The Grassroots Politics of Postmillennialism

Before we begin, just know this article is unique. It is a systematic presentation of the Bible texts relevant to the topic of the Kingdom, and it contains very few of my own words. 

Volumes and volumes have been written on this subject, most of which you can find online for free

So, my main purpose for writing this article is to summarize, from Scripture, how God will transform the world under the scepter of King Jesus. 

To begin that discussion, we must begin with the tools by which redeemed man exercises dominion. 

The Tools of Dominion

“God has a plan for the conquest of all things by His covenant people. That plan is His law. It leaves no area of life and activity untouched, and it predestines victory. To deny the law is to deny God and His plan for victory.” (God’s Plan for Victory, R.J. Rushdoony)


In Deuteronomy 28, God tells Israel she will be a prosperous nation if she keeps the law of the Lord: “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth….” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:1‬; cf. vv. 2-14)

The national blessings God pours out in response to obedience to His law includes fruitful wombs, fruitful fields, fruitful livestock, financial and physical security, and success in military campaigns (though the blessing is voided if the campaign is unlawful or unjust). 

One characteristic blessing of obedient nations is particularly haunting in light of our national debt: “The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:12‬) America’s debt, among other things, is the direct result of us rejecting Christ as King.

How do nations become obedient and receive these blessings? Heart regeneration.

The Promise of the New Covenant
The Lord gives Israel a precious promise in Ezekiel 36: “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (vv. 24-27‬)

After driving His rebellious people into exile, the Lord promises to gather them from the nations and bless them. This gathering is the work we are called to in the Great Commission. We’re sent to gather all God’s elect into the New Jerusalem, the Church. 

The Church is commanded: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬)

The second part of the command, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” 

This sprinkling (notice the mode of baptism is sprinkling, not immersion) removes our filth, and as we read in Hebrews 10:22, purifies our consciences: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

This sprinkling is nothing short of the baptism of the Holy Spirit: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost….” (Titus‬ ‭3:4-5‬) This is exactly what the Lord promises will happen: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you.”

At Pentecost, Peter proclaims this promise to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts‬ ‭2:38-39‬) At that moment, everyone knew, God was keeping His promise.

The Result of Regeneration
What’s the result of the Great Commission and of heart regeneration? Obedience. “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

Paul, writing after Pentecost, says much the same thing: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans‬ ‭8:3-4‬) Spiritual renewal and heart regeneration always result in obedience to God’s commands. Which ones? The ones Israel knew about, God’s statutes and judgments, the Ten Commandments and all their applications. 

Kingdom Progress in History

“The heart of post-millennialism is the faith that Christ will through His people accomplish and put into force the glorious prophecies of Isaiah and all the Scriptures, that He shall overcome all His enemies through His covenant people, and that He shall exercise His power and Kingdom in all the world and over all men and nations, so that, whether in faith or in defeat, every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue shall confess God (Rom. 14: 11; Phil. 2: 11).” (God’s Plan for Victory)


To summarize my argument: 

  1. God blesses nations in response to their obedience to His commands.
  2. The promise of the New Covenant is God’s promise to give His people new hearts and the gift of His Holy Spirit. 
  3. New Hearts and the indwelling Holy Spirit always result in obedience.
  4. This obedience results in the national blessings enumerated in Deuteronomy 28 (teach all “nations” – the great commission focuses on nations, not just individuals). 

When God promised the New Covenant, He was promising more than a free offer for all to go to heaven. He was promising a New Creation (Isaiah 65:17-25). But how do we get from prosperous Christian nations to an entirely New Creation? 

The New Creation is inaugurated in Christ’s resurrection and consummated at His second coming, but in the intervening period, the Kingdom, Christ’s area of influence – his dominion – will spread throughout the whole earth: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah‬ ‭9:7‬)

Christ’s expanding dominion and the cultural advances it results in is nothing like humanism’s impersonal view of evolutionary progress. Christ’s reign is personal: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:25-26‬) 

As Christ has dominion, He subdues the inheritance the Father has already given to Him: “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalms‬ ‭2:7-8) We know Christ did ask this of the Father, and we know the Father granted His request. How do we know this? Because, after the resurrection, just before He gives His apostles the Great Commission, Christ tells His disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew‬ ‭28:18‬)

The whole earth is Christ’s domain, so His domain does not expand its borders – it cannot: He owns everything. However, Christ still has work to do. From now until His second coming, Christ will exercise dominion on earth and expand His influence. That’s why we pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew‬ ‭6:10‬)

In Daniel 2, the Kingdom of God is a stone, cut out of the mountain without hands (44, 45). This Kingdom will “never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel‬ ‭2:44‬) We see this conquering Christ in Revelation 19, consuming nations with the Gospel: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LORDS.” (Revelation‬ ‭19:11-16)

The influence of the Kingdom in history is pervasive. It was relatively minuscule when the King walked on Earth, but He promised it would grow: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (Matthew‬ ‭13:31-33‬) As surely as a mustard seed grows large or leaven leavens an entire lump, the Kingdom of God, the influence of King Jesus, will permeate history.

A Radically New Creation
Scripture doesn’t leave us wondering what things will be like when the earth is “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk‬ ‭2:14). ‬

In Isaiah 2, the Lord promises “that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah‬ ‭2:2-4‬) The Lord’s law will go forth, and the people shall give themselves willingly to the Lord in the day of his power (Psalm 110:3). 

The result of Christ’s reign is peace, which is only fitting for a kingdom ruled by the Prince of Peace. The entire created order is renewed under the Lordship of Christ: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isaiah‬ ‭11:6-10‬)

My Argument Summarized… Again
To summarize once more: 

  1. God blesses nations in response to their obedience to His commands.
  2. The promise of the New Covenant is God’s promise to give His people new hearts and the gift of His Holy Spirit. 
  3. New Hearts and the indwelling Holy Spirit always result in obedience.
  4. This obedience results in the national blessings enumerated in Deuteronomy 28 (teach all “nations” – the great commission focuses on nations, not just individuals). 
  5. Scripture promises Christ will have dominion over the whole earth in history, prior to His second coming.
  6. A world filled with Christ-honoring nations, obedient to God’s law, is nothing short of a New Creation. 

Our Responsibility

“People who expect the world to end very soon, and are planning on being raptured out of it, are not likely to be concerned about dominion over the earth, nor the application of God’s law to the whole of life. Moreover, if such people believe, as they do, that Satan rules the world, they will regard their responsibilities to the world as negligible, and the world as something to escape from.” (God’s Plan for Victory) 

So what’s our responsibility in regards to the Kingdom? 

Pray – Pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

Obey – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:5-7‬)

Nurture Your Children – “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians‬ 6:4‬)

This may not seem like much, but consider this: A father and mother have five children; each of those children has five children; each of those grandchildren has five children; etc. By the fifth generation, the father and mother who started the whole thing have affected 625 lives. Parenting is frontline Kingdom work; don’t let anyone tell you differently. 

Evangelize – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬)

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4 thoughts on “The Grassroots Politics of Postmillennialism

  1. Jonathan,
    Your article is very thorough in describing your understanding of how Jesus will return. While I disagree with your premise that we have to help Jesus come back by making the world ready for Him (a simplification of what you said, I know), I agree that we must PONE the world by praying, obeying, nurturing our children, and evangelizing.

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    1. jvay

      Josh, thanks for your comment! I especially appreciate the acronym.

      Just to clarify (though you were clear you were oversimplifying), it’s Jesus who puts all His enemies under His feet. It’s Christ alone who conquers the nations. He just works through His church to do it.

      Like

  2. Matthew Belleville

    I enjoyed your very condensed but systematic layout. I think this will be a resource I will use when first explaining the concept to others! To one postmillenial baby baptizer from another, glory!

    Like

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