Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Dr. Newman answers
question on on premillennialism 

QUESTION:

I was a former dispensationalist having received my indoctrination to that system in my early years after salvation, particuarly Scofieldism and Darbyism.  Having learned that these men propagated a "new" interpretation on these issues I began studying the issues more and found most of their propositions very weak and certainly not a "thus saith the Lord" but only speculation and opinions. 

Having said that I am still a Premillenialist but rather not a Pre-tribulation rapturist nor a "hard line" dispensationalist especially in relation to the return of the Jews in terms of erecting a new temple with sacrifices as if that is ordained by God which would disgrace His once for all sacrifice in Christ.

Also I find that there seems to be a big difference in the Wrath of Satan and the Wrath of God in the tribulation period. I find that God's wrath does not come upon the saints of God during those moments His wrath "at the end" comes upon the earth but rather Satan's wrath does persecute the believes during the tribulation and those saints alive do not escape that persecution as it does not even at this very hour. 

One very helpful scholar on this issue was a recent writer named "Robert Van Kampen" and his books has shown very clearly these issues. Although his speculation about "who" the AntiChrist might be may be rather outlandish or off I still think he has done a marvelous job in settling the issues on the wrath of God and the wrath of Satan as being distinct events at the tribulation time. Might pay to read over this for it certainly helped me a lot because dispensational thoughts brought much confusion and difficulties to me.  

Blessings, 

Lamar, Texas, USA

ANSWER:

Lamar:

Thanks for dropping by the website. I ask that you pray for the Bible Academy, as we now have 49 students in the past two months.

It is good that you interact with prophecy. Admittedly, it is a difficult subject. I think you are correct in backing off to just a "Premil" position. It gets difficult to sort out the pre, mid, partial, or post trib positions.

Actually, it is hard to be overly dogmatic on all (or most) of the details of a Pre mil view. That is the problem Dispensationalism (or Premil's) have in their debates with Amil's, or Postmil's. They are forced to defend all the details in their positions, and that results in getting some things wrong. Then, when some of the details turn out to be wrong (or confusing), the other side pounces and condemns the whole system.

So, what to do? Well, if we look at the Amil's position, they don't have one, except to say we are now in the Millennium. The evidence they offer comes from their imagination. Certainly nothing in history or today looks anything like the events that take place in the Millennium. And, their system really gets confusing Speculation is their mark - not so much with the Dispensationalists.  

The other avenue they take to prove their position to denigrate and minimize (ridicule) the Premil position. It goes something like this: the Amil position is correct, because Dispensationalists are stupid. That is simply an ad hominen argument. 

Additionally, Amils they set up a series of straw men, and start beating them up.  The best example is the one you bring up: that the Premil position is a recent aberration of true prophetic interpretation - started by such "nuts" as Darby or Scofield. Nothing could be further from the truth. The literal millennium understanding of history is a key belief of the Jews, and was held well before Christianity.

They are still waiting for their Messiah. The Amil position became dominant in the days of Augustine. The Premil doctrine existed before him, and continued in parallel with the dominant Amil position throughout church history. In fact during the days of antisemitism (through church history) the Premil position was condemned as a false "Jewish" view.  Consequently, the condemnation is a concession that the view was in existence. People like Darby and Scofield only popularized and refined the view.

The bottom line, to me, is this: which system is the least confusing? My position is a Dispensational view, or at least a Premillennial position. Why? Because it at least takes a serious, literal view of the biblical text on prophecy.

A literal interpretation was valid until the first Advent of Christ. Why not use the literal approach for the future? Do Premils get some things wrong? Yes, but at least they try to sort out the evidence, take it a face value, and come up with a coherent system. I walk away less confused with a Premil view, but complete bewilderment at an Amil view - and also a helpless feeling that somehow I am hopelessly stupid. 

Well, Lamar, I probably have said more than I should. I hope my Amil brothers will have some forgiveness for me. By the way, the people I rely on the most are the people from Dallas Theological Seminary, and Grace Seminary - and Moody Bible Institute. 

As an unabashed sales pitch, I would recommend my ebook (its cheap) on Revelation found in the ebook section of this website. 

All the best, don't completely reject a Dispensational view, and keep up the good work. 

Dr. Newman

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