A friend of mine suggested I review Epicenter! It's available on youtube in six parts and is about an hour total. It's basically a brief overview of the current situation in Israel told from a dispensational perspective. There really isn't much Scriptural interpretation going on in the series. Dispensationalism is assumed and then current even are given a dispensational interpretation. The main problem with the videos and dispensationalism in general can be found at 5:21 in the first video. One of the "Bible scholars" says, "Bible prophecy is always relative to one single nation, and that is the nation of Israel." These "Bible scholars" are still reading the Scriptures with the same veil over their eyes that the Jews did at the time of Jesus. Bible prophecy and the entire Old Testament and New Testament for that matter are not about the nation of Israel. All of Scripture is about Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us -- by me, Silvanus, and Timothy -- was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
All the promises of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus. Immediately following the guy at 5:21 there's another guy who claims that Israel is "the focal point of human history." Jesus is the focal point of human history, not national Israel. Jesus is the new Israel.
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.
Matthew 2:14-15 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son."
Either Matthew was absolutely wrong or Jesus is the new Israel.
Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Either Paul was wrong or all who believe in Christ are heirs of the promise given to Abraham. Through faith we are joined to Jesus who is the true Israel.
At 8:50 of the same video the same guy says "even going up on the temple mount is restricted as a Jew or as a follower of Jesus...those who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are severely restricted." This is telling and not uncommon to hear among dispensationalists. He is saying that Jews and Christians both worship the same God. This is absolute heresy.
Matthew 11:27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had faith in Christ. The Jews do not. The Jews worship an idol. They do not worship the true God. There is no evidence that anyone taught dispensationalism prior to the 1800s. Some trace its roots to a vision a Scottish girl had of a rapture. It became popularized Darby and Scofield, both of whom held to a two track theology of salvation. They taught that Jews were saved by obedience to the law and that Gentiles are saved by faith. Of course anyone who has read Paul knows how wrong this is. The law only condemns us and shows us our sin. There is no salvation to be found in the law. There have been several revisions of the Scofield Bible and some have removed this section promoting a two track theology of salvation but there is always a definite tendency within dispensationalism to offer another plan of salvation for Jews who deny Christ.
Modern dispensationalists have even formed organizations to help support Jews return to Israel that promise not to try to convert any Jews to Christianity. What a horrible and hateful thing to do. You want to give them a chunk of land in exchange for not telling them what they really need to hear? They're going to die one day in that land and they are going to go to hell. At that point I don't think they'll appreciate all dispensationalist talk about the two tracks of salvation and the chunk of land they received. In the very last section there is talk of Muslims converting to Christianity but nothing about Jews converting nor even a desire to evangelize them.
Jesus makes little more than a cameo appearance in the whole video. There is brief mention of the saying of Jesus about the fig tree but it's taken out of context and misapplied.
Matthew 24:32-34 Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near -- at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
Notice that Jesus was not talking about some far off future event but something that was going to happen in the very generation in which He lived. Jesus was talking about the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
Dispensationalism requires you to take your eyes off of Jesus and put them on a nation--a nation that hates Jesus. WARNING: If you're a neo-conservative Republican war-hawk stop reading right now. If you think Limbaugh and Hannity are alway right then you aren't going to like the rest of this review. There was much talk of Islamic persecution of Christians on the video but Jewish persecution of Christians was completely ignored. The Jews of course were the first persecutors of Christians and leaders in Israel today tend to look the other way when Jews set fire to Christian churches. Christians tend to live among the Palestinians and are subject to some of the same mistreatment that Israel inflicts upon the Palestinians.
Dispensationalists like to point to re-establishment of Israel as a nation but this is an example of self-fulfilling prophecy. If I prophecy that next year I will punch you in the face and next year I walk up to you and punch you in the face that's not exactly an example of miraculous prophecy. So if certain groups determine through manipulation of Biblical data that Israel should become re-established in a certain year and people are already sympathetic towards the Jews after WWII and you work through political means to make it happen, it's not exactly like the Red Sea parted. And if you displace other people out of the land to give the Jews some land then obviously those people are going to be ticked off. If somebody came to your house tomorrow and told you to move out because some poor people needed to live in your house, wouldn't you be ticked off? The US tends to ignore when Israel kills Palestinian civilians but doesn't do so when it happens the other way around. I don't claim to have a solution to our current problems. This is probably the most balanced article I've seen on the topic.
It is most definitely true that the Qu'ran calls for conversion at the end of a sword. It is not a religion of peace. But it is also not a monolithic religion. Sunni and Shiite Muslims can't get along with each other and there are a lot of Muslims that do not follow the teachings of the Qu'ran and view Islam as more of a cultural issue. There are many Muslims who have absolutely no interest in killing Christians regardless of what the Qu'ran says just as there are apparently many Christians who have no interest in telling Jews that Jesus died for them. Of course, if you occupy Islamic land and import porn into it then that kind of ticks them off. It doesn't justify their reaction but you can see why they might not like us so much. America also likes to give lots of money to Israel in the form of credits for American made weapons so that Israel can kill Palestinian civilians which also understandably makes Palestinians and the Muslim world not big fans of America.