The History of Millennialism – II Peter 3:3-4

 

  1. What are the three major differing positions about the Millennium? (Pre-, post-, and a-millennialism)
    1. Generally speaking, what do each of those positions teach?
  2. What position did the New Testament Sadducees hold in regard to the millennium? (Amillennial).
    1. What position did the New Testament Pharisees hold in regard to the millennium? (Premillennial ).
    2. What was the reason for this difference? (Differences in hermeneutics).
  3. What did the Lord’s disciples and the early church believe about the millennium? (Premillennial).
  4. What did Clement of Rome, Barnabas, and Polycarp and Papias, (two students of the Apostle John) believe about the millennium? (These first century Christians believed that it would follow the literal return of Christ).
  5. What did second century Christians Pothinus, Justin Martyr, Melito, Tatian, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Hippolytus believe about the millennium?
  6. What did the third century Christians Cyprian, Commodian, Nepos, Victorinus, and Lactantius believe about the millennium?
  7. Who wrote these words in his Dialogue with Trypho: “I and whatsoever Christians are orthodox in all things, do know that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, and a thousand years in the city of Jerusalem, built, adorned and enlarged, according as Ezekiel, Isaiah and other prophets have promised… Moreover, a certain man among us, whose name is John, being one of the twelve apostles of Christ, in that revelation which was shown to him prophesied, that those who believe in our Christ shall fulfill a thousand years at Jerusalem.” (Justin Martyr, born about 100 AD.)
  8. Why did Theologian Lewis Sperry Chaffer say, “The whole Bible is harmonized only by the chiliastic interpretation?”
  9. What did amillennialist Oswald Allis say that the early church believed about the millennium? (“Premillennialism was extensively held in the Early Church… But the stress which many of its advocates placed on earthly rewards and carnal delights aroused widespread opposition to it: and it was largely replaced by the “spiritual view” of Augustine. It reappeared in extravagant forms … notably among the Anabaptists…But it was not until early in the last century that it became at all wisely influential … Since then it has become increasingly popular: and the claim is frequently made that most of the leaders in the Church today. who are evangelical, are Premillennialists.”)
  10. What did postmillennialist Daniel Witby say that the early church believed about the millennium? (“The doctrine of the Millennium, or the reign of saints on earth for a thousand years, is now reject by all Roman Catholics, and by the greatest part of Protestants: and yet it passed among the best Christians for two hundred and fifty years, for a tradition as apostolical: and as such, is delivered by many Fathers of the second and third century. who speak of it as the tradition of our Lord and His apostles. and of all the ancients who lived before them: who tell us the very words in which it was delivered, the Scriptures which were then so interpreted: and say that it was held by all Christians that were exactly orthodox.”)
  11. What is the meaning of the term “Ante-Nicene?” (In 325 AD there was a meeting of a great many “Christian” pastors in Nicea to discuss the heresies of those who denied the deity of Christ [Origen]. This meeting became a watershed in church history with time being described as either ante-Nicene or post-Nicene.)
  12. Who was Philip Schaff? (A member of the German Reformed Church who came to the United States in the mid-1800’s to become a seminary professor. He was also the founder of the American Society of Church History. Even though he was a Protestant, he had strong pro-Catholic tendencies.)
  13. What did Philip Schaff say about the early church in his History of the Christian Church? (“The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chilaism, or millenarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years. before the general resurrection and judgment. It was indeed not the doctrine of the church embodied in any creed or form of devotion, but a widely current opinion of distinguished teachers.”)
  14. What is the Nicene Creed? (We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty; maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God. Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate: he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures: he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord. the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”)
  15. What did Eusebius, the church historian, say that the churches of the first century believe about the millennium?
  16. What did Lutheran historian Johann Mosheim say about the early church and the millennium? (“That the Saviour is to reign a thousand years among men before end of the world, had been believed by many in the second century without offense to any.”)
  17. What did the Lutheran historian Johann Neander say about the early church and the millennium? (“Many Christians seized hold of an image which was passed over to them from the Jews and which seemed to adapt itself to their own present situation. The idea of a millennial reign which the Messiah was to set up on the earth at the end of the whole earthly course of this age – when all the righteous of all times should live together in holy communion.”)
  18. What did Edward Gibbon say about the early Church and the Millennium in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? (“It was universally believed that the end of the world was at hand. The near approach of this wonderful event had been predicted by the apostles. The tradition of it was preserved by their earliest disciples, and those who understood, in their literal sense, the discourses of Christ Himself were obliged to expect the Second and glorious Coming of the Son of Man before that generation was totally extinguished. As long as for wise purposes this error was permitted to exist in the church, it was productive of the most salutary effects on the faith and practice of Christians who lived in the awful expectation of that moment. The ancient and popular doctrine of the millennium was intimately connected with the Second Coming of Christ…The assurance of such a millennium was carefully inculcated by a succession of fathers from Justin Martyr and Irenaeus…who conversed with the immediate disciples of the Apostles. It. appears to have been the reining sentiment of the orthodox believers.”)
  19. What did John Kitto say about the early church and the millennium in his Encyclopedia of Biblical Literature? (“The millenarian doctrine was generally prevalent in the second century, and that it received its first staggering blow from Origen, followed by Augustine, Jerome and others in the fourth century.”)
  20. If Origen refused to believe in the coming millennium should this discourage our expectancy of its fulfillment?
  21. What is the explanation for the slow disinterest in millennialism from the third century until the days of the Protestant Reformation? (The rise of Catholicism and the suppression of the Word of God.)
  22. If the saints of God in the first and second centuries believed in a coming millennium, should we believe in it? (No, not on their say so alone.)
  23. If the disciples of the Apostles of Christ believed in a coming millennium, should we look forward to the millennium?
  24. If the disciples and Apostles of Christ believed in the return of the Lord and the establishment of a literal millennial kingdom should we believe in a coming millennium?