Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, California, stated that according to the Bible, Israel is a “prerequisite” for the End Times. He made this claim by denouncing something called “Replacement Theology” as “heresy.” Replacement Theology is said to be a false doctrine that declares that the church has replaced Israel, and that God is done with the Jews. (I’ll deal with the particulars of Replacement Theology “heresy” in a future article.) Here’s some of what Hibbs said: 

“Friends, that’s false doctrine. Any ministry, any pastor, any group that says ‘Israel as a nation and the Jew doesn’t matter,’ that is a doctrine of heresy, pure and simple. And you need to stay clear of it.”

“If God says I am going to keep these promises, and I’m going to do these things,” Hibbs continued. “God moves, sometimes very slowly, but always effectively.”

“Very slowly”? So far, it’s been nearly 2000 years and counting for what Hibbs believes God is going to do with Israel. He went on to say, “‘no one is escaping the issue of Israel’ and that it will remain relevant to God’s plan because ‘Israel’s statehood is a Second Coming prerequisite.’” 

10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered

10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered

As a result of many failed predictions, many Christians are beginning to take a second look at a prophetic system that they were told is the only one that takes the literal interpretation of the Bible seriously. Gary DeMar has taken on the task of exposing some of the popular myths foisted upon the public by prophetic speculators.

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I wonder if Pastor Hibbs knows what his position about the end times actually teaches about Israel. Below are some examples from those who also believe like Hibbs that Israel is a “prerequisite” for the End Times. What I want to know is why isn’t Hibbs warning Jews about an upcoming future holocaust for the Jews, something he does not mention in his condemnation of “Replacement Theology.” You almost never hear this version of Israel as a “Prerequisite” for the End Times from people like Hibbs.

• On the September 18, 1991, edition of the “700 Club,” Sid Roth, then host of “Messianic Vision” and now “Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural!,” stated that “two-thirds of the Jewish people [living in Israel] will be exterminated” during a future Great Tribulation. He based this view on Zechariah 13:8-9.

• Hal Lindsey described the judgment against Israel in AD 70 as a “picnic” compared to a super-holocaust that will lead to the slaughter of two-thirds of the Jews living in Israel.[1]

• Kay Arthur, another dispensational author, has stated publicly that what lies ahead for Israel will make Hitler’s Holocaust look like “a Sunday school picnic.” In her novel, Israel My Beloved, the heroine is standing before a future scene where the Valley of Jehoshaphat is littered with the dead based on her understanding of Zechariah 13:8-9 that only a third of Israel will survive “the fire just as Zechariah promised” during the future Great Tribulation will Israel is the target of God’s wrath: “Auschwitz was nothing compared to this…. I’ve watched as men, women, and children writhe in agony—an agony beyond the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the pogroms. Beyond the horrors of Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz—all the death camps combined…. We have experienced an agony beyond any horror the human mind can envision . . . beyond even Hitler.”[2]

• Let’s not forget Jack Van Impe’s book Israel’s Final Holocaust where he wrote that when the prophecy clock starts ticking again after the “rapture,” it “will be traumatic days for Israel. Just when peace seems to have come, it will be taken from her and she will be plunged into another bloody persecution, … a devastating explosion of persecution and misery for Israel….”[3]

• Consider what Thomas Ice wrote in his article “What do you do with a future National Israel in the Bible?” “The Bible also indicates that before Israel enters into her time of national blessing she must first pass through the fire of the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:5-9; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:14-18). Even though the horrors of the Holocaust under Hitler were of an unimaginable magnitude, the Bible teaches that a time of even greater trial awaits Israel during the tribulation. Anti-Semitism will reach new heights, this time global in scope, in which two-thirds of world Jewry will be killed (Zech. 13:7-9; Rev. 12). Through this time God will protect His remnant so that before His second advent ‘all Israel will be saved’ (Rom. 11:36).”[4]

• Charles Ryrie wrote in his book The Best is Yet to Come that during this post-rapture period Israel will undergo “the worst bloodbath in Jewish history.”[5]

• John Walvoord followed a similar line of argument: “Israel is destined to have a particular time of suffering which will eclipse anything that it has known in the past…. [T]he people of Israel … are placing themselves within the vortex of this future whirlwind which will destroy the majority of those living in the land of Palestine.”[6]

• Dr. Paige Patterson said this in a debate I had with him some years ago: “The present state of Israel is not the final form. The present state of Israel will be lost, eventually, and Israel will be run out of the land again, only to return when they accept the Messiah as Savior.”

So, are we to believe, that after nearly 2000 years of God ignoring Israel while He deals with a new redemptive entity called “the church,” God is going to fulfill His promises made to Israel by letting “the Antichrist” have his way with the Jews by slaughtering two-thirds of them? And Hibbs thinks something called “Replacement Theology” is the problem? He needs to take some time off and do some studying.

The following is from Hank Hanegraaff’s article “Left Behind: From Root to Ripened Fruit,” first published in 2017 and updated in 2023: 

In keeping with Walvoord’s ominous prediction, Hal Lindsey told Christian devotees that not long after their glorious rapture “a numberless multitude” of Jews would be slaughtered in a bloodbath that would exceed the horrors of the Holocaust. Lindsey went on to predict that the brutality of the Beast would make the Nazi butchers “look like Girl Scouts weaving a daisy chain.”[7]

For his part, Dr. Tim LaHaye uses biblical monikers such as “The Day of Israel’s Calamity” to codify what he eerily described as Antichrist’s “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.”[8] Like Lindsey, he is convinced that this time of national suffering for Jews will “be far worse than the Spanish Inquisition of the sixteenth century or even the Holocaust of Adolph Hitler in the twentieth century.”[9]

According to LaHaye, the time of Jewish Tribulation will be a nightmarish reality beyond imagination: “Take the horror of every war since time began, throw in every natural disaster in recorded history, and cast off all restraints so that the unspeakable cruelty and hatred and injustice of man toward his fellow men can fully mature, and compress all that into a period of seven years. Even if you could imagine such a horror, it wouldn’t approach the mindboggling terror and turmoil of the Tribulation.”[10]

It’s interesting that Hibbs doesn’t seem to notice that his position teaches another Jewish holocaust but Mark Alan Siegel, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention who served as the chairman of Florida’s Palm Beach County Democratic Party, knew about it. He told an interviewer the following about what he thought of Christian and Jewish relationships:

The Christians just want us to be there so we can be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ. The worst possible allies for the Jewish state are the fundamentalist Christians who want Jews to die and convert so they can bring on the second coming of their Lord. It is a false friendship. They are seeking their own ends and not ours. I don’t believe the fundamentalists urging a greater Israel are friends of the Jewish state.

It wasn’t too long before the video of the interview went viral, and Mr. Siegel was forced out of his position. Where did Mr. Siegel get such crazy ideas? It’s a prevalent view among dispensational prophecy writers. “[T]he period of great tribulation between the two phases of Jesus’ Second Coming is portrayed by dispensationalists as a time of horrific suffering and destruction of the Jewish people.”[11]

The Hope of Israel and the Nations

The Hope of Israel and the Nations

The reader and student of the Bible must first understand the content of the New Testament writings in terms of how those in the first century would have understood it. The New Testament is written against the background of the Old Testament. The shadows of the Old were fulfilled in the reality of the New. All the rituals and ceremonies were fulfilled in Jesus. The same is true of the temple, land, blood sacrifices, the nature of redemption, the resurrection of the dead, the breaking down of the dividing wall dividing Jews and Gentiles, and so much more. The New Testament's emphasis is on the finished work of Jesus and its application, not only to that Apostolic generation but to the world today.

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Prophecy peddlers like Hibbs condemn others for what their position teaches. It’s a form of projection, the process by which people attribute to others what their position teaches. Hanegraaff describes how projection works among those who condemn others for being antisemitic because they do not believe Israel is a “prerequisite” for the End Times:

Those who dare question the notion of a pretribulational rapture followed by a Holy Land holocaust in which the vast majority of Jews perish are shouted down as peddlers of godless heresy. The ultimate pejorative phrase has been coined for those who deny the heart of dispensational eschatology. They are dubbed “Replacement theologians” and are said to be guilty of spreading “the message of anti-Semitism.”[12] Popular dispensationalists, such as John Hagee, are blunt in their denunciations. “Replacement theologians are now carrying Hitler’s anointing and his message.”[13]

As far as I can tell, it’s only dispensationalists who believe in a future holocaust for Israel. Unlike today’s dispensationalists, Jesus warned first-century Jews about a coming judgment and told them that they could escape it by heading to the hills outside of Judea (Matt. 24:15-20). Today’s Jews do not have any special redemptive or judgment status. 

[1] Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), 220.

[2] Kay Arthur, Israel, My Beloved: A Novel (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996), 433

[3] Jack Van Impe with Roger F. Campbell, Israel’s Final Holocaust (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1979), 37.

[4] Thomas Ice, “The Israel of God,” Link here.

[5] Charles C. Ryrie, The Best is Yet to Come (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 86.

[6] John Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), 107, 113. Also quoted in Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004), 149.

[7] Hal Lindsey with C. C. Carlson, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970 [40th printing May 1974]), 110; and in Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, 151.

[8] Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, Charting the End Times (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2001), 63.

[9] Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Are We Living in the End Times? (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1999), 146.

[10] LaHaye and Ice, Charting the End Times, 58.

[11] Stephen R. Haynes, Reluctant Witnesses: Jews and the Christian Imagination (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 162.

[12] John Hagee, Should Christians Support Israel? (San Antonio, TX: Dominion, 1987), 1, 73. In truth, of course, the term “replacement” best fits those like Hagee who believe Israel will replace the church as the focus of God’s plans during the Tribulation. The reality is this: the church has not replaced Israel nor has Israel replaced the church. As noted, the precise terminology used to describe Israel in the Old Testament is ascribed to the church in the New Testament (see 1 Pet. 2:9)—the true church is true Israel and true Israel is truly the church.

[13] Hagee, Should Christians Support Israel? 132.