Dispensational Premillennialism

If you are a Premillennialist (whether Dispensationalist or not), there are several things you must necessarily believe:

You must necessarily believe that physical death will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s second coming.You must necessarily believe that the natural creation will continue, beyond the time of Christ’s second coming, to be subjected to the curse imposed by the fall of man.You must necessarily believe that the New Heavens and New Earth will not be introduced until 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ.You must necessarily believe that unbelieving men and women will still have the opportunity to come to saving faith in Christ for at least 1,000 years subsequent to his return.You must necessarily believe that unbelievers will not be finally resurrected until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ.You must necessarily believe that unbelievers will not be finally judged and cast into eternal punishment until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. Amillennialists don’t see these beliefs being taught in Scripture. – Sam Storms


Short Response to Dr. MacArthur’s Comment on Amillenialism

Dr. Riddlebarger Replies to John MacArthur

Exegetical Analysis of Dispensationalism by Nathan Pitchford – highly recommended!

46 thoughts on “Dispensational Premillennialism

  1. I am SO confused by all this. I have dispensationalist friends that insist ‘covenant theology’ is the worst of errors and won’t even think of attending a church that promotes it (e.g. Michael Horton, White Horse Inn etc which I think are some of the most straight up gospel truth oriented pastors around!). And at the same time, they sure seem to agree with me (who considers herself a covenant theologian and rather amillenial, possibly semi-preterist, post-trib or mid-trib) when I explain my views on it. I would love a clear explanation of both sides. I just don’t ‘get’ dispensationalism.

  2. Dispensationalism is actually just an heurmenutic. It is a filter which is used by its proponents to view ALL SCRIPTURE through the lens of God having a separate DISPENSATION for the CHURCH than He does for Israel. If taken to extremes, it is heretical. The viciousness that its proponents have in defending it should be a huge red flag for us.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Mike,

    In your hermeneutic what significance – if any – do you apply to the resurrection of national Israel and the retun of the Jew (according to the flesh) to the promised land?

    Just curious.

  4. CD,

    Unlike a lot of non-dispensationalists, I do not believe that God is not going to pour his spirit out on the Jews at the end, but that has nothing to do with the nation of Israel.

    In Christ

    Mike Raltiff

  5. I don’t plan on dragging this out on your blog – or via e-mail, or anywhere else for that matter – but based on your response would it be fair to say that you place no significance on the aforementioned events?

  6. CD,

    I didn’t say that. I said that I do not believe that we can place any significance with understanding on anything like that and say that it definitely means x or y. I am an Amillennialist. Believe it or not, that does not equate to heresy. It is the common eschatological understanding of the church until dispensationism came along in the late 19th Century. I have many links here about Amillennialism. I suggest you study it. At least then you would understand where I am coming from.:-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  7. Amen Mike! It took me and the wife years to get out of the pre mill dispy mode and be taught right. As you know, we are also Covenant Reformed Amill all the way. It was so sobering when we first learned this. We had studied all the other ways except Amill. I guess God just saves the best for last. It went down SO sweet, and then about 3 days later, it was very bitter. Its not an itching ear feely good message to know you WILL suffer for your faith and go through the tribulation and trials. BUT, the truth is the truth and THAT is what counts. And for those who really want to know the truth no matter what, they’ll see it sooner or later if they are really His. Study, you have to study.

  8. I’ve studied eschatology and know where you’re coming from – in a loose sense – but as you know, individuals invariably vary in their worldviews based on how they view and approach scripture.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  9. And yes Mike, taken to the extreme, disp. pre mill IS heretical AND dangerous. These people think they have time, 7 years worth. THAT is dangerous. There are NO second chances. We hope they (pre mill disp) are right!! Who wants to go through the mess. But note Jesus never took anyone out of the situations but went THROUGH it with them and protected them. F-A-I-T-H in Him.

  10. Paul, The second chance thing is the biggest reason I can’t buy in. That makes no sense to me. I will take it though!! Just like the pre rapture theory, I’ll take it!:) Plus I can’t see the extra resurrections. I guess if I were taught this in the first place maybe it would be easier to understand?

  11. Rapture timing and millenial timing are different animals. I believe in a post tribulation rapture all the way. I just believe that Jesus will usher in the millenium and rule from earth for 1000 years when he comes.

  12. Rachel,

    Then you must also believe this: You must necessarily believe that physical death will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s second coming. You must necessarily believe that the natural creation will continue, beyond the time of Christ’s second coming, to be subjected to the curse imposed by the fall of man. You must necessarily believe that the New Heavens and New Earth will not be introduced until 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. You must necessarily believe that unbelieving men and women will still have the opportunity to come to saving faith in Christ for at least 1,000 years subsequent to his return. You must necessarily believe that unbelievers will not be finally resurrected until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. You must necessarily believe that unbelievers will not be finally judged and cast into eternal punishment until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Mike,
    For the most part yes, you have stated what I believe. There are a few differences. I will address each or your points on my belief to make sure that my view is clearly relayed.
    1. Yes, I believe death will exist for 1000 years or more after Christ’s second coming.
    2. Yes, I belive the natural creation will exist during this time but No not under the complete curse that happened at the fall. All of the curse will be lifted except Death.
    3. No, I believe there will be a new heaven and a new earth at the time of Christ’s return. New in the sense of Noah’s new heaven and new earth.
    4. I believe every living tribulation survivor entering into the millenial kingdom on earth will be a believer when they see Jesus returning in the flesh and of course they have NOT taken the mark of the beast. Example: Jews (144K) turning to Christ and mourning for Him when they SEE him. BUT, the offspring of those entering the millenium will have the choice to believe or not believe so in that sense there will eventually be non-believers in the millenial kingdom. (like the arc)
    5. Yes, I believe that dead unbelievers will not be finally resurrected until the end of the 1000 years.
    6. The anti-christ and false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire alive at Christs’ coming. According to the sheep and goats judgement at the beginning of the millenium, many will enter into eternal punishment at that time and the righteous will enter into eternal life at that time as well. There will still be a general resurrection of the dead sometime shortly after the 1000 years is completed.

    So these are my beliefs.

    Love in Christ,

  14. Rachel, Study the Amill view without any of the ‘other’ glasses on. It is the only way you will see it and understand it.

  15. Rachel, if that is what you believe then you must also discount Jesus’ own words that when He comes back, that’s it. People are judged, cast into the lake of fire, etc. When Jesus comes back, and He will, it is to bring this age to an end and begin the age to come which is not a return to forms and shadows, death and rebellion, etc. No, when He comes back it is the culmination of everything under His feet and Lordship.
    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  16. Mike,
    Jesus will rule and reign until he puts everything under His feet. For now we are to pray that His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I do not believe that His will is being done on earth as it is in heaven, but I do believe that time will come during the millenium. I believe that all of the old testament prophecies will come true at that time.

    And NO I must not discount Jesus own words. In fact I don’t discount Jesus own words. I also do not discount His inspired words in the Revelation, Isaiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, and other OT prophets. I have come to realize that I do not have to understand every nuance of the scripture to KNOW without a doubt at all that EVERY single prophecy in scripture will come true. I do not have to have everything in a nutshell and know how everything reconciles together. I just know all prophecies WILL reconcile to one another. I study to show myself approved. By the grace of God I am Spirit led.

    Love in Christ,

  17. Rachel,

    He is ruling and reigning with a rod of iron right now. Who are his subjects? His people and all of creation. You are right about those prophecies coming true, but who says that the way you understand them is what they mean or are meant to be understood? That is my point. You will never hear me say that certain prophices won’t be fulfilled. However, as you said, we don’t understand everything, therefore, why make statements that say otherwise?

    One of the things that is missing from these discussions and I tried to bring it up in my last comment is that the Bible never contridicts itself. You can’t make certain things from O.T. prophecies say thus and so when our Lord says something that is entirely differnt from it. etc. You claim to be Spirit-led. I pray that I am. That is why Dispenstionalism is something I left behind long ago and will never go back to it. God is sovereign, not people. He knows the beginning from the end, not people. Therefore, I simply state that it is a very unbiblical thing to look at current events and say thus and so because that is from some prophecy. We don’t know this. Also, the way these prophecies will be fulfilled will be for our Lord’s glory alone.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  18. I fail to understand that if Christ is ruling with a rod of iron, why is Satan not bound? If you argue that he is, be prepared for my sincere scepticism.

  19. Bill,

    Jesus is ruling with a rod of iron in His Kingdom. That Kingdom is where He is and within His people only. Satan is bound in that he can’t keep the Gospel from working in the hearts of the elect. Are you in Christ Bill? If you are the it is because Satan was bound from stealing the truth from your heart keeping you in bondage to your sins. Is Satan bound from ruling his Kingdom win the hearts and minds of the reprobate? No. He is still the God of this age, but he is bound when it comes to Christ’s Kingdom.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  20. Mike,
    Doesn’t the context of Rev. 21 argue that Satan is bound from exerting his malevolent intent over the nations of the earth? Thanks,

  21. Mike, Revelation 20 it is! “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.is the passage”

  22. Yes, the nations are you and I. It is all people. He cannot deceive those whom God is drawing unto Himself. He will be released right at the end of this age. This is the tribulation when he is released. The tribulation is what gives birth to the age to come. We are in this age and the age to come begins at the end of the trib.

  23. Bill, We are in that ‘season’ now. Satan has been released to fool the nations, his time is short, why do you think all the ‘churches’ have gone goofy. The 1000 years is going on now! And Jesus is coming soon. What do you think the harlot church is? Its all the false ones who are convinced they are right. The delusion has been sent to them to believe the lie. Gods elect are to come out of her lest they partake in her sins. So we did:)

  24. Amen, and it’s all supernatural because when you look back you know that God was the one bringing you out of that darkness and into the light of truth. For His Glory alone. It is amazing!

  25. Dear Mike,
    Just a couple things.

    This is the return of Christ:

    Revelation 19:14-16, “And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he WILL rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the WRATH of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” So He WILL rule them. This is His return. Praise the Lord!


    Revelation 20:4, “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.” These people had to resist the mark – A MARK WHICH HAS NOT YET COME OUT. They had to die. They had to come back to life (the first resurrection, the following verse says). And when they came to life in the vision, this BEGINS the thousand years. Therefore, this cannot be the thousand years now.

    Do you not believe in the beast? His mark? The tribulation? Is it all figurative? What is, and what is not, and how do you decide?

    Your sister in Christ,

  26. Mike,
    Above you said:
    “the nations are you and I. It is all people.”
    Which is it, you and I (believers) or all people?
    I ask because if the nations are believers, then why is he ruling us with a rod of iron? (meaning he uses the rod of iron to break us like pottery). And if it is all people, then that means satan isn’t keeping anyone from Christ, no one has the seed stolen away because he is locked up from everyone.

    Are the scriptures errant? It says satan is “shut up” during the 1000 years and that he deceives the nations “no more”. So he is either shut up and can’t deceive anyone (believers or unbelievers according to your statement) or he is not shut up because we are not in the 1000 years.

  27. Sharon,

    Good to hear from you again! The problem is that most people assume that Revelation is in exact chronological order. A-mil folks, like me, believe that Revelation 20 is parenthetical pause that shows us the present age with Satan bound from being able to decieve people from the Gospel. That is his binding. When was he bound? It started with Jesus coming and culminated at the cross and ressurection of our Lord.

    Since I am not an Amil expert and I haven’t reached this part of the the study yet I can only surmise here. Yes, I believe there will be a beast. What is the mark? I have no idea except those in Christ won’t receive it. Is this symbolic of God’s mark on His people and Satan’s mark on his seed? I don’t know.

    This is the criteria I am using right now. I try very hard to NOT make concrete “assumptions” based on these things. If something is highly symbolic such as these passages then how can I apply them conretely? I can’t I contend that those who try to do so will find that they will be constantly changling their views. I am content with this, I am the Lord’s and I am in His hands. He will give me understanding of these things in His timing. Since that hasn’t happend yet on these things then I refuse to make those assumptions…yet.:-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  28. Rachel,

    The nations are all people. He is ruling His people with a rod of iron now and will rule those who are not His people at the judgment.

    Satan’s binding is specifically that he cannot keep people whom God draws into salvation from being saved. Can he still deceive people and tempt people? Yes! The non-elect are deceived in themselves. Satan is working, but he has no power to stop me or you from being saved.

    The scriptures are not in error, but those who try to interpret them with a faulty heurmenutic are very much in error. That faulty heurmenutic says that the Old Testament inteprets the New Testament when we all know that it is the other way around.:-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  29. Mike,
    Thank you for answering so honestly. I don’t think any of us can know it all neatly. But rather than study a-mil or any-mil:-), I think we would all be better off studying the Word alone and asking the Holy Spirit to interpret. I only say this because learning “pre-trib” so thoroughly, as a newborn in the Lord, indoctrinated me in a false teaching. And teachings by men all have error of some kind, whereas we know the Bible does not have any (even if it is maddening to try to comprehend it!). I think of all those precious Catholics who have been indoctrinated so deeply that to undo the brainwashing takes a miracle of God. I pray every day for discernment and just ask the Lord to protect my mind…even if He sees fit to disclose certain things to me only at the end.:-)

    Praise the Lord that we DO know “…now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    I don’t call myself pre-mil, because to tell you the truth, I don’t know what pre-mils believe and I don’t want to know. I would rather just study the Word and trust the Holy Spirit and not be concerned with neatly packaged theories from anyone…well, other than Paul, or John, or Peter, or James…or Jesus! (You get the idea!)

    ~Love you in Christ~

  30. I think that is a wise approach Sharon. We certainly cannot sever fellowship with those whose endtime views ARE set in concrete, but we also cannot become totally bogged down in unfruitful arguing about it either.:-)

  31. Does the Lord need a literal ‘mark’ on our head to recognize us? I don’t think so. But will there be a literal mark on people that the government says you will have it or you won’t do any kind of buisness? Yes it is very possible. We have to wait and watch things unfold. Very wise statement Mike……..the N.T. interprets the O.T. I wonder who started it that the Old interprets the New?

  32. Premils believe that we are now in the period of time before the millenium and awaiting the second coming of Christ for His church. Premils also believe in a literal, normal interpretation of scriptrure, rather than “spiritualizing” prophecy. I believe premillenarians demonstrate a higher hermeneutic, letting scripture speak for itself rather than foisting artificial interpretations on plain statements.

  33. Someone read my last response and asked if I was or was not premil. I just want to clarify that in the sense of “pre” (before) “millennial” (thousand years), yes, I am premil – I take the Scriptures at face value for what they say – that Christ returns and then there is a thousand year reign. I said in my last post that I was not categorizing myself as premil simply because to do so may mean many additional things of which I am unaware, since the terms of all 4 camps are relatively new to me and I have not studied all of what they entail.

    Just to be clear!

    God bless.:-)

  34. Bill,
    Dispensationalism, taken to extreme, is unbiblical because it teaches a that Israel and the Church are separate and are saved in different ways. I will not be part of anything that teaches that. You can believe what you want. This comment section is a horrible way to get into this so I will simply suggest that you actually study what Amillinialism teaches rather than believing the rants from people like Pentecost and Ryrie.
    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  35. Mike,
    First, thank you! You are most definitely still my brother and I love you!:-)

    I just want to say, I assumed before that you were avoiding premillennialism because you were associating it with dispensationalism (since you entitled this blog “dispensational premillennialism” which I don’t see as an accurate coupling of terms)…now I see that I am correct. You are fearful of the whole idea of premillennialism because somehow you came to associate it with dispys. I don’t blame you after my pre-trib experience, which IS dispensational at its core! Also, many dispys believe in premillennialism, but all premillennialists do not believe in dispensationalism. Do you think you are applying “dispensationalism,” as it is taught as a doctrine, to this correctly…or maybe unfairly? I do not believe as the dispensationalists do AT ALL. But I do believe there IS this age and then the millennium (whereas the dispensationalists believe all sorts of stuff read into the Word that is not there). Is it not possible that there is a millennial reign that begins at the end of the age, but it should not be confused with “dispensationalism” as a whole? You yourself believe we are in the “thousand years” and that “dispensation” (for lack of an unsoiled word!) began when Christ came to die for us, right?

    Thank you for taking the time for all this. I hope your eyes have not rolled back in your head with all that confusing rambling! :-)

  36. Sharon,

    My argument is against Dispensationalism. Historic Premillenialism is much closer to Postmil and Amil than one might think.:-) I consider Dispensationalism a very faulty hermenutic that colors how one reads every part of the Bible, hence the challenge above.:-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  37. Mike,
    We agree on this – Dispensationalism is a very faulty hermeunetic. I think I have to bow out of the discussion now at your challenge, though, because I am too scared to read a whole book that might confuse the plainness of the Word for me as pre-trib books did. I sincerely hope you have taken my posts in the love in which they were sent.:-) I was only interested in what YOU saw from the Word, (no offense to Dr. Riddlbarger!).

    If I ever do feel comfortable enough to read it, I will be back! Until then, see you on your other posts.

    Blessings brother,

  38. This discussion is proving my point. To make hit and run comments on a subject like this is not what this blog is about. Also, I find it very interesting that I have four pages on Eschatology yet this one is the only one in which this happens. Why? What is it about Dispensationalism that brings out these frenetic, testy comments from its proponents? There is something very wrong with this. I have read comments here and in some of my other eschatology posts from people who make statements based entirely on what some person at Dallas Theological Seminary has said instead of using scripture to back up their points.

    Therefore, here is the challenge. I will no longer accept comments deriding Amillenialsim from anyone unless they first agree to read Dr. Riddlbarger’s book – A Case for Amillenialsim. Then after reading it you can attempt to make your points against his thesis, but there will no longer be any comments here attacking anyone’s position from a basis of OPINION.
    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  39. Mike,

    I agree with your view of dispensationalism. There is only ONE way to the Father and that is through His son Jesus Christ!:-)

    If I had to put myself in a ‘box’ I would say I believe in historic pre-millenialism. NO DARBY OR SCOFIELD!! I could go on and on about those two, but I wont:-)

    I accidently came across Scofields history and then googled him. WOW. What an eye opener.

    Glad to see you don’t think we (historic pre-millenialists) are too far apart.

    Your sister in Christ,

  40. Amen Mike! As you know, we have read Kims book. WONDERFUL. So easy to read for us ‘simple folk’ :) We have quite a few Amill books. One is called The End Times Made Simple by Samuel E.Waldron. He is a Covenant Reformed Baptist. A ‘real’ one too! lol Its also easy to read and understand just like Kims book is. So clear you can’t miss it.

  41. I just went through a time of looking into dispy beliefs out of fear I was one. No, I am not the classic Scofield and Darby dispy. You see, I believe in Covenant theology but that the Covenants were/are for dispensations of times in history. Unfortunately, the erroneous dispensation theology is what is being taught and no one realizes that there is one that does not conflict with Reformed/Covenant. The erroneous dispy beliefs started in the mid 1500’s by a Jesuit who wanted to get Christians focus off of the Pope as the Antichrist. However, some of his writings were sure to get him on the Catholic Church’s no-read list. This was what he wanted because that would mean the Protestants would read it. Thing is, as a Jesuit he would not be read, so he changed his name to ben Ezra and made himself out to be a rabbi. Such deceit! By the late 1700’s it was a book of all books to get in England and it was read and studied and propounded on by many theologians. On down to Darby and Scofield. Some studies even changed it back to the Pope being the Anti Christ. Right teaching is rather crucial! I will look into your other articles and links. Thanks, Mike.

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