Chiliasm’s Eternal Land Inheritance
The earliest Christians following the Apostles based their hope of a future eternal inheritance squarely on the permanent inheritance of the whole earth which God promised to His only-begotten Son, and the Abrahamic Covenant in which God promised a permanent Land inheritance to Abraham’s “Seed” who is Jesus Christ. On the very day that the Son was begotten out of God, the inheritance of the whole earth and all nations was promised to Him.
Psalm 2:6-9 LXX 6 But I have been made King by Him on Sion His holy mountain, 7 declaring the ordinance of the Lord. The Lord said to me, “You are My Son; This Day I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You will shepherd them with a rod of iron; You will shatter them like a potter’s vessel.
Christians are joined to Christ in baptism, and become co-heirs with Christ of His own inheritance of the entire earth.
Romans 8:16-17 (NASB) 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
Rev. 2:26-27 (LGV) 26 And the one being victorious, and keeping My works until the end, I will give him authority over the nations — 27 He “shall shepherd them with a rod of iron; As the vessels of pottery are crushed” — as I also have received from My Father.
Rev. 3:21 (LGV) 21 The one being victorious, I will permit him to sit with Me on My throne as I also was victorious and sat down with My Father on His throne.
In the Abrahamic Covenant, God let Abraham in on a secret. God’s Son was going to receive His promised inheritance through Abraham’s genealogy. He promised to Abraham and his “Seed” a permanent and unconditional Land inheritance. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be co-heirs along with Abraham’s “Seed.” “For all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your seed forever.” “And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land in which you sojourn, even all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, …”.
The New Testament cites these promises and identifies that ‘Seed’ of the Abrahamic Covenant as Jesus Christ, and all who have been baptized into Him. Thus Christians will inherit the earth forever by being joined to God’s Son who became Abraham’s Seed.
Gal. 3:16, 26-29 (NASB) 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. … 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Christians are joined to Christ in baptism, and thus become co-heirs with Christ of His own inheritance. This includes not only the Land that God promised to Abraham, but also all nations and the whole earth as promised to the Son in the second Psalm. This inheritance of the only-begotten Son of God, and all adopted sons and daughters of God, is the eternal possession of the earth when the wicked are removed. The earth can never be destroyed, because it is the eternal inheritance of the Son of God and all the righteous.
Psalm 37:10-11,29,34 (NKJV) 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. … 28 For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. … 34 Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
Justin Martyr of Rome was one of the earliest Christian apologists after the Apostles. He wrote only a few decades after John’s death, and is a credible witness to the very earliest Christian eschatology.
“… [If] the law were able to enlighten the nations and those who possess it, what need is there of a new covenant? But since God announced beforehand that He would send a new covenant, and an everlasting law and commandment, we will not understand this of the old law and its proselytes, but of Christ and His proselytes, namely us Gentiles, whom He has illumined, as He says somewhere: ‘Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee, and I have given Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, and to inherit the deserted.’ What, then, is Christ’s inheritance? Is it not the nations? What is the covenant of God? Is it not Christ? As He says in another place: ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession’.”
“What larger measure of grace, then, did Christ bestow on Abraham? This, namely, that He called him with His voice by the like calling, telling him to quit the land wherein he dwelt. And He has called all of us by that voice, and we have left already the way of living in which we used to spend our days, passing our time in evil after the fashions of the other inhabitants of the earth; and along with Abraham we shall inherit the holy Land, when we shall receive the inheritance for an endless eternity, being children of Abraham through the like faith.”
“But why do you not similarly investigate the reason why the name of Oshea the son of Nave (Nun), which his father gave him, was changed to Jesus [Joshua]? But since not only was his name altered, but he was also appointed successor to Moses, being the only one of his contemporaries who came out from Egypt, he led the surviving people into the Holy Land; and as he, not Moses, led the people into the Holy Land, and as he distributed it by lot to those who entered along with him, so also Jesus the Christ will turn again the dispersion of the people, and will distribute the good Land to each one, though not in the same manner. For the former gave them a temporary inheritance, seeing he [Moses] was neither Christ who is God, nor the Son of God; but the latter, after the holy resurrection, shall give us the eternal possession.”
It is important to understand that in pristine Chiliasm the Land inheritance is “for an endless eternity” and “the eternal possession.” This completely rules out the eventual destruction of the earth, either at the second coming of Christ (as in Amillennialism) or after the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ (as in some forms of modern Premillennialism). This permanence of the inheritance of the earth was reinforced by Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Dan. 2:44 (NKJV) 44 “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
Irenaeus of Lyons, disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John, also articulated the eternal earthly inheritance.
“Thus, then, the promise of God, which He gave to Abraham, remains steadfast. For thus He said: ‘Lift up thine eyes, and look from this place where now thou art, towards the north and south, and east and west. For all the earth which thou seest, I will give to thee and to thy seed, even forever.’ And again He says, ‘Arise, and go through the length and breadth of the land, since I will give it unto thee;’ and [yet] he did not receive an inheritance in it, not even a footstep, but was always a stranger and a pilgrim therein. And upon the death of Sarah his wife, when the Hittites were willing to bestow upon him a place where he might bury her, he declined it as a gift, but bought the burying-place (giving for it four hundred talents of silver) from Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite. Thus did he await patiently the promise of God, and was unwilling to appear to receive from men, what God had promised to give him, when He said again to him as follows: ‘I will give this land to thy seed, from the river of Egypt even unto the great river Euphrates.’ If, then, God promised him the inheritance of the land, yet he did not receive it during all the time of his sojourn there, it must be, that together with his seed, that is, those who fear God and believe in Him, he shall receive it at the resurrection of the just. For his seed is the Church, which receives the adoption to God through the Lord, as John the Baptist said: ‘For God is able from the stones to raise up children to Abraham.’ Thus also the apostle says in the Epistle to the Galatians: ‘But ye, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise.’ And again, in the same Epistle, he plainly declares that they who have believed in Christ do receive Christ, the promise to Abraham thus saying, ‘The promises were spoken to Abraham, and to his seed. Now He does not say, And of seeds, as if [He spake] of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.’ And again, confirming his former words, he says, ‘Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore, that they which are of faith are the children of Abraham. But the Scripture, fore-seeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, declared to Abraham beforehand, That in thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which are of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham.’ Thus, then, they who are of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham, and these are the children of Abraham. Now God made promise of the land to Abraham and his seed; yet neither Abraham nor his seed, that is, those who are justified by faith, do now receive any inheritance in it; but they shall receive it at the resurrection of the just. For God is true and faithful; and on this account He said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’”
The Land promise was not only to Abraham’s Seed, but also to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob personally. Therefore, its fulfillment requires the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promise of God to these three men could not be fulfilled through the Israelites merely inheriting the Land under Joshua. God’s promise absolutely required the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they did not inherit the Land while they were alive, but only lived in it as pilgrims and aliens.
Like Justin, Irenaeus taught that the earth remains forever as the inheritance of the righteous. The earth will not pass away, only “the fashion” of the world will pass away, since it will be renewed. This is “the New Heavens and New Earth.”
“If therefore the great God showed future things by Daniel, and confirmed them by His Son; and if Christ is the stone which is cut out without hands, who shall destroy temporal kingdoms, and introduce an eternal one, which is the resurrection of the just; as he declares, “The God of heaven shall raise up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed,” — let those thus confuted come to their senses…”
“For since there are real men, so must there also be a real establishment (plantationem), that they vanish not away among non-existent things, but progress among those which have an actual existence. For neither is the substance nor the essence of the creation annihilated (for faithful and true is He who has established it), but ‘the fashion of the world passeth away;’ that is, those things among which transgression has occurred, since man has grown old in them. And therefore this [present] fashion has been formed temporary, God foreknowing all things; as I have pointed out in the preceding book, and have also shown, as far as was possible, the cause of the creation of this world of temporal things. But when this [present] fashion [of things] passes away, and man has been renewed, and flourishes in an incorruptible state, so as to preclude the possibility of becoming old, [then] there shall be the new heaven and the new earth, in which the new man shall remain [continually], always holding fresh converse with God. And since (or, that) these things shall ever continue without end, Isaiah declares, ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I do make, continue in my sight, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain’.” 
The idea that God will come to dwell among men on earth forever in the eternal state, that the Kingdom of God on the earth will continue forever (beyond the millennium of Christ’s reign over the nations), was indeed the earliest view. However, not all later chiliasts retained this view. After the earliest chiliast writers quoted above, Tertullian is noteworthy for claiming that after the Millennial Kingdom, the earth will be destroyed and all believers will ascend to heaven.  Yet consider how Justin, the much earlier Christian apologist, categorized those who departed from Chiliasm’s essentials in HIs dialogue with a Jew named Trypho:
“And Trypho to this replied, ‘I remarked to you sir, that you are very anxious to be safe in all respects, since you cling to the Scriptures. But tell me, do you really admit that this place, Jerusalem, shall be rebuilt; and do you expect your people to be gathered together, and made joyful with Christ and the patriarchs, and the prophets, both the men of our nation, and other proselytes who joined them before your Christ came? or have you given way, and admitted this in order to have the appearance of worsting us in the controversies?’” “Then I answered, ‘I am not so miserable a fellow, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion, and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise.’ [These denied that Jerusalem will be rebuilt and be the locus of Christ’s Kingdom as did Tertullian, yet he acknowledged the Kingdom of Christ will be on earth for a millennium] . ‘Moreover, I pointed out to you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistical, and foolish. But that you may know that I do not say this before you alone, I shall draw up a statement, so far as I can, of all the arguments which have passed between us; in which I shall record myself as admitting the very same things which I admit to you. For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians. … But I and others who are right-minded Christians on all points are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.'”
All of the eschatological systems which were developed after pristine Chiliasm were devised by men for one simple reason — their blatant rejection of “the hope set before us,” which is our “anchor of the soul,” the permanent Land inheritance. This HOPE was replaced with an alleged heavenly inheritance, a hope more consistent with the philosophy of Plato.
These eschatological systems developed after Chiliasm in the following order:
Amillennialism was fully developed during the 4th century as the replacement for Chiliasm. It claimed that the “Kingdom of God” spans from Jesus’ first coming to His second coming. Jesus will not reign on the earth in person, but is now reigning from heaven through His surrogate, the Bishop of Rome (the pope). This is why Catholics call the pope the “Vicar of Christ.” In this system, the “City of God” is Rome, not Jerusalem restored and elevated above all capitols of all nations (Isa. 2). After Jerusalem was conquered by Mohamed and Islam, the Roman church-state launched a series of failed crusades to capture Jerusalem for Rome. Leaving Jerusalem in Muslim hands presented a serious threat to Rome’s claim as the “City of God” from which Christ was allegedly reigning over the whole earth in His Kingdom.
Postmillennialism was the view developed during the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers’ rejection of Roman Catholicism and the Vatican’s authority, and rejecting Rome as the “City of God,” required a new eschatology. Protestants instead identified Rome with “Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots.” In this system the pope was identified with the Antichrist. This required a non-literal interpretation of the 70th “Week” of 7 years in Daniel 9:27. The first 3.5 years were applied to Jesus’ own ministry recorded in the Gospels, and the second half of the week, during which the Antichrist is said to reign, was stretched out from 1260 days to 1260 years (historicism) in order to accommodate the long history of Roman Catholicism. Postmillennialism was just a modification of Amillennialism, making the Protestant Reformation the Kingdom of God beginning with the overthrow of Rome and its Antichrist-pope by the Reformation. In Postmillennialism, Christ allegedly began His reign (from heaven) through the Protestant churches, which would eventually evangelize the whole world over a 1000-year period, after which Jesus would return, destroy the earth, and remove all the righteous to heaven. Other Protestant groups retained Amillennialism’s claim that the Kingdom of Christ spanned from Jesus’ first Advent to His second Advent, with the 1000 years of Revelation 20 not taken literally. With both Protestant Amillennialism and Postmillennialism, the “New Jerusalem” was allegedly in heaven from where Christ is reigning. Both Protestant Amillennialism and Postmillennialism completely denied any inheritance of the earth following the resurrection of the righteous, allegorizing everything in Scripture that pointed to the Land inheritance. In both views, Israel was said to have forfeited the Abrahamic Land inheritance.
Dispensational Premillennialism was developed in the 19th century by Edward Irving and John N. Darby. Part of the motivation for this view was returning to the literal interpretation of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy, and a more literal interpretation of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants, as well as the many prophets who predicted the complete restoration of Israel and Jerusalem. Yet this system still clung to the heavenly-destiny scheme. To accomplish this feat, the Redeemed were segregated into two groups with totally different destinies. Israel would receive the Abrahamic Land inheritance on earth, with the Messiah reigning from restored Jerusalem for 1000 years after His return. But the “Church” would be taken to heaven and enjoy an inheritance there. (The difficulty of having all Christians in heaven while Christ is on earth for 1000 years was never completely resolved, nor was the problem of Christians’ being called “Abraham’s seed” and “heirs” of the Abrahamic Land inheritance). Through the efforts of the Plymouth Brethren and the American seminary system (especially Dallas Theological Seminary), Dispensational Premillennialism (with its pre-tribulation rapture) has become the dominant eschatology of most of Evangelical Christianity.
Historic Premillennialism is very recent, developed largely due to the writings of George E. Ladd and a few others. A growing number of Premillennialists have largely abandoned the aspects of Dispensationalism that segregate the people of God, moving closer to the original eschatology — Chiliasm — in an attempt to resolve the above difficulties in Dispensational Premillennialism. The new breed of Historic Premillennialists (sometimes called Progressive Dispensationalists) accepts the first two points of Chiliasm outlined above, (1) the Son’s literal inheritance of the whole earth and the Abrahamic Land inheritance, (2) a literal interpretation of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy, and Christ’s reign from Jerusalem for a millennium. Many, but not all, historic premillennialists have also returned to Chiliasm’s 3rd point, the resurrection and gathering of the redeemed after the 70th week (great tribulation). However, they have yet to embrace the 4th point of pristine Chiliasm, the “Millennial Week” idea of six millennia under the curse followed by the Millennium of Christ’s reign, the “Seventh Day” and “Sabbath Rest.” Also, not all historic premillennialists accept that the Kingdom of God on earth is forever, with no heavenly destiny after the Millennium of Christ’s rule over the nations as in pristine Chiliasm.
In order to understand biblical eschatology properly, and to understand the evolution of eschatology away from pristine Chiliasm, it is critically important to understand the ONE CORE ISSUE at the root of this evolution. That one issue was the rejection of the HOPE set before us in both the OT and NT, replacing it with a heavenly hope more consistent with Plato’s philosophy. The earliest Chiliasts understood our HOPE as the eternal inheritance of the earth. The cultural pressure to distance Christianity away from the Jewish hope (the resurrection of the body, the eternal Land inheritance, and the restored material creation) and to conform in some ways to contemporary Greek philosophy was very strong indeed. All of the confusion and division regarding eschatology within Christianity can be traced back to this root cause.
Go to: Chiliasm’s 7-Year Tribulation & Personal Antichrist
 My translation of the LXX
 Gen. 13:15 LXX
 Gen. 17:8 LXX
 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. cxxii
 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. cxix
 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. cxiii
 Irenaeus (AD 120-202) was a student of Polycarp, who was a student of John. Polycarp was appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna by the Apostles (Irenaeus, Bk. III, Ch. iii, 4). He led that congregation when Jesus dictated the letter to Smyrna contained in Rev. 2. Jesus had no criticism, only praise for the faithfulness of this church. His prophetic exhortation to this church, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. … Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life,” (Rev. 2:10) was certainly heeded by Polycarp. He stood boldly and confidently on the pyre, without being bound to the stake, while he was burned to death for his faithfulness to Christ. His pupil, Irenaeus, carried on his master’s teachings and included some of them in his own works. Irenaeus also died for his faith along with many of the members of the church he pastored in Lyons, Gaul.
 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. V, ch. xxxii
 Gen. 13:15,17; Gen. 17:8; Gen. 26:1-4; Gen. 28:3-4
 Acts 7:1-5
 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. V, ch. xxvi
 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. V, ch. xxxvi
 Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book III, Ch. xxv
 Tertullian, Against Marcion, Bk. III, Ch. xxv
 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. lxxx