In the final chapter of Gary DeMar’s book “10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed”, he tackles the idea that, should Israel find oil, that this has prophetic significance.
The first thing one has to note, is that Gary DeMar approaches Scripture with the idea that he already knows the end of the story, and thus anyone who says anything different has to be wrong by default!
This is technically called eisegesis; Reading your presuppositions into Scripture.
DeMar is only interested in proving his presuppositions, and not in allowing anyone, or anything, to change his mind in the slightest! He references Acts 17:11, where the Bereans are commended for checking the Apostles’ teaching against the Scriptures, and he does compare Hal Lindsey’s ideas to the Scriptures, but he doesn’t go any farther than he has to, and he doesn’t do it with regard to his own views.
‘But let’s look at one place where DeMar actually has it right; Lindsey quotes part of Genesis 49:25 (in italic) which describes the blessings that will come to Joseph: “From the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.” Lindsey says of this verse: “Note that it predicts his great blessing will come from ‘the deep that lies beneath’ his land.” By “deep,” Lindsey means oil buried deep in the ground!
A careful reader would have looked up the verses quoted by Lindsey (Acts 17:11) and noticed that he conveniently left out “blessings of the breasts and of the womb.” The dispensational oriented Bible Knowledge Commentary states that this phrase refers to “abundant offspring.”3 Henry M. Morris, a noted dispensationalist, agrees and writes that it’s a promise of “an abundance of healthful progeny, of both man and animal.”4 Gerhard Charles Aalders, not a dispensationalist, concurs with the above authors: “‘Blessings of the breast and womb’ certainly refer to abundance in the bearing and feeding of children, as well as for human children as for the young of the livestock.”’ (p.162 , 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed,
What can I say? The context of the passage is exactly as DeMar says. The “deep” referred to in the passage actualy refers to the growth of a child deep within its mother’s womb. Lindsay should not have removed the last part of the verse, in order to make it say something that it does not.
Does this mean that oil in Israel, and there is some there now, as well as natural gas, does not have any prophetic significance?
DeMar Quotes 1 Kings 3:8, and 4:20 to imply that this prophecy has already come true, and Israel has lost their chance!
“If Genesis 49:25 refers to the distant future, as Lindsey speculates, then there is a problem. By the year 2020, Arnon Sofer of the University of Haifa forecasts about 6.4 million Jews will live in Israel, “based on population growth and an average 50,000 Jewish immigrants a year. He expects the Arab population to reach around 8.5 million, in addition to 1 million non-Jews of other origins.” The most optimistic projections show Jews and Palestinians about even in popu- lation in 25 years. Beyond the borders of Israel, there are more than a hundred million non-Jews. It seems by present-day demographics that in comparison, it’s the wombs of Israel’s enemies that have been blessed.” (DeMar p. 163)
It must be terrible having to live without faith! Yes indeed! Humanly speaking it does look difficult for Israel in the coming years, and because DeMar thinks that God is no longer interested in Israel he cannot see a solution to the demographic problem Israel is facing.
Don’t forget that the wars that Israel has faced since its founding in 1948, has seen Israel rising triumphantly against enemies that outnumbered it 200 to 1! Does he think God has not had His hand on Israel in those wars? Does he think that Israel cannot survive odds of 1,000 to 1, with God’s help? He may be here for that day. I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised! I wonder which side he will choose to be on?
The fact is that there are many people of Israelite (Jewish plus the ten “lost tribes”) ancestry living among the Muslims, and around the world. Those people will come out of the woodwork when Islam is defeated in the Psalm 83 war, and later in the Ezekiel 38-39 war. Once God shows them that they cannot rely on their false god, they will return to the land of their fathers, and God’s promise to Zechariah will come true;
“I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.” Zechariah 10:10
He will bring them “again”. In other words this is not the first time He will return them to the land. The first time they came back there weren’t that many of them. The majority stayed away. This is a reference to a future return where there literally will not be enough room for them in the land and they will have to go to Gilead (the entire Golan) and Lebanon. There’s a problem with that, of course! Hezbollah, the Muslim terrorist organization in Lebanon, would oppose Jewish settlements in Lebanon! No, this won’t happen until the Muslim menace is removed!
Demar seems to imply that the Muslim menace is too great and will, one day soon, overrun Israel. Well, don’t bet any money on it!
On pager 164 Demar notes;
‘Lindsey continues by appealing to Deuteronomy 33:24 to support his crude oil theory: “And of Asher he said, ‘More blessed than sons is Asher; may he be favored by his brothers, and may he dip his foot in oil.’“ Once again, Lindsey takes a verse meant for an ancient context and setting, and projects the distant future onto it to fit his system of interpretation. The “oil” of this verse is a reference to “olive oil.” Jack S. Deere, writing on Deuteronomy in the dispensational oriented Bible Knowledge Commentary, states that “to bathe one’s feet in oil rather than simply to anoint them would be an extravagant act. Thus the tribe of Asher would experience abundant fertility and prosperity.”12 Jan Ridderbos makes a similar observation: “his land will be so rich in oil that it is possible, so to speak, to wade in it. Indeed, Galilee, Asher’s territory, was rich in olive trees.”’
As he notes, petroleum was known in the bible, and was used as a waterproofing, and mortar. The King James translates it as “slime”. Petroleum was never known as “oil” in the bible. Does this mean that God couldn’t insert a message in Deuteronomy for the End Times? Of course not!
Still, DeMar could be correct, that the oil in Deuteronomy 33:24 is actually a reference to olive oil as a way of indicating the prosperity of Asher in the future. Does this mean therefore, that there is no prophetic significance to Israeli oil?
Why did DeMar ignore Deuteronomy 32:13?
“He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;”
If God wanted to tell Israel that one day they would extract oil out of the rocks, how would he do it better? Does olive oil come out of flinty rocks? Ancient Israel did not get oil out of the rocks, but today they are!
The real point of the chapter is twofold, one that Dispensationalists are reading things into Scripture, which point is valid, and second, that modern Israel has no prophetic significance.
All of this is really aimed at the interpretation of Ezekiel 38 as an End Times war.
8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. 9Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
Read the foregoing carefully. The conditions described here have not existed in history. Not at all since Ezekiel wrote this passage. This does not describe Israel during its invasion by Babylon, Syria, Persia, Greece, Rome, nor under the Ottomans. It does not even describe conditions today, since Israel is still in great danger from her neighbours. Israel has been attacked several times since her founding in 1948, and is still in danger today. Bashar al Assad is still threatening to invade Israel, and take back the Golan, and the rebels claim that the reason they are fighting Assad is because he failed to make good on his promises.
No, the conditions described here are a reference to a future time when Israel will indeed have a period of safety. A time when the security wall will come down, because it will no longer be needed.
Did you notice the names in the last verse; Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish? These are historically Arab entities. These Arabs are protesting this invasion, diplomatically. Why? After the Psalm 83 war they will make peace with Israel. They may very well become satelites of Israel, under her thumb, as it were, but at the same time these Arabs will become very prosperous. When they turn their backs on Islam and work with their brothers in Israel, the Arabs will prosper just as the Israelis! But why a diplomatic protest? It is likely that after the Psalm 83 war, they will be either disarmed, or have severely limited armed forces. They will not be able to resist the attack.
That will be the time the other Muslim nations will attack. Muslims have always been covetous of other’s wealth, and this will be the time when they will come to take what they think should be theirs.
Note the statement by Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish; “Art thou come to take a spoil?” Notice the little word “come”. This indicates that these entities are in close proximity to Israel, and the invading armies will have to come across their territory to get to their target!
There has never been a time when there has been a war like the one described in Ezekiel 38-39. Russia has historically been somewhat hostile to Iran, until now.
DeMar quotes Thomas Ice on page 166:
“Jerry [Jenkins] and I have unashamedly taken the position that all prophecy should be interpreted literally whenever possible. We have been guided throughout by the golden rule of interpretation: When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. Take every word at its primary, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.”
If only it were so. Lindsey, who follows the same “golden rule,” is certainly not applying the principle in Genesis 49:25, Deuteronomy 33:24, and Ezekiel 38–39, and neither are LaHaye, Ice, and Hitchcock in their interpretation of Ezekiel 38–39 where ancient weapons are said to be descriptions of Russian MIG fighters. Like snake-oil salesmen, these modern-day prophetic hucksters are selling false remedies to a gullible audience willing to believe anything their prophetic heroes say about their product.”
I believe I have just shown you, however, that Ezekiel 38-39 is indeed an End Times battle. The immediate context does indeed dictate interpreting the passage as an End Times passage. Look again at the first verse
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.”
Context? “After many days”, “in the latter years”, “against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste”, and “brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.”
This is the context of Ezekiel 38-39. When the Jewish settlers came back to the land they drained many malarial swamps. They actually cleaned up the areas that had always been wastelands since they left some two thousand years earlier, and turned them into productive farmlands.
While there are indeed some valid points in DeMar’s criticism of Dispensationalism, his proposal is to go back to the failed ideas of the past, the very ideas that have fueled anti-semitism for the last 1,700 years!
No! While Dispensationalists have indeed made mistakes, and there are a few hucksters among them, they have actually made some real progress in the study of Eschatology. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! On the other hand, following Gary DeMar’s ideas is a step backward, into a dark anti-semitic past.
Rather than to follow an eschatological sysem, and force the bible to fit into one’s ideas, it is best to allow the bible to shape your ideas. Be willing to change what you believe if the bible tells you something different. This is what the bible itself teaches, but most Christians are not comfortable with this idea. This is a matter of faith, and trust. You need to make a decision to accept what the bible says, and don’t force it into any mold.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Peter 1:21
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: II Timothy 3:16
II Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
I’m excited that you have chosen to talk about Israel taking oil from flinty rock. I am associated with a new technology that extracts oil from oil shale. It is not retorting and it obtains a high yield without toxic emissions and without creating toxic residue. It requires funding for a pilot plant. In my heart I would love to see this technology acquired for Israel. Because it is likely to become the world’s best practice in oil shale extraction the technology has the potential to make Israel independent in oil as Israel has significant oil shale reserves. I have tried to contact the prime minister by e mail with no reply and I have no access to Jewish people who might be appropriate to contact. I have been praying for the Lord to introduce me to the right person if that is His will. I am a believer in Australia and the inventor is a Christian environmental scientist of great repute living in Korea. Maybe your post will be the branch that bears some fruit in this regard.
I bought your book recently and have almost finished my first reading. Please keep up the great work you are doing in keeping the flame of eschatology burning brightly for the sake of the truth.