Session 23: Lactantius and the Two Resurrections

Lactantius, who lived from AD 245 to 325, is another well-known early millennialist. He was highly educated and an important historian of the period. 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 bodies that will experience marriage and bear godly children. He also taught that the final resurrection of the saints after the millennium on Judgment Day will be of their eternal bodies because, as sons of God, they are destined to inherit eternal life in the Father’s kingdom of heaven.

The only significant difference between the eschatology of these early millennialists, including Lactantius, and the postrestorational eschatology presented in this lecture series is this: 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 postrestorational view of God’s endgame 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.