As I was doing my all-too-infrequent clearing up of my email messages I inadvertently removed a question I was asked about FF Bruce’s position on eschatology. I place an answer of sorts here in the hope that Prof. Fred Hall’s eyes might fall on it.
As far as I can make out Prof. Bruce’s position was in line with the B. W. Newton stream of Plymouth Brethren interpretation. That is to say, he was a historic premillennialist in the vein of C. H. Spurgeon (Baptist) and J. C. Ryle (Anglican). I say this because I remember reading his Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians in the WBC Series and coming away with that opinion. I don’t actually own that book, but my opinion is bolstered for the following reasons:
1. Bruce writes the Forward to the English translation of Erich Sauer’s The Dawn of World Redemption. The Forward is very commendatory even though Sauer adopted what could be called a modified dispensational approach.
2. In some of his commentaries Bruce seems to hold out for a “renovation” of this earth after the appearance of the final (and personal) Antichrist. On the latter, see especially his remarks in Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, 233. On a future hope for the planet, see his Romans (Tyndale series), 174 where he refers to a “worldwide regeneration” after all Israel has been “reincorporated…among the people of God.” (Ibid. 205).
3. It is easy enough to prove that Bruce believed that Israel (i.e. the ‘Remnant’) will be saved by believing the Gospel and so brought into the fold of the Church (See above). In his Romans, 208 he maintains that there will be no restoration of an “earthly Davidic kingdom.” I take him to mean that even though there will be a future millennium of some sort, this will not have OT characteristics but “Churchly” ones.
4. Finally, in his commentary on the Greek text of Galatians Bruce allows that the kai of 6:16 ought to translated “and” thus drawing a distinction between “all them who walk according to this rule” and “the Israel of God,” but he then refers “the Israel of God” to the “all Israel” of Rom. 11:26 (275).
My interpretation is hardly incontrovertible, but when one considers his Brethren affiliation and his endorsement of Sauer I think it bears up quite well.
I should say that Bruce wrote the entry on the Apocalypse in the old one volume International Bible Commentary. Perhaps this would help put the matter to rest. But as I do not have access to a copy, that will have to be the work of another.