Back in 1987, David Chilton talked about how Dispensationalists oddly viewed “any new outbreak of war, any rise in crime statistics” and “any new evidence of the breakdown of the family” as “progress.” It was all “a step forward toward the expected goal of the total collapse of civilization, a sign that Jesus might come to rescue us at any moment.”
Thirty-six years later, and not much has changed. Bad news is still good news for those who are mesmerized by Dispensationalism. In fact, today’s Dispensationalists even have a “Rapture Index” to help them gauge how good the bad news really is. Everything from occult activity to volcanic eruptions is taken into consideration. In all, there are 45 categories that factor into the “Rapture Index.”
Its creators say that the “Rapture Index” is “designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture.” They even describe it as “a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity” or a “prophetic speedometer.” They claim, “the higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the occurrence of the pre-tribulation rapture.”
They explain the indices as follows:
100 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
100 to 130: Moderate prophetic activity
130 to 160: Heavy prophetic activity
Above 160: Fasten your seat belts
There is even an all-time high and an all-time low! The all-time high was 189 on October 10, 2016, and the all-time low was 58 on December 12, 1993. Since neither 1993 nor 2016 saw the Rapture take place, one must wonder what good the “Rapture Index” even is in the first place? As I write this post, the Rapture Index is sitting at a solid 185. Apparently, there’s a very good chance of the “Rapture” today! But if past Rapture Index fluctuations are any indicator, don’t bank on it. On the other hand, bank on it. If you want to wager, I wouldn’t mind making a few bucks.
The real irony here is that the popular Dispensationalists (those who sell the sensationalist books and make the movies) don’t even understand their own system. If they did, there could be no “Rapture Index.” In its true form, Dispensationalism teaches that the Prophetic Timeclock has stopped and will not restart until after the Rapture. In fact, that’s the whole reason for the Rapture to begin with, i.e., to get the Church out of the way so prophetic time can finally restart and resume.
To their credit, the Dispensationalists who actually do understand their own system realize this. For example, John MacArthur writes: “It could happen at any moment. It is a signless, imminent event, it is the next thing, no signs necessary … [There are] signs before the Second Coming, [but there are] no signs before the Rapture. We live in the light that at any moment in any fraction of a moment, trumps [sic] sounds, the angel calls and we go. This is the next event in God’s plan. It’s only for those who know and love Christ. We’re here to serve you and help you.”
The key takeaway here: there are “no signs” preceding the Rapture; it is a “signless” event. “Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign” is a good song, but no Dispensationalist should be singing it.
Another consistent Dispensationalist, Kevin T. Bauder, laments the fact that “populist dispensationalists exhibit an unfortunate enthusiasm for finding prophetic fulfillments in the latest newspaper headlines.” Bauder goes on to state: “The Bible offers no signs of the Rapture. Any supposed sign is one that somebody either made up or else twisted away from a proper reading of Scripture. The constant drumbeat of supposed fulfillments exposes dispensationalists to ridicule. It also wears down the saints with disappointment. This variety of dispensationalism truly is indefensible.”
While it would be preferable that Dispensationalists ditch the whole system altogether, the next best thing would be that they were consistent with their own system. Nothing today, absolutely nothing that we see in the latest news headlines, has anything to do with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy –even for Dispensationalism. So, can we stop looking at wars and crime, the breakdown of the family, and even volcanic activity as progress? Let’s stop glorifying bad news. Let’s start creating good news for a change, glorifying God in all we think, do, and say.
 Paradise Restored, p. 3.
 John MacArthur, “The Final Generation of the Future Judgment,” commentary on Luke 21:29–33 (GC 42-264): http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/42-264.htm
 As always, many thanks to Karen Rogers for her editorial work!