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Historic premillennialism is the designation made by premillenialists, now also known as post-tribulational premillennialism. The doctrine is called "historic" because many early church fathers (such as Ireneaus, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Papias) appear to have held it.[1] 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).



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. Historics 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 they do not need a separate pre-tribulational rapture of some believers as the dispensational system requires.

D.A. Carson summarizes the historic premilennial view versus the amillennial view, claiming:

The most compelling reason to affirm historic premillennialism is a number of Scriptures that do not easily fit into any other pattern. It's as simple as that. Conceptually, the best of amillennialism is very close to the best of historic premillennialism. But passages, not only Revelation 20, but Isaiah 65, which speaks of a time coming when a young man dies at the age of a hundred, and no one will be dying really young, it sounds like a time of great blessing that is shy of resurrection existence in the new heaven and the new earth. And although some of my amillennial friends say that this is a symbol-laden way of talking about those things, yet elsewhere in the book of Isaiah the prophet is quite able to talk about eternal longevity. This still sounds like a peak that is not final peak, and because of this half-dozen or so of really awkward passages — awkward, that is, for any other system, although historic premillennialism is conceptually messy — it, in my view, best handles some of these passages on an exegetical basis.[1]


Proponents of historic premillennialism include Baptists, Presbyterians, and several Evangelical groups. Individual proponents of historic premillennialism include: John Gill,[2] Robert Shank, Charles Spurgeon,[2][3] Benjamin Wills Newton (a contemporary and fierce theological rival of the father of dispensationalism John Nelson Darby), George Eldon Ladd,[4] Albert Mohler,[5] Clarence Bass, John Piper,[6] Francis Schaeffer, D. A. Carson,[7][8][9] Gordon Clark,[2] James Montgomery Boice,[10] Bryan Chapell,[11] and Carl F. H. Henry[12].

See alsoEdit

  • Book of Revelation
  • 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.
  • Ladd, George. "The Blessed Hope." Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. ISBN 0-8028-1111-6


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