Apologetics End Time Madness

Published on October 19th, 2010 | by Gary DeMar

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Why I Began to Write on Prophetic Subjects

I’ve debated with myself over whether I should respond to Tommy Ice’s awful article about me and my book End Times Fiction that Brannon Howse published on his Worldview Weekend site. In his first response to my original argument, Brannon argued that he does not teach on the rapture, and his site and conferences do not spend much time on eschatology. You could have fooled me. The fact is, a great many articles on Howse’s Worldview Weekend site are about eschatology. His latest one is a reprint of an article written by Thomas Ice titled “Gary DeMar’s End Times Fiction.” End Times Fiction was published in 2001 by Thomas Nelson as a response to Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series and is now published by American Vision and goes by the title Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction. Brannon should man-up and fight his own battles instead of calling in surrogates to defend him. The head of a worldview ministry is responsible for answering his critics honestly. So far, Brannon has not done this.

Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction

Tommy claims that I’m “jealous of the fact that people have responded to a fictionalized version of a dispensational prophecy scenario while rejecting his own misguided belief that these prophetic events were really fulfilled when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and Israel’s Second Temple in the first century.” Tommy claims to know my motives in writing End Times Fiction. He doesn’t. I write my books because I believe there is a need for their message. Anyway, suppose jealousy is the reason I wrote the first edition of End Times Fiction. Ice’s jealousy charge is a red herring to divert attention from his theological perspective and his poorly reasoned arguments. He also engages in an ad hominem. My motives are irrelevant to the substance of my argument. I could be jealous, and LaHaye could be wrong.

By the way, what are LaHaye’s motives for writing Left Behind and Ice’s defense of LaHaye? There are lots of people who have charged that LaHaye’s doing it for the money. The original series was planned for three volumes. When LaHaye and his publisher saw how well the series was selling, they stretched out the gravy train to 16 books. This doesn’t count the 40 volumes of kids’ books and related Left Behind spin-offs like graphic novels (upscale comic books), video games (Left Behind: Eternal Forces and Left Behind II: Tribulation Force), and films. What motive would Ice have to defend LaHaye and attack me? He gets paid by LaHaye and has served as a co-author with him on several book projects. Of course, LaHaye and Ice would deny these claims. Denial is all they can do since there’s no empirical way to prove that LaHaye’s not doing it for the money just like there’s no way to prove that I didn’t write End Times Fiction out of jealousy. That’s why charges of motive make bad arguments.

A little background will prove helpful to know why I wrote End Times Fiction. The first major book I wrote on Bible prophecy was Last Days Madness. Wolgemuth & Hyatt published it in 1991. The rights reverted back to me when the publishing house went out of business. American Vision reissued revised and updated versions in 1994, 1997, and 1999. Any careful reader will note that I do not deal with any of the Left Behind books in the 1997 and 1999 editions. There was no need to write a response since it was a fictionalized account of dispensationalism that had been done before, a point R. C. Sproul makes in the Preface and I make in Introduction to End Times Fiction. Last Days Madness was an adequate response to anything LaHaye had written in Left Behind.

Last Days Madness

So why did I write End Times Fiction? Because Mike Hyatt, President of Thomas Nelson, asked me to write it. I had no intention of writing a critique of the series. Who would buy it? Bookstores—Christian and secular—were making tens of thousands of dollars on selling the multi-volume Left Behind series. They weren’t going to buy a book where they might make five bucks and lose thousands of dollars in revenue. After some coaxing, and since I knew it wouldn’t take much time to write a critique of the Left Behind series, and Thomas Nelson was going to pay me for my time, I wrote the book. This was the first time in my life that I actually tried to talk myself out of a book contract. How well did End Times Fiction sell? It went through eight printings, and by the numerous emails I’ve received, it’s had a profound effect on lots of people.

Am I jealous of Tim LaHaye? You bet I’m jealous! Who wouldn’t be? I would like to make $50 million dollars or more as a writer. I’m also jealous of the guy who plunks down $1 for a lottery ticket and wins $98 million. I’m jealous of Mariah Carey who was paid $28 million by EMI’s Virgin Records not to fulfill her $100 million contact because her “Glitter” album sold a “disappointing 500,000 copies.” I’m also jealous of Alex Rodriguez who was paid $280 million over ten years to play baseball. Don’t forget J.K. Rowling who has made more than a billion dollars from the Harry Potter series. I may be jealous, but none of these successes prompted me to write a book about them.

The Reduction of Christianity

I began writing on prophetic subjects after I began to speak on the topic of “God and Government” after the publication of my first book of the same name. After addressing how government is not a synonym for politics and outlining what the Bible says about developing a biblical worldview, invariably there would be someone in the audience who would ask a relevancy questions: “How is any of this relevant since we know that we’re living in the last days and Jesus is returning soon?” This was in 1983. Two volumes of God and Government followed in 1984 and 1986. It was around this time that writers like Dave Hunt began attacking “Dominion theology.” As Peter Leithart and I point out in our 1988 book The Reduction of Christianity, eschatology plays a major role in worldview thinking. We dealt with Hunt’s arguments head on. Peter and Paul Lalonde and Jimmy Swaggart were also attacking applicational biblical world and life view and denouncing dominion theology. This very public debate led to a series of debates with Dave Hunt and Tommy Ice. The point is, my entry into the prophecy field was necessary because of the attacks and misrepresentations that were coming from a number of highly visible end-time authors and ministries. After writing a series of articles in response to an article or two that Al Dager had written on the topic of Dominion Theology, Wolgemuth & Hyatt contracted with me to write what was the first edition of Last Days Madness. That was in 1991.

While I would like to make millions of dollars, I’m not going to publish error to do it. Tommy is right when he states that I “repeatedly represent . . . the prophecy beliefs of Tim LaHaye as far-fetched and beyond the realm of possibility.” Exactly!

Tommy goes on to write that I have ridiculed Tim LaHaye in End Times Fiction. Where?  Do I evaluate and respond to LaHaye’s views by quoting his own non-fiction prophecy works and show how they do not line up with Scripture? I do. Is this ridicule? Tommy says that I am “incapable of simply presenting [my] views in a straightforward and positive manner, without first setting the stage with one of his negative diatribes against those with whom he disagrees.” Where in End Times Fiction do I do this? I challenge anyone to read my books—Last Days Madness and End Times Fiction—and find the kind of vitriol that Tommy accuses me of having. All one has to do is read Tommy’s article to see who uses “negative diatribes against those with whom he disagrees.”

Yes, I do believe that the events of Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 19 have been fulfilled. Why do I believe this? Because the Bible says so. Am I alone in this belief? Not at all. It’s dispensaionalism that’s new. There are numerous Bible scholars who have taken a similar position on these passages as I do. Tommy’s ridicule should be heaped on Eusebius, John Lightfoot, Adam Clarke, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Thomas Scott, and many other Bible commentators through the centuries. My challenge to Tommy is simple: Find me one Bible commentator prior to 1830 that holds anything close to dispensationalism, the view that he and Brannon Howse hold. I challenge Tommy to go up against John Owen and John Brown on their interpretation of 2 Peter 3. He might not like my interpretation of Ezekiel 38–39, but it sure makes a whole lot more sense than what dispensationalists teach. Try interpreting the Bible literally and finding modern-day Russia in Ezekiel 38-39. Talk about bizarre! See my book Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future: Identifying the Gog-Magog Alliance for an exposition of Ezekiel 38-39.

Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future

What seems really to have gotten to Tommy is the way I keep bringing up the prophetic inevitability of dispensationalism’s future Jewish holocaust. Here’s what I wrote in “A Review of The Remnant, one of the volumes in the Left Behind series: “What many people who read LaHaye’s The Remnant fail to grasp is that two-thirds of the Jews living in Israel today will be slaughtered, and for every three Jews who decide to make Israel their home in the future, two will be killed during the Great Tribulation.” Is this incorrect? Have I misrepresented dispensationalism in general or LaHaye in particular? Not at all. Does Tommy deny that dispensationalists believe this? No he doesn’t. He does give us some comforting words. In addition to two-thirds of the Jews being slaughtered, we learn that “about three-fifths of the entire earth’s population will be killed during the course of the seven-year tribulation, many of them believers (Rev. 6:9–11).” According to Tommy, this slaughter is an evangelistic tool! “One of the main purposes of the tribulation (the 70th week of Daniel), Tommy argues, “is to bring the nation of Israel to faith in Jesus as their Messiah.”

I’ve made the point that, contrary to dispensaionalism, God actually sent messengers throughout Israel and the Roman Empire to warn of the coming judgment on Jerusalem that was to take place prior to its judgment in A.D. 70. God gave a 40-year warning. No such warning is given by dispensationalists today.

As I’ve pointed out to Brannon Howse in personal correspondence and in several articles posted on American Vision’s site (see here, here, and here), eschatology is important. If we’re going to win the next generation, telling young people and their parents that we are living in the last days in counterproductive and unbiblical. The world is not a “sinking Titanic.” If anything, it’s man-centered philosophies that are sinking and “will not make further progress for their folly will be obvious to all” (2 Tim. 3). The sooner Brannon understands this, the sooner his Worldview Weekends will have a lasting impact.

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About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



30 Responses to Why I Began to Write on Prophetic Subjects

  1. James C. Merritt says:

    I became a confirmed dispensationalist, “Left Behinder” ever since hearing Tim LaHaye speak to my college youth group in the late 1960′s & then reading “The Late Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey & whatever his first book was back in the early 1970′s (I realize Left Behind was several years later, but…it sums up Hal’s view). Sadly, in the last 3-5 years I have come to realize it was all phony nonsense. Gary DeMar and other Preterists, like Greg Kokql (sp?), etc. have convinced me by COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCIRPTURE that Preterism is MORE accurate.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Hey Gary, I met you a few years ago when you were in Dothan, AL, and I would love to debate you on the 5 points of Calvinism. I can never seem to contact you directly, but you should know that I have personally taken on a few of your Reformed contemporaries. I could drop some names, if you’d like. While you and I agree mostly on Preterist eschatology, all things related to the TULIP of Calvin and Co. and every spawn orbitting around that doctrine is a blight upon Christendom. That’s my proposition, if you’d like to follow up.

    I’ve been hitting debates for over a decade on this subject and more. There’s not much I haven’t heard, but I don’t want to overwhelm you in an opening statement. I’ve got plenty of experience, as you may as well.

    • Shotgun says:

      Will Mr. Demar debate an anonymous guy named “Jonathan” who approached him in an article thread?

      Doubtful.

      As for the supposed “blight on Christendom” occasioned by the onslaught of Reformed theology, I would note that Reformed theology (and the Augustinian view of the world espoused by Reformed dogmaticians) makes intelligible the common human experience of language, writing, logic, and history; experiences which a debate between you and Mr. Demar must necessarily presuppose.

      And given the metaphysical differences between your position and that of the Reformed, I’m not at all certain how you would account for the aforementioned preconditions which make that sort of debate possible.

      If, in your avid experience as a polemicist, you’ve come up with some way to provide for these sorts of necessary preconditions of human experience without alluding to the very God of Reformed orthodoxy that you’re seeking to debunk, then you would have proven yourself a worthy opponent indeed.

  3. Stephen Ray Hale says:

    Correction. There is no 1 Corinthians 13:27 but there IS a 1 Corinthians 12:27…and that is the one I meant in my last paragraph above.

  4. Stephen Ray Hale says:

    Well bless your heart Brother DeMar. By the way, I do appreciate you as a Christian Patriot bringing us resources (re-prints) of books that help establish the idea that America was founded a Christian society.

    Also please forgive the appearance of my spiel above because I formatted it on a Microsoft Word 2007 word processor and somehow your comment engine does not recognize some of the formatting, and the results are smooshed into one big paragraph when I intended some breaks to sooth the eye. You might have a slam dunk grand web guru who might give recommendations for those of us who do so. I submit a confession that I use the Word to help me not make so many accidental misspelling. By the way, I use the first recommended formatting box in the tool bar above that has a paragraph symbol and “Normal” written beside it. Should I use the one next over that says “No Spacing?”

    As for my “very long post,” and its apparent lack of “solid Biblical argument,” I appreciate that you are not omniscient and cannot read the intent of my soul, and it is true I did not out and out broadcast that intent that “in this letter I am not going to make a solid Biblical argument, but…”

    The truth is, I was not answering a Biblical comment from you, but a portion of your reasoning why you started writing on Prophetic Subjects. In trying to inform you that THIS Dispie was very much involved in the social welfare of America, I presented mostly my heart based on some few salient Christian principles such as Agape LOVE being the secret, even CALVINIST weapon of spiritual warfare, that forms a basis of our desire to have government chained down to the point that no religious entity seeking to be established could use it to force compliance to some religious tenet. The big dirty secret of us Calvinistic thinking folk is that we do not NEED government to bring souls to Christ. All the other pseudo spiritual worldviews REQUIRE a government apparatus beyond their own deceptive practices to gain converts, and even then, while they may injure the Christian in his walk to be caught up in some deception, his soul, if elect is assured to salvation. But we need no such devices and to deny these others their government tool, is to assure that we have a more modicum of peace in our own endeavors to one on one evangelize our generation and nation. That was the thrust, and outside of showing you some practical problems of my dilemma to work with Preterist inspired replacement theologian based political activists who despise Israel to the hurt of our cause, I did not really begin to broach the festering sore of your moderate Preterist position, and of course, that was the purpose of your comment to Mr. Roderick, concerning hyper preterist obsessions.

    In that I failed to give the thrust of the substance of my spiel, I was NOT answering any particular scriptural point, but answering your implication that Dispies do not have a social conscience or feel some social responsibility to waste resources in bringing American infrastructure to its knees…and that basically before God. And there WAS a goodly portion of scripture to prove that point, even if it parallels some of your own reasons for fighting for America’s soul.

    Now…if I need to show scriptural savvy as to why I am a Dispie, perhaps you may recommend some Biblical subject that I can give you “solid BIBLICAL support” for my position.

    But thanks anyway for reading comments…that is a VERY good kudu in your direction as far as I am concerned. I do spend a good deal of my time in trying to make sure my position is solid as to my real intents and passions and true to the Bible, but I despair that anyone would ever profit from it until they can read it.

    On a lateral position, that we both can prosper from, I do have a discovery of scriptural (sorry that it might be “literal”) terminations of the gifts of the spirit that will contradict the charismatic movement. But alas, it is crafted in the middle of the love chapter and that means we cannot beat them over the head with it…but lovingly extract them from the error that brings so much incredulity upon the Christian worldview. If you are interested in that, so as to stave off any potential inter-brethren squabbling, such would be a very good subject of discussion. Being party to my own discovery, I am having difficulty in understanding why others might not be excited as well, but I really think you would appreciate it, and you might be able to craft it in a manner to edify our charismatic brethren. It is my belief that God makes us, no…predestines us to be different so as to have one of us reach a person that is untouchable by the other. In that I believe you might still possess some scriptural insight to come to the same conclusion as I, I will test that by giving you this challenge. Look to 1 Corinthians 1:6 and Possible 2:1 and see if TO MARTURION would solve the mystery of the missing neuter singular noun to resolve the article and adjective TO TELEION, and the article and phrase TO EK MEROUS. Another secret is that the EK MEROUS in 1 Corinthians 13:10 is companion to the EK MEROUS (in particular) for 1 Corinthians 13:27, and is related to the ANA MEROS of 1 Corinthians 14:27. Another hint is the law of multiple witnesses stated by Moses in the Torah about three different but similar ways, and how it is used in the churches at least during the time of Paul, not to mention by Christ when He joisted with the Jews. In that this is found right smack dab in the middle of the agape LOVE chapter of Paul’s, perhaps we both can imbibe enough of that spirit when we turn to resolving our differences concerning preterism and dispensationalism. Thank you, and can only wish you to prosper in dealing with the issues concerning America.

    Hey…this is better…I did this by TRIPLE SPACING in WORD of Office 2007.

  5. Joe Ortiz says:

    Dear Brother Gary:

    I’m beginning to think that the discussion of entire issue of the Lord’s return has become great canon (mispelling done on purpose) fodder for Satan to neutralize much of Christendom. At first I could not believe how emotionally upset dispensationalists (pre-tribbers to heaven rapturists) would get when anyone even questioned portions of their doctrine; almost as upset as some Jewish pundits get when asked even the slightest question about Israel’s foreign policy. The first hue and cry out of the mouth of a Rapturists is “hertic” as is the hackneyed “antisemite” charge is to many Christian Zionists who support the Jewish state regardless of it political journey.

    As you well know, I wrote “The End Times Passover” and “Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation” (published by Author House in 2007) to provide the general public (and mainline Christians) bible-based proof that there will be no Rapture to Heaven whatsoever. It took over 20 years of research to write these two books, which were basically completed in 1986 but were never placed before the public eye until 2003 when I was giving it away for free on my web site. I spent most of those years in between writing and publishing it going through the manuscript over and over and over again until I felt it would pass canonical muster. During that time I also received many great reviews.

    More importantly, one of the first issues I brought forward in my books were various examples of the misinterpretations of certain words used by dispensationalism writers. One of those words is “Left” (from Luke 17:34-37) which has been used by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in their “Left Behind” crusade. If examined carefully, the Greek word to define the word “left” as is used three times in that group of scripture is the word “aphiemi” which means to “forgive, suffer, passover, leave alone, the debt has been paid.” This is the same Greek word that is used twice in the Lord’s Prayer. That example (and I have over another 150 examples of word misinterpretations used by dispensationalist, and many orthodox Christians as well) can be found in my two books. This one example alone is sufficient Bible proof that LaHaye, Jenkins, Ice, Lindsey, Van Impe, Mike Evans, Missler, et al cabal are promoting a gospel that is different from that which Paul warned us not to do. We have pointed this out to these folks and their response is zilch!

    Why does it really matter whether there are varying opinions about the Rapture. One simple reason. Those who adopt and support the Pre-Tribulation Escape to Heaven theory also believe the state of Israel is God’s time piece to Armageddon; therefore they feel they must support that political entity (which is not a spiritual one) regardless of their actions. It is this mindset and belief that is the underbelly of much of the conflict we see all over the world, and one of the major reasons Muslim’s feel justified it their attacks on Western nations.

    Jesus is returning and we (discipl;es) will be caught up to have a meeting with the returning Christ, but it will not entail any visits to Heaven. We will return with Him to begin an eternal reign on earth, forever (no 1000 millennial reign), as co-administrators of God’s Kingdom here on earth. There will be no geopolitical kingdowm for Jews or Israelis nor any other ethnic or political entity but that of Jesus Christ.

    Joe Ortiz, author
    The End Times Passover
    Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation
    https://sites.google.com/site/theendtimespassover/book-reviews

  6. Gary DeMar says:

    Roderick: Again, you show your obsession with Full Preterists. Maybe none of them posting here are FPs. If someone writes something you disagree with, then answer it using the Bible and sound reasoning. You know, a Full Preterist could say something that is right. When I go to a site, I don’t obsess over whether a person is a dispensationalist; I patiently (most of the time) answer his or her arguments. That’s what you should do. I haven’t seen you do this in any of your posts. You’re like Mr. Hale above who has not made a solid biblical argument in his very long post. Pasting in a few Scripture passages at the end doesn’t not count as an argument.

    • Roderick says:

      Thanks Gary for the comments. I’ll try harder to emulate those who have a stick-to-ness that I can admire;
      In ancient times, Athansius for his “obsession” against the Arian heresy (boy what a “heretic hunter” that guy was! He didn’t spend just a few years against it, but his entire life) In politics, Rush Limbaugh for his “obsession” against Liberalism. In modern Evangelical times, Gary DeMar for his “obsession” against Dispensationalism. I’ll leave the compromising up to people like PaulT, Phil Naessens, Ken Talbot and others, since as C.H. Spurgeon once said:
      Complicity with error takes from the best of men any ability to enter protest against it …How true indeed!

  7. Roderick says:

    Too bad there wasn’t a quick way to distinguish the hyperpreterist’s commenting on this site — since there is a large ratio of them here. Because what happens is Christians come here to interact with Gary’s form of “Preterism/Eschatology” but instead are bogged down by the heresy of hyperpreterism posing as merely “preterism”…if they even announce that much. It would be like going to a Calvinist site, thinking most of the commenters are Calvinists when in fact, the ratio is more hyper-Calvinists. Oh well, what can you do?

  8. Stephen Ray Hale says:

    Here is my dilemma, I am 64, and before I had even heard of Tom Ice, Tim LaHaye, Falwell (and I still cannot remember how to spell his name…and he graduated from the same Bible school as I), D. Pentecost, Larson, Hagee, and Swaggart, and as for y’all, I had never even heard of Preterism. In spite of all that, I knew that for any of the prophecies to come to fulfillment, Israel had to exist again with Jews living in the land and governing both the land and Jerusalem. A quick survey of Zechariah would prove that point, and since it is that which indicates GOD TELLING US THAT A THIRD WOULD BE SAVED clinches it for me that such an occurrence is sure to come about.
    Of course you reformed folk are not really believers in your election and predestination to believe that God would really decide to have mercy on a goodly number as a third of the Jews who had from the time of Christ to now puked on God’s Holy name, literally, among those in their unbelief of atheism, and by behavior among those who confess to be following a Godly religion.
    Fade in to the near future where I had recently worked among many espousing the fruit of y’alls which happens to be the PUREST hate of Jews, Israel and despicable Dispies of which I was chief…at least among them. Somehow they have missed whatever moderating attitudes y’all (sorry but we Americans really do miss the second person plural that our Geneva and King James Bible supplied by “ye”) might have preached along with your preterism. I could not even console them that a whopping two thirds of the Jews would perish; at least the Palestinians in Arlington, Texas were gleefully satisfied by that number when I broached them with that number. These are the type of folk that are among the “America back to its founding principles,” newbies now-a-days.
    I am for America getting back to its founding principles, and in such a way that there can still be a place for everybody in their own worldview…but instead of each one strangling one another for power to lord it over everyone else, let each prove their worldview by educating their own children to be the best candidate of whatever nirvana, utopia heaven or spiritual plane they can imagine and at the same time compete with the other worldviews in how to make the best philanthropic citizen of the community. All this without having access to government because we, the true Christians in America, will be successful to keep government chained down to the lowest common denominator that could appeal to rational men, religious or not, and that is the protection of innocent life, and the liberty that is necessary to set our affairs in order to preserve it, and the property that is necessary to maintain it. And that we in control of our own wealth again become “LIBERAL” in this one thing, and that is the distribution of our OWN portion to the indigent, even to adopting individuals from among them to share with our own children that education we teach our own. In this way the government has no necessity to educate those in our community, and steal from us of our wealth on pretence of doing government “charity.”
    We do not espouse raw freedom, ours is that subset of freedom called Liberty, and that is defined closely to that which I understood our righteous American forefathers understood it, as the freedom to do that which is RIGHT. However, in that we know proverbs that says twice (and according to the law of two or three witnesses that establishes a matter – it is sure) “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the ends thereof are the ways of death” the Christian must add to the definition, “but that which is right in the eyes of God.” We true Christians in appealing to the rest of society who either think themselves Christian, or at least righteous, in whatever worldview they espouse…even atheism, insist that they search their worldviews and salvage from such morass those tenets that closely emulates Biblical virtues.
    Those of us who DO understand election and predestination know that there WILL be a pool of the non-elect who cannot come to Christ, and there is nothing we can do from compelling them by force of government to come to Christ or even a semblance thereof. The Hell of Europe was Arminianism and Calvinism forcing conformity of society to the reigning belief system of whatever nation who had whatever established religion. None of us know who the elect are, and that is why we evangelize all in line with the concept of the parable of the sower of seed. There HAS to be a peaceable pool of fellow citizens that we evangelize among with a time of peace enough for God to bring to Himself those hearing of the word and drawn, having been intrigued with that one remaining credibility giving gift left us, during this church age, to its end at the rapture (remember I am Dispie). We might not have the world’s attention, but it is OUR generation and OUR country that God gives us responsibility to evangelize, and the best arrester of attention is the scene of Christians, not just doing the necessary reaching outside of their community to proselytize, but, loving one another in their OWN community with the AGAPE style unconditional love that only Christians inherit at salvation, mirroring that given to even us by God himself and His Son. I have confidence in the words of Jesus who told his Apostles to love one another because, “in this shall ALL (MEN) KNOW that YE ARE MY DISCIPLES, if ye have LOVE [AGAPE] ONE to ANOTHER.”
    Our struggle is to get government so chained down to a point that all folk of competing worldviews have confidence that the other party is not attempting to overreach. Our struggle is to bring human breathing “life” back into vogue worthy to be defended by all in its innocent form. Even the near Christian, John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government had confidence that rational men can choose innocent life worthy to be defended, by the chained down type of government that our founder’s thrashed out, sans the festering contradiction of the institution of slavery to the ideal of a society of free men, which institution many had hoped would fade away on its own. Our struggle is to reinstitute the concept that there is GOOD and EVIL, RIGHT and WRONG, and it is in the interest of polite civilization to distil from the laws of nature the practical applications of this understanding. And it is in the interest of peace that the unsaved community be confident that Christians, hopefully on the road to be a very LARGE constituency of that community, is patient to allow their own journey to enlightenment and that we guard government against breaking its chains that is our constitution for the purpose of them being ALLOWED to err and to make mistakes and to linger in religious or philosophical error, till God brings them to Christ. That is why Paul says our weapons of warfare are not carnal (I am not saying we give up weapons to defend ourselves…but even here…Christians should take on the burden to carry weapons to protect our fellow innocent citizens from usurpations of rights) in the advancement of Christianity. We all know the prayer on behalf of all types of people in all manner of governmental offices that Paul recommended to Timothy that the Christians are admonished to pray. So it is THIS confidence that dispensationalists look to in order to be encouraged to labor TILL WE ALL BE taken away in surprise. The Dispie that questioned the relevance of keeping our nose to the grindstone because we understand that there is a near rapture in view was not mature, forgetting or unmindful of all the admonitions to have Jesus find us WORKING, no matter what his status in the ranks of Dispensationalists. The same goes for all of those you deem of us who are zealous to date Christ’s return this side of the rapture. The BIBLE simply says we do not have such knowledge, and that our Bible is the archive of testimony of the mind of God, OF WHATEVER HE DESIRES US TO KNOW…and that is HIS prerogative, as is it is HIS prerogative to save anyone HE chooses concerning salvation, leaving us whatever modified free will we can conjure to do good works, as it is the modified free will of the non-elect to struggle to merit and to err and to do that work which will be judged in the last day from the book of works mentioned in Revelation. I have no problem with you chiding the immature concerning these obviously Biblically prohibited activities, but it is an error and a case of immaturity on YOUR part, those of you who use this to falsify the more Biblically sound concept that there will be a rapture, and that there will be a God controlled program to reinstate the Jews into the land and in Jerusalem, and while the churches as an item in the program of God on this side of the rapture is the cat’s meow and the only show in town, God’s infrastructure building of that day beyond the rapture on behalf of the Jews is continuing, actually from the beginning when the Jews turned down Jesus as their Messiah. The same goes for Satan in his infrastructure building of a one world order, that even the apostles in their later letters were acknowledging as even happening in their time.
    Personally, I think, and I believe I heard Ice mention, that the “this generation” of Matthew 24 is on the other side of the rapture. What WE are seeing is the light under the door of the boundary which is the rapture, or as the sand that blows in under the door for us to preview and to speculate upon. And how near this is to us is only a factor of how much of that space under the door there is as to how far into our church age we can be aware to be wary of that infrastructure building. If that is true…then all of your time words you bandy about is surely drawn up into that period as to being, NEAR, and AT THE DOOR, and etc. because we do know that there is a seven year window before Christ touches earth with His feet again, and seven years of a forty year generation is rather quite rapid compared to the full duration of forty years of that EVIL GENERATION, were you to consider THAT as your one and final “this generation” or “this EVIL generation.” AND EVEN THEN, they will not know the DAY AND HOUR of His visitation.
    It seems reasonable to understand that in those few things God seeks to have the sovereignty of…such as in salvation, and this point of Him, ONLY, knowing the time, that we have “this generation” being as near and as far into the future as His being I AM, and always in the present. He accommodates us from time to time our plodding time chained existence to supply a past or present or future pointing to events as he has us consider the Sun and Moon and Stars rising from the East when in fact we are a globe rotating under the more fixed LIGHTS of the heavens.
    It is my truest and fondest understanding that the reformed concepts of Soteriology and the Dispensationalist concept of Eschatology, along with the Baptist concept of Ecclesiology, are the greatest companions of truth that can be extracted from the Bible that harmonizes the entirety of the completed archive of testimony of the knowledge of the mind of God of those things He desires us to know from the Torah of Moses to the Revelation of John the Apostle.
    I am confident in the words of Paul that we can know, NOW, though we are probably too soon at the time of the rapture, what IS that mind of God, not treading into that under His own sovereignty to hide, of that which He wants us to know, else we are forever doomed till God comes down to NEVER understand the whole such truth. Read with me this excited anticipation of Paul for a near confidence of knowing of all God’s will, majoring on the words “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive:”
    Ephesians 4:11-16(KJV)

    11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
    AND BEFORE WE CAN GET THE ROMANS 13 authority that God desires us to have in our lives, concerning governments, but that which are not a terror to good works but to the evil, we must consider our responsibility as found in ROMANS 12:

    Romans 12:17-21(KJV)

    17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

    18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

    19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

    21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
    And WHAT is it that we must do, which is “as much as lieth in” us, in order to “live peaceably with all men?” You Preterist types can work with us Dispies, even admonishing us when we grow lax at the grindstone for whatever “relativity” we conjure, to recreate or restore that government so chained down that men outside of the faith can be secure in our ability to “live peaceably with all men.”

    Proverbs 16:7(KJV)

    7When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
    God is not happy with those who slight Israel, or the people, a third of which is a treasure of potential brethren in Christ, and how can we please the LORD, when we weaken the hands of those willing to succor the “apple of His eyes?” The preterist doctrine has been the greatest hindrance to our cause to save America when the wrath of God is held over our heads in denying His plan to soon rescue them and that in the land and in Jerusalem. We may NEVER recover if abandoning Israel (not government, but we the people in our own resources) becomes the policy of the tea party or whatever movement is successful in regaining the reigns of government, considering we are stumbling under the failure to protect the unborn and thus are guilty of the innocent blood of children…which is so abhorrent by God, causing the Israelites to fail in the land, among that of their other sins of unbelief. Why should WE act the fool by not considering God’s sensitivities in restoring honor to His name, when God saves Israel FOR HIS OWN NAMES SAKE, not that what the Jews had done or could do?

  9. (Mrs.) Mary Rutkowsk says:

    My thanks and appreciation to you, Mr. de Mar. I am sorry that you are the target of vicious attacks by these men who claim to speak as believers. They and their mindless, evasive and deceitful non-answers should be evidence against them when they contend with you. If they cannot offer a well-reasoned answer based on Scripture but instead can only attack “the messenger”, – in this case, you – then they deserve contempt and they certainly have mine. You, Sir, have my admiration and my thankfulness for your diligence in the work you have done and in bearing the slings and arrows hurled by these shameful characters. May blessings and grace abound to you, your family and your work.

  10. Jeff says:

    In 1994 I left the Church I was attending that was teaching dispensationalism, I have to admit that at the time I was still at little unsure about my decision due to the scare tactics that they were using and wanting to please God, but there were just too many problems with what they were teaching, as I recall it was, to be more specific Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the descriptions in Revelation, like some of the modern pictures that help visualize what’s going to happen, someone who looks like Pamela Anderson riding a dragon that’s about ready to devour the Pope. (Someone told me that, but I’ve seen the picture and it was told as a joke. I have to admit I laughed).

    Of course when you believe this the Church that you are in is always the Philadelphia and everyone else is in the Laodicea one. Then comes the 144,000, I remember thinking a lot of people won’t make it in today’s population and that would truthfully probably be me.

    1991, I wish I would have read that book back then it would have really helped. As C. S. Lewis said “We read to know that we are not alone”. I love to read C. S. Lewis, in fact I just read an article by David J. Theroux called “C. S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism” a great reflection on Natural Law. http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2846 Even Mr. Lewis once said however that the biggest embarrassment in the NT was that Jesus said he would return before all the apostles died, and he didn’t do that. You have performed a great service in explaining this in your writings. Mr. Lewis couldn’t see this, which to me just shows that we all have blind spots, and why we need faith.

    I have also seen Christian detractors stopped in their tracks with their arguments when you explain Matt. And Rev. as you do, and how He did exactly what he said he would. That says a lot.

  11. Wayne says:

    In your belief, the armies from the east must become armies from the west in order for Tutus/Vespasian to be the fulfilment of endtimes war against Israel. Don’t you have a problem with that?

    • Dan says:

      I will leave the details to others here, but if you look around a little i believe you will find that the enemies actually came from the east when approaching Jerusalem. My point is, do you really think that this issue has not been addressed? You say it as if Gary and company are going to stand up and say, “wow, we never thought of that.” Did you even try to find the answer?

    • Kerry says:

      Wayne,

      I don’t know if your asking me or someone else, but I will try to respond with what knowledge I have. Also, my response is not meant to be anything but informative as to what I think. You may have valid points as well, and I certainly don’t think I have reached the mountain top yet, so don’t take it that way. I don’t want to get to far off course because this article is actually about why Gary began writing about prophecy and the end times. It is to offer more hope, and be a counter interpretation to Dispensational theology and eschatology.

      Luke 20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
      21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
      22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

      Then later in verses 31 and 32–
      So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
      32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

      It is clear in these verses that Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies within the lifetime and generation to which Jesus was speaking. It is also the time of vengeance, and all things written were to be fulfilled. This would be the same destruction of the wicked city and adulterous whore Babylon in the Revelation. As you correctly pointed out, those armies were led by Vespasian and Titus. These generals and others used Megiddo as an assembly and tactical route for movement to Jerusalem.

      This is my opinion and interpretation. There is more that could be added. You can come to your own conclusions, these are mine so far. I am willing to change my opinion if other information brings a better interpretation. Also know that I do not speak for Gary DeMar or others on American Vision. They may have better teachings and knowledge than I do. I do this for the discussion, and to offer help to other Christians who are also studying. Take care.

  12. I would like to know what questions have been unanswered by dispensationalist.

    I would also like to know how a Revelation interpreatation of apostate Israel, could not also be a Revelation account of the apostate church. It seems interesting to have a belief that God could and would abolish the Old Covenant because of disobedience, but would not abolish the New Covenant for the same reason.

    The world dominion theology that is normally attached to prederist doctrine, also gives rise to the question of who the ultimate leader of the new world order would be. It seems that in the prederist view that it would be Christ, but in the dispensationlist view it would be Anti-Christ. This is not a small matter nor something that you would want to be wrong about.

    I suppose the ultimate question that one must answer in order to clarify where they stand on these issues is,”Will the entire earth be finally destroyed by fire or is the destruction from Revelation a localized event?”

    • Kerry says:

      Tim,

      If I understand you correctly, you are probably referring to “Preterist” doctrine. In the simplest terms it is a belief that all prophecy has been fulfilled in the past. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t find anything in scripture that points to Christ being the leader of the New World Order. He is the King of the New Jerusalem however, and it’s Light.

      As far as covenants go, the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that the New Covenant is eternal in nature, and it is in contrast to the covenant that was temporary, and fading in the first century. The covenant of Christ was established by His blood, and will never pass away, unlike the temple and it’s imperfect animal sacrificial system. That was a shadow of the real.

      I was brought up as a Dispensationalist myself, and would say that from my own experience, they don’t see the narrow time indicating statements as applying to the generation of Jesus. They have been taught that it applies to “a” generation that would see these events, which according to many prophecy writers is our current generation, or very soon. Because of this, it is usually the only view of eschatology lay people in that kind of congregation know, and it is hard for them to see it any other way. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t sincere in their beliefs and in wanting follow Jesus, it just means that is what they’ve been taught.

      There are events in the Revelation that were local geographical events, many times described in metaphor or symbol, however, like the work of Christ on the cross, and his Resurrection, the events of judgement on earthly Jerusalem and that generation had heavenly (spiritual, and very real), and physical world wide effects. We didn’t see Jesus crucified, however, that forever changed the way sin was atoned for, on earth, as it is in heaven. The judgment on Jerusalem is very much the same. That is my opinion and interpretation, you must come to your own conclusions.

      I can’t speak for the Christians who operate Amercian Vision, and don’t try to, but I would say that if you want some very good teaching on the timing of the events that people call the “end times”, Gary DeMar has written plenty you could view. He could also probably define Dispensationalsim,
      A-miilenialism, and Post-millenialism, better than I could. There are other men who write on Preterism and Escahtology, and it would be fairly easy to find them.

  13. Byron M Hunt says:

    Lets don’t argue about end times. The main thing to remember is that Jesus is coming back in His own way and in His own time. Let’s keep our eyes upon Him. He alone is the source of our salvation

  14. Amy Hauck says:

    “You’re just jealous!” Really? That’s tantamount to, “So’s your ol’ man!” Not exactly the weightiest rejoinder he could have come up with. So not only are your arguments stronger, Dr. DeMar, you are by far a better writer! And who knows..perhaps some of us are jealous of YOU….after all, you get to work with Joel McDurmon!

  15. RWH says:

    For a clear, well-reasoned Dispensational account, I would highly recommend Dr. Dwight Pentecost’s “Things to Come”.

  16. Charla says:

    Last week, I watched a debate Gary did on whether modern Israel is a fulfillment of bible prophecy. I have never seen a debate like this before – actually, I’m not sure how you’d call it a “debate”……more like deer in headlights. Anybody who has ever watched Gary’s debates and discussions knows that what these folks say is just not truth. He (Gary) was about as nice and pleasant as one could be, while the guy who refused to even quote scripture or even consider the scripture being presented was just condescending and rude…..some people just have blinders up and REFUSE to take them down! It’s surprising to see christians use the same tactics that the left uses when someone doesn’t agree with them – divert, call names, baseless attacks et al. Let’s never actually deal with the ISSUES and FACTS.

    I am thankful to Gary and American Vision – I stumbled upon him 11-12 years ago when I first became a christian and started trying to understand the “end times”. Fortunately for me, I never was entrenched into the loony details of dispensationalism.

    • Jeff says:

      I seen that also and have the same take as you do, but some people that support dispensationalism used the excuse that this didn’t hurt him, he just wasn’t prepared, T. I. that is ;)

  17. DouglassMc says:

    Thanks for this post Gary. Having been a Dispie for many years, I am thankful for writers like you who present the case for Covenant Theology and especially for Post Millennialism. I was in a Disp Seminary when I was translated into the Kingdom of Light of Covenant Theology. By far, Covenant Theology is much more balanced and Biblical than Disp. Thank you for your continuing work in defending the faith once delivered to the saints.

  18. voxdan says:

    Thanks for posting Gary. I feel like banging my head against a wall as I wonder if anyone over there – or anywhere in dispensational-land – will just answer the critiques! It is everything I can do not to abuse the cap lock function here. While no where near as public, even my little forum conversations get nothing more than herrings and misdirection – it’s like I’m debating bad magicians. I can ask the most simple question imaginable and then receive a ten paragraph reply that not once addresses what I asked, but instead is quick to tell me how poor my exegesis is, how I am a heretic, or some other thing – anything but answer the question.

    • Beth says:

      The solution for this problem is not to debate people of the other persuasion at all. A wise person once said if you argue with a fool for longer than 5 minutes, there are two fools arguing. The real truth is that until “it” happens, we all are speculators. I began to question the rapture teaching in the 80′s after reading “Pre-Wrath Rapture” (Rosenthal). When teaching, I present the traditional Baptist view of a pre-trib rapture, then explain the alternate views, mid and post tribulation. This is not to confuse my listeners, but to challenge them to study on their own so they believe the scriptures, not me. No one has accused me of being a heretic, even when I tell them that I believe the pre-trib teaching is a tool of the devil to get Christians to be lazy. The important thing that I do tell them that there is no argument about is that they must trust Christ for their salvation, not the “sinner’s prayer” or any of their own works. It is irrelevant whether we are pre, mid, or post-tribbers if we do not know for sure that we are saved by the blood of Jesus.

      • Dan says:

        Understood. However, there is a difference between <5 minutes and not at all. I'm glad that you have had such good experiences. I've had a number of them also. But since they are good, they are not relevant here. When someone asks me my views, or challenges me, I will kindly and gladly share my views. That said, when i do challenge them pointedly and they can only respond with accusations and name calling, it is annoying. That doesn't mean i keep pestering them.

        Of course what is most important is their salvation. That should go without saying. As far as not knowing the truth until "it" happens, there is obviously some truth to that, but again, it doesn't follow that we should not faithfully pursue that truth in humility and kindness. And, humility and kindness does not mean avoiding all confrontation or challenging people to be able to have good reasons for what they believe.

        I agree with you to an extent, but nothing you said really weighs much on what i said. I said it is frustrating when i run into Christians who are not able to provide well thought out, logical reasons for their views but instead resort to childish name calling or worse. The solution to that is not to avoid them, as I wouldn't know them until I engaged them. And I never said that i sat around debating them for hours on end – or even more than five minutes. And besides, despite what a "wise" person once said, it may not always be a foolish thing to continue to encourage a brother in Christ to think responsibly and wisely, no matter how long it might take.

        (sorry for any silly typos. iPad wont let me scroll up and check and it makes lame auto"corrections")

      • Jeff says:

        Beth:

        Thanks for your post. I agree with the personnel part of your point, how ever, if I close my eyes or take my hands off the the wheel and crash I might be saved, but I could get hurt and hurt others, and it would be all my fault. In the article Mr. DeMar asked to find dispensationalism being preached in America prior to 1830, after this the wheels slowly start to come off our country, now the progressives are driving and we are shocked, but we closed or eyes and took our hands off the wheel. Nov. 2 we better put our hands on the ballot box.

        Thanks again!

  19. Kerry says:

    I doesn’t make sense to me, to amass so much money believing and writing fiction about the soon coming “rapture”, and then accuse someone of being jealous about it. To what end, if they(Tommy Ice and Tim LaHaye) are “leaving it behind”, who cares. The love of money is the root of all evil, even for Christians.

    What should be left behind is this type of futurism/fiction that has the look of a snake charmer show. It keeps people fascinated, but in the end is just a way to get people to buy, and take their eyes off of what the Bible really says about the “last days”.

    • voxdan says:

      True Kerry. I can speak from some experience here. First, I have a couple of family members who read the books and had their eschatology clearly shaped by them. But what was most interesting was that these family members had not once engaged in any sort of Scriptural study on the issues either before, during or after they read the books, but seemingly just took “Left Behind” at its word – after all, why wouldn’t it be true? Christians wrote it, Christians published it and millions of Christians endorsed it. Secondly, at the time the first five books in the series were released, I was assistant manager at a Christian bookstore. I saw the same kind of thinking day in and day out. When I occasionally suggested that there were other eschatological views among believing Christians, jaws would drop at the thought of it. When challenged, if I were to point out some Scripture that just might suggest another way to look at things, people would often turn away immediately, as if they were doing God’s will by shielding themselves from my heresy. A few of them outright accused me of being a heretic and questioned my faith. Most of these were the same people who, before the books came along, truly seemed to appreciate me and the way I helped and encouraged them int heir faith. What the heck happened? Something was wrong there.

    • Kerry says:

      Please forgive my typos, that first word should be “It” and not I. I sometimes don’t do enough proof reading.

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