Jnorm888 has written another article at his blog in response to my comments on the history of premillennialism. Much of the background of this discussion can be found in the threads here, here, and here. Jnorm writes:
"The Epistle [of Barnabas] doesn't put a limit on it [the seventh day of world history that corresponds to the seventh day of creation]. So if you are going to put a limit on something that doesn't have a limit then you mind as well put a limit on the eigth day as well."
The Epistle Of Barnabas refers to eight days. The implication is that the seventh day lasts for a limited period of time. If the seventh day never ends, why would he refer to an eighth day that he distinguishes from the seventh?
"When one looks at the book of Genesis, one will see that every day except for the seventh has a morning and an evening."
Where does Pseudo-Barnabas cite that fact or assign the significance to it that you're assigning to it?
"The evening and morning are missing on day seven. We can also see God's rest in Hebrews chapter 4. To put a time limit on God's rest is to say that our resting in Him is not eternal."
How do you know that Pseudo-Barnabas had the themes of Hebrews 4 in mind when he wrote? You don't. Whether something meant to correspond to the seventh day of creation is intended to have a time limit associated with it depends on the context. For example, we don't assume that the seventh year of the seven-year cycle of Leviticus 25:1-7 was meant to be endless.
"Some later ante-Nicene christians, who were 'premillers' did put a limit on that day, but Barnabas didn't. Yes, I agree with you that it does make sense in a premillennial framework, but I don't think you can use Barnabas like you can the others. For unlike the others, Barnabas didn't do that."
Again, Pseudo-Barnabas' reference to an eighth day suggests a limit to the seventh day. And while a person could view the seven days of creation as a model for seven periods of world history without believing that the seventh day is as long as the previous days, it was more common in the ante-Nicene era to view the seventh day as of equal length. And the more natural reading of such a parallel with the creation week would be to expect each day to last the same amount of time, as they do in our calendars. If you want to argue for a change in the duration of the seventh day and argue that the seventh day never ends, despite a reference to an eighth day, then the ball is in your court. It's not my responsibility to prove that there isn't a discontinuity in the length of days or to prove that somebody would refer to an eighth day when he considers the seventh day endless. I'm taking the text in a more natural sense. You're arguing for a more unusual reading.
And your reference to "later ante-Nicene Christians" will need to be supported with an argument. Justin Martyr associates the millennial kingdom with the equivalence between a day and a thousand years in his debate with Trypho (Dialogue With Trypho, 81), which is set around the year 135. The concept I'm seeing in The Epistle Of Barnabas seems to have been circulating elsewhere in the Christian world around the same time.
"They came later in time...Commodianus about 250 A.D. I don't know where he is from, but according to Newadvent he imated ' Tertullian, Lactantius, and Papias.' The site also makes note that in one of his works he seems to of read of St. Cyprian's 'Testimonia'."
You keep resorting to that same bad argument, even after it's been refuted repeatedly. Again, the fact that one source is later than another doesn't suggest that the later source derived its beliefs from the earlier source. And the fact that Commodianus "seems to have read St. Cyprian's 'Testimonia'" doesn't suggest that Commodianus derived his premillennialism from that source.
By your own admission, your theory of how premillennialism spread is a "guess". You write:
"Now I could be wrong in all of this, but It seems like a decent guess."
You just assume, without evidence, that whatever would be needed to sustain your theory occurred. That's not convincing.
As I've said before, if we were to accept your theory about the origin and popularizing of premillennialism, you would still have to explain why so many people who allegedly had a contrary eschatology from other apostles and a larger number of apostles would give up their eschatology in order to adopt premillennialism. What does such a scenario, in which Christian leaders in so many locations keep abandoning their apostolic eschatology in favor of a false eschatology, suggest about the degree of credibility you've been assigning to the Christians of the patristic era?
"I disagree about the wieght of probability, especially when one wiegh in the Alexandrian hermeneutical method. Let's say for the sake of argument that the Epistle of Barnabas did come from Alexandria, which is what the majority view is. Their hermeneutical method was different than that of Modern day Turkey."
I haven't made any appeal to the "hermeneutical method...of modern-day Turkey". The premillennial parallel between the days of creation and world history wasn't confined to Asia Minor. And an appeal to an "Alexandrian hermeneutical method" isn't as relevant as the text that we find in The Epistle Of Barnabas. The author of that document wasn't obligated to follow a method of interpretation found in other Alexandrian sources, and even if he did so in general, we would still have to make case-by-case judgments. I've explained why my interpretation makes more sense than yours in the case of chapter 15 of The Epistle Of Barnabas.
"You are making a claim that the premill view was widespread by 130 A.D. I doubt that. Maybe around 200 A.D. but I doubt it was that popular around 130 A.D."
Papias was a premillennialist. And he claims to have gotten his premillennialism from an earlier source. Irenaeus refers to multiple elders who were disciples of the apostle John and premillennialists. Justin Martyr's references to the existence of "many" premillennialists (Dialogue With Trypho, 80) and non-Christian awareness of premillennialism (Trypho mentions it) come from a debate set around the year 135. It would have taken some time for premillennialism to have spread and to have been discussed as much as is suggested in Justin's debate with Trypho. And the popularity of the doctrine in the remainder of the second century and beyond makes more sense if it was popular earlier.
"Alot of churches didn't even have the book, so how would they know about a 1,000 year earthly reign?...And Saint John didn't really travel that much in order for the book to have multiple origins."
The fact that Revelation is the earliest extant source that premillennialists cite for an explicit reference to the millennial kingdom doesn't prove that the belief originated there or could only have spread early on by means of the book of Revelation. Even if the concept originated with the writing of Revelation, John could have communicated the concept orally as well. Papias and Irenaeus claim to have received information on the millennial kingdom through oral means or claim that one or more of their sources received it in that manner. And people who had read Revelation would communicate with other people and would travel. Papias tells us that he received some of his information about Christianity from people who traveled to his area. Revelation was initially sent to seven churches, which would multiply the opportunities for circulation of the document and for the furthering of the information contained in the document by various means.
"If one looks at both the times and place of those that supported 'pre-mill' in their writings then one can see land marks of how it spread from the east to the west to North western Africa."
The fact that a doctrine originates in a location, such as somewhere in Asia Minor, doesn't tell us whether it came from an apostle in that location or from somebody else in that location. Your theory that the doctrine originated in Asia Minor, then went West through sources like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus doesn't tell us whether the source of the doctrine in Asia Minor was apostolic. And an origin in Asia Minor wouldn't imply that the means by which the doctrine arrived in other regions must be traceable through the literature extant to us today. Justin Martyr refers to the doctrine as having been accepted by many Christians prior to the middle of the second century, the non-Christian Trypho had heard about it prior to the middle of the second century, and it's found in The Epistle Of Barnabas, outside of Asia Minor, prior to the middle of the century. The process of spreading the doctrine was already well underway before Justin and Irenaeus attained the height of their influence.
And the influence they had during their lifetimes can't be equated with their later influence through their being canonized as Saints, the spreading of their literature through the printing press, etc. Why would we expect somebody like Justin to convince Christian leaders to abandon their apostolic eschatology and adopt his false eschatology? Again, what does such a scenario, in which Christian leaders in so many locations keep abandoning their apostolic eschatology in favor of a false eschatology brought to them by travelers from other locations, suggest about the degree of credibility you've been assigning to the Christians of the patristic era?
"It doesn't 'infallibly' mean that, but if these people later in time were familier with the works of Irenaeus & Justin then I don't see a problem with assuming that."
I didn't suggest that infallibility is needed. You haven't even shown that your view is probable or preferable to mine.
Do you apply the same reasoning to other sources with regard to other beliefs and practices? What if I would argue that a doctrine appearing in Clement of Rome came from him, not from the apostles, and would claim that later sources who advocate the doctrine derived it from Clement? Would the fact that men like Dionysius of Corinth and Irenaeus refer to Clement's letter to the Corinthians be sufficient evidence that Dionysius and Irenaeus agree with Clement's doctrine only because of Clement's influence? What if I were to keep assuming that later sources advocating the doctrine derived it from Clement or from some other source influenced by Clement? And what if, when people pointed out to me that I'm speculating and can't demonstrate my conclusion to be probable or preferable to an alternative, I responded by saying that my theory is "a decent guess"?
"I use to believe in Premill and I switched/changed when I became Orthodox. It wasn't that hard for me. Unlike some forms of western amill or post mill. The christian East still believes in a future anti-christ. And maybe even a future tribulation."
You've claimed that premillennialism is a heresy, one significant enough that it would allegedly be condemned by an ecumenical council, and you've told us that Eastern Orthodox aren't allowed to try to spread the doctrine, if they hold it. You can mention some similarities between premillennialism and some other types of eschatology, but there are significant differences as well. And the early patristic Christians were in a significantly different historical context than yours. Even if it "wasn't that hard" to move from some other eschatology to premillennialism, you still ought to explain why so many of the ante-Nicene Christians supposedly would have made such a move after receiving a non-premillennial eschatology from one or more of the apostles.
"In your form of pre-mill, but you are trying to use the ancients to defend your form of pre-mill."
First of all, this discussion didn't begin as a means for me to defend my form of premillennialism. Rather, I was responding to some claims you made about church history.
And if Clement of Rome's comments don't contradict my form of premillennialism, why are we supposed to believe that they contradict ante-Nicene premillennialism? It's not as though my belief that Christ's rulership consists of more than the millennial kingdom is a concept that the ante-Nicene premillennialists would reject. If they did reject it, then that fact would make your view of church history even more implausible. If premillennialists like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus intended their premillennialism to involve a denial that Christ reigns from Heaven prior to the millennium, then they had some problems with their belief system significantly worse than the alleged error of premillennialism.
Your evidence that Clement of Rome was an amillennialist is insufficient. Instead of explaining how his comments supposedly would contradict premillennialism, you've just made a vague reference to how his comments don't contradict my premillennialism, but might contradict that of the ante-Nicene sources. If you want to argue that there is a contradiction between Clement's comments and the beliefs of the ante-Nicene premillennialists, then you'll need to explain why we're supposed to believe that there's a contradiction.
"But note 41 does condemn 'premillennialism'. You are correct in that it explicitly condemned a certain kind of pre-millennialism. However, it also gives an interpretation on how chapter should be interpreted."
You're referring to a note written by a later commentator. Who is the commentator, and why are we supposed to believe that his views represent what First Constantinople meant? I still haven't seen anything from the council itself that supports your conclusion.
"It took a while for the second council to be embraced as 'ecumenical'."
That's one possible explanation for why premillennialism continued to be accepted by mainstream Christians. It's also possible that part of the reason why premillennialism continued to be accepted was because people weren't interpreting First Constantinople the way you're interpreting it. You haven't given us any reason to prefer your explanation.
"But yes, it is true that everyone in the east didn't use it [the book of Revelation]. Or just didn't have it."
Your original claim was that most Christians rejected Revelation. You didn't include qualifiers like "in the East" or that some people "just didn't have it". Saying that some people in the East didn't have or didn't use Revelation isn't the same as saying that most Christians rejected it. As I've argued here, the evidence suggests that Revelation was widely accepted early on in the West and East.
"Only by putting words in my mouth. He [Gene Bridges] implied it from what I said in regards to the doctrine of the Trinity. But these are two different topics."
You made comments about apostolic teaching and the transmission of it in the ancient church. The fact that you were discussing Trinitarian doctrine doesn't lead to the conclusion that the principles you laid out are only applicable to Trinitarian doctrine. That's a qualification you didn't make in your original comments, and it's a qualification you haven't yet justified.
"The finger is pointed at Saint Papias"
You keep telling us that "the finger is pointed at" Papias with regard to the origin of premillennialism, but I've explained why that unsupported assertion is unconvincing. Again, Papias tells us that his premillennialism came from an earlier source, and that source isn't Revelation 20. Irenaeus refers to disciples of John who believed in premillennialism, and there’s no reason to think that they got the doctrine from Papias. Justin Martyr refers to premillennialism as already popular around the year 135, and I see no reason to think that those premillennialists Justin refers to, as well as Justin himself, derived the doctrine from Papias. And the doctrine is in The Epistle Of Barnabas around the same time, probably in Egypt.
"Saint John lived and died in that region, and that's why, I was very careful to say it, in the way I did."
The apostle Paul died in Rome. The papacy later became popular in that location, and the claim was made that it was an apostolic tradition. Would you therefore call the papacy an "apostolic tradition"?
Even if you would, that's not how the term is usually used. When people refer to something as an apostolic tradition, they usually mean that it's a tradition that actually came from the apostles, not that it's a post-apostolic tradition that arose in an area where an apostle had been.
As I said earlier, either your argument is wrong or you're a poor communicator. Why are we supposed to have known that you meant "apostolic tradition" in the highly unusual sense in which you now claim you meant it?
"However, in regards to premill, I didn't want to point the finger at Saint John himself. Eventhough the view was tought by one of his flock."
You initially said that Asia Minor in general was premillennial. You also said that if one person who heard an apostle misrepresented what the apostle said, then the majority would correct that one who was mistaken. How, then, did premillennialism become the view of Asia Minor in general, as you said it was? If you want to argue that most of those in Asia Minor rejected premillennialism initially, then why didn't you say so earlier, and where's your evidence?
"What I said in regards to the topic of the doctrine of the Trinity, should stay with that topic. What I said in regards to 'premill' shouldn't be interchanged with another conversation."
In other words, you don't want to be held accountable for an apparent inconsistency that you haven't explained. You don't want the standards you argued for in a discussion about a Trinitarian doctrine to be applied to a discussion about eschatology, even though you still haven't explained why such a distinction should be made. We should make the distinction because you tell us to.
"And remember, your view is that 'most pre-nicen christians' believed in pre-mill."
That's not what I said. Your use of quotation marks is misleading, since you aren't quoting or even paraphrasing something I said. I do believe that premillennialism was the majority view early on, but my argument with you hasn't depended upon that position.
"'Eusebius was certainly speaking for a large body of theological opinion in the East when he called Papias's millenarianism 'bizarre' and rather mythological.'  page 129 Around the sametime Lactantius and Victorinus lived. The Majority view in the east was non premill."
Your quote from Jaroslav Pelikan doesn't refer to a majority. Even if it did, your original claims involved more than the East and more than the timeframe of Lactantius and Victorinus.
"You had Caius from Rome, that argued against the view, and he lived around 215 A.D. You had Origen and Dionysius from Alexandria who both fought against the view. Origen lived from 185 A.D. to about 255 A.D. And Dionysius was ordained a Bishop around the 247 A.D. and he mentioned that there were people before his time, that rejected the book. The window for a premill majority is small."
I've already cited earlier sources, a larger number of sources, and sources from a wider variety of backgrounds, dispositions, and locations in support of premillennialism. And I can cite more. If "the window for a premillennial majority is small", then the window for a majority who rejected the position is much smaller.
"it wasn't in the Divine liturgy of Eastern christian churches"
You can't assume that later rejection of Revelation reflects an earlier rejection when we have so much evidence to the contrary. The evidence suggests that Revelation was widely accepted in the East early on, as I've argued in another thread.
"You can believe a book to be inspired without having it in your canon. And this is what you had back then."
You offer no documentation. Are you saying that Dionysius of Alexandria didn't view Revelation as scripture? That most Christians didn't? I see no reason to accept either position. See, for example, the relevant sources discussed in Bruce Metzger, The Canon Of The New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). Regarding Dionysius of Alexandria in particular, see his comments preserved in Eusebius' Church History 7:24-25. Dionysius cites Revelation 22:7-8 with approval and suggests his agreement with the entirety of the book, and he refers to his view of the book as a matter of "faith". He refers to the author of Revelation as a prophet, and he refers to how that author had received prophecies and revelation. We don't normally associate that sort of language with non-canonical literature. The possibility that a Christian would refer to non-canonical literature in such a way doesn't overturn the probability that he meant to refer to canonicity. And we know that Revelation was viewed as scripture in Alexandria shortly before his time, as reflected in Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Considering how high the authority claims are in Revelation (Jesus is portrayed as commanding the writing of the book, the author claims to be writing the words of God, those who add to it or take from it are condemned, etc.), the sort of middle position you're suggesting (inspired, but not scripture) is unlikely to have been held by many people.
"I disagree, the unverifiable speculation is assuming that the book as well as the interpretation of chapter 20 came from muliple origins. You probably assume that all the Apostle tought it."
No, I don't assume that all of the apostles taught premillennialism. The doctrine should be accepted even if it was taught by only one apostolic source. But we don't know how many apostolic sources taught it, nor do we know what the apostle John or his disciples in particular did to spread it. Your claim that we can "point the finger" at Papias is dubious, for reasons I've explained, and it's doubtful that the book of Revelation and premillennialism were disseminated as slowly as you've suggested.
"So you think that all the Apostles tought premill?"
No. When I said that the apostles were united in doctrine, I meant that they didn't contradict one another. That was the context I was addressing. I don't deny that some apostolic doctrines arose without the knowledge of one or more of the apostles. For example, John's brother James died early in church history (Acts 12:2), before some revelations were received by other apostles. I would deny that James contradicted premillennialism, but I wouldn't argue that he was aware of the doctrine.
"The fact that they had to prove where their view came from by pointing at tradition, only shows that their was opposition."
No, somebody can describe the origin of his beliefs without doing so in response to opposition to those beliefs. And even if we were to assume opposition, we would have to ask what the nature of that opposition was. Was it opposition from a minority of orthodox Christians? Opposition from a heretic or heretical group? The fact that Papias and Irenaeus appeal to extra-Biblical tradition in support of premillennialism doesn't, by itself, suggest that the doctrine was being opposed, much less opposed to the degree you've suggested.
I doubt that you're so dismissive of appeals to extra-Biblical tradition among the church fathers when those appeals are made in support of your beliefs. If you had evidence for prayers to the dead or the veneration of images comparable to the evidence for premillennialism, I doubt that you'd be so dismissive of it.