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DISPENSATIONALISM AND MODERN PROPHECY

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  July 14, 2012 — 6 Comments

Dispensationalists argue that the “prophetic time clock” has been on hold since Israel rejected Christ’s offer of an earthly, political kingdom in the first century — despite his initially rejecting the Jews’ demand for just such a kingdom (John 6:15), his denying any interest whatsoever in a political kingdom (John 18:33–36), and some of his disciples’ dejection in his not establishing one (Luke 24:21). Because of this dispensationalists state that the entire Church Age is a parenthesis inserted in this holding pattern while the “prophetic clock” remains tick-less. (They have not even considered the possibility that God’s prophetic clock might be digital, altogether lacking ticking sounds.)

This clock problem is convenient in that it makes Daniel prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9:24-27 work out very nicely: The first seven weeks (or forty-nine years) transpires according to prophetic pronouncement. Then immediately following are the sixty-two weeks (or 434 years) that continue on in history. Then God inserts a 2000 year gap so that the seventieth week can follow thereupon “immediately” (not counting the 2000 year parenthesis). Viola! Dispensationalism is proven by strict, literal, chronological prophecy!

The Walvoordian Chronology

I am currently researching some arguments for dispensationalism and I would welcome your assistance in helping me find some of their key Bible passages. I am having my devotional readings each morning in John F. Walvoord’s Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (in the original English). But I have become somewhat perplexed — almost to the point of being miffed. Somehow Walvoord left out the supporting biblical proof-texts for his argument. Let me explain.

I have come now to Walvoord’s chapter 9: “Prophecy in the Gospels.” On pages 400–01 in that chapter he presents a clear, helpful, and compelling Table titled: “Predicted Events Relating to the Nations.” I read through the twenty-three points of the Table and am impressed with how meticulously detailed biblical prophecy is. Such point-for-point fulfillment cannot be by chance! But I am crestfallen that he did not provide the essential proof-texts. I am hoping you might be able to supply me the missing proof-texts for each of his observations. Here is his table:

Predicted Events Relation to the Nations

1. United Nations organized as first step toward world government in 1946.
2. Israel is formed as a recognized nation in 1948.
3. Europe is rebuilt after World War II, setting stage for its role in future revival of the Roma Empire.
4. The rise of Russia as a world military and political power.
5. World movements such as the Common Market and the World Bank set the stage for future political and financial events.
6. Red China becomes a military power.
7. The Middle East and the nation of Israel become the focus of worldwide tension.
8. The Arab oil embargo in 1973 results in world recognition of the power of wealth and energy in the Middle East.
9. Lack of a powerful political leaders prevents the Middle East from organizing as a political power.
10. The Rapture of the church removes a major deterrent to expansion of political and financial power of the Mediterranean world.
11. The rise of a new leader in the Middle East who later is identified as the Antichrist who secures power over first three, and then all ten nations, uniting them in a Mediterranean confederation.
12. The new Mediterranean leader imposes a peace settlement for seven years on Israel.
13. Russian army accompanied by several other nations invades Israel and is destroyed by judgments from God.
14. Peace settlement in the Middle East is broken after three-and-a-half years.
15. Middle East ruler as the antichrist becomes a world dictator.
16. Middle East ruler claims to be God and demands that all worship him at the pain of death.
17. Middle East dictator defiles the temple in Jerusalem.
18. The beginning of the terrible judgments of the Great Tribulation described in the seals, trumpets, and bowls of the wrath of God in the Book of Revelation.
19. Worldwide discontent at the rule of the Middle East ruler resulting form many catastrophes causing rebellion and gathering of the world’s armies in the Middle East to fight it out with Armageddon.
20. Second coming of Christ occurs accompanied by the armies from heaven.
21. The armies of the world attempt to fight the armies from heaven but are totally destroyed.
22. Christ’s millennial reign is established, climaxing judgments on all the unsaved and the final disposition of Gentile political power.
23. Those saved from both Jews and Gentiles are placed in the New Jerusalem in the earth where they will spend eternity.

The marvelous detail of biblical prophecy is breathtakingly incredible! And Walvoord has performed an invaluable service in presenting these prophetic fulfillments that no one can argue with (I myself know I have despaired of trying). So then, I would especially appreciate any help our readership may offer in the following select three issues (the numbers refer to his own enumeration, as cited above).

A Plea to My Readers

1. I need the Bible verse that teaches that the “United Nations” would be organized in “1946.” I have found four or five that seem to say the “United Nations” would be organized in 1932, but I need verses demonstrating it would actually be established in 1946. And if you could find one that says it would be in downtown New York City, that would be helpful.

2. I am hoping to find five or six New Testament passages that show that Israel would be recognized as a nation in “1948.” Some verses I have read appear to point to Israel’s re-establishment in either 1425, or 1836, or 1971. I would like to be able to interpret those passages by comparing Scripture-with-Scripture using the passages that clearly state that this will occur in 1948.

8. This is a fascinating demonstration of the accuracy of biblical prophecy! Could someone give me the texts that prophesy an “Arab oil embargo” — particularly one that occurs in “1973″? Either Old or New Testament texts will suffice. I have three or four from the Apocrypha (though they clearly state that the “Arab oil embargo” would be during the Truman administration in 1950), one from an obscure pseudepigraphical work (though it presents the date as occurring on the fourth of October, 1989, in downtown Cleveland), and three, nay four, from the Jewish Tosefta (which correspond with “The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan”). But what I would really like is one from the Church’s own canonical revelation.

Conclusion and Final Plea

If I could just get a handle on these three major prophetic data, I could move forward with my devotional reading of Walvoord. Until then, I may just have to stick with reading my WWJD bracelet for edification.

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

6 responses to DISPENSATIONALISM AND MODERN PROPHECY

  1. William Donelson July 14, 2012 at 6:30

    Greetings and thank you for the smiles!
    I too have this volume in my library.
    One question that I have is how #17 states that “dictator defiles the temple in Jerusalem.”
    But there is no listing of the temple being rebuilt? One would think such an happening as the rebuilding of the 3rd (or is the 4th?) temple would be a major prophetic event! How could this be missing from THE List?
    May God make us all teachable and open our eyes to reject man-made systems that override what is written on the pages of the biblical text. WBD

  2. That is why I gave up that system a long time ago, there is no (BIBLICAL) support. As far as the kingdom being on hold, I had a debate with to J.W’s that seems to me believe the same thing .

  3. John Daniels offers undeniable proof of Israel being reborn in 1948, and gaining control of Jerusalem in 1967. His new book will soon be available at Amazon.com. Titled “The Coming: A True Story of Horror” John Daniels proves these and much, much more. At first I could not believe he had discovered these things, but after researching myself I was totally dumbfounded! John wrote this book as a work of fiction in order to keep the reader entertained, but all of the prophetic dates he reveals are absolutely true. He also reveals the Abomination of Desolation, and the true identity of “The Beast.”
    This book is an absolute must for all who have ever asked this question. These revelations also prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real, as these things are so clearly spelled out in the Bible thousands of years before they happened.
    I had the opportunity to read a proof copy and was totally blown away. As a Bible scholar of many years I could not believe I had not seen this before.
    He also talks about the actions taken by President Obama and Rabbi Cahn’s new book “The Harbinger”. Though he had talked about the Isaiah prophecy long ago, he gives the Rabbi full credit for trying to warn others.
    sorry, I don’t mean to give away the whole book, it’s just that I am overwhelmed at this discovery.

  4. Well, I thought I had something for you #2 until you limited it to the NT. You see, if you add up all the years from creation to the birth of Abraham you get 1948. Get it? I hope you appreciate my giving you this vital bit of info because I had to take time out from reading my WWJD coffee mug to post this. By the way, I can’t seem to get past the second “W” – there has to be a hidden meaning there somewhere. Can you help a poor fellow out? ;)

  5. Noa Napoleon July 14, 2012 at 6:30

    At age 52, there are two things that have mystified me all my life. The IRS (the federal tax law), and dispensational charts that pro-port to pinpoint the “day and the hour” of Christ’s return. Your illustration of how dispensationalists read events into prophecy is spot on. Sorry, I cannot find the corresponding passages you asked for. My guess is those who can find the corresponding passages are individuals upon whom God has granted special privilege to know what “only the father knows.”I will admit feeling a little left out here because if only “I” could predict future events as accurately as “they” do!! If I could just make those beautiful charts Iʻm sure my income would improve dramatically! Is there a special school I can attend for learning this trade? Lets see. I can be a doctor, a school teacher, a fire fighter, a lawyer, or I can be a dispensationalist and sell time charts about the antichrist and the end of the world!

  6. I was looking for the verse that said to buy Apple at $25 a share. I guess I missed that one, too. I guess I need to get a Scofield Reference Bible!

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