Saturday, November 14, 2015

Infants and the Millenium - a Pre-Millenial Quadralemma (Guest Post by Ben. W)

The following guest post by Ben W. presents a question to our premillennial brothers and sisters:
*** Guest Post ***
What happens to babies born during the millennial reign after the return of Christ?
  1. Babies are born and some believe in Christ and are saved, others do not and are damned.
  2. 2. Babies are born but none of them believe in Christ and they are not saved.
  3. 3. Babies are born and all of them believe in Christ and are saved.
  4. 4. No babies are born during the millennial reign.
Each of these options is problematic.
1. Babies are born and some believe in Christ and are saved, others do not and are damned.
The problem with this view is that scripture makes it clear that Christ will not return until all of his people have been brought in.
In 2nd Peter 3, Peter makes the argument that Christ has not returned yet, and that God has not yet judged the Earth because not all of God’s people have been saved, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” God waits until the full number of his people have been gathered.
In Matthew 24:29-31 Jesus says of his own return that he will gather his elect from the entire Earth, “the four winds” North, East, South, West and from one end of Heaven to the other, both those on Earth and those in Heaven will be gathered together upon Christ’s return. All of God’s people will be gathered upon Christ’s return.
Finally, in Romans 11:25 scripture says that “a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” This hardening will end when Christ is reigning from Jerusalem and the temple has been rebuilt. If the hardening of Israel has ended this must mean that the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and if that’s the case, it would appear that no Gentiles will be saved during the millennial reign.
2. Babies are born but none of them believe in Christ and they are not saved.
This view has the benefit of avoiding the problems brought forth by the previous view; however, it introduces two problems of its own.
First, it describes a world in which Christ is physically ruling from the Earth, and yet, there are none for a thousand years, while Satan is bound from deceiving the nations, that believe in him.
Even from the view of premillennialism the outlook is never this bleak, which leads to the second problem.
In Isaiah 65:23-24, which premillennialists view as a description of the millennial kingdom, it says:
They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
Here we see it is said that the children born during the millennial reign, and their children will be called offspring of the blessed of the Lord. If every generation’s descendants are called the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, it follows that their parents too will be his blessed. The next verse makes it clear that God will hear and answer the prayers of these generations; surely this is not descriptive of a planetary population that has rejected King Jesus and his rule.
In Zechariah 14, and Micah 4 it is said that all the nations will come and worship Christ in Jerusalem when he reigns there.
If we read these texts without spiritualizing or allegorizing it seems clear that there will be a partial, if not total conversion to Christianity by the population of the Earth during this time.
3. Babies are born and all of them believe in Christ and are saved.
If there are no unbelievers during the millennial reign, who rebels against Christ at the end of the 1000 years? If all those born during the millennium are saved, there is no one to rebel as described in Revelation 20:7-10.
4. No babies are born during the millennial reign.
This position too fails because as we previously saw, Isaiah 65 describes the offspring of those living during the millennial reign, and as we noted in the previous option, if there are no unbelievers in the millennium, then there is no one to rebel against Christ when Satan is loosed.
A person might argue that, while there are no babies born during the millennial reign, those unbelievers still alive when Christ returns will enter into it, and they will be the ones to rebel. However, Revelation 19:17-21 describes the total destruction of all unbelievers upon Christ’s return. There will be none of God’s enemies left after Christ returns.
*** End of Guest Post ***
As noted elsewhere, I (TurretinFan) am not particularly dogmatic on eschatology. I found this puzzle interesting, but it's not the reason I'm postmillenial. I'm postmillenial because I think the Lord is coming back on the last day, as per John 6 and 1 Corinthians 15. I think the author of the post, Ben. W., is actually ameillenial, which is a quite similar position.

7 comments:

Armen Nazarian said...

Good question.

Unknown said...

Some casual thoughts:

1) Discussion:

>>>The problem with this view is that scripture makes it clear that Christ will not return until all of his people have been brought in.

This is probably the most common option, but I'm not sure why we'd go with it. The objection here is reasonable enough. It's possible we could read some of these passages differently.

For instance, the treatment of Romans 11 here is very poor. For instance, the author says Israel's hardening ends when Christ reigns, but most premillennialists would say it ends at the beginning of Daniel's 70th week, perhaps, and Scripture does not say it only occurs at the kingdom. Likewise, there is no reason to say that the "fullness" of the Gentiles must mean no more Gentiles get saved after that point. The fullness could be a reference to the entire strata of tongue, tribe, nation. Also, the idea of fullness is not necessarily an absolute. There is a "fullness" that must come in before God turns His attention back to Israel. But just as God has not ceased to save Israelites during the present time, He doesn't need to cease saving Gentiles during the time of the Jews. It is, rather, that God's focused work in saving the Gentiles has come to a point of fullness, and so now it is time to return attention to Israel.

"All Israel" probably doesn't mean every single Israelite will be saved. It means that a complete/full number will be saved. The number 12,000 is a combination of 12 (perfect/complete) and 1000 (large/many). But that doesn't need to include every single Israelite. Why not offer that same explanation for the "fullness" (large, complete) number of Gentiles?
2) Discussion:

This would not be my initial impulse, but it's possible. After all, if in the kingdom they are neither married nor given in marriage, then it is not Christians who are having babies, but unbelievers.

>>>First, it describes a world in which Christ is physically ruling from the Earth, and yet, there are none for a thousand years, while Satan is bound from deceiving the nations, that believe in him.

Amillennialists claim this is taking place right now, so it seems like a silly argument to use against premillennialists. If Satan is bound, how then are we deceived?

Also, I would suggest it's a bit of a straw man: Premillennialists don't believe Satan is required for people to be unsaved and deceived. People are born sinners, and unless God works in their hearts, their hearts remain hearts of stone. It's not Satan that prevents the reprobate from believing, really, but their own hearts.

>>>Here we see it is said that the children born during the millennial reign, and their children will be called offspring of the blessed of the Lord.

The saved in the kingdom are not the unsaved in the kingdom. Premillennialists believe there will be unbelievers during the time of the kingdom. Unbelieving children of unbelievers are obviously not those who inherit the promised blessings.

>>>If we read these texts without spiritualizing or allegorizing it seems clear that there will be a partial, if not total conversion to Christianity by the population of the Earth during this time.

Well, the nations are not entirely converted, since only those gathered to do battle are destroyed at the Second Coming (leaving many unsaved inhabiting the earth), and since we're told that nations will be ruled with a rod of iron (discipline) and that if Egypt does not go up to worship, the nation will not receive any rain. Clearly not all people during this time are converted.

It seems that (2) remains a possibility, although it's not my favorite.

(comment overflow to next comment...)

Unknown said...

) Discussion:

>>>If there are no unbelievers during the millennial reign, who rebels against Christ at the end of the 1000 years?

As I said in (2), this is a straw man. Premillennialists (at least, many of us) believe there will be unbelievers during the time of the kingdom. There will be people who survive going *into* the kingdom -- only the armies gathered to do battle are destroyed at the parousia, not every single unbeliever on the planet.

If all people are believers, whom do we reign over? If all people are perfect believers, what use is a rod of iron?

If that's the only objection to (3), then (3) remains a possibility.

4) Discussion:

>>>Isaiah 65 describes the offspring of those living during the millennial reign

Are these offspring made *during* the kingdom? I don't see any reason why. The kingdom involves all Christians, including the offspring and their great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.

>>>Revelation 19:17-21 describes the total destruction of all unbelievers upon Christ’s return

It most certainly does not.

This ((4)) seems to remain an option.

So out of 4 options, the first may be a problem, yet the other 3 (given the arguments here) remain perfectly reasonable, and even the first does not necessarily pose a problem.

mlculwell said...


Yeah it is a great question. It shows that Presbyterian doctrine is pretty messed up.
1. Because of the false carry over doctrine of the Catholic church they took from them of inherited sin. I am amillennialist so the literal millennial baloney has no play into the other glaring problems of this scenario. Babies are not born with inherited sin, people are sinners because they sin. People die because of the curse God pronounced on all of living kind; man, animals, and fish, with plant life, etc. Babies do not sin, they do not have the capacity to believe , sin, or understand what they must do to be saved, nor do they have a need for it, they are born innocent. when they die there they are not hell bound cretins.

Ben said...

I would say #1.

I don't think 2nd Peter 3 is talking about about the return of Christ before the millennium. In verses 6 - 10 it's talking about the destruction of the earth at the time of the creation of the new heavens and new earth which is after the millennium.

I'm not seeing the problem with Matthew 24:29-31. Are you thinking that gather means they're removed from the earth or given glorified bodies? That's not how a premillennial would understand that gathering. By this point the rapture has already occurred. This gathering is Christ gathering all of the elect together to him on the earth as he begins his millennial reign. Those believers who are alive on the earth are not glorified at this point. They continue to have children some of which believe.

Romans 11 is the trickiest for me. I think it's talking about God switching from working primarily through the church to working through the nation of Israel. Under that interpretation Romans 9:12-15 are talking about the incredible revival that occurs once Israel finally begins to believe and acts as a missionary nation. We also see that in Revelation 7.

michael said...

Two questions. One for the guest poster. Under point one, "who" are those gathered from the "heavens"? Mat 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Second question is for you TF.

TF, why are you "post"? Does this mean you have concluded that when Christ comes back He sets up a throne and reigns from it for a literal 1,000 years?

Turretinfan said...

"TF, why are you "post"? Does this mean you have concluded that when Christ comes back He sets up a throne and reigns from it for a literal 1,000 years?"

No, "post" means I think that Christ's next return is after the gospel has spread throughout the whole earth.