Earlier this year I read Kingdom Come by Sam Storms. I suppose until recently I held the default eschatological position of many Christians, known as historic premillennialism. However, the ministry through which I came to understand the truths of reformed theology is heavily postmillennial and while I listen to their teaching and appreciate their optimism and passion for the world to continue to get better, I can’t fully reconcile postmillennialism with the world around me.
As I began to study eschatology more closely I said to several people that I think the church would be in a much better place if more Christians lived like post-millennial believers, but again, the overarching flow of historical events stopped me short of believing that we are heading for some sort of golden age on this side of the second coming.
Enter Sam’s book, which became for me a turning point and a source of clarity on the ‘end times’. It is quite scholarly and is not an easy read at times. I think it has more footnotes than any other theological book I’ve read to date (minus the Bible)! It is worth reading though and I commend it to all (reformed or not) who are serious about understanding what the book of Revelation means in light of the Bible as a whole.
For those who are unfamiliar with the major millennial views, I have included a helpful chart below from http://selah.diet/en/ Dispensational premillenialism is not included on this chart, but it is covered in Sam’s book.
The book outlines the problems with premillenialism, goes into detail on the meaning of the seventy weeks prophecy in Daniel and how dispensationalists have to make adjustments or insert gaps into the time frames outlined in scripture to make their view ‘work’ with the text, and gives a fair hearing to the postmillennial view. It also gives strong support for the amillennial view. Amillennialism teaches that Christ is reigning now in heaven (similar to postmillennialism), but that rather than an actual millennium occurring before the second coming, the entire church age is a symbolic millennium at the conclusion of which Jesus will return in glory, judgement will occur and the new heavens and the new earth will be established.
One thing I really appreciated was the opening chapter “Hermeneutics of Eschatology”, in which Storms outlines a number of key points that are useful to the reader as they engage with the various arguments presented in the rest of the book and as they read their Bibles in general, including:
- Jesus Christ and His church are the focal and terminating point of all prophecy (p.16)
- We live in the ‘now but not yet’ (p.28)
- Jesus is the inspired interpreter and fulfillment of the Old Testament (p.30)
- Prophecy can only predict the future using terms that make sense in the present (p.32)
The book’s final chapter is fittingly titled, “A cumulative case for amillennialism”, and I must admit that by the time I got to the beginning of that chapter I was already ‘sold’ on the amillennial view.
No matter what your eschatological background or beliefs, this book is sure to be a helpful and interesting read, especially for those wanting to seriously equip themselves with an understanding of the major ‘end times’ interpretations through the lens of a well-studied amillennialist.