Sermon of the week: “Sovereign Election, Israel & Eschatology (a.k.a. Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist)” by John MacArthur.

John MacArthur Your sermon of the week is Sovereign Election, Israel & Eschatology (a.k.a. Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist) by John MacArthur. This is the message that caused a stir a few years ago when MacArthur delivered it at the Shepherd’s Conference.

Not all the contributors on this blog agree with MacArthur on this subject, but I wanted to make it available here for those who have not listened to it yet.

You may also want to hear the opposition’s position to the Premil view posted last week by ATG.

For a more in-depth examination of this subject, I highly recommend MacArthur’s six -part series found on this previous post. (I actually prefer MacArthur’s six-part series as he has more time to unpack his points, and makes a more convincing argument for the Premil position, than he does in today’s single message.)

You can download this week’s message by MacArthur by going to the page found on this link, or just right-click and save this link.

17 thoughts on “Sermon of the week: “Sovereign Election, Israel & Eschatology (a.k.a. Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist)” by John MacArthur.

  1. I listened to both messages by Riddlebarger and MacArthur (have not listened, yet, to the rebuttal). Have these two saints ever sat down and wrestled through this issue together? If so, have they provided audio/video?

    Additionally, does anyone have the charts (or a link) that Kim referenced in the first posting?


  2. With all due respect to MacArthur (and Pilgrim of course), I find his proposition offensive and weak. “Every self-respecting Calvinist is Premil?” Really? That is a crazy assertion. I love Big Mac, but I think he missed the boat here. Here is a list of theologians and which they prefer Dispy/premil or Covenant/Amil positions (scroll to the bottom of this link):

    Personally, I’d prefer to be found in the company of the guys in the Cov Theo camp than the Dispy camp. Yikes! Every self-respecting Calvinist? Crazy. I think this is by far MacArthur at his worst.

    There are, however, really great Biblical teachers who hold to Dispy theology that have a much more honest and respectable approach. I recommend Jim Hamilton in particular from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

    Here is another comparison table for the Dispy (premil) vs. Covenant Theology (amil/postmil) views:

    And the link to Riddlebarger’s charts:

    This one is the Geerhardus Vos Kingdom chart which I absolutely love:

    Anxiously awaiting the Age to come,


  3. atg, I find it disappointing that you cannot at times keep your opinions to yourself Kim Riddlebarger was posted, it did not cause me to question my futurist premillenial beliefs (is that better that dispensationalist) I also did not comment out of respect for my amill etc family even though I heartily disagreed with what he said Dispensationalists have some fine theologians, and to be frank with you I am so sick and tired of this squabbling over eschatology from being called satanic, heretical and many other unsavoury names I thought def con was a bit above this apparently not


  4. I stand with atg on this. John MacArthur has done much to benefit the church, but he is full of himself and full of beans in making this statement.

    There are many well documented papers showing how the Rapture Cult is not biblical, plus there’s plenty of convincing arguments why Chiliasm has been discarded by covenant Christians through the centuries. Here is but one:

    Note: I will be at the Shepherd’s Conference next month, hosted by Mac. I expect to benefit greatly from it, but will have to restrain myself if something like this said in public, again.


  5. WOW! Trouble in Paradise… Well can someone chart all the different positions of trib/mill views?
    What with pre, mid, pre wrath, preter, then amil dispys…shoot that comes out to about 30 different permutations…no wonder it’s taking so long to play out! LOL Hey, what if the thousand years means just a long time…or a day? hmmm…


  6. Thanks Manfred, but I got a headache from al the stuff up above, I’m going to go take a nap and perhaps I can look at it later…after my brain quits bleeding! 🙂


  7. The irony here is that while Mac appeals to the sovereignty of God through the doctrines of grace, which I do agree with , Premillenialism has at its base the belief that God has not been able to excercise His sovereignty over the nation of Israel , this is indeed a monumental contradiction. While I did find myself disagreeing with much of the assertions made by Mac , I did agree with his sentiments that if one gets Israel right , they get eschatology right. The problem is that he has got Israel wrong and this just compounds error along the way.


  8. Let not many of you (us) become teachers…

    John testified in Revelation 22:18-19 what has long been casually disregarded. The warning couldn’t be clearer.


  9. @Jude, I fail to see why you have taken offense to my comments. We all don’t agree on all topics an rigorous debate on these issues is good for us. Besides it is our job (my job) here at DefCon to comment on such things.

    @christopherV, many of us here at DefCon ARE teachers of the Word…so I’m not sure what your comment is directed towards.


  10. @abidingthroughgrace, my comment is a quote from James, and certainly wise words to be applied in any situation, not in my own wisdom by any means. I had noone specific in mind to direct them to, other than the subject in question. We all as believers accept The Word of God is Truth, and can be nothing but Truth. With that foundational precept accepted, someone cannot be a Teacher of the Word of God and teach what is not true, and yet demonstrated in your post, there certainly are teachers of opposite positions. They can’t both be true. I offered John’s testimony in Revelation 22:18-19 as a gentle reminder that God is not so willing, as we want to believe He is, to let us teach others in His Name, if we are teaching anything that is not true. It’s the commandment few even understand – “You must not carry (take) the Name of The Lord as a deception (falsehood/in vain), for The Lord will not allow him to remain guiltless that carries His Name as a deception (falsehood/in vain).

    I pray you receive what I’ve shared as I sent it, as a servant of The Lord, not a teacher, and nothing more.


  11. ChristopherV,

    Quoting you above: “I offered John’s testimony in Revelation 22:18-19 as a gentle reminder that God is not so willing, as we want to believe He is, to let us teach others in His Name, if we are teaching anything that is not true.”

    Maybe this needs more clarification. You are asking us to receive your reproof regarding what you are essentially calling false teaching. I think you need to clarify that with some specifics. What teaching are you classifying as untrue that you are warning us to not teach?

    In God’s grace,


  12. Who am I to tell you what to believe? I told you I am not a teacher, but I know what I’ve learned:

    – what The Promise was in Genesis 1, how the Promise was transferred down to, and fulfilled in Christ, how He transferred The Promise to His disciples and subsequently to us, and how we can hope to share in The Promise at the end of the age
    – Identifying Who Israel Is and why it will be important here at the end when Satan deceives the whole world, and God Himself sends a deluding influence to those who do not love His Truth
    – How God has used parables from Genesis to Revelation to teach us what His reality is LIKE, and more.

    Why, so I can lord over others, thinking I am something more than what I am, a sinner saved by Grace? Certainly not; I share, as we all do, to edify and build up the brethren as we prepare for our Lord’s return.

    Would you accept me directing you to someone who I believe has been called of God as a teacher? Why, because I say he is? Or because he (the teacher) does? No, because I observe the zeal demonstrated here for God’s Word by you and others, and I know you will test everything against The Scriptures. What you as an individual believe is the responsibility you bear between yourself and The Lord.

    If you would, prayerfully consider There is plenty of free material to read: But first, I would suggest you read: and first determine if you disagree with the statement of beliefs listed there.

    I have no vested interest in “promoting” the Voice of Elijah ministry, other than to do what we as all believers should do: share. I thank God for how the ministry helped to remove so-called contradictions and opportunities for doubt from the Faith granted to me by Christ, and pray you consider as well. Whether you (all) accept or reject is, again, between you and The Lord

    I appreciate your thoughts Abidingthroughgrace. God Bless and keep those who are His. May Luke 5:39 not be our indictment.


  13. ChristopherV,

    I’m even more confused now than before. You are warning us not to be teachers and of our danger of false teaching and warning us to not teach that which is untrue and your response to my question to define this is to forward us to a website of other teachers?

    You still have defined what is untrue in any of the teaching/comments provided here. I suspect this is just a pot stirring exercise for you.



  14. atg,

    No, my intent is not what you suspect. The referenced teaching by John MacArthur is sound in much of what he spoke, as it would be; John MacArthur is sound in much of what he teaches, more than the vast majority of those called teachers. What he is mistaken in demonstrating is Who Israel Is, the promise given to Abraham (and to his seed, that is, Christ) and who becomes the recipient of that promise, and what the promise is, deciding where and when to “interpret” literally (ignoring 2 Peter 1:20) when the early church demonstrated otherwise, and on. He is teaching on points that he believes is true. Evidence supports it is not. I provided a resource to verify that some points of what he is teaching is not true, nothing more.

    There is a reason why the early church (first and second century) understood themselves to be Israel, the first born of God, the fulfillment of the New Covenant God promised to Israel in the prophets, the ekklesia of God; because that is what they were taught. Now, one is coming in his own name, one that will be accepted as the messiah by those who rejected The Messiah in His first advent (John 5:43), and he will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect, because everyone has a different idea as to Who Israel Is. Israel is Jesus Christ and His Body, the heavenly Jerusalem to reign in The Name on the Seventh Day (Hebrews 4). How can it be all these things if Scripture can only be interpreted literally? There is no replacement theology, it is the same ekklesia. God spoke in parables from the beginning, directly and through Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, the Apostles, and the (first and second century) Early Church.

    What then is a false teacher? Is there a limit to how much “false” is allowed to still be a teacher of God’s Word? My initial comment a couple posts back was simply shared, and I offered it based on the teaching that was referenced by John MacArthur. John 9:41 speaks to this. Is the above what you are asking for?

    Is this all an exercise to demonstrate our intellectual competency, or who might know more than another? I shared, as others have. Thank God we can do so.


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