Why I Am A Premillennialist

Matthew

Why I Am A Premillennialist

November 27th, 1977 @ 8:15 AM

Matthew 24:29-31

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
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WHY I AM A PREMILLENNIALIST

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 24:29-31

11-27-77    8:15 a.m.

 

Once again we welcome all of you who are listening with us in the First Baptist Church in Dallas on the radio of the city of Dallas and on the radio of our Bible Institute, KCBI.  This Sunday we are going to do something that is somewhat unusual for us.  A long time ago I was invited to bring two addresses at the Moody Founder’s Week in Chicago.  This is one of the tremendous evangelical convocations in America and in the world.  It is held in February.  And they asked that I speak first on Why I am a Premillennialist, and then the second address to be made on The Judgments of Almighty God.

They also said that they wanted me to write out the two messages so that they could be placed in a book.  As I began to study, I thought that the result of my scriptural study and perusal would be as great a blessing, under God, to you as it has been to me in preparation of these two addresses.

So this morning I shall deliver the first address, Why I Am a Premillennialist, and then tonight at the seven o’clock service on The Judgments of Almighty God.  I can easily understand why they would like for me to prepare an address on why I am a premillennialist.

First of all, it is not the theology of the great, vast proportion of our Southern Baptist people, and certainly not the theology of its academic community, with a few exceptions, very few.  All of the theology of our academic community in the university and in the seminary is amillennial.  And of course, as you look at the sweep of Christendom, including all of Christendom, all of Christendom is almost solidly and practically amillennial.

Dr. Paige Patterson said to me just before I came in with the ministers and before our prayer, he said facetiously, “I’m going to sit there and take the position of an amillennialist, and I am going to see if you can convince me.”

“Fine,” I said, “you sharpen your wits, and if I cannot convince you of the truth, the Scriptural truth, of this great revelation of God, then I will be an amillennialist with you.”

Somewhat about thirty-six or thirty-seven years ago, in my pastorate in Muskogee, Oklahoma, I turned aside from topical, subject preaching and began to preach the Bible.  Where I would leave off Sunday morning, I would begin Sunday night, just preaching the Word of God, expounding the Holy Scriptures, what God said.  To my amazement, when people came to hear me in my pulpit in Muskogee, they went away and said, “Why, the man is a premillennialist,” an astonishing thing, “The man is a premillennialist.”  All I was doing was preaching the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

As the few years passed and it was known to some here in Texas that the pulpit committee of the First Baptist Church in Dallas was interested in me as its pastor, unknown to me.  A pastor in the state, who later became an executive in this General Convention of Texas, wrote a letter to the pulpit committee.  And he said to this pulpit committee of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, “I think in all truth that you ought to know before you consider that pastor as your undershepherd that he a premilliennialist.”

Well, the secretary of the committee was Orville Groner, over here in our Annuity Board.  And he took the letter to the executive secretary of the Annuity Board, Walter R. Alexander, a distinguished Philadelphian.  And he laid the letter before him and said, “Look at this awful thing.  This man is a premilliennialist, so this writer says.”  Dr. Walter R. Alexander read the letter, turned to Orville Groner, and said, “Praise God!  I also am a premilliennialist.”

And Orville Groner said, “You are what?  You are that?”

“Yes,” said Dr. Alexander, “I also am a premillennialist.”

Now the remarkable thing of the turn in my life was I never had a premillennial teacher in my life; nor was I ever introduced in my life to premillennial theology.  All of my teachers, all of them, were either postmillennialists or amillennialists.  And of the two I would say most of them were postmillennialists.

I remember in the seminary, when we came, having gone through the Bible, when we came to the Book of the Revelation, I remember my distinguished teacher, one of the most famous and learned and acceptable in the Christian world, my Christian teacher took his syllabus and he dropped it on the table like that.  And he said, “Young men, take your choice.  In my syllabus you will find preterist theories of interpretation.  You will find the futuristic theories of interpretation.  You will find the continuous historical theories of interpretation.  And you will find the synchronist historical theories of interpretation.  And take your choice.”  And that was all.  Nothing else was said about the interpretation of the great Apocalypse.  Now that was the way I was taught.

Premillennialism is the doctrine, the interpretation of the Bible, that the earth is dark and lost, and that sin is deep and desperate, and that the world is so lost in sin that our only hope lies in the intervention of God, in the coming of Christ, and that the kingdom, the millennium, will be set up by the appearing of the Lord Himself [Matthew 25:31-34].  He can come any moment, any time, any day, any night.  That is premillennialism.

Postmillennialism is evolutionary in its background.  All of us are getting better and better and better.  And by the preaching of the gospel, and by the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit, we will breed out of the race the lion, and the fang, and the claw, and the tiger, and finally we all shall come into that perfect perfection of the millennial kingdom, and then Christ will come and preside over what we have done in winning the world to Christ and in doing away with sin in the human heart.  That is postmillennialism.

Amillennialism, “a” is the Greek negative; it is called an alpha privative.  Amillennialism means that there is no millennium at all, that whatever the Bible would speak about a future golden age in the kingdom of our Lord is altogether figure of speech.  So they spiritualize it all away, and they make the Bible mean whatever the man personally would like to make it mean.  These are the amillennialists.  These are the spiritualizers.  There is to be no millennium, and everything that the Bible would say about it is just a figure of speech.

Well, I began to study when I was accused of being a premillennialist, just preaching the Bible, I began to study to see what this is that I am supposed to be.  And as I read the Bible I came across many, many things.  For example, in the great apocalyptic discourse of our Savior, in [Matthew 24:29], He will say:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, the powers that are in the (heavens) shall be shaken:

Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.

[Matthew 24:29-30]

Not when we get better and better will the Lord appear, but after the tribulation of those dark days.

Then of course, I followed as anyone would the Apocalypse, the Revelation; the first chapter on the glorious vision of Jesus [Revelation 1:9-20], the second and the third chapters on the church and its age [Revelation 2:1-3:22].  In the fourth chapter the church disappears, it is raptured away [Revelation 4:1].  Then from the fourth chapter to the nineteenth chapter is the tribulation [Matthew 24:21; Revelation 4:1-19:21].  And in the nineteenth chapter Jesus comes [Revelation 19:11-16].  Then in the twentieth chapter is the passage you read just now, is the millennium, the glorious kingdom of Christ, the thousand years, just following the order as it is in the Bible [Revelation 20:1-6].

I found that the revelation, the doctrine of the Bible is this, premillennial.  There is going to be times of distress and wars and rumors of wars, the desperateness of sin [Matthew 24:6].  And it is in the intervention of Christ Himself, the coming of the Lord Himself, that this world is brought into judgment [Matthew 25:31-46], that I will preach about tonight, and into the millennial age.

I also learned that this is the historic and ancient faith of the church fathers.  I have not time, but in the address there will be written Papias, who was the pastor of the church at Hierapolis, which is just across the Lycus River from Laodicea.  Papias, who was a disciple of the apostle John, Papias writes, and when he writes, it is premillennial.  Clement of Rome, which is doubtless the Clement that is mentioned in [Philippians 4:3], writes, and he writes of the premillennial faith.

I have here a long selection from Justin Martyr, who was born about 100 AD.  I have a long selection here from Irenaeus, who was the pastor of Lyons.  He was the friend of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the sainted apostle John.  Then I have a passage from Tertullian, who was born about 150 AD; then from Cyprian, born about 195 AD; and from Lactantius, the great Latin father and the teacher of the son of Constantine, who was born about 240 AD.

Now I shall read the historical summary that is in Edward Gibbon’s tremendous history, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that I suppose is the greatest history that was ever written.  Edward Gibbon writes, and I quote this because it is a summary, quote:

The ancient and popular doctrine of the millennium was carefully inculcated by a succession of fathers, from Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, men who conversed with the immediate disciples of the apostles, down to Lactantius, who was the preceptor of the son of Constantine.  It appears to have been the reigning sentiment of all orthodox believers.  It was productive of the most salutary effect upon the faith and practice of Christians.

Edward Gibbon is saying here that all of the church fathers, these who knew the apostles and their disciples, all of the church fathers were premillennial.  It is the ancient faith of the church.  But after the conversion of Constantine, and after the early fathers who knew the apostles and their fathers and followers had died, there was a great theological and millennial change.  It was the change from premillennialism to amillennialism.  The theological confrontation to the millennial faith was born in the Roman Church, which teaches that the Church is the kingdom.  This was made easy, the change in theological stance, this was made easy after the conversion of Constantine because the Church was no longer persecuted but became the state religion.

Now the Roman theology of amillennialism had its origin in the teachings of Augustine, or Augustine.  Now he taught, he died in 430 AD, Augustine taught, one; the binding of Satan took place during the earthly ministry of our Lord.  Two: the first resurrection is the new birth of the believer.  Three: the devil is bound and expelled from the hearts of those who believe in Christ.  [Four]: the reign of the saints is their personal victory over sin and the devil.  [Five]: the beast is this wicked world, and his image is hypocrisy.  [Six]: and the millennium is this present period of the church age.  We are in it now.  All amillennialists believe that we are in the millennium now.  This is the millennium.  The glorious millennial prophecy, such as in Isaiah 11:6-9,

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid … and the lion shall eat straw like an ox.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain:  for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

They believed that Scripture and all the others like it are fulfilled in this present age.  We are living in the millennium now, which to me is an astonishing supposition; if this present world, filled with sin, and violence, and war, and greed, and terror, and death—if this is the millennium, it is an amazing thing what words spiritualized can be made to mean.

Now turning aside from the premillennial faith makes the Bible a book of impossible, jumbled enigmas.  It brings with it the loss of biblical distinctions and makes for hermeneutical confusion.  Hermeneutics is the principles of interpretation.

Amillennialism is the tragic human interpretation that loses sight of these distinctions in the Bible.  First Corinthians 10:32 divides all mankind into three parts:  the Jew, the Gentile, and the church.  And in order to be an amillennialist, you have to blot out those biblical distinctions.  When you blot out those biblical distinctions, the Bible becomes increasingly meaningless, and Scripture is finally looked upon as merely a piece of antique literature to be junked.  The tendency of all amillennial teaching is more, and more, and more, and more to look upon the Bible as one of those things that was written two thousand, three thousand years ago and has increasing less pertinence to us today.

Now those three distinctions in the Bible, the Jew, the Gentile, and the church, if you will let those three distinctions say what they say and follow the Bible exactly as it presents them, you will have an increasingly clear picture of what God is, what He is doing, and what He is going to do.  But when in amillennialism you spiritualize those distinctions away, the Bible becomes an increasing enigma, a meaningless jumble.

Now I want to show you what I mean by spiritualizing those distinctions away.  I have a beautiful Bible here.  I would not pay that much for a Bible.  But somebody gave it to me.  It is a beautiful Bible and very expensive.  It is a text and has large print.  Well, I want you to look at what spiritualizing is.  Up here at the top, it will have a heading:  The Church Comforted.  So this is Isaiah 43.  So I look down here to read about the church comforted.  But this is what I read in Isaiah, “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine” [Isaiah 43:1].  When I read his caption, The Church Comforted, what actually I read is “O Jacob …” and “O Israel …”. That is what you call “spiritualizing.”

I turn again to Isaiah 52, The Church’s Joy.  That is the caption up here, The Church’s Joy.  So I look down here to read about the church’s joy.  Instead, this is what I read, “Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion … Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem:  for the Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem” [Isaiah 52: 2, 9].  That is spiritualizing.  Isaiah is not talking about the church.  He is talking about Zion, about Jerusalem.

Look again in Jeremiah 31, and this is one of the most astonishing instances of spiritualizing that you could ever find.  Up here at the top of my Bible, The Stability of the Church, that is the caption in Jeremiah 31, The Stability of the Church.  So I come down here to read about the stability of the church.  And this is what I read:

Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night … The Lord of hosts is His name:

If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.

[Jeremiah 31:35-36]

“Long as the sun shall shine and the moon shall give her light, just so long will there be an Israel before Me,” saith the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.

[Jeremiah 31:37]

I will never cast them off, long as the sun is there in the sky and the earth is down here beneath our feet.  And yet the spiritualizer writes the caption, The Stability of the Church.  You are not talking about the church.  “Well, how do I know for sure He is not talking about the church?”  Because in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul says that the church is a mustērion, a secret in the heart of God that the prophets never saw!  There is no church in the Old Testament.  It is a secret that God kept in His heart until, as the apostle says in the third chapter of Ephesians, until God chose to reveal it to His holy apostles [Ephesians 3:1-11].

This is the great hiatus between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks of Daniel [Daniel 9:26].  This age of grace, this age of the Holy Spirit, this age of the church the prophets never saw.  It was a secret that God kept in His heart until He revealed it through Jesus Christ and His apostle [Ephesians 3:3-5].  So when you read “the church” in the Old Testament, you are reading something into it.  God never put it there.  He never revealed it until He did it through the holy apostles.

Now if you let Scripture say what it says, the Jew is always the Jew, Israel is always Israel, the Gentile is always the Gentile, and the church is always the church, if you will keep those distinctions through the Bible, it will become an open Book to you and will become increasingly meaningful.

Now the amillennialists teach that God is through with Israel, that there is no future and no remembrance, and there is no anything for the Jew.  That is the teaching of the amillennialist; God is done with the Jew, there is no future for the Jew, there is nothing that remains for the Jew, he is finished and God has nothing more to do with him.  That is amillennialism.

I have a deduction from that, and it is this, if God breaks His promises to the Jew, how do I know and what assurance do I have but that God would break His promises to me?  If God lies to the children of Abraham, how do I know but that God will not lie to me?  Now Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent:  what He hath said, He shall do it, and what He hath spoken, He shall bring it to pass.”  God is not man that He would lie, and the promises that He has made to Israel, God will faithfully keep.  And if He doesn’t, then I have no assurance that He would keep His promises to me.

Now just for moment, what has God said about the Jew?  He says, “He will be here when I come again.”  In Matthew 24:34 the Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”  This generation, the Greek word is genea, the Latin is genus, the English of it would be kind or race or species; “This Jew is going to be here when I come back.”  That is what Jesus said [Matthew 24:34].

Well, what do you think about that?  In the Bible, there are Hittites.  Did you ever see a Hittite?  In the Bible there are Moabites.  Did you ever see a Moabite?  In the Bible there are Jebusites.  Ever see a Jebusite?  In the Bible there are Ammonites.  Did you ever see an Ammonite?  In the Bible there are Hivites.  Did you ever see a Hivite?  Did you ever see anybody, who ever saw anybody, who ever heard of anybody, who ever saw anybody, who ever saw a Jebusite, or a Hivite, or an Ammonite, or any other of those “-ites”?

But Jesus said, “The Jew will be here till I come” [Matthew 24:34].  Walk down the streets of Dallas in these stores and I will introduce him to you.  And if Barofski will stand up, I will introduce one to you, right here in our congregation.  God said, “He will be here till I come back” [Matthew 24:34].

The Lord said also, in the passage that I read, Jeremiah 31:35-37, they will always be a people.  They will always be a nation, always.  As long as that sun shines in the sky, and as long as this earth is a footstool on which we rest, there will be a nation called Israel.  God says that the land of Palestine is His.  It belongs to Him.  Psalm 105, verses 8 through 11, says:

God hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.

Which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac;

And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

Namely, saying, Unto thee—unto Israel—will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.

[Psalm 105:8-11]

 

It belongs to them.  There is plenty of earth for the Arab, plenty of earth for the Gentile, but the land of Palestine, the land of Canaan, belongs to the Jew.

Look again, just once again, in Leviticus [chapter] 26, beginning at verse 43: these people, the Israelites,

despised My judgments, and they abhorred My statutes.

And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies—scattered over the world—I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them:  for I am the Lord their God.

But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God:  I am the Lord.

[Leviticus 26:43-45]

Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.

[Leviticus 26:42]

God says, “The land of Canaan belongs to them” [Psalm 105:8-11].  And wherever you will find a Jew, you will find his heart and his deep and abiding interest in Palestine.

God also says, in Amos 9, let me read that one.  In Amos 9 God says that the Jew will return to his home, and someday he will dwell there forever.  Listen to it:

In that day—this is the last chapter of Amos—In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that has fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. . .And I will bring again the captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and live off of them. . .and gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.

[Amos 9:11, 14-15]

Canaan is the everlasting home of the Jew, and he is going to return.  And the Book says that he will be converted.  The Book says that he is going to accept his Messiah.  I wish I had time to read these passages.  Romans 11:25-29; Zechariah 12:10-13:1, 6, Christ is going to appear to them.  Listen, I am going to take time to read it anyway.  “Do not forget,” Paul writes in Romans 11:

That blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so all Israel shall be saved:  as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

[Romans 11:25-26]

And how that is done, is depicted here in the Book of Zechariah.  Zechariah [chapters] 12, 13, and 14, let me read it,

I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications:  and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced . . .

[Zechariah 12:10]

And in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness … And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands?  Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends …I will hear them:  I will say, It is My people:  And they shall say, The Lord is my God . . .

[Zechariah 13:1, 6, 9]

And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem … And the Lord shall be King over all the earth:  in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name one.

[Zechariah 14:4, 9]

The Lord is going to appear to them.  And they are going to be, as Isaiah says, there is going to be a nation born in a day [Isaiah 66:8].

Well, is that unusual, that the Lord should appear to them?  He appeared to His brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude [1 Corinthians 15:7].  He appeared to His brethren, and He won them to Himself [Acts 1:14].  He appeared to the apostle Paul who says that he was as one born before the time [1 Corinthians 15:8].  He was an abortion.  Before the Lord appears to Israel, He appeared to the apostle Paul [Acts 9:1-6].  And when He comes again, He is going to appear to Israel, who are then in the land, under tremendous tribulation.  And they are going to accept their Messiah [Romans 11:25-26], and a nation will be born in a day [Isaiah 66:8].

Now, I must hastily conclude.  We see the confirmation of this word of prophecy in history.  Number one: there is not a postmillennialist that I know of in the world today.  Yet when I was a boy practically every teacher I ever saw or heard and practically every preacher I ever heard was a postmillennialist.  World War II knocked that doctrine, strange and false and alien to the Bible, World War II knocked that doctrine out of the theological academic world.  Nobody today would believe or get up and say that we are going to get better and better and better and better until finally everything is perfect.

All right, a second thing confirmed in history: the birth of the nation of Israel.  On the fifteenth day of May in 1948, most of us can remember that day; God said, “He is going back to his land,” and God says, “He is going back in unbelief,” according to Ezekiel 36:24-28.  We are seeing in our day the fulfillment of the great prophecies of the Bible.  Why, the Jew was scattered over the earth for a thousand eight-hundred years, but God said, “He is going back,” and in our day we have seen the birth of the nation in Palestine.

Will you notice again, God says that Armageddon is there, the Hill of Megiddo, Armageddon, the Plain of Esdraelon.  However you try to escape it, the attention of the world is riveted right there where God said it is.  And it is there that the nations of the world will be gathered [Revelation 16:16].  And it is there that the great, last, final battle, the great confrontation of the nation will take place in Armageddon [Revelation 19:17-21].

I was lecturing one time on the Hill of Megiddo, Armageddon.  And while I was lecturing, those Phantom jets were roaring overhead.  And the repercussion and the sound of thunder that they made sounded to me like the judgment day of Almighty God!

There was a time when I had access to the White House.  And I remember being seated one time in that room, the Cabinet Room next to the Oval Office, in one of those cabinet chairs.  And the secretary of state, Henry Kissinger at that time, was speaking to us about the foreign policy of the United States.  And I asked him, “Do you think—and at that time the Vietnam War was going on—I asked him, “Do you think that there will be a confrontation of the nations of the world in Vietnam in Southeast Asia?”  And he said, “No.  There will be no confrontation of the major powers of the world in Vietnam.  It is a local war.”

Well, I said, “Do you think there is a place in the globe on this earth where there is the possibility of a nuclear confrontation between the great powers of the world?”

And Henry Kissinger replied, “There is.  It is in the Middle East.  It is in the Middle East.”

However you want to get away from it, talk about Vietnam, talk about Chili, talk about China, talk about anywhere else in the world; the attention of the whole civilized earth is centered in Palestine.  It makes a headline every day; you cannot escape that.  That is God.

Now, may I take one more moment to say one other thing?  We see the confirmation of premillennial truth preached out of the Bible.  We see it in the effectiveness of its message and the effectiveness of the messenger.  For example, a premillennial evangelist came to Dallas, and I went to the service.  There were thousands of us there.  And there were thousands saved.  It was a marvelous thing.

Did you know right after that, Paul Tillich came to Dallas?  Paul Tillich is the darling of the liberal, of the neo-orthodox, of the amillennialist.  For years, he was professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  He came here to Dallas, Paul Tillich, the greatest theologian and exponent of the liberal, neo-orthodox, amillennial position; he came to Dallas.  You didn’t even know he was here.  He spoke to a little handful of people who were interested.  And I talked to one of the brilliant men in Dallas who listened to him, and he said to me, “I did not even know what he was talking about.”  That’s the difference.

Now I want to point out to you a truth that I observed.  The minster, the preacher, is always moving away from or toward the Bible, always and ever.  In his life, in his heart, in his study, in his preaching, in everything about him, he is either moving more and more and more toward the Word of God, or he is moving more and more and more away from it.  The liberal, the amillennialist, moves more and more and more away from the Word of the Lord.  But a premillennialist, like your pastor, moves constantly more and more ever closer and ever deeper into these Holy Scriptures.  There is not a premillennialist in the earth but that who believes in the literal interpretation of the Word of God.

And the blessing of the Lord upon it, I know two young men who started off in Youth for Christ.  Both of them were tremendously effective.  They were dynamic young men, flaming evangelists, both of them, one just as able and gifted as the other.  All right, as I followed the life of those two, one of them moved more and more and more away from the Word of God and finally quit the ministry.  The other one moved more and more and more and more toward the Word of the Lord.  And that one that moved toward the Word of God has been a fellow member with you in this dear church for a quarter of a century.  And his name is Billy Graham, a premilliennialist.  God blesses that man who buries soul in an exposition of these holy and revealed Scriptures of the Lord.

Now Paige, would you like to stand up here and defend the amillennial, liberalizing, Christ-denying Scripture?

[Paige Patterson:  “Not since you word it that way.”]

All of this came not out of anything I was ever taught, not out of any teacher at whose feet I ever sat.  All of it came about from the decision that I made thirty-six or thirty-seven years ago that I was going to preach the Holy Book, just that, preaching in the morning, where I leave off starting again Sunday night.  And the Lord honors that anywhere a man of God will stand and open this holy and sacred Book.

Now dear people, our time is so far spent.  On the first note of the first stanza, to give your heart to Jesus, to believe the testimony of this blessed Word, to come into the fellowship of this wonderful church, and what a precious time to do it, this Thanksgiving season, while we sing this song of appeal, out of the balcony, down one of these stairways, the throng on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, “Pastor, I have decided for God, and I am coming.  I am bringing my family.  We are all here.”  Or, just that one somebody you, make the decision now in your heart, and when you stand up to sing in just this moment, stand up coming down that stairway, walking down that aisle.  May angels attend you while you come and while we stand and sing.