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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," December Edition 2007

After Peace And Safety What?

During the last week of November President George Bush held a much publicized conference at Annapolis, Maryland, for the interest of peace and safety in the Middle East, particularly in regard to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Avid dispensational premillennialists, no doubt, will be eager to see in this event the beginning (or near beginning) of their imagined start of the future seven year great tribulation period, which they universally assume begins when the party of emerging Antichrist orchestrate a peace deal with the Jews--all based, ostensibly, on the prophetic scenario envisioned in Daniel 9:27.

Don’t hold your breath to be secretly rapture out of the midst in the next few days or weeks! Instead, try reading what Paul says about this very situation in I Thessalonians 5:1-4. Here it is: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”

It's time to have this conversation. If you are ready, here we go.

"Does this text say anything about a 'seven year great tribulation period'”?

"No."

"Well, then how do we know that the idea of a seven year great tribulation period even existed in the mind of Paul when he wrote this letter, if he never mentioned it?"

"Well, er, uh, duh."

Answer: "we don’t know that such an idea existed in the mind of Paul. We are merely assuming that it did, based on our own ulterior preconception that we are attempting to read into the text."

"Well, I never thought about it that way before, but I see your point."

"Good." (I'm thinking to myself: "You are now starting to think a little outside the box.") "Another question for you: does this text say anything about the 'first half' of anything--like a seven year period of time?"

"No, I guess not. I cannot honestly say that that idea is actually stated there."

"Well, then how do we know that the saying of 'peace and safety' in verse three is supposed be be the point of beginning for the first half of Daniel’s future seventieth week?"

"I guess don't know the answer to that question. You tell me."

Answer: "we don’t know that. Again, it is our own preconception that is being read into the text--a preconception derived from Sir Robert Anderson’s misguided theory of interpreting Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks."

"Ok, so what does the text really say?" (You are making a mental note now: "at this point I am really trying to keep my own ulterior preconceptions out of the mix, and not read anything into this text that is not clearly stated to be there.")

Here we go again. "Verse three says that when they shall say 'peace and safety' then 'sudden destruction cometh.'”

"Sudden destruction and not secret rapture?"

"Yes, that's what the text says. It says nothing about a secret rapture."

"I guess I have to agree, that is what the text says."

"Think about this awhile. Maybe God is trying to show you a different kind of picture of what the end-time will be like, and you are mentally asleep to it."

"Mentally asleep to it?"

"Yes. Ironically, the very condition that the Thessalonians were being warned against in verses 4-6!"

"What's that?"

"Being mentally asleep."

"Oh. So you think I have been mentally asleep?"

"You are catching on. In reading your preconceived theory of dispensationalism into this text, you have indeed been miscued, or false-programmed, and that means being mentally asleep."

"So you think my problem is that I need to get over the ignorance and nonsense of the unscriptural dispensational theory?"

"In a heart beat, brother! You're right on! Move off the prejudicial dime, and start your journey to do that now."

"Yes sir! Yes sir!"

Oh, if it were just that easy to get folks to respond positively to the voice of reason and common sense! Prejudices, once deeply ingrained, however, are nearly impossible to erase, without the cooperation of the human will. That's why the objectivity of our salvation in Christ always involves the matter of our conscious decision-making. We have to choose to believe the truth, even though sometimes making that choice flies in the face of all human emotion and feelings, which, in turn, are heavily influenced by our received intellectual prejudices.

Millions of people are emotionally attached to Scofield/Darbyism as their cherished religious faith. To challenge or to contradict that prophetic belief system, is, therefore, tantamount to questioning their entire life-world-view psychology, as well. "It's the gospel," Bro. Cutler, "don't you understand? It's what I was taught, it's what esteemed so and so believed and taught, and it's the gospel"--all said with a hint of grating desperation oozing from the deepest recesses of the soul.

People tend to get all emotionally bent out of shape over any challenge to, or contradiction of, Scofield/Darybism because that is not only what they were taught, but it is also what they have put their utmost trust in, as well. If that system of teaching is proven to be delusional then their religious "security-blanket" has been stolen from them, and thus, in response, some exhibit all the psychological and emotional immaturity of physical babyhood, displaying a carnal meltdown--a temper-tantrum, as it were,--of hyper-sensitivity and recrimination.

Darbyism, we repeat, is many peoples' entire religious faith, and they cannot bear the thought that they are in a cult of false doctrine over it. Thus, Darbyites are some of the hardest people in the world to convert to true Christianity. If you don't believe me, try it, and see for yourself the strength and intensity of the prejudices that you will battle as you challenge, confront, or contradict the system's key ideas.

As with adherents of all cults of false doctrine, conversions from Scofield/Darbyism are seldom made by argumentation. They are best made, rather, by kindly and gently helping devotees of this system to understand their own religious prejudices in comparison with, and in contrast to, the way of truth. Reason and common sense are the among the most effective tools that can be used. Most human beings are responsive to reason and common sense. Once intellectual bridges have been built, faith can then begin to travel over them. Feelings and emotions should not be needlessly offended, but they are really the LEAST IMPORTANT factors that are involved here. We must first speak to the mind, and then, through the avenue of the mind, we hope also to reach the heart.

The Holy Spirit is the most trusted companion in all our efforts to convert Scofield/Darbyites from the error of their ways. He is the Spirit of truth. He does not, He cannot, He will not bear witness to doctrinal error. At bottom line, Darbyites lack a clear witness of assurance of the Holy Spirit to their salvation, because they are in doctrinal error. Exerting utmost pressure of confidence in confrontation over the issue of assurance is a sure way to unmask the fraud that dispensational teaching really is, and thus--the emperor being exposed as having no clothers--make Darbyites aware of their ideological bankruptcy and bring them under conviction.

Dispensationalists cannot stand to have their belief system boldly contradicted. They will cave every time, when their subterfuges are met with a steadfast truth-telling sense of authority and confidence.The Holy Spirit, moreover, bears solid witness to such bold confrontation, when it is done in the right spirit, and in the interest of His truth.

It is all a matter, then, of authority--of our taking of the spiritual atmospheric dominion, and of our owning the termonology that defines and governs the debate. Dispensational teaching is Antinomianism, and Antinomianism is a monster that lives in darkness. Bring light upon it, and it expires.

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