Israel In Prophecy
Several relevant Reviews are listed on Jan Markell's website for July 2007 Olive Tree Ministries, Prophecy Watch, by herself, by Norm Geisler and one by John Ankerberg, also one by Joseph Farah of WND accessed 050708
Additional articles by Jan Markell under Olive Tree Ministries: [Articles included by permission from the author ]
Prophecy: Looking in a Rear-View Mirror? - March 25
By Jan Markell
(Also see The Demise and Abuse of Bible Prophecy by Jan Markell)
Aberrant theology flourishes today, but one that has to be the toughest to believe is called Preterism. This view holds that either all or most of the book of Revelation was fulfilled in the First Century! According to prophecy scholar Dr. David Reagan, the view was developed in the 17th Century by a Jesuit priest named Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613). His purpose was to defend the Catholic Church against the attacks of the Reformers.
Reagan continues, "A more radical form of Preterism gained popularity in the latter part of the 20th Century and is today the most widely held version of this interpretive approach. It sees nearly all the prophecies of Revelation as fulfilled in the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem, except for the resurrection of believers and the Second Coming of Jesus. It assigns the Tribulation to the fall of Israel, the great apostasy to the First Century Church, and the last days to the period between Jesus' ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem. The beast is viewed as a symbol of Nero in particular and the Roman Empire in general. The False Prophet is equated with the leadership of apostate Israel."
Dr. Thomas Ice and Dr. Mark Hitchcock also address this issue brilliantly. Ice states, "Preterists argue that major prophetic portions of Scripture such as the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation were fulfilled in events surrounding the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Preterists believe that they are compelled to take such a view because Matthew 24:34 and its parallel passages say that 'this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.' This means it had to take place in the first century, they argue. Revelation, they advocate, says something similar in the passages that say Christ is coming 'quickly' or that His return is 'at hand.' Having settled in their mind that these prophecies had to take place in the First Century, they believe they are justified in making the rest of the language fit into a local (Jerusalem) instead of a worldwide fulfillment.
"Most preterists believe that we are currently living in at least an inaugurated new heavens and new earth, since all the Book of Revelation had to have a First Century fulfillment."
Here are some quick bullet points:
· The Great Tribulation took place in the fall of Israel. It will not be repeated and thus is not a future event.
· The Great Apostasy happened in the First Century. We therefore have no biblical warrant to expect increasing apostasy as history progresses; instead, we should expect the increasing Christianization of the world.
· The Last Days is a biblical expression for the period between Christ's Advent and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the "last days" of Israel.
· The Antichrist is a term used by John to describe the widespread apostasy of the Christian Church prior to the fall of Jerusalem. In general, any apostate teacher or system can be called "antichrist"; but the word does not refer to some "future Fuhrer".
· The Beast of Revelation was a symbol of both Nero in particular and the Roman Empire in general.
· The False Prophet of Revelation was none other than the leadership of apostate Israel, who rejected Christ and worshiped the Beast.
· The Millennium is the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, which He established at His First Advent. . . . the period between the First and Second Advents of Christ; the Millennium is going on now, with Christians reigning as kings on earth.
· The New Jerusalem is the church, now and forever.
Much more could be said so to do your own study, visit the Web sites of Dr. David Reagan and Dr. Thomas Ice. This theology gained ground in the late 20th and 21st Centuries thanks to men like Gary North, Gary DeMar, Hank Hanegraaff, R.C. Sproul, Ken Gentry, David Chilton, and others.
We now carry two products refuting this false teaching and they are pictured to the left. The three-DVD set captures a debate between Dr. Mark Hitchcock and Hank Hanegraaff just last December, Hitchcock representing Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism and Hannegraaff representing Preterism. The book by Ice and Hitchcock is an attempt to refute the false claims in Hannegraaff's book Apocalypse Code, which takes a swipe at Dr. Tim LaHaye over 440 times.
If we are to contend for the faith (Jude 3), we need to understand these issues as bizarre as they may sound. Sadly, new believers or those just trying to figure the ramifications of eschatology (end-times) are greatly confused when men with large radio audiences send such pathetic theology over the air waves to millions.
Also visit our Web category of "Prophecy Watch" for information related to this.
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In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
?LEFT BEHIND? - THE CONTROVERSY, by Jan Markell
ISRAEL MAY BE A POINT OF DIVISION "I can't think of anything that has driven more people into Christian bookstores than the Left Behind book series," says Doug Ross, President of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. "The books are a 'watershed event' in Christian publishing."
A recent article in "Charisma" magazine finds one reader stating, "I read all the books and finally decided to change my life and accept the Lord as Savior of my life." The same article interviews a thirteen-year old who wants to remain anonymous. He was into witchcraft big time, then read "Left Behind: The Kids' Series". Now he says, "I witness wherever I go. I am finally happy."
Many readers say they find the series shaking them out of their routines and renewing their passion for evangelism. So why, with so much spiritual fruit being borne, does anybody want to deride what seems to be an end-time move of God to bring others into the Kingdom?
Perhaps our culture's "political correctness" inspires an attitude of "theological correctness" in Christian circles. But why can't those who disagree with the "Left Behind" theology rejoice in the success of those who do, as measured by the large number of lives being changed as a result of it?
Instead, the theological critics of Left Behind are actively hostile to the series. Gary DeMar, author of the book "Last Days Madness", is a Preterist who believes that authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' ideas "cannot be supported by Scripture". So does "The Bible Answerman", Hank Hannegraaff, who has now declared himself a Preterist since the release of the first of his Preterist novel series.
Preterists like DeMar and Hannegraaff believe that the Bible's "end-time" prophetic events were completely fulfilled with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. How strange it is that not one historian alive then describes any of the uniquely dramatic scenes out of Revelation such as the Lord's return.
Preterists are always also into "Replacement Theology" and believe that there is no modern-day or prophetic significance for Israel. DeMar associate Ken Gentry declares, "The people of God are expanded from Israel of the Old Testament to the universal church of the New Testament, becoming the Israel of God." Same old story: the Church is the new Israel but to get to this conclusion, biblical hermeneutics is tortured.
The "Left Behind" series focuses on Israel's role in Bible prophecy's fulfillment. DeMar states in one article that, "There is a sinister side to this. By promoting the view that human beings are living in the last days, the authors are about 2,000 years too late, and are leading Christians into complacency and away from working for social transformation. This could be extremely consequential for America."
Translation: The "social gospel" is more important than any other Bible theme.
LaHaye and Jenkins prayed that at least one million people would come to a saving knowledge of Christ through the books and movie. Yet opponents of premillennial dispensationalism fear that this theology will cause Christians to place an emphasis on soul winning to the neglect of helping the needy.
Others simply call the whole "Left Behind" phenomena "nonsense"--a term Mr. Hannegraaff uses all too loosely. To them it is thus also "nonsense" to have a "last days" worldview or to believe that modern-day Israel is worth watching.
When "theological correctness" is more important than introducing tens of thousands of people to a new walk with the Lord, then it seems that a serious plague of pride has struck. Why should this surprise us?
The Bible predicts that this very kind of apostasy would be characteristic of the last days, which means that these "Left Behind" critics, by their very behavior, are disproving their contention that there are no more prophecies to fulfill!