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The dispensationalists begin with the claim that God’s redemptive program to Israel failed at Jesus’ first coming. Because of this failure, so the argument goes, God turned His attention to a new redemptive people called “the Church” and a new redemptive era called the “Church Age.” Like the pre-trib rapture doctrine, there is no verse that actually describes such a distinction. Nowhere do we find a verse or series of verses that describe how God has postponed His covenant promises to deal with an unknown entity called “the Church.”
As I and others have pointed out, the biblical arguments for a pre-trib rapture are not only spurious, they are non-existent. Tim LaHaye’s answer to the charge that there is no single verse that teaches the doctrine is that there’s no single verse that can be found that teaches any of the other four rapture positions. This is hardly a good argument. Could it be that since there is no verse supporting any of the five rapture positions that there is no rapture and thus no Israel-Church distinction? That is the logic of LaHaye’s “defense.”
I want you to notice something about dispensationalists and how they answer the charge that there are no verses that specifically describe what they claim is biblically necessary. When I point out that there is no single verse to support the pre-trib rapture, dispensationalists will maintain that the doctrine is developed from a series of verses that when put together infer the pre-trib rapture. For example, the dispensationalist will say that the seven-year tribulation period is clearly taught in Scripture. When I ask where, I’m taken to Daniel 9:24–27. In order to get a seven-year tribulation period, the dispensationalist must first prove that there is a gap of nearly 2000 years between the 69th and 70th weeks. He must also demonstrate from these verses that the antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews during a post-rapture tribulation. Then there must be proof of a second rebuilt temple that skips over the first rebuilt temple that stood in Jesus’ day. Read Daniel 9:24–27 without the necessary dispensational preconceptions, and see if you find these required dispensational distinctives in these verses. Dispensationalists will argue that the “he” of 9:27 is the antichrist. Does the text say “he” is the antichrist? It does not. One would expect the antichrist of Revelation to make a covenant with the Jews during the so-called seven-year tribulation period since Revelation is an expansion of Daniel’s 70th week. There is no mention of the antichrist making a covenant with anyone, either in Daniel 9:27 or in Revelation. In fact, there is not a single biblical example of antichrist making a covenant with anyone. It’s Jesus who makes a covenant with the many: “this is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of the many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). The Bible couldn’t be anymore clear. You can read from the first verse to the last verse of Revelation and not find any mention of “antichrist” or “seven-years,” let alone a seven-year tribulation period.
Now consider the land promises. Dispensationalists insist that the land promises made to Abraham have never been fulfilled. When it is pointed out that there is a verse that emphatically states that the land promises made to Abraham have been fulfilled, dispensationalists will go to other verses in an attempt to disprove what Joshua 21:43–45 clearly teaches: “So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it” (21:43). Dispensationalists claim that this verse does not really say what it seems to say. Let’s assume for a moment that the dispensationalists are right. Then how could God have said it if He did want to tell us that He had given Israel all the land which He had sworn to their fathers?
On the one hand, dispensationalists cannot find one verse that explicitly teaches the pre-trib rapture, and yet they teach it as biblical truth. On the other hand, when the Bible does tell us that the land promises have been fulfilled, they won’t believe it. Dispensationalists are the real replacement theology advocates. They replace God’s Word with a system that has no biblical support.