The Mockery of Bible Prophecy: Damaging Teachers
By Nathan Jones
The Bible prophesied that the mockery of Bible prophecy would increase the closer we got to Jesus Christ’s return. Whoever expected so much of the mockery would come from fellow Christians?
On our television program, Christ in Prophecy, our guest Jan Markell made a shocking presentation concerning Christian mockery of end time Bible prophecy. Jan is a Messianic Jew who is the founder and spokesperson for Olive Tree Ministries in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. She has a weekly radio program called Understanding the Times that is carried on over 800 radio stations located all across our nation.
Attacks on Prophecy
Jan Markell: Let’s look at some modern-day attacks on the teaching of end times Bible prophecy.
Christian Today, not to be confused with Christianity Today, but Christian Today headlined: “Why a Zombie Invasion is More Likely Than a Religious Apocalypse.” This Christian magazine out of the UK believes a zombie apocalypse is more likely to happen than the playing out of Bible prophecy as outlined in the Bible? Okay! You might say, “Well, that’s a pretty extreme example, Jan.” I’m sorry, but it is not.
Every year my ministry holds an annual conference in the fall and the papers often label it as “Jan Markell’s End Time Hysteria Conference.” And this is coming from Christians! Many Christians see those who love the subject of Bible prophecy as suffering from a sort of last days madness. The message that we love is at best mocked, and at worst, well, people get really ugly.
Another particular article wrote, “For centuries Bible prophecy pundits have predicted the end is near. They appeal to the same types of signs, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, false religions. They have one thing in common — they’ve all been wrong.” Not so! I disagree, not so.
I started looking around and I realized that other organizations were raising the same questions I’ve been asking as to why all the open mockery of Bible prophecy. Friends of Israel is a wonderful outfit, very into pro-Israel and pro-Jewish evangelism as a Gospel ministry to the Jewish people. They were also asking, “Whatever happened to the Rapture?” So, others are asking. I was kind of relieved they wondered as I do because I didn’t want to be the only one out there.
The most frequent email Olive Tree Ministries gets is, “Where can I find a church that will not marginalize one-third of the Bible and teaches Eschatology? Can you name one?” You fill in the blank for city. They ask me if I would refer them to such a church because they cannot find a church that talks about the glorious good news of Christ’s return.
Quite a number of people have hurt the cause for Christ with their endless date-setting. For example, Edgar Whisenant wrote 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. He missed it! And, then, so you know what these folks do to makes it even worse? They come out covering for themselves claiming, “I missed it by a few months, so the Rapture is going to happen in 1989.” And so Whisenant wrote 89 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1989. This is what these date-setters do! And, in doing so, they throw egg on the face of all of us who do not date-set. No wonder pastors and leaders of churches shun Bible prophecy, because they might be identified with a date-setter.
Then there was Harold Camping. He claimed Judgment Day would occur on May 21, 2011. Didn’t happen! So, he next said, “Well, I calculated wrong. It’s going to be in October 2011.” Of course, that didn’t happen either. So, who can blame a Christian leader for not wanting to be aligned with these date-setters.
I believe men like these gentlemen have come along over the last 40 years or so and thrown that proverbial cold water on this wonderful, wonderful message of Jesus Christ’s soon return. How sad!
Hank Hanegraaff Clip
Let’s now deal with this gentleman who mocks Bible prophecy. Hank Hanegraaff has done enormous damage for the cause of Christ, enormous damage. He is a Preterist. He believes all prophecy happened in 70 AD. He cannot stand what Dispensationalists believe. The problem is he’s had a 30 year ministry on the radio, so many Christians listen to him and believe what he teaches.
Hanegraaff wrote a book in response to the Left Behind series by Dr. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Called Apocalypse Code, it was a treatise on his Preterist Theology. By the way, when he finally declared himself a Preterist, and it took him years to do that, his support and listenership just dropped.
Dr. Thomas Ice reviewed that book. He reported, “The great majority of the book, Apocalypse Code, is a rant against Hanegraaff’s distorted view of Dispensationalism.” Hanegraaff holds a distorted view of Dispensationalism in general, and of Tim LaHaye in particular. Thomas Ice goes on to say as he was reviewing this book that, “There is precious little exegesis, if any, at all to support his Preterist idealist Eschatology. However, there are great quantities of some of the most vicious tirades against Tim LaHaye and many other Bible prophecy teachers that I have ever read in print.” Again, another Christian trying to turn the Blessed Hope into the blasted hope.
Let’s read a real short clip of Hank denying there’s such thing as the Chosen People. To do so is to come against the Jewish people.
Caller: What I am trying to understand is,where do they get the teaching that the Church will be raptured out and will not have to go through Tribulation? Where is that found?
Hank Hanegraaff: It’s not found. That’s the whole point. The point is it’s something that is imposed on the Scripture.
The notion is a very new notion in Church history. It is a 19th Century notion that was popularized by John Nelson Darby. And, it comes with the presupposition that God has two distinct people, and therefore He has two distinct plans for the two distinct people. He has two distinct phases of the Second Coming, and two distinct destinies.
This, however, is an imposition on Scripture, because the truth of it is God has only always had one chosen people and one covenant community beautifully connected by the cross and illustrated by a cultivated olive tree in Paul’s letter to the Romans. So, the point here is that all those who are followers of Jesus Christ are the one chosen people. This is prior to the cross as well because all that looked forward to Christ prior to the cross are God’s covenant chosen people. The covenant chosen people are made up of people from every tongue, and language, and nation, and people. You are not a son of Abraham because of some genealogical construction. You are a son of Abraham because you believe in the God of Abraham.
Jan Markell: So, the Jews just got disinherited by Hanegraaff! This false teaching goes over the airways now for 30 years and it has done huge damage to the message of the Blessed Hope. Mr. Hanegraaff joined the Greek Orthodox Church I believe a year or two ago, and so a number of radio outlets including the entire Bott Network dropped Hank Hanegraaff. Nevertheless, the damage had been done.
In the third segment of Jan Markell’s teaching on the mockery of Bible prophecy, Jan continues to get specific about modern-day mockers, focusing on Pastor Rick Warren.