By Larry Ray Hafley
Premillennialism, the doctrine which says Christ will return to Jerusalem, restore the Jews and rule on a material throne for 1,000 calender years, pervades all segments and sections of sectarianism and parades under the flag of fundamentalism. Its incipient influence is seen everywhere. In this, it is analogous to the theory of evolution. A scientist, who otherwise reasons fairly and factually, often has his information besmirched by his evolutionary interpretations. So it is with premillennial preconceptions. A Baptist preacher recently wrote an article in defense of the inspiration of the Bible. His theme cited fulfilled prophecy as one line of evidence for inspiration. However, his premillennial persuasion led him into Scripture perversion. As an example thereof, please note the following quote.
“Many, many years ago Moses prophesied: `And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth to the other; and there shalt thou serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.’ Deut. 28:64.
“Years later Ezekiel restated the reason for the scattering (ch. 36:19). No one questions the fact that the Jews were scattered among the nations of the world. But now comes the amazing thing that has happened in our day. He also prophesied that Israel would return to their own land, Ezek. 36:2638. The 37th chapter of Ezekiel relates the vision of the resurrection of dry bones in the valley. This vision he explains (vs. 11-12) ‘. . . these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold they say, `Our bones are dried, our hope is lost: we are cut off from our part . . . I will open your graves and cause you to come out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.’
“On May 14, 1948 the Nation of Israel was revived after 2500 years of dispersion. Can any say that it was not the hand of the Lord? Can any deny the prophecy?” (L.D. Capell, “IS THE BIBLE REALLY INSPIRED,” Missionary Baptist Searchlight, May 10, 1976).
The Scattering And Gathering
God indeed scattered His people for their sins. God in truth promised to gather His elect from their captivity. Has the fulfillment of this prophecy “happened in our day,” namely, “On May 14, 1948?” “Yes,” says our premillennial Baptist. This view overlooks a variety of things.
First, and foremost, the fulfillment of the pledge to gather Israel from among the nations occurred, “not in our day,” but in the days of Ezra. In fact, Nehemiah cited the threats of the book of Deuteronomy in his prayer for rebuilding (Neh. 1:8, 9). See Jer. 25:11-13; 2 Chron. 36:1723; Ezra 1:1-4.
Second, the king of Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans were to be punished “for their iniquity.” If the restoration of Israel occurred on May 14, 1948, when did the banishment of Babylon transpire? The land of the Chaldeans was not to be consumed until the restoration of Israel. But if the restoration of Israel was not accomplished until 1948, how could God fulfill His vengeance against the king of Babylon? Must Babylon and the Chaldeans be restored from the dust of antiquity so God can back up and hitch on to his threat to desolate them?
Third, the recovery and reformation of Israel was contingent upon their obedience (Dent. 4:29-31; Neh. 1:8, 9). “If thou shalt hearken …. and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” “then the Lord thy God will return thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee” (Dent. 30:1-10). The 37th chapter of Ezekiel, if verses 11 and 12 were fulfilled in May, 1948, requires that Israel not only be returned “unto your own land,” but that they then hate their sins and begin to serve God faithfully and fruitfully (Ezek. 37:24-31). Has this characterized “The Nation of Israel” which was formed in 1948? No, a thousand times, no. A destroyed nation, such as Israel was, before it could be restored, had to repent and return. “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them” (Jer. 18:7, 8). Does that describe “the Nation of Israel,” 1948 vintage? No; therefore, the 1948 Israeli nation cannot be the nation resurrected and restored by the hand of the Lord. Further, is “the Nation of Israel,” begun in 1948, characterized by “a new heart?” Does that 1948 nation “walk” in God’s “statutes” and keep His “judgments?” Does that nation “remember (their) own evil ways and (their) doings that were not good?” Do they loathe themselves in their “own sight” because of their former “iniquities” and “abominations?” No, they do not. But that was to typify and identify the Israel restored and returned by Jehovah (Ezek. 37:24-31). Therefore, “the Nation of Israel” of 1948 is not the fulfillment of the restoration prophecies.
A multitude of other issues could be used to strengthen and bolster our present proposition. This will suffice to show that a false theory, like a drop of poison in a glass of water, can mar what is essentially the truth on other topics. Fulfilled prophecy testifies to the inspiration of Scripture. No one denies that. But premillennial propaganda blunts the effect of the truth.
Truth Magazine XXI: 22, p. 338
June 2, 1977