Postmillennialism 101: Believe Your Christmas Carols
I don't believe I'm the first person to be lead toward postmillennialism through the influence of Douglas Wilson and I'm sure I won't be the last. For me it was his book Heaven Misplaced: Christ's Kingdom on Earth that pushed me over the edge (or perhaps pulled me away from the edge of the premillennial abyss).
One of my favorite arguments from the book is Wilson's insistence on the Incarnation being central to his eschatological paradigm. In other words, the incarnation of the Son of God has everything to do with the end of the world; or rather, the beginning of the end of the world.
Wilson argues that if Christians would simply believe what they read and sang around Christmas time then we'd all be postmillennialists! He states, "Think of this book as a small effort to get Christians to believe their Christmas carols year-round." (pg. 65)
Every Advent churches read messianic passages from the Old Testament that prophecy the coming of the Messiah. One such passage is Isaiah 9, a classic prophecy concerning the Incarnation. Just listen to a few of the statements concerning the coming of Christ in His first advent!
- v. 2 – Those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.
- v. 4 – The rod of the oppressor has been broken.
- v. 6 – The government will be upon His shoulders.
- v. 7 – The increase of his government & peace will know no end.
- v. 7 – Justice & righteousness will be established forevermore.
How Christians can listen to passages like this one year after year and still hold that the end toward which the world is running is chaos and destruction I do not know. But let's not stop here!
The Christmas carols we all love and sing every year are also replete with this truth. Let's just look at one line from a personal favorite of mine, the hymn Joy to the World by Issac Watts:
He came to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found...
Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the curse of death entered into the world through Adam's sin (Romans 5). Moreover, this curse extended to the entire creation (Genesis 3; Romans 8). Year in and year out Christians proclaim that Jesus came (past tense) to make his blessings flow as far as the curse is found. This is one of the most basic tenets of postmillennialism. It is the idea that Jesus has begun (in His incarnation, perfect life, propitiatory death, & glorious resurrection) a great reversal of the curse that started in the garden. Whereas death entered the world through one man (Adam) how much more has the life of the New Heavens and the New Earth broken in to this world through the one man Jesus Christ!
So, my admonition to you all is that you listen and believe in the words you will hear and sing this Sunday in church. Even if they seem too good to be true.
Food for thought.