Welcome to the PMI Center for Biblical Studies

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POB 177 – Battle Creek, MI 49016-0177
www.pmiministries.com 

An Independent, Fundamental, King James Bible Teaching Christian school offering College and Seminary level courses in Apologetics, Biblical Studies, Christian Ed, Counseling (Nouthetic), Ministry, Prophecy, Religious Ed, Scofield Bible, and Theology thru distance education since 1981

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We are praying all these decisions for Christ will become disciples of Christ!

How long can a man or woman SURVIVE  in PRISON

without hope, and without a friend?


Let’s face the facts . . .

Prisons are colleges for crime!

  • FACT: There are over 2 million prisoners currently attending these schools!
  • FACT: Criminal skills are taught to willing students by seasoned cons
  • FACT: 95% of all “students” will eventually “graduate” to walk the streets of America
    better trained with improved skills
  • FACT: Prisoners that are abandoned by their family and friends seek companionship within the seedy prison elements that by default are prepared to totally radicalize them!

Consider this

  • American penitentiaries are breeding grounds for concentrated forces of evil
  • 85%- or more- of America’s prisoners– have no relationship with Jesus           Christ
  • Increasing numbers of prison administrations are opposing Christian ministries while becoming favorable toward Islam
  • Biblically ignorant prisoners are being recruited by gangs, cultists, and Islamists- at alarming rates!
  • Chaplains that should be preaching and teaching the Word of God are forsaking Christ to become ecumenical religious facilitators
  • Sodomy is occurring more frequently amongst professing Christian prisoners
  • Prison rehabilitation is a $60 BILLION dollar scam! Of the 95% of PRISONERS that will one day be released, 75% will be back in prison within 48 months! (read more)

Government or God?

Through the years it has become painfully evident: Government programs costing billions of dollars haven’t worked. God’s program does work because it is Bible based. We know from over 30 years of contending for the faith (Jude 1:3) that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s why the PMI Center chose in 1981 to provide life-changing TUITION-FREE distance Bible college level studies to prisoners in eight proven study program tracks (see Courses above menu) : Apologetics (2 years Biblical – Creationism), Biblical Studies (6 years), Nouthetic Counseling (2 years), Pastoral and Evangelism Ministry (2 years), Prophecy (Jack Van Impe- 2 years), Religious Ed (1 year ), Scofield Bible (2 years), and Theology (1 year PhD option from Calvary Christian Seminary).  All are soundly fundamental in doctrine (we use the Authorized King James Bible), practical in structure, and underwritten exclusively by the generous freewill offerings of those who believe in what we’re doing and support us. We’re proud to say that many of our 26,000 students have received their diplomas from PMI and degrees from our co-op colleges and have gone on to become devoted evangelists, pastors, teachers, counselors, church ministry workers, and all-around exemplary Christians. If you or an incarcerated loved one would like information on enrollment, please download the following Intro Pack with Application explaining everything:

ENROLLMENT INFORMATION FOR PRISONERS AND NON-PRISONERS – Write and request the first of 8 in the Foundations of Theology prerequisite study project!

Recommendations from students:

I thank God daily for you and the truths that you teach. I will take them into the ministry with me and teach them to the church of God without apology and without compromise. I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity that God has given me to learn and grow in my faith and in God’s Word through PMI under your leadership. May God bless you always. Curtis Fairchild (South Bay, FL).

Brothers and sisters, PMI teaches God’s Word verbatim, the studies have enlightened me, uplifted me, encouraged me, edified me, qualified me, and called me to a higher calling in Christ Jesus. Waiting for the trumpet blast. Steven Collins, 2 Tim 1:7-8 (Springfield, TN).

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My goal when I get out of here is to work with prison ministry. I have seen first hand now how much of a presence Satan has in a prison. Learning has never been so interesting. Your lessons have given me a new look at things I have read many times before. James George (Ayer, MA)

Recommendations from well known friends:

Van-Impe-Reese-HarringtonHovind

LUTHER RICE COLLEGE AND SEMINARY: After a thorough review of our courses, we received the following response from the President of Luther Rice College & Seminary, the undisputed pioneer in distance education:

Dear. Dr. Johnston, Thank you for the follow-up letter of October 3. I did, indeed, receive the materials you sent and found them quite impressive. Of all the ministries that I have written, yours comes closest to what I was hoping to find.

When I am advised of students who are looking for high quality theological education but are unable to meet the financial requirements of Luther Rice Seminary, I will certainly recommend Promise Ministries.

Again, thank you for your concern and for the good work that you are doing.

In Him, J.M. Kinnebrew, Th.D.
Luther Rice Seminary

ENROLLMENT INFORMATION FOR PRISONERS AND NON-PRISONERS – Write and request the first of 8 in the Foundations of Theology prerequisite study project!

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Categories: Misc, PMI Info

Introducing: Latter Times News Blog

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

FREE SUBSCRIPTION to our newest blog Latter Times News featuring prophetic developments around the world relating to the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God.

Here’s the link- hope to see you there: http://lattertimesnews.wordpress.com/

Categories: Misc

THE CONVERSION TO CHRIST OF GENERAL MANUEL ANTONIO NORIEGA

“God can forgive the worst sinner on earth.” How many times have you heard a preacher say something like that? Or, “God loves everyone. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. There is no sinner too sinful for God to forgive, if that person will repent and come to Christ in faith.” And do we believe it? Of course we do. We believe that Jesus Christ would have forgiven Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him, if he would have truly repented.

Question: Would Jesus have forgiven Adolf Hitler? Perhaps survivors of the holocaust couldn’t…and we could understand their difficulty in forgiving.  But Jesus could have forgiven Hitler…if he would have changed his life instead of ending his life by blowing his brains out in a Berlin bunker.

Let’s bring it on down to today.

Would God be willing to forgive a repentant Jeffrey Dahmer, the mass murderer of Milwaukee?

How about Sadaam Hussein, the bloody butcher of Baghdad?

What about General Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian drug Lord? General Manuel Antonio Noriega was found guilty of international drug trafficking and sentenced to 40 years in the federal penitentiary.

“Noriega, a former Roman Catholic known to have dabbled in the occult, embraced evangelical Christianity and prayed for forgiveness in a three-hour session in May 1990, the Times reported.

“I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour the 15th May of 1990 at 11 a.m.,” he wrote in letters about his conversion. In some letters, he wrote that he had suffered from “illusions of grandeur and a heart hardened to the Gospel.”

His attorney confirmed his conversion at the time, dismissing questions about whether it was all a ploy to curry favor with the judge. “There are people who are just cynical about everything,” the attorney told the Times.”

A prison guard witnessed Noriega’s life after his conversion “I’ve seen seriousness and I’ve seen the lack of it,” said one of the guards who monitor the fallen leader daily. “I haven’t seen any dedication or seriousness greater than his.” 

Stop the questions!

It’s not a moot question anymore. For on October 24, 1992, in a baptistry provided by American Rehabilitation Ministries, General Manuel Noriega was immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the chambers of the Honorable William M. Hoeveler, United States District Judge, Federal Court House, Miami Florida.

Noriega was “Public Enemy No. 1” during the time leading up to the U.S. invasion of Panama in December 1989. How did it come to pass that the former general of Panama was buried in baptism in Florida in an A.R.M. baptistry?

The story begins in a maximum security cell in the federal prison in Miami where General Manuel Noriega was awaiting trial on charges of international drug trafficking.

Early in January 1990 a copy of a Spanish New Testament came into the notorious prisoner’s hands. On January 10, 1990, the editor of the Soul Winner’s New Testament (Evangelismo Personal), Clift Brannon, a former attorney turned preacher, received a letter from Noriega.  In the letter, Noriega expressed his appreciation for the copy of the Scriptures. Brannon immediately applied for a visitation permit for the purpose of religious instruction under the rights granted Noriega under the Geneva Accords.

Accordingly, on May 15 and 16, 1990, Brannon and a Spanish interpreter, Rudy Hernandez, were allowed to visit Noriega for a total of 6 hours in the Metropolitan Correctional Center of Dade County, Florida. Following their visit, Noriega wrote Brannon as follows:

On completing the spiritual sessions that you as a messenger of the Word of God brought to my heart, even to my area of confinement as Prisoner of War of the United States, I feel the necessity of adding something more to what I was able to say to you as we parted.  The evening sessions of May 15 and 16 with you and Rudy Hernandez along with the Christian explanation and guidance were for me the first day of a dream, a revelation.  I can tell you with great strength and inspiration that receiving our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior guided by you, was an emotional event. The hours flew by without my being aware. I could have desired that they continue forever, but there was no time nor space.  Thank you for your time. Thank you for your human warmth, for your constant and permanent spiritual strength brought to bear on my mind and soul.

With great affection.

Manuel A. Noriega

Following another visit in July, 1990, Noriega enrolled in a 16-week Bible correspondence course. At the conclusion of his personal study the former drug lord requested permission of the prison authorities to be baptized in accordance to what he had learned from Matthew 28:19,20.

His request, however, was denied upon the advice of his attorneys.

On September 25, 1992, Brannon wrote to the Honorable William M. Hoeveler, united States District Judge in Miami, pleading the court’s permission to immerse Noriega. “Only in this way can he (Noriega) genuinely show his faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-5).”

The former attorney went on to write:

On October 24th, we ask your authority to have a fiberglass baptistry taken into the court room and for General Manuel A. Noriega to be immersed in accord with the Holy Scriptures and in obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sincerely submitted for Your Honor’s favorable consideration.

Clifton W. Brannon

In the meantime, it was necessary to secure a portable baptistry. To whom would they turn?

To the same ministry that has for the past 31 years placed more than 1000 baptistries in American prisons nationwide. A.R.M. not only responded with a communion table baptistry, but also provided two in-depth Spanish Bible correspondence courses for General Noriega’s study.  A variety of Spanish DaySpring greeting cards were sent from A.R.M. along with several New Testament Gospel tracts in Spanish.

On October 24, 1992 (United Nations Day!), A.R.M’s baptistry arrived at the back door of the Federal Court House in Miami. A Deputy Marshall helped Brannon and his associates take the baptistry into the courtroom and fill it with water.

Noriega’s baptism almost didn’t happen because of his high security status, opposition from the Catholic chaplain and daunting logistical problems.

The baptism was arranged to take place in the courthouse, in an atrium outside the door of one of the courtrooms, using A.R.M.’s Communion Table Baptistry.

“That was a first”, Brannon said. “We were told this had never taken place in a federal courthouse before”.

When the baptistry was filled, the Deputy Marshall brought General Manuel Antonio Noriega into the courtroom to be baptized. Surrounded by 12 guards, Noriega, wearing civilian clothes, took off his jacket and shoes, and got into the baptistry. Brannon preached on the meaning of baptism as Hernandez interpreted, followed by prayer and Scripture reading. Brannon then baptized Noriega in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Brannon says that when Noriega “came up out of the water” you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. “Rudy had an accordion, and we all sang Amazing Grace, which reverberated off the marble floor”, Brannon said.

“It’s one of those sacred moments,” Brannon said. “I could feel God speaking that He was well pleased.”

Noriega was allowed to give a brief testimony and be served the Lord’s Supper before being escorted back to his maximum security cell.  Here, in part, is the testimony of General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the notorious international drug lord and ruthless dictator of Panama:

Before, Jesus to me was only an image of that which was learned from Catholicism, an historic being who worked miracles. All was transformed when on Tuesday, January the 16th, 1990, Dr. Clift asked me in a telephone conversation, he in Texas and I in a preventive prison of the court, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?”

Today, this is what He means to me:

He is the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins, who arose from the grave and is at the right hand of God the Father and who above all things He is my Savior, and has mercy on me, a sinner.”

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/30/for-two-evangelical-christians-manuel-antonio-noriega-became-the-ultimate-jailhouse-convert/?utm_term=.8357612c5687

http://www.arm.org:80/bk/noriega.htm  (CAUTION: ARM holds to a doctrinal position resembling baptismal regeneration, which do not)

Question. Are you saved? Have you made peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ? God made His plan of salvation simple enough for anyone to understand:

First, believe that you are a Hell-bound sinner that is totally unacceptable to God in your present condition: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God . . . the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23)

Second, believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins so you could be acceptable to God through Him: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

Third, believe that Jesus Christ will save you if you will simply believe in Him with your whole heart and call on His name right now: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in  thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-10, 13)

If you have just trusted Christ as your Lord and Saviour, please contact Dr. Mike for a FREE 8 lesson Foundations of Theology Bible study to help get you started right in your New Life as a believer in and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Categories: Evangelism, Salvation

Watch the Christians dance to Dave MacPherson’s Huckster Hustle

Dr. Mike Johnston

It’s impossible to discuss the end times apart from the Tribulation and the rapture. It’s also impossible to discuss the rapture without hearing it’s a satanic hoax [1] never taught until 1830.

This of course is the huckster hustle popularized 4 decades ago by Dave MacPherson a neurotic, rapture-loathing reporter from Missouri. I’ve often thought of MacPherson like the neighbor’s Chihuahua that sneaks outdoors, piddles on your bushes, and grabs your pant leg when you try shooing him away.

The mainstay of MacPherson’s mendacity is his rowdy insistence that the church Body must participate in Israel’s Tribulation and everyone who doesn’t believe it is a Luciferian loon. This he continually contends in spite of the evidence disputing it leaving no question in anyone’s mind Dave isn’t in this for the facts; he’s in it for the fight!

Clearly Dave’s greatest ambition is the wholesale destruction of the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) and all proponents of it. Believe me, if you‘ve read MacPherson’s materials you know he exercises a vast amount of creative license to get there. This hatred however has corrupted his conscience since he blames the rapture and its teachers for virtually all of his misfortunes, beginning with his expulsion from BIOLA College for opposing it. This he complains caused him to go on a drunken binge in Mexico, followed at some point by a car accident, his mom’s death, his sister’s inability to have more children, the demonic possession of his dog, all his father’s pastoral woes; and on and on ad nauseum. In short, MacPherson lays on the shoulders of the “evil” PreTrib rapture and equally evil teachers every one of his misfortunes. [2]

That said, understanding Dave’s dark documented background will allow you to connect the dots leading to the inspiration for his incendiary irrationality.

The Malevolent MacPherson

In the 1970s, the crestfallen MacPherson [3] created the “straw man” rapture origin argument to help him fight against the PreTrib rapture; the nemesis he couldn’t defeat by simply using the Bible. He cultivated his con from the undocumented claims of Textus Receptus enemy and fellow truth twister Samuel Tregelles, to sculpt what has become a lucrative career featuring a multi-volume fantasy franchise under defamatory titles like “The Rapture Plot”, “The Incredible Cover Up”, “The Great Rapture Hoax”, “Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin” and “Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture,” etc.

Regardless of the cryptic title on the cover, Dave’s books all coalesce around one consistently unproven three step theme:

  1. The PreTrib rapture didn’t exist until 1830 [4]
  2. A demon possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[5] Catholic Apostolic Church by the name of Margaret MacDonald – conjured it up in a vision [6]
  3. John Nelson Darby [a dispensational scholar who considered charismatics mystics and spiritualists anathema] embraced it as a revelation from God and pilfered [7] it for CI Scofield to publish in his reference Bible.

MacPherson is like the car salesman peddling autos he doesn’t possess hoping you won’t check the lot. In fact for over 40 years he’s expected others to trust a baseless allegation about a sinister plot Darby and Scofield cooked up in some – who knows where – dimly lit room to deceive Christians for no apparent reason other than the indescribable joy both men received from misleading people.

However, there are many problems associated with thesis. Let me list three:

First, Miss MacDonald’s “prophecy” doesn’t contain the indisputable elements required of a pre-trib rapture proponent. [8] In fact, if you read her prophecy you’ll find she believed in several raptures and that the church would suffer under Antichrist. Therefore, in order to get his theory in line with the narrative, MacPherson had to edit the two accounts of Margaret’s vision. This is softened to creative eisegesis in some circles. The one I fellowship with sees it as dishonest journalism and it’s practiced constantly by gainsayers (Titus 1:9).

Second, no one has ever demonstrated from historical records that Darby was influenced by MacDonald’s “prophecy” even if it had contained pre-trib elements – which it certainly did not.

Third, according to biographer historian Roy Huebner R. A. Huebner, “Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby”, Vol. 1 (Morganville, N. J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1991), Darby clearly held to an early form of the PreTrib rapture by January 1827. This is a full three years before MacPherson’s claim of 1830.

So did – or would – Darby steal the PreTrib rapture teaching from a babbling charismatic whom he would have considered occult influenced? He didn’t because he wouldn’t! In fact, no one – including Tregelles, MacPherson, nor anyone in their league of loyal lackeys – has ever provided a shred of credible proof linking directly Darby or Scofield to plagiarizing MacDonald’s mystic utterances – except of course MacPherson. I’ll quote Brethren researcher Frank Marotta,

“It is significant that MacPherson is the lone “historian” who has argued a connection between Macdonald and Darby. Considering that there have been numerous historical examinations of both the Irvingites and the Brethren, yet MacPherson stands alone in exposing the “plot,” is rather a testimony to polemical bias, not the facts. Those anti-pretribulationists who have adopted MacPherson’s revision have done so merely on the basis of his word, not as a result of original research.” [9]

The verdict of this debate will turn on the evidence you’ve heard. If you’re outcome oriented, follow Dave; if you want an objective conclusion, you’ll reject him. After full consideration of MacPherson’s muttering, here’s the analysis by respected Theologian Dr. John Walvoord, “The whole controversy as aroused by Dave MacPherson’s claims has so little supporting evidence … one wonders how he can write his book with a straight face. Pretribulationists should be indebted to Dave MacPherson for exposing the facts, namely, that there is no proof that MacDonald … originated the pretribulation rapture teaching.” [10]

[1] CAVEAT: The fact that they label satanic whatever they don’t agree with tells you about the content of their heart. Although I used to discuss the rapture with them, I finally came to my senses no longer give a moment to them

[2] http://www.raptureready.com/dave-macpherson/

[3] Dave has positioned himself and his father Norman as victims of the PreTrib rapture. First, as a pastor his dad flip flopped on the PreTrib rapture and was asked to resign the church he pastored. This, he said, ruined his life. Dave’s woes began when he was allegedly run out of a Bible college for teaching Post Trib rapture. My instincts tell me after reading Dave’s belligerent blustering; there is more to it than that.

[4] Roy Huebner documented that John Nelson Darby held a form of the Pre-Trib view by January of 1827, three full years before Dave MacPherson’s 1830 claim. His came from marking the distinction between Israel and the church, not from an occult influenced Scottish lass.

[5] Edward Irving was a Scottish clergyman, generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church which believed in modern day apostles and sign gifts. In other words they were charismatics. [THE TRIBULATION OF CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW ARTICLE Timothy C. F. Stunt]

[6] “It is only with some difficulty that one can identify what MacPherson calls her ‘pretribulationist’ teaching in the transcript of 1840, and when in 1861 Norton quoted from her prophecy he omitted the passage which referred to ‘the fiery trial’ which ‘will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus’—a passage which clearly assumes that Christians will go through the tribulation.” [THE TRIBULATION OF CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW ARTICLE Timothy C. F. Stunt]

[7] If Margaret MacDonald is the originator of the PreTrib rapture, why are there no records of her contesting Darby’s theft?

[8] I’ve studied this carefully. There isn’t clear PreTrib teaching here and those who claim otherwise do so more from an agenda than they do academics. You may request a copy from PMI. Please include a SASE.

[9] Quoted from: http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html. There is a wealth of info unveiling the mocking MacPherson.

[10] More information available at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret: MacDonald: (visionary)

============================================================================

May 16, 2018: Here’s a “reasonable” response from a rapture hater to the above factual evidence:

“You’re an idiot if you believe in the rapture. There is absolutely ZERO biblical evidence for it, and Revelation clearly states there is no rapture . You spend more time on ad hominem attacks than you do proving your fault. Why are you trying to spread false hope for an event that won’t happen? Stop fooling yourself.”

Email: rjpel43@XXX.com

GIMMICK: “The Antichrist has to be revealed BEFORE the Rapture” GOTCHA!

Dr. Mike Johnston

Misinterpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. Nothing has to occur before the Rapture. The notion that the Antichrist must appear first was invented by PreTrib rapture opponents misinterpreting Second Thessalonians Two. Here’s the exact passage: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken [1]in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 KJV)

Let’s develop the context here. Dr. Myron J. Houghton [2] adds this [my comments in brackets]:

“Paul is writing to the Thessalonian believers about the rapture. The false teaching which these three sources [spirit, word, letter] presented and which disturbed the Thessalonians was that “the day of Christ” had come. [The Day of Christ begins with the Rapture of the church. I’ll explain the difference shortly shortly]. This “day” refers to the time when Christ will directly intervene in human affairs by bringing destruction upon the world. Furthermore, the verb that is translated “is at hand” is in the perfect tense and thus signifies completed past action with present results. Thus, the false teaching was that the day of Christ the Lord had arrived and was now present[3] We know from 2 Thessalonians 1:4 that these believers were already suffering persecution, so this conclusion was not farfetched. Paul’s purpose, then, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–10 is to show these believers that they were not in the Tribulation. [To demonstrate this] in v. 3, he states that two things must occur before the Tribulation can begin: (1) the “falling away,” and (2) the revelation of the man of sin.”

Tribulation Activities of the Man of sin, the Antichrist

Antichrist gains notoriety by brokering a 7-year peace treaty between Israel and her enemies (Dan. 9:27; see Rev. 6:2), perhaps involving Temple construction and restarting the Judaic sacrificial system.

[SIDE NOTE: Jews are overwhelmingly convinced Messiah will return to personally construct the Temple. Juxtapose this to Antichrist and you’ll be startled by the possible delusion he’ll present]

In the midst of Daniel’s 70th week, Antichrist will end the sacrificial worship system and commit an abominable act causing the desolation of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:27; 11:22, 28, 30) by entering the Temple and demanding to be worshiped (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).

The Falling Away

Christians generally believe the falling away is a departure from the faith in the last days. While I believe this is true (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Pet. 2:1-2), I also believe this verse may contain a double entendre [4] I’ll tie together in a moment. Dr. Thomas Ice, prolific author, speaker, apologist, and President of the Pre-Trib Research Center, [5] challenged conventional wisdom by suggesting that the falling away Paul disclosed in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 may be a reference to a departing we call the rapture rather than a defection from the faith. The following Bible scholars have presented the same findings: E. Schuyler English[i]; Pastor Chuck Smith [ii]; Dr. David Hocking [iii] and Dr. Myron Houghton who offers the following:

“Two possible solutions have been presented as to the identity of the “falling away.” The first solution is the one traditionally given and is still the most popular view today. It understands the “falling away” as a great apostasy or departure from the faith. Almost any standard commentary will defend this position. For a detailed defense of this view see The Thessalonian Epistles by D. Edmond Hiebert. Basically the argument is that the Greek word translated “falling away” means a religious apostasy. The second solution which is possible understands the “falling away” as a reference to the rapture of the church. This view is defended by E. Schuyler English in his book, Re-Thinking the Rapture.

There are four reasons which, when taken together, seem to indicate that Paul was referring to the rapture when he mentioned this term.

Reason # 1: The word which is translated “falling away” can refer to a physical departure. Note that this argument does not say that the word always or even normally has this meaning. “Departure, disappearance” is the second meaning given for this Greek word in A Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell & Scott, I, 218. Part of the problem here is that this word is used only twice in the New Testament——here and also in Acts 21:21, where Paul is told that some accuse him of teaching a departure from Moses. In this latter passage, this word is used in the sense of a religious apostasy. In the LXX (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), this word or an older form is found in Joshua 22:22, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 29:19, 33:19, Isaiah 30:1, and Jeremiah 2:19. In these cases, the word also has the idea of religious departure. However, either the context or a descriptive phrase is used to indicate that a religious apostasy is meant. Therefore it might be argued that the word itself was more general.

[Editor’s note: most King James advocates believe in a 7-fold refinement of the Bible (Psa. 12:6). Interestingly, apostasia was translated departure the first five refinements: the Tyndale Bible (1526); Coverdale Bible (1535); Matthews Bible (1537); The Great Bible (1538); and the Geneva Bible (1560)]

In the New Testament, the verb form of this word is used sixteen times (Luke 2:37; 4:13; 8:13; 13:27; 22:29; Acts 5:37,38; 12:10; 15:38; 19:9; 22:29; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:1; 6:5; 2 Timothy 2:19; and Hebrews 3:12). Of the sixteen references, only three have reference to a religious departure, and these three are qualified by context (Luke 8:13) or by a descriptive phrase (1 Timothy 4:1—”from the faith” and Hebrews 3:12—”from the living God”). It is clear from some of the remaining references that a physical departure is meant (the angel who delivered Peter from prison departed from him—Acts 12:10, and Paul prayed that a thorn in the flesh might depart from him—2 Corinthians 12:8.) This word is translated departynge by William Tyndale (c. 1526), by Cranmer (1539), and by the Geneva Bible (1557). Beza (1565) translated it departing.

Reason # 2: The use of the definite article (“the”) lends support to the view that the falling away is the rapture. The basic function of the article “is to point out an object or to draw attention to it. Its use with a word makes the word stand out distinctly,” (Dana and Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, 137). Paul is not speaking of A falling away but THE falling away. In all probability, Paul is referring to some subject he has previously discussed with the Thessalonians. Robertson agrees with this use of the article in this verse. He states: “And the use of the definite article (the) seems to mean that Paul had spoken to the Thessalonians about it.” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, IV, 49). Now, if this is the use of the article in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, one would expect to find a place, either in 1 or 2 Thessalonians, where Paul previously referred to a departure from the faith. This writer knows of no such reference. However, there is previous reference to the rapture of the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1.

Reason # 3: Paul’s style of writing in this chapter also lends support to the idea that the “falling away” is the rapture. In verse 3, Paul states that two events must occur before the day of the Lord can come, namely (1) the “falling away,” and (2) the revealing of the man of sin. Paul’s reference to this second event seems to be more fully described in verses 8–9. If, indeed, this is Paul’s style, then verses 6 and 7, which describe the removal of the Holy Spirit and the church, would be a more detailed explanation of the first event in verse 3 (the “falling away”).

Reason # 4: Paul’s purpose in writing lends support to the view that the “falling away” is the rapture. Remember the setting. The Thessalonian believers were being persecuted for their faith, and they thought they were in the Tribulation. Paul writes to tell them that they can’t possibly be in the Tribulation because two things have to occur before the Tribulation can begin: the “falling away” and the revelation of the man of sin. If religious apostasy is a means by which Paul expects the Thessalonians to know whether or not they are in the Tribulation, then he has failed to prove his point because there has always been religious apostasy, even in the time of the apostle Paul, and the Thessalonians were not in a position to distinguish any present apostasy from “THE apostasy.” However, if Paul was referring to the rapture of the church, then the Thessalonians could know with certainty that they could not yet be in the Tribulation.”[6]

Dr. Ice quotes the experts parsing apostasia in the following excerpt:

“The Greek noun apostasia is only used twice in the New Testament. In addition to 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it occurs in Acts 21:21 where, speaking of Paul, it is said, “that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake (apostasia) Moses.” The word is a Greek compound of apo “from” and istemi “stand.” Thus, it has the core meaning of “away from” or “departure.” The Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon defines apostasia first as “defection, revolt;” then secondly as “departure, disappearance.”

Gordon Lewis explains how the verb from which the noun apostasia is derived supports the basic meaning of departure in the following: The verb may mean to remove spatially. There is little reason, then, to deny that the noun can mean such a spatial removal or departure. Since the noun is used only one other time in the New Testament of apostasy from Moses (Acts 21:21), we can hardly conclude that its Biblical meaning is necessarily determined. The verb is used sixteen times in the New Testament. Of these sixteen only three have anything to do with a departure from the faith (Luke 8;13; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:12).

The word is used for departing from iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19), from ungodly men (1 Tim. 6:5), from the temple (Luke 2:27), from the body (2 Cor. 12:8), and from persons (Acts 12:10; Luke 4:13).

It is with full assurance of proper exegetical study and with complete confidence in the original languages,” concludes Daniel Davey, [7] ‘that the word meaning of apostasia is defined as departure.’

Paul Lee Tan adds the following: “What precisely does Paul mean when he says that “the falling away” (2:3) must come before the tribulation? The definite article “the” denotes that this will be a definite event, an event distinct from the appearance of the Man of Sin. The Greek word for “falling away”, taken by itself, does not mean religious apostasy or defection. Neither does the word mean “to fall,” as the Greeks have another word for that- [pipto, I fall; TDI]. The best translation of the word is “to depart.” The apostle Paul refers here to a definite event which he calls “the departure,” and which will occur just before the start of the tribulation. This is the rapture of the church.”[8]

The Departing Entendre

We’ve just studied two positions held by scholars that seem distinct and yet I believe they are simultaneously and inextricably linked together. When church departs from earth in the Rapture we leaven being “church” buildings attended by apostate “Christians” that aren’t saved and have spent their lives in Satan’s work.

[1] Quoting the Introduction to Second Thessalonians from the Scofield Study Bible: “The Thessalonian converts were “shaken in mind” and “troubled,” supposing, perhaps on the authority of a forged letter as from Paul, that the persecutions from which they were suffering were those of the “great and terrible day of the Lord,” from which they had been taught to expect deliverance by “the day of Christ, and out gathering together unto him” (2Th_2:1). The present letter, then, was written to instruct the Thessalonians concerning the day of Christ, “and our gathering together unto him” 1Th_4:14-17 and the relation of the “day of Christ” to the “day of the Lord.” First Thessalonians had more in view the “day of Christ”; the present Epistle the “day of the Lord.”

[2] Author, lecturer, and Theology professor at Faith Baptist Bible College, Ankeny, IA.

[3] This would also mean they had not only missed the rapture, but the judgement seat of Christ where rewards (crowns) are awarded in heaven (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10).

[4] A word or phrase having two meanings

[5] An organization he co-founded with the late Dr. Tim LaHaye. http://www.pre-trib.org/

[6] The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 by Dr. Myron J. Houghton, Ph.D.

[7] [Professor Bible Exposition at Virginia Beach Theological Seminary]

[8] Apostasia: The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 by Dr. Thomas Ice.

[i] E. Schuyler English

It is well established that E. Schuyler English is thought to be the first pretribulationist to propose that the departure in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 was a physical departure and thus a reference to the pre-trib rapture.  However, history records that at least a couple of men thought of this idea before English series of article in 1950. J. S. Mabie is said to have presented the view that the departure refers to the rapture as early as 1859 during a prophecy conference in Los Angeles.  He later wrote his view in an article published in November 1895 in a periodical called Morning Star.  Another pre-English proponent of the departure as the rapture was John R. Rice in a book in 1945.

Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/the-departure-in-2-thessalonians-23#_ednref11

[ii] Pastor Chuck Smith

The “day” referred to here is the Day of Judgment. “Falling away” comes from the Greek word for “depart.” This may refer to the Rapture of the Church, for the Day of Judgment will come after the Rapture. It may be a reference to people departing from the faith, for Paul spoke of another departure (1 Timothy 4:1) and used the same Greek word. However, in 1 Timothy Paul added the words “depart from the faith” instead of “depart” alone.

Source: The Blue Letter Bible

[iii] Dr. David Hocking

Dr. Hocking’s commentary on the Day of Christ the Lord from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.

[I transcribed and slightly edited this from a teaching video on the Antichrist and Day of the Lord by Dr. Hocking]. Regarding the start of the Day of the Lord and the appearance of the Antichrist.

The departure of church age believers will come first v3. (1) “except there come a falling away first.” The emphasis is interesting; this is the big event; and then that man of sin will be revealed, the son of perdition. (2) The Greek word for “falling away” is apostasia. Stasia is from a verb histemi, meaning to stand, apo means away from. It is translated normally “to depart.” It is used only twice as a noun: once here, and once in Acts 21:21. It is used 16 times as a verb, aphistemi.. Out of those 16 times as a verb, it is translated “depart” in 11 places. Remember after the temptation of Christ when the angels came and ministered to Christ? It says he “departed.” This is the same word. Well it doesn’t mean He departed or defected from the faith or apostatized. It just means He left. Eleven out of the 16 times it clearly means that someone just left; they departed. Once in Luke 8:13 it’s translated “fall away.” In Acts 5:37 it describes people who “drew away.”  In Acts 5:38 it reads “refrain from these men” meaning leave them.  Now turn to 1 Timothy chapter 4, verse 1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (1 Timothy 4:1 KJV). Depart is from the same Greek apostasia, but here you have a qualifying clause – “from the faith”. So here it is; apostasy in the traditional sense of the word, a religious departure. The problem is that if that is the intention of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it’s strange that the man who wrote 1 Timothy 4 wouldn’t have put “from the faith” there if he meant religious departure. In other words, the very qualifying words “from the faith” describes what kind of departure it is, but there’s nothing like this in our text. There’s another problem. In our text in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the definite article “the” in the Greek text is in front of “falling away”. Literally “the” departure which implies a specific departure which had to be just mentioned in the context. And as we study the context, where is the specific departure? It’s in verse 1, the rapture which would certainly hearken back to his first epistle when he discussed the great departure at the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Now if I’m correct, and good men disagree, the point here is that if this were a religious apostasy, it would not be a good indicator since we’ve had a religious departure from the faith ever since the time of the New Testament. First, are things worse today than they’ve ever been? Absolutely! The departure we’ve witnessed from the faith is incredible. But we said that 40 years ago, also. We said that also 100 years ago. We said that also 200 years ago. So, if this is the indicator, which departure would be serious enough to THE departure? Do you understand what I’m saying? In other words, the classic translation of apostasia is departure, and if you are translating literally, that day won’t come – the Day of the Lord – until the departure comes first, and then the man of sin is revealed. I think this is the only way to make sense out of this passage. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlCgFmQMsIg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RA Torrey on prayer

We need to make a firm commitment to prayer and the ministry of the Word

“The great reservoir of the power that belongs to God is His own Word – the Bible. If we wish to make it ours, we must go to that Book. Yet people abound in the Church who are praying for power and neglecting the Bible. Men are longing to have power for bearing fruit in their own lives and yet forget that Jesus has said: “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11).”  –R.A. Torrey

Categories: Doctrine, Prayer

Things That Are Different: Prophecy for Israel and the Mystery of the Church

Dr. Mike Johnston

Someone wisely noted: “things that are different are not the same.” In Scripture this is revealed to us in several areas, most pronounced of course is God’s distinct dealings with Israel and the church. Anti-PreTrib rapturists I believe are involved in a collusion of confusion by refusing to see these Biblical differences as intrinsic pieces to the hermeneutic puzzle.

First, Prophecy (earthly) and Mystery (heavenly) are not the Same

            It is widely accepted that the Bible can be divided into Old Testament and New Testament. However, the Bible is better divided into two more well defined, descriptive terms, and these are prophecy and mystery. Prophecy is basically the purpose God has for the earth and Christ’s reign upon it, which includes the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:23; Mic. 4:7). This is the Kingdom of heaven that will in the future be set up on the earth, literally. The Mystery is that body of truth proclaimed by the Apostle Paul, concerning heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ in heaven, together there with Christ (Eph. 2:4-10, 3: 1-4).

The very first words in the Bible state: “In the beginning God created the HEAVEN and the EARTH” (Gen. 1:1). It does not say God created the UNIVERSE; it does not say God created the heavens and the earth as many people- and most all erroneous modern translations- make the mistake of saying. It says God created the HEAVEN and the EARTH. This is because He has a special purpose concerning the earth which is completely different from His purpose concerning heaven. His purpose that concerns the earth has to do with Christ’s future reign upon it, and this is the subject of “prophecy” (2 Peter 1:16-19). His purpose for heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ there with the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject of the “mystery” (Ephesians 2:4-10, 3:1-4). This is why the Bible is really divided into two great subjects: Prophecy and Mystery!

The Prophecy Program “he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; see Matt. 25:34). It features Israel the unfaithful wife of Jehovah (Jer. 3:20; Hosea) who is currently blind and set aside (Rom. 9-11). Her apostasy notwithstanding, Israel remains God’s elect NATION on earth (Deut. 7:6; [1] 14:2; Isa. 45:4; Psa. 135:4) awaiting an earthly kingdom given through Covenant, with David’s Son – Jesus Christ – as Messiah King (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Zech. 14:9). All prophetic messages given in “time past” (Eph. 2:11-12) enhance or explain the people and particulars associated with Israel’s Kingdom destiny in the “ages to come” (Eph. 2:7). It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants guiding and guaranteeing her future on earth including a lineage, land, laws, and a Lord – King – that began with Abraham (Gen. 12; 17; etc) and will continue through the Millennium (Rev. 20). It is for Israel that the earthly kingdom was “prepared from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34) and through whom the Messiah was born and to whom He presented himself and His kingdom (Matt. 4:17) under the Old Covenant for three and one half years only to be rejected and crucified (Matt. 21-27). However, one day His prayer “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth…” (Matt. 6:10) will be fulfilled. This He explained after questions surfaced from Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) four ministers of the “gospel of the circumcision” (Gal. 2:7-9) regarding the installation of the Davidic Kingdom. After outlining in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21) Tribulation signs coinciding with Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24:15) – the Lord promised He would return in the Revelation “immediately after (Israel’s) Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29; see Zech. 14; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21) to set up the Kingdom (Matt. 24-25). 

The Mystery Program was “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25), yet given to Paul by our heavenly risen Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20) in a personal post ascension revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:1-9). It features the church as the Lord’s BODY (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) and the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 21:9) in a “but now” time-period (Eph. 2:13). The prophets didn’t know about us and never mentioned us, so we aren’t included in the promises and prophecies concerning earth and the future of the NATION Israel. Our inheritance exists “in heavenly places” where we are spiritually sealed (Eph. 1:13-14) and seated in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6; Col. 3:1-2; Phil. 3:20). We are simply occupying a provisional position during Israel’s hiatus between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27) to provoke her to jealousy (Rom. 11:11) until “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). At that precise point, the church which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will suddenly disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) wherein Israel’s prophecy program will commence again.

Second, Israel (prophecy) and the Church (mystery) are Not the Same

Israel is an elect nation of YHWH (Psalm 147:20) that exists from prophecy and is concerned with an earthly kingdom. Membership in the Jewish community is granted by physical birthright. The fact that four-fifths of the Bible pertains to Israel, while only one-fifth of it deals with the church [2] underscores without question that Israel is the apple of God’s eye (Zech. 2:8). In his treatise Israel and the Church, Arnold Fruchtenbaum observes:

“The term Israel is viewed theologically as referring to all descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, also known as Jews, the Jewish people, Israelites, Hebrews, etc.” (113). He notes that national election distinguishes Israel from those peoples who were not chosen that we know as Gentiles (113-14). Fruchtenbaum then offers four reasons for Israel’s election: 1) they were “chosen on the basis of God’s love to be ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ (Ex. 19:6); to represent the Gentile nations before God;” 2) ” to be the recipient of His revelation and to record it (Deut. 4:5-8; 6:6-9; Rom. 3:1-2).” 3) to propagate the doctrine of the One God (Deut. 6:4);” and finally, 4) “to produce the Messiah (Rom. 9:5; Heb. 2:16-17; 7:13-14) (115).”

Through the prophets, Israel (not the church) was given special commissioning and at least five covenants outlining and guaranteeing her future:                First, the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18) whereby God promised to make Israel a great nation in a glorious land that she would possess forever. (Since Israel’s blessings are connected to her land, is it any wonder Satan is using the invented “Palestinians” to steal it from her?). Second, the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 19:25) containing 613 commandments, judgments, and ordinances expressing the righteous will of God in regulating her religious, political, and social affairs (Ex. 19:25). Third, the Land aka Palestinian Covenant (Deut. 30:3) which provided the conditions under which Israel entered and maintained control of the promised land in seven parts. (1) Dispersion for disobedience, Deu_30:1; Deu_28:63-68 (See Scofield “Gen_15:18”); (2) The future repentance of Israel while in the dispersion, Deu_30:2; (3) The return of the Lord, Deu_30:3; Amo_9:9-14; Act_15:14-17; (4) Restoration to the land, Deu_30:5; Isa_11:11; Isa_11:12; Jer_23:3-8; Eze_37:21-25; (5) National conversion, Deu_30:6; Rom_11:26; Rom_11:27; Hos_2:14-16; (6) The judgment of Israel’s oppressors, Deu_30:7; Isa_14:1; Isa_14:2; Joe_3:1-8; Mat_25:31-46; (7) National prosperity, Deu_30:9; Amo_9:11-14. Fourth, the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16) promised the glorious earthly kingdom of Christ “of the seed of David according to the flesh” which secures: (1) A Davidic “house”; i.e. posterity, family; (2) A “throne”; i.e. royal authority; (3) A kingdom; i.e. sphere of rule; (4) In perpetuity; “for ever”; And this fourfold covenant has but one condition: disobedience in the Davidic family is to be visited with chastisement; but not to the abrogation of the covenant 2Sa_7:15; Psa_89:20-37; Isa_24:5; Isa_54:3.[3] Fifth, the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8) which is established on the blood of Christ and better promises, including grace not law, and where Christ- not man- will rule and reign as King of kings forever. Bear in mind, NONE of these covenants were directly made with the church. They’re Jewish! 

The church– on the other hand- is an elect body in Christ (Rom. 12:5) as well as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27). It was not revealed in prophecy and it exists solely from the revelation of mystery the Lord Jesus revealed to Paul alone (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3). Membership in the church is given by spiritual birth rather than physical birth. Her focus is not an earthly, but a heavenly kingdom. In lieu of that, the church has not been consigned anywhere in Scripture to be on earth during the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble- aka Daniel’s 70th week, the day of the Lord and the tribulation. The church lives spiritually in the heavenlies (2 Cor. 5:1-2; Eph. 1:3; 2:6; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1) and looks for her Redeemer (1 Thess. 1:10) who could come in the air at any moment to deliver her from the wrath to come prior to the time of Jacob’s trouble (Rev. 3:10; 1 Th 1:10). Having begun in a mystery, the church will vanish in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) thus restarting Israel’s prophetic calendar with the final week of seven years. Israel and the church are different; therefore they are not the same!

Third: the Day of the Lord (prophecy) and the Day of Christ (mystery) are Not the Same

The Day of the Lord originated with nine of the Jewish OT prophets as part of the prophecy program in the “ages to come” for Israel: Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7,8,14,18; 2:2,3; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5). Many prophecies and passages warn about this time using prophesies that occurred in the past to describe God’s wrath in the future. Zephaniah is one with foreboding words: “The great day of the LORD [is] near, [it is] near, and hasteth greatly, [even] the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day [is] a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, … And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” (Zephaniah 1:14-15, 17-18). Other prophets add this will be a time of trembling (Joel 2:1), and destruction (Isa. 13:6; Joel 1:15), featuring God’s fierce anger (Isa. 13:9;  Zeph. 2:2) against his anti-Semitic and atheistic mocking enemies (Isa. 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 30:3; Obad. 1:15). Scholars viewing earth’s catastrophes and the cosmic disturbances (sun, moon, and stars) in the day of the Lord have connected it to tribulation passages in the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation [4]  which Moses, the Lord Jesus, and John (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14) referred to as Tribulation. In that day God will punish Israel (Jer. 30-31; Ezek. 20:37; 22:18-22) and the world for sin (Rev. 6-19) including the rejection and crucifixion of Christ while purifying and preparing Israel and the world for the coming Davidic Covenant Millennial Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 14; 66:16; Jer 30-31etc) where Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, will reign from Jerusalem for one-thousand years. The fact is, when all passages describing the day of the Lord – are considered with those describing Israel’s Tribulation aka “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) occurring during Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27), the similarities are undeniable; Israel’s Tribulation is in the day of the Lord.

The Day of Christ is a Christian phrase Paul was given in the revelation of the mystery for the church. As a Hebrew scholar, Paul was well aware of the prophetic phrase the day of the Lord and knew it described the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble. The fact that he opted to use the day of Christ, day of our Lord Jesus Christ, day of the Lord Jesus, and day of Jesus Christ rather than the day of the Lord signifies their distinctions. Arno Gaebelein explains:

“There is an important difference between the day of Christ and the day of the Lord. The day of Christ concerns the Church, the saints of God. The day of the Lord concerns the earth– Israel and the nations. The day of Christ begins when He takes His saints in glory and they are with Him. The day of the Lord will bring . . . the visible manifestation of the Lord from heaven. The day of Christ comes first and the day of the Lord follows [and continues] at least seven years later. The day of the Lord does not concern the saints [the church body- Dr. Mike] at all; it falls on the world. Before the day of the Lord can come, His saints have to be gathered together unto Him. The promise of 1Th_4:16-18 needs first to be fulfilled. (Paul)  uses this hope of being gathered to Christ, when He comes for His saints, as a motive why they should not listen to those who said the day of [Christ] is present. He reminds them of the fact that their gathering unto Him had not yet taken place. How, then, could the day of the Lord be present?” (The Annotated Bible- Arno Gaebelein)

Here are the 7 passages in the chronological order Paul wrote them. Please notice if you will that this is a definite terminal period that includes rewards and rejoicing and affects Christians only.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (54 AD): Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2)  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. [Anti-PreTrib writers argue against imminency by claiming Paul taught the antichrist had to appear prior to the Rapture. This, of course, would place Christians in the time of Jacob’s trouble causing them to look for antichrist rather than Jesus Christ. The context of Paul’s words disproves this notion. A forged letter from Paul arrived in Thessalonica claiming the day of Christ (which includes the Rapture and the day of the Lord-or tribulation) was at hand or had begun. If Paul had taught them they were going through the time of Jacob’s trouble, why were they scared since Jesus would after all be returning within seven years? Moreover, why didn’t Paul encourage them to stock pile food, weapons, and other necessities since this would have been the perfect opportunity? The fact is, Paul clearly taught them two comings of Christ: the Rapture where the Lord comes for His church to deliver them from the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble aka day of the Lord which is to come (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:9, 23) and the Revelation where Christ returns with His church after the tribulation: 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; see Matt. 24:29; Rev. 19:11-21].

Here are the remaining verses describing this event. No mention of judgment or any of the woes described by the nine prophets that warned Israel about the day of the Lord:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:8 (59 AD): Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:5 (59 AD): To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:14 (60 AD): As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
  • Philippians 1:6 (64 AD): Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
  • Philippians 1:10 (64 AD): That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.
  • Philippians 2:16 (64 AD): Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

The day of the Lord and the day of Christ are different; therefore they are not the same! 

Fourth: the Revelation (prophecy) and the Rapture (mystery) are Not the Same

The Revelation– also called the Second Coming- is for Israel. Keep this in mind and prophecy becomes clearer. It originated through the prophets, centers around earth, concerns the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Jerusalem, and occurs at the completion of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:29) also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), and the day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10, etc).

The Rapture is for the church. It originated with Paul, centers around heaven, and is a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) that removes the church (also a mystery) prior to the day of the Lord, at the day of Christ. Once the church is removed, the prophecy clock and final preparations for the Kingdom can once again get underway. [5]

In order to fit the pieces together leading to the Kingdom, we need to understand Daniel’s seventy weeks. The Jewish prophet Daniel saw the Lord’s first presentation of the Kingdom in a prophecy he foretold of seventy weeks of seven years (for Israel) leading to the cutting off of the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-26). With the Davidic Covenant in mind, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ began preaching Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). This of course was God’s offer to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16) and fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. When Jesus was officially rejected on the exact day Daniel’s seventieth week was to begin, the prophetic calendar for Israel stopped making way for a parenthetic body to be inserted into the fabric of God’s providence- a mystery that was unknown by the prophets- called the church. However, this left unfulfilled one seven year period the prophets and dispensational scholars refer to as the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble (Jer. 30:7); the day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Joel 1:15, 2:1; etc); a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1); and the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21-29). Bear in mind, the day of the Lord is a Jewish phrase used by at least nine Jewish prophets that centers on earth and concerns Israel not the church (see Zech 12-14; Matthew 24; Rev. 12: the focus is Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation in the Temple Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).

Much of the last days timeframe info comes to us from Daniel’s seventieth week which the Book of Revelation reveals as the worst period of devastation and anti-Semitism in world history; the Beast attacks the saints of God (Jews: Dan. 7:18, 21-22, 25,27; Rev. 11:18; 13:7, 10; 14:12; 16:16; 17:6; 18:24, etc). In the end, Israel- at the point of utter annihilation at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21)- will look up in time to see the nail scarred Messiah Jesus (Zech. 12:10) returning in glory to rescue them from total destruction. His feet will split open the Mount of Olives and He will gather earth’s survivors, separating the sheep from the goats in judgment (Matt. 25:31-33), therein establishing the Covenanted Kingdom of David (2 Sam. 7:16) in Jerusalem. This visible, triumphant return to Israel- called the Revelation is an event the prophets of Israel saw (Dan. 7:13-14). What they didn’t see was the mystery; the church playing a parenthetic role during Israel’s blindness (Rom. 11:25). It was Paul- the converted Jewish scholar- that taught two separate comings of the Lord; one for Israel on earth which he’d learned in his Jewish studies (Dan. 7:13-14) at the feet of the brilliant Gamaliel (Acts 22:3); and one in the heavens for the church he learned from Jesus in the revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3) separated by at least seven years that could begin shortly. The former called the Revelation (aka Second Coming) happens on earth and is for Israel; it will be seen by everyone in the world (Rev. 1:7). The latter called the Rapture happens in the heavens and will be seen only by those who look for Him (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-18; Heb. 9:28). In divine irony, the church- which began in a mystery- will likewise disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).  The Revelation and the Rapture are different; therefore they are not the same!

[1] For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

[2] Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology

[3] Some of this article gleaned from the Old Scofield Reference Bible. We have these Old Scofield Study Bibles in bonded leather, KJV, available for a gift to PMI of $30 to help us minister to you and others. Please remember, when you order from us, you help support us. Stamps are welcome.

[4] We have a book available entitled: Israel’s Tribulation in its Jewish Setting. Write for details.

[5] At some point in the future, God’s program will once again feature Israel. Anti-PreTrib rapturists have identified no starting point for this.

Open Challenge to PreTrib Rapture antagonists

This CHALLENGE is still UNANSWERED

I’m asking ANY PreTrib Rapture antagonist to show me one verse in the King James Bible that specifically names the mystery “Body of Christ” as being on earth for a single moment of Israel’s Tribulation.

PS: don’t use ambiguous words like “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation refer to Israel and or Tribulation converts. I want the name: the Body of Christ.

The Glorious Appearing of Christ – Rapture or Revelation?

Dr. Mike Johnston

What did Paul mean when he wrote: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epipháneia) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)? Our discussion here is from two opposing camps that have formed to answer that question. One believes the glorious appearing (epipháneia) refers to the Lord’s return for His church body before the seven year tribulation which is known as the Rapture (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9); while the other group teaches that the glorious appearing (epipháneia) is the Revelation when Christ returns with His church to set up His kingdom following the tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29-31).[1] While both the Rapture and the Revelation certainly will be spectacularly glorious events in the eyes of their respective audiences, we believe there are at least 5 problems associated with suggesting that Titus 2:13 features a post tribulation- πιφάνεια- appearance of Jesus Christ.

First: there is a Linguistic problem

When interpreting a passage of Scripture, hermeneutics becomes the default enemy of conjecture in that it demands that each passage be viewed from the perspective of the author and the audience. Our opponents imply that the use of “glorious appearing” automatically defines the blessed hope of Titus 2:13 as a post tribulation Revelation of Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:29; Rev. 19:11). However, when the collective usage is studied contextually, this theory collapses. To begin with, the Greek word is ἐπιφάνεια – ep-if-an’-i-ah which Strong defines as “a manifestation . . . the advent of Christ” doesn’t suggest or demand a particular timeframe but rather allows for it to happen when it will.

In order to understand this better, we’ll briefly survey the 3 distinct usages of πιφάνεια as they are associated with Christ’s appearing: at Redemption, at the Rapture, and at the Revelation (2 Thess. 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1,8; Titus 2:13).

  • The Redemption epipháneia: The Lord Jesus appeared as a Babe in a manger some 2000 years ago: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (2 Timothy 1:10). (See also Titus 2:11; 3:4)
  • The Rapture (Pre-trib) epipháneia: We believe the Lord Jesus will appear before the tribulation to rescue His body- the church- which is our blessed hope. [2] The following verses provide additional proof texts for a pre trib rapture. Attempting to view any of them from a post tribulation setting dismantles the argument before it begins. My comments are included in [brackets].

    That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:14). [If this is post trib, keeping commands would only be part of a Christian’s duty along with earning a living, buying and selling, and protecting themselves from martyrdom, which Paul never mentions anywhere]

    Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8) [If this appearing is post tribulation, who in their right mind wouldn’t love it and long for it?]

    Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (Titus 2:13; cp 1 John 3:2-3) [If this is post trib, we wouldn’t be looking for Christ until the appearance of Antichrist, the mark of the Beast, and 7 years of chaos and catastrophes in the Middle East and specifically in Jerusalem]

The Revelation (Post-Trib) epipháneia: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2 Timothy 4:1). [Regarding 2 Timothy 4:1, the Believer’s Bible Commentary by Dr. William MacDonald provides this: “In this verse, the Lord Jesus is spoken of as the One who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. The English word “at” might suggest that when the Savior returns to earth to set up His kingdom, there will be a general resurrection and a general judgment. But in the original the Greek word kata literally means “according to” or “in accordance with”. Christ’s appearing and His kingdom are presented by Paul as motives for faithful service. The believer’s service will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but these rewards will be manifested at Christ’s appearing and His kingdom. For instance, those who have been faithful will rule over ten cities -Luk_19:17]. Other Revelation verses to study: (Isa. 66:15-18; Zech. 14:1-4; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21)

Second: there is a Jewish problem

PMI Bible Study Methodology includes an important rule of Bible interpretation: Israel and the church are NOT the same. Israel exists from prophecy; the church from the revelation of the mystery the prophets didn’t receive. From the “law of first mention” we learn the coming tribulation- as an eschatological doctrine- is for Israel (Deut. 4:30), and every reference studied in context from that point onward follows that progressive path through the OT, past the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24) and into the Revelation (Rev. 7:14). Our reference here to “the tribulation” is predicated upon the doctrinal teaching that there is a coming 7 year period (Dan. 9:24-27) whereby God will punish the world while preparing and purifying Israel for the return of Christ to set up the promised Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16) for 1000 years in Jerusalem (Isa. 52; Hos. 3; Zech. 12; Rev. 20:1-7). The tribulation/great tribulation occurs in conjunction with the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6-9; 34:8; Joel 2; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10), a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1), and the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7); and Jacob is Israel (Gen 32:28). It will include the worldwide worship of Satan through his incarnated son Antichrist who will require a full allegiance to his Beast kingdom by receiving a mark in the right hand or forehead permitting them to buy or sell (Rev. 13:16).

As stated, the entire scope of the tribulation is punishment for sin and preparation for the Kingdom. This is the period Christ outlined in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21) and that is described in Revelation 6-19 as yet future. While there is ample Biblical support for the pre-trib Rapture of the church- created in mystery (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3) that will disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51), there isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible clearly placing the church here during any part of Daniel’s seventieth week (the tribulation period) without redefining and reassigning words clearly attributable to Israel (elect- cp Isa. 45:4 w/Matt. 24:22; saint- cp Dan. 7:18-27 w/Rev. 13:7). Therefore, since the church is not implicated in the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), Paul could not have meant that the blessed hope would be the post-trib Revelation where Christ comes to set up His Kingdom.

Third: there is a Pauline problem

Consigning the church to the tribulation is completely out of character for Paul who continually expressed the element of imminence in the return of the Lord Jesus (see 1 Cor. 1:7; Phil 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 3:5; Titus 2:13). If he meant the blessed hope to be post trib, he did so completely out of sync with all of his other writings. Therefore we conclude the only support for placing the church here for any portion of the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) is agenda driven speculation and not in any manner Pauline.

Fourth: there is a Contextual problem

There is no blessed hope in being consigned to the tortures of the coming tribulation and almost certain martyrdom, perhaps by beheading (Rev. 20:4). The fact is, the time of Jacob’s trouble (tribulation) will be the most fearfully violent time in the history of the world. Estimates range as high as 2/3 of the population will be murdered by Antichrist or else perish in supernatural disasters [Read Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; and Revelation 6-19]. That being said, if the church is supposed to be here during this barbarous epoch, why didn’t our Apostle Paul exhort believers to hide from the Antichrist like Christ told the Jews (Matt. 24:16), or avoid the mark of the Beast like John did? Let me answer that. Because the church will not be her during the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7).

Fifth: there is a Contradiction problem

Read the following verses, carefully noting that we return with Christ at the Revelation: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (1 Thess. 2:19) (See also Col. 3:4)

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints (1 Thess. 3:13)

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (15)  To execute judgment upon all . . . (Jude 1:14-15  See also 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 19:11-14)

How can we be on earth to watch for the glorious appearing when we are promised we’ll be with Christ when He is revealed? It is a total contradiction of Scripture and along with the other 4 problems must be rejected.

[1] He returns with all of His saints (1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; Jude 1:14-15; Rev. 19:11-14) to judge between the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-34) and set up His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem (Rev. 19:11, see Zech. 14)

[2] You may want to order our literature: Introduction to Rapture Apologetics, and Things that are Different.

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