Charles Spurgeon - PreMillennialist1

Charles Haddon Spurgeon's View Of The Millennium
Annotated Summary By Mark A. McNeil
(also see our article with links to sources on Spurgeon's views)

"I am not now going into millennial theories, or into any speculation as to dates. I do not know anything at all about such things, and I am not sure that I am called to spend my time in such researches. I am rather called to minister the gospel than to open prophecy. Those who are wise in such things doubtless prize their wisdom, but I have not the time to acquire it, nor any inclination to leave soul-winning pursuits for less arousing themes. I believe it is a great deal better to leave many of these promises, and many of these gracious out-looks of believers, to exercise their full force upon our minds, without depriving them of their simple glory by aiming to discover dates and figures. Let this be settled, however, that if there be meaning in words, Israel is yet to be restored. Israel is to have a SPIRITUAL RESTORATION or a CONVERSION." [from The Restoration & Conversion of the Jews MTP Vol 10, Year 1864, pg. 429, Ezekiel 37:1-10 (age 30)]


There has been some considerable difference of opinion regarding the position that C. H. Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher from the 19th century, held in the area of Eschatology — regarding the doctrine of the Millennium. Each of the three major divisions within this area of doctrine have proponents who claim Spurgeon as one of their own. Many times authors claim a different millennial view than what Spurgeon actually believed.

It is not our task to sort out the arguments for each view. Such an assignment would take a very large volume (many are available) and the issue would still not be solved for all. We would simply like to define the basic positions and then demonstrate from Spurgeon's own words which one view he held.


The first view regarding the Millennium is that of PREMILLENNIALISM. The prefix, "Pre," denotes "before." The prefix is telling us at what point in relationship to the millennium that Christ will come. This view holds that our Lord will Literally return before a 1,000-year reign of Christ begins. The millennium of Revelation 20 is taken to be literal. If not literal, it at least is speaking of an indefinite period of time following the coming of Christ during which there will be perfect peace on the earth.

Within the premillennialist camp, there have come to be two identifiable views: the "dispensationalist" position, and the "historic" position. For further information defending each of these views, one should consult Reese's The Approaching Advent of Christ [historic] and Dwight Pentecost's Things to Come [dispensational]. Though the differences between the two are important, it is not within the scope of our purpose here to delve into such matters.


The second view is called AMILLENNIALISM, or sometimes called "realized eschatology". The prefix, "A-," means "no". This would suggest that those who hold this view do not believe in a millennium. This is somewhat misleading, however. This view is the the product of a consistent Spiritual interpretation of prophetic literature. To those, the millennium is not some future physical reign, but the present reign of Christ in the hearts of believers. The "millennium" is an indefinite period of time (the present age) after which Christ will physically return. Prophecy in the Church, by Oswald Allis, is a standard work for the amillennial position.

This is the position of the Roman Catholic Church, also many other Protestant denominations. It grew out of St. Augustine's spiritualizing of these issues in his writings, and the tendency of many early Christian writers to see the Church as the "new Israel" and therefore the recipient of the promises of the Old Testament for the Jewish nation. Those who hold this view do not speak of the millennium as a future happening.  It is, to them, a Present Reality.


The third, and last, major view is that of POSTMILLENNIALISM. The prefix "Post" speaks of "after." This teaching promotes the view that the physical return of Christ will Follow an actual millennium. The influence of Christianity will over-take the world for an extended period of time, then Christ will return.

This view appears to be a mixture of the principles that work to produce the first two views. It is not consistently spiritual or literal in its interpretation of the prophetic material relevant to this issue. Perhaps the foremost writing for this position today is The Millennium, by Loraine Boettner.


With basic definitions before us, then, let's look at some quotes from Spurgeon to see what his position was on the Millennium.

    "If I read the word aright, and it is honest to admit that there is much room for difference of opinion here, the day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. Some think that this descent of the Lord will be Post-millennial — that is, 'after the thousand years' of his reign. I CANNOT THINK SO. I conceive that the advent will be PRE-millennial — that He will come first; and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth. But whether or no, this much is the fact, that Christ will suddenly come, come to reign, and come to judge the earth in righteousness." [from Justification & Glory MTP Vol 11, Year 1865, pg. 249, Romans 8:30 (age 31)]

Spurgeon here specifically identifies the Postmillennial view with a clear DENIAL of any adherence to it! Those who attempt to claim Spurgeon for this viewpoint do not demonstrate their contention by referring to clear comparisons such as this one. They rather go to sermons not specifically dealing with both positions and pull out of them ideas that are "compatible" with Postmillennial thinking. This is a faulty way of proving a point, however* — especially when they meet squarely with a Spurgeon statement like the one above, and those below.

*NOTE: Furthur, a few postmillennialists (especially GARY NORTH), are guilty of misrepresenting Spurgeon constantly in articles and books; NORTH has repeatedly alleged that "Spurgeon was Postmillennial" — yet neither his supplied quotations "say" so, and/or he deliberately does not present a statement by Spurgeon that North will speculate "implies" a Postmillennial position. Our advice is to ignore anything North states regarding Spurgeon's views and Prophecy!

Again, consider Spurgeon's View here in light of 'Postmillennial' teaching...

    "Paul does not paint the future with rose-colour: he is no smooth-tongued prophet of a golden age, into which this dull earth may be imagined to be glowing. There are sanguine brethren who are looking forward to everything growing better and better and better, until, at last, this present age ripens into a millennium. They will not be able to sustain their hopes, for Scripture gives them no solid basis to rest upon. We who believe that there will be no millennial reign without the King, and who expect no rule of righteousness except from the appearing of the righteous Lord, are nearer the mark. Apart from the second Advent of our Lord, the world is more likely to sink into a pandemonium than to rise into a millennium. A divine interposition seems to me the hope set before us in Scripture, and, indeed, to be the only hope adequate to the occasion. We look to the darkening down of things; the state of mankind, however improved politically, may yet grow worse and worse spiritually." [from The Form of Godliness Without the Power MTP Vol 35, Year 1889, pg. 301, 2 Timothy 3:5 (age 54)]

    "We are to expect the literal advent of Jesus Christ, for he himself by his angel told us, 'This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,' which must mean literally and in person. We expect a reigning Christ on earth; that seems to us to be very plain, and to be put so literally that we dare not spiritualise it. We anticipate a first and a second resurrection; a first resurrection of the righteous, and a second resurrection of the ungodly, who shall be judged, condemned, and punished for ever by the sentence of the great King." [from Things to Come MTP Vol 15, Year 1869, pg. 329, 1 Corinthians 3:22 (age 35)]

Here, stress is laid upon the Literal Nature of the second coming.  Also, after this literal return is stressed a reigning upon the earth.

"We have done once for all with the foolish ideas of certain of the early heretics, that Christ's appearance upon earth was but a phantom. We know that he was really, personally, and physically here on earth. But it is not quite so clear to some persons that he is to come really, personally, and literally, the second time. I know there are some who are labouring to get rid of the fact of a personal reign, but as I take it, the coming and the reign are so connected together, that we must have a spiritual coming if we are to have a spiritual reign. Now we believe and hold that Christ shall come a second time suddenly, to raise his saints at the first judgment, and they shall reign with him afterwards. The rest of the dead live not till after the thousand years are finished. Then shall they rise from their tombs at the sounding of the trumpet, and their judgment shall come and they shall receive the deeds which they have done in their bodies." [from The Two Advents of Christ MTP Vol 8, Year 1862, pg. 39, Hebrews 9:27-28 (age 28)]

[from The Sinner's End MTP Vol 8, Year 1862, pgs. 712-713, Psalms 73:17-18 (age 28)], Spurgeon is discussing the final condition of the sinner — "Let us go on to consider their end. The day of days, that dreadful day has come. The millennial rest is over, the righteous have had their thousand years of glory upon earth."

In the quotes above, the order of events fits perfectly the PREmillennial point of view. The final end of the sinner is faced after the righteous have enjoyed a thousand years with Christ.

"Our Hope is the Personal PRE-MILLENNIAL RETURN of the Lord Jesus Christ in Glory." — August 1891, age 58  

Of the various articles and writings by those who deny the conclusion that we feel is obvious, none that I have found bases itself on the same type of quotes we have produced (many others could have been given — see those that follow). To the contrary, their's are based on "interpreting" Spurgeon's statements apart from such quotes that we have given..

We feel safe in concluding, then, that of the three views we began with,Spurgeon expressly states that he believes in a Literal Return of Jesus Christ BEFORE a Literal Millennium on the Earth.

Written by Mark A. McNeil (Houston TX USA), B.A., M.A., & PhD., Permission granted by Bob L. Ross — No Copyright

(1) Editors Note: Charles H. Spurgeon was a historic premillennialist, NOT a pretribulationist as some have tried to charge! From the Summer 1990 issue of Watching and Waiting Magazine1, C. W. H. Griffiths states Spurgeon: was "a valued standard bearer for Historic Premillennialism". Griffiths then presents an excellent article defending his Premillennial position. The article published by the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, 1 Donald Way, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 9JB United Kingdom