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Why I'm pre-millenial

While many friends and most Reformed scholars today hold to the amillennial view of eschatology, I continue to find the dispensational premillennial position most attractive and convincing.

Here's an excellent summary of premillennialism and why it is to be preferred over other views:
Premillennialism is the view that Jesus Christ will return to this present earth prior to the establishing of His millennial kingdom. Jesus will reign supreme in power and great glory and will be the object of worship for all mankind. The kingdom will be on an earth where the curse has been removed and where righteousness, peace, and prosperity are universal. Prior to the millennial kingdom there will be a resurrection of believers, and following the kingdom there will be a resurrection of unbelievers. The primary purpose of this period of time is to fulfill completely the covenant promises made to Abraham and his descendants. When this kingdom is over, the next phase of God's kingdom, the eternal state on a new earth, will commence.

The premillennial position is based squarely on a consistent, literal hermeneutic. A literal approach to the prophetic Scriptures leads one to believe that the promises made to Israel have not been fulfilled in the past and are not being fulfilled today. This mandates that they be fulfilled sometime in the future to national Israel, which means that the nation of Israel and the church of Jesus Christ must be kept distinct. This contrast between Israel and the church is a key to the premillennial position, and it is one of the primary ones that sets it apart from other systems of theology. (Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy, 100-101).
It's unfortunate that the sensationalism of some pre-millennialists (setting dates, ranting about the rapture and tribulation, endless speculation about the mark of the beast) has caused Christians to "throw out the baby with the bathwater," returning to an Augustinian eschatology that spiritualizes God's promises, misunderstands Christ's present fulfillment, and replaces Israel with the church.

I'm not interested in dueling with other Christians over this issue. It is not a hill to die on. I have much more in common with my Reformed brothers than I have in disagreement. But I do believe many Christians are depriving themselves of a truthful hope because of their misunderstanding of eschatology. I'm doing my best to keep an open mind, but the more I search the Scriptures, the more I favor premillennialism.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for that post. Very insightful.

    I was not aware that most reformed theologians are amil.

    Yes, sensationalism of some -- date setting and so on, is a distraction.

    Do you think this is a view the Church fathers held? I ask because it seems relatively new to me, and would help if I could see it in a more historic sense. ie: It's what the reformers and so on held to. ?

    Blessings!

    David

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  2. Oh, sorry to post again. . .

    I completely agree it's not a hill to die on!

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  3. Stephen, I could not agree more about the sensationalism that has and is going around with dispensational premillenialism, but I think there is more to differing views of eschatology than sensationalism, there are biblical arguments against premillenialism, just as your argument is biblical, not just emotional.

    Since there is no "dueling" allowed I will save any other comments for a dueling post (LOL).

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  4. Hi Marty, I totally agree there is more to differing views than sensationalism. There are some strong biblical arguments on both sides.

    However, I think it is fair to list this as at least one main critique against dispensationalism today. One of the most recent rebuttals of dispensationalism, the brand new DVD series "Late Great Planet Church," is obviously playing off Hal Linday's book and the more sensational side of dispensationalism.
    The DVD product description at Amazon begins, "Many Christians today read their Bibles through the lens of pop-prophecy books like The Late Great Planet Earth and the Left Behind Series. They naively believe the prophetic schemes and theological presuppositions expressed in these and other fictional writings represent the doctrinal positions that Christians down through the centuries have embraced. However, that is far from the truth..."

    The very premise of the video is partly to debunk sensationalism -- a method of biblical interpretation that many dispensationalists themselves would agree has been way over the top and doing more harm than good.

    As far as "dueling," I totally encourage respectful dialogue and even disagreement. I am happy to read and discuss other viewpoints. What I do want to avoid is "dueling," define by Merriam-Webster as a "conflict between antagonistic persons, ideas, or forces." I never want to engage in combat with my allies in the Gospel. There is a place for theolgical "sparring," if you will, but not "dueling."

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