My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational(5)
(h) The Timing Of The Removal Of The Restainer
The restrainer has been variously identified by pretribs as the Holy Spirit who hitch-hikes with the Church when she is raptured pretribulationally, the Church herself, and human government which of course is functional throughout the 70th week, and cannot be removed until destroyed by Christ at Armageddon(Rev.19:17-21). How ridiculous? Dan.12:1 identifies the restrainer as archangel Michael who stands for the people of God. His identity has been known amongst Jewish scholars in antiquity. The identity of the restrainer is not germane to the validation or invalidation of any rapture view. The issue here is the timing of his removal. The pretribs do not make bones of this issue because it undermines their teaching that he hitch-hikes with the Church when she is raptured pretribulationally. The Scriptures make it clear that until the restrainer is taken out of the way, there shall be no Great Tribulation. Archangel Michael is the restrainer of evil on the Earth. He is the angel that stands for the people of God. He wrestled with Satan over the body of Moses(Jude 9). At the midpoint of the 70th week, he shall wrestle down Satan and his fallen evil angels from the Dark Void and Starry Heavens to the Earth, after which he shall “amad” or stand still. He will not restrain Satan any more.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.”(Rev.12:7-9, 12-13).
Then evil shall run riot on Earth. Satan shall possess the antiChrist, invest Him with his power and authority. He will declare himself God, demand worship of all mortals, and kill anyone who refuses to give him allegiance. Thus will begin the Great Tribulation.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”(2 Thess.2:6-12).
The revelation of the antiChrist occurs after the removal of the restrainer. Up to now, the restrainer keeps evil at bay until removed at the midpoint of the 70th week, then shall evil run riot on Earth. There is a confluence of factors here. First, Satan and his immediate subordinates, the principalities, powers, and wicked spirits in the heavenlies shall be cast down to the Earth. Second, the restraining influence of Michael the archangel of God in charge of war shall be removed. Third, Satan angered by denial of his right and place of abode in the heavenly shall have great wrath knowing that it would be a short time before he is cast into the abyss. From the midpoint of the 70th week, one can calculate the exact day Satan Shall be cast into the abyss. It will be there and one-half years plus 30 days which is the end of Armageddon. All these events occur at the midpoint of the 70th week. The cumulative effect is synergistic, resulting in the escalation of all forms of evil on Earth.
(i) The Tribulation Saints
The phrase tribulation saints is coined by pretribs to describe believers who according to them missed the first round up, and have to make it up by the skin of their teeth. First, this teaching is contradicted by the parable of the Ten Virgins which teaches that there is no secondary entry once the bridegroom has entered and the door shut. Second, pretribs teach that all those who missed the first round up are weak believers who have to make it by paying with their lives. This is as it were, salvation by works through martyrdom. Thus they teach that the innumerable multitude in Rev.7:9-17, including the fifth seal martyrs are tribulation saints martyred by the antiChrist and his security apparatus. That they will be raised to reign with Christ for a thousand years in the Millennium. But not all the innumerable multitude in Rev.7:9-17 are martyrs. The angel described them as those who came out of the Great Tribulation. There is no evidence they were all martyrs. Some were martyred and others certainly not martyred.
In contrast, the fifth seal martyrs were all killed for the word of God and the testimony they upheld. On the other hand all the saints that were raised and reigned with Christ in Rev.20:4 were beheaded. There is no biblical justification to assume that all the Fifth Seal martyrs were beheaded. Some may have been headed, and others may not. The beheaded saints were those who were a torn in the flesh of the antiChrist. They not only refused the mark of the Beast, but went about persuading others not to take the the mark of the Beast. This infuriated the antiChrist who ordered their execution by beheading to serve as a deterrent to others.
We contend that the innumerable multitude in Rev.7:9-17 are the saints, both living and dead, raptured at the interlude between the end of the sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh seal, and the that fifth seal martyrs are part of this group. We contend that the fifth seal is concurrent with the fourth, and does not advance the chronology of events in the 70th week. There is no distance in the realm of the spirit. They disembodied spirits and souls of these saints arrive in heaven as soon as they are killed, and are quartered under the golden altar of incense till the complement of believers to be killed during the Great Tribulation is reached, thereafter, the killing of the saints shall be interrupted with the breaking of the sixth seal. They are subsequently raptured and are part of the innumerable multitude in Rev.7:9-17. On the other hand, the beheaded saints are raised to reign with Christ for a thousand years on the first day of the Millennium. This view expounded by Robert Gundry is shared by Marvin J. Rosenthal. However, Alan E. kurschner demurs, advocating that they were raptured prewrath together with all the saints at the appearance of the Shekinah in the Heaavens.
The Pretrib notion that all the so called Tribulation Saints have to be killed in order to make heaven is absurd and unbiblical. The Scriptures make it clear that the Great Tribulation will be cut short in order to preserve some saints alive for translation at the rapture. If the Great Tribulation were to be permitted to run its full course to the end of the three and half years allotted to the antiChrist, no believing flesh or anyone without the mark of the beast shall survive the Great Tribulation. But there are survivors of the Great Tribulation. Apart from the living saints who are translated at the rapture at the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens, there are the 144,000 who are sealed for protection, and the surviving remnants of Israel who go through the first six trumpets and are reconciled to God on the third day of the 30-day Reclamation Period. Besides, those Gentile survivors of the Great Tribulation, who appeared at the Sheep And Goat Judgment do not have the mark of the Beast(Matt.25:31-46). If they had, they would have been killed at Armageddon or else executed instanta. The essence of the amputation of the Great Tribulation, in addition to preserving some saints alive for translation at the rapture is to save some Gentiles alive in order that they may repopulate the Earth in the Millennium alongside their Jewish counterparts who survived both the Great Tribulation and the first six trumpet judgments of the wrath of God. To teach therefore that every true believer is murdered during the Great Tribulation, thus obtaining salvation by martyrdom has no biblical merit. Or that all Gentiles were wiped out during the wrath of God, leaving the surviving Jewish remnants to repopulate the Earth in the Millennium.
(j) The Mark Of The Beast
The mark of the Beast is the number of the Beast. It is the number of a man. It is described by John the revelator as 666. “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”(Rev.13:16-18). It is described in conjunction with the carrier of the enforcer of the Beast, the false prophet. It is a computer chip with an 18-digit bar code with other biometric data specific to the individual which shall be implanted in the right hand or forehead as a mark of allegiance to the antiChrist, the First Beast. It shall be implemented worldwide because power shall be given to the antiChrist over all peoples, tongues, and nations. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”( Rev.13:7). Anyone without this mark shall not be able to buy or sell or engage in other transactions under the reign of the antiChrist.
Biometric implants have been used in animal husbandry for decades. Cattles are branded to indicate ownership and determine age, etc. They are now being used in humans. Branding has been in practice for hundreds of years. Slaves have been branded even in ancient times. Branding indicates ownership, authenticity, protection, security, preservation. Over 50,000 people have been chipped worldwide with RFID. Good things can be put to bad use. Those in government have responsibility to protect the citizenry. RFID can be used to identify criminals and felons, track the whereabouts of those with dementia and mental illness. It will make cashlessnes possible which has a number of uses. Therefore it is most probable this practice shall have been accepted worldwide before the emergence of the antiChrist. The antiChrist will legalize it and also make it compulsory. It shall be strictly enforced. Satan is not dumb. No one will be chipped by force. He knows it will not count. But people can be coerced into accepting the mark of the Beast. Those who do not have this mark shall be denied food stamps. Those who have it will have plenty to eat and drink. The antiMessiah shall put chicken in their pots. Those who take the mark of the Beast shall have fiat money credited to their accounts.
Besides, those who do not have this mark shall be ferreted out, coerced to take the mark or be killed on refusal to coöperate. There will be robotic images of the Beast, equipped with artificial Intelligence(AI) and Near Field Communication(NFC) to identify those who do not have the mark of the Beast, coerce them to accept it, or be killed on refusal of the mark of the beast. The Scripture makes it clear that anyone who takes the mark of the Beast is doomed for eternity; the wrath of God abides on him. This is the message of the third angel made at the midpoint of the 70th week at the commencement of the Great Tribulation.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”(Rev.14:9-12).
Apart from teaching for nearly two centuries that the rapture will take place before the commencement of the 70th week, thus making believers unprepared and vulnerable to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation, some pretrib teachers like Brannon Howse, Jimmy De Young, and John MacArthur have of late been propagating the teaching that it is possible to take the mark of the Beast, and repent later on. This teaching flies in the face of the Scripture that clearly indicates that anyone who takes the mark of the Beast is doomed for eternity because the wrath of God abideth on him. This development is very dangerous, and must be denounced with utmost vehemence. It is to make believers utterly vulnerable. The Pretrib teaching that the Church will be raptured before the commencement of the 70th week makes believers unprepared for the horrors of the Great Tribulation, but the teaching that believers can take the mark of the Beast and repent afterwards makes them think they can eat their cake hot and have it all the time. It makes believers think they can be part of the antiChrist system of government, enjoy the benefits, and afterwards stroll into the kingdom of God. This is unthinkable and must be refuted because it is a very big lie. It is true that God will forgive them if they repent. It is also true they are unwilling to repent. They have sinned beyond repentance. It is therefore very dangerous to tinker with the notion that anyone who takes the mark of the Beast will repent later on.
My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 6 )
( l ) The 144,000: Are They Evangelists?
The 144,000 are Jews, 12,000 chosen from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Scripture is clearly explicit on that. They are suddenly introduced in Rev.7 in the interlude between the sixth and the seventh seals prior to the outpouring of the wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord which begins in Rev.8. They are called the servants of God ( 3 ). They are sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads ( 3 ). In Rev.14:1, we are told the seal is the name of God written on their foreheads. We are not told what that name is. It may be the HEBREW Tetragrammaton YHWH. That is the name of the God of the Hebrews revealed to Moses, the I AM WHAT I AM hath sent me unto you (Exod.3:14). They are sealed prior to the rapture of the saints (Rev.7:9-17). They passed through the Great Tribulation just as did the raptured saints. Rather than being raptured after the amputation of the Great Tribulation with terrestrial and celestial disturbances, they were sealed for protection from the wrath of God. They would pass through the wrath of God but with divine protection unlike their fellow Israelites who would pass through the first six trumpet judgments without divine protection in order to purge, purify, and cleanse them from the defilement of sin. Why? They rejected the mark of the Beast, but are not born again like the saints who are raptured. In other words, they were not washed by the blood of the Lamb. No man will enter heaven without purification by the blood of the Lamb. And no man will be purified with the blood of Jesus by the Holy Spirit without acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Saviour. They will finally accept Jesus as their Messiah when He rescues them from Petra in the Edomite wilderness. They will see that their Messiah has nail-pierced hands ( Zech.12:10 ).
These Jews believe in the Messiah of Israel. They do not believe that He is Jesus. They also rejected the claim of the antiChrist to be the Messiah of Israel ( Jon.5:43 ). So, they were not Beast-marked. How they survived the Great Tribulation is a wonder inasmuch as they were sealed after the Great Tribulation. They survived by hiding I presume. The Scriptures do not say they were evangelists. What they did during the first three and one-half years and the Great Tribulation, the Scriptures are silent. It is therefore presumptuous and preposterous to assume they were evangelists. In all probability, they were observant Jews. How then could they be preaching the message of salvation in Christ Jesus if they do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah? If at all they preached to anyone, the content of their message would not be the apostolic kerugma. They could have warned their fellow Jews and anyone else not to believe in the antiChrist as the Messiah and to reject his mark even under the pain of death. There are some unbelieving Gentiles, free thinkers and nonconformists that will do the same. They could also have warned that the wrath of God would come on anyone who gave allegiance to the Beast by accepting his mark. They could have urged their fellow countrymen and women, and anyone else within their immediate audience to only worship Yahweh of Judah, the Lord God of Israel. That the false humanistic religion of the antiChrist, spearheaded by the false prophet, and epitomized in Babylon would be committed to the flames together with their adherents ( Rev.14:6-11 ). The true believers in Jesus Christ will also be saying the same thing but with a caveat that Jesus is the only true Messiah of Israel. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus Christ.” ( Rev.14:12 ).
They are the only ones offered protection from the first six trumpet judgments. The unbelieving Jews who do not have the mark of the Beast shall go through the first six trumpet judgments unprotected, so also the unbelieving Gentiles who do not have the mark of the Beast. The 144,000 are called virgins, a very strange term indeed to describe men. Obviously they are celibates. The Scripture also says they are not defiled with women. This may mean either that they never had sexual intercourse with women, or and also they never participated in the mass idolatry characteristic of the worship of the Beast-antiChrist and the Dragon ( Rev.13:4,14:9 ). Religionists like these are usually reclusive. They lived like hermits like the Qumran community. They followed the Lamb wherever He went. They are His human entourage in all His earthly journeys from the moment Christ rescued them from the Edomite wilderness ( Amos 3:15 ). They matched with Him on foot from Petra in the Edomite wilderness to the summit of Mount Zion in Jerusalem joined along the way by the remnant of Israel from the Judaean wilderness, Jerusalem and its environs, and the survivors from the remote areas of Assyria and Egypt ( Mic.2:13; Rev.14:1 ). We must also bear in mind that Jesus is never alone. God the Father is always with Him. He is also always surrounded by an innumerable company of angels ( Heb.12:22-24 ). But they are invisible to the unaided human eye. So, the 144,000 are the ones with Him that men would see. They would not see the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the innumerable company of angels.
Whilst with Christ on the earthly Mount Zion, the redeemed of humanity in heaven, on the heavenly Mount Zion sing a song. The song is heard on Earth, but no one on Earth could learn that song but the 144,000. Why? Because it is the song of the redeemed; they are redeemed also. If they were not redeemed, they could not be sealed. They were sealed because they were reconciled to God shortly before the rapture of the saints. On the same earthly Mount Zion, the Jewish remnants who survived the first six trumpet judgments were reconciled to God to finish the mystery of God and to complete His spiritual kingdom ( Zech.12:10-13 ). This was before the sounding of the seventh trumpet. “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” ( Rev.10:7 ).
But they are not part of the Church, the bride of Christ. They are the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb ( Rev.14:4 ). This term is also used of the initial disciples of Jesus or the first to receive Jesus in a city in any evangelistic mission, and of those who were the first to be filled with the Holy Spirit ; and of Christ as the first to rise from the dead ( Rom.8:23, 16:5; Jam.1:18; 1 Cor.15:20,23 , 16:15 ). This designation clearly indicates they belong to a new dispensation; the New Millennium. They are not part of the Church. They will not be translated. They will not receive glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies like the saints in the Millennium. They will live here on Earth in their mortal bodies, still prone to sin, sickness and disease and physical death. They will be the firstfruits of those that will repopulate the Earth in the New Millennium alongside the redeemed Jews and Gentiles that survive the wrath of God ( cp. Matt.25:31-46 ). Whether they will marry like some others in the Millennium, or remain celibates throughout the Millennium, the scriptures are silent.
After the rapture of the saints, apart from the two witnesses whose ministry would last throughout the entire length of the second half of the 70th week, the God of Israel would have no witnesses on Earth. God will not leave Himself without witnesses. It is like the handing over of a baton in relay race. They will represent the God of Israel on Earth while the believers are in heaven, in the interim between the rapture and Armageddon. If the 144,000 were not reconciled to the God, the God of Israel would have not witnesses on Earth after the demise of the two witnesses on the last day of the 70th week. There is a 3-day interval between the death of the two witnesses and the salvation of the remnant of Israel on day 3 of the 30-day Reclamation Period.
( m ) Will There Be A Worldwide Christian Revival In The 70th Week?
Pretribs teach that the rapture will occur prior to the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel. To account for the huge number of believers that will be here during the Great Tribulation, they propound an unbiblically supported theory that there will be a worldwide revival during the 70th week that will make other revivals this Earth has ever witnessed pale in comparison. That there would be more conversions to the Faith than at any other time in the annals of history. They also hold the unbiblical view that these so called “Tribulation Saints” shall gain heaven by being martyred, all of them, by the antiChrist and his acolytes ( Rev.6: 9-11, 7:9-17 ). This phenomenal success in missions and evangelism will occur when all the good pastors, teachers, and Christians have been taken to heaven prior to the beginning of the 70th week. Incredulous!
Who will conduct these revival meetings that will see innumerable multitude come to the Faith in so short a period, at a time when there is a preponderance of false prophets, false christs, and false teachers, all vying for the believers attention and faith, and Christianity is proscribed, and there is no formal worship; the so called “Tribulation Saints” are in hiding and have little or no food to eat, and are being hounded and ferreted out to be killed by the antiChrist and his gang?
In the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, the prophets of Baal failed to conjure fire from heaven to consume their sacrifice ( 1 King.18:20-40 ). But the false prophet and his gang will excel where the prophets of Baal failed. They will command fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men, and make the image of the Beast to speak, and to cause as many as would not worship the image of the Beast to be killed ( Rev.13:15 ). Elijah ordered the massacre of the prophets of Baal after their failure to conjure fire from heaven. During the 70th week, the reverse will be the case. The servants of God shall be massacred by the prophets of Baal. The coming of the antiChrist is with signs and wonders. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” ( 2 Thess.2:7-10 ).
The antiChrist will be empowered by Satan to perform outstanding miracles, signs and wonders which will be very difficult to refute in order to authenticate his claim to be the Messiash just as Jesus did. But it will all be false, intended only to deceive if it were possible the very elect. Certainly, there will be revival in the 70th week of Daniel, but it will be satanic in nature with all manners of signs and wonders, to deceive if it were possible the very elect. “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” ( Matt.24:24-25 ). Why would Jesus warn His disciples if they would not be here? There will be role reversal here. The antiChrist and his gang will perform outstanding miracles, signs, and wonders, but the saints will not. On Mount Carmel, the God of Israel was present but Baal was absent. This time around the opposite will happen. It would be as through the God of Israel were absent and Baal present. Why? Because it is the hour of darkness.
These miracles, signs and wonders will be intended to lure the believers out of hiding in order to coax and coerce them to receive the mark of the Beast or to be killed outright on refusal to accept the mark of allegiance to the Beast. The antiChrist will make war with saints and overcome them ( Rev.13:7 ). So, in all probability, the number of the saints will depreciate very rapidly due to mass executions of believers who refuse to bow to the image of the Beast during this period of the reign of terror by the antiChrist. That the world marveled at the Beast does indicate that the so called evangelists of the Faith do not command their attention ( Rev.17:8 ). Rather than a revival of Christianity, there will be a mass exodus of false believers to worship the Beast. When the antiChrist signs the 7-year peace treaty with Israel, these ignorant believers will conclude the rapture has taken place, that they have been left behind: and that the next thing will be a worldwide revival of sort of the Christian faith, the rapture having taken place secretly and silently as it were. But what do they get? A huge number of false christs, false prophets, and false teachers performing outstanding and notables miracles to authenticate their claims. They will tell them, “The Messiah has come: we know where He is: in the secret chambers and in the deserts.” ( Matt.24:23-28 ). Thusly the unsuspecting believers are lured into a trap where they are either coaxed or coerced, and hoodwinked into receiving the mark of allegiance to the Beast or be taken into captivity and tortured or be killed outright on refusal to accept the mark of allegiance to the anitMessiah.
This is the Apostasy which will take place after the unveiling of the Man Of Sin in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem at the midpoint of the 70th week ( 2 Thess.2:3,4 ). But the Pretribs have cancelled it out saying that “apostasia” means physical departure, thus denoting rapture. What a theological legerdemain! There is not a single instance in koine Greek where apostasia was used to denote physical departure. That usage was only apparent almost 500 years later.
The Scriptures do not tell us there would be worldwide revival at this time. Obviously, the two witnesses will perform outstanding miracles, and command fire from heaven to consume those who would hurt them ( Rev.11:5,6 ). Their ministry covers the second half of the 70th week, but is essentially restricted to the land of Israel, especially the Holy City, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Will their ministry be duplicated in other parts of the world? There is no biblical evidence there are any others like them in other parts of the world. Admittedly, some faithful and uncompromising believers will damn the consequences and go about persuading others not to take the make of the Beast, but they will pay with their heads. Cephalizomai; they will be decapitated ( Rev.20:4 ). Assuming the pretrib rapture view is correct, believers who miss the rapture, who have been taught there will be a worldwide revival during the 70th week will be easy prey to the antiMessiah, the false prophet, and their army of charlatans and mountebanks. The Pretrib doctrine is designed by its originators to sell the saints short to the antiChrist, to render them unprepared to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation. Unfortunately sincere believers and biblical scholars and theologians are ignorantly proclaiming it.
( n ) The 70th Week: The Period Of God’s Judgment
Dr Thomas Ice believes and teaches that the 70th week is a period of God’s Judgment, and I concur. Who decides when the 70th week begins? God. Who has the seven-sealed Scroll, the Title Deed Of The Earth, and breaks the seven seals that determine the unfolding of the end time events? Jesus the Son Of God. Who announce and supervise the breaking of the seals? The cherubim, the angels of God. Who casts down Satan to the Earth from the heavenlies? Archangel Michael, the warrior angel of God. Who removes the restrainer in order that Satan’s wrath may be executed ( Dan.12:1 )? God. Satan can do nothing without permission from God. He could not tempt Job without divine permission ( Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6 ). He could not tempt Peter to sift him as wheat until Christ permitted him ( Luk.22:31,32 ). The 70th week is indeed a period of God’s Judgment. But God is not responsible for the activities of wicked men. God permits evil, but does not sanction it. God does not approve of man’s inhumanity to man. God used Assyria, “the rod of my anger” to judge the Northern Kingdom of Israel ( Isa.10:5 ). Assyria was an evil nation notorious for its cruel treatment of war captives. The prophet Habakkuk was perplexed that God could use Babylon, a nation more wicked than the Southern Kingdon of Judah to punish Judah ( Hab.1:6-13 ). God’s ways are past finding ( Rom.11:33 ). The people of the world have to be tested and fail in an ultimate sense before they can face the wrath of God. In like manner also, even the saints must be tested and pass ultimately in order to be counted worthy to escape the wrath of God. There is an on-going Judgment Of God. When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord that we may not be condemned with the unrighteous wicked. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” ( 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 ).
The first four seals of the Scroll Of Revelation are a test for saints and sinners alike to determine eligibility for exemption from the wrath of God. But Dr. Thomas Ice has equated the Judgment of God which is a much broader term, more encompassing, with the wrath of God which is more narrower, and involves the outpouring of His indignation on the unrighteous and impenitent wicked. I demure. If we judge ourselves we will not be judged. When a believer is judged of God, the ultimate goal is exemption from condemnation with the wicked. When God judges us, and He does, is He pouring out His wrath upon us because we are irreversibly and irredeemably impenitent? No. His judgment is corrective. But His Final eschatological Wrath is damnation. When a juvenile breaks the law, he is sent to the penitentiary, unlike an adult who commits a capital offense receives capital punishment. There is no correction in a death sentence except as a warning and deterrent to would-be offenders. The aim is to protect the living and damn the murderer. The final eschatological wrath of God, the bowl judgments are not corrective at all. Their targets are the Beast marked wicked earth-dwellers who are unwilling to repent even in the face of God’s severe punishment for their evils ( Rev.9:20,21, 16:9,11 ). Their goal is first physical destruction, and finally eternal damnation of the unrighteous wicked in the Lake Of Fire And Sulphur.
COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE
This article stems from the pretribulation claim that the Church is no longer mentioned after Revelation chapter 3 until Revelation chapter 19, notwithstanding the continued presence of believers, saints, martyrs, and those who continue to bear witness to Jesus during the persecution and the tribulation of the revealed beast. What could account for the narration in the book of Revelation shifting from the Churches to individual believers at the time of the End? Could it be for these reasons?
(1) A splintered Church. We have the Roman Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, Protestant Church, Anglican Church, African Church, and several others including Evangelicals. How will Jesus relate with a divided Church ?
(2) The Church today has become part of the Establishment World that is in emnity with God. Even, we that are called born again Evangelicals are now part of the United States Establishment helping to swing elections and frame policy. Any wonder the word Church takes a back seat in the middle chapters of the book of Revelation when the Beasts are on the world stage. Some of the Churches have become part of the popular culture engaging in worldly music and entertainment. It is beneficial for the Church to have political, cultural, and social influences: we are the salt of the Earth, but we Evangelicals, especially in the US, should know when to cease the romance lest we lose our savor ( Matt.513 ).
(3) In these latter days Church has come to mean various other things other than the body of Christ. It means a building, a religious service; I am going to church, it means a sect, which church do you attend? A denomination and a religion, I am a church goer.
(4) To rub it in we have a church of satan established sometime in 1971. Yes Satan is doing what it does best copying God’s finished works . All these reasons point to a loss of a reverence for the mystic word Church. Any wonder it is downplayed until the recongregation in heaven in Revelation 19 verse 7 at the marriage with Jesus. World religions including establishment christianity would be part of those preparing ground for the beast system. They will lead people to error by coercing the whole congregation along the path of apostasy. A hallmark of these churches is their disdain for eschatology and the teaching that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation. Any wonder that in these days our lord Jesus deals with individuals in church and not “church.”
Revelation 18 verse 4 seems to confirm this. Our Lord of lords speaks out and ask his peoples to come out of the Harlot system that consist of the great harlot and the daughters she spawned even though the true church is no longer here on Earth at this time and the Jewish remnants who have not taken the mark of the Beast are in protective custody in Azel. He is most probably referring to Gentiles who have not become part of the world religious system by refusal of the mark of the Beast and belief in the Messiah. The Bible uses her to describe an institution that has deep links and connection to politics and commerce. It holds great sway over peoples, nations, and tongues, and is in accord with kings, statesmen and kings of commerce, merchants of the wares of the apostate church called Babylon. What and who is this institution ? Better I leave this for more knowledgeable people like brother Avraham to discuss for another day. Suffice to say it seems to be a worldwide religious system that might have its roots in the very early mother and child religion that spawned many other religions and probably is still influential in modern day religions. Knowledge of these dynamics is helpful in the end times so we do not remain ignorant of spiritual forces that are linked to politics, commerce, and religion.
I am not writing to diminish the body of Christ the true Church. God forbid. I am writing to sensitize believers towards last days dynamics that might shift from establishment churches to individuals in the body of Christ, the true Church. The Church in these times will be buffeted from within and without and we must know when to heed the call to come out of her. Letters to the seven churches also contain admonitions to individuals and some very serious warnings.
My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 5 )
( i ) Incapacitaion Of The antiChrist.
It is biblically unjustified for anyone to teach that after the rapture, the antiChrist will arise to persecute those left behind. Shortly before the rapture, the antiChrist will be paralyzed, masterly inactivated by the cosmic disturbances and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. The only two things he will be permitted to do will be to kill the two witnesses at the expiry of their ministry at the end of the 70th week and to gather his armies for destruction 30 days later at the battle of Armageddon.
“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” ( Rev.11:7-14 ). ” And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” ( Rev.16:16 ).”
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” ( Rev.19:17-21 ).
Up until now, the restrainer is the one that hinders the antiChrist from manifesting. And the restrainer is archangel Michael according Dan.12: 1,2. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ( 2 Thess.2:7-12 ).
After the removal of the restrainer, the antiChrist will manifest and persecute the saints during the Great Tribulation. But as soon as the Lord appears in the heavens, he is masterły incapacitated. What follows is the Day Of The Lord. The antiChrist cannot persecute the saints in the Day Of The Lord because they are no longer here, and again he is incapacitated by the terrestrial and celestial disturbances. In that Day, only the Lord is exalted. In that Day the haughtiness of men and the loftiness man shall be bowed down. In that Day, men shall throw away their idols, the demonized images of the Beast which they have made for themselves to worship in their homes, offices and cars, being instructed by the enforcer, the second Beast, also called the false prophet ( Rev.13:14 ), to the moles and the bats to hide in the rocks and mountains from the glory of the Lord and his majesty when He arises to shake terribly the Earth ( Is.2:8-18 ).
( j ) The antiChrist Cannot Persecute The Believers After The Rapture
The reason why the antiChrist cannot persecuted the saints after the rapture is two fold. Firstly, there are no saints to persecute. The believers have been raptured, taken to heaven. Anyone in the Church who is unbranded with the Mark Of The Beast and left behind is not a true believer in Jesus Christ. The one has been a false believer all along. The 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed for protection and hidden in the modern day red rose city of Petra which is biblical Sela, a very difficult terrain to access. In New Testament times, it was called Pella. It is in the Edomite wilderness which is in modern day Jordan ( Rev.7:1-8 ). Even during the outpouring of the bowls, the newly saved remnant of Israel are hidden in Azel ( Zech.14:5 ). No one knows the location of Azel. It is an undisclosed location being unmentioned in biblical times either in the land of Israel or anywhere else in biblical history and geography.
Secondly, the antiChrist will be masterly inactivated by the cosmic and celestial disturbances ( Rev.6:12-14; Matt.24:39-30 ), and by the brightness of Christ’s Coming ( 2 Thess.2:8 ). The only two groups of people left on Earth unprotected at that time will be branded followers of the antiChrist, both Jews and Gentiles who will be the majority, and unbranded Gentiles and Jews, the minority. We come to this understanding through the process of elimination. Remember that during the first part of the wrath of God, the trumpet judgments ( Rev.8,9 ), all the inhabitants of the Earth are targeted including the surviving unbranded remnants of Israel. This is to purify them. Only one-third of the Jewish population which enter the 70th week of Daniel will survive ( Zech.13:8 ). Every Jew who survived the 70th week unbranded will be automatically saved because Israel have been purged, purified, and cleansed by the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s trouble ( Jer.30:7 ), and her sin atoned for. Because by the end of the 70th week, her transgression is finished, her sin ended, and reconciliation made for her iniquity ( Dan.9:24 ). And then they will look upon Him whom they pierced and mournful Him as one mourneth for his only son when they see that their Messiah has nail pierced hands.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.” ( Zech.12:10-14 ).
The only ones exempted from the trumpet judgment are the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel ( Rev.7:1-8 ). The branded followers of the antiChrist will be the object of God’s wrath in the bowls, being specifically targeted ( Rev.16,17,18,19 ). The unbranded Gentile unbelievers will not be specifically targeted in the bowl judgments. Any hurt they incur will be collateral damage. By the way, it is the unbranded Gentiles who survive the wrath of God that will appear at the sheep and goat judgment ( Matt.35:31-46 ). The sheep will be justified to repopulate the Earth in the Millennium alongside the saved remnant of Israel ( Rom.11:25 26 ). The goats will be executed and banished to Hell. We can see the enormity of the teaching that some believers will be left behind after the rapture to face the antiChrist. There are no two Great Tribulations, but one which occurs beginning from the midpoint of the 70th week before the rapture of the Church. After the rapture is the wrath of God which is contained in the seventh seal. The breaking of the seventh seal which occurs on the same day the Church is raptured opens into the wrath of God consisting of the 7 trumpets and 7 bowls.
( k ) Pretrib Rapture: Harvest before Maturation
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus is the Master who showed the good seed ( Matt.13:37 ). The good seed are the children of the kingdom ( 38a ). The tares are the children of the wicked one ( 38b ). The wicked one is the Devil ( 39a ). Because in the early stages of growth, the tares look like the real wheat, it will be virtually impossible for the angelic reapers to separate the tares from the wheat ( 29 ). Therefore they must be allowed to grow together until maturation when the tares are clearly distinguishable from the real wheat ( 30 ). When they are ripe, the farmer harvests the tares first, bundles them into heaps at the edges of the farm to be burned later after the harvest of the real wheat ( 42 ). Jesus makes it clear the harvest is the end of the ages, and the reapers are the angels ( 39b ). As we have shown, the end of the ages occurs after the Great Tribulation and the terrestrial and celestial disturbances which interrupt the Great Tribulation. The wheat and the tares come to maturation during the Great Tribulation when the tares are marked for destruction with the mark of the Beast during the day of the Lord. Without the Great Tribulation, the angelic reapers cannot distinguish the tares from the wheat. The tares will be burned in the day of the Lord which occurs at the end of the ages. This is the message of the third angel: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” ( Rev.14:9-12 ).
There is no separation before the Great Tribulation. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the Great Tribulation is to separate the wheat from the tares in order to enable the angelic reapers to conduct the harvest of the real wheat. When the marking of the tares is complete during the Great Tribulation, and the full complement of the saints to be martyred is reached, God cuts short the Great Tribulation with the sign given in the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Then the Shekinah appears in the heavens as Jesus descends to the sky from the Heaven with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. The angelic reapers can now do their job of reaping the real wheat, the true believers who not only believe in Jesus but have not the mark of the Beast. This is the Prewrath Rapture Of The Church. Thereafter, the wrath of God begins in the Day Of The Lord at The End Of The Ages which corresponds with the breaking of the seventh seal. This same sequence of events occurs in Rev.14. The third angel announces the wrath of God on those with the mark of the Beast. This is followed by the final harvest in two stages. First the real wheat are harvested into the barn ( Rev.14:14-16 ). This is followed by the second harvest which is the wrath of God on the unrighteous wicked ( Rev.14:17-20 ). It ends in a bloodbath at Armageddon. The height of blood reaches up to the horse bridle, about 1.5 meters, and covers a distance of about 188 kilometers. The Armageddon Campaign begins in the vicinity of Jerusalem with the remnants of the armies of the nations surrounding Israel who are part of the Eight Beast Empire involved in the Jehoshaphat Campaign which occurs shortly before the amputation of the Great Tribulation, and ends in a final bloodbath involving the armies of all the nations of the Earth on Mount Megiddo in the valley of Esdraelon approximately 188 km north of Israel.
The Pretrib Rapture Position teaches harvest before maturation which Jesus says is impossible in both the parables of the ten virgins and the wheat and the tares. The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church is in consonance with the clear unforced interpretation of the parable of the Ten Virgins And The Wheat And The Tares. Jesus interpreted these parables Himself. We have added nothing to His interpretations of the parables. We have simply analyzed His interpretations and applied it to the eschatological timeline. The result is obvious to any honest exegete of the word of God. For further clarification see my article on the parable of the wheat and the tares, https://mtzionheritage.com/the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-the-tares/.
Reaction To The Debate Between Dr. Tommy Ice And Alan Kurschner Titled: The Church Will Face The AntiChrist Before The Rapture ( 2 )
In my earlier response to the debate as to whether the Church will face the Antichrist ( AC ), I reacted to only two positions of the Pretribs ( PT ) as championed by Dr. Tomas Ice. Link: https://mtzionheritage.com/reaction-to-the-debate-between-dr-tommy-Ice-and-alan-kurschner-titled-the-church-will-face-the-antichrist-before-the-rapture/.
Our brother Dr. Avraham Shallom has on many occasions discussed many PT assertions on this blogsite. I will give a number of interpretations of scriptures that emanate from Dr. Tommy Ice’s nonscriptural interpretations but classical dispensational construct as seen in the debate.
( 1 ) Keeping Us From The Hour Of Testing ( Rev.3:10 )
Dr. Tommy Ice and other PTs have taken non-eschatological scriptures and used them to position the rapture before the AC appears on the world stage. An example is the letter to the Philadelphian Church in Rev.3:10 which says believers shall be kept from the hour of testing that will come upon all earth-dwellers. But Jesus our Lord specifically said in John 17:15 that He is not going to take belivers out of the world in order for them to escape Satan’s persecution, but that He will keep us from the evil one while we remain in the world. This promise is reiterated in Rev.3:10. Their insistence on their position that “keep from” infers rapture leads to a contradiction of scriptures.
Also in saying that the Olivet Discourse is for the left behind Jews, they negate Jesus’ saying to Peter ( cephas ), “….upon this revelation to Peter- the Rock, will I build My Church.” The Olivet Discourse is revelation for the Church as much as observing the Last Supper is for the Church. No dichotomy in audience as introduced by Pretribbers’ dispensational interpretation.
( 2 ) A 3-Stage Return Of Jesus
Again, the return of Christ as narrated by the scriptures is one continuous event. But the Pretribs say there are two stages. If we follow their line of argument, there will be indeed three stages.
The first is their unreported rapture of the saints somewhere before Matt.24:31. Then, in Matt.24:31, He is coming for the Jews and gathering them from the four winds in the sky. This is their second coming.
Then touch down as narrated in Matt.25:31. So, we have a 3-stage return of Christ, a consequence of the Pretrib position for rejecting Matt.24:31 as the rapture of the Church.
( 3 ) The Elect
Another interesting misinterpretation of the scripture concerns the word elect used by our Lord in Matt.24:22. Here our Lord promised the abortion of the Great Tribulation for the sake and survival of the elect facing persecution by the AC. This scripture from the Master Himself answers the debate question- will the Church face the Antichrist before the rapture? Need we say anymore? Dr. Tommy Ice says by “elect” Jesus was referring to the Jews and not the Church. To defend this interesting view, he deploys Rom.11:7. Unfortunately for his position this verse confirms that the “elect” are those saved by grace, the very Church itself.
True, the word elect was used for Israel in Isa.45:4, but on Israel’s national rejection of Jesus, the word is now used to describe those who accept Jesus as there Lord and Saviour, both Jews and gentiles. The word now stands for those chosen by grace-that is the Church.
( 4 ) Apostasy
Dr. Tommy Ice wants us to change the meaning of the word apostasy as used in 2 Thess.2 so as to fit into the PT positioning of the rapture. It now means departure into heaven-a spatial departure, not a departure from the faith, the great falling away. With this new interpretation the whole of 2 Thess.2:3-10 reads something like this “…… our gathering together ( rapture ) will not happen until two events take place; “The spatial departure ( rapture ), and the appearing of the son of perdition in the temple….” Thus saying “The rapture will not take place until the rapture takes place…” What incoherence! All to prop up a lie and deception.
( 5 ) Tribulation saints ( TS )
This is a phrase coined and introduced by Pretribs to address Rev.7:11, a description not used by the Apostles including John the revelator. The consequence of using this new appellation is that there are now two sets of saints.
( 1 ) The raptured saints ( 1st class );
( 2 ) The Tribulation saints ( 2nd class ), who did not make the PT perceived rapture being unworthy believers, and had to overcome the Great Tribulation.
Unfortunately, the answer to the question the angel posed to John Rev.7: is NOT “these are Tribulation Saints,” but “… these are the ONES who came out of the Great Tribulation.
A word of advice for the Pretribs. Please read Rev.22. It says we are not to add to or deduct words from what was revealed to John. The phrase Tribulation saints does not appear in the Book of Revelation nor anywhere else in the Bible for that matter. Stop using it.
( 6 ) Sea Of Glass As Raptured Saints
These absurdities continue. A new one, not from Dr. Tommy Ice, in response to why the raptured Church is not seen in the heavenly Throne Room in the heavenly scene in Rev.4,5 when Apostle John the revelator was called up to heaven where he saw the 24 elders ( some say they represent the Church ), and the 4 winged creatures, if the rapture took place in Rev.4:1. Some pretribs say the sea of glass before the throne in heaven is the raptured Church. From these assumptions, we see the inconsistency of the proponents of the Pretrib rapture position having to borrow scriptures and twists their meaning to suit their Pretrib rapture position. Note, we all agree there is going to be rapture, but the question is WHEN? Before or after the Great Tribulation, meaning also, before or after the appearance of the Antichrist on the world stage.
This is unlike the Prewrath rapture position espoused by Alan E. Kurschner which rests on the sayings of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in Matt.24:29, and 2 Thess.2:1-3 respectively. In support of these two scriptures, we are able to draw from the following scriptures in the Book of Revelation that says the Antichrist and his false prophet tortured and martyred the saints who were alive during the Great Tribulation ( Rev.6:9, 7:14, 13:7, 15:2, 17:6 ). They were never described as “Tribulation saints”to distinguish them from the “Raptured Saints” of the Pretribs.
Prewrathers never go out of the scriptures to say the Church will still be very much around to face the Antichrist and endure to the end, be it death or rapture, the final onslaught of Satan against the Church of God. This is unlike Pretribs who have to allegorize scripture verses and use both dispensational theology and convoluted reasoning to support their submission that the Church would have been raptured before the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation.
We see that believers are largely entrenched in their Pretrib position. This is foretold by our Lord Jesus the Christ that at the end of times, a spirit of deception will be in the air. Four times in the Olivet Discourse, He warned, “…. do not be deceived….” so also did the Holy Spirit warn us in 2 Thessalonians that we should not be deceived. The apostasia confirms that some believers will depart from the faith in Christ Jesus. This means that there is hardly room for sitting on the fence for the last generation of the saints.
How do confused believers or all believers deal with this? Interestingly, the Lord Jesus our God anticipated this scenario and gave us the parable of the ten virgins- Matt.25, placed right between Matt.24:31 and 25:31. Which of the two positions represent wise virgins? This I leave to each one of us to meditate through and determine how they prepare with the help of the Holy Spirit for our Lord’s return.
Dr. Olugbenga Jaiyesimi.
Will The Church Be Taken Away Before The antiChrist Appears?
RAPTURE!!! WILL THE CHURCH BE TAKEN AWAY BEFORE THE ANTICHRIST APPEARS?
This is one of the toughest questions that confront believers in relation to the end-time. Our interpretation of the sequence of end-time events varies widely, and has become a strong point of contention and, at times, division.
There are three distinct schools of thought on when the saints will join Jesus in His triumphant entry into the world. These are Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation, and Post-tribulation. The Pre-tribulation interpretation says believers will join Him BEFORE the tribulation period starts. Mid-tribulationists posit that this event will occur in the MIDDLE of the tribulation; while Post-tribulationists believe that believers will go through the entire period of tribulation with the unbelieving world. Three totally different concepts – yet all three groups support their interpretation with copious reference to Scriptures!
So, which interpretation is correct? The confusion does not even end there. It is also evident in the varied interpretation given to the 1,000-year reign of Christ, commonly called the Millennial Reign (Revelation 20:1-6). Here, again, we have three clearly different viewpoints. We have the Premillennialists that believe Jesus will return to the earth physically to commence the Millennial Reign. We also have Postmillennialists that believe Jesus will not come until the preaching of the Gospel has taken root all over the society, influencing the conduct of humanity towards godliness. Then there are the Amillennialists that say the Millennial Reign is not a literal 1,000 year-period, but just a metaphor for a long period. They believe we are currently in that period, with Christ reigning from heaven and His saints reigning on earth today. Three widely-different interpretations, same Bible.
Before we move on, here is one more area of divergent opinions about the end-time. Many Christians believe that the Antichrist is a human being that will literally rule the world on behalf of Satan. But there is also a huge number of mainstream believers that say the Antichrist is not a person, but a global system that is actively opposed to God and His ways on earth. Both groups cling tenaciously to their positions, supported with Bible passages.
These examples show the quantum of confusion that abounds among believers as we approach the close of the age. This confusion is DEFINITELY not God’s will for His Church! On the contrary, God actually wants us to know His programme for the end-time. We can deduce this from His words in Revelation 22:10 when He instructed Apostle John: “… SEAL NOT the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” Please contrast this with the instruction given in Daniel 12:9, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are CLOSED UP AND SEALED till the time of the end”.
So, if God wants us to have a clear understanding of end-time prophecies, why is there so much confusion in our midst? Why has the Book of Revelation become a closed, mysterious, confusing book to us? I’ll suggest an answer to this question in a minute. But, first, let’s look at a related subject.
The end-time events that are written in the Scriptures are ENCODED in what we call prophecies. Prophecies are A REVELATION OF THE MIND OF GOD for the future. To have a clear understanding of prophecy is to understand THE MIND OF GOD. The purpose of God. The will of God.
A thorough understanding of prophecy is usually a product of INTIMACY WITH GOD. God unveils His mind to those that are close to His heart – usually through revelation. It is revelation that breeds understanding and accurate interpretation of prophecies. Without this revelation that springs directly from God ALONE, man can never fully understand and accurately interpret prophecies by diligent study, scholarship, or permutation. All such attempts will ALWAYS lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding of prophecies.
One of the most classic examples of this is found in John 7:52 when the elders of Israel said, “… Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Of course, with the benefit of hindsight we all know today that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, Galilee! It was a series of such misunderstanding of prophecies that led the Jewish priests/elders to kill the Messiah the whole nation had been expecting for thousands of years! This is despite the fact that they had hundreds of both direct and veiled prophecies about Him! This is how dangerous it could be to mis-interpret prophecies. Wrong interpretation may lead to wrong expectations and wrong outcomes.
To take this a step further, we’ll recall that it was not until AFTER the death and resurrection of Christ that His disciples FULLY UNDERSTOOD most of the prophecies about Him. After He had come and gone! This is how delicate prophecies can be, requiring great humility for revelation, for understanding. An understanding that flows from intimacy with God.
Collectively, it is this intimacy with God that our generation of believers lack today. We have lost the true essence of discipleship that separates a believer from the world and binds Him to Christ as a single unit. Our lip-confession of Jesus has deepened in this generation, while our FOLLOWERSHIP of Him has become more shallow and superficial. We are just like our Laodicean brethren – poor, wretched, naked, blind, and miserable (Revelation 3:17).
Yet, in spite of our spiritual condition, we want to understand prophecy! We want to understand the mind and programme of God for this MOST SIGNIFICANT period in human history. It won’t work! God is not mocked. Spiritual understanding is a product of intimacy and submission, not a fruit of religious curiosity.
When we truly understand this point, humility will set in. And this humility will cause us to re-order our priorities. Will cause us to place A PREMIUM VALUE on focussing on deepening our intimacy with God through Jesus Christ. As this happens, and grows, prophecies that appear to be veiled will begin to speak to us clearly. Then shall we truly understand God’s mind for this end-time.
Until that time, our conflicting interpretation of end-time prophecies will remain a religious speculation that raises more questions than it answers. For example, our brethren that postulate that GENUINE believers will be on earth during the reign of the Antichrist may be overlooking the significance of the EXTREME HORROR of that period. It is the FULNESS OF THE HOUR OF DARKNESS. The hour of Satan. The culmination of all his endeavour on earth. The zenith of his kingdom, and of his reign over the people that have chosen him instead of Christ.
Definitely, believers did not sign up for the fullness of this evil kingdom. And it is doubtful that God will inflict it upon His ransomed Church. For this period is also a period of the expression of the fullness of God’s wrath against a rebellious world. An aspect of the wrath that Jesus came to save believers from.
Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will catch both the world AND lukewarm believers like a thief in the night. The suddenness of His arrival is a fundamental hallmark of His coming. This is why the Bible repeatedly urges believers to be ready AT ALL TIMES for His arrival. This warning would have been totally unnecessary if believers would be in the world during the reign of the Antichrist. For once the Antichrist arrives, it will be clear to all that the return of Jesus will be just around the corner. The surprise element that the Bible emphasises about His return will be largely gone!
These and similar points cast a shadow on both the Post-tribulation and Mid-tribulation interpretations. But even the Pre-tribulation position, as plausible as it may sound, also has quite a number of significant sticky points in its interpretation.
In reality, the sequence of events in the end-time may actually be a combination of some elements of the three interpretations, or it may also be totally different from what we think. Only God knows the truth 100%. And as we focus our minds on becoming more intimate with Him, He’ll tell us what He wants us to know, when He wants us to know it.
Thus, it is NOT the understanding of the sequence of events that really matters – but our intimacy with the Organiser of the sequence of events. He has told us the MOST IMPORTANT thing about the sequence – and it is this: BE READY AT ALL TIMES.
If we follow this simple, clear instruction that requires no interpretation, we’ll be absolutely fine!!! For if we are TRULY READY and waiting for Him, He’ll take us to Himself as He said. It will NOT matter if this is before the tribulation, in the middle of it, or even after it. The important thing is to be ready for ALL EVENTUALITIES.
As we prioritise this earnest pursuit of intimacy with God, who knows what could happen? Indeed, it may please the Lord to open our understanding of the prophecies and give us clarity. Or, He may choose to keep our hearts and mind focussed on the majestic King that could descend in glory AT ANY TIME. The King that we are eagerly awaiting.
“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:40). Key words – ‘at an hour when ye think not’.
May His imminent arrival, like a thief in the night, be the culmination of our blessed hope of His reign of peace and love. May we be in the number that will reign with Him in glory. Amen.
Thanks for reading, God bless you.
The above is an anonymous WhatsApp post that found its way to our WhatsApp group. Below is my critique and rebuttal of this anonymous post.
“Will the Church be taken away before the antiChrist appears?” The author says this is the toughest question that confronts believers in relation to the end time. This is an assumption by the author because the Scriptures are clear the Church will be here during part of the reign of the antiChrist. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ). Our brother Apostle Paul makes it clear in his second Epistle to the Thesssalonians that That Day, that is the day in which the rapture will occur will not come until two events occur, vix, ( 1 ) the revelation of the man of sin and ( 2 ) the apostasy or the falling away from the Faith. The falling away from the faith will be precipitated by the unveiling of the antiChrist in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This event occurs precisely in the middle of the 70th week. Our Lord Jesus the Christ in His Olivet Discourse also told His disciples that His Coming ( parousia ) to gather His elect will occur after the Tribulation of those days. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see 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 from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matthew 24:29-31 ).
The same Apostle Paul told us in his first Epistle to the Corinthians that our gathering together unto the Lord will occur when Christ descends from heaven with the trump of God and the voice of the archangel. “Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” ( 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ). The other classical rapture passage in 1 Thess.4:14-18 tells us also that the rapture will happen when Christ descends from heaven with the voice of the archangel. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” The Coming of the Lord to evacuate the saints from siege occurs after the unveiling of the antiChrist and the amputation of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist with cosmic disturbances. In The mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established ( 2 Cor.13:1 ) . So, how is this the toughest question when the Scriptures have given us the answer? The confusion concerning the timing of the rapture is created by the Devil and his gang to obfuscate the minds of those who are ignorant of the Scriptures.
The author says, “ our interpretation of the sequence of events varies widely, and has become a strong point of contention and, at times, division.” This observation is true, but it arises majorly out of ignorance of the Scriptures, and the presence of the agents of Satan who are hell bent on causing divisions, fractions, and shims amongst us.
The author talks about three views of the rapture. I do not know when this piece was written. However, it could not have been over 20 years ago. There are now about five views of the rapture: Pretrib, Midtrib, Posttrib, Prewrath, and the Partial rapture theory. The latest of them is the Prewrath Rapture Position which was proposed jointly by Robert Van Campen and Marvin J. Rosenthal in 1990 when Marvin J.Rosenthal first published his book, “The Pre-wrath Rapture Of The Church.” Yes, they are all totally different concepts. The proponents try to support them with Scriptures. However, some of these Scriptures are taken out of context or totally misinterpreted.
The author went about to liken the confusion about the timing of the rapture to the varied meillennial views. Amillennialism and postmillennialism have been discredited both by the Scriptures as well as history. There are very few theologians and biblical scholars that hold these views today. By far the largest view of the rapture in the Church is Pretrib. All pretribs are premeillennialists as are all midtribs, posttribs, prewrathers, and partial rapture theorists. It is not possible to hold any of these views and be amillennialist or postmillennialist. Anyone who holds any of these views, must believe in the literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. The author says, “three widely-different interpretations, same Bible.” The reason is very simple, the God of this age is not asleep.
The author went on to say also that though majority of believers believe in a literal antiChrist, there are some that believe he is just a global system that is antiGod. There is no confusion as to whether the antiChrist is a literal person or not. The Scriptures in so many words state that he is. Let us consider the following Scriptures:
“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” ( John 5:43 ). Her Jesus told the leaders of the nation of Israel that He has come in Father’s Name, but they did not receive Him. If another comes in his own name, him they will receive. He was referring to the antiChrist. This is a literal person, not some abstract political system. Just as Jesus was a literal person so will the antiChrist be a literal person. This world leader will force Israel to make a peace agreement with its hostile Arab neighbors. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” ( Daniel 9:27 ). The he that shall make a peace pact with Israel is a literal person not some political system that is antiGod. The prophet Isaiah warned the nation of Israel not to trust in this man whose breath is in his nostrils. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” ( Isaiah 2:22 ). The antiChrist will be human; his breath is in his nostrils. Although he is also described in the Scriptures in other worldly terms like Sheol ( Hell ), Lies, death, and falsehood, he is nonetheless human. “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” ( Isaiah 28:14-15, 18 ).
He is also described as a beast. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” ( Revelation 13:1 ). This beast shall make war with the saints and overcome them. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” ( Revelation 13:7 ). He has an enforcer, the second Beast also called the false prophet who is also human. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” ( Revelation 13:11-12 ).
To be human means that a spirit being lives in mortal body of man and is subject to its limitations. In that case Jesus is human. But we know he is more than human. The antiChrist is also more than human. There are some mysteries about him. He shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition. “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” ( Revelation 17:8 ). He had lived on Earth before and ruled one of the seven previous Beast Empires of Satan. “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” ( Revelation 17:9-11 ). He shall arise out of the bottomless pit to rule over the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan. He is the beast that was and is not, and shall rise out of the bottomless pit. He shall go into perdition, that is return to the bottomless pit.
He shall sit in the Temple Of God displaying himself as God. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ). This is not a system but a person. He is the man of sin. His coming is after the working of Satan with signs and lying wonders. The antiChrist will perform miracles, signs and wonders in order to try to authenticate his claim to messiahship and deceive the true believers. “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 ). He is the wicked one who shall be unveiled in the Temple of God. For further elucidation on the person of the antiChrist, see my article “the antiChrist.” Link: https://mtzionheritage.com/the-antichrist/. There should be no confusion about the person of the antiChrist except such as are created my men. There are numerous facts in the Scriptures that point to the person of the antiChrist.
The author points out there is quantum of confusion amongst believers with regards to the end times. He rightly also observes and indicates that these confusions are not from God. God is not the author of confusion ( 1 Cor.14:33 ). The confusion is definitely not God’s will for His Church. He rightly also points out that God wants us to know His programme for the end times. God’s word concerning the end times is not sealed ( Rev.22:10 ). It is open to be understood by those who have the Spirit of God. The seven-sealed Scroll in Rev.5 is not the Bible per se. It is the tittle deed of the Earth in the Throne Room Of The Temple Of God in Heaven. It is only Jesus the Son Of God who is the heir apparent to the throne of the earthly domain of God’s Universal Kingdom that has the power and authority to break the seals and open the Scroll ( Rev.5:5,6 ). He will do so in heaven beginning from the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel. For yet a little while, and He that will come will come and will not tarry ( Heb.10:37 ).
He says the events of the end times are encoded in prophecies. This is not exactly true. The OT prophecies concerning end time events are plain except in cases where allegories and metaphors are used. This kind of teaching means that biblical prophecy is only understandable to those who have access to the so called codes. Anyone can study biblical prophecy and come to a fairly good understanding of it. There is form, context and setting involved in prophecy. These prophecies are given in a particular culture, context and setting. Studying Jewish culture and language will greatly inform and enhance our understanding of biblical prophecy in the OT and understanding koine Greek will enhance our understanding of NT prophecies. Intimacy with Jesus is very vital as he said. A combination of these two facts are required, biblical scholarship and intimacy with the Holy Spirit who is the best teacher and interpreter of the Scriptures.
Yes, the Jewish elders misunderstood who Jesus is. They were looking for a conquering Messiah, Messiah ben David, not a suffering Messiah, Messiah Ben Joseph. Although Jesus is both, but He did not play both roles at the same time. He had to suffer first, and be rejected of men, both Jews and Gentiles. He made some valid point with regards to the lukewarmness that is prevalent in the Church in our day. However, in every generation there is always a remnant. I believe there is a remnant amongst the saints that are in intimately fellowship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. Humility is a paramount quality in His presence. It is an exhibit to enter into His presence. All believers have right of passage into His presence. We can avail ourselves of it. Our understanding of the Scriptures is not static but progressive. As we grow in the knowledge of Him, our understanding of Him grows pari passu with our understanding of the prophetic Scriptures.
This author has made a very valid point in our understanding of the prophetic scriptures. But he turned round and appealed to human emotions, fear of suffering and persecution as reasons why the believers will not be here on Earth during the reign of terror by the antiChrist. Does the fact that the Great Tribulation is the fullness of Satan’s evil kingdom exclude believers from his reign of terror. He says, “definitely believers did not sign up for it.” It is written: “he that endure to the end ( of the ages ) shall be saved” ( Matt.10:22 ). And Jesus promised to be with us till the end of the ages ( Matt.28:20 ). The end of the ages is the point at which Christ begins to bring to an end the rule of Satan over the earthly domain of God’s Universal Kingdom. What is it then that the believers did not sign up for the worst of satanic rule when Christ admonished us that it is those who endure to the end of satanic rule that will be saved? This guy who has given us excellent analysis of what it takes to understand the prophetic Scriptures has turned round and said something that contradicts Christ promise to be with us till the end of Satan’s rule and reign of evil over the Earth. This is deliberate deception. He says God will not inflict Satan’s reign of evil on the Church. Is God responsible for the reign of Satan? Will God be held accountable for the atrocities committed under Satanic rule? Is God responsible for the horrors perpetrated by the antiChrist? He also contradicts himself by superimposing God’s wrath on Satan’s reign of terror. This is a deliberate error for theological convenience by pretribs in order to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel. By the way, who is Satan antagonizing? The saints or his own followers? He says Jesus has come to save us from an aspect of His wrath. This is also half truth. We are not appointed unto God’s wrath ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). This guy like all pretribs has not rightly divided the word of God. He has not distinguished the wrath of Satan from the wrath of God ( Rev.12:12 ). They are two different things and mutually exclusive. Satan wrath is directed against the saints of the Most High whilst God’s wrath is directed against Satan and his minions. This is the usual thing amongst Pretrib teachers, confusion of the wrath of Satan with the wrath of God for theological convenience.
He says, “furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will catch both the world and lukewarm believers like a thief in the light.” This is absolutely correct. Then he follows with “the suddenness of His arrival is a fundamental hallmark of His Coming.” Is this correct? In relation to whom? He continues, “this is why the Bible repeatedly urges all believers to be ready at all times for His arrival.” This is also correct, but why? Because any generation of believers may be called upon to enter the 70th week to experience the horrors of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist. This is expectancy not imminence. He concludes, “this warning would have been totally unnecessary if believers would be in the world during the reign of the antiChrist.” Wrong inference. He infers again that once the antiChrist arrives, it will be clear to all that the return of Jesus is around the corner, and that the surprise element that the Bible emphasizes about His return will be largely gone. Another baldadash. Does the presence of the antiChrist in the world eliminate the surprise element of Christ’s return in relation to the world and lukewarm believers? Is the world expecting the coming Christ? Does knowing the general time period of His Coming mean the same thing as knowing the day and the hour? Even the majority of the believers who are ignorant of the prophetic Scriptures will not recognize the antiChrist until his unveiling in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem at the midpoint of the 70th week. For the first three and one-half years of the 70th week, the antiChrist will be veiled. Until he reveals or unveils himself as a dead man come back to life who had ruled over one of the seven previous Beast Empires of Satan, most believers even the Jews who made Covenant Of Peace with him will not recognize him as the antiMessiah. That is why it will be terrifying for them to understand the report.
He says that the points he has marshaled out so far cast shadows on the midtrib and posttrib rapture positions. That’s right. Both are biblically inaccurate though certain elements of them are true. To appear even and fair he acknowledges that even the Pretrib position, as plausible as it may sound in his own estimation, has also quite a number of sticky points in its interpretation. The Pretrib Rapture position as well as midtrib and posttrib are not explicit teaching of the Scriptures. The Bible does not in so many words state any of these. The proof of the Pretrib Rapture Position is logically invalid and unconvincing.
This guy who seems to be so convinced that the Pretrib is the biblical accurate rapture position turns round again and makes a true statement. “In reality, the sequence of events of the end-time may actually be a combination of some elements of the three interpretations, or it may also be totally different from what we think. This is absolute correct. None of these three views are biblically accurate although some elements of them are biblically founded and defensible. The Prewrath Rapture Position which combines these three biblically accurate elements in addition to the missing element in these views is the biblically accurate rapture view. The rapture chair has fours legs as illustrated by Dr. Charles Cooper. Link: http://www.solagroup.org/articles/endtimes/et_0004.html. These legs can be represented by the acronym EDDA.
E: Exemption from from the wrath of God. The Church is exempted from the wrath of God ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). This is the only merit that Pretrib has. Unfortunately, it starts the wrath of God from the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel which biblically inaccurate and indefensible. The wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances and the coming of Elijah, the herald of Coming ( Joel 2:30-32; Mal.4:5,6 ).
D: Distinction of the wrath of God from the wrath of Satan ( Rev.12:12; 8-9, 16-20 ). Pretrib fails on this count. The other two views, midtrib and posttrib qualify.
D: Distinction of the Great Tribulation from the eschatological Day Of The Lord. Both Pretrib and Midtrib rapture views fail on this count. Posttrib Rapture Position qualifies.
A: Amputation of Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation will be cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal. All three views, the Pretrib, the Midtrib, and the Posttrib fail on this count. It is only the Prewrath Rapture Position that qualifies on all four counts. For further elucidation see my article, Rapture Views. Link: https://mtzionheritage.com/rapture-views/.
He continues, “only God knows the truth 100%. And as we focus our minds on becoming more intimate with Him, He’ll tell us what He wants us to know when He wants us to know it.” These statements are true, but applying it to the study of the prophetic Scriptures breeds indolence. We must continue to search the Scriptures, and as we do, our understanding improves. Knowledge is not static but progressive. Again the logos is not subservient to the rhema. The logos is the Gold standard. Whatever we hear must be subjected to the written logos. There is no new revelation to be added to the Scriptures, but we can have better understanding as we study the logos.
Our brother says that it is not the understanding of the sequence of events that really matters- but our intimacy with the organizer of the sequence of events. This is also half truth. Both are important. If the sequence of events were unimportant why did our Lord Jesus teach it His disciples in the Olivet Discourse in Matt.24 and also in the Scroll Of Revelation given to Apostle John on the Island Of Patmos? Why would Jesus repeat this sequence of events in greater details to John the apocalyptist in the Scroll Of Revelation after over sixty years ( 30-96 AD )? It is because it is very important, and of utmost importance to believers who find themselves in the last seven years of this age. There is a simple rule in prioritizing facts of the Bible. If it is spoken once, it is important. If it is repeated twice, it is very important, if is repeated three times or more, it is of utmost importance. The sequence of events of the end times is of utmost importance being repeated more three times in Matthew, Mark, Luke,First Epistle Of Peter, Paul’s letters to the Thesssalonians, and the Scroll of Revelation. So also our intimacy with our Lord Jesus the Christ. Our intimacy with Christ should lead us to understand the sequence of events of the end times.
Our brother continues his admonition, “ He has told us the Most important thing about the sequence-and it is this: Be ready at all times.” Yes, anyone of us could be called upon of Heaven at any moment to give account of ourselves to God. We should not be foolish like the rich fool who said to himself: l have ample goods laid down for many years. I will say to my soul rejoice. But that very night his life was require of him ( Luk.12:13-21 ). But how can we be ready if we do not know the times and the seasons. Proper understanding of the sequence of events of the end times fuels our preparedness and readiness.
Our brother now commits a very egregious error. He tells us “if we follow this simple, clear instruction that requires no interpretation, we’ll be absolutely fine!!! For if we are truly ready and waiting for Him, He’ll take us to Himself as He said. It will not matter if this is before the tribulation, in the middle of it, or even after it. The important thing is to be ready for all eventualities.” I have heard this mantra several times before from pantribulationists. One told me, just live right, you will be raptured whenever the rapture takes place. They will not tell us the condition under which the rapture will take place. How can a soldier be ready for the battle his commanding officer or general has told him he will not have to fight? Which athlete trains hard for a major tournament in which he will not compete? Which student prepares very hard for an examination his professor has told him he will not have to write at the end of his course? Sports officianados do not win trophies. It is the athletes who train very hard and compete that win gold medals at the Olympic. If for earthly and perishable trophies which are temporal men train so hard, how much more heavenly trophies which are eternal. One pastor refused to sit at one of our meetings. He said he is a preacher of righteousness. All you have to do is to live right, and you will be raptured when the rapture takes place. Sounds pious, doesn’t it? He refuses to study biblical prophecies and teaches his congregants to do the same. Will that day not overtake him and his ilk unawares even though they live right supposedly?
Our brother continues to admonish us to prioritize intimacy with Jesus which is good. He is not sure what will happen. What is the essence of studying biblical prophecy? Is not that we may know what will happen? Is it not that we may know the times and the seasons. If we do not know what will happen, we are then passive observers of time. Christ may open our understanding of the prophecies and give clarity. I know exactly what will happen. He will help us to understand biblical prophecy, more so as we approach the last seven years of this age. We must focus our minds on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith ( Heb.12:2 ). Then he quotes this Scripture, “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when he think not ( Luk.12:40 ). Yes, the hour we think not, not the general time period the Scriptures have revealed. This Scripture does not in any way negate the fact that we can know the general time period of His Coming. We may not know the day and the hour ( Matt.24:36 ) but if we are prepared and observant we can see when the fig tree begins to bud ( Matt.24:32-35 ). When the fig tree begins to bud, we know that Summer is near. The fig tree is a sign of approximation. When it begins to bud, we know that Summer is near. When the sequence of events given by Christ in the Olivet Discourse and the Scroll Of Revelation begin to unfold, we know that His parousia draweth nigh. That generation shall not pass away till these things be fulfilled. The generation of believers that shall witness the peace treaty between Israel and the Man of sin, shall enter the 70th week of Daniel to witness the horrors of the Great Tribulation, and be raptured when the Great Tribulation is cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal.
He concludes with an invocation of His imminent arrival. Will the coming of Christ to rapture the saints be imminent? No. Imminence means no prophesied event needs occur before the rapture can take place. In other words, the rapture will be signless and can occur at any moment. This is a blatant lie. The rapture will be preceded by the Great Tribulation and the cosmic and celestial disturbances that amputate the Great Tribulation ( Matt.24:29-31; Rev.6:12-17, 7:9-17 ).
The author is one of those smart pretribs. He argues as though he is for none of the views, trying to find out a mediating position, but at the same time passing off his pretrib position. See how he manipulates th element of suddenness and Christ coming like a thief in the night, but fails woefully to relate it to the unbelievers who are of the night and darkness, not of the light and day, and are drunken and fallen asleep in the night. He failed to show that believers are not of the night and darkness, but of the light and day, and therefore that day cannot come upon us unawares like a thief in the night, which our brother, Apostle Paul made clear in 1 Thess.5:4-6. He failed to show that Christ in the Oliver Discourse pinpoints the time of the rapture to follow the Tribulation of those days. Knowing the general time period is not the same as knowing the exact day and the hour ( Matt.24:36 ). He says if the Church goes through the tribulation, the surprise element will be largely gone. Does the surprise element relate to believers or unbelievers? The element of surprise belongs to the unbelievers. The believers are waiting for the coming of the Lord. The unbelievers are not waiting for the Coming Of The Lord. When the Shekinah appears in the heavens, the believers are told to look up for their redemption draweth nigh ( Lu,.21:28 ). How can such a people be surprised? Therefore, it is the unbelievers that will be surprised, not the believers.
He surreptitious slips in that the believers did not bargain for the horrors of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist. This argument appeals to human emotion and fear of torture, suffering and persecution. The fear of suffering and persecution is one of the areas of compromise in the five unfaithful and compromising churches ( Rev.2:19 ). Human foibles and peccadilloes are not the bases of doctrine but sola scriptura ( Scriptures only ). He argues that intellect or rather intellectualism is not enough to understand the End Times prophecies but spirituality and intimacy with Jesus. He scores himself high on this point, all in the bid to convince us his pretrib position is borne out of spirituality and intimacy with Jesus. However his spiritual arrogance is not hidden to any discerning person.
The plain sense of Scriptures always makes sense except in cases where figures of speech are employed. Allegorizing and spiritualizing will always lead to a confusion of views. So, we should stick to the plain sense of Scriptures. And the rhema must be subject to the logos.