Historic premillennialism

Historic premillennialism is one of the two premillennial systems of Christian eschatology, with the other being dispensational premillennialism.[1] It differs from dispensational premillennialism in that it only has one view of the rapture, and does not require a literal seven-year tribulation (though some adherents do believe in a seven-year tribulation). Historic premillennialists hold to a post-tribulational rapture, meaning the church is raised to meet Christ in the air after the trials experienced during the Great Tribulation.[2] Historic premillennialism does not require that apocalyptic prophecies be interpreted literally.[3][4] The doctrine is called "historic" because many early church fathers appear to have held it, including Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Papias.[5] Post-tribulational premillennialism is the Christian eschatological view that the second coming of Jesus Christ will occur prior to a thousand-year reign of the saints but subsequent to the Great Apostasy (and to any tribulation).


Papias was an early advocate of Millennialism[6]

Premillennialism is a view alternative to both postmillennialism, which teaches that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur after a thousand-year period of righteousness, and to amillennialism, which teaches that the thousand-year period is not meant to be taken literally but is the current church/messianic age. The two major species of premillennialism are historic and dispensational premillennialism, the latter of which is associated with pre-tribulational and mid-tribulational views. See the summary of Christian eschatological differences.

A major difference between historic and dispensational premillennialism is the view of the church in relation to Israel. Historic premillennialists do not see so sharp a distinction between Israel and the church as the dispensationalists do, but instead view believers of all ages as part of one group, now revealed as the body of Christ. Thus, historic premillennialists see no issue with the church going through the Great Tribulation, and their system does not require a separate pre-tribulational rapture of some believers as the dispensational system does.


Premillennialism was supported by in the early church by Papias,[6] Irenaeus, Justin Martyr,[5] Tertullian,[7] Pseudo-Barnabas,[8] Methodius, Lactantius,[9] Commodianus,[10] Theophilus,[11] Melito,[12] Hippolytus of Rome, Victorinus of Pettau,[13][14] Nepos, Julius Africanus, Commodianus, Tatian[15] and Montanus.[16] However, the premillennial views of Montanus probably affected the later rejection of premillennialism in the Church, as Montanism was seen as a heresy.[15]

Proponents of historic premillennialism include Baptists, Presbyterians, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and several Evangelical groups. Individual proponents of historic premillennialism include: John Gill,[17] Robert Shank, Charles Spurgeon, Mike Bickle,[17][18] Benjamin Wills Newton (a contemporary and fierce theological rival of the father of dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby), George Eldon Ladd,[19] Albert Mohler,[20] Clarence Bass, John Piper,[21] Francis Schaeffer, D. A. Carson,[22][23][24] Gordon Clark,[17] Bryan Chapell,[25] and Carl F. H. Henry.[26]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Reverend Doctor Stephen Call "Overview of Eschatology"(2019)
  2. ^ Reverend Doctor Stephen Call "Premillennialism"(2021)
  3. ^ Reverend Doctor Stephen Call "Historic Premillennialism" (2019)
  4. ^ Moody Handbook of Theology
  5. ^ a b "Historic Premillennialism". Monergism. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b Davies and Allison. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Volume 1, ICC. p. 13.
  7. ^ Chung, Sung Wook; Mathewson, David L. (2018-08-27). Models of Premillennialism. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-5326-3769-8.
  8. ^ ”Among the Apostolic Fathers Barnabas is the first and the only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth. He considers the Mosaic history of the creation a type of six ages of labor for the world, each lasting a thousand years, and of a millennium of rest, since with God ‘one day is as a thousand years.’ Millennial Sabbath on earth will be followed by an eight and eternal day in a new world, of which the Lord’s Day (called by Barnabas ‘the eighth day’) is the type" (access The Epistle of Barnabas here). Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n.d.) 382.
  9. ^ Insruct. adv. Gentium Deos, 43, 44.
  10. ^ According to the Encyclopedia of the Early ChurchCommodian (mid 3rd c.) takes up the theme of the 7000 years, the last of which is the millennium (Instr. II 35, 8 ff.).” M. Simonetti, “Millenarism,” 560.
  11. ^ Against Marcion, book 3 chp 25
  12. ^ Simonetti writes in the Encyclopedia of the Early Church “We know that Melito was also a millenarian" regarding Jerome's reference to him as a chiliast. M. Simonetti, “Millenarism,” 560.
  13. ^ Note this is Victorinus of Pettau not Marcus Piav(v)onius Victorinus the Gaelic Emperor
  14. ^ In his Commentary on Revelation and from the fragment De Fabrica Mundi (Part of a commentary on Genesis). Jerome identifies him as a premillennialist.
  15. ^ a b Foster, K. Neill; Fessenden, David E. (2007-02-01). Essays on Premillennialism: A Modern Reaffirmation of an Ancient Doctrine. Moody Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60066-959-0.
  16. ^ Foster, K. Neill; Fessenden, David E. (2007-02-01). Essays on Premillennialism: A Modern Reaffirmation of an Ancient Doctrine. Moody Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60066-959-0.
  17. ^ a b c W. Gary Crampton (February 1999). "Review of A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith by Robert L. Reymond". The Trinity Review. The Trinity Foundation. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  18. ^ Charles H. Spurgeon and Eschatology Archived 2007-08-05 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Direction: A Commentary on the Revelation of John
  20. ^ Al Mohler at Dauphin Way Baptist Church, March 29, 2009
  21. ^ "Definitions and Observations Concerning the Second Coming of Christ". Desiring God. 1987-08-30. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  22. ^ "Evangelical Free Church". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "DA Carson Stats". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  24. ^ "Third Millennium Ministries".
  25. ^ Awitness4Jesus (2017-07-30), What Is Historic Premillennialism? - Bryan Chapell, archived from the original on 2021-12-15, retrieved 2018-11-21

Further readingEdit

  • Blomberg, Craig L. & Chung, Sung Wook, eds. A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to "Left Behind" Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2009. ISBN 978-0-801-03596-8
  • Mathewson, David & Chung, Sung Wook, Models of Premillennialism. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018. ISBN 9781532637711
  • Ladd, George. "The Blessed Hope." Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. ISBN 0-8028-1111-6

External linksEdit