Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in. In today’s program, Tom begins a two-part series with guest Tommy Ice as they address the topic: “Knowing the End from the Beginning.” And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Today and next week, my guest and I will be majoring on the subject of eschatology – eschatology simply meaning what the Bible has to say about the last days and the events surrounding the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And discussing that subject with me is Tommy Ice. He’s the executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center, which produces a newsletter, and they host an annual conference that focuses primarily on biblical prophecy.
Tommy, thanks for joining me again on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Tommy: Well, great to be with you, Tom.
Tom: You know, Tommy is also the coauthor with Ed Hindson of a book titled Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan, which is going to be the centerpiece of our discussion.
Now, before we get into the details of some of its content, I want to tell our listeners why I’m excited – and, Tommy, you know I called you right away after receiving it – why I’m really excited about this book. In my view, there’s a serious lack of knowledge among Christians today regarding what the Bible says will take place in the future, both immediate – our immediate time and down the line. And what the Bible says about the events to come, it’s not a mysterious subject. It’s spelled out quite unambiguously, and those who don’t pay attention to what it says or know and reject what it says have made themselves, again, in my view, ripe for being deceived. And we’ll cover some of those details momentarily, but I’m excited about what you, Tommy, and Ed have produced, because your book presents, as the back cover states, “God’s plan made clear from beginning to end.” And I would add not only clear, but very easy to comprehend.
Now, Tommy, what motivated the two of you to write this book?
Tommy: Well, we wanted to lay out in a way similar to what Tim LaHaye and I did in our book Charting the End Times 15 years ago: the complete story of history, because when you see things…when you see the entire Bible charted out as planned for God, it helps you realize how real and historical it is, you know? Because that is one of the unique things about the Bible is there’s no other religion in the world that is rooted and grounded in history. All other religions are based on a philosophy or ethics, how you should live; the Bible has theology and ethics in it. But it’s rooted and grounded in events that happened in history, like creation, and the end is something that God’s decreed. So in both of those areas, you have to take God’s Word for it, and it forces you to either trust or not trust the Bible, because God is the only one that was there at the beginning, and He certainly knows what’s going to happen at the end. And in between there are events like the prophecies about Christ’s first coming that were literally fulfilled, and so that gives Him a legacy of trustworthiness that we can go back and look and see what He says about the early part of before man came along in the early part of history, before the flood, etc., and also trust what He’s going to say about the future. And so only the Bible tells you the end from the beginning, and so that’s how I summarize history is going from a garden to a city with a cross in between.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Right. You know, a while ago, Tommy, I wrote an article for our newsletter titled “Is Your Eschatology Showing?” And the point I was trying to make is that one’s view of what’s ahead may well determine the actions he takes: either taking heed to what it says, or dismissing it altogether. For example, an ignorance of the next kingdom to come according to the chronology of the Bible, it could well have a person committing to an agenda that’s at odds with what Scripture says will, and in fact will take place, or being oblivious to prophecies related to the apostasy being manifested could well make one vulnerable to its deceptions.
Now, Tommy, do you see that as a problem, as you know what’s going on in the church today?
Tommy: Well, very much so. In fact, Friday, last Friday, I was – I debated a post-Millennialist in Torrance, California, and they believed that before Jesus returns, the world is going to be converted to Christ, and the Millennium basically is going to occur, and then after that Jesus will return. Well, one of the issues is: what about apostasy? Apostasy is the third most frequently mentioned topic in the whole New Testament epistles, and yet they believe that that was limited to the first century, or something like that; I’m not sure exactly. And yet are things getting better when it comes to righteousness on this earth? And so if you have a wrong view of that, then you’re not going to do what the New Testament says and be on guard about watching for…if you’re a pastor, you’re supposed to protect the sheep; I don’t see that very high on most pastors’ lists today. So that makes them susceptible to all of these trends that are going on. The Bible teaches that the gospel is going to spread and become global, but the purpose of the gospel is to save believers, and then we’re going to reign and rule with Christ after He returns. Just having that basic outline in your mind helps you get a proper perspective. And so we see that the gospel is prospering and spreading globally. I was told 50,000 people every day, roughly, come to faith in China. That’s tremendous.
Tommy: But we don’t seem to see the same movement that we had like in the early ‘70s here in the United States. It seems that people aren’t coming to Christ here at such a rate, and we’re seeing all kinds of false teaching and things coming into the church, and that was predicted in the New Testament, and we’re told to keep that in mind.
Tom: Right. And, of course, what we’re seeing certainly in the world, not buying into this, I mean, for the most part praise God for what’s taking – how the Holy Spirit’s working in China and other places, so we’re not denying that. But at the same time, there’s a grand delusion – “grand” may not be the right word.
But, Tommy, you mentioned a couple of things that this post-Millennialist…but we’re seeing it across the board: there’s the kingdom-now people, and so on, which we’re going to talk about in more detail. So this isn’t something that just is an aside. We know, along with God the Holy Spirit moving, there’s a work that, as you guys have pointed out very simply and clearly from the Scriptures what is ahead, what is taking place, and unless you have your head buried in the sand (or if you’re in Bend, buried in snow, because that’s a problem!), and you’re not seeing it, that’s the only excuse I would give somebody. They’re either rejecting this outright, or they don’t want it to happen, or they just don’t believe it.
Tommy, now some of the reasons for this, and you alluded to it – I’m thinking about 2 Tim:4:3: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” And one of the problems is a rejection or an ignorance of prophecy, and that’s what you and Tim and those who have been involved with your Pre-Trib conference, that’s what it’s been about. But not many are taking heed to that, are they?
Tommy: Well, no, they’re not, and especially in what I would called the “academy,” or the academic level. Just a generation ago, we had many schools you could go to, colleges and seminaries, that taught basically the truth, and taught what you and I hold to be true. Now virtually all those schools have moved away. For example, at our conference this last year, we had people, a guy David Purnell, who was showing – it’s like a Sears catalogue; thick book that he’s produced – showing how all these critical studies have come into evangelicals and at most of the colleges and seminaries – documenting, naming names, giving examples. And it’s just amazing; it’s overwhelming. And then we had Michael Rydelnik (he’s head of Jewish Studies at Moody) about how most evan…well, schools like Dallas Seminary, my alma mater – how hardly anybody, if anybody, in the Hebrew department believes that there are more than one or two Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament! Can you believe that?
Tom: Wow. No, it’s insane.
Tommy: It’s unreal! And then we had Abner Chou, who is a professor at the Masters Seminary, defend the literal interpretation of the Scripture, and he was showing that every time the Bible quotes itself (like Genesis:3:15 is quoted seven or eight times throughout Scripture), it always takes it literally, or what we’d call grammatically historically…
Tommy: …and that is a demonstration. And he has dozens of passages that he shows are fulfilled literally in the Bible’s understanding. So that’s in defense of the literal interpretation, which hardly anybody is pursuing, you know, in the academy. And then that impacts the churches over time.
Then he gave a lecture on what’s called a Christological hermeneutic, where everything has to refer to Jesus, you know what I mean? And that is a distortion…you know, we certainly give due course to the passages that do teach about Jesus. But nevertheless, if you hold that view, then that often keeps you from having an understanding of the passages that the Bible intends to speak about – the last days, for example. And…because you’ve got to turn everything into something directly referring to Jesus, into some positive thing. And so, yeah, our organization is dealing with these sometimes at the academic level, sometimes at the practical level, because there’s just a whole abandonment in my lifetime within what is called evangelicalism…
Tommy: …away from the truth. And this was a movement that started as a response to liberalism a hundred years ago. And now we’re seeing that very movement go liberal.
Tom: Right. And it’s a fulfillment of prophecy. I mean, I just quoted it – 2 Tim:4:3: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”
Now, Tommy, at the academic level, this is such a contradiction, because you figure, “Okay, academics, professors, and so on, especially within a Christian – so-called Christian (I have to use that correction there) – that they would be interested in truth. But again, the best…you mentioned it earlier: the best example or the proof of apologetics is prophecy. How do we know that God wrote this book? Well, fulfillment of prophecy. You mentioned the first coming of Christ: everything in detail, incredibly. So when they who are supposed to be teachers at the academic level in Christian environments, when they put off prophecy, the very thing that proves that God wrote this book, what else can you say except here we are in those days?
Tommy: Yeah, and Dave Hunt used to talk about that all the time, and he used to show through prophecy how the Bible was true. And it is! You can demonstrate that all those prophecies, some as much as Genesis:3:15 way back at the beginning of history have been fulfilled in the first coming. So we believe – how were they fulfilled? Well, I just mentioned they were fulfilled literally at Christ’s coming so that prophecies about the Second Coming are going to be fulfilled literally.
Tom: Yeah! Look, if it was perfect the first go-round, which it is, and can be proven, well, what do you think about what is yet to come?
And, Tommy, you know that we’ve had some amazing prophecies fulfilled. How about the reestablishment of the State of Israel, 1948? You know, are you going to deny that?
Tom: And I’d like to go to one where we get into a little…Tommy, you know I’ve spoken at your conference, so this could be a little bit of a controversy – but here’s a prophecy that I tell young people that’s being fulfilled in their very day: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” We’ve quoted that, but it says, “Mark my words,” this is 2 Tim:3:1,2, “Mark my words, in the last days there will be terrible times. Men will be,” I’m paraphrasing, “Men will become lovers of themselves.” There’s the whole introduction of psychology into the church, let alone the world.
Tommy: Yeah. In fact, all these passages are not talking about what’s going on in the world, but how the world has gotten into the church.
Tom: Yes, absolutely.
Tommy: And a lot of people – I’ll give examples from the world. Well, the world’s always been bad. “Evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse.” But this is talking about that; in fact, that’s talking about the last days of the church age, which we’re in. And he’s saying…he’s writing to pastors there, and he’s saying, “It’s going to be hard to be a pastor.” Why is it going to be hard? Because you’ve got to deal with all this apostasy, and guess what? People don’t like to be corrected often, and it causes church splits and all of that kind of stuff. But nevertheless, as you said, men will be lovers of self, and this is what we call in grammar an inclusio. And you look down at the end of verse 4, and it says, “…rather than lovers of God.”
Tommy: And so that…this big idea… And then all of those descriptions that are in between – “lovers of self rather than lovers of God” – explain what it means in detail about men being lovers of self rather than lovers of God, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revelers, you see?
Tommy: And so this is a pretty amazing passage, so it shows you what will be, and what we should have been. We should be lovers of God. That should be our emphasis and focus, not self.
Tom: Yeah. Now, Tommy, as you know, there are some major movements. You implied…well, more than implied, you talked about a few, and what’s being taught within Christianity, and they claim that God is telling them these different things that…and one of the things being a coming worldwide revival. Coming worldwide revival. Tommy, I don’t find that in Scripture, do you?
Tommy: No, I don’t, except I do find after the Rapture during the Tribulation, and see, that’s where they mess up – they apply that to today, so this whole gospel of the kingdom in Matthew:24:42 where we preach to the end, and then for a witness, and then the end shall come. Well, that’s during the Tribulation, see? And that’s been expanded upon in the Book of Revelation, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, and those are going to be in the first half of the Tribulation, before the mark of the beast is issued. And so you’re going to have a tremendous time of great evangelism in the Tribulation. And in the meantime, though, I’ve produced charts that show the basic plan of the church age is that the gospel will be preached and expanded and become global. But at the same time, the church overall will become increasingly apostate, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today.
Tommy: And yes, God’s saving people. His Spirit’s at work, and He’s saving people in large numbers in areas that He hasn’t done this in the past: in China, and in a lot of Islamic countries. Because of the West’s intervention into Islamic countries, a lot of them are receiving the gospel in a significant way for the first time in hundreds of years.
Tommy: And so we’re seeing God move, but at the same time, there’s just these over and over and over again passages about apostasy, to look out for that in the church. So we’re seeing both of these things going on, and it’s because I think we’re getting near the end of the church age, which will end with the Rapture of the church, and there’s no signs for that. That’s why we’ve been waiting, and then you…
But you see the preparation for events that will take place after the Rapture during the Tribulation. Israel’s back in the land.
Tom: Yeah. Let me go back to the point of the Tribulation, and I totally agree. However, many, if not most…well, I would have to say most of them are going to be martyred to come to Christ. Now, one of the serious errors that these folks who are promoting the idea of worldwide revival is that they believe that Christians are going to take over the world…
Tom: …which is compounding the issue. And you say, “Well, fine, where do you find that in Scripture?”
Well, the common response that I get is, “Well, no, God’s doing a new thing. We’re not into the logos, which is the written Word. We’re into the rhema.” Those terms are interchangeable, by the way, in Scripture. Nevertheless, they say they’re hearing a new thing from God, and our young people in particular are buying into this. It’s exciting, and so on. But it’s dead wrong according…
Listen, I just read your book Charting the Bible Chronologically. I don’t find that in Scripture, Tommy.
Tommy: No, and basically what’s going to happen in the Tribulation is in the way that Israel rejected Jesus at the first coming, and they estimate 30 percent of Jews in the first century accepted Jesus as the Messiah. So it wasn’t a complete rejection, obviously. The Bible talks about the remnant and everything.
Tommy: You’re going to see the world rejecting Jesus like Israel, and that’s why He’s going to turn around and deal with Israel, and Israel’s going to be converted. But you’re seeing, like in Revelation:3:10, it talks about the purpose of the Tribulation is to test those who dwell upon the earth, those earth dwellers, and that’s the first of 11 uses of that term, which is a term out of the Old Testament. And it’s talking about – when you track those 11 usages in the New Testament, it says the purpose of the Tribulation for Gentiles is to test or vindicate who and what they are, and that’s a Greek word that has the idea of, like, testing whether something people are saying is gold actually is gold, or something silver is actually silver. So it’s to vindicate something, and by the time you get through the Book of Revelation, the earth dwellers are taking the mark of the beast. So He’s vindicating that an unbeliever is an unbeliever is an unbeliever, no matter what you put them through, and you have all of those judgments and everything. You know, I think even a theophany at the end of chapter 6, where God pulls back and shows them the throne room and Christ and the Lamb standing there, and they see it, and they said, “Let the rocks fall on us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb.” You see? And so this is going to be an amazing time that will start taking place after.
And I agree with old Dave, Tom, I tell you. He and I, we did some debates together, and spent a fair amount of time together, and he was just a tremendous guy, and we sure miss him. But…
Tommy: Nevertheless, he’s doing real well up in heaven with the Lord…
Tom: That’s right! Yeah, for sure.
Tommy: …and he came out with Seduction of Christianity in ’85, and he was way ahead of his time on that, you know? Of showing how all this stuff was coming into the church through mysticism, and his whole point, I think, is that the world’s going to be deceived through experience, because they’re not going to follow the Word of God. And I think that’s what’s building: you’re seeing with the younger people, it’s all about experiences, and they get these little group-think things, and they’re so concerned about what the group thinks.
Tommy: You know, that they don’t want to go against that. You have to have conviction of the Word of God to go against the group. Otherwise the pressure is just overwhelming in a person’s mind.
Tom: Tommy, as you know, I got to spend almost four decades with Dave, and what a tremendous blessing and privilege I had to work with him. But that was Dave’s heart. I mean, he saw this coming, and again, although he was a brilliant guy, it doesn’t take that – it takes just having an understanding of what you guys lay out in your book Charting the Bible Chronologically. Simply, here’s what the Word of God says, and you go along with it, because this is God’s direct communication to us. He knows. You pointed that out earlier. So that’s what you guys are trying to do, that’s what we’re trying to do, is communicate what God has already laid out. That’s just as simply as you can.
Tommy: Right, and there are so many fake news versions of the Bible…
Tommy: …out there, and that’s what Satan’s trying to do is distort the meaning. And that’s why our book, especially on Genesis would be considered controversial even among evangelicals, because we take the Bible literally. Days means days. You know, the earth is a little over 6,000 years old. How do you know? Well, that’s what the genealogy indicates.
Tom: My guest is Tommy Ice. He, along with Ed Hindson, Thomas Ice and Ed Hindson wrote a book which I’m really excited about called Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan. And, Tommy, for our listeners, here’s what we’ve got coming up: we’re going to talk to some of the details within the book, some of the amazing things that are just laid out, as I pointed out, very simply. It’s a terrific – I think it’s a coffee table book, because of the beautiful charts that you have in it and so on, but that’s not the heart of it, as good as those things are, it just lays out simply what the Bible, God’s plan, you know, as I pointed out earlier, on the back of the book it says, “God’s plan made clear from beginning to end.” So, Tommy, thanks for being with us for this session, and I look forward to getting back at this next week.
Tommy: Same here.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can be here again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.