Dispensationalism: The Texas Chainsaw Bible Massacre
After many failed prophecies about the Lord’s return, first in 1988, one generation after Israel occupied Palestine. And more of the same predictions, all 40 years apart, all failing to produce the Rapture. I began to wonder. And on top of this, many failed predictions about the looming Antichrist. Everyone from Henry Kissinger to Mikhail Gorbachev, with his forehead birthmark being the mark of the beast! I began to ask. Who were these People? They are today’s Dispensationalists. A group dating from the mid-1800s. Best known for their Pre-Trib Rapture theory.
It turns out, many say their “pre-trib rapture” platform came from the hallucinations of young Pentecostal Margaret MacDonald, a Scottish lass who in the 1800s was burning up with a fever. Since scripture never mentions it, I can accept this as true. Eventually, picked up by J. Darby and Later C.I. Scofield. He wrote of it alongside scripture in his Scofield Reference Bible of the early 1900s. It became the hot topic in nearly every pulpit preached today.
This combined with other new doctrines became Dispensationalism. A new prophetic framework through which people could relate the bible to current news events. Prophecy buffs worldwide spend many hours gleaning the headlines in search of the Antichrist who already has them twirling on his string.
In fact, this sort of futurism is the result of a plan designed by the Jesuits to offset the Reformers who identified the papacy as the Antichrist. The Jesuits inserted a gap of unlimited time between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks (Daniel 9:24ff). Saying the 70th week is on hold until Antichrist arrives.
But in this, they turned Jesus who already fulfilled the 70 weeks, into an Antichrist of the distant future. Now more than 2000 years have elapsed. The Jesuits thought by doing this, people would think the Antichrist cannot be the Pope.
It worked having affected a broad swath of Christendom. Placing them into a futuristic mode of reading the bible while missing the present and past fulfillments in prophecy. But the gap, no matter how far into the future, needed a few things.
The original backdrop of the first century had the Roman Empire as the time of the seventy weeks. With Jesus now turned into Antichrist, a restored Roman Empire would need to become the time of the seventieth week. The time in which Antichrist would come. So they prophesied a restored Roman Empire scripture knows nothing of. They also prophesied a rebuilt temple for Antichrist to desecrate. Something that would damn anyone for returning to animal sacrifice after Christ put away sin (Heb. 6ff). They also ignore the great tribulation, fulfilled in 70AD, confusing it with the ongoing tribulation of the Church. All that happened then would need to happen again since the 70 weeks in Daniel require it.
But this forms much of their prophecy today. Already fulfilled prophecy is now said to have “double fulfillment”. So they predict a restored Roman Empire. A new Temple with animal sacrifices for Antichrist to end. And so on. Not realizing they missed the kingdom the same way the Pharisees did. The kingdom is spiritual and not the physical kingdom they expect. It came in the first century when Daniel said it would. But it is spiritual, only seen by the born-again. But they and the blind Premillennialists still look for the Physical millennial kingdom of the Pharisee’s making.
Jesus destroyed this notion time and again when he preached the gospel of the kingdom in the gospels.
And so here we are. The bible scavenger hunt began in the 1800s. Looking for scripture to support this “new way” of reading the bible. A system not based on the bible, but based instead on chopping scripture from its context and combining it to match current headlines. Hal Lindsey says: "The prophecies can be pieced together to make a coherent picture, even though the pieces are scattered in small bits throughout the Old and New Testaments. Hal Lindsey,"The Late Great Planet Earth" 1970 (Chapter 4)
This includes an imaginary Gap in the 70 weeks the bible never mentions. Again, by chainsawing as it were, one text after another from its original context. And trying to recreate it in the headlines with modern technology. They rewrite the Bible making it say whatever they want.
An example is Ezekiel 38 -39 where spears become submarines. Horses become jet planes. And Ezekiel’s stated attempt, to steal Israel’s cattle, becomes any reason battles happen today.
And ancient Gog and Magog become today’s Russia. No mention of this in scripture. Yet many believe this current wave of false prophecy. Not knowing it comes from the Jesuits of the Counter-Reformation to deceive Protestants from thinking the Papacy is the Antichrist.
Clarence Larkin, a famous Dispensationalists writes: “In its present form it [Dispensationalism] may be said to have originated at the end of the Sixteenth Century, with the Jesuit Ribera, who, actuated by the same motive as the Jesuit Alcazar, sought to rid the Papacy of the stigma of being called the “Antichrist,” and so referred the prophecies of the Apocalypse to the distant future. This view was accepted [not believed] by the Roman Catholic Church and was for a long time confined to it, but, strange to say, it has wonderfully revived since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, and that among Protestants.” Dispensational Truth; pg. 5 Clarence Larkin
Nearly all Protestant creeds have the Papacy as Antichrist boldly stated. Also early Baptists and Methodists. So this was the stigma the Jesuits tried to rid the Roman Catholic Church of with futurism, now called Dispensationalism.
Paul said, describing the Antichrist: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4.
The Temple of God is the Christian believer according to the New Testament 1 Corinthians 3:16. So the man of sin, Antichrist, would occupy Christendom, sitting in the hearts and minds of the Church. Back in the days leading up to, and during the Reformation. The Papacy used force. He would burn at the stake all who would not submit. Thousands perished, not only by the Catholics but by the Reformers who never overcame the Papacy’s hold on them.
After the day passed, Antichrist remained seated in the Temple of God through His false doctrines that Christians of all walks still cling to. Can you spot his doctrines in your church?