Enemies Subdued

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #182

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:23–25).

The resurrection of the dead is a stupendous event, but it is also an ordered one. Every man is raised in the proper order, at the right time. The great event from the end of history is inaugurated in the middle of history. So Christ was raised first, and He was raised first as the first fruits. The second wave of the resurrection will happen to those who belong to Christ and it will happen to them when He comes again. So at the Second Coming we have the completion of the resurrection.

After the resurrection is completed, the end comes. The end will be characterized by Christ turning over, delivering up, His kingdom to God the Father. Christ is reigning now, and during the course of His reign He progressively subdues all those who set themselves as His adversaries. Over the course of history, as He has been doing for two thousand years now, He puts down all rule, all authority, and all power. His reign will extend as long as there are adversaries still to subdue. He is at the right hand of God the Father, and He must remain there until all His enemies are made His footstool. He must reign until all His enemies are put under His feet. This means that all the enemies of Christ, with the one exception of death, will be subdued to Him prior to His coming.

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Bro. Steve
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Bro. Steve

Bro. Doug, It’s puzzling to me how the post-millennial viewpoint sustains itself. No doubt if I ask why you believe it, you will say that it’s what the Bible teaches, and despite my disagreement that the Bible does teach this, I can respect a brother for sticking with how he reads it. Oo-rah. But given the fact that ancient Christian lands like Syria and Turkey are pretty much denuded of Christians, and the apostasy of Europe is all but complete, and America is embracing sodomy as a civil rights cause — with various mega-preachers to help us rationalize it into… Read more »

Ben P
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Ben P

@Bro. Steve From one premil to another: The Gospel is currently blowing up across Africa, to the point where locals aren’t really sure what to do with it. In Asia, people are coming to Christ in numbers that have those governments actually creating laws to curtail it (and it still isn’t working). There are an estimated 100+ million Christians in China. Conservative estimates put 10% of the Communist Party are Born-Again Christians. The largest church in the world is currently meeting in Seoul Korea. Entire tribes in India have become Christians, and more are being added daily. The persecution of… Read more »

Rick Davis
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Bro Steve, A couple of things to maybe answer your question. First, it’s certainly true that we shouldn’t read the Bible, as the old dispensationalist pastors used to say, “with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” Regardless of what the world looks like, we should walk by faith and not by sight. There have been many times in history when it looked like the Church was dying, but God was really preparing it for a greater more glorious resurrection than ever. (Just ask Athanasius.) But even if we do want to keep our noses in… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

Not to appear too technical, but Amillenialism is subset of Postmillenialism.
And this post fits perfectly with Amill presupps.

Do we not agree that ALL the dead folks of the world have become successfully & entirely subdued by Jesus?

JohnM
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JohnM

@Ben P. & Rick Davis – I’ve had the same sort of question Bro P asked. Like Bro P I respect sticking to your guns but I would point out a few things for your consideration. For the one thing, the spread of Christianity in some parts of the world accompanied by recession in other parts just seems like moving the sheep from one pasture to another and not so much like growing the flock. If that is what God is doing then it will be done and it will be good, but it doesn’t sound like what I thought… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

“the spread of Christianity” — as measured by whom?

New school postmil often measure with theonomic scale.

What if the Spirit measured it in souls saved?

scm
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scm

In my circle of friends, I am surrounded by hardcore dispensationalists. I love them all too. I’ve listened to them for years and have concluded that their main weakness is lack of perspective, both historically and present day. They all tend to believe, without realizing it, that the West – America in particular – is “the world.” They are glued to the news for clues to the end and all see so clearly how it is unfolding. I have been criticized by some of them for looking too closely at history, and have even been told that all one really… Read more »

RFB
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RFB

scm,

“…just not exciting enough …”

Or maybe, the alternative (to Disp) is way too exciting.

It’s a lot easier to hunker down and wait for CSAR to bail you out than it is to push on and take the city.

Rick Davis
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@JohnM Fourth , I thought Christianized western culture – including Anglo democracy – was supposed to be very much a part of the trajectory posited by postmillennialism? Did I get that all wrong? Sincere question, maybe I did. I’ve not encountered this in my 10 years or so of being postmil. It’s possible we’re not looking at the same resources though. In my mind, postmillennialism posits the glorious spread of the gospel throughout the world, not necessarily the spread of its cultural containers. It certainly has nothing to do with democracy as Christianity flourished for almost 2 millennia without any… Read more »

timothy
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timothy

For what it is worth, herein some completely irrational, unreasoned reasons for my tentative embrace of post-millenialism 1. Try as I might, I just cannot shake my optimism about what Christ has in store for us. 1.a The changes He makes in me are so unexpected, otherworldly and completely in character with what Scripture says, that its like being a kid at the amusement park with a free pass to all the rides in the park and after each ride you get off saying, “That was awesome!” (of course, puking on the tilt-a-whirl is part of the amusement park experience… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

Rick Davis – I agree ” It certainly has nothing to do with democracy as Christianity flourished for almost 2 millennia without any democracy in sight. ” But as it happens I’ve gained the impression I expressed from things I’ve read on this blog, including some of the things Douglas Wilson has said. Granted, what I listed “Fourth” was in my words, not his or precisely anyone else’s – but the way I read it. I do think somewhere a trajectory something like the one to which I referred has been posited. As long as forms taken, by doctrine and… Read more »

Barnabas
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Barnabas

Timothy –
Your objections to pre-millennialism all seem to boil down to your feelings. You could make an argument for post-millennialism based on scripture (though not a strong one, I’m afraid) or you could make one based on history or the observed current condition of the world but using your feelings as evidence is a bad idea.

timothy
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timothy

Hi @Barnabas. I stated as much in my comment. Also, not wholly on feelings, I offered two non-subjective reasons for it in points 4 and 5. On the subject of “feelings, nothing more than feelings, whoa, whoa whoa…feelings..” let’s take a look at the fruits of the Spirit. These are real things and we can point to particular implementations of each of them, but when we encounter a person who either exhibits them or does not exhibit them, we sense (feel) it (usually) immediately. With experience we give these subjective impressions strong weight, while retaining reason as a tool to… Read more »

BJ
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BJ

This might open up a can of worms (I hope not), but it seems to me that if anyone considers themselves reformed or Calvinist in any way, then an optimistic view of the growth of the gospel is the only sensible position. If one is Arminian or an open theist where God’s control ends at the agency of the individual, then of course a pessimistic view is in order. But if God is our general and He orders us into battle via the great commission, then it is the height of absurdity to think that this omnipotent general has ordered… Read more »

Jamie Soles
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I was reading some stuff talking about how the centers for the faith are shifting from west to south and east, and I thought about this phenomenon. There are not yet any places that I am aware of where the gospel has taken deep root in a country, then been uprooted through apostasy, which has ever returned to the faith. Think about the area around the Med. sea, then northward into Europe and Russia, and now the west seems to be in serious decline. But “ever” is a long time… perhaps one should say, “yet.” The promise of God is… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

timothy: “what Christ has in store for us

By “us” do you mean the “us” that have already gone to sleep? — or are you pessimistic about them?

Or the “us” = future folks on your team? — are you like a future retired football player rooting for your team’s championship opportunity?

timothy
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timothy

Hi eric Stampher By “us” I mean Christians alive here today and the work Christ can do in us here today and that He is doing here, now, today. I have not thought of those who have moved on beyond the awareness of a great cloud of witnesses that scripture teaches us is there-a knowledge I use as a brace to be courageous when I am tempted to give counsel to my fears. I want a slap on the back from the apostles after Jesus wishes me a well done faithful servant, maybe talk a little smack with em too.… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

BJ,
I give you credit for saying Arminian or open-theist, but one does not have to be Calvinist to believe God’s victory is a forgone conclusion. Actually, a fait accompli.

timothy
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timothy

Let me run with @BJ’s remark This might open up a can of worms (I hope not), but it seems to me that if anyone considers themselves reformed or Calvinist in any way, then an optimistic view of the growth of the gospel is the only sensible position. I Taking the Bible as a whole, what do we see over its scope? Do we see integration and building or disintegration and decay? Certainly we see ebb and flows, progress and regress, but from time zero to today, what has been the general direction? Starting with the birth of the Church… Read more »

timothy
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timothy

To finish my last comment, I think the evidence of history supports BJ’s inference

BJ
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BJ

JohnM, My Arminian brothers in the Church of the Nazarene where I was first saved and received baptism are anything but open theists, so your point is well taken. Arminian does not equal open theism. I used those two as ends of a spectrum. Arminians see God’s agency ending at a person’s choice of Christ and open theists see God’s agency as never interfering with the choices of men, at all I suppose. But to your point, no I do not see it as a contradiction at all that an Arminian would be optimistic about the future. I was actually… Read more »

BJ
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BJ

Let me add one more speculative point to this thread. I reserve the right to withdraw this later, but I thought I might see what you all thought. Throughout church history, when the church is in the pressure cooker, true believers persevere and the fakers are revealed to be false. The ultimate conclusion of those portions of history are tremendous growth. Think Rome in the early church days, and today we see the same phenomenon in China and to some degree in Iran. However, whenever the church finds tremendous freedom, we turn on ourselves, we divide over stupid stuff, and… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

BJ, Since you asked – here’s what I think. “Throughout church history, when the church is in the pressure cooker, true believers persevere and the fakers are revealed to be false.” True. Of course, if the pressure is heavy enough some of the true believers die, and others go somewhere else in order to survive. If the pressure is only moderate some of the fakers adapt and accommodate, while continuing to fake. “The ultimate conclusion of those portions of history are tremendous growth.” Mmm…or localized extinction, in some cases. Actually, I wonder if we have read it backwards. Rather persecution… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

timothy — thanks. What you’ve said so far is small “p” postmil and consistent with its Amillenial subset.

I’m wondering what you think is big “P” Postimillenial = future earthly victories of a kind not yet experienced?

You know, the kind of end-game that Posties feel will finally deliver the comeuppance that our foes deserve and that will make those who’ve past on look down and say “Now THAT’s what we were all working toward!”

Sarah Culbertson
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Sarah Culbertson

I don’t see how the list of awful things in the world is inconsistent with post-mill. Is this not Christ subduing evil by sending people to run to their own destruction? God’s judgement on an evil nation is good for the world. Of course, repentance would be preferable.

BJ
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BJ

JohnM,

Great points, all of them. I will be happy to take those examples if you have time and an opportunity. It was a speculative/tentative thought, so thank you for the insights.

Under His Mercy,
BJ

timothy
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timothy

Hi eric Stampher.

Your comment is the first time I have read of the distinction, so I cannot comment.

Cheers.

t

JohnM
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JohnM

BJ – Will try to do that this evening.

JohnM
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JohnM

BJ – Okay, since I said I would The source that got me thinking is The World of Late Antiquity , Peter Brown, paperback edition published by W.W. Norton and Company, 1989. Dislocation is my term for something Brown explains as he describes the rise of Christianity. Brown describes a lower middle, but not poor, class in the 2nd/3rd centuries consisting of artisans and merchants on the move, not rooted, pursing opportunities made possible by the Roman Empire, and explains that it was among these, and where they were active, that Christianity grew. It gained among the mobile, more so… Read more »

BJ
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BJ

JohnM,

Very helpful insights. Thank you.