Editor’s Note: Dr. Thomas Ice is the founding executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center, which he began alongside the late Dr. Tim LaHaye—with whom he worked for almost 25 years. Ice has served as a pastor, professor and author, and is widely recognized as an expert on dispensationalism and Bible prophecy, which he speaks on both throughout the country and internationally. We previously featured Ice in our ongoing interview series called A Dispensational Discourse. In this Prophetic Principles article, we go deeper with him on a number of subjects related to the current effectiveness of the dispensational movement and the state of world events with regard to stage-setting for Bible prophecy.
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. (Matt. 16:1-4)
Books and articles about eschatology and dispensationalism flow from the pen of Dr. Thomas Ice. And when he is not writing about these subjects he is usually out speaking on them. So he is a good person to ask regarding the state of the movement and its effectiveness.
“God seems to be moving away from America spiritually,” Ice said matter-of-factly. “My generation of baby boomers had the revival of the Jesus people in the early 1970s. This generation has not had anything like that.”
Ice, who spent the last 25 years working closely with Dr. Tim LaHaye before his homegoing last July, has seen firsthand how dispensational theology can impact the popular culture, as it did through the famous Left Behind series.
“The novel series is something God used,” he said, pointing to it as a creative way to take complex Biblical truths to the masses.
But Ice has also watched dispensationalism become less respected in higher theological education, even as the world moves further and further away from any semblance of adherence to Biblical truth.
In that context, Ice said he is not sure what dispensationalists can do—that they are not already doing and doing well—to promote a literal understanding of Scripture and attempt to stir excitement regarding their theological views.
What can we do better? “It is hard to say,” Ice stated.
But that does not mean that he has given up trying. He is the author of numerous books, and is continually producing more, such as the brand new work, Charting the Bible Chronologically (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2017), written with Dr. Ed Hindson. He also continues to serve as adjunct faculty at Chafer Theological Seminary.
Ice is skilled at comparing the trends in our world to the Biblical template regarding the fulfillment of prophecy.
He pointed to three such trends that remind us that our Lord’s return may be drawing near.
“Israel is back in the land,” Ice said. “A lot of people do not like it, but that is a fact. Every prophet except Jonah predicts an end-time return of Israel to the land. The return to the land in belief is going to happen after the second coming. But there are many passages that teach a return in unbelief, which is what Darby held, and many of the Puritans held as well.”
Globalism is Ice’s second point.
“We have seen a shift in our lifetimes to globalism being a reality,” Ice stated. “In this last election, Trump, a nationalist, upset the globalist agenda. I see that playing out in a whiplash as they react against it and push globalism.” Ice believes that that movement will especially take off following the rapture of the church.
“The European Union is a preparation for the Revived Roman Empire,” stated Ice.
“There is just so much going on. You have to get rid of America’s dominance, and that seems to be occurring.”
“I believe that 2 Thessalonians 2 gives us a basis for speculation about what is going on in these areas. It says, ‘The mystery of lawlessness is already at work’ (2 Thess. 2:7). That is the mystery of the antichrist. God said 2,000 years ago that was already at play.”
“Satan is working to try to move us in that direction, but he is being restrained by the presence of God the Holy Spirit working in the church,” said Ice. “But it is being developed every year. At the same time, you are seeing a tremendous reception of the gospel in places where it has not been before—such as in China.”
“I think that since God has brought Israel back in the land, He is not going to wait hundreds of years—most likely—to bring the tribulation.”
Copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.
Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995
by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)