“Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world.” (Matt. 24:3)
For those who enjoy Bible study, it won’t be necessary to urge the reading of this book. The great themes of the Bible are a never failing source of joyous discovery for those who delve deeply into its exhaustless treasures. Long ago David sang, “Forever O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” (Psa. 111:89) Since God has settled His Word in heaven we might as well settle on it down here. Jesus compared His words to the solid rock on which a wise man might safely build both for time and eternity. Foolish indeed is the one who disregards its precepts or trifles with its commands.
The second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is of utmost significance to every believer. The prominence given this doctrine in the New Testament is adequate testimony of its importance. When we assert our firm belief in the Second Coming we don’t differ from the vast majority of Christians who almost universally share the same hope. But when we endeavor to explain the manner of His coming, or to predict any of the events that precede or accompany His coming, we are confronted with an amazing labyrinth of different, conflicting and often confusing concepts.
While this unfortunate disagreement over details is regrettable, it should not discourage anyone from seeking the truth. After all, there are differences of opinion in almost every branch of human enquiry. For instance, there are many prevalent theories about medicine advocated by eminent doctors, but that doesn’t deter one from seeking health or trying to obtain the best means to combat the ravages of disease. Pupils are often given contradictory systems of instruction, to enable them to master some instrument of music according to the different theories advocated by their teachers. This fact doesn’t impair our appreciation for the harmony and melody of music. Bible doctrine should be regarded in a similar way. Its basic purpose is to reveal God to man and to help man to serve Him acceptably.
Broadly speaking there are just three general views of the Second Coming. These may be classified as the Amillennial, Premillennial and Postmillennial views. The Postmillennial concept is that the world will gradually get better and that eventually there will be a thousand years of peace before Christ comes. At one time, this teaching had many adherents, but events have contradicted its glowing promises and today very few people subscribe to this belief. Premillennialists teach that Christ will reign on the earth a thousand years before the final judgment. At the present time, many Amillennialist, a term meaning no millennium, don’t believe in an earthly reign of Christ, but teach that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual reign in the hearts of the believers. It’s their view that when Christ comes again He will usher in the judgment and the end of the world.
It’s obvious that the final court of appeal with respect to the interpretation of prophecy is the fulfillment of the event itself. Our belief concerning the Second Coming will not change that event as decreed in the council of God one iota; but our belief is vitally important as it relates to our conduct while we await that event. We should, therefore, approach this Bible study reverently in search of truth. We should not close our minds or fear to embrace truth even though it may run counter to some of our previous concepts. Bible truth never changes, but our knowledge and comprehension of that truth is subject to the normal growth of a child of God.
The Bible was written by ordinary men, endowed with spiritual gifts and inspired by the Holy Ghost. It’s our firm belief that God intended His Word to be understood by men of ordinary intelligence. It is profitable to enquire into the Word of God to ascertain what He has in store for His children. God is a God of Truth and Light and He invites us to reason with Him.
(Isa. 1:18) This study, therefore, is to enquire reverently into the Scriptures to discover the true nature of the reign of Christ and the signs of His return. In it we shall examine the claims of the premillennial doctrine and compare them with the Word of God.
~~~ H. C. Heffren.
Confirming the Promises
Scripture Magnifies the Lord Jesus…
The Bible is most emphatic in declaring the pre-eminence of Christ in all things, with particular emphasis on His supreme authority in the Church. (Col. 1:16-18) Christ said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (John 5:22) To reject the words of Christ is to invite peril, for “His words will judge us at the last day.” (John 12:48) From the foregoing statement, it’s evident that only Christ has the authority to introduce a doctrine that is binding on His followers. Paul said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,” (Gal. 1:9) In a sense these are terrifying words when we consider the many cults and schisms in the world today, each competing with the other and asserting its claim to represent the true way. However, there’s also consolation in the gospel preached by Paul, for we need consult no source other than the words of Christ Himself in our search for truth so far as any doctrine is concerned. Since His words are clear and simple we can have a measure of assurance that our quest for truth will not be in vain. “If any will do His (the Father’s will, he shall know of the doctrine.” (John 7:17)
Perhaps no Christian doctrine has produced more diversity of opinion than the Second Coming of our Lord. Most writers substantiate their views by an appeal to godly men in the past, who shared their concepts. The fact that devout and scholarly men subscribe to a view is, in itself, not sufficient evidence of its truth, as is proved by the disagreement that exists even among the learned. The teaching of Christ alone must be the final arbiter by which all conflicting opinions are resolved. “HE is the way, the TRUTH and the life.”
Origin of Dispensationalism…
In connection with the three general views of the Second Coming, it should be noted that no mention was made of the Dispensationalists. This is because they are basically premillennialists, but they also teach that God deals with mankind in a different manner through seven different dispensations. According to their view we are now in the sixth dispensation, and the millennium, or seventh dispensation is imminent. Although they are of comparatively recent origin their teaching is widespread, but in the interests of accuracy it should be stated that many premillennialists do not share the extreme view of dispensationalism. With respect to the rapture of the Church, the future fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week, and the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, there is general agreement within the ranks of the two groups, while they differ in many other details. The reader should remember these distinctions, however, wherever the two terms are used in this volume. The dispensational teaching is of comparatively recent origin.
One of the advocates of dispensationalism advertised a book setting forth the doctrine as follows: “The only complete and exhaustive account of an early fundamental and the very first premillennial movement through which much overlooked and neglected Scripture was recovered arose 117 years ago and is widely preached today has been published…” Alexander Fraser, in his booklet, “Is There But One Return of Christ?” writes as follows: “About 1840, however, a new school arose within the fold of premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age has been considered by all premillennialists as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard before. The school I refer to is that of the “Brethren” founded by J. N. Darby … Scofield’s Reference Bible represents a lifelong study of the Scriptures … and Scofield was for a generation an assiduous and admiring student of Darby’s writing.” (Pp. 97,98)
The Source of the Doctrine…
There is general agreement that the doctrine known as “Dispensationalism” had its origin in the year 1840. As a basis for this movement the claim is made that in that year “much overlooked and neglected Scripture was recovered.” In order to understand just what “Scripture was overlooked since the beginning of the gospel era until 1840,” it is necessary for us to refer to the writings of those who set forth this extreme position of the premillennial doctrines. The Scofield Reference Bible, (to which we will refer hereafter as Scofield R. B.), is without doubt the main authority for the doctrine. It’s the standard King James Version of the Bible with footnotes inserted at the bottom of the pages by C. I. Scofield. It’s reported that some 2,000,000 copies of this Bible have been sold, which gives an idea of the influence it has had in disseminating the dispensational doctrine. Many other writers have contributed books, among which W. E. Blackstone’s “Jesus Is Coming” is regarded as a standard presentation of the subject. It’s our conviction that no man has the right to put his uninspired interpretations of the Bible on the same pages on which the Word of God is written. Most cults have resorted to this practice, and among their followers the notes come to be regarded with the same authority as the Bible itself. The Bible admonition in this connection should be heeded, “Not in word which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Cor. 2:13) The superior nobility of the Bereans whom Paul commended resulted from the fact that they “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
The following statement is taken from Blackstone’s book: “Jewish writers throughout the Talmud hold that this Millennium will be chiefly characterized by the deliverance of the Jews from all their enemies, recovery of Palestine and the literal reign of the Messiah in unequalled splendor therein. Premillennial Christians had much in common with the Jews, but also that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah … the Jews had fully developed the doctrine of the Millennium as the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures long before the Book of Revelation or any part of the New Testament was written. It was the view most frequently expressed in the Talmud that the Messianic kingdom would last for 1000 years. IT’S EASY TO DISCERN UPON WHAT THEY FOUNDED THE DOCTRINE. IT IS THE SABBATH OF GOD’S WEEKS … UPON THIS ROCK OF SACRED SEVENS WE CAN CONSISTENTLY, WITH THE JEWS, BASE OUR CONCLUSION … THAT WE HAVE THE GREAT WEEK OF MILLENNIUMS. Six thousand year days of labor and then the Millennium, or blessed seventh thousand years of rest.” Pp.37-39. (Capitals mine.)
If we assume the correctness of the Rabbis’ interpretation of the Old Testament, there would be no need to examine this question any further because the Jews DID look for an earthly kingdom. We can’t agree that there’s any consistency in a group of Christians building their hopes on “ a rock of sacred sevens,” particularly in view of the fact that Jesus declared that His words are the only ROCK on which we can build. (Matt. 7:24) It’s not what the Jew’s taught, but what Jesus taught, that must guide us in our search for truth.
The Confirmation of the Prophetic Promises in Christ…
Webster’s definition of the Talmud is: “The book, which contains the whole body of the Jewish civil and canonical laws and TRADITIONS, with the COMMENTARIES and SPECULATIONS of the Rabbis.” There are grave reasons to doubt whether the speculations, traditions and commentaries of the Rabbis constitute a reliable interpretation of the Old Testament. According to Jesus its teaching “made the Word of God of none effect.” (Mark 7:13) It’s the only body of teaching that our Lord did specifically condemn. We’d surely be unwise to use it as a source book from which to obtain “much over-looked and neglected Scripture.” Moreover, Paul drew attention to the erroneous teachings of the Rabbis in Acts 13:27, as follows: “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not NOR YET THE VOICES OF THE PROPHETS, which are read every Sabbath day, they have FULFILLED them in condemning Him.” Both Christ and Paul condemned the Rabbis’ interpretations of the Old Testament as found in the Jewish traditions.
When we consider the fact that the Bible was assembled in its present form no later than the fourth century, and was printed and widely distributed early in the 16th century, it seems passing strange that all the godly men for over 1400 years should have overlooked and neglected anything so vitally significant as the “true” teaching on the Kingdom of God. We agree with the statement given by Blackstone, that the teaching is in harmony with the Jewish traditions and speculations, but as such, it’s not a recovery of ancient Christian doctrine, but rather of Jewish Rabbinism. It’s not a return to much overlooked and neglected Scripture, but a departure into the Talmudic interpretation, which Christ and Paul condemned. Paul said, “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to CONFIRM the promises made unto the Father.” (Rom. 15:8) The word confirm, comes from the Greek word “bebaioo” meaning to make firm or sure. According to Crabb’s English Synonyms, “What confirms removes all doubt; when the truth of a thing is confirmed nothing more is necessary.” “To make good the promises by the event, i.e. to fulfill them.” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) Paul said that “Christ confirmed the promises.”
Did Christ Postpone His Kingdom?
The “Postponement” Theory examined…
Most premillennialists contend that Jesus Christ came into the world to set up an earthly kingdom, but owing to His rejection by the Jewish nation, He was forced to abandon the idea until a future age. Thus we quote from Blackstone’s “Jesus is Coming” p. 87, “He (Jesus) would have set up the kingdom, but they (the Jews) rejected and crucified Him.” Again on p. 88, “The kingdom did come ‘nigh’ when Christ came, and had they received Him, it would have been manifested, but now it is in abeyance (postponed) or waiting until He comes again.” Practically the same thought is contained in the Scofield R. B. on p. 1011. “The kingdom of heaven announced as “at hand” by John the Baptist, by the King Himself, and by the twelve, and attested by mighty works, has been morally rejected. The rejected King now turns from the rejecting nation and offer, not the kingdom, but rest and service to such as are of conscious need.” Again on p. 1100,”The kingdom in its outward form as covenanted to David, and described to the prophets, had been rejected by the Jews; so that during this present age, it would not come with observation, but in the hearts of men. Meantime, the kingdom was actually in the midst of the Pharisees in the persons of the King and His disciples. Ultimately the kingdom of heaven will come with outward show.” (i.e. observation)
The above statements are very revolutionary and deserve our careful attention. If Jesus came into the world to establish a kingdom with Jewish hegemony, or pre-eminence, it seems passing strange that they would reject Him when that’s the very thing they expected Him to do. And if the kingdom of heaven is postponed to a future age, then, the promises of God are yet to be fulfilled and have not been confirmed, for God did promise a kingdom. Furthermore, if the kingdom WAS in the midst of the Pharisees in the person of Christ and His followers, then it was there just as much after the Jews rejected Him as it was before, for Jesus and His followers were still there and in fact, increased in number. Jesus said, “the kingdom of God cometh NOT with observation,” to which Scofield replies, that “Ultimately it will come WITH observation”
Evidence Supplied by the Prophets…
Let’s see whether the kingdom, which came into the hearts of men, was the same one, which was foretold by David and the prophets. According to Young’s Analytical Concordance, there are at least 144 references in the New Testament using the words prophet or prophets. Sixty-nine of these references definitely state: the words of the prophets WERE fulfilled. Not a solitary one suggests that any part of God’s plan was postponed. Observe, for instance, the words of Christ in Luke 24:44, “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, (David) concerning Me.” Christ had previously called these disciples “fools and slow of heart for not believing ALL THE PROPHETS had spoken,” that Christ should suffer, rise again and give repentance and salvation from sin. (Luke 24:25-27, 44-48.
Notice Peter’s inspired reference in Acts 10:43, “To Him give ALL THE PROPHETS witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” Peter taught that all the prophets testified of the salvation that was to come through Jesus Christ. Commenting on the prophets, Blackstone writes, “They could understand the glory of the Kingdom, which should follow, but they could not understand the mystery, which has been revealed to us; to wit, a suffering Messiah and a persecuted church.” (Pp. 89, 90) The Scripture to which Blackstone refers is 1 Pet. 1:10-12. Suffice to point out that there’s no reference to the kingdom whatever in 1 Pet. 1:10-12. It merely portrays the well known fact that the plan of salvation was, (and still is for that matter), a mystery, which only God could have devised or comprehended. We experience salvation, but we don’t comprehend it. The church, however, is built upon “the foundation of the apostles and PROPHETS, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornet stone.” (Eph. 2:20) Hence, the church was foretold by the prophets.
When the apostle Paul was on trial before Agrippa he declared, (presumably on oath since it was court testimony) that he never said anything “other than those, which the prophets and Moses did say should come; that Christ should suffer and that He should be the first to rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22, 23. In the midst of his magnificent defense, Paul turned to his judge saying, ”Agrippa, believest thou the PROPHETS?” (v. 27) It’s worthy to note the answer given. Agrippa replied, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” The preaching of the prophets, almost, persuaded Agrippa to be a Christian. We can’t escape the conclusion that Jesus Christ fulfilled that, which was written of Him in the prophets according to Paul’s interpretation thereof.
This is made still more clear by appealing to Acts 28:20-31. Quoting v. 23, we read, “And when they had appointed him a day there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the PROPHETS from morning to evening.” If Jesus had postponed His kingdom, or only partially fulfilled the promises, it would have been impossible for Paul to have, persuaded those Jews that He was the Messiah. The fact that Paul preached the kingdom of God, as stated in vv. 23 and 31, indicates that God’s plan was not postponed or frustrated by the rejection of any group of unbelievers.
Appeal to the New Testament Concerning the Promises…
In Rom. 1:1-2 we read: “The gospel of God which He promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” Notice that it was the gospel that the PROPHETS foretold. In 2 Cor. 1:20 it says, “ALL THE PROMISES of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen unto the glory of God by us.” Since all the promises are in Christ, it follows that the Christian believer is heir to them all. There’s no promises of God outside of Christ for anybody. The Jewish rulers, steeped in their Talmudic tradition, appealed to the Scriptures for a reason to reject the Messiah, saying “Search (the Scriptures) and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” (John 7:52) Thus their uninspired interpretations blinded them to the real Person and plan of Christ and caused them to reject Him.
The Scofield R. B. makes the assertion “That it is not taught in the Scriptures that the Christian inherits the distinctive Jewish promises.” (P. 1204) A careful comparison of all references to promises, prophecies and prophets, will unquestionably remove all doubt concerning the postponement of any part of God’s plan to a future age. Altogether in Cruden’s Concordance and in Young’s Analytical Concordance there are 144 different references to the prophets and prophecies of which 69 assure us that the things, which came to pass in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ fulfilled exactly what the prophets prophesied. In addition 31 quotations mention the prophecies having been “fulfilled.” Five times, the prophecies are said to be “established.” There are seven places where the prophecies are said to “come to pass” while an additional thirty-three are referred to under the words, “It is written.”
Altogether the words “promise,” “promises” and “promised” are mentioned 66 times. In every case without a solitary exception, the emphasis is on fulfillment. In all these references there is never a hint, or a suggestion and certainly not a definite statement that any promise or prophecy was postponed, or that it’s waiting, or held in abeyance or thwarted by man’s rejection, or that they deviated in the slightest degree from that which God planned, and that which came to pass. The reader, therefore, has to make up his (her) mind whether to accept the overwhelming evidence of Scripture that the Kingdom of God did come as God planned or to believe the contrary view of the postponement theory as advocated by permillennialists. In our opinion there are compelling Scriptural reasons for rejecting the postponement theory.
Seventy Weeks are Determined
How to Reckon Prophetic Time…
Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Weeks is probably the most significant utterance in the Bible involving a time element. Like many prophecies, it’s been the subject of controversy and disagreement among many Bible scholars. Its interpretation is comparatively simple, however, if we follow the instruction give us in 2 Pet. 1:20 which says, “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.”
Premillenialists assert that the seventieth week of Daniel is still future. Speaking of the tribulation and the rapture, Blackstone says, “Doubtless it embraces the last one of Daniel’s seventy weeks.” (p.98) Scofield says, “When the church age will end and the seventieth week begins is nowhere revealed.” (p.914) Further, he says, “Between the sixty-ninth week after which the Messiah was cut off and the seventieth week … intervenes this entire church age.” And again, “Prophetic time is invariably so near as to give full warning, so indeterminate as to give no satisfaction to mere curiosity.” (p. 915) These serious statements are made without any Scriptural support or example, notwithstanding the fact that there are many Bible prophecies where a set time is given
Take for example the seven good years followed by the seven bad years in the time of Joseph. Not only did the years come to pass exactly as prophesied, if they had been other than seven consecutive years, the prophecy would have utterly failed. The same holds true concerning the seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Daniel said he understood by books the number of years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. (Dan. 9:2) Had the fulfillment of these years been anything other than exactly seventy consecutive years the prophecy would have failed. Likewise, Jesus appealed to prophecy to prove that He would be three days in the tomb. Any day of the resurrection, other than the third day, would not have fulfilled His prediction. There’s not an exception to this rule in Scripture. Prophetic time is INVARIABLY exact to the day, and even to the hour when such is stated.
The passage of Scripture we are considering is found in Dan. 9:24-27. Verse 24 says: “Seventy weeks are determined upon they people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.” On this verse the Scofield R. B. comments, “Within these “weeks” the national chastisement of Israel must be ended and the nation re-established in everlasting righteousness.” (p. 914) Obviously, the above interpretation has not been realized. The Scofield R. B. has, therefore, substituted the word “indeterminate” where the Bible say “determined,” saying that prophetic time is “invariably indeterminate” whereas, every example of prophetic time in the Bible, proves that it is “invariably determined.”
From Crabb’s English Synonyms we learn the following definition of the word determine. “It comes from the Latin word “terminus” meaning to limit. A judge takes all the evidence into consideration and then determines a sentence. You can’t co-operate with an undetermined person; in determining any question, its extent, limits, and every circumstance is taken into consideration; it is to act deliberately. He who is determined, is not influenced by the doubts or questions of others or by the consequences of his actions. He is unswerving.” Webster adds: “It is to fix a boundary or limit; to designate an end.”
This then, is the word that introduces the seventy weeks prophecy. “Seventy weeks are determined.” Compare this first of all with Acts 2:23, “Him being delivered by the DETERMINATE counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” And again, in Acts 4:26-28, “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou has anointed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel DETERMINED BEFORE TO BE DONE.” This makes it abundantly clear that there’s no slip in God’s plan. Everything He determined came to pass according to His determinate counsel and foreknowledge. It couldn’t be otherwise.
Uncertainty of Dispensationalism…
Now let’s compare the Word of God with some of the assertions made by Dispensationalists. Blackstone says, “Had the Jews received Him the kingdom would have been manifested but now it is postponed;” “He would have set up the kingdom but they (the Jews) rejected Him.” “Doubtless the 70th week is in the future;” and “upon this rock of sacred sevens we can consistently, with the Jews, base our conclusion … etc.” H. A. Ironside, another distinguished dispensational writer, commenting on Daniel 9:24, says in his book, “The Great Parenthesis,” p. 23, “The fact is, they were not fulfilled. Israel did not recognize their Messiah … they do not know anything yet of atonement for iniquity … the seventieth week has been postponed by God Himself … the moment the Messiah died on the cross, the prophetic clock stopped. There has not been a tick upon that clock for nineteen centuries.”
Scofield says, “prophetic time is invariably indeterminate.” According to Webster, indeterminate means, “Not determinate, not settled, not fixed; indefinite; not precise; having an indefinite number of values or solutions.” Further he declares: “Where the 69th week ends and the 70th begins is nowhere revealed.” And lastly we quote, ”That when Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the next thing in the order of revelation as it then stood should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom. “ (Scofield R. B. p. 998)
We propose to demonstrate at this point the significance of these most startling and revolutionary assertions. It’s difficult to imagine how anyone could rob the inspired Word of God more completely of its authority or reduce prophecy to a greater degree of absurdity than to suggest that God “determined seventy indeterminate weeks.” But Scofield boldly asserts: all prophecy involving a time element is invariably indeterminate. It’s apparent that if the prophecies of the Old Testament demanded an earthly Davidic kingdom as fulfillment, then Christ either had to bring it to pass or relinquish His claim as Messiah. His only credentials to prove His Messiahship when he was repeatedly confronted with hostile elements demanding a sign of His authority were invariably an appeal to the fact that he fulfilled prophecy. (Matt. 11:2-6)
Fundamental Issues at Stake…
The issues involved in the foregoing Dispensational statements are of the most fundamental importance. Notice for instance, that if Christ was supposed to set up a kingdom but was thwarted in His purpose from doing so because some unbelievers opposed Him, then He can’t be omnipotent. If He was forced to change His plan then He is not immutable; i.e. we can’t say, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” If He had to substitute an alternate and parenthetic program for the one he intended to bring into effect because of unforeseen circumstances unrevealed in Scripture, then Christ is robbed of His omniscience. God’s integrity is impeached if we allow to go unchallenged, the statement of Scofield that, “The next thing in the order of revelation as it then stood, should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom.” To do so would make God a victim of His own conditions that, “when a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath NOT spoken” (Deut. 18:22) Even the inspiration of the Scriptures is seriously undermined by these paralyzing statements, for the basis of inspiration is its claim “to impart truth without error.” To be mistaken in setting forth a predicted time is unquestionably an error. A teaching that deprives Christ of His omnipotence, omniscience, immutability and other Divine attributes, robs Him of His Deity, and “takes away my Lord.”
The kindest thing one can say is that very few Dispensationalists subscribe to the conclusions set forth above. They embrace the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord. Notwithstanding this fact, the doctrine can’t be construed in any other manner because the foundation of its interpretation accord with the Talmud rather than the New Testament. H. A. Ironside says, “We shall go on to examine a number of Scriptures in which the Great Parenthesis is CLEARLY INDICATED.” (Capitals mine) After Mr. Ironside examines all the texts, which he asserts have a bearing on the subject, he says, “Let us suppose we were living in Old Testament times … Could we by any possibility, realize through reading it, Isa. 61:1-4, that there was a great parenthesis between the two clauses, “the acceptable year of the Lord,” and “the day of vengeance of our God? Of the entire church age the PROPHETS KNEW NOTHING, “The Great Parenthesis,” pp. 14, 34.
We’re asked first of all to examine texts in which this great doctrine is clearly stated, but having done so, the same writer says the teaching is so obscure that the inspired prophets could not POSSIBLY have been aware of anything so important as the entire Church age, which was brought into being through the Atonement of Christ on Calvary. Can anything prove more conclusively that such an interpretation does exactly what Christ said it did, namely of “Making the Word of God of none effect?” According to Dispensational reckoning the 70th week of Daniel is now more than 1900 years overdue. Surely such a lapse is not within the scope of being “invariably near enough to give warning,” since such a mistake would be an absurd miscalculation. Moreover, if one of God’s promises could be postponed or fail to come to pass at its appointed time, then there’s nothing to prevent other promises failing under similar circumstances. But God’s promises do not fail. He sees the end from the beginning. “Seventy weeks are determined.” We propose to demonstrate that the seventy weeks came to pass.