Those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection [Luke20:35-36]
Proceeding chapter by chapter through the New Testament I have come to perceive that one does not need to rely on Revelation alone to make a case for pre-millennialism. The apocalyptic passage (ch20:5-6) is explicit concerning a millennial age whereas Jesus’ statement in Luke 20 which was in response to the Sadducees’ attempt to trick Jesus concerning resurrection of the dead at the very least implies there will be two resurrections (as earlier did Jn6:44+54). For, says He, those who are “found worthy” will be resurrected at the end of the current age whereas the Bible is clear enough that everyone is to be resurrected at some stage, worthy or not. Likewise, the righteous, says Jesus, will be “worthy of a place in that age” (Greek: kataxiothentes tou ainos ekeinou tuchein), again supporting the case. In view of what I have come to understand concerning “the fellowship pertaining to the secret plan hidden in God” (previous post) it is no surprise I am a pre-millennialist, albeit not a dogmatic one with regard to the future age’s duration or the precise nature of its activity. But it would follow that matters relating to the Jewish apocalypse that the Old Testament assured God’s first-choice nation their Messiah would undertake for them yet have not (and cannot) be fulfilled by the mission of the Church would be accomplished in the age to come, together with yet more profound matters such as the eradication of evil and reconciliation of nations. The latter is quite impossible whilst Satan and his seed hold sway on Earth, which as both Paul and Peter affirm is to be the case in the current age (1Pet5:8, Eph6:12).
Premillennialism was the predominant view of the ante-Nicene Church. Fathers including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian, Cyprian, Barnabas and Lactantius and by deduction others whom they had instructed or by whom they had been instructed but had not made their position clear in the writings available. Such were supported initially by Augustine of Hippo together with a good number of his contemporaries inside as well as some breakaway groups outside the Church. It was initially Marcion who challenged the consensus in the second century; he was later clearly shown to be a heretic. The other key influences regarding a millennial age being Augustine (who changed his mind) and Origen of Alexandria (who was inclined to a Platonic spiritualism); these colossi of the Western and Eastern Church ensuring that Millenarian views came to be rejected by the fourth century, reinforced one suspects by the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine which transformed the Church’s perspective with regard to its relationships with the political structures of the world. More background to why the churches came to reject premillennialism can be found HERE but although it is certainly not my top priority I will endeavour to draw out evidence for such a concept as we proceed through the rest of the New Testament.
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