In Proposition 76, George Peters states:
“The early church doctrine was revived after the Reformation.”
We should be thankful for the individuals who recognized what was taking place and who bravely rejected the mandates presented by the Papacy in favor of getting back to what God says in His word as the sole foundation for truth. Did the Reformers get it all correct? Of course not, but they did revive as Peters notes a return (at least in many regards) to the doctrine of the early church as taught in Scripture and in the formative early period of the church before things started to go awry.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 78 is the following:
“Candor requires of us to state this peculiarity attached to those who were thus Chiliastic. (1) Some held strictly to the Primitive view, as contained in our argument, believing only in one Kingdom (while acknowledging the general Divine Sovereignty, etc.), still future, which was to accord with the Davidic covenant and related prophecies. The church, exceedingly precious, was regarded as only provisional and introductory to this Kingdom. (2) Others, with a cordial faith in such a future Kingdom, also upheld a Kingdom as present existing in the church – a kind of prelude to the coming one – thus retaining in part the Origenistic or Augustianian idea. (3) Some declare for a present Kingdom in the church, and also for a future one here on earth at the Second Advent, but incorporate with the latter mystical conceptions or spiritualizing deductions (which detract from the early view), as e.g. making the reign of the Messiah invisible, retaining the Son of Man during this period in the third heaven, etc., thus violating the express terms of the covenant and promises. (4) Others, again, with or without a decisive Church-Kingdom theory, have adopted certain salient features of Chiliasm (as e.g. the nearness of the Advent, the restoration of all things, the rise of the Antichrist and his destruction by the personal coming of Jesus, the first resurrection literal, the Sabbatism, etc.), so directly antagonistic to prevailing views and so much in harmony with our doctrine that they may be classed as, at least, partly Chiliastic. The first three, and some of the fourth class, reject the notion that the present dispensation, in any sense, contained the covenanted, predicted, Kingdom of the Messiah; they all looked, however they may regard the church as provisional and even an introductory reign, to the Second Advent for the realization of the glorious Kingdom as promised by the prophets, as covenanted by God, and as believed in by the early church. This Kingdom, pre-eminently Messianic, they all believed was introduced by a personal Advent and in a prior resurrection of the saints.”
It dawned on me this morning that some may not be familiar with the term “chiliastic”. A good definition is as follows:
“Premillennialism teaches that the Second coming will occur before a literal thousand-year reign of Christ from Jerusalem upon the earth. In the early church, premillennialism was called chiliasm, from the Greek term meaning 1,000, a word used six times in Revelation 20:2-7.” (http://www.theopedia.com/premillennialism)
In this observation, Peters does a bit of a recap, noting the various approaches to the Kingdom he has discussed thus far. He notes that regardless of these various positions, the adherents of the respective approaches all believed in Jesus coming to earth in the First Advent and a future return of the Messiah. They all differ in the details and of course differ with the propositions made by Peters to some degree or another. Ultimately, the Kingdom is agreed by all to be Messianic in nature.