Different Views of the End Times


7:00 pm Coffee & check in

7:10 pm

Worship Opening Prayer

Focus Two people are both preparing for a airline flight in January.  One person is preparing for a flight that will land in Edmonton, the other is preparing for a flight that will land in Hawaii.  Both are preparing, but how will their preparations be different?  What if their flights got mixed up?

Read Matthew 24:1-8; 23-31; 36-42; Revelation 21:1-6

Inform

While there are numerous variations in millennialist teaching today, a fourfold categorization has been widely accepted: (l) dispensational premillennialism; (2) historic premillennialism; (3) postmillennialism; and (4) amillennialism. Of the first three categories, all of which hold to a millennium or utopian age on this earth, the most commonly held view is dispensational premillennialism. ….

Dispensational Premillennialism

Distinctive Features and Emphases:

Dispensationalists usually divide God’s dealings with humanity into seven distinct “dispensations”: Innocence (Gen. 1:28-3:6), Conscience or Moral Responsibility (Gen. 4:1-8:14), Human Government (Gen. 8:15-11:32), Promise (Gen. 12:1-Ex. 18:27), The Law (Ex. 19:3-Acts 1:26), The Church (Acts 2:1-Revelation 19), and the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20). A dispensation is defined as “a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.” In each of these periods, a distinct revelation of God’s will is dominant and tests mankind’s obedience to God.[1]

(The following information is from “Eschatology Comparison,” Internet, available at:  http://www.spiritone.com/~wing/esc_chrt.htm)

a. Dispensationalists argue for the necessity of the literal interpretation of all of the prophetic portions of Scripture….

b. Dispensationalists insist that God has two redemptive plans, one for national Israel, and one for Gentiles during the “church age.” This presupposition forms the basis for the dispensational hermeneutic….

c. There is a “rapture” of believers when Jesus Christ secretly returns to earth before the seven year tribulation period begins (the seventieth week of Daniel, cf. Daniel 9:24-27). Believers do not experience the persecution of the Anti-Christ who rises to prominence during this “tribulation period.” The Biblical data dealing with the time of tribulation is referring to unbelieving Israel, not the church. Therefore, the church age, or the “age of grace,” is to be seen as that period of time in which God is dealing with Gentiles prior to the coming of the kingdom of God during the millennium.

d. The visible and physical second coming of Christ occurs after the great tribulation. Those who are converted to Christ during the tribulation, including Jews (the 144,000) who turn to Christ, go on into the millennium to re-populate the earth. Glorified believers rule with Christ during his future reign.

e. Jesus came to earth bringing with him an “offer” of the kingdom to the Jews, who rejected him. God then turned to dealing with the Gentiles — thus, the church age is a parenthesis of sorts. The rapture is the next event to occur in Biblical prophecy. The signs of the end of the age (i.e., the birth of the nation of Israel, the revival of the Roman empire predicted in Daniel as seen through the emergence of the EEC [common market], the impending Russian-Arab invasion of Israel, etc.) all point to the immediacy of the secret return of Christ for his church. Antichrist is awaiting his revelation once the believing church is removed.

f. The millennium is marked by a return to Old Testament temple worship and sacrifice to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ. At the end of the millennium, the “great white throne” judgement occurs, and Satan and all unbelievers are cast into the lake of fire. There is the creation of a new heaven and earth.

Leading Proponents:

[Scofield Reference Bible, Ryrie Study Bible, Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, J. Dwight Pentecost, Norman Geisler, Charles Feinberg. Popular dispensational pastors and writers include; Charles Swindoll, Dave Hunt, Jack Van Impe, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel movement, Dallas Theological Seminary, Talbot Theological Seminary, the Master's College and Grace Theological Seminary.]

Historic Premillennialism

Distinctive Features and Emphases:

a. While often popularly confused with “dispensational premillennialism” with but a mere disagreement as to the timing of the “rapture,” historic premillennialism is, in actuality, a completely different eschatological system, largely rejecting the whole dispensational understanding of redemptive history.

b. The basic features of historic premillennialism are as follows. When Jesus began his public ministry the kingdom of God was manifest through His ministry. Upon His ascension into heaven and the “Gift of the Spirit” at Pentecost, the kingdom is present through the Spirit, until the end of the age, which is marked by the return of Christ to the earth in judgement. During the period immediately preceding the return of Christ, there is great apostasy and tribulation.

C. After the return of Christ, there will be a period of 1000 years (the millennium separating the “first” resurrection from the “second” resurrection. Satan will be bound, and the kingdom will consummated, that is, made visible during this period.

d. At the end of the millennial period, Satan will be loosed and there will be a massive rebellion (of “Gog and Magog”), immediately preceding the “second” resurrection or final judgement. After this, there will be the creation of a new Heaven and Earth.

Leading Proponents:

[George Eldon Ladd of Fuller Theological Seminary the late Walter Martin, John Warwick Montgomery, J. Barton Payne, Heny Alford, Theodore Zahn, the many scholars of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Evangelical Free),  Ireneaus [140-203], Justin Martyr [100-165], Papias [80-155]), Fuller Seminary,  Trinity Seminary, J.O. Buswell, J. Barton Payne and R. Laird Harris.]

Postmillennialism

Distinctive Features and Emphases:

a. Generally speaking, postmillennialists affirm that the millennium is a period of one thousand years of universal peace and righteousness in this world, which precedes the return of Jesus Christ to earth in judgement. Postmillennialists are divided as to whether or not the period of time is a literal one thousand years, and whether or not the millennial age begins abruptly or gradually. Some see the millennial age as entirely future, others argue that it may have already begun to gradually emerge. Postmillennialists also disagree as to the events that mark the beginning of the millennial age, such as the conversion of Israel (Romans 9-11), the binding of Satan (Revelation 20), and the defeat of Antichrist.

b. …Postmillennialists see the millennial age as commencing at some point during the present age, and as a period in which the kingdom of God triumphs over the kingdoms of this world. Amillennial Christians see the millennial age as occupying the entire period of time between the first and second coming Christ. Generally speaking, amillennial Christians see the millennial age as one of both the triumph of the spiritual kingdom of God and the corresponding rise of evil in opposition.

c. According to postmillennialists, there will be universal preaching and acceptance of the Gospel, and a complete and total victory of the kingdom of God, over the forces of Satan and unbelief. Postmillennialism is an optimistic eschatology of the victory grace of God in subduing evil in the world. During this period Satan will be effectually bound by the triumph of grace. Israel be converted somewhere near the beginning of the millennial Postmillennialists do disagree however, about the nature and details of these events.

d. At the end of the millennial period, Satan will be released the period of great tribulation and the apostasy described in Revelation 20 occurs, culminating in Gog and Magog and the Battle of Armageddon. Christ then returns in judgement (the “great throne judgement”), the resurrection occurs, and there is the creation of a new heaven and earth.

Leading Proponents:

a. Postmillennialism was popular among American Evangelicals in the period of unprecedented technological growth between 1870 and 1915. World War I largely served to squash the tremendous optimism regarding the growth of technology and the related optimism about the future of man, which was carried over in church in the form of an optimistic eschatology. Many Reformed theologians of this period are generally considered postmillennial, including the “Old-Princetonians,” Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, and B. B. Warfield.

b. Recently, postmillennialism has seen a resurgence, with the rise of Christian reconstructionism and theonomy. In addition, there is mass confusion generated by critics of postmillennialism, such as Dave Hunt and Hal Lindsey, who portray the movement as taking two quite different and confusing forms — that of “Theonomy,” and that of “Dominion Theology.” Thus many Evangelicals fail to see these two forms as distinct and divergent movements. Setting out the differences between the two forms then is helpful.

1). The “theonomic” form of postmillennialism was initially presented by J. Marcellus Kik, and reworked into a full–blown ethical system known as “theonomy” or “reconstructionism” by R. J. Rushdoony. The business of the church was to work to see a theocracy restored upon the earth by emphasizing the continuity of OT law (civil, ceremonial and moral) with the NT. Once established, this victorious church would be the divine vehicle from which the ever advancing kingdom of God would bind Satan and subdue all evil in the world. The emphasis of theonomic postmillennialism is that it is God who exercises dominion through his church establishing His law as the law of the land. Other theologians in the postmillennial theonomic movement are, the late Greg Bahnsen, Ray Sutton and Gary North. Popular writers include Gary DeMarr, Kenneth Gentry, and Peter J. Leithart.

2). The “dominion” form of postmillennialism (though not all “dominion” advocates are postmillennial) is exclusively Pentecostal. This form believes the charismatic revival “Latter Rain”) is God’s means of binding Satan and allowing the Spirit-lead church to reclaim material possessions and wealth, which had been surrendered to unbelief and the kingdom of Satan. Once the Church understands its role and potential for dominion, through the work of the Spirit, be able to establish the kingdom of God on earth in it fullness, thereby bringing in a millennial age. The emphasis here is that it is the believer who must learn to exercise dominion if he is to take part in the advancing kingdom. Bishop Earl Paulk, Paul Yongli Cho and perhaps Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin and Pat Robertson.

d. The older form of postmillennialism, as practiced by Reformed theologians such as Hodge and Warfield, has little in common in emphasis with the modern theonomic approach to eschatology, which emphasizes the rise of a theocracy as the vehicle of dominion. The modern form raises serious questions about the Reformed understanding of the distinction between law and gospel. The result in many circles a peculiar hybrid, (a tertium quid, if you will) with a propensity for making strange bed-fellows.

Amillennialism

Distinctive Features and Emphases:

a. The “a” millennial (literally meaning “no” millennium) position is the eschatological view of historic Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed Christianity. It would be my educated guess that about two-thirds of the Christian family espouse an amillennial eschatology. The amillennial position is as well the position of the vast majority of Reformed and Lutheran theologians. The position portrayed in these lectures is the Reformed understanding of amillennialism, which is better understood as “present” millennialism [or "realized" millennialism], since Reformed eschatology argues for a real, present, though “invisible” non-spatial millennium.

b. Amillennialists insist that the promises made to national Israel, David and Abraham, in the OT are fulfilled by Christ and the Church during this age, which is the millennium, that is the entire period of time between the two advents of our Lord. The “thousand years” are therefore symbolic of the entire inter-advental age. Satan is bound by Christ’s victory over him and the establishment of the kingdom of God via the preaching of the gospel, and Satan is no longer free to deceive the nations, through the presence of Christ is reigning in heaven during this period with the martyrs who come out of the great tribulation. At the end of the millennial age, Christ returns in judgement of all men. The general resurrection occurs, final judgement takes place for all men and women, and a new Heaven and Earth are established.

C. In most forms of amillennialism, immediately before the return of Christ, Satan is unbound, there is a great apostasy, and a time of unprecedented satanically inspired evil. This last Satanic gasp and subsequent rebellious activity is destroyed by our Lord at his return

Leading Proponents:

a. Amillennialism has always been the majority position of the Christian family. It was first articulated by St. Augustine, and has been given a distinctive Reformed emphasis through the work of Geerhardus Vos (the “Biblical-Theological” approach). As the “dispensational” movement captured the hearts and minds of conservative American Evangelicals, amillennialism was equated with “liberalism” or Roman Catholicism. The supposed interpreting prophecy “spiritually” or “not-literally” has lead to the rejection of amillennialism by many. In addition, amillennialism suffered greatly from the failure of Reformed and Lutheran writers to defend the position against the likes of Dave Hunt, Chuck Missler and Hal Lindsey, who has labeled the position as “demonic and heretical,” and the root of modern anti-semitism.

b. Leading contemporary “amill” theologians would include popular writers such as J. I. Packer, Mike Horton, [the late] Calvin seminary professor, Anthony Hoekema, and RC Sproul. In addition, all of the Reformers, as well as the Reformed and Lutheran confessional traditions, as a whole, have been amillennial. [2]

(The following critique is from “A Lutheran Response to the Left Behind Series.”   The Left Behind Series was written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins with a Dispensational Premillennialism perspective.)

The Rapture and Millennium

The first person to propose the end time scenario adopted by Left Behind was an Anglican priest turned traveling evangelical preacher named John Nelson Darby. Darby arrived in the United States from England in 1862 for the first of seven visits, bearing his new understanding of Christ’s Second Coming. Darby and minister Cyrus Scofield, who would expand the evangelist’s ideas in the influential Scofield Reference Bible, divided God’s relationship with people into seven ages, or dispensations (the current sixth era began with the death of Jesus). Their vision included a rapture in which Christians will be snatched up to heaven before the beginning of an increasingly hellish seven-year tribulation (see “Diagrams of Millennial Views” in the Appendix at the end of this report).

Prior to Darby’s influence, most Christians understood the “rapture” as an event that would happen simultaneously with the final resurrection and the end of the age. Yet Darby uniquely repositioned it to take place at the end of the era of the church and just before the tribulation. He then taught that at the end of seven years of tribulation Christ would return and defeat the Antichrist and commence the seventh dispensation-the millennium, a 1000-year glorious reign on earth….

Prior to 1830 (the advent of Darby’s teachings) there is no indication that any Christian church embraced this pre-tribulation “secret” rapture doctrine. Rather, up until then Christians believed that Jesus would come again visibly at some undisclosed time to judge-once and for all-the living and the dead. This is what is affirmed in the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds. These statements of faith do not teach a two-stage coming of Christ as do the proponents of the Left Behind series -a coming first “for his saints,” and later “with his saints.” According to the historic creeds there will be one final eschatological event: the second and final coming of Christ. The rapture and the Second Coming are equated and are therefore synonymous. At this moment in history, not just Christians but all of humanity will respond to the Savior. Christ’s exaltation will mean, says Paul, “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11).

Moreover, the Left Behind series presents the rapture as an event that is not initially understood by all (or even most) people. But there is no biblical evidence of a secret rapture. …

Nor does the book of Revelation teach a pre-tribulation rapture of Christians. Instead, it teaches that God will preserve His people in the face of persecution and suffering (Rev 3:10; 14:12). Additionally, since Christ will resurrect all believers and unbelievers on Judgment Day, Revelation states that there will be no second chance for repentance (Rev 11:18; 20:11-15)….

Israel and the Church

An important component of the LaHaye/Jenkins manner of biblical interpretation is their belief that God will reestablish an earthly kingdom with the nation of Israel. These authors believe that by crucifying Jesus the Jews rejected the earthly kingdom offered to them, but God did not reject the Jews.

Left Behind assumes that because this kingdom was offered to (and then refused by) the Jews, it will be offered again in the future. In what way? The Old Testament prophecies of the restoration of national Israel to the land in the last days will be fulfilled literally. The series of books is built upon the belief that the promise of returning to the land was fulfilled with Israel’s re-birth as a nation in 1948. At that time the prophetic fuse was relit and now history is racing toward the end, and at an accelerated pace. For this reason the current events in the nation of Israel are of vital importance for followers of the Left Behind series.

So what about the church? According to Left Behind, as an alternate plan or as a parenthesis, Christ established the church because Gentiles believed what the Jews rejected. This is the “Church Age,” or sixth dispensation, and it must end with the rapture before God can re-establish His primary work with the Jews and bring about the culmination of history-the seventh dispensation, Christ’s reign on earth.

A biblically based response to the future of the Jews, however, is to join the apostle Paul in his earnest prayer for the salvation of his Jewish kinsmen according to the flesh (Rom 9:1-3). There always has been and always will be a remnant of Jews who are saved (Rom 11:5). It is not as though the rejection of some of the Jews serves no purpose. On the contrary, because the Jews were broken off in unbelief, the Gospel has gone to the Gentiles, who through grace now partake of its blessings and join with Christian Jews to constitute the Israel of God, the church of Jesus Christ (Rom 11:11-16). In Romans 11 Paul defines this relationship between Jews and Christians when he distinguishes between natural branches (the seed of Abraham according to the flesh) and foreign branches (Gentiles) who have been engrafted into the same tree. There is certainly a difference in their respective histories and genealogies (not all are natural branches), but in Christ both Gentile and Jewish believers are now the seed of Abraham (Rom 11:17-24).

The Bible does not support the teaching that God has a special plan for bringing Jews to faith in Christ. This is because when it comes to God’s plan of salvation there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, Israel and the church. Rather than teaching that these are two separate communities with two different futures, the Scriptures testify to a continuity between the old and new covenants and thus to a continuity between Israel and the church. Put another way, Old Testament Israel is a type and precursor for the church, for it is prophesied in the Old Testament that God’s redemptive purpose includes Gentiles (e.g., Gen 12:3; 22:18; Is 49:6). Therefore, the church is not an interruption in the redemptive plan of God, but the fulfillment of His eternal purposes….

According to Scripture, salvation is neither earned nor deserved. Nor is it based upon ethnic descent or natural birth (Jn 1:13; Lk 3:8; Eph 2:8-9).  Apart from Christ there is no special divine favor upon any member of any ethnic group (Rom 3:9-10; 22-23). In privileging ethnic Jews or modern Israelis with a distinct plan of salvation, Left Behind obscures this central teaching of the Bible.

The Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments

Left Behind fails to recognize the distinctions between Israelite, Hebrew, Jew and Israeli because LaHaye and Jenkins err when they fail to appreciate the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and the ways in which the latter completes and fulfils the former. In privileging the Old over the New Testament, Left Behind contends that Old Testament prophecies regarding these events must be literally fulfilled (e.g., the restoration of the nation of Israel to her land, the revival of the Roman Empire, a reign of Christ on earth after His return, the rebuilding of the temple and the reinstitution of its sacrifices).

It is clear from Scripture, however, that the Old Testament is to be read in the light of the New Testament. Colossians 2:16-17 provides this guide for the proper interpretation of the Old Testament: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” However, Left Behind argues that redemptive history takes a kind of U-turn in the millennial age as the reality in Christ returns to the types and shadows of the Old Testament. The future is therefore not a consummation but a return to the past. This understanding obscures the person and work of Christ because it sees the ultimate reality not in Him but in the types and shadows of the Old Testament.

But if in the Old Testament the revelation of God’s acts in the history of Israel came in shadows, images, forms and prophecies, then the New

Testament announces the reality, substance and final fulfillment-all in the history of Christ. The question is not whether the promises of the Old Testament are to be understood literally or spiritually. It is instead a question of whether they should be understood in terms of Old Testament shadows or in terms of the New Testament realities.

Moreover, there is an organic unity that exists between the Old and New Testaments as stated by the 16th century Reformers in the classic formulation “Scripture interprets Scripture.” This principle is undermined by the approach of the Left Behind series to the degree that it attempts to interpret Scripture in light of current events, especially events occurring in Israel and the Middle East.

A problem for the Left Behind series, to the extent that it claims to be an expression of theology, is that the prophetic portions of the Old Testament are treated as a self-contained entity to be read apart from Christ and the New Testament. Overlooking the unity between the Testaments almost amounts to treating the Old Testament as a non-Christian Jewish book. To teach, for instance, on the basis of Ezekiel 40-48 that the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt during the millennium and that the sacrificial system will be reinstituted is to raise questions about Scripture’s teaching that Jesus Himself is the New Temple (Mt 12:6; Jn 2:12-22) and that His bloody sacrifice on the cross is fully sufficient for all people of all time so that no further shedding of blood is necessary (Heb 10:18).

It follows that the present state of Israel is not a prophetic realization of the Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, a day should not be anticipated in which Christ’s kingdom will manifest Jewish distinctives, whether by its location in the land of Palestine, its capital in Jerusalem, its constituency, or its ceremonial institutions and practices. Instead, the present age will come to a conclusion with the arrival of the final, eternal kingdom of the Messiah. [3]

diagram-of-millennial-views

Discussion

  1. What is your end times perspective?
  1. What difference does your perspective of the end times make in your every day life?
  1. Other discussion questions.

7:50 pm

Summary

  1. What have we discovered tonight in God’s Word?
  1. How do we apply this learning in our own lives?
  1. How do we pray about what we have learned?

What is our topic for next time?

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8:00 – 8:30 Prayer time

Announcements:


[1] “The End Times:  A Study on Eschatology and Millennialism,” A Report of the CTCR of LCMS, Internet; available at:  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/mosynod/web/endtme-1.html; downloaded 12 January 2009.

[2] “Eschatology Comparison,” Internet, available at:  http://www.spiritone.com/~wing/esc_chrt.htm; downloaded on 12 January 2009.

[3] “A Lutheran Response to the Left Behind Series,” A Report of the CTCR of the LCMS, April 2004, Internet; available at:  http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/LeftBehind.pdf; downloaded on 12 January 2009.

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2 comments

  1. PRETRIB RAPTURE DISHONESTY

    by Dave MacPherson

    When I began my research in 1970 into the exact beginnings of the pretribulation rapture belief still held by many evangelicals, I assumed that the rapture debate involved only “godly scholars with honest differences.” The paper you are now reading reveals why I gave up that assumption many years ago. With this introduction-of-sorts in mind, let’s take a long look at the pervasive dishonesty throughout the history of the 179-year-old pretrib rapture theory:

    Mid-1820’s – German scholar Max Weremchuk’s work “John Nelson Darby” (1992) included what Benjamin Newton revealed about John Darby in the mid-1820’s during his pre-Brethren days as an Anglican clergyman:
    “J. N. Darby was a very subtle man. He had been a lawyer, or at least educated for the law. Once he wanted his Archbishop to pursue a certain course, when he (J.N.D.) was a curate in his diocese. He wrote a letter, therefore, saying he had been educated for the law, knew what the legal course would properly be; and then having written that clearly, he mystified the remainder of the letter both in word and in handwriting, and ended up by saying: You see, my Lord, such being the legal aspect of the case it would unquestionably be the best course for you to pursue, etc. And the Archbishop couldn’t make out the legal part, but rested on Darby’s word and did as he advised. Darby afterwards laughed over it, and indeed he showed a copy of the letter to Tregelles. This is not mentioned in the Archbishop’s biography, but in it is the fact that he spoke of Darby as ‘the most subtle man in my diocese.'”
    This reminds me of an 1834 letter by Darby which spoke of the “Lord’s coming.” Darby added, concerning this coming, that “the thoughts are new” and that during any teaching of it “it would not be well to have it so clear.” Darby’s deviousness here was his usage of a centuries-old term – “Lord’s coming” – to cover up his desire to sneak the new pretrib idea into existing posttrib groups in very low-profile ways!
    1830 – In the spring of 1830 a young Scottish lassie, Margaret Macdonald, came up with the novel notion of a catching up [rapture] of Spirit-filled “church” members before Antichrist’s “trial” [tribulation] of non-Spirit-filled “church” members – the first instance I’ve found of clear “pretrib” teaching (which was part of a partial rapture scheme). In Sep. 1830 “The Morning Watch” (a journal produced by London preacher Edward Irving and his “Irvingite” followers, some of whom had visited Margaret a few weeks earlier) began repeating her original thoughts and even her wording but gave her no credit – the first plagiarism I’ve found in pretrib history. Darby was still defending posttrib in Dec. 1830.
    Pretrib promoters have long known the significance of her main point: a rapture of “church” members BEFORE the revealing of Antichrist. Which is why John Walvoord quoted nothing in her revelation, why Thomas Ice habitually skips over her main point but quotes lines BEFORE and AFTER it, and why Hal Lindsey muddies up her main point so he can (falsely) assert that she was NOT a pretribber! (Google “X-Raying Margaret” for info about her.)
    NOTE: The development of the 1800’s is thoroughly documented in my book “The Rapture Plot.” You’ll learn that Darby wasn’t original on any chief aspect of dispensationalism (but plagiarized the Irvingites); that pretrib was initially based on only OT and NT symbols and not clear Scripture; that the symbols included the Jewish feasts, the two witnesses, and the man child – symbols adopted by Darby during most of his career; that Darby’s later reminiscences exaggerated his earliest pretrib development, and that today’s defenders such as Thomas Ice have further overstated what Darby overstated; that Irvingism didn’t need later reminiscences to “clarify” its own early pretrib development; that ancient hymns and even the writings of the Reformers were subtly revised to make it appear they had taught pretrib; and that after Darby’s death a clever revisionist quietly made many changes in early Irvingite and Brethren documents in order to steal credit for pretrib away from the Irvingites (and their female inspiration!) and give it dishonestly to Darby! (Before continuing, Google the “Powered by Christ Ministries” site and read “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers” – a sample of the current exciting internetism!)
    1920 – Charles Trumbull’s book “The Life Story of C. I. Scofield” told only the dispensationally-correct side of his life. Two recent books, Joseph Canfield’s “The Incredible Scofield and His Book” (1988) and David Lutzweiler’s “DispenSinsationalism: C. I. Scofield’s Life and Errors” (2006), reveal the other side including his being jailed as a forger, dishonestly giving himself a non-conferred “D.D.” etc. etc.!
    1967 – Brethren scholar Harold Rowdon’s “The Origins of the Brethren” quoted Darby associate Lord Congleton who was “disgusted with…the falseness” of Darby’s accounts of things. Rowdon also quoted historian William Neatby who said that others felt that “the time-honoured method of single combat” was as good as anything “to elicit the truth” from Darby. (In other words, knock it out of him!)
    1972 – Tim LaHaye’s “The Beginning of the End” (1972) plagiarized Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
    1976 – Charles Ryrie”s “The Living End” (1976) plagiarized Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970) and “There’s A New World Coming” (1973).
    1976 – After John Walvoord’s “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation” (1976) brutally twisted Robert Gundry’s “The Church and the Tribulation” (1973), Gundry composed and circulated a 35-page open letter to Walvoord which repeatedly charged the Dallas Seminary president with “misrepresentation,” “misrepresentations” (and variations)!
    1981 – “The Fundamentalist Phenomenon” (1981) by Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson, and Ed Hindson heavily plagiarized George Dollar’s 1973 book “A History of Fundamentalism in America.”
    1984 – After a prof at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Florida told me that the No. 2 man at the AG world headquarters in Missouri – Joseph Flower – had the label of posttrib, my wife and I had two hour-long chats with him. He verified what I had been told. But we were dumbstruck when he told us that although AG ministers are required to promote pretrib, privately they can believe any other rapture view! Flower said that his father, an AG co-founder, was also posttrib. We also learned while in Springfield that when the AG’s were organized in 1914, the initial group was divided between posttribs and pretribs – but that the pretribs shouted louder which resulted in that denomination officially adopting pretrib! (For details on this and other pretrib double-mindedness, Google “Pretrib Hypocrisy.”)
    1989 – Since 1989 Thomas Ice has referred to the “Mac-theory” (his reference to my research), giving the impression there’s no solid evidence that Macdonald was the real pretrib originator. But Ice carefully conceals the fact that no eminent church historian of the 1800’s – whether Plymouth Brethren or Irvingite – credited Darby with pretrib. Instead, they uniformly credited leading Irvingite sources, all of which upheld the Scottish lassie’s contribution! Moreover, I’m hardly the only modern scholar seeing significance in Irvingism’s territory. Others in recent years who have noted it, but who haven’t mined it as deeply as I have, include Fuller, Ladd, Bass, Rowdon, Sandeen, and Gundry.
    1989 – Greg Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry produced evidence in 1989 that Lindsey’s book “The Road to Holocaust” (1989) plagiarized “Dominion Theology” (1988) by H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice.
    1990 – David Jeremiah’s and C. C. Carlson’s “Escape the Coming Night” (1990) massively plagiarized Lindsey’s 1973 book “There’s A New World Coming.” (For more info, type in “Thieves’ Marketing” on MSN or Google.)
    1991 – Paul Lee Tan’s “A Pictorial Guide to Bible Prophecy” (1991) plagiarized large amounts of Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
    1991 – Militant Darby defender R. A. Huebner claimed in 1991 to have found new evidence that Darby was pretrib as early as 1827 – three years before Macdonald. Halfway through his book Huebner suddenly admitted that his evidence could refer to something completely un-rapturesque. Even though Thomas Ice admitted to me that he knew that Huebner had “blown” his so-called evidence, prevaricator Ice continues to tell the world that Huebner has “positive evidence” that Darby was pretrib in 1827! Ice also conceals the fact that Darby, in his own 1827 paper, was looking for only “the restitution of all things” and “the times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19,21) – which Scofield doesn’t see fulfilled until AFTER a future tribulation!
    1992 – Tim LaHaye’s “No Fear of the Storm” (1992) plagiarized Walvoord’s “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation” (1976).
    1992 – This was when the Los Angeles Times revealed that “The Magog Factor” (1992) by Hal Lindsey and Chuck Missler was a monstrous plagiarism of Prof. Edwin Yamauchi’s scholarly 1982 work “Foes from the Northern Frontier.” Four months after this exposure, Lindsey and Missler stated they had stopped publishing and promoting their book. But in 1996 Dr. Yamauchi learned that the dishonest duo had issued a 1995 book called “The Magog Invasion” which still had a substantial amount of the same plagiarism! (If Lindsey and Missler ever need hernia operations, I predict that the doctors will tell them not to lift anything for a long time!)
    1994 – In 1996 it was revealed that Lindsey’s “Planet Earth – 2000 A.D. (1994) had an embarrassing amount of plagiarism of a Texe Marrs book titled “Mystery Mark of the New Age” (1988).
    1995 – My book “The Rapture Plot” reveals the dishonesty in Darby’s reprinted works. It’s often hard to tell who wrote the footnotes and when. It’s easy to believe that the notes, and also unsigned phrases inside brackets within the text, were a devious attempt by someone (Darby? his editor?) to portray a Darby far more developed in pretrib thinking than he actually had been at the time. I found that some of the “additives” had been taken from Darby’s much later works, when he was more developed, and placed next to or inside his earliest works! One footnote by Darby’s editor, attached to Darby’s 1830 paper, actually stated that “it was not worth while either suppressing or changing” anything in this work! If his editor wasn’t open to such dishonesty, how can we explain such a statement?
    Post-1995 – Thomas Ice’s article “Inventor of False Pre-Trib Rapture History” states that my book “The Rapture Plot” is “only one of the latest in a series of revisions of his original discourse….” And David Reagan in his article “The Origin of the Concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture” repeats Ice’s falsehood by claiming that I have republished my first book “over the years under several different titles.”
    Although my book repeats a bit of the Macdonald origin of pretrib (for new readers), all of my books are packed with new material not found in my other works. For some clarification, “The Incredible Cover-Up” has photos of pertinent places in Ireland, Scotland, and England not found in my later books plus several chapters dealing with theological arguments; “The Great Rapture Hoax” quotes scholars throughout the Church Age, covers Scofield’s hidden side, a section on Powerscourt, the 1980 election, the Jupiter Effect, Gundry’s change, and more theological arguments; “The Rapture Plot” reveals for the first time the Great Evangelical Revisionism/Robbery and includes appendices on miscopying, plagiarism, etc.; and “The Three R’s” shows hypocritical evangelicals employing occultic beliefs they say they have long opposed!
    So Thomas Ice etc. are twisting truth when they claim I am only a revisionist. Do they really think that my publishers DON’T know what I’ve previously written?
    Re arguments, Google “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” and also obtain “The End Times Passover” and “Why Christians Will Suffer ‘Great Tribulation’ ” (AuthorHouse, 2006) by media personality Joe Ortiz.
    1997 – For years Harvest House Publishers has owned and been republishing Lindsey’s book “There’s A New World Coming.” During the same time Lindsey has been peddling his reportedly “new” book “Apocalyse Code” (1997), much of which is word-for-word the same as the Harvest House book – and there’s no notice of “simultaneous publishing” in either book! Talk about pretrib greed!
    1997 – This is the year I discovered that more than 50 pages of Dallas Seminary professor Merrill Unger’s book “Beyond the Crystal Ball” (Moody Press, 1973) constituted a colossal plagiarism of Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970). After Lindsey’s book came out, Unger had complained that Lindsey’s book had plagiarized his classroom lecture notes. It was evident that Unger felt that he too should cash in on his own lectures! (The detailed account of this Dallas Seminary dishonesty is revealed in my 1998 book “The Three R’s.”)
    1998 – Tim LaHaye’s “Understanding the Last Days” (1998) plagiarized Lindsey’s “There’s A New World Coming” (1973).
    1999 – More than 200 pages (out of 396 pages) in Lindsey’s 1999 book “Vanished Into Thin Air” are virtually carbon copies of pages in his 1983 book “The Rapture” – with no “updated” or “revised” notice included! Lindsey has done the same nervy thing with several of his books, something that has allowed him to live in million-dollar-plus homes and drive cars like Ferraris! (See my Google articles “Deceiving and Being Deceived” and “Thieves’ Marketing” for further evidence of this notably pretrib vice.)
    2000 – A Jack Van Impe article “The Moment After” (2000) plagiarized Grant Jeffrey’s book “Final Warning” (1995).
    2001 – Since 2001 my web article “Walvoord’s Posttrib ‘Varieties’ – Plus” has been exposing his devious muddying up of posttrib waters. In some of his books he invented four “distinct” and “contradictory” posttrib divisions, claiming that they are either “classic” or “semiclassic” or “futurist” or “dispensational” – distinctions that disappear when analyzed! His “futurist” group holds to a literal future tribulation and a literal millennium but doesn’t embrace “any day” imminency. But his “dispensational” group has the same non-imminency! Moreover, tribulational futurism is found in every group except the first one, and he somehow admitted that a literal millennium is in all four groups! On the other hand, it’s the pretribs who consistently disagree with each other over their chief points and subpoints – but somehow end up agreeing that there will be a pretrib rapture! (See my chapter “A House Divided” in my book “The Incredible Cover-Up.”)
    2001 – Since my “Deceiving and Being Deceived” web item which exposed the claims for Pseudo-Ephraem” and “Morgan Edwards” as teachers of pretrib, there has been a piranha-like frenzy on the part of pretrib bodyguards and their duped groupies to “discover” almost anything before 1830 walking upright on two legs that seemed to have at least a remote hint of pretrib! (An exemplary poster boy for such pretrib practice is Grant Jeffrey. To get your money’s worth, Google “Wily Jeffrey.”)

    FINALLY: Don’t take my word for any of the above. Read my 300-page book “The Rapture Plot” which has a jillion more documented details on the long-hidden but now-revealed history of the dishonest, 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised-until-the-real-bad-stuff-happens pretribulation rapture fad. If this book of mine doesn’t “move” you, I will personally refund what you paid for it!

  2. Rhonda Thrush · · Reply

    Two excellent articles.

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