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5 – From My Own Study of Scofield’s Notes

Is God’s Word Taking a Back Seat to Scofield’s?

By Kathy Beardsley edited by John Beardsley – April 30, 2016 /Revised August 2018 (All Bible verse references are from the King James Version)

This set of C. I. Scofield’s notes is taken primarily from Revelation chapter 7. In them one can find the entire rapture/tribulation theory. Although Scofield refers to various specific points about this subject throughout his notes, it is here that the whole eisegesic (an interpretation that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, and bias rather than the meaning of the text) picture is shown.

The indented passages are directly from his notes, followed by my commentary and Scriptural opposition to his interpretation. Blue indicates some of the key points about this theory. I refer to those who believe in the rapture/tribulation as “Rapturists”, simply as an identifier. (All emphasis: brackets, bold, underline etc., is mine.) 

Pg 1337: Revelation Chapter 7 (Scofield’s pocket size study Bible)

1tribulation (7:14) The great tribulation is the period [time-frame] of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from Ps. 2:5 to Rev. 7:14 and described in Rev. 11-18.

This is a perfect example of Scofield telling the reader of his notes what to interpret in Scripture instead of letting the Scripture speak for itself. Many Bible students, past, present and I’m sure future have studied, or will study the notes. If not, they have been taught the notes, or will be by others, and so the cycle continues. The notes are then incorporated into their weekly sermons and become so familiar they are equated to be equal to Scripture. Quite often I hear a pastor say, “the Bible says” when they are not actually quoting the Bible—but the notes. A reference is usually given when they are truly quoting the Bible.

The “period of unexampled trouble” referred to as the great tribulation, we already know is in error.

Scofield causes the reader to proof-text (read into) when he again quotes the reference Rev. 7:14 later in his notes, adding the word the before great tribulation and assigns a three-and-a-half-year period to it. Psalms 2:5 “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” This Psalm of David IS speaking of wrath in the future—their future, as indicated by the last three verses (10-12) of the chapter. 10 “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” David is basically issuing a warning to the kings; be wise now to avoid wrath later.

Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev. 3:10), it is yet distinctively “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

The connection of these verses is not only of his own doing, but is, as his pattern shows, completely wrong! Rev. 3:10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

This verse is from one of John’s letters to the seven churches, specifically, the church at Philadelphia (refer back to John’s visions of the seven churches). It has nothing to do with “the great tribulation”, or “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” John was not telling the people there may be a rapture in their lifetime. In my old Bible which still has all the cross references before the newer versions were stripped of so many, there are three for Rev. 3:10. They are: 2 Peter 2:9; Luke 2:1; Isaiah 24:17. Scofield, not God’s Word, connected Rev. 3:10 with Jer. 30:7. If there is any connection to Jer. 30:7 it is with 2 Pet. and Rev., that God will deliver the godly out of temptation, or in these verses translated trial. The other two references in Luke and Isaiah are simply noted for similar wording.

“All the world” does not necessarily mean literally the whole world as we know it. For that time, as in Luke 2:1, all the world was all the people under Caesar Augustus’ rule. The only future wrath involving literally the whole world is the consummation—at Jesus’ Second Coming. All other mentions of wrath are for specific times and events at the Lord’s sole discretion that does not involve the whole world. ALL references Scofield uses in attempt to prove the rapture and tribulation are cleverly separated with his interpretation read into them to make it seem as if there are two appearances—two more comings by Jesus. God’s Word specifically tells us of two Advents. The first is completed, the second is yet to come. If there was a third, it is probable that it too would be specifically mentioned. Scofield’s interpretation allows for three appearances, which by the rules of logic means three Advents. I have yet to find three Advents mentioned in God’s Word, how about you?

Scofield’s interpretation of Jer. 30:7 is why those who believe in the rapture believe they will be taken out of this world before any real persecution is poured out. Jer. 30:7 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Again, this is for that time only. It has long since been fulfilled, but Scofield has singled out these verses, and applied a type—a parallel future prophecy to them. None of the verses he quotes above cross reference each other—it is only because of his private interpretation that they connect.

It involves the people of God who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27, note; Rev. 11:2, 3).

FYI: Scofield references his own notes 475 times (I counted them).

This first statement regarding the people returning to Palestine in unbelief is in relation to the beginning part of this note (bottom of pg. 56) concerning Scofield’s interpretation of “the tribulation/great tribulation”. It is two-fold and like so many others—misinterpreted, or non-existent. First, why does he not give a reference proving the Jews return in unbelief? It was because of their unbelief (disobedience) that they were scattered, and or captured. Only after they repented and God had mercy on them were they allowed to return to their homeland.

Romans 11:30 “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:” Paraphrasing the Apostle Paul speaking to the Romans: the actions of one group (Jews) has benefited the other (Gentiles). The Jews (minus the remnant in comparison to the whole) had knowledge of the truth but chose to disbelieve and/or disobey. The Gentiles believed by faith.

Strongs definition for believed: 544 ἀπειθέω apeitheo ap-i-theh’-o

from 545; v; TDNT-6:10,818; {See TDNT 611}

AV-believe not 8, disobedient 4, obey not 3, unbelieving 1; 16

1) not to allow one’s self to be persuaded
1a) to refuse or withhold belief
1b) to refuse belief and obedience

2) not to comply with
For unbelief: 543 ἀπείθεια apeitheia ap-i’-thi-ah
from 545; n f; TDNT-6:11,818; {See TDNT 611}
AV-unbelief 4, disobedient 3; 7

1) obstinacy, obstinate opposition to the divine will

The references Scofield provides speak more to an itinerary within a certain number of years, but they do not have the connection he claims they do, nor do they say anything of the Jews returning in unbelief—past, present, or future. The Daniel references talk about the division of the seventy weeks and what takes place during them. His purpose in referring the reader to HIS notes is to focus on the final week and connect the timeline to the Revelation reference which talks about a forty-two month period in verse two, and 1,260 days in verse three. This way he can make use of the different expression of numbers, and create two separate scenarios (3 ½ year tribulation; 3 ½ year great tribulation) and the events alleged to occur in both.

Second, he uses blanket statements like this to reinforce his earlier statement in his note on Deuteronomy 30:3 (below) that the Jews have never fully returned and possessed their promised land.

 1turn thy captivity (30:3) The Palestinian Covenant gives the conditions under which Israel entered the land of promise. It is important to see that the nation has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land (cf. Gen. 15:18, with Num. 34:1-12)

There is no Palestinian Covenant! Scofield created this title so he could separate it from the “unconditional Abrahamic Covenant” and thereby stand fast to his claim above. “Unconditional Abrahamic Covenant” is also a created title for the same reason I just stated—separation, to create and uphold his tribulation theory. Genesis 15:18 “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” Conditions were given later to Moses because knowing His people, God, like a father would, rewards obedience but does not reward disobedience. It wasn’t necessary for Abraham to know anything but the fact that God’s promise to him would be fulfilled. His seed would be given the land and it was. The Abrahamic Covenant is one covenant unfolding in due time as God wills it. To summarize: Abraham was given the promise, Moses was given the conditions, and Joshua saw it fulfilled. Scofield is a master of dual scenarios so it is necessary for him to create them where it benefits his interpretation the most. My old Bible cross references Gen. 15:18 with Joshua 21:43-45 “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” Numbers 34:1-12 tells of the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh who opted out of crossing the Jordan River into the promised land to instead lay claim to the land where they currently stood and eastward; v.15 “near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising.”. But Scofield only references the first twelve verses. He stops short of the rest of the story that the LORD’S anger was kindled because these two-and-a-half tribes declined in receiving the land given them. This in no way nullifies God’s promise of giving them the land in the first place; nor the fulfillment of it.

Something else to consider. The boundaries according to Gen. 15:18 runs north and south, not east and west as some try to claim. Since crossing the Jordan river was needed to enter the promised land, one would assume that was automatically known to be the eastern boundary, just as the coast was the western. So it was only necessary for God to tell Abraham what the north and south boundaries are. The river of Egypt is south of Israel and the northwest portion of the Euphrates creates the boundary opposite to the Egyptian river. The two-and-a-half tribes possessed the lands between the Jordan and Euphrates rivers east of Israel as v. 15 above states.

The elements of the tribulation are: (1) The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev. 13:1), who, at the beginning of the three and a half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have reestablished the temple worship, Dan. 9:27)and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshipped as God (Mt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).

Revelation 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” In my old Bible the first cross reference to this verse is Daniel 7:3, 7 in connection to the phrase “…and saw a beast rise up out of the sea…”. They, along with verses 4-6 are describing four beasts—a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the fourth as being exceedingly strong with iron teeth. These verses are in turn referenced to Revelation 13:2 which describes the same beasts in reverse order.

The four beasts are symbolic of four kingdoms—Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman. Dan. 7:17 attests to this. “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Verse 23 “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,…” The fourth kingdom, Rome, is the beast rising out of the sea. The seven heads and ten horns are kings and kingdoms all of which have fulfilled their part in prophetic history. Read all of Daniel chapters 7 and 8 with this explanation in mind rather than Scofield’s and see if you see it differently. Suffice it to say based on this information, the beast is not a person. Incidentally, contrary to what Scofield claims, and as hard a pill as it may be to swallow, that affirms Jerusalem, not Rome as the whore (see Revelation 17:1, 15, 16; 19:2). Scofield puts the whole future picture on Rome and Gentile world dominion and keeps Jerusalem/Israel as a separate entity. You will see later why this is wrong.

(by virtue of which they will have reestablished the temple worship, Dan. 9:27)

Dan. 9:27
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Given the fact I just showed you that the beast was (past tense) the fourth kingdom of Rome, then the he in the above verse cannot be the Antichrist. I’ll show you later that he is God the father and the antichrist is not a single individual who will rise in power and fame. But Scofield needed to give his villain a title in his version of prophecy, and that villain had to make and break a covenant with the Jews. More eisegesis coming up.

Where in this verse does it even hint that temple worship is reestablished? When you read the Daniel, Matt, and 2 Thess. verses in context with the whole chapter in which they appear, you will not see any implication of he being the Antichrist, nor will you be able to honestly claim that an Antichrist is confirming and breaking a covenant with the Jews. Scofield is linking verses together and telling the reader what to interpret.

The sacrifices and oblation were still in practice at the time of Daniel, but ceased when Jesus died on the cross. Matt. 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” Matt. 24:15 has a cross reference to Dan. 9:27 because Christ is confirming Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination being set up in the holy place (the temple) which the corrupt Jewish leaders allowed. This is confirmed by Josephus in reference to A.D. 70. (6.316-322) “Romans carry standards into the sanctuary at the east gate and sacrifice to them.

Another very important quote by Josephus taken from: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem by Flavius Josephus—Preface – Section 4. [In reference to Titus and the destruction of the Temple 70 A.D.]

“However, I will not go to the other extreme, out of opposition to those men who extol the Romans, nor will I determine to raise the actions of my countrymen too high; but I will prosecute the actions of both parties with accuracy. Yet I shall suit my language to the passions I am under, as to the affairs I describe, and must be allowed to indulge some lamen-tation upon the miseries undergone by my own country; for that it was a seditious temper of our own that destroyed it;” [Dan. 9:26, “…and the people [Jews] of the prince [Messiah] that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;]

Verse 16 of Matt. 24 continues with instructions (to his apostles and all who will listen to them) to flee to the mountains when they see the abomination being set up. Those who did escaped Titus’ massacre.

But Scofield insists that the “abomination that causes desolation” and “stand in the holy place” is the Antichrist setting himself up in a physical temple, and cherry-picked 2 Thess. 2:4 as a cross reference for proof. “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

There are examples throughout God’s Word of heathen kings trying to exalt themselves in this way i.e. the cross references to 2 Thess. 2:4; Isaiah 14:13 refers to Lucifer/Satan, Ezekiel 28:2, 6, 9 refers to the Prince of Tyrus, and Daniel 7:25; 11:36; and Revelation 13:6 refer to Antiochus Epiphanes. But the ultimate Antichrist setting himself up in the already existing third temple (the church; the hearts of individuals) is Satan. 1 Corinthians 3:17 “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

(2) The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev. 12:12), who gives his power to the Beast (Rev. 13:4, 5). (3) The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev. 9:2, 11); and (4) the terrible “bowl” judgments of Rev. 16.

The four elements are not elements at all. They are a few pieces of information that Scofield extracted and transformed into elements to reinforce his interpretation. Scofield acknowledges the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 as historical, but true to form, assigns a dual prophecy to our, or a future generation. At least the first 21 verses of Matt. 24 IS occurring in A.D. 70, but there is NO dual prophecy attached to them.

The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation. An election out of Israel is seen as sealed for God (Rev. 7:4-8), and with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (Rev. 7:9), are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev. 7:14)

This first sentence is the key danger of the whole rapture theory. I have heard varying opinions on the timing of when a person who misses the rapture can still be saved. 1) Whoever is left has a second chance during the seven years. 2) Of all who are left, only those who do not take the mark will be saved. They may be martyred, but they will go to heaven. 3) Of all who are left, only those who haven’t yet heard the gospel of Christ will still have a chance for salvation. Except for the fact that all of these are unscriptural, they are also in contradiction to the theory itself. At least, the theory I was brought up to believe, which is: Jesus won’t be returning at all until there is no one left to be saved. The fact is: there are no second chances for salvation!

Scofield connects The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation to the first two Rev. references in an attempt to prove its truth. One has nothing to do with the other; then he cunningly ties it all together with a critically placed eisegesic interpretation in Rev. 7:14.

Revelation 7:4-8 is simply telling us the list of the twelve tribes, and that twelve thousand out of each totaling 144,000 will be sealed. Verse 9 is a separate scene indicated by “After this”. “After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Scofield takes these verses, throws them all into the same pot and claims the 144,000 Jews along with the innumerable multitude come out of the 3 ½ year “great tribulation” and cites Rev. 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came from great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” First of all, take note of the fact that Scofield inserted the before great tribulation in his note, but you do not see it in the verse. Second, Scofield cleverly isolates the multitude as Gentiles only. If you read the verse in context, the multitude is of ALL nations, kindreds, people, and tongues. This, with the fact that the multitude is so great no man can number it, clearly implies the multitude is made up of Jews and Gentiles alike from Jesus’ death on the cross forward. 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. Third, since it is established that the 144,000 is a separate scene, they are not together with the multitude who come from generations of great tribulation—despite Scofield’s assertion.

They are not of the priesthood, the church, to which they seem to stand somewhat in the relation of the Levites to the priests under the Mosaic Covenant. The great tribulation is immediately followed by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith (Mt. 24:29, 30). See “Remnant” (Is. 1:9; Rom. 11:15, note); “Beast” (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 19, 20, note); “Armageddon” (Rev. 16:14; 19:17, note).

How can Scofield make such a blanket statement such as this? Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. Maybe only some were. The only description we are given is in Revelation 14:4, 5 “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These [Rev. 7:4-8] were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

The return of Christ in the manner Scofield portrays coupled with his reference in chapter twelve (below) absolutely cannot happen. Christ’s return will be once at the consummation of the world. He returns in the clouds before the wrath of judgment is poured out, but does not touch the still sin-filled earth. It must be cleansed according to 2 Pet. 3:10.

1kingdom (12:10) The Dispensation of the Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16, refs.begins with the return of Christ to the earth, runs through the “thousand years” of His earth-rule, and ends when He has delivered up the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24, note).

2 Sam. 7:16 “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” This verse is in the middle of a vision in which the word of the Lord came to Nathan to tell to David. It is foretelling the eternal establishment of Christ’s kingdom through Jesus, being born in the line of David. It is not a dispensational age, nor does it have anything to do with the future return of Christ. But again, Scofield is not referring the reader to the verse as much as he is to HIS reference note.

This scenario of Jesus ruling on the earth for the thousand years after a rapture, and before his final return cannot happen simply because sin is still in existence. When Jesus was on the cross, he was heard saying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken (abandoned) me?” God the Father, being in Heaven could not be in the presence of sin. When Jesus rose from the grave he instructed some who saw him not to touch him for he has not yet ascended into heaven. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and therefore needed to remain pure and unblemished. Now that Jesus is ascended into heaven, he, like his Father, cannot be in the direct presence of sin, which means the earth must be cleansed first. That takes place at the harvest—the Second Coming, when the wrath is poured out after the saints are caught up, and the elements are burned with a fervent heat. 2 Peter 3:10

1 Corinthians 15:22
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [not a rapture] 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

Scofield singles out the reference for verse 24, but he directs the reader to see HIS note. It is long in interpretation; it includes more references, some directing the reader to see more of HIS notes; and most of the references are taken out of context. When the verses above are read together, an order of events is clearly seen. (1) Christ ascends to Heaven first (2) then they that are Christ’s at his coming (not a first, or second phase of his coming) (3) then comes the end when he delivers up the kingdom to God the Father (4) then the last enemy (death) is destroyed. If there was to be a rapture and a seven-year tribulation, followed by a thousand-year reign on earth, one would think it would have been included in this list. But notice, it goes straight from “they that are Christ’s at his coming” to “then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God.”

If you haven’t already been tempted to ask, “but what about…?” I’m sure you are by now. But, something you need to know (if you don’t already) and keep in mind as you study God’s Word, is that much of the Bible is not chronological, and there is imagery and symbolism which you must learn to discern from the literal, particularly the book of Revelation.

Next Chapter: 6 – The Simplicity of Daniel

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