The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
B. Lawrence Jones, Pastor
Central Baptist Church
Little Rock, Arkansas
Editor’s Note: The following message was delivered at the 34th Annual Missions Conference at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas, on March 14, 1995.
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed." (Deut. 4:26)
Soon the world will enter the period of time described in Daniel as "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation." A time when humanity will find itself under the rule of a one world government with a wicked tyrant at its helm. A tyrant who the Bible teaches will be controlled by the devil himself. God’s judgment will fall in a fashion and intensity never known to man before. These explosive events will happen in a period commonly called the seven year tribulation which occurs before the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth.
Those who believe this truth are commonly called dispensational premillennialists. Premillennialists believe there will be a 1000 year period before which Christ will physically return to this earth. Pre means before, and millennium means 1000. Put them together and you have "before 1000". The term dispensational is used to denote premillennialists who believe the Bible teaches there will be a seven year tribulation period preceding the millennium. Dispensational premillennialists are also classified as futurist. My assigned subject for this conference is "Biblical Evidence for a 7-Year Tribulation."
Concerning the return of Christ and the millennium there are two other major positions: Amillennialism and Postmillennialism. Amillennialism denies there is a millennium while postmillennialists believe there is a period called the millennium. Postmillennialists simply believe Jesus returns at the end of this period instead of the beginning. These three positions profoundly disagree with each other on more than just the timing of the return of Christ or the length and existence of the millennium.
There is an important terminology problem I must address before proceeding. Some use the term amillennialist as a "catch all" word applied to all non-premillennialist. This is probably because it is perceived to be a more incriminating term than postmillennialist. We’ve also all been told that postmillennialism died with the advent of the Second World War, a statement I have found to be false.
I personally have never met a true amillennialist who also called himself a Baptist. The men that I know among independent Baptists who claim to not be Premillennial all basically fall under some division of Postmillennialism. They believe in some kind of millennium with Christ's return at the end of it. It is arguable that a person who denies the millennium is 1000 years in length is a postmillennialist, but if he only denies its length and not its existence I still qualify him as post-millennial. My view seems to be supported by most modern writers on this subject. When Loraine Boettner detailed his postmillennial position it was very similar to the position that usually attracts the title amillennialist among independent Baptists. In this message I will use the term Postmillennialists to describe the doctrinal position that has a millennium of varied lengths of time, but places Jesus' return after the millennium.
The seven year tribulation stands at one of the most important strategic positions in dispensational prophecy. Strategically I place it at the top among independent Baptists. This is not to say that it is the most essential truth or the greatest truth. Decidedly there are other truths that have a more important place in the mosaic of prophetic truth than this one. During peacetime the most strategic position is not always the most vital, but during war it can become priceless.
In the war that began the day Ben Gurion declared Israel to be a state, a small town on a hill became one of the most strategic positions in all of Palestine. It is relatively unimportant in peace time, but to Israel it meant access and, therefore, possession of Jerusalem. Because of its location it became the most strategically coveted city during that war.
It has been my experience that independent Baptists don’t just one day become Postmillennialists. They don’t wake up one morning and declare that the 1000 years of Revelation 20 is not really a 1000 year period, and that Christ returns after it. They have come on a protracted journey that ends with that conclusion. The denial of a literal thousand year reign before which Jesus has returned is a conclusion not a fundamental doctrine in their prophetic system. This denial is the effect of a process that began in another place besides Revelation 20. The major battles in the mind of this person were probably waged far from Revelation 20... in fact far from the Revelation at all.
By the time one declares himself to have left premillennialism he has usually come through long struggles in his own soul, and sees the issue of a literal 1000 year period as a very small affair. He has accepted an historicist interpretation of a multitude of scriptures that he once believed were yet to be fulfilled. His view of the covenants has changed. His view of the Church has changed, as it has now been couched in his new covenantal understanding and a differing view of kingdom concepts. He has a newly modified idea of what God is doing in this age. His view of the interpretation of The Revelation has changed. Where once he accepted a chronological view of the Revelation he now may see it as multifaceted cycles of time periods. One major cyclical division usually falls between Chapters 19 & 20 for those who cannot tolerate the spiritualizing of chapter 19. His understanding of Israel’s place in God’s plan has completely shifted. He may now even find himself to be anti-Semitic. To now debate this individual from the standpoint of the true meaning of kelios in Revelation 20 is like taking an eye-dropper to fight a three alarm fire... too little, too late.
I must confess–I have been down this tumultuous road as well. I have struggled with each of these issues. I have been in those casual meetings where preachers gather apart from the eyes and ears of those they fear would prevent them from delving into discussions of this sort. I have felt the frustration of not having my questions answered by those who would wish me to remain where I was. I have read with intensity those books and writers who speak with disdain of premillennialism. I have heard the historical arguments declaring that dispensationalism is nothing more than heresy spawned in the pathetic prophesies of crazed Irvingite cultists of the early 1800s. I have energetically read of the glory church eschatology that carried missionaries to foreign shores. I have uneasily listened as premillennialism is denigrated as defeatist, negative eschatology, and postmillennialism is exalted as a positive, victorious reality. I have lamented a bit when some authors write, with the superior disdain of a lord to a pauper peon, of those poor ignorant premillennialists.
While many of my dispensational friends were arguing over pre, mid, or post-tribulation rapture, I was struggling with whether there was any seven year tribulation at all. Sadly it was to these friends that I privately posed questions they could not answer while seeking answers for myself. An influence that began for some the radical descent to post-millenarian thought.
I remember the time well when I began to wrestle with this issue. I was reading a treatise on Daniel by an historicist writer. Writers, by the way, that abound in Baptist and Protestant ranks. The arguments he raised concerning Daniel 9 were unknown to me, and very difficult for me to deal with. I remember the fear that came over me as I felt the blows of what seemed to be black belt argumentation that left Daniel’s 70th week in the cold grasp of history past. From there it seemed that everywhere I looked, from D. B. Ray’s "Baptist Perpetuity" to B. H. Carroll’s Interpretation of the English Bible, I found the historicist view propagated. This was only the beginning. The Covenant, and Interpretation of the Scriptures by A. W. Pink as well as the writings of a number of others deeply troubled me. There are also plenty of post-millennial men sprinkled around among independent Baptists to keep these issues alive.
These writers set the stage for a different view of much of the New Testament. The idea that the age of Israel is over for good and a new age has begun. Here is that brand of doctrine that moves forever the reality of Israel's future and positions the Church in her place! Here there are many paths–paths that others have walked: Origin, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and even Alexander Campbell. Upon some of these paths you will find men walking who slew Baptists while justifying their horrible deeds by misguided prophetic beliefs.
The arguments are so multifaceted and complex that you could spend days simply defining terms for discussion. For me, privately, this became a battle for the survival of what I had believed to be true. My confidence was shaken. I pity those who do not realize where they are heading, and the dangerous complexity they seem to simplify so easily in their minds. I have seen some grapple with these perplexing questions, and then immediately change their positions as they would a shirt only to find themselves facing a more radical departure from truth down the line. Just as surely as I was disturbed by these issues there were verses that kept my soul anchored in the midst of the storm. Verses I could not get away from–verses that made me cautious.
Now, you might be thinking, how can one little seven year period be so important as to be a strategic position in such a complex war? It seems that all the major issues of the war are concentrated in this one prophetic capsule. Here the issues of Israel’s future, Biblical Interpretation, the church, the chronology of Christ’s return, and the interpretive basis for The Revelation, the Olivet discourse, and a multitude of other passages seem to come together in a smaller less complex setting.
All of these issues are vital to Biblical Christianity. The method of Biblical interpretation, for instance, is fundamental. The issue of interpretation is so important that to be wrong here could land a person in hell. I am not saying anyone who is not pre-millennial is going to hell. I said that error on the method of Biblical Interpretation can land someone in hell. To interpret, for instance, the death of Christ by the allegorical method is to utterly deny its reality thus forfeiting its benefits.
Daniel’s 70th week rests on the battleground between radically different sides. On one side you will find the futurists, and on the other the historicists. If you believe this seven year period is yet in the future you are a futurist, and if you believe it is in the past you are an historicist. The view of a great body of scripture is different between these two groups. If the battle is won here first the war will be over.
Furthermore, if you believe in a future seven year tribulation you cannot consistently be anything but a premillennialist. Those who don’t believe in a future seven year period usually fall in some post or amillennial camp. Unless they find a makeshift resting place in a more or less rare position, usually only an excursion on the way to postmillennialism, called by its proponents historic premillennialism.
I can tell you by experience that most people will not see the strategic importance of the seven year tribulation. They will wonder why you are making a big deal over such a small period of time. Don’t be dismayed! Defend this position–defend it with knowledge and understanding of where the real attacks will come! There are many arguments that are simply smoke and mirrors, and are only intended by the opposition to confuse the issue. Don’t allow this to happen. Keep the basic issues ever before you!
A proper view of the seven year tribulation begins with Israel. If God is done with Israel then the basic issue of a seven year tribulation is destroyed, but if God is not done with Israel as a nation then the issue is very much alive. I submit to you that the Bible is very clear on this point.
These people are the people of God–they are called God’s chosen people! They were specifically chosen by God to be His nation. The Old Testament details this great relationship. The relationship was rocky for sure, but Israel was always called back by God! There is a perpetual relationship God has with Israel that no other race of people on the earth can enjoy. Read carefully the following declaration about this great relationship.
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he showed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." (Deut. 4:26-39).
Please notice the promises of verses 30 and 31. These are promises to an Israel that is in exile! God promises to hear and not forget His people. Notice He says "even in the latter days". This promise extends to all Israelites today.
Some people become confused about the basis of this reconciliation. We must be clear on this issue. The future relationship with Israel will be based on the same truth it always has: gospel truth. All that stands between Israel and God today is their refusal to "be obedient unto his voice" and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear on this too. One day soon Israel will turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Messiah! The restoration of Israel will be a gospel restoration.
Granted there are those Dispensational Premillennialists who teach that Israelites were saved by the law. I am not among them! There has ever been only one way of salvation: through repentance and faith in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:5-6).
Look at verse 37: "And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them." God’s Covenant with Israel was born out of God’s love for the fathers of this nation. They are His! They are His still. This Covenant goes deeper than what took place at Mount Sinai; it is a relationship that goes back to Abraham! God called Abraham out, not based upon Abraham’s righteousness, but based upon God’s choice derived from His love and mercy. God not only promised His heart and fidelity to this people, but a commitment that no other people on the earth possess as a race! that He will hear them wherever they are because of who they are! They are the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! they are the people of the Messiah!
It is true that Israel today is an enemy to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but so is the rest of the world. So were you, if you are a Christian, before God saved you! What about their future? How can a nation of people so tied to tradition and set against Jesus as the Messiah ever turn to Him? The same way multitudes did on the day of Pentecost; by hearing and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ! To those postmillennialists who call premillennialism defeatist I ask you what can be more glorious in victory than Jesus finally saving the nation who has fought Him for all these years? Look at what the Bible says in Romans 11:28-29. "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
Even now they are "beloved for the fathers’ sakes"–now while they are enemies of the gospel! You might say, "Explain it!" My reply is, "I can’t, but I believe it because the Bible says it!" Even now while they are steeped in their Christ rejecting ritual, they are the beloved of the Father! It behooves us to give respect to Israel as a nation because the Father loves them! Read Romans 11 and you will find that God will never forsake His people! We are the exception, they are the rule! Never forget that. Salvation is of the Lord!
The Bible teaches that Israel has a definite future relationship with God. We are told in Romans 11 that this will be a definite time period marked as clearly as was the opening of the age of the Gentiles.
First we must establish that Paul is speaking of the Israelites as a race not some "spiritual Israel." Note in the first few verses of this chapter that Paul defines the Israel he is speaking of! He is speaking of a people identified by the race they were born into not by their religion or affiliation! "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." (Rom. 11:1).
Furthermore, he speaks of two separate groups: the Gentiles and the Jews. The Gentiles he speaks of are saved Gentiles.
"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office" (Rom. 11:11-13). Paul cannot be speaking of anything other than a specific race of people. A race to which he belonged!
Paul raises the same question I raised earlier: "Hath God cast away his people?" (Rom. 11:1), and "Have they stumbled that they should fall?" (Rom. 11:11). He answers each of these with the strongest no there is: "God forbid."
He then declares "God is able to graft them in again" (Rom. 11:23). Then he declares that God will graft them in again, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." (Rom. 11:25). Note that God brings one period of time to a close and opens another.
Paul calls the future reconciliation of Israel a mystery. Surely it is a great and glorious mystery. When I face complex arguments, born in the minds of intellectually brilliant men, against the possibility of God doing this I can say I don’t know how He will do it. It is a mystery, but I know He will do it because He said He would! Always, as I listened and read powerful arguments on this subject, these verses haunted me. They haunt many tonight–many who have found themselves out on a prophetic limb without Israel in sight! you must turn back and find the trunk, and when you find the trunk you'll find the branches of Israel there, and if you look up the tree you will see where Israel has been graft in again!
The restoration of Israel will be established in a different time period. A time after this present age! In verse 25 he marks the end of this present age as the "fullness of the Gentiles." Fullness means the completion of something. [See Gal. 4:4, Eph. 1:10, Col. 1:19, 2:9 for other usage’s of the word fullness.] The age of the Gentiles is defined as a period when God is still saving Gentiles, and bringing them into His earthly government! We are in this age now, but it is clear there is an end to what we are now experiencing. The end is near. The scripture gives us notice.
The Bible also tells us Jerusalem will be given back to Israel when this present period ends. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24). The governmental seat of God’s earthly kingdom was at Jerusalem before the Church began. Israel’s government must be nationalistic since it is based on race and geographic boundaries. This makes Israel distinctly different from the Church as we know it today. I am not speaking of anything other than the governmental form of Israel as compared to the present day Church. Issues of ordinance will, without question, be settled by God when He institutes the new Israel. Jerusalem is governmentally under the partial control of the nation of Israel today.
Does the Bible speak specifically of the duration of this future time period? Look at Daniel 9:24-27:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 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: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." Because of time constraints I am only able to deal with the logical order of this prophecy, and the chronological order of the events therein described.
Notice in verse 24 that this prophetic revelation concerns Israel and the holy city. We are told this period is determined by God "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of signs, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Since Romans 11 teaches that God is not finished with Israel
and Jerusalem, these words become very important to us.
If God is finished with Israel then there is no question these verses are, for us, historical in nature. But, if God is not finished with Israel, as the Bible teaches, then how can it be said that the fulfillment of these verses is completely in the past. Has God finished the transgression of Israel? Has God made an end of the sins of Israel? Has God fully reconciled Israel if there are yet Israelites to be saved? Has God brought everlasting righteousness to Jerusalem? Has the preparation for and fullness of the Messiah’s rule over Israel come completely about yet? The answers to these questions must be based upon the New Testament verses we have already touched not Old Testament millennial and Messianic prophesies that are so easily moved into the post-millennialist’s catalog of symbolic passages. Romans 11 does not speak of a symbolic restoration of Israel! It is, without question, to any Bible believer, a literal restoration, and therefore I can firmly answer each of these questions: NO!
This proper answer to these vital questions establishes an interpretive base for the rest of this prophecy. For us then, Daniel is giving information about the past and future of Israel. Let’s look at that information:
"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: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." (Dan 9:25).
Verse 25 clearly declares when the Messiah was to come. He came right on time. Notice this verse covers the first 69 of Daniel’s 70 weeks. It is undisputed, with the exception of liberals, that these weeks are to be interpreted as weeks of years. This simply means that from the date of the going forth of the commandment to the Messiah was 483 years. It is interesting to read the intensity with which historicists struggle about this time period’s termination point. If the 483 years ends at the birth of Christ and not His baptism their position against a period of time between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks is destroyed. These arguments, however, are simply smoke and mirrors. No matter when the 483rd year came, verse 26 establishes that there is a period of time between the 69th and 70th weeks.
"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." (Dan. 9:26).
Note the word "after." Whatever takes place in verse 26 is after the 69th week. What happens after the 69the week? The Messiah is cut off. This is the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Note it is not the last event mentioned in verse 26! If the death of Christ was the complete fulfillment of verse 24, as many historicists claim, then why didn’t the chapter end here. Why is another event mentioned in this verse and the 70th week not mentioned until the nest verse?
Postmillennialists are so fond of pointing out that the event mentioned after the crucifixion is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Do they place this event in the 70th week where they inevitably place the first event of this verse? Definitely not. They place it in 70 A.D. far from where they position the 70th week.
They accuse dispensational premillennialist of an exegetical crime when we declare there is a period of centuries between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks, while they declare that one part of this verse is in Daniel’s 70th week and the other part is not. This is indeed exegetical inconsistency on their part, especially when the 70th week has yet to be introduced. I’ll tell you where I place both events of verse 26: after the 69th week and before the 70th week. This is right where these events are placed in the logical order of the verses.
The age of the Gentiles began when Israel crucified their Messiah. That’s why the resurrections is not mentioned in verse 26. The age of the Gentiles began! Israel rejected the resurrected Messiah, and Jerusalem and the temple (the city and the sanctuary) were destroyed in 70 A.D. by Titus. Israel is still in the same evil unbelief they were then. They are in the same rebellion that precipitated the destruction of the city and the sanctuary!
The gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks has to extend to at least 70 A.D. because this is the period of time between the 483rd year of verse 25 and the last event of verse 26! We know this period of time is much longer than this because the temple that was destroyed by Titus’ men has yet to be rebuilt, and the 70th week requires a temple. Furthermore, Titus did not confirm the covenant or sit in the temple and declare himself to be God. This event has yet to happen.
"That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (2 Thess. 2:2-4). Josephus says Titus was running around trying to get his men to stop destroying the temple. He was not declaring himself to be God.
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Dan. 9:27). Daniel’s 70th week is not mentioned until after the events of verse 26. These verses and events are clearly in chronological order. The events of verse 26 are "after" the events of verse 25. The events of verse 27 follow the events of verse 26. The time period that dispensational premillennialists believe to be between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel is not only justified by rules of Biblical interpretation, but it is required by those rules!
The contents of verse 27 require a restoration of Israel’s relationship with God which has not taken place since the events of verse 26. Since this restoration has not yet taken place, the temple has not been rebuilt, and the events of verse 24 are not yet completed, we must believe that Daniel’s 70th week is yet in the future. Since this prophecy deals specifically with Israel as a nation, and Romans 11 speaks of a future restoration of Israel we are left no choice but to believe that the future restoration of Israel will occur in the 7 year period of God’s prophecy in Daniel verse 27. Here is the Biblical evidence for a future period of 7 years when God shall save Israel.
The tribulation aspect of this seven year period is not difficult to establish once the foundation of the future fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week is established. Although it is not difficult it would take more time to establish this truth than I now have remaining. Daniel chapter 11, 12 then the Olivet Discourse, and the Revelation all tie together with this 70th week to give us a clear view of what will take place during this short period of time. These verses also establish that the literal return of Jesus Christ to the earth is immediately after Daniel’s 70th week.
The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse, The Revelation, and a host of other scriptures rests upon the Biblical evidence for this seven year time period. It cannot be the other way around since Israel’s future is involved in all these passages. This issue is fundamental to a proper interpretation of prophecy.
Now a few words of caution. It is wise to not be so set on the future of Israel that one must force every prophetic verse in the Bible into the future. There are verses that are clearly historical in their fulfillment. Postmillennialists writers justly discredit radical futurists who force verses into the future against the context. Be as dogmatic and firm about the historic fulfillment as you are about future fulfillment.
It has been my experience that Mid- and Post- tribulational rapture theories breed great confusion. They do not comfortably find support in the Biblical evidence presented tonight. I find many of these arguments fail to take into account the foundational principles of the seven year tribulation. Many proponents of these positions actually use arguments that cut away at the very foundation upon which they claim to stand thus opening the door for postmillennialism.
Foundations are established to build upon. I have presented a Biblical foundation of dispensational premillennialism–built on it. Don’t start the house until the foundation is firmly laid.