Home > Christian Authors, eschatology, hermeneutics, Israel, Old Testament, premillennialism > Classic Premillennialism: Andrew Bonar’s “Redemption Drawing Nigh”

Classic Premillennialism: Andrew Bonar’s “Redemption Drawing Nigh”

April 29, 2015

Andrew Bonar

Andrew Bonar

In my ongoing study of historic premillennialism, here is another classic premillennial work from one of the covenantal premillennialists, Andrew Bonar (1810-1892, youngest brother of Horatius Bonar) – perhaps best known today for his biography of his friend and fellow Scotsman, Robert Murray M’Cheyne.

Redemption Drawing Nigh, A Defense of the Premillennial Advent was published in 1847. Its availability today is limited: through Google Play, which also has a PDF downloadable file. However, the PDF file is not of the OCR/text type (only image). No kindle book files exist, nor any print used copies from Amazon or other sites. Thankfully, the reading through Google Play is of good quality, and brings out the now-forgotten treasures from Andrew Bonar.

Similar to other works from the 19th century on this topic (as for instance J.C. Ryle), Bonar begins with consideration of the overall question of the Second Coming: why we should be interested in it, and what benefits it brings to the growing Christian. He bolsters his case with quotes from a then-contemporary antimillenarian scholar who likewise agreed regarding the importance of considering Christ’s Second Advent. Bonar also shows his mastery of scripture, with a chapter citing many oft-ignored references to the Second Coming (general references not specific to the millennial era), with several interesting references from the Old Testament –the Psalms, Proverbs, the Prophets, and even from the Song of Solomon (seen typologically as about Christ, the traditional/historic view of that book).

Later chapters deal more in-depth with topics still relevant today, including great quotes about hermeneutics and affirming the literal hermeneutic—and what that hermeneutic actually means.  So far the book is interesting, with strong emphasis on the importance of this doctrine (premillennialism and the Second Coming generally), references to the future of Israel, and insights on the Christian life and holiness.

A few excerpts to share:

 Holiness is “living soberly,” or occupying the position which a calm consideration of our gifts shows us to be fitted for; “righteously,” regarding our neighbor’s rights, loving him as ourselves; “godly,” regarding God’s demands, living in fellowship with Him. But even this, done under the motive of “grace,” is not all. Along with all this, a truly holy man sits loose to the world and longs for glory. … Uneasy at every remaining imperfection, troubled by every unattained degree of grace, vexed at a low state of feeling, the man who walks on the highway of holiness is ever looking forward into the bosom of the future— beyond even death, which only brings partial deliverance—to “that blessed hope.” This unceasing regard to the Lord’s Coming is surely one scriptural ingredient in all real holiness.


It is not enough that the lesson itself is Divine, we must also have a Divine instructor; not only a sharp sword, but an Almighty hand to wield it. It is so with respect to this doctrine of the Lord’s Coming. It may be learnt by carnal men as any other piece of knowledge; and it may be received and assented to by spiritual men among the other articles of their creed. But there is a spiritual reception of it which is the effect of the Holy Ghost’s teaching. As in conversion we need resurrection-power—the same power that raised up Jesus—to remove the barriers in our soul that hid a full salvation from our view; so ever after, when any new truth of a spiritual nature is to be taught us, it seems declared to us (Phil. 3: 15) that we need the very same power to remove the scale that blinded us to it.

and, on the topic of hermeneutics, the primary meaning and its application to us:

Let the man not be lazy and easy-minded in the things of God. Let him not say, “O it will do well to let the Assyrian stand as an Algebraic sign for ‘our spiritual enemy.’” Let him rather take the words literally, as referring to some national Jewish event yet future; and then let him say, “But he who is able to be Israel’s peace in that day, may well be mine now!”

  1. April 29, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I love reading these dead guys from the 19th Century. It doesn’t matter who it is the Bonar Bros., Ryle, Spurgeon, Tregelles, Newton, etc. They are much more careful and disciplined in their exegesis than many pastor-scholars today.

    • April 29, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Very true, they had a much better knowledge of and grasp of scripture, and more depth of thought than any modern scholar-writer I’ve come across.

  2. alf cengia
    May 18, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I am really enjoying reading Bonar’s “Diary and Life.”

    I also found his commentary on the book of Leviticus on PDF, for those interested. I’m thinking about getting the book as well. :

    Click to access Andrew_Bonar-Leviticus_Commentary.pdf

    • May 19, 2015 at 4:33 am

      Thanks for the link to the PDF. I too am appreciating his writings, including this book. Another interesting work from him, that I plan to read next, is his book on the Psalms.

  3. May 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I apologize for posting this link here, but you and I are classic premillennialists. How do we respond to the objection expressed by Sam Storms in his article yesterday? Here’s the link: http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/when-death-is-swallowed-up-in-victory:-a-problem-for-premillennialism

    • May 21, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Interesting, I had not read that article. I don’t see that Andrew Bonar or a few others I’ve checked, directly addresses that question. As I see it, the basic point in the phrase in Isaiah 25:8 doesn’t actually indicate a final chronology. The text is about what He will do, and yes, in reference to HIs return, but “He will swallow up death forever” does not necessarily mean that the death swallowed up forever is completed 100% at that specific time point.

      But of course Sam Storms would not be convinced by that, and he would ignore the overall teaching of premillennialism found in so many passages throughout the Bible.

      • May 21, 2015 at 9:40 pm

        “…but ‘He will swallow up death forever’ does not necessarily mean that the death swallowed up forever is completed 100% at that specific time point.”

        I agree with your statement that I quoted above to begin this comment. When I connect your statement with the view that the resurrection of the just is selective, then this would suggest that death has been swallowed up forever for us at Christ’s return. It does not follow that the same is true for the unrighteous dead.

        According to classic premillennialism, the unrighteous dead remain in the grave until the end of the 1000 years. Sam Storms does contest this position of ours; however, the selectivity of the believer’s resurrection is the only way to make sense of Rev. 20, the better resurrection or life found in Heb. 11, and the out-resurrection of Phil 3:11.

      • May 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        Agree, and well-said: the resurrection of the just separate from the resurrection of the unjust.
        By the way: don’t know if you are on Facebook, but we have a good discussion group on there, for “Historic (Classic) Premillennialism,” including files resources listing resources including the Bonars, Ryle, and the many other covenantal/historic premills — Just mentioning in case you’re interested.

      • May 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

        I am on Facebook, and this group sounds like fun.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: