Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Amillennialism of Tatian {A.D. 170]

Tatian the Assyrian was greatly influenced by Justin Martyr, though he eventually fell into Gnosticism. Like Trypho, Tatian appears to have rejected Justin’s idea of a millennium, even in his orthodox days.

“And on this account we believe that there will be a resurrection of bodies after the consummation of all things; not, as the Stoics affirm, according to the return of certain cycles, the same things being produced and destroyed for no useful purpose, but a resurrection once for all, when our periods of existence are completed, and in consequence solely of the constitution of things under which men alone live, for the purpose of passing judgment upon them. Nor is sentence upon us passed by Minos or Rhadamanthus, before whose decease not a single soul, according to the mythic tales, was judged; but the Creator, God Himself, becomes the arbiter.” (Tatian’s Address to the Greeks - Chap. VI. — Christians’ Belief in the Resurrection.)

Tatian tells us of only one resurrection, and that it will take place “after the consummation of all things”. This is “a resurrection once for all”, for the express purpose of “passing judgment”. Premillennialism requires a thousand years between the resurrection of the righteous and the final judgment.

Granted, Tatian doesn’t go into great detail concerning his eschatology, but his views of the resurrection and the judgment clearly support either amillennialism or postmillennialism. He was definitely not premillennial.

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