Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical?

Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical?

Brian M. Schwertley

One of the most popular teachings today in Evangelical and Charismatic pretribchurches is the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture. The pretribulation rapture teaching is that there are two separate comings of Christ. The first coming is secret and occurs before the future seven year tribulation. At this coming Jesus comes for the saints (i.e., all genuine believers) both living and dead. These saints meet the Lord in the air and then are taken to heaven to escape the horrible judgments that take place during the seven year tribulation. At the end of the great tribulation Jesus returns to the earth with the saints. This coming is not secret but is observed by all. At this coming Christ crushes His opposition, judges mankind and sets up a one thousand year reign of saints upon the earth (the millennium). Some pretribulation advocates speak of two separate comings while others prefer to speak of one coming in two separate stages or phases (phase one is the secret rapture and phase two is the visible coming in judgment). Hal Lindsey likes to refer to the rapture as “the great snatch.” He writes: “The word for ‘caught up’ actually means to ‘snatch up,’ and that’s why I like to call this marvelous coming event ‘The Great Snatch’! It’s usually referred to as the ‘Rapture,’ from the Latin word rapere, which means to ‘take away’ or ‘snatch out.’”1
     Although the pretribulation rapture doctrine is very popular and is even considered so crucial to Christianity that it is made a test of a person’s orthodoxy in some denominations, Bible colleges and seminaries, the exegetical and theological arguments used by its advocates are all classic cases of forcing one’s theological presuppositions onto particular texts (eisegesis). The purpose of this brief study is to show that the pretribulation rapture theory is not plainly taught or directly stated in any place in Scripture, cannot be deduced from biblical teaching, contradicts the general teaching of the Bible regarding Christ’s second coming and was never taught in any branch of the church prior to 1830.


The Origin of the Pretribulation Rapture Teaching

Whenever a Christian encounters a doctrine that has not been taught by anyone in any branch of Christ’s church for over eighteen centuries, one should be very suspect of that teaching. This fact in and of itself does not prove that the new teaching is false. But, it should definitely raise one’s suspicions, for if something is taught in Scripture, it is not unreasonable to expect at least a few theologians and exegetes to have discovered it before. The teaching of a secret pretribulation rapture is a doctrine that never existed before 1830. Did the pretribulation rapture come into existence by a careful exegesis of Scripture? No. The first person to teach the doctrine was a young woman named Margaret Macdonald. Margaret was not a theologian or Bible expositor but was a prophetess in the Irvingite sect (the Catholic Apostolic Church). Christian journalist Dave MacPherson has written a book on the subject of the origin of the pre-tribulation rapture. He writes: “We have seen that a young Scottish lassie named Margaret Macdonald had a private revelation in Port Glasgow, Scotland, in the early part of 1830 that a select group of Christians would be caught up to meet Christ in the air before the days of Antichrist. An eye-and-ear witness, Robert Norton M.D., preserved her handwritten account of her pre-trib rapture revelation in two of his books, and said it was the first time anyone ever split the second coming into two distinct parts or stages. His writings, along with much other Catholic Apostolic Church literature, have been hidden many decades from the mainstream of Evangelical thought and only recently surfaced. Margaret’s views were well-known to those who visited her home, among them John Darby of the Brethren. Within a few months her distinctive prophetic outlook was mirrored in the September, 1830 issue of The Morning Watch and the early Brethren assembly at Plymouth, England. Early disciples of the pre-trib interpretation often called it a new doctrine.”2
 Read the rest of this article here.

52 thoughts on “Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical?

  1. The good old Margaret MacDonald slander….

    John Gill split the second coming into two parts, a rapture at the beginning of the millenium and a return at the end. Was Robert Norton MD omniscient and able to know whether this was the “first time anyone ever split the second coming into two parts or stages?” The author, by citing this and emphasising “first” with italics tells us more about himself than anything else.

    How did our author miss John Gill on I Thess. 4:16? Why should we trust the thoroughness of Schwertley’s study on key Scripture passages? Before refuting a position, always read how its advocates answer your arguments. The historical argument is not new and has been answered many times. If Schwertley has never heard the things in my next paragraph, then he is foolish to write without investigating, and if he has, he’s dishonest to drag out MacDonald.

    Increase & Cotton Mather (17th century) were pretrib. Morgan Edwards (founder of Brown, mid-18th century) was mid–trib. A sermon attributed to Ephraem or Isidore (somewhere between 4th & 7th century) sounds very pre-trib. Francis Gunerlock (not pretrib) cited in Bilbilotheca Sacra (2002) a clear pretrib statement from the 14th century. All (as well as Gill) were before MacDonald’s “first time ever.”

    MacDonald was posttrib, BTW. Her ideas were all over the place. Darby wrote on his pretrib position in 1827, before MadDonald’s (typo, but I’ll leave it in :)) “visions” and before he was allegedly influenced by her. The Margaret MacDonald slander originated with Dave MacPherson. Anyone who wanted to fact check before writing could easily do so. It is either dishonest or pathetic scholarship. Sorry if I sound hardline on this, but this argument is rubbish. Anyone who repeats this slander as fact is simply not credible .

    The great weight of historic teaching is not pretrib. I readily acknowledge that as a problem for the dispensationalist. But it isn’t an invention of Margaret MacDonald, and no one is following her teachings today..

    The rest of Schwertley’s article sounds almost like he read a Scofield Reference Bible and decided to refute it.

    He says the vast majority of dispensationalists see the seven churches as seven ages in church history. Absolute rubbish. The vast majority see them as seven literal churches in Asia. Some see them as also symbolically representing seven time periods. Most reject this idea of Scofield’s because it is not consistent with the imminent return of Christ. Most dispensationalists have quite a few differences from Schofield. Arguments against Scofield leave me cold.

    He argues from the obvious presence of Gentile believers in Revelation that not all of the believers can be Jewish, therefore dispensationalism is wrong. Then he turns around and admits that pretrib dispensationalists teach that there will be converts during the Tribulation from every tribe and nation. Makes his prior argument look really daft. Are you arguing against a belief that includes saved Gentiles during the Tribulation or not? Please decide.

    The idea that dispensationalists teach that the Holy Spirit is not active and present on the earth after the Rapture is ridiculous. The Holy Spirit is God, and omnipresent. He was present before Pentecost, and active, and regenerated saints. Pretrib Dispensationalists believe He will be present and active and regenerate saints after the Rapture, too.

    I could go on, but that’s enough. Refutations of dispensationalism should start by understanding it. Then, they can go look at the foundational question of the relationship between Israel and the church, and what it means for Israel to be grafted back in. You cannot refute a pretrib position by looking at the texts from an anti-dispensational framework when the dispensationalist is looking at those texts from a dispensational framework. You just can’t. You have to start with the framework. Otherwise, you are talking two different languages, and you just talk past each other. You have to understand the framework to refute it.

    This kind of article is like a Brit and an American having an argument about whether or not women should wear pants in public. You aren’t talking the same language.

    Sorry this is so long.

  2. Thanks for your input Jon. I really appreciate your defense of the dispensationalist position here. I agree with what you have posted wholeheartedly! And of course, I chuckle at the typo ;-)

  3. I will reply more later, but having been born and lived in the UK for about 14 years, your point about pants is funny!! Lol

    By the way, pretribulationist does NOT equal an argument against the biblical veracity of dispensationalism! You can be a dispensstionalist without holding to pretrib rapture.

    Jon, your points against the author in question are spot on. He has merely built up a straw man with the purpose of being able to rant against a pretrib position.

    More later.

  4. Agreed TJM. It is a category error to attempt to refute pre-trib rapture and then say that refutes dispensationalism as a whole. It ignores those who hold to a mid-trib and pre-wrath rapture as well as not even attempting to acknowledge historic dispensationalism which rejects the rapture.

  5. So far, no defense of the mythical pre-trib rapture from Scripture and not much more than assertions against the author of the article.

    Let me ask this of those who hold to dispensationalism (which is a moving target, I understand – most discussions about it are based on its original form, which many have distanced themselves from): Why would God withhold a critical interpretive understanding from His people for 1800 years?

  6. Brother Manfred, I guess that I along with others are somewhat confused. Yesterday your comment was that you would be posting on the unbiblical position of dispensationalism. This post though is little more than an author taking the pretrib rapture position to task. While the pretrib position appears to be a fairly new outlook in eschatology, dispensationalism in various aspects long predates the early 1800′s.

    I guess you could say that there is nothing new under the sun though. I know there have been points in history where even the teaching of the reformers was considered “new” but that did not make them heretics or equal the teaching of heresy as you have indicated is the case of men like John MacArthur.

    Jon has made some very salient points from a historical perspective that any true Berean Christian has a responsibility to study the Scriptures with a view to understanding even the end times should be considering.

    I for one am not willing to hold that all of CT equals amil, nor that All of CT equals replacement theology. To make such a statement would be akin to stating that pretrib equals dispensationalism equals pretrib equals heresy. That is disingenuous at best.

    Finally, to hold that MacArthur or others who teach or hold to any or all forms of dispensationalism somehow equates to heresy is just not defensible. The working together of godly men who disagree on points of eschatology shows this is at best a “secondary” issue and certainly is not a decider of one’s salvation.

  7. TJM – I do not equate dispensationalism with heresy; never have. Anyone who teaches salvation other than the Gospel teaches heresy. The classic dispensational perspective on Israel (think John Hagee) is heresy.

    Jon’s points attacked the author and a bit of his arguments; they did not defend the doctrine of pre-trib rapture.

    I will be happy to bring up some more substantial review of this system, none as short as this one.

  8. Attacked? Manfred, the author deconstructed his whole argument and destroyed his credibility on this topic. I just pointed it out. :) I’m sure he is a fine pastor, loves the Lord, and wants to do right, but that was not a worthwhile critique.

    I wasn’t trying to give a Scriptural defense of a premil or pre-trib rapture. I’ve told you in brief the general basis of it on another thread. If one is convinced of the distinction between Israel and the church, and of the national restoration of Israel, then the best (only?) explanation is some form of dispensationalism / premillenialism. The pretrib position is within that theological stream, though as others have said, not everyone in that stream is pretrib. I think it answers more questions better. The framework has to be answered. I’ve mentioned Romans 9-11.

    “Why would God withhold a critical interpretive understanding from His people for 1800 years?”

    Good question. Let me ask a few in response:
    1. Why is the precise timeline and order of events a “critical interpretive understanding”?
    2. If it is critical, why would it have been a “critical interpretive understanding” 500, or 1000, or 1500 years before those events?
    3. If it is critical, for whom (when?) would it be critical?

    My answers:
    1. It isn’t critical, for us today. If you want to see the critical application of prophetic Scripture for us today, my friend let me post a series of his here: http://mindrenewers.com/2011/10/31/motivated-by-the-promise-of-his-coming-series-summary/
    2. It wouldn’t have been critical then. The belief in imminence would be important because of the motivational impact. That belief has been present through the centuries.
    3. It is critical for those living through the events, so that they can see the hand of the Lord in what they are experiencing. Thus, if we are nearing the time of the Lord’s return, the work of the Spirit in unfolding this now, so that believers going through the events will have the work of those who have come before them, makes perfect sense.

    In brief, I DO agree that the history of interpretation is not favourable for the pretrib position (and to a lesser extent, premil and/or dispensationalism in general). But I also can see a reason why the theological development may have progressed as it has.

    When we look at the history of prophetic interpretation, we need to understand the setting in which the absence of pretrib / premil views existed. One of the foremost theologians of his day, Charles Hodge, said he hadn’t studied prophecy sufficiently to really deal with it. My set of Calvin’s commentaries doesn’t include Revelation, does yours? :) Luther doubted the inspiration of Revelation. Turretin hardly dealt with prophecy. It wasn’t a focus of the Reformers and post-Reformation scholars.

    The history of theology shows different topics being a focus at different times. In God’s providence, for whatever reason, eschatology has never been a major focus until the last 200 years or so. The absence of a tradition of dispensational eschatology took place in times of relatively light (compared to our times) eschatological writing in general.

  9. As indicated, here is a more comprehensive look at this new way of looking at God’s Word:
    A Study of the Presuppositions of Covenant and Dispensational Theology by Jon Zens. His intro:

    “A study of the presuppositions of covenant and dispensational theology is a vast topic. This study, therefore, makes no claims of being exhaustive. But I have taken care to represent the two positions accurately in order that the Scriptural evaluation of them will not involve a shooting down of straw men.

    “What follows, then, is a distillation of my study of these two systems. I hope it is organized in such away that we can come to grips with the truth claims made by each one.”

    The article is 32 pages in which the author (with whom I am not in total agreement, so please don’t research Jon Zen and throw something else he wrote in my face. I’ve already seen things he holds to that I don’t. This is not a surprise) examines issues with dispensational and what he calls historic covenant theology – which is the Presbyterian view. As I have posted elsewhere, I am a reformed Baptist and do not cling the Presbyterian covenant view, any more than some modern dispensationalists do not cling to teachings of Darby and Schofield.

    Here’s the link to the article: http://gospelpedlar.com/articles/Bible/prediscov.html

  10. michael says:

    Listen up you guys! Get to it and give the answer as I am getting older each day that goes by and I too may pass before The Lord returns and just think what good that will do me getting through the pearly gates without the right andwer?

    Peter will be at one of those gates seeing there are twelve of them and I have it on good authority that all of us will enter into Heaven through just one of them 12 gates? I guess once in heaven I can go see all the other 11 gates on one of those Heavenly gate tours conducted by Angels if I get bored up there?

    What happens when I pass out of this earthen shell and have to pass a test before entering into His Eternal Glory answering what is it going to be? Pre-trib., mid or post? What if I answer it wrong? Does that mean I get left behind and have to watch all the fun on earth taking place from my Eternal Dwelling place in Glory? :)

    Oh and besides that question about the pants, when I visited England I did run over some dead policeman TJM and on the wrong side of the road to boot! I also was taken to see the steps to heaven and heard that people go up them on a fortnight! :)

  11. Michael, Peter won’t be at any gate, but it is a traditional image.

    Consider Rev 7, wherein John sees an innumerable crowd from every nation, tribe and tongue. This is obviously the entire redeemed body of Christ from all ages. John is describing here and in the first 5 verses of chapter 8 (remember that chapter and verse divisions are not from God, but man-made) is the end of this age, when Christ has consummated all things. And we read this:

    “Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

    So ya see – we are in the midst of what the Bible describes as the great tribulation – we do not get raptured away from it. When John opened this letter, he described himself to the readers as their “brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus.” All Christians since He came in the flesh have faced tribulation and trials. It is a fantasy to think God will snatch His people away from such rather than display His power in preserving us in the midst of it – whether or not we die the first death in the mean time.

  12. Manfred, I’ve not really had time to look at it much, but this appears to be a far superior treatment of the topic in at least identifying the real issues. He’s obviously studied and seriously engaged his mind with dispensational understanding of Scripture, so I would expect his critique to be much more substantive. I expect I am several days from having time to look at it in any depth.

    I’m also doubtful if I really should keep engaging in this discussion. When it began, I said this in a comment:
    “God didn’t give end-times prophecy as sanctified soothsaying to satisfy our curiosity, or make us proud about how much righter we are than that other guy. Most prophecy debate exposes a lot of that kind of pride. The Scriptural mandate for me to sort out your prophetic timetable is thin. The mandate for me to avoid pride and disputing is hefty.”

    http://defendingcontending.com/2013/01/31/the-power-of-the-church/#comment-43752

    I stand by that comment (and the other things I said in it). It is important for me to teach the Scriptures. I am not sure how important it is for me to debate eschatology on the Internet, nor how profitable, nor if it is wise to tempt myself or others to prideful disputations about things which, I am absolutely convinced, are not the primary purpose of Scriptural prophecy.
    ***

    Michael, I thiink I’ll try Andrew’s gate. He said “Come and see” and brought people to Jesus. That’s ideal, because we need to see the One true Test Writer. Since He got all the answers right, and His righteousness is imputed to me, I’m going to get credit for all the right answers despite my own foolish ignorance.

    And once we see Him as He is, we’ll be like Him, so we’ll get all the answers right then, too. And every one of us, undoubtedly, will look back at some things we said and thought, shake our heads, and say, “Wow, was I stupid back then.” May the Lord bless us here in this life with the ability to see enough of our own stupidity to keep us humble.

  13. Jon – I agree with your closing paragraph :-) We all ought to walk humbly, even as we vigorously debate and discuss various topics that we deem important. Press on for the glory of God!

  14. Irv says:

    [In my opinion Schwertley is correct on pretribulation rapture beginnings and Gleason (who unfortunately misspelled Gumerlock, Bibliotheca, and Scofield) is incorrect. The latter should Google "Prof. Dr. F. Nigel Lee on Dave MacPherson." (Lee had nine earned doctorates!) Here is something I found on Google - an eye-opener on Ice and his view which was never a part of any organized religion or foundational theology before 1830.]

    Pretrib Rapture Pride

    by Bruce Rockwell

    Pretrib rapture promoters like Thomas Ice give the impression they know more than the early Church Fathers, the Reformers, the greatest Greek New Testament scholars including those who produced the KJV Bible, the founders of their favorite Bible schools, and even their own mentors!
    Ice’s mentor, Dallas Sem. president John Walvoord, couldn’t find anyone holding to pretrib before 1830 – and Walvoord called John Darby and his Brethren followers “the early pretribulationists” (RQ, pp. 160-62). Ice belittles Walvoord and claims that several pre-1830 persons, including “Pseudo-Ephraem” and a “Rev. Morgan Edwards,” taught a pretrib rapture. Even though the first one viewed Antichrist’s arrival as the only “imminent” event, Ice (and Grant Jeffrey) audaciously claim he expected an “imminent” pretrib rapture! And Ice (and John Bray) have covered up Edwards’ historicism which made a pretrib rapture impossible! Google historian Dave MacPherson’s “Deceiving and Being Deceived” for documentation on these and similar historical distortions.
    The same pretrib defenders, when combing ancient books, deviously read “pretrib” into phrases like “before Armageddon,” “before the final conflagration,” and “escape all these things”!
    BTW, the KJV translators’ other writings found in London’s famed British Library (where MacPherson has researched) don’t have even a hint of pretrib rapturism. Is it possible that Ice etc. have found pretrib “proof” in the KJV that its translators never found?
    Pretrib merchandisers like Ice claim that nothing is better pretrib proof than Rev. 3:10. They also cover up “Famous Rapture Watchers” (on Google) which shows how the greatest Greek NT scholars of all time interpreted it.
    Pretrib didn’t flourish in America much before the 1909 Scofield Bible which has pretribby “explanatory notes” in its margins. Not seen in the margins was jailed forger Scofield’s criminal record throughout his life that David Lutzweiler has documented in his recent book “The Praise of Folly” which is available online.
    Biola University’s doctrinal statement says Christ’s return is “premillennial” and “before the Tribulation.” Although universities stand for “academic freedom,” Biola has added these narrow, restrictive phrases – non-essentials the founders purposely didn’t include in their original doctrinal statement when Biola was just a small Bible institute! And other Christian schools have also belittled their founders.
    Ice, BTW, has a “Ph.D” issued by a tiny Texas school that wasn’t authorized to issue degrees! Ice now says that he’s working on another “Ph.D” via the University of Wales in Britain. For light on the degrees of Ice’s scholarliness, Google “Bogus degree scandal prompts calls to wind up University of Wales,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “be careful in polemics – Peripatetic Learning,” and “Walvoord Melts Ice.” Also Google “Thomas Ice (Hired Gun)” – featured by media luminary Joe Ortiz on his Jan. 30, 2013 “End Times Passover” blog.
    Other fascinating Google articles include “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “X-raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving in Unnerving,” “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrets,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” and “Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism” – most from the author of “The Rapture Plot,” the most accurate documentation on pretrib rapture history.
    Can anyone guess who the last proud pretrib rapture holdout will be?
    (Postscript: For another jolt or two Google “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”)

  15. Hello, Irv. Sorry about the typos. Please overlook any others. I have other responsibilities besides perfect proofreading of Internet comments. Some thoughts.

    1. MacDonald thought she was living in the Great Tribulation. Matches what Manfred, an amillenialist, said. PROOF!!! Amillenialists have been INFLUENCED BY MACDONALD!!! :) Wow! I’ll write a book! Spurious arguments to be used on the ‘Net against amillenialism. :)

    2. “New Teaching,” MacPherson was the first to ever teach Darby was following MacDonald. Just saying.

    3. Your comment sounds like an ad for MacPherson. Just so all know, MacPherson accuses Darby of dishonesty about how he arrived at his position AND intentionally adopting demonic eschatology. There is NO evidence (by a Biblical standard), no “two or three witnesses.” This is character assassination.

    4. Darby’s eschatology sounds nothing like MacDonald. Her statement is on wikipedia for anyone who wants to see it. It is all over the place, but it certainly isn’t like Darby.

    5. I cited Edwards, etc among those who divide the second coming. Norton (and Schwertley) are WRONG that MacDonald was the first. Saying Schwertley is right and I’m wrong won’t change it. Forget Edwards and Ephraem if you want. Gill alone is enough to make the point.

    6. The Macdonald / MacPherson thing is speculative history. I’ve read the Bible enough times to notice, and it doesn’t say to evaluate doctrine / practice by speculations that aren’t in Scripture. The doctrine of discernment by extra-Biblical speculative history violates the sufficiency of Scripture.

    7. Irv, I did Google Dave MacPherson. Interesting, that. Dave MacPherson has multiple guest posts on the Oneness Pentecostalism website. Here’s one example: http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/post/davem.htm. These people are heretics. A man who does that has the nerve drum up some speculative link with Margaret Macdonald? Anyone who posts the Margaret Macdonald slander anywhere on the Internet needs to recognise that it originated with a man who is keeping common cause with Oneness Pentecostalism.

    8. Re: Scofield forgery. You might compare the dates of his legal troubles and the date of his conversion. Just in case. I’m not a Scofield defender, but I’d think about things like that. We would want to have a very ironclad case to be sure we aren’t bringing post-conversion accusations about pre-conversion sins. You’ll stand before the Lord someday.

    9. If you need to defend your position by character assassination and speculative history, you’ve got a problem. If you don’t need it and do it anyway, that’s an even bigger problem.

    Finally, Thomas Ice. I met him once, he turned up for church (probably the smallest church he’s ever been in). He was introduced to me as “Tommy.” Usually, I do verse-by-verse exposition, but I’d preached a series on what it means to be a holy people unto the Lord. The series was closing with a few sermons on church problems that hinder holiness. This Sunday, I happened to preach on “The Imperial Minister.”

    My primary texts were I Timothy 5, which talks about elders being held accountable when they sin, and I Peter 5, which warns against lording it over the flock. I warned against “Man of God Syndrome” that says a preacher is a “man of God” and is on some kind of a pedestal. I mentioned some well-known pastors who had strayed. It turned out “Tommy” had preached in one of those churches the very Sunday after one of those men was removed for sin, as I had mentioned. It made an interesting conversation afterwards. Dr. Ice (call him Mr. if you prefer) seemed to appreciate the sermon and seemed quite a nice chap. I rather liked him.

    None of that has ANYTHING to do with the topic of this thread. But since you chose to say a lot of things about Thomas Ice which had NOTHING AT ALL to do with the topic of this thread, I thought I would, too. :)

    ***
    Ad hominems. Character assassination without two or three witnesses. Relying on speculative history originated by a man who associates with Oneness Pentecostalism. Accusing a man over apparently pre-conversion sins. It’s almost enough to turn anyone pretrib.

    But there are others, such as the man Manfred last linked to. If anyone is looking for a good representative of a non-dispensational view, from the little I read he sounds like a much better place to start.

  16. hachitori says:

    John Gill was a historicist BTW he believed that he was living in the tribulation. Darby’s first clear pretrib teaching, in his “Notes on the Revelation” (1839), p. 206, was based on only the symbol (!) of the man child “caught up” in Rev. 12:5—-and this was his pretrib basis for 30 years Darby himself wrote in his “Short but serious Examination of…’Daniel the Prophet’” (1850), p. 67, that he came to “understand” pretrib in 1830 and not 1827. Also Dave allows his articles to be in public domain which is why it got on that website, not because he is oneness

  17. http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/post/index.htm. That specifically calls them “guest articles.” There’s a difference between “guest article” and public domain article.

    Yes, Gill believed he was in the tribulation. So? MacPherson claims MacDonald was first to separate the second coming into two phases. He’s wrong. And Darby could have got the idea from Gill just as easily — he was already well known.

    Anyone who has read his letters knows Darby specifically stated it was during his recovery from his accident with his horse — 1827. 1830 could have been a rounded figure, for all we know. Darby never said he was influenced by MacDonald. He considered her group heretical.

    ***

    Someone left an off-topic comment on my blog on this discussion. As noted, I’m not enthusiastic about even engaging this debate. I certainly won’t engage it there — the comment is deleted. Sorry.

  18. hachitori says:

    i did remember him mentioning that his book is published by gary demar’s american vison….i dont think demar would assocate that closely with a oneness…… but those articlea are in public domain …so the oneness people might just have called them “guest articles” because they werent written by them…… I am just saying this cause ive talked to him and he is NOT a oneness

  19. Well, friend, I never said he held their views. “Guest Articles” doesn’t imply he is one of them. It does imply a friendly relationship and at least some shared goals, which is a violation of II John’s prohibition against assisting false teachers. If you know Dave, I hope you’ll contact him. He should contact them and ask them to pull the articles, or at least change their designation of his articles from “Guest Articles” to “Public Domain Articles.”

    At the very least he should publicly disassociate himself from them on his own website, if he has one. Does he have a statement about his articles being public domain anywhere on the web? Nothing jumped at me on Google, but maybe I’m not searching for the right thing.

  20. Ray says:

    The question posed here is “Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical” , and disappointingly , despite the “he said. , she said” views put forward, the case so far has neither been answered biblically in the affirmative or the negative, so one must ask , what is going on?. Are we not required to answer false charges against the truth of scripture. So with that in mind , I have a few questions that I would like to ask of those who hold to the pretrib rapture .
    1. If the Parable of the Wheat and Tares says in Matthew 13:30 , and I quote
    Let both grow together until the harvest , and in the time of harvest , I will say to the reapers , gather ye together first the tares , and bind them in bundles to burn them : but gather the wheat into my barn.

    Why is it that pretribbers disregard the clear teaching on the rapture in favour of verses that teach no such thing.

    2. If the Parable of the Net in Matthew 13:49 says , and I quote,
    So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth , and sever the wicked from among the just.

    Does this scripture , along with the previous one quoted from Matthew , and along with others like it , teach that the harvest is at the end of the world , and not seven years prior to it.?

  21. Ray, thanks for asking about Scripture instead of historical speculation.

    The parable of the wheat and tares is explained later in the chapter, and refers to casting sinners into the fire. The clear parallel to this is the Great White Throne judgment in Revelation 20, which (all agree) comes after the Millenium, however one understands the Millenium.

    There are various pretrib views on this aspect of the parable. The fact that the burning in the fire occurs at the end of the Millenium has caused some to think it refers to the division at the end of the Millenium (as partially described in Rev. 20:8). I don’t find that compelling.

    Again, the primary purpose of prophecy for us is not to give a crystal-ball view of future events. The clear point for us is current — we aren’t supposed to try to weed out unbelievers, God will care of that, and judge at the end of time. Parables usually have one main point. Jesus is not trying to give His disciples a complete view of the order of events, He is telling them to expect counterfeits in their midst, and not to be dismayed about it — God has it in hand.

    In general, pretribbers would hold that the “harvest” of the wicked is at the second coming of Christ, but that their resurrection to judgment will occur 1000 years later, at the Great White Throne judgment. They would not view the Rapture as the harvest, but rather it is the beginning of the time when Israel will be grafted back in (Romans 11). These parables describe both “harvest” and burning, which we believe are 1000 years apart. Therefore, most see these as “big picture” snapshots rather than trying to describe minute details.

    Is there Biblical basis for this view? There are precedents. A comparable “big picture” snapshot occurs in Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus said most of this was fulfilled at His first coming (Luke 4), but He quit reading before “day of vengeance” — it wasn’t fulfilled yet. Isaiah gave a “big picture” of Messiah’s work, but didn’t mention more than 2000 years between. Anyone reading 61:2 would think the “acceptable year” and the “day of vengeance” were together, but they weren’t.

    This is just one of many examples where prophetic Scripture is “big picture” rather than particularly time-line oriented. I believe these parables fit in that category. It’s telling us judgment comes at the end, but not giving significant detail about timing.

    There are other pretrib views on these, though. I’m just giving you my view. There are many who have studied this in more depth than I have.

  22. My last word on the history debate. Someone gave me links. I do not endorse everyone or everything on this site.

    I mentioned a sermon from the 4th-7th century that “sounds very pretrib.” Anyone can read it for yourself. http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Ephraem-OntheLastTimestheAnt.pdf. It sounds very like much pretrib teaching. Pretribbers today believe the end will see the destruction of a reconstituted Roman Empire (the ten toes, Daniel 2). This sermon sees the end associated with the destruction of the Roman Empire in which he lived. Other than that difference, there many similarities. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation from Latin, but I’m sure Dave MacPherson or someone else has pointed out any inaccuracies in the translation.

    I do not cite it as a clear statement of a pretrib position. I do cite it as an example of dividing Christ’s return into two phases.

    The second is Morgan Edwards (1788). He believed in a rapture 3 1/2 years before a literal 1000 years millenium. He believed Satan would be cast down to earth during that 3 1/2 years, and that the events of Revelation will take place during that time as well. He is explicitly premillenial, and either midtrib or pretrib with a 3 1/2 year tribulation. http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Edwards-TwoAcademicalExercis.pdf. You don’t have to listen to me or Dave MacPherson or his friends. Just read it, it will only take about two minutes before it is obvious.

    I don’t endorse Edwards. That’s not the point. The point is that anyone who reads it and says MacDonald was first to split the second coming into phases is lying. It should put the Margaret MacDonald slander to rest. It won’t, because there are books to sell, and everyone loves a conspiracy (when you get to convince yourself that people who disagree with you conspired).

  23. Ray says:

    Thanks for the reply Jon , I do appreciate it . I also appreciate the fact that through many similar disscussions I have had along these lines with others , it soon becomes apparent that the chasm between the Premillenial and Amillenial hermeneutic is indeed a wide one, but that said , I am in agreement with some of your thoughts, and they are that the Judgement follows the millenial reign of Christ, and [2] , [quote] the primary purpose of prophecy for us is not to give a crystal-ball view of future events.[end quote].
    I think the summation of the prophetic word is aptly worded in Rev 1:3
    Blessed is he that readeth , and they that hear the words of this prophecy , and keep those things that are written therein : for the time is at hand.

    It is my view that the church [the true Israel of God] is by nature eschatological, and the understanding of prophecy is not for the purpose of sowing fear and confusion [ or selling movies and books], but for means of comfort in times of peril. And with that in mind , the question must be asked , why do we have such a divergent view of eschatology within the church , and why are these divergent views so readily tolerated.

    Quote
    In general, pretribbers would hold that the “harvest” of the wicked is at the second coming of Christ, but that their resurrection to judgment will occur 1000 years later, at the Great White Throne judgment. They would not view the Rapture as the harvest, but rather it is the beginning of the time when Israel will be grafted back in (Romans 11). These parables describe both “harvest” and burning, which we believe are 1000 years apart. Therefore, most see these as “big picture” snapshots rather than trying to describe minute details
    end quote.

    Jon , if pretribbers hold that the “harvest” is at the second coming of Christ , and judgement is 1000 yrs later , then how does this concur with 2 Thess 1:7-9
    And to you who are troubled rest with us , when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
    In flaming fire , taking vengeance on them that know not God , and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ .
    Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power .

    and from Matthew 25:31-32
    When the Son of Man shall come in his glory , and all the holy angels with Him , then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory .And before him shall be gathered all the nations , and he shall separate them one from another , as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

    Jon , I ‘d think that you would be wrestling scripture to deny that judgement follows [immediately] the return of Christ, and in fact , these scriptures repudiate several common myths , a rapture of the saints prior to Christs return , and [2], the insertion of a 1000 yrs between the second coming of Christ , and the judgement. What are your thoughts?

  24. Ray, would it were that easy. Look at this:
    Isaiah 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
    To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

    By the logic/wording you just used, we would wrest Scripture to deny that the day of vengeance follows [immediately] the fulfillment of the rest of it. That IS the natural reading of the text. But as we know, it doesn’t. Other Scriptures force us to say, “Oh, the natural reading isn’t the only one, and we have to understand it in the light of those other Scriptures.” That’s the way I view these judgment texts you’ve cited.

    Romans 11:25 says blindness in part has happened to Israel. That can’t be the church, it has to be the nation. Blindness in part — some believe, some don’t. Not forever, but until the fullness of the Gentiles has been brought in. Not until part, but the fullness. This passage is describing some form of restoration of Israel. Exactly how / when could well be open to interpretation — but it appears to be after some kind of completion of God’s dealing with the Gentiles (“fullness”).

    Obviously, there is more to consider. But the amil view has no room for anything after the fullness of the Gentiles has been brought in. Awkward. So I’m premil. Any premil understanding (pretrib, prewrath, midtrib, or postrib rapture) divides judgment. Physical judgment is during and at the end of the tribulation — Armageddon, etc. God has judged people many times, but none are in the lake of fire yet. I don’t have a problem seeing the casting into the lake of fire as deferred to a later point than Armageddon. Judgment still falls at Armageddon / Christ’s return.

    Every position has some “uncomfortable” verses, things hard to fit in. Sacrifices in apparently millenial passages are troubling to me. I can see when a passage doesn’t fit well with my understanding of eschatology — but these judgment passages don’t concern me. .

    Ray, question for you. How does an amillenialist explain this passage?
    Rev 10:3-4 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
    And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

    1. What are the thunders?
    2. What is their significance?
    3. Why were they not written?
    4. Why are we even told they exist if they weren’t going to be written?:

    ***
    I had a comment that I think got eaten by the spam filter, probably because it had two links in it.

  25. Jon – You keep using the word “slander” to describe the use of Margaret McDonald’s testimony; you err in the use of the word (which refers to oral lies meant to defame or otherwise inure) and application (there is no intent to defame or otherwise injure anyone). People differ in the applicability and interpretation of historical documents all the time. One thing that makes such conversation difficult is the improper use of inflammatory words and phrases that attack a person, rather than an argument. I urge you to repent of this.

  26. Manfred, dictionary.com gives the first definition of slander as “defamation; calumny.” It has a general usage as well as the specific usage of spoken defamation. The defamation has been repeatedly both spoken and written — I used slander generically accordingly. Perhaps defamation is better.

    There is certainly intent to defame by MacPherson. Those who repeat it without checking have no intent to defame. Nevertheless, they are repeating defamation.

    MacPherson calls pretribbers “terrorists” and blames them for the death of millions — “accessories to the past, present, and future mass-murder of fellow believers!” Libel, defamation, whatever you want to call it. I don’t mind using strong words to describe his actions.

    I have tremendous respect for those who come to the Scriptures and arrive at an amil conclusion. I do not call that view “heretical.” But I have no respect for MacPherson’s stuff on MacDonald, or the Scofield forgery thing.

    ***
    Macpherson has copyrighted material on a SDA site, (http://www.thebibletruth.org/DaveMacP.htm). “(These excerpts are part of MacPherson’s forthcoming copyrighted book Rapture Cancer. You are FREE to reproduce and publish them if you include this paragraph. His earlier book the The Rapture Plot, fully exposing the claims for Edwards and Pseudo-Ephraem, can be obtained if you will call (800) 967-7345.)” Draw your own conclusions, in light of the discussion on this thread.

    He also, in some articles, makes a big deal about spelling errors, including on Scofield. Interesting. It seemed bizarre for someone above, since I had Scofield right repeatedly, to pick out one instance of a typo. But some people are really bothered by that kind of thing. He also frequently tells people to “Google articles” and then gives a long list of his article titles. It’s an interesting pattern as we look at this thread.

    He’s on the site of his friends, Generals James and Deborah Green. http://www.aggressivechristianity.net/articles/Rapture/Introduction%20to%20Articles%20by%20Dave%20MacPherson.htm. Get an eyeful of their home page: http://www.aggressivechristianity.net/. Draw your own conclusions.

    Do you really want to accept and proliferate this guy’s defamatory teaching? You’d do much better to stick to Scriptural analysis of the respective positions.

  27. michael says:

    Jon, I have been following your reasoning.

    I would like it if you or Manfred or Ray or anyone reading this can take my hand and walk me through some things??

    First is this bit about reigning with Christ a thousand years. Looking over the following verses I see several “thens”, the word “then”, in verses 1, 4 and 11. Am I counting wrong when I count, one thousand years (verses 2) + one thousand years (verse 4) = 2000 years? Or are we seeing two things occur simultaneously, same thousand year period and two events happening at the same time??

    Rev 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
    Rev 20:2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
    Rev 20:3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
    Rev 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
    Rev 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.
    Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
    Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison
    Rev 20:8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
    Rev 20:9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,
    Rev 20:10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
    Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.

    The other thing if you could address it centers around verse four. We see some who apparently do not or have not died, going the way of all flesh by experiencing the natural biological life cycle of a person who is born, grows up and then declines into old age and expires, breathing their last breath like Jacob who finished talking to his twelve sons and then got into bed and expired. We see those beheaded for Christ coming to life to also reign for a thousand years. We see also others come to life who died apparently natural deaths to reign with Christ a thousand years, too. Is this “new” cycle, the reigning with Christ, the same natural biological cycle that occurs before reigning with Christ a thousand years? Say I and you are both 68 years old when this event occurs. Does this mean when the thousand years are up you and I will be 1068 years old in our natural bodies? If so, then what happens to our natual bodies? Do we go to the Gangees and start a burial prye? :) OOPs, wrong religion! Strike that last question!

    We see thrones set up. Doesn’t say how many thrones are set up at this point. I can imagine lots of them seeing a lot of Saints have gone to be with the Lord since we read: Mat 27:51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
    Mat 27:52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
    Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

    Just that there are thrones set up. Where are they set up? In every city and town in America and Canada and Belize?

    After that in verse 11 we see the Great White Throne set up somewhere in the Eternal Heavens because it appears what happens at that point seems to be the time of the final end when these present heavens and this earth are no longer, poof, no more land of natural Israel or Jerusalem and just before the new heavens and earth appear where all the Righteous in Christ, both those who died in Christ by being beheaded or died in Faith a natural death are looking for Him and that City, New Jerusalem, along with all others in Christ, all those who are living at that time who don’t apparently go the way of all flesh but just continue on in their current state of being live forever now in the Kingdom of Glory?

    Can you account for this scenario?

    How does this size all up to what the Apostle Paul said “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord“? What are all those who died from the days of Abel in Christ doing at this point? Are they as I alluded too in my more humorous post above, “left behind” keying on the left behind thing, up in a grand and glorious home waiting for everybody else to arrive?

    Also, what is going on during this thousand years with all the reprobates? Are we to believe they are just living their earthly lives out and then they die the natural death of all flesh? Or what is happening with them on the earth at this time? Will there be women giving birth to babies? Will all abortion clinics shut down? Will people be arrested and jailed? Will there be civil courts and criminal courts with prosecutors filing charges and civil attorneys sueing in courts against these reprobate rebels who don’t tow the line of the Ten Commandments?

    What can you say about all that in a couple two or three nut shells?

  28. michael says:

    Oh yeah, just reviewing my remarks above while waiting for them to be released from moderation and hopefully these too, I wanted to mention my math in light of verse 7: Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison

    It seems to me it would be a two thousand year count or period from Satan being put in the bottomless pit for “a thousand years” but because what it says and does not say in verse 3 could easily mean Satan was put into a solitary confining pit: Rev 20:3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. like maybe a little while means the next thousand years then afterwards, the second thousand years of Christ and His Priests judging the world of rebels and reprobates, he then is cast into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet have been cast already? It just seems to me to be saying he was released from that “pit”, his prison to deceive the nations for a little while.

    I don’t know if that is just me and conjecture. If so, let me have it right between the eyes, then! “0×0″!

  29. Michael. :) I’m enjoying your posts. In 20:1-3, John tells us Satan is bound, and for how long. He doesn’t say he sees the whole 1000 years in those verses. The “then” at the beginning of verse 4 is telling us what John saw next, it isn’t telling us that it is what happens after verse 3. I’ve never read anyone (amil or premil) who thinks this is more than one 1000 year period.

    Flow of chapter 20:
    1-3 Satan is bound. This binding is going to last for 1000 years, then he’ll be loosed for a short period.
    4-6 Kingdom established, as soon as Satan is bound. Includes believers who have died, and are raised from the dead. Doesn’t include unbelievers.
    7-9. At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is released, just like verse 3 said.
    10. Satan is thrown into the lake of fire.
    11-15. Final judgment, second resurrection (of the lost), all the lost to the lake of fire.
    That’s how I understand it. I’m not infallible, though. I won’t be even if they choose me as the next pope. :)

    My understanding of the resurrection aspect is that all resurrected believers and those raptured alive will have changed, resurrection bodies (I Cor. 15). Those living at the return of Christ enter the Millenium with mortal bodies. Some think this is only believers, others think it includes unbelievers who didn’t oppose God at Armageddon. There will be children born (“a little child shall lead them”). Thus, not all living in the Millenium will be regenerate, and the unregenerate will follow Satan upon his release (Rev. 20:7-9).

    This is my best understanding. Some Scriptures at least appear to support what I’ve said — it’s not manufactured out of nothing. I doubt anyone knows all the details point by point. I may have parts wrong. I am unaware of details of the thrones in Revelation 20. We are told we will judge angels. I do not know if that is describing this time or not. I am sure if thrones are in America, they are also in Belize. I may request a throne in a warmer climate, after years in Scotland. :)

    The dead described in Matt. 27 were probably comparable to Lazarus, and eventually died again, like Lazarus. I can’t prove it, but other ideas don’t seem to fit.

    “Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” means our spirits are with HIm when our bodies die. The resurrection is the resurrection of the body in a glorified form, so the body will be reunited with the spirit. Again, this is my best understanding. It seems to fit the Scriptures.

  30. Ray says:

    Jon ,
    I suspect there is fault in your reasoning by citing the text from Isaiah as proof of your argument . With regards to the Isaiah verses , there is nothing to suggest [ except hermeneutics] that those verses , and indeed the entire chapter refer to anything other than the first coming of Christ. To extract the verse ” the day of vengeance of our God ” to infer the second coming of Christ would be a mistake , we should read and understand these prophetic passages within the timeline that is given within the context of the passage .Was there a day of vengeance at the first advent , most definitely, Colossians 2:15

    And having spoiled principalities and powers , He made a show of them openly , triumphing over them in it.

    Will there be a day of vengeance when Christ returns , ?unmistakeably! Rev 6:10

    And they cried with a loud voice , saying , How long O Lord , Holy and true , dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.
    Quote
    Obviously, there is more to consider. But the amil view has no room for anything after the fullness of the Gentiles has been brought in. Awkward. end quote.

    On the contrary Jon, the Amil view accepts what the scriptures say, and that is that the fullness of the Gentiles being brought in signifies the completion of the redemptive period.This we read in Lukes account of the olivet discourse in Luke 21:24

    And they shall fall by the edge of the sword , and shall be led away captive into all nations : and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles , until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

    In this context , the “Gentiles” are those who are yet to be grafted into the Olive tree, as well as ” natural” jews who will also be grafted in , and when this occurs , all Israel [the Israel of God] will be saved. Then comes the end.

  31. Ray says:

    QuoteRay, question for you. How does an amillenialist explain this passage?
    Rev 10:3-4 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
    And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

    1. What are the thunders?
    2. What is their significance?
    3. Why were they not written?
    4. Why are we even told they exist if they weren’t going to be written?:

    ***
    Jon , As most Amilenialists would do , I will allow the scriptures to interpret themselves.

    1 . What are the thunders?
    Psalm 29:3
    The voice of the Lord is upon the waters : the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.
    Job 374-5
    After it a voice roareth , he thundereth with the voice of his excellency : he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
    God thundereth marvellously with his voice , great things doeth he which we cannot comprehend
    Answer- It is the voice of the Lord.

    2. What is their signifcance.
    It is not for me to speculate , but I believe that the angel that is in view here is Christ . The exchange between the Son [ as when a Lion roars] and the Father [seven thunders uttered their voices] is one that has been sealed for a reason .

    3. Why were they not Written
    John was instructed not write these things , Why? , we are not told , again , we cannot speculate on such things.

    4. Why are we even told they exist if they weren’t going to be written?:
    There is nothing in scripture that is there by accident,but this passage does indicate that ” there should be time no longer” , and specificly in verse 7 where it says

    But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall be begin to sound , the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

  32. michael says:

    Well Jon geeesh I was thinking Scotland would be a nice place to have a throne if not for the rolling hills and kilts, at least the population isn’t as bad as America! But after that comment about Scotland, who cares anymore? :)

    I think we have pretty much shot up Pre-mil, mid-mil, post-mil and any other mil one can think up don’t you think? I think I’m going to convert to being a panelist! Yes now I’m thinking the safest thing for me is to die before any of this comes about knowing I’m in Christ robed a Blood washed Robe of Righteousness and being in Him all things are going to “PAN” out! :)

  33. Ray, Michael, I trust you are having a good day in the Lord.

    Michael, I’m a Remainest, one of those alive and remaining right now, waiting for the coming of the Lord. If I cease to be alive and remaining, I won’t be telling you that because, well, it will be beyond me. :)

    Ray: “Jon , As most Amilenialists would do , I will allow the scriptures to interpret themselves.” Great, a point of agreement! In that vein, you might check out how “day of vengeance” is used in Isaiah 63 before deciding what it means in Isaiah 61. There are plenty of amil interpreters who have seen Isaiah 61 as encompassing both comings.

    But let’s accept your interpretation of Isaiah 61. If so, the “day of vengeance” was fulfilled at the Cross, right? Yet, Jesus said the parts of this verse which He read were fulfilled “this day” during the first year of His ministry. Depending on how long His ministry was, that was maybe 2 1/2, maybe 3 1/2 years before the Cross. Maybe even 1260 days. :)

    The point stands. Prophetic Scriptures can have “gaps” that are not obvious until the fulfilment. Whether the gap is 2-3 years or the entire age of the church matters little. And there are other examples.

    Thunders, my answers:
    1. Yes, probably the voice of God. But it does not tell us that, and we cannot know.
    2. I do not know the significance of the “seven thunders.”
    3. I do not know why they were not written.
    4. Why are we told about them? Because God wanted us to know of their existence, but not what they are.

    Therefore, since the Scriptures are sufficient, I know that there are things which God could reveal but has chosen not to reveal because we don’t need to know them. And therefore, I know that I will not have a complete knowledge and understanding of the things described in Revelation, nor will anyone else. And we don’t need to have that.

    In other words, I agree more with Michael’s comments on this thread than I do with most premils and most amils. That doesn’t mean I’m not willing to answer your questions, or those of others, on what a pretribber believes about the Matthew passages you’ve cited, and others. It does mean I don’t expect you or I to really have this pegged down.

    Blessings to you.

  34. Manfred, I was raised not to go to movies, that it was worldly. As I got older, I did go to some. As I got older still, I concluded that in general (if not in every specific case) my parents had a point, and I wasn’t seeing anything edifying. I saw “Passion” because people in our church were talking about whether it was Biblical or not, and I needed to be able to provide more than a hearsay response. Other than that, it’s been more than 25 years since I hit a theatre. Sorry. :)

    (I don’t watch telly, either. Where do people find the time? I confess there were times when I spent more time watching it than reading my Bible or praying. God was gracious and broke ours at a time when we were too poor to replace it, thus breaking us of the habit.)

    Dictionary. com, “slander” (I’ll skip the link to spare poor Chris having to rescue this from the spam filter):
    1. defamation; calumny
    2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report
    3. Law. defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.

    Legally, you are correct, but I was speaking generically, not proposing legal action. :) Nevertheless, I changed to “defamation” out of respect for the Spiderman watchers among us.

  35. t I Miller says:

    My oh my does this topic hit a nerve. Would someone care to respond to this assertion: can you find support for the reformed position from reading the works of the Apostle Johns most immediate students? certainly they would be far better authorities than anyone alive today. It was not until Origen that this showed up. Origen and it seems many from Alexandria held a strange dualistic view of scripture. Even they speculated as to the identity of the yet to come antichrist

  36. Fully Thankful says:

    Question …since I am new to this site and have not seen this addressed …sorry if it belongs elsewhere…

    Has anyone thought of the idea that just as there are many people making up the BODY of Jesus Christ …that there are many people who make up the “BODY” of anti Christ?

    Do you think scripture supports a singular man as “the” anti Christ?

    How would this effect the idea of a pre trib rapture ? Just had this thought…because the idea of there being one particular individual as “THE” AntiChrist has caused much speculation and perhaps deters from what is more important …

    Do you think these speculations also lead many to listening to false professors of knowledge of prophesy…leading some away from being led by the Lord through the study of His word ?

  37. T. I. Miler says:

    Manfred,
    I read the link, thank you. It does not satisfy me however. Will my brothers in Christ rule and reign over me? For what reason would the glorified saints need to rule over their fellow glorified saints? I can see a need for the glorified saints to rule over mortal earthly unregenerate tribulation survivors and their descendants. Further I noticed no direct response to my original questions. I am neither all dispensational or all reformed. I am a deformed mongrel of the two. As to the 5 solas and redemption I am solidly and totally reformed. I also embrace the fact that Jesus has His angels gather the tares first rather than the wheat at the end of the age.
    I also note that the bible speaks of the rapture as a sneaky thief and His return as a well announced blast that all the world will be aware of. a clear distinction I believe.
    I am not certain as to being pre, post or mid trib .
    And what the devil do you do with the devil per my original assertion?
    God is not a feckless wimp. He binds and seals Satan for the entire Millennial kingdom period for a reason. That reason is stated plainly. that Satan cannot deceived the nations until he released. To now assert that Satan is not currently deceiving the nations is just silly. Either this is the millennium and he is bound and unable to deceive or this is not the millennium and he is not bound and is able to deceive. Or are you asserting that denying Satan the ability to deceive the nations was not God’s decretive will?
    Further exactly when was it common for people to live 120 years and for children to play with cobras and for lions to graze on grass? I must have missed that somehow.
    Good thing this has nothing to do with my salvation.

  38. Ray says:

    Quote
    that there are many people who make up the “BODY” of anti Christ?
    end quote

    Bingo!!
    I believe that is precisely what the word of God is refering to.

  39. Fully Thankful says:

    Thank you for the reply ….It seems like people guessing and speculations about which person in the world is ‘the’ antichrist ‘ takes away the way respect for the word of God?

  40. Ray says:

    Quote from T.I.Miler
    To now assert that Satan is not currently deceiving the nations is just silly. Either this is the millennium and he is bound and unable to deceive or this is not the millennium and he is not bound and is able to deceive
    end quote

    I think that you raise a very pertinent point here, and that is that regardless of ones views on eschatology, I believe that most folks would agree that if Satan is bound for a thousand yrs , then we accept what the text says and concur that after the thousand yrs is up , he will be released [for a little season]. Now I am not going to comment on what this translates to regarding the pre and post mil views , but in regards to amillenialism , I believe that this point of release is detailed in Revelation 9 :1-12 , and coincides directly with the sounding of the 5th trumpet. Could it be , and I believe it is , that Satan has been released from the bottomless pit to once again deceive the nations.

  41. Ray says:

    Fully Thankful
    Without mentioning names, there have been some folks who have benefited enormously from speculating on eschatology, and the great pity is that most folks now look at the coming of Christ through the lens of CNN , Newsweek and the Jerusalem Post, as opposed to diligent study of the word of God.

  42. Fully Thankful says:

    Amen to that! It seems to me that since coming to Christ that over time I have had much learning not just about what the Bible has to say about our walk …but I asked the Lord to teach me about what has happened to the Church .

    It is a long story but in my lifetime before and after coming to Christ I have been learning about what my own life was actually about [Argh! Thought we were a 'normal' family with a 'normal' life!] and what has been going on since the Fall ….in all kinds of ways .

    Deception has been all around and from within [" the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked"] it is a harsh but necessary truth that I never heard until I asked about why it was that I kept getting fooled and mostly by way of ‘bible believing ‘ teachers and pastors .

    It has taken a long while for me as I have studied and kept searching out things that I thought or heard or was taught . The Berean walk has not been anything that most people are concerned about as they find their ‘spot’ in some ‘country club ‘ church group. I think a lot of that has to do with it being a place where people have chosen that makes them feel ‘welcome’ and that they can ‘agree with ‘ …wherein sticking to scripture calls us to continue to follow Him and to continue in His words to be His disciples indeed.

    Born in 1947 ….going through school at a time when things were pretty much along the lines of the transitions of Humanism but really began to ‘pick up speed’ in the new educational ‘theologies ‘ of the intentional programming ..then as we moved around I found out more and more that all people were not as concerned about truth as they were about having a good time.

    Went to a college where most of the students were PKs …my own roomate being a missionary’s daughter but did not hear much at all about Jesus Christ but sure got a lot of flack about my wanting to keep my virtue from the male students and heard mostly about ‘doing it ‘ from among the dorm mates! In fact it was not until years later that it struck me that it WAS considered a ‘church school’! How clueless was I !

    When I finally came to revisit the Bible after a tour through the 60′s various religious offerings….even working in Big Sur during two summers…and one of those jobs at Easlen Institute as a kitchen helper….I came back to go to school in the Bay Area and a high school acquaintance met me on the streets of Berkeley…excited to tell me ‘something’ …as a result I went home to investigate the Bible…

    I prayed that the one who made the trees …if it was HIS book I wanted to know HIS view…not my own preconcieved ideas….or anyone elses and that I did not know what kept me from understanding what I was reading but since it was HIS book and he said we all sin …I did not know what sin was …! How is that for the effects of the new age isms! Anyway I asked him to take away my sin and teach me .

    I read all four gospels that night and it was like watching a movie…I was sold! I said “You are REALLY alive!” ‘It seems to me you can see everything so I want to be yours and I want you to lead me through my life”

    Well I did not know what that would entail but I did not want to be afraid to do whatever he asked of me …trouble was I was not fully instructed so even though I read the Bible 8-12 hours a day …carried it everywhere and even cut classes to read this living book…Deception was ever at my naive doorstep.

    I longed for fellowship and it was not long before ‘offers’ showed up to go to this church or that fellowship . So it began …the many years of desiring like minded bible believing fellowship …and many years of trusting the things that began to come at me so fast I was not able to study everything to check it out fast enough.

    The girl who had spoken to me that day that began my bible reading and desire to obey God …The summer next after my reading the Bible and being impacted so …I went back to see her and her husband after my summer away and ended up being kidnapped for nine days …taken across the US!!

    I thought perhaps that I ‘needed’ to learn from them because she was the one who first spoke with me…I was deceived.

    Prior to that …I had been speaking to anyone and everyone about Jesus and that He was alive and that they needed to read the Bible to learn about it .

    I was certainly rejected and did not understand even my family and those in various churches were not responsive OR I was approached to ‘join’ along with asking how much I was going to tithe

    After the kidnapping and recovery process….I got back to my college and continued my walk …through a one of my classes a fellow student and christian told me about a fellowship that was bible oriented ….I thought I had found a group that truely loved the Lord and his word. It seemed so for a good long time until it was taken up by a man from the midwest who was gathering up ‘Jesus Freaks ‘ from both coasts to teach them the Bible and HOW to study it better….fifteen years later it was finally admitted it was a Cult….many lives stirred up and some destroyed from trusting this man and what he taught ….It was set before us as a ‘research’ ministry.

    After that I married …and though I still loved many of those I had known my husband began his departure from the Word and devoted himself to his career ….I had longed to be in a group but found it difficult as my husband had no more interest in the word and he did not like my ways of talking about the Bible and Jesus …He invested himself in making a life apart from me as well.

    As time went by I would go to a church here and there to seek out fellowship and find much that was disturbingly mixed with many of the pagan types of things I had known before my having come to Christ.

    I finally got alone with the Lord and asked him to ‘show me WHAT had happened to the church’ since it seemed everywhere I tried to go people were wonderful and warm UNTIL I began to talk about the scriptures on a topic. It was very discouraging so I finally asked the Lord to just bring across my path those who HE wanted me to fellowship with or talk with . I found many things that I was able to discuss with various people …mostly repair men ! that drove me back into the scriptures to see if what I thought was true or if I needed to learn more or be corrected….I also would go to find out if something someone else said was supported in scripture.

    I soon was led to bring my kids home from government schools due to a series of things that opened my eyes to what was going on in the classrooms and the various things that I found did not jive with the way GOD intended children to learn .

    Homeschooling also led me to study things I might not have wanted to study had I not been so concerned about deception and wanting my children to be equipped with the knowledge of the truth of God’s word.

    Still all the while I kept trying to engage my husband to do things with me and our family …he was always ‘busy ‘ and ‘had to work ‘ . I tried to live as Proverbs 31 said to be as a wife …always working in my mind and heart to be ‘content’ though I was pretty much alone . I once recall trying to get my husband to understand that though thankful for his diligence I did not get married to go everywhere alone.

    On some of the trips OTHERS gave us he always made plans to keep himself busy and spent very little of the time with me .

    After homeschooling our three children and two went to a university of some note…graduating with honors…It seemed that my efforts were finally acknowledged as having some merit and that I did not ‘ruin’ our children the way both families thought they would be. I do not take credit for their excellence and often say that I would like to ‘grow up to be just like them’! They are much more organized and clear minded than I have been.

    We moved almost every two years during the years that followed our beginning to homeschool ..for his career climb up the ladder…often interrupting our routine for his needs….This worked to effectively detach us from any real network of friends…and the children’s activities such as dance were finally put to an end on one move.

    The last move several years ago after a great deal of moving two properties and a huge remodel concluded with a happenstance discovery of photos of two children and an email from a woman …none of which I had been searching for except that he had come home looking for papers that I helped him look for ….

    This discovery of these things brought the rest of my trust crashing down . He had had a fourteen year adulterous arrangement with a woman who had approached him in a restaurant back when was was just recovering from our last baby being born and he was transferred on ahead , leaving me with the three children and an enormous remodel of that house . We had planned to live there for the rest of our lives but then an ‘offer’ came from his company that was just ‘too good to pass up’

    From that transfer to a very prestigious area and job this woman came into his life…and made a deal …He told her he would never leave his wife and children because he loved us but that he and I had separate lives and were just too different in our interests.

    He eventually hired this woman and made her his business partner …and after several years …including moves …she followed him ..and us…even as he said he never asked her too …but he also did not discourage her!

    After a while and a visit to our home and seeing our classroom and hearing my testimony she went out and began to ask him to give her children because ‘he had used up her years when she might have gotten married’ ….

    He gave her one and she quit work …He moved our family into a small run down home and bought her a new townhouse, a lexus and had a landscape archetect design the garden she asked for .

    Our family continued to ‘be content with such things as we had’ but my husband ended up lecturing us on ‘pulling in the purse strings’ …it caused us much concern but we did so …always trying to be a good steward ..for which I am still not sorry …

    I never took advantage of my husband’s financial success and always checked with him if there was a purchase to be made over the agreed upon amount.

    During this sinful time my husband says he felt the money he made was HIS …and that he was not really taking anything away from us as we had all we needed.

    Meanwhile he gave her money upon demand and never asked for any accountability .

    He said that he did not want the child to be latch key so she did not work.

    As time has gone by I have searched out the finances of that time to this and it comes to over three million dollars!

    Our finances are now deep in the hole while he continues to make sure the children …have what they need which I feel is what must be done…yet at the first after the discovery he refused to lower the payment. They did not go to the state to work this out but devised a way for some of the money to be under the guise of her being a ‘consultant’ ….

    The discovery of all of the ways these two conspired this is fascinating and nauseating to observe just how deeply deceived people can be under the influence of Satan and this dark world’s present state .

    My husband claimed that he loved our children …but I told him that love does no ill to his neighbor…That if he had any LOVE that he would have told that woman about Jesus or at least warned her about the danger of offering herself to random strangers….If he had love he would have come home from work eager to interact with his family instead of coming home and taking his third shower of the night..having had to shower before sex and after at her place and then coming home late , showing and dropping into a deep post sex sleep in front of TV for the developmental years of our children.

    His ‘love’ for her led to having children who he now goes to see daily ..even as we are still married …yet he left our bedroom after a couple of years ‘trying’ to ‘work ‘ on our marriage …yet for two years beyond that he began to see the kids because one was diagnosed with epilepsy ! He lied to me for the two years that I thought we were ‘working out ‘ the marriage and the pain of his adultery,.

    Our two adult daughters live with us and now in their twenties have never dated having wanted to trust GOD to bring them a husband but we are so isolated not being in any kind of church …and not comfortable with making any relationships due to this situation .

    Adultery is devastating …and even as I have continued to seek out in my Bible daily ….night and day what I need to do to continue to do what is what the Lord would have me do ..it is lonely , and difficult and very hard to see my daughters who are dealing with this better than I am .

    What hope is there of them being able to trust any man . Their father did such a good job of being a ‘great husband and father ‘ by their only experience of it . He was just not among us often …but when he was he was charming and caring …

    It was not too hard to be so with our children in such a superficial way of interacting.

    To them he was what most women would want. I remember when he first began to be managing in an office how his charm was engaging those who he worked with , especially the women and I had spoken with him about his opportunity to effect them for the sake of the gospel . After watching his ways around the women I tried to tell him how he should be careful of his behavior since it was apparent to me that many of them were more than appreciative and could be led to be thinking things that he did not intend….He scoffed at me ..and I told him how it effected me too ,..that it hurt because he was not as warm to me …He ignored me

    After our first child was born and his mom was found to have inoperable cancer I found out he was engaging with one of this co workers more intimately and interrupted it by going to the woman .babe in arms and witnessing to her…as a result she called to apologize for her having been getting close to my husband , and left the work and moved away. It was not until recently I also learned that she had been married and that my husband , finding her crying one day , had taken her to a bar across from their office to ‘comfort her’

    I used to buy his idea that his drinks after work and golf with his co workers and clients were a ‘necessary part of his job ..to keep up the office morale’ though I would have liked some attention and time and effort to be with me …After our second child the ‘dates;’ became less and less and with the next move …to yet another job on the rung of the corporate ladder….he simply had very little time set aside for me OR our children…His life took flight with offers of fun coming fast and furious …Loving my husband I did not want to be the one to say ‘no;’ …He would ask me …just as one might imagine a son asking his mother….it is pathetic to recall now as it was painful to endure at the time.

    My husband now is deeply depressed and wishes to die in his sleep ..We are faced with only God knows what economically …My husband had a full ride at a prestigious university …opportunities and his hard work were plentiful ….God provided him with all kinds of great opportunities though my husband did not come from wealth and had to work diligently to ‘succeed’ ..

    I met him and from the very first spoke to him of the Lord and he agreed he had the ‘same faith’ but it seems it was nothing like what he was interested as after marriage he seemed to take a direct turn away from all of the things we had discussed before marriage to learn if he was going to be willing to follow after the things of the Lord and to be faithful to me.

    It seemed from the time of his entrance into the corporate world he had to distance himself from God …marriage and fatherhood.

    I had urged him to continue to study the Word and to learn more about his responsibilities about being a husband and father but he seemed to feel that was an insult for him to have to ‘learn’ since his own family was as ‘leave it to Beaver” as any I’d seen . They were a close knit group that enjoyed good times together ….but once my husband got a taste of the ‘good life’ and being the golden boy of his family of origin…and being more and more able to buy fancy cars …and pay the way for his father to go on a dream vacation …faith in the Lord was not going to deter his ‘wonderful life’

    Deception whether a result of the devil being loosed or not …it is hard to imagine and fearful to think of a time worse than the one we now live is …It is true that when iniquity [lawlessness ] abounds the love of many will grow cold ‘ seems to be the case.

    I have spent much time praying and trying to learn HOW to love my enemy and pray for those who despite-fully use me …to forgive even in these difficult situations.

    I found I have felt able to forgive many of those who have harmed me in the past …forgiving such a situation that my husband has brought about has indeed been the ultimate challenge for me …I am learning …betrayal of the one we have made a lifetime effort to love , forgive and care for …to be as unself concerned as one can manage is I suppose a lesson in some manner to share in the deep sorrow that Jesus had to deal with as all left him

    The children of the OW are often left alone …and often call my husband because there is no food in the house …yet she is given more than the income we have would calculate ..way more …and surely more than some whole families have to live on …

    My husband used to tell me that he did not want to reduce the money since ‘if she goes down so do the children’ yet she does not work full time and does not stay at home when she is not working ..she is going to school to become a SOCIAL WORKER! She has been in therapy since high school and is now nearly 49 ….I am 65 ….I still retain my youthful appearance and form …yet my husband has no interest in loving me .

    It is a sorrowful continuing behavior our daughters have to observe that we all take to the word to examine and to learn why and what it is that THEY might learn to avoid such a life and taking a husband of such bent.

    He lied to me and I bought it …he did once care for me and for learning about Jesus and the Bible but it is as the parable of the sower and the soils says ….

    Our son did not move with us and rarely visits…he has a good job and a woman he has been keeping friendship with for a couple of years…I do not know the state of his relationship with the Lord . He does not talk much with us .

    I realize we cannot MAKE anyone love the Lord nor be faithful .

    It is still sorrowful to observe

    My husband hates the other woman for what he was led into by way of his own sinful lust and by way of her soliciting and continuing manipulation of his lust …it seems she was always contriving some kind of crisis ….something to keep him coming back …and she was the initiator in all of the sexual firsts….of course HE is accountable …

    He said that I was not spontainious…yet I gradually stopped all outside involvments and with three small children had a sitter even as we moved around a lot …in order for me to be available should he ‘find time’ in his busy schedule for time with me.

    He said that he enjoyed her because he wanted to do things but I pointed out how could they DO anything since they had to keep their relationship a secret….!

    Many ‘justifications’ fell apart under the light of the way GOD ‘s word would help me think of the responses to his rationalizations.

    The children are now his only concern and trying to build up his business to pay the mounting bills…It is a bit scary but I am not going to leave this as I VOWED to GOD as well as my husband ..and I believe the marriage vows are until death …I want my husband’s affection and singular love …but it is hard ….He took his heart around to other women …even as he was ‘faithful’ to his OW he also had two other lengthy relationships with women at separate times who worked in his company on the other end of the country.

    He simply did not think any of these ‘touched’ the other..’compartmentalizing ‘ …something GOD never intended for us …as GOD is ONE and we are to be in unity within the various jurisdictions that we are given by GOD

    God gives a man ONE woman ..that man asks God to take on as his own responsibility for life …..I see now why the Word speaks of a person having to be a good steward FIRST of the jurisdiction of his own life…before taking upon himself a wife …

    My husband charged GOD with “why did God let you marry me if HE KNEW I was going to do this ?”

    To which I explained that GOD keeps his own rules…he gave man the ability to choose..and to learn HOW to make good and godly choices….God would not violate his own character and laws…God is just ..and his plan goes forth despite man’s choices.

    I told him HE chose to marry me and no one had a gun to his head….He rejected the wisdom of GOD to learn HOW to be a faithful husband and HOW to be content with the wife he had. I told him that he created his own ‘need’ for other women and things outside of marriage by not investing his focus and attention to his own wife as scripture tells a husband to do .

    He gets frustrated and angry with these kinds of answers….probably because the truth is hard to argue .

    He hates the OW and now sees all that I told him before he himself observed her in truth …In the fog of his deception he told me that she was a ‘good woman’ …and ‘just like me!” ….I told him that any woman who did what she was willing to do and promote was NOT GOOD and did not love her own children ..they were pawns to get him to have to give her money for as long as the laws of the land required.

    Seeing his way of desiring to take care of his children in marriage …at least financially and at the time having a greater ability to do so ..She recognized a good opportunity when she saw it.

    In his pride he refused to have GOD as his master and his wife as his only woman and so he ended up manipulated by is “MISTRESS” !!

    She has raised the children to hate Christians and has had them in a Waldorf School which is deeply invested in the neo pagan Rudolf Steiner school of thought.

    The sad thing is that his experience with being manipulated by this woman and others has changed his view of his wife ..who has been trustworthy ,faithful and honest throughout our 33 year marriage …always candid so he would never have to wonder about what I needed…I heeded the advice of marriage books as much as I could so he did not have to wonder about me or our marriage from that stand point.

    His heart COULD ‘safely trust in me ‘ and so he went about doing whatever he wanted since that was the case.

    The work place has been the modern day place for men to compete and to gain whatever provision for their families…I see that when women became ‘equal’ in that arena and men have been forced to ‘accept them as equals ‘ in that venue ..women then became ‘competitors’ which as also effected the way men have interacted with the woman they married.

    Distrust …feeling obliged to defer to the woman has gone the way of chivalry and manners…They do not treat other men with what used to be a special kind of honor and protection that was for women and children …Women wanted to ‘compete’ as men and darned if they aren’t finding themselves treated with the same jaundiced eye as other competitors in the work place.

    I have seen this coming for a long time …God made women and men different but equal ..the heinous destruction of the regard among human beings by satanic influences bent upon the destruction of the family has been awful to behold and worse to experience the ways it has damaged relationships.

    No wonder the several generations now lacking Biblical truth are adrift and lose hope and interest in life apart from feeding their growing lust for experiences…the church failed to teach truth …failed to give those seeking what matters and how to apply it …and deception has been the name of the game now for many many generations …a thousand years? ….I would not be at all surprised if this IS the time which we have been reading of ….

    At no other time in the history of the world has it been available to touch the minds of some many …since media expansion ..and the world has ‘shrunk’ according to the social engineers efforts …it takes even more concerted effort and love for GOD to “Keep my commandments’ which GOD has told us IS what LOVE for Him involves.

    Let us continue in HIS word for they are spirit and they are life !

  43. Irv says:

    The Real Morgan Edwards

    by George Wilson

    In 1995, in a 24-page booklet on 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards, evangelist John Bray claimed that Edwards taught a pretrib rapture in his 1788 book titled “Two Academical Exercises….”
    Those echoing Bray include Thomas Ice who wrote “Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist.” Edwards’ 1788 work can be found on the internet.
    In order to claim that Edwards held to pretrib, candidates for the I-can-find-pretrib-earlier-in-church-history-than-you-can medal – including Bray, Ice, LaHaye, Frank Marotta etc. – have intentionally covered up Edwards’ “historicism,” his belief that the tribulation had already been going on for hundreds of years. (How can anyone in the tribulation go back in time and look for a pretrib rapture?)
    Here’s proof of Edwards’ historicism and its companion “day-year” theory which can view the 1260 tribulation “days” as “years.”
    On p. 14 Edwards described the Ottoman Empire (which was then already 400 years old) as the Rev. 13:11 “beast.” On p. 20 he defined “Antichrist” as the already 1000-year-old “popery” and the “succession of persons” known as “Popes” – his other Rev. 13 “beast.” He necessarily viewed Rev. 13′s 1260-day period as 1260 literal years in order to provide enough time for his two “beasts.”
    On p. 19, while discussing “the ministry of the witnesses” of Rev. 11, he allotted “about 204 years” for their “years to perform” – years impossible to fit into a 3.5-year period!
    What about Edwards’ rapture? On pp. 21-23 he wrote about “the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself….The signs of Christ’s appearing in the clouds will be extraordinary ‘wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines,’ &. (Matth. xxiv. 6-8.)….The signs of his coming, in the heavens will be ‘the trump of God [I Thess. 4:16], vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon [Matt. 24:29],’…and also cause those meteors called ‘falling stars’….
    Right after his combined rapture/advent (!), Edwards said: “And therefore, now, Antichrist…will…counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven…causing ‘fire to come down from heaven’….And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses….Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin…for time, times, and half a time….”
    Thomas Ice’s article on Edwards (see first par. above) quoted only the first 27 words in the above quotation, ending with “to himself.” This sort of unethical revisionism is constantly employed by many pretrib defenders.
    Not only had most of Edwards’ historicist tribulation occurred before his combined rapture/advent, but his Antichrist kept raging for 3.5 years even after the Matt. 24 signs! No wonder his tutor advised him to correct his thesis!
    To read Edwards’ complete work, Google “[PDF] Two Academical Exercises…www.breadoflifebiblestudy.com.”

    [The above just observed on the www]

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