First in a series of four articles on the Christian Hope and the Millennium
Discussions of the millennium or of any theme of biblical prophecy require a humble approach. The prophetic word is a lamp shining in the darkness until the day dawns and the full light of God’s accomplished purpose breaks upon us (2 Pet. 1:19). Prophecy is a light to keep men in the Way through the darkness of This Age until the light of Christ’s coming dispels the darkness forever. This suggests that we should not look to prophecy for pre-written history or for a blueprint of the future. Prophecy’s primary purpose is to give light for our present journey, not to satisfy our curiosity. Since we do not have the full light and our knowledge is admittedly partial (1 Cor. 13:12), we may not expect complete unity of interpretation among God’s servants in prophetic truth. Paul himself asserts that while there is indeed “one faith,” full unity of the faith has not yet been attained (Eph. 4:4, 13). Therefore, humility and charity in such study is more important than perfect agreement. Furthermore, the existence of unsolved problems should be no embarrassment to any interpretation.
Nevertheless, God’s Word does speak about the future, and we are justified, indeed, required to attempt to understand and to interpret the prophetic outlook of Scripture. Redemption is uniformly viewed as incomplete; and we must search Scripture to understand all about the completion of God’s redemptive purpose.
The problems which cluster around the question of a millennium, so far as the New Testament is concerned, are theological, not exegetical. The millenarian who accepts Augustine’s sound dictum that “the New is in the Old concealed while the Old is in the New revealed” may ...1
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