Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Postmillennialism Today: CHRISTMAS AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

Postmillennialism Today: CHRISTMAS AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

by Kenneth Gentry

In Isaiah 9:3 the Lord promises to multiply his people Israel. This is according to the Abrahamic Covenant’s promise of a great seed and influence among the nations. God will accomplish this by calling the Gentiles to be the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:29). This involves their ingrafting into Israel’s stock (Ro 11:16–19), the merging of Jew and Gentile into one body (Eph 2:11–17). The increase of Israel’s joy (v 3) indicates the joy in the Savior’s coming (Lk 2:10; Jn 3:29). According to the New Testament, Christ brings joy to his people (Jn 15:11; 16:20ff); and where Christianity goes, joy follows (Ac 8:8; 13:52; 15:3; Ro 14:17; 15:13; 1 Pe 1:8; 1Jn 1:4). As in Isaiah 2:3–4 Christ’s coming results in oppression and war ceasing (vv 4–5), which Isaiah portrays in the burning of soldiers’ garments as a symbol that they will no longer be needed. This is similar to the earlier casting off of swords (Isa 2:4).

Christ’s reign over his kingdom begins at his first coming (Mt 4:17; 12:28) and will gradually increase over time (Mt 13:31–33). In prophecy Christ appears as the son or branch of David (Jer 23:5; 33:13), or as David himself (Jer 30:9; Eze 34:23, 23; 37:24; Hos 3:5). After his resurrection he ascends to David’s throne (Ac 2:30–31), which represents God’s throne (1Ch 28:5; 29:23). His reign brings peace, for he is the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). Calvin puts it well in his commentary on Isaiah (vol. 1, p. 96). This peace grows incrementally through history in that Christ “extends its boundaries far and wide, and then preserves and carries it forward in uninterrupted progression to eternity.”

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