpreterism.com/my-lecture-on-the-problems-of-postmillennialism-at-the-2017-ppw-conference-the-wedding-and-resurrection-motif/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 2: The Problems For Postmillennialism – God’s Divorce, Re-marriage and NC Betrothal http://fullpreterism.com/my-lectures-given-at-the-2017-ppw-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-2-gods-ot-marriage-divorce-betrothal-and-remarriage-promises/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3: The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-3-john-3-5-and-nt-betrothal-and-marriage/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4: The Problems For Postmillennialism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-and-resurrection-part-4-mt-810-12-221-14-251-13isa-256-9/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 5: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Parable of the Wheat and Tares and the Resurrection (Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-in-the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-tares-the-end-of-the-age-and-the-resurrection-mt-1339-43dan-122-3/
My Second Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (Mt. 23-24; Mt. 24:3, 14/Acts 1:8-11) http://fullpreterism.com/lecture-2-at-the-2017-ppw-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-house-divided-the-break-up-of-postmillennialism-and-the-formation-of-full-preterism-taking-its-place/