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Error of ‘any moment’ Rapture Theory

From a chapter of my unpublished: The End of the World and the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ:

i do not pretend to be a Samuel Tregelles, or a scholar worthy to be renowned; i was only compelled by the Word and Spirit of God to ‘search the Scriptures’ to see ‘whether …things were so (Acts 17:11);’ and at various points, i was so greatly moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), that i had to speak, lest i stand before my Creator and be ashamed.  Others have written better rebuttals against the Pretribulation Rapture theory, but through this work i have sought only to bring forth truth and to sound a warning of the coming of the greatest peril ever to be brought upon mankind.  i speak little of the Millennial Kingdom in this work because: first, i was compelled to bring forth the truth of His coming and a warning concerning the tribulation to come; and second, when our Lord Jesus Christ returns, He will teach us all things and provide all things – there will be no need of commentaries or prophets – the Word of God will dwell with us.

Now, according to The Christian Post, who proclaim to be the ‘World’s #1 Christian Portal,’ “…Based on a telephone poll of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 12-14, 2006; one in four Americans anticipate(d) the second coming of Christ in 2007.”  This fact and the preceding chapters have displayed that the masses are greatly influenced by the few that control the majority of mass media.  Moreover, nearly all of the 6.8 billion ‘inhabitants of the earth (are) made drunk with the wine of the great harlot’s fornication (Rev. 17:1-2);’ and in every nation; the vast majority of all leaders and all the presidents and ‘kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies (Rev. 18:3).’  We are in the ‘last days’ and the coming of the Lord shall be soon, but now His Spirit still is saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues; for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities… Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death …for strong is the Lord God who judges her… And in one hour so great riches (will) come to nought… (Rev. 18).   Now, tell me dear Christian, if God can ‘let the Earth appear,’ with the mountains, grass, seas and trees all in one day; can He not destroy it all in one day?

Yet now, so few are prepared to meet the Maker for their judgment (Heb.9:27), or the tribulation to come (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 7:25; 12:1; Mark 13:19; Rev. 6:9, 11; 7:14; 12:11, 17).  Some, due to the ‘riches and pleasures of life (Luke 8:14), others for ‘cares’ or sin, and others ‘when tribulation or persecution arises’ shall ‘stumble (Matt.13:21),’ and a great many shall stumble in that time of trouble do to the Pretribulation Rapture theory.

We should not be prepared to bow at the judgment because our Lord could return ‘any moment;’ but, first, we should desire to do so in a state of righteousness and love with the yearning to further serve our God; and then, secondly, because we at ‘any moment’ could die and await the judgment.

Now, after about 4,000 hours, i pray that i can address the error of the ‘any moment’ Pretribulation Rapture theory, and display the truth.  This is not a complete address, for much is said in other chapters, and chapter 11 shall offer hundreds of scriptures to search through.  Please understand this relatively new (since 1800’s) theory teeters upon a fragile foundation of unsubstantial substance: i.e. – an ‘any moment’ ‘secret’ rapture of the ‘elect’ followed by a third coming of Christ; all of which distorts and dismisses hundreds of verses to the contrary.  Yes, the Lord is ‘coming quickly (Rev. 22:20), yes, there will be ‘the end of the world (Matt. 24:3),’ or this age is we know it; but ‘all’ the ‘things’ which Christ and His holy prophets foretold ‘must come to pass (Matt. 24:6):’ thus, i can say with confidence that the Lord is not returning this year or at least for several years.  However, i can not predict whether world war and famine and ‘the beginning of sorrows’ shall come this year or next.  The Temple in Jerusalem will soon be rebuilt, and great tribulation is upon the horizon – much of which is displayed in chapter 12, Signs of the Times.

Those from Darby to the Doctors of the Pre-Trib Research Center that have taught the Pretribulation Rapture doctrine, also teach an ‘any moment’ return of the Lord.  Before arguing against this error, i shall in fairness allow Mr. Thomas Ice, Vice Chairman of the Pre-Trib Research Center to make their case in the form of his article, Imminency and the Any-Moment Rapture, from the Pre-Trib Research Center ‘Article Archive,’ still posted at pre-trib.org as of February 2009:

We believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could come in the clouds at any-moment and take His church to be with Him to His Father’s house (John14:1-3). What a great hope, that while you are reading this article, our Lord could return and rapture His church. We have come to call this any-moment hope of the rapture an imminent event.  …Use of the term ‘imminency’ entered the lexicon of American Evangelicalism around the end of the last century in contrast to the dominate, but waning, postmillennialism which taught that Christ’s coming was not imminent.  Postmillennialism held that Christ’s return must first await the Christianization of the world by the Church.  By the 1930s, it was common to pack into one theological expression -imminency- all of the many New Testament ways in which Christ’s coming for His Church is said to be possible at any-moment.  Thus, imminency and the any-moment return of Christ became synonyms for the pretribulational rapture of the church.  …What is the biblical definition of imminency? Four important elements contribute to a pretribulational understanding of imminency.

‘First, imminency means that the rapture could take place at any moment. While other events may take place before the rapture, no event must precede it. If prior events are required before the rapture, then the rapture could not be described as imminent. Thus, if any event were required to occur before the rapture, then the concept of imminency would be destroyed.  Second, since the rapture is imminent and could happen at any moment, then it follows that one must be prepared for it to occur at any time, without sign or warning.  Third, imminency eliminates any attempt at date setting.  Date setting is impossible since the rapture is sign-less and if imminency is really true, the moment a date was fixed then Christ could not come at any moment, destroying imminency.  Fourth, Renold Showers says, ‘A person cannot legitimately say that an imminent event will happen soon. The term ‘soon’ implies that an event must take place ‘within a short time…’  By contrast, an imminent event may take place within a short time, but it does not have to do so in order to be imminent.  As I hope you can see by now, ‘imminent’ is not equal to ‘soon.’  A. T. Pierson has noted that, ‘Imminence is the combination of two conditions, viz.,: certainty and uncertainty.  By an imminent event we mean one which is certain to occur at some time, uncertain at what time.’  The fact that Christ could return, but may not soon, at any moment, yet without the necessity of signs preceding His return, requires the kind of imminence taught by pretribulationism.

‘What New Testament passages teach this truth? Those verses stating that Christ could return at any moment, without warning and those instructing believers to wait and look for the Lord’s coming teach the doctrine of imminence. Note the following New Testament passages: 1 Cor. 1:7 – ‘awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ • 1 Cor. 16:22 – ‘Maranatha.’   Phil. 3:20 – ‘For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;’   • Phil. 4:5 – ‘The Lord is near.’  1Thes. 1:10 – ‘to wait for His Son from heaven.’ • 1 Thes. 4:15-18 – ‘…we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of {the} archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord…’  • 1 Thes. 5:6 – ‘so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.’  • 1 Tim. 6:14 – ‘that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ • Titus 2:13 – ‘looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;’ • Heb. 9:28 – ‘so Christ… shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.’             • James 5:7-9 – ‘Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord …for the coming of the Lord is at hand… behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.’ • 1 Peter 1:13 – ‘fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ • Jude 21 – ‘waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.’   • Rev. 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20 – ‘I am coming quickly!’ • Rev. 22:17,20 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ …He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

‘It is significant that all of the above passages relate to the rapture and speak of the Lord’s coming as something that could occur at any-moment, that it is imminent.  This is why believers are waiting for a person-Jesus Christ – not just an event or series of events such as those related to the tribulation leading up to Christ’s second advent in which He returns to the earth and remains for His millennial reign.  Contemplation of the above passages indicate that Christ may come at any moment so that the rapture is actually imminent. Only pretribulationism can give a full, literal meaning to such an any-moment event.  Other rapture views must redefine imminence more loosely than the New Testament would allow.  Dr. Walvoord declares, “The exhortation to look for ‘the glorious appearing’ of Christ to His own (Titus 2:13) loses its significance if the Tribulation must intervene first.  Believers in that case should look for signs.”3 If the pretribulational view of imminence is not accepted, then it would make sense to look for signs related to events of the tribulation (i.e., the anti-Christ, the two witnesses, etc.) and not for Christ Himself.  But the New Testament, as demonstrated above, uniformly instructs the church to look for the coming of Christ, while tribulation saints are told to look for signs.

‘The New Testament exhortation to be comforted by the Lord’s coming (John 14:1; 1Thes.4:18) would no longer have meaning if believers first had to pass through any part of the tribulation.  Instead, comfort would have to await passage through the events of the tribulation.     No, the church has been given a ‘Blessed Hope,’ in part, because our Lord’s return is truly imminent.  The early church had a special greeting for one another, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 16:22, which was ‘Maranatha!’  Maranatha consists of three Aramaic words: ‘Mar’ (‘Lord’), ‘ana’ (‘our’), and ‘tha’ (‘come’), meaning ‘our Lord, come.’  As with other New Testament passages, Maranatha only makes sense if an any-moment or imminent coming is understood.  Such an understanding supports the pretribulationism.   No wonder these ancient Christians coined such a unique greeting which reflects an eager expectation of the Blessed Hope as a very real presence in their everyday lives providing a motivation for godly living, evangelism, and world wide evangelism. The life of the church today could only be improved if “Maranatha” were to return as a sincere greeting on the lips of an expectant people. Maranatha!

‘Endnotes: 1 Renald Showers, Maranatha Our Lord, Come! A Definitive Study of the Rapture of the Church (1995).   2 Arthur T. Pierson, Our Lord’s Second Coming as a Motive to World-Wide Evangelism … 3 John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question: Revised and Enlarged Edition (…1979).’

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Brothers and sisters in Christ, what matters, are not my arguments or their opinions, but only the truth according to the word of God; for the Lord gives ‘knowledge,’ ‘wisdom, and spiritual understanding (Col.1:9; Eph.1:17; Isa.11:2; James 1:5)’ through ‘the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father (John 15:26);’ ‘He will teach you all things (John 14:26).’  So ‘come now, and let us reason together (Isa.1:18),’ lest we ‘drift away (Heb. 2:1)’ and ‘lean …on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5),’ or the ‘philosophies or traditions of men… and not after Christ (Col. 2:8),’ and His ‘Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise… given by inspiration of God, and profitable from doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17).’  And it is truly a ‘good work’ to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

  1. The fact that a Christian cries out, ‘Maranatha!’ is not controlled by a doctrine surrounding the tribulation, but by a ‘heart’ after God.  It was no different for Abraham, than it is for the Christian today; Abraham, even before the coming of Christ, was ‘waiting for the city (Heb.11:8,10)’ ‘New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).’  And though he knew the Messiah had to come first as the seed of the women (Gen. 3:15); he had learned and passed down from his great (x8) grandfather – Enoch, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all… (Jude 14, 15).’  And, Abraham knew judgment – for he saw the testimony ofSodom andGomorrah; yet, knowing that Enoch’s words were true, he still would say ‘Come, Lord.’

Likewise, did David’s heart not long for the Lord when he sang, ‘…Rejoice before the Lord; for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth… with righteousness and the peoples with His truth (Psa. 96:12, 13)?’  And behold, Job still desired and waited for the Lord, saying, ‘…I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth, and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25, 26)?’  And Daniel did not fail in his ‘waiting anxiously’ for the Lord and ‘eternal life,’ even when he was told, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end (Dan. 12:9).’  And Paul said, ‘Maranatha…’ after he knew from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that tribulation would come first, even that he would ‘bear Jesus’ name before …kings (Acts 9:15);’ and would be ‘bound’ and taken to Jerusalem.  Paul did not act ‘cowardly (Rev. 21:8),’ but said, ‘I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem… (Acts 21:11, 13).’  And knowing he had to ‘also bear witness at Rome (Acts 23:11), Paul remained comforted while facing ‘tribulation, distress, persecution and …death (Rom. 8:35, 38)’ – desiring the blessed hope of eternal life through Christ.    In the same manner, Peter, knowing he would die for the Lord (John 21:18, 19) said, ‘…the end of all things is at hand (1 Peter 4:7);’ yet, ‘…we, according to His promise, look for the new heavens and new earth…’ even ‘hastening the coming of the day of God (2 Peter 3:12, 13).’

And John, 1,900+ years ago, hearing ‘the time is at hand (Rev. 22:10),’ and knowing when the Lord returns, the ‘unjust’ would receive ‘the wrath of God,’ ‘judgment,’ and ‘the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29; Rev. 14:19; 18:8; 20:11-15; etc.),’ still joined the ‘bride’ saying, ‘even so, come, Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:20)!’  And we who are faithful do not ‘fear them who kill the body (Matt. 10:28),’ but choose to ‘not love our lives (Rev.12:11),’ in the flesh, more than the eternal life to come; thus, we are ‘persuaded …death …shall not separate us from …God (Rom.8:38),’ but afterwards forever unite us with Him.  Looking for and eagerly waiting in itself either supports a pre- or post- tribulation rapture view – it only shows true faith in a returning Savior.

  1. And more over, Ice’s argument is foolish again, because regardless of a pre-, mid, or post-tribulation view, the faithful believer knows the Lord said, ‘surely, I come quickly (Rev. 22:20);’ thus – He shall do so – whether ‘one day with the Lord is a thousand’ years to us (2 Peter 3:8) or 2 days is 2,000 years unto the Lord, ‘the Lord is not slack concerning His promise (2 Peter 3:9).’  As to Ice’s distinction of ‘soon,’ ‘imminent,’ and ‘any moment;’ ‘soon’ applies to Christ’s coming, ‘imminent’ does if used as ‘projecting forward;’ but not if meaning ‘any moment.’  First, it has been nearly 2,000 years since Christ said He was coming ‘quickly,’ or ‘soon;’ thus, to man it is not ‘within a short time’ as Ice stated.  Secondly, the advent is quickly coming to the Lord, and yes imminent, as in soon approaching or near, but certainly never in the Scripture as ‘any moment.’  Nevertheless, for Ice or any Pre-Triber to say that those who believe in a post-tribulation or pre-wrath rapture do not eagerly wait and watch for the soon return of the Lord is simply ignorant.  Yet, what is even more ignorant is to ignore the fact that an ‘ANY MOMENT’ return IS NOT KNOWN TO BE TAUGHT BY ANY MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST BEFORE DARBY (1830’s).

And, i offer the words of one of their own teachers, John Sproule, In Defense of Pretribulationism (1980), who stated, “…one of the recognized deans of pretribulation eschatology refers to imminency as the heart of pretribulationism.  …Pretribulationism can ill afford to rest on the shaky foundation of traditionalism and eisegetical (interpretation bias) statements.  If its ‘heart’ is a debatable and inductively determined doctrine of imminency, then, an exegetical ‘heart transplant may be in order’.”   The return to Scriptural truth is what is in order!

III.          And Ice, the Vice Chairman of the Pre-Trib Research Center (recall LaHaye of the best-seller Left Behind series is the Chairman of the PTRC) continues to expose his lack of knowledge and their weak theory by saying, ‘the New Testament instructs the church to look for the coming of Christ, while tribulation saints are told to look for signs.’  Understand, as he notes, if signs or ‘prior events are required before the rapture then the rapture could not be described as imminent’ or ‘any moment;’ upon which he and Darby staked their theologian careers.  That is if one single sign is required, then the ‘any moment’ rapture theory fails.  In the next chapter, i shall offer hundreds of verses and many signs and events which must occur before Christ’ return, so here i shall limit my answer.  Now, would not saints in the tribulation – i.e. tribulation saints – be in the midst of the very signs we, the church, are to look for – thus, Ice’s logic again fails.  And Paul, after writing to the Thessalonians about the coming of the Lord, the trump and the resurrection (1 Thes. 4:16, 17), again writes to clarify, ‘brethren’ about ‘the coming of our Lord, and our gathering unto Him’ – i.e. the resurrection – ‘be not soon shaken… let no man deceive you …that day shall not come, except …first… (2 Thes. 2).’

And Paul goes on to remind them of what Daniel, Christ and the apostles taught concerning the coming of the Antichrist first.  And this was taught by all the early church fathers as reveal by chapter one.  And Paul spoke of the ‘falling away first (2 Thes. 2:3)’ or departure from the faith by many, or as Christ said, ‘the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:12).’

And see, before ‘the fullness of the time was come, (when) God sent for His Son, made of a woman (Gal. 4:4),’ prophetic Scriptures had to take place or be ‘fulfilled;’ and likewise before His death and resurrection (Matt. 1:22; 2:1, 15, 17, 23; 3:3; 4:14; 5:18; 8:17; 11:10; 12:17-20; 13:13-14, 34-35; 21:4, 16; 26:56; 27:9, 12, 29-35; Mark 15:28, 34; Luke 1:69; 2:7; etc.; John 13:18; 15:25; 17:12; 18:32; 19:24, 28, 36-37; Acts 3:18).  Equally, before the Lord returns, the prophetic events He spoke of which must occur before He appears in the clouds will take place.  Knowing these things and specifically for this reason, after Christ prophesied to them concerning the destruction of the Temple,  ‘Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him… what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled (Mark 13:4)?’  And Matthew records it this way: ‘Tell us, when shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (Matt. 24:3)?’  And the Lord answers, speaking prophetically of events, or ‘signs,’ which shall occur before His return, saying, ‘these things must first come to pass, but the end is not yet… (Matt. 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9, 12),’ ‘for these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled (Luke21:22).’

  

You who believe in a pretribulation rapture, WHEN did it become an ‘ANY MOMENT’ event?  That is, after the Lord ascended into heaven, when could the rapture happen ‘any moment?’  i will not give you one example, which, as Dr. Ice admits is enough to ‘destroy’ ‘the concept of’ the ‘any moment’ pretribulation rapture theory; but i shall offer many events which had to, or must, occur before His return:

  1. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).’  The ‘promise (John 14:26; 15:26; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 8)’ of the ‘Holy Spirit’ came ‘the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1; Joel2:28; Jer. 31:31).’
  2.       ‘You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8; as Luke 24:47).’ ‘Go and make disciples of all nations …teaching them to observe all things… I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt.28:19, 20).’  ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel… and these signs will follow(Mark 16:15-17).’  ‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10).’  The righteous Judge (2Tim.4:8; Rev. 19:11) does not pass judgment until the witnesses have first spoken.
  3. Who shall be ‘endued with power’ to ‘be witnesses to all the nations?’  Peter says, ‘…The promise is to you and your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call (Acts2:39).’  Therefore, Peter did not believe that the Lord could come back ‘any moment,’ for he saw Christ’ return ‘afar off;’ at least pass their children’s generation.
  4. The Lord could not return until ‘not one stone’ of ‘the temple’ ‘be left upon another (Matt. 24:3; Mark 13:2; Luke 19:44: 21:6).’  This was fulfilled in 70 AD by Titus.
  5. And the Lord said, ‘I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves… they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you …you will be brought before …kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  …brother will deliver up brother to death and a father his child… But he who endures to the end will be saved. …When they persecute you… you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes… he who loves father or mother or …son or daughter …(or his life vs. 39) is not worthy of Me… (Matt. 10:16-39; 24:10, 13, 16; Mark 13:11-13; Luke 21:12-24).’  These verses were self explanatory to the early church; like Paul (2 Thes. 2:3), they knew that the Antichrist would ‘persecute the saints of the most High’ for 3 ½ years or 42 months  (Dan. 7:25; 12:2; Rev. 11:2; 12:14; 13:5).  Note: saints are` – ‘of Jesus (Rev. 17:6);’ many ‘beheaded for their witness to Jesus… (Rev. 20:4).’
  6. And Jesus could not return until His words to Peter were fulfilled: ‘Simon, son of Jonah… most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish… signifying by what death he would glorify God…  Follow Me… (John 21:16-19).’
  7.       And Jesus could not return until those things showed to Paul were fulfilled:  “Then the Lord said, ‘Arise and go into the city and you will be told what you must do… (Acts 9:6).’  “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night …a man of Macedonia …prayed him, saying, ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us.’  And …(we) ‘assuredly gathered that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them (Acts 16:9, 10).’  “Then the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Be not afraid, but speak… for I am with thee, and no man shall …hurt thee… (Acts 18:9, 10)’.”  ‘I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem         (Acts 20:22; prophesied by Agabus – Acts 21:11).’   “And …the Lord …said, ‘…Paul …you have testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must you bear witness also at Rome… (Acts 23:11).”  ‘The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly (Rom.16:20; not ‘any moment’).’
  8. I counsel you to …anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou may see (Rev. 3:18).’  Christ would not have counseled many to do what they could not have done; therefore, at the time the Revelation was given by the Lord, He could not have come at ‘any moment’ until His prophecies reaches the attended hearers (Rev. 1:3), and until all that must be fulfilled before His return is fulfilled.  Even until ‘all’ who ‘the Father… hath given’ Christ, repent, call on Christ Jesus and receive salvation that they ‘should be raised up …the last day (John6:39).’
  9. We are bound to thank God always …for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure…  God …(will give you) rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and …who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…  When He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe in that day… Brethren… be not soon shaken in mind… neither by spirit, nor by word… as that the day of Christ is at handLet 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… so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God… (2Thes. 1:3 – 2:4).”
  10. See the next chapter of how many prophets and apostles said that ‘clouds’ and ‘darkness’ would precede and accompany the Lord’s return; as well as His angels (Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28; Isa. 13:9-11; Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14; Zech. 12:10; Acts 2:20; Rev. 1:7,8; 6:12-17; 14:14).  Nothing silent or secret about the day of the Lord’s coming.  In the same manner, in the next chapter, see how many spoke of ‘the last trump;’ ‘shout;’ and ‘voice of the archangel.’

In the next chapter, hundreds of verses are written specifically about events which ‘must come to pass’ before the return of the Lord.  Come let us reason together by the Spirit of the Lord, considering the hundreds of verses concerning the coming of the Lord, is it not significant that not one verse or series of scriptures speak of the Lord coming to get the Church, then pausing for up to seven years, then returning again to get the rest of the saints and bring judgment.

Concerning Ice saying, ‘imminency eliminates any attempt at date setting.  Date setting is impossible since the rapture is sign-less…;’ it is astounding to me how many pre-trib preachers and teachers say nearly every year… ‘I thank this will be the year of the Lord’s coming.’  Perhaps it is because they ‘can discern the face of the sky, but can not discern the signs of the times (Matt. 16:3)?’  Most of them know lawlessness and apostasy is increasing, but they do not know how to watch for the Antichrist and the building of theTemple inJerusalem.

  1. Addressing ‘the elect’ or ‘saints.’  Daniel said the Antichrist shall ‘persecute the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:25);’ Christ said, ‘then shall be great tribulation… except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened… for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall show great signs… if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect… immediately after the tribulation …shall appear …the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather together His elect … (Matt. 24:21-31; Mark 13:20-27);’ John said, ‘…Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and …that Thy …reward Thy servants, the prophets, and the saints… (Rev. 11:18);’ And it was ‘given unto him… 42 months,’ – the blasphemous horn, the beast, the antichrist – ‘it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them… and nations …and caused that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Rev.13:5,7,15);’ ‘The third angel said, ‘If any man worship the beast and …receive his mark… the same shall drink of the …wrath of God;’ …Here is the patience of the saints… that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus… Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord… (Rev. 14:9-13);’ ‘…true are Thy ways, King of the saints… (Rev. 15:3);’ ‘…they have shed the blood of saints… (Rev. 16:6);’ ‘…the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (Rev. 17:6);’ ‘…of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth (Rev.18:24);’ ‘…the marriage of the Lamb is come and His bride has made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints… Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb… (Rev. 19:7-9).’

Thomas Ice in his article Part 14: An Interpretation of Matthew 24 -25, calls ‘the elect …in verses 22, 24, 31’ of Matthew 24, ‘the Jewish remnant.’  Likewise concerning the ‘elect’ in these verses, Jimmy Swaggart states in his commentary: this ‘refers totally to Israel, and not the Church as some teach.  Jesus is answering a Jewish question asked by His Disciples (Matt. 24:3).’  Are we supposed to believe that asking Christ ‘when are You coming back and when is the end of the world’ is a Jewish question.  And keeping with their dispensational doctrine, Swaggart in his commentary on Daniel says, ‘saints …refers to the Jews…’.  And Swaggart, like LaHaye and Ice, followed Finis Dake’s Reference Bible, which states, the ‘elect’ are the ‘Jews, not the church because: Jesus is answering a Jewish question… Matt. 24:3… the church will be raptured before…’  Note: in 2002, the heirs of Finis J. Dake sued Swaggart for falling to gain their permission before publishing a significant amount of Dake’s work – Kenneth Hagin was early accused of the same.  Nevertheless, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (1963), a laborious work of ‘500,000 cross-references and 35,000 notes,’ has influenced millions of Christians.

Additionally, many other works, such as The Spirit Filled Life Bible (1991; general editor – Jack Hayford) with its ‘senior pastors,’ ‘founders,’ and ‘professors’ teach this same way – a way taught by Darby, Scofield, Torrey, Chafer, and all Doctors of the PreTrib Research Center, and all the professors and pastors that followed them.      Is asking about ‘the end of the world’ a Jewish question – considering that over 99% of the world’s population, including those who shall be in the great tribulation, are not Jews?  And these teachers say ‘the abomination of desolation (Dan.9:27; Matt.24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20; 2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:6, 15)’ spoken of by Daniel, Christ, Paul and John, ‘refer to the nation Israel (The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Walvoord & Zuck; 1985)’  Yet, you can see in the above scriptures, that it concerns ‘all tribes, and tongues and all nations (Rev. 13:7).’

Thank God some, such as Albert Barnes, teach Matt. 24:22 correctly.  Barnes (1884) states in his commentary on Matthew, ‘The elect here doubtless means Christians; see 1 Peter 1:2; Rom. 1:7; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thes. 1:4… The elect mean chosen…’  And note the 1649 Westminster Larger Catechism: ‘the union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace whereby they are spiritually …joined to Christ…’  Even when Chrysostom and some early church fathers say that Christ ‘discourse is to the Jews,’ he assumes in error that the Antichrist was Antiochus – before Christ – or some assume these verses relate to the days that the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by Titus.  However, Chrysostom and the early church fathers never remove ‘the Christians’ from ‘suffering such things’ until ‘after the tribulation of those days.’   And so Calvin teaches concerning Daniel saying ‘saints,’ ‘By saints he doubtless means sons of God, or his elect people, or the Church…’  Yet, Calvin, taught the ‘saints were subjected to cruel tortures… by Caesars …afflicted by the small horn…’ and thus that most of these events occurred; yet like other reformers, he also thought that the tribulation was occurring and the Antichrist would soon persecute the Church.  Concerning this ‘persecution of the saints,’ Jamison, Fausset and Brown (1880) remind us that they are ‘the spiritual Israel… gathered out of Jews and Gentiles… the Church is Jewish… ‘Grafted branches cut out of the olive tree… (Rom.9:24;11:24)’.”  And concerning the ‘elect’ in Matthew 24, Wesley teaches they are ‘the body of Christians.’

Now, Walvoord and Zuck admit that the ‘elect’ can represent Christians, however, their commentary states, ‘the elect of this Church Age will have already been raptured before the Tribulation…’  But the scriptures teach that ‘every saint in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:21)’ are ‘God’s elect (Rom. 8:27, 33),’ and that for the elect sake, the ‘great tribulation …shall be shortened (Matt. 24:21,22).’   See Rev. 6:9, 11; and 7:14.

And the Holy Scriptures teach us that ‘there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised… but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved …meekness and longsuffering (Col. 3:11, 12).’  For ‘he is a Jew, which is one inwardly… for the promise, that he should be the heir of the world (father of nations – Gen.17:5; 22:18), was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith… therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Rom.2:29; 4:13-16).’  And it is in this manner that Paul says, ‘they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (Gal. 3:7).’

The elect (chosen) of God are called righteous and holy; kodesh’ or ‘qadash;’ and ‘hagios;’ which as Brown, Driver, and Briggs’ Hebrew and English Lexicon states, can mean ‘saint, holy, holy ones, set apart, remnant, sacred, angels, divine.’  It is important to look at word and verses in proper context to the meaning and doctrines and words that surround them and are supported in other places.  Remember, ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established (Matt.18:16; Deut.19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1; 2 Tim. 2:2; Heb. 1:1; 12:1).’  Do not take any doctrine or commentary on that doctrine without the witness of another apostle or prophet; for all – every single one – of the major doctrines and prophecies of the apostles and prophets are back by more than one witness.

We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God (Acts14:22).’

Who shall separate us from the love of God?  Shall tribulation… (Rom.8:35).’

These are they which came out of great tribulation… (Rev. 7:14).’

 

  1. As to Revelation 4:1 being the point of rapture, as suggested by some commentaries, and many professors and ministers of the Pre-Trib Research Center, note that the words ‘come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this’ are spoken to John, and not to the Church, as some weak teachers twist.  Behold, the next verse: ‘…I was in the Spirit and behold a throne… One sat on the throne…’  Thus, John in the Spirit was taken ‘up,’ to the ‘throne’ room – not the ‘clouds’ – and saw the things in heaven and learned of what was to come in the future upon the earth and in heaven.  Note, this occurred to Isaiah in the same fashion, ‘…I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne… (Isa. 6:1-);’ and in similar manner to Paul when he was ‘caught up to the third heaven (2Cor.12:2).’ Revelation 4:1 is a picture of worship before the throne of God; it, nor any verse in Revelation chapter four, speaks of a shout, or trumpet, or clouds, or the Lord or angels gathering the Church.   This is another example of how some unstable teachers twist the scriptures (2 Pet.3:16); here, because the must rapture the Church before Revelation chapter six to save their theories.
  2. Who shall Christ send forth to gather every soul?  Is it a secret rapture or the Lord sending His angels?  The most detailed parable concerning the coming of the Lord is found in Matthew chapter 13; it is commonly called the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in His field; but while men slept, His enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.         But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.  So the servants came …and said, Sir …from where have these tares come? He said …an enemy has done this.  The servants said …Do You desire that we go and gather the tares up?  But He said, No, lest …you uproot also the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them …to burn them; but gather the wheat into My barn.  …After Jesus sent the multitude away… His disciples …asked, explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.  He answered… He that sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy …is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  …The Son of man shall send for His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend… So it shall be at the end of the world, the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just… and cast them into the …fire (Matt.13:26-30; 36-41, 49).”

When the Parable of the Wheat and Tares is displayed with Christ’ second longest recorded discourse, which occurred on the Mount of Olives, His prophetic illumination on ‘the end of the world’ and ‘the sign of His coming (Matt. 24:3),’ and paralleled with key verses concerning the same events, this sequence is the result:

Order of Events: Daniel Matt.13 Matt.24 Mark13 Thes. Rev. Other verses
1. Lawlessness / Falling v. 12, 38 2 T 2:3 1 Tim. 4:1-3
2. Beginning of sorrows v. 5 – 14 v. 6 – 6:2 – ? Luke 21:8-20
3. Antichrist 7:24-8:259:2711:31

12:1, 11

v. 15 v. 14 2 T 2:3- 6 – 14:13

7:14

13:5, 7

14:12, 13

20:4

Isa. 66:4
3.Templerebuilt v. 15 v. 14 2 T 2:4 Isa. 66:6
4. Great Tribulation v. 21- v. 9 – 24 Jer. 30:7
5. Darkness – Joel 2:2- v. 29 v. 24 Isa.13:10Amos5:18

Zeph. 1:15

Acts 1:9;2:20

6. Lord in clouds- Luke 21:27 v. 30 v. 26

14:62

1 T 4:17 1:7;14:14
7. Trumpet / Loud voice v. 31 1 T 4:16 14:15 1 Cor. 15:52
8. Lord sends angels v. 30 v. 31 v. 27 Joel 2:3-
9. Angels gather 12:2 v. 39-42 v. 31 14:14-19 John 5:29
10. Lord comes / wrath(Joel 2:9; 2Pet.3:10; Rev.14:7) 25:31- 2 T 2:8

(1 T 5:2)

16:1-

(16:15)

Isa. 66:15-

Zech. 14:4-

VII.    As to the argument that some pretribulation rapture supporters make concerning the verses: ‘…God did not appoint us to wrath… (1 Thes. 5:9),’ or the Lord saying, ‘…I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth (Rev. 3:10); these verses are at least valid arguments and hard verses for those ‘unskilled in the word (Heb. 13:6).’  i did not study these verses for some time, yet i knew that they did not changed the order of Christ’ prophetic words concerning the tribulation and resurrection.  Now, i thank God that i have been taught by godly Lutherans, Baptists, and Pentecostals, but more so, i thank the Lord that His word and Spirit that taught me to ‘test all things (1Thes. 5:21).’  In this manner, ‘a wise man will hear and increase learning and …attain wise counsel (Prov. 1:5).’ And where shall we attain the best counsel but from the Spirit of the Lord, which is the ‘spirit of wisdom, and understanding …counsel and knowledge… (Isa. 11:2):’ and also from the ‘Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation… and are profitable for doctrine and correction (2 Tim.3:15, 16).’  When it comes to the truth, we must put the word before all others, whether spouse, friend, pastor or professor.

Now, some say that these verses teach we will not go through the great tribulation.  First, be careful not to read these verses without the light of others, especially when the Lord gives us two or three witnesses.  Second, search out proper definitions of each word.  It is paradoxical and contradictory for dispensationalist to teach that the seven churches apply to different periods, but then say the six church, Philadelphia, applies to us, and perhaps the seventh, Laodicea, but not the second, Smyrna – ‘ye shall have tribulation ten days, be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev. 2:10).’  However, this approach is no more peculiar then when they say the first three chapters of Revelation and the first verse of the fourth chapter applies to the Church, but none of chapters 5 – 18.

These verses in Revelations ‘to the seven churches which are in Asia (Rev. 1:4)are profitable to us ‘who read and hear the words of this prophecy (Rev. 1:3) to John.     In them, the ‘Spirit’ of the Lord teaches true faith and endurance in the midst of false apostles, worldliness, temptations, imprisonment, and tribulations.  The verses teach us that not only will we have trials, but that the Lord is watching our ‘works’ and for those who do not ‘defile’ themselves in continual willful sin – Christ ‘will not blot out of the book of life, but will confess his name before His Father and the angels (Rev. 3:5; see Luke 12:8, 9; and Matt. 10:32, 33).’

Nevertheless, concerning Rev. 3:10, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown remind us that God will ‘keep’ us ‘from,’ that is, ‘so as to deliver thee out of, not to exempt from temptation.’  Matthew Henry says, “…patience in conformity to Christ …they must keep up to the faith, practice and worship prescribed in the gospel.  After a day of patience we must expect an hour of temptation… an hour of trial… ‘hold fast’.”  Barnes Notes states: “I will so keep you that you shall not sink under the trials which will prove a severe temptation to many.  This does not mean that they would be actually kept from calamity of all kinds, but that they would be kept from the temptation of apostasy in calamity.  He would give them grace to bear up under trials with a Christian spiritsuch that their salvation should not be endangered… Though others fall, you shall not… afflicted with others, yet …sustained.”  And have does this explanation bear up compared to Christ prayer: ‘…I pray not that thou should take them out of the world, but that that should keep them from the evil… (John 17:15).’

And note, Lotwas not raptured from Sodom, only delivered, but still close enough to danger and temptation that his own wife, who was next to him, suffered death from that judgment.  And Noah was neither remove from the temptations or the trials of the world around him; only after being a preacher of righteousness for years, was he delivered in the midst of the worst deluge ever.  And Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego), when tested in the midst of tribulation, did not worship the idol, but held their testimony on earth, saying: ‘Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up (Dan. 3:17, 18; note the conditions in Rev. 13:14-17; 14:9-14; 20:4).’  Then ask the Scriptures teach, ‘these men were bound in their coats… and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace… (Dan.3:21).’ After proving faithful unto seeming death in the midst of tribulation on earth, the sign of ‘the Son of God’ appeared (Dan. 3:25; – Matt. 24:29,30).  Let us remember Paul’s words: “…who shall separate us from the love of Christ?   Shall tribulation… persecution… or sword?  …neither death nor life… (Rom.8:38).’

VIII.   ‘…But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that that Day should overtake you as a thief.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  Bet let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him… (1 Thes. 5:4-10).’

As there are different degrees of sin, there are different meanings of ‘wrath.’  Many have heard that ‘all sins are the same to God,’ but that is not exactly correct.  Though it is true that without repentance and forgiveness of sins, ‘the wages of sin are death (Rom. 6:23; see James 1:14, 15 for that process),’ there is ‘a sin which does not lead to death… and …sin leading to death (1 John 5:16; note 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19-21; Prov. 6:16).’  Moreover, the very name of God tells us that there is ‘iniquity and transgression and sin… (Exo. 34:7).’  And the Lord said through Moses, ‘Ye shall have one law for him that sins through ignorance… but the soul that sins presumptuously (willfully; see also Heb. 10:26) …shall be cut off from among his people, because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment… his iniquity shall be upon him (Num. 15:29-31).  And continued sin or iniquity brings about judgment of curses on earth (Deut. 28:15-), as well as the wrath of God (Heb.10:27).

Now, let us examine various meanings and contexts of the word ‘wrath.’  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance assigns in the Old Testament Hebrew the following numbers to ‘wrath:’ 639, 2197, 2534, 2740, 3707, 3708, 5678, 7107, 7110 and 7267.  And in the New Testament Greek: 2372 and 3709.  Thus, you see there are many ways in which the word is received: ‘strong or fierce anger; indignation… vengeance or punishment as the consequence of anger; fury.’  Brown-Driver-Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon lists Strong’s 639 as “…nostril, nose, face, anger…; 599 breathe, snort, angry…; 2197 …storming, raging, rage…; 2534 …heat: …fever, poison, venom …burning anger, rage: …to recompense His anger in fury…; 2740 …burning anger…; 3707 …vexed, angry: …indignant… to provoke Him to anger; 3708 …vexation, anger: …cause especially by worship of other gods, …anger against the enemy, provocation of …offering, grief…; 5678 …overflow, arrogance, fury…; 7107 …be wroth …wrathful; 7110 …splinter; 7267 …agitation, excitement: …turmoil, raging …rumbling of His voice, thunder; excitement of warhorse.’  Strong’s Greek, ‘2372 …from passion… fierceness, indignation, wrath…; 3709 …desire… violent passion; …punishment: anger, indignation, vengeance, and wrath.”

Examples: ‘The Lord rooted them out of their land in anger (639) and in wrath (2534) and in great indignation (7110) and cast them into another land as it is this day (Deut.29:28).’  ‘Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath (2534) brings the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment (Job 19:29).’  ‘But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time He turned His anger (639) away, and did not stir up all His wrath (2534) (Psa. 78:38).’  ‘Thou hast taken away all Thy wrath (5678), Thou hast turned Thyself from the fierceness (4480; 2740) of Thine anger (639).’  Thus, with wrath, there is an anger that stirs, an anger that increases, and an anger that is poured out.

‘Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath (5678) and fierce anger (2740), to lay the land desolate and He will destroy its sinners… I will punish the world for its evil… and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger… (Isa. 13:9-13); as in Jer. 10:10: ‘the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation (2195 – fury, rage, abhor; as Ezek. 7:12; Amos 1:11); or ‘God is jealous and …revenges… He will take vengeance (Nah. 1:2);’ it is the ‘day of wrath, day of trouble… (Zeph. 1:15).’

And the Lord said to ‘the Pharisees and Sadducees, ‘O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath (3709) to come (Matt. 3:7)?’  Christ was talking to a generation that would die about 2,000 years before the Day of the Lord and His wrath on earth; He was speaking not just of the earthly judgments, but of their eternal judgment.  Thus it is written, ‘he that believeth on the Son has everlasting life; and he that does not believe the Son shall not see life; but the wrath (3709) of God abides on him (John 3:36).’  The use of this word wrath by John is different than Luke wrote in the Acts of the Apostles, saying, ‘…when they heard …they were full of wrath (2372; Acts 19:28).’  John was speaking in the same manner as Paul, who said: “…we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth. …Do you think, O man …that you shall escape the judgment of God?  …after your hard …heart, you store up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds (quoting Psa. 62:12): to them who …continue in well-doing (as Gen. 4:7) …eternal life: but unto them that …do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul… for there is no respect of persons with God…in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ… (Rom. 2:2-11, 16).”  Also, compare the truth of this last sentence to Ecclesiastes’ last sentence: ‘For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil;’ and with this verse from Paul’s same letter to the Romans: ‘…we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God, so then every one of us shall give account of himself to God… (Rom. 14:10-12).’  Though some codex say ‘before the judgment seat of God,’ both are correct, for ‘unto us a son’ was given, Christ, ‘the mighty God (Isa. 9:6);’ and the Lord God said, ‘the Father …has committed all judgment unto the Son… (John 5:22).’  See this ‘wrath’ which John and Paul speak of in these verses does not relate to just any anger or fury, or to seven years or three and a half, but to that specific ‘day of wrath,’ a specific ‘day when God shall judge’ – when the Lord comes to judge the living and the dead (Apostles creed; and 1 Peter 4:5).

Now, as to Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, ‘…But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For you know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night… but …that day should not overtake you as a thief.  …Watch and be sober …putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ… (1 Thes. 5:1-9).’  This statement deals with that Day of Judgment and wrath; it is a final action and an eternal matter, not a matter of death by persecution or the great tribulation.  It is a matter of ‘the vials of wrath of God upon the earth (Rev. 16:1),’ and a matter of ‘the great winepress of the wrath of God’ and ‘the wrath of Almighty God (Rev. 15:19; 19:15).’  It is not a matter of tribulation, which does not kill the soul, but only can kill the body (Matt. 10:28).  And it is the simple gospel truth as to when that day is; ‘the coming of the Son of man… (is) immediately after the tribulation… (Matt. 24:27-29).’  As in the song ‘In Christ Alone’ – ‘as Jesus died, the wrath of God, was satisfied;’ – that is upon the righteous faithful.

And understand, before eternal salvation, we must all die and we must all appear before the judgment seat.  Now please read carefully: ‘It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation... (Heb. 9:27, 28).’  Thus, Christ came ‘once to bear the sins of many,’ and He shall ‘appear a second time’ ‘for salvation’ – ‘the resurrection of life (John 5:29)’ – to ‘all them that obey Him (Heb. 5:9),’ but to the wicked, He shall bring wrath and the ‘resurrection of damnation (John5:29).’

Though the Lord has not appointed us to the judgment of wrath, we will still have to go through the trials of life, including the great tribulation.  And this was the same for Noah, Abraham, Israeland the apostles.  Though the Lord Jesus shall appear ‘like a refiner’s fire (Mal. 3:2),’ and though ‘the day …shall burn as an oven …for all that do wickedly… (Mal. 4:1),’ whether we are ‘the dead in Christ,’ or whether ‘we are alive and remain (1 Thes. 4:17),’ we shall say like Micah, ‘I will wait for the God of my salvation (Micah 7:7),’ we shall say like Paul and John, ‘Even’ though with ‘a sharp sword …You shall strike the nations with …fierceness and wrath (Rev. 19:15)’ ‘Come, Lord Jesus… Amen (Rev. 22:20; as in ‘Maranatha’ – 1 Cor. 16:20);’ for the ‘abominations and the filthiness of …the earth (Rev. 17:4) are in Your ‘remembrance (Rev. 17:19),’ and in just You shall ‘judge and avenge (Rev. 6:10; see also Rev. 18:5-8).’

  1.     Whether addressing Reuben Torrey’s ‘propositions’ in his What the Bible Teaches (1898; Chapter 8, The Coming Again of Jesus Christ), or Charles Ryrie’s ‘systematic’ teachings in his Basic Theology (1986); or James Brookes’ ‘order of events’ in his Bible Reading on The Second Coming of Christ (1877), in which he teaches Darby’s pretribulation rapture view, the ‘propositions,’ ‘order of events,’ and assumptions, are the same.  Thus, i shall response to what Brookes calls seven ‘order of events connected with the close of the present age or dispensation.’

However, first a reminder from Ryrie’s Basic Theology: “John Nelson Darby (1800 – 1882) gave the greatest initial impetus to the systematizing of pretribulationism.  This is because he saw the church a special work of God, distinct from His program for Israel.  This, integrated into his premillennialism, led him to the position that the church would be raptured before the Tribulation period when God would again deal specially with Israel.  In the twentieth century the view has been expounded and defended through the Scofield Reference BibleThe Rapture Question by John F. Walvoord (1970), Things to Come by J. Dwight Pentecost (1958) and …What You Should Know about the Rapture by Charles C. Ryrie (1981).”  Concerning the ‘distinction’ between the Jews of Israel and the Christian church, tell me, was Paul a Jew under Israel’s dispensation, or a Christian under the Church Age?  Had Christ come during Paul’s day, would he been raptured or suffered tribulation with the Jews?  For Paul confesses ‘Are they Hebrews?  So am I.  Are they Israelites?  So am I.  Are they the seed of Abraham?  So am I.  Are they ministers of Christ?  I am more; in labors more… (2 Cor. 11:22, 23).’  What happen to the apostle’s doctrine: ‘…To the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God… (Rom. 2:10, 11);’ and ‘for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles… (1 Cor. 12:13).’  And where do dispensationalists assign Timothy; he was born of a Jew and a Gentile (Acts 16:1)?   And concerning God’s ‘program for Israel’ and the ‘Church,’ when the Lord ‘gathers all nations and tongues; and they come and see’ His ‘glory’ on the ‘holy mountain Jerusalem… as the children of Israel bring an offering (Isa. 66:18-22)’ shall not the Church also be among the saved Jews in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2)?

Now, as to the ‘order of events:’ Brookes states, ‘(1) Christ is coming personally to awake the bodies of the saints… and to change …His people …that blessed hope… He may be here before the passing hour ends…’  As to the first part, all bible believing Christians agree – our Lord is coming personally and visibly to awake the saints and to change His people.  As to the second part, it is foolishness.  i have given great details previously, but again, i quote the Lord: ‘These things must come to pass, but the end is not yet… for then shall be great tribulation… if any man shall say unto you, here is Christ, believe it not… (Matt. 24:6-23).’

And Christ warned: ‘…Many shall betray one another… The love of many shall grow cold, but he that shall endure to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  When you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then let them which are in Judea flee into the mountains… woe unto them that are with child… and pray that your flight be not in the winter… for then shall be great tribulation, such as not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.  Then if any man shall say… here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders …if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.  If they shall say… He is in the desert; go not… believe it not.  For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.  For where the carcasses are, there will the eagles be gathered together.  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened …and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man …coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect fro the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven… (earth – Mark 13:27)  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: so likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near… (Matt. 24:10-33).’  Behold how detailed an explanation, full of signs and warnings of deception, false teachers and prophets, and tribulation.  So likewise, Paul says, ‘…By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him… be not soon shaken… as that the day of Christ is at hand.  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… that he as God sits in the temple of God… whom the Lord shall consume …with the brightness of His coming (2 Thes. 2:1-8; as in Matt. 24; Matt. 13; Rev. 14; Dan. 7:13; 9:26; 11:31; 1211; Zech. 14; etc.).’  Thus, to say that the Lord could come this hour, without seeing any of these signs that our Lord told us to watch for and then ‘know that it is near,’ is simply ignorant teaching.

Tell me dear Christian brothers and sisters who still believe in this pretribulation rapture doctrine which is less than 2 centuries old, ‘who has bewitched you?’  Come on!  Christ is recorded by many witnesses teaching us in great detail, and after receiving tens of verses with such meticulousness, are we suppose to think that His witnesses, recording these things by the Holy Spirit, simply left out that their would be two more comings – one for a select elect which silently precedes the second – in which lightning and thunder and heavenly shouts occur?  Did Christ’ apostles forget anything in the other sermon on the Mount in which we Christians, not Jews, were taught to fast, pray, give, etc?  No, and neither did Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, or Paul.

And Brookes states: (2) In this coming the unbelieving world feels no interest and hence the shout of our descending Lord may not be heard by uncircumcised ears…’

This again is unsubstantiated, unbiblical and unintelligent.  Tell me, i implore you, let us reason together, are we suppose to believe that their ‘uncircumcised ears’ function differently than their uncircumcised eyes.  For the word of God no where says by even one witness that ‘they shall not hear Him,’ but it most certainly by two or three witnesses declares in the Old and New Testaments that ‘every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all peoples of the earth shall wail because     of Him… (Rev. 1:17; Zech. 12:10; Acts 1:11).’

Brookes: (3) ‘The Church of real believers having been caught away from the earth …Israelagain comes upon the scene…’

Where did Israelgo?  Has Israelnot been persecuted by Egypt, then almost destroyed in the wilderness at the hand of God, and again by the Babylonians, then the Persians, and again cut in half by the Romans – after Christ ascended – and again cut in half by the Germans?  What ignorant to say that ‘Israel…comes upon the scene.’  Brookes died before seeing the Holocaust; yet, i suppose in the midst of such tribulation, he would have been saying the rapture is upon us.  And as to Paul saying ‘caught away,’ there is no reference of this before the tribulation by even one witness.  Yet, some such as LaHaye and Ice, in their Charting the End Times (2001), sway weak ones by saying that Paul’s words to the Thessalonians translated in the King James as ‘falling away first (2 Thes. 2:3), were previously translated in the Old English as ‘departing first’ or ‘departynge first;’ quoting the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Cranmer, Breeches, Beza, and Geneva Bible.  First of all, they are speaking of the departure or falling away from the faith which Christ warned would occurred, and of which Paul wrote to Timothy saying, ‘in the last days some shall depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1).’  However, even if one believed LaHaye and Ice’s error, this would not change the fact that in the same sentence Paul said that the Antichrist, or son of perdition, must be revealed before the coming of the Lord.  Thus in the Geneva Bible: ‘Let no man deceiue you by any meanes: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing firit, and that that man of finne (sin) be difclofed (disclosed; revealed: 2 Thes. 2:3).’

Brookes: (4) ‘At the beginning of this closing period of seven years there will be a partial restoration of the Jews to their own land… when they will rebuild the temple, and enter into covenant with Antichrist, the head of the restored Roman empire…’

i am unsure what Brookes meant by ‘a partial restoration of the Jews,’ for i would think that Israelbecoming a nation in 1948 and Jews returning from Russiaand many nations from around the world would be a partial restoration.  Yet, this has occurred many years before ‘the beginning’ of the ‘seven year’ tribulation.  However, Brookes is correct in teaching Daniel’s words, ‘…he shall confirm the covenant with many (not just Israel) for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease… (Dan. 9:27).’  As to when Christ will ‘restore again the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6);’ this will not be in our age, but when God ‘raises up the tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11);’ – yet in the ‘New Jerusalem’ there is ‘no temple therein for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple… (Rev. 21:22).’

Likewise, he is correct about the fact that ‘they will rebuild the temple,’ and perhaps it will be very near the beginning of the tribulation.  In 425, nasi Gamaliel VI was executed by orders of Flavius Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor, for building a new synagogue.  Flavius was the last head of the Sanhedrin until about 1,600 years later, when in October 2004, a new Sanhedrin was established.  Their chief goal is the rebuilding of theTemple, which at this time they note ‘53% of Israelis wantThirdTemple(The Temple Institute; July 2002; Rabbi Chaim Richman).’

Brookes: (5) ‘In the midst of the week… 3 ½ years, or 1,260 days, or 42 months… Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews… and set up his own image in the Holy Place, slay the two witnesses… the devil will be cast out of the air into the earth and ‘then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world…’

Brookes is correct that the Antichrist will do those things.  However, note John’s account: “…and the woman fled into the wilderness… 1,260 days.  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon… and his angels …and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  …And they (our brethren) overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  …Woe to the inhabiters of the earth… for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman …and made war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:6-17).”  This account is further evidence against a pretribulation rapture; Christians are scene here in the midst of great tribulation.

And is there any more proof concerning this persecution of Christians?  Yes, for John continues, “…And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast (Antichrist), saying ‘…who is able to make war against him?’  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and power given unto him to continue 42 months.  …And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all …nations.  …And as many as would not worship the image of the beast were killed.  And he caused all, both …rich and poor… to receive a mark… 666.  …Here is the patience of the saints… (Rev. 13:4 – 18;14:13; see Rev. 20:4).”

Brookes: (6) ‘A remnant of the Jews, brought through the great tribulation, will turn to the Lord God… and many of them will win the martyr’s crown as the result of their steadfast purpose not to recognize the blasphemous claims of Antichrist.   Meantime the holy land will be the last, as it was the first, battle-field of earth…’

Yes, there shall be Jews that become Christians during the tribulation, and they will suffer great persecution.  But these spoken of are mostly Christians in every nation of whom John said, ‘these are they which came out of great tribulation (Rev. 7:14).’  There is no evidence that John, or Christ or any of His prophets and apostles said that only Jews and unbelievers would suffer the great tribulation, and not Christians.  Quite the contrary, they all sought to prepare the Church, saying ‘forasmuch as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind (1 Pet. 4:1);’ they taught ‘be thou faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10);’ they taught ‘he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved (Matt. 24:13).’

Brookes: (7) ‘When all nations shall be thus gathered against Jerusalem to battle, the Lord shall suddenly appear with His saints, who have been previously raised from the dead and changed, and after the overthrow of Antichrist… He will establish His millennial kingdom on the earth… The appearing of Christ will be followed by the conversion of the Jews and their brethren…’

Though the Scriptures support most of this statement, the claim by dispensationalist that the Lord will ‘convert the Jews’ after His return goes against the Nicene Creed and Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ… who …ascended into heaven; and sits at the right hand of the Father; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead…”  More so, the Scriptures say, ‘the Lord Jesus …shall judge the living and the dead at His appearing (2 Tim. 4:1).’  If Isaiah says, He shall ‘restore the preserved of Israel (Isa. 49:6),’ recall He also says, ‘I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6);’ thus, Isaiah says, ‘It shall come to pass… all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord (Isa. 66:23).’  Thus, concerning the New Jerusalem, John says ‘the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it… (Rev. 21:24);’ and ‘the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God… shall reign with Christ 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4).’  The focus is not on Israel alone, for all ‘the Kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and …He shall reign for ever (Rev. 11:15).’

Nevertheless, this dispensational thinking is so received by these teachers that John Hagee was moved to say in his book In Defense of Israel (2007), ‘Jesus did not come to Earth to be the Messiah,’ and even saying that ‘’since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?’  Yet, we known from the beginning His disciples said, ‘we have found the Messiah… the Christ (John 1:41),’ and through their walk with Him said, ‘You are the Messiah’ – Christ (Matt. 16:16; John 6:69) – the ‘anointed one.’  And Christ did not deny this, but announce it, to the Jew and Gentile (Luke 22:71; John 4:25, 26; 6:35-; 10:25-38; 18:3-8, 20).  Yes, for a time towards the end of His ministry, Christ ‘charged His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ (Matt.16:20);’ but this was likely because the Pharisees would have sought to kill Him before the fullness of time.  Nevertheless, as the days of His suffering neared, He again confessed He was the Son of God (Matt.21:13, 44;23:10; 29; 27:11).

  1. Now, concerning the coming of the Lord and the resurrection, what does the Scriptures say and then is this event.  Remember it was for this ‘resurrection’ that Paul said before the Pharisees and Sadducees, ‘…I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question (Acts. 23:6).’  And thus Paul taught ‘the doctrine of Christ… the doctrine of baptisms …and of resurrection of the dead… (Heb. 6:2).’  Notice he said baptisms in the plural because there is more than one: of the water, of the Spirit, into Christ, etc; but of the resurrection – there is only one.  Thus Paul declares this and the timing, saying: “…we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP… (1 Cor. 15:51, 52);’ that is ‘at THE TRUMP OF GOD’ …we ‘shall be caught up (1 Thes. 4:17).’  This, not by man’s commentary, but the very words of Christ, Matthew records: ‘…with a great sound of a trumpet …they shall gather together His elect… (Matt. 24:31).’  And when: ‘…immediately after the tribulation… (Matt. 24:29);’ and more specific: it was known to the Jews by the prophets from the beginning: ‘I know that he (we) shall rise again in the resurrection at the LAST DAY (John 11:24).’  This is what Job said, ‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the last day upon the earth; and …in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25, 26).’  And this early church Christians learned from the apostles, who heard from Christ, ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draws him: and I will raise him up at the LAST DAY (John 6:44).’  And from the early church to the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox, and then the Lutherans, Anglicans, and even the Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists – all confessed the Apostle’s Creed: ‘…I believe …in the resurrection of the body;’ that is one resurrection; not a rapture, then a resurrection.

Scriptural support of one second coming on ‘that day’ or ‘the day:’

Job19:25 ‘…my Redeemer lives, and he shall stand at the last day upon the earth.’
Job21:30 ‘…the wicked …shall be brought forth to the day of wrath…’
Isa. 2:11, 12 ‘…the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.  For the day of the Lord…’
Isa. 13:9 ‘Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and anger…’
Isa. 20:21 ‘It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host…’
Isa. 63:3, 4 ‘…I will tread them in My anger… the day of vengeance is in My heart…’
Jer. 25:33 ‘…the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth…’
Jer. 46:10 ‘…the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance… to avenge…’
Ezek.7:7, 19 ‘…the day of trouble is near …the day of the wrath of the Lord…’
Joel 1:15 ‘…the day of the Lord is at hand …a destruction from the Almighty…’
Joel 2:1 ‘Blow the trumpet inZion, sound an alarm …the day of the Lord cometh…’
Joel 2:2 ‘A day of darkness …gloominess, a day of clouds …nor shall be another’
Amos 3:14 ‘In the day that I shall visit the transgressions ofIsraelupon him…’
Amos 5:18 ‘Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord!  …the day …is darkness…’
Obad. 15 ‘the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen…’
Zeph. 1:15 ‘That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble …distress …darkness …clouds’
Zeph. 1:16 ‘A day of the trumpet and alarm… I will bring distress…
Zeph. 2:3 ‘Seek ye the Lord ye meek… ye may be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger’
Zech. 12:8 ‘In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants ofJerusalem…’
Zech. 12:11 ‘In that day shall there be a great mourning inJerusalem… in Megiddon.’
Zech. 14:1,2 ‘Behold, the day of the Lord… I will gather all nations againstJerusalem’
Zech. 14:3 ‘Then the Lord shall go forth … in the day of battle…
Zech. 14:4 ‘His feet shall stand in that day upon theMount of Olives…Jerusalem’
Mal. 4:5 ‘I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great day…’
Matt. 25:13 ‘Watch …ye know not the day nor the hour when the Son of man comes’
Luke 17:24 ‘as the lightning …so shall the Son of man be in His day…’
John 5:28 ‘the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice’
John 6:44 ‘I will raise him up at the last day…’
John 11:24 ‘he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day…’
John 12:48 ‘the same shall judge him in the last day…’
Rom. 2:5 ‘…store up into yourself wrath against the day of wrath and …judgment’
1 Cor. 1:8 ‘…that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ…’
1 Cor. 5:5 ‘…that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus…’
1Cor.15:51 ‘at the last trump… the dead shall be raised incorruptible…’
Phil. 1:6 ‘He …has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus’
Phil. 1:10 ‘…that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.’
2 Thes. 2:2 ‘…be not soon shaken …as that the day of Christ is at hand…’
2 Thes. 2:3 ‘…that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and …’
2 Tim. 4:8 ‘…a crown of righteousness …the Lord, the judge, shall give …that day’
Heb. 10:25 ‘Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves… as you see the day coming’
2 Peter 3:10 ‘the day of the Lord will come as a thief …the heavens shall pass away’
Rev. 14:7 ‘…for the hour of his judgment is come…’ see also Rev. 18:10 ‘in one hour’
Rev. 16:14 ‘…the battle of that great day of God Almighty …I come as a thief…’

Now before offering a conclusion to this chapter, I offer the words of a few respected Christians.  This letter was written by Corrie ten Boom in 1974:

“The world is deathly ill.  It is dying.  The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate.  Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do.  They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.  Christians are ambassadors for Christ.  They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

‘My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews.  Seven hundred of us fromHolland,France,Russia,PolandandBelgiumwere herded into a room built for two hundred.  As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.  We may have been the Lord’s only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed.

‘Jesus said, ‘In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).’  We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.  Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true.  Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages.   I can now come to shouting ‘Hallelujah! Hallelujah!’ for I have found where it is written that Jesus said, ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son (Rev. 21:7).’  This is the future and hope of this worldNot that the world will survivebut that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.  Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick.  “Yes, the Lord will heal me,”, Betsy said with confidence.  She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.  It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that.  Yet because of Betsy’s death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this.  These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days.  Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world.  I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.         In China, the Christians were told, ‘Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.’  Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death.           Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, ‘We have failed.  We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint.’

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation.  There is no way to escape it. We are next.  Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop inChina, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, ‘Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.’

‘Then I write it down and learn it by heart.  When I was in the concentration camp,  a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, ‘Nothing could be any worse than today.’   But we would find the next day was even worse.  During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy.  ‘If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye;  for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified (1 Peter 4:14).’  I found myself saying, ‘Hallelujah!  Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!’

‘InAmerica, the churches sing, ‘Let the congregation escape tribulation,’ but inChinaandAfricathe tribulation has already arrived.  This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred inAfrica.  Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations.  But I know.  I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners.  Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

‘Several years ago I was in Africain a nation where a new government had come into power.  The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register.  When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed.  The next day the same thing happened with other Christians.  The third day it was the same.          All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.  The fourth day I was to speak in a little church.  The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension.  All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, ‘Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed?  Will I be the next one?’

‘The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screen-less windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.  ‘When I was a little girl,’ I said, ‘I went to my father and said, ‘Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.’ ‘Tell me,’ said Father, ‘When you take a train trip toAmsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket?  Three weeks before?’  ‘No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.’  ‘That is right,’ my father said, ‘and so it is with God’s strength.  Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…’

‘My African friends were nodding and smiling.  Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, ‘In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.’  Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed.   I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.  But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God.              I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but      to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life (Rev. 2:10).

How can we get ready for the persecution?  First we need to feed on the word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being.  This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.  Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.  We must be filled with the Holy Spirit.  This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary.  Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost.  Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

‘In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other.  But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting.  The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life.  Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run.   I, too, was a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also.  But then I read the Bible and I am glad.  When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says.  Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord; we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us.  That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through.  No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes.  Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you.  For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down.  Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15), for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!”    (Corrie’s letter was taken from a post at The Hiding Place Message Board)

(Ruth Graham on March 31, 1975 wrote to Dave MacPherson…

Six years after Ruth Graham wrote this letter, Billy Graham wrote Till Armageddon (1981).  i can not find one mention of the word rapture, nor a referral to a pretribulation rescue or rapture of the Church in this work.  The title implies that Reverend Graham is hoping that men would be prepared ‘till Armageddon,’ and the return of the Lord.  Nevertheless, not my assumptions, but his words:

Rev. Graham begins the book with this quote: ‘God could have kept Daniel out of the lion’s den… But God has never promised to keep us out of hard places… What He has promised is to go with us through every hard place, and bring us through victoriously – Merv Rosell.’  In his chapter, The Coming Storm, Rev. Graham wrote: “…We have had a glimpse of the future – both its horror and its hope.  But what about the present?  How do we prepare for the suffering we may possibly have to face as our world moves relentlessly toward a period of intense tribulationto be climaxed at Armageddon?  …Whether or not Christians will actually have to face the period of tribulation around the Armageddon is a matter of debate among equally sincere Bible scholars.  But there can be no doubt that suffering in one form or another comes to us all.  And we can be certain that God will give us the strength and resources we need to live through any situation in life that He ordains.  The will of God will never take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us…”

In his chapter, Who’s in Charge of a World That Suffers?, he continues: “…Man’s sinful actions, murder, theft, rape, terrorism, and so on, inflicts suffering upon others.  If all men would allow Jesus to reign in their lives, much of this world’s suffering would not only be alleviated but abolished.  …But why doesn’t God remove all suffering from our world now?  …First, if God were to eradicate all evil from this planet, He would have to eradicate all evil men…  Second, if God were to remove all evil from our world, but somehow leave man on the planet, it would mean that the essence of ‘humanness’ would be destroyed.  Man would become a robot… man would lose his distinguishing mark – the ability to make choices.  He would no longer be a free moral agent.  …Robots do not love.  God created man with the capacity to love.  Love is based upon one’s right to choose to love…  The answer to the age-old question of suffering rests in an understanding and appreciation of the character of God.  This is what Job discovered.  At the height of his suffering… God revealed Himself in various aspects of His character to Job.          …Corrie ten Boom had a good way of explaining the perspective we need when confronting problems in life that puzzle us: ‘Picture a piece of embroidery placed between you and God, with the right side up toward God.  Man sees the loose, frayed ends; but God sees the pattern.’

Lastly, in his chapter, ‘Suffering Predicted,’ Rev. Graham wrote: “If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you are a saint.  The word is misunderstood today …in reality all of God’s people are saints – ‘set apart’ and dedicated to His service.  Anyone who reads the Bible and comes away thinking that suffering is not to be the lot of the Christian is reading the Scriptures blindly and without understanding…  The psalmist said, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all (Psa. 34:19; KJV).’  Note that the promise is ‘out of’ not ‘from.’  The Living Bible puts it, ‘The good man does not escape all troubles – he has them too.  But the Lord helps him in each and every one.’  Speaking to His disciples at the end of His ministry and on the very eve of His death, Jesus said, ‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heartI have overcome the world (John16:33)…’

‘…After 16 difficult years as a missionary on the continent of Africa, David Livingstone returned to his native Scotlandto address the students at GlasgowUniversity.  His body was emaciated by the ravages of some 27 fevers which had coursed through his veins during the years of his service.  One arm hung useless at his side, the result of being mangled by a lion.  The core of his message to those young people was: ‘Shall I tell you what sustained me amidst the toil, the hardship, and loneliness of my exile?  It was Christ’s promise, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end (Matt. 28:20).’  We, like David Livingstone, may claim the same promise from our Savior and Lord.  He does go with us through our sufferings, and He awaits us as we emerge on the other side of the tunnel of testing – into the light of His glorious presence to live with Him forever!”

       Concerning suffering Christians, especially those that suffered under Hitler’s Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, though he could had recanted his biblical teachings and been released from prison, about 2 weeks before WWII ended, was killed.  In his book, The Cost of Discipleship he said, ‘…The passion of Christ is the victory of divine love over the powers of evil, and therefore it is the only supportable basis for Christian obedience.  Once again, Jesus calls those who follow Him to share His passion.  How can we convince the world by our preaching of The Passion when we shrink from that passion in our own lives?’

Please understand dear soul, i do not have knowledge of all the events that shall come upon Christians between now and the coming of the Lord, and i have very little knowledge of what our Creator and Christ has planned after His return; nevertheless, i do know that the Lord has called me to sound a warning of the time of trouble and testing to come.  And it is in His Spirit of ‘preparing the way’ in which we must ‘walk worthy of the calling’ that i have written these things.

One of the Pre-Trib Research Center’s doctors, Mal Couch, in his article, Dichotomy or Continuity Between the Present and Past Dispensations: Rebuttal (8-19-2002), wrote: “I agree with (Tim) Warner that the early dispensationalists, such as Darby, were in transition in reexamining the Word of God as to what it had to say about the millennium and the prophetic hopes of the Jewish people.  Mistakes and overstatements came about in the hermeneutical struggle to ‘get it all together.’  In hindsight we can now see more clearly how they groped forward in an attempt to understand the prophetic Scriptures.  In answering Warner… I also from time to time refer to what the church fathers have said, but with all due respect, we really do not determine our doctrine by their views.  They were confused on so many matters and they could not see as clearly as we can now.  Furthermore, they were quite uncertain as to what God was doing withIsrael…’

Now, ‘will all due respect, we’ should ‘not determine our doctrine by’ hermeneutical explanations of doctors, nor should we simply ingest the teachings of those so confident and inebriated with the exorbitance of their own verbosity.  It is the words of Christ which led to eternal life (John 6:68); it is the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise to salvation (2 Tim. 3:15); all others words are susceptible of being sinking sand.  Caveat Emptor – ‘let the buyer beware.’

Now, though it is true that most early church fathers and reformers were at opposition in some areas, i do give more credit to certain early church fathers who were both closer in time and teachings to the apostles of Christ than most teachers today.  And like the reformers, they ‘did not love their lives (Rev. 12:11)’ as much as most doctors, professors, ministers, and all their followers do today.  Though they walked in some darkness of traditions, they were nobler in life and in persecution.    i say those who follow Darby’s ‘mistakes and overstatements’ are the ones that are still ‘groping forward in an attempt’ to keep their followers, their jobs, and to spread their teachings.  Yet, let us all cast our books, commentaries and opinions away, and return to quote the Scriptures alone.  But, they will not, so as Paul, i am compelled to write.  Yet, if we relied on Scripture alone, they could only quote a few Scriptures of which none would say: before the tribulation we shall be raptured.   However: any faithful babe, any child with faith, any ‘unlearned and ignorant men (Acts 4:13),’ and any ‘perishing fool (1 Cor. 18)’ can by faith receive this simple truth offered by many witnesses: ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened… then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds… and then He will send His angels and gather… (Matt. 24:29, 30; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27).’

When certain brothers in Christ and i would have disagreements concerning a doctrine; we usually would have to end the matter by saying: ‘we shall agree to say or stand only on what the Scriptures say.’  Well, concerning tribulation, trouble, or suffering, the Scriptures use these words over 100 times, but never once to say that while living on earth we shall be free or taken away from such.  All of the verses in the King James Verse mentioning tribulation(s) are as follows:

Deut. 4:30 ‘When thou art in tribulation …even in the latter days …turn to the Lord’
Judges10:14 ‘the gods …ye have …let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation’
1 Sam. 10:19 ‘God …saved you out of all your …tribulations… now present yourselves’
1 Sam. 26:24 ‘the Lord …let Him deliver me out of all tribulation…’
Matt. 13:21 ‘when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word… he is offended’
Matt. 24:21 ‘For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning…’
Matt. 24:29 ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened’
Mark13:24 ‘after the tribulation, the sun shall be darkened… then shall they see the Son’
John 16:33 ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer…’
Acts14:22 ‘continue in the faith… we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom’
Rom. 2:9 ‘Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul …that doeth evil…’
Rom. 5:3 ‘but we glory in tribulations also:
Rom. 5:3 knowing that tribulation worketh patience’
Rom.8:35 ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation or …sword’
Rom.12:12 ‘Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer’
2 Cor. 1:4 ‘Jesus Christ… Who comforts us in all our tribulation…’
2 Cor. 7:4 ‘I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation’
Eph. 3:13 ‘I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you…’
1 Thes. 3:4 ‘we told you before that we should suffer tribulation…’
2 Thes. 1:4 ‘we …glory …in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure’
2 Thes. 1:6 ‘it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them…’
Rev. 1:9 ‘I John, who also am your brother… in tribulation, and in the kingdom’
Rev. 2:9 ‘I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich…’
Rev. 2:10 ‘ye shall have tribulation ten days: be faithful unto death, and I will give you’
Rev. 2:22 ‘I will cast her into …tribulation, except they repent of their deeds’
Rev. 7:14 ‘And he said to me, ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

(Note: the above verses do not include the tens of verses which speak of anguish, sorrows, sufferings, and trouble, ect., that followers of the Lord must endure.)

 

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