What is dispensationalism?

Dispensationalism2Dispensationalism: an eschatological viewpoint according to which God has two distinct peoples (the Church and national, ethnic Israel) with two distinct plans and two distinct destinies. Dispensationalism is distinctive for its teaching that the Church will be “raptured” from the earth in the first phase of Christ’s second coming so that God can return to his work with national Israel, which was put on hold after Israel’s rejection of Messiah. God’s renewed working with Israel is thought by many dispensationalists to include a seven-year period of tribulation under the Antichrist in which two-thirds of the Jewish people will be killed, followed by the second phase of Christ’s second coming in which Christ and the martyred “tribulation saints” will rule for a thousand years from a rebuilt Temple with a reinstituted sacrificial system. Dispensationalism was first conceived by John Nelson Darby in the nineteenth century and popularized by prophecy pundits such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye in the twentieth century. 1

— Hank Hanegraaff

For further study, please see the following:

Does the Bible Make a Distinction Between Israel and the Church? (Hank Hanegraaff)
Apocalypse When? Why Most End-time Teaching Is Dead Wrong. (Hank Hanegraaff)
The Perils of Newspaper Eschatology (Elliot Miller)
Is Dispensationalism Indispensable?  (Steve Gregg)
One Shot, One Book, One God: Apologetics and the Unity of the Bible (Dean Davis)
Who’s Been Left Behind? (Steve Gregg)
Response to National Liberty Journal Article on The Apocalypse Code (Hank Hanegraaff)
When the Truth Gets Left Behind (Gene Edward Veith)


1. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code: Find out What the Bible Really Says about the End Times and Why it Matters Today (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 272


From Hank to You

Dear Friend,

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Serious poetry readers will recognize these lines from W. B. Yeats’s most celebrated apocalyptic poem, “The Second Coming.” And my hunch is that in a moment of candor, most of us would confess to similar sentiments as we listen to today’s avalanche of largely bad news.

Falcon2From spiritual, moral, cultural, and political points of view, my guess is that increasingly rare among us are those who haven’t felt, at least at some point, that things are falling apart.

In the rubble and ruin that mark the wake of philosophers who have labored diligently to “deconstruct” truth, one could not reasonably be blamed for believing that in much of our intellectual landscape today, their work has been lamentably successful. Time spent debating “truth” seems a colossal if not utterly mindless waste of time to those who have swallowed “hook, line, and sinker” the notion that objective truth is sheer fantasy, embraced only by obscurantic religionists and others with room-temperature IQs.

Yet those who intimately know the One who is “before all things” and by Whom “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17) will never fear that the true center cannot hold. They will not only embrace but also daily live out the equally famous words of Alfred Lord Tennyson whom Yeats venerated as a young man:

“Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.”

—Hank Hanegraaff