Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Brief Comment on Premillennialism

 

Yes Premillennialism believes in a literal 1000-year reign of Jesus. But the length of this period is secondary to a more foundational issue. At the heart of Premillennialism is the belief that there will be a future earthly kingdom reign of the Messiah from and over the earth in which Jesus and His saints rule the nations and transform every aspect of the world, culture, society, nature, animal kingdom, etc.

This is the fulfillment of the rule and subdue mandate of Genesis 1:26, 28 and the complete fulfillment of all the dozens of promises of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants which include spiritual, physical, national, and international dimensions.

This is also a period in which Jesus will rule with a rod of iron in the realm of His rejection at His first coming (see Rev. 19:15). The coming millennium is the direct sustained reign of Jesus the Messiah from David's throne (Luke 1:32-33; Matt. 25:31). It involves Jerusalem, the nation Israel, and all the nations of the world. After this Jesus hands the kingdom over to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24, 28) and the eternal kingdom commences. At this time the Father and Son will be on the same throne according to Revelation 22:1, 3.

To me, Premillennialism is not some incidental doctrine. It is an important part of the Bible's storyline and a great source of hope.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Jesus Tells Us When He Will Sit on the Davidic Throne


In Luke 1:32-33, Gabriel told Mary that her son, Jesus, would sit on the throne of His father, David. This is the Davidic throne.

On two occasions Jesus explicitly linked His sitting on David’s throne with His future return and kingdom. Matthew 25:31 states:
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, THEN He will sit on His glorious throne." (emphasis added)
Here, Jesus connected His sitting on His throne with the time of His coming in glory and all the angels coming with Him.
Second, in Matthew 19:28 Jesus linked His sitting on His throne with the renewal of the cosmos (“regeneration”), and the twelve apostles sitting on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel:
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
Put together, Jesus will sit upon the throne of David in connection with: (1) His return to earth in glory; (2) all the angels coming with Him; (3) the renewal of the earth/cosmos; (4) the twelve apostles sitting upon twelve thrones; and (5) the twelve apostles judging the restored twelve tribes of Israel.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

NEW RELEASE: THE OLD IN THE NEW BY MICHAEL J. VLACH

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament. The book is published by Kress Biblical Resources with an imprint from The Master’s Seminary. I have been working on this book since 2011. It was formed through years of teaching a Th.M. seminar at The Master’s Seminary called, “New Testament Use of the Old Testament.”

Trying to understand NT quotations of the OT is a huge topic for any one person but I have tried my best to address most NT uses of the OT in this book. This includes the “harder” cases like Matthew 2:15’s use of Hosea 11:1, and Paul’s use of “seed” in Galatians 3:16. In his endorsement of this book, Walter Kaiser states, “He [Vlach] has also taken up a wide sample of most, if not all, of the passages usually raised on this subject and has given a reasonable solution in Scripture text after Scripture text—in a succinct, but credible manner. I cannot endorse Vlach’s work too highly, for I found that he had hit the nail on the head in case after case.” 

I also address the various ways the NT authors quoted and used the OT. In addition, I also evaluate the seven different approaches to this topic. And I lay out the perspective that I think is accurate.

This topic is very complex but it is understandable. In the end I argue that the NT authors quoted and used the OT in an overwhelmingly contextual way. The quotations of the OT are consistent with the inspired authorial intents of the OT authors. To grasp this, one must know when the NT authors are quoting the OT concerning meaning, and when they are quoting the OT concerning significance or implication.

This book also takes a minority view that the NT authors were not reinterpreting, transforming, or transcending the meaning of the OT. I hold that there is great continuity (not discontinuity) between the message and storyline of the OT and that found in the NT. To understand how the NT authors quote the OT, one must also understand the concepts of (1) Messianic hope; (2) corporate representation; and (3) divinely intended correspondences.

No one person can fully master the topic of NT use of the OT before Jesus comes again, but I hope this book makes a helpful contribution. This book can be read straight through or as a reference for when one encounters a particular use of the OT in the NT.

For more information and how to purchase this book, click here

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Interview on Eschatology


Below is an interview I did on eschatology with Pastor George Lawson of Baltimore Bible Church on May 31, 2020. Topics discussed include Dispensationalism, Millennium, the Kingdom, the Rapture, and other issues. 

Click on the link below


(To "follow" this site go to the right and scroll down)


Monday, June 1, 2020

3 Models of Heaven in the Early Church

by Michael J. Vlach

Lately, I have been reading a book called A History of Heaven by Colleen McDannell and Bernhard Lang. I am fascinated with their 22-page chapter, "Irenaeus and Augustine on our Heavenly Bodies." 

The authors compare the eschatology views of Irenaeus, the early Augustine, and the later Augustine.  Irenaeus represents the early church's premillennialism. Augustine represents the later amillennial view. You can see the stark contrast between these two men. Also helpful is the distinction between earlier and later Augustine. The early Augustine held very much to a Spiritual Vision Model approach, while the later Augustine was slightly less so. I have charted out some of the differences in the perspectives. Hope you find this helpful. See below:


3 Models of Heaven in Early Church

Irenaeus
Early Augustine
Later Augustine
Main theme: Glorified Material World
Main theme: The Ascetic Promise—A Heaven for Souls
Main theme: The Ecclesiastical Promise: Physical Beauty Eternalized
Reliance on kingdom view coming from John the Apostle and Polycarp
Heavy reliance on Neoplatonism worldview
Views largely the same as the early Augustine with some modifications as mentioned below
Historical Situation: Persecution and martyrdom were main issues facing Christians of Irenaeus’s day; showed your allegiance to Christ via suffering and martyrdom
Historical Situation: Christianity is an accepted part of society; show spirituality by fleeing society and its comforts and delights
Historical Situation: Mostly same as early Augustine but Augustine became more comfortable interacting with society
Hermeneutic: Prophecies about earthly kingdom and physical blessings should be taken literally and not allegorized
Hermeneutic: a mix of literal and allegorical interpretation; don’t take Revelation literally
Hermeneutic: Mostly same as early Augustine
Heaven will be on a renewed, restored earth
Heaven has nothing to do with earth; only a spiritual realm
A renewed, restored earth will occur after Jesus’ return
Earth and material things viewed positively and will be restored in the future
Earth and material things viewed negatively and will not exist in the future heaven
Softening of dualism between physical and spiritual matters
Physical bodies viewed positively now and will exist in the future

Physical bodies viewed negatively and will not exist in the future (came close to denying bodily resurrection)
Physical bodies not viewed as negatively with later Augustine, and will exist and be beautiful in Heaven; yet must obey the will of the spirit
Food, culture, and society are often good and can be enjoyed now and in Jesus’ messianic kingdom

Food, culture, and society hinder the pursuit of God; ascetic ideal should be sought; those matters do not exist in Heaven; no social interactions
Seeing God is primary but some eating and drinking will occur, but not out of necessity; societal interactions will occur
Civilized urban life in the present can be good, is not all bad
Urban life in the present is corrupt and bad; escape it
A somewhat softening from the early Augustine; some appreciation of civilized life
Jesus’ kingdom is compensation for lost life and production in this world
Heaven is a glad escape from the present world
Mostly early Augustine
Those loyal to Jesus will regain life on earth in the future world
Those loyal to Jesus will be rewarded with a heavenly escape from the world
Mostly early Augustine
The physical body will be a major part of Jesus’ kingdom; Believers will do much with their bodies
The human body is not part of Heaven
More place for physical,  resurrected body; physical eyes will be part of seeing God
3 main eras: 1. Present era; 2. Kingdom of Messiah (millennium); 3. Kingdom of the Father (Eternal State)
2 main eras: 1. The present era is Jesus’ kingdom. 2. Then eternal state
Same as early Augustine
Not much discussion of what the Kingdom of the Father will be like after Jesus’ messianic, millennial kingdom
This is the era of Jesus’ kingdom; spiritual Heaven is the eternal state
Same as early Augustine but Augustine open to a renewed earth
Marriage, family, childbearing occur in Jesus’ kingdom (future millennium)
No marriage, family, childbearing in eternal Heaven
Same as early Augustine but some recognition of previous relationships could occur
Distinctions in genders exist in the future
No distinctions in gender
Distinctions in gender will exist in the future; gender body parts will exist, but are beautiful and lust will not occur

Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Post about Future Blog Posts

Hello stranger! This blog post is mostly about what I hope to be doing with future blog posts. If you follow me on this site at all you know that my posts are very few and far between. This is mostly because I try to provide high-quality information. 

But the effort and time needed to do that is a lot. Plus I have been involved with several writing projects. Once I'm focused on a book or chapter I feel like I need to stay with it until it's done. Sometimes when I get ready to make a blog post, I think to myself, "But you could be spending this time getting your book completed." That is why I rarely do posts on this site. My energies have been directed elsewhere.

But the two book projects I have been working on are nearly finished (I’'ll give more info on these later). So I’m planning on doing more posts. These probably will be shorter and more informal, and not always as deeply researched and footnoted as some others have been. 

In short, I hope to put out more information on what I’m thinking about and writing about. Some of these might be in the genre of a tweet on Twitter, but a little longer.

Anyway, this post is the first step to getting back to writing on this site more. 

Thanks for reading!

Mike

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Six Views on New Covenant Fulfillment


By Michael J. Vlach
(@mikevlach)

Below is a listing of six views on New Covenant fulfillment of which I am aware. This is simply a listing and is not a refutation or defense of any of these views. Also, my emphasis is not on the adherents of each view, although I make some general statements concerning which theological camps hold to each view. For the curious, I hold to View 6.  Here are the views:

1.    The New Covenant will be fulfilled in the future with national Israel; the church has no relationship to the New Covenant (some classical dispensationalists)

2.    There are two New Covenants—one with Israel and another for the church (some traditional dispensationalists including John Walvoord)

3.    The New Covenant is completely fulfilled with the church; there is no future fulfillment with national Israel (Covenant Theology and some non-dispensational systems)

4.    The New Covenant will be fulfilled with Israel but the spiritual blessings of the covenant are applied to the church today (some traditional and revised dispensationalists)

5.    The New Covenant will be fulfilled with Israel but the church is an added referent to the New Covenant promises so there is a sense in which the New Covenant is being fulfilled with the church. The New Covenant has two referents—Israel and the church (some revised dispensationalists; Paul Feinberg)

6.    Since the New Covenant was given to Israel for the purpose of also blessing Gentiles there is literal fulfillment of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant to all believing Jews and Gentiles in this present age, while the physical/national promises await fulfillment with Jesus’ second coming when national Israel is incorporated into the New Covenant (some revised and most progressive dispensationalists)