Irwin Baxter is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church, a group that denies the doctrine of the Trinity and believes its methods are the only true way to salvation. Ironically, he began his search for truth in prophecy when He heard a preacher say that the four beasts of Revelation were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Knowing that was not a true statement, Baxter set off to find truth. It is a shame that he stopped looking.David Reagan of Lamb and lion Ministries did a wonderful job of detailing some of Baxter’s twisted views of prophecy. Here is what Mr. Reagan wrote after visiting Baxter’s website: “It doesn’t take long to discover that Mr. Baxter is a person with a very personal and unique interpretation of Bible prophecy, something we are warned against in the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20).”
Due to limited space, it is possible only to identify a few of Baxter’s erroneous teachings and misguided fallacies:
He denies that Revelation is written in chronological order. He does not, therefore, believe that the Seal Judgments will be followed by the Trumpet Judgments during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation–as the plain sense meaning of Revelation indicates. He argues that several of both the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet Judgments have already taken place. However, the normal, plain sense interpretation of Revelation 6 is that it marks the beginning of the Tribulation with the Antichrist going forth on a white horse to conquer the world. A world war ensues, and one-fourth of the world’s population dies from war (the red horse), famine (the black horse), pestilence and wild beasts.
Mr. Baxter argues that the fulfillment of the Seal Judgments has nothing to do with the Tribulation. He asserts that the fulfillment of these judgments began in 325 AD when the Emperor Constantine presided over a Church Council that produced the Nicene Creed (a creed, interestingly enough, that laid the foundation for the doctrine of the Trinity). In short, he identifies the white horse of Revelation 6 as Roman Catholicism, the black horse as Capitalism, and the red horse as Communism. This all makes for very interesting reading, but it simply is not substantiated by the text, for it violates the plain sense meaning of Bible interpretation.
Another example of Baxter’s misinterpretation is found in his assertion that the world empires revealed to Daniel, in Daniel 2, include the Holy Roman Empire. He sees the succession as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Holy Roman Empire. That is not the succession portrayed in Daniel 2. The Roman Empire is followed by an empire of iron mixed with clay–representing the unstable, final world empire of the Antichrist. The proof that this is the last empire of history is found in the fact that this is the empire that is suddenly destroyed by a stone that represents the kingdom of Jesus Christ when He returns.
There is no place in the scenario for the Holy Roman Empire, which was an empire in name only. Baxter tries to insert the Holy Roman Empire because he wants to argue that it is the one that will be revived in the end times, rather than the Roman Empire. And he tries to advance this argument so that he can sustain his contention that the ‘fatal wound that will be healed,” referred to in Revelation 13:3, is a reference to the Berlin Wall being removed so that Germany (which was the heart of the Holy Roman Empire) could be reunited.
Mr. Baxter does further damage to the book of Daniel when he contends that the symbols used in chapter seven refer to Great Britain, Russian, and Germany. Again, this runs contrary to the plain sense meaning of the passage. In Daniel seven, God gives Daniel a vision of the same succession of empires as he was given in chapter two. The difference is that in chapter two they are seen from the viewpoint of Man – as glorious political kingdoms – whereas, in chapter seven they are presented from the viewpoint of God – as ravenous wild beasts.
One of the strangest statements on Mr. Baxter’s website concerns the Rapture. In response to a question about the timing of the Rapture, he says, “Unfortunately, rapture timing debates between brothers in Christ often become divisive, and for this reason, he has chosen to avoid the issue for now.” This non-answer is truly astonishing! Here is a person with an opinion on everything in the prophetic scriptures, yet he chose to “avoid” one of the most important issues.
Even more astonishing is the very next paragraph, where Mr. Baxter states that he believes that the Rapture and the Second Coming are “the same event.” Well, if they are the same event, then the Rapture must take place at the end of the Tribulation–so much for “avoiding” the issue. To sustain this position, Mr. Baxter proceeds to try to explain away some passages that imply a pre-Tribulation Rapture. In doing so, he presents a most peculiar and bizarre interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2. The passage states that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until that which restrains him is removed. Mr. Baxter contends that the restrainer is “time.” Yes, time. It’s just not the right time for the Antichrist to be revealed, he says, and when the time is right, the revelation will occur.
Mr. Baxter’s approach to prophetic interpretation makes it clear why the plain sense meaning rule is so important. That rule essentially states: “If the plain sense makes sense, don’t look for any other sense, or you will end up with nonsense.” As with Mr. Baxter, you will end up with a very personal interpretation that no other prophecy teacher is willing to endorse. Exercise extreme caution with regard to Mr. Baxter and his unique interpretations. Remember 1 Peter 1:20: “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” Frank Stagg in his book, How to Understand the Bible, says, “God does not grant private disclosures that are withheld from other people.”
1 Corinthians 14:29 says that when a prophet speaks, his words are to be evaluated by others, for “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32). This essay has been written in the spirit of that admonition. It is good that Mr. Baxter is emphasizing the Lord’s soon return, but at the same time use great caution regarding his very personal interpretations of Bible prophecy.