PREMILLENNIALISM AND HISTORY

PREMILLENNIALISM AND HISTORY

Gary DeMar

The place to begin to evaluate the assertion that premillennialism was the only view of the early church would be to survey the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers. [1] Of course, this is beyond the scope of this brief paper. Instead, I will first deal with the obvious historical errors made by dispensational authors. Second, I will evaluate the prevailing but erroneous view that premillennialism was the adopted millennial position prior to the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, at least as it is articulated today. Third, I will answer the contention that the preterist interpretation of was unknown prior to Nicea (fourth century).

J. Dwight Pentecost writes the following about Justin Martyr’s (c. 100-165) evaluation of non-premillennial views in the second century:

Justin evidently recognized premillennialism as “the criterion of a perfect orthodoxy.” In his Dialogue with Trypho, where he writes: “some who are called Christians but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistical, and foolish,” he shows he would include any who denied premillennialism in this category, since he included in it those that denied the resurrection, a companion doctrine. [2]

Unfortunately, Pentecost was quoting a secondary source and failed to check the original. Just prior to the sentence that Pentecost quotes, Justin had written:

I am not so miserable a fellow, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly, that I and many [3] others are of this opinion, and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think other wise. [4]

Pentecost overstates his case for premillennialism. In fact, there were some in the second century–Justin says “many”–who did not agree with Justin’s eschatological perspective. Justin is charitable and wise enough to state that they too “belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians.”

The heretics that Justin describes are those “who say there is no resurrection of the dead.” [5] Those who hold to a different millennial position are said to “belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians.” Those who deny the resurrection “are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics.”

[6] It’s obvious that Justin has two groups in mind: those who disagree on eschatology (“true Christians) and those who deny the resurrection (“called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics”).

Charles Ryrie maintains that “Premillennialism is the historic faith of the Church.” [7] But not all agree. Take, for example, a Master’s Thesis presented to the faculty of the Department of Historical Theology of Dallas Theological Seminary, a dispensational premillennial school. The author writes that “he originally undertook the thesis to bolster the system by patristic research, but the evidence of the original sources simply disallowed this.” His following comments show that premillenialism, contrary to Ryrie and other premillennialists, is not the historic faith of the Church:

It is the conclusion of this thesis that Dr. Ryrie’s statement is historically invalid within the chronological framework of this thesis. The reasons for this conclusion are as follows: 1). the writers/ writings surveyed did not generally adopt a consistently applied literal interpretation; 2). they did not generally distinguish between the Church and Israel; 3). there is no evidence that they generally held to a dispensational view of revealed history; 4). although Papias and Justin Martyr did believe in a Millennial kingdom, the 1,000 years is the only basic similarity with the modern system (in fact, they and dispensational premillennialism radically differ on the basis for the Millennium); 5). they had no concept of imminency or a pretribulational rapture of the Church; 6). in general, their eschatological chronology is not synonymous with that of the modern system. Indeed, this thesis would conclude that the eschatological beliefs of the period studied would be generally inimical [i.e., contrary] to those of the modern system (perhaps, seminal amillennialism, and not nascent [i.e., emerging] dispensational premillennialism ought to be seen in the eschatology of the period). [8]

So then, it’s amillennialism that shows up in the early church. Amillennialism and postmillennialism are very similar in that many of the millennial blessings are manifested during the “church age,” and there is no personal reign of Christ on the earth. A reading of will show that there is no mention of an earthly reign of Christ, a rebuilt temple, the institution of animal sacrifices, or the reestablishment of the throne of David. Boyd continues in his work by challenging his fellow-dispensationalists “to be more familiar with, and competent in, patristics, [9] so as to avoid having to rely on second-hand evidence in patristic interpretation.” He suggests that “it would seem wise for the modern system [of dispensational premillennialism] to abandon the claim that it is the historic faith of the church (for at least the period considered).” [10]

Another graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary comes to a similar conclusion relating to a pretribulation rapture, a major pillar of dispensationalism: “An intensive examination of the writings of pretribulational scholars reveals only one passage from the early fathers which is put forth as a possible example of explicit pretribulationalism.” [11]

A “Hint” of Evidence

Where, then, is the historical evidence for premillennialism? What was once considered insurmountable evidence, has now turned out to be scant evidence. This conclusion is made even by scholars from within the dispensational camp.

Tommy Ice says that “there’s absolutely no one in the early church that even gives a hint that they believe that things were fulfilled in 70 A.D.” But according to Justin, there were people who did hold a non-premillennial position. This is at least a “hint” of something else, perhaps even the possibility of an A.D. 70 fulfillment.

Since we do not have all the opinions of the church fathers, or of all the teachers and preachers of that period, it is impossible to be dogmatic concerning what the early church believed about eschatology. We do know, however, that the early church was not unanimous in its view of the millennium, contrary to what Pentecost, Ice, and other dispensationalists might assert. In fact, we should not put too much confidence in the views of the early church since they were often mistaken on more fundamental doctrines. Boyd writes:

It is this writer’s conviction that historical precedent cannot be employed to disprove a system of belief, but only Biblical precedent. There is much error in the Fathers studied in other areas of theology (e.g., soteriology–incipient baptismal regeneration, a weak view of justification; ecclesiology–incipient sacerdotalism), so it should be no occasion for surprise that there is much eschatological error there. [12]

One last point needs to be made. Tommy Ice claims that no one in the early church believed in an A.D. 70 fulfillment of much of the prophetic literature, especially . This would indeed be a strong argument for a dispensationalist like Tommy Ice against postmillennialism if it could be proved to be true. Yet, Eusebius, who was present at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, and “played a very prominent part” [13] in its proceedings, believed in a preterist interpretation of . This is an important point since there are some who asserts that the Nicene Creed advocates premillennialism. Again, Ice overstates his case by maintaining that “there’s absolutely no one” who held to an A.D. 70 fulfillment. Only one person has to be found to prove him wrong.

Eusebius, in recounting the writings of Josephus and his recounting of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, writes that it is fitting to add to these accounts the true prediction of our Savior in which he foretold these very events. His words are as follows: “Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

The discerning reader will recognize that these verses are found in , verses that dispensationalists say are yet to be fulfilled. But Eusebius tells us that “these things took place in this manner in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, [14] in accordance with the prophecies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who by divine power saw them beforehand as if they were already present, and wept and mourned according to the statement of the holy evangelists. . . . .” [15] What statement of the holy evangelists? Eusebius quotes verses from Luke’s description of the destruction of Jerusalem: . The passages in parallel those in .

The Nicene Creed

If premillennialism was the unanimous belief of the early church fathers, then why don’t the earliest creeds reflect this belief? The Nicene Creed (fourth century) does not support any single millennial position. It states: “And He shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. . . . And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.” This “coming” refers to Jesus returning to judge, not to reign on the earth. Premillennialists, postmillennialists, and amillennialists can and do confess this creed and have done so for centuries.

But Tommy Ice is not satisfied with the general eschatological view of the Nicene Creed. He is eager to have it read as a premillennial tract. He tells us that “their own written document interprets the final statement as a future kingdom.” The following is quoted by Tommy Ice as a commentary on the Nicene Creed that he maintains was written by the creed’s framers: [16]

The world was made less on account of God’s providence, for God knew beforehand that man would sin. For that reason we look forward to new heavens and a new earth according to the Holy Scriptures: the appearance in the Kingdom of our Great God and Savior, who will become visible to us. And as Daniel says, “The holy ones of the Most High shall receive the Kingdom.” And there will be a pure holy earth, the land of the living and not of the dead, of which David, seeing with eye of faith, is speaking (): “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”–the land of the meek and humble. [17]

Let’s suppose for a moment that this “commentary” on the Nicene Creed is official [18] and that it does teach premillennialism… Full article here
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FOOTNOTES

[1] Ante-Nicene has reference to the writings of the early church prior to the drafting of the Nicene Creed in A.D. 325.

[2] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, [1958] 1974), 377.

[3] Notice that he does not say “all.”

[4] Justin, “Dialogue with Trypho,” chapter LXXX. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985), 1:239. Emphasis added.

[5] Justin, “Dialogue with Trypho,” 239.

[6] Justin, “Dialogue with Trypho,” 239.

[7] Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: Loiseaux Brothers, 1953), 17.

[8] Alan Patrick Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr), submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Theology (May 1977), 90-91.

[9] Patristics: Relating to the church fathers (from the Latin pater) and/or their writings.

[10] Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr), 92. In a footnote on this same page, Boyd questions the historical accuracy of the research done on the early church fathers by George N. H. Peters in his much consulted three-volume work, The Theocratic Kingdom (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, [1884] 1988). Boyd sides with the evaluation of the amillennialist Louis Berkhof when he writes that “it is not correct to say, as Premillenarians do, that it (millennialism) was generally accepted in the first three centuries. The truth of the matter is that the adherents of this doctrine were a rather limited number.” (Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines [London: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1937) 1969], 262).

[11] William Everett Bell, A Critical Evaluation of the Pretribulation Rapture Doctrine in Christian Eschatology (School of Education of New York University, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, 1967), 27. Emphasis added.

[12] Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers, 91, note 2.

[13] Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Prolegomena: The Life and Writings of Eusebius of Caesaria, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, eds. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans [1890] 1986), 19.

[14] September 8, A.D. 70.

[15] These quotations from Eusebius are found in The Church History of Eusebius, “Predictions of Christ,” Book III, Chapter VII.

[16] This material was included in a letter written by Tommy Ice to Pastor John A. Gilley, November 13, 1987.

[17] Tommy Ice offers no bibliographical information for this quotation. Although there are a number of differences in translation, this quotation can be found in Historia Actorum Concilii Niceni, quoted in J.W. Brooks, Elements of Prophetical Interpretation (London: R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1836), 55.

[18] Church historian Philip Schaff writes: “Official minutes of the transactions [of the Council] were not at that time made; only the decrees as adopted were set down in writing and subscribed by all (comp. Euseb[ius] Vita Const[antine]. iii. 14). All later accounts of voluminous acts of the council are sheer fabrications (comp. Hefele, i. p. 249 sqq.).” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 vols. [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, [1910] 1979], 3:622.

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24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (ESV)

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (ESV)

24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (ESV)

24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (ESV)

19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (ESV)

42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Luke 21:20

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.

Luke 21:23-24

23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (ESV)

21:1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him. (ESV)

24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (ESV)

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living! (ESV)

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1 comment for “PREMILLENNIALISM AND HISTORY

  1. Errol Francis
    February 24, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I got a lot out of your article millennium and history. It is good to see some one who has honest research. My style of faith is pentecostal of the variety that looks to see the Kingdom of God increased and then completed when Jesus returns. Possibly what the rapture is about is the saints meeting Christs as He returns and knowing that they will then be with Him forever. Almost immediately after that the resurrection of all others occurs and the saints get the New creation as their destiny and the wicked get the lake of fire. So this is a little of post-millennial and a millennium thinking. I know AOG-USA is pee-millennial and dispensational but I regard that as a shame as the founders of Pentecostal faith were closer to my understanding. ( I have a kindle book on Amazon Lord Jesus revive us and return to us. You may not like it.) But I would appreciate commeNt on my stablemen above. Errol

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