Previous article in this series: May 15, 2014, p. 373.
The preceding article in this series demonstrated that postmillennialism is guilty of explaining the biblical signs of the end of all things as applicable only to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The signs and their reference are past. The signs do not signify, for postmillennialists, the second coming of Jesus in the future and its nearness.
The reason for this preterist (that is, “past”) explanation of the biblical signs in Matthew 24 and other places in Scripture is that the biblical signs portend the increase of lawlessness, the building of the kingdom of Antichrist, and the persecution of the saints. All of these coming events contradict the fundamental postmillennial doctrine of the building in the near future of a carnal kingdom of the saints, in which Christians will enjoy earthly peace and prosperity and themselves wield total earthly power over all the world and its inhabitants.
Ignoring the Signs
Therefore, postmillennialists ignore the signs of the nearness of the coming of Jesus Christ. They ignore the signs in the world of the nations: the increase of lawlessness; the forming of the world kingdom of the beast, which deifies Man and is virulently and violently anti- God and anti-Christ; the coming together of the nations.
They ignore the signs in the nominal churches: the great falling away from the truth of the gospel, as forecast inand in , including in our day the almost unbelievable acceptance of the heresy of the federal vision (justification by works) by the most conservative churches in the tradition of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and the uniting of the false churches in the service of an antichristian, this worldly kingdom of Man ( ).
With their dismissal of the biblical signs of the end—theologically, their “preterism”—postmillennialial churches and theologians empty the mind of the churches and their members of the truth of the second coming of Jesus Christ and its nearness. It no longer lives in the consciousness of the churches and their members that Jesus is coming quickly. What is coming for the postmillennial churches, rather, is the earthly victory and dominion of the saints—the “golden [earthly] age.” Jesus’ coming is at least one thousand years in the future, to hear the postmillennial theologians perhaps as much as hundreds of thousands of years in the future. There is, therefore, absolutely no need to think of, and expect, the soon coming of Christ. Indeed, it is folly, even doctrinal error, to do so.
Unprepared for the Second Coming
Thus, postmillennialism renders churches and their members totally unprepared for Christ’s coming. They are unprepared for the second advent itself. Coming, as He will, without a preceding millennium of the carnal dominion of the saints, Jesus Christ will take the postmillennialists completely by surprise. The day of the Lord will come “as a thief in the night” (I Thess. 5:2), not only for the ungodly, but also for the postmillennialists. And this is both contrary to the will of God for His chosen, believing people, and spiritually and eternally dangerous for those thus taken by surprise (see).
Postmillennialism also renders churches and their members unprepared for the Christ’s coming in and by the signs of the end. Christ does not come only finally on the world’s last day, when the heavens are rolled back and He descends in the body with all the holy angels (; ). He is coming constantly throughout the present age. He comes in and by the signs of the end, that not only show the fact and nearness of His actual appearance in the clouds on the world’s last day, but that also make all things ready for His actual, bodily advent.
Jesus Christ comes! He is coming at present! He is on the way by means of the unfolding in history of the signs!
Seeing and taking to heart the signs, we amillennialists are made ready for the coming of Christ.
Rejecting the signs, postmillennialists are unprepared for Christ’s coming. They are unprepared with regard to the great apostasy that now is taking place in the Christian churches, in fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of. What enormous, appalling departure from the Christian faith is evident in the churches at the beginning of the twenty-first century! There is denial of the historicity of Genesis 1-3, in conservative churches, by the explanation of the days of creation as enormous periods of time, in order to accommodate the lie of evolution. There is denial of particular, sovereign grace in salvation by the teaching of a universal, resistible grace in the popular theory of the “well-meant offer.” The “well-meant offer” makes the salvation of the sinner his own accomplishment.
There is today also the open denial of justification by faith alone, and with this truth the denial of all the doctrines of grace as confessed in the Canons of Dordt, by the heresy of the federal vision. And the source and nature of this rejection of the gospel of the Reformation are significant. The federal vision arises from and develops the false doctrine of a conditional covenant with all baptized children. According to this heresy, the salvation of children in the covenant depends, not upon the electing grace of God, but upon the acts of the children fulfilling conditions.
As for fundamental Christian holiness of life, divorce for reasons other than sexual unfaithfulness and subsequent remarriage are as accepted by, and common in, the supposedly conservative Protestant churches as in the liberal churches. Indeed, divorce and remarriage are as common, and accepted—and vehemently defended—in the churches as in the world of the openly ungodly.
In the midst of this apostasy, often affecting their own churches, postmillennialists go on painting the rosy picture of the world’s becoming increasingly Christian and law-abiding. The only “error” they warn against is that of denying postmillennialism. As demonstrated in previous articles in this series, their fiercest polemics are against “pessimistic” amillennialism. They live in a dream world—the dream world of the coming “golden age” of the carnal victory of the church in this world.
There is great danger in living in a dream world. The danger is that the postmillennialists are unprepared for the real world of a great falling away, of increasing lawlessness, and of the rising of the kingdom of Antichrist. Such unpreparedness is fatal.
Unprepared for the Church’s Last Battle
Rejecting the signs of the end, postmillennialists are unprepared for the all-out assault on the kingdom of Christ—the church—by Antichrist. This assault is now underway. Satan is presently being loosed from his prison to launch his last and greatest attack on the camp of the saints and the beloved city (). The world kingdom of the beast is forming ( ; ). In the nations of the West, formerly influenced by and outwardly favorable towards Christianity, are frightening developments of godlessness and lawlessness, for instance, the murder of the unborn and partially born for the sake of the material ease of the parents. The states officially legitimize these murders, by decree of the supreme courts and with the backing of the executive branch of governments, thus manifesting themselves as monstrous creatures of the devil, inasmuch as states that are the servants of God wield the sword to “execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” ( ). Execution of wrath upon evildoers is certainly not the explanation of the state’s murder of the unborn or partially born infant.
Another significant development of godlessness and lawlessness is the sanction of sodomy and lesbianism by the governments and societies of the West. These perversions, sins against nature (), which always betoken, not only the end of a society, but also God’s awful working among an apostate people to shame and destroy them ( ), the nations of the West now approve, indeed sanctify, as a form of honorable marriage.
At the same time as these developments of wickedness in its grossest forms, there is, not in Communist countries, not in the nations dominated by Islam, but in the formerly Christian nations of the West the increase of sheer, palpable hatred for the Christian faith and its defenders. The president of the United States evinces this hatred. The media are saturated with this hatred. The learned, popular teachers of the masses in the United States and in the other nations of the West spew forth this hatred.1
Perceptively, Peter Hitchens announces the West’s rage against God: “The rage against God is loose and is preparing to strip the remaining altars when it is strong enough.” His analysis of this rage is also correct:
God is the leftists’ [understand by “leftists” educated unbelievers in the West who hate the one true and living God—the God of Christianity, despise God’s righteousness, and plot the extermination of the true church—DJE] chief rival…. If God is not dethroned and his laws not revoked, he represents an important rival to the despot’s authority, living in millions of hearts. If he cannot be driven out of hearts, total control by the state is impossible.2
The postmillennialists apparently see nothing of these godless, antichristian, lawless developments. As this lawlessness intensifies in the formerly Christian West, the postmillennialists continue to babble of the progressive coming of the earthly kingdom of the saints, and to criticize the amillennialists, who warn of these dreadful developments, as unchristian “pessimists.” The rise to power of the beast out of the sea, helped by the beast out of the earth, will take the postmillennialists completely by surprise (Rev. 13). To be taken by surprise, by Antichrist, is a very weak, if not fatal, spiritual position, especially when one has his heart set on the rising in history of an earthly kingdom of Christ.
As Satan gathers Gog and Magog to battle against the church, and as the heathen hordes compass the camp of the saints, in AD 2014, postmillennialism not only gives no warning, but also assures the camp of the saints that it is in the process of conquering the whole world of nations (see).
Postmillennialism is unprepared for the second coming of Christ. A more serious charge against professing Christians, to say nothing of would-be teachers of Christians, it would be hard to find.
Reformed amillennialism, in contrast, teaches the reality, today, of the signs of the end. It exposes the current lawlessness (, where the AV’s “iniquity” translates the Greek “teen anomian,” ‘the lawlessness’). It warns against the antichristian spirit of the present age, the “mystery of iniquity [that] doth already work” ( ). It forewarns the people of God of the coming of the personal Antichrist, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” ( ). It puts the saints on their guard with regard to the forming in the near future of a world kingdom of Satan, membership in which is damning (Rev. 13). In starkest contrast with postmillennialism’s fancy of a coming earthly rule of the saints, which would involve the saints’ punishing the ungodly, amillennialism warns believers and their children of coming persecution for those who will not take the mark of the beast ( ).
Postmillennialism is not an innocuous teaching in the Christian church. It is not a tolerable eschatology in the Reformed churches. It is not mere theory about the end, devoid of practical, hurtful consequences. Postmillennialism has disastrous consequences for the churches and professing believers who embrace the error. It strips them of the biblical hope: the second coming of Christ.
It also renders its adherents unprepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ. They do not see the coming of Christ in and by means of the signs at the present time. Dreaming of the establishment of a glorious earthly kingdom of Christ in the near future, they are deliberately blind to the rearing up of the world kingdom of Antichrist, with all its allurements and threats for believers and their children.
How this weakens the Christian life of the postmillennialists, and is detrimental to the covenant of God, is illustrated, concretely, by the refusal of professing Presbyterians in Scotland to establish good Christian schools for their children. Knowing full well the godlessness of the state schools, and their threat to the faith, obedience, and salvation of the children of the godly, these Presbyterians decline to establish Christian schools, on the ground that soon will come the millennium, solving the problem of the antichristian education of their children.
Postmillennialism does not, and cannot, admonish its people, “Watch therefore” with regard to the coming of the Lord Jesus (), “be ye also ready” with regard to the coming of the Son of man ( ). The result is that postmillennialists are neither watchful nor ready. They admit this lack of watchfulness and readiness. They exhort this lack of watchfulness and readiness.
This is damning for a doctrine of the last things.
It is also fatal to the spiritual welfare of professing Reformed and Presbyterian Christians who heed the doctrine.
The Reformed faith of Holy Scripture and the creeds rejects and condemns postmillennialism as false doctrine—false doctrine specifically with regard both to the Christian hope and to the Christian calling to be watchful and ready for the return of Jesus Christ. “We expect that great day with a most ardent desire…. ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus’ ().”3
1 See Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (London: Black Swan, 2007).
2 Peter Hitchens, The Rage against God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 214, 134, 211.
3 Belgic Confession, Art. 37.