Was Justin Martyr a premillennialist or amillennialist?

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Appealing to the testimonies of Justin Martyr in support of a particular view of millennialism can be very tricky.  In eschatological debates Justin Martyr is often  evoked, and rightly so, in support of historical premillennialism, a view that Christ Jesus will reign for literally a millennium after his second return.  Justin, for example in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, understood  the prophesies of Ezekiel and Isaiah and other prophets will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ Jesus (Just. Dial.c. Tryph. 80, 81).

What is often overlooked is the fact that Justin was far from being consistence in his eschatological views. In his First Apology, the works that does not mention the great tribulation, antichrist or millennium for example, Justin presented a totally different understanding of Old Testament’s prophecies compared to his Dialogue with Tyrpho. The prophecies of Isaiah 2:3 and Psalms 110:2, for instance, are not applied in future millennial reignship of Jesus, as we would expect from his premillenialistic views in Dialogue. Justin understood these prophecies, in realized eschatological and amillennialistic sense, viz., the prophecies has already been fulfilled in the times of Jesus’ disciples and their followers (Just. 1 Apol. 39; 45; 50-52). Continue reading

Early Christians’ Order of the Last Things

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One of the very first things my wife Lea learned about me was my terrible habit of easily forgetting where I last place my wallet, keys and mobile phone. Helping me end this habit, she often would, with great love and patience, ask me to rework as much as possible my that-day  routine, every time I lost these items. She taught me to take a backward walk into my day’s past to look for what I had lost. Reading Church history is traveling back in Christians’ family story to learn, relearn or discover some of the lost Christians wisdom.

This series of article covers what the early Christians believe about the future time where Christ Jesus returns. Since early Christians strongly and passionately fond great consolation beholding this hope of future glory in a period where they were persecuted by the Jews and pagans, it is worthy to know what they believed about the unfolding of end-times.  It is a fact that this hope brought them unimaginable consolation through those hard times. As Apostle Paul, they considered their suffering not worth compared to the future glory that the whole creation is eagerly longing for (Rom. 8:22). How the future glory’s events would be unfolded is what this series attempted to investigate, mainly in the writings of Pseudo-Barnabas, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Papias, Hermas, and Tertullian. Continue reading