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A brief rebuttal to Poythress on 2 Thessalonians 1

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5 This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from[a] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfil every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.(2 Thess. 1:5-12)

Postmillennialists and amillennialists at least both agree that such a passage renders premillennialisim indefensible. Like every other passage that speaks of the Second Coming in the New Testament, no indication is given that a 1,000 year Millennial reign is interposed between Christ's Second Coming and the Final Judgment. Rather Christ's return immediately inaugurates the glorification of the elect, and the condemnation of the reprobate, as we see in this passage. Since every person will have entered into their eschatological final state, with the elect in sinless glory and the reprobate in condemnation, there will be no one left to inhabit a carnal Millennial kingdom where sin still exists. What a bizarre and uncharacteristic thing for those so inconsistent upon a grammatical-historical reading of the text to use a single text, which speaks of a 1,000 year reign (presumably) interposed between Christ's Millennial reign and the Second Judgment, in a text which even by their own admission must abound in the symbolic use of numbers (cf. Rev. 14:20), and subordinate all of the other clear texts in the New Testament to it.

But what about Poythress' objection to this text's compatibility with postmillennialism? He argues that the text excludes postmillennialism as well, since the saints are still pictured in a state of persecution during a period which is to be one of spiritual prosperity. I believe the answer to this is simple: While not all postmillennialists will agree with this interpretation (though many do), there is an apostasy at the end of the Millennium described in Rev. 20:7-10, at the end of which the Second Coming occurs. Like 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12, it pictures the saints in a state of persecution:

7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven[a] and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:7-10)



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