puritan lad wrote: Fortigurn wrote:
Eusebius blames Papias for the spread of premillennialism in the early church: “But it was due to him that so many [not “all” of “most”] of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man .“
But of course, there's no evidence fort his.
Evidence?? Uh. How about Eusebius?
Sorry, but an unsubstantiated 4th century statement regarding a 2nd century person, without any supporting evidence whatever, is certainly unconvincing. Where are the references to previous premillenialists saying that they were influenced by Papias? Where is there any extant evidence to support Eusebius' unique claim? The most you would be able to say is that he influenced Irenaeus, who specifically affirms his belief in the literal Kingdom of God on earth of which Papias wrote.
Fortigurn wrote:[Yes, from Augustine in the 5th century. A little late.
And your objection is????
My objection is firstly that I asked you to confine yourself to the 1st to the 4th centuries, and secondly that the fact that postmillenialism became popular from the 5th century onwards proves it was not the dominant view of the church previously.
Not true. Standard premillennial teaching requires 1,000 years between His coming and the final judgment.
That's a different matter entirely to what you said before. You talked about standard premillenial teaching stating that resurrection and judgment do not take place at Christ's return
, which is completely wrong, as I've pointed out. The fact that many premils believe in a second resurrection and judgment at the end of the 1,000 years doesn't change the fact that the standard premil teaching is that resurrection and judgment take place at Christ's return, so quoting views which say exactly that do not contradict premil.
As I've pointed out, all you've done is simply attempt to redefine what premil is, just as you attempted to redefine Praeterism. The various positions (pre-, post-, a-), define how an individual understands the relationship of Christ's return to the millenium. What you have done here is exactly what you did earlier when challenged to provide a list of Praeterist Early Fathers. Just as you redefined 'Praeterism', so you are redefining 'Premillenialism'. The doctrine of premillenialism is the belief that Christ returns before the 1,000 years. Your list of Early Fathers has to be a list of men who did not believe that Christ would return before the 1,000 years.
If there was a dominant belief in premillennialism, it certainly should have made it's way into at least one of the creeds.
I've already pointed out this is irrelevant and inaccurate. It's a non-sequitur. There are plenty of beliefs which were dominant which didn't find their way into the creeds.
Here is a must read link to re-examine many of your premillennial claims
Yes, that's where I thought you'd gone. The reason why I thought you'd gone there is not only because your list is the same as his, but also because you've adopted his redefinition of what premil actually is (a redefinition essential to his argument).
Here for example he makes a blatant attempt to cloud the issue:
If an early church father believed that the church = Israel then it would cast serious doubts on whether or not they were really premillennial in the modern doctrinal understanding.
So in other words, he's saying that he judges an ECF to be non-premil if they believed that the church is Israel. That's completely invalid. That is not the definition of a premil.
Let's go through the links:
(Premillennial, but not at all compatible with any modern endtimes teaching)
(Premillennial, and a Montanist Heretic — not compatible with any modern endtimes teaching)
- (Premillennialist who wrote to Trypho that many Christians did not believe in the millennium. From the looks of this list, he was correct.)
Wow, all premil so far! That's nine up to the 4th century
. So from the 1st
century to the 4th
century (the era under question in my original challenge), he has found nine undisputed
premils so far. Impressive!
By the way, I have twice corrected your misrepresentation of Martyr. He does not say that 'many Christians did not believe in the millennium'. On the contrary, he says that those who are right minded Christians do
'I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.'
Dialogue with Trypho, 80
What he says later is that many who are true Christians do not believe in certain details of what takes place during
Now let's look at these:
(Possible premillennialist, but shows quite a few inconsistencies)
Both of these men are indisputable premils. Here's Barnabas:
'The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation thus: 'And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.' Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, 'He finished in six days.' This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth, saying, 'Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years.' Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. 'And He rested on the seventh day.' This meaneth: when His Son, coming again, shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day.'
The Epistle of Barnabas, 15
That's the 7,000 year plan right there. You can't deny that's standard premil. Schaff helpfully affirms this:
'Among the Apostolic Fathers Barnabas is the first and the only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth. He considers the Mosaic history of the creation a type of six ages of labor for the world, each lasting a thousand years, and of a millennium of rest, since with God 'one day is as a thousand years.' The millennial Sabbath on earth will be followed by an eight and eternal day in a new world, of which the Lord's Day (called by Barnabas 'the eighth day') is the type'.
Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n.d.) 382
Now Irenaeus. First of all, you have to acknowledge that he believed in the 7,000 year plan, which is decidedly premil:
'For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: 'Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.' This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.'
Against Heresies 5.28.3
Secondly he speaks explicitly of the Kingdom being literally on earth, taking place at the return of Christ, preceded by the resurrection and consisting of the reign of the saints, the restoration of the earth and the ruins of Israel:
'If, however, any shall endeavour to allegorize prophecies of this kind, they shall not be found consistent with themselves in all points, and shall be confuted by the teaching of the very expressions in question. For example: 'When the cities' of the Gentiles 'shall be desolate, so that they be not inhabited, and the houses so that there shall be no men in them and the land shall be left desolate.' 'For, behold,' says Isaiah, 'the day of the LORD cometh past remedy, full of fury and wrath, to lay waste the city of the earth, and to root sinners out of it.' And again he says, 'Let him be taken away, that he behold not the glory of God.' And when these things are done, he says, 'God will remove men far away, and those that are left shall multiply in the earth.' 'And they shall build houses, and shall inhabit them themselves: and plant vineyards, and eat of them themselves.'
For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in the times of which resurrection the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord: and through Him they shall become accustomed to partake in the glory of God the Father, and shall enjoy in the kingdom intercourse and communion with the holy angels, and union with spiritual beings; and with respect to those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one.'
Against Heresies, 5:35:1
Irenaeus is explicitly premil, in that he declares the return of Christ to PRE
-cede the Kingdom (which he believes will be on earth). He also makes it clear that he holds the same belief as Papias:
'If, then, God promised him [Abraham] the inheritance of the land, yet he did not receive it during all the time of his sojourn there, it must be, that together with his seed, that is, those who fear God and believe in Him, he shall receive it at the resurrection of the just.'
'Thus, then, they who are of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham, and these are the children of Abraham. Now God made promise of the earth to Abraham and his seed; yet neither Abraham nor his seed, that is, those who are justified by faith, do now receive any inheritance in it; but they shall receive it at the resurrection of the just.'
Against Heresies, 5.32.2
The predicted blessing, therefore, belongs unquestionably to the times of the kingdom, when the righteous shall bear rule upon their rising from the dead; when also the creation, having been renovated and set free, shall fructify with an abundance of all kinds of food, from the dew of heaven, and from the fertility of the earth: as the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, related that they had heard from him how the Lord used to teach in regard to these times, and say: The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five and twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, "I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me." In like manner [the Lord declared] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear should have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds (quinque bilibres) of clear, pure, fine flour; and that all other fruit-bearing trees, and seeds and grass, would produce in similar proportions (secundum congruentiam iis consequentem); and that all animals feeding [only] on the productions of the earth, should [in those days] become peaceful and harmonious among each other, and be in perfect subjection to man.
And these things are borne witness to in writing by Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book; for there were five books compiled (συντεταγμένα ) by him.
Against Heresies, 5.33.3-4
Isn't it interesting that he's making the same argument regarding Abraham that you've been opposing here? Isn't it interesting that the cite to which you appealed didn't make any mention of this part of what Irenaeus wrote, or that he explicitly agreed with Papias regarding the Kingdom? This is what you get when you don't do original research, and simply rely on copy/pastes from articles which have committed the fallacy of selective quoting.
So we add Barnabas and Irenaeus to the current list, and we now have eleven
premils between the 1st and the 4th century. Let's continue:
I'll agree that Mathetes is ambiguous, but not that he was either pre- or a-millennial. We just can't tell.
Actually Hermas just doens't give us a lot of information. He does however repeatedly speak of the Kingdom of God as future. Not only that, but he describes a vision in which he sees a tower being built (chapters II to X), which 'cannot be finished just yet, until the Lord of it come and examine the building' (chapter V), and the tower is identified as an allegory of the building of the church ('"This tower," he replied, "is the Church"', chapter XIII), the stones of which are judged when the master of the tower returns ('for all things around the tower must be cleaned, lest the Master come suddenly? and find the places about the tower dirty, and be displeased, and these stones be not returned for the building of the tower', chapter VII).
Clement of Rome
(No evidence of Premillennialism, plenty of evidence for preterism prior to 70 AD)
Clement doesn't say anything one way or the other, so we can't say he's premil or amil. He does, however, say that the Kingdom of God is still in the future. And no, he doesn't provide 'plenty of evidence for preterism prior to 70 AD'. He wasn't even writing prior to 70 AD, he wrote afterwards.
(Does not teach premillennialism)
It doesn't teach premillennialism insofar as it doesn't say anything about the 1,000 years. But I'll address the Didache separately.
Hegesippus very clearly states that the Kingdom is future. He doesn't give us enough informaiton to categorize him as pre-mil, but it's clear he believed the Kingdom was yet future. We can't classify him as anything speciifc.
Unfortunately you've been led astray by your source here, who isn't really familiar with Victorinus. It is a fact that Victorinus was actually premillenial, but his commentary on Revelation was later subjected to interpolations
to make it appear otherwise:
17. Two resurrections, p. 359, ver. 5. Here our author, who is supposed to be the contemporary of St. Augustine, accepts his final judgment. But Victorinus was a Chiliast of the better sort, according to St. Jerome. This confirms the corruption of the mss. Indeed, if the Victorinus mentioned by Jerome be the same as our author, the mention of Genseric proves the subsequent interpolation of his works.
. The fact that Jerome himself said Victorinus was a Chiliast is conclusive.
I'm also able to claim Coracion, because he was
premil, but changed his mind. Of course, you can have him too. The same goes for Augustine.
(Speaks of the millennium, but contrary to premillennialist claims, he does so in symbolic terms)
Sorry, Methodius is clearly premil, because he speaks of the return of Christ and the resurrection taking place before the millennium. He also makes it very clear that the millennial age is future, and involves the restoration of the earth:
'The creation, then, after being restored to a better and more seemly state, remains, rejoicing and exulting over the children of God at the resurrection; for whose sake it now groans and travails, waiting itself also for our redemption from the corruption of the body, that, when we have risen and shaken off the mortality of the flesh, according to that which is written, "Shake off the dust, and arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem," and have been set free from sin, it also shall be freed from corruption and be subject no longer to vanity, but to righteousness.'
Discourse on the Resurrection, Part I, chapter VIII
'For I also, taking my journey, and going forth from the Egypt of this life, came first to the resurrection, which is the true Feast of the Tabernacles, and there having set up my tabernacle, adorned with the fruits of virtue, on the first day of the resurrection, which is the day of judgment, celebrate with Christ the millennium of rest, which is called the seventh day, even the true Sabbath.'
Discourse on the Resurrection, Part I, chapter V
You can't get around the 'millennium of rest which is called the seventh day', that's the 7,000 year plan right there. Even the Catholics identify Methodius as premil:
'Egypt seems to have harboured adherents of millenarianism in still later times Methodius, Bishop of Olympus, one of the principal opponents of Origen at the beginning of the fourth century, upheld chiliasm in his Symposion (IX, 1, 5).'
Theophilus believed that man would return to Eden Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, II, 26 No millennium.
Theophilus doesn't give us enough information to identify him specifically. He says nothing about the timing of the return of Christ.
Let's not forget the 4th century Aphrahat, who believed that the return of Christ was literal
, was still future
, that it was prophesied in the breaking of the image of Daniel 2, which Aphrahat interpreted as the future literal destruction
of the world's kingdoms by Christ, who would establish the literal
Kingdom of God on earth:
'This is the Kingdom of King Messiah, which is that which shall cause the fourth kingdom to pass away. And above he said:—Thou sawest a stone which was cut out, but not by hands; and it smote the image upon its feet of iron and potter's clay and broke them to pieces. Now he did not say that it smote upon the head of the image, nor on its breast and arms, nor yet on its belly and thighs, but on its feet; because that, of the whole image, that stone when it comes will find the feet alone. And in the next verse he said:—The iron and the brass and the silver and the gold were broken to pieces together. For after them, when King Messiah shall reign, then He will humble the fourth kingdom, and will break the whole image; for by the whole image the world is meant. Its head is Nebuchadnezzar; its breast and arms the King of Media and Persia; its belly and thighs the King of the Greeks; its legs and feet the kingdom of the children of Esau; the stone, which smote the image and broke it, and with which the whole earth was filled, is the kingdom of King Messiah, Who will bring to nought the kingdom of this world, and He will rule for ever and ever.'
Demonstration V, section 14
Christ's return PRE
-cedes the Kingdom, standard premil here. And of course he believed that resurrection and judgment take place at the return of Christ, before the Kingdom is established:
And the Life-giver shall come, the Destroyer of Death, and shall bring to nought his power, from over the just and from over the wicked. And the dead shall arise with a mighty shout, and Death shall be emptied and stripped of all the captivity. And for judgment shall all the children of Adam be gathered together, and each shall go to the place prepared for him. The risen of the righteous shall go unto life, and the risen of the sinners shall be delivered unto death. The righteous who kept the commandment shall go, and shall not come nigh unto judgment in the day that they shall rise; as David asked, And bring not your servant into judgment; nor will their Lord terrify them in that day.
Demonstration XXII, section 15
Naturally Aphrahat understood the 'kingdom of heaven' as a reference to a literal kingdom on earth
('If He shall give them inheritance in the earth
, it shall be called the kingdom of heaven
', Demonstration XXII, section 24).
Oh and let's not forget Apollinaris:
'In the second half of the fourth century, these doctrines found their last defender in Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicea and founder of Apollinarism (q.v.). His writings on this subject, have been lost; but St. Basil of Caesarea (Epist. CCLXIII, 4), Epiphanius (Haeres. LXX, 36) and Jerome (In Isai. XVIII) testify to his having been a chiliast. Jerome also adds that many Christians of that time shared the same beliefs; but after that millenarianism found no outspoken champion among the theologians of the Greek Church.'
. Isn't it interesting that ' Jerome also adds that many Christians of that time shared the same beliefs
And let's not forget Severus, who taught that the stone of Daniel 2 is Christ, whose future return
will result in the future destruction
of the kingdoms of men, and the future establishment
of the Kingdom of God:
'But in the stone cut out without hands, which broke to pieces the gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay, there is a figure of Christ. For he, not born under human conditions (since he was born not of the will of man, but of the will of God), will reduce to nothing that world in which exist earthly kingdoms, and will establish another kingdom, incorruptible and everlasting, that is, the future world, which is prepared for the saints.'
Sacred History, Book 2, chapter 3
That's very clear, the return of Christ precedes
the Kingdom of God. He doesn't specifically mention the 1,000 years, however, so I'll leave him out, even though Jerome says he was a Chiliast
. I have plenty already, certainly more than enough to make my point.
So my list of premils between the 1st and the 4th century, as agreed by the very website you quoted, is:
* Aviricus Marcellus
* Justin Martyr
. I have further proved the following were also premil:
That's another seven
, bringing my total up to seventeen
Here's your list of amillienialilsts between the 1st and the 4th century:
* Dionysius of Alexandria
Note that I'm just giving you Athanasius for free, since I can certainly afford it. That's seven
. And none of them before the 3rd century
Ooops, I forgot Ambrosiaster:
Its teaching is entirely orthodox, with, perhaps, the sole exception of the author's belief in the millennium.
. That makes eighteen
. Now which number is larger, seven
, or eighteen
(In fact, the millennium was so controversial in the early church that the Canonicity of the Book of Revelation itself was hotly debated.)
No the millennium was not controversial in the early church. What was controversial was Cerinthus' interpretation of the millennium. That is very clear from the writings of the Early Fathers. Even Augustine said that he would be perfectly happy with the premil doctrine without the carnal excesses attributed to it by some.