Classic and Dispensational (Pretribulational) Premillennialism

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I only have brief notes on these two views of premillennialism, therefore I've combined them onto one page.  Note, however, that they are two distinct views.

Classic or Historic Premil...

...sound biblical interpretation...or a theory of man?

Let's begin with the...


I summarize it as Christ comes before the Millennium, but I'll let Wayne Grudem give us a fuller definition...

“According to this viewpoint, the present church age will continue until, as it nears the end, a time of great tribulation and suffering comes on the earth...After that time of tribulation at the end of the church age, Christ will return to earth to establish a millennial kingdom.  When he comes back, believers who have died will be raised from the dead, their bodies will be reunited with their spirits, and these believers will reign with Christ on earth for one thousand years.  (Some pre-millennialists take the one thousand years literally, while others do not.)  During this time, Christ will be physically present on the earth in his resurrected body and will reign as King over the entire earth...there will be peace throughout the earth.  During this time Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit so that he will have no influence on the earth during the millennium.” Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith p. 442,443


Up until the latter half of the fourth century the church fathers and the church in general were very much pre-millennialists.


This view holds that the Rapture and the Second Coming (Parousia) are the same event.  We go up, meet Him and come back down immediately with Him.  By reading about the Rapture and Second Coming in the links earlier in this paragraph you'll see the error in this stance.

Dispensational (Pretribulational) Premil...

...sound biblical interpretation...or a theory of man?


I summarize it Christ comes before the Millennium and before the Tribulation, but I'll let Wayne Grudem give us a fuller definition...

“According to this view, the church age will continue until, suddenly, unexpectedly, and secretly, Christ will return part way to earth, and then will call believers to himself...Christ will then return to heaven with the believers who have been removed from the earth.  When that happens, there will be a great tribulation on the earth for a period of seven years.” Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith p. 445


Gained widespread popularity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


  • Pretribulation Rapture.  Follow the link and you will see the inherent failures of this view.  To gain an understanding of how this whole idea of a Pretribulation Rapture came about read The Rapture Plot by Dave MacPherson.  The shroud of deception cloaks the origin and continuation of this view.
  • The Tribulation is not 7 years long.  Click here to learn how long the Tribulation will be.


As you study the Scriptures Classic or Historic Premillennialism is by far the closest to the truth of these two views, but it isn't quite there yet.  For that you'll have to see the biblical view.

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