Millennialism an Ancient Doctrine?

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We believe in the future Millennial Kingdom, where Christ reigns on earth, fulfilling the Davidic Covenant. Revelation 20 teaches Christ will reign on earth for 1000 years. Most of us who believe this hear this one historical rejection. “Dispensationalism has only been around for a hundred years or so, the Millennial Kingdom is a new doctrine not found in the Church Fathers.” This critique attempts to say, “This is a new doctrine with no historical backing, therefore you’re going against history.”

Mr. Philip Schaff, historian, (author of the great 8 volume church history set), can you Unknown-1please tell us what a lot of early Church Fathers thought about eschatology?

“The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism, 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.1 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, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius; while Caius, Origen, Dionysius the Great, Eusebius (as afterwards Jerome and Augustin) opposed it.” [1]

Thank you sir. It seems one historian (and a few church fathers) disagree with the common critique. For my amil friends, can we please stop levying the assault no historical figure agrees? For my Millennial believing friends, please remember these names as proof you’re not alone . . . And remember, we can add the Apostles and Jesus to our list of early Church Father’s who believed in the Millennial Kingdom.

[1] History of the Christian Church, volume 2, Page 614.

 

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Jason Vaughn

About Jason Vaughn

Jason is a graduate of the Master's Seminary and the pastor of Cornerstone Las Vegas, a Grace Advance church plant. He loves Christ, his wife Kyla, sometimes his kids :), the church, missions, people, and coffee. You can also follow him on his personal blog at shepherdthesheep.com.