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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sir Robert Anderson's "THE COMING PRINCE" Examined

While my observations of the way that dispensationalists approached Daniel chapter 9 had greatly shaken my confidence in their end-times scheme of things, I was not yet ready to reject them entirely without further examination of the writings of prominent dispensational writers. Having listened for years to dispensational teaching on the end-times, I had often heard Sir Robert Anderson’s book, “THE COMING PRINCE” being highly recommended as “the standard volume in the field of the classic interpretation of the book of Daniel.” Dispensational preachers among the Baptists and those among the “brethren”, although they could not agree with one another on many things, are all agreed on at least one thing, that Anderson’s book is “the standard” volume in this field of study!

So I determined not to make any final decision regarding the “seven year tribulation” and related teachings until I had carefully read and evaluated “The Coming Prince”. I’d heard that Anderson claimed that it could be demonstrated that the time between Cyrus’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the crucifixion of Christ was exactly 483 years or 69 “weeks” of 7 years calculated to the very day!

I really did not want to throw over all that I had been taught regarding the end times, so I was hoping that Anderson would prove me wrong and enable me to honestly “return to the fold” of classic dispensational end-times teachings. So I purposed to read his entire book and follow all of his explanations and mathematical calculations with my own calculator. If what he taught was accurate and reliable, I wanted to be able to explain it clearly to others.

As I read “THE COMING PRINCE”, I also took note of the author’s own principles of interpretation which he detailed and then I wanted to make sure that he was indeed consistent with his own stated principles of interpretation of Biblical prophecies. At least 5 specific principles of interpretation of prophecies are given in the book. But before I had finished reading the book, I found that Robert Anderson violated every single one of his own stated principles! But worse than that, calculations which he claimed were exact and left no room for looseness were often found to be far from accurate!

By the time I was finished reading “THE COMING PRINCE”, I was disgusted! Everything I had previously read about Robert Anderson lead me to believe that he was a godly man, a faithful Bible student and a meticulous mathematician. But simply doing all of his calculations after him and comparing his methods with his own stated principles convinced me that, at least on the subject of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, Robert Anderson had not handled scripture honestly. Rather, he had knowingly deceived his readers! He had very evidently approached scripture with a pre-conceived idea in his mind and was determined to teach that notion regardless of what scripture actually said for itself! He knew that few, if any, of his readers would “check up” on all his calculations as I had purposed to do. And, as I have spoken and written, about my own findings, to many teachers who hold Anderson in high regard….not one of these men, of which I am aware, have believed me or gone back to personally check his calculations after him! There is one basic reason for that general unwillingness of dispensational teachers to investigate the truthfulness of the author of their standard volume…Someone put it this way, “It is next to impossible to get a man to doubt something when his very livelihood depends upon his believing it!”

When I realized that the standard volume which was the foundation of dispensationalists’ end-times teaching was not one which could be trusted, I realized that the end-times teaching of that system could not be trusted either! Since the “seven year tribulation doctrine” was not a scriptural doctrine, I had to ask, “What about the pre-tribulation rapture teaching that goes hand in hand with it? And what about the doctrine of the imminence of Christ’s return?”

I began to wonder, “How many doctrines have I embraced and taught to others which are not clearly taught by the scriptures themselves, but may in fact be contrary to them?

It was a most distressing time in my life, but I knew that I must get to the bottom of these matters if I was ever to be able to honestly teach the scripture to others again! It was about this time in my journey when the Lord directed my thoughts to 3 key passages of scripture which have given me three “benchmarks” by which to evaluate every doctrine which I believe and teach to others. Applying those benchmarks eventually required that I reject a number of doctrines which I had embraced as “convictions” for years. But I must wait until the next post to share with you what those scripture are and what radical changes they would still require in my own beliefs!

(P.S. My evaluation of “THE COMING PRINCE” by comparing the author’s methods to his own stated principles of interpretation of prophecy comprises 5 typewritten pages. I will be happy to send that article to anyone who desires to read it and check out the facts for themselves. You can simply leave a comment below or email me at to request it.)


Pieter said...

Thanks for your blog. It looks like there is a lot of interesting material. I am looking forward to read some of it. I have been learning a lot since I was saved about 4 years ago. I also have learned that long held doctrines are not automatically Biblical just because they have been believed so long. What I wrote on my blog is what I concluded after careful study of the Word. I do realize though that even now I could have missed some things and as such am open minded to receive correction. Please challenge me wherever you find necessary. Rejoicing in my salvation; Pieter de Wit.

Pieter said...

Yes, I would be interested in that article. You have my e-mail adress. Looking forward to it. Pieter de Wit