The Dispensational Playbook Again? There Is A More Biblical, Historic Way

“Now we are a global world. And that is a setup that we’ve been waiting for through redemptive history since the Lord promised that there would come, in the future, an Antichrist…who would have a global government.” He told the crowd this is the first time in his life of 81 years that the government has “such power over people globally that we can shut them down so they can’t function…#cancelculture can come to MacArthur continued, “This suits the world of Antichrist. As you look at the book of Revelation, there’s the mark of the beast, the number, and if you don’t have that, you don’t buy…you don’t sell…you don’t exist.”

“Everything about you they know,” he said, ” the people who have access to all your data. They know all of it. You can go out of existence virtually any moment somebody decides that. This is the kind of world that appears to be perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come…bring a certain amount of peace, the world falls at his feet. He is the instrument of Satan, and of course all hell breaks loose…and in the time of the great tribulation, God’s judgement comes, at the end of which Christ returns. Read more»

Jesse T. Jackson, “John MacArthur: World Appears to Be Perfectly Suited for the Antichrist to Come,” Church Leaders (December 11, 2020).


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  1. Dr. Clark,
    I just recently finished reading Kim Riddlebarger’s book, The Man of Sin, for a second time and have passed it on to my pastor and wife to read. I am not dispensational in my views and find myself agreeing with Pastor Riddlebarger’s perspective. Our Lord says when he comes people will be unaware and going about their everyday lives. On the other hand, Paul tells us that the coming of the Lord won’t occur until a falling away from the faith occurs and the antichrist is revealed. How do those two things match up? It seems that some definite things will take place that will help Christians know that the time is drawing near. Is there anything in John MacArthur’s perspective about the end times that you think might be correct and fit in with the amillenial end time perspective. I think of Daniel 12:9-10, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”
    I have benefited greatly from your posts and have shared them with pastors and friends of mine. I live in central PA, which is a very conservative region where Fred Keller is our representative to Congress.
    May you be blessed this Christmas in celebrating our Lord’s incarnation for only in Him are we truly safe and secure.

    • Hi Frederick,

      Historically, some Amillennialists have said that there will be a falling away before Christ returns but that isn’t universally held. I don’t think that Reformed people have thought in terms of clear signs that Christ’s return is near. At our best, we shy away from interpreting providence.

      No, I really don’t think that there’s anything in MacArthur’s eschatology that helps us. It’s a cul-de-sac, a dead end. It doesn’t help us understand Scripture. It doesn’t help us understand where we are in redemptive history. It doesn’t help us think about the future. I’m grateful for his devotion to Scripture but we are quite divergent in how we understand and apply it.

      • Dr. Clark, thank you for replying to my questions. Do you recommend any books on eschatology from a reformed perspective that coincides with your thinking? I have read Triumph of the Lamb, William Henderson’s and each of Kim Riddlebarger’s. I am a partner with The White Horse Inn and have been reading through your book on the Reformed faith. I was surprised when you said that Reformed people don’t always think there will be an end time apostasy. How do you understand 2 Thess. 2:3,” Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” Do you believe there will be an end time antichrist? I know Luther and Calvin thought it would be a pope. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions.

        • Frederick,

          I think that there will be an apostasy before Christ returns. I think most amils do. Part of the discussion gets to definitions. There are those who classify themselves as “optimistic amils” who, in this respect anyway, who are difficult to distinguish from postmils.

          I’m with Kim re the Antichrist etc. I think the papacy as an institution is anti-Christ but there have been anti-Christ’s since the time of the Apostles, as John says. Anyone who denies the incarnation is anti-Christ. I do expect some sort of anti-Christ figure. That said, as the major condition for the return of Christ is the efficacious call of all the elect.

  2. Oh Everyone, Please, Please Read !
    Bishop Wordsworth’s theology may not in general have been the best (He believed in apostolic succession through the laying on of hands, and general baptismal regeneration – which forces one to choose between antinomianism and arminianism), but his exposition of 2 Thessalonians 2 is bang on target.

    There are at least two individuals named in Scripture as The Son Of Perdition, so why not a whole succession of individuals, same as there was a succession of individuals named “He That Hinders”.

  3. I see nothing in the Reformed confessions which specifies a particular eschatology. Are we basing amillenialism as Reformed orthodoxy because some church fathers believed that way? Should the Reformed bind their members’ consciences to accept amillenialism as orthodoxy and all other views of eschatology as heterodox?

    • Bob,

      As I’ve explained in the Heidelcast series on eschatology (Heidelcast Series: As It Was In The Days Of Noah) there have been 3 views among the Reformed: Amil, Postmil, & historic (chiliast) Premil. Pre-trib, Dispensational, pre-millennialism is not among them. It’s outside the boundaries. Any system that looks forward to the re-institution of the temple and Memorial sacrifices is an assault on the finished work of Christ no less than the Romanist Memorial (propitiatory) sacrifices. The dispensational system sees national Israel at the center of the history of salvation and the future. Reformed Theology sees Christ at the center of the history of salvation and the future. These are very different and mutually exclusive.

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