Or, Leaving the Childish Fantasy of the Rapture behind, and Embracing the Reality of our Coming Death.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27
From Gary North’s amusingly (and accurately!) titled essay Optimistic Corpses:
The evolutionist knows that he must die. All men must die. The whole race, and all traces of it, must die. They can build for the long term, however, and modern, Western, scientific evolutionists do build for the future. Humanist civilization is a testimony to their willingness and ability to build for the future. They have borrowed an ethic more properly described as Christian, a future-oriented philosophy, and they have not faced the reality of cosmic meaninglessness too consistently. As they grow more consistent, their implicit relativism will destroy them. But at last the evolutionist knows he must die. He can defer the implications of meaninglessness until a million or a billion years into the future.
How, then, does he try to escape from death? Many ways. One way is to adopt the attitude which says, “I’ve got five good years left.”
Well, there is another way: hate gives people more vigour and strength than love, so if you hate a powerful enemy – God, say – then your life is full of meaning.
At least, until this materialistic hatred gets a materialistic victory: with the majority of England and Wales being atheistic, say, or with the ruling establishment echoing atheistic talking points without a peep of dissent. Then, with the raw pleasure of grinding your heel in the face of your enemies declining over time, the natural sterility (in all senses of the word) of an ideology founded on self-pleasure and hatred kicks in.
I guess materialists can go into ‘aggressive interrogation’ techniques and the usual forms of persecution, in the style of Muslims and Communists, but this doesn’t fit their pious self-image of Superior Intellectuals who Love Democracy and Peace. “No ugly pictures! No ugly pictures!”
Well, thank God for the leashes He has on the necks of our murderous enemies!
There are literally millions of Christians who equate biblical immortality with physical survival. This may sound ridiculous. Don’t all Christians long for eternal life, the life beyond the grave? Yes. However, the vast majority of those who call themselves Fundamentalists think they can and will avoid the grave. They expect to be raptured into the heavens, without first tasting the sting of death. They think that they are the members of “the terminal generation,” as Hal Lindsay, America’s most terminal thinker, has put it. They will be the “lucky” people who will pass from corruption to incorruption without dying (I Cor. 15:51-52; I Thes. 4:15-17). “Go directly to heaven; do not pass ‘Stop.'”
Why go through the pain and suffering of fighting evil men, when you can go into Rapture escapist fantasies?
Only one tiny group of Christians firmly believes that they will die. In fact, they rejoice in the fact that there are more years ahead for society than there are for themselves. They know they will taste the sting of death. They know their bodies will be lowered into the grave. They know they must plan and build in terms of their own death. They know that someone will read their last wills and testaments, including institutional last wills and testaments. They know that there is no escape, that insofar as life is concerned in our day, nobody gets out of it alive. These people are called postmillennialists.
Postmillennialists have risen from childhood to adulthood, as they know that they will die.
David Chilton, who wrote Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators (Institute for Christian Economics, 1981), once remarked that the day he accepted postmillennialism, he finally realized that he was going to die.
Unbelievable. But true.
The problem today with postmillennialism, perhaps more than anything else, is that it is a philosophy of personal, physical death. That sort of philosophy really has a limited market in our era. Marxists have a secularized version of this faith, which is why they are such potent ideological opponents. Most Christians have no such outlook. They prefer not to think about death. They prefer the rapture.
The Marxists were hard-core… and then, they objectively failed.
Today’s Master Class hopes to evade objective failure, by demanding moral fantasies in the air be acknowledged by all: the Big Lie as not only a tool of power, but the foundations of reality. The problem is, their economic population control system – the Welfare State, the Factional Reserve System, and Fiat Currency – are also built on lies that will go toppling down, now by one.
(And technological pressure will only increase the speed and number of failures, as time marches on.)
These people are already part of the dead past, not the future.
Death is the backdrop of all endeavors by postmillennialists. The death of the sin-cursed body is the starting-point. Then the question has to be asked, “How shall we then live?” What kinds of institutions should we build? What kind of education should we impart to our children? How much capital should we invest in long-term projects? What kinds of books should we write? How, in short, should we fight? What can we leave behind that our own death will not swallow up?
Because postmillennialists know that they cannot assume continually that they have five good years left, and that they should assume that their organizations are not going to be left behind in a world without the presence of other Christian workers, they have to think about the future. Because they know they will die, they can be optimistic about the future. They know that other Christians will persevere. They know that Christian institutions will survive to serve as salt for a world civilization. Because they will die, they think to themselves, they can build for the earthly future of others who will also die. Because their view of their own efforts is necessarily short run — one lifetime, at most — their view of the long-term effects of their efforts is implicitly long run. No one in this pre-millennium world gets out alive. No one will be raptured. No institution is left behind without any possibility of extension into the future. God will not pull the plug on history until the whole world is brought under His institutional sovereignty. There is hope for the kingdom of God on earth, precisely because there is no hope for God’s people to escape the sting of death. Postmillennialists can rejoice in their own physical mortality. Their efforts can multiply over time, long after they are dead and gone. They are optimistic. They know, in principle, that they are future corpses. There is no escape. Once this is firmly in one’s mind, one can get to work–work for the long haul. By God’s grace, the results of such work will survive and prosper.
TL:DR “These Christians Finally Grew Up, and Got to Work.”
When men look to the future, they can make minimal investments that can, if given enough time, become major sources of spiritual or financial capital. If the compounding process begins, and continues over a long enough period, the whole world can be influenced. The fact that we have short lifetimes does not mean that we cannot make long-run investments. In fact, this understanding encourages us to make these sacrifices today. We plant cultural seeds for the church’s future.
THIS is how you conquer the world for Christ. Not by Islamic-style violence & lies, not by Communist-style oppression & lies, not by Secularist-style delusions and lies.
You do it by redeeming the world, one step at a time. Raising godly children, building righteous churches with teachings rooted in the power of the complete Bible and upholding the Law of God as a light to the nations, our straight guide to justice and long life, peace and prosperity.
(As opposed to Political Saviours and Faceless, Unaccountable Bureaucracies – all of which only exist to serve themselves.)
We derive our meaning from God.
And NOT from The People, The State, The Race, The Party, The Clique, The Working Classes, The Protected Minority Status…
Our work on earth survives, if it is good work. It survives in heaven (l Cor. 3:11-15), and it also survives on earth. The Christian who is an optimistic future corpse does not worry that his work will go the way of the evolutionists work, to be overcome by impersonal entropy. He does not worry about leaving behind a life’s work that will be swallowed up in the horrors of the seven-year Tribulation. He looks to God in faith, knowing that Christ will deliver up a completed kingdom to the Father (I Cor. 15:28).
We can plant a tree, and if it is cared for by those who follow us, it will bear fruit. We can plant today, knowing that there is sufficient time, this side of the millennium, for it to mature. It could be cut down in a war, as any good work can be at any time, but we know it will not for certain be cut down in absolute destruction during a Great Tribulation. The work of any godly man has a possibility of survival into the distant future. The rate of growth need not be large under such circumstances. Little by little, line upon line, his capital investment can prosper year by year. His spiritual successors can see to its care and maintenance.
The Victory of God is a slow but unstoppable process, enriching all (as per common grace), but exalting God’s Name and God’s Son and God’s Law-Word above all contending powers, legal authorities, and institutions.
Those who view God’s history as a giant scythe which will cut down all the works of Christians on the final day (or rapture) except for internal, “spiritual” works, cannot plant cultural seeds with the same confidence, and therefore the same enthusiasm, as those who view themselves as future corpses whose work is long-term capital that can survive. On the day of judgment, the garden produced at last by Christian discipline and Christian capital will not experience a silent spring. It will be a thing of beauty, delivered to the Father by the Son as His fulfillment of the dominion covenant (Gen. 1:28). His people will share in His pride of workmanship. As His stewards, they will have a part in its historical fruitfulness. That fruitfulness will extend into the New Heavens and the New Earth.
The Good Guys are going to win – despite the very real pain, setbacks, sorrows, and bitter prices – because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and is at this moment seated at the right hand of God Almighty.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. – Mark 16:18-20
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:18-20
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. – I Corinthians 15:20-28
God gets to win, and Satan gets to lose.
It’s long past time that Christians grew up, actually believed this Biblical Truth… and acted on it.