“If you want to find out if someone understands Scripture correctly, ask them if they think Israel has a right to the land.”
In the 1980’s, when Hal Lindsey’s book, “The Late Great Planet Earth” was still popular, I was busy with high school and college. Frankly I wasn’t giving much thought to Bible prophecy. It was always in the back of my mind however – in a file marked “for future reference.”
And I believed I had all the time in the world. Most Bible prophecy was yet to be fulfilled: The coming of the Antichrist (who I believed would be a real person), the mark of the beast, the Gog and Magog war, and the armies that would surround Jerusalem – the burdensome stone.
As editor of the college newspaper, I covered Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union – Perestroika and Glasnost. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was paving the way for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; “mutually assured destruction” would march into the history books.
I watched as the Berlin wall came down. I remember thinking, “Certainly Bible prophecy is a long way from being fulfilled. The Soviets are our friends; Communism is collapsing!” The world was destined for peace.
I had read the Bible as Holy book. I believed that my interpretation of its teaching and prophecy was revealed to me with divine guidance. Now there is a doctrine gaining steam in the churches, however, which wants to convince me that the divine guidance I’d experienced was all a lie.
Not too many years ago, I hadn’t ever heard of the terms “dispensationalist” or “futurist.” If anyone had mentioned “eschatology,” I would have thought it was a French word for the study of snails. And I most definitely had never heard of “Replacement Theology” or “Preterism” – the idea that all Bible prophecies that I expected to be fulfilled in the future had already been fulfilled with the Siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of its temple in 70 A.D.
Not until I was faced with a Preterist that held these beliefs did I even know they existed. Worse yet, this Preterist was starting a Christian organization in my area and revealed to me that his secret goal was to convince Christians that their Futurist, Dispensationalist, end-times ideas were a manufactured lie. (He is currently working to spread his organization to 300 U.S. cities).