Bavinck, Heaven and Postmillenialism

The following was submitted by Matthew Holst:

“Hi everyone, my first posting on Nick’s blog. I’ve just started reading Bavinck on the doctrine of Heaven (Reformed Dogmatics Vol IV). It’s a most excellent read. Read this and then compare with the second quotation below:

Whereas Jesus came the first time to establish that kingdom in a spiritual sense, he returns at the end of history to give visible shape to it. The Kingdom of God is fully realized only when it is visibly extended over the earth as well. This is how also the disciples understood it when, after Jesus resurrection, they asked his whether this was the time he would restore the kingdom to Israel. In his reply Jesus does not deny that one day he will establish such a kingdom but only says that the times for it have been set by the Father, and that now his disciples are called, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:6-8). Elsewhere he expressly states that the meek will inherit the earth. He pictures future (my emphasis) blessedness as meal at which the guests sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … True, in this dispensation and right up until the parousia the eyes of believers are directed upward toward heaven. That is where their treasure is; there Jesus who is their life sits at the right hand of God; their citizenship is there while they are aliens here (Phil 3:20; Heb 11:13). (Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics Vol IV)

Now read this:

Postmillenialism is the belief that Christ, with His coming, His atonement, and His continuing regenerative power in those whom He calls, creates in His redeemed people a force for the reconquest of all things. The dominion that Adam first received and then lost by his fall will be restored to redeemed man. God’s people will then have a long reign over the entire earth, after which, when all enemies have been put under Christ’s feet, the end shall come, and the last enemy, death, will be destroyed. (R.J. Rushdoony from “Back to the Future”)

To me these positions seem utterly antithetical. Any thoughts?

2 Responses

  1. Nicholas T. Batzig


    You are absolutely right. There is entirely too much “not yet” in Rushdoony’s “already.” Seems that Rushdoony would have made a good PRE-Millenialist as well. At least the quote you provided could swing either way on the earthly nature of his eschatology.

    “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

    “Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for New Heavens and a New Earth wherein righteousness dwells.”

    “Watch and pray, for the Son of Man is coming in an hour when you are not expecting.”

    “…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

    “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”

    “…that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”

    “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

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