The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

The Dark Side of Dispensational Theology - The Future Jewish Holocaust - Part 4

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Dr. Hindson raised the issue of “antisemitism” in his article “The New Last Days Scoffers” that was published in the May 2005 issue of the National Liberty Journal. Without offering any proof or cogent arguments to defend his charge, Dr. Hindson claimed that preterist theology “certainly leans” to antisemitism. In my previous article in this series, I explained how dispensational theology and its version of the great tribulation require a future holocaust for the Jewish nation. In this article, I will show how dispensational theology in the twentieth century has been applied to the Jews and the Jewish nation. Before all Israel can be saved, “most Jews would have to be destroyed.”[1]

Dispensational theology has taught that the prophetic time clock stopped ticking when Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah. This rejection put the conclusion of Daniel’s seventy weeks (490 years) on hold. Israel experienced 483 years of the prophecy outlined by God in Daniel 9:24–27. The final week—the seven years that will complete the prophecy—is still to take place in dispensationalism’s version of the great tribulation. This is the period of “Jacob’s trouble” when Israel will experience its “greatest bloodbath,” to use Charles Ryrie’s words.

Modern-day Jews are bothered by the potential for harm that such a position might bring with it. Their fear is justified in light of recent history. Dwight Wilson, author of Armageddon Now!, convincingly demonstrates that dispensational premillennialism advocated a “hands off” policy regarding Nazi persecutions of Jews during World War II. Since, according to dispensational views regarding Bible prophecy, “the Gentile nations are permitted to afflict Israel in chastisement for her national sins” this side of the rapture, there is little that can be done to oppose it.[2] Wilson writes that “It is regrettable that this view allowed premillennialists to expect the phenomenon of ‘anti-Semitism’ and tolerate it matter-of-factly.”[3] Wilson describes himself as “a third-generation premillenarian who has spent his whole life in premillennialist churches, has attended a premillennialist Bible college, and has taught in such a college for fourteen years.”[4] These conclusions are not those of preterist authors.

Wilson describes “premillenarian views” opposing “anti-Semitism” in the mid-1930s and thereafter as “ambivalent.”[5] There was little moral outcry “among the premillenarians . . . against the persecution, since they had been expecting it.”[6] He continues:

Another comment regarding the general European anti-Semitism depicted these developments as part of the on-going plan of God for the nation; they were “Foregleams of Israel’s Tribulation.” Premillennialists were anticipating the Great Tribulation, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Therefore, they predicted, “The next scene in Israel’s history may be summed up in three words: purification through tribulation.” It was clear that although this purification was part of the curse, God did not intend that Christians should participate in it. Clear, also, was the implication that He did intend for the Germans to participate in it (in spite of the fact that it would bring them punishment)—and that any moral outcry against Germany would have been in opposition to God’s will. In such a fatalistic system, to oppose Hitler was to oppose God.[7]

Other dispensational writers placed “part of the blame for anti-Semitism on the Jews: ‘The Jew is the world’s archtroubler. Most of the Revolutions of Continental Europe were fostered by Jews.’ The Jews—especially the German Jews—were responsible for the great depression.”[8]

Wilson maintains that it was the premillennial view of a predicted Jewish persecution prior to the Second Coming that led to a “hands off” policy when it came to speaking out against virulent “anti-Semitism.” “For the premillenarian, the massacre of Jewry expedited his blessed hope. Certainly he did not rejoice over the Nazi holocaust, he just fatalistically observed it as a ‘sign of the times.’”[9] Wilson offers this summary:

Pleas from Europe for assistance for Jewish refugees fell on deaf ears, and “Hands Off” meant no helping hand. So in spite of being theologically more pro-Jewish than any other Christian group, the premillenarians also were apathetic—because of a residual anti-Semitism, because persecution was prophetically expected, because it would encourage immigration to Palestine, because it seemed the beginning of the Great Tribulation, and because it was a wonderful sign of the imminent blessed hope.[10]

Dispensationalism sees an inevitable great persecution yet to come where “two thirds of the children of Israel in the land will perish” during the great tribulation.[11]

Let me recount another bit of history related to this issue. Dispensational premillennialist James M. Gray of the dispensational Moody Bible Institute believed in the authenticity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Protocols have a sordid and insidious history. This forged document has been used by anti-Semites and Islamic extremists around the world to perpetuate the canard that international Jews have conspired to develop a plan to conquer the world. Supposedly the Protocols outline the necessary steps to enact the plan. The twentieth century’s most ardent supporter of the Protocols was Henry Ford. He published excerpts of it in his self-funded Dearborn Independent newspaper under the title “The International Jew.”

Its general thesis was that the international Jew, a secret leadership of the race, was bent on disrupting all Gentile life by war, revolt, and disorder, and thus finally gaining world control of politics, commerce, and finance. . . . It was maleficent Jewish influences which made the cheap movies of Hollywood and the vulgar shows of Broadway. Gambling, jazz, scarlet fiction, flashy jewelry, and night clubs—“every such activity has been under the master of the Jews.”[12]

Gray defended Ford’s publication of the Protocols. In a 1927 editorial in the dispensational Moody Bible Institute Monthly, Gray claimed that Ford “had good grounds for publishing some of the things about the Jews. . . . Mr. Ford might have found corroborative evidence [of the Jewish conspiracy] had he looked for it.”[13] As time went on, Gray was coming under increasing pressure to repudiate the Protocols as a forgery. Not only Gray, but Moody Bible Institute Monthly was being criticized by the evangelical Hebrew Christian Alliance for not condemning the manufactured Protocols. Gray grew indignant and once again voiced his belief that the Protocols were authentic. Gray went on to assert that “Jews were at least partly to blame for their ill treatment.” He supported this contention by referring his readers to an article written by Max Reich, a faculty member at the Moody Bible Institute. Reich wrote: “Without religion, the Jew goes down and becomes worse than others, as a corruption of the best is always the worst corruption.”[14]

Charges of “anti-Semitism” were not abated by Gray’s attempts at clarification and his statement that “anti-Semitism is evil and has no place in our Christian civilization.”[15] His views concerning the Jews remained unwavering. “By the beginning of 1935, Gray was fending off charges from the American Hebrew and Jewish Tribune, the Bulletin of the Baltimore Branch of the American Jewish Congress, and even Time magazine that persons connected with Moody had been actively distributing the Protocols.”[16]

Gray was not the only dispensational premillennialist who vouched for the genuineness of the Protocols and had rather negative (“antisemitic”) things to say about the Jews. Arno C. Gaebelein, an editor of the Scofield Reference Bible, believed that the Protocols were authentic, that they accurately revealed a “Jewish conspiracy.” His Conflict of the Ages[17] would be viewed today as an “anti-Semitic” work because it fostered the belief that communism had Jewish roots and that the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 had been masterminded by a group of well-trained Jewish agitators. “Gaebelein praised Serge Nilus, the Russian who first published the Protocols in 1901, as ‘a believer in the Word of God, in prophecy, and . . . a true Christian.’ Gaebelein was certain that the document was no ‘crude forgery. Behind it are hidden, unseen actors, powerful and cunning, who follow the plan still, bent on the overthrow of our civilization.’”[18]

Why did these dispensationalists embrace the Protocols as authentic? The Protocols seemed to support the basic premise of dispensational theology—“that toward the end of the present age, civilization itself would hang in the balance and Jews would increasingly find themselves on center stage in the cosmic drama. Dispensationalists knew that the world was going to get worse and worse before Jesus returned and that the Jewish people would experience their worst persecutions ever. Therefore, when the Protocols was published and opposition to the Jews increased, dispensationalists thought they saw the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.”[19]

The purpose in reviving this little known aspect of dispensational history is to show that Dr. Hindson has a few anti-Semitic skeletons in his closet that many would contend grow out of dispensational theology. Of course, not every dispensationalist embraced the Protocols as authentic. In fact, there was a great deal of debate within dispensational circles on the origin and use of the Protocols. As Timothy Weber concludes, “Dispensationalism was not inherently anti-Semitic any more than it was pro-Hitler, though it could appear to be both thanks to the extremism of certain Bible teachers.”[20] As George Marsden writes in his grounding-breaking book Fundamentalism and American Culture, between the two world wars fundamentalists, who were predominately premillennial and mostly dispensational, “could be both pro-Zionist and somewhat anti-Semitic, favoring the return of the Jews to Israel, which would lead eventually to their conversion; yet in the meantime especially distrusting apostate Jews.”[21] But as I’ve shown, there is no way to dispute what dispensationalists teach about the future inevitable Jewish holocaust in which two-thirds of the world’s Jewish population must perish. Yes, dispensationalists write and preach that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26), but not before most Jews are destroyed.

Endnotes:

[1] Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 130.
[2] Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now!: The Premillenarian Response to Russia and Israel Since 1917 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), Reprinted by the Institute for Christian Economics in 1991 with an updated foreword by the author.
[3] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 16.
[4] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 13.
[5] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 94.
[6] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 94.
[7] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 94. Emphasis added.
[8] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 95.
[9] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 95.
[10] Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 96–97. See further comments on page 217.
[11] John F. Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Academie, [1962] 1988), 108.
[12] Allan Nevins and Frank Ernest Hill, Ford: Expansion and Challenge—1915–1933 (New York: Scribners, 1957), 314. Also see Robert Lacey, Ford: The Men and the Machine (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1986), 207–208, 218; Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate (New York: PublicAffairs, 2001); Albert Lee, Henry Ford and the Jews (New York: Stein and Day, 1980); John S. Curtiss, An Appraisal of the Protocols of Zion (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942); Will Eisner, The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005).
[13]Timothy P. Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism, 1875-1982 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Academie, 1983), 189.
[14] Quoted in Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming, 190.
[15] Quoted in Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, 132.
[16] Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming, 189.
[17] Arno Clemens Gaebelein, The Conflict of the Ages: The Mystery of Lawlessness: Its Origin, Historic Development and Coming Defeat (New York: Publication Office “Our Hope,” 1933).
[18] Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, 134.
[19] Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, 133.
[20] Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, 152.
[21] George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism—1870–1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 287, note 15. 

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