By Thomas Ice
Pre-Trib Research Center, Arlington,TX
“Hanegraaff meekly declares of the release of his new book: ‘I think it will create a major paradigm shift in our understanding of the end times that is long overdue.’ He believes it will be away from dispensational futurism and toward his preterism/idealism scheme.”
For the last fifteen years or so when I have heard Hank Hanegraaff, host of the Bible Answer Man radio program, field questions on eschatology (end times prophecy) it was very clear that he has been against the futurist perspective from the get-go. Hanegraaff has told his audience for years that he was studying the field of eschatology and would announce his views in a book one day. Hanegraaff’s book has now been released, entitled The Apocalypse Code and has confirmed his rhetoric and tone heard for the last fifteen years on the radio as Hanegraaff has been treating dispensationalism as if it were a cult. Yes, Hanegraaff has been “culting” dispensationalism! Even though Hanegraaff always insisted that he was open to and had not adopted a specific view of eschatology, it has always been equally clear to anyone who is schooled in the various views that he had all along rejected dispensationalism and embraced his own version of a preterist/idealist scheme. Yet, he has never admitted this; and even after the release of his book still refuses to classify his own conclusions in spite of the fact that he assigns labels to virtually everyone else.
Some Factual Errors
As I first started reading the book, I noticed a number of factual errors. Let me chronicle just a couple of them. Hanegraaff says Tim LaHaye is “Unlike early dispensationalists, who believed that the Jews would be regathered in Palestine because of belief in their Redeemer.” Hanegraaff gives no documentation for this statement, which is factually in error. In fact, J. N. Darby (the earliest of dispensationalists) believed that the Jews would return to their land in unbelief. He says, “At the end of the age the same fact will be reproduced: the Jews-returned to their own land, though without being converted-will find themselves in connection with the fourth beast.” Historian David Rausch in his Ph.D. dissertation entitled: Zionism Within Early American Fundamentalism 1878-1918, says, “The Proto-Fundamentalist believed that the Jewish people would return to Palestine, the ‘Promised Land,’ without converting enmasse to Christianity.” More examples could be given, but it is clear that most dispensationalists have always agreed with LaHaye on this matter.
Another error in fact by Hanegraaff is his statement that Author James Balfour “was raised on a steady diet of dispensationalism.” Lord Balfour was foreign secretary when the British government issues a statement in 1917 supporting the reestablishment of a Jewish state in Israel called the Balfour Declaration. Balfour was a Zionist, but his views were not based upon eschatology, let alone dispensationalism. His sister and biographer said the following:
Balfour’s interest in the Jews and their history was lifelong. It originated in the Old Testament training of his mother, and in his Scottish upbringing. As he grew up, his intellectual admiration and sympathy for certain aspects of Jewish philosophy and culture grew also, and the problem of the Jews in the modern world seemed to him of immense importance. He always talked eagerly on this, and I remember in childhood imbibing from him the idea that Christian religion and civilization owes to Judaism an immeasurable debt, shamefully ill repaid.
Historian Barbara Tuckman tells us that Balfour was “not ardent but a skeptic, not a religious enthusiast but a philosophical pessimist, . . . that Christian religion and civilization owes to Judaism an immeasurable debt, shamefully ill repaid.” Hardly one influenced by dispensationalism as Hanegraaff would have his readers believe. In fact, it is probably true that none of the Christian Zionists of the early twentieth century in Britain were influenced at all by dispensationalism. Most of the Christian Zionists in Britain at this time were usually members of the Church of England.
Humble Hank Hanegraaff ridicules Hal Lindsey’s 1997 book, Apocalypse Code as one who claimed to understand the book of Revelation. “Until the present generation,” declares Hanegraaff of Lindsey, “the encrypted message of the Apocalypse had remained unrealized” until Lindsey cracked the code. Now Hanegraaff meekly declares of the release of his new book: “I think it will create a major paradigm shift in our understanding of the end times that is long overdue.” He believes it will be away from dispensational futurism and toward his preterism/idealism scheme.
Hanegraaff contends that his book is about “Exegetical Eschatology to underscore that above all else I am deeply committed to a proper method of biblical interpretation rather than to any particular model of eschatology.” If that is his goal then he has fallen far short of the mark! Hanegraaff’s proposed interpretative approaches, if implemented, would send the church back to the Dark Ages hermeneutically. He may want to produce only a method of interpretation, but the moment anyone applies a method it produces an outcome or model of eschatology. Further, the book of Revelation is not written in code (where does Revelation say that?), thus, no need to break the code as Hanegraaff contends.
The great majority of the book is a rant against Hanegraaff’s distorted view of dispensationalism in general and Tim LaHaye in particular. There is precious little actual exegesis, if any at all, to support his preterist/idealist eschatology, however, there are great quantities of some of the most vicious tirades against LaHaye and many other Bible prophecy teachers that I have ever read in print.
Hanegraaff appears rather proud to tell readers that the principles of his methodology is “called Exegetical Eschatology or e2,” as if no one before he came along had ever produced a view of eschatology from proper exegesis. Interestingly, for someone who claims such a deep commitment “to a proper method of biblical interpretation” it is stunning to realize that Hanegraaff’s “method” is stated as principles, rather than an actual method like the historical-grammatical.
“I have organized the principles that are foundational to e2 around the acronym LIGHTS,” says Hanegraaff. The letters of the acronym LIGHTS stands for the following principles: L refers to the literal principle, I represents the illumination principle, G stands for the grammatical principle, H for the historical principle, T means the typology principle, and S is for the principle of scriptural synergy. Only half of Hanegraaff’s principles can even be classified as interpretative methods, the other three are best classified as theological beliefs.
Illumination is a work of the Holy Spirit on the believer that enables him to see or understand God’s Word. An unbeliever is blinded to the truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14), however, a believer is in a state in which he is able to see and understand God’s truth (1 Cor. 2:9-3:2). This theological truth is not an interpretative method. Typology is not a method for exegeting Scripture, instead, as Paul says, some Old Testament events were types, patterns, illustrations, or examples to help us live the Christian life (1 Cor. 10:6, 11). Hanegraaff defines his principle of scriptural synergy as a belief “that the whole of Scripture is greater than the sum of its individual passages. . . . that individual Bible passages may never be interpreted in such a way as to conflict with the whole of Scripture.” Traditionally this is called the analogy of faith, that Scripture interprets Scripture. This also is a theological outcome and not a method. This principle also presupposes that one already properly understands the meaning of all of the other passages that are supposed to shed light upon the one in dispute. Such is not the case.
Tim LaHaye Racist and Blasphemer?
Hanegraaff’s new book anoints Tim LaHaye as the head of this new cult, replacing Hal Lindsey the former whipping boy, and is the prime target in his sub-Christian attack on LaHaye and other Bible prophecy advocates. Strangely, Hanegraaff is known for often quoting the famous maxim: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” So where is the liberty and charity in practice that he advocates in theory? Charity and liberty towards those he disagrees with is totally absent in Hanegraaff’s new book. In fact, his new book actually competes with the writings of Gary North for the most invective per paragraph and makes Gary DeMar appear to be a fairly nice guy. It is one thing to disagree with another Christian (Hanegraaff and any other Christian has a right to voice their disagreement with other Christians), but to call his fellow brother in Christ a racist and a blasphemer because he advocates a different view of Bible prophecy goes well beyond the pale.
“Furthermore,” says Hanegraaff, “there is the very real problem of racial discrimination.” Watch how Hanegraaff plays the race card: he takes LaHaye’s commonly held view that Israel has a future in God’s plan, adds a touch of his famous misrepresentation of another’s view, and presto, LaHaye has become a racist. It would seem to me that the same Hanegraaff logic applied to God in the Old Testament would also make the Lord a racist for choosing Israel “out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deut. 6:6-8). It follows that if you side with God on this issue then Hanegraaff would believe that you believe in salvation by race instead of grace. Yes, LaHaye believes that God has chosen Israel, but like all dispensationalists, he also believes that Israel will be saved in the future by the same gracious gospel that is available to all mankind-Jew or Gentile.
Anti-Israel and Pro-Palestinian
Hanegraaff’s blend of preterism and idealism produces an eschatology that is viciously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. His brand of replacement theology teaches that national Israel has no future since she is replaced by the church.
Just as Joshua is a type of Jesus who leads the true children of Israel into the eternal land of promise, so King David is a type of the “King of Kings and Lord or Lords” who forever rules and reigns from the New Jerusalem in faithfulness and in truth (Revelation 19:16; cf. 19:11). In each case, the lesser is fulfilled and rendered obsolete by the greater.
As is typical within systems of replacement theology, Hanegraaff renders much of the Old Testament obsolete by what is said to have happened in New Testament theology. He says, the “relationship between the Testaments is in essence typological.” Future prophetic promises, which usually relate to Israel, are rendered as mythical or mere types and shadows of something else, but never what they actually say. Through alleged hermeneutical ideas, such as Hanegraaff’s so-called, “typology principle,” he interprets future promises to Israel allegorically as fulfilled through the church. Such deconstruction of God’s Word renders the future promises to Israel as mythological and not true historical records of God’s veracity. Thus, the reader is not surprised that Hanegraaff does not believe that the seventy weeks of years (490 years) in Daniel refer to literal years that actually elapse in specific history, instead, he says, “the seventy sevens of Daniel encompass ten Jubilee eras and represent the extended exile of the Jews that would end in the fullness of time-the quintessential Jubilee-when the people of God would experience ultimate redemption and restoration, not in the harlot city, but in the holy Christ.” Hanegraaff regularly calls Jerusalem “the harlot city.”
This book is not only filled with factual error throughout, but teaches that most Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled and advocates the following preterist viewpoints: Nero was the beast of Revelation (i.e., the antichrist), Christ’s Olivet discourse and most of the Book of Revelation were fulfilled by events surrounding the a.d. 70 destruction of Jerusalem, and the tribulation was also fulfilled in the first century. Hanegraaff is certainly no lover of Israel since he teaches that God divorced the harlot Israel (he needs to read the end of Hosea) and took a new bride-the church, supports the pro-Palestinian claims against Israel, and even accuses Israel of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Hanegraaff embraces and argues for many viewpoints that are detrimental to sound Bible study and interpretation. Not surprisingly, I do not recommend this book, unless one is looking for an example of how not to study the Bible for all its worth. Maranatha!
 Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible Really Says About The End Times and Why It Matters Today (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 300 pages.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. xxii.
 John Nelson Darby, The Hopes of the Church of God, in Connection with the Destiny of the Jews and the Nations as Revealed in Prophecy (1840), Collected Writings, (Winschoten, Netherlands: H. L. Heijkoop, reprint 1971), vol. 2, p. 324.
 David A. Rausch, Zionism Within Early American Fundamentalism 1878-1918: A Convergence of Two Traditions (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1979), p. 64.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 183.
 Blanche E. C. Dugdale, Arthur James Balfour: First Earl of Balfour, 1848-1906 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1937), p. 324.
 Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour (New York: Ballatine Press, 1956), p. 311.
 For an overview of the history of Christian Zionism see Thomas Ice, “Lovers of Zion: A History of Christian Zionism” at the following internet site: http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=295.
 Hal Lindsey, Apocalypse Code (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front, 1997).
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, pp. xv- xvi.
 Hank Hanegraaff, www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474976960023.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 2.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. xxvii.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 2. Italics original.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 3.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, pp. 3-10.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 9.
 Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer, The Last Disciple (Wheaton: Tyndale, 2004), p. 395.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, pp. xx-xxiii.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, pp. 189, 225.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. xx. Italics original.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 201.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 170.
 Hanegraaff realizes that his typological principle would come across as allegorical interpretation so he attempts to deny this, Apocalypse Code, pp. 171-72.
 Hanegraaff, Apocalypse Code, p. 194.
What do YOU think ?
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Date: 24 Apr 2007
The preterist system of theology is a throw back to the rabincal interpetations of old testament prophecies that turn pediction into alegory. This system is used to deny that Jesus is the Christ. Why then would a so-called Christian in good faith use a system that is anti-christian in its precepts? I challenge all to read the writings of Justin Martyr who is only one generation removed from the apostle John and lived after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He is firm in His conviction of a future literal antichrist, great tribulation lasting 31/2 years and of the physical return of Christ in the clouds with His angels. He also preaches about the dispensations of God. All this in 150 AD. The claim that these concepts only started in 1850 and forward is false. – Rev. Patrick Harris www.allseasonsministry.com
Date: 04 May 2007
Tommy Ice here admits that Darby is “the earliest of dispensationalists”. If he’s the earliest which is only about 150 years ago, shouldn’t we as good Bible students be questioning more the whole dispensational system if it’s so new and novel and not found in church history before 150 years ago? Isn’t it also frightening that it was all started with a dream?
Date: 04 May 2007
“Hanegraaff’s blend of preterism and idealism produces an eschatology that is viciously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. His brand of replacement theology teaches that national Israel has no future since she is replaced by the church.”
Date: 17 May 2007
I think Hank has given people the tools to look at scripture in light of scripture . If you look at scripture ,in Genesis the seed of eve will crush the head of the serpent.Jesus is that seed .Anyone found in Christ are the people of God. If you understand scripture you will see from Genesis to Revalation the people of God our those who beleive in Jesus.Rahab in the old testament was counted in the line of Jesus .She wasn’t a jew .Ruth who is moabitess is in the line of Jesus .It would apear that God had all people in mind when He said in Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed. Thats how his children will be as the sands of the sea. .Look at the Word Of God for yourself and test all things in light of scripture.
Date: 19 May 2007
The left behind brand of eschotology is finally being proven to be theologically unsound.God has always had one covenant people ,THOSE WHO BELEIVE ON THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL.Paul says the israel of God are those that have the faith of abraham.The bible was written to be read as a whole ,the old testament with the new. Read them in light of eachother and you will see for yourself.God Bless you in your studies.
Bless the Lord at all times
Date: 07 May 2007
well covenant theology as a system is not old either. Cornelius Van Til, a covenant theologian, admits, “the idea of covenant theology has only in modern times been broadly conceived.” Louis Berkhof, another covenant theologian, wrote, “In the early Church Fathers the covenant idea is not found at all.”
Roughly 140 years older than dispensationalism.
I wouldn’t place all my trust in what early church fathers believed. From them sprang a host of heresies. Consider Origen and Tertullian. If you hold church fathers to high esteem, and consider their writings as proof for your doctrines you might end up “crossing the Tiber” to Catholicism.
Even the great Augustine, whom both Protestants and Catholics revere were alive today he would probably be more Catholic than Protestant.
It only makes sense that God reveal the eschaton when the time was ready. Check Daniel 12:4 and consider the doctrine of progressive revelation.
Date: 08 May 2007
I also am a partial preterist. I believe that Jesus meant what he told his disciples about His parousia.He told them that all the things that He had prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple,their race, and all that pertains to the promises to the nation of Israel would be fulfilled in their generation (the end of the age -the end of the Jewish age.)This would occur during the lifetime of the disciples.There were many comings of God in the Old Testament though they did’t see God physically or naturally such as at Mount Sinai, in the judgement of the Egyptians, the Tower of Babel, and Moses supposedly seeing God face to face. You don’t have to see God physically or naturally to fulfill these promises. The words used in the Greek and Hebrew meanings are not limited to having a physical or natural occurence. They were fulfilled literally, but not physically or naturally. You have to understand the apocalyptic use of language used in the prophecies in the Bible. Jesus wo
in Revelation 19 against Israel, and later against Rome. The term “the day of the Lord” was a Hebrew term which meant that God would use armies of other nations to punish Israel and other nations in the Old Testament, and Israel in the New Testament. Israel was never chosen by race or nation by God, but by covenant. She disobeyed God by rejecting her Messiah, and God rejected Israel as a nation. God always had a remnant or stump of faithful believers even in the Old Testament. This was “true or spiritual” Israel. When Jesus destroyed “Old Jerusalem, “the old heavens and earth”,then He brought into existence “the new heavens and earth.”
Date: 14 May 2007
This review is weak!!!
Hanks book raises some serious questions about dispensationalism, and this is the best counter attack in your arsenal???….what a let down!
I was raised with the dispensationalist teaching but I have been examining it for awhile and now I have my doubts.
This review has only furthered those doubts.
Date: 21 May 2007
Having just read the book I think Ice has grossly misrepresented the contents of Hanegraff’s book while demonizing Hanegraff. It’s very unfortunate that Christians cannot agreeably debate about doctrines (when Christ is returning) that at best are speculative.
Date: 24 May 2007
We are told to study to show our selves approved, but all we really get is confusion by people who should be helping the average Christian with his/her journey. Hanks wrong , you’re right. Pre -trib, post trib. Pre rapture, no rapture. What would Jesus do? He would overturn the tables in the temples of learning and say “Occupy until I come”. Get back to the foot of the cross, and quit all this in-fighting. Lift Him up, praise Him, and wait.
ate: 30 May 2007
I think you have it wrong Nate — Hank is not anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian. He is pro-peace, and pro-justice. He believes Christians should support Israels right to exist, but not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Palestinians commited on behalf of Israel, if or when it occurs. God (& Hank) simply does not play favourites, and He does not love one nation over another. Remember, they are many Christ followers among the Palestinians. As for national Israel, they do have a hope and a future, and it lies in the resurrected Christ, as it does for all of us. What I gather from Hank’s book, is that he does not subscribe to replacement theology, but rather believes the church has been “grafted in” to an already existing tree, made firstly by coverted Jews, whose roots is Jesus. We haven’t replaced the Jews, we’ve become one of them, united in our commitement to follow Christ. We’ve become true Israel, as God had always intended it to be. Children, living under the same roof, united by blood – in this case the shed blood of our Saviour. Praise God!
Date: 21 Jun 2007
If you are not studying about Dispensationlism, which is God’s way of rightly dividing His word, then you will never get out of the “error barrel” that you have fallen into, or out of the “fog” you just ran into. And of course, If you have not read the Bible all the way through, that’s a problem. And of course if you are not Born Again, then the Holy Spirit can’t teach you His written word, which you probably won’t want to read any way. Reading the Bible through, with Dispensational teaching, will get you out of the “barrel”, and through the “fog”, and allow you to watch the movie of our world today, being completely fulfilled Prophetically, just like God’s word said it would. And of course, Israel, God’s chosen people will mean a lot more to you. Just a suggestion. Study to show yourself approved unto God, not the men who want to be “somebody” with their own little “foggy” interpretations. Remember, the Holy Spirit is your teacher, who lives in you, who believe! God Bless you, Paul
Date: 21 Jul 2007
Thank goodness for a correct view to discredit the lies Hank puts out…how frigtening it is to think of how many are mislead by his smooth disception!
Oh that our pastors would speak up and proclaim the whole truth…If only we could see the plan our Lord is following in the Feasts of Israel…the long summer months are coming to an end. the next feast is the sounding of the trumpet…
He who touches Israel touches the Apple of Gods eye…we who Know Jesus are to be the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem…Ish. 62
This is truth…
Date: 18 Aug 2007
Apocalypse Code is one of the best books I have read. Read it with an open mind and then…you decide what Hank is saying. You decide if he is backing what he says with Scripture. Don’t take his word. Test it against Scripture.
Date: 30 Aug 2007
These are good insights into the slippery conscience of “Hank if you love Jesus”.
The Jews were persecuted and given witness to a false Jesus from a fallen church which exalted a Bishop to Pope and all the while, the immature Christians who did not understand God’s dealings where moved by this antichrist system into hated the Jews. For not accepting this false Jesus, the “Church” would burn them in their synagogues while dancing and yelling “Christ Killers!”.
The Jews have withstood this false Christ who would murder their children and try to convert them and now that God has been re-gathering them in their land, the scales are slowly coming off their eyes. In the interim, the prophesies of their land and right to it are being challenged by Roman puppets such as Hank Hanegraaf.
Date: 11 Dec 2007
if we hold the view of preterist. . .what hope do we have? couldn’t it be said that we as christians could live the exact way we want (maybe deep in because we will not be judge by christ?
Date: 15 Jan 2008
you make no case against hanegraaff.he’s probably right, no one knows but God. The fact that you preachers dogmatically add and subtract from God’s word what you don’t really know is amazing to me. Just be carefull because you’ll be judged by every word you are so sure you’re right about !! I guess someone is wrong that is sure they’re right since Scofield, Hanegraaff, magee, and many many more have differring opinions. Since you all have the answer as a beleiver i think i’ll not listen to you but God-blame me ?
Date: 24 Apr 2009
Having started to read The Apocalypse Code, when handed to me by a fellow Christian, I was appalled even by the introduction. Norman Geisler’s article is right on in every respect. I especially like his term, sub-Christian attack. I perused other sections of the book to look at the different principles, but didn’t read the whole book. I noticed several misrepresentations of the truth. I noticed that Hanegraaff never once took his points from Tim LaHaye’s commentary on Revelation, “Revelation Illustrated and Made Clear/Revelation Unveiled.” The references to the fictional Left Behind series and the even more fictional Movies did not reflect accurately Tim LaHaye’s throughts on revelation. Norman Geisler is exactly right in his assessment of this book.
Date: 07 Sep 2009
The idea that God is finished with national Israel and she has been replaced by ‘the Church’ is absurd: you are in error not knowing the Scriptures. Rather, many have poured themselves into the interpretations of small men with not so small egos, and as Oswald Chambers says, God has to blast men out of their creeds so Jesus can actually get at them. Consider Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophecy of the New Covenant between God and Israel and Judah, fulfilled in Messiah. What do you do with Zechariah 12:1-10, 14:1-9, Joel 3, Ezekiel 36-39, Romans 11, etc. etc. Stop building your straw men and then claiming an exegetical victory over those who call Replacement Theology the anti-semitic garbage that it is. Genesis 12:3 is still true. You’ll find out one way or another.
Date: 10 Jul 2012
I read Hank’s book “The Apocalypse Code” and have done a lot of research since then to try to sort through the claims and criticisms myself, but when I read most criticisms of his work I get the impression that the label heretic comes out very quickly when gold calves are tipped over and the arguments making the case are at least worthy of consideration.
I don’t understand why so much emphasis is given to an opinion by a person who knew the person who knew the writer, as with any other writing I would expect to see a compelling reason why that opinion is held up without having to rely on character witnesses. When you read the text of the Book of Revelation in light of known history it is hard to miss the fact that the Fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Herod’s Temple fit very nicely and neatly with the Book of Revelation itself. It isn’t until you begin dragging in opinions of people who are at least one generation of witnesses removed from the original writer, that you see any credibility to a late date for its writing.
What impressed me the most about Hanegraaf’s book was that he laid out his methods (the hermeneutical method he used ) to arrive at his conclusions. Unlike LaHaye who relies on giving less than intellectually honest appraisals of his opponents case, Hanegraaf lays it all for you to examine and try for yourself. What I found most interesting was that when I broke free of the fear that I was doing something by asking a question, I saw very clearly and very quickly that the entire pre-trib rapture case is a house of cards. That when I asked questions I got anger and accusations rather than answers, and I recognized that as manipulation at its worst and minus a case made from scripture I reject the arguments of pre-tribbers out of hand.
Or of someone can make the pre-trib case biblically, please do!
Date: 07 Jul 2012
you because something disagrees with your thought does not make it anti semetic