OUTLINE: Geerhardus Vos: 2nd Coming and the Millennium

by Jim Dennison


a. The intended audience is probably for the Reformed Amil. Jim Dennison is quite adament about this topic and
is admittedly more dogmaticly opposed to the competing eschatological systems than perhaps Vos himself.

b. This is Jim Dennison's take on Vos's criticism of premillennialism and, by implication, classic postmillennialism's
distinctive features which parallel premillennialism. It does not directly discuss the contemporary theological issues
of preterism, common grace, cultural mandate, etc. which are necessary for an in depth look at modern postmillennialism
which has subsequently adopted the already/not-yet features of Vos's eschatology.

I. Readings

Geerhardus Vos. Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation (25-58 / 415-422 "this article")
____________. Pauline Eschatology (ch 10, 226-260)

II. History of Eschatology

Early Church Premillennialism : Papias, Iranaeus, Justin Martyr
After Reformation: Anabaptists, Fundamentalists (19th century), Dispensational (20th)

III. The Chiliasm

Systematic Plausibility of chiliasm:

  1. OT Prophets saw 1 coming of the Lord on the future horizon
  2. NT separates this coming into two (First and Second Advent)
  3. NT Prophets foretell 1 a singular future coming of the Lord

Conclusion: Therefore, why shouldn't we expect the NT prophecy to be fulfilled
with two future comings?

  1. 1000 year reign by Christ on earth
  2. And then in the New Creation

IV. Vos's Argument from NT's Silence:

But the NT only speaks of the second coming in terms of a single, undivided event,
sudden, cosmic, and eternal. It doesn't call us to hope in these two comings:

  1. An inauguration of a temporal/provisional era of blessings of world-wide peace on earth
  2. A consummation of the eternal order (cp. John 5:28f)

Then where did the idea of chiliasm come from?

1. Judaistic assumptions:

Vos responds:

  1. Church (semi-eschatologically, provisional inaugurated with Christ's resurrection)
  2. New Creation (eternal order, consummated with Christ's own return)

2. Golden Age theology is attractive: (God's people will get to rule the world in power! )

Vos responds :

V. Passages supporting future comings? // with Vos's rebuttals

  1. Acts 3:19-21................... // Vos: seasons of refreshing == restoration of all things
  2. 1 Cor 15:23-28............... // Vos: Christ is reigning now, the "end" is Second Coming
  3. I Thes 4:13-18................. // Resurrection of believers will be for eternity "in the air"
  4. Phil 3:9, 11...................... //
  5. Rev 20:1-6...................... // Type of literature indicates that 1000 years is probably symbolic.

Should not base an entire eschatological system on one passage!

VI. Jim Dennison's Five Questions Determining One's Eschatology:

1. Is there a future provisional Kingdom?

2. An Eschatological dualism?

3. Eternal state after millennium?

4. This wordly triumphalism?

5. Are things going to get better?

Jim's questions show the similarities between Postmil and Premil. 4/5 agreement.[*]

Only the Amil is unique.

[ * ] One wonders if there are really five different questions here, if not selective. :)