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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

WILY JEFFREY BY DAVE MACPHERSON

     Appearing also in 1992 was Grant Jeffrey's Apocalypse, which preceded his 1994 Bantam edition. It, too, discusses the roots of pretrib.
     He asserts that posttribs claim that pretrib emerged in 1820. Five pages later this becomes 1830. Three pages later this again becomes 1820 (twice) and is repeated on the following page. (And LaHaye, 1992, p. 168, says that present-day critics of those crediting Darby have never suggested that Darby arrived at pretrib before 1831!)
     Why this intentional or careless muddying up of the year 1830? Since my first book (1973) I've emphasized 1830 as pretrib's year of birth. And so have many others, even though there's been a wide range of end-time views among them. Huebner (1973) saw 1830 as the earliest year for a Darby connection with this view, and Darby himself claimed in his 1850 reminiscence that 1830 was when he first understood a prior rapture. The year 1830 is tied to the first public teaching of pretrib by Irvingites as well as to Margaret. And Kelly himself never even questioned Darby's reference to 1830.
     I don't know of a single writer (Jeffrey didn't provide even one) who has ever offered evidence that anyone was developing pretrib as early as 1820. Irving, Darby, and their friends certainly weren't developing it then.
     Jeffrey also sees pretrib in some pre-1830 writings and quotes a portion of the 2nd century Didache. In the part Jeffrey quotes, the early writer said that the Antichrist "shall appear" and "shall work signs and wonders" during a "fire of trial" (Jeffrey omits this last phrase). In the next sentence that Jeffrey includes, the same early writer wrote: "And then shall the signs of the truth appear, first the sign of a rift in heaven, then the sign of the sound of a trumpet, and thirdly, a resurrection of the dead." (Even though the trumpet-sounding rapture follows the Antichrist's reign, Jeffrey concludes that this early document taught that a rapture will precede the Antichrist!)
     Throughout his book Jeffrey confuses Lactantius and Victorinus; when he first quotes Lactantius, all of the lines are really the words of Victorinus and are found in the Victorinus quote that Jeffrey includes two pages earlier! He also quotes The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, apparently unaware that it's another title for the Didache which he'd quoted five pages earlier (which we've just analyzed). This time he chops off quotation after the first two sentences----what Walvoord (1954), Stanton (1956), and Pentecost (1958) did to read pretrib into them and ignore the clear posttrib teaching in the rest of the quotation!
     For his clincher, having merely rewritten other pretrib works selectively quoting some early Christians, Jeffrey claims that Pierre (whom he calls Peter) Jurieu (1637-1713) taught pretrib. Jurieu's work, according to Jeffrey, spoke of "a kind of a clandestine coming of Christ." Since "clandestine" means "secret," Jeffrey concludes that this Frenchman was teaching a secret, pretrib rapture! But then he quotes Jurieu's explanation that this coming will occur "at the coming of His Kingdom" and says that Jurieu was actually teaching a coming prior to Armageddon. At this point Jeffrey has apparently confused "tribulation" with "Armageddon," even though he has a chart elsewhere showing Armageddon after the tribulation!
     From time to time throughout this century, there have been those who've claimed they've spotted at least a hint of pretrib in some pre-1830 writer. The writers most frequently named include Ribera, Bellarmine, Mede, Bengel, Keach, Gill, Oetinger, and Lacunza.
     Whenever one examines the context of these "hints" and also notes that their contemporaries saw nothing significantly new in the same "hints," the conclusion is that a handful of modern writers, for a variety of motives, has simply read into the earlier writers what the modern writers wished to see. We've previously noted that older hymns etc. have even been changed for the same purpose!
     After pretrib appeared in 1830, Brethren as well as Irvingites were well aware of the above pre-1830 scholars, occasionally quoted them, but never noticed any of the "hints"some modern writers have claimed to discover. Moreover, Brethren and Irvingites collectively had equally knowledgeable outside critics who could have cited pre-1830 "hints" in order to deflate later claims made by both Brethren and Irvingites----if, in fact, pre-1830 "hints" had existed!
     As more and more pretrib origin evidence continues to credit Irvingism and discredit Darbyism, dispensationalists may be under increasing pressure to either credit the Irvingites or find some pre-1830 "hint" that everyone else has overlooked. Or they just may decide to abandon their theological system altogether.
 
     You've just gone over part of the first edition of my 1995 book The Rapture Plot. During that same year Jeffrey came out with his self-published Final Warning book which claimed to discover clear pretrib teaching in an ancient writer known by scholars as Pseudo-Ephraem. In late 1995 an article echoing this "discovery," authored by Timothy Demy and Thomas Ice, appeared in Bibliotheca Sacra, Dallas Seminary's journal.
     Staying true to their escapist rapture view, Demy/Ice did a hatchet job on the ancient 10-section sermon composed by Pseudo-Ephraem (hereafter P-E). Their worst revisionism had to do with the final section (10), part of which states:
     "...on the day which the enemy or son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the word of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth."
     And how did Demy/Ice summarize "trumpet" in what I just quoted? They misleadingly wrote: "A trumpet will sound, calling forth the dead to judgment."
     But it isn't just "a" trumpet or any old trumpet. It's a special trumpet. It's "the trump of God" of I Thess. 4 because its blast precedes the resurrection of the dead in Christ ("Arise, O sleeping ones") and also the rapture ("arise, meet Christ")!
     Since no one has ever claimed that P-E saw two raptures, the Demy/Ice goal was to make P-E's rapture "rabbit" disappear from its Matt. 24 setting so that they could make it pop up at the beginning of his sermon----which is what happened when they claimed to find a rapture in "taken to the Lord," a phrase found in the early part of the sermon in a pretrib setting.
     Since I've repeatedly shown that P-E promoters have collusively covered up the fact that Dr. Paul Alexander, the world class authority they rest their case on, has declared that this phrase has nothing to do with REMOVAL FROM EARTH, I won't elaborate on this point.
     The important thing to remember is that Demy/Ice turned into eschatological abortionists (getting rid off the rapture nestling in P-E's Matt. 24 setting) simply because they were foolishly following an earlier, equally sloppy abortionist who did the same thing with P-E's rapture, an abortionist with the name of Grant Jeffrey!
     In his 1995 book while including the P-E section I quoted, Jeffrey deftly put some spaced dots (an ellipsis) between "chorus of the saints" and "Then Christ shall come" in order to sneakily abort the distinctive I Thess. 4 aspects in P-E's posttrib setting!
     Since 1995 Jeffrey has seen several widely circulated exposures of his pretrib dishonesty and sloppiness. In addition to extensive coverage of his weaknesses that have been published in both text and appendix in my Plot  book, they have also been discussed on not a few worldwide websites and even in a section ably refuting the P-E claim in Bob Gundry's scholarly 1997 book First the Antichrist!  (See also Tim Warner's hard-hitting "Grant Jeffrey's Apocalypse Debacle.")
     But all of the above hasn't raised the level of Jeffrey's I.Q. (Integrity Quotient) even a little bit. Even after all of the warnings, the new self-published book by "Dr." Grant Jeffrey entitled Triumphant Return again places an ellipsis between "chorus of the saints" and "Then Christ shall come" when airing the very same P-E section so that he can continue to cash in on a pretrib rapture which was unheard of before 1830 and which will be unrealized in the future! You might say that his new book is the triumphant return of the repetition of his pretrib dishonesty!

Monday, 17 July 2017

C.I. SCOFIELD'S HIDDEN SIDE BY DAVE MACPHERSON

     C. I. S. can stand for "Crime Investigation Scene" or C. I. Scofield.
     But I repeat myself. The venerable old C. I. Scofield of Scofield Bible fame was, in a sense, a 19th century "crime scene" that many still don't know about.
     Cyrus Scofield is best known in Christian circles as the greatest promoter of the pretrib rapture during the past century by means of his Scofield Reference Bible which came out in 1909.
     He preferred the pretrib rapture view over other prophetic views and never missed an opportunity to plug that 19th century fantasy and sneak it into his "explanations" which he included alongside Bible verses.
     Maybe we should call his Bible the Scofield "Preference" Bible!
     Some remarkable things happened after his reported conversion to Christ in 1879:
     An article in the "Topeka [Kansas] Daily Capital" on Aug. 27, 1881 began in this manner:
     "Cyrus I. Schofield [sic], formerly of Kansas, late lawyer, politician and shyster generally, has come to the surface again, and promises once more to gather around himself that halo of notoriety that has made him so prominent in the past. The last personal knowledge that Kansans have had of this peer among scalawags, was when about four years ago, after a series of forgeries and confidence games he left the state and a destitute family and took refuge in Canada."
     It continued: "Within the past year [1880]...Cyrus committed a series of St. Louis forgeries" which landed him "in the St. Louis jail for a period of six months." (I obtained a copy of this article at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka.)
     One of the forgeries was a real estate scam he cooked up during which he robbed his own mother-in-law of her life savings ($1300.00)! (Would most crooks target their own family members?!)
     Scofield deserted his first wife Leontine (and their two girls), she divorced him in 1883, he remarried three months later and also lied to "Who's Who in America" about his criminal past. (To see a copy of C. I. Scofield's divorce decree which I found in the Atchison County Courthouse in Kansas, Google "Scofield: The Man Behind the Myth."  I included highlights of the above in my 1983 book "The Great Rapture Hoax.")
     Leontine died in 1936 fifteen years after Cyrus died. She never remarried and spent many years as the librarian at the Atchison Library. To see where she is buried in a Catholic cemetery, Google "gravestone of Leontine Cerre Scofield."
     Although Scofield never had any theological training, he brazenly added "D.D." after his name in the 1890s even though no institution had conferred that degree on him!
     Those interested in many other shocked aspects of Scofield's hidden (and criminal) side are invited to obtain "The Incredible Scofield and His Book" (1988) by Joseph M. Canfield. Another great book on C. I. S. in "The Praise of Folly" (2009) by David Lutzweiler.
     Somehow the Scofield saga continues. His pretribized Bible is still being merchandised in numerous Christian bookstores and I am forced to conclude that many pretribbers are still Scofieldelirious!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

WHY I SUPPORT THE PRE-WRATH RAPTURE VIEW

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.. (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

I am posting the main scriptures that support the post-tribulation pre-wrath rapture view. It is vital that readers of this post study the critical subject of the timing of the rapture in detail for themselves in view of the repeated warnings from both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul about spiritual deception. (2 Timothy 2:15).

I principally write this for the benefit of my pre-trib rapture friends, since my post-trib friends are not in the same danger of falling away. (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The classic post-trib position is that the rapture and the return of the Lord are one event i.e. the Church will be caught up to meet the Lord as He descends from heaven at his second coming (Parousia). The pre-wrath view is that the rapture occurs after the great tribulation, in between the sixth and seventh seal of Revelation.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).  

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). 

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. (John 14:2-4).

Matthew 24:29-31

Tribulation/great tribulation. (Matthew 24:9-14;15-28).

29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The sign of the Son of Man: Luke 21:25-28; Revelation 1:7; 6:12-14; Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 2:30-31.

verse 31... THE RAPTURE

31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Revelation 6 describes the same cosmic disturbances:

12When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slaved and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:12-16).

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.. (Revelation 7:9)

Revelation 8:5-13: The wrath of God begins. The seals, trumpets and bowls in the book of Revelation occur chronologically. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven bowls of wrath. The pre-wrath view is that the sudden appearance of the innumerable multitude in heaven prior to the opening of the seventh seal explains the rapture. (Revelation 7:14).

A very helpful pre-wrath series by Robert Van Kampen is up on YouTube:

I do not know what Alan Kurschner's views are in other areas, but I do recommend his very thorough treatment of this subject: 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

PRETRIB RAPTURE STEALTH ! BY DAVE MACPHERSON

     Many evangelicals believe that Christ will "rapture" them to heaven years before the second coming and (most importantly) well BEFORE Antichrist and his "tribulation."
     But Acts 2:34-35 reveal that Jesus is at the Father's right hand in heaven until He leaves to destroy His earthly foes at the second coming.
     And Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven with the Father "until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign.
     ("The Rapture Question," by the long-time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn't dare to even list, in its scripture index, the above verses! They were also too hot for John Darby - the so-called "father of dispensationalism" - to list in the scripture index in his "Letters"!)      
     Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20)  WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs!
     The "rest" for "all them that believe" is also tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who'd be left alive to serve the Antichrist?)
     Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the end of trib “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which Scofield views as Israel's posttrib resurrection!)
     It's amazing that the Olivet Discourse contains the "great commission" for the church but not even a hint of a pretrib rapture for the church!
     Many don't know that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this "rapture" was stretched forward and turned into an idolized separate coming of Christ.
     To further strengthen their novel view, which evangelical scholars overwhelmingly rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.”
     Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Google "Walvoord Melts Ice" for more on this.
     My many online articles on various aspects of the 187-year-old pretrib rapture view include “X-Raying Margaret,” "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart," "Pretrib Rapture's Missing Lines," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Edward Irving vs. John Darby," "Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture," "The Real Manuel Lacunza," "C. I. Scofield's Hidden Side," "Pretrib Rapture Pride," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” " "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” "GFM's DVD Survives Paul Wilkinson's Attack," "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," and (in response to the outrageous claim that the rapture could occur this coming September!) "Ready for Rapture Astrology?"
      If you would like to find my articles on pretrib rapture history and theology in one location on the net, I would invite you to check out the worldwide British blog "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" hosted by Treena Gisborn who is an outstanding researcher and authority on Biblical topics including prophecy.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

UNRAVELLING THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD PRE-TRIB RAPTURE STATEMENT

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The following statement in blue is the report of the Assemblies of God committee to study the rapture of the Church. The report was adopted by the Assemblies of God General Presbytery, August 14, 1979.{1}

I have highlighted many flaws in their statement, and I have stated the scriptural position at the relevant points. The repeated warnings from both Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul that believers should not be deceived in these matters is testimony of the criticality of understanding the timing of the rapture and the second coming, and that we should rightly handle the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15).

AOG: “The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52).”

..waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing (epiphaneia) of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.. (Titus 2:13).

In context, "the blessed hope" in Titus 2:13 is synonymous with "the appearing of the glory". Technically, the rapture (harpazo), should be distinguished from the blessed hope since believers are to be caught up in the clouds prior to that event. (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Titus 2:13 refers to the second coming of Christ in glory i.e. Jesus Christ's epiphany/epiphaneia .. his appearing, manifestation., glorious display... conspicuous appearing.(2) Epiphaneia appears six times in the New Testament, and each time it refers to the visible appearance of Christ in glory at his second coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8). 

AOG: Jesus taught that He will return to earth. He was careful to warn His disciples to be constantly prepared for this (Matthew 24:42-51; 25:1-13; Mark 13:37; Luke 12:37).

They understood that the present age will end with His coming (Matthew 24:3). The assurance of His return was one of the truths with which He comforted His followers before His death (John 14:2, 3).
At the time of Christ’s ascension two angels came to the group of watching disciples to repeat the promise that He will return. They declared it would be in the same manner as He went away (Acts 1:11). This clearly means His second coming will be literal, physical, and visible.


The New Testament Epistles refer often to the Second Coming, and the theme of imminence runs through all the passages of Scripture dealing with this subject.

*Imminence is the doctrine that no specific events must take place before the rapture can occur aka any moment rapture. This is a false doctrine. Paul explicitly places the rapture (gathering together) after the rebellion (apostasia) and the manifestation of the man of lawlessness i.e. the Antichrist:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ),

Further examples in the scriptures defy imminence, e.g. John 21:17-19;2 Peter 1:12-15; Acts 23:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9; Luke 21:24.


AOG: Though there would be a period of time between the first and second comings (Luke 19:11), the whole body of teaching concerning the return of the Lord emphasizes that it will happen suddenly without warning; that believers should be in a state of continual readiness (Philippians 4:5; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8, 9; Revelation 22:10). 

Philippians 4:5: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
The Lord is at hand or near i.e. the Lord is omnipresent. In context with the passage, the Lord sees and observes the conduct of his people.


Hebrews 10:37: For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
Paul utilises the OT prophets:
Isaiah 26:20: He that cometh will come and will not tarry.
Habakkuk 2:3: For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

(1) the certainty, notwithstanding delay, of the fulfillment of the Divine promise;
(2) the necessity meanwhile of continuance in faith and perseverance..{3}

James 5:8-9: You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

James 5:8 ..the coming of the Lord is at hand..
The context of James 5:7-9 is The Parousia! The Parousia is the particular term used for the epiphany i.e. the second coming of Christ at the end of the age.{4} Since the pre-trib view dislocates the rapture from the Parousia by a period of seven years, the AOG argument is nonsensical. The AOG would have to place the rapture and the Parousia synonymously if they want to use this verse as a proof text, but this then destroys pretribulationism. They cannot have it both ways! See also 1 Peter 4:7: The end of all things is at hand. cf. Matthew 4:17). The specific context of James 5:7-9 is the analogy of the natural progression following the early and late rains leading to fruit (Parousia). (James 5:7). This reflects Jesus teaching in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. In other words, certain things must happen before the Lord returns. The Greek word eggizó = near/at hand never means imminent, it means to come near or to approach, as also in Matthew 24:32.{5} 

..behold, the Judge is standing at the door. ..before a door (thera) is the literal translation..  thera does not preclude events before Jesus return. Compare Matthew 24:32: So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. (at the door). Revelation 3:20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

Revelation 22:10: And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

The same argument applies to "near" (eggus). Revelation 22:12: "I am coming soon"..  as the judge.

Believers in the early days of the Church lived in this state of expectancy (1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10). Paul’s “we” in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1Thessalonians 4:17 shows that he maintained the hope he would be alive when Jesus comes back.

Expectancy is not imminence. It is possible for the Parousia to occur in any given generation when the circumstances of Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 allow. Early believers, including Paul, appear to have expected Jesus' return during their own lifetime, and yet other scriptures indicate something else.

The Thessalonian church expressed confusion about the timing of the Parousia/rapture. Paul explained to them that both these events would not happen until the Antichrist was revealed (2 Thessalonians 1-3). Since the Antichrist has not yet been revealed, the return of Christ and the rapture cannot be imminent.

2 Peter specifically warns about scoffers in the last days who will question the slowness of Jesus' coming: But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:1-13).
 
A comparison of passages of Scripture relating to the Second Coming shows that some speak of a visible event seen by all mankind and involving the judgment of sinners. Others describe a coming known only to believers and resulting in their deliverance from earth.

The latter is referred to among evangelicals as the Rapture. This word is not in the English Bible, but has been used so widely that one of the definitions of “rapture” in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary Unabridged is: “Christ’s raising up of His true church and its members to a realm above the earth where the whole company will enjoy celestial bliss with its Lord.” The word raptured could well be used to translate the expression “caught up” of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Jesus said His coming will result in one individual being taken from a location while another is left. This indicates a sudden removal of believers from the earth with unbelievers left to face tribulation (Matthew 24:36-42).
Jesus spoke of His return as a time when the nations of the earth shall mourn as they see Him (Matthew 24:30). The apostle Paul spoke of the Lord’s return as a time of judgment and wrath upon the wicked (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Matthew 24:36-42 does not concern the tribulation, it follows it! These verses speak of the second coming of Christ to the earth (Parousia). Matthew 24 moves chronologically through the events leading up to the second coming of Christ. The "elect" are "gathered together" (episunagó) by the angels at the end of the age! 

Matthew 24:29:“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.. 
cf. Revelation 6:12-17; 8:6-13.

Matthew 24:36:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows..

AOG: In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, he considered a different aspect of the Second Coming. This brief passage is the most direct and clear teaching on the Rapture in the New Testament. It speaks only of believers, living and dead. Nothing is said about the wicked seeing Christ at this time. Paul described Jesus as coming in the air, but nothing is said about His feet touching the earth, as we are told elsewhere they will at His return (Zechariah 14:4). It is the moment when 1 John 3:2 will be fulfilled, and we shall be like Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming (Parousia) of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

This passage concerns those who are alive, who are left until the coming (Parousia)
of the Lord. One must completely disregard Matthew 24 in order to fit parousia into a pre-trib rapture!

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming (parousia) and of the end of the age? (Matthew 24:3). See also Matthew 24:27, 37, 39.

AOG: The same Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for “caught up” is used in Acts 8:39 to describe Philip’s being “caught away” after baptizing the Ethiopian. The latter verse states that the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away—identifying the source of the power that will remove believers from earth at the Rapture.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Paul called the Rapture “our gathering together unto him.” The Greek word for “gathering” is the same as the one used for “assembling” in Hebrews 10:25, referring to the assembling of Christians for worship. It is a picture of the saints congregating around Christ at His coming for them.

The supernatural removal of godly individuals from earth is not unknown in Scripture. The outstanding event in the life of Enoch was his miraculous disappearance from earth after years of walking with God (Genesis 5:21-24). The author of Hebrews called this experience a translation, bypassing death (Hebrews 11:5).

Although some aspects of Elijah’s translation differed from Enoch’s, it also involved the sudden removal of a believer from the world without experiencing death (2 Kings 2:1-13).

First Corinthians 15:51-54 deals with the same event as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Here also Paul spoke of the changes that will take place in both living and dead believers at the Rapture. He called this a mystery (1 Corinthians 15:51), a truth previously unrevealed but made known to him by the Holy Spirit.

In Philippians 3:21 Paul connected the Lord’s coming to the time when “our vile body” will be changed—another reference to the Rapture.

Passages which pertain to the Rapture describe the coming of the Lord for His people. Passages which refer to the revelation of Christ describe the coming of the Lord with His saints. Colossians 3:4 speaks of believers appearing with Christ at His coming. Jude 14 also foresees the Lord’s return with His people to execute the judgment referred to in many other passages relating to His public appearing.   

1 Thessalonians 3:13 refers to Jesus' Parousia with all his holy ones (hagios). Revelation 19:14,19: ..it granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Scripturally the rapture does occur prior to the Parousia in order for the saints to return with Christ. However, the claim that the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 51:51-54 is blown before the great tribulation is insupportable!

AOG: Since Scripture does not contradict itself, it seems reasonable to conclude that the passages describing Christ’s coming for the saints and with the saints indicate two phases of His coming. We believe it is scripturally correct to assume that the intervening period between the two is the time when the world will experience the Great Tribulation, involving the reign of Antichrist and the outpouring of God’s wrath on the wicked (Daniel 12:1, 2, 10-13; Matthew 24:15-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

Although God’s people may endure severe trials before the Lord comes, the Church will be raptured before the period called the Great Tribulation.

In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul indicated certain things must take place before the Day of the Lord (of which the Great Tribulation is a part) can begin. An individual called the man of sin (Antichrist) will appear. The mystery of iniquity has been at work since Paul’s time but is being restrained by the power of the Spirit working through the true Church. Only when the Church is removed from earth by the Rapture can this man come forward publicly.

The Day of the Lord is distinguished from the Great Tribulation both by Jesus Christ and Paul. I refer again to Matthew 24:29 immediately after the tribulation of those days..   

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

Paul explicitly places the Parousia and the rapture together above. The great tribulation does not occur before the man of lawlessness takes his seat in the third temple at the mid point of the 70th week of Daniel. That day.. i.e. the day of the Lord and the rapture both follow the great tribulation. Paul warns about the possibility of believers being deceived about this subject. (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

AOG: In 1 Thessalonians 5, following the passage on the Rapture in chapter 4, Paul taught about the Day of the Lord. He warned of the destruction it will bring to the wicked (vv. 2, 3). He was quick to assure Christians that those who abide in Christ will not be overtaken by it (v. 4).

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (2 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The above passage is a further warning from Paul that believers should not be ignorant about eschatological events. Paul clearly places believers as being alive at the Parousia.

AOG: Still speaking of the Day of the Lord Paul wrote: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 9). It seems clear that he meant the deliverance of believers from the judgments of the Day of the Lord, including the Great Tribulation.

The scriptures clearly distinguish wrath (orge) from tribulation (thlipsis). The persecution of the Antichrist is not the wrath of God. As explained above, the Great Tribulation it is not the Day of the Lord.

AOG: Christians are told repeatedly in the New Testament to be watchful for the Lord’s appearing. Never are they taught to watch for the Great Tribulation or the appearance of Antichrist. To expect that such things must happen before the Rapture destroys the teaching of imminence with which the New Testament is replete.

Believers are told to wait “for his Son from heaven,” not the Great Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10). When the signs of the end of the age are evident, they are to look up and lift up their heads in expectation of their redemption, not the Great Tribulation (Luke 21:28).

The Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). However it will come as no surprise to believers, precisely because they will recognise the signs preceding it: But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:4). This is an illogical statement if pre-trib is correct. Why would believers "not be surprised" if they are not here? This verse directly follows Paul's statement that believers will be alive at the Parousia. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Jesus Christ and Paul went to great lengths to explain the specific signs in detail.. we ignore them at our peril if we are to avoid the tragic consequences of false hope. (Matthew 24:10; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14).

The signs of the Lord’s coming will be fulfilled before His public appearing, but they do not have to be fulfilled before the Rapture. Any teaching that certain events must transpire before the Rapture is out of harmony with the doctrine of imminence.*

It is consistent with God’s dealings with His people in the Old Testament to believe that the Church will be removed from the world before the Great Tribulation. God did not send the Flood until Noah and his family were safe in the ark. He did not destroy Sodom until Lot was taken out.
The weight of Scripture supports a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Wherever teaching about the Second Coming occurs in the New Testament, imminence is underscored. To interpose other events before the Rapture does violence to such teaching.

The events of Sodom and Gomorrah was the wrath of God being poured out upon the ungodly.. it was not tribulation. Similarly Noah and his family were preserved through the flood, God's judgement upon the ungodly.. again this was not tribulation.

While Christians are looking forward to the coming of the Lord, it is well to remind themselves of Paul’s words to Titus: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
https://ag.org/Beliefs/Topics-Index/The-Rapture-of-the-Church

In conclusion, the AOG  statement consistently and incorrectly identifies "the blessed hope" as the rapture. However, the scriptures identify the blessed hope as the Parousia or the Epiphany, and the rapture as gathering together (episuningage)/caught up (harpazo). Scripturally the Parousia and the rapture are synonymous, or almost synonymous events, and so the AOG argument simply falls apart.

{1} https://bible.org/seriespage/15-second-coming-christ-and-millennial-kingdom
{2} http://biblehub.com/greek/2015.htm  
{3} http://biblehub.com/hebrews/10-37.htm
{4} https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Parousia
{5} http://biblehub.com/greek/1448.htm

Thursday, 6 July 2017

JESUS ARMY CULT LEADERS STEP DOWN

The Northampton Chronicle has today reported the news that Jesus Army cult leaders in Northamptonshire have stepped down after complaints over handling over abuse claims:

"The leaders of a Northampton-based Christian organisation, once branded a ‘cult’, have stepped down while complaints into how historical abuse claims were handled are investigated. The Jesus Army (JA) has confirmed five ‘apostolic’ leaders of the sect, founded in Bugbrooke in 1969, will now be subject to an independent investigation. Mick Haines, the senior pastor and de facto leader of the Jesus Army is among the men to have stepped down from ‘pastoral duties’, a spokesman told the Chron. The other four to face investigation are Mike Farrant, John Campbell, Ian Callard and Huw Lewis, the spokesman confirmed. In 2013, the JA called on ex-members to come forward and reveal instances of past abuse, either sexual, physical, financial or spiritual. Following investigations by ex-members of the fellowship and the Chronicle & Echo, it is now known about 150 claims were made. But the sect, which still has a strong base in Northampton and underwent a safeguarding review in 2015, has confirmed there have been complaints over the way the five men handled the abuse claims.Spokesman Laurence Cooper, said in a statement: “Questions have been raised about the handling of information by the senior leadership of the church, relating to past cases of abuse. “All five people have been involved in the handling of previous cases of abuse in the church. Allegations have been made about the way they handled historic cases. These are unproven allegations, but they do need to be treated seriously and investigated fully. “The five people you mention have agreed to step down immediately from pastoral duties and any leadership authority in the church while an independent investigation of the allegations is undertaken.”“They remain members of the church but they are not in a leadership position at this present time.”Mr Farrant was instrumental in setting up the Jesus Army’s common purse in the 1970s, which still exists in the communes of the organisation today. Mr Campbell, the Jesus Army’s former press officer, was described by Mr Cooper in May as having largely retired from the organisation. In 2013 the Chronicle & Echo reported that he was the leader tasked with collating responses to historical abuse allegations.A member from within the organisation, who did not wish to be named, felt the leadership team was not expecting so many people to come forward with abuse claims in 2013. “They were very taken aback by it. They were quite unprepared,” he said. In 2015, after being handed details of the abuse claims by the JA, Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Lifeboat. The probe, looking into historical sexual abuse at the JA, has led to two prosecutions to date, though a spokesman said more prosecutions were likely.The National Leadership Team (NLT) sits below the apostolic group consisting of the five individuals. Mr Cooper added that there would be no senior pastor in place while the investigation was ongoing.“Once the NLT receives the findings from this independent investigation, they will consult with (Christian safeguarding charity) CCPAS and other outside agencies to decide what steps need to be taken.”Victims groups have, in the past, raised concerns about a Christian-based group’s ability to be independent."
http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/jesus-army-leaders-in-northamptonshire-step-down-after-complaints-over-handling-over-abuse-claims-1-8042088

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

CHUCK MISSLER - COPYIST ! BY DAVE MACPHERSON

     Many these days are abandoning the pretribulation rapture view, and the June, 1995 article by Chuck Missler (”Byzantine Text Discovery: Ephraem the Syrian”) reveals why there is such a mutiny!
     First of all, the authoritative scholar that Missler cited, Dr. Paul Alexander, referred only to “Pseudo-Ephraem” and not to Ephraem the Syrian. (If an unsigned ancient manuscript resembles the real Ephraem but there is a question of authorship, they assign it to “Pseudo-Ephraem” - the word “pseudo” meaning “possibly.”
     For some groundless reason, Grant Jeffrey, the one who reportedly found the “discovery,” changed Dr. Alexander’s terminology and wrongfully referred only to "Ephraem the Syrian"! For more info on Jeffrey, Google “Wily Jeffrey.”)
     And Missler’s scholarship is also questionable. According to the Los Angeles Times (July 30, 1992), about one-fourth of Missler’s 1992 book “The Magog Factor” (which he co-authored with Hal Lindsey) was a daring plagiarism of Dr. Edwin Yamauchi’s 1982 book “Foes from the Northern Frontier”!
     Four months later Yamauchi’s publisher revealed that both Lindsey and Missler had promised to stop all publishing of their book. But in 1995 they were found publishing “The Magog Invasion” (which was either a revision or a replacement of “The Magog Factor”) - which had a substantial amount of the same plagiarism! (My 1998 book “The Three R’s” has complete documentation on this and other pretrib scandals.)
     After listing “1820″ as the reported date of the birth of pretrib (he should have said “1830″), Missler sees a pretrib rapture in that Medieval writer’s phrase “taken to the Lord” and, since he evidently favors rewriting others instead of researching, is unaware that Dr. Alexander explained that this phrase really means “participate at least in some measure in beatitude” - which has reference only to doing acts of virtue on earth and not being raptured away from earth!
     Alexander included two summaries of Pseudo-Ephraem's end-time events in chronological order - both showing only one final second coming taught by him (and not any prior coming) which would follow the time of Antichrist! (Readers can Google my article “Deceiving and Being Deceived” to see how groundless the Pseudo-Ephraem claim is and to learn how desperate pretribs are to find any pre-1830 evidence for their escapist view. Dr. Robert Gundry of Westmont College has also demolished the Pseudo-Ephraem claim in his 1997 book “First the Antichrist.”)
     Since Missler also leans on Thomas Ice, readers can evaluate Ice’s qualifications by Googling "Walvoord Melts Ice," "Pretrib Rapture Pride," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Be Careful in Polemics - Peripatetic Learning," and (since Ice says he's working on a UOW doctorate) "Bogus degree scandal prompts calls to wind up University of Wales." For further light on the 187-year-old pretribulation theory, Google or Yahoo “Pretrib Rapture Stealth” and "Evangelicals Use Occult Deception."
     Since some pretrib rapture money-changers (including those who are Misslerized) are now drooling and even foaming over the "huge possibility" of a pretrib rapture blast-off this coming September, readers entrapped by such dispensational drivel can easily become hugely enlightened by reading "Ready for Rapture Astrology?" which can be found on the pace-setting blog "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" hosted by Biblical authority Treena Gisborn.
     Finally - why on earth would Chuck Missler, who reportedly has the brains of a rocket scientist, want to be taken up with the concept of an any-moment pretrib rapture? The answer may well be that there’s more money in elevating a rapture than in launching a rocket!