In 1973 while working for Wheaton College I prepared a short article for a class I was going to teach on why I held to the posttribulational position. I read through it yesterday and found a serious typo which I corrected and am now reposting it.
B. W. Newton was a contemporary of John Nelson Darby and worked with him in establishing the first Plymouth Brethren churches. He later split with Darby over church polity and teachings about the Second Coming Of Christ. Newton firmly rejected Darby’s notion that there were two future comings of Christ, one before and one after the tribulation ( a 2nd and 3rd Coming). Here is one of Newton’s essays on the subject showing that there are events preceding the Lords return and that the any-moment coming is not tenable when compared to Scripture:
If you are a dispensationalist you may want to skip this post!
Arthur W. Pink was a Reformed Baptist pastor, and prolific author of many books and articles. Early in his career he was a dispensational pretribulationist but changed his mind in his later years after years of extensive study.
The following e-book A Study Of Dispensationalism, contains a series of 5 articles for the purpose of refuting dispensationalism that was published in 1952 in his monthly magazine Studies in the Scriptures.. These articles demonstrate Pink’s changed position, he was strongly against the dispensational theology.
Charles R. Erdman was a pastor, theologian, and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary during the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy in the early 20th century. He was a contributor to the Scofield Reference Bible when it first was published in 1909, but later recanted his pretribulational beliefs due to ‘further searching of the Scriptures.’ Charles Erdman would be classified today as a ‘historic premillennialist’.
The following article was 1st published in The Fundamentals, edited by R. A. Torrey (1910):
The Blessed Hope, a quote from Dr. George Eldon Ladd*
“The Word of God does not teach that the Blessed Hope of the Church is a hope of deliverance from persecution. The coming of Christ is described as the Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13 ‘Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ’. . . The Blessed Hope is the glorious epiphany (appearing) of Our Lord Himself, which occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation”.
“To insist that the Blessed Hope must be escape from the Great Tribulation is to place the emphasis where the Scripture does not place it; it is in fact to impose an interpretation upon the Scripture in place of what the Word of God actually says. The Word of God everywhere assures us that in this age we are to expect tribulation and persecution. The last great persecution of Antichrist will indeed be worse and more fearful than anything the world has ever seen; but when we contemplate the history of martyrdom, why should we ask deliverance from what millions have already suffered? When we read in the books of the Maccabees of the tortures inflicted upon the Jews who were faithful to the teaching of the Law by the manifestation of antichrist in the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes; when we recall the thousands of Christians who fell in torture and death and did it gladly in the name of Christ at the hands of the manifestation of the spirit of antichrist in the Roman emperors; when we are reminded of the Inquisition with its rack and wheel and flame; when we remember from our own generation the liquidation of several millions of Jews by a modern antichrist, and even more recently the martyrdom of tens of thousands of Korean Christians, what kind of faith does the Church of today exemplify and what sort of a gospel is it which we proclaim if we insist that God must deliver us from the hands of the last manifestation of antichrist at the end of the age? Read more…
After several attempts I was finally able to create an e-book of Alexander Reese’s book “The Approaching Advent Of Christ”. I am not totally satisfied with all of the formatting and footnote placements. Hopefully in the future I will find time to work on it and will then re-post it.
I previously posted an e-book by Dennis Swanson on Spurgeon’s eschatology. The following article is an adaptation of his chart on millennial theories.
The Not So Secret Rapture is an article by W. Fred Rice. Rev. Rice, THM (Westminster Seminary), is an author, theologian, and a former Orthodox Presbyterian minister. In the article he shows the “secret rapture” theory, as promoted by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and a host of others, is contrary to Biblical teachings.
“Our Lord Cometh” is a translation of ‘marantha’ in 1 Cor 16:22 (KJV). This is also the title of a book by Rev. W. J. Rowlands, a Congregationalist minister in England. The book was 1st published in 1939 by the author. It is written from the post-tribulation viewpoint and Rowlands does a good job of decimating the “two stage” theory of the Second Coming of Christ.
Today I am posting the paper Charles H. Spurgeon And Eschatology – Did He Have A Discernible Millennial Position? by Dr. Dennis M. Swanson, MDiv, DMin. Dr. Swanson is a Vice President at Masters Seminary and well regarded theologian and author. His analysis of Spurgeon’s eschatology is thorough and fair. He demonstrates that Spurgeon’s view of eschatology in relation to the millennium is best described as a “historic or covenantal premillennial” position, which may come as a surprise to many. If you like Spurgeon and eschatology this is a ‘must read’.
(posted with permission from the author)
A shorter version can be downloaded at the Masters Seminary site: http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj7g.pdf
On my previous website I had a lot of materials on eschatology. I am in the process of converting some to PDF format to post on this blog. This article is from the American Presbyterian Church website. They don’t officially require their elders to hold to any position on eschatology but from what I have seen they do have premillennialists in their number. The article is from a Historic Premillennialist point of view and pokes holes in the dispensational/pretrib theory.
The Kingdom, The Millennium, & The Eschaton:
A Brief Overview of New Testament Prophecy
By Dr. Fred Zaspel
Another paper by Fred Zaspel. Zaspel is a Reformed Baptist and advocate of New Covenant Theology. He is a premillennialist and does a great job of explaining and defending his position on eschatology.
The book “The Approaching Advent of Christ” by Alexander Reese is a classic defense of historic premillennialism and has been very influential in refuting the dispensational/pretrib theory of recent origin (1820’s). The following article is an extract from the book where Reese gives a very good summary of the historic premillennial position:
In the early 1970’s I worked at Wheaton College and got to know professor J. Barton Payne quite well. I worked with him on a seminar on historic premillennialism of which he was a strong advocate. His book The Imminent Appearing Of Christ is a classic on the Second Coming (and a refutation of pretrib premillennialism). Following is a copy of a paper based on the book. I think it originally appeared in the Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society:
PS: if you are interested in eschatology you should get a copy of Dr. Payne’s book Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy. It is an invaluable resource for research and study of eschatology.
MY 100th POST! (not sure what that means)
Years ago I wrote an article (actually a compilation of material) on the subject of Historic Premillennialism. Following is the article and a chart comparing Dispensationalism and Historic Premillennialism:
A short paper on the origins of the pre-trib rapture theory that I wrote several years ago:
Years ago I read the book “Redating The NT” by J.A.T. Robinson who argued convincingly that all of the NT documents were written before 70AD. I was especially interested in the arguments for a pre-70AD date of Revelation. The following article by Hank Hanegraaff summarizes the arguments well:
Was Revelation Written Before Or After The Destruction Of The Temple In AD 70?
(This quote is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book–Collector’s Edition, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008)
Just as it is common to describe Patmos as a barren Alcatraz, misidentify the great prostitute as the Roman Catholic Church, or identify the 144,000 as exclusively Jewish male virgins, so too it is common to contend that Revelation was written long after the destruction of the temple in AD 70. Thus, according to modern-day prophecy pundits, Revelation describes events that will likely take place in the twenty-first century rather than the first century.
Rev. Orson P. Jones was pastor of Grace Baptist Church of San Diego, CA. for almost half a century! Two articles written by him in the 1940’s:
The Second Coming Of Jesus Christ:
The Rapture and Revelation, One And The Same
By Timothy Adkins
Pastor Adkins has published an excellent essay where he refutes the theory that the rapture and the revelation of Christ are separated by 7 (or 3 1/2) years. He shows quite convincingly that the 2 events happen together. You can download it here:
An excellent paper on the second advent by Wilbur Smith – former professor at Moody Bible Institute and Fuller Seminary:
Eschatology by Bruce Ware is a short introduction and discussion of the “last things”.
Excerpt from: The Approaching Advent Of Christ, Alexander Reese. Marshall, Morgan and Scott publishers, 1937.
Until the second quarter of the nineteenth century general agreement existed among pre-millennial advocates of our Lord’s Coming concerning the main outlines of the prophetic future: amidst differences of opinion on the interpretation of the Apocalypse and other portions of Scripture, the following scheme stood out as fairly representative of the school:
(I) The approaching Advent of Christ to this world will be visible, personal, and glorious.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him: even so, Amen (Revelation 1:7)
An apostle, speaking of the Lord’s supper, intimates that the church will continue to partake of it, and by partaking of it to show forth his death until he shall come again. This ordinance then may be considered as a chain, which connects the first and the second coming of Christ. Of this chain, as of the gospel, he is at once the beginning and the end. If we look back to the time of its institution, we see Christ at his table, surrounded by a little band of disciples. If we look forward to the period of its completion, we see him on the judgment-seat, surrounded by all the glories and hosts of the celestial world. If we look at its commencement, we see him expiring on the cross; if we look at its termination, we see him coming in the clouds of heaven. It is this coming, of which the beloved disciple speaks in our text. Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him: even so. Amen.
In this passage there are three things which deserve our attention;—the coming of Christ; his being seen by all, and the manner in which different characters will be affected by the sight. A few remarks on each of these particulars will comprise the present discourse. Read more…
(From: The Hope Of Christs Second Coming, by Samuel Tregelles, Appendix F)
It may be well to point out the force of the passages which speak of the Lord’s coming “as a thief in the night”, which, we are constantly told, prove that the Lord intends His true saints to regard His advent as momentarily imminent. Such passages occur at Mtt 24:43; Lk 12:39, 40; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10; and, Rev 16:15.
With regard to them all, it may be remarked that the emblem of “a thief” is obviously used to indicate not merely the unexpectedness of the coming, but its unwelcomeness! Further, this emblem implies the advent of one who comes to take away, not to give something to those whom he visits, for “the thief cometh not but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy.”
These considerations are surely sufficient by themselves to show at the first glance that it is not the Lord’s coming in its relation to the true believer, to him who “loves His appearing,” and to whom “grace shall be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” that is indicated, but its relation to the false professor of the Name of Jesus, the “evil servant,” whose words in the parable, “My lord delayeth his coming,” show that he neither expected his lord’s return nor desired it. Read more…
(From: Chapter 16, “The Second Coming Of Christ, James Slater, SGAT 1981)
THERE are two words commonly used in Scripture in relation to the second coming of our Lord. These are: ‘His coming’, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, and ‘His appearing’, Titus 2:13. While the writer recognizes the value of studying these two terms in the original Greek, his present purpose is to view these two words in the ordinary English usage.
The ‘any-moment’ theory teaches that His coming is for the church, before the Great Tribulation, while His appearing is to Israel and the world at the end of that period. If this be so why are the saints time and again exhorted to look for His appearing, and to live in the expectation of it, if they are already taken from the earth to glory with Him at His coming? Surely there is inconsistency here.
“Daniel’s seventy weeks (or seventy ‘sevens’) are the basis of many charts of the ages. It is well to note the purpose for which the seventy weeks are decreed:
‘Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon the holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in ever-lasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy’ (Dan. 9:24).
“These six results mentioned are, according to Daniel, to be fulfilled before the expiry of the seventy weeks. It is wrong then to take them (or some of them) as fulfilled in a millennium after the seventy weeks, as is commonly done. The bringing of sin to an end and the reconciliation for iniquity took place through Him who ‘appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself’ (Heb. 9:26). He brought in a righteousness which endures forever (2 Corinthians 5:21); after His ministry and that of His apostles no prophetic revelation would be needed; and He was the most Holy One anointed with the Spirit (Acts 10:38).
Christ is the out-standing figure of the passage. It is said of Him in verse 26 that ‘He shall have nothing’ or be despised and rejected (see margin of KJV), and it is He Who ‘confirms’ or ‘causes to prevail’ (not ‘makes’) the covenant, that is, the covenant of grace, which is from of old (v. 27). The one who makes desolate (v. 27b) is Titus, the Roman commander, whose dread ravages are described by Josephus.
The procedure of those who separate the 70th week from the 69th, by an interval already far greater than the whole of the 70 weeks, is altogether unjustified. If someone answers that Daniel himself makes a break, it should be pointed out in reply that he makes two (7 weeks and 62 weeks and 1 week). Every interpreter takes the 62 weeks as following the first 7 weeks without interval; the sequence of time is not inter-rupted; the break simply marks a great event in Israel’s history – the restoration of Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah. Similarly, there is no interval between the 69th and 70th weeks – the break simply marks the eventful appearance of Christ.
We are not justified in taking the 70 ‘sevens’ as 490 years. Nowhere in the Old Testament is a period of seven years called a week or ‘a seven.’ It is best with Keil to take these ‘sevens’ as ‘an intentionally indefinite designation of a period of time, measured by the number 7, whose chronological duration must be determined on other grounds’.”
* Quoted from “The Momentous Event” by W. J. Grier (19552)
Those who hold what is called the “dispensational” interpretation of prophecy, teach that the Second Coming of Christ will be in two stages: first, the RAPTURE (his coming for the saints), and then later the REVELATION (his coming with the saints). The interval between these two events is generally regarded as seven years (Daniel’s 70th week). During this time, according to this view, the Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with the Jews in which he will allow them to offer sacrifices in a rebuilt temple at Jerusalem. But then after three and a half years, he will break his covenant and place an idol (the abomination of desolation) in the holy of holies of the temple. The Jews will refuse to bow and a great persecution will result — the time of Jacob’s trouble. Finally, at the close of the tribulation period (the end of the age), Christ will return in power and great glory.
In the chapters that follow, we shall have occasion to examine all of these things in the light of the Scriptures — the tribulation, the abomination of desolation, the 70th week, Jacob’s trouble, the Antichrist, etc. But for now, we shall look at the first point in the dispensational outline: the rapture. Those who hold that the Second Coming of Christ will be in two stages, believe that verses such as Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him”, refer to the REVELATION — his coming in open power and glory. The RAPTURE, on the other hand, is presented as a quiet, invisible, and secret coming of Christ for his church. The following quotations from dispensational writers are representative of this interpretation:
“Quickly and INVISIBLY, unperceived by the world, the Lord will come as a thief in the night and catch away His waiting saints.”1
“His appearance in the clouds will be veiled to the human eye and NO ONE WILL SEE HIM. He will slip in, slip out; move in to get His jewels and slip out as under the cover of night.”2
“[The rapture] will be a SECRET appearing, and only the believers will know about it.”3
“It will be a SECRET rapture — QUIET, NOISELESS, sudden as the step of the thief in the night. All that the world will know will be that multitudes at once have gone.”4
From the article: The Second Advent Of Christ, By Wilbur M. Smith*
Before turning to the great events that will take place at our Lord’s return, let us look at the Greek words used in the New Testament for the idea of the return. First of all, there is the word parousia, which means basically “presence” and is so translated in such a phrase as “his bodily presence” (2 Cor. 10:10). This word is often used to refer to the coming of some person to visit a church or Christian community, as in St. Paul’s phrase, “my coming to you again” (Phil. 1:26). St. Peter uses it when speaking of the first coming of our Lord (2 Pet. 1:16). This is the word frequently found in the comprehensive statements of St. Paul about the Second Advent (1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23). It was this word that came to the lips of the inquiring disciples when they privately asked our Lord, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” (Matt. 24:3). Parousia often appears in the Latin version as adventus, from which, of course, our word “advent” derives (see the Latin text of such verses as Matt. 24:3 and 2 Pet. 1:16). This word parousia, which does not appear in the pastoral epistles, is used by St. Paul in one passage to refer to the coming of AntiChrist (2 Thess. 2:9) but generally refers, as we have seen, to the Second Coming of our Lord, as in Second Thessalonians 2:1, 8. And St. James, in one of his rare passages concerning our Lord, also uses it, twice admonishing us to be patient in waiting for the coming of the Lord (5:7, 8). St. John uses the word in exhorting us that, if we abide in Christ, we will “not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28). Parousia has been carried over directly into the English language, so that in scholarly literature the Second Advent is often called “the Parousia.”
He Came; He is Coming by Charles Spurgeon
“This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven”
Many are celebrating our LORD’s first coming this day; let us turn our thoughts to the promise of His second coming. This is as sure as the first advent and derives a great measure of its certainty from it. He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service. He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.
This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy. Today we are in our concealment and humiliation, even as He was while here below; but when He cometh it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation. Dead saints shall live at His appearing. The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended. The long rest and inconceivable splendor of the millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring.
Oh, that the LORD would come! He is coming! He is on the road and traveling quickly. The sound of His approach should be as music to our hearts! Ring out, ye bells of hope!