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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dispensational End-Times Errors Stem from Rejecting Sound Principles!

Dispensationalists generally follow excellent principles of understanding scripture. They hold that:
-A. scripture is to be rightly understood by means of literal, normal or plain interpretation,
-B. one must clearly distinguish things or groups of people which differ. i.e. Israel is to be distinguished from the nations or Gentiles and both those groups are to be distinguished from those who are justified or made right with God, and
-C. prophesies of scripture are to be understood literally, plainly and normally.

But their end-times doctrines such as the “imminence of Christ’s return”, “the seven year tribulation” and the “pre-tribulation rapture” have been adopted NOT by following their own principles but rather by departing from them!

A. If any one of these three doctrines was arrived at by literal, normal or plain interpretation of scripture there would literal, normal, and plain statements of scripture which would state them. But Bible students which search the scriptures for such statements have not found them and will not find them for scripture simply does not teach them! Just as the doctrines of “purgatory” and “infant baptism” cannot be found in scripture by following literal, normal or plain interpretation, neither can these dispensational end-times doctrines be found there by following literal, normal or plain methods of interpretation!

Rather, literal statements of scripture correct each of these doctrines:
(1) The “imminence of Christ’s return” is corrected by Acts 3:21. (See the word “until”.) It is also corrected by II Thessalonians 2:1-3. (See the expression “except….first”).

(2) The “seven year tribulation” is corrected by Daniel 9:24-27. In this passage literal, normal or plain interpretation requires that “weeks” be understood literally, normally and plainly just as the word week” (Hebrew SHEBUAH) is understood in every other place where it is used in scripture, i.e. as a normal week of seven days! Also dispensationalists do not take the information regarding Daniel’s 70 weeks literally either! Daniel 9 speaks of three periods which total 70 weeks (i.e. 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and one week) However, dispensationalists assume (with no scriptural evidence for such an assumption) that the first two periods ran concurrently. Thus they speak of a time of “69 weeks” which scripture never does! They acknowledge a time of indefinite duration between the 62 and the one week but fail to acknowledge that there is every reason to see such an indefinite time between the seven and the 62 weeks!

(3) The “pre-tribulation rapture” teaching is corrected by…
-II Thess.1:3-10 which shows that the Lord only gives believers rest from trouble when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
- Luke 21:25-28 which shows that the events at the close of the tribulation are the signal for us to lift up our heads knowing that our redemption draws nigh!
- Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-28 which place the gathering of God’s elect from earth and heaven after the tribulation, NOT before it! In order to believe that believers of the church are caught up prior to the tribulation, we must believe that two such gatherings take place!! (i.e. one before and one after the tribulation!)

B.Dispensationalists are generally careful to distinguish between things and groups of people which differ one from the other. For example, in the NT epistles, they are careful to distinguish between Israel, the church and the Gentiles, and rightly so.

However, when it comes to the Books of Daniel and Revelation, they are not so careful but rather confuse and equate Daniel’s people, Israel, with “the holy people” or “saints”. Thus they mistakenly conclude that “the saints” of Daniel 7:21-27 are Israel! Thus in Revelation chapter 12 they also conclude that this time of trouble is centered around Israel rather than around saints, as scripture explicitly teaches! They seem to ignore entirely the people, “the woman”, who flees to the wilderness where she has a place prepared of God where she is fed and nourished for 1260 days from the face of the serpent. It is rather the saints who are given into his hand and over whom he prevails, NOT Israel!

This same error has caused dispensationalists to confuse the time of great tribulation ( a period of 1260 days) with the “time of Jacob’s trouble” which is ONE DAY! True, there are a couple of similarities between the two times, but many crucial differences as well! (Observations of the scriptures dealing with these two events will be shared in another post.)

C. Dispensationalists generally recognize that scriptural prophesies are fulfilled literally, i.e. that specific time periods that are mentioned in scriptural prophecies are always fulfilled literally in the very same time periods in which they were prophesied. Every Bible prophecy containing specific time periods which has been fulfilled has been fulfilled literally in exactly the same time period in which it was originally prophesied. But in order to accommodate the wisdom of men which has invented the “seven year tribulation” doctrine, dispensationalists must depart from their own stated principle regarding the literalness of the fulfillment of scriptural prophecies! They thus expect us to believe that of all the other prophecies of scripture which are fulfilled literally as they were prophesied, Daniel 9:24-27 is the only prophecy in the Book which violates this scripturally consistent pattern! They expect us to believe that a prophecy which was given to be fulfilled in weeks (a term that refers to weeks of 7 days every single time it is used in scripture) will actually be fulfilled in periods of seven years!!!!

So it is evident that the generally accepted principles which dispensationalists stand for would lead them, if they applied them consistently, to reject their doctrines of the “imminent return of Christ”, the “pre-tribulation rapture” and “the seven year tribulation”! The only way that they can embrace such doctrines is actually by denying and turning away from their own stated principles of interpretation of scripture! Handling scripture consistently would bring them to realize that (1)many prophecies of scripture must yet be fulfilled BEFORE the Lord Jesus can return from heaven, (2) the covenant spoken of by Daniel in Daniel 9 will be made for ONE WEEK, not for seven years! and (3) the Lord Jesus will return from heaven and we will be caught up to meet him in the air AFTER the close of the time of great tribulation and not before!


Anonymous said...

The NEWEST Pretrib Calendar !

Hal (serial polygamist) Lindsey and other pretrib-rapture-trafficking and Mayan-Calendar-hugging hucksters deserve the following message: "2012 may be YOUR latest date. It isn't MAYAN!" Actually, if it weren't for the 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised pretribulation rapture bunco scheme, Hal would still be piloting a tugboat on the Mississippi. roly-poly Thomas Ice (Tim LaHaye's No. 1 strong-arm enforcer) would still be in his tiny folding-chair church which shares its firewall with a Texas saloon, Jack Van Impe would still be a jazz band musician, Tim LaHaye would still be titillating California matrons with his "Christian" sex manual, Grant Jeffrey would still be taking care of figures up in Canada, Chuck Missler would still be in mysterious hush-hush stuff that rocket scientists don't dare talk about, and John Hagee might be making - and eating - world-record pizzas! To read more details about the eschatological British import that leading British scholarship never adopted - the import that's created some American multi-millionaires - Google "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" (note LaHaye's hypocrisy under "1992"), "Hal Lindsey's Many Divorces," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)" and "Thomas Ice (Hired Gun)," "LaHaye's Temperament," "Wily Jeffrey," "Chuck Missler - Copyist," "Open Letter to Todd Strandberg" and "The Rapture Index (Mad Theology)," "X-Raying Margaret," "Humbug Huebner," "Thieves' Marketing," "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal," "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Pretrib Hypocrisy," "The Real Manuel Lacunza," "Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism," "America's Pretrib Rapture Traffickers," "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts," "Dolcino? Duh!" and "Scholars Weigh My Research." Most of the above is written by journalist/historian Dave MacPherson who has focused on long-hidden pretrib rapture history for 35+ years. No one else has focused on it for 35 months or even 35 weeks. MacPherson has been a frequent radio talk show guest and he states that all of his royalties have always gone to a nonprofit group and not to any individual. His No. 1 book on all this is "The Rapture Plot" (see Armageddon Books online, etc.). The amazing thing is how long it has taken the mainstream media to finally notice and expose this unbelievably groundless yet extremely lucrative theological hoax!

Bruce Woodford said...

I agree that the pre-trib rapture doctrine has no basis in the scriptures and has become a very lucrative teaching for many who have popularized it.
However, scripture itself is the objective standard by which to determine sound doctrine.
The ungodly lifestyle of a teacher cannot affect the soundness of a doctrine which he teaches. Nor can a godly life of one who teaches false doctrine make his false doctrine valid!
Certainly one's life is to adorn the doctrine of God (Titus 2:9-14)and ungodliness brings reproach on one's teaching. But the standard of sound doctrine is always, "What saith the scriptures?" Bruce