Prophetic House of Cards

The history of the failed prophetic expectations by Dispensationalism is causing many to grasp at prophetic straws.

The long history of failed predictions and projections by Dispensationalism has left many of its leading proponents holding an empty bag. Lately, several Christian media outlets featured a claim that a couple of foxes observed running across the Temple Mount is a prophetic sign that the Temple is about to be rebuilt, which is little more than grasping at straws.

The claim is based on a Talmudic interpretation of Lamentations 5:18. This is what has become the Modus Operandi of the Prophecy Industry; grasping at anything and everything in news headlines that can somehow be construed as “prophetic.” What it demonstrates is just how desperate prophecy preachers have become, reduced to mining (non-Christian) rabbinical sources for "prophetic insight.” Well, at least, for prophetic clues.

Making prognostications from the sighting of two foxes running loose is not wisdom or insight into God’s “mysteries”; rather, it indicates cluelessness, if not desperation. Perhaps the house of cards that the populist approach to Bible prophecy has become is about to collapse under its own sorry weight. One can only hope.

Dispensationalism has a major problem. Not only has it predicted the return of Jesus within a “biblical generation” of modern Israel’s founding (1948), but also, a long list of related events that must precede it, none of which have occurred.

We are 70+ years beyond the supposed start date of the “last generation,” yet there has been no tribulation, no Antichrist, no false prophet, no man of lawlessness, no 10-nation European confederacy, no revived Roman Empire, no rapture, no rebuilt temple, no new world religion, etc., etc. World events have not gone according to the Dispensationalist playbook.

The European Common Market did not evolve into a ten-nation superpower that ruled the world from Rome. Instead, it became the European Union with well over two dozen member states and governed from Brussels, not Rome. Militarily, it is a paper tiger that frightens no one, and it will not morph into a global government anytime soon.

The former Soviet Union was supposed to become “Gog and Magog” and attack Israel from the north. Instead, it collapsed under its own weight thirty years ago, a pivotal world event that none of the prophecy “experts” saw coming. And a failure of that magnitude should have been our first clue. At best, the prophecy “experts” are guessing, perhaps hoping that one day they might finally get one prediction right. In the interim, they employ the shotgun technique, throwing everything at the wall to see what might stick.

Each time an expectation fails to materialize, the “experts” sharpen their pencils, redefine their terms, and recalibrate their chronologies. Like Silly Putty, a “biblical generation” has been stretched from 40 to 60 to 70, and now, even to 120 years.

Maybe we should reconsider Christ’s repeated warning: “No man knows the day or the hour…the Son of Man is coming in an hour when you least expect him…Watch for you know not the day or the hour…take heed and pray, for you know not when the SEASON is (‘kairos’)…It is not for you to know times and seasons.”

It is high time to take HIS words at face value and to stop creating and then sledgehammering loopholes into them.

None of this means that Bible prophecy has failed. It has not, but the popular approach has, and miserably so, beginning with its failure to understand that history’s most critical event occurred already in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The “last days” began following his resurrection, not the founding of modern Israel two thousand years later.

Jesus is the interpretive key that unlocks prophecy, not Israel, Jerusalem, or the Temple, and certainly not two foxes running across its main square. God has one Messiah for all peoples, nations, and individuals, regardless of ethnicity, one plan of salvation, one covenant, one covenant community, and one true and greater temple, which is Jesus, and not another stone building “made-with-hands” in old Jerusalem.

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