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  • Writer's pictureBrian O'Kelly

44 - End Times - Dispensationalism - 4 Christian Views of the End (Part 3)

Updated: Dec 3, 2023



2) Basic Beliefs according to Ryrie:

a) An understanding that the basic purpose of God's plan in history is manifesting His own glory,

b) A consistent employment of a normal or plain interpretation of the Scriptures

i) The law of frequent mention:

(1) The dispensationalist takes the 1000 years literally because it is mentioned six times, but then ignores Jesus being referred to as the lamb 22 times.

ii) The law of genre:

(1) “This genre [the 1000 years in Rev.20] is not poetic; it is prose nonfiction.” (House & Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?)


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iii) The law of detailed description:



(1) “That there will be blood sacrifices in the future millennial temple service is set forth in such detail in Scripture that it is not possible to deny their literality. Apparently, such sacrifices look back upon the finished work of Christ, as they once looked forward...” (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, p.859, at Jer.33:18)

iv) Was first-coming fulfillment always literal?


(1) “When we look at the prophecies of Christ’s first coming, we see that they were fulfilled in a literal manner, rather than figuratively...[lists 31 examples]...None of these fulfillments were taken in a figurative way by the New Testament writers.” (Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?, House & Ice)

(2) Crenshaw & Gunn list 97 OT prophecies about Christ, identifying the nature of each fulfillment in the NT—finding that only 34 (or 35.05%) were literally fulfilled. (Crenshaw & Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, pp.16-22)

c) Hidden gaps in prophecy

i) Isaiah 61:1-2

ii) Daniel 9:24-27

d) A distinction between God's plan for ethnic and national Israel and the New Testament Church.

i) (Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, pp.95-96) “The dispensationalist studies the words [“Church” and “Israel”] in the New Testament, finds that they are kept distinct, and therefore concludes that when the Church was introduced God did not abrogate His promises to Israel nor enmesh them into the Church...all of this is built on an inductive study of the use of the two words, not a scheme superimposed on the Bible. In other words, it is built on a consistent use of the literal, normal, plain method of interpretation without the addition of any other principle that will attempt to give respectability to some preconceived conclusions.”

e) Seven Dispensations (according to Scofield)

i) Innocence (Creation till the fall)

ii) Conscience (the fall till the flood)

iii) Government (Post-flood till Abraham)

iv) Promise (Abraham till Sinai)

v) Law (Sinai till Pentecost)

vi) Grace (church age) The Church is a parenthesis in God’s plan, not foreseen in the OT.

(1) Pre-tribulation rapture where God removes the Church

(2) 1A – The Rapture – Greg Rooney

(3) 7-year tribulation – Where God focuses on Israel

(4) 1B – Rapture – Robert Furrow

(5) Rise of the Antichrist

vii) Kingdom (millennium) Judaic temple-centered millennium after which is the judgement

f) The Rapture of the Church and the second coming are separate events.

i) Pretribulation Rapture

(1) Originated in the late 1500’s by a Jesuit priest who was defending the Catholic church against the claim that it was the antichrist. He proposed that the Antichrist came after the church was raptured, therefore it couldn’t be the Catholic Church.

(2) You will hear dispensationalists say that their beliefs are not new but part of historic Christianity going back to Eusibius, Origen and others. This is simply not true. These men believed in a rapture and a tribulation, but the rapture was not pre-tribulation and the tribulation they believed in was not seven years. These are dispensational distinctions not held in the early church.

(3) Two phases or stages of “the second coming”: “the rapture” before the tribulation, and “the revelation” after the tribulation. In first stage, Christ comes for the saints; in the second stage, He comes with the saints. The dispensationalism would argue that Jesus can’t come with the saints unless He first comes for the saints. The rapture occurs with the “first resurrection.”

(a) First is the resurrection of the church saints and that the lost will be resurrected after the millennium.

(i) The church is thus removed before God pours out His wrath for seven years on the earth and is taken to heaven to receive her rewards and to participate in the marriage supper.

(ii) Those in the tribulation who become believers will therefore not be part of the church, having missed the first resurrection.

(b) Origins of the two-stage theory of the second coming:

(i) 1812, Jesuit priest Emmanuel Lacunza, wrote that there would be a 45-day interval between the coming of Christ for the saints and His coming in judgment upon the earth. He figured this from the 1290 days and the 1335 days mentioned in Matthew 24

(ii) In 1826-27, Edward Irving translated Lacunza’s work from Spanish and taught something similar, extending the interval from 45 days to three and a half years.

(iii) Irving may have been influenced by a “prophetic utterance” given by a 15-year-old girl named Margaret MacDonald in 1830.

(iv) In 1930, John Nelson Darby incorporated the two-stage belief into his new dispensational system but extended the length of the interval to seven years. It’s often claimed that Darby was influenced by the McDonald utterance as he considered the charismatic movement she was part of as demonic. However, Darby was influenced by Irving, and this may be why there are similarities between Darby’s teaching and the prophecy of Margaret McDonald.

3) Main Proponents who have fueled it’s growth

a) C.I. Scofield – (1843-1921)

i) Politician (Kansas House of Representatives) turned minister.

ii) Influenced by his association with Dwight Moody, James Brooks and Hudson Taylor.

iii) Founded Camino Global and Central American Mission in 1890

iv) Authored a pamphlet "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth" (1888), Scofield soon became a leader in dispensational premillennialism, a forerunner of twentieth-century Christian fundamentalism

v) When the Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1909, it quickly became the most influential statement of dispensational premillennialism

b) Charles Ryrie: (1925-2016) He was the editor of The Ryrie Study Bible by Moody Publishers, containing more than 10,000 of Ryrie's explanatory notes. First published in 1978, it has sold more than 2 million copies.

c) Dallas Theological Seminary

i) Founded in 1924 by Rollin T. Chaffer and his brother Lewis Perry Chafer. DTS is known as a center of modern dispensational teaching due to Dr. Chafer's development of a systematic theology which approaches the Bible with a "premillennial, dispensational interpretation of the Scriptures." Systematic Theology, his eight-volume work describing this approach, was first published in 1948 and is still a required textbook for some courses at DTS.

ii) John Walvoord: President 1952-1986

iii) Chuck Swindoll: President 1994-2001

iv) Noted Graduates

(1) David Jeremiah

(2) Andy Stanley

(3) Tony Evans

(4) Chip Ingram – Host of Living On The Edge

(5) Robert Jefress – TV Preacher – Famous for association with Donald Trump

(6) Hal Lindsey – Author of The Late Great Planet Earth

(7) J. Vernon McGee – Radio Teacher

(8) Paul Nyquist – former president of Moody Bible Institute

(9) Ron Rhodes – Authored over 80 books

(10) Jim Rayburn – Founder of Young Life

(a) 2014 DTS had over 14000 alumni serving in ministry in 97 countries

4) How Many Comings of Jesus? Pre-Post- Mid Tribulationists all Share a two stage Coming of Christ. Today, there are “mid-tribulation rapturists,” who believe, like Irving, in an interval of three and a half years, but most dispensationalists are “pre-tribbers,” who follow Darby in making the interval seven years. There is also the view of Marv Rosenthal, called “the pre-wrath rapture,” placing the rapture later in the tribulation than the mid-tribulationalists do (21 months later), but still finding an interval between the rapture and the revelation of Christ from heaven.

a) Are there two resurrections, or only one?

i) Only one?

(1) John 5:28-2928 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

(2) Acts 24:15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

(3) Matt.25:3131 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

b) Two?

i) Rev.20:5-6 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

ii) 1 Thess.4:16 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

iii) 1 Cor.15:23 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

c) What is meant by “the first resurrection”?

i) John 5:24-25 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

ii) Eph.2:12 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

iii) Eph 2:5 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

iv) Col.2:13 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

d) When will the resurrection/rapture be?

i) At the Parousia (parousia = apokalupsis)

(1) 1 Thes.4:15-17 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

(2) Matt.24:38-39 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

(3) Luke 17:28-30 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

ii) At the last trump

(1) 1 Cor.15:51-52 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

iii) At the judgment appearing of Christ

(1) 2 Thes.1:6-8 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with [c]tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5) Four Categories of Arguments For the Pretribulation Rapture

a) Why The Rapture of the Church must be before the seven year Tribulation.

b) Whether it is pre-trib, mid-trib or pre-wrath all indicate that the Church will not be here for some events.

c) Any other view is dangerous and robs the Christian of his hope

6) Category 1: Authority of the book of Revelation19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. Rev 1:19

a) We see the book of Revelation divided into 3 parts:

i) Things Seen – Prior Things in this chapter.

ii) Things which are: the seven letters to seven churches. These are not just seven letters. Each letter corresponds to a segment of church history.

(1) Ephesus – Apostolic church to 100AD

(2) Smyrna – Persecuted Church during the Romans – Until 300 AD

(3) Pergamos – Church under the Protection of Constantine

(4) Thyatira – Papacy and Catholicism

(5) Sardis – Reformation

(6) Philadelphia – Missionary Church – The Open Door 1800s – Now

(7) Laodicea – The end times apostate church – The Liberal Churches

(8) There’s no reason whatsoever to believe that these letters represent segment of church history. At least there is no biblical reason. This must be inserted (eisegesis) into the understanding of the passages.

iii) Things which will take place

(1) Rev 4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

b) Rev 4:1 – The Rapture – “after these things”

i) Comes at the end of the description of the church age.

ii) Trumpets

(1) 1 Thes 4:16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

(a) This doesn’t sound very silent to me. Doesn’t sound like the non-Christians will be wondering what happened or blaming it on aliens.

(2) 1 Cor 15:52 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

(a) Is it reasonable to expect that the public will miss the trumpets sounding? Some have suggested that the trumpet is sounding in heaven only.

(3) Rev 4:1 John is caught up into heaven – isn’t that what the rapture is?

(4) Gen 5:24And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Enoch is a picture of the rapture. Noah is a picture of the tribulation saints who see the destruction of the tribulation but are saved out of it.

c) The Church referenced in Revelation The word church and churches appear 19 times in chapters 1-3 but is never mentioned on earth after chapter 4:1.

i) Rev 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.

ii) Rev 5:9-10 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?

iii) Rev 6:9-10 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

iv) Rev 19:6-7 6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the[d] Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

v) Rev 21:2 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

vi) Church is spared the wrath

(1) Rev 3:10- Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

(2) 1 - From the Hour of Tribulation - Pastor Alan DiDio – Encounter TV – Rev 3:10

(3) This is the church of Philadelphia – the faithful church.

(4) Has there ever yet been a global crisis that affected everyone? It must be the tribulation.

7) Category 2 Justice

a) The church is not appointed to wrath.

i) 1 Thes 5:9 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

(1) 2 - Not Appointed to Wrath - Pastor Hagget – Calvary Baptist – Marshall MO :34

(2) 3 - Delivers us from Wrath to Come – Pastor Alan DiDio

(3) 4 - Church Will Escape Tribulation - Greg Rooney

ii) The tribulation is not the churches problem.

(1) Jer 30:7 How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

b) Jesus told us to pray we would escape.

i) Luke 21:36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may [i]be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

c) The unbelievers are left behind

i) Matt 24:40-41 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.

ii) Luke 17:34-36 I tell you, in that night there will be two [j]men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

d) Elevator/Yo-Yo -Makes no sense at all. Tim La Haye said this idea was “Ludicrous”

8) Category 3 - Impossibility of a Post-Trib/Post Millennial Rapture

a) The rapture and the second coming are not the same event

i) 5 - Two part coming – Greg Rooney – Connect the Dots

ii) Rapture Verses do not mention judgment:

(1) John 14:1-4“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

(2) 1 Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

(3) 1 Thes 4:13-17 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen [b]asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

(4) Rev.20:5-6 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

iii) Judgment coming verses do not include the rapture:

(1) The lost will be resurrected after the millennium: Rev.20:11 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

(2) Zech 14 – The whole chapter is about the Judgement including Jesus Standing on the mount of Olives and victoriously ruling

(3) Rev 19:2 2 For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” 3 Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever

(4) Matthew 24:30-31 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His [d]elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

(5) The church is established blameless at his coming

(a) 1 Thes 3:13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

iv) Putting the Tribulation before the Rapture would make it’s date known

(1) 6 - Has to Be Before the Tribulation - Pastor Steve Whinery – Calvary Chapel Tri-Cities

v) The Restrainer must be removed

(1) 2 Thes 2:1-8Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

(2) Luke 17:26-30 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

(3) Gen 19:21-22And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”

(4) Gen 18:25Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

9) Category 4 Doctrine of Imminency: Nothing needs to happen for Jesus to return. Only the pre-tribulational pre-millennial view supports the doctrine of imminency.

a) 7 - Imminence – Joseph Prince

b) Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

c) Matt 24:50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,

d) Matt 24:36“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

e) Imminecy is a necessary incentive to evangelism and holy living

i) 1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

ii) 2 Thes.1:6-86 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

iii) 2 Peter 3:10 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be [d]burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

f) At the “day of Christ”/“day of the Lord”/“day of God” (all synonymous)

i) 1 Cor.1:7-8 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ii) 2 Cor.1:13-14 13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end 14 (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

g) On the last day

i) John 6:39-40 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

ii) John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

iii) John 6:54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

iv) John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

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