Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Further Thoughts on 'Future Israel' IV

In conclusion, while we appreciated Dr. Horner's concern for the Jewish people, and that Christians have all too often projected an attitude that seemed anti-Jewish, we found his insistence on a pre-millennial eschatology as the only way in which this attitude can be corrected narrow and historically inaccurate. His failure to deal with the question before the Reformation would have been less obvious had he not devoted about a page to it, a page that did not prove that anyone in that period held anything like his view, but only his ipse dixit that such a position existed (it seems to us that he was projecting a post-Reformation view back before the Reformation).

We find it rather ironic that Dr. Horner and his ilk believe that the best spur to Jewish evangelism is a theology that despairs of winning large numbers of Jewish people for Christ, and that the Second Advent of Christ will be a glorious evangelistic visit, not a coming in glory to judge the living and the dead. Our theology, on the other hand, is that the present means, given by God, are sufficient for the work that He has given, to disciple all nations (including the Jews). No doubt our Dispensationalist brethren will be outraged at this, for their theology is one of failure (though maybe there are some now who cling to the name but have abandoned even the dictum that 'all dispensations end in failure), and the few remaining Bullingerites (for hyper-dispensationalist E.W. Bullinger, not the Reformer of the same name) will gravely tell us that this Great Commission is not for the Church, but for the future Jewish remnant (we shall tell them exactly what we think of their muddle-headed theology). We prefer to think that the Holy Spirit is in fact stronger than Satan, and is able to accomplish His purposes in the earth.
As we have said, we are not liberal post-millennialists, we do not expect the power and wisdom of man to establish the Millennium (indeed, we expect the wisdom of man to lead to the great rebellion at the end of the MIllennium), and we do not expect this old world to be perfected before the coming of Our Lord. But we do expect that He will build His Church, and will engraft the Jews in His own time.

We look for the Millennium to be a period of great Gospel-prosperity upon the earth, and a time when the nations shall be disciples of Christ. Not that all will be Christians indeed, for there will remain some of the leaven of hypocrisy, but still, we expect greater things than we see now. We are persuaded that the present time is not the 'life from the dead' which shall follow the restoration of Israel.

This is our 'Millennial Manifesto'. It will no doubt shock all those trained in the hermeneutic of failure, but we are persuaded that the Bible holds forth a great outpouring of the Spirit of God that is yet to come. At the same time we are persuaded from the plain Scripture that the Second Advent will not usher in a new day of grace, but the final state. That state will not be a platonic disembodied existence, but an embodied existence in a new universe that shall, in some sense, be much like this one, only fully purified and freed from the bondage of sin. This old earth will be renewed, re-forged in fire, and will be the dwelling-pace of God and man for ever. So we believe, and so we preach.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen


derek4messiah.wordpress.com said...

The problem with anything but pre-millennialism is that the great promises of every man a vine and fig tree/the mountain of the house of the Lord/the reaper overtaking the sower and so on have no time period in which to take place. They must be interpreted in ways that emasculate them, removing their down-to-earth reality.

I too am reviewing Future Israel at

Derek Leman

Highland Host said...

Sorry, Mr. Leman, you lost me there. First, I have a vine and a fig tree already. Second, the reaper overtaking the sower is obviously a way of saying that there will be an abundance of supply in the Millennium, and thirdly, what do you mean by 'the mountain of the house of the Lord?'

Literal interpretation means taking the words as they would have been understood by their original readers, not hyper-literalism. Everyone really knows this, but some are more consistent than others.

Highland Host said...

I note that Mr. Leman's comments are closed. Oh well, ours are still open.

While we of course think that Post-Millenniallism is equally, if not more, friendly to the Restoration of Israel, we recognise differences of opinion. We have documented this already, in our series on 'Future Israel'. Our difficulties with particularly dispensational premillennialism have been documented in our series on John MacArthur. Simply put, we have too much respect for Scripture to be pre-mil. Or the Dutch version of a-mil for that matter!!! (their treatment of Romans 11 we find pitiful, and have said so. According to them THIS is 'life from the dead'. I think not!!!)

And we expect a flurry of angry comments here

derek4messiah.wordpress.com said...

Comments on my blog must be emailed because I've had too much nonsense in the comments department in the past. Feel free to comment and if you ask me to post something I will strongly consider it.

Meanwhile, you have your vine and fig tree now? Preposterous. No social or economic restoration/redemption has yet taken place for Israel or the nations. If this is the great promised time of redemption God spoke of, I must say his promises are disappointing. If the World to Come is as depressingly deficient as this present age (which you consider to be the Messianic Age, I guess) then we may not have such a great thing to look forward to after all (may it never be).

Please don't assume from my words about interpretation that I am a hyper-literalist. Nothing I have said justifies that slur.

Meanwhile, post-millennialism could have advantages over amillennialism. It's just that the changes in the kingdom seem far too great to be explained by human inititative.

Derek Leman

Highland Host said...

Sorry, the vine and fig-tree comment was a joke referring to actual physical plants, one by the back door, the other by the front. British humour.

To clarify, I am POST-MIL. I agree with you that this is not the Millennium, and that any who think so have a pitiful understanding of God's blessings. Furthermore, I am an orthodox, Biblical post-mil, I do not believe that the Millennium will be brought about by human initiative, but by the work of God through the Church. That is, by God the Holy Spirit.

I do not assume that you are hyper-literal, I wrote that for the sake of any hyper-literalists who might be reading.