Session 23: Lactantius and the Two Resurrections

Lactantius, who lived from 245 to 325 AD, is another well-known early millennialist. He was highly educated and an important historian of the period. He was also a tutor to Emperor Constantine’s son, Crispus. Like other early millennialists, Lactantius believed that the first resurrection of the departed saints at the beginning of the millennium will be of their natural body that will experience marriage and bear godly children. Some of these resurrected saints will sit on thrones and rule over the survivors of the Tribulation. He also taught that the final resurrection of the saints after the millennium on Judgment Day will be of the eternal body of the sons of God because it is destined to inherit eternal life in the Father’s kingdom of heaven.

The only significant difference between the eschatology of Lactantius and other early millennialists and the postrestorational eschatology presented in this lecture series is that instead of Christ returning to this earth to establish his millennial kingdom, Christ remains in heaven at the right hand of the Father when he rules the world. Of all the current views on the nature of the millennium, the view of God’s endgame that is presented in this lecture series is the closest to that of the early millennialists, some of whom were in the unique position to know John and ask him what he meant by the first resurrection. The remarkable similarity between postrestorationalism and the teachings of the early millennialists gives this view of God’s endgame great credibility.