by Eugene O McCarley
First of all let us look at the definition of these four words in the parenthesis above.
Fact: reality, that which really exists, established beyond doubt.
Fiction: something invented, imaginary, a made up story.
Fantasy: extravagant and unrestrained mental images provoked by an unfulfilled psychological need.
Fable: a story not based on or established by the facts.
"Any scientific theory or hypothesis must be proved first possible, then probable, then certain. To be a possible theory, it must be reconcilable with many facts upon which the theory is based. To be a possible theory, it must be reconcilable with many more facts. To be a certain and proven theory, it must be reconcilable with all the facts." (Written by Rev. W..Williams 1925)
When a teaching (a dogma) can be shown to be irreconcilable with any established fact the teaching, or theory, must be rejected, completely rejected. In dealing with the scientific realm we have what is called "theoretical mathematicians." These people come up with a theory (a thought) and through mathematics they try to established that their theory is reconcilable with facts. This is done through the process of eliminating all things that cannot be reconcilable with all the known facts. This process must be used in the establishment of teachings (dogma) in the religious field. This paper is about this process.
The purpose here is to try and find out why there are certain biblical teachings, mostly zeroing in on why there are doctrinal teachings that cannot be found in the Bible.
My emphasis will be on the words contained in the teaching. To be honest with ourselves we must let the facts and the words speak for themselves. (emotions have no place in this study)
To do otherwise is not only dishonest but it is also an exercise in futility which leads many away from the truth. If we reject the truth then we become fools.
Will the teaching on this rapture theory and the many teachings that surround this subject stand up to the test of fine scrutiny? To ban research and show all the wild vagaries of the imagination to pass as truth is extremely dangerous and is not to be tolerated. No room for pluralism here. In the philosophical realm there is this ever changing of ideas in regards to life and the same appears to be true in this religious scope of teaching.
Every true teaching must be reconcilable with all the facts that can be established by what is already revealed and stated in the scripture.
They may not be understood by all, but they must be accepted by all. A math teacher cannot be allowed to teach who speculates on his thoughts that maybe two and two do not add up to four. As there is a rule for solving the problems in mathematics, there is also a rule for understanding words. But today, from what we can hear and observe, the definition of words appear to be a game played in a wide field without any boundaries.
As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, "words mean what I say them to mean", and Alice answered, "but how can you make them mean so many things"?
Language is a way in which men communicate with one another and it is of the utmost importance to be able to understand the words that are spoken.
Treaties and contracts are written with words that can be understood by the participants. One would certainly be foolish to sign on to a treaty or a contract that was not spelled out in words what is contained in the transaction. Many people today sign on, and participate, in teachings and indulge in a philosophy that is not clearly spelled out for them. They allow their emotions to dictate their involvement in whatever they are doing or believe, and to top it off, they don't even understand why they imbibe and assimilate in their actions or beliefs. This is why we have so many religious factions and diverse philosophical ideas that exist in our world today.
People do believe what they want to believe and a particular belief cannot be coerced upon that individual. It is always a matter of choice. Suffice here it to say that children born into a particular culture usually follow along with what they have been brought up in.
Every one knows that when one plants a kernel of corn in the ground that a stalk of corn will result from placing the single kernel of corn in the ground.
As I will be dealing with biblical teachings that are imbedded in the Christian church I cannot bring into my thoughts those teachings in other cultures that are foreign to me. Not only will I be dealing with this rapture teaching but I will look into the teachings that are integrated into other teachings that go along with this theory.
I do not seek to impart any new or unseen knowledge that has been hidden, as I heard a man say the other day, that all of the words have been spoken, it is just that everybody has not spoken them. I can certainly say that my words will not be new as they have, in one way or another, been spoken or written by someone before me. It has already been hashed out by the greatest theological minds of Christianity. We do know that false teachings do hold masses in their grasp. Words that go to make up cultures hold men in darkness.
It is an amazing spectacle to behold what some people can do with words. It would shock most Evangelical believers (and most of the Christian world) to find out and discover where several of our teachings come from and who it was that started them. The error of any teaching can be traced back to its source and the point of origin and this is done through the study of words.
The purpose then, in this paper, is to find out if this rapture teaching is correct and if it is found to not be a true teaching, the question of why it is taught should be answered. The facts must be allowed to speak for the facts and without prognosticated emotional feelings. I will evaluate the subject on their statements as this is the only fair way to determine if what they say is true. If we oppose and reject the truth, then we are fools. Will their remarks stand the acid test of scrutiny or will it fall by the sheer weight of their own words.
To ban research and show the wild vagaries (if there are any) of the imagination to pass as truth is extremely dangerous and cannot be tolerated. Doctrine is doctrine and truth is truth and we cannot allow personal opinions to enter into our acceptance of what we doctrinally believe.
Having been raised in the system that teaches this important part of Christianity, (not all of it teaches this ) especially in the Evangelical realm , I can honestly say that I have read every possible argument both for and against this teaching. I haven't done this in six weeks or six years, but over a period of many years (I'm almost eighty). Now this statement only qualifies me as an avid reader on this subject and not as an "so called" expert. I do not know any of these people that write and teach this doctrine, ( I have personally met only four of these people) but I do read what they write and listen to their words and follow, in my Bible, the scriptures they use to substantiate their point and pay extremely close attention how they use the scripture. A close look will be taken as to how they tell us what the definition of the words they use to substantiate their view. I have the same books they have and I can read. WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE A TEACHING THAT CANNOT BE FOUND IN THE BIBLE?
In biology class we studied about "osmosis" which is a transferring or the converting of fluids in plants. In the words of A.W. Tozer, the acceptance of false teachings can be termed as a spiritual osmosis where the falsity of a teaching enters into the walls of the mind through a slow seepage and the individual is poisoned before he is aware of it.
This seepage, if not corrected soon enough can, and will destroy one's ability to believe other truths. In the plant world this process cannot be controlled by the plant as it is a fixed law in the world of biology, but where humans are concerned this can be controlled. A wise man changes his mind, but a fool never does and if the man pays no attention to the truth revealed about a doctrine this osmosis sets in and almost always cannot be stopped. Whom shall I believe, Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye or the written word of God?
Errors of doctrine have crept in ever so slowly, almost too slowly to be perceived, and we should be aware that one error in a teaching calls for another and another. If one starts out in Genesis on the wrong foot it is very likely that his cadence will be way off when they get to Revelation.
The voice of opinion is not allowed to be expressed in the teaching of doctrine unless the opinion agrees with the written word. It doesn't matter what I think but what does the Bible say.
It is not my purpose or aim or motive to argue with many of those who either agree or disagree with this teaching. I just want to establish or refute this doctrinal teaching on this rapture and really see if it is the Bible. The books that I have studied concerning this subject have been written by scholars and my education cannot compare with them as they outstrip me with their doctorate degrees.
I have written to some of these men and asked questions that they either cannot answer or will not answer. I find that both of these schools of thought write books that counteract the teaching of those who hold opposite views. Many of the comments written in a rebuttal are not always the kindest words. I asked John Walvoord (now deceased) one time why both schools couldn't get together and establish once and for all which teachings is the correct one. He said to me that this couldn't be done. He also told me that the first resurrection didn't always mean first in sequence. So they do with words what they want to do with words.
One thing I did certainly find out amongst those that write about the pre-tribulation rapture, they do have an imagination that carries over into their teaching. There is so much that they speculate on and guess about, besides the fact that they take scriptures out of the context that they are written in and what the text intends to convey to the reader.
This not only shows up in the "Left Behind" series but also in their pulpit messages. Can these two different teachings ever be reconciled to one another? I think not. The reason being that anyone from the opposite side of the subject, as a rule, is not welcomed into either of the opposite camps. Ridicule comes to both parties when the question comes up. Men who are held in high esteem and very scholarly are on both sides of this divisive doctrine. But again, both sides come up with arguments that seem to sustain their view and understanding of what the scriptures say. What we believe and teach should not be afraid of scrutiny and the acid test of scripture.
"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, KNOW OF WHOM THOU HAST LEARNED THEM " 2nd Timothy 3:14.
So it stands to reason that what we teach should be able to stand the test of what the scriptures say. To juggle scriptures around to fit a particular teaching is adding to or taking away from the written word.
" Prove all things; hold FAST that which is good. 1st Thess. 5:21.
" For the time will come when they WILL NOT endure SOUND DOCTRINE; but after their own lusts (wants) shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the TRUTH, and shall b e turned into FABLES" 2nd Tim 4:3,4.
Why do you suppose these words were penned by Paul? I must lay this kind of background for this paper in order for me to test this rapture teaching. If my analysis is based on only what I feel or is only my perception of what these men are saying, then their perception is as credible as mine might be. The established church down through the ages has alway been divided as to what the written scripture has to say on many things. But the Apostle Paul, in his letters concerning the end times does not deal in generalities but positively zeroes in on the time when all things will come to a culminating point in this age.
Paul withstood Peter face to face when Peter was doing and saying things that were against what was revealed in regards to whom fellowshipshould be extended. When Paul saw that the group was not walking according to the truth of the gospel he confronted Peter (not in private) but before them all. Try this today and see what will happen.
Scripture say that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump and also that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine. A little error usually leads to another error and this is not to be ignored. It should be said that it is not the good that is infiltrated into a teaching that qualifies it to be accepted but the error that is found for the basis of rejection. One cannot get saltwater and fresh water out of the same spigot and a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. This is the reason why we are admonished so strongly to put everything that is taught us to the test of the written word.
We are not given an option concerning this matter as to whether we address this problem or do not confront it.
"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine" Titus 2:1.
This is to be done in order that we might not only be kept from error but to exhort and convince the gainsayers.
Now here I can interject my own personal feeling concerning this just quoted scripture, and I base my feeling and my understanding on what Paul says about this. I wrote the scripture from 2nd Timothy above, that mentions sound doctrine. Now I must go to the place that warns us of seducers that creep into the midst of true believers and those that are weak in the faith. 1st and 2nd Timothy are replete with instructions as to how we are to react to this particular problem. In the last days. We are told, that perilous time would come, that evil men and seducers shall become stronger and stronger. This scripture specifies evil men and seducing men and it is not up to me to judge (krino) and pass sentence on those that teach mistaken ideas about certain beliefs that they have. But we are told to judge (anakrino) and to evaluate what is being taught. I am sure thatGod has a way of dealing with these kinds of people, a way that you and I know nothing about, as yet.
The beginning of the ministry of Christ, and then the apostles, was to be a period of learning for believers. The instructions and the words are very plain and it is a great shame that we, today, should have to spend so much time in trying to reconcile all of these different ideas about what the Bible has to say. Especially after it has already been done for us centuries ago. But this is in the world of theology and it is as corrupt as the political world, make no mistake about this. We are now seeing the structure of the doctrinal building that we have been building on for quite awhile and the building does not look very nice.
We are in a war and although many may not be interested in this war of words that go to make up doctrinal teachings, Satan is certainly interested in making sure that the people are seduced with these words. A Calvinist will tell you that some of us are born to go to hell and some of us are born to go to heaven. And they have all kinds of words to explain why their teaching is correct. Their whole theme is built on the word sovereign. God is sovereign so He can do whatever He pleases. ALL happenings are permitted by God, but ALL happenings are not willed by God. He is willing that ALL men repent.
The downgrade of teaching doctrine (not theology) always has a beginning and can be traced to its root causes. The Bible warns us about " the wiles of the devil" . This means to follow craftily aimed devices in order to deceive. Did not the Serpent use the words of God to seduce Eve? He was able to do this by moving the words around so as to appeal to her desires. We have today ministers who supposedly believe the scriptures but by cunning devices and appealing to the many new versions of the Bible can rectify any doctrine they espouse.
Abraham Lincoln once said that no enemy of an invading army would ever take a drink water from the Ohio river and that if our country was to fall, it would fall from the inside. Satan is too clever to attack the church directly from the outside, but his ministers transform themselves into angels of light and try to destroy us from the inside.
We are taught by these (so called) scholars that have many degrees attached to their name, and the majority of the laymen do take for granted that these scholarly teachers know what they are talking about. A true Bible scholar will teach what the Bible says about any subject, not his philosophical interpretation. This is a subject that is going on today in the selection of judges for our Supreme Court. The main question is will the judges let their own personal philosophy enter into their interpretation of the laws of the land? The senators are prone to vote for a judge that goes along with the thinking of the party they represent.
These false teachers creep into our midst unawares. Paul and Jude both speak to this problem of creeping false teachers.
" And that because of FALSE brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty, that they might bring us into bondage". Galatians 2:4.
" For there are certain men crept in unawares". Jude verse 4.
The words privily and unawares in this context go hand in hand.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there SHALL be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies".
ANY doctrinal teaching that is not found in scripture is heresy.
What is heresy? According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, and in our case here, it is defined as an expressed opinion varying from the true exposition of the scriptures; of men separating themselves from others and following their own tents causing dissensions arising from diversity of opinions. An heretic is one who is a teacher or a follower of false doctrine that is contrary to the Bible.
In reference to my subject I can say that it is absolutely mind boggling to try and chart a course across the sea of ideas and teachings that are being presented to the laity today. Of the making of many books there is no end and this can be said of the many, many different and opposing thoughts on this subject. It appears that we all can come to a definite conclusion as what is heresy in regards to several doctrinal points espoused by other factions of religious bodies but when it comes to this teaching on a rapture we either dismiss the conclusion as not important or say that we can never come to an agreement on who is correct. One has to get into one camp or the other and then shut his mind up to any truth that might be applied to a right conclusion. Both sides have their scholars and they are to be applauded for their research. But awards for faulty research are not given when it comes to doctrine.
Our supreme court is filled with experts.
Having read both sides of the argument for many years (and still do as I am always looking for some definitive mistake I might have made) I am convinced that both sides of the rapture teaching cannot be correct.Only one side can prevail as the truth and this decision can only be made correctly by taking what the scriptures say about this matter. It has been said by many before me that when the scriptures makes common sense seek no other sense, otherwise they become nonsense. Most people believe what they are taught by someone else in the religious world and many of the teachings are accepted without research being done by the one who accepts a teaching. Millions of people are held in bondage by what some teacher has falsely transmitted to a person who has not taken the time to confirm what is being taught, by the written word.
Deception is dangerous but self deception is suicide.
This paper is not written for other scholars for their criticism, it is written for those who would really check out what is being said here.
It is the error in the teaching that is dangerous and it really doesn't make any difference, as far as salvation is concerned, whether one believes in pre-tribulation rapture or not. It is the misreading of the scriptures that I am taking into account here. This error may not decide one's salvation but if the church is to go through the tribulation period then it is of utmost importance that we learn to read the scripture correctly.
There are several things in the pre-trib. teaching that do not coincide scripturally and they are very misleading. And if we can be deceived now, while we now all have the time to study the word of God in order not to be deceived, how will it be when the man of sin is revealed and brings with him ALL kinds of deception? People can be ignorant of certain things, but willful ignorance is self inflicted.
" For this they are WILLINGLY ignorant". 2nd Peter 3:5.
Of course Peter is here speaking of creation, but this applies also to all teachings of the Bible. Is there REAL evidence from the scripture of this rapture teaching or is it a deliberate ignoring of what the Bible says? I will try and answer this question. For Christians there is absolutely no excuse for continued ignorance concerning doctrine.
We are in a war, but not a shooting war. It is a war of philosophy and words and if you will remember correctly it was in the Garden of Eden that Satan changed the words. The definition of words and the changing of the context in which they were spoken has been changing ever since. Tim LaHaye has written a book, "No Fear of the storm", (the storm being the seven year tribulation period) and it discounts the myriads of Christians who have been slaughtered by religious fanatics in the past and even today. What storm were these people not to fear? In the context of this "no fear of the storm" statement (page 27) he rest his analysis on 1st Cor. 2:7 of which this whole chapter is speaking of WISDOM, not a rapture.
It is evident, by their own words in explaining wrath, they seem not to be able to distinguish between God's wrath and the wrath of men and of Satan. The wrath of the Roman Catholic hierarchy tortured and slaughtered tens of thousands of true believers.
During WW 2 it was Christianized Europe that caused the death of over fifty seven million people and these Christ believing people were directly responsible for the murder of over six million Jews. So I ask this question of the reader, who's wrath was this? In the two cases mentioned above, LaHaye substitutes the word tribulation in place of the word wrath. But in his book No Fear on page 45 he reverses these two words, viz wrath equals tribulation.
WRATH & SIGNS
So, for starters, let us look at this word wrath. ALL of those teachers of a pre-tribulation rapture use TWO verses from which to build their teaching on. (There are several more that they integrate into this teaching, but it is built and founded on these two scriptures.) One is found in 1st Thessalonians 1:10 and it reads thus,
"Even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come".
The other one is in chapter 5:9 (which is basically one of the main ones used)
"For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation".
Walvoord in his book The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, (page 94) states that probably most pre-tribbers base their conception on 1st Thess. 4. But one would be hard pressed to find a rapture here. Paul is describing resurrection from the dead.
Now I will not bother the reader with a bunch of Greek words to try and explain my position. A Strong's Concordance or a Young's Concordance will give anyone who cares to look at a very simple definition of this word.
And believe me when I say that when these fellows use this word out of its context it changes exegesis of the scriptures. Remember, it is always the little foxes that spoil the vine.
LaHaye uses Romans 5:9 to undergird his teaching which is: "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him". Here he says that this word saved from wrath deals primarily to salvation and deliverance from the eternal punishment of hell. In 1st Thess. 5:9 LaHaye writes that this passage makes it clear that God has not appointed us to wrath (the tribulation period) (his parentheses) but to obtain salvation or deliverance from it. The three scriptures used here by LaHaye have NOTHING to do with the seven year tribulation period, absolutely NOTHING. Within their context they are dealing with eternal salvation and being saved from the eternal wrath of God. Granted that God will pour out His wrath during this time but the wrath that He displays at this time is a TEMPORARY time of wrath, for this wrath stops at the battle of Armageddon.
I really find it difficult to follow this author in some of the explanations he uses as they do seem to not follow the rules of language and exegesis of the scripture. In the chapter "Kept from the Hour", on page 45 the author states that the two above scriptures apply only to the tribulation, which if one will only read this portion, it say just the opposite of what LaHaye says it means.
Paul is definitely speaking of eternal salvation as opposed to eternal wrath, but Lahaye substitutes the word tribulation for the word wrath and this is a practice that he continues all through his writings, as do the other writers on this subject. He then says on Page 44 of this chapter that Romans. 5:9
" Much more then, being now justified by His blood, (this is eternal salvation) we shall be saved from wrath through Him",
refers PRIMARILY and ONLY to salvation and then goes on to say "but does it not also include deliverance from that time of judgment on the earth"?
Divine wrath never falls on believers. But Ephesians 5:6 states that the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience. Divine wrath will never touch a believer in Christ, eternally or during the tribulation.We are saved from His wrath, but we are not saved from the wrath of men or of Satan. This wrath that is poured out during this tribulation time comes from three sources, man, Satan, and God. Since Adam's time the human race has been the recipient of other men's wrath. It is very clear and evident that God's people are called out of Babylon
" That you receive not of her plagues." Rev:18:4
and the question must be answered as to what God's people are doing on the earth at this time if they were raptured seven years before.
Walvoord deals with Rev. 18:4 in two paragraphs in his book, "The Revelation", but he does not deal very well with who these people are. In his book "The Rapture Question" he does not even list it in his scripture references. If, as many say that these people are only Jews because of the wording "my people," then all of these Christians will have to cease using 2nd Chronicle 7:14 as referring to the church. I do not know of an Evangelical minister who does not use this scripture in connecting the church to this portion of the scripture.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, then will I forgive their sin, and will heal their land" is the promise given to Israel. So we must go by the context as to how we read scripture.
David Jeremiah contradicts Rev. 18:4 by spiritualizing it and says that God's people will not be in Babylon, even though the scripture plainly states they will be. "Escape the Coming Night", page 180. William Sanford LaSor in his book "Armageddon", page 115, lists the verse but really does not deal with it.
J. Dwight Pentecost in his book "Things To Come" ignores it. In reality all of the pre-trib teachers say the same thing but express their own understanding as to what words mean. It has, for a long time now, been difficult for me to understand, and accept, how these men almost totally confine this time of trouble to the Jews. Even though it is called "Jacob's trouble" in Jeremiah 30:7
"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob" trouble; but he shall be saved out of it",
It should be noted here and noted well that although it is called Jacob's trouble it will be the wrath of the Anti-Christ that will be poured out upon this people. God"s wrath will be poured out on all unbelievers, Jew and Gentile alike, during this time and this does not seem to get explained properly by these scholars.
The wrath of God poured out during this time is TEMPORARY. This alone, and in itself, shows that there is no connection to the wrath defined by the pre-tribbers. The point that I am dealing with here is the rapture teacher's definition of this word wrath and where thy place it. We can only decide what, where, and how this word, in its context, should be used, by the scriptures. To be led into ignorance is one thing, to stay in error after having the knowledge of the truth is extremely dangerous.
Pentecost, in his book, "Things to Come" ( page 195) places the wrath described in 1st Thessalonians 5:9 as being confined to the tribulation period, but the wrath in this context is describing hell as the future destiny of unbelievers, not this temporary time of His wrath. God's wrath, on more than one occasion in the Bible was poured out several times on Israel and other peoples in order to punish them for wrongdoing.
The wrath of God, at this period of time called the tribulation is described in Isaiah 24. In Jeremiah 30:7 it is called Jacob's trouble as it will be a time when God destroys those sinners of the Jewish people that refuse to accept their Messiah and it is described in Daniel chapter nine (without any detail) as to the purpose as to why Israel is singled out during this time. It is repeated in the scripture, concerning God's chosen people, that He will gather them in anger so that He might punish them, but it also states that He will gather them in mercy. So the prophet Jeremiah puts a name on this seven year period and calls it Jacob's trouble. After this period is over Israel (all of them) will be the head of nations and a light to the Gentiles. But at this same time God will punish all the nations as outlined in Jeremiah twenty five. As it is describe here this is a time of pleading-punishment & WRATH.
In Isaiah 4:4 we read "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning" is a direct reference to this time of trouble and God's wrath.
The rest of this chapter describes the one thousand years of peace that is to follow. To leave these scriptures out of the comments on this time of wrath is either neglect or ignorance. In any case, by doing so for either reason it will affect the outcome of their conclusion and the closure will be wrong. It is only after this time of Jacob's trouble that she will be cleansed from her rejection and unbelief.
Sometime prior to this seven year period there will be a period called by Jesus as the time of sorrows and perplexity of nations. The Old Testament describes this time. "A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the NATIONS , He will PLEAD with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword".
Jeremiah 25:31. Isaiah 66:8 addresses this travailing time for Israel, "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children".
When a coalition of nations that come against Israel at a particular time, and Gog is named as the leader of this group of nations, it says that God's fury (this is the same as wrath) will come up in His face. " And I will PLEAD against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the may people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone". Ezek. 38:22. It will do us well to notice that Armageddon is not a time of pleading, it is an annihilation of these armies gathered there.
In Joel 3:1,2 we read " For, behold, in those DAYS, and in that TIME , when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will PLEAD with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land". (I will deal with this scripture later) I made a special trip to Israel just to find out where this valley is located, as my books were not really certain of where it was. This valley is adjacent to Jerusalem on the East and is approximately fifty miles south of the valley of Megiddo which is in the north of Israel. This valley is also called Kidron and it runs south and then east to what the Arabs call Wady en Nar, (valley of fire) which finally comes out close to the Dead Sea.
Ezekiel 38 is not the battle of Armageddon. The battle of Rev. 16:14,16 is fought at the end of the tribulation in the place that is called in the Hebrew tongue "Armageddon", and those involved in this battle are gathered together for the purpose of warring against Christ and not for the purpose of destroying the Jews or attacking Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be the seat of the Anti-Christ and will be from here that he imposes his will on the people. Why would he want to attack his own capitol? The battle described in Ezk 38 and 39 is an attack on the state of Israel (by Gog not by the Anti-Christ) is to take a spoil and a prey, not so in Rev. 16. The armies of Israel, with the help of God, will be victorious in this Ezekiel battle, whereas at the time of the Armageddon war Israel is under the control of the Anti-Christ who will be sitting in the third temple ( yet to be built) as God. Maimonides, the ancient Jewish rabbi of days gone by tells the Jewish people that whoever allows them to build this third temple will be their messiah. The Anti-Christ will allow them to do this after the war in Ezk. 38.
To try and place (literally to force) this Ezekiel 38 war into the context of Rev. 16:16 and 19:19 is something that has to done by the pre-tribbers in order to substantiate their other explanations on the rapture. Dave Hunt in his book Judgment Day does this as does Pentecost in his book. Of course I am not lumping all these people into one basket as several of them disagree on other points. But they all seem to have a particular scheme to carry out and they do this through a skewed reading of the Bible. Let the reader beware of this; there are so many books written on this end time subject that it is difficult to keep track of, or even read all that is written about this. In my library I have many of these books as I want to know what is being taught as doctrine. The Bible is not to be read like a mystery novel where the reader guesses what the unfolding of the story will be or to try and figure out every detail of the plot. I find most of these writings are full of innuendoes and extreme speculation This ought not to be. We can agree on John 3;16, we can agree on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and that He is coming again So there are many doctrinal points that we can, and do agree on, so why is there so much speculation on these end time events that are outlined in the Bible?
Signs are given in order to give information. A person who cannot read will not understand what the signs say. He just doesn't know, neither can he ever know unless someone who can read tells him what the sign is saying. Here lies a great problem for us today. The people who can read can (if one is so mind to) tell the non-reader whatever he wants to. He can either tell this person the truth, or he can just mislead or even lie.
Robert E. Culp in his seventh volume book "All about the End Time" (page 125) says that the Gog of Ezk 38 is the title that belongs to the Anti-Christ. Robert Van Kampen in his book "The Sign" (page 135) states that Ezekiel even though he prophecies about a person named GOG, that this title belongs to the Anti-Christ. There is no possible way that one can be true to language and place GOG as the Anti-Christ. Gog and what he does will not fit the description of the Anti-Christ.
We can all agree to disagree amicably and it should never be that we use our disagreements as a foundation to fuss and fight over these different points that we don't agree on. But we are to reprove, rebuke with all longsuffering and not be divisive amongst the brethren. We are also told to hold fast to that which is good.
Any doctrine that is taught that claims to be based on the scripture and cannot be found in the Bible is classed as an heresy. Titus 3:10 informs us " A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject" . A mistake, and ignorance, is one thing and there are times when even these two excuses do not suffice for teaching wrong doctrine. So how does one deal with this problem without causing hard feelings on both side of this subject?
It certainly is obvious that these people are misreading scripture and transmitting to others, who will not search for themselves, information that is totally false. There are no hidden meanings in the scripture that are to be revealed to a so called expert today. What God wants us to know He has already had written down for us. We are not to take away or add to the scripture. So what is one to do with these people that write these books that are permeated with scripture jerkings and fanciful translations of what they think the scriptures mean. Church history is well documented with the accounts of these kinds of people. The real point here is that we all have different personalities and think differently about the same subjects. This is why we have Mormons, Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostals, Baptist, and many other religions around the world.
As I am dealing with the Christian faith, I will not bring non-Christian religions into this discussion.
Christ tells about the time of trouble that is to come upon this earth.
It is to be a time of perplexity on the nations. (This word means no solution or way out of the problem). Jesus said that there would be wars and rumors of wars: earthquakes, famines and perplexities on the nations and He calls this particular time "the BEGINNING of SORROWS". The word beginning indicates that this time will have a starting point.
Otherwise there would be no reason to use this word. So at what particular point can we evaluate when this period has a start? One should be able to see that you just can't start with a doctrinal teaching without examining all those facts that will affect what one is to believe.Jesus gives us signs to watch for. He said that when we see certain things we should be aware that something is going to take place following the signs. To establish a false doctrine one has to CHANGE THE MEANING OF THE WORDS. One has to ignore the signs given and pay no heed to what the sign says. It is that plain and that simple.
If theologians cannot define this word wrath in the context in which it is used, then how can they be believed when it comes to the defining of other important words that they use in order to bolster their position?
People that can read and do not read do not know what is going on. They have to depend on someone to tell them. Every born again believer should be a "Berean" and search out what these teachers are saying to us. I must say here, that believing in this pre-trib. rapture may have no affect on one's salvation but it is the false teaching of this doctrine that is dangerous to those who depend on others for their doctrinal beliefs. It is the psychological effect that this will have on those who have put their trust in these teachers and it turns out that we are in this tribulation time.
When we find ourselves in this time of great distress, many will depart from the faith.
There are several other words that they misuse and I will cover these as we proceed through this study.
Our own input to the study of God's word is of the utmost importance if we are going to escape the trap that is laid down by these scholars who twist the scriptures.
The Bible is replete with warnings against teachings that are not found in the scriptures.
Looking further into this word WRATH, and then we will look at some other words that are dismally misused in connection to this rapture teaching.
The finality of God's wrath is in the mind of Paul who wrote that "God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation".
This verse has absolutely no connection to the wrath that is to be poured out during the tribulation period. Anyone who tries to connect this to a temporary time of seven years or three and one half years or even to the very end of the days of this period, as Marvin Rosenthal does in his book "The Pre-wrath Rapture of the Church" is misconstruing the scripture.
'When Christ read himself into His public ministry at Nazareth (Luke 4:18) He did not read all of the portion of the scripture that He was reading from in Isaiah 61, and the part He left out were the words: "and the day of vengeance". This day of vengeance will be this time of great tribulation and it will be during this last three and one half years of this seven year period that God's temporary wrath will be poured out on all those who worship the Beast (Anti-Christ).
This has nothing to do with God's eternal wrath.
Prior to this last half of this seven year period will be the time of sorrows that Jesus told His disciples about . The beginning of these sorrows will start before the seven year period begins and continues on through the entire seven years.
The entire tribulation period (7 years) is a time of sorrow even though Jesus describes a beginning of this "sorrow's period" that is to take place before the seven years begins, this entire period is not called the great tribulation.
Jesus gives this particular name (great tribulation) to this time when Satan is cast out of the heaven to this earth in Rev.12:9 which takes place only at the beginning of the last half of this seven years.
The sixth chapter of Revelation outlines the beginning of these sorrows.
It is surmised that the loosing of the white horse rider is the beginning of the seven years, but nowhere is this substantiated by any scripture. Once these four horsemen are let loose they continue on through out this time of sorrows and trouble.
Matthew 24:6,7,8 precede the seven years described in Daniel 9:27 and carry over into the seven year period that we have been taught is the tribulation period or the time of Jacob's trouble.
These four horseman are let loose at a particular time for a particular purpose. The entire period will be a TIME OF SORROWS. It also includes the seven year period.
The book of Isaiah spasmodically outlines many different phenomenal and remarkable things that coincide with Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation.
Isaiah 10:22,25 speaks of a consumption that is decreed and a time of indignation and God's anger which is a direct connection to Matthew 24 and Revelation.6.
I have found that these men that teach pre-tribulation ALL confine this word wrath to this seven years, or to the last half of this seven years. Some even go so far as to say God's wrath is confined to the last few days of this period. This is very poor exegesis and hermeneutics. They know it and I know it but they abandon truth for whatever they want to glean from these scriptures. Forcing ieces of a puzzle into a place where they do not belong messes up the whole puzzle.
The tenth chapter of Isaiah is permeated with words that describe this wrath of God that will take place during these last days before Christ comes back to the earth the second time. The words consumption and indignation are directly connected to this word wrath that is to poured out during the time that Jesus tells us about in Mt. 24.
There should no ambiguity when it comes to doctrine as clarity is of vital importance.
God has revealed Himself and we cannot expose ourselves to false teaching.
Paul says to the Corinthians that "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech".
Even a cursory reading of the words I am defining will (or should) show that, by context, they are interchangeable with words that have not only similar meanings, but the same meaning. It is not a question of being smart, or of being a Greek language expert, it is only a question of believing what is written. If there is to be a question of who we are to believe concerning doctrine, and as we all have to depend on translator's to give us the meaning of words that are foreign to us, and even though there are many different scholars that might translate words differently, we should be very careful as to always follow the context of the subject.
This is to be done regardless of the experts. Experts are often wrong. Revelation chapter six is an overall bird's eye view of what is to take place during the time that Jesus is telling His disciples about the beginning of the sorrows and the great tribulation period. Although not in chronological order the 34th. Chapter of Isaiah also tells us about this time.
It is the day of vengeance, the part that Jesus left out of His reading when He was in the synagogue. If one leaves out all of the connecting scriptures that deal with a specific study, and brings in only those scriptures that seem to agree with their own interpretation of what they believe, only chaos will be the results.
Isaiah 34 calls this time a time of "indignation of the Lord", a time of "great slaughter", a "day of vengeance", a "controversy and fury". If this is not a time of God's wrath being poured out of the earth and its inhabitants, I do not know the meaning of this word. THIS WRATH HAS AN ENDING .
Absolutely no reference to Rms. 5:9. When the world enters into this time of sorrows that Jesus speaks of, the troubles will grow in intensity until the word sorrows is turned into the words "great tribulation".
Revelation 6:15, 16,17 is very plain when describing this particular time of God's wrath.
But it is still a time of sorrows."And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand"? Rev. 6:15-17
This time of wrath spoken of here is not, nor cannot be the same wrath that is spoken of by Paul in Romans 2:5:6, as should be obvious to the reader.
Paul here is speaking of men who heap to themselves and "treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds".
The REVELATION of the righteous JUDGMENT OF GOD is not opened up and exposed (or revealed) until the time of the final rewarding to all human beings at the Great White Throne, and also the rebellious angels.
"Angels which kept not their first estate and left their own habitation are held NOW in chains of darkness until the JUDGMENT of the great day." (Jude 6)
"For we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, EVERY knee shall bow to me." (Rms. 14:10,11)
The lake of fire is the final wrath of God (spoken of by Paul) and no creature, human or otherwise, has been a recipient of this particular wrath. As far as I can determine, by scripture, the beast and the false prophet are the first two that will experience this final wrath. They are the first ones to be cast into this lake of fire. After the thousand year reign of Christ, Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit (not the lake of fire) for a season and goes forth to deceive nations once again and then after his defeat he is cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are.
This is described as the second battle of Gog and Magog. The time element here rules out that this battle in Rev.20:8 is the same as Ezk. 38.
Paul here is speaking of the final judgment as should be noted by the words "revelation of the judgment of God.
Again Paul writes in Romans 1:18 "for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness".
God showed His displeasure at many times and showed His wrath when sending the flood of Noah's time and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with its inhabitants, plus many other times, as is recorded in scripture.
But the FINAL WRATH of God is RESERVED for, and until, the judgment seat of Christ at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ.
This judgment seat of Christ is the same as the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT, and this is one of those words I will discuss, which the pre-tribbers use to their convenience.
In dealing with this word wrath and the words connected to it, I find it necessary to bring in this word "revealed".
Now this word is a common word that is used by the rapture school. This word used in the scripture above speaks of the wrath of God being revealed.
Now exactly what does this word really mean? It should not be a part of any sensible argument as to its meaning.
The rapture school in fact, ties the definition of this word to two other words that mean exactly the same thing even though the other two words are different, but these three words used in their context mean the same thing when used in connection to the second coming of Christ. This word is also used in connection to the revealing of the man of sin, the Anti Christ.
" Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition". 2nd Thess.2:3.
Now in order for the man of sin to be revealed he has to be here. He cannot be revealed unless he is here in order to be revealed. According to the Thayer's Greek Lexicon it means to uncover, to expose something that had been concealed from sight previously, to make an appearance publically. In order to understand this teaching on the rapture it is imperative to look at the words that these people use to substantiate what they are trying to teach the people as being a matter of FACT.
It is of my thinking that anytime a teaching is not opened to scrutiny by those who want the truth that this attitude, in fact, opens one up to deception. There are three terms in the NT. that are used in connection with the second coming of Christ. These three words are used with consistency to describe the second coming. Yet in spite of this fact, the secret rapture teachers ADD that these words are describing "phases" that are to be included to describe the second coming. Paul states in Hebrews 9:28
"that unto them that look for him shall he appear the SECOND TIME without sin unto salvation".
Jesus uses the word "coming" four times in Mt. 24 to let his disciples know about his second coming.
I am aware that there are some legitimate teachers who teach this secret rapture but it is beyond my understanding why they have to use illegitimate means to substantiate their point.
It is not up to me to judge their eternal destiny, but it is up to each follower of Christ to judge and evaluate what they do with the words. I also am aware that there are those who teach this secret rapture blow out of proportion, exaggerate, overcharge, and overstate and draw heavily on the distorted imaginations of their mind to convince people that they know what they are talking about. As a matter of fact, they wont give you the information they claim is to be from God (or perhaps from some other source) but they will SELL it to you.
So let us take a look at these three words that they say are different.
COMING-(Parousia used to describe the actual presence of a person, to arrive)
APPEARING-(Phaneroo is to appear, open, show, manifest, show self)
REVELATION-(Apokalupisis is to make appearance public, manifested)
These definitions I have copied out of the same books that these experts use and there is absolutely no disagreement amongst these people that teach both sides of this rapture question. So, is the appearing of Christ to be separated and is it to be distinguished from the coming of Jesus?, and His revelation? Paul writes
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, WHEN the Lord Jesus shall be REVEALED from heaven with his mighty angels". (2nd Thess. 1:7)
This is the same word that is used in applying to the revelation of the Anti-Christ. The anti-Christ has to come before he can be revealed.
So Christ must come in order for there to be an appearing, and in order for there to be a revealing of himself.
There is absolutely nothing in these three words that even hint at a secret pre-tribulation rapture. There is not the slightest indication, in these words, of "different phases" that we are told by these "experts" that are
imbedded in this second coming teaching.
The vocabulary of Christ, and after that the apostles, has no support for the idea of two separate comings of Christ.
In the first two chapters of Genesis, which tell us of the creation of the world, three words are used to describe the same action by God.
They are "bara"-which is to create". "yatzar"-to produce by working on anything, to form, to make. "asah"-to form, to fashion as a potter. In the context in which these words are read they are describing the same thing.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image-so God created man in his own image-And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the earth-male and female created he them".
These words used together to describe how God made this world during the creation week, all three words describe what the Creator did, He created it, he formed it, and He made it.
People who believe in the "Gap Theory" (billions of years in between Gen.1:1 and !:2) go to great lengths to explain that theses words are different in meaning in this context. The same reasoning applies to the words coming - appearing- revelation.
At His coming, then, He will be manifested as to who He really is, which simply means that He will be revealed as the Son of God. The three words are all joined into one word at the second coming and that is the word "epiphaneia" manifested.
Along with this jumbling of words the pre-tribbers also use a phrase called the "second advent", which is a manufactured word to apply to the coming of Christ, which cannot (like the word rapture) be found in the scripture. But you say doesn't the wrath of God made manifest during the tribulation.
Of course it is but it is not the finality of the wrath manifested in the casting of the unbeliever into the lake of fire.
And this is what Paul has reference to.
Those people that incur wrath during the tribulation will have to experience it again in its finality when they are cast into the lake of fire.
There is no excuse for any minister of the gospel, who preaches a pre-trib rapture, without considering the millions of true believers who have suffered mens wrath at the hands of religious people both in past history and are being slaughtered at this writing. There is no reasonable explanation for them leaving this phenomenon out of their analysis.
Transport those true believers from those countries that kill and persecute followers of Christ to America, and they will probably think they are in the millennium reign of Christ. Then transport all these church goers in America to the eastern countries and they would think they were in the tribulation period.. Any one who is even slightly acquainted with "Foxes Book of Martyrs" or "The Voice of The Martyrs" and the book by Paul Marshall "Their Blood Cries Out" cannot rationally believe that those true believers are any less righteous that Western
American Christians do not know what persecution is.
So let us take a look at another word that these expert deceiver use. Now what is a deceiver? Why do I call them deceivers? Because they try to impose their ideas upon unsuspecting people (who do not read scripture) by using words that lead astray from the truth.
They say that there are no signs given to the Church people. For the last seventy five years (I was too young at five to understand about Jesus coming again) every preacher that stood in a pulpit in the Evangelical world stated that there were no signs given to the "church" that were to notify when this event would take place.
But all, without exception, preached about the signs in the book of Revelation and in Mt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 and 1. Then when they thought they had scared "hell" out of everyone they gave an altar call.
If there are no signs given to a generation that would witness this second coming of Christ, then why would they waste
their time preaching about the signs?
Now after His resurrection Christ and His disciples went up to the Mount.of Olives where Jesus was to ascended into heaven. These men asked Jesus "will thou at this time RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL"?
They had one thing in mind and that was is there going to be again a restoration of a kingdom for Israel.
That is their question to Christ. Look at it closely. At this time these men were only interested in this restoration of the earthly kingdom of David and Solomon.
Notice carefully the word again. It is the key to the mind set of the apostles at this time.
You have to relate this conversation found in Matthew 24 that Christ was having with His disciples to His coming in the clouds of heaven, which would have to be classified as His second coming.
The disciples, at that time, also asked (after Jesus had told them of the destruction of the temple) what would be the sign of this event and of His coming and the end of the world.
This was a private conversation here in Matthew, as it was also private in the book of Acts. Jesus then proceeds to outline what we commonly call today, events of the end time.
He then tells them that when these events (not the destruction of the Temple) begin to happen that it would not be long until the inhabitants of the earth would witness His coming in the clouds.
Mt 24:36 states " But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only".
In the book of Mark the words "neither the Son, but the Father".
The seminary professors and ministers who teach the secret rapture all say that even Jesus does not know when He is coming again. They completely leave out the time element in the life of Jesus when He made this statement.
And the sad part of this is they do not in any way connect the words of Christ recorded in Mt. 28:18 when Christ was about to ascend into the heavens- " And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH".
As my theology teacher once told me that if this statement by Christ himself didn't mean OMNISCIENCE (which means all knowing) then he didn't know what the word meant.
The simple, positive fact is that Jesus was not all knowing while He was here on earth, prior to His resurrection.
Why do not our teachers tell us these things? The main reason is that this would really mess up their secret rapture teaching. You cannot look at these scriptures above and come up with the statement that even Jesus doesn't know when He is coming again.
But they do it, and consistently do it almost every time they talk about the rapture.
This tells me that they are consistently wrong about some more of their teachings. Please notice carefully these words
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly EXALTED him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord". ( Philippians 2:5-11 )
" Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being MADE perfect, he BECAME the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him". (Heb.5:8,9)
The point that is being made here is that everything Christ did on this earth He did as a man and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
He was not omnipresent, omniscient, nor omnipotent. In the Gospel of John we read "For he whom God sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit BY MEASURE unto him".
Also in Colossians 2:9 "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead BODILY".
What He knew, what He did while here on earth He performed by the power of the Holy Ghost.
When He accomplished the task that was given to Him, and He rose from the dead all power was given unto Him. And this simply means that at the time of the discourse in Mt. 24 He did not know, nor was it revealed to Him, when He would return.
At the time of the question put to Him concerning the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, He said that it was not FOR THEM to know when that kingdom would be restored, for Jesus was not addressing any subject matter that is to be attached to the kingdom of God.
The disciples were only curious about the earthly kingdom established by King David.
As all of the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are connected in one way or another, it is impossible to study the subjects that might be at hand without bringing in all of the related words that deal with any given subject. One CANNOT correctly deal with the Bible, and the information it contains, without going through this process.
Dwight Pentecost says that it is almost impossible to make one's way through the maze of interpretations that we have to deal with. He further states that we cannot understand the teachings on such an important subject as the "KINGDOM " without the inductive method. John Hagee states in his books that the reason people fall into false doctrine is because they don't know the truth. He is correct in this and he also states that teachers who do not speak the truth to their people are guilty of lying. This simply means that the "whole" cannot be reached without the "part".
But then, again, Pentecost breaks his own rule as do all those who teach pre-tribulation rapture. Whether one wants to accept it or not, whenever the word scripture is found in the NT (about 50 times, and only once in the OT) it is always referring to what was written in the OT. The NT was not written until several years after Christ ascended into heaven. And it was not canonized (put together) for well over 200 years. So in order to understand the question that the disciples put to Jesus in regards to establishing again the kingdom to Israel we have to know what this word "kingdom", in this context has reference to.
When, in my studies, I come across something that interferes with my understanding of what I am studying, I automatically approach that which is hindering my understanding with a robust attitude of mind.
I cannot get past the interference until I rectify the problem. So the question is this: was the question asked of the disciples to Jesus about the kingdom being restored again related in any way to the Matthew 13 parables about the kingdom of heaven, or to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 that speak of the kingdom of heaven? The answer is no. This is another mistake that the pre-tribbers make when teaching. They seem to disregard any scripture that might disrupt their preset ideas about this rapture question.
There is no relationship to the question in Acts 1:6 to any of the kingdom passages in Mt.13 or to that reference in Mt. 5 to the kingdom of heaven.
We often hear today of ministers begging for money in order to build the kingdom of God.
God has only one kingdom and it is already in place in the heavens. Jesus taught the disciples to
pray "thy Kingdom come". And that God's will would be done on the earth as it is being done in heaven. This plainly say that God's will is not now being exercised on this planet earth. But if you will join their ranks and send them your money that you can become a part of their program to build God's kingdom.
It should be very plain that one cannot just study one subject in the Bible without knowing what the full picture is. We all see in part and know in part and our complete understanding will come about when we are in the kingdom.
God has only one kingdom.
All the universe, including our world are all in what can be designated as His kingdom.
Satan usurped God's authority when Adam sinned and anyone who claims that they can explain this to one's natural mind is just not being rational. God's will is being done in heaven but the world lieth in the wicked one. It is not that God is inoperative in this planet, as He is in control of the final outcome of His plan for the redemption of mankind.
Did not Satan say to our Lord that if He would bow down and worship him that he would give Christ all of the kingdoms of this world, and that it was in his power to do so because they had been delivered unto him? (Luke 4:6) Good Christian people are always saying that God is in charge and that nothing happens in our life that God does not allow.
God is in control of those events that will hinder the overall persuit of Him bringing back harmony to His kingdom.
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of our body". (Romans 8: 22,23)
The kingdom of God will not come back into harmony with its Creator until Satan is defeated and he is cast into the lake of fire and this does not happen until after the one thousand year reign of Christ.
Remember that Satan is loosed for a season after the millennium and he goes forth to deceive some of the nations again.
So this tells me that after this kingdom is over and all the ensuing promises given to Israel concerning them being the head of the nations will end in another rebellion against God. We are taught that the millennium reign of Christ, sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem, will be a perfect kingdom and that the curse will be lifted from the earth and nothing could be farther from the facts of scripture. Christ must reign until He has put down all of His enemies , other wise there would be no reason why He should rule with a rod of iron. So this idea and teaching that we are to help build the kingdom of God now, is not in keeping with what the Bible says about this endeavor on the part of men. One thing I do know for sure and that is, there a lot of these prophecy experts making a lot of money off of the selling of their books and tapes.
The prophet Daniel saw a stone that was hewn out of the side of a great mountain and this stone struck the great image that represented the four great kingdoms of this world.
These four kingdoms are the kingdoms established by evil men and all of them were built on violence and deceit. In the days of these kings will the God of heaven set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. It is stated that "of the increase of His government there shall be no end" and the time key to this prophecy is to be found in Revelation 19.
After the millennium, where Christ will reign over the kingdoms of this world, sitting on the throne of His father David. This is the earthly kingdom promised to Israel, and this is in direct connection to the question put to Jesus at His ascension and will be the answer to the prayer "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven " .
The earthly reign of Christ from Jerusalem with Israel being the HEAD of the nations WILL NOT be a perfect time where there will be no sinful people. We are taught that the curse is lifted from the earth, at this time, and that only righteous people enter this time.
But this is not upheld by scripture. If one cannot tell the story correctly, one should not tell the story. Not knowing the story is one thing but not knowing and telling the story is not to be acceptable.
All of these things that are mentioned in this paper are intertwined and cannot be discussed separately. It would take more than one large volume, for me, to go through all of these books on these subjects and point out where the explanations of these "rapturist" and "dispensationalist" teachers do not agree with the scriptures.
Revelation 11: 15 -18 gives the absolute time frame in which the "kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of HIS CHRIST.
"And the nations were angry, and thy WRATH is come, AND the TIME OF THE DEAD, THAT THEY SHOULD BE JUDGED, AND THAT THOU SHOULDEST GIVE REWARD UNTO THY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, AND TO THE SAINTS, AND TO THEM THAT FEAR THY NAME, small and great, and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth" ,(verse 18)
and this coincides with Mt.13:49,50.
"So shall it be at the end of the world: and the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth".
No one is cast into the lake of fire (except the beast and false prophet) until after the millennium, the great white throne judgment. There is no place in the Bible for more than one judgment seat. There is more than one judgment in the Bible, but these judgments are never to be considered as the judgment seat of Christ. This word must be used in its context in order to know what is being judged.
The Greek word is "krisis" which simply means "decision".
Psalms 89 says "let the hills be joyful together before the Lord: for He cometh to judge the world with righteousness and equity".
Joel 3:12 tells us " Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge the heathen round about".
We read in Acts 17:31 "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He shall judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained".
So the passages in Psalms and in Acts speak of the final judgment, whereas Joel speaks of a judgment in a certain valley near Jerusalem.
Every day of our lives we all reach decisions, a judgment. The word itself does not carry with it the connotation or implication of being good or bad.
In Matthew 5:21 Jesus said "that whoever kills shall be in DANGER of the judgment". Which really means that he who kills will be in danger of the decision made against him at this time of judgment.
Every one of us, along with the angels, must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive
the krisis-judgment-decision-reward handed down by the Son.(John 5:22).
Revelation 17 outlines the judgment of the great whore, which is the polluted religious system which will reach its apex during the time of trouble in the last days. One of the seven angels said to John in Chpt.17:1 "Come hither; I will show you the judgment of the great whore that sitteth on many waters".
So John, who according to the pre-tribbers stands as a representative of the raptured church is suddenly brought back to the earth into the wilderness of some undesignated location Now unless there is a wilderness section of the heavens, I would assume that this place is somewhere on this earth. John was on the island of Patmos when he first received the message he was to deliver to the seven churches. Rev. 1:10 John said that he was in the Spirit (same words used in 4:2) and this going back and forth from earth to heaven and then back to earth again would seem to me a good reason to discount John from being a representative of the raptured church. John is constantly being moved about and shown different views from different locations of the contents of the book of Revelation. In 18:1 John witnesses an angel that comes down from heaven declaring the destruction of Babylon. In 11:1 he is told to rise and measure the temple of God and them that worship therein.
But he was told not to measure the court of the Gentiles and that the holy city would be trodden down by these Gentiles for 42 months (3 ½ years).
John sees many different things from more than one place. So it is not a valid statement to say that John is representative of the raptured church. Paul had a similar experience recorded in 2nd Cor.12 where he states that he was caught up into the third heaven and heard things that he couldn't utter. But he didn't know for sure whether he was in his body or not. Paul was representative of whom? Enoch was translated into heaven bodily as was Elijah. Whom do they represent? The two witnesses that are killed during the tribulation period in Rev. 11:12 and are caught up to heaven represent whom? One cannot isolate scriptures and make doctrinal statements according to one's particular belief. It matters not what I think, but only what the Bible says.
In Rev 17. 5 the name of "Mystery Babylon" is given to this religious whore. The ten kings of the Anti-Christ system that make up the satanic government of this time will turn on this ecumenical religious system and destroy it. This has to be done in order for Satan to set himself up ( in the Jerusalem temple that is to be built) as God. He demands that he alone is to be worshiped as the god of the world.
"And the ten horns (verse 10 states that they are kings) which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire". (Rev. 17:16)
So this judgment (sent by God) will be carried out on this Mystery Babylon religious system, via the hands of these 10 kings.
It must be pointed out here again, that this wrath of God being poured out on this whore is a temporary time of wrath which comes to an end after her destruction takes place. It is not the final wrath that I have
outlined above in this paper. "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil HIS WILL, , and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, UNTIL the words of God shall be fulfilled". (Rev. 17:18) So we see here that
there will be more of the wrath of God poured out after the wrath of God falls on the whore, and this wrath will also have an end.
So the question must be asked and it must be answered according to the scripture. (Of course everyone makes this statement, myself included)
It is not what man may say about this but the word of God only. This whore is riding, and supported by, the beast (the political system) that will, after 3 and 1/2½ years of the 7 years, destroy her.
At the very beginning, before the Anti-Christ is revealed as the Anti-Christ, the commercial and political system will give credence and power to this religious harlot, and after the war described in Ezk. 38 takes place and the Anti-Christ
is accepted as a world ruler we will see the whorish system of the world religion take full shape. Midway into the seven year covenant this world ruler, this political system, will turn on this religious whore and destroy her and set himself up as God and will cause the world to worship him.(whose names are not written in the book of life)
Now these words, "whose names are not written in the book of life" (Rev. 13:8) should give pre-tribbers cause to pause and consider where these people are located, as should Rev.13:7. Who are these people whose names are written in the book of life and where and who are the saints that are to be overcome by this anti-Christ?
These questions are never approached by the pre-tribbers. They just go around these scriptures or ignore them completely.
In Matthew 24 Jesus speaks of a time that is coming upon the whole world called
"the BEGINNING of sorrows" This is a time of trouble for the entire world and this time begins BEFORE the tribulation period ever starts. But when this extended time of sorrows begins as described by Jesus, ( and we cannot know the exact time of this beginning as it surely appears to be an extend time) this time of sorrows will continue on into the tribulation period as it will also be a time of sorrows even though it is now given the name of being tribulation. Again, these thoughts are not considered by those who teach a pre-trib rapture. As the part cannot be taken as the whole, neither can the whole be taken without the part and they leave out a lot of parts.
Another part they leave out of their whole is this question of the resurrections. How many resurrections are there and what do they draw their conclusions on? Pay attention to two words that people get mixed
up when this subject comes up, "translated"-"resurrection".
1st Corinthians 15 is known as the resurrection chpt. in the bible. Contained within this chpt..is the information concerning the "resurrection from the dead" and also a "translation of live persons" without being resurrected from the dead. Verse 42 speaks of the body that is sown in corruption (subject to eath) but it (the dead body) is raised in incorruption. Involved in this transition that takes place at this resurrection of the dead body there is a "translation" that is involved here which can be designated as a "transformation" which takes place in an instant of time. In the "twinkling of an eye". I know that there are some bible scholars will try and tell you how fast this might be and it is usually described as about one millionth of a second. Of course I cannot figure out how they can measure this twinkling. At the second resurrection (and there are only two, according to the scripture) every human, from Adam till the end of this present age, will be either resurrected from the dead, or, will have been resurrected at the first resurrection and we who will be alive at this first great event will be translated in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye to meet Christ in the air. Those who are the dead in Christ will be resurrected, those of us who are alive will be translated with out having to die first.
This is the revealed mystery that Paul is writing about in 1st.Cor. 15:51.
We are told that only righteous people will go into the millennium (the 1000 year reign of Christ on this earth) but this is contrary to the written Word. This teaching is simply not true. This is not even a fact-fiction--fantasy-or fable-it is an untruth. It is a distortion of one's imagination and it is taught in order to uphold this teaching on this secret rapture. Isaiah 65:20 reputes this teaching..
" There shall be no more an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for a CHILD shall die an hundred years old; BUT the SINNER being an hundred years old shall be accursed."
Why do these plain words need to be explained by some scholar, or the better question is why do secret rapture scholars just overlook this verse of scripture? During this 1000 years of peace on this earth, the longevity of life will be extended and
" There shall yet be old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand FOR EVERY AGE." (Zech.8:4)
In other words we will not know the age of men by looking at them so they will carry some kind of a staff (or cane) to depict their age. If the words we read would be taken at face value that are so clear as to their meaning, we wouldn't have so many problems understanding the Bible.
The passage in Isaiah above says that babies will no longer die at birth during this 1000 years. A person that dies after reaching the age of 100 years old will be considered a child. When a person reaches this age of 100 yrs. and has not accepted Christ (as one does now) they will be considered a sinner and that person will be accursed. It doesn't say that all of the sinners will die at this age but rather that his "grace"
period is over. Many of these rejecters will live until the 1000 year reign is over and they will be those that Satan gathers together for his final assault against God. This is recorded in Rev. 20 and one should not have to speculate as to where Satan musters this great army. They will be destroyed by God and this last rebellion will be finished. THEN the second resurrection takes place and we will ALL stand before the judgment eat of Christ to receive our eternal reward. The pre-tribbers say that there are more than two resurrections and thereby nullifying and making void the word of God and causing it to have no effect.
Revelation 20:5 states that those who are part of the resurrection that takes place after the seven year tribulation period ARE the "FIRST RESURRECTION. Why did John call this the "first resurrection"?
If there is a resurrection of the dead at the pre-tribulation "rapture" then why is this one called the first?
The pre-tribbers also have a explanation that fits their rapture teaching and they describe this pre-trib. phenomenon as the "FIRST PHASE" of the first resurrection that takes place at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ. This is an idea and thought that permeates the teaching of the rapture.
Why should we allow these kinds of interjected and unscriptural teachings that cannot be found in the Bible? Although these teachers do emphasize that they believe that there is only ONE second coming of Christ, their pre-tribulation rapture causes them to chop up and fragment their teaching on this second coming. This fragmentation , (by them) distorts the chain of events that take place and it chops up and spreads throughout their other teachings on end time events.
If the rapture is an event that is separate from His second coming (a phase) then how can each "phase" be described as the second coming?
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