What Supporters of Israel are Not Telling You About Their View of Israel’s Future
Those pushing the prophetic significance of moving our nation’s embassy from Tel Aviv (the pro-homosexual capital of the world) to Jerusalem believe in a near-prophetic future for Israel that will result in another Jewish Holocaust. People like John Hagee and Robert Jeffress are dispensationalists. They believe that at this moment in time God is dealing with the Church. One day (it’s always “soon”), God will take the church off the earth in an event called the “rapture.”
When the “rapture” takes place, God will turn His interest back to Israel. During a seven-year period following the “rapture,” the Antichrist will arise and make a covenant with Israel. He will be heralded as the savior of the world. For 3.5 years, there will be peace. At the end of the 3.5 years (the middle of the seven-year period of time), the Antichrist will break the covenant with Israel and all hell will break lose resulting in the slaughter of millions of Jews and billions of non-Jews worldwide in what is described as the Battle of Armageddon.
Even though there is no direct biblical support for this view of the end times, millions of Christians believe it. An entire book publishing industry has made millions of dollars off this renegade doctrine. What I’ve described is the standard end-time prophecy scenario that forms the backdrop for the multi-volume Left Behind series at has sold nearly 100 million copies.
All of this means, whether there’s peace or war in the Middle East, it’s a sign of the end. Evangelicals who are excited about the United States moving its Embassy to Jerusalem have no idea what their prophetic system actually teaches.
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Consider the following from Richard D. Land, the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte:
As you watch Israel’s 70th birthday celebrations this Monday [May 14, 2018], understand that evangelicals will be exuberantly joining the festivities as they rejoice with their Jewish friends our God’s faithfulness and watch care over His people and that human history is not merely cyclical, but linear, and God is bringing His eternal purposes to fruition.
But as most evangelicals have been taught regarding Bible prophecy, this exuberance is shortlived. When the “rapture” takes place, and all the Christians are removed from the earth, God’s “eternal purposes” for the Jews is their slaughter, a point that Dr. Land does not mention!
You may not believe that this doctrine is taught by mainline premillennial teachers, writers, and preachers. Here’s the evidence:
- Mark Hitchcock contends in his book, Could the Rapture Happen Today? (94) that the prophecy found in Zechariah 13:8–9 states that “two parts” of the Jews living in the land of Israel during the post-rapture tribulation period “will be cut off and perish.”
- This interpretation is not unique to Hitchcock. Fellow dispensational pre-tribulationalist Hal Lindsey describes 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 during the Great Tribulation.1
- In Jack Van Impe’s Israel’s Final Holocaust readers are told 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….”2
- Thomas Ice, a frequent co-author with Hitchcock, writes “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).”3
- Charles Ryrie writes in his book The Best is Yet to Come that during this post-rapture period Israel will undergo “the worst bloodbath in Jewish history.”4
- John Walvoord follows 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.”5
- 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 (see below).
- 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.”6
- The authors of Are You Rapture Ready? continue with the Jewish holocaust theme describing it as “Holocaust II” when “66 percent of Israel is wiped out.”7
In his book When a Jew Rules the World: What the Bible Really says About Israel in the Plan of God, Joel Richardson’s writes that Jesus Himself “spoke of a time of unparalleled tribulation just before the return of Jesus” that “would indicate that what was to come in Israel could even be worse than the Holocaust. While this certainly seems to be the case, I would suggest that we should not try to quantify the suffering to come or calculate the lives that will be lost.” He describes this time to be “of such magnitude and horror” that it’s “a pit too deep and terrifying. I cannot bring myself to peer over the edge,” Richardson writes. “The point is that something terrible is coming and we need to get ready.”8
If these prophecy writers really cared about the Jews, they would be warning them to leave Jerusalem.
The Great Tribulation described by Jesus was local and referred to the generation to whom He was speaking: “when YOU see the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15). The coming judgment could be escaped on foot (v. 16); the people were living in homes that had flat roofs (v. 17; 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-39); it was an agrarian society and a person’s cloak was of high value (Matt. 24:18; 5:40; Ex. 22:26; Deut. 24:13); the Sabbath was still in operation (Matt. 24:20).
The verses that are used to describe a future Jewish holocaust are found in 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.'”
The prophecy has been fulfilled. It refers to what Jesus describes in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). The disciples ask about the destruction of the temple and “the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3) — their age. Jesus tells them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (Matt. 24:2). This is an obvious reference to the temple standing in Jerusalem at that time, the temple they could see. To repeat, this local event took place before their generation passed away (24:34). They were warned for 40 years that this event was going to take place. It’s one of the reasons many people sold some of their land holdings (Acts 4:34) and others fled the city (8:1). Those who heeded Jesus’ warning fled and were saved.
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.”9
It’s no wonder that former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann apologized for some of her past comments on the subject.
In my debate with Dr. Michael Brown on “Replacement Theology,” I asked him to explain how he and other premillennialists (he’s not a dispensationalist) teach that God has glorious things planned for the Jews except for this supposed second holocaust hiccup that’s part of the premillennial prophetic paradigm. He told me that he would get back to me with an answer. I haven’t heard a word.
Dispensationalism is a dangerous prophetic belief system, not only for its bad interpretive principles but for its political implications in the world of geopolitics. Israel, like all the nations of the world, need the gospel of Jesus Christ. We won’t see peace in the Middle East until all factions bow the knee to Jesus Christ. Jews, as well as Muslims, will one day need to come to terms with their respective religions.
Evangelicals aren’t helping by claiming that modern-day Israel holds special prophetic significance. Israel is like any other nation. Earthly Jerusalem may be important to many Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but it’s not important to God. Jerusalem “mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8). “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother (Gal. 4:25-26; also Heb 12:22; Rev 3:12; 21:2, 10).
- Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), 220. [↩]
- Jack Van Impe with Roger F. Campbell, Israel’s Final Holocaust (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1979), 37. [↩]
- Thomas Ice, “What do you do with a future National Israel in the Bible?” [↩]
- 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. [↩]
- Strandberg and James, Are You Rapture Ready?, 77. [↩]
- Joel Richardson, When a Jew Rules the World: What the Bible Really says About Israel in the Plan of God (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2015), 234. [↩]
- Stephen R. Haynes, Reluctant Witnesses: Jews and the Christian Imagination (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 162. [↩]