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The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

...-id="iku1p">^ Davis, The High King of Heaven. p. 493. Words within square brackets are mine. ...

Extensive review of Jonathan Menn's Biblical Eschatology

...ll also helped in my decision.

Now that introductions are out of the way, I think that this is one of the best books on eschatology from an amillennial viewpoint. My very favorite is probably Sam Storms’ Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative because it was the first book that I read after becoming an amillennial through a YouTube video. The High King of Heaven from Dean Davis is likewise a favorite of mine because it was thorough and dealt with many Old Testament prophecies and interpreting them through the lens of the New Testament just like the Apostles did (see my review here). But Dr. Menn’s book is by far the most comprehensive. The author is widely read as the 20 pages of the bibliography can testify. In one sense, the book accumulates the best scholarship and summarizes it. This book is filled footnotes to all kinds of authors from various eschatological viewpoints.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all the ellipses, square brackets and italics in citations are not my own, but Dr. Menn’s.

Hermeneutical issues

In the Introduction, Dr. Menn explains the distinction between individual and corporate eschatology. He then proceeds to define the major hermeneutical issues which must be decided when thinking about eschatology. These are:

  • Do the second coming of Christ, the resurrection and judgment of all humanity, and the inauguration of the eternal kingdom, occur as aspects of one great event, or are they separated by a temporary messianic kingdom that lasts a thousand years?
  • Are we able to predict when any of the “end-time” events will occur by paying attention to the events transpiring in the Middle East or other geopolitical occurrences?
  • What is the role of the church in all of this?

The major eschatological positions (premillennialism, postmillennialism and Amillennialism) differ on the nature and timing of the kingdom in Revelation 20. He then proceeds to briefly lay out the eschatological positions and words which are often used.

Interpreting prophecy

Nature of Prophecy

In chapter 2, entitled “Interpreting Prophecy and Apocalyptic” he lays out the hermeneutics needed which will be used in interpreting prophecy. This is mainly directed against dispensational premillennialism with its insistence on “consistent literal interpretation,” especially of prophecy. Before we a priori decide upon a “literal interpretation” of prophecy, we must first understand the nature of prophecy. The prophets primarily did two things: “(1) They warned God’s people of the consequences of disobedience to the Lord’s ways by oracles of judgment; and (2) They called God’s people back to faithfulness by oracles of salvation” (pp. 6-7). Their purpose was to change the behavior of people and call them to repentance rather than give them things interesting to think about or a map of the future. Their primary function was forth-telling rather than fore-telling. What makes prophecy difficult is the medium in which it was given to the prophets. They are sometimes given in a dream or visionary form. This means that such a prophecy must be interpreted in line with its literature, and not the same as Genesis or Exodus which is narrated history. The


Review of Dean Davis' The High King of Heaven on Amillennialism

...an>G2015 ...

A Review of O. Palmer Robertson's The Israel of God

... New Covenant people of God most exhaustively in the New Testament in Hebrews 3-4. Where the people of God have the greater Exodus of the Lord Christ behind them, yet they are still striving to enter the eternal Sabbath of God (Heb 4:11).

Dr. Robertson traces the wilderness motif throughout the Old Testament and New Testament.

The Coming of the Kingdom

Although God is King over all things and His kingdom rules over all (e.g. Ps 103:19), yet “a more specific manifestation of his authority is displayed in the kingdom of his Messiah” (p. 113). The Kingdom came with the coming of its King.

This was likewise a very helpful chapter wherein his Amillennialism and Two-Staged Kingdom theology showed, which is good! See here for more on Amillennialism and the Two-Staged Kingdom of God.

In this chapter Dr. Robertson shows the important and crucial place of Israel in the plan of God as related to the coming of the Kingdom and how Scripture connects the coming of the Kingdom with Israel. But as argued earlier and continually throughout the book, the Israel of God is not defined by ethnicity, but by faith in the Messiah.

There is a very helpful discussion on the Kingdom of God in Acts as it relates to the disciples’ question in Acts 1:6. He shows how the New Testament vision of the Kingdom is that it is spiritual in the present age and non-consummate, but it will have its consummation at the Second Coming of its King. The Kingdom comes in two stages and no more. What some (e.g. Dean Davis) have called the Kingdom of the Son and the Kingdom of the Father. There was also a helpful discussion on Revelation and an Amillennial interpretation of chapter 20.

Romans 11

Chapter six deals with the question of Israel’s future. Dr. Robertson maintains that ethnic Israelites are and will always be part of God’s people and in God’s plan, but he denies that there will be distinctive future for ethnic Israel, as envision by Dispensationalists for example. There will never be a distinction between believing Jews and Gentiles ever again. Both are on an equal footing and both are together heirs to the promises of God in Christ.

Dr. Robertson stresses throughout this chapter how Paul is actually concerned with what is to happen with Israel in the present and no so much in the future. He stresses how Paul is seeking to save some Israelites now and how he is seeking to save them through his ministry and not at some future date (Rom 11:5, 7, 14-15, 23, 30-31). All this emphasis is right and warranted by the context and it was helpful to have that pointed out because some act as if Romans 11 largely or wholly has to do with the future. Dr. Robertson shows that the emphasis of Romans 11 itself is upon the present time. He rightly notes that the “references in Romans 11 to God’s present intention for Israel are pervasive and are highly significant for the total thrust of the chapter” (p. 171). This point must not be overlooked.

It is not the purpose of God to save every Jew. He has always had the freedom to pick and choose according to His sovereign pleasure and He has never bound Himself to save every ethnic Israelite. The mystery of God in this is that the rejection of Israel serves the purpose to bring Gentiles in. But even this is for the purpose of moving elect ethnic Israelites to jealously so that they would cling to their Messiah and in this way the world will be blessed (Rom 11:11-15).

Then there is a very interesting discussion...

Review of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

...rts the idea of tongues not actually being a language sometimes.

I cannot say that now I’m fully a continuationist, but I can say that I see now more support for continuationism and weakness for cessationism.

The Doctrine of the Future

Part 7 of this Systematic Theology deals with the study of the last things, Eschatology.

Dr Grudem shows convincingly for me the support for the coming of Christ, the Final Judgment and Hell, the New Heavens and New Earth. With all these I agreed on most points, except the Millennium.

Dr. Grudem is a Classic Premillennial. He fairly represents the four major views today:

  1. Amillennialism
  2. Postmillennialism
  3. Classic Premillennialism
  4. Dispensational Premillennialsm

While he represents these views he argues against them and for Classic Premillennalism.

I remain an Amillennial.


If you don’t have this book in your library, get it now! You will not be disappointed. I will go back to it.

I’m thankful for God’s grace upon Dr Grudem’s work and life and that he has produced such an excellent treatment of Christian doctrine faithful to the Holy Scriptures.

He has become an example for me and a hero of how I should handle the Holy Scriptures.


  1. ^ RC rightly says that everyone’s a theologian ;)
  2. ^ Page 315.
  3. ^ Page 1050.

The Early Church Fathers on Eschatology (especially the millennial question)

This work is based on Dr. Charles E. Hill’s fine work entitled Regnum Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity. In it, he surveys eschatological thought in the first three centuries of the church. One focus of the study is the interesting observation of something common in all premillennialists (except one, Methodius of Olympus [c. 270-311]) that did not believe in the immediate entry of believers into heaven. Rather, believers and unbelievers were held in some subterranean place until the resurrection and the millennium. On the other hand, those who believed in an intermediate state in heaven, gave no indications of chiliasm (belief in an earthly millennium), but rather, some of them even give explicit evidence of non-chiliasm (i.e., Amillennialism). What I’ve done here, is search for the fuller statements of the authors from the early church which are freely available in the Schaff sets on CCEL, and included citations of Dr. Hill from the book itself.

I thought of sharing it on the internet for anyone interested in these issues. In reading these statements, you will find both the good and the bad of the exegesis of the ancient fathers.

(For those not able to see the IFrame, here is the link.)

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

...e;"you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 

The Davidic Covenant

The covenant of God with David and His promise is in many ways similar to the Abrahamic Covenant, both in its fulfillment and the “I will” of God and “you shall” of the human party. As a Christian and an Amillennialist at that (see my case for Amillennialism in chapter 31), I will make the case that the Davidic Covenant is currently being fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s Story

Since the days of Moses and Joshua have passed, the people of God were settled in the land promised to their fathers. But the people were stiff-necked and disobedient, as God testified of them in the wilderness (Exod. 32:9). They did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and forgot the God Who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt. As promised by the Mosaic Covenant, so the judgments of God came upon Israel and they were ruled by their enemies and taken captive. Then the Lord would graciously raise up judges when they would come to repentance and seek His face so that they would free them. That went for about 400 years.

Then the people came and demanded a king to be set over them, just like the other nations they were surrounded with when the LORD Himself was their king. The Lord gave them Saul, a man whom Israel loved and followed after. The Lord blessed Saul until Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord. When Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord and thus disregarded God, the Lord rejected Him (1 Sam. 15). At that time, when the Lord abandoned Saul, the Lord sent unclean spirits upon him that would torment him (1 Sam. 16:14). They soon learned that a certain youth could drive the spirit away by his playing on the lyre and therefore Saul could be at rest. That youth was none other than David. One of the icons and most known people from the Bible. A biblical hero and an example of faith and failures. 

The Lord chose David to be “prince” over His people Israel because David was a man after the Lord’s heart (1 Sam. 13:14). David wanted to follow the Lord wholly and carry out His will with no delay. He was the one chosen despite all circumstances and appearances. But in the choice of David, the Lord was fulfilling what was prophesied by Jacob concerning his son Judah:

Gen. 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin and concerning that tribe, Jacob did not have any kingly blessings (Gen. 49:27). But clearly, kingship and rulership are promised to the tribe of Judah of whom David is the man after God’s own heart. After the Lord established David as king and after Saul was gone, the Lord promised that He would bless David and will always keep a descendant of his on the throne of Israel.

God’s Covenant with David

We find the main text in 2 Samuel 7 and its parallel in 1 Chronicles 17:11-14. I’d like to highlight some things from the text as our starting point about the covenant. But before we do that, let us get a little bit of context. 

The Lord had given the kingdom of Israel to David and He has clearly been with him and giving him victory. David is perplexed in his heart by the fact that he lives in a great house, but the Ark of the Lord stays in tents. Therefore, David decides that he wants to build a house for the Ark of the Lord. But the word of the Lord c...