Dispensationalism is an outgrowth of Premillennialism. The word “Premillennial” is a combination of two words, “pre” and “Millennium.” Pre means before and Millennium is the word for one thousand. It is a religious term which has reference to the belief in certain dramatic events that are supposed to happen before Christ returns to earth to establish his kingdom over which he will rule for a 1000 literal years, on the literal throne of David, in the literal city of Jerusalem.

Dispensationalism is different in the emphasis that it places on Israel and the Jews in God’s plan for their salvation and His giving them an earthly kingdom. It is this variety that has become so widespread and popular in our day.

John Nelson Darby is considered to be the father of dispensationalism. C. I. Scofield took the KJV and added his notes often in such a way it is difficult to know which are scripture and which are his notes. The Scofield Reference Bible did much to spread the dispensational doctrine. During the 1970s, this doctrine became popular in wider circles, in part due to the books of Hal Lindsey including The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold over 15 million copies.

In 1995 Tim LaHaye’s book Left Behind sold millions of copies that popularized the dispensational doctrine. Television evangelists, Pat Robertson and John Hagee are advocates of this doctrine. Well known men like Jerry Falwell have advocated this doctrine. It has captured the attention of practically every conservative religious group of our day. Beyond doubt it is the most popular religious doctrine of our day.

There is no doubt that dispensational preachers and lobbyists have had the ear of the White House and State Department in the past. If we are to discuss this doctrine it is important that we understand what it teaches.

Also, it must be kept in mind that dispensationalists differ with one another on some of the details of this doctrine but there are certain main events which they are all in agreement over. We will attempt to set forth some of the most basic tenants of their false teachings.

First, Jesus originally came to establish an earthly kingdom, which God had promised the Jews. He came to rule over the Jews as their Messiah but was rejected by them. This rejection was unexpected, thus God’s plan had to be postponed until a later time when the Jews would be more willing to accept a kingdom. We ask, could an omnipotent God make such a mistake?

Thus there followed the church period sometimes called “The great parenthesis” period where the church was set up until Christ returns again to set up His kingdom. This makes the church becomes an afterthought. The church would bridge the gap until the Jews are willing to accept Jesus as their Messiah. This is the fatal flaw of their doctrine because the church is the kingdom. The Bible makes no distinction between the kingdom and the church. They are one and the same.

When it is time for Christ to come and establish His kingdom, the church age will end. When the church end comes to an end there will be ushered in a period of seven years called “the great tribulation” which will be characterized by several severe and dramatic events.

(1) First, there will occur the “rapture” which is an English word used in place of the Latin word raptus. The Greek word is harpazo, which means “caught up” or “taken away.”

The English word “rapture” is not used in any Bible translations. This will be a sudden and mysterious disappearance of church. Those alive will be caught up in the air and those in the grave will come forth to be with the Lord.

All will “hover” over the earth invisible for seven years. Some say it will be three and one half years. The purpose of the rapture is that God’s saints might be rescued from a great tribulation that will follow the rapture.

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