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

Bible Brief

Right Division Overview from Genesis to Revelation

Dr. Mike Johnston

When “God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), He also established two programs with ordinances to govern them (Jer. 33:25).[1] These programs operate separately, never simultaneously.

God’s program for earth was well known, revealed through prophecy. It features Israel as God’s elect nation on earth, promised a coming Jewish King and kingdom (2 Sam. 7:13-16) that was progressively unfolded from “the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70). [2]

Conversely, His program for the church was a mystery, unknown until the Lord Jesus revealed it to Paul (Gal. 1:11-12). It features the church as the Body of Christ and it focuses on heaven and our inheritance there with Christ “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).

Immediately following creation, God’s focus is on the establishment of an earthly Kingdom, with instructions spoken to Adam, the heir and steward of its bounty and beauty (Gen. 2). However, Satan lusted to rule (Isa. 14:12-14) but knew he must get man to relinquish his assignment so he provided his own contradictory translation of God’s Word [3] which deceived Eve and caused Adam to sin by eating from the only tree God had forbidden (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7).

Not long after, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden. However, Kingdom plans were not lost. Foreknowing man’s disobedience, the Lord had formulated redemption’s plan (Rev. 13:8) which involved Himself as Redeemer of man and Ruler of the Kingdom man forfeited (Gen 3:15-21; see Isa. 7:14; 9:16-17). Over time, God sent inspired messengers called prophets (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) to systematically reveal His plans through a prophecy panorama that included five Covenants made with Israel unilaterally. These Covenants – all building upon the initial Abrahamic Covenant – were paramount in guiding her, guarding her, and governing her [4] from the calling of Abraham on through the Davidic Kingdom (Gen. 12; Matt. 25:34; Rev. 21-22). The 5 Covenants are:

  1. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18): God promised Abraham’s family would become a nation, in a promised land.[5]
  2. The Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 19:25): God constituted the 12 tribes into the nation of Israel giving her Laws and leaders to govern her.
  3. The Land Covenant (Deut. 30:3): God promised Canaan to all of Israel in perpetuity for the Kingdom.
  4. The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16): God promised a royal seed from the tribe of Judah in the bloodline of David to rule over the earthly Kingdom.
  5. The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; see Matt. 26:28; Heb. 8:8): God provided a way for Israel to be permanently reconciled to God in the land, under the Messiah, during the earthly Kingdom located in Jerusalem where His Law would be written upon her heart. [6]

These 5 Covenants form a contiguous prophetic conglomerate featuring Abraham’s Covenant family, under Covenant Law, in Covenant Land, seeking the Covenant King and Kingdom (Heb. 11:8-10). However, although it was well known in an historical sense, it’s date certain was unknown until Daniel codified it into a final 490-year prophetic calendar of seventy-weeks of seven years (Dan. 9:24-27) with two vital stipulations: (1) it MUST be fulfilled by “thy people” (Israel), and (2) it MUST involve “thy holy city” (Jerusalem) (Dan. 9:24-27).

Two-thousand years ago precisely as Daniel had predicted (Dan. 9:24-27; see Matt. 26:56; see Acts 3:18-26) the incarnate God, our Lord Jesus, appeared on earth offering to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Luke 1). In that capacity, He preached “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17) to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). However, Daniel’s prophecy contained a slight hiatus that was fulfilled when Messiah was “cut off” (Dan. 9:26) and crucified, in accord with a veiled prophecy of redemption given to Adam in Genesis 3:15 and pictured in Isaiah 53. Research experts such as former head of Scotland Yard Sir Robert Anderson have calculated Christ’s rejection by Israel occurred precisely at Daniel’s 70th week leaving one future seven-year period (week) to be fulfilled by Israel before the Jewish Kingdom can begin. Scholars tell us this week begins when “the prince that shall come” – in some manner – brokers a seven-year covenant for Israel in the Middle East (Dan. 9:26-27). Then will begin a kingdom preparatory judgment on Israel the prophets call “the time of [Jacob’s] trouble” (Jer. 30:7; see Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). Joel was the first to name it the day of Lord (Joel 2; Isa. 2:21;), followed by other prophets – some simply calling it “that day” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, etc) who warned it would be a time of darkness (Amos 5:18, 20), wrath, and trouble (Zeph. 1:15; Isa. 13:9-11[7]). This catastrophic period was outlined by Jesus from the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21), in a sermon that came in response to urgent questions from Peter, [8] James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) regarding the timing of His return to instate the Davidic Kingdom (Matt. 24:3; see Acts 1:6) promised, presented, and yet rejected out of hand by Israel’s leaders.

During the Olivet Discourse, the Lord Jesus outlined a bevy of disastrous signs related to Israel and her prophets. First, He linked His message to the Jewish prophet Daniel by referring to the “abomination of desolation” which Daniel placed about midway in the Tribulation (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24:15). Second, He linked it to Moses’ maiden prophecy which serves as the first mention of a coming Tribulation (Deut. 4:30-31) by using that very term twice (Matt. 24:21, 29). Third, He completed His sermon with details of His return to earth immediately following the Tribulation to establish the Kingdom. As a testament to Biblical continuity, this same epoch period was called Tribulation by John (Rev. 7:14) who described it in detail, from its commencement in Revelation 6 through to its conclusion in Revelation 19 at the return of the Lord Jesus as Messiah to Jerusalem, Israel to install the long awaited Davidic Kingdom in fulfillment of the 5 well known Covenants concerning God’s program for earth and Israel that the four disciples knew about and had initially inquired about, that had been “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21; see Matt. 25:31-46).

[1] “Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant [be] not with day and night, [and if] I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;” (Jer 33:25 KJV)

[2] Except for Romans-Philemon which focus on the Body of Christ, the entire Bible is to Israel and the nations in contact with her.

[3] Modernists do this today in concerted effort to impugn God’s Word to English speaking people, the King James Bible.

[4] Study carefully the strict stipulations laid out in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

[5] References are from the Old Scofield Reference Bible, available from PMI for a gift of $34. Stamps are welcome.

[6] Notice there is no Pauline or body of Christ Covenant. All 5 of these were given to Israel specifically.

[7] “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for [their] evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isaiah 13:9-11 KJV) “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” (Revelation 6:16 KJV) “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 14:19 KJV)

[8] Keep in mind Peter’s mission was NOT to the mystery Body of Christ which was yet a mystery. His ministry was to Jews as the apostle to the circumcision (Gal. 2:7-9).

The Sabbath Belongs to the Hebrews

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

THE SABBATH DAY OR THE LORD’S DAY — WHICH?

 

One man esteemeth one day above another;
another esteemeth every day alike.
Let every man be fully persuaded in
his own mind.
 (Romans 14:5)

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore, the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.(Exodus 20:8-11)

The Sabbath day is Saturday. It is the seventh day of the week according to our calendar. Furthermore, the Sabbath day has never been changed to Sunday.

The present-day controversy over which day of the week Christians should observe hinges upon a false premise, which resulted in a warped and distorted viewpoint of the real meaning of the Sabbath day as found in the Word of God. Many Christians have a woeful misconception of why the church has always observed the first day of the week. Nothing but abysmal ignorance has permitted the protagonists of the Sabbath day to traffic in their legalistic system.

The question, “When was the Sabbath changed to Sunday?” is like the old chestnut asked of the man who was very much a Mr. Milquetoast: “Do you still beat your wife?” You cannot answer that question without getting into a peck of trouble. If you say, “Yes,” you are wrong. If you say, “No,” you are wrong, and you are immediately in difficulty. For the same reason, “When was the Sabbath day changed to Sunday?” is one of those questions that cannot be answered in a word or two since it is based upon a false premise. I am going to ask that you think with me as I deal with this subject, for I believe this to be one of the most important of the commandments, and it is essential that we understand what it means.

The Ten Commandments are given first in Exodus 20. They are repeated in Deuteronomy 5, but it is interesting to note that in no instance is this a repetition of the Law — it is rather an interpretation of the Law in the lives of the people and nation after forty years of experience with it in the wilderness. Therefore, all the commandments that we find given in Deuteronomy are identical to those given in Exodus with one exception: The fourth commandment, the one that has to do with the Sabbath day. Thereby hangs a tale, and this is something our legalistic friends never call to our attention.

Continue reading: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mcgee_j_vernon/eBooks/sabbath-day-or-the-lords-day-which.cfm

The Church and Israel Differences in a Bible Overview

Dr. Mike Johnston

The church is as distinct from Israel as heaven is from the earth and the two separate programs God orchestrated from the creation of the world to govern them (Gen. 1:1; Jer. 33:25). [1]

His program for heaven involves the church Body which was unknown, revealed only to Paul as a “mystery kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). Its theme is Christ in us (Col. 1:27) and our inheritance in heaven there with Christ (Eph. 1:6; 11, 14; 2:6; Col. 3:1-6). [2] His program for earth, however was well known. It involves prophecy for Israel’s earthly kingdom (2 Sam. 7:13-16) that was progressively unfolded “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70; see Acts 3:21).

Immediately following creation, God’s focus is on the establishment of an earthly Kingdom with man as a steward of its bounty and beauty (Gen. 2). However, when man disobeyed God’s Word and ate from the forbidden tree (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7), the Lord revealed His gracious predetermined plan featuring a coming Redeemer and triumphant Ruler (Gen 3:15-21; see Rev. 13:8) who would reconcile the world back to Himself (Rev. 21-22).

All of this inspired information flowed from God to His elect nation Israel (Isa. 45:4) through anointed messengers called prophets who progressively exposed and explained God’s will and His word concerning earth and Israel (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21). Their prophecies featured, among other things, five Covenants God made with Israel to guard her and guide her earthly journey spanning the calling of Abraham through the inauguration of the Kingdom. They included the selection of a special man (Abraham) who would be father to a special nation (Israel) [3]  with special Laws (Mosaic) governing them in a special land (Canaan aka Israel), from which a special ruler (Christ, the seed of David) would reign in a special Covenant Kingdom (Davidic). However, the prophets – including John the Baptist – predicted the Kingdom would be preceded by a time of wrath (Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Matt. 3:7; Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; etc) first mentioned [4] by Moses as Tribulation in a maiden prophecy linking it to Israel’s return to the Abrahamic Covenant (Deut. 4:30-31; see Exod. 2:24; 19:5; Lev. 26:41-46). This Covenant relationship has always been a key factor in Israel’s continued blessing which includes her possessing the Covenant Land with the ultimate inauguration of the Kingdom in view (Lev. 26; Deut. 28). Nevertheless, timing for this Covenant Kingdom was unknown until Daniel codified the final 490-years into a prophetic calendar of seventy weeks of seven years with two fundamental stipulations: it MUST be fulfilled by “thy people” (Israel), and it MUST involve “thy holy city” (Jerusalem) (Dan. 9:24-27).

Therefore, when the Lord Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, it was precisely as Daniel – and the prophets – had predicted (Dan. 9:24-27; see Matt. 26:56; see Acts 3:18-26). His mission was to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Luke 1), so He preached repentance in the gospel of the kingdom to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 4:17, 23; 15:24). However, God knew that Kingdom prophecy would be put on hold when the King was “cut off” (Dan. 9:26) precisely at Daniel’s 70th week. This left one final seven-year period still to be fulfilled by Israel before the Kingdom can begin. This 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy – also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) was outlined by Jesus in a thrilling discourse from Mount Olivet.

Scholars call this teaching the Olivet Discourse. It began as a response to urgent questions from Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) concerning the recently rejected King Jesus and His return to earth to inaugurate the Covenant Davidic Kingdom (Matt. 24:3; see Acts 1:6). Bear in mind, when Christ delivered this the New Testament in His blood was future making the entire discourse part of the Old Covenant narrative (Heb. 9:16-17). It had nothing to do with the mystery church Body of Christ which Christ didn’t mention to the disciples who had no frame of reference for anyway. Instead He described signs for a coming holocaust featuring Israel and using Moses’ term Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). This same word was later used by John (Rev. 7:14) in summing up Daniel’s 70th week of 7 years from commencement (Rev. 6) through to its completion (Rev. 19), when the Lord Jesus returns to earth in Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah to install the Kingdom in fulfillment of the promises made in the 5 Covenants and the panorama of God’s word “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21 KJV).

Summary Reflection

Now, in light of what you’ve just read, please consider this summary observation. The Tribulation is for Israel (Isa. 2:12; 13:6; Joel 2; Zeph. 1; Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). The entire period called “trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) is for purification and punishment before the earthly Kingdom begins (Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19). Israel’s prophets did not know about the church Body. We were completely unknown to them and thus never mentioned in any of their prophesies. To wit, there isn’t a single prophecy specifically naming us or placing us here on earth for a single moment of Israel’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) without redefining words like “saints” and “elect” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation specifically refer to Israel or Tribulation converts.

[1] “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 KJV). “Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant [be] not with day and night, [and if] I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;” (Jeremiah 33:25 KJV).

[2] Peter pointed out how Jewish Christians struggled with Paul’s mystery to their theological detriment: “And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2 Peter 3:15-17 KJV)

[3] “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” (Isaiah 45:4 KJV)

[4] The Law of First Mention teaches that the first time a subject is mentioned in the Bible is how it stands connected in the mind of God throughout Scripture.

Refuting the “Gift of Gibberish” Tongues

Dr. Mike Johnston

Charismatics snub correction by claiming those who oppose them do so in ignorance because they haven’t had THE “experience.” That isn’t true here. I understand the spiritual gifts and tongues issue very clearly. I was a practicing Charismatic for the first few years after I was saved (1975) and an avid apologist for the gibberish movement. Since I was a partaker in this experience, I made it my business to ignore any unspiritual oaf trying to correct me with evidence. Frankly, that was easy. I enjoyed very much the special feelings of spirituality that accompanied being a member of what I’d been told was the enlightened few who sought and received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. After all, I’d been singled out for a universe of expectation where anything is possible, and the more bizarre the better. Extemporaneous words of knowledge, tongues, and interpretations – even those conflicting with Scripture – flowed constantly from circus like meetings where so called “prophets” stood and almost shouted predictions that were seldom fulfilled.

However, in this “anything is possible” atmosphere, NOTHING was to ever be challenged if it was performed under the “Jesus name tag”.

Then one day, when the inner nagging got the best of me I decided to study spiritual gifts and the Charismatic claims outside of anyone’s influence. My suspicion was corroborated. Here’s what I found.

The Purpose of Tongues

Everything God does is with purpose (Eph. 1:11). Tongues are no different; they were a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Cor. 1:22; 14:22; see Isa. 28:11-12). My friend, lest we forget, Israel was chosen to herald God’s goodness to the world and Jesus was the promised Messiah of a glorious coming earthly kingdom. However, knowing they would reject Him, the Lord Jesus instituted a parenthetical group known as the church Body of Christ (Romans through Philemon) to carry on His message up until the “fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

Two facts stand out in the five major passages dealing with tongues (Acts 2; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12, 14; and Mark 16:17): They were always “known languages of the world”, and unbelieving Jews were in view as a sign: Acts 2 tongues are given to validate Peter’s message–Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 10 confirms Gentile salvation which Jews would otherwise reject. Acts 19 validates the conversion of some of John’s disciples. In 1 Corinthians 12-14, they signify Messianic fulfillment to unbelieving Jews attending services at Corinth. Please listen my friend. Nowhere does the Bible state that speaking in tongues is a test of salvation or sanctification as maintained by some groups. While the gospel of John was written specifically to show people how to be saved (John 20:30-31) not one mention of tongues. And while God surely wants all Christians to be spiritually mature, 1 Cor. 12:29-30 clearly implies that not all will speak in tongues. To spin the purpose of tongues in another direction is disingenuous, or worse devious.

The Corinthian Chaos

It’s a bit ironic. Much of what we see passing for spirituality in the church today has been adopted from the antics of the most carnal church in the New Testament: the Corinthians. Paul the converted Rabbi, had become an apostle, missionary, evangelist-church planter preaching and teaching multitudes of Gentiles in multicultural settings (Rom. 11:13).

On his Second Missionary Journey all his skills and gifts were tested when he landed in Corinth for a year and one half. It was the capital of the Greek province of Achaia, located on a narrow isthmus 50 miles west of Athens, and served as the major sea trade route between Asia and Italy. By the time Paul penned his first letter to the church, Corinth was a cosmopolitan melting pot for some 400,000 diverse residents. The Jews had captured the banking industry from the heathen priests which of course brought about a constant influx of Jews into the city where tongues, the sign to unbelieving Jews, were necessary and used extensively to prove God was moving in the Gentile community.

Occult Practices and Ecstatic Utterances

The confusion about tongues in Corinth is easy to understand when you analyze their indigenous make-up. Besides Greeks and Jews, people of all nationalities, languages and dialects lived there or passed through. As a result, Corinth was religiously pluralistic and steeped in idolatry (1 Cor. 12:2) which ultimately morphed into an occult mecca where soothsayers, diviners, and spiritists filled the streets along with 1000 temple prostitutes who facilitated wild orgies at the altar of the sex goddess Aphrodite.

Unintelligible prayer “tongues” was common in the Corinthian community but it is not orthodox or Christian. It is a desperately faulty ruse built upon one verse-1 Cor. 14:14- by practitioners that stubbornly ignore its lack of Scriptural support and occult link. Aside from heretics like Montanus, it was not seen in church until the 1900’s (order New Age Charismatic Corruption).

When the gift of speaking in previously unlearned languages surfaced in Corinth, the reference point for those who heard it was tied to idolatry in two ways: To those who were natives of the area, it sounded like the same old gibberish they heard from occult worshipers at the altar of Aphrodite’s temple. But to Gentile visitors who were ignorant or unsaved it appeared as the ranting of rogue madmen (1 Cor. 14:23). So, in order to maintain authenticity and edification God instituted the gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:10, 30; 14:5, 13, 26-28). Let me illustrate.

Let’s suppose you speak French and attend a multi-cultural Jewish-Gentile fellowship. One morning a gentleman across the aisle begins to preach in German which to you sounds like “gibberish.” However, if someone in the congregation can translate that German into French, you will be edified (1 Cor. 14:5, 13)

Conclusion

The gift of tongues is the miraculous ability to preach the gospel in a specific language and dialect previously unknown by the speaker (Acts 2:11). Corinth was the only church that had a problem with it. As you can see, their confusion stemmed from their multicultural worship and long history of occult experiences. Those today claiming that ecstatic utterances are the same tongues we find in the Bible are doing so at the expense of sound exegesis and a long history of orthodox truth. What passes for tongues, interpretation of tongues and the word of knowledge today is linked to soothsaying and divining in Israel (Deut. 18:14). When tongues are studied in context utilizing the recognized laws of hermeneutics and spiritual wisdom, we believe the serious student of Scripture will quickly see how real Biblical tongues explains itself.

 

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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