In a debate I had with Dr. Michael Brown, I asked him what he thought of the supposed future Jewish holocaust that’s part of premillennialism’s prophetic system based on Zechariah 13:8-9:
“It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD,
“That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;
But the third will be left in it.
And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
While Dr. Brown quotes several passages from Zechariah (1:14-15; 8:23; 12:10; 13:1; 14:4-9, 16) in his book Our Hands are Stained with Blood, he does not quote 13:8 and 9 because it throws a prophetic monkey wrench into premillennialism, especially the dispensational variety.
At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Mark Alan Siegel, who served as the chairman of Florida’s Palm Beach County Democratic Party, 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.”
The Rapture and the Fig Tree Generation
Since the national reestablishment of Israel in 1948, countless books and pamphlets have been written defending the doctrine assuring readers that it could happen at any moment. Some prophecy writers claimed the “rapture” would take place before 1988. We are far removed from that date. Where are we in God’s prophetic timetable?Buy Now
On the September 18, 1991. edition of the “700 Club,” Sid Roth, host of “Messianic Vision,” stated that “two-thirds of the Jewish people [living in Israel] will be exterminated” during a future Great Tribulation. He bases this view on Zechariah 13:8-9. He argued that incidents of Blacks turning against Jews in New York City were a prelude to a coming great persecution.
Pat Robertson asked Roth: “You don’t foresee some kind of persecution against Jews in America, do you?” Roth responded: “Unfortunately, I believe God foresees this.” Roth believes that the end (pre-tribulational rapture) is near. Roth believes that Jews are destined to suffer based on a futurized interpretation of Zechariah 13:8-9. He claims that today’s anti-Semitism is a prelude to an inevitable future Jewish tribulation. The reality of violent acts against Jews is all part of Israel’s prophetic history based on the parenthesis view that is fundamental to dispensational premillennialism.
Hal Lindsey describes the judgment against Israel in A.D. 70 as a “picnic” compared to a super-holocaust that will lead to the slaughter of two-thirds of the Jews living in Israel.
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.”
Let’s not forget Jack Van Impe’s Israel’s Final Holocaust in which he writes 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….”
Consider what Thomas Ice writes in his article “What do you do with a future National Israel in the Bible?” Like Dr. Brown, Ice believes “that Old Testament promises made to national Israel will literally be fulfilled in the future. This means the Bible teaches that God will return the Jews to their land before the tribulation begins (Isa. 11:11-12:6; Ezek. 20:33-44; 22:17-22; Zeph. 2:1-3). This has been accomplished and the stage is set as a result of the current existence of the modern state of Israel.” Then he goes on to write the following:
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).
In reality, it’s “all that’s left of Israel [that] will be saved.”
In his book Blow the Trumpet in Zion, published by the same company that published Dr. Brown’s book, Richard Booker writes:
What is this terrible tribulation that awaits the Jews? Moses said it would take place in the “latter days.” It is the last seven years of this age just prior to the coming of Messiah Jesus to earth. The Bible says this will be a time of suffering such as the world has never known.
The Antichrist will march his troops into Israel and for a short period of time will occupy Jerusalem. Every nation will support his retaliation against Israel for their disturbing world peace. The Antichrist will kill two-thirds of all the Jews. This could mean that up to ten million Jews could be killed. The Antichrist will plunder the beloved city of Jerusalem, and one-half of the citizens will be forced into exile.
In a December 2, 1984, sermon, the late Jerry Falwell said the following: “Millions of Jews will be slaughtered at this time but a remnant will escape and God will supernaturally hide them for Himself for the last three and a half years of the Tribulation, some feel in the rose-red city of Petra.”
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.” The book’s title doesn’t seem appropriate considering that during this time most of Jews will die!
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.”
Arnold Fruchtenbaum states that during the Great Tribulation “Israel will suffer tremendous persecution (Matthew 24:15-28; Revelation 12:1-17). As a result of this persecution of the Jewish people, two-thirds are going to be killed.”
Barry Horner claims that “quite a few [non-premillennialists], by their derogatory manner have inferred that they would be delighted if the Arabs would push Israel into the Mediterranean Sea, repossess Palestine, and thus vindicate their Eschatology!” He doesn’t identify these people or offer supporting documentation, but I’ll assume that he can produce the documentation if asked to do so. I can produce the following from Dr. Paige Patterson who served as the fifth president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1992 to 2003. He is a dispensational premillennialist:
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.
It’s not advocates of “Replacement Theology,” however it’s defined, that promote the idea that Israel must be kicked out of the land but someone who holds a prophetic view like that of Dr. Brown. Given Dr. Patterson’s end-time scenario, if Israel finds herself in a war with her neighbors, should Christians support Israel and thereby interfere with God’s plan for Israel?
This is not a hypothetical question when we look at what happened during World War II.
“Hands Off” While Hitler Acted Against the Jews
Dwight Wilson, author of Armageddon Now!, who describes himself this way: “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.” He argues that some noted premillennialists advocated a “hands off” policy regarding Nazi persecutions of the 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,” there is little that should be done to oppose it. Wilson writes, “It is regrettable that this view allowed premillennialists to expect the phenomenon of ‘anti-Semitism’ and tolerate it matter-of-factly.”
Wilson describes “premillenarian views” opposing “anti-Semitism” in the mid-thirties and thereafter as “ambivalent.” There was little moral outcry “among the premillenarians . . . against the persecution, since they had been expecting it.” 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.
Wilson maintains that it was the 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.’”
Ten 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. In this book, Gary DeMar has taken on the task of exposing some of the popular myths foisted upon the public by prophetic speculators.Buy Now
Premillennialist James M. Gray of the Moody Bible Institute believed in the authenticity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He defended Henry Ford when Ford published installments of the Protocols in his self-funded Dearborn Independent newspaper. In a 1927 editorial in the 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.”
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. He did this in the Moody Bible Institute Monthly. Gray, of course, pointed out that “Moody Bible Institute had always worked for the highest interests of Jews by training people to evangelize them.”
Even so, 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.”
Charges of “anti-Semitism” were not abated by Gray’s attempts at clarification. His views concerning the Jews remained. “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.”
Of course, Gray was not the only dispensational premillennialist who vouched for the genuineness of the Protocols and had rather negative (anti-Semitic) 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 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.
While Gaebelein was using anti-Semitic rhetoric, he had a thriving evangelistic ministry to Jews in New York City. Why the double mindedness? Dispensationalism expects both the persecution and salvation of the Jews. This is why George Marsden could write that “fundamentalists between [World War I and II] 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.”
More to come…
Stephen R. Haynes, Reluctant Witnesses: Jews and the Christian Imagination (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 162.
Dr. Brown reported these events in the Preface to his book Our Hands are Stained with Blood: “Although it sounds more like a nightmare than reality, enraged mobs of young New York Blacks staged anti-Jewish riots in September 1991, screaming, ‘Heil Hitler! Kill the dirty Jews!’ They looted Jewish stores, vandalized Jewish schools, ransacked Jewish synagogues—even killed a Jewish student, wounding several others as well.” Can an incident like this be blamed on “Replacement Theology”? Dr. Brown thinks so, but I don’t. One thing does not have to do with the other. Was the Hamas attack on Israel in October 2023 the result of a belief in “Replacement Theology”? It was not. What about Muslims in Australia who supported Hamas over against Israel and were shouting “Gas the Jews” and F*** the Jews?
Zechariah was describing a future holocaust. It was fulfilled in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the slaughter of 1,100,000 Jews at the hands of the Romans. Jesus issued a 40-year warning. The Roman onslaught could be escaped on foot. You can read about this warning in Matthew 24:15-20.
Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), 220.
Kay Arthur, Israel, My Beloved: A Novel (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996), 433
Arthur, Israel, My Beloved, 431.
Arthur, Israel, My Beloved, 434.
Jack Van Impe with Roger F. Campbell, Israel’s Final Holocaust (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1979), 37.
Richard Booker, Blow the Trumpet in Zion (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 1985), 112, 118.
Charles C. Ryrie, The Best is Yet to Come (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 86.
John F. Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962), 107, 113. Emphasis added.
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, “The Little Apocalypse of Zechariah,” The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003), 262.
Barry Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must be Challenged (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2007), xviii.
Stated on Dallas, Texas, radio program (KCBI) in a debate with me on May 15, 1991.
Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now!: The Premillenarian Response to Russia and Israel Since 1917 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), 13.
Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 16.
Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 94.
Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 94.
Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 94. Emphasis added.
Wilson, Armageddon Now!, 95.
Timothy P. Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism, 1875-1982 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Academie, 1983), 189.
Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming, 189.
Quoted in Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming, 190.
Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming, 189.
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).
Timothy P. Weber, “A Reply to David Rausch’s ‘Fundamentalism and the Jew,’” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (March 1981), 70.
George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism: 1870-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 187-188, note 15.