Making Moslems Mad:
Is Left Behind to Blame?
by Bob Pickle
Friday, October 19, 2001, I was listening to the radio while driving around and came across a Christian radio station. Someone was reading a book about a US President named Hodkins, or something like that, who was a dedicated Christian. The book mentioned the 1988, 1992, and 1996 elections. The Christian right had walked out of the 1992 elections and had supported their own candidate, leading to a landslide victory for the Democrats. Sounded familiar.
Hodkins was starting off each morning with prayer and Bible study, and was searching the Bible not just for strength but for guidance. Meanwhile, at the Pentagon discussion was underway about some Israeli situation. It seemed that US officials were supportive of the idea of some group coming in and smashing the Dome of the Rock, and then that group or another group would quickly rebuild the Jewish temple in 30 days, the stones already having been cut for the task.
"Is this one of the books of the Left Behind series?" I wondered.* Even if it wasn't, the scenario of the Left Behind series has to be essentially the same when it comes to the rebuilding of the temple, for this is a fundamental theological premise behind those novels. It must be rebuilt where the Islamic mosque, the Dome of the Rock, now stands.
Then the next day as I got ready to leave for church, it suddenly hit me. How utterly stupid! Here American evangelicals have been pushing these books and the movie this year, and the false theology promoted by them calls for smashing the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest shrines of Islam! No wonder bin Laden is mad!
This idea by no means lessens bin Laden's guilt, but it has made me wonder if the Lord is permitting our blessed land to reap the natural consequences of our apostasy from truth.
In our apostasy from truth we have espoused a theology that cannot possibly be true, and that particular theology has the natural effect of infuriating Moslems to the point of desperation.
Having now thoroughly opened the can of worms, I will elaborate.
Multitudes of Catholic and Protestant scholars down through the centuries pinpointed the identity of the little horn of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13 as being the Roman Papacy, the government of which the pope is the head. Indeed, every detail specified in the prophecies seems to fit.
The Papacy didn't like the idea, so in the Counter-Reformation two alternative theories were proposed:
Either way, if we put the prophecies into the distant past or the distant future, they no longer can be talking about the the government of the Papacy. The first idea gained some ground among Protestantism in some parts of the world, but the second idea didn't start to do so until around the 1820's.
In the 1830's John Nelson Darby worked out a scenario in which Daniel 9's 70th week was separated from the other 69 and placed into the future.
Instead of "he" being Christ who caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease by His death, Darby said that "he" meant the Antichrist who would stop the sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish temple in the future. This would take place after a secret rapture of the church. Once the church was out of the world, then the prophecies about Israel could resume.
Traditions and beliefs in Protestantism die hard. Baptists still don't sprinkle and Lutherans still don't immerse. Since the vast majority of Christians in the US in 1820 still believed that the Papacy is the Antichrist of prophecy and Daniel's 70th week is past, how in the world did we get to the point today where the vast majority who believe anything about the matter now believe that the Antichrist and Daniel's 70th week are future?
Beginning around 1848, Seventh-day Adventists started drawing attention to the following:
The Papacy in loud tones had boasted of its change of the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week, and Seventh-day Adventists repeatedly drove the point home. Of all the 10 Commandments, this was the only one having to do with "time." And, though the Papacy had tampered with the second commandment as well, she only "thought" she had "changed" the fourth.
Whether consciously or not, a wish to escape the conviction of the Sabbath has given impetus to this radical change of theology on the part of American Protestantism.
Yet this new theology of Darby recently adopted by American Protestantism can't possibly be true.
Some wonder why the US supports Israel so strongly. Here's one reason why: While perusing a used book store in Georgia, the old man who was the cashier asked me:
Then he told me how the Jews had contributed financially to the Allies during WWI on condition that they get their land back, but the promises of the Allies were never kept. When WWII came along they got asked to contribute again, and they made the same conditions. This time the Allies came through, and this book store cashier was one of the soldiers who smuggled some of the Jewish fighters into Palestine. At least, that was his tale.
Particularly after Hitler's atrocities, who cannot but sympathize with the desire of many Jews to have a land of their own. Yet the current theological atmosphere in America causes us to look with favor on the Jews having more than just a bit of land again. If they control all of Jerusalem, that is fine. If they rebuild their temple, that is fine, for does not the Bible foretell it?
No, the Bible does not foretell it anywhere. It's all a delusion.
Around 1994 or 1995 I had the opportunity to speak with a member of the Israeli government, someone having to do with tourism. I asked him about this rebuilding of the temple that we keep hearing about. He replied:
And obviously, he's right. Americans don't just support Israel's presence in Palestine. We have big-name preachers who are telling everyone around the world that one day the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest shrines of Islam, will get smashed.
Dr. Tim Lahaye, one of the principal authors of the Left Behind Series, started an organization with theologian Dr. Thomas Ice, an organization devoted to the defense of the doctrine of the pre-trib secret rapture. Since Dr. Ice is a scholar, and since his organization is devoted to answering questions like the ones I have, I wrote him on April 8, 1999, regarding point one above. I also inquired about how the nagiyd (a special Hebrew word translated "prince") who confirms the covenant in Daniel 9:27 could possibly be a different individual than the nagiyd of the covenant in Daniel 11:22. The similarity in grammar seems to necessitate that they be the same individual.
Not having heard back, I wrote Dr. Ice again on May 11:
This time I did get a response that same day :
On May 13th I responded:
I got only silence in reply.
And now it is more than two years later, and the World Trade Center is in ruins, our nation is at war, and anthrax letters are scaring the public and our postal workers.
It's now time for an appeal.
Dr. Tim Lahaye, Dr. Thomas Ice, and evangelicals everywhere: Until you can give valid dates for the first 69 weeks if the 70th week is put into the future, until you can show how the prophecies about Israel in Ezekiel can be fulfilled within a dispensational scenario, until you can cite a single verse that says that the next coming of Christ will not be earth-shaking, ear-splitting, and eye-blinding, until you can explain how the nagiyd that confirms the covenant can be a different individual than the nagiyd of the covenant, please, for the sake of our country, stop insisting that the Dome of the Rock will be smashed and the Jewish temple rebuilt.
I implore you to return to your Protestant roots, those roots that declare that the Papacy is the Antichrist of Scripture. I do not ask you to change your day of worship, though I would like to. But for now, I simply ask that you stop promoting Darby's views. The times demand it. The good of our country necessitates it.
And if after careful study, the objections to Darby's theology are indeed unresolvable, please consider apologizing to Moslems everywhere for needlessly offending them with ideas that cannot be supported by Scripture. Would not this be following the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ?
* I am indebted to one of the readers of this paper, a Baptist from Illinois (I assume a preacher), for informing me that the book I heard being read was Kingdoms in Conflict by Chuck Colson.