Pre-Mill Dispensationalism and Historical Premillennialism Problems?


I'm a Pre-Mill Dispensationalist and studying Historic Premillennialism. However, I read your answer regarding Israel and the church and was wondering if you have observed any other errors in either interpretative system?


Thanks for your question. It is important to study such issues. I hope you find this answer as rewarding as the other one.

For convenience sake I will use the abbreviations: (1) PD for Pre-Mill Dispensationalism and (2) HP for Historical Premillennialism.

Though some churches and teachers still teach it, PD is all but an abandoned system now for Biblical interpretation. Thankfully many have seen the error of their ways. There are far too many errors to catalogue without writing a book. Some versions of PD list over 20 separate events regarding the end time. Though this may vary widely depending upon which teacher of PD you speak too, some of their main points are: (1) seven separate and distinct dispensations; (2) eight different covenants; (3) two Second Comings; (4) three to four different resurrections; and (5) four judgments (possibly more). But their assertions can't be proven from Scripture, so they often resort to large charts to attempt to convince others of their doctrine. I'm not sure if all the Dead Sea Scrolls together could have contained even one enormous PD chart.

As PD is a false system of Biblical interpretation, so also is HP. A few of the errors I observe in HP are:

Two Completely Separate Resurrections Error:

HP teaches: (1) the resurrection of the righteous at the beginning of the millennium and (2) the resurrection of the wicked at the end of millennium.

However, the Bible teaches:

John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Acts 24:15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

As shown in these inspired texts (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21) as opposed to "the doctrines of men" (cf. Matt. 15:9; Col. 2:22), both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected from their graves at the same time ("an hour" (singular), not hours; "a resurrection" (singular), not resurrections). Indeed, "all" those in their graves all at once will be resurrected.

1000 Year Error:

HP teaches that the resurrection of the righteous will happen 1000 years before the destruction of the earth. In PD the time increases to 1007 years.

However, Scripture teaches that the resurrection happens at the same time; on the Last Day:

John 6:39-40, 44, 54 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 11:24 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

The resurrection happens when the heavens are no more (Job 14:12). The heavens and the earth will burn with a fervent heat (be purified) on the "last day" (2 Pet. 3:10).

Clearly, the resurrections are on the Last Day.

Reward and Judgment Error:

HP teaches that the righteous are rewarded in the Kingdom and the wicked are judged 1000 years apart.

However, what does the truth once delivered to the saints teach (Jude 1:3):

Matthew 24:37-39 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Luke 17:26-27 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Luke 17:28-30 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot-they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all- so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

So, the Second Coming will be a surprise. Everyone shall see it. Everyone then shall go and receive either judgment or reward. In Matthew 13:24-30; 37-43, Jesus taught that wheat (elect) and tares (non-elect) dwell together until "the harvest is the end of the age" (Matt. 13:39, 40). Note this is "the harvest" (singular), not harvests. Jesus even says that there can't be two separate harvests; you can't uproot the tares, without uprooting the wheat! (Matt. 13:29). On that day, at the harvest at the end of the age, the judgment of the wicked and the rejoicing of the saints will be seen at the same time (Matt. 13:41-43), not 1000 years apart. Compare the parable of the sheep and the goats with the same results (Matt. 25:31-46).

Along with these errors, they assume that the 1000 years is a literal span of time, for most the 7 years is also. PD even believes that there will be "a sudden secret rapture," but 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 speaks of a sudden and very noticeable (a cry of command, voice of an archangel, the sound of the trumpet of God) return of Christ.

The Bible speaks of ONE Second Coming, ONE resurrection, and ONE judgment. Both PD and HP are errant views. The correct view is found in Covenant Theology and Amillennialism.

I hope this helps.

Related Topics:

Dispensational Pre-Mills and Israel?
Is Dispensationalism consistent with Covenant Theology?
The Old/New Testament Church
What is the Visible / Invisible Church?
The Re-Newed or New Covenant?
What Is Covenant Theology?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).