Print Friendly and PDF

PROPHETIC CHRISTMAS AND POSTMILLENNIAL VICTORY

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  15 Comments

We are in the very heart of the Christmas season. Postmillennialists can easily use Christmas texts to present the postmillennial hope. In doing such, they show that Christmas should not simply create a momentary joy as we turn our attentions away from our problems for a brief period. Rather Christmas is deeply embedded in the postmillennial hope.

One of the key prophetic texts that speaks of the coming incarnation and the resulting story of Christmas is Isaiah 9:6-7. There we read:

  • “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

To understand this passage contextually, we must note the close connection between the birth of “the son” (his redemptive humiliation, v 6) and his receiving universal government (at his exaltation at the resurrection/ ascension). The promise is that this kingdom will grow, issuing forth in peace (v 7). When Messiah comes into the world he does so to receive a kingdom. The preceding context points also to Christ’s first coming as inaugurating this prophecy’s fulfillment. The reference in verse 2 to the people in darkness who see a great light is fulfilled in Christ’s ministry (Mt 4:16). In fact, the great light is Christ who is the light of the world (Jn 8:12; 12:46).

In Isaiah 9:3 the Lord promises to multiply his people Israel. This is according to the Abrahamic Covenant’s promise of a great seed and influence among the nations. God will accomplish this by calling the Gentiles to be the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:29). This involves their ingrafting into Israel’s stock (Ro 11:16–19), the merging of Jew and Gentile into one body (Eph 2:11–17). The increase of Israel’s joy (v 3) indicates the joy in the Savior’s coming (Lk 2:10; Jn 3:29). According to the New Testament, Christ brings joy to his people (Jn 15:11; 16:20ff); and where Christianity goes, joy follows (Ac 8:8; 13:52; 15:3; Ro 14:17; 15:13; 1 Pe 1:8; 1Jn 1:4). As in Isaiah 2:3–4 Christ’s coming results in oppression and war ceasing (vv 4–5), which Isaiah portrays in the burning of soldiers’ garments as a symbol that they will no longer be needed. This is similar to the earlier casting off of swords (Isa 2:4).

Christ’s reign over his kingdom begins at his first coming (Mt 4:17; 12:28)  and will  gradually increase over time (Mt 13:31–33). In prophecy Christ appears as the son or branch of David (Jer 23:5; 33:13), or as David himself (Jer 30:9; Eze 34:23, 23; 37:24; Hos 3:5). After his resurrection he ascends to David’s throne (Ac 2:30–31), which represents God’s throne (1Ch 28:5; 29:23). His reign brings peace, for he is the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). Calvin puts it well in his commentary on Isaiah (vol. 1, p. 96). This peace grows incrementally through history in that Christ “extends its boundaries far and wide, and then preserves and carries it forward in uninterrupted progression to eternity.”

Print Friendly and PDF

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Posts

Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

15 responses to PROPHETIC CHRISTMAS AND POSTMILLENNIAL VICTORY

  1. Regrettably, few people recognize the kingdom it its its three phases: definitive, progressive and final, which progressively means the kingdom has been and is right now in existence. “Yahweh’s kingdom is eternal: it exists yesterday, today, and forever. It is definitive in that it has always been and always will be in existence (Psalm 145:13). It is progressive in that He intends it to fill the entire earth (Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 2:35, Zechariah 9:9-10, Matthew 13:31-33). It is final in that it will be established fully at some point in the future (Revelation 21:1-2). Because Yahweh is the creator of the universe, He is sovereign over the universe, time without end…. Yahweh never abdicated His throne. He is as much King now as He was at the beginning of creation. As perpetual King, the kingdom He rules over is perpetual.”

    For more, see “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant” at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/law-kingdom.php.

  2. Nelson Swiger Jr. December 24, 2011 at 6:30

    If Jesus government is supposed to increase until we go into eternity then something in God’s plan has gone amiss. Islam is spreading like a cancer throughout the world and if this idea of Jesus government increasing was correct, we should be seeing Christianity taking over the world by storm at this point in history, but that just clearly is not happening. The Church is becoming more apostate as each day goes by. The signs of the end times in Matthew 24 are becoming more pronounced each day. Now the Pre-Millennial view is making more sense day by day.

    I was raised Methodist and believed the post millennial teachings, but once I let the Holy Spirit teach me instead of man telling me what to believe, I saw that the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation teachings were the only things that made any sense at all. I am sorry for those that reject the clear teachings that the Pre-Millennial view is the correct, this view is one that gives hope that one day Jesus takes us away from this horror that we see playing out on the evening news, that God is going to come and take his Church away before he pours out his judgment on an unbelieving world. I am looking up for my Savior, not being focused on this world and all the death it brings.

    If you believe that the post millennial view is correct, just take an honest look around you and ask why are things getting worse and not better. Ask why the Church is drifting away from sound doctrine, if the post millennial view was correct, the Church should be getting stronger and not weaker. I ask these questions and the only answer is that post millennialism is left wanting.

    God bless and seek the Lord on this and he will reveal the truth.

    • I believe you’re taking what you see on the evening news, and inserting it into scripture. Ever since the Fall of Man, the world has been a bloody mess. Think of the sufferings of the early Church, being hunted down and murdered; first by the Jews, then by Rome. Consider the Black Death that wiped out a third of Europe in the late Middle Ages. Or how about the Turks and Mongols who raped and pillaged most of Eurasia. Not to mention the hundreds of wars Europe has suffered throughout its history. The difference now is that we have 24-hour cable news that shows us the world for what it is.

      The fact is that Christianity is the fastest-growing faith in the world. It is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa and Asia. Don’t let a Western-centric view prevent you from seeing the big picture. Christ will triumph.

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. February 15, 2012 at 6:30

      You are writing to me on this Internet website set up to promote Christian values. You are writing in a free land and with computer technology in the comfort of your home. Transport yourself back to the times of Nero. Which do you prefer?

      Postmillennialism does not teach that the fullness of the kingdom grows every day (there are ups and downs, like in our own sanctification). Nor does postmillennialism teach that the fulness of the kingdom will appear before 2012. It teaches that before the end (which has not yet occurred) the gospel will gain worldwide victory and influence. It believes that “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). That: “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).

      Postmillennialism believes that the kingdom will grow gradually to dominance over time, as in Jesus’ kingdom parables: “He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” (Matt 13:31-33)

  3. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, they died spiritually. They ceased to understand spiritual things. Satan has blinded the eyes of man and that is why they interpret earthly corrupt things as spiritual blessings. We are not looking at any earthly blessings but a heavenly City,it is not an earthly kingdom but an spiritual kingdom, not progression on this earth but evil corrupt things that passes away. Postmillinnialism is a corrupt evil unscriptural way of understanding the Bible. It is a evolutionary way of understanding. Things are not progressing on this earth,and will never be, we are in the days of the earthly kingdom’s passing away and only the spiritual, the true reality of things will survive. To understand spiritual things literally is a curse.
    Nico

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. February 15, 2012 at 6:30

      Well then, I take it all back. I had thought that the gradual influence of the kingdom was like a mustard seed that grows and leaven that penetrates all (Matt 13:31-33). I must have been mistaken.

  4. What is the difference between Premilenianismo and Post-milenialismo according to the Bible.

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. February 15, 2012 at 6:30

      Premillennialism sees the kingdom coming all at once by the personal appearance of Christ. Postmillennialism sees the kingdom coming gradually by the spiritual governance of Christ.

    • Hi josue
      According to the Bible Premillennialism is not found in all of Scripture as well as Postmillennialism. These views are all formed by those that do not understand spiritual things. Premillennialism are those that do not understand that all earthly blessing promised to Israel has been fullfilled literally as signs and tokens, shadows and types to point to spiritual things. Rock point to Jesus, bread, wine, spotless lamb, tabernacle, Israel, Canaan, temple, Zion, mountain all points to Jesus. The church is now spiritual Israel, the land of Israel promised to Abraham and his posterity all point to a spiritual fullfillment that has been fullfilled. No more temple no more Israel, no more Jews, but all fullfilled in the Church in Jesus Christ the true spiritual temple, spiritual Israel, spiritual city of above like Abraham seeked.This view expects the restoration of the earthly temple, restoration in reverse of earthly sacrifices again with Jesus looking on.

      Postmillennialism seek an earthly theocratic state, one of a Kingdom Now,one kingdom that Christians will rule the world and all the material blessings will come to the church. Then we will tell Jesus to come back we have accomplish and restored the Kingdom. The Apostles will stand in line to shake our hands what they have accomplished they say.They are evolutionary type of Christianity that states that things will get better on this cursed planet earth, instead of hearing what the Bible teaches that things are deteriorating.
      Neither view has any spiritual insight in Scripture.
      Only the Amillennial view that is Scripture clear in its spiritual understanding of Jesus Words that are spirit and life.
      We challenge leaders, teachers and preachers in the church regarding this fatal error of defiling God’s Word to justify their lust for material thing and to escape persecution and trubulation for the sake of the Spirit and Truth.
      Nico

  5. Dear Nelson,
    You are as a literalist as the Postmillennialist. Under the same delusion that spiritual things are material blessings, you believe in an unscriptural rapture, if the Holy Spirit showed you as you said it was not the Holy Spirit but your flesh speaking, your literal understanding that has blinded your insight. Jesus is spirit and truth. Your understanding of a literal Kingdom in a thousand year reign is just as corrupt as the Kingdom Now Truimphant view of Americanism Postmillennialism. You are correct in judging Postmil, but you are also misinterpreting scripture with Premil view.The dissapearars are chickens and cop outs that want to escape persecution during their so called seven year trib. The only godly way is the way of persecution and that is the predominant view of academic gaints throughout the Millenia.
    Nico

  6. Nelson Swiger Jr. December 27, 2011 at 6:30

    Nico,

    If you do not take all the bible as literal, just what parts do we take literal and what part do we spiritualize. Satan attacks both the book of Genesis and Revelation because so many allegorize and since the church has done this, it has made it easier for other parts to also to be interpreted in this fashion. Now we have heretics denying the virgin birth, the resurrection, denying God’s promises to the nation of Israel. Because of the compromise that comes from not taking things as literal, many deny the plain teaching that God created in 7 days, they now say it is not literal, but just a expression of a long time period, rubbish. Unless the bible itself tells us to take something in the allegory as it does with a parable, we should take the literal interpretation as the correct interpretation. When we allegorize the word, we can make it say anything we want it to. Daniel and Revelation both make it clear that Christ returns to set on the throne of David for 1000 years at which time God judges all mankind at the Great White Throne judgment and after this we enter eternity.

    As for me and my house, we will read the bible as literal. As a church leader and the head of my house, I will answer to God if I have mislead, so I do not take this lightly.

    • Dear Nelson,
      Historical facts, like the virgin birth and the ressurection and the accension has been confirmed by witnesses. The Creation and fall can only be explained by two adults breaking the command of God and not by evolution.The flood are all historical facts. These we do not allegorize. Scripture are full of symbols, types, shadows and signs that point to spiritual fullfillment. Numbers in Scripture are also used symbolically as the thousand years in Revelation is the symbolic time of the Church age and not a literal period. The 144 000 is not a literal number but signifies a complete number of all the redeemed, Jews included. This 144 000 is the same as those that John see out of every tongue and nation, those that are given the sign of the Holy Spirit on their forheads. Again not a physical sign like the 666 on the unbelievers the sign of unredeeded man, it is an ivisible spirituality. The reality is that you are spiritualizing, the literal period is clearly an undisclosed period of a symbolic thousand years.
      You came from Postmillenium deception, you are now a Premillennialist, from there you need to go to Amillennialism then you will step into the reality of the Spirit and you will feel like being born again. That is my history.
      Just google Charles Alexander and read his chapters on Revelation Spiritually understood and your life, your flock and family will be eternally greatfull.
      Nico

    • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. February 15, 2012 at 6:30

      Do you take both of these references to “eating” (from the same context) as “literal”? And is the “bread” literal bread?

      John 6:48 “I am the BREAD of life. 49 “Your fathers ATE the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may EAT of it and not die. 51 “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of THIS BREAD, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

*