Success Indicators and Success

Gary North (, “Reality Check” (January 11, 2008)

Success indicators are not the same as success. A student can get an A on an exam by cheating. He is not a success. He can get it by cramming for the exam and remembering nothing a week later. This also is not success. The success indicator is supposed to reinforce behaviour that leads to success, not serve as a substitute for success.

For every known success indicator there is a way to attain it without being successful, unless you define success solely as achieving a success indicator. We do not teach our children this way, so we ought not to settle for a success indicator in place of the intangible goal represented by the indicator. It gets complicated.

Does the name Harold Russell ring a bell? Probably not. But he achieved what no other person has ever received: two Oscars for the same performance. He played a double amputee in “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946). He was not a professional actor. He had lost both of his hands in World War II. Nobody who saw his performance is likely to forget it.

Years later, he sold his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in order to raise money for his wife’s operation. He explained: “I don’t know why anybody would be critical. My wife’s health is much more important than sentimental reasons. The movie will be here, even if Oscar isn’t.” That rings true for most of us, I think. The success indicator — the statue — was not the same as success. He did not sacrifice success when he sold it. He did not lose his stature by selling his statue.

Money is the most common success indicator. “Buy low, sell high” is hardly an ethical manifesto, yet it is the basis of how we make our livings. It puts food on the table. Still, we know that to die as a miser dies, surrounded by his ledgers, makes no sense for anyone who is not afflicted with a view of money that we would not like to see our children afflicted with.

We understand the trade-off between money and significance in life. We look at a person who has laboured in a jungle as a medical missionary, yet we probably do not conclude, “He died broke. So, he wasted his life.” We also probably do not have much respect for the plastic surgeon who gets rich by making starlets look better. Yet his income keeps us from saying, “He has wasted his life.” That depends on what he has done with his money.


I have come back to this theme repeatedly for over 25 years. I define “calling” as follows: the most important thing you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace. For women, this is usually their role as wives and mothers. For men, this is probably their role as husbands and fathers. Women recognize their callings more readily than men recognize theirs. We say, “nobody ever said on his deathbed, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.'” When we say this, we rarely think of a woman saying this on her deathbed. Yet in today’s society, it is becoming more likely that American women will assess in retrospect their lifetime trade-off between significance and money.

Most men know that getting fired is not in the same league of horrors as getting divorced. To fail on the job is not generally regarded as being a failure comparable to failing in marriage. When a young man tells his parents or friends that he has just been fired, they tell him, “It happens to everyone. Don’t worry about it. There’s always another job.” They don’t say something similar when his wife walks out on him and takes the children.

I don’t suppose anyone told Jimmy Carter in December, 980, “Don’t worry about it. You can always be elected mayor of Plains.” That is because being the President of the United States is a calling, not a job. Anyone who has lost the Presidency is not going to be re-elected, Grover Cleveland to the contrary. Being elected to the top political office is presumably a man’s calling: the most important thing he can do in which he would be most difficult to replace. Yet Babe Ruth was onto something in 1930, when someone pointed out that he made more money than President Hoover. He replied, “Why not? I had a better year than he did.”

In most cases, the free market is not willing to pay us more in our callings than in our occupations. That is why callings exist. Why is it so difficult to replace a person in his calling? Because his calling doesn’t pay much. If it paid a potful of money, there would be candidates lined up to replace the present occupant of the position.

A few people are irreplaceable because they can make more money than anyone else. Star professional athletes or box-office movie stars are examples. So is Warren Buffett. The barrier to entry is so great that the person can’t be replaced. This is extremely rare. Buffett is wise. He saw that his gigantic fortune was his greatest achievement, and that he was incapable of doing as good a job giving it away as he did building it. He had someone to give it to: Bill Gates.

Gates is the only man richer than Buffett, and Gates says he is going to quit as leader of Microsoft in order to oversee the giving away of his fortune. Buffett watched Gates in action and concluded that Gates’s foundation deserved Buffett’s fortune. Buffett could then concentrate on increasing the market price of his company’s shares. I think both decisions were correct. Gates should quit as a businessman, while Buffett shouldn’t.

Gates recognizes that possessing great wealth involves great responsibility. (I think his wife Melinda was the educator here, making her arguably the most important woman on earth.) This responsibility involves deciding what should be done in a non-market environment: no profit and loss. Compared to a competitive market, the non-profit world is flying blind. Yet Gates does seem to have established numerical criteria for successful giving, such as the cost per children’s lives saved per dollar in sub-Sahara Africa. This does not solve the problem of feeding these surviving children.

Gates has decided that he cannot solve every problem. But the dying child in its mother’s arms is more likely to survive because of Gates’s cost-benefit analysis than if Gates were spending his waking hours trying to raise Microsoft’s profitability. The fact that there is no market for saving the lives of African children does not mean that saving a million lives is not significant. It means only that value is sometimes not the same as price. Value, unlike price, is not measurable on a one-to-one basis on a corporate balance sheet.


We live in a gigantic auction. The allocation principle of every auction is “high bid wins.”

Each person has specific talents. He also has non-specific talents. Human beings are the most adaptable of all creatures. They can adapt their skills to meet new conditions. Reason governs most of our choices. Our instincts are under control, which is why society is possible.

Our specific talents give us our edge in the workplace. Here, we are less replaceable. Our general talents give us our safety net. If the market for our specific talents dries up, we can fall back on our general talents. But these, being widely available, command low wages. We look to our specific talents as the source of most of our wages, which for most people is their major source of income.

Usually, it takes about 1,000 hours on the job or in training to get the skills sufficient for competence. That is not much time: 5 months. It takes about 5,000 hours to become highly skilled. At that point, we are no longer easily replaceable. We begin to be able to ask for raises and obtain them. Our output is worth more, so we can earn more.

Yet at some point, the raises cease. There are several possible reasons. First, we reach the limits of our innate capacity. Second, we cease striving to improve. Third, the market for our level of skills reaches a point when those with similar skills meet the demand. Demand equals supply, so the price of our services ceases to rise. Fourth, we reach our comfort zone and decide not to test the market by seriously offering to quit. Fifth, our employer has reached his limits in expanding market share. In any case, we begin to tread water occupationally.

Usually, this takes place sometime around age 45. This is when men start looking for significance rather than money. They perceive that whatever they have accomplished occupationally is the limit of their capacity or opportunity. They sense that they have not distinguished themselves in their chosen occupation. They are unlikely ever to be in the top 4% (20% of 20%) in their field, let alone the top 1% (20% of 20% of 20%). They start looking for something else to do with the time they have remaining.

They have spent two decades selling their time for money. They realize that this has not been a wise bargain. They believe they have nothing to show for it. They start looking for something to show for it.

The problem is, they are in debt: mortgage. They have children at home who are entering their highest cost period: college. They are unaware of the loopholes that can reduce expenses to such a level that a student working at a fast food restaurant can put himself through college. Their mobility is limited. So, they stick with what they have, or else they go off the deep end and run off with a younger woman to start a new life.

There are a few men who don’t face this because they are in the top 4% or even 1%. They make a name for themselves as masters of their occupation. They get a sense of accomplishment from their status as role models in their profession. They are close to irreplaceable. So, their calling is the same as their occupation. They make their living — a good living, economically speaking — in their calling.

Peter Drucker, the management guru, was such a person. He made a lot of money writing books, giving high-priced lectures, and advising senior managers in large corporations. He was one of the founders of management science. He died in 2005, still writing. He was a week away from 97. He stayed on the job to the end. He did not do this for money.

Not many people can be a Peter Drucker. Not many men need to be. But because most men never succeed in achieving a sense of significance in their occupations, they are ready to be pensioned off at age 65. The problem is, the era of the pension is ending. Rates of investment return are too low. Life expectancy is too long. Levels of competition from pensionless Asians are too high.

The frustration of staying on the job is high for most men. Yet the income available by quitting and finding new employment is low. When you move from low replaceability to high replaceability, your income falls. The archetype example is the Wal-Mart greeter. The job offers little money and little sense of significance.


If you choose an occupation that offers high income and high significance, that’s ideal. The career of physician combines both, or can. Yet from what I understand, the occupation of dentist does not. Dentists do not get the same sense of satisfaction that physicians do. Yet the physician’s economic constraints and Medicare paperwork and high liability insurance premiums have combined to reduce both net income and significance. Physicians are becoming wards of the state unless they are paediatricians or free market practitioners: no government money.

There are several ways to gain significance in one’s occupation. One is to choose an occupation that offers little money but lots of significance. A medical missionary is one choice. The low pay scale makes them irreplaceable. Their ability to heal makes them significant. Teachers sometimes can achieve both — again, through low pay. But teachers on the state’s payroll are rarely able to eke out much significance. The level of performance by their students is low. They are perceived by the public as clock-punchers and baby sitters.

I have friends in the day care business. They have combined high income, high retirement income (real estate gains), and real significance. The barrier to entry is prestige. There isn’t any. In fact, the occupation has negative prestige for men. “You do what?” This keeps replacement costs high: barriers to entry. I have written about this repeatedly, but the barrier to entry remains too high, even for my subscribers, some of whom say they would like to become millionaires. They could become millionaires. They just won’t do what it takes. It takes:

Another way to gain significance is to become dedicated to mastery. This is the impulse to become the best in the field. This requires long hours of work, attendance at seminars, reading constantly, applying what you have read, and either writing or speaking. But if you have no respect for your profession, this strategy will not work.

A more common approach is to limit your occupation to the minimal 40 hours a week and then allocate another 30 hours a week to something that either can become a new occupation or else is a low-paid area of service. The problem here is the time commitment. For a family man, this dedication has a price tag: absence from the home. So, I recommend time spent in family projects that can become income-producing. Art Robinson did this with his family-run sheep ranch business. He also did it with his scientific research and newsletter publishing (Access to Energy). He did it with his CD-ROM curriculum, which his children worked on as producers.

If your occupation is so narrow that your children’s interests and skills are not likely to give them a competitive advantage — irreplaceability — then you cannot do what men have done through history: teach your sons your trade. This is why starting a home business on the side can offer a way for fathers to teach their children the basics of running a business. The trade-off here is that the time required to do this comes from the overtime that most professionals allocate to their occupations. Income falls until the family business becomes profitable.

If you think of your occupation as supporting your calling, then you are less tempted to dismiss your occupation at age 45. There is a man in my church who is a lawyer. I don’t know how successful his practice is. His calling is running a Saturday lawn-mowing service. He has hired about ten inner-city boys, ages 7 to 13, to work on his crew. He picks them up, gives them training, and takes them home. Obviously, his time is worth far more money in his practice than it is mowing lawns. But he has developed a small business that gives him a reason to establish contact with these boys. He serves as a male role model for them. They learn the basics of self-discipline on the job. If they goof off, they lose the job. They have no other job options to match it. They know this. Over time, this experience will provide them with the emotional skills they need to survive in a competitive business world. It is unlikely that they could learn these skills anywhere else, and surely not until they qualify for an entry-level job at age 16.

The opportunity to teach can be converted into money. There are private schools that can use teachers. The schools can’t pay much, but for someone on retirement income, a pay check of any size is gravy. It allows you to invest more, on the assumption that Social Security is not as long-lived as you are.

If you can get into a volunteer situation early, you can make yourself indispensable. When your skills in this position are sufficient, you can probably make the transition to a paid position. This is probably the best strategy to convert calling into occupation. It takes a considerable investment of time. A growing organization is always on the lookout for people who have demonstrated their competence and reliability.

Those of us who have been in the business world for several decades, but who are not working with entry-level people, forget just how incompetent most newcomers are. The work ethic has faded. The public schools have declined. So, companies pay a premium for reliable people. There is no question in my mind that a person who has proven in a volunteer situation that he can accept responsibility, perform better than expected, and finish every assignment on time has distinguished himself from the majority of applicants.

I think anything connected with health care constitutes a calling when delivered free of charge and an occupation when salaried. If you are looking for a transition route out of your occupation into a salaried calling, I recommend health care. The obvious growth sector is home health care. To cut costs, the health care delivery industry is going to have to cut the cost of real estate. By using the care recipient’s home and providing skilled labour, the industry will reduce its real estate overhead expenses.


I think anyone who serves as the primary breadwinner in a household who does not yet have a calling that provides the bulk of his monthly income is asking for trouble. The unfunded pension is one aspect of this problem. Mid-life crisis is another.

The cost of making the transition from occupation to calling increases as we get older. If a man finds his calling and can make a living at it at age 21, he is in a remarkable position. If I were 18 again, I have no question what I would do. I would major in young child development in college. Then I would start a day care. I would then build a new one every 36 months. Fifteen years after opening a day care, the property is paid off, and it then generates $60,000 a year. I could retire a rich man at age 40 and spend the rest of my life writing. Or I would just keep doing what I had been doing. Increasing your income by $60,000 a year every 36 months is a nice way to escape retirement woes.

A man with children still at home has three time-allocation issues: his job, his family (calling), and his future calling, either paid or unpaid, depending on whether he likes his present job and can keep it. There are not enough hours in a day to allow full success in all three areas. You have to juggle your schedule. If you can find a way to solve the problem of your future income and significance as a family project, that’s ideal.

Here is how I would recommend sorting out these issues, in conjunction with your spouse. You need to get these questions answered.

1. How many years until you retire from your job?

2. How many years do you expect to live beyond retirement?

3. How much money will you need as capital?

4. Do you expect to work beyond retirement, at least part-time?

5. Do you want to retire into a job that is an extension of your present job?

6. Do you want to retire into a job that is an extension of your calling?

7. Are you actively preparing for this transition — intellectually, emotionally, and geographically?

8. Are you actively developing personal contacts with potential future employers?

9. Are you actively positioning yourself to be hired in this field, such as through a website? Too many men are actively ignoring this problem. They will pay a heavy price within a year after their retirement.

Mother’s Powerful Pro-Life Video Goes Viral: “Do You Want To See What You’ll Miss?”


“Becky said she had considered abortion at the time because she fell victim to a toxic form of feminism that had convinced her that her baby would ruin her future.”

A powerful video of a mother’s decision not to abort her son has gone viral across social media.

Mother of eight, Becky Martin, originally posted the 60-second clip on TikTok, which was last month shared across multiple social media platforms with videos reaching well over a million views.

Becky was just a teenager in high school when she fell pregnant with her now 22-year-old son. Feeling she did not want to forfeit her life or embarrass her family, she scheduled an appointment for an abortion.

The video shows life-snapshots of what Becky would have missed had she not cancelled the procedure all those years ago.

Speaking with Caldron Pool, Becky said she had considered abortion at the time because she fell victim to a toxic form of feminism that had convinced her that her baby would ruin her future.

“I was in high school, and I excelled academically with over a 4.0 GPA and a scholarship to a private college,” she said. “I was sure a child would cause me to lose all of that, preventing me from achieving my goals and destroying my dreams.

“I thought abortion would be a quick ‘fix’ to my ‘problem,’” she added.

Becky said even at that time she was well-aware of what was involved in the procedure.

“I knew that abortion kills, but my heart was cold and my mind was selfish,” she said. “My life and my plans were more important than my son’s life, so I was going to use my born privilege to end his.”

That is until her family had discovered her plans to skip school to obtain the abortion. Prior to the appointment, they held something of an intervention in hopes of convincing her otherwise. Becky begrudgingly complied with her family’s wishes and cancelled the appointment.

“It’s still one of the most awkward, uncomfortable moments of my life, but one for which I’ll be eternally grateful,” she said.

It took about ten years for Becky to become prolife. She said, time, maturity, honesty, and humility, mixed with her exposure to a more compassionate, loving prolife side (mostly through social media) that led to, what she called, a transformation.

“Slowly the scales fell from my eyes, and my heart softened.”

Becky explained: “The weight of a guilty conscience lifted, as peace and healing filled my soul. Owning my actions gave me a sense of strength and purpose. My heart caught fire, and I became a passionate defender of life.

“I realized it wasn’t just my child’s life that was saved, but also mine – saved from a lifetime of despair and regret. If I can prevent other women from experiencing that, I will.”

So transformative was this experience in Becky’s life that she’s dedicated to not only communicating a prolife message but living a prolife life.

“For us, this means sharing parenting and post-abortion resources, adopting, sponsoring, donating, educating, advocating and more,” she said.

Becky and her husband have completed four adoptions and have eight children together.

We asked Becky what message she might have for pregnant women who find themselves considering abortion. Here’s what she had to say:

Please don’t fall victim to the same lies I did. It’s easy to be misled in today’s culture. We notice the #shoutyourabortion on social media, see Instagram posts of women celebrating abortion, watch TikTok videos of women bragging about their abortions, and listen to celebrities loudly proclaiming that abortion helped them succeed. But children are not a detriment. Rather, they’re often great motivators. And there is nothing normal or empowering about abortion. There is nothing brave or strong about paying to have your son or daughter starved, dismembered, or suctioned to death.

Bravery and strength are found in parenthood and protecting your child – whether that means raising him/her or finding another family to do so.

Please don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary situation. Circumstances change, but death is forever. You can never go back and save your child. The abortion industry doesn’t want you to hear the stories of regret. They profit off of your vulnerability. But you are strong and capable. You don’t need abortion to be successful.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. There are so many caring people in the prolife movement and numerous free resources. Everything from food, clothes, housing, energy assistance, childcare help, medical coverage, etc is available. I try to share the list of resources often on my Facebook & Tiktok accounts. These resources helped me stay in school, graduate from college, and get a job I loved. It may take grit, determination, and hard work, but you have an army of prolife people cheering you on!

You can follow Becky on TikTok at @becky.0121

 A Thanksgiving Message From Geoffrey Botkin

This Thanksgiving we honor men and women who were willing to be serious about a life-and-death issue most modern Americans do not take seriously: freedom. The Pilgrims understood that there was an historic battle between two definitions of freedom, and they risked everything to line-up on the right side. 

The Pilgrims were citizens of the world’s top nation.  England was the superpower of the day.  King James and the religious bureaucrats in the Church of England promised temporal security and religious salvation for simply conforming to the newest ideas of the political masters.  But the Pilgrims knew they had a duty to recognize and resist false doctrine or they would become part of an ancient historical problem:  living like slaves under a tyrant who took the place of God. 

The Pilgrims were not simply splitting hairs about obscure points of doctrine.  King James believed he had divine prerogatives to rule any way he wanted.  He wanted a church hierarchy to answer to him, manipulate the populace, and redefine Christianity his way.  These policies are little different from those that kept Pharaohs in power for three thousand years.  These are the policies that create false, passive, irresponsible religious cultures, which spring up anywhere God’s truth is suppressed in unrighteousness.

The issue was simple, but it takes wisdom to see it unfolding.  James and his followers wanted the licentious kind of freedom that is gained by stepping away from God’s requirements.   This has been the great issue of history since the days of Babel.  Faithless men want freedom from God so they can pursue a political and spiritual agenda of their own design.  All through history, arrogant men have found this form of freedom by living lives of passive irresponsibility.  They become so irresponsible, they become content living as the slaves of political masters.     

The Pilgrims had a much different attitude toward God and his requirements.  They knew real freedom could be found in active, willing servitude to the God of real freedom and true liberty.  The more they studied and obeyed His laws, the more their new colony benefitted from the maturity they gained through obedience. 

In studying the Puritans of the 17th century, author J.I. Packer simply wrote, “The Puritans exemplified maturity.  We don’t.  We are spiritual dwarfs.  The Puritans, by contrast, as a body were giants[1].”

These giants were our relatives.  “We’re all descended,” reminds American historian David McCullough, “every one of us is descended from someone of enormous courage, fortitude, strength, toughness.[2] 

How are modern American Christians doing in the areas of courage, fortitude, strength, and mental toughness?  

J.I. Packer suggests that our modern faith is at best counterfeit Christianity, an “irrational, emotional romanticism disguised as superspirituality.”[3] 

Packer further suggests that if we had maintained a true Christianity “fixed by law and wisdom” we might have been spared “the egocentric, zany, simplistic, degenerate, half-magic-spell type of evangelicalism which is all that the world sees when it watches religious TV or looks directly at the professedly evangelical community.  Such evangelicalism neither honors God nor blesses man.”[4]

Ideas Rule the World

The Pilgrims honored God by their tough-minded interpretation of culture that were in rebellion against God.  The Pilgrims honored God by taking active steps to base their faith on a Christianity fixed by law and wisdom.  Our younger generation needs to acquire moral discernment as they face the complexities of the 21st Century.

The ideas of bureaucratic security are seductive.  Americans need to identify the dangerous ideas that make men passive, contented consumers of messianic care.  Free “school.”  Free diplomas.  Free entitlements.  Free birth control.  Free vaccines.   Once dependency is locked into the minds of a people, it is very hard to introduce a culture to the ideas of active, mature freedom.  

This is a lesson Americans must learn.  The Bible commands men not to be idolaters, as were some of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt.[5]  David says they did not trust in God’s salvation and were not faithful to His Covenant.[6]  They desperately wanted to drift back into the bondage in Egypt, a place where their spiritual, economic, vocational, and family decisions were made for them by a government that promised perfect order.  Perfect security.  Total salvation.  But it was a Christ-less salvation.  No freedom from sin, and no freedom from death.  

Believing in false promises for a false salvation is feeblemindedness.  Observes Dr. Theodore Dalrymple, “We have willingly adopted the mental habits of people who live under totalitarian dictatorship.”[7]

Let us once again take command of the ideas that free the world, and the ideas that enslave the world, and recover the tough-minded powers of cultural analysis used by our Pilgrim forbears. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for their courageous tough-mindedness. 

 “We have an inexhaustible source of strength to draw upon,” states David McCullough, “and wemustn’t forget it.”[8]

[1] Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), p x

[2] Ibid, p xiii

[3] Ibid, p xiii

[4] Ibid, p xiv

[5] I Corinthians 10:7

[6] Ps. 78: 22, 37

[7] Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What’s Left of It, “How to Read a Society”

[8] David McCullough, The Founders: The Greatest Generation; Kansas State University Landon Lecture, Feb. 1, 2002. In the words of the citation accompanying McCullough’s honorary degree from Yale, “As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breathe, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character.”

Why the US First Imposed Socialism

Gary North (, October 16, 2021

What is the longest-running socialist experiment? What has its success been?

If someone asked you to defend the idea that socialism has failed, what would you offer as your example?

Where did modern socialism begin?

In America.

That’s right: in the land of the free and the home of the braves. On Indian reservations.

They were invented to control adult warriors. They had as a goal to keep the native population in poverty and impotent.

Did the system work? You bet it did.

Has the experiment been a failure? On the contrary, it has been a success.

When was the last time you heard of a successful Indian uprising?

Are the people poor? The poorest in America.

Are they on the dole? Of course.

Last year, the U. S. Department of Agriculture allocated $21 million to provide subsidized electricity to residents on the reservations whose homes are the most distant from jobs and opportunities. This will keep them poor. Tribal power means tribal impotence.

The tribes are dependent. They will stay dependent. That was what the program was designed to achieve.

For some reason, textbooks do not offer a page or two on the corruption, the bureaucratization, and the multi-generation poverty created by tribal-run socialism. Here we have a series of government-run social laboratories. How successful have they been? Where are reservations that have systematically brought people out of poverty?

The next one will be the first.


The Soviet Union lasted as a socialist worker’s paradise from 1917 until 1991. As a direct result of that experiment, at least 30 million Russians died. It may have been twice that. China’s experiment was shorter: 1949 to 1978. Perhaps 60 million Chinese died.

The system failed to deliver the promised goods. I can think of no topic more suitable for a class in economics than a discussion of the failure of socialism. The same is true of a course in modern world history. A course in political science should cover this failure in detail.

They don’t, of course. They do not begin with the fundamental challenge to socialist economic theory, Ludwig von Mises’ 1920 essay, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.” Why not? Because most social scientists, economists, and historians have never heard of it. Among people over age 50, the few who did hear of it heard about it from some pro-socialist or Keynesian advocate, who wrote what he had been told in graduate school in the 1960’s, namely, that the article was totally refuted by Oskar Lange in 1936.

They are never told that when Lange, a Communist, returned to Poland in 1947 to serve in several high-level posts, the Communist government did not invite him to implement his grand theory of “market socialism.” No other socialist nation ever did.

For 50 years, the textbooks, if they mentioned Mises at all, said only that Mises had been totally refuted by Lange. The Establishment academics dropped Mises down Orwell’s memory hole.

On September 10, 1990, multimillionaire socialist author-economist Robert Heilbroner published an article in the New Yorker. It was titled “After Communism.” The USSR was visibly collapsing. In it, he recounted the story of the refutation of Mises. In graduate school, he and his peers were taught that Lange had refuted Mises. Then he announced: “Mises was right.” Yet in his best-selling textbook on the history of economic thought, The Worldly Philosophers, he never referred to Mises.


The universal failure of twentieth-century socialism began from the opening months of Lenin’s takeover of Russia. Output declined sharply. He inaugurated a marginally capitalist reform in 1920; the New Economic Policy. That saved the regime from collapse. The NEP was abolished by Stalin.

Decade after decade, Stalin murdered people. The minimal estimate is 20 million. This was denied by virtually the entire intelligentsia of the West. Only in 1968 did Robert Conquest publish his monumental book, The Great Terror. His estimate today: closer to 30 million. The book was pilloried. Wikipedia’s entry on the book is accurate.

Published during the Vietnam War and during an upsurge of revolutionary Marxist sentiment in Western universities and intellectual circles (see The Sixties), The Great Terror received a hostile reception.

Hostility to Conquest’s account of the purges was heightened by various factors. The first was that he refused to accept the assertion made by Nikita Khrushchev, and supported by many Western leftists, that Stalin and his purges were an aberration from the ideals of the Revolution and were contrary to the principles of Leninism. Conquest argued that Stalinism was a natural consequence of the system established by Lenin, although he conceded that the personal character traits of Stalin had brought about the particular horrors of the late 1930s. Neal Ascherson noted: “Everyone by then could agree that Stalin was a very wicked man and a very evil one, but we still wanted to believe in Lenin; and Conquest said that Lenin was just as bad and that Stalin was simply carrying out Lenin’s programme.” The second factor (1918) was Conquest’s sharp criticism of Western intellectuals for what he saw as their blindness towards the realities of the Soviet Union, both in the 1930s and, in some cases, even in the 1960s. Figures such as Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, Jean-Paul Sartre, Walter Duranty, Sir Bernard Pares, Harold Laski, D. N. Pritt, Theodore Dreiser and Romain Rolland were accused of being dupes of Stalin and apologists for his regime for various comments they had made denying, excusing, or justifying various aspects of the purges.

The Left still hates the book, still attempts to say that he exaggerated the figures.

Then came The Black Book of Communism (1999) which puts the minimum estimate of citizens executed by Communists at 85 million, with 100 million or more likely. The book was published by Harvard University Press, so it could not be dismissed as a Right-wing fat tract.

The Left tries to ignore it.


The response of academia has been to dismiss the entire experiment as misguided, but not inherently evil. The cost in lives lost is rarely mentioned. Before 1991, this was even more rarely mentioned. Prior to Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago (1973), it was considered a breach of etiquette for an academic to do more than mention it in passing, limiting it to Stalin’s purges of the Communist Party in the late 1930’s, and almost never mentioning forced starvation as a matter of public policy. “Ukraine? Never heard of it.” “Kulaks? What are kulaks?”

The decrepit state of all socialist economies from start to finish is not mentioned. Above all, there is no reference to critics in the West who warned that these economies were large-scale Potemkin villages — fake towns created by the government to mislead the Leftist faithful who came to see the future. They returned home with glowing accounts.

There is a book about these naïve, trusting souls, who were taken in completely, Paul Hollander’s Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, 1928-1978. It was published by Oxford University Press in 1981. It was ignored by the intelligentsia for a decade.

The best description of these people that I have ever read comes from Malcolm Muggeridge, who spent the early 1930’s as a reporter for The Guardian in Moscow. Everything he wrote was censored before it was sent to England. He knew this. He could not report the truth, and The Guardian would not have reported it if he had. This is from his volume 1 of his autobiography, Chronicles of Wasted Time.

For resident foreign journalists in Moscow the arrival of the distinguished visitors was also a gala occasion, for a different reason. They provided us with our best — almost our only — comic relief. For instance, when we heard [George Bernard] Shaw, accompanied by Lady Astor (who was photographed cutting his hair), declare that he was delighted to find there was no food shortage in the USSR. Or [Harold] Laski singing the praises of Stalin’s new Soviet Constitution. . . . I have never forgotten these visitors, or ceased to marvel at them, at how they have gone on from strength to strength, continuing to lighten our darkness, and to guide, counsel and instruct us; on occasion, momentarily abashed, but always ready to pick themselves up, put on their cardboard helmets, mount Rosinante, and go galloping off on yet another foray on behalf of the down-trodden and oppressed. They are unquestionably one of the wonders of the age, and I shall treasure till I die as a blessed memory the spectacle of them travelling with radiant optimism through a famished countryside, wandering in happy bands about squalid, over-crowded towns, listening with unshakeable faith to the fatuous patter of carefully trained and indoctrinated guides, repeating like schoolchildren a multiplication table, the bogus statistics and mindless slogans endlessly intoned to them. There, I would think, an earnest office-holder in some local branch of the League of Nations Union, there a godly Quaker who once had tea with Gandhi, there an inveigher against the Means Test and the Blasphemy Laws, there a staunch upholder of free speech and human rights, there an indomitable preventer of cruelty to animals; there scarred and worthy veterans of a hundred battles for truth, freedom and justice — all, all chanting the praises of Stalin and his Dictatorship of the Proletariat. It was as though a vegetarian society had come out with a passionate plea for cannibalism, or Hitler had been nominated posthumously for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This phenomenon did not end in the 1930’s. It went on to the last gasp of the Soviets’ economic deception. The long-term moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the West’s intellectual leaders was finally exposed in 1991 by the acknowledged economic bankruptcy and tyranny of the Marxist regimes that the West had accepted as a valid alternative to capitalism.

No better example of this intellectual self-deception can be found than the case of Paul Samuelson, economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in economics (1970), former Newsweek columnist, and the author of by far the most influential economics textbook of the post-war world (1948-present): at least three million copies, 31 foreign languages. He announced in the 1989 edition of his textbook: “The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many sceptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

Mark Skousen found that gem. He also found this one, far more damning.


Felix Somary records in his autobiography a discussion he had with the economist Joseph Schumpeter and the sociologist Max Weber in 1918. Schumpeter was an Austrian economist who was not an Austrian School economist. He later wrote the most influential monograph on the history of economic thought. Weber was the most prestigious academic social scientist in the world until he died in 1920.

Schumpeter expressed happiness regarding the Russian Revolution. The USSR would be a test case for socialism. Weber warned that this would cause untold misery. Schumpeter replied: “That may well be, but it would be a good laboratory.” Weber responded: “A laboratory heaped with human corpses!” Schumpeter retorted: “Every anatomy classroom is the same thing.” (Felix Somary, The Raven of Zurich [New York: St. Martin’s, 1986], p. 121.)

Schumpeter was a moral monster. Let us not mince words. He was a highly sophisticated man, but he was at bottom a moral monster. Anyone who could dismiss the deaths of millions like this is a moral monster. Weber stormed out of the room. I don’t blame him.

Weber died in 1920. That was the year in which Mises’ essay appeared: “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.” Weber gave it a footnote in his masterpiece, published posthumously as Economy and Society (p. 107). Weber understood its importance as soon as he read it. Academic economists did not. Even today, there are few references to it.

Mises explained analytically why the socialist system is irrational: no capital markets. No one knows what anything should cost. He said that the systems would either violate the commitment to total planning or else fail totally. He has never been forgiven for this breach of etiquette. He was right, and the intellectuals were wrong. The socialist commonwealths have collapsed, except for North Korea and Cuba. Worse, he was right in terms of simple market theory that any intelligent person can understand. That article is a testimony to the West’s intellectuals: “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.”


Mises believed that the proof of the pudding is in the recipe. If it adds salt instead of sugar, it will not be sweet. But academia is committed officially to empiricism. It thinks statistical tests should confirm theory. But the tests came for decades. The socialist economies failed them and then published fake statistics. But still the West’s intellectuals insisted that the socialist ideal was morally sound. They insisted that the results will eventually prove the theory right.

Nikita Khrushchev was famous for saying this to Nixon in the famous “kitchen debate” of 1959. He had been a bureaucrat who survived under Stalin by overseeing the murder of tens of thousands of people in Ukraine. He told Nixon, “We will bury you.” He was wrong.

College students are not informed of either the theory of socialism nor the magnitude of its failures, both economically and demographically. In the pre-1991 era, this was easier than it is today. The intelligentsia now has to admit that capitalism is more productive than socialism. So, the tactic now is to say that it is morally deficient. Worse, it ignores ecology. This was Heilbroner’s recommended strategy in his 1990 article. He said that socialists would have to switch from charging capitalism with inefficiency and waste to charging it with environmental destruction.


The comprehensive nature of the failure of socialism is not taught in college textbooks. The topic is glossed over wherever possible. It was easier to impose sanctions against anyone in the related worlds of academia and journalism before 1991.

Deng Xiaoping announced his version of Lenin’s New Economic Policy in 1978. But that did not get much publicity.

In 1991, Humpty-Dumpty fell. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put him together again. Gorbachev presided over the final gasp in 1991. He received “Time Magazine’s Man of the Decade” in 1990. In 1991, he became an employed ex-dictator. Socialism failed . . . totally. But the intelligentsia still refuses to embrace the free market social philosophy of Mises, the man who predicted the failures of socialism, and who provided arguments to support his universal condemnation.

That is why it is a good idea to predict the demise of bad economic policies, along with your analysis. “I told you so, and I told you why” beats “I told you so.”

“Book Review: George Whitefield” by David Chilton

By David H. Chilton (1980?)

George Whitefield: The life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, by Arnold A. Dallimore (Cornerstone Books, 1980). Two volumes, $19.95 each.

Early in the eighteenth century, a high-society lady once joked that Parliament was “preparing a bill to have ‘not’ taken out of the Commandments and inserted into the Creed.” It was not far from the truth. By all descriptions of the period, it was characterized by rampant ungodliness and almost complete disregard for Christian standards in any area of life. J.C. Ryle wrote that “Christianity seemed to lie as one dead…There was…a gross, thick, religious and moral darkness” pervading England. The government and the courts were corrupt: open bribery was a continual practice, and the poor were flagrantly oppressed — which is not to say that the poor were any better.

Crime was abundant, and the attempt of the authorities to suppress it (by making 160 offenses punishable by death) was to no avail. Whole districts were sunk in abject heathenism, ignorant of the most basic principles of the gospel. And what were the churches doing? Says Ryle: “They existed, but they could hardly be said to have lived. They did nothing; they were sound asleep.” In short, England was well down the road which, for a nation just across the Channel, climaxed in the orgy of horror known as the French Revolution.

Yet within a few years, the situation for England had entirely changed. Thousands were converted to vital Christianity; the slave trade was abolished (in a matter vastly different from the Unitarian-inspired Abolitionist movement of America); widows, orphans and poor were cared for; hospitals were established; missionary and tract societies flourished. What made the difference? To a great extent the change can be traced to the labors of one of the most unworthily-neglected men in history — George Whitefield.

While Whitefield’s associates in the revival (John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and others) have received much attention through the years, Whitefield has been thrust into the background — largely due to his reluctance to promote himself — and historians have tended to treat him as one of Wesley’s lieutenants. In fact, Whitefield was the evangelist of the revival, a fact undisputed by his contemporaries. He was the founder of Methodism (and even, indirectly, of the Presbyterian Church of Virginia). The extent of his ministry is staggering: he evangelized England, Scotland, Wales and the American colonies, preaching about 40,000 sermons in a thirty-year period.

With the publication of the long-awaited second volume of his biography by Arnold Dallimore, the record has at last been set straight. Dallimore’s treatment is both sympathetic and discriminating (although the work still falls into the typical Banner-of-Truth biographical style, i.e., there is a relative disregard of Biblical standards in law, economics and social relationships).

The story of Whitefield’s conversion bears a strong resemblance to that of Martin Luther. Like the Reformer, Whitefield went through an extended time of trying desperately to be justified by works, and he almost killed himself through severe punishment of his body. At last he discovered justification by faith; he wrote later in his Journals of the “joy unspeakable” that filled his soul “when the weight of sin went off, and an abiding sense of the pardoning love of God, and a full assurance of faith, broke in upon my disconsolate soul!” He began preaching, and the crowds soon became so huge that he initiated the practice of preaching in open fields — a practice which soon became the trademark of the early Methodist movement, as John Wesley and others became convinced of its propriety and effectiveness (Wesley, in his own words, had “thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church”)

While at first they worked together, a serious split occurred between Whitefield and the Wesley’s. It began as a doctrinal dispute: as Whitefield became more committed to the doctrines of Calvinism, Wesley firmly adhered to the Arminianism of his Anglican upbringing. Whitefield constantly worked for peace (perhaps more than he should have), but Wesley was adamant and offensive in his handling of their differences, indulging in relentless personal attacks. In what is perhaps the single most shocking revelation in Dallimore’s work, he demonstrates irrefutably Wesley’s treachery in taking over the organization of the Methodist movement.

Whitefield sought simply to preach the gospel of Christ; Wesley schemed to build a structure around himself. He followed Whitefield around, denouncing him and trying to draw away his congregations. Whitefield established a school for children; when he returned from a trip, he found that Wesley had quite literally stolen it from him. These dishonest tactics were repeated again and again, with Whitefield never once publicly making any statement against Wesley or bringing charges against him. The result has been a massive misrepresentation of the facts in the controversy, to Whitefield’s damage and Wesley’s immense profit. Yet throughout his life, Whitefield continued, for the sake of his concept of “unity,” to support and aid Wesley in every way possible — often under extreme abuse from the very one he was helping.

This fact illustrates a continuing problem in the last two and one-half centuries of evangelicalism: the combination of neoplatonism and antinomianism. I can think of no outstanding 18th-century leader who was not deeply infected with these two errors. There is no doubt in my mind that God greatly used Whitefield and his associates for the extension of His kingdom; with me, at least, that is not the point at issue. But the presuppositions of their age were not called into question by these men — and one result has been that their followers, whether Wesleyan or Calvinist, have regarded their serious errors as evangelical orthodoxy.

Their working definition of “spirituality” — i.e., that salvation is fundamentally individualistic, internal, and immaterial — comes straight from the Apostle Plato. One example of this is Whitefield’s amusing, and very sad, experience of courtship and marriage (see esp. vol. I, pp. 468-472; vol. 2, pp. 101-113). He couldn’t bring himself to admit he actually loved the girl of his dreams —that would be too “carnal” — and his businesslike proposal (which she rejected) had a human tenderness matched only by that of frozen fish.

When he finally did marry, he became quickly disappointed, and in less than two months he was longing “for that blessed time when we shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but be as the angels of God!” Marriage, you see, was a hindrance to his ability to serve the Lord. As he phrased it: “What room can there be for God, when a rival hath taken possession of the heart?”

We may laugh (or cry) at this, but let us be careful that our ideas of God, man and salvation are not just as distorted. We need to keep men like Whitefield in the Biblical perspective: neither attaching ourselves to his unbiblical worldviews just because God used him, nor rejecting the validity of much of what he did simply because his views were repulsive. He did preach the gospel, and he preached it with a greater degree of purity than most of his contemporaries. One of my favorite passages in the book comes from the diary of an unlettered American farmer, converted through hearing Whitefield preach on justification:

…he looked as if he was Clothed with authority from ye great god and a sweet solemnity sat upon his brow and my hearing him preach gave me a heart wound & by god’s blessing my old foundation was broken up & i see my righteousness would not save me.

Thus, Whitefield’s preaching did often have the good effect of leading people to flee from their own filthy rags to the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Whitefield’s neoplatonism was never fully rooted out. Neoplatonism is essentially an attempt to deny one’s creaturehood and humanity, the vain wish to be pure spirit and flee earthly cares and human relationships. Christian spirituality becomes defined in terms of transcending our creaturely limitations, rather than serving God in every sphere of life. We see the same thing today: someone wants to “serve the Lord,” to enter “full-time Christian service,” and so he abandons his trade and becomes a full-time preacher or missionary.

Now, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but why do we feel that a preacher is more consecrated or spiritual than a salesman or electrician? It is simply because the preacher’s work seems less tied to earth and creaturely activity. The laborer, who spends most of his time working with material reality, cannot be as spiritual as the preacher, who deals with immaterial things — “the things of the Lord” — a higher level of reality. But the Bible says that all things are the Lord’s. Unfortunately, what someone once observed of philosophy could also be said of modern theology and Christian activity: “a series of footnotes to Plato.”

When we look at the lives of the Revivalists, we can see the needless suffering they endured because of their unbiblical concepts of reality. John Wesley had a very unhappy marriage: his wife constantly opposed him in his work, physically assaulted him on occasion, and finally left him. She is usually condemned (or dismissed as insane) by his biographers, but we should approach this matter with care. Here was a woman who was often left alone while her husband was out evangelizing and organizing, doing “the Lord’s work.”

But notice what the Bible demands of a church officer: he must he a godly husband and father, governing his home faithfully, loving his wife sacrificially, as Christ loved the church. The Old Testament required that a newly married man. “shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken” (Deut. 24:5). Surely this reveals God’s major concern for the home and family. The wife is a helper, and marriage is an asset, not a liability. But the revivalists often considered marriage a hindrance, and they accorded to soul-saving a priority over the clear demands of Scripture.

In examining Wesley’s troubles, therefore, we must ask: Who deserted whom? We cannot excuse Wesley on the mere grounds that many were converted under his ministry. God used him, as He has used many who disobeyed Him. God’s sovereignty is no excuse for man’s irresponsibility. Wesley’s ministry was lawless: soul-saving does not take priority over a man’s duty to his wife.

Whitefield’s marriage was certainly not the stormy ordeal that was Wesley’s, but he held the same distorted view of its proper place. Elizabeth Whitefield was apparently able to cope with the loneliness that had broken Mrs. Wesley. Still, she came to see herself as “nothing but a load and burden to him.” He was engaged in spiritual work, and made no attempt to hide the fact that he “looked back longingly on the days when there had been no husbandly responsibilities to hinder his service for the Lord.”

Again, these men often felt it was their duty to live as close to poverty as possible, and much of their activity was spent in trying to take care of the debts they incurred. Their sermons and writings flow incessantly with longings to leave earth and go to heaven — a common theme in evangelical hymns since their time. The fact that the Bible tells us little about heaven, and a great deal about our duties on earth, seems not to have occurred to them.

As I noted, Whitefield was better than most. His meetings never approached the irrational fervor (e.g., spasms, fainting fits and glossolalia) that were common under the ministry of many of his contemporaries. His humility and willingness to be corrected were exemplary, and guarded him from the errors into which many of his colleagues fell. But in the course of bringing revival, he and the other preachers took the reigning philosophical ideas and presented them as Christian orthodoxy. Christianity became a mystical experience of the spirit, rather than the whole man submitting all his thought and activity to the covenantal demands of Jesus Christ.

This false spirituality has tainted virtually everything in the last two centuries of evangelicalism. Consider two ways in which it has affected Christian schools. First, in contradiction to Scripture, teachers are often paid the lowest wages possible. Why? Because, like preachers, they are doing “the Lord’s work”; it is a ministry, and they should therefore be satisfied with their heavenly reward. The laborer is worthy of his hire unless he’s in “full-time Christian service.” (Incidentally, when Paul said elders should be paid “double honor,” he meant double wages. I’m not sure how much “double wages” are, but I’ll bet my Social Security it’s more than minimum wage.)

Secondly, Christian schools are often seen as centers for evangelism: instruction and preparation of the children for godly dominion in every sphere of life takes second place. We want the kids to get saved, but we don’t bother much with things such as economics, law, labor principles, training in useful trades, preparing for family life, and so on. This is not a practice derived from Scripture. It derives from our view that man’s purpose on earth is to get saved. Period. (A variation might be that man’s purpose is to get saved, and then to get everybody else saved, but that’s about the extent of it.) But man’s purpose is godly dominion — salvation is necessary in restoring fallen man to the place where he can again serve God as ruler over the earth. This central Biblical teaching was neglected in the revivals, and that crucial omission was the deathblow for Christian dominion in the following generations. True, the face of England was remarkably changed — evidence that the revival was genuine — but the nation as a whole was not captured. Eventually, the good fruit of the movement was taken over by the humanists — and there, I think, is a lesson. Many in our day are praying for another Whitefield-type revival. But if it is not accompanied by Scriptural reformation and Christian reconstruction, it will fail

Prophecy Prognosticators are Part of the “Thought Collective”


Like clockwork, when something bad happens in the world, Bible prophecy prognosticators start with their end-time claims. They are part of a “thought collective” where adherents share their beliefs in a closed system using the same language and shortcut responses to those who criticize their conclusions. When challenged with this question, “Where in the Bible does it say that?,” they avoid answering directly by offering a formula response that comes from the safety of the “thought collective” bubble.

It happens every time some new prophecy claim is made about current events and challenged. Here’s the latest since Joe Biden might be our nation’s next President:

It is amazing to see prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. 

How many times have you read something like the above? How many generations of failed prophetic predictions do we have to endure before Christians say “enough”?

Then I saw this:

There are only four passages in the Bible that use the word “antichrist.” You won’t find the word “antichrist” in the book of Revelation. The fact surprises a lot of prophecy enthusiasts. Not one of these passages mentions anything about the antichrist ruling anything. Read the passages for yourself from John’s epistles that were written before the temple was destroyed in AD 70:

  1. “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).
  2. “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the ChristThis is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22)
  3. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:2–3).
  4. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the fleshThis is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

When I pointed out these biblical facts, I was dismissed with, “I respectfully disagree.” He didn’t tell me why he disagreed. It might be due to the fact that the passages are as clear as can be and do not fit today’s general understanding of the antichrist.

Notice that there were “now many antichrists” (1 John 2:18). “Now” refers to John’s day, a point made in again 1 John 4:3. In 1 John 2:22, we find, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichristthe one who denies the Father and the Son.” In 2 John 7, we find a definition that compliments what we read in 1 John 2:22: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

John’s definition of antichrist is exclusively theological. Nothing is said about a charismatic leader solving the Middle East conflict, promising to rid the world of terrorism, getting the Jewish nation and the Arab nations to sign a peace treaty that will pave the way for the long awaited Third Temple (of which the New Testament says nothing), a satanic superman, namely, “the most evil man that ever lived.”

John was describing antichrists (plural) in his day as evidence that “it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). What did John mean by “the last hour”? It’s a reference to the prophecy Jesus made in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) and other places (Luke 11:46–5213:34–3517:22–3719:41–44) that a prophetic event was going to take place before their generation passed away. When John wrote his first epistle, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was near, possibly only a few years away. “Last hour” is not being used to describe thousands of years of history.

Who were these antichrists? They were Jews who understood the claimed relationship between Jesus and His Father. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus said (John 10:30). The Jews objected “and took up stones again to stone Him” (10:31).

Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (10:32–33).

The unbelieving Jews understood the claim that Jesus was the Christ, that is, the promised Messiah. In John’s day, unbelieving Jews were the antichrists because they denied that Jesus was God incarnate (John 1:114) and that He was the promised Messiah. This is why Jesus was accused of blasphemy and the Jewish religious and civil rulers wanted to kill Him.

“If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple (John 8:55–59).

John described these unbelieving Jews as a “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:93:9), a type of “thought collective” who denied the reality of God’s revealed Word and instead adopted a type of anti-Messianic group think.

While tens of thousands of Jews embraced Jesus as the promised Messiah (read the book of Acts), many Jews rejected Him. They held on to the tradition of the elders and chafed under the claim that the old covenant was temporary and was in the process of passing away (Heb. 8:13).

After answering some of the responses about the antichrists and how those defining the term were not following the biblical definition, the topic of the great tribulation came up. It is during this supposed future event that the antichrist is said to make his appearance. John does not say anything about this claim. Neither does Jesus in Matthew 24:21.

I responded with the following:

The great tribulation is a past event that took place before the generation to whom Jesus spoke passed away. See my book Last Days Madness. John described himself as a “fellow-partaker in the tribulation” (Rev. 1:10).

What was the response of the person who posted the meme?: “I respectfully disagree.”

I responded with: “Disagreeing is not a refutation.” His answer is typical of a “thought collective” response in that it must stay within the narrow confines of the prophetic paradigm. Any attempt to question it must be rebuffed even if it goes against what is specifically stated in Scripture or what’s not stated.

The tribulation that Jesus describes in Matthew 24:21 is now an event of history. It happened in the past. Jesus said in Matthew 24:34, “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” “This generation always refers to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. It never refers to a future generation.

  • “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to the other children…” (Matt. 11:16).
  • “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Matt. 12:41).
  • “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42).
  • “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation” (12:45).
  • “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:36).

F. F. Bruce wrote: “The phrase ‘this generation’ is found too often on Jesus’ lips in this literal sense for us to suppose that it suddenly takes on a different meaning in the saying we are now examining. Moreover, if the generation of the end-time had been intended, ‘that generation’ would have been a more natural way of referring to it than ‘this generation.’” ((F. F. Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983), 227.))

More biblical examples could be given regarding the definition of “this generation” (Mark 8:128:3813:30Luke 7:3111:2911:303132505117:2521:32), and many more statements by commentators could be referenced that support the claim that “this generation” meant the generation to whom Jesus and the NT writers had in view. See my book Wars and Rumors of Wars.

How is it possible that the tribulation leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 could be “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matt. 24:21). Because this was a covenantal judgment event. Jesus was not describing what would happen to the whole world. Jesus uses the same wording that’s found in Ezekiel 5:9 that describes Jerusalem’s desolation and judgment that took place in the 6th century BC:

“Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her. ‘But she has rebelled against My ordinances more wickedly than the nations and against My statutes more than the lands which surround her; for they have rejected My ordinances and have not walked in My statutes.’ “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. ‘And because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again. ‘Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind. ‘So as I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare. ‘One third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you, one third will fall by the sword around you, and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them (Ezek. 5:5–12).

This type of language is rhetorical hyperbole that’s used often in the Bible (e.g., Ex. 11:6Acts 2:5Col. 1:231 Kings 3:12 compare with Matt. 12:412 Kings 18:5 compare with 2 Kings 23:25). One of the commenters wrote that the “great tribulation is defined in Scripture as ‘a rut that cannot be escaped from.’” If this is the definition of the great tribulation, then it does not comport with what the Bible says about escaping it.

The great tribulation described by Jesus could be escaped on foot by fleeing “to the mountains” outside of Judea (Matt. 24:16). The conditions described by Jesus are indicative of first-century Israel: houses had flat roofs, the Sabbath was still operating, and a person’s cloak “is the one thing that is so precious and needful that it cannot be taken as a pledge during the nighttime hours, but has to be returned each night to its owner [Ex. 22:26-27].”

Luke’s version includes some of the same generation-defining elements of the prophecy and includes, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand” (21:20). This means that the great tribulation described by Jesus could be escaped and was escaped by those who listened to Jesus and headed for the hills like Lot did. Those who did not, ended up like Lot’s wife, caught in the fiery conflagration.

Is the Rapture Found in Matthew 24?


Is the Rapture Found in Matthew 24?

Almost daily I get questions about prophetic topics. In most cases, I’ve already dealt with them in my books Last Days MadnessThe Early Church and the End of the WorldWhy the End of the World is Not in Your FutureWars and Rumors of Wars, 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered, The Rapture and the Fig Tree GenerationProphecy Wars, Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers, and Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction.

 When I point people to these books for my take on a particular passage, a number of them bristle at the suggestion. A few of them want a “yes” or “no” answer right then and there. It’s almost never that simple. What they’re really looking for is an excuse not to study the issue. “If Gary DeMar doesn’t believe like I do on _________________, son I don’t want to spend money on a whole book of his errors.”

Some of emailers think I push my books because I make money on them. I don’t receive a penny in royalties from anything I do at American Vision. My goal is to get Christians to study these issues for themselves. We need fewer “gutter sparrows” (Acts 17:18) and more “noble minded” Christians who “examine the Scriptures” (17:11).

Anyone who has read my books knows that I walk the reader through the process of how I came to a particular interpretation. Instead of just telling someone what I believe a particular text means, it’s important to know the process. Hopefully, the reader will follow a similar process with other texts and thereby become a better student of the Bible. One question that I get on a regular basis is the “left behind” passage in Matthew 24.

To help His listeners better understand the timing and circumstances of the events leading up to and including the destruction of the temple before their generation passed away, Jesus draws on a familiar Old Testament judgment event—the flood. Jesus, teaching by analogy, shows how the coming of the flood waters and His own coming in judgment against Jerusalem are similar.

In Noah’s time we read about “those days which were before the flood” and “the day that NOAH ENTERED THE ARK” (Matt. 24:38). Similarly, there were days before the coming of the Son of Man and the day of the coming of the Son of Man. The same people were involved in both the “days before” and “the day of” the Son of Man. Those who “were eating and drinking” and “marrying and giving in marriage” were the same people who were shut out on “the day that Noah entered the ark.”

Noah entered the ark on a single day similar to the way Jesus as the Son of Man came on the “clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (24:30), a day and hour known only to the Father (24:36). “Some shall be rescued from the destruction of Jerusalem, like Lot out of the burning of Sodom: while others, no ways perhaps different in outward circumstances, shall be left to perish in it.” ((Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, Which Have Remarkably Been Fulfilled, and at This Time are Fulfilling in the World (London: J.F. Dove, 1754), 379.))

Jesus says that His coming “will be just like the days of Noah” (24:37). The people were doing normal things—“eating and drinking” and “marrying and giving in marriage.” Jesus told His audience that life will go on as usual when Jesus returns in judgment against the temple and city of Jerusalem. People had no thought of a coming judgment in Noah’s day since there were no signs. Noah was told to prepare for “things not yet seen” (Heb. 11:7). Jesus is not describing evil behavior like drunkenness and sexual sins like “‘exchanging mates’ or ‘wife swapping,’ contrary to what M. R. DeHaan and Jack Van Impe claim. ((Jack Van Impe, The Great Escape: Preparing for the Rapture, the Next Event on God’s Prophetic Clock (Nashville, TN: Word, 1998), 127.))

“Marrying and given in marriage” is a phrase to describe, well, “marrying and giving in marriage” (see Matt. 22:30). People do it every day. Men and women marry and parents give their daughters away in marriage. D. A. Carson’s comments are helpful:

[T]hat the coming of the Son of Man takes place at an unknown time can only be true if in fact life seems to be going on pretty much as usual—just as in the days before the flood (v. 37). People follow their ordinary pursuits (v. 38). Despite the distress, persecutions, and upheavals (vv. 4–28), life goes on: people eat, drink, and marry. There is no overt typological usage of the Flood as judgment here, nor any mention of the sin of that generation. ((D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, gen. ed., Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 8:509. Also see N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 365–366.))

Support for Carson’s interpretation can be found in Luke’s account of the time just before Sodom’s destruction: “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:28). Buying, selling, planting, and building describe life going on as usual without any regard to an impending judgment. Are dispensationalists willing to say that these activities “connote moral corruption”?

Darrell L. Bock attempts this interpretation even though he admits that the idea of “moral corruption . . . is not emphasized in Luke’s description.” ((Darrell L. Bock, Luke: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 2:1432–1433.)) No one disputes that Noah and Lot lived in a time of moral corruption that brought judgment. Jesus’ point is that the people in Noah and Lot’s day went on with their lives as if the promise of imminent judgment was a lie (see 2 Peter 3:3–4). Notice the audience reference: “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things” (2 Pet. 3:14). Peter is not describing a distant event but one that was soon to occur. The same is true of those who were told that Jesus would return in judgment within a generation (Matt. 24:34).

Many futurists claim that the phrase “took them all away” (Matt. 24:39) refers to a rapture that is still in our future. On the contrary. “In the context of 24:37–39, ‘taken’ presumably means ‘taken to judgment’ (cf. Jer. 6:11 NASB, NRSV).” ((Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 115.)) The phrase ties the judgment of the world in Noah’s day with the judgment of the Jews’ world in Israel’s day that took place with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

Who was taken away in the judgment of the flood? Not Noah and his family. They were “left behind” to carry on God’s work. John Gill writes in his commentary on this passage: “the whole world of the ungodly, every man, woman, and child, except eight persons only; Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives. . . .” were taken away in judgment. And what does Gill say about those in the field?: They shall be taken away “by the eagles, the Roman army, and either killed or carried captive by them.” The Bible gives its own commentary on the meaning of “took them all away” in Luke 17:2729: “Destroyed them all” is equivalent to “took them all away.”

A number of commentators (e.g., J. Marcellus Kik and Kenneth Gentry) argue that Matthew 24:35 is a “transition text.” It’s at this point, they argue, that Jesus is referring to a time period that is still in our future. Luke 17:22–37 describes five Olivet-Discourse prophetic events that are identical to those found in Matthew 24. The difference between Matthew 24 and Luke 17 is in the order of the events, a characteristic of the passages that few commentators can explain. Ray Summers writes:

This is a most difficult passage. The overall reference appears to be to the coming of the Son of Man—Christ—in judgment at the end of the age. Some small parts of it, however, are repeated in Luke 21 in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), and larger parts of it are in Matthew 24, also in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. The entire complex cautions one against dogmatism in interpreting. ((Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke: Jesus, the Universal Savior (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1972), 202.))

Taking Matthew 24 as the standard, Luke places the Noah’s ark analogy (Matt. 24:37–39) before the events of Matthew 24:17–18 (“let him who is on the housetop not go down”), verse 27 (“for just as the lightning comes from the east”), and verse 28 (“wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather”). If the five prophetic events of Matthew 24 that are found in Luke 17:22–37 are numbered 1–2–3–4–5, Luke’s numbering of the same events would be 2–4–1–5–3. While this is not positive proof of an A.D. 70 fulfillment for chapters 24 and 25, it certainly adds credibility to the position.))

Comparing Luke 17 with Matthew 24

Another line of evidence offered by those who believe that events following Matthew 24:34 refer to a yet future personal and physical return of Jesus is the meaning given to “after a long time” (24:48; 25:19) and the “delay” by the bridegroom (25:5). On the surface these examples seem to indicate that two different events are in view, one near (the destruction of Jerusalem) and one distant (the second coming of Christ). This is the view of Stephen F. Hayhow.

Both parables, the parables of the virgins (vv. 1–13), and the parable of the talents (vv. 14–30), speak of the absence of the bridegroom/master, who is said to be “a long time in coming” (v. 5) and “After a long time the master of the servants returned” (v. 19). This suggests, not the events of A.D. 70 which were to occur in the near future, in fact within the space of a generation, but a distant event, the return of Christ. ((Stephen F. Hayhow, “Matthew 24, Luke 17 and the Destruction of Jerusalem,” Christianity and Society 4:2 (April 1994), 4.))

Notice that the evil slave says, “My master is not coming for a long time” (Matt. 24:48). The evil slave then proceeds to “beat his fellow-slaves and eat and drink with drunkards” (24:49). But to the surprise of the “evil slave” the master returned when he least expected him (24:50). The master did not return to cut the evil slave’s distant relatives in pieces (24:51); he cut him in pieces. The evil slave was alive when the master left, and he was alive when the master returned. In this context, a “long time” must be measured against a person’s lifetime. In context, two years could be a long time if the master usually returned within six months.

The same idea is expressed in the parable of the “talents.” A man entrusts his slaves with his possessions (25:14). The master then goes on a journey (25:15). While the master is gone, the slaves make investment decisions (25:16–18). We are then told that “after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them” (25:19). In this context “a long time” is no longer than an average lifetime. The settlement is made with the same slaves who received the talents. In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:2723:8John 5:6Acts 8:1114:32826:52927:2128:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations.

The delay of the bridegroom is no different from the “long time” of the two previous parables. The bridegroom returns to the same two groups of virgins (25:1–13). The duration of the delay must be measured by the audience.

This brief analysis helps us understand the “mockers” who ask, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:3–4). Peter was aware that Jesus’ coming was an event that would take place before the last apostle died (Matt. 16:27–28John 21:22–23). The doctrine of the soon return of Christ was common knowledge (Matt. 24:3426:64Phil. 4:5Heb. 10:251 John 2:18Rev. 1:13). It is not hard to imagine that the passage of several decades would lead some to doubt the reliability of the prophecy, especially as the promised generation was coming to a close. The horrendous events of A.D. 70 silenced the mockers.

For more information on the topic of Bible prophecy, check out the following books from American Vision:

The Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy
Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church
Is Jesus Coming Soon?
Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction
The Early Church and the End of the World
Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers
The Gog and Magog End-Time Alliance
Prophecy Wars
The End Times and the Islamic Antichrist
The Rapture and the Fig Tree Generation
Wars and Rumors of Wars
Matthew 24 Fulfilled
Paradise Restored
The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation
Jesus v. Jerusalem

Who Is Defending Classic Dispensationalism Today?

Oct 27, 2020 by Gary DeMar

Eschatology is the study of the “last things.” The more popular terminology is “Bible prophecy.” There are numerous schools of thought on the subject. The most popular version—dispensational premillennialism—teaches that particular prophetic events are on the horizon, that a “rapture” of the Church precedes a seven-year period that includes the rise of an antichrist, a rebuilt temple, and a Great Tribulation.

One of the distinct features of this view is the belief that there is an Israel-Church distinction, and because of this distinction God has two redemptive programs. Over the years I have received numerous questions and not a few criticisms of my views. I have tried to answer all who have taken the time to write. Some have been gracious in their replies, and some have not. Many have abandoned their dispensational belief system after reading my published works, some have not. After being engaged in this type of work for more than 40 years, I find that there are people who are unwilling to put their prophetic system to the test. For example:   

[Gary DeMar] is a self-labeled non-dispensationalist. While that isn’t a crime or even a theological faux pax, it IS specious, considering that verse which describes ‘don’t boast against the branches, for they [Israel] support YOU’ and not vice versa. Included in that camp is Hank Hanegraaff, who can only be accused of believing one thing years ago and now believes the exact opposite today. Understanding the debate over Replacement Theology [that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s economy] is THE topic today and divides the Body like abortion did 20 yrs ago. [1]

Claiming that a debate over “Replacement Theology” is comparable to abortion is absurd, especially when my critic’s own prophetic system envisions “the worst bloodbath in Jewish history.” [2]

Maybe the topic is like abortion since dispensationalists teach that after the “rapture,” “two-thirds of the Jewish people [living in Israel during the Great Tribulation] will be exterminated.” [3]

The idea of an Israel-Church distinction, which is a fundamental doctrine of dispensationalism, is built on an interpretive fiction. There is continuity between the covenants. There were Israelite believers prior to, during, and after Jesus’ earthly ministry. They were incorporated into the “great cloud of witnesses” from the Old Covenant age (Heb. 12:1). We are reminded of Zacharias (Luke 1:5–23), Elizabeth (1:24–25), John (1:57–63), Mary (1:39–56), Joseph (Matt. 1:18–25), Simeon (Luke 2:25–35), Anna (2:36–37), and others (Luke 19:8–9John 2:234:39507:318:3110:42). [4] Simeon quotes the Old Testament that links the believing remnant of Israel and the believing remnant from the nations (Gentiles):

For my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples. “A light of Revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:31–32; see Isa. 42:649:6).

The “church” is not a new idea. The Greek word ekklesia is found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament and is best translated as “assembly” or “congregation.” It’s how William Tyndale Translated ekklesia in his English translation of the Bible.

Jews made up the New Testament ekklesia (Acts 5:118:1–3). Again, this wasn’t anything new. The ekklesia (the KJV translates it as “church”) was “in the wilderness” (7:38; Heb. 2:12). Gentiles were grafted into an already existing Jewish ekklesia.

God always intended that the promises made to Israel would extend to include the nations (Acts 10; 13:47–48; 26:23). This is not to assume that every Israelite and non-Israelite would be saved. It’s about the remnant (Rom. 9:6–82711:5) not natural descent (John 1:12–13). I deal with this and related topics extensively in my book 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered.

10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered

As a result of many failed predictions, many Christians are beginning to take a second look at a prophetic system that they were told is the only one that takes the literal interpretation of the Bible seriously. Gary DeMar has taken on the task of exposing some of the popular myths foisted upon the public by prophetic speculators: The Myth of the Israel-Church Distinction; The Myth that the Modern State of Israel is a Sign that the Rapture is Near; The Myth that Only Dispensationalists Have a Future for Israel; The Myth of the Postponed Abrahamic Covenant; The Myth of Replacement Theology; The Myth that Animal Sacrifices and Circumcision Are Everlasting Rites; The Myth that the Temple Needs to be Rebuilt; and more.Buy Now

Everyone prior to around 1830 was a non-dispensationalist when compared to the Darby-Scofield-Dallas Seminary definition, so I don’t see how being a “non-dispensationalist” today carries with it such negative connotations. And until the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909, there was no agreed upon dispensational system among even a minority of Christians. [5] It’s rather surprising that the notes by one man who had no real theological training would end up creating a new prophetic movement where the notes more often than not supplant the text of Scripture.

Since its inception, dispensationalism has been considered biblically aberrational by a number of theological traditions. [6] R. B. Kuiper (1886–1966), who served as a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary and President of Calvin Theological Seminary, wrote in 1936 that two grievous errors were “prevalent among American fundamentalists, Arminianism and the Dispensationalism of the Scofield Bible.” The General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church went so far as to describe Arminianism and Dispensationalism as “anti-reformed heresies,” [7] that is, heretical in terms of the theology that came out of the Reformation.

Professor John Murray, who taught Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and wrote a commentary on Romans for the New International Commentary Series, wrote that the “‘Dispensationalism’ of which we speak as heterodox from the standpoint of the Reformed Faith is that form of interpretation, widely popular at the present time, which discovers in the several dispensations of God’s redemptive revelation distinct and even contrary principles of divine procedure and thus destroys the unity of God’s dealings with fallen mankind.” [8] Premillennialism of the covenantal or classical variety was not under attack by these men. [9] Kuiper again writes:

It is a matter of common knowledge that there is ever so much more to the dispensationalism of the Scofield Bible than the mere teaching of Premillennialism. Nor do the two stand and fall together. There are premillennarians who have never heard of Scofield’s dispensations. More important than that, there are serious students of God’s Word who hold to the Premillennial return of Christ and emphatically reject Scofield’s system of dispensations as fraught with grave error. [10]

This is not to say that advocates of dispensationalism are not heirs of the Reformation in most respects. Most hold orthodox positions on basic Christian doctrines, but dispensationalism as it was codified by Scofield and is taught and promoted today was unknown in the history of the church.

Dispensationalism has gone through numerous revisions since the publication of the New Scofield Reference Bible in 1967. Thomas Ice, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and former professor at Liberty University who serves as professor of Bible and theology and Calvary University, predicted, “By the year 2000 Dallas Theological Seminary will no longer be dispensational. [Professional] priorities are elsewhere than the defense of systematic dispensationalism from external criticism.” [11] DTS is still dispensational but students do not have to subscribe to the statement of faith of the professors.

Dispensationalism is being questioned by the more orthodox charismatics. Dr. Joseph Kickasola, who served as professor of international studies and Hebrew at Regent University observed that there has been a “‘diminishing of dispensationalism,’ especially among charismatics, who, he says, are coming to see that ‘charismatic dispensationalist’ is ‘a contradiction in terms.’” [12] The date-setting element of dispensationalism is losing its fascination with many of its adherents since the fortieth anniversary of Israel’s nationhood (1948–1988) passed without a rapture. Dave Hunt, a proponent of the national regathering of Israel as the time indicator for future prophetic events, writes: “Needless to say, January 1, 1982, saw the defection of large numbers from the pretrib position…. Many who were once excited about the prospects of being caught up to heaven at any moment have become confused and disillusioned by the apparent failure of a generally accepted biblical interpretation they once relied upon.” [13]

Hunt went on to assert: “[Gary] “North’s reference to specific dates is an attack upon the most persuasive factor supporting Lindsey’s rapture scenario: the rebirth of national Israel. This historic event, which is pivotal to dispensationalism’s timing of the rapture, as John F. Walvoord has pointed out, was long anticipated and when it at last occurred seemed to validate that prophetic interpretation.” [14]

Robert L. Saucy (1930–2015), who was professor of systematic theology at Talbot School of Theology, remarked, “Over the past several decades the system of theological interpretation commonly known as dispensationalism has undergone considerable development and refinement.” [15] Saucy gives a great deal away in his book The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, so much so that he calls it “the new dispensationalism” or “progressive [dispensationalism] … to distinguish the newer interpretations from the older version of dispensationalism.” [16]

Nothing even remotely associated with modern-day dispensationalism can be found in the creedal formulations of the church going back to the Council of Nicaea in AD. 325. Not even non-dispensational (classical) premillennialism was written into the basic Christian creeds. [17] Most of the finest Christian scholars the church has ever produced were not then and are not now dispensationalists. Of course, this does not mean dispensationalism is a false system, but it does mean that it needs to be evaluated in terms of how it compares with Scripture. If the Bible is the standard, then dispensationalism does not have an exegetical leg to stand on.

As far as I know, there has not been a scholarly defense of dispensationalism by a major Christian publishing company for many years. Most new prophecy books are being published by Harvest House written by just a few authors who have not broken any new ground. Their books repeat the same themes with only different book titles.

For more information on the topic of Bible prophecy, check out the following books from American Vision:

The Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy

Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church

Is Jesus Coming Soon?

Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction

The Early Church and the End of the World

Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers

The Gog and Magog End-Time Alliance

Prophecy Wars

The End Times and the Islamic Antichrist

The Rapture and the Fig Tree Generation

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Matthew 24 Fulfilled

Paradise Restored

The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation

Jesus v. Jerusalem

  1. I’ve corrected the author’s spelling in various places.[]
  2. Charles C. Ryrie, The Best is Yet to Come (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 86. Dispensationalist Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes something similar: “Israel will suffer tremendous persecution (Matthew 24:15–28Revelation 12:1–17). As a result of this persecution of the Jewish people, two-thirds are going to be killed.” (Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, “The Little Apocalypse of Zechariah,” The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice [Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003], 262).[]
  3. Messianic Jewish spokesman Sid Roth in an interview with Pat Robertson on the September 18, 1991 edition of the “700 Club.”[]
  4. Howard A. Hanke, Christ and the Church in the Old Testament: A Survey of Redemptive Unity in the Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1957).[]
  5. Dispensationalists like to claim that the mere use of the word “dispensation” makes someone a dispensationalist. This is hardly the case. See Ronald M. Henzel, Darby, Dualism, and the Decline of Dispensationalism: Reassessing the Nineteenth-Century Roots of a Twentieth-Century Prophetic Movement for the Twenty-First Century (Tucson: Fenestra Books, 2003), 25–29.[]
  6. Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1945); John Wick Bowman, “The Bible and Modern Religions: II. Dispensationalism,” Interpretation 10 (April 1956), 170–172; C. Norman Kraus, Dispensationalism in America (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1958); Clarence B. Bass, Backgrounds to Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1960); Curtis I. Crenshaw and Grover E. Gunn, III, Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, rev. ed. (Memphis: Footstool Publications, [1985], 1989. There are too many critiques of dispensationalism to list.[]
  7. R. B. Kuiper, The Presbyterian Guardian (September 12, 1936), 225–227. Quoted in Edwin H. Rian, The Presbyterian Conflict (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1940), 101.[]
  8. The Presbyterian Guardian (February 3, 1936), 143. Quoted in Rian, The Presbyterian Conflict, 236–237.[]
  9. Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to “Left Behind” Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009).[]
  10. The Presbyterian Guardian (November 14, 1936), 54. Quoted in Rian, The Presbyterian Conflict, 31.[]
  11. Thomas Ice interview with Martin Selbrede, Counsel of Chalcedon (December 1989). Cited in Gary North, Rapture Fever: Why Dispensationalism is Paralyzed (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1993), 145. Traditionally, Pentecostalism has been dispensational.[]
  12. Randy Frame, “The Theonomic Urge,” Christianity Today, (April 21, 1989), 38.[]
  13. Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1988), 68.[]
  14. Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven, 64.[]
  15. Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensationalism and Non-Dispensational Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993), 8. Also see, Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism: An Up-to-Date Handbook of Contemporary Dispensational Thought (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993).[]
  16. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, 9.[]
  17. Gary DeMar and Francis X. Gumerlock, The Early Church and the End of the World (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2005), chap. 4.[]

How Would You Prefer to Spend Your Last Holiday Season?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola, November 12th 2020


  • COVID-19 has a survival rate of 99.99% for those under the age of 40. Even people over the age of 60 who aren’t residents of nursing homes have a survival rate of 98.29%, yet residents in many areas are now told, in great detail, how they can and cannot celebrate their holidays
  • Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness had reached epidemic levels. In 2018, 54% of American adults over the age of 18 reported feeling lonely. By January 2020, it was 61% and now, nine months into the pandemic, we’ve reached 66%
  • Loneliness isn’t relegated to the elderly. In the 18 to 34 age group, 75% report feeling socially isolated, compared to 61% of those over 50. Among those aged 18 to 34, 19% say they’ve gone as long as two to three months without interacting with another person
  • 10% of 35- to 49-year-olds, 9% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 7% of those over 50 say they’ve not interacted with anyone outside their household or workplace since the pandemic began
  • If safety requires us to indefinitely forfeit the most valuable parts of our lives, what exactly are we trying to save?

Depending on where you live, COVID-19 rules could be putting a damper on holiday festivities this year. California, for example, recently released a long list of killjoy rules for the holidays, which includes:1

At What Price Safety?

Should government be permitted to micromanage how and with whom you spend your holidays? As noted by A.J. Kay in a recent Medium article,2 “If safety requires us to indefinitely forfeit the most valuable parts of our lives, what exactly are we trying to save?”

That’s a question well worth asking. Just how great a price are you willing to pay for the illusion of safety? SARS-CoV-2 has a survival rate of 99.99% for those under the age of 40.3 Even people over the age of 60 who aren’t residents of nursing homes have a survival rate of 98.29%.4

Data5,6 also show the overall all-cause mortality has remained steady during 2020 and doesn’t veer from the norm — in other words, COVID-19 has not killed off more of the population than would have died in any given year anyway — yet residents in many areas are now told, in great detail, how they can and cannot celebrate their holidays. Is it worth it?

“This will be the final Thanksgiving for 2.8 million (the annual all-cause death toll) of our fellow Americans. It could be my last — or yours. That likelihood is significantly higher for our elderly loved ones, too many of whom will not have seen or hugged their family in nine months,” Kay writes.7

“The hard truth is that we do not know who will be around for Thanksgiving next November. What we do have is right now — this moment — today. We aren’t promised one second more …

We’ve already forgone countless once-in-a-lifetime events to mitigate a newly-minted definition of risk which takes only one variable into account. And have neglected to acknowledge that many of our seniors — the most vulnerable among us — don’t even want that kind of ‘safety’ because it costs precious moments with their families …

There’s only one ‘unsafe’ version of Thanksgiving for me and that’s failing to be present with my family, allowing weaponized shame and performative restrictions to keep us apart. God forbid one of us isn’t sitting at that table next year, I can’t imagine grappling with that regret. And if one (or all) of us get COVID, so be it.”

Isolation — A Fate Worse Than Death?

As reported by the Daily News,8 October 19, 2020, forced isolation due to COVID-19 concerns are hurting seniors who struggle with loneliness and depression at ever greater numbers.

The article features the story of Lezrette Hutchinson, a 64-year-old retiree in the West Bronx who in recent days is starting to find herself “heading to bed as early as 5 p.m., exhausted from a host of mounting frustrations,” such as “technological hurdles that came with virtual doctor visits” and “navigating the Social Security website.”

She’s also frustrated from “being alone in a one-bedroom apartment for the better part of seven months.” She’s grown sick and tired of talking to friends on the phone and feels demotivated to do much of anything, which is a hallmark sign of depression.

According to a report9,10 by the AARP and United Health Foundation, social distancing measures have led to an epidemic of loneliness, and this too has significant health and emotional risks. As noted in this report:11

“Defined as having few social relationships or infrequent social contact with others — social isolation is a public health crisis. Studies have found that social isolation can be worse for one’s health than obesity, and the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.12

For adults who have experienced social isolation during the current pandemic, half (50%) report this social isolation has caused them to lack motivation, slightly more than 4 in 10 (41%) say it has made them feel more anxious than usual and slightly more than a third (37%) report it has made them feel depressed.

Yet, only 11% of adults turned to a medical professional when feeling down or sad, and almost a third of adults 50+ reported that they did not look to anyone for support during the pandemic.

Among the 50+, almost a third of women (29%) report going as long as one to three months not interacting with others outside their home or workplace during the pandemic and are more likely to experience negative emotions than their male counterparts.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, women 50+ are more than twice as likely to report feeling overwhelmed (32% vs. 15% of men 50+), and more women than men 50+ report feeling anxious (46% vs. 36% of men 50+) and stressed (50% vs. 40% of men 50+).

Along with women 50+, the impact to low-income older adults (defined as those who have a household income less than $40K and are 50+) has also been greater compared to older adults with high incomes (defined as those who have a household income $75K+ and are 50+).

Four in 10 low-income adults 50+ report facing challenges accessing various resources during COVID-19, including a fifth who had challenges accessing food and a similar number who had challenges accessing healthcare services.”

No Life Without Human Connection

I wouldn’t be surprised if many people, regardless of their age, would choose companionship over safety from a virus. For argument’s sake, ponder this question.

Which would you choose: Live all alone on an island for the rest of your life, knowing there’s no one around to infect you with COVID-19, or live surrounded by friends and family, knowing you’re taking your chances every time you get near each other?

I know what I choose. As noted in the AARP’s report, “it’s connections, companionship, and a sense of belonging that we need as humans.” Social connection is even more impactful at earlier ages, with poor social connections being strongly associated with poor health and depression among youth.13

So, before you cancel holiday plans with aging parents and grandparents this season, make sure that’s what they really want. Remember, this may be their last Thanksgiving, or their last Christmas. How do you want to spend that time and what memories do you want to make?

Handing out edicts, demanding we eliminate all the things that make life worth living in order to prevent the spread of a survivable virus that most people don’t even know they have unless they get tested is unconscionable and inhuman. But so is following these kinds of unconstitutional government edicts.

I have to say I’m surprised at the sheer number of people willing to surrender their constitutional rights and liberties in return for absolutely nothing. None of the measures — 6-foot social distancing, mask wearingself-isolation and select business shut-downs — actually guarantee anyone’s safety. All we need is one infected person left in the world, and safety for all remains out of reach.

The Loneliness Epidemic Deepens

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness had reached epidemic levels. In 2018, 54% of American adults (age 18 and older) reported feeling lonely. By January 2020, it was 61%,14 and now, nine months into the pandemic, we’ve reached 66%.15

And loneliness isn’t relegated to the elderly. According to the AARP report, people between the ages of 18 and 34 actually report the highest rates of isolation.16 In the 18 to 34 age group, 75% report feeling socially isolated, compared to 61% of those over 50.

Among those aged 18 to 34, 19% say they’ve gone as long as two to three months without interacting with another person, compared to 16% among those over the age of 35. Ten percent of 35- to 49-year-olds, 9% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 7% of those over 50 say they’ve not interacted with anyone outside their household or workplace since the pandemic began!

The impact of loneliness and social isolation is significant, and will undoubtedly be found to be far greater than the death toll of COVID-19 by the time everything is tabulated.

According to a 2019 study17 by the American Cancer Society that looked at data from 580,182 Americans, social isolation increases mortality from every cause. In other words, social isolation is deadly. Commenting on her team’s findings, public health researcher Kassandra Alcaraz told the American Psychological Association:18

“Our research really shows that the magnitude of risk presented by social isolation is very similar in magnitude to that of obesity, smoking, lack of access to care and physical inactivity.”

Well-Known Effects of Solitary Confinement

While it’s been referred to as “self-isolation” and sold as “staying safe at home,” the lockdowns can rightfully be likened to house arrest, especially in areas where people have only been allowed outdoors for an hour or two a day.

That this kind of self-isolation can be harmful to mental health should come as no surprise, considering psychologists have long known the effects solitary confinement has on prisoners. Even among prisoners, solitary confinement is the worst and most extreme punishment there is. As reported by Endgadget:19

“Take Robert King for example, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement. King spoke at a 2018 neuroscience conference about his experience and how it impacted his cognitive function. He described that, upon his release from prison, he had severe difficulty recognizing faces and had to retrain himself to understand what faces even were and how they worked.

He also had difficulty navigating even simple routes through a city without assistance. Turns out that when your universe is a 6-foot by 9-foot room for nearly three decades, there’s not much need to keep your navigation skills sharp — or even much impetus to keep a firm grasp of reality.

‘For some prisoners … solitary confinement precipitates a descent into madness,’ Dr. Craig Haney, professor of psychology at University of California, Santa Cruz, told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights in 2012.

Prisoners may experience crushing bouts of anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and panic attacks. ‘The conditions of confinement are far too severe to serve any kind of penological purpose,’ he concluded.

The reason this happens is because prolonged social isolation physically changes the shape and function of your brain. The hippocampus, the region responsible for learning and memory not only shrinks in size in response to long-term isolation, it loses its plasticity and may eventually shut down altogether.

At the same time the amygdala, which regulates your fear and anxiety response, goes into overdrive. And the longer the confinement lasts, the more pronounced these changes become — even after the inmate’s eventual release.”

Don’t Let a Virus Steal Your Life

Risk is an inevitable part of life, and for all of human history, mankind has accepted this. Now all of a sudden, we’re told we have to give up life in order to prevent the spread of a virus that poses no risk to the vast majority of people. If safety requires us to indefinitely forfeit the most valuable parts of our lives, what exactly are we trying to save? ~ A.J. Kay

Is it worth it? Just how much are you willing to give up for this false sense of security? Are you willing to give up your family? Your friends? For how long? Are you willing to live in solitary confinement for the rest of your days? Because, believe me, the threat of infectious disease will never cease.

I believe the real threat right now is what we’re doing to sabotage the mental, emotional and physical health of people, especially our children, whose development is dependent on social interactions, physical contact and facial expressions. Between mask wearing and social distancing, I fear the impact on children in particular may be long-term, if not permanent.

But it’s clearly taking a cruel toll on the elderly as well, who are nearing the end of their lives anyway. If you knew your days were numbered, how would you want to spend them? Would your main concern be to prevent an infection that might speed up the inevitable, or would you want to spend whatever time you have left surrounded by those you love?

These are significant questions that will guide your choices and thus the course of your life, and they’re more pressing now than ever. So, choose wisely this holiday season, because whatever you choose, you’ll have to live with your choices.

Sources and References

The Best of Joseph Mercola

Copyright © Dr. Joseph Mercola

If I Caught COVID-19, I Would Do This

Gary North – November 07, 2020

I have a very smart friend who is maniacal about defending against COVID-19. He has done a lot of research. Here is what he said he is doing and would do.


a) Prophylactic – [Math+ Protocol: summary;;;]

Take daily to minimize Covid-19 infection BEFORE infected:

1) Zinc 30-50 mg/day [mg means ‘milligram’]
2) Vitamin D3 (w/K2) 5,000 i.u./day [i.u. means ‘international units’]
3) Vitamin C 1,000 mg/day [or 500 mg BID, i.e.2 times/day]
4) EGCG 350+ mg/day
5) Quercetin 500 mg/day
6) Melatonin (optional)
7) Pepcid AC (optional)
8) Aspirin (Enteric) 75-90 mg/day
9) Ivermectin (Stromectol) 1 time 12 mg/80KG (Rx) (adult – optional) [day 1 only]

b) Early infection onslaught (best undertaken 48 hours from symptoms/blood test confirmation):

1) Zinc 220 mg/day
2) Vitamin D3 (w/K2) 5,000 i.u./day (initially 10,000 i.u. day 1)
3) Vitamin C 1,000 mg/day (or 500 mg BID)
4) EGCG 350 mg (or more)/day
5) Quercetin 500 mg/day
6) Melatonin (optional)
7) Pepcid AC (optional)
8) Aspirin (Enteric) 75-90 mg/day
9) Ivermectin (Stromectol) 1 time 12 mg/80KG adult (Rx)


10) Hydroxychloriquine (HCQ) 200 mg/day (5 days) (Rx)
11) Azrithromycin 500 mg/day (5 days) (Rx)

See papers at:

1) [summary of 200+ papers worldwide with analysis and graphs]

2) [original Zelenko Protocol]


* Quercetin exhibits similar protein binding as HCQ/Ivermectin – and to different virus surface proteins.

* EGCG [green tea flavonoid extract] exhibits broad anti-covid virus properties and “anti-fibrotic effect and in the ability to simultaneously downregulate expression and signaling of many inflammatory mediators” (source: NIH)

* Vitamin D (5,000 i.u) is important
* Zinc (30-50 mg) is important
* Melatonin, Pepcid AC are optional
* Essentially, the HCQ and/or Ivermectin interact in several ways – they bind to multiple (different) proteins on the virus surface and:

1) weaken the virus shell to allow penetration as a Zincophore to allow Zinc to penetrate and destroy virus DNA binding
2) bind to the virus ‘spike’ to minimize the physical virus attachment/puncture of cell walls (the virus “spikes” get covered with ‘sticky stuff’)

* Azrithromycin is a broad-based antibiotic used to minimize opportunistic bacterial infections (such as pneumonia) with some Zincophore activity Goals: Collapse viral multiplication; suppress opportunistic bacterial infection of tract; stop potential Cytokine Storm; eliminate hospitalization requirement – in particular to avoid hospital intubation.