There is no consensus in the Evangelical
community on eschatology, the theology of the "last things."
There are many Evangelicals, however, that do not accept Premillennial
Books like Daniel and Revelation were written
in times of persecution and were purposely opaque to those outside
of the communities that generated them. Much of their imagery and
theology is connected more to ancient texts left outside the biblical
canon than the books contained in the Bible. Second, followers of
PD seem never to be satisfied with Christ's own warning that "No
one knows the day or hour." Hal Lindsey has been embarrassed
by the need to "adjust" his Last Day predictions made
in The Late Great Planet Earth. In his book, he predicted
that the end would come within a generation (usually 40 years) of
the founding of Israel: 1948. Now prophecy proponents begin the
timetable at the Israeli capture of east Jerusalem in 1967.
For a hundred and fifty years, some
Christian dispensationalists have been predicting the following:
After the the Jews are regathered in the Holy
Land, human civilization will begin to unravel. Morals will decline,
families will break apart, crime and anarchy will increase. Wars,
political and economic unrest, natural disasters, unstoppable epidemics,
shifts in weather patterns, and other calamities will increase suffering
and despair. Organized Christianity will experience apostasy; religious
leaders will abandon historic beliefs and behavioral standards and
openly embrace heresy and immorality. Despite massive efforts to
stop civilization's demise, nothing can stop its downward slide.
After the rapture of the church, a charismatic
leader will gain a following by promising peace and security. This
Antichrist heads up a ten-nation confederacy in western Europe.
Unaware of Antichrist's true identity, Israel will sign a treaty
with him to guarantee its security, then rebuild its temple in Jerusalem.
After three and a half years, Antichrist will break the treaty,
declare himself to be God, and persecute all who refuse to worship
him and receive his mark on their foreheads. Antichrist will be
helped by a False Prophet, a seductive religious leader, who will
use miraculous powers and repressive measures to force compliance.
For three and a half years, a remnant of God's people who were converted
after the Rapture (Rev. 7:4) will suffer horrible persecution in
the Great Tribulation.
Despite Antichrist's power, other nations will
rise in opposition. Some time after Antichrist betrays Israel, a
northern confederation of nations under Russian control will join
with a southern confederacy to launch a devastating double attack
against Israel. This move will prompt the intervention of Antichrist's
armies from the west and a 200-million-man army under the "kings
of the east." As armies from east and west converge on Israel, the
Russian confederates will try to destroy Israel; but God will intervene
to destroy them.
With the northern confederacy annihilated, the
forces of Antichrist and the "kings of the east" will do battle
at Armageddon, a valley northwest of Jerusalem. While the battle
rages, Jesus will return, wipe out the surviving armies, subdue
Antichrist, and set up his millennial kingdom. Finally, the surviving
Jews will accept Jesus as their Messiah. For a thousand years, King
Jesus will rule the world from Jerusalem, while Jewish priests perform
sacrifices in the restored temple. In the end, God will fulfill
all the promises to Israel. The redemptive plan will be complete.