1. Scofield: The Christian Leader with Feet of Clay
2. The Link between Darby and Scofield in the Rise of Dispensationalism
3. Scofield’s Dispensational Hermeneutic: ‘Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth’
4. Scofield, the Brethren and the Bible Prophecy Conference Movement
5. The Significance of the Scofield Reference Bible
6. Scofield’s Seven Dispensations
7. The Denigration of the Church within the Purposes of God
8. The Elevation of National Israel to a Superior Role over the Church
9. Prophetic Promises of a New Covenant with a Restored National Israel
10. Speculations on Armageddon and the Day of the Lord
11. Conclusions: The Legacy of Scofieldism on Christian Zionism
1. Scofield: The Christian Leader with Feet of Clay
While Cyrus Ingerson Scofield may justifiably be regarded as the father of American dispensationalism and its most popular exponent through the various editions and variants of the Scofield Reference Bible1, his personal life is shrouded in mystery, one of American Fundamentalism’s best kept and perhaps most embarrassing secrets.
Ernest Sandeen insists, “…in the calendar of Fundamentalist saints no name is better known or more revered.”2 Yet while writings abound on the early Brethren such as J. N. Darby and other contemporary American dispensationalists such as D. L. Moody, C. I. Scofield remains an illusive and enigmatic figure. Only two biographies have been published, one by a fellow dispensationalist, eulogises Scofield3, the other, from a Reformed perspective, exposes him as morally unfit for Christian ministry.4 Reconciliation of these two perspectives is difficult if not impossible. George Trumbull, Scofield’s biographer, writing in 1920, claims,
Dr. Scofield loves all nature-not only men and women and children, but the whole created world, still so beautiful in spite of what Satan and sinners have done to mar God’s work.5
Similarly, George W. Truett, speaking at a memorial service for Scofield, held in Dallas, Texas on 27 November 1921, included this tribute,
Every one felt that he was a prince of true men. And what a friend he was. A man who would have friends must show himself friendly. Along with these qualities he was kindly, full of good will and cheer which radiated from him as the light from the sun. When with him you knew you were in the presence of one who knew what he believed. Christ was real to him… a wonderful preacher and a world preacher. He would have been at ease in any congregation where he could have preached. There was about him a positiveness, a definitiveness, a certainty…6
Canfield’s detailed investigation of Scofield’s past portrays a very different person. Discrepancies exist between Scofield’s own reminiscences, Trumbull’s biography, family correspondence and actual public records regarding many aspects of Scofield’s life and ministry both before and after his alleged conversion, ordination and association with D. L. Moody. These range from the trivial to the reprehensible.
1. His claim to have fought with General Lee is disputed as is his alleged decoration for service in the Confederate army in 1861.7
2. His ‘rank perjury’ in swearing the oath of office to become District Attorney for Kansas in June 1873, denying he had served in the Confederate Army8, a post he then had to resign just six months later following well publicised charges of extortion and blackmail.9
3. The desertion of his first wife Leontine, and daughters Abigail and Marie-Helene from 1877 and failure to provide for them.10
4. The unsubstantiated claim that he was admitted to the Bar of St. Louis and practised law.11
5. The discrepancies surrounding his alleged conversion in 1879 in jail and also while practising law.12
6. The criminal charges of fraud and embezzlement brought against him between 1877-1879, some following his alleged conversion13 resulting in at least one jail sentence.14
7. His persistent refusal, even as a Christian minister, to make restitution to those he had defrauded.15
8. The embarrassment of having divorce proceedings initiated against him by his wife Leontine in 1881 while he was pastor of Hyde Park Congregational Church, St. Louis . Her divorce papers charged Scofield with, ‘…gross neglect of duty…’ having, ‘failed to support this plaintiff or her said children, or to contribute thereto, and has made no provision for them for food, clothing or a home…’ 16 The court decided in favour of Leontine after some delay in 1883 and issued a decree of divorce in December of that year, describing Scofield as, ‘…not a fit person to have custody of the children.’17
9. His nomination as pastor to the First Congregational Church of Dallas in 1882, by James H. Brookes was apparently without reference to or acknowledgement of any Christian obligation to provide for his family.18
10. Discrepancies exist in the accounts of his alleged theological training prior to ordination.19
11. Discrepancies exist in the conflicting length of his courtship and the date of his second marriage to Hettie Van Wark in March 1884, only three months after her arrival in Dallas and his divorce becoming final.20
12. Doubts have been raised as to claims made that Scofield made several visits to London prior to 1903,21and claims that he studied and lectured in Rome, Paris, Geneva and Berlin between 1906-1907.22
13. Scofield apparently conferred a doctorate on himself in 1892.23 The 1897 Northfield Bible Conference, for example, lists Scofield’s name with a D.D. yet there is no evidence of this award being conferred by a university or college. ‘We are not aware of any degree-awarding institution which in the 1890’s would recognize dispensational accomplishments.’24
14. In 1904, addressing a gathering of Confederate veterans in Dallas, Scofield made pejorative and racist remarks concerning blacks and whites.25
15. Major discrepancies exist in his Who’s Who in America 1912 entry both in terms of misstatements, factual inaccuracies and omissions, including the dates of his marriages, the names of his three children, and subsequent divorce.26
16. In 1909 and 1921, despite significant royalties from the Scofield Reference Bible, he wrote to his daughters Helene and Abbie, explaining his inability to help them financially as he was suffering from chronic ‘Scofielditis’, his euphemism for ‘a purse which has grown dismally empty.’27
Given Scofield’s notoriety in Kansas, following his well publicised conversion and association with D.L. Moody, several newspaper articles attempted to piece together something of his already then chequered career. An article originally in the Atchison Patriot was picked up by the Topeka paper, The Daily Capital on 27 August 1881. It included the following,
Cyrus I. Scofield, formerly of Kansas, late lawyer, politician and shyster generally, has come to the surface again, and promises once more to gather around himself that halo of notoriety that has made him so prominent in the past… Within the past year… Cyrus committed a series of St. Louis forgeries that could not be settled so easily, and the erratic young gentleman was compelled to linger in the St. Louis jail for a period of six months.
Among the many malicious acts that characterized his career, was one peculiarly atrocious, that has come under our personal notice. Shortly after he left Kansas, leaving his wife and two children dependent upon the bounty of his wife’s mother, he wrote his wife that he could invest some $1,300 of her mother’s money, all she had, in a manner that would return big interest. After some correspondence he forwarded them a mortgage, signed and executed by one Chas. Best, purporting to convey valuable property in St. Louis. Upon this the money was sent to him. Afterwards the mortgages were found to be base forgeries, no such person as Charles Best being in existence, and the property conveyed in the mortgage fictitious… A representative of the Patriot met Mrs Schofield (sic) today… As to supporting herself and the children, he has done nothing, said the little woman… I will gladly give him the matrimonial liberty he desires. I care not who he marries, or when, but I do want him to aid me in giving our little daughters the support and education they should have.28
Following the death of D. L. Moody in 1899, when it became known that Scofield had officiated at the funeral, the interest of the secular press was once again aroused and more stories about Scofield were brought to the surface. The following is taken from the Kansas City Journal of 28 December 1899.
The pastor who delivered the sermon and presided at the funeral of Dwight L. Moody, the famous evangelist, was rev. C. I. Scofield… Scofield landed in Nemaha County in 1872, just in time to be nominated on the Republican ticket for member of the legislature. He was elected, and, though ostensibly a supporter of Senator Pomeroy, he became largely instrumental in causing the election of Ingalls… in reward for his services he was made United States district attorney for the state. But he did not hold this office long. He was ousted in disgrace on account of some shady financial transactions which left him indebted in a number of thousands to a score of prominent Republicans… then followed an explosion which compelled Scofield to resign his federal office and leave the state… While in jail he had been visited by a band of Christian women who prayed with him and worked his conversion, and upon his release he entered the Congregational ministry. His first pastorate was at Dallas, Tex., where he built up one of the wealthiest and most aristocratic church organisations in the state… When approached by his Kansas creditors Parson Scofield declares that he is poor and unable to pay, but has never failed to do the right and easy thing by renewing his notes. So far as those who know him best are able to judge, his conversion is of an enduring nature, and, as once remarked by his old friend and supporter, the sarcastic Mr. Ingalls, ‘No man can doubt the efficacy of the scheme of Christian salvation with the record of Scofield in view’.29
Cranfield makes this assessment of these still uncontested contemporary secular reports,
If Scofield had defrauded the leading Republican politicians of Kansas, obviously ‘he had to go.’ But these same Republican leaders could not afford to have it known publicly that they had been involved. This being so, the only course was to have Scofield ‘disappear,’ allowing the scandal to blow over… The story of Scofield’s rather casual extension of notes, which had ostensibly been made to repay funds embezzled, does not surprise. It is entirely congruent with the antinomian nature of Dispensationalism which Scofield inherited from J. N. Darby. Instead of allowing the legal obligation to expire with the statute of limitations, Scofield tolled the statute with the notes even though he could not have any intention of repayment.30
These unsavoury facts regarding Scofield’s life and character have never been adequately answered or explained by his followers. The reason for his sudden acceptance and subsequent integration within a group of wealthy and influential Christian fundamentalists seems inexplicable given their supposed rigid adherence to biblical standards of morality and exacting criteria for Christian leadership. As Canfield rightly insists,
…genuineness in conversion and the accompanying change of heart include restitution. Such was an absolute condition in the Old Dispensation.31
Scofield’s behaviour both before and after his alleged conversion are nevertheless consistent with, and illustrative of, the antinomianism inherent in Darby’s rigid dispensationalism which Scofield popularised.32 In a message published in 1893 entitled, “The Purpose of God in This Age”, Scofield seems to come close to describing his own pessimistic, predetermined experience as much as that of dispensationalism generally. Speaking of his seven dispensations, Scofield concludes of each,
As you are aware, they are marked, as to their beginning, by some new probation for man, as to their ending by some act of judgment-for man always fails at last.33
2. The Link between Darby and Scofield in the Rise of Dispensationalism
As a young and largely ‘illiterate’ Christian, Scofield was profoundly influenced and indeed schooled by the Rev. James H. Brookes, the minister of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, and known as ‘The Father of American Dispensationalism’34. Brookes introduced Scofield, and probably also Darby to D. L. Moody. Brookes sympathised with J. N. Darby’s dispensational views of a failing Church, corrupt and beyond hope, but it is known they met during five visits Darby made to St Louis between 1864-186535 and again between 1872-1877.36 Canfield observes,
When convert Scofield in 1879 moved from forgery to Christian work, he found a niche in Christendom off the mainstream of recognized denominations… in the one city in North America which had been singled out by John Nelson Darby for concentrated ‘planting’ of Darby’s special brand of Bible teaching.37
Scofield, serving as Brookes’ disciple, probably did more than anyone else to popularise Darby’s distinctive theological perspective, basing his reference notes on Darby’s own idiosyncratic translation of the Bible. Clarence Bass notes,
The parallel between Scofield’s notes and Darby’s works only too clearly reveals that Scofield was not only a student of Darby’s works, but that he copiously borrowed ideas, words and phrases.38
According to even one of Darby’s own biographers, ‘His perceptions of Scriptural truths are the source from which Scofield Reference Bibles get their characteristic notes.’39 Gerstner says the resemblance between Scofield and Darby ‘is deep and systematic.’40 It is significant, however, that neither in the Introduction to his Reference Bible, nor in the accompanying notes does Scofield acknowledge his indebtedness to Darby. In this regard Scofield was merely following the example of his mentor, Brookes. Scofield claimed his ideas to be the fruit of fifty years of Bible study, something which, even by 1917, the date of the second edition of the Scofield Reference Bible published, is hard to explain if he was only converted in 1879 as alleged. One must assume Scofield meant other people’s study.41
Privately at least, Scofield did acknowledge the influence of Arno C. Gaebelein who is probably responsible for the prophetic writings contained in the Scofield Reference Bible. Like Scofield, Gaebelein was discipled by James Brookes who, he admitted, ‘took me literally under his wings.’42 Scofield wrote the foreword to Gaebelein’s, ‘The Harmony of the Prophetic Word’ which he devoured. In a letter to Gaebelein, written on the 2nd September 1905, Scofield acknowledged,
My beloved brother: By all means follow your own views of prophetic analysis. I sit at your feet when it comes to prophecy, and congratulate in advance the future readers of my Bible on having in their hands a safe, clear, sane guide through what to most is a labyrinth. Yours lovingly in Christ, Scofield43
There is also the likely possibility that another unattributed writer influenced Scofield, one much nearer to home, although somewhat more controversial. J. R. Graves, a Southern Baptist minister from Arcadia near Memphis published a work entitled, ‘The Work of Christ Consummated in Seven Dispensations’ in 1883.44
It features a dispensational scheme quite similar to one which was later used in the Scofield Reference Bible. For some strange reason, Graves is almost never mentioned by Dispensational writers who are not committed Baptists… Since Graves’ work had its primary circulation in the area Scofield was using as a base, the possibility of an unacknowledged debt to Graves must be considered. With Scofield’s lack of formal training and a need to learn fast, no reasonable source of help would have been overlooked.45
It is probable that Graves was not acceptable to dispensationalists since he emphasised the importance of the visible church in the purposes of God, something strongly denied by Brethren with their ‘failing church’ doctrine.
3. Scofield’s Dispensational Hermeneutic: ‘Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth’.
In 1888 Scofield published his first work called Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. In it Scofield presented the hermeneutic principles of dispensationalism he had allegedly been teaching his Bible classes and which would become the theological presuppositions behind which the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible. Not surprisingly, it was the Plymouth Brethren ‘house’ publishers, Loizeaux Brothers of New York, who printed the first edition,46 and continue to do so, a century later.47
Scofield began his work quoting from Paul’s second letter to Timothy, part of which was used as the book’s title,
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)48
The Word of Truth, then, has right divisions, and it must be evident that, as one cannot be ‘a workman that needeth not to be ashamed’ without observing them, so any study of that Word which ignores these divisions must be in large measure profitless and confusing. The purpose of this pamphlet is to indicate the more important divisions of the Word of Truth…49
The Table of Contents lists the lessons as:
The Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God
The Seven Dispensations
The Two Advents
The Two Resurrections
The Five Judgments
Law and Grace
The Believer’s Two Natures
The Believer’s Standing and State
Salvation and Rewards50
The first lesson sets the tone for all future Dispensational teaching offering a novel interpretation of the verse ‘Give no offence, neither to the Jews, nor the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:32).
Scofield attempts to justify the division of the world into three classes of people, Jews, Gentiles and the church, an idea that is the ‘warp and woof of Dispensational teaching,’51 yet one that lacks any biblical basis. There are only two classes of people consistently mentioned in the New Testament, those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who do not, irrespective of whether they be Jews or Gentiles.52 Paul is simply urging the Corinthians to respect the differing traditions of Jews and Gentiles in their witness for Christ. There is no basis in the New Testament for the idea that the Jews remain special to God outside, or apart from, their membership of the Body of Christ.53
In the second lesson Scofield unfolds the emerging dispensational belief that biblical history should be divided into seven ‘dispensations.’
These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God’s method of dealing with mankind, in respect of two questions, of sin, and of man’s responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment – marking his utter failure in every dispensation.54
His third lesson, another typical Brethren and Dispensational touchstone, makes a person’s view of the return of Christ and the ‘secret rapture’, the test of orthodoxy. No alternative eschatological schemes are acknowledged. The implication is clear. If a person does not accept a dispensational eschatology they do not believe in the Lord’s return and are not submitting to the authority of scripture.55
By the ‘authority of scripture’ Scofield meant his own rigid literalist hermeneutical approach to scripture. So, for example, he insists that,
Not one instance exists of a ‘spiritual’ or figurative fulfilment of prophecy… Jerusalem is always Jerusalem, Israel is always Israel, Zion is always Zion… Prophecies may never be spiritualised, but are always literal.56
Scofield’s ‘literalism’ extended even to exact verbal phraseology. This led him to claim there to be seven dispensations, eight covenants, and eleven great mysteries.57 James Barr, in his critique of fundamentalism, reserves some of his strongest language for Scofield’s literalist hermeneutic which he describes rather sarcastically as, ‘Mythopoeic fantasy’ comparable with the ‘apocalyptic poems of Blake’.58
With the favour and respectability bestowed by the Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary, Scofield’s little book has subsequently gone through numerous editions and been reprinted by several publishers. The Bible Publishers of Dallas, for instance, printed 35,000 copies during the nine year period 1945-1954.59
4. Scofield, the Brethren and the Bible Prophecy Conference Movement
In many ways Scofield was merely representative of, but at the same time became a focus for, a growing prophetic and millennial movement in North America influenced by the Plymouth Brethren. The views later popularised by Scofield, were ‘hammered into presentable form ‘60 by a series of Bible and Prophetic Conferences held across North America beginning in 1868 which followed the pattern established by Darby and Irving at Albury and Powerscourt from the 1830’s.
Both the method of ‘Bible readings’ and the topics of the conferences strongly suggest that the gatherings were a result of J. N. Darby’s travels in the United States and the influence of the Plymouth Brethren.61
For example, one of the resolutions adopted by the 1878 Niagara Conference gives clear evidence of the Darbyite dispensationalism, and Christian Zionism into which Scofield was becoming an eager proselyte.
We believe that the world will not be converted during the present dispensation, but is fast ripening for judgment, while there will be fearful apostasy in the professing Christian body; and hence that the Lord Jesus will come in person to introduce the millennial age, when Israel shall be restored to their own land, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord; and that this personal and premillennial advent is the blessed hope set before us in the Gospel for which we should be constantly looking: Luke 12:35-40; 17:26-30; 18:8; Acts 15:14-17; 2 Thess. 2:3-8; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Tit. 2:11-15.62
Scofield first attended the Niagara Conference in 1887, completing his book Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, during the 1888 conference. Apparently, the manuscript was delivered direct to the Plymouth Brethren ‘house’ publishers, Loizeaux Brothers in New York from the conference. Trumbull, referring to the book commented,
The work of making the little book was a time-consuming and laborious task for him then and “spoiled” his vacation entirely one summer at Niagara. But what a blessing it has been to multitudes of others.63
5. The Significance of the Scofield Reference Bible
According to Oswald Allis, by 1945 more than 2 million copies of the Scofield Reference Bible had been published in the United States alone.64 Between 1967 and 1979 a further 1 million copies of the New Scofield Reference Bible had been published.65 In a move to make Scofield’s work more accessible, in 1984 a new edition based on the New International Version was published.66
Arno C. Gaebelein tells the story of how the Scofield Reference Bible came about from a discussion held with Scofield in 1901.
One night, about the middle of that week, Dr. Scofield suggested, after the evening service, that we take a stroll along the shore. It was a beautiful night. Our walk along the shore of the sound lasted until midnight. For the first time he mentioned the plan of producing a reference Bible, and outlined the method he had in mind. He said he had thought of it for many years and had spoken to others about it, but had not received much encouragement. The scheme came to him in the early days of his ministry in Dallas, and later, during the balmy days of the Niagara Conferences he had submitted his desire to a number of brethren, who all approved of it, but nothing came of it. He expressed the hope that the new beginning and this new testimony in Sea Cliff might open the way to bring about the publication of such a Bible with references and copious footnotes.67
Those discussions led eventually to the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. The combination of an attractive format, illustrative notes, and cross references has led both critics and advocates to acknowledge the Scofield’s Reference Bible to have been the most influential book among evangelicals during the first half of the twentieth century.
The various millennial currents were most effectively solidified in The Scofield Reference Bible. The significance of the Scofield Reference Bible cannot be overestimated.68
James Barr claims that in the 1950’s half of all conservative evangelical student groups were using the Scofield Reference Bible, and that it was,
The most important single document of all fundamentalism… which has been the normal religious diet of many millions of readers. Its name itself makes clear what it is, A private interpretation… Both serious biblical scholarship and the established traditions of the major churches were alike ignored.69
Craig Blaising, professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, and a dispensationalist, similarly acknowledges,
The Scofield Reference Bible became the Bible of fundamentalism, and the theology of the notes approached confessional status in many Bible schools, institutes and seminaries established in the early decades of this century.70
Ernest Sandeen explains some of the reasons for its popularity,
The Scofield Reference Bible combined an attractive format of typography, paraphrasing, notes, and cross references with the theology of Darbyite dispensationalism. The book has thus been subtly but powerfully influential in spreading those views among hundreds of thousands who have regularly read that Bible and who often have been unaware of the distinction between the ancient text and the Scofield interpretation.71
In his Introduction, Scofield claimed that, over the previous fifty years there had been an ‘unprecedented’ degree of interest in Bible study, ‘…free from merely controversial motive’ and that from this ‘…new and vast exegetical and expository…’ body of literature which was ‘…inaccessible for bulk, cost, and time to the average reader’, Scofield had taken, the ‘…winnowed and attested results…’ of this fifty years of study and that they were now ‘…embodied in the notes, summaries, and definitions of this edition.’ He insisted that ‘Expository novelties, and merely personal views and interpretations, have been rejected.’72 In distinguishing his own from previous bible reference systems, which he regarded as ‘…unscientific and often misleading…’ Scofield insisted that in his new system,
…all the greater truths of the divine revelation are so traced through the entire Bible, from the place of first mention to the last, that the reader may himself follow the gradual unfolding of these, by many inspired writers through many ages, to their culmination in Jesus Christ and the New Testament Scriptures. This method imparts to Bible study and interest and vital reality which are wholly lacking in fragmented and disconnected study.73
The footnotes which appear in the Scofield Reference Bible are actually very selective, appearing on less than half of the pages of Scripture. 781 pages lack any comment out of a total of 1,353 so it hardly rates as a comprehensive commentary such as provided by Albert Barnes or Matthew Henry.74 Trumball observes that Scofield was convinced people wanted to study the Bible but didn’t know how and,
…saw that if his Bible studies were to be of the widest usefulness they would need to be attached to the Word itself-and in a form not too bulky.75
Scofield goes much further than either Barnes or Henry in providing comprehensive headings embedded in the Scriptural text. These not only include chapter and paragraph titles but in many cases, verse by verse headings in chapters deemed significant to dispensationalists that would otherwise prove obscure were it not for such ‘helps’. For example, in Isaiah 11, entitled ‘The Davidic kingdom set up’ additional headings guide readers carefully through the chapter ensuring a dispensational gloss,
(1) The King’s ancestry (11,1); (2) The source of the King’s power, the sevenfold Spirit (11,2); (3) The character of his reign (11,3-5); (4) The quality of the kingdom (11,6-8); (5) The extent of the Kingdom (11,9); (6) How the kingdom will be set up (11,10-16) 76
Had Scofield’s notes been published as a commentary separately they would have, in time, probably been forgotten or superceded. The difference is, ‘neither Henry not Barnes had the temerity, guile or gall to get their notes accepted as Scripture itself.’77
Scofield’s Reference Bible has undergone significant revision since it was first published in 1909. Scofield completed the first revision in 1917, apparently with the help of seven consulting editors – Henry G. Weston (President, Crozier Theological Seminary); James M. Gray (Dean, Moody Bible Institute); W. G. Moorehead (Professor, Xenia Theological Seminary); Elmore Harris (President, Toronto Bible Institute) William J. Erdman; Arno C. Gaebelein & Arthur T. Pierson, several of whom were D.L. Moody’s colleagues.78 Canfield argues that the addition of these names together with their academic qualifications was merely cosmetic, to give an air of respectability79 Sandeen goes further arguing,
Just what role these consulting editors played in the project has been the subject of some confusion. Apparently Scofield only meant to gain support for his publication from both sides of the millenarian movement with this device.80
In 1945 when a minor revision was published, an eighth consulting editor, William L. Pettingill, was added. However, so wedded to the 1917 edition were some ultra-dispensationalists that strong representations were made to the revision committee to ‘hold the line.’ Cornelius Stam asked,
Would revision neutralize the dispensational distinctions which Dr. Scofield had brought to light? Would it represent a retreat rather than an advance for dispensational truth? Would it impair the Reference Bible which had brougyht so much blessing to so many thousands of people?81
Despite such reservations, revisions continued to adapt, modify and elaborate Scofield’s dispensational package. The New Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1967 edited by Dr E. Schuyler English. In 1984 a further revision based on the New International Version of the Bible was undertaken by three of the faculty from Philadelphia College of Bible, Clarence Mason, Sherrill Babb and Paul Karleen, and published by the Oxford University Press as The New Scofield Study Bible.82 Charles Ryrie, perhaps seeking to emulate Scofield’s success, also published in his own name a more refined dispensational guide, the Ryrie Study Bible.83
6. Scofield’s Seven Dispensations
Scofield defines his dispensations as periods of time, ‘…during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God…’84 In the Introduction to the Scofield Reference Bible, he explains, following mention of the ‘remarkable results of the modern study of the Prophets, in recovering to the church… a clear and coherent harmony of the predictive portions…’ how,
The Dispensations are distinguished, exhibiting the majestic, progressive order of the divine dealings of God with humanity, the ‘increasing purpose’ which runs through and links together the ages, from the beginning of the life of man to the end in eternity. Augustine said: ‘Distinguish the ages, and the Scriptures harmonize.’85
Whether Augustine understood ‘ages’ in terms of Scofield’s dispensations is extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, Scofield claimes that seven such dispensations were ‘distinguished’ in Scripture. He believed that his scheme was natural and self evident in Scripture,
there is a beautiful system in this gradualness of unfolding. The past is seen to fall into periods, marked off by distinct limits, and distinguishable period from period by something peculiar to each. Thus it comes to be understood that there is a doctrine of Ages or Dispensations in the Bible.86
It is interesting to compare how these ‘distinct limits’ were moved as well as renamed in subsequent editions of the Scofield Reference Bible, as others, especially Schuyler English, sought to refine his scheme.
|Scofield Reference Bible (1917)87||The New Scofield Study Bible (1984)88|
|1. Innocency (Gen. 1:28)||1. Innocence (Gen. 1.28)|
|2. Conscience (Gen. 3.23)||2. Conscience or Moral Responsibility (Gen. 3.7)|
|3. Human Government (Gen. 8.20)||3. Human Government (Gen.8.15)|
|4. Promise (Gen. 12.1)||4. Promise (Gen. 12.1)|
|5. Law (Ex. 19.8)||5. Law (Ex. 19.1)|
|6. Grace (John 1.17)||6. Church (Acts 2.1)|
|7. Kingdom or Fulness of Times (Eph. 1.10)89||7. Kingdom (Rev. 20.4)|
Scofield’s rigid adherence to these dispensations required him to make some novel assertions to ensure consistency. So for example, in describing the transition between his fourth dispensation of promise to his fifth dispensation of law, Scofield argues,
The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing… The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law (Ex. 19. 8). Grace had prepared a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage (Ex. 19. 4); but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law.90
Similarly, in his introduction to the Gospels, Scofield artificially imposes stark divisions before and after Calvary which lead him to the amazing assertions that,
The mission of Jesus was, primarily, to the Jews… The Sermon on the Mount is law, not grace… the doctrines of Grace are to be sought in the Epistles not in the Gospels.91
Strangely, Scofield ignores the one division that is self evident between the Old and New Covenants. Mark 1:1 categorically states, ‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ’, And Matthew 11:13 further informs us, ‘For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. Yet Scofield places the life and ministry of Jesus within the dispensation of Law along with John the Baptist and the Old Testament Prophets, arguing that the sixth dispensation of grace only ‘begins with the death and resurrection of Christ’.92 So, for example, the Lord’s Prayer, and in particular the petition, ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’ (Matthew 6:12) is not applicable to the church, since it is ‘legal ground’.93 He even suggests the possibility of salvation by works,
As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 3. 24-26; 4. 24, 25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ… The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church…94
Scofield believed the Gospels were essentially for the Jews and therefore not relevant for the Church. In the note attached to Ephesians 3, he boldly states, ‘In his (Paul’s) writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Church.’95 Unfortunately, Scofield seems to impose divisions that do not exist in Scripture and ignores those that do.
This research, however, is not primarily concerned with an evaluation of Scofield’s theological framework, nor even with how he has influenced the rise of dispensationalism. Others have already done sp as on the relationship between law and grace.96 It is with Scofield’s more specific prophetic speculations concerning the relationship between Israel and the Church which this research will concentrate on since they have had such a profound effect on much contemporary Christian Zionism.
As has been noted, in ‘Rightly Dividing the Word of God’, Scofield laid out the dispensational presuppositions which determined his theological framework,
These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God’s method of dealing with mankind, in respect of two questions, of sin, and of man’s responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment – marking his utter failure in every dispensation.97
Such a pessimistic view of human history is no where more evident than in what Scofield teaches about his sixth dispensation, the church-age.
7. The Denigration of the Church within the Purposes of God
Historic Christianity has traditionally seen some form of continuity between the Old and New Covenants, and in the relationship between Israel and the Church, national Israel being in an anti-type and precursor for the Church. Scofield concedes as much, although through his notes, he systematically attempts to prove such a view erroneous in favour of a ‘failing’ church syndrome. Indeed he insists that the Church has not replaced or succeeded Israel as the people of God. In his introduction to the Four Gospels, he argues,
…in approaching the study of the Gospels, the mind should be freed, so far as possible, from mere theological concepts and presuppositions. Especially is it necessary to exclude the notion-a legacy in Protestant thought from post-apostolic and Roman Catholic theology-that the Church is the true Israel, and that the Old Testament foreview of the kingdom is fulfilled in the Church.98
Apparently blind to the ‘theological concepts and presuppositions’ of his own dispensational framework, for all his claims to ‘literalism’, Scofield applied an obscure, arbitrary and indeed excessive form of typology to reinforce the belief, no doubt influenced by Darby, that the Church age will ultimately end in failure and apostasy to be replaced by a revived national Israel who will enjoy the blessings of the final kingdom dispensation.99
Given that four of his seven dispensations are based around events recorded in the first twelve chapters of Genesis, (and a fifth in Exodus), it is perhaps not surprising that Scofield finds in these texts the basis for his entire scheme. So for example, in a footnote to Genesis 2:23, Scofield asserts that Eve is a ‘type of the Church as bride of Christ.’100 As with some of his other ‘types’ this one appears arbitrary and speculative. Scofield offers a list of New Testament cross references, presumably in the belief that they validate his teaching. These are John 3:28-29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-32 and Rev. 19:7-8. In none of these, however, is there any justification for such an assertion. Eve is not even mentioned. There are only two references to Eve in the New Testament, and only once by way of comparison. In 2 Cor. 11:3 Paul warns the Corinthians that they are in danger of being deceived like Eve. Even this verse therefore does not teach that they, the Corinthians were deceived, still less that Eve could or should be regarded as a type for the universal Church. From Genesis 3:14, Scofield further claims that the,
‘Adamic Covenant conditions the life of fallen man-conditions which must remain till, in the kingdom age, ‘the creation also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God’ (Rom. 8.21).101
The verse quoted actually refers to creation not people. By such typology, in which Eve and the so-called Adamic Covenant represent the state of the Church, Scofield prepares the ground for his teaching that the dispensation of the Church is destined to end in apostasy and failure. Then from Genesis 11:1, Scofield sees the Tower of Babel as yet another striking type for the professing Church.
The history of Babel (confusion) strikingly parallels that of the professing Church… ending in a man-made unity-the papacy… [and] …the confusion of tongues-Protestantism with its innumerable sects. 102
Linking Isaiah 13 with Revelation 17, Scofield insists the latter reference predicts the destruction of ‘apostate Christianity’, which he also described as ‘ecclesio-Babylon’103 In a speculative but rather confusing footnote to Revelation 17 and the identity of Babylon, Scofield insists that there are actually ‘two’ Babylons.
Two ‘Babylons’ are to be distinguished in the Revelation, ecclesiastical Babylon, which is apostate Christendom, headed up under the Papacy; and political Babylon, which is the Beast’s confederated empire, the last form of Gentile world-dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is ‘the great whore’ (Rev. 17. 1), and is destroyed by political Babylon (Rev. 17. 15-18)…104
But the language of Rev. 18. (e.g. vs. 10, 16, 18) seem beyond question to identify ‘Babylon,’ the ‘city’ of luxury and traffic, with ‘Babylon’ the ecclesiastical centre, viz. Rome.105
By such typology, Scofield intends his readers to concur that even the dispensation of the Church will end in ‘judgment-marking… utter failure’106 This is at variance with New Testament teaching which assures of the permanence and ultimate victory of the Church over evil.107
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)
In other places Scofield’s scheme flatly contradicts the New Testament. So in Matthew 13, for example, in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the Lord explains that the wicked will be removed first. Scofield however, insists the believers will be taken out first at the rapture.108 Likewise his footnote to Acts 1:11 ignores the fact that the Angel promises that all will see Jesus when He returns and not the few in some ‘secret rapture.’
Clearly therefore, those who have subsequently accepted Scofield’s scheme, especially since 1948, such as Hal Lindsey, have been preconditioned to expect the return of Jews to Palestine. They are also generally pessimistic about the role of the Church, and see in the founding of the State of Israel, evidence not only of the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy, but of an impending Jewish revival and the imminent return of Christ.
8. The Elevation of National Israel to a Superior Role over the Church
This process begins for Scofield with his footnote to Genesis 12:1 and the supposed Fourth Dispensation of Promise.
For Abraham and his descendants it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15.18, note) made a great change. They became distinctively the heirs of promise. That covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing.109
Schuyler English, anxious to expurgate Scofield’s unorthodox views that, ‘The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law (Ex. 19.8)’ 110, makes considerable changes to this footnote and goes much further in the dispensational claims made for Israel.
God’s promises to Abram and his seed certainly did not terminate at Sinai with the giving of the law (Gal 3:17). Both O.T. and N.T. are full of post-Sinaitic promises concerning Israel and the land which is to be Israel’s everlasting possession (e.g. Exo 32:13; 33:1 – 3; Lev 23:10; 25:2; 26:6; Deu 6:1 – 23; 8:1 – 18; Josh 1:2,11; 24:13; Acts 7:17; Rom 9:4). But as a specific test of Israel’s stewardship of divine truth, the dispensation of Promise was superseded, though not annulled, by the law that was given at Sinai (Exo 19:3ff.).111
Scofield also applied his distinctive typology to the relationship between Israel and the Church. Starting with a cross-reference from Genesis 11:1 and the story of Babel, he guides his readers to Isaiah 13:1 and the ‘burden of Babylon’ where Scofield claims,
Isa. 3.14 gives the divine view of the welter of warring Gentile powers. The divine order is given in Isa. 11. Israel in her own land, the centre of divine government of the world and channel of divine blessing; and the Gentiles blessed in association with Israel. Anything else is, politically, mere ‘Babel’112
This notion that Gentiles are ‘blessed in association with Israel’, is the principle motivation for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) who believe Christians are called to ‘comfort Zion’ rather than bear witness to Jesus as Messiah.113 Scofield provided Christian Zionists such as the ICEJ with justification when he took the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 and applied it to Abraham’s descendants,
(5) ‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ In fulfilment closely related to the next clause. (6) ‘And curse him that curseth thee.’ Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew-well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle. (Deut. 30. 7; Isa. 14. 1, 2; Joel 3. 1-8; Mic. 5. 7-9; Hag. 2. 22; Zech. 14. 1-3; Mt. 25. 40, 45).114
To Scofield’s notes on Genesis 12:1 & 3 Schuyler English adds,
There was a promise of blessing upon those individuals and nations who bless Abram’s descendants, and a curse laid upon those who persecute the Jews (Gen 12:3; Mat 25:31 – 46)… For a nation to commit the sin of anti-Semitism brings inevitable judgment. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle.115
The promise given to Abraham actually states,
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3)
There is no indication in the text that this warning of cursing was ever intended to extend beyond Abraham. The promise, when referring to Abraham’s descendants speaks of God’s blessing them, not other nations blessing the Jews. Ironically, Scofield makes no comment on the passage in Galatians 3:16 and 3:28-29, where the Apostle Paul understands Christ to be the “seed” of Abraham, and that the promise of blessing to the Gentiles comes through faith in Jesus Christ and not on the basis of how well they treat the Jews.
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:14-16)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28-29)
Nevertheless Schuyler English boldly insists,
Both O.T. and N.T. are full of post-Sinaitic promises concerning Israel and the land which is to be Israel’s everlasting possession (e.g. Exo 32:13; 33:1 – 3; Lev 23:10; 25:2; 26:6; Deu 6:1 – 23; 8:1 – 18; Josh 1:2,11; 24:13; Acts 7:17; Rom 9:4)
Just two New Testament cross references are offered. Neither corroborates what he claims.
As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. (Acts 7:17)
For Luke, the “fulfilment” of the promise made to Abraham was seen to have already been fulfilled through Moses, “as the time drew near…”
Over against Scofield’s distinction between Israel and the Church, the New Testament consistently speaks of there being one true vine or one olive tree, symbols portraying the unity within the one elect people of God made up of both Jews and Gentiles, who by faith are thereby all declared to be children of Abraham. However, in his introduction to the Gospels, Scofield insists,
Do not, therefore, assume interpretations to be true because familiar. Do not assume that ‘the throne of David’ (Lk. 1.32) is synonymous with ‘My Father’s throne’ (Rev. 3. 21), or that ‘the house of Jacob’ (Lk. 1.33) is the Church composed both of Jew and Gentile. 116
Following Darby, Scofield taught that God has two separate plans, one for Israel, another for the Church, each having a separate identity and eternal destiny, Israel’s on earth while the Church’s in heaven. So in commenting on Matthew 16,18, and Jesus’ promise to ‘build my church,’ Scofield claims,
Israel was the true ‘church’ but not in any sense the N.T. church-the only point of similarity being that both were ‘called out’ and by the same God. All else is contrast.117
In a footnote to Acts 7:38, Scofield explains away the term used by Stephen of Israel as ‘the church in the wilderness’.
Israel in the land is never called a church. In the wilderness Israel was a true church (Gr. ecclesia = called-out assembly), but in striking contrast with the N. T. ecclesia (Mt. 16. 18, note).118
In commenting on Romans 11:1, Scofield insists on maintaining this distinction between the Church and Israel. To do so however, he has to distinguish between the ‘earthly’ and ‘heavenly’ fulfilment of Biblical prophecy,
That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture. The Christian is of the heavenly seed of Abraham (Gen. 15. 5, 6; Gal. 3. 29), and partakes of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15. 8, note); but Israel as a nation always has its own place, and is yet to have its greatest exaltation as the earthly people of God.119
So, with reference to Romans 11:5, in which Paul insists a remnant of believing Jews existed in his day, Scofield extrapolates that,
During the church-age the remnant is composed of believing Jews… During the great tribulation a remnant out of all Israel will turn to Jesus as Messiah and will become His witnesses after the removal of the church (Rev. 7.3-8).
The purpose of God during this so called, ‘church age’ then is,
not the conversion of the world, but to, ‘gather out of the Gentiles a people for his name’ After this he ‘will return’ and then, and not before, will the world be converted.120
What should the attitude of the Church be to Israel? Scofield uses the description of the final judgement in Matthew 25:31-46 to teach implicitly that Gentiles should bless Israel. Schuyler English in his revision makes this point much more explicitly.
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:32)
In their footnotes to this verse in the 1917 and 1984 editions, it is significant to observe how more overtly Dispensational the latter has become.
|Scofield Reference Bible (1917)||The New Scofield Study Bible (1984)|
|This judgment is to be distinguished from the judgment of the great white throne. Here there is no resurrection; the persons judged are living nations; no books are opened; three classes are present, sheep, goats, brethren; the time is at the return of Christ (v. 31); and the scene is on earth. All these particulars are in contrast with rev. 20. 11-15. The test in this judgment is the treatment accorded by the nations to those whom Christ here calls “my brethren.” These “brethren” are the Jewish Remnant who will have preached the Gospel of the kingdom to all nations during the tribulation.121||This judgment of individual Gentiles is to be distinguished from other judgments in Scripture, such as the judgment of the Church (2 Cor 5:10 – 11), the judgment of Israel (Ezek 20:33 – 38), and the judgment of the wicked after the millennium (Rev 20:11 – 15). The time of this judgment is “when the Son of man comes in his glory,” i.e. at the second coming of Christ after the tribulation. The subjects of this judgment are “all nations,” i.e. all Gentiles… then living on earth. Three classes of individuals are mentioned: (1) sheep, saved Gentiles; (2) goats, unsaved Gentiles; and (3) brothers, the people of Israel. The scene is on earth; no books are opened; it deals with the living rather than with those translated or raised from the dead. The test of this judgment is the treatment by individual Gentiles of those whom Christ calls “brothers of mine” living in the preceding tribulation period when Israel is fearfully persecuted (cp. Gen. 12:3). The sheep are Gentiles saved on earth during the period between the rapture and Christ’s second coming to the earth.122|
To justify this perpetual distinction between Israel and the Church, even under the New Covenant, Scofield insists that Israel is the earthly wife of God and the Church is actually the heavenly bride of Christ. Commenting on Hosea 2:2, Scofield writes,
That Israel is the wife of Jehovah (see vs. 16-23), now disowned but yet to be restored, is the clear teaching of the passages. This relationship is not to be confounded with that of the Church to Christ (John 3.29, refs.). In the mystery of the Divine tri-unity both are true. The N.T. speaks of the Church as a virgin espoused to one husband (2 Cor. 11.1,2); which could never be said of an adulterous wife, restored in grace. Israel is, then, to be the restored and forgiven wife of Jehovah, the Church the virgin wife of the Lamb (John 3.29; Rev. 19. 6-8); Israel Jehovah’s earthly wife (Hos. 2, 23); the Church the Lamb’s heavenly bride (Rev. 19.7)123
In a footnote to the last reference, Revelation 19:7, Scofield insists,
The ‘Lamb’s wife’ here is the ‘bride’ (Rev. 21. 9), the Church, identified with the ‘heavenly Jerusalem’ (Heb. 12. 22, 23), and to be distinguished from Israel, the adulterous and repudiated ‘wife’ of Jehovah, yet to be restored (Isa. 54. 1-10; Hos. 2. 1-17), who is identified with the earth (Hos. 2. 23). 124
Scofield reaches this conclusion guided by his literalistic hermeneutic and presupposition that Israel and the Church are separate bodies, therefore, ‘A forgiven and restored wife could not be called either a virgin (2 Cor. 11: 2,3), or a bride.’125 Such novel teaching of an ‘earthly wife’ and ‘heavenly bride’ is in plain contradiction to passages such as John 10:16 and Romans 11:24, neither of which, interestingly, warrant any comment by Scofield.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10,16)
After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to
nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! (Romans 11,24)
Paul is here emphasising how Gentiles share the same privileges as the faithful remnant of Jewish believers. This is neither equated with national Israel, nor with a separate olive tree. At some future time Paul predicts believing Jews will also be grafted in once again. Paul is therefore teaching quite explicitly that there is one olive tree into which both Jews and Gentiles have and will be grafted on the same basis – belief in Jesus Christ. In reply to those who, in Paul’s own day, regarded Gentile believers as inferior and who wished to keep Jewish and Gentile believers separate, he insisted,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one
in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3,28-29)
Paul uses similar analogies of ‘one new man’ (Ephesians 2:13-16), and, ‘fellow heirs, and of the same body’ (Ephesians 3:4-6), to emphasise that God has taken two peoples and made them one in Christ. By insisting, however, on arbitrary divisions in biblical history marked off, ‘…by some change in God’s method of dealing with mankind…’ each ending ‘…in judgment’ and ‘…utter failure in every dispensation,’126 Scofield sets in tension Old Testament Scripture with New Testament Scripture, divorces Israel from the Church, and thereby confuses the future with the past. This is made more apparent still by the way in which Scofield insists that unfulfilled prophecies concerning national Israel will be fulfilled in the future.
9. Prophetic Promises of a New Covenant with a Restored National Israel
Like Darby, Scofield taught that it was God’s intention to restore the nation of Israel to Palestine, rebuild the Temple, and re-institute the priesthood and sacrificial system. ‘According to the prophets, Israel, regathered from all nations, restored to her own land, and converted, is yet to have her greatest earthly exaltation and glory.’127 In a note attached to Hebrews 7:22, Scofield insists the New Covenant contains separate promises for both Israel and the church,
The New Covenant secures the personal revelation of the Lord to every believer (v.11)… And secures the perpetuity, future conversion, and blessing of Israel (Jer. 31.31-40).128
Similarly, in the context of the return of Christ, Scofield asserts,
To Israel, the return of the Lord is predicted to accomplish the yet unfulfilled prophecies of her national regathering, conversion and establishment in peace and power under the Davidic Covenant (Acts 15. 14-17 with Zech. 14. 1-9)129
So, in his note on Haggai 2:9, Scofield claims, therefore, that there will actually be a fourth and fifth temple built in Jerusalem.
In a sense all the temples (i.e. Solomon’s; Ezra’s; Herod’s; that which will be used by the unbelieving Jews under the covenant with the Beast [Dan. 9.27; Mt. 24. 15; 2 Thes. 2. 3,4]; and Ezekiel’s future kingdom temple [Ezk. 40-47.]), are treated as one ‘house’-the ‘house of the Lord,’ 130
Scofield finds evidence for this view in Leviticus 23:23-25 and an unusual typology related to the feast of Tabernacles.
This feast is a prophetical type and refers to the future re-gathering of long-dispersed Israel. A long interval elapses between Pentecost and Trumpets, answering the long period occupied in the Pentecostal work of the Holy Spirit in the present dispensation. Study carefully Isa. 18. 3; 27. 13 (with contexts); 58. (entire chapter), and Joel 2. 1 to 3. 21 in connection with the ‘trumpets,’ and it will be seen that these trumpets, always symbols of testimony, are connected with the re-gathering and repentance of Israel after the church, or Pentecostal, period is ended. 131
This highly speculative scheme is simply imposed on a series of texts that teach nothing of the sort. For example, Leviticus 23:23-25 reads,
The LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.’
It is surprising that Scofield should begin to base his belief in the return of the Jews to Palestine and the rebuilding of the Temple on the basis of passages such as this. In one of the cross references given, Joel 2, Scofield is forced to reinterpret later verses to avoid reversing the chronological order of the chapter. The earlier portion of the chapter, he claims, refers to the future restoration of Israel. However Peter, on the great Day of Pentecost, quotes from the latter part, Joel 2:28-32 to explain how the events predicted were occurring that day. To get round this, Scofield insists,
Acts 2.17, which gives a specific interpretation of ‘afterward’ (Heb. acherith = ‘latter,’ ‘last’). ‘Afterward’ in Joel 2. 28 means ‘in the last days’ (Gr. eschatos), and has a partial and continuous fulfilment during the ‘last days’ which began with the first advent of Christ (Heb. 1. 2); but the greater fulfilment awaits the ‘last days’ as applied to Israel.132
So Scofield teaches that a ‘greater fulfilment’ of this passage refers to a future blessing awaiting Israel rather than that which occurred on the Day of Pentecost at the bestowal of the Holy Spirit on the Church. Once again national Israel is placed in a superior position to that of the Body of Christ, the Church. To perpetuate this artificial division, in the cross-reference to Acts 2:17, Scofield has to distinguish between the ‘last days’ of the Church and the ‘last days’ of Israel.
A distinction must be observed between ‘the last days’ when the prediction relates to Israel , and the ‘last days’ when the prediction relates to the church (1 Tim. 4. 1-3; 2 Tim. 3. 1-8; Heb. 1.1,2; 1 Pet. 1. 4,5; 2 Pet. 3. 1-9; 1 John 2. 18, 19; Jude 17-19). Also distinguish the expression the ‘last days’ (plural) from the ‘last day’ (singular); the latter expression referring to the resurrections and the judgment (John 6. 39, 40, 44, 54; 11. 24; 12. 48). The ‘last days’ as related to the church began with the advent of Christ (Heb. 1. 2), but have especial reference to the time of declension and apostasy at the end of this age (2 Tim. 3. 1; 4. 4). The ‘last days’ as related to Israel are the days of Israel’s exaltation and blessing, and are synonymous with the kingdom-age (Isa. 2. 2-4; Mic. 4. 1-7). They are ‘last’ not with reference to this dispensation, but with reference to the whole of Israel’s history.133
To justify his dispensational scheme and a glorious future for Israel in the Kingdom age, Scofield concedes that the Scriptures speak of two occasions when national Israel returned to Palestine, but insists a third return is also predicted.
The gift of the land is modified by prophecies of three dispossessions and restorations (Gen. 15. 13, 14, 16; Jer. 25. 11, 12; Deut. 28. 62-65; 30. 1-3). Two dispossessions and restorations have been accomplished. Israel is now in the third dispersion, from which she will be restored at the return of the Lord as King under the Davidic Covenant (Deut. 30. 3; Jer. 23. 5-8; Ezk. 37. 21-25; Lk. 1. 30-33; Acts 15. 14-17).134
Scofield’s argument for a third return is based on two important deductions that follows from his literalist hermeneutic. First, that Israel had never taken all the land promised to Abraham, and second, that Messianic promises had not been fulfilled during the first advent. In linking these two together, Scofield speculated that the return to the land would follow the return of the Lord,135 a chronology that is contradicted in the conflicting notes on Deuteronomy 30:3-5, written with hindsight in the New Scofield Reference Bible published in 1967,136 yet reiterated again, without comment in the New Scofield Study Bible of 1984.137 In a note on Deuteronomy 30:3, Scofield argues,
The Palestinian Covenant gives the conditions under which Israel entered the land of promise. It is important to see that the nation has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land (cf. Gen. 15. 18 with Num. 34. 1-12). The Palestinian Covenant is in seven parts,
(1) Dispersion for disobedience, v. 1 (Deut. 28. 63-68. See Gen. 15. 18. note).
(2) The future repentance of Israel while in the dispersion, v.2.
(3) The return of the Lord, v. 3 (Amos 9. 9-14; Acts 15. 14-17).
(4) Restoration to the land, v. 5 (Isa. 11. 11, 12; Jer. 23. 3-8; Ezk. 37. 21-25).
(5) National conversion, v. 6 (Rom. 11. 26, 27; Hos. 2. 14-16).
(6) The judgment of Israel’s oppressors, v. 7 (Isa. 14. 1, 2; Joel 3. 1-8; Mt. 25. 31-46).
(7) National prosperity, v. 9 (Amos 9. 11-14)138
Far from the Abrahamic covenant being ‘unconditional’, Scofield and his later dispensational revisionists, ignore or minimise the seriousness of the injunctions contained in this very passage of Deuteronomy which plainly teaches that occupation of the land would always be conditional on adherence to her covenantal obligations, a principle Moses was concerned to impress upon Israel before she entered the land, a principle subsequently demonstrated throughout Israel’s history, and in particular under the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.
Schuyler English, in his 1967 revision of the Scofield Reference Bible, consistently adds to Scofield’s original notes to give a more explicit dispensational reading of key texts. In many cases references to contemporary Israel are appended to verses on which Scofield originally made no comment at all. So, to Genesis 12:7, Schuyler English adds,
(12:7) The verb ‘give’ appears over 1000 times in the Bible, with greatest frequency in relation to God giving the land of Palestine to his people Israel, a truth here announced for the first time but repeated in nearly 150 passages in the O.T…139
One may legitimately ask for evidence of the same promise being made in the New Testament. Again, on Deuteronomy 30:5, Schuyler English adds the following innovation,
No passage of Scripture has found fuller confirmation in the events of history than Dt. 28 – 30. In A.D. 70 the Jewish nation was scattered throughout the world because of disobedience and rejection of Christ. In world-wide dispersion they experienced exactly the punishments foretold by Moses. On the other hand, when the nation walked in conformity with the will of God, it enjoyed the blessing and protection of God. In the twentieth century the exiled people were restored to their homeland.140
No attempt is made to explain the apparent contradiction in Israel’s continued ‘disobedience and rejection of Christ’ and their restoration, ‘to their homeland,’ other than to insist the promises made to Israel have been ‘postponed’ during this church age. Ironically, the attempt by Scofield’s revisers to make Deuteronomy 30:1-6 speak of a final restoration to the land is actually undermined just a few verses further on in Deuteronomy 30:11-20 where Moses reiterates the same warning.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. (Deuteronomy 30,17-19)
Not surprisingly, no notes are included in any version of Scofield for this passage. Scofield’s dispensational hermeneutic nevertheless requires a futuristic interpretation of this passage on the grounds that Israel has never yet received all the land allegedly ‘unconditionally’ and literally promised under the Abrahamic Covenant. Therefore, Scofield insists, logically, she must do so one day. So, in paragraph headings to Isaiah 11, he adds the bold assertion that these verses speak of, ‘The vision of the Jewish remnant in the great tribulation’ for vv. 20-27 and, ‘The approach of the Gentile hosts to the battle of Armageddon.’ for vv. 28-34. Then in a footnote to Isaiah 11 Scofield writes,
The order of events in Isa. 10., 11., is noteworthy. Isa. 10. gives the distress of the Remnant in Palestine in the great tribulation (Psa. 2. 5; Rev. 7. 14), and the approach and destruction of the Gentile hosts under the Beast (Dan. 7. 8; Rev. 19. 20). Isa. 11. immediately follows with its glorious picture of the kingdom-age. Precisely the same order is found in Rev. 19., 20…
That nothing of this occurred at the first coming of Christ is evident from the comparison of the history of the times of Christ with this and all the other parallel prophecies. So far from re-gathering dispersed Israel and establishing peace in the earth, His crucifixion was soon followed (A.D. 70) by the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter scattering of the Palestinian Jews amongst the nations141
Significantly, this dogmatic footnote denying any link with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, is omitted in the New Scofield Study Bible.
The argument concerning God’s possible future purposes for a revived national Israel therefore in part stands or falls on whether the promise made under the Abrahamic Covenant has or has not yet been fulfilled. In Genesis 15:18 we are told,
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates…
Then, in Deuteronomy 6, Moses says,
See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–and to their descendants after them. (Deuteronomy 1,8)
But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. (Deuteronomy 6,23)
In these passages Moses reminds the Israelites that God had rescued them from Egypt in order to fulfil the promise made to Abraham that his seed would inherit the Promised Land. God reaffirms that same promise to Moses’ successor, Joshua.
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. (Joshua 1,6)
The question then arises, did Israel do so? While it is true that the Jews have never exercised political sovereignty over all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates, looking back, the writer of the book of Joshua regarded the covenant promise as having already been fulfilled in that generation.
So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war. (Joshua 11,23)
So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21,43-45)142
It is significant that we are told Joshua took ‘the entire land’ because the Lord had given ‘Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers’. To the claim that certain promises have yet to be fulfilled, Joshua is emphatic, ‘Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.’ Likewise, Nehemiah, writing after the second exile, looked back to the first exile and could testify in praise to God for the fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham,
You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers… You made their sons as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their fathers to enter and possess. (Nehemiah 9,22-23)
These passages record the first re-gathering of the Israelites to the Promised Land and Nehemiah even refers to the metaphorical promise to make Abraham’s descendants ‘as numerous as the stars in the sky’ (cf. Genesis 22:17). It is significant, however, that Scofield gives no footnotes to these passages, nor offers any cross-references to them. Instead he relies on a literalistic interpretation of Genesis 15:18 that leads him to contradict these other passages of Scripture.
This selective approach is not the only occasion on which Scofield mishandles Scripture in order to maintain his dispensational scheme. He does the same with the second exile. The Prophets, while warning of judgement and chastisement also offer, in varying degrees of explicitness, the promise of a second return. After 70 years this was fulfilled under Zerubbabel, and recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah. However, Scofield insists they refer to a third return on the premise that certain Messianic promises have not yet been completely fulfilled literally. An example he gives is Jeremiah 23:5-8,
The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety… ‘So then, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.
In a footnote to this passage, Scofield asserts,
This final restoration is shown to be accomplished after a period of unexampled tribulation (Jer 30. 3-10), and in connection with the manifestation of David’s righteous Branch (v. 5), who is also Jehovah-tsidkenu (v. 6). The restoration here foretold is not to be confounded with the return of a feeble remnant of Judah under Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel at the end of the 70 years (Jer. 29. 10). At His first advent Christ, David’s righteous Branch (Lk. 1. 31-33), did not ‘execute justice and judgment in the earth’ but was crowned with thorns and crucified. Neither was Israel the nation restored, nor did the Jewish people say, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’ Cf. Rom. 10. 3. The prophecy is yet to be fulfilled (Acts 15. 14-17).143
Another passage which Scofield insists supports his belief in a ‘third’ return is Ezekiel 37 and the vision of the valley of dry bones.
Having announced (Ezk. 36. 24-38) the restoration of the nation, Jehovah now gives in vision and symbol the method of its accomplishment. Verse 11 gives the clue. The ‘bones’ are the whole house of Israel who shall then be living. The ‘graves’ are the nations where they dwell. The order of the procedure is, (1) the bringing of the people out (v. 12); (2) the bringing of them in (v. 12); (3) their conversion (v. 13); (4) the filling with the Spirit (v.14). The symbol follows. The two sticks are Judah and the ten tribes; united, they are one nation (vs. 19-21). Then follows (vs. 21-27) the plain declaration as to Jehovah’s purpose, and verse 28 implies that then Jehovah will become known to the Gentiles in a marked way. This is also the order of Acts 15. 16, 17, and the two passages strongly indicate the time of full Gentile conversion.144
It is difficult to conceive how such an entirely futuristic interpretation would have brought comfort to the Jewish exiles in Babylon to whom Ezekiel was sent to minister.
In the footnote to Genesis 15, Scofield offers just two New Testament references to vindicate his claim that there would be a third return to the Land. Luke 1:30-33 and Acts 15:13-17. Significantly there is in fact no reference to “land” in either of these passages. Luke 1:33 states, “and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Without further comment or footnote to the actual text, Scofield takes Luke 1:30-33 to be an implicit prediction of the return of Israel, a third time, to the Land in which Jesus will therefore “reign” as king for ever. He clearly sees this as specific to Israel rather than as a universal reference to earthly or heavenly rule as other commentators have done.
The second New Testament passage which Scofield claims speaks of a third return is Acts 15:13-17. This contains the quote by James taken from Amos 9:11-12.
After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages. (Acts 15:16-18)
For Scofield, ‘Dispensationally, this is the most important passage in the N.T. It gives the divine purpose for this age, and for the beginning of the next.’145 since it contains James’ summary of the decision reached by the Apostles and elders that Gentile believers were not required to undergo circumcision or be commanded to keep the law of Moses as some of the Pharisees had insisted (Acts 15:5-6). James appeals to Amos 9:11 as proof that what they had been witnessing since Pentecost, in seeing Gentiles come to faith, had been predicted long ago and was therefore consistent with God’s will.
Scofield reads considerably more into this passage however. So much so that he obscures its most obvious and direct meaning. The reason Scofield believes ‘dispensationally’, this to be ‘…the most important passage in the N.T.’ is because,
It gives the divine purpose for this age, and for the beginning of the next. (1) The taking out from among the Gentiles of a people for His name, the distinctive work of the present, or church-age… Precisely this has been in progress since Pentecost. The Gospel has never anywhere converted all, but everywhere has called out some. (‘After this [viz. the out-calling] I will return.’ James quotes from Amos 9. 11, 12. The verses which follow in Amos describe the final re-gathering of Israel… (3) ‘And will build again the tabernacle of David,’ i.e. re-establish the Davidic rule over Israel (2 Sam. 7. 8-17; Lk. 1. 31-33). (4) ‘That the residue of man [Israelites] may seek after the Lord’ (cf. Zech. 12. 7, 8; 13. 1,2). (5) ‘And all the Gentiles,’ etc. (cf. Mic. 4. 2; Zech. 8. 21, 22). This is also the order of Rom. 11. 24-27.146
Scofield has interpreted the ‘After this…’ as meaning that ‘after James’ or ‘after Pentecost’, in fact at least 1,900 years ‘after’, God would some day ‘rebuild the tabernacle of David’. In doing so Scofield ignores the fact that James is actually quoting Amos and a chronology seen from Amos’ perspective, to explain what had happened since the time of Amos and the amazing conversion of Cornelius and other Gentiles which had caused such a stir (Acts 15:2-4) and necessitated this potentially divisive meeting between Paul and Barnabas, the Apostles and Elders.
Schuyler English in his revision of Scofield attempts to reinforce this dispensational reading.
With the exception of the first five words, vv. 16 – 18 are quoted from Amos 9:11 – 12. James quoted from the LXX, which here preserved the original text (see Amos 9:12, note). Amos 9:11 begins with the words “in that day.” James introduced his quotation in such a way as to show what day Amos was talking about, namely, the time after the present world-wide witness (Acts 1:8), when Christ will return. James showed that there will be Gentile believers at that time as well as Jewish believers; hence he concluded that Gentiles are not required to become Jewish proselytes by circumcision.”147
Here Schuyler English presumably believes the promise to “restore David’s fallen tent” refers to the physical return of Israel to the Land rather than the spiritual return of Israel to their Lord. The quotation is taken from Amos 9:11.
In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, ” declares the LORD, who will do these things. “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:11-15)
“Amos’ single prophecy of future blessing (9:11 – 15) details (1) the restoration of the Davidic dynasty (v. 11); (2) the conversion of the nations (v. 12); (3) the fruitfulness of the land (v. 13); (4) Israel’s return from captivity (v. 14); (5) the rebuilding of the waste cities (v. 14); and (6) Israel’s permanent settlement in the holy land (v. 15).”148
Whereas Scofield and Schuyler English take James’ quote of Amos as promising a future literal and permanent return to the Land, James, does not actually quote Amos 9:13-15, stopping at, and paraphrasing, verse 12. Instead James dwells on the purpose – the bringing of people to faith in the Messiah, and specifically the explanation of why Gentiles were turning to the Lord. James is simply appealing to the prophets to vindicate the universality of the Gospel and the Gentile mission in particular. If dispensationalists see this as ‘spiritualising’ the Old Testament text, then they should acknowledge that it is James under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who does so.149
By using the passage to teach some predetermined chronological and superior futuristic plan for national Israel, however, Scofield and Schuyler English take away the heart of the passage which implicitly focuses on the wonder of Christ’s work at Calvary as the reason Gentiles were turning to God (Acts 15:26). Furthermore, on the basis of Scofield’s logic, and as others have insisted subsequently, the ‘return’ of Israel to the Land could precede her return to the Lord, since this Jewish revival will occur on His ‘return’ thus negating the need for evangelism among the Jews.
It is a simple fact that nowhere is a third re-gathering ‘to the land’ mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Each passage quoted by Scofield refers either to the first or second re-gathering to the land, or as in the case of Amos 9, to the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is significant that following the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple in 516 B.C. there are no biblical references in either the Old or the New Testament to any return to the Land.
From the perspective of the New Testament, the Land, as much as the nation of Israel, has ceased to have any significance in the future purposes of God. So for example, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus reinterprets and universalises the promises made to Israel in Psalm 37.
|Psalm 37: 11, 22, 29But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace… those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off… the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.||Matthew 5:5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.|
Similarly, when Paul is listing the present benefits that still pertain to Israel in Romans 9, significantly, apart from the indirect reference by way of to ‘the covenants’ he does not explicitly mention the land or kingdom as one of them.150
…the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (Romans 9,4-5)
Probably most conclusive of all, Jesus himself rules out any notion that Israel will enjoy any discrete national identity, as a ‘kingdom’ in the future.
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (Matthew 21:43)
Gerstner interprets this as signalling,
…the end of the nation of Israel as the chosen people of God. They have been tried and found wanting. God’s patience has been exausted. If there were any doubts about that being the obvious meaning of the words, the parable on which they are based would utterly eliminate any lingering procrastination.151
Gerstner points out that the Greek word used in verse 43 for nation (ethnos) is invariably used to describe the Gentile peoples, and in context, the parable of the tenants clearly relates to and contrasts with the disobedience of the Jewish nation.152 Instead of attempting to explain how Jesus might be describing a ‘temporary’ rejection of the Jews, Ryrie reverses the plain intention of the text to fit a dispensational framework, asserting,
The kingdom of God shall be taken from you (leaders of Israel), and given to a nation (Israel) bringing forth the fruits thereof.153
Gerstner also notes that Chafer, Walvoord and Gaebelein remain ‘curiously silent’ on this verse.154 Allis summarises the traditional interpretation that Jesus is here signalling the end of any national identity for Israel within the purposes of God.
Jesus declared to the Jews that the kingdom should ‘be taken from’ them (Matt. xxi. 41f.). The children of the kingdom (the natural and lawful heirs) are to be ‘cast out’ (viii. 11f.). None of those ‘bidden’ are to taste of the marriage supper (Lk. xiv. 24). The vineyard is to be given to ‘other husbandmen’; to ‘a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof’; men are to come from the ‘highways,’ from ‘the east and west and north and south,’ to partake with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the marriage supper.155
Unperturbed by such discrepancies, inconsistencies and omissions Scofield constructs a detailed ‘end-times’ scenario which forms the basis of much contemporary apocalyptic dispensationalism.
10. Speculations on Armageddon and the Day of the Lord
In 1897 when Scofield spoke at the Niagara Prophetic Conference, his commitment to Darby’s doctrine of a ‘failing church’ and imminent rapture were well formulated. His message was entitled, ‘The Return of the Lord.’
The signs and portents of the end-time are now so many and so ominous than men of vision everywhere, and in every walk of life, are taking note of them; and this quite apart from the interpretation of them which prophecy gives. Men like Gladstone and Bismark have said that the catastrophe of present day civilisation is near and cannot be averted; that the destructive agencies are more and mightier than the forces of conservatism, and that no man may predict what form the reconstructed social order will assume after the inevitable cataclysm… We have risen from our study of the Word of God to come up here year by year to utter this warning-that the age ends in disaster, in ruin, in the great, final, world-catastrophe and for this we have been branded pessimists.156
Scofield followed Darby in describing in detail the events preceding the Great Tribulation and battle of Armageddon. It is interesting to compare the categorical footnotes to Ezekiel 38 found in the 1917 Scofield Reference Bible with the more circumspect notes of the 1984 New Scofield Study Bible.
|Scofield Reference Bible (1917)||The New Scofield Study Bible (1984)|
|That the primary reference is to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree. The whole passage should be read in connection with Zech. 12. 1-4; 14. 1-9; Mat. 24. 14-30; rev. 14. 14-20; 19. 17-21. ‘Gog’ is the prince, ‘Magog.’ his land. The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification. Russia and the northern powers have been the latest persecutors of dispersed Israel, and it is congruous both with divine justice and with the covenants (e.g. Gen. 15. 18, note; Deut. 30. 3, note) that destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future ‘day of Jehovah’ (Isa. 2. 10-22; rev. 19. 11-21), and to the battle of Armageddon (rev. 16. 14; 19. 19, note), but includes also the final revolt of the nations at the close of the kingdom-age (rev. 20. 7-9).157||The reference is to the powers in the north of Europe, headed by Russia. The whole passage should be read in connection with Zech. 12. 1-4; 14. 1-9; Mat. 24. 14-30; rev. 14. 14-20; 19. 17-21. Gog is probably the prince; Magog, his land. Russia and the northern powers have long been the persecutors of dispersed Israel, and it is congruous both with divine justice and the covenants of God that destruction shall fall in connection with the attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The entire prophecy belongs to the yet future day of the Lord (see notes at Joel 1:15; Revelation 19:19).158|
A similar comparison of the footnotes to Revelation 19:19 in both editions shows how dispensationalist speculations concerning Armageddon have been modified to take account of recent history.
So for example where Scofield, writing at the height of the colonial era, could speculate about “…the coming of the Lord in glory (Rev. 19. 1, 21), until which time Jerusalem is politically subject to Gentile rule (Luke 21. 24).”159 E. Schuyler English, writing in 1967 takes account of the events of 1948 and revises the note to read somewhat more enigmatically, “Until then Jerusalem will be, as Christ said, “trampled on by the Gentiles.” (Luke 21:24)”160
Similarly, Scofield sees the purpose of the Lord’s visible return to earth, subsequent to the secret rapture and removal of the saints to heaven, specifically in order to ‘deliver the Jewish remnant besieged by the Gentile world-powers under the Beast and False Prophet’.161 This scheme is not apparently shared by E. Schuyler English who, with the benefit of 20th Century hindsight, sees more significance in the invading chinese army than in the deliverance of Israel.
|Scofield Reference Bible (1917)||The New Scofield Study Bible (1984)|
|Armageddon (the ancient hill and valley of Megiddo, west of Jordan in the plain of Jezreel) is the appointed place for the beginning of the great battle in which the Lord, at his coming in glory, will deliver the Jewish remnant besieged by the Gentile world-powers under the Beast and False Prophet (rev. 16.13-16; Zech. 12.1-9). Apparently the besieging hosts, whose approach to Jerusalem is described in Isa. 10.28-32, alarmed by the signs which precede the Lord’s coming (Mt. 24.29,30), have fallen back to Megiddo, after the events of Zech. 14.2, where their destruction begins; a destruction consummated in Moab and the plains of Idumea (Isa. 63.1-6). This battle is the first event in “the day of Jehovah” (Isa. 2.12, refs.), and the fulfilment of the smiting-stone prophecy of Dan. 2.35.162||Armageddon (the name itself is to be found only in 16:16) is the ancient hill and valley of Megiddo, west of the Jordan in the plain of Jezreel between Samaria and Galilee. It is the appointed place where the armies of the beast and false prophet will be destroyed by Christ’s descending to earth in glory (vv. 11,15,19,21), as well as any other forces which will come against the beast in their attack on Palestine (e.g. the remainder of the Far Eastern army of 200 million men), and others (9:13 – 18; 16:12 -14,16; cp. Joel 3:9 – 16; Zech 12:1 – 9; 14:1 – 4; Mat 24:27 – 30). The battle is a fulfillment of the striking-stone prophecy of Dan 2:35… See also Isa 2:12, refs.163|
As has been shown Scofield divided the world into three classes of people, Jews, Gentiles and the visible church.164 Consequently he sees the return of Jesus Christ as having a ‘threefold relation: to the church, to Israel, to the nations.’165 In a most unorthodox manner, Scofield even claims that after the judgment there will be forgiveness and blessing for both Jews and Gentiles long after the church has been raised to heaven.
(a) To the church the descent of the Lord into the air to raise the sleeping and change the living saints is set forth as a constant expectation and hope…
(b) To Israel, the return of the Lord is predicted to accomplish the yet unfulfilled prophecies of her national regathering, conversion and establishment in peace and power under the Davidic Covenant (Acts 15. 14-17 with Zech. 14. 1-9)
(c) To the Gentile nations the return of Christ is predicted to bring the destruction of the present political world-system (Dan. 2.34, 35; Rev. 19. 11, note); the judgment of Mt. 25. 31-46, followed by world-wide Gentile conversion and participation in the blessings of the kingdom (Isa. 2. 2-4; 11. 10; 60. 3; Zech. 8. 3, 20, 23; 14. 16-21).166
It is interesting to observe how Scofield used passages such as Matthew 24 to make prophetic interpretations fit contemporary events, a pattern developed by subsequent dispensationalists. So, in referring to Allenby’s capture of Jerusalem in December 1917, Scofield wrote to Charles Trumball, his biographer, ‘Now for the first time, we have a real prophetic Sign.’ 167 A year later, in 1918 Scofield published, What Do The Prophets Say?, a series of studies that had previously appeared in the Sunday School Times in 1916. This included a chapter entitled, ‘Does the Bible Throw Light on This War?’ Scofield speculated,
So far as the prophetic Word has spoken there is not the least warrant for the expectation that the nations engaged in the present gigantic struggle will or can make a permanent peace. It is fondly dreamed that out of all the duffering and carnage and destruction of this war will be born such a hatred of war as will bring to pass a federation of the nations-The United States of the World-in which will exist but one army, and that an international peace, rather than an army.
For once there is some correspondence between a popular dream and the prophetic Word. For that Word certainly points to a federated world-empire in the end-time of the age… It is, of course, possible, nay, probable that some temporary truce may end, or suspend for a time, the present world-war, for ten kingdoms will exist at the end-time in the territory once ruled over by Rome.168
There are remarkable similarities between Scofield’s views and those written 60 years later by Hal Lindsey who equally dogmatically asserts,
We are the generation the prophets were talking about. We have witnessed biblical prophecies come true. The birth of Israel. The decline in American power and morality. The rise of Russian and Chinese might. The threat of war in the Middle East. The increase of earthquakes, volcanoes, famine and drought. The Bible foretells the signs that precede Armageddon… We are the generation that will see the end times …and the return of Jesus.169
Dwight Wilson observes,
The premillinarian’s history is strewn with a mass of erroneous speculations which have undermined their credibility… The supposed restoration of Israel has confused the problem of whether the Jews are to be restored before or after the coming of the Messiah. The restoration… Has been pinpointed to have begun in 1897, 1917, and 1948… It is not likely that the situation will change greatly.170
11. Conclusions: The Legacy of Scofieldism on Christian Zionism
William E. Cox, a former dispensationalist and subsequently a critic of Scofieldism offers this appraisal of his abiding influence.
Scofield’s footnotes and his systematized schemes of hermeneutics have been memorized by many as religiously as have verses of the Bible. It is not at all uncommon to hear devout men recite these footnotes prefaced by the words, ‘The Bible says…’ Many a pastor has lost all influence with members of his congregation and has been branded a liberal for no other reason than failure to concur with all the footnotes of Dr. Scofield. Even many ministers use the teachings of Scofield as tests of orthodoxy! Charles G. Trumball, late editor of the Sunday School Times, spoke of the Scofield Bible in the following terms, in his book, The Life Story of C. I. Scofield: ‘God-planned, God-guided, God-energized work.(p. 114).’171
In 1890 Scofield began his Comprehensive Bible Correspondence Course through which tens of thousands of students around the world were introduced to his dispensational teaching about a failing Church and a future Israel. Scofield directed the Course until 1914 when it was taken over by the Moody Press, associated with the Moody Bible Institute.
In the 1890’s during Scofield’s pastorate in Dallas he was also head of the Southwestern School of the Bible, the forerunner to Dallas Theological Seminary, founded in 1924 by another of his disciples, Lewis Sperry Chafer, who became probably Scofield’s most influential exponent.
Chafer has, in the history of American Dispensationalism, a double distinction. First, he established and led Dispensationalism’s most scholarly institution through the formative years of its existence. Second, he produced the first full and definitive systematic theology of Dispensationalism. This massive eight-volume work is a full articulation of the standard Scofieldian variety of dispensational thought, constantly related to the Biblical texts and data on which it claims to rest. Its influence appears to have been great on all dispensationalist teachers since its first publication, though it is fading today.
All of Chafer’s work and career was openly and obviously in the Scofieldian tradition. A few years before his death, Chafer, faithful to his mentor to the last, was to say of his greatest academic achievement, ‘It goes on record that the Dallas Theological Seminary uses, recommends, and defends the Scofield Bible.’
The major line of dispensational orthodoxy is clear and unbroken from Darby to Scofield to Chafer to Dallas.172
For example, Chafer repeatedly defended both Scofield’s and Darby’s foundational assumption that the Bible reveals God is working through two different channels, Israel and the church.
…with the call of Abraham and the giving of the Law and all that followed, there are two widely different, standardized, divine provisions, whereby man, who is utterly fallen, might come into favour with God… These systems [of law and grace] do set up conflicting and opposing principles. But since these difficulties appear only when an attempt is made to coalesce systems, elements, and principles which God has separated, the conflicts really do not exist at all outside these unwarranted unifying efforts… The true unity of the Scriptures is not discovered when one blindly seeks to fuse these opposing principles into one system… Though dispensationalism does… Departmentalize the message of the Word of God according to its obvious divisions, [it] does also discover the true unity of the Bible. The outstanding characteristic of the dispensationalist is… That he believes every statement of the Bible and gives to it the plain, natural meaning its words imply. [Dispensationalism] has changed the Bible from being a mass of more or less conflicting writings into a classified and easily assimilated revelation of both the earthly and heavenly purposes of God, which purposes reach on into eternity to come.173
It is perhaps therefore not surprising that these two institutions, the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Dallas Theological Seminary have since then continued to be the foremost apologists for Scofield’s dispensational views, and Christian Zionism in particular.
1 For example, The New Scofield Reference Bible ed. E. Schuyler English (New York, Oxford University Press, 1967); The Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition (Chicago, Moody Bible Institute, 1994); The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984); Scofield Study Notes (Quickverse for Windows, Parsons Technology, 1994)
2 Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, British and American Millenarianism, 1800-1930 (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1970), p. 222.
3 Charles G. Trumball, The Life Story of C. I. Scofield (Oxford University Press, New York, 1920)
4 Joseph M. Canfield, The Incredible Scofield and his Book (Vallecito, California, Ross House Books, 1988). Canfield refers to a third source by William A. BeVier, A Biographical Sketch of C.I. Scofield: A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Southern Methodist University in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of the Master of Arts with a Major in History. May 1960. See also Albertus Pieters, A Candid Examination of the Scofield Bible (Grand Rapids, Douma Publications)
5 Trumball, Scofield., p. 125.
6 cited by Canfield, Incredible., p. 1. as reported in The Dallas Morning News, Monday Nov. 28, 1921, p. 7.
7 Canfield, Incredible., pp. 15, 108.
8 Canfield, Incredible., p. 48.
9 Canfield, Incredible., p. 52.
10 Canfield, Incredible., p. 54.
11 Canfield, Incredible., p. 55.
12 Canfield, Incredible., p. 66.
13 Canfield, Incredible., pp. 57, 67.
14 Canfield, Incredible., p. 79.
15 Canfield, Incredible., p. 80.
16 From the papers in case No. 2161, supplied by the Atchison County Court, cited in Canfield, Incredible., p. 89.
17 From the papers in case No. 2161, supplied by the Atchison County Court, cited in Canfield, Incredible., p. 89.
18 Canfield, Incredible., p. 95.
19 Canfield, Incredible., p. 98.
20 Canfield, Incredible., p. 100.
21 Canfield, Incredible., p. 115.
22 Canfield, Incredible., p. 196.
23 Canfield, Incredible., p. 135.
24 Canfield, Incredible., p. 148.
25 Canfield, Incredible., p. 181.
26 Canfield, Incredible., p. 231.
27 Canfield, Incredible., pp. 222, 277, 291.
28 From the files of the Kansas State Historical Society, as cited by Canfield, Incredible., pp. 79-80.
29 Newspaper from the files of the Kansas City Public Library, as cited by Canfield, Incredible., pp. 82-83.
30 Canfield, Incredible., pp. 83-84.
31 Canfield, Incredible., p. 151
32 Canfield, Incredible., pp. 76, 84.
33 C.I. Scofield, The Purpose of God in This Age, a sermon preached at First Congregational, Dallas, October 15, 1893, p. 19. Cited by Canfield, Incredible., p. 137.
34 John Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth (Brentwood, Tennessee, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991), p. 38.
35 Ernest Reisinger, ‘A History of Dispensationalism in America’ (http://www.founders.org/FJ09/article1.html)
36 Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British & American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago, University Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 74-75.
37 Canfield, Incredible., p. 74.
38 Clarence B. Bass, Backgrounds to Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1960), p. 18. See also Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1958), p. 369f.
39 W. G. Turner, John Nelson Darby (London, Chapter Two, , 1986), back cover.
40 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 43.
41 C. I. Scofield, ‘Introduction,’ The Scofield Reference Bible (Oxford, Oxford University Press), 1909.
42 Arno C. Gaebelein, Half A Century (New York, Publication Office of Our Hope, 1930), p. 20. Cited in Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 44.
43 Arno C. Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible (Spokane, WA, Living Words Foundation, 1991), p. 33.
44 J. R. Graves, The Work of Christ Consummated in Seven Dispensations (Texarkana, Baptist Sunday School Board of Texarkana, 1883)
45 Canfield, Incredible., p. 112.
46 C. I. Scofield, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (New York, Loizeaux Brothers, 1888)
47 Canfield, Incredible., p. 122.
48 The Authorised Version translates this verses as ‘rightly dividing the Word of Truth.’ Canfield wrongly attributes this to Paul’s first letter to Timothy, Canfield, Incredible., p. 166.
49 Scofield, Rightly., p. 3.
50 Scofield, Rightly., p. 2.
51 Canfield, Incredible., p. 166.
52 (John 3:16, 18)
53 (1 Corinthians 12:13)
54 Scofield, Rightly., p. 18.
55 Canfield, Incredible., p. 167.
56 C.I. Scofield, Scofield Bible Correspondence Course (Chicago, Moody Bible Institute), pp. 45-46.
57 Scofield, Scofield., Index.
58 Barr, Fundamentalism., p. 196.
59 Canfield, Incredible., p. 112.
60 Canfield, Incredible., p. 122.
61 Bruce L. Shelly, ‘Niagara Conferences’, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church ed. J. D. Douglas. rev. edn. (Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1978), p. 706.
62 Resolution included as Appendix A in Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British & American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago, University Chicago Press, 1970).
63 Charles G. Trumball, The Life Story of C. I. Scofield (Oxford University Press, New York, 1920), pp. 61-62.
64 Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1945), p. 267.
65 Fuller, Gospel., p. 1.
66 The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984)
67 Arno C. Gaebelein, Moody Monthly 43 (1943) p. 278.
68 Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now! (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1977), p. 15.
69 James Barr, Escaping from Fundamentalism (London, SCM, 1984), p. 6.
70 Craig A. Blaising ‘Dispensationalism, The Search for Definition’ in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, The Search for Definition ed. Craig A. Blaising & Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1992) p. 21.
71 Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British & American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago, University Chicago Press, 1970), p. 222.
72 C. I. Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1917), Introduction, p. iii.
73 Scofield, Scofield., p. iii.
74 Canfield, Incredible., p. 209. Canfield calculates that comments appear on only 327 out of a total of 970 pages of the Old Testament, and on only 214 out of 352 pages in the New Testament.
75 Trumball, Scofield., p. 76.
76 Scofield, Scofield., p. 725.
77 Canfield, Incredible., p. 209.
78 James M. Gray, President of Moody Bible Institute, and William J. Erdman.
79 Canfield, Incredible., p. 204.
80 Ernest Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism British & American Millenarianism 1800-1930 (Chicago, University Chicago Press, 1970), p. 224.
81 Cornelius R. Stam, The New Scofield Reference Bible, An Appraisal, (Chicago, Berean Bible Society), p. 12. Cited in Canfield, Incredible., p. 218.
82 The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984)
83 Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition (Chicago, Moody Bible Institute, 1994)
84 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 4, p. 5.
85 Scofield, Scofield., Introduction to the Scofield Reference Bible, p. iii.
86 C. I. Scofield, Addresses on Prophecy (New York, Chas. C. Cook, 1914), p. 13. Cited in Canfield, Incredible., pp. 216-217.
87 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 4, p. 5.
88 The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 3.
89 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 3, p. 1250.
90 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 20.
91 Scofield, Scofield., p. 989
92 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 2, p. 1115.
93 Scofield, Scofield., p. 1002. Many other dispensationalists take the same view. See Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, (Dallas, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1975), vol. 4. p. 221.
94 Scofield, Scofield., p. 1115. This footnote is substantially modified in the New Scofield Study Bible, to stress that salvation is always through faith. p. 1094.
95 Scofield, Scofield., p. 1252. Here Scofield contradicts Paul himself in 2 Timothy 3:16.
96 Daniel P. Fuller, Gospel and Law, Contrast or Continuum. The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans. 1980); Patrick Fairbairn, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, reprinted 1964); William Cox, Why I Left Scofieldism (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian & Reformed, n.d.); An Examination of Dispensationalism (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1963)
97 C. I. Scofield, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (Oakland, Western Book and Tract Co. n.d.), p. 18.
98 Scofield, Scofield.,. p. 989.
99 William E. Cox, Why I Left Scofieldism (Phillipsberg, New Jersey, Presbyterian and Reformed, n.d.) p. 8.
100 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 8.
101 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 9.
102 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 18.
103 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 725.
104 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1346.
105 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1347.
106 Scofield, Rightly., p. 13.
107 see Ephesians 1:22-23; Matthew 16:18.
108 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1629.
109 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 20.
110 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 20.
111 New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 18.
112 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, pp. 724-725. This is another unpalatable footnote omitted in the New Scofield Study Bible (1984).
113 International Christian Zionist Congress Proclamation, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. 25-29 February 1996; and Colin Chapman, Whose Promised Land? (Oxford, Lion, 1992), p. 280.
114 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 3, p. 25.
115 New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 18.
116 Scofield, Scofield., p. 989.
117 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 2. p. 1021.
118 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1158.
119 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1204.
120 Cited in Canfield, Incredible., p. 169.
121 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1. p. 1036.
122 New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 1012.
123 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 922.
124 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1348.
125 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1348.
126 Scofield, Rightly., p. 18.
127 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1206.
128 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1297.
129 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1148.
130 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 2, p. 963.
131 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 2, p. 157.
132 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 932.
133 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1151.
134 Scofield, Scofield., note, p. 25.
135 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 250.
136 The New Scofield Reference Bible ed. E. Schuyler English (New York, Oxford University Press, 1967)
137 The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 217.
138 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1. p. 250.
139 The New Scofield Reference Bible ed. E. Schuyler English (New York, Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 19.
140 The New Scofield Reference Bible ed. E. Schuyler English (New York, Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 217.
141 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1. p. 723.
142 emphasis added.
143 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 795.
144 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 881.
145 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, pp. 1169-1170
146 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1. pp. 1169-1170
147 New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 1152.
148 New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 916.
149 Fuller, Gospel., p. 180. Also James Barr, Fundamentalism (London, SCM, 1977), p. 355.
150 W. D. Davies, The Gospel and the Land (Berkeley, Los Angeles, University of California), 1974, pp. 166-167, 366ff. [n.b. a subject to be pursued in more detail later]
151 Gerstner, Wrongly., pp. 190-191.
152 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 191.
153 Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith, (Neptune, New Jersey, Loizeaux Brothers, 1953), p. 72.
154 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 192.
155 Oswald Allis, Prophecy and the Church, An Examination of the Claim of Dispensationalists that the Christian Church is a Mystery (Philadelphia, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1945), p. 78.
156 Truth (periodical), No. 19 (1897), p. 385. Cited in Canfield, Incredible., p.125.
157 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 883.
158 E. Schuyler English, The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984) p. 857.
159 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1345.
160 E. Schuyler English, The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984) p. 1331.
161 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 4, p. 1348.
162 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 4, pp. 1348-1349.
163 E. Schuyler English, The New Scofield Study Bible (New York, Oxford University Press, 1984) p. 1334.
164 Scofield, Scofield., p. 1221.
165 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1148
166 Scofield, Scofield., fn. 1, p. 1148
167 Charles G. Trumball, Prophecy’s Light on Today, (New York, Revell, 1937), p. 67, cited in Canfield, Incredible., p. 271.
168 C. I. Scofield, What Do The Prophets Say? (Philadelphia, The Sunday School Times Co., 1918), pp. 18-19. Cited in Canfield, Incredible., pp. 274-275.
169 Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s, Countdown to Armageddon, (New York, Bantam, 1981), back cover.
170 Dwight Wilson, Armageddon Now, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1977), pp. 216-218.
171 William E. Cox, An Examination of Dispensationalism (Philadelphia, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1974), p. 55-56.
172 Gerstner, Wrongly., p. 46
173 L. S. Chafer, ‘Dispensationalism,’ Bibliotheca Sacra, 93 (October 1936), 410, 416, 446-447. Quoted in Daniel P. Fuller, Gospel and Law, Contrast or Continuum? The Hermeneutic of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (Grand Rapdis, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1980), pp. 24-25.