Zionism and Postponement – Right or Wrong?#1
“The idea that the Divine Plan could have been to any degree whatever defeated and thwarted by evil men is utterly contrary to what the Bible teaches concerning the sovereignty of God.” (Lorraine Boettner, Millennium, 225). Boettner was addressing the modern doctrine of Zionism and Postponement, which says Jesus came to establish the kingdom, but, due to Jewish unbelief, God had to alter His plan and establish the church instead.
The Dispensational millennial doctrine (religious Zionism) is so full of self contradictions, logical fallacies, and violations of scripture that it is a confusing maze. Having studied Millennialism extensively for almost 40 years, and engaged in numerous private and public debates on the issue has given me insights into this doctrine that deeply trouble me. Being aware of these fallacies often makes me wonder why sincere, God-fearing people could possibly believe in this paradigm. Yet, millions do. Thankfully, Millennialism is in trouble, as more and more people awake to these fallacies. I personally hear from people around the world on an almost daily basis who are awakening to the dangers of Zionism / Dispensationalism.
The purpose of this article is to expose a few of the more glaring inconsistencies in the modern millennial doctrine as taught by some of its leading popular advocates. There are two separate and distinct, yet vitally important doctrines held by these leading teachers. Those doctrines are, 1.) Determinism. The idea that God controls what happens, when it happens, how it happens, etc., and, 2.) The idea that Jesus came to establish the Messianic kingdom, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, but could not do so because due to the Jewish unbelief. Let’s take a brief look at each of these tenets from the millennial writings.
Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice say this about the world we live in: “God’s plan for the future is definite, well planned and exciting. We do not live in a world of chance. Prophecy means that certain things will definitely happen, while other possibilities are eliminated. We live in God’s world, under His control, heading down a path preordained by Him. We have a framework teaching us what to expect from the future.” (Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, Charting the End Times, (Eugene, Ore, Harvest House, 2001)75. He continues: “The Lord determines what will happen in history, and then brings it to pass.” (11). Mark Hitchcock concurs, “One of the great comforts of studying Bible prophecy is that we see the mighty, sovereign hand of God in control of all things. He controls what happens, how it happens, when it happens, and where it happens.” (Mark Hitchcock, The Second Coming of Babylon, (Sisters, Ore, Multnomah, 2003)97).
From these two quotes, and more could be given, it is clear that the Millennialists believe that God controls history. They believe that prophecy is history written before it happens, that prophecy, when it predicted certain things to happen, automatically eliminated the possibility of other things happening, and that God controls when things will happen. Now, let’s take a look at another fundamental tenet of modern Zionism / Millennialism, and that is the doctrine of the postponement of the kingdom.
Zionism and Postponement of the Kingdom- A Central Tenet of Dispensationalism
Thomas Ice said this in his written debate with Kenneth Gentry: “I believe the scriptures teach that Israel could have obtained her much sought after messianic kingdom by recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. We all know the sad reality, the Jews rejected Jesus. As a result the kingdom is no longer near but postponed, awaiting Jewish belief, which will occur at the end of the Tribulation.” (Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1999)115). Spargimino says: “At his first advent, the Lord Jesus Christ came to offer Israel the Kingdom promised in the Old Testament. When Israel rejected her Messiah, the Old Testament Kingdom program was held in abeyance.” (Larry Spargimino, The Anti-Prophets: The Challenge of Preterism, (Oklahoma City, Hearthstone Publishing, 2000)194). In another diatribe against preterism, Ice says: “The Lord made no error and clearly had ‘the coming’ for judgment in mind (in Matthew 10:22-23, DKP). However, the coming is contingent upon Israel’s acceptance of its King. Because even after His resurrection, that nation refused Him, it became impossible to establish the kingdom (cf. Acts 3:18-26). Let’s take a closer look.
Was the establishment of the kingdom a matter of prophecy? Undeniably. So, if the Old Testament prophets foretold the establishment of the kingdom, and they foretold when it was to be established, i.e. in the first century, then their predictions were “history written in advance.” But if this is true, then, patently, if the kingdom was postponed, and the prophetic clock “re-set” from the time when the prophets said it would be established, then that “history” was altered and falsified!
Does Jehovah determine what will happen and then bring it to pass? Was God’s plan for the future, as predicted by the Old Testament prophets, “definite, and well planned” by Jehovah? Did His predictions through the prophets eliminate the possibility of other things happening? Well, unfortunately, if the doctrine of the postponement is true, God’s prophetic plan was not very well planned, not very definite, and most assuredly did not eliminate other things, i.e. the establishment of the church!, from happening. If one accepts the doctrine of Zionism and postponement, he is forced to admit that God sent His Son at the time appointed and designated by the prophets, but that, unbeknownst to Jehovah and His Son, the Jews would not accept their overtures of the kingdom, and so, God had to bring His Son back home, establish the church as an emergency interim measure, and then make another plan to send His Son, again, at another later date.
How “well planned” does that strike you?
How “definite” was God’s first century kingdom plan?
How much “in control” does that suggest of Jehovah?
Did God’s “framework for the future” lead the Jews to expect the establishment of the church? Not if we are to believe the millennial view of things!
Just exactly what “other possibilities” would have been “eliminated” by the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the establishment of the kingdom in the first century? You simply must catch the power of this!
Had the Jews accepted Jesus and not killed him, then undeniably, those “other possibilities” included the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the establishment of the church, the New Covenant of the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel age! Those “other possibilities” that the establishment of the kingdom would have eliminated, are:
Had the Jews accepted Jesus and the kingdom had been established, Jesus would never have died on the cross! The cross was the Jewish rejection of Jesus. Thus, acceptance of Jesus = no Cross, no Atoning death!
Since he would not have died, clearly, he would not have been raised from the dead, and yet, his resurrection is the very foundation of the Christian hope, the Christian faith!
Jesus would have ruled on earth in peace and bliss.
The church would never have existed!
The Gospel of salvation by grace through faith would never have been given.
The fulfillment of the prophecies of the establishment of kingdom would have eliminated all of these things!
Per Ice, it was the “sad reality” of the rejection of Jesus that the prophecies of the kingdom were put on hold, and we have instead, in its place, the Atoning work of Jesus, the Age of Grace, and the body of Christ! There is something very sad indeed here, but it is not that which was established by the Cross work of Jesus Christ! It is the doctrine that impugns his Cross.
We are told that God determines “what will happen, and when it will happen.” But this cannot be true if the Jewish unbelief made it “impossible to establish the kingdom.” If the doctrine of determinism elucidated in the citations above is correct, should not just the opposite be true? If, “God determines what will happen and when it will happen,” this should mean it would have been impossible for the Jewish rejection to prevent the establishment of the kingdom. As we shall see in the next installment, even the OT foretold the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, but, God’s promise and determination that in spite of– even by means of — that rejection, He would enthrone His Messiah! This prophetic fact is an utter falsification of the postponement doctrine of religious Zionism / Dispensationalism. For more on Zionism and Postponement, see my book, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy. In that book, I show that the Bible totally rejects the doctrine of a postponed kingdom. Zionism and Postponement are clearly not Biblical doctrines.