Sermon of the week: “Why Every Calvinist Should be a Premillennialist” by John MacArthur.

John MacArthur I was tempted to replace the image for this week’s speaker to that of a can of worms. Judging by the title of the sermon, you can imagine why.  Your sermon of the week (in six parts) is Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist by John MacArthur.

I expect that this sermon will cause a stir in the comment thread, but based on MacArthur’s teaching in this series (backed up by copious amounts of Scripture), I don’t see how a postmill or amill position can stand. But, with that said, I am anxious to read the comments and will gladly check out any sermons or lectures that our postmill and amill readers wish to link to in an effort to learn more about this intriguing subject that, until just a few years ago, I never knew existed.

Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist (Part 1)

Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist (Part 2)

Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist (Part 3)

Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist (Part 4)

Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist (Part 5)

Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist (Part 6)

43 thoughts on “Sermon of the week: “Why Every Calvinist Should be a Premillennialist” by John MacArthur.

  1. Greg,

    Here is a link that will take you to the series at the GTY website:

    In Him,

    You’re right about the “stir” that this caused when it was first preached at the Shepherd’s Conference in 2007, which was then followed with the Sunday Sermon Series linked above.

    I’ve spent a fair amount time looking over the points and counterpoints both during and after J-Mac threw down the proverbial gauntlet on this issue and I’d like to recommend a few counterpoint resources for DefCon’s readership to consider.

    I don’t link to these as endorsements of one eschatological scheme over another, or as a “counterbalance” for MacArthur, but rather so that each reader can come to his own conclusions in the light of Scripture and conscience.

    This being said I would like to point out that I agree 100% with an observation made by both of the authors linked below, which is that – at least in his original Shepherd’s Conference presentation – Dr. MacArthur was advocating a particular kind of premillennialism – Dispensational Premillennialism. This is an important observation.

    A Reply to John MacArthur – Kim Riddlebarger

    MacArthur, Calvinism, and (Dispensational) Premillennialism: Part 1 –

    MacArthur, Calvinism, and (Dispensational) Premillennialism: Part 2 –

    MacArthur, Calvinism, and (Dispensational) Premillennialism: Part 3 –

    MacArthur, Calvinism, and (Dispensational) Premillennialism: Part 4 –

    In Christ,


  2. At they have several sermons and lectures by Kim Riddlebarger on the subject. Including audio from a conference on the subject.


  3. Has anyone figured out how to download these? I’d like to listen to them on the go. Thanks!

    Ok, figured it out – just open up the link and right click the player, then save copy of video. Headed to Georgia today, so this is perfect timing – thanks, Pilgrim!


  4. Mac is off the rails. Premill has been debunked so many times. He is sound is in many areas, but his dispensational theology pollutes his thinking is many others.


  5. Manfred,
    With all due respect, I think you are being both unloving and somewhat arrogant to claim MacArthur is off the rails with his premil view. I do not adhere to the amil or post mil view, however, I respect and love my brothers and sisters who do. Let’s not forget the command to love one another, and to speak in love. Your comment is comparable to a clanging cymbal brother. This is what Washer meant in the video I posted about being a sacrifice…we waste too much time arguing and accusing one another over secondary issues when we could be much in prayer and much in His word. Let us love one another, and serve one another; regardless of our understanding concerning eschatalogy: after all, every ‘camp’ claims to be able to refute the other’s view and back it with scripture!
    I pray to have compassion for the souls of men: when our Lord does come, we all will understand everything there is to know about the second coming.



  6. Think what you choose. It is arrogant for a man to declare what MacArthur did. I have not read everything John Calvin wrote, but I’ve not read anything leading me to believe he would have said something as non-negotiable that has been left undefined in Scripture. That is unloving and arrogant.

    I do not and never have described MacArthur as apostate or a false teacher. But he is a sinful man, just as any other, and can be wrong. As he in this case. No matter what eschatology one holds to.


  7. I was able to listen to the first two messages and they were great intros. MacArthur said if we get Election right and Israel right, we will get the future right – I agree. Looking forward to continue in the series.


  8. Again, your pride leads you to claim you hold to the only right view, this is sin brother. Note Coram’s response, he did not attack MacArthur or say John is wrong; instead he merely provided links to opposing views. Again, I reiterate, ALL views claim to have scripture that prove their view is the only correct one. As Coram stated “I don’t link to these as endorsements of one eschatological scheme over another, or as a “counterbalance” for MacArthur, but rather so that each reader can come to his own conclusions in the light of Scripture and conscience.”

    To come to one’s own conclusion does not mean to say one has the only correct view, each camp professes the right view, so it must be left to the individual to decide which camp,he/she adheres to. Loving one another will keep us from demanding our way and view as the only right one. Is MacArthur being unloving? Not at all, for he knows he is speaking to those who hold to the same view he does: those who disagree should skip this sermon as well as refrain from commenting in a demanding and unloving way. We all need to keep humility and love at the forefront, otherwise debates over topics such as this can, and do get heated, which more often than not leads to sin. Is it worth it?



  9. Amen, Lyn, and I would add if one cannot discuss these things in love and humility then it is best not to participate. Our conversations should be guided with the aim to glorify God and edify one another. If this is not possible, then discussion should not take place.


  10. I agree Justin…I hold to the pre-mil view, BUT, that does not mean I think ‘less’ of those who do not. They are entitled to come to their own conclusion, and I still love and pray for them. I would hope they do the same for me, I care not which end time view they adhere to because that is not what truly is important. We should not judge or criticize our brethren over such trivial matters because it grieves the heart of our God and quenches His Spirit.



  11. I think John Mac did an excellent job with this series.
    I agree Lyn, though on facebook end times views have become the be all and end all, this is sad to see so much division in the body over this


  12. In all fairness J-Mac didn’t pull any punches in his initial volley at the 2007 Shepherd’s Conference. In fact the title of that original session which spawned the subsequent six part Sunday Sermon Series was “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Should be a Premillennialist” [emphasis mine]. As one might imagine such a provocative title and topic weren’t selected by accident, nor is it unreasonable to conclude that there was intent to stir up some…*ahem*…dialogue.

    As most Christians know eschatology tends to be a bit of a lightning rod topic where passions and opinions can (and quite often do) run very strong. In my opinion this is certainly an area where prayerfully reflecting upon the well-worn adage “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” is highly advisable.

    In Christ,


  13. I used to be pre-mill until my godly grandmother sent me a number of books and set me right. I’m now decidely amill but sympathetic to post-mill. I really dont know how anybody could agree with pre-mill after reading Mauro’s The 70 weeks and the Great Tribulation. Hughes “understanding prophecy’ is also a great read. I suspect that the popularity of amill,postmill and premill comes and goes and that in the next century (if we are still here) we will find pre-mill is out of favour and amill or postmill will take its place.


  14. Just an observation that may be relevant here: for most of the history of the Christian Church, Israel was something that was gone and many presumed was not coming back, especially after the failure of the Crusades. I suspect, almost to the point of certainty, that most of the “God’s promises to Israel have been transferred to the Church” is a carryover from that.

    Another point, and I am surprised nobody has thought about this but me, but God promised that those who opposed Israel He would make a point of opposing. No such promise made to Christians. In fact, one of the more successful persecutors was no cursed, nor made a target of vengeance, but was converted by Christ and ended up writing most of the New Testament.


  15. What?!?! I can’t believe all the bad comments I see on here about the premil camp. You mean that all 39 of my precious “Left Behind” books are not worth the paper they are written on? I am so disappointed. Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsay, Jack Van Impe, and all those other wonderful Secret Rapture Conspiracy Theorists were so right in nothing else they wrote, how could they possibly be wrong on this issue as well!

    Ahem…sorry, my sarcasm button got stuck for a moment! LOL


  16. If God wanted to he could raise up children from these rocks…There is no other way to come to God but through Christ our Lord through the drawing of the Spirit through repentance…these are the children of God… those who are called according to his will and purpose. Hate to tell y’all this but with this episode and the other that this man has put forth out about our government being the our leaders of the Church… the saint’s in Christ whether Jew are Greek I am ready to delete him from my itunes library. I don’t want another word from him and he may as well go the way of Driscoll or a bell giving heed to seducing spirits.
    When Christ comes those who are not found in our Lord Jesus Christ are LOST.


  17. Well, 2 hours into the 6 hours of material and I have not heard anything that shows how the bible teaches a Premil position. I fail to see the connection between the promises made to Israel and the Premil position.

    However, John clearly fails to see the church in Revelation 6:10-11, 9:4, 16:15 and 18:4.

    John does distort the Amil position with the the replacement theology nonsense.

    One of the hardest parts of the Premil position is the rapture of the church prior to the tribulation. What is the point in telling the Church of the coming tribulation and then removing the church prior to that.


  18. Craig,

    Just being premil does not equate to also holding to a secret rapture of the church prior to the tribulation. This is the problem that many within fundamentalist camps see as a necessity, but there are other plausible options that I believe can be founded rightly on Scripture. For the record, I would hold to historical premil position, but believe that the church will never suffer the day of the Lord or the wrath that is poured out upon this world and will be taken away before that commences. I also believe that there will come great times of intense persecution and tribulation in the last days and that the true church will suffer greatly at the hands of the evil one and his minions.


  19. Hour 3 was a waste of time.

    A full 60 minutes of bashing the Amil position. MacArthur states that through out history stating in the 5th century, those that hold to the Amil position have hated the Jews.

    How hard would it be to simply state that we believe that the promises that God made to Israel, in order to be fully fulfilled, must hold a future for Israel and that future must take place in a future kingdom.
    To: Desert Pastor

    If someone would like to reason that the rapture will happen at 3.5 years into a 7 year trib, based on some text in Daniel, I am ok with that. Show me the text and I am open to reason.

    If you want to reason that the church will never see one bit of persecution in the trib., we have a problem. I personally see what could be called the church in these texts: Revelation 6:10-11, 9:4, 16:15 and 18:4. If you want to argue that Revelation is out of order, I am ok with that idea that you still see the church as “my people” in Rev 18:4.

    I think the idea of pre-trib raptured church is a fallacy of optimistic preaching. We say to the congregation, don’t worry folks, this will not happen to you. Based on what? The Apostle John must write these things down for the future Church just so you know what you are missing? Really, that is their argument? Seriously?

    John MacArthur in hour 2 states the order of last things, ordo eschaton.
    1-Rapture, 2-Tribulation, 3-Second Coming, 4-Kingdom on Earth,
    5-Final Judgment, 6-New Heavens and Earth.

    But, he never gives a scripture basis for this position. Nothing but harping that the reformed Amil holders are whacked out wrong. He beat that drum until my ears hurt.

    In hour 3, John states that the reformed Amil holders have hated the Jews all the way back to the fifth century. I really like John, but after 3 hours, he never brings his argument home. How long should it take to present his position?

    Could Israel be restored, sure.
    Could there be a real earthly 1000y Kingdom, sure.
    Could the church be raptured prior to the tribulation, I don’t how, I don’t see why. If the church is gone, THE CHURCH is gone. No more coverts. So why not jump to the final judgment and final punishment?

    I am open to reason, post your position as to why you think the church will exit prior to the trib. A bit of scripture would be helpful.

    Deo Volente


  20. First, history does show that the Reformers who hold to a Israel=Church have been very anti-semitic. This is particularly true of Luther.

    Second, I do not believe that the church will escape from any form of tribulation. A quick trip outside the borders of our protected bubble here in America will show this is not the case.

    Third, I agree that MacArthur could have brought this to a conclusion much earlier, but I sincerely believe he made some good points throughout his teaching.

    Fourth, part of my undergrad degree work was independent research in the field of eschatology. I have studied every major eschatological view and just cannot come to a clear understanding of the amillennial position. Romans 9-11 is a huge thorn for this viewpoint that just has not been clearly addressed, nor has Revelation 20 without reading into the text what is not there and an overabundance of allegorizing. Even Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones admitted that Romans 9-11 was a huge problem for those who hold to an amillennial position. It is also impossible to cut and paste the parts of Revelation that one likes in order to spiritualize the truth of the endtimes. You must be consistent and I do not see any level of consistency in this position. Also, the prophecies cannot possibly refer in totality to the destruction of Jerusalem by General Titus in A.D. 70. Some of the events have yet to take place, otherwise you must begin to allegorize or spiritualize passages in the gospels as well.

    Fifth, at this point, I think I would currently see this order –

    A. Signing of 7 year treaty with Israel and her enemies
    B. Increasing tribulation for true believers and an increase in apostasy
    C. Revealing of anti-Christ before the Day of the Lord comes
    D. Time of intense tribulation at the hands of the evil one and his minions for both Jews and Christians – One of the O.T. prophets even states clearly that two out of 3 Jews will die during that time of trouble
    E. Church will come to an end on the earth with the final part of God’s elect being redeemed
    F. The earth will undergo the total and complete wrath of God outpoured upon the unbelieving world – I do not believe there will be any hope for those who remain, nor will any others come to Christ who fall under the judgment.
    G. Christ will setup His earthly kingdom and the full circle will be complete. I know some wonder why God would do this, but I believe that those who are born during the 1000 year reign will be a solemn reminder that even living under the actual iron rule of Christ will not produce salvation. The heart is still totally depraved.

    HOWEVER, having said all this, I am not 100% convinced about these points. One thing I am sure of though is that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return for His Bride – the Church – and we will be with Him forever while the remainder of those who are lost will be forever doomed in the Lake of Fire.

    Hope this clarifies. I do want to say that I have many friends on both sides of the dispensational/covenant theology camp and we still fellowship together as brothers in Christ. It is not a point that I will divide a friendship over until it comes to the point where it clearly affects the doctrine of soteriology (salvation).


  21. I am a four-point Calvinist, and I am also amillennial. I can understand why you might think that there is little or no case for the postmil or amil positions because I grew up being taught premillennial doctrine, and it was all I ever knew until I met my husband. He convinced me that postmil doctrine was the most biblical, and it made sense to me. For years afterward, I held to the postmil position until I read this article on amillennialism. The author of this article, Tony Warren, has a very strong opinion on the subject, and although I believe that eschatology is very important, I wouldn’t consider it so essential as to label opposing arguments to be as serious an error as he does. But I think Tony Warren is correct in most of what he says regarding eschatology. I would just ask anyone who reads this article to try to lay aside any preexisting assumptions, to look at the issue as honestly as possible and to compare what you read to Scripture. I think you will at least find this article to be a very interesting read.


  22. I am definitely Amill. I don’t know how you could listen to Kim Riddlebarger and still be pre-mill!

    I feel I can settle all the arguments with one simple statement…the *last* day = the *last* day! There will be no 1,000 years after that.


  23. I have been studying this. It has lead me to a study of covenant theology vs dispensation theology as well. I must say that I am leaning more towards an amill view. Still a lot to go over though so currently I cannot settle on one position or the other. All this time I thought “Left Behind” was how it is all supposed to go down : ).
    One of the things that I currently have the biggest trouble in accepting is the reinstatement of temple sacrifices. I need to go back and study the land promises to Israel. I think my head my explode from this study.


  24. Thanks ya’ll for the links. Manfred I will check out the one you provided when I get home.
    I have read all the way up to the section of the Mosaic covenant. In Genesis 13:15 God does say that He will give the land to Abraham’s seed for ever. I have never thought about this before but how can it be for ever when eventually the world will be destroyed? Could that mean that maybe the covenant is not necessarily talking about the little plot of land in the Middle East?
    The answer to those questions may be further along in the paper. If not it will be one more of the things I will have to wrestle with but I am probably just missing something. I will have to wait until tonight to finish it. Even then I will have to read it a few more times.


  25. Quite frankly, I have a difficult time understanding how anyone who can make the theological, inferential leap of circumcision of males becoming infant baptism in the N.T. Neither pre-mill, amill- or no mill will affect salvation, to my knowledge, so I guess I don’t get the point. It’s like, I like Amway and you like Herbalife, so why would you go to an Amway meeting or why would I go to an Herbalife meeting??? Maybe I’m missing something here. To me the important things are: 1) am I born again, 2) am I being obedient to God’s Word, 3) am I loving my brothers and sisters.


  26. Cheryl….
    It is our responsibility to read and discern God’s Word. A part of that is understanding the end times. Our salvation doesn’t rest on it, but when you have a hunger for God’s Word and desire to understand it properly, then it *is* important. 🙂


  27. Katy, yes, I agree that what scriptures say about the end times is important. Thanks for helping me to see that I didn’t explain very clearly what I was saying. I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t important, at all, I just meant that a hill to “die” on wouldn’t be the eschatology one but the salvation one.

    I have never heard any teacher as gifted as John MacArthur, no matter whether they were pre/post/a millenium. I have only listened to the first of the six sessions, so far, so look forward to hearing the rest of them.

    When I said I didn’t get the point, I meant I don’t get the point of the obviously “heated” comments from “some” on the other points of view. I guess it is the same thing regarding the Doctrines of Grace and arminianism. I have yet to hear (doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, I just haven’t heard it) someone who believes the Doctrines of Grace call arminianism a heresy or be antagonistic against those who believe in arminianism.

    I was saved by God’s grace as an act of His divine intervention and regeneration and went to churches that I later realized believed in arminianism my entire Christian life until about six years ago. Even so, I never heard about any difference between the two beliefs and when I did I was sort of apprehensive because I didn’t know the difference and was concerned what the Bible taught would be different from what I believed. As it turned out, it wasn’t and when I actually was taught about the Doctrines of Grace and the supporting scriptures it made perfect sense. AND it finally answered the few scriptures that were always “problematic” like the ones that seemed to indicate you could lose your salvation, which, from the beginning, I never believed.

    The last church we attended was OPC and that is where I was exposed to infant baptism which, to my reading of scripture is simply not supported by scripture. That’s why I no longer attend OPC 🙂 Well, one of the reasons….


  28. I think, at least for me at times, that when you are passionate about something and truly believe your belief to be right…sometimes you can try too hard to defend and/or explain yourself…something Christians (of who I can be the worst) need to be careful of. We are to speak in gentleness and love. 🙂

    My coming to (by the complete grace of God) the doctrines of Grace sounds similar to yours, Cheryl. 🙂


  29. With all due respect to John MacArthur, Premillennialism may be consistent with the preconceived scheme of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) of Arminianism, but, as can easily be shown, it is neither consistent with what the Bible teaches nor is it based on sound biblical exegesis and interpretation. Indeed, it is a very skewed system of interpretation based more on eisegesis (reading one’s own meaning into the scriptures) rather than sound biblical exegesis. In fact, if anyone looks through the lens of any preconceived plan of prophetic scripture before first approaching the interpretation of scripture itself, it is not the Reform theologian (Calvinist) but the Arminian, who first divides the Kingdom of God in God’s redemptive scheme or prophetic plan into two separate plans and peoples–an earthly temporal people (Israel) and heavenly people (the Church). It can be easily shown God has always had one redemptive plan for His people, both Jew and Gentile in the Old and New Testaments/Covenants; namely, by grace through faith in the Messiah [Jesus Christ] and that although scripture clearly distinguishes between Israel and the church; nevertheless it does not separate them in God’s redemptive prophetic plan in Jesus Christ (His death and resurrection) for the redemption of all His people, both Jew and Gentile. There is a very clear and biblical continuity between Israel and the Church (see 1 Pet. 2:9; Romans 1:13-24; Eph. 2:11-13; etc. I am not a proponent of replacement theology. It can be shown that many of the Old Testament prophecies God made to Abraham will be fulfilled neither in a 1000-year earthly millennium (where mortals supposedly co-habit with glorified saints, contrary to biblical teaching that flesh and blood cannot inhabit the kingdom of heaven) nor spiritually within the church, but in an eternal kingdom in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem on earth, wherein no unrighteousness, death or suffering dwells. John MacArthur is not consistent (except with premillennialism) in considering all of scripture and prophetic fulfillment in the eternal holy city, New Jerusalem, where all the saints will dwell eternally with Christ–the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.


  30. Just began listening again to Lloyd-Jones’ sermon “The Interpretation of Daniel 9” and here is how it begins, with reference to eschatology:
    “It is indeed of the greatest importance that we should realize that when the mightiest and saintliest men of God of the past centuries have oft times disagreed with one another in matters of interpretation it ill behooves any of us to be dogmatic, or certain, or glib. And if these discussions of ours Friday by Friday do nothing else than just cause us all to realize that, I at any rate, shall be more than satisfied. If any who are attending here shall be a little less certain and dogmatic at the end than they were at the beginning I shall indeed be pleased because there is nothing, it seems to me, that is so sad, and indeed sometimes sinful, as an extreme dogmatism in this particular realm. Therefore, I say again, that I am not standing here to give you a scheme or an exposition which I regard as perfect and absolute and which alone must be right. I would not dare venture to say such a thing. I am simply trying to put before you some of the various schools and ideas and various types of interpretation, and indicating, obviously, as any man who is concerned to teach the Scriptures must do, what seems to me, at any rate, to be the representation that commends itself most to my mind and to my understanding.”

    It may turn out that the man with such a spirit will be given the most light on such a subject, though he himself is not certain about it.


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