Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4 Views of 1000 Years

The Meaning of the Millennium (editor Robert G. Clouse) brings together 4 differing views of the millennium which is taught in Revelation 20. As typical in this popular format, each contributor lays out his position, and each of the other three critique that view.

As is also (unfortunately) typical in this format, the contributions seem uneven. George Ladd’s contribution on historic premillennialism and Anthony Hoekema’s on amillennialism are well-done, but Herman Hoyt’s on dispensational premillennialism doesn’t seem to be a standard defense of that view, and Loraine Boettner’s argument needs more Scriptural arguments, including a discussion of Rev 20 (although in one of his critiques he briefly comments that he essentially agrees with Hoekema’s interpretation).

The critiques are also a bit uneven. Ladd is almost rude (“direct” is probably a better term) at points, and Boettner does more expounding of his own views in his critique of Hoekema than he does of interacting with Hoekema.

All that aside, the volume is helpful in laying out the positions (though I feel like I need better presentations of the dispensational premil and the postmil positions).

Briefly defined,

Premillennialism: Christ will return at the beginning of the millennium, which will last 1000 years before the establishment of the new heavens and new earth. Within premillennialism, there are significant distinctions between the historic view and the dispensational view.

Postmillennialism: Christ will return at the end of the millennium. The gospel will continue to be preached and the kingdom will continue to advance until the world is essentially Christianized. Once we reach an essentially Christianized world, then begins the millennium at the end of which Christ will return. Then the final judgment occurs, and the new heavens and new earth are established.

Amillennialism: We are living in the millennium now, that is, the church age between the 1st coming of Christ and the 2nd coming of Christ. Rev 20:1-6 is a picture of the current age. At the end of the millennium/this current church age, Christ will return, there will be a general resurrection, a final judgment, and then the establishment of the new heavens and new earth.

Rating: 3 stars (out of a possible 5)

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