Will there be billions "left behind"not
saved? The book Left Behind explains that a rapture of "saved" ones occurs
before the "Great Tribulation." Then those Christians who remain get a second
chance to be "saved" during the "Great Tribulation." However, the
tragedy is that most people are not "saved" and consequently are lost.
"Lost," is a soft euphemism that means going to hell-fire. That is the implied
fate of those "left behind." All Muslims, Hindus and the thousands of other
religions not "saved" will be lost to God forever. That is cruel theology.
Left Behind portrays God as locked in
combat with the devil and his personal Antichrist, trying to save souls. God succeeds in
getting some saved in the "Pretribulation" and others in the "Great
Tribulation." Sadly, however, God loses out to the devil, and most unsaved people are
"left behind." They teach this despite the fact that God "will
have all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4). God's purpose cannot fail. God has
promised to "pour out my Spirit upon all flesh" (Acts 2:17).
Jesus returns to receive his faithful followers to glory, but also to begin "the times of restitution of all things, which God has
spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began"
(Acts 3:21). Be assured that no one will be "left behind" in God's Plan.
The book Left Behind has experienced
phenomenal acceptance in the Evangelical world because it encapsulates the thinking of
most Evangelicals concerning the end times. That is very much the way they understand
prophecy. However, this concept raises some serious doubts upon its legitimacy in treating
the Word of God.
Two Serious Flaws
Two serious flaws affect their premise of prophetic
interpretation. The first is the idea of a literal "man of sin"
and the second is that it takes away seven years from Daniel 9:24 which defines
490 years to the Messiah and confirmed favor to Israel. Then it also steals
seven years away from Daniel 8:14 of twenty-three hundred years and leaves both prophesies
short seven years. It is like trying to take seven years of history and
transplanting it somewhere else. Plainly, this violates Biblical exegesis.
A Literal Man of Sin
Why have the Evangelicals discarded the teachings of
nearly all Protestant reformers who affirmed Papacy to be the Antichrist? Luther was
reticent to attack the mother church until he concluded from his studies about the
"little horn," the "man of sin," and the
"Beast" that these prophecies apply to the Roman Catholic Church. Once he became
convinced that the Papacy was Antichrist, he boldly set out to reform the mother church.
One thing all Protestant reformers had in common was
the belief that Papacy was the Antichrist. The Roman Church did not like being branded the
"In 1590, Ribera published a
commentary on the Revelation as a counter-interpretation to the prevailing view among
Protestants that identified the Papacy as the Antichrist. Ribera applied all of Revelation
but the earliest chapters to the end time rather than to the history of the Papacy.
Antichrist would be a single person who would be received by the Jews and would rebuild
Jerusalem" (George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second
Advent and the Rapture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956, pp. 37-38).
"Ribera denied the Protestant Scriptural
Antichrist (2 Thess. 2) as seated in the church of Godasserted by Augustine, Jerome,
Luther and many reformers. He set on an infidel Antichrist, outside the church of
God." (Ralph Thompson, Champions of Christianity in Search of Truth, p. 89).
"The result of his work [Ribera's] was a
twisting and maligning of prophetic truth" (Robert Caringola,
Seventy Weeks: The
Historical Alternative, p. 32).
Subsequently, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) followed Ribera's teaching.
"The futurist teachings of Ribera were further
popularized by an Italian cardinal and the most renowned of all Jesuit controversialists.
His writings claimed that Paul, Daniel, and John had nothing whatsoever to say about the
Papal power. The futurists' school won general acceptance among Catholics. They were
taught that antichrist was a single individual who would not rule until the very end of
time" (Great Prophecies of the Bible, by Ralph Woodrow, p. 198).
Through the work of these two Jesuit scholars, we might
say that the idea of a literal man would appear at the end time fulfilling the antichrist
prophecies. Francisco Ribera has been called the Father of Futurism.
Thus Jesuit Futurism sweeps 1,500 years of prophetic
history under the rug by inserting its infamous GAP. The GAP theory teaches that when Rome
fell, prophecy stopped, only to continue again right around the time of the Rapture. Thus
the "ten horns," the "little horn," the Leopard-like
"Beast," and the Antichrist have nothing to do with Christians today. According
to this viewpoint no prophecies were fulfilled during the Dark Ages. This remained a
Catholic view for some 300 years after the Council of Trent. The plan of the Jesuits was
that the Protestants would adopt this idea one day. To their delight it happened in the
early 1800s in England, and from there it spread to America. The story of how this
happened is both fascinating and tragic.
"The Futurism of Ribera never posed a positive
threat to the Protestants for three centuries. It was virtually confined to the Roman
Church. But early in the nineteenth century it sprang forth with vehemence and latched on
to Protestants of the Established Church of England."
(Ralph Thompson, Champions of
Christianity in Search of Truth, p. 91)
Then Dr. Samuel Roffey Maitland (1792-1866), a lawyer
and Bible scholar, became a librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is very likely
that one day he discovered Ribera's commentary in the library. In any event, in 1826 he
published a widely read book attacking the Reformation and supporting Ribera's idea of a
future one-man Antichrist. For ten years, in tract after tract, he continued his
anti-Reformation rhetoric. As a result of his zeal and strong attacks against the
Reformation in England, the Protestantism of that very nation which produced the King
James Bible (1611) received a crushing blow.
Then came James H. Todd, a professor of Hebrew at the
University of Dublin. Todd accepted the futuristic ideas of Maitland, publishing his own
supportive pamphlets and books. Then came John Henry Newman (1801-1890), a member of the
Church of England and a leader of the famous Oxford Movement (1833-1845). In 1850, Newman
wrote his "letter on Anglican Difficulties" revealing that one of the goals in
the Oxford Movement was to finally absorb "the various English denominations and
parties" back to the Church of Rome. Newman soon became a Roman Catholic, and later
even a highly honored Cardinal. Through the influence of Maitland, Todd, Newman, and
others, a definite "Romeward movement was already arising, destined to sweep away the
old Protestant landmarks, as with a flood" (H. Grattan Guinness, History Unveiling
Prophecy or Time as an Interpreter, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1905, p. 289).
There was also a Scottish Presbyterian minister Edward
Irving (1792-1834), considered to be the forerunner of both the Charismatic and the
Pentecostal Movements. He accepted the one-man Antichrist of Todd, Maitland, Bellarmine
and Ribera. He went a step further and invented a two-phase return of Christ. A secret
rapture prior to the rise of Antichrist would constitute the first phase. In this first
phase the Lord would rapture all saved Christians. This would be a wake up call to
Christians who had not been saved and these would have to become saved during the
"Great Tribulation." Where this idea originated is unclear. Journalist Dave
MacPherson believes Irving accepted it as a result of a prophetic revelation given to a
young Scottish girl named Margaret Mcdonald (The Incredible Cover-Up: Exposing the Origins
of Rapture Theories, by Dave MacPherson, Omega Publications, Medford, Oregon. 1980). In
any case, the fact is, Irving taught it!
This brings us to John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). He was
a bright lawyer, pastor and theologian who wrote more than 53 books on Bible subjects.
Darby defended the infallibility of the Bible against a tide of liberalism. He became a
leader of a group in Plymouth, England that later were called Plymouth Brethren. Dwight
Eisenhower's father is credited with associating with this movement as well as with the
Bible Students. Darby was a dispensationalist believing that God deals with mankind in
major time periods called dispensations. He called the Gospel age the Church age. Darby
laid much of the foundation for the present popular removal of Daniel's seventieth week
away from history and from applying to Jesus Christ in favor of applying it to a future
Tribulation after the Rapture. This locks Darby in with Francisco Ribera and the Jesuit
What made John Nelson Darby so famous was the fact that
Cyris Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921), a Kansas lawyer, who published his Scofield Reference
Bible based largely on Darby's writings and his Futurism, also found
his views in the writings of
Todd, Maitland, Bellarmine and Ribera. This greatly assisted the Jesuits in their endeavor
to convince the world that the Antichrist was a future literal man who would bring about
seven years of tribulation. Wycliff, Huss, Luther, Knox and Wesley all declared Papacy was
the Antichrist. For a list of over eighty reformers who identified Papacy as Antichrist,
check Reformers' Interpretations of Anti-Christ.
Most Bible scholars have agreed that Daniel
9:24-27 was prophetic when written but historical now. If it is now history, you cannot
remove seven years of history and put it where you please. Truths of history cannot be
removed in fact. Christians should not try to revise history.
Most scholars recognize Daniel as prophetic
covering from the "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the
Prince." Thus Daniel 9:25-27 tells us when Jerusalem and its walls were rebuilt in
troublous times to Messiah the Prince would be sixty-nine weeks of years (483). The wall
was rebuilt in 454 BCE to 29 CEhistorically sixty-nine weeks to the time Jesus
presented himself at Jordan as Israel's Messiah.
Messiah then would:
||"Make an end of sin""He
... put away sin by the sacrifice of himself"
||"Make reconciliation for iniquity"
||The iniquities of the Church were cancelled.
||"Bring in everlasting
||Bring in everlasting justification from sin.
||"Seal up the vision"
||The vision of the 2300 days (years) the first
part of which was the 70 weeks (490 years)literally cut-off from the 2300 years.
||"Seal up the
||This set a seal upon Daniel as a true
||"Anoint the Most Holy"
||The Spirit anointed the holy remnant at
||"Confirm the covenant with many for one
||The covenant with Israel was to be confirmed
for the last week and no Gentiles were to be accepted until this time frame was completed
(29 to 36 CE).
||"The midst of the week he shall cause
the sacrifice and the oblation to cease"
||In the middle of the last week (33 CE) Christ
his sacrifice would cease or be ended.
How can we take this last week full of historical
fulfillment by our Lord and move it to the end time? To do so violates reason and biblical
exegesis. It precisely fits into the last seven years covering Messiah who was to be
"cut off" in the midst of the week and then the covenant was to be confirmed for
the remainder of the week with Israel only. This is history.
The Vision of the
Twenty-Three Hundred Days [Years]
Daniel 8:13-16 tells of a vision of "2300 days" which Daniel
did not understand. The angel Gabriel was commissioned to explain it to him, but the
chapter ends with Daniel saying:
"And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I
rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none
understood it" (Dan. 8:27).
Neither Daniel nor his associates were able to
understand this vision. In Daniel the ninth chapter we learn that Daniel went back to
Jeremiah's writings concerning the seventy years of desolation. He apparently was
wondering if after the seventy years spent in Babylon Israel might be restored to its own
Daniels main interest was in Israel.
Gabriel's message left him rather limp perhaps believing that the sanctuary of the literal
temple would remained defiled until the end of "2300 days [years]."
Fearing such a long wait Daniel then prays to God
confessing Israel's sins and seeking God's mercy. Finally, in Daniel 9:21-27 Gabriel is
sent the second time to explain the vision. The only vision that needed explaining at the
moment was the vision of the "2300 days." The reason it could not be understood
was that the angel had not given a starting date or a closing date. Without some point to
measure from Daniel had a "2300 days" yardstick but no point to measure from.
Gabriel then makes a second attempt to explain the
vision of the "2300 days" by adding another vision of "70 weeks [of
years]" that would be "determined [literally are divided or cut off from the
2300 days] upon thy people and upon thy holy city" (Dan. 9:24). In other words
Gabriel is telling Daniel that four hundred and ninety will be divided or cut off from the
twenty-three hundred years. Gabriel also provides a time from which to start both the 2300
years and the 490 years. He says: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going
forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince
shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks (69 weeks): the street shall be built
again, and the wall, even in troublous times" (Dan. 9:25). The wall was rebuilt in
fifty-two days (Neh. 6:15) in 454 BCE. To illustrate:
2300 Symbolic Days = 2300
||1810 Years Remaining
of the 2300 Years
Years = Covenant confirmed
with Israel one week.
Messiah cut off
in "midst" of week.
You cannot remove seven years from the 2300 years and
still have 2300 nor can you remove seven years from the 490 historical years and still
have 490. To take seven years of history and transplant it into the future is untenable.
No explanation is adequate and none has been given. Darby just did it. There is no
prophecy that says the "Great Tribulation" is seven years. Seven years was
stolen from Daniel disannulling history. Daniel told us the Messiah would
the covenant with many [with Israel] for one week [seven years from 29 to 36 CE]; and in the midst
of the week [33 CE] he [Messiah] shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."
[Messiah's sacrifice would be ended on the cross in the midst of the week] (Dan.
9:27) How can anyone place these seven years of history into the future when it was
fulfilled in the past?
Seventieth Week Last Legacy
The very first scholar to take Daniel's seventieth week
away from the sixty-nine weeks was Francisco Ribera. His primary apparatus was the seventy
weeks. He taught that Daniel's 70th week already fulfilled was still in the future.
It has opened the floodgate of Jesuit futurism that denies history. Many good Christian
people are being deceived by a Jesuit conspiracy that closes their eyes to the true
Antichrist. "This is exactly the scenario used by Hal Lindsey and a multitude of
other current prophecy teachers" (Robert Caringola, Seventy Weeks: The Historical
Alternative, p. 35). It seems that the Evangelical movement has taken the Jesuit bate and
now features the Jesuit concepts in placing the seventieth week in a future tribulation.
Why have they laid aside all the teachings of the Founding Fathers of Protestantism that
the Papacy is the Antichrist? Why have they become bewitched with the Jesuit siren song
causing the world to look for a literal man Antichrist instead of recognizing the historic
Antichrist? Many Evangelicals fail to recognize they are perpetuating a Jesuit begotten
error in the "left behind" deception and leaving many Christians unprepared for
the last time deceptions of the true Antichrist.