Archive for the ‘Dispensationalism’ Category

Israel is God’s Preeminent Nation on Earth


Dr. Mike Johnston

3 Israel is God’s Preeminent Nation on Earth

“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the Earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5-6).

The greatest obstacle to Biblical exegesis comes from not recognizing the division between God’s prophecy program for Israel and mystery program for the Body of Christ. In fact, until one understands this, they will depreciate Israel’s Earthly preeminence by mixing the two programs together which leads to hermeneutic chaos.

Understanding right division God placed in Scripture is a prerequisite to arriving at right conclusions. To begin with, Israel is God’s only Covenant nation (Ex. 19:5; Psa. 119:9). She enjoys a divinely appointed exclusivity not shared with any other nation on the planet. She is elect (Isa. 45:4), she is a peculiar treasure (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 14:2; Psa. 135:4; 1 Pet. 2:9), and she is blessed and protected (Gen. 12:2-3). [1] Treating Israel maliciously [2] is the equivalent of touching the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8). No other nation has enjoyed Israel’s rich Earthly history and no other nation can claim her glorious Earthly future. Israel is special in every way.

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer concurs,

“An elect, sacred, and everlasting nation is the plan or purpose of God for Israel. This people came into being miraculously as the seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. They are the object of immeasurable covenants and promises and this becomes their major identification or destination, for the covenants are secured or sealed by the act of Jehovah. Israel stands alone, in distinction from all other nations combined. Those many nations are known as Gentiles, but Israelites as Jews. Individual Jews are such because of the fact that they were born into covenant relations with God by a physical birth. Herein lies a great contrast, since Christians are such because they were born by a spiritual birth into right relations with God. Because Israel sustains a covenant relationship to God, He gave them a specific rule of life through Moses. Keeping the rule of life, however, did not and could not make them children of Jehovah’s covenant. They were to keep the rule of life because they were already in the covenant.” (Systematic Theology, 1948)

Israel was Chosen for a Kingdom

“The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the Earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee” (Deuteronomy 28:9-10).

“And what one nation in the Earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people …” (2 Samuel 7:23)?

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

“Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:13).

Prophecy proves Israel is very special to God, and His prophets have always guided and guarded her (Amos 3:7; Luke 1:70; Acts 3:12-26). Beginning in Genesis and continuing through the first half of Acts [3] – a prophetic pattern is progressively dispensed [4] regarding the Earthly Jewish kingdom and Israel’s Messiah King. Here’s an overview of God’s prophecy program leading to Israel’s Kingdom.

  1. An Earthly Kingdom has been on God’s agenda from the beginning (Gen. 1-2; Jer. 23:5-6; Matt. 25:34).
  2. God’s will and His Word have been revealed through God’s inspired servants the prophets (2 Kings 9:7; 17:13; Ezra 9:11; see especially Amos 3:7).
  3. Israel exists from prophecy spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21).
  4. God chose and Covenanted with Abraham (Gen. 15:18; 17:1-14) commissioning him as prophet (Gen. 20:7) and the father of Israel (Gen. 17:5; Deut. 9:5; Matt. 3:9; Luke 1:55; etc) whereby blessing would flow through his family, from His calling to her Kingdom (Gen. 12:1-8; 13:14-18; 15; 17; see Ex. 19:5; etc). [Jesus is the ultimate blessing].
  5. Over the years, God expanded the Abrahamic Covenantfour times to include Kingdom laws (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18);  land (Deut. 30:1-10); and a Jewish born King with a New Covenant Constitution for the Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Matt. 5-7; Jer. 31:31-40).
  6. God specified Israel’s Kingdomwould commence following a 490 year prophecy of seventy weeks of seven years broken into two parts: 483 years and 7 years that the nation Israel herself must fulfill (Dan. 9:24-27).
  7. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4) who offered Israel her Kingdom, and was rejected precisely at the end of the 69th week just as Daniel prophesied (Luke 1:32-33; Matt. 4:17; Dan. 9:244-26).
  8. Israel has been diminished (Rom. 11:12) and exists today in spiritual blindness (Rom. 11:25). As such, Daniel’s seventieth weekis currently on hold until “he who now letteth … be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7) which will occur when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph 1:15) aka Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30-31; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14) begins.
  9. The Revelation of JesusChrist occurs in Israel immediately “after Israel’s Tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29) to consummate the Covenant’s by inaugurating the thousand year Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Ezek. 34:11-31; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-20:7).
  10. With Israel’s Covenants fulfilled concerning the Kingdom – and bear in mind they MUST BE – eternity will begin.

Right Division and Israel’s Kingdom

When the Word is rightly divided, we find that it is Israel, not the church, that was promised a coming kingdom of heaven [5] which occupied much of the preaching of the prophets (Luke 1:68-80; Acts 3:12-26), John the Baptist, Christ and the twelve disciples (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; see Gal. 2:7-9). It will one day emerge in fulfillment of the unconditional Davidic Covenant which was built upon the Abrahamic (Gen. 17). Prophecy – via progressive mention or revelation – reveals this kingdom will last on Earth 1000 years (revealed in Rev. 20:2-7) of unprecedented peace (Micah 4:2-4; Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), prosperity, and health (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:28-29). It’s location is Jerusalem, the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19).

It’s important, therefore, that we understand God’s purpose for Earth – revealed thoroughly in prophecy – is a kingdom in Israel: “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints [Jews] shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. (Psalms 145:10-13 – my comment in brackets).

Prophecy for Earth ——————->Kingdom in Israel

Time past Ages to come
Genesis – John Hebrews – Revelation
1st Coming of Christ to Israel 2nd Coming of Christ to Israel
King and Kingdom rejected King and Kingdom received

Prophecy tells us the glorious appearance of the Messiah to Earth [6] to establish Israel’s kingdom under the lineage of David in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7).

The fact is, the inauguration of Israel’s Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16) has been in the works for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus revealed its commencement following what’s termed “the sheep and goat judgment”: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Therefore, when studying the Kingdom, keep in mind the following factors revealed by God through the prophets:

  • 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 was presented, rejected, and yet one day will return to fulfill the Lord Jesus’s prophetic prayer, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in Earth…” (Matt. 6:10).
  • It is to Israel the Lord Jesus explained this Davidic CovenantKingdom will be inaugurated following His visible Revelation in Jerusalem (Matt. 24; see Zech. 14; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21) “immediately after the Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29). [7]
  • It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants [8] guiding and guaranteeing her future on Earth, including a lineage, land, laws, and a Lord – King – that began with the Abrahamic Covenant(Gen. 15:18) and will continue through the Millennium.

In our next section, we’ll learn that Israel’s Kingdom is Earth’s destiny and five unilateral Covenants guarantee this by leading Israel from her calling to the Kingdom.

Israel’s 5 Covenants
Guide and Guarantee her Kingdom

Purposes for Israel and the promises God made with Israel are hers exclusively and everlastingly. [i] These are unveiled beginning with the calling of Abrahamic and the first Jewish Covenant. From there, five Covenants tell the story of God’s forever-elect Israel. While scant numbers of Bible students have stopped to realize this, fewer have really factored in just what this means. Below is a summary of the five covenants and their relationship to the coming King and Kingdom in Israel. [9]

The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-8) – the Kingdom Family is Chosen

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates … And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after” (Genesis 15:18; 17:7). [10]

This Covenant is the foundation of all 5 Covenants. In seed form, it provided blessing for the nation Israel from which the Kingdom would come. By divine decree, Abraham received posterity, prosperity, perpetuity, and property which included the title deed to the land of Canaan, future home of the Earthly kingdom. The blessing of Israel to the world notwithstanding, Christianity owes everything to this Covenant. The prophets of God, the majority of writers of the inerrant Word (the Bible), and foremost on the list our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have all come through God’s Covenant with Abraham.

While Israel has violated this Covenant with Abraham many times, it has never been revoked. It played a major prophetic role in Christ’s first coming (Luke 1:72; Acts 3:24-25) and has often served as the basis for God rescuing Israel. “If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:40-42) (see Ezekiel 16:60)

The Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18) – the Kingdom Nation is Assembled and its Laws are Enacted

Kingdom Laws written on tables of stone will during the Kingdom be written in the fleshly tables of the heart.

Abraham believed God which was imputed to him for righteousness. The Law was given through Moses as its mediator for the purpose of governing Israel’s (national) relationship with God. It was mainly made up of (a) the commandments, the express will of God, (b) the judgments, the social and civic life of Israel, (c) and the ordinances. This system ceased when the mystery Body convened and the Temple was destroyed. Once the mystery church is taken in the mystery rapture, Daniel’s seventieth week will begin and this legal system will again be in place and the third temple will be rebuilt to host sacrificial Levitical Judaism (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4).

The Land Covenant (Deut. 30:1-10) – Title Deed to Kingdom Land is Guaranteed

It is an unconditional guarantee that Israel’s Kingdom will be located in the Covenant land [11] of Israel. This is a great assurance given the aggressive actions by the UN and Islamic nations who are trying to steal Jerusalem from Israel (study Zech. 12-14).

“And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (Deuteronomy 30:5-9).

Israel was driven from Jerusalem in 70 AD by Roman armies destroying the city and the Temple. In the latter days God promises to restore her to the land – including a third temple (2 Thess. 2:4) – and the commensurate blessing given Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the original Covenant (see Deut. 4:30-31; Lev. 26:42; Ezek. 16:60; etc). We see this coming to pass on May 14, 1948 when Israel once again became a functioning nation poised for her prophetic future. [12]Praise the Lord!

The Davidic Covenant  (2 Sam. 7:4-16; 1 Chron. 17:3-15) – the Kingdom and the King’s seed are established in Perpetuity

God promised David in perpetuity that his seed – ultimately the Lord Jesus – would occupy a perpetual throne in Jerusalem.

“(David) He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:13-16)

The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-40)
– the Kingdom people in their Kingdom land, with the King’s Seed on the throne obeying Kingdom Laws now written on the heart

It is a New Covenant with Israel in contrast with the old (Mosaic, “which they broke,” Jer. 31:32). Christ Jesus is the Mediator (in His blood) of this New Covenant which was inaugurated at the cross and is described in Scripture as, “enacted on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The Mediator of this covenant has become, for all mankind, “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9) to all who obey Him; as well as the cornerstone and Head of the Church (Eph. 2:20-22; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23) which is being built during this dispensation; individuals called out from both Jews and Gentiles alike. Ultimately and literally, this new covenant with its unconditional and eternal blessings will be established with NATIONAL Israel at Christ’s second advent to Earth. Now before discussing His second advent, let’s discuss His first.

God’s Prophets Progressively Reveal
Israel’s King and Kingdom

Prophecy concerns Israel primarily (Hos. 12:10; Luke 1:70; 24:25; Acts 3:21). It is to Israel the Lord speaks, “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the Earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted” (Isaiah 49:8-11).

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet …

(Jesus Christ) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Matthew 1:22; Luke 1:32-33). The Lord Jesus revealed that this Kingdom has been a major component in God’s prophecy program for Earth since creation: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you [13] from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Israel’s Kingdom is God’s plan revealed to the prophets and initially revealed in part to Abraham. When God promised to bless Abraham as a blessing to the world, Christ was in view. When the Lord Jesus appeared in Israel offering the Kingdom, Israel’s leaders mocked and maligned His ministry and message while devising what they hoped would be a final plan for destroying both.  Notwithstanding, Christ perfectly fulfilled all prophecy [14] about His first coming and He will fulfill all prophecy about His seconding coming just as literally. He was and is God in the flesh (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:16; etc). In that capacity, He is the Premier Personage (Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:15-19) of Scripture, seen in every one of the 66 inerrant books. Christ was incarnated on Earth (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 1:23) for Israel as the representative of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15-17; Acts 3:13) to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (Matt. 4:17) to be administered under a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8-13; 12:24) in the coming Kingdom.

Jesus Conducted Messianic Ministry to Israel

The Lord Jesus – of all who have ever lived on Earth – understood the difference between Israel and the Body of Christ. His ministry purpose spotlighted His nation. However, Bible teachers – pastors included – often open the Bible at Matthew and begin misleading their congregants with Kingdom teaching from Christ that while profitable for us is NOT personally to us. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer adds some forceful clarity here:

“There is a very dangerous and entirely baseless sentiment abroad which assumes that every teaching of Jesus must be binding during this age simply because He said it. The fact is forgotten that the Lord Jesus, while living under, keeping, and applying the Law of Moses, also taught the principles of His future Kingdom, and, at the end of His ministry and in relation to His Cross, He also anticipated the teachings of grace. If this threefold division of the teachings of Jesus is not recognized, there can be nothing but confusion of mind and consequent contradiction of truth” (cited by Miles Stanford in his article, “The Teachings of the Kingdom”).

Understand. This Kingdom is covenanted to Israel and although Jesus is our Lord and Saviour by faith (Rom. 10:9-10, 13), He is uniquely the Jew’s Messiah. He was manifest at a time designated by God through prophecy (Matt. 2:23; Gal. 4:4). “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet” appears 14 times reinforcing all God promised (Matthew 1:22; 2:15,17,23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 22:31; 27:9,35; Acts 2:16; Romans 4:18). “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven [ii] is at hand … But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 4:17; 15:24).

So vividly significant was the Lord’s ministry to Israel that it was a shock to the disciples (Luke 18:31-34) when He explained His death and resurrection to them. In fact, Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him after which the Lord harshly corrected him(Mark 8:32-33). However, after Jesus revealed the mystery to Paul, he confirmed the Lord’s primary mission was to in fact to Israel, stating, “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision[15] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8-itallics added).

Remember, until the shedding of blood, the Old Covenant was in force. Therefore, all of Christ’s ministry was conducted under an Old Testament setting underwritten by messages He preached concerning Israel’s Kingdom that when misunderstood leads to all manner of misapplication:

  • 4: Jesus began by preaching the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 5-7: Jesus taught the principles of the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 6:10: Jesus prayed “thy kingdom come . . . in Earth” in the presence of the Jews
  • 13: Jesus gave parables of the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 21-23; 26-27: Jesus presented the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 24-25: Jesus promised[16] He would return to establish the Jewish Kingdom to Jews. As a side note, in Matthew 24:29 the Lord predicted He would return to set up the Kingdom immediately after the time of Tribulation which originated in the prophecy program for Israel. When studied in context, Christ gave the Olivet Discourse to describe the holocaust in Jerusalemprior to His return. Even so, this single verse in Matthew 24:29 continues to be the premier “gotcha” moment used by anti-PreTrib proponents who ignore setting to advance their argument. Question: Since the Olivet Discourse is incessantly quoted to “prove” a post-Tribulation rapture, would it matter that the entire teaching was delivered from a strict Old Covenant setting where the Body of Christ wasn’t known and was never in view? If you answered no, then the remainder of this treatise will be meaningless because your study system is outcome based eisegesis rather than objective based exegesis.

Israel Diminished at
Rejection of Christ’s Kingdom

“Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, [17] And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:24-26; see Gen. 12:1-3; 22:18).

With the above in mind, remember that Daniel’s prophecy of 490 years (Dan. 9:24-27) was specifically to and for Israel, leading to the Kingdom. It codified for her a future involving seventy weeks [18] of seven years that must be fulfilled by Israel “thy people” (Dan. 9:24-27). Later, when Christ presented His Kingdom to the lost sheep of Israel in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, He was cut off at the seventieth week just as Daniel predicted (see Dan. 9:25-27), causing the diminishing and ultimate blindness of Israel (Rom. 11:12, 25) while leaving one week of seven years that according to the prophetic word must be fulfilled by Israel, “thy people” (Dan. 9:15, 16, 19, 24; 10:14; 12:1). Once again, prophecy verifies God’s message and messengers. Everything predicted about the first coming of the Lord Jesus came true. Therefore, if you had no more evidence than that, Christ’s incarnation on Earth and subsequent Kingdom offer provide proof of the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible. However, Israel rejected the pure and accepted the profane, ignoring God’s specific warnings such as this from Ezekiel, “Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity” (Ezekiel 5:11). Israel’s diminishing occurred after three corporate rejections of Christ and His Kingdom in Jerusalem before the High Priest.

Israel had three Davidic Covenant Kingdom offers

  • Jesus offered the Kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4-20, 22-27. Rejection beginning with the Triumphal entry (Matt. 21), by religious leaders (Matt 23), later by High Priest and elders (Matt. 26:3, 51, 57, 58, 62, 63, 65). Executed by crucifixion (27)
  • Peteroffered the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 2-4) Rejected by High Priest and religious leaders (Acts 4:1, 6, 23; 5:17, 21, 24, 27) Imprisoned (Acts 5; 12) and later executed by crucifixion

(from history, not recorded in the Bible)

  • Stephen offered the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 7). Rejected by High Priest, leaders, and people (Acts 7). Executed by stoning (Acts 7).

Paul observed the diminishing while extolling the result, which accrued to our benefit as a Body of Christ, “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness” (Romans 11:11-12)?

The Disciples’ Questions about the Covenant Kingdom

From the three kingdom offers and rejections we discussed in the previous section, Israel diminished with her prophetic destiny set aside (Dan. 9:24-27; Rom. 9-11). Make no mistake, Christ’s kingdom rejection and subsequent crucifixion landed a blow to His followers. However, it didn’t change Israel’s ultimate future, which was foremost on the minds of His closest disciples who continued to inquire about it right to the end.

First question(s) about the Kingdom

The disciples knew that the Earthly Covenant Kingdom in Israel is God’s program outlined by the prophets. They preached the Kingdom with Jesus for about three years or so. In the end, He was rejected and their hopes dashed. The Olivet Discourse was a private briefing to four of Jesus’ closest men: Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) who asked Him concerning the establishment of the Kingdom just been rejected by the elders of Israel.

It bears noting that these men were patriotic Jewish converts following Christ. In simple understandable terms, they were recognized ministers of the circumcision aka the Jews – (Gal. 2:6-9), awaiting the Kingdom with many others (study Matthew – John; Acts 3). Keep in mind that Christ’s ministry to the disciples and Israel was Old Covenant and Kingdom oriented.

From the beginning, Christ sent these Disciples to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to preach the gospel of the kingdom and gospel of circumcision (Matt. 10:6-7). The fact is, when Jesus explained His death and resurrection, it came as a total shock to the disciples (Luke 18:31-34). Moreover, they knew NOTHING about the mystery Paul preached involving the Body of Christ (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; 2:6-9; Eph. 3:1-9; study Peter’s words carefully in 2 Pet. 3:15-17) so they were NOT concerned with it. Their focus was the national interests of Israel concerning Christ’s final return to establish the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Matt. 24:3; see Acts 1:3-6). Dr. William MacDonald stresses this: “We must remember that these Jewish disciples’ thinking revolved around the glorious age of the Messiah on Earth. They were not thinking about Christ’s coming for the church; they knew little if anything about this phase of His coming. Their expectation was His coming in power and glory to destroy His enemies and rule over the world.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995)

The setting – vital to exegesis – is very clear:

  • These four men were ministers of the circumcision (to Jews)
  • They were primarily concerned about the Earthly Covenant Kingdom promised to Israel
  • They knew nothing about the mystery Bodyof Christ revealed later to Paul (see Acts 9; study carefully Peter’s explanation and warning – 2 Pet. 3:15-17)

Therefore, unless gripped by an agenda, it’s incumbent upon us to be honest with the setting.

These Jewish patriots were pre-Pauline meaning they were primarily concerned about the Kingdom. Since that’s an established fact, why would the Lord Jesus insert information into His answer about the mystery Body of Christ that these men didn’t know about, didn’t ask about, and didn’t exist at the time anyway?

Answer, He wouldn’t. The fact is, these men were asking questions as Jews concerned about the future Davidic Covenant Kingdom up until the day He ascended.[19] In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus outlined the signs describing Israel’s Tribulation (Matt. 24:4-28), and His return at the conclusion of it to separate sheep from goats for the Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, [see Appendices for a chart of these occurrences] and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other … When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-34). [comments in brackets and bold emphasis are mine]

Final question about the Kingdom

The Book of Acts is transitional from prophecy to mystery and reveals the disciples with Christ at the end of His 40 day post-resurrection ministry. These men at this point were still pre-Pauline in their thinking. They knew nothing about the mystery Body of Christ (Gal. 1:12; 2:6-9; see also 2 Pet. 3:15-16) which wouldn’t be revealed until after Paul’s conversion (Acts 9). Their concern centered around Israel’s Kingdom grounded in the five Covenants promised to Jews (2 Sam. 7:8-16). In that setting, they asked:

“Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)?

He told them to wait for the enabling power from on high (see Joel 2; Acts 1:8) to carry the kingdom message to the world (Matt. 28:19-20). Ten days later the power arrived.

Joel’s prophecy to Israel [20] was fulfilled in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21) signaling the last days had begun. With the kingdom message fresh on his heart, and overflowing with the fire of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached a soul-stirring message to the Jews: Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem (Acts 2:14) highlighting prophecies regarding the Messiah King Christ in OT history.

While some repented, the leaders did not and hope for ratifying the Covenant of the Davidic Kingdom that began with Abraham was rejected for the second time. God later used the heartfelt preaching of Stephen (Acts 7) but for the third time Israel rejected her King and God’s messenger was murdered. This final act of corporate rejection formed a dark spiritual blindness in Israel (Acts 28:26-28; Rom. 9-11; 2 Tim. 1:11) while at the same time halting the 70 week prophetic calendar abruptly at the final week, and drew back the curtain for the mystery program Jesus revealed to Paul that had been completely hidden from the prophets and separate from Israel since the world began (Rom. 16:25).

Pause to consider what you’ve just read about Israel’s historical tie to her future.

With Scripture as our irrefutable evidence, we continue to maintain that no person having trusted the Lord Jesus Christ in this current dispensation will have to endure God’s Tribulation judgment on Israel because the church Body of Christ is part of the mystery program that was unknown by the prophets, and never mentioned by the prophets. In fact, the church Body isn’t clearly identifiable on Earth during Israel’s Tribulation in a single verse of Scripture without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation connected in some way to Israel or her Tribulation proselytes.

Review of God’s Covenant Kingdom Plans

God chose to bless Abraham and His family [nation of Israel, Jews] as the source of blessing: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed[21] (Genesis 12:2-3). God went on to Covenant with Abraham as the foundation of four Covenants to follow.

David’s seed, which is from the lineage of Abraham, was Covenanted the throne forever:

“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16). “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Daniel saw the Kingdom given to Israel at the Revelation of the Messiah (Christ): “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed … But the saints of the most High [Jews] shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever … Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High [Jews]; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom … And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High [Jews], whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22, 27).

Christ came as the Son of Abraham and of David to fulfill the Covenant and claim the throne: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of AbrahamThy kingdom come. Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in heaven … ” (Matthew 1:1; 6:10).

The Covenant, the Kingdom, and the King were summarily rejected on the day Daniel predicted (Dan. 9:24-25). King Jesus was crucified, yet resurrected, and after forty days of further kingdom instruction (Acts 1:3) – ascended to heaven, and a seat at the right hand of God. Prompted by questions from four Jewish patriots (Peter James, John, and Andrew – Mark 13:3) wondering when Christ would inaugurate Israel’s Kingdom, Jesus promised to return at the end of Israel’s Tribulation (Matt. 24:29; see Zech. 14:4-5; Rev. 19:11; etc) to set up the Covenant kingdom Israel had rejected (Matt. 21-27).

This kingdom rejected at Christ’s first coming, Israel blindly waits at His second coming.

Please keep open your King James Bible for the next chapter so you
can study in context every verse and passage of Scripture I’m going to provide.

[1] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

[2] This will become a frightening reality to all the cavalier anti-Semitic Earth dwellers in the last days here with Israel during her Tribulation holocaust. Zechariah made very clear those who seek harm for Israel would be more kindly served while standing in a puddle and grabbing a 22,000 volt power line.

[3] Bear in mind Acts is a transitional book, from prophecy to mystery about midway through.

[4] God dispensing His truth over time in a variety of ways to a variety of people is known as dispensationalism. As the truth was given, individuals were held accountable for obeying it. Example, Adam was told not to eat from a particular tree. Noah was told to build an ark. Abraham was told to go to Canaan, and so on.

[5] The phrase “kingdom of heaven” – which is a term used for the Earthly Davidic Kingdom – is used exclusively by the Lord Jesus 33 times in the Book of Matthew; the Gospel proving to Israel that Jesus was her Messiah and the Kingdom (of heaven) was at hand (Matt 4:17). Moses introduced this (Deuteronomy 11:21).

[6] Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-4; compare Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21.

[7] It’s important to know that the tribulation constitutes an unprecedented period of punishment, and purification of Israel (Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13, see v13; Isa. 13; 24; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15); Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19) in preparation of the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; Rev. 20) in Jerusalem following the Revelation of Jesus Christ predicted for Israel in time past (Zech. 14:4; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21) to occur in the ages to come. From Genesis to Revelation, whenever the tribulation is mentioned, it is Israel’s and NOT for the Body of Christ, aka the church.

[8] The 5 Covenants God made with Israel unilaterally are as follows:   1. Abrahamic Covenant (God called a family He could bless and that would be a blessing), 2. Mosaic Covenant  (God formed a nation with Laws), 3. Land (Palestinian) Covenant  (God gave Abraham the land and promised Israel would possess it), 4. Davidic Covenant  (God promised the nation a righteous King and an everlasting Kingdom), and the5. New Covenant  (God promised a better covenant established on better promises resting on an accomplished redemption securing the perpetuity and future conversion of Israel).

[9] These are Jewish Covenants. They were NOT made with the Body of Christ.

[10] The strength of this Covenant brought the Lord to Israel’s rescue many times in history: And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

(Exodus 2:24; see Lev. 26:42, 45, etc). Once again, the Covenant is the hope of Israel’s future: I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant (Ezek. 16:60; everlasting covenant is also referred to in Psa. 105:10; Isa. 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jer. 32:40; Ezek. 37:26; Heb. 13:20).

[11] “The royal land grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob, with an everlasting and unconditional covenant.” Cursed by Mike Evans p80.

[12] Her future is guaranteed in prophecies, not the least of which is Daniel’s seventy weeks which Israel must fulfill (study Daniel 7, 9, and 12 carefully). Scholars teach this seventieth week of seven years will begin at some future point when a sinister figure called Antichrist brokers a pseudo-peace covenant with God’s Covenant people for seven years (see Dan. 9:27) setting in motion once again the prophecy calendar and the beginning of the Tribulation, or time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15).

[13] The context here is the sheep and goat judgment by Christ. The word “sheep” is a colloquialism associated with Israel (Jer. 50:6; Matt. 10:6). Bear in mind that while Paul mentioned in Romans 8:36 being “accounted as sheep for the slaughter”, it was a quote from Psalm 44:82 which is a simile of innocence.

[14] He was first mentioned as the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 then progressive revealed throughout the Bible. Moses spoke of Him as a coming Jewish Prophet: “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; see Acts 3:22-23)

[15] Paul distinguished his ministry from Peter’s thusly, “But contrariwise . . . the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” (Galatians 2:7- italics added).

[16] Anti-PreTrib zealots make a case from nothing here. Since Christ’s offer to set up the Davidic Covenant Kingdom had been rejected out of hand (Matt. 21-23) Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to the Lord Jesus privately to ask when He would inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Israel (Mark 13:3-4). His response forms the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) focusing on signs of the tribulation – aka time of Jacob’s trouble (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) immediately preceding His Revelation return as King of kings to Israel. Bear in mind, Peter, James, and John were exclusive ministers of the circumcision (Gal. 2:7-9).

[17] Ultimately, the great blessing God promised Abraham is available to all of us who have trusted Abraham’s seed the Lord Jesus for our salvation. Yet while we are beneficiaries of this blessing, we were not the original target of the prophecies structuring the Covenant (Rom. 9-11). Israel is.

[18] Daniel is the Rosetta Stone for prophetic understanding; especially the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. Therefore the significance of the seventy weeks from Daniel 9 mustn’t be understated because it predicted the rejection of Christ to the day which immediately stopped the 70 week prophecy clock and allowed for the mystery to be revealed through Paul (Rom. 16:25). “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Jews] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem], to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness [the Kingdom and King], and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). The first 69 weeks were fulfilled exactly as planned for Israel, and so will the final week. In other words, the entire 70-week prophecy spoken by Daniel is for Israel which includes the final week. The Body of Christ was not seen, is never mentioned, and will not be here during the time of Jacob’s trouble regardless of how desperate men are to place us here.

[19] Remember the Jewish mind is kingdom oriented. To them, this meant the end of the current world system and the inauguration of the Davidic Kingdom on Earth.

[20] Pentecostal Charismatics wrongly assign this to the church under our new dispensation which has resulted in many heresies, including the Latter Rain Manifest Sons of God blasphemies. Request Latter Rain booklet explaining this.

[21] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed. That blessing refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Appendix [i]

Excursus on God’s Everlasting Relationship to Israel

And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.  (Leviticus 16:34)

Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.  (Leviticus 24:8)

And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.  (Numbers 25:13)

And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,  (1 Chronicles 16:17) And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:  (Psalms 105:10)

But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.  (Isaiah 45:17)

Appendix [ii]

Kingdom of Heaven vs. Kingdom of God


Moses introduced the kingdom of heaven: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the Earth. (Deuteronomy 11:21)


At Matthew 3:2, Dr. CI Scofield offers this comparison:


(1) The phrase, kingdom of heaven (literally, of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic Earth rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the Earth (Mat_6:10) The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined; (Dan_2:34-36); (Dan_2:44); (Dan_7:23-27) as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system. It is the kingdom covenanted to David’s seed (2Sa_7:7-10) described in the prophets; and confirmed to Jesus the Christ, the Son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel (Luk_1:32-33).


(2) The kingdom of heaven has three aspects in Matthew:


(a) “at hand” from the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist (Mat_3:2) to the virtual rejection of the King, and the announcement of the new brotherhood (Mat_12:46-50).


(b) in seven “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” to be fulfilled during the present age (Mat_13:1-52) to which are to be added the parables of the kingdom of heaven which were spoken after those of Mt. 13, and which have to do with the sphere of Christian profession during this age;


(c) the prophetic aspect — the kingdom to be set up after the return of the King in glory. (Mat_24:29-25); (Mat_24:46); (Luk_19:12-19); (Act_15:14-17).


Dr. Scofield offers further clarification at Matthew 6:33:The kingdom of God is to be distinguished from the kingdom of heaven in five respects:


(1) The kingdom of God is universal, including all moral intelligences willingly subject to the will of God, whether angels, the Church, or saints of past or future dispensations (Luk_13:28-29); (Heb_12:22-23) while the kingdom of heaven is Messianic, mediatorial, and Davidic, and has for its object the establishment of the kingdom of God in the Earth


(2) The kingdom of God is entered only by the new birth (Joh_3:3); (Joh_3:5-7) the kingdom of heaven, during this age, is the sphere of a profession which may be real or false.


(3) Since the kingdom of heaven is the Earthly sphere of the universal kingdom of God, the two have almost all things in common. For this reason many parables and other teachings are spoken of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, and of the kingdom of God in Mark and Luke. It is the omissions which are significant. The parables of the wheat and tares, and of the net (Mat_13:24-30); (Mat_13:36-43); (Mat_13:47-50) are not spoken of the kingdom of God. In that kingdom there are neither tares nor bad fish. But the parable of the leaven (Mat_13:33) is spoken of the kingdom of God also, for, alas, even the true doctrines of the kingdom are leavened with the errors of which the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians were the representatives.


(4) The kingdom of God “comes not with outward show” (Luk_17:20) but is chiefly that which is inward and spiritual (Rom_14:17) while the kingdom of heaven is organic, and is to be manifested in glory on the Earth.


(5) The kingdom of heaven merges into the kingdom of God when Christ, having put all enemies under his feet, “shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father” (1Co_15:24-28). (Scofield Reference Bible, 1917)

Right Division in the Final Analyses

Dr. Mike Johnston

Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ made clear by studying Scripture rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). Right division encompasses two programs designed by God (prophecy and mystery) covering three time periods (time past, but now, ages to come) [1] that have both existed “since the world began”. Denominations exist due to conflating prophecy and mystery, which invariably leads to disorder and deception. [2]

Prophecy (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) [3] came through the prophets featuring events primarily surrounding Israel’s coming kingdom on earth; while the mystery (Rom. 16:25) [4] was unknown to the prophets and given initially to Paul concerning the church Body of Christ promised an inheritance in heaven where we are now spiritually seated there with Christ. [5]

In this treatise, we further learned that Israel is the preeminent earthly nation and God’s prophets were His messengers guarding and guiding her through 5 unilateral covenants promising perpetuity of lineage (Abrahamic Covenant), land (Land Covenant), Law (Mosaic Covenant), Lordship (Davidic covenant), and longevity (New Covenant). Prophecy – via progressive mention or revelation – reveals this kingdom under Christ the Messiah will last on Earth 1000 years (revealed in Rev. 20:2-7) in unprecedented peace (Micah 4:2-4; Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), prosperity, and health (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:28-29). Its location is Jerusalem, city of David (2 Kings 14:20), the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19). All of this later confirmed and offered by John the Baptist, Christ, and the twelve disciples (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; John 1:45; see Gal. 2:7-9) in their preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

However, in that the Jews rejected the kingdom before it could begin, [6] God decreed judgment on Israel expressly to prepare and purify her, earth, [7] and collaterally the Gentile nations supporting Israel prior to the Kingdom. We see a foreshadowing of this judgment in the Book of Judges which tells the story of a loving God retrieving a rebellious nation: “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not” (Judges 2:20-22-bold added).

Scholars refer to this period of judgment on Israel as the doctrine of the Tribulation. Beginning with Moses [8] the prophets through a continuing stream of progressive revelation outlined Israel’s Tribulation very clearly (study Isaiah 24-26; Jer. 30-31; Ezekiel 34-48; Dan. 12; Revelation 6-20). They defined and described it with names such as, the time of (Jacob’s) trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15); day of His wrath (Psa. 110:5; Isa. 13:9; Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:15; Rev. 6:17; 11:18; 14:10);  and a number of other euphemisms which they linked to the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Joel 2:1; see Isa. 13:9, 13; Ezek. 7:19). Jesus further clarified it with events he personally named “tribulation” and “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29).

If you are a defender of right division between Israel and the church Body, you obviously know the opponents of objective based interpretation too often for too long gotten away with the slip shod wrangling and rearranging of inspired writ in order to sell books to the naïve that support their forejudged conclusions. It’s hardly a surprise that while a chasm of disagreement exists between them, they find great communion in angrily attacking the PreTrib rapture as the lone satanic teaching.

The simple theme and a simple thing

The theme of this book is simple: Right division of Scripture proves that Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ. The primaries in the Tribulation are Israel and collateral Gentile nations. NOT the church Body.

What our adversaries showcase in their studies is not just an inability to interpret from context, but an inability to exercise good reason also known as common sense. The church couldn’t be included in Israel’s Tribulation. The prophets didn’t know about us and never mentioned us because we were a mystery hidden from them and every other human on earth until the Lord Jesus revealed it to Paul [9] centuries later.

Still not convinced? Let’s verify the facts.

To begin with, I have listed most every passage of Scripture dealing with the time of Jacob’s trouble – aka Jacob’s/Israel’s Tribulation – in this book. You can verify what I’m telling you by studying each of the passages in full context. The church Body is NOT visible in any of them. Moreover, the Holy Spirit used the word church – or churches – 117 times in the King James Bible. It would have been a simple thing for Him to use it in any of the scores of Tribulation passages we’ve looked at.

Still, our opponents claim without apology or authority their position is correct because they ostensibly have Scriptural proof that the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation. If they are correct, we should be able to verify it with an exhaustive King James concordance such as Strong’s that lists every word in the KJV.

Look up the word church and Body of Christ and study carefully every passage listed. Neither one appears within the context of a single Tribulation passage. That should settle the question but it hasn’t. Our opponents – many who are dazzling disputants (Rom. 16:18) [10]– demand that you to redefine the words “saints”, “elect” and “disciple” to include the Body of Christ even though in context of THE Tribulation they are referring to Israel NOT the church.

Let’s be very clear.

If the church Body of Christ is in Israel’s Tribulation, the Holy Spirit who could have clearly identified us went to great lengths to keep us indisputably knowing it. Israel is indisputably there. The Gentiles nations are also indisputably there, but NEVER the church Body. The fact that He didn’t indisputably identify us on earth at that time is significant to all participants in an honest discussion. The only way Paul’s mystery Body is ever included in Israel’s Tribulation is when rapture haters diddle with context to win an argument rather than be fair with the truth. Over the years this has allowed them ballyhoo how they “win” rapture debate when in fact they don’t tell the truth, they twist it.

Bearing false witness

Our adversaries swear on their Bibles the church Body is in Israel’s Tribulation without the conclusive Scriptural evidence to prove it. Before dismissing this as a matter of personal interpretation, consider the ramifications if this were a court of law.

Let’s suppose you witnessed a crime that a man you hated was charged with. Although you didn’t actually see his face, the crooked prosecutor asked you to testify that you did. Would you succumb to your feelings and assist the prosecutor in convicting a man without evidence simply because you loathed him?

In all honesty, this wouldn’t merely be you offering your interpretation. This would be you bearing false witness.

[1] Time past (Eph. 2:11-12; but now (Eph. 2:4); ages to come (Eph. 2:7).

[2] This is what the cults do, ie SDAs, JWs, Mormons, Romanists, etc.

[3] As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (Luke 1:70).

[4] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, (Romans 16:25)

[5] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:20). And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:6)

[6] Daniel predicted the exact day of Messiah’s rejection leaving a final week yet to be fulfilled (Dan. 9:24-27).

[7] Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. (Isaiah 13:13). But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. (Jeremiah 10:10)





[8] When thou [Israel] art in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days  (Deuteronomy 4:30- bracket comment added).

[9] The prophets didn’t know anything about the mystery church Body. Study carefully Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:26).

[10] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:18)



These articles are available for your edification, and research. The Pre-Trib Perspectives Journal is a publication of the Pre-Trib Research Center. These articles are made available courtesy of Evangelist Donald Perkins and According To Prophecy Ministries.

By: Larry V. Crutchfield

” Darby is convinced that without the atoning work of Christ, man must bear the guilt of his sin, and remain at a distance from God without knowledge of Him or of His love.

Few today who would identify themselves as Fundamentalists have ever heard of John Nelson Darby or the Plymouth Brethren. Yet as Ernest R. Sandeen correctly observes in The Roots of Fundamentalism, “much of the thought and attitudes of those who are known as Fundamentalists can be mirrored in the teachings of this man.”1

Darby flourished at a time when the winds of higher criticism were sweeping through the established churches of the British Isles. Christians firmly rooted in orthodoxy were appalled to see unregenerate clergy not only paid out of state coffers, but openly attacking the inspiration and authority of the Word of God. A general disenchantment and despair over the state of the organized church caused many to withdraw and seek fellowship elsewhere.


A number of movements sprang up to bid for the moral high ground of biblical Christianity. One of these was the Bible society movement begun in 1804 with the establishment of the British and Foreign Bible Society in London by a group of theologically conservative Anglicans. Another was the ill-fated anti-liberalism Oxford movement which itself became entangled in an anti-Reformation Romanism. Yet another reaction against the established church, which was to leave its important but largely anonymous signature upon the Fundamentalist movement of a later time, was the movement begun by the “brethren” who were to eventually become known for their meetings at Plymouth. The chief architect and theologian of this movement was the Irish clergyman, J. N. Darby.


John Nelson Darby, namesake of family friend and famed British admiral, Lord Nelson, was born in London of Irish parents on November 18, 1800. Ireland furnished the backdrop for his earliest years of development and education. In 1819 at the age of eighteen, Darby graduated from Trinity College Dublin as a Classical Medalist.

Brilliant, gifted, and with all the right connections, Darby had been groomed for and was practically assured a successful career in law. But a deep spiritual struggle gripped the budding young barrister in his eighteenth year and caused him to abandon that profession after only one year of practice between 1822 and 1823. Darby’s spiritual odyssey lasted until 1825 when he received ordination as deacon in the Church of England. The following year, he was elevated to the priesthood and assigned a curacy in remote County Wicklow, Ireland.

Taking up residence in a peasant’s cottage on a bog, Darby covered the great untamed expanse of his ecclesiastical responsibility on horseback in the manner of John Wesley. His gentleness of spirit and saintly bearing and conduct quickly earned him a place in the hearts of his poor parishioners. So committed was Darby to the instruction of the peasantry in the Word of God that he was seldom found at his own humble dwelling before midnight. His labors did not go unrewarded. Although he expended most of his modest wages and personal inheritance on the local schools and charities, by Darby’s on account Catholics were “becoming protestants at the rate of 600 to 800 a week.”2 Darby’s standard of reward and gain was always in terms of souls won for the kingdom, never silver added to the purse.

For some time the young circuit-riding cleric had been troubled by the condition of the established church, but his demanding duties had prevented any decisive action. He was to receive time for undisturbed reflection on the issue, however, when his horse bolted during one journey through the parish, throwing its rider with tremendous force against a doorjamb. The ensuing lengthy convalescence from the required surgery in Dublin, served as an incubator for Darby’s discontent.

Darby says, “During my solitude, conflicting thoughts increased; but much exercise of soul had the effect of causing the scriptures to gain complete ascendancy over me. I had always owned them to be the Word of God . . . the careful reading of the Acts afforded me a practical picture of the early church; which made me feel deeply the contrast with its actual present state; though still, as ever beloved by God.”3 After only twenty-seven months with the Church of England and thoroughly dissatisfied with what he viewed as rampant Erastianism and clericalism, Darby sought fellowship and ministry outside the established church.

Eventually, Darby made the acquaintance of a group of like-minded believers, members of the Church of England in Dublin, and met with them for prayer and Bible study during the winter of 1827-28. It was this group which would later become known as the Plymouth Brethren. The two guiding principles of the movement were to be the breaking of bread every Lord’s Day, and ministry based upon the call of Christ rather than the ordination of man. While Darby was not the founder of this group, he quickly emerged as its spiritual leader and dominant force.

By 1840, the Plymouth movement had grown to 800 strong and would reach more than 1200 within the next five years. Even though Darby disliked denominational labels, preferring rather the simple biblical designation “brethren,” it was perhaps inevitable that these “brethren” who met at Plymouth, should become known as the “Plymouth Brethren.”

Many other Brethren groups formed in Britain and subsequently in other parts of the world. As a result of his extensive travels, Darby himself was responsible for the spread of Brethren doctrine to other countries. He made several trips to preach and teach in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Holland. Between 1859 and 1874, Darby made six trips to the United States and Canada where he ministered in all the major cities and in some of the smaller ones as well. Included also in Darby’s itinerary were visits to the West Indies and New Zealand.

Wherever Darby went, he never tired of expounding his views on the doctrine of the church and future things. He was convinced both that the organized church was in a state of ruin and that Christ’s return to rapture the saints and establish the millennial kingdom was imminent. While Darby’s call for a radical response to the apostate condition of the church was met with relative indifference, his teachings on eschatological themes were heartily embraced and provided much of the substance for the Bible conference movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But more than any one doctrine, it was Darby and the Brethren’s fundamental orthodoxy that appealed to Bible believing Christians everywhere.


Any portraiture of Darby the man must be painted in sharp black and white tones, never in shades of gray. He was a man of incredible intensity. First and foremost, he was intensely committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was his only love and all-consuming passion. He cared for little that this world had to offer. Though meticulous in personal cleanliness, for example, Darby wore only simple clothing and those to the point of shabbiness. It is said that on one occasion while he slept, some kindly friends seized the opportunity to substitute new clothing for old. Upon waking, Darby donned the new apparel without remark or even apparent notice.

Darby was kind and humble in nature and his compassion and generosity towards the poor was without bounds. He observed that “Christ preferred the poor; ever since I have been converted so have I. Let those who like society better have it. If I ever get into it . . . I return sick at heart. I go to the poor; I find the same evil nature as in the rich, but I find this difference: the rich, and those who keep their comforts and their society, judge and measure how much of Christ they can take and keep without committing themselves; the poor, how much of Christ they can have to comfort them in their sorrows. That, unworthy as I am, is where I am at home and happy.” Darby in no way felt intellectually ill-equipped for cultivated society, it was just that given the choice, he rejected it all in preference for the cross.4

Kindly in disposition and humble in spirit though Darby was, his absolute devotion to the Word of God and demand for unflinching fidelity to its truth, as he understood it, made him ready prey for controversy. His limitless patience with the honest ignorance of the poor and unlearned was legendary. But so was his wrath against those among the well educated who played fast and loose with the truth of the gospel of Christ.

A full twenty-five years after one “heterodox teacher” had felt the brunt of Darby’s indignation, he was to write, “J.N.D. writes with a pen in one hand and a thunderbolt in the other.” But as Darby’s biographer, W. G. Turner points out, “it was only fundamental error which roused his deepest grief and indignation, his patience with honest blunderers being proverbial.”5

If ever the epithet, “fighting Fundamentalist” applied to anyone, it applied to J. N. Darby. At the same time, it is true that Darby derived no pleasure from controversy and often expressed his love for the object of his more potent polemics. But in his view, faced with a choice between peace on the one hand and truth on the other, there could be no alternative but to defend the truth.

Wherever Darby went, whether peasant’s home or hallowed halls of Oxford, his nobleness of character, keenness of mind, dedication to Christ, and commanding presence made him the focus of attention. The great Bible teacher and preacher, G. Campbell Morgan recounts as one of the “cherished recollections” of his boyhood his encounter with Darby who had come to visit his father. “He vividly recalls the almost reverential awe that lay upon him in the presence of that truly great man, and how the awe gave place and the reverence remained, when the visitor spoke kindly to him about his studies.”6


Darby is called by many the father of modern dispensational theology, a theology made popular first by the Scofield Reference Bible7and more recently by the Ryrie Study Bible. It is a theology that has gained wide influence through the publications and educational efforts of institutions like Dallas Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute. Yet while Darby is the center of almost every controversy over the origin of this theological system, his works are little known and seldom read. This is true among the critics and champions of dispensational theology alike. This neglect is unfortunate, for Darby is credited with much of the theological content of the Fundamentalist movement. There is little doubt too, that Darby had a tremendous part in the systematization and promotion of dispensational theology.

Today, however, Darby’s theological distinctives have virtually been reduced to his doctrine of the church in ruins, the premillennial return of Christ–with special emphasis upon Israel and the church’s role in that kingdom age–and the rapture of the church. As important as these doctrines are in Darby’s theology, they were but an outgrowth of other doctrines which must be considered the bedrock of his and the Brethren’s teaching. It is the bedrock upon which orthodox Christianity has stood since Pentecost and upon which Fundamentalists made their stand shortly after the turn of the century.

Inspiration and Infallibility of Scripture

Darby was unswerving in his belief that the Bible was the inspired, infallible Word of God, absolutely authoritative8 and faithfully transmitted from the original autographs.9 If the world itself were to disappear and be annihilated, asserts Darby, “and the word of God alone remained as an invisible thread over the abyss, my soul would trust in it. After deep exercise of soul I was brought by grace to feel I could entirely. I never found it fail me since. I have often failed; but I never found it failed me.”

Once questioned as to whether he might not allow that some parts of the New Testament may have had only temporary significance, Darby retorted, “‘No! every word, depend upon it, is from the Spirit and is for eternal service!'” Darby felt compelled to affirm his fidelity to the Word of God because “In these days especially . . . the authority of His written word is called in question on every side . . . “10

Deity and Virgin Birth of Christ

On the deity of Christ, Darby is no less compromising than he is on the place of Scripture in the believer’s life. “The great truth of the divinity of Jesus, that He is God,” says Darby, “is written all through scripture with a sunbeam, but written to faith. I cannot hesitate in seeing the Son, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the First and the Last, Alpha and Omega, and thus it shines all through. But He fills all things, and His manhood, true, proper manhood, as true, proper Godhead, is as precious to me, and makes me know God, and so indeed only as the other, He is ‘the true God and eternal life.'”11 If Christ is not God, concludes Darby, then “I do not know Him, have not met Him, nor know what He is.”12 As one of the truths connected with the person and work of Christ, Darby cites the “miraculous birth of the Saviour, who was absolutely without sin . . .”13

Substitutionary Atonement

Just as the doctrine of the deity of Christ is written all through the Bible, Darby maintains that the propitiation secured by the sacrificial death of Christ “is a doctrine interwoven with all Scripture, forms one of the bases of Christianity, is the sole ground of remission–and there is none without shedding blood–and that by which Christ has made peace; Col. 1:20.”14

Darby is convinced that without the atoning work of Christ, man must bear the guilt of his sin, and remain at a distance from God without knowledge of Him or of His love. But thankfully that is not the case, for as Darby points out, “There is death in substitution–He ‘bore our sins in his own body on the tree’–‘died for our sins according to the scriptures’ . . .”15

Resurrection of Christ

For Darby, “the Person of Christ regarded as risen,” is the pivot around which “all the truths found in the word revolve.”16 “Many have, perhaps, been able, in looking at the Church’s hope in Christ,” says Darby, “to see the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection. But the more we search the Scriptures, the more we perceive, in this doctrine, the fundamental truth of the gospel–that truth which gives to redemption its character, and to all other truths their real power.” It is the victory of Christ over death which gives the certainty of salvation.17 It is the resurrection, asserts Darby, which “leaves behind, in the tomb, all that could condemn us, and ushers the Lord into that new world of which he is the perfection, the Head, and the glory.”18 Consequently, this doctrine characterized apostolic preaching.19

Return of Christ

Darby believed that it was essential that the church have a right hope. That hope he understood to be the second coming of Christ. At his coming, Darby maintained, Christ would take the saints to glory with Him, to become the bride, the wife of the Lamb.20

Darby insists that “Nothing is more prominently brought forward in the New Testament than the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He points out that it was the promise of Christ’s return which was first offered to the sorrowing disciples as they witnessed the ascension of their Lord as recorded in Acts 1:11. Furthermore, says Darby, “It was not at all a strange thing–immediately after conversion to the living God–‘to wait for his Son from heaven, even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.'”21

In light of the foregoing, John F. Walvoord, president emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary, is certainly correct in saying that “Much of the Truth promulgated by fundamental Christians to-day had its rebirth in the movement known as the ‘Plymouth Brethren.'”22

Darby’s Influence

It should be evident from the foregoing that there is a distinct connection between the doctrines of the Brethren and the Fundamentalists who rose to challenge modernism shortly before and especially after the turn of the century. Well before publication of The Fundamentals: A Testimony of Truth in 1909, the Brethren were proclaiming the same basic truths of Scripture and staunchly defending them against all comers. The very character of Brethren fellowship and beliefs is such that to entertain liberal doctrines would destroy the movement altogether.

Many of the greatest Fundamentalist leaders of the past have openly acknowledged their indebtedness to the teachings and ministry of Darby and the Brethren. After securing the writings of C. H. Mackintosh, the man most responsible for popularizing Darby’s works, D. L. Moody said, “if they could not be replaced, [I] would rather part with my entire library, excepting my Bible, than with these writings. They have been to me a very key to the Scriptures.”23

  1. C. Gaebelein, contributor to The Fundamentals and one of the most potent influences on the life and doctrine of C. I. Scofield, says of Darby and other Brethren writers, “I found in his writings, in the works of William Kelly, Mcintosh [Mackintosh], F. W. Grant, Bellett, and others the soul food I needed. I esteem these men next to the Apostles in their sound and spiritual teachings.” In the same breath Gaebelein speaks of four saints named John who will be present at that great celestial meeting when Christ returns–John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, and John Darby.24

William Kelly, Darby’s closest friend and greatest student, never tired of admonishing others to “Read Darby!” With some fifty-three volumes to his credit–including everything from a complete translation of the Bible to a volume of verse–there is much of Darby to read.

John Nelson Darby continued to serve and proclaim his Savior both with the written and spoken word until his departure to be with Him on the 29th of April, 1882. And no matter what subject he addressed, one theme always came to the fore–Jesus Christ. Just a few days before his home-going Darby wrote in a final letter to the Brethren, “I can say, Christ has been my only object; thank God, my righteousness too . . . Hold fast to Christ.”


1 Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970; reprinted., Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), p. xix.

2 W. Blair Neatby. A History of the Plymouth Brethren (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1901), p. 16.

3 Darby as quoted in W. G. Turner, John Nelson Darby (London: C. A. Hammond, 1944), p. 17. 4 Turner, p. 77.

5 John Nelson Darby, Letters of J. N. Darby, 3 vols., reprint ed. (Sunbury, Penn.: Believers Bookshelf, 1971), 1:205. 6 Turner, p. 31.

7 John Harries, G. Campbell Morgan, The Man and His Ministry, p. 27; quoted in Turner, p. 78.

8 For a full treatment of the relationship between Darby and Scofield’s dispensational doctrines, see Larry V. Crutchfield’s The Origins of Dispensationalism: The Darby Factor (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1992).

9 John Nelson Darby, Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, 34 vols., ed. by William Kelly (Sunbury, Penn.: Believers Bookshelf, n.d.), 23:13.

10 Ibid., 23:31. 11 Ibid., 1:38. 12 Darby, Letters, 1:28-29.

13 Darby, Collected Writings, 33:82. 14 Darby, Letters, 2:432.

15 Darby, Collected Writings, 33:82. 16 Darby, Letters, 3:102.

17 Ibid., 1:47. 18 Darby, Collected Writings, 3:147.

19 Darby, Letters, 1:47. 20 Darby, Collected Writings, 3:147.

21 Darby, Letters, 2:361. 22 Darby, Collected Writings, 27:306.

23 John F. Walvoord, review of An Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement, by H. A. Ironside, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 1942, p. 378.

24 Sandeen, p. 173.

25 A. C. Gaebelein, Half a Century (New York: Our Hope Publication Office, 1930), p. 85.

26 Turner, p. 80.

Dr.Thomas Ice, is a good friend of Evangelist Perkins and this Ministry. Tommy’s page will be up-dated on a regular basis, so keep visiting his page. You can respond to his articles via his email given below.

Dr. Thomas Ice: Heads up The Pre-Trib Research Center. The Pre-Trib Research Center is a “think tank” committed to the study, proclamation, teaching and defending of the Pretribulational Rapture (pre-70th week of Daniel) and related end-time prophecy. Editor: Thomas Ice, : Send correspondence to Rev. Thomas Ice, Executive Director, Address: Pre-Trib Research Center, P. O. Box 14111, Arlington, TX. 70694-1111


Anti PreTrib Rapture antagonists are in reality bearing false witness

Excerpted from Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ by Dr. Mike Johnston

I began my research for this treatise about 40 years ago. In this our final analysis, I want to wholeheartedly reaffirm my conclusion that Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ. Admittedly, acknowledging that first required a willingness to abandon the convention and reevaluate Scripture through the lens of right division which led to the right conclusion.

Right division encompasses two programs God designed that have existed “since the world began”: prophecy[1] for Israel and a kingdom on earth, and the mystery [2] of the church Body of Christ in heaven spiritually seated. Conflating prophecy and mystery leads to hermeneutic chaos and heresy. [3]

In this treatise, we learned that Israel is the preeminent earthly nation and God’s prophets were His messengers guarding and guiding her through 5 unilateral covenants promising perpetuity of lineage (Abrahamic Covenant), land (Land Covenant), Law (Mosaic Covenant), Lordship (Davidic covenant), and longevity (New Covenant). Prophecy – via progressive mention or revelation – reveals this kingdom under Christ the Messiah will last on Earth 1000 years (revealed in Rev. 20:2-7) in unprecedented peace (Micah 4:2-4; Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), prosperity, and health (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:28-29). Its location is Jerusalem, city of David (2 Kings 14:20), the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19). All of this proclaimed from the writing and preaching of God’s inspired prophets (Luke 1:68-80; Acts 3:12-26); later confirmed and offered by John the Baptist, Christ, and the twelve disciples (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; John 1:45; see Gal. 2:7-9) who preached the gospel of the Kingdom.

However, before the Kingdom begins, God decreed judgment on Israel expressly to prepare and purify her, earth, [4] and the Gentile nations supporting Israel prior to the Kingdom. Jeremiah, Daniel, and Zephaniah all called it “the time of (Jacob’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). We see a foreshadowing of this judgment in the Book of Judges which tells the story of a loving God retrieving a rebellious nation: “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not” (Judges 2:20-22-bold added).

Beginning with Moses [5] the prophets through a continuing stream of progressive revelation outlined Israel’s Tribulation very clearly (study Isaiah 24-26; Jer. 30-31; Ezekiel 34-48; Dan. 12; Revelation 6-20). They defined and described it with names such as, the time of (Jacob’s) trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15); day of His wrath (Psa. 110:5; Isa. 13:9; Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:15; Rev. 6:17; 11:18; 14:10);  and a number of other euphemisms which they linked to the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Joel 2:1; see Isa. 13:9, 13; Ezek. 7:19). Jesus further clarified it with events he personally named “tribulation” and “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29).

As clear as this is, the enemies of contextual interpretation wrangle and rearrange inspired writ to suit their own purposes. This has produced chaos as seen in the variety of rapture positions each angrily proving the other wrong. An unbiased approach to the Bible trusts “every word of God is pure” (Prov. 30:5) and selected and inspired by God for insertion precisely within a context with a caveat against alteration. I’m sorry to say this is NOT true of rapture contrarians that modify the setting to support outcomes, which prohibit interpretations unavailable to them in any other way. I’ll give you an example.

The theme of this book is simple: Right division of Scripture proves that the Tribulation is for Israel and the Gentile nations. The church is NOT included because the prophets didn’t know about us and never mentioned us; we were a mystery hidden from them. Let’s be very clear. It would have been a simple thing for the Holy Spirit to place the word church in the Tribulation passages. Israel is there. The Gentiles nations are there, but NEVER the church Body. The fact that He didn’t identify us on earth at that time is significant. The only people including us are our adversaries taking unauthorized liberties with Scripture by placing us in Israel’s Tribulation where we don’t belong and we can’t be seen. Let me illustrate.

If you witnessed a crime that a man you never saw was charged with, would you lie under oath and claim you saw him even though you hadn’t? This isn’t merely your interpretation; it’s bearing false witness.

[1] As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (Luke 1:70).

[2] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, (Romans 16:25)

[3] This is what the cults do, ie SDAs, JWs, Mormons, Romanists, etc.

[4] Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. (Isaiah 13:13). But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. (Jeremiah 10:10)

[5] When thou [Israel] art in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days  (Deuteronomy 4:30- bracket comment added).

Fake News about the rapture

Dr Mike Johnston

Deceivers are a coagulation of corruption gathering everywhere. Most recognizable and insidious is the lying liberal media hiding behind the First Amendment directed by a cabal of deviants committed to propagating a godless political agenda based on Leviticus 18 values using intimidation and prevarication as their stock in trade to get there. Its deserved title is fake news and more and more American’s like fiddle man Charlie Daniel’s are recognizing it and speaking out against it: “The news is not about news anymore. It’s about protecting some people, destroying others and shoving a socialist agenda down the collective throats of America.”

In all honesty, when the term fake news began appearing in the 2016 presidential election, I wasn’t that surprised. Several years ago, I heard Rush Limbaugh explain the phenomenon to a dismayed caller concerned about the puzzling effectiveness of despicable defamations marshaled against innocent people while casting truth to the wind,

“The evidence is irrelevant; it’s the seriousness of the charge that matters.”

Since the seriousness of an accusation now takes precedence over its truthfulness, by default it enforces it. This not only empowers deceivers with a ready tool for destruction, it renders a defense impossible for honest men. To wit, Mark Twain was correct in lamenting, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.”

Mr. Twain’s axiom is the essence of this chapter highlighting its predictable expectation. For all who think it could never happen to us, it not only can, it already has. A shocking fake news story infiltrated the church some 40 years ago, lacking reliable evidence to support it and yet was believed and ballyhooed simply because of the seriousness of the charge …

“The PreTrib Rapture is a Giant Hoax
that didn’t exist until 1830”

Considering the incalculable number of Christians holding forth the PreTrib rapture as the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), this is a very serious allegation. I know because I witnessed its damage first hand. However, while I was for a period deceived by this, over time I began spotting inconsistencies in the argument warranting a closer investigation, which ultimately produced the following summary observation:

This 1830 rapture origin allegation is itself a recently concocted giant hoax.

I discovered it originated with a disgruntled and delusional rapture-loathing reporter named Dave MacPherson (DM). I use the word delusional cautiously but purposely. While DM has every right to his opinion. He does not however have the right to invent his own facts when stating it. That isn’t scholarship. It’s scandalous. How his conscience allows him to get away with this is I’m afraid a testimony to Paul’s warning: “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; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

Anti-PreTrib Rapture “Gotcha” Gimmicks


Excerpted from my book: Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ – Dr. Mike Johnston

During negotiations with the Soviet Union, President Reagan coined the phrase “trust, but verify”. While that’s a wonderful safeguard strategy to employ in international relations, it is also an extremely important principle when studying the Bible – especially as it pertains to the subjects in this book.

In my opening pages, I shared with you how I began early on in my Christian life studying Scripture. This soon led me to the end times; including the tribulation, mark of the beast, the Antichrist, and a supposed satanic plot that surfaced early in the 19th century known as the PreTrib rapture. Make no mistake. My peers ground their teeth over this convinced all PreTrib rapture advocates were cohorts of the devil and on their way to eternal hell.

This became my motivation for scratching for information that could help me destroy this deception and all these deceivers. [1] It wasn’t long before I uncovered some of the gimmicks outlined in this chapter.

Please understand. Every one of the following ploys presupposes the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation even though indisputable Scriptural evidence has NEVER surfaced to place us here. The first two artifices discussed are the most often used. They are also twists of the same lie; that the PreTrib rapture didn’t exist until early in the 19th century.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The Rapture was never taught until 1830”

Not true! Here’s the gist of the accusation: the PreTrib rapture didn’t exist until about 1830 [the next gimmick will elaborate a bit more]. It is by far the most abused allegation in the rapture antagonist anthology. Although the problems this presents are myriad, I’ll boil them down to two: First, it’s a lie with verifiable evidence from extant writings enclosed in the next pages. Second, even it were true, it censures prophecy in Daniel where God promises in the last days to reveal to us truth previously hidden.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased(Daniel 12:4).

“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  (35)  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed … And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  (10)  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand(Daniel 11:33, 35; 12:9-10).

John Bray’s boasting

One of the most brazen uses of this originated with a Southern Baptist evangelist named John L. Bray who was so certain the PreTrib rapture was a hoax that he offered $500 to anyone with evidence that the PreTrib rapture teaching existed before 1830. While this was an undeniable showstopper in rapture arguments, I later uncovered a flaw in it my friends never disclosed:

It’s a bald-faced lie!

While continuing to research the rapture origin, Bray happened upon a writing obliterating his previous thinking: “… my own research indicated that it was Emmanuel Lacunza, a Jesuit Catholic priest, who [wrote the] book The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, that first taught this theory.” [2]

Although Bray’s admission is admirable, he was after all an ardent PreTrib antagonist determined to undermine the PreTrib hope. Therefore, he re-dated his stunt and renewed his reward. “I offered $500 to anyone who would give a documented statement earlier than Lacunza’s time which taught a two-stage coming of Christ separated by a stated period of time.”

And he was wrong again.

It isn’t clear whether Bray was lamenting or lauding the new evidence in the following admission, “Now I have the Photostat copies of a book published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1788 but written in 1742-1744 in England, which taught the preTribulation rapture before Lacunza.” [3]

As much as these facts disturb our rapture rivals – and make no mistake, IT DOES – it is now very well known that the PreTrib rapture was taught until the 4th century insurgence of Augustinian Amillennialism Postmillennialism heresy diffused and replaced it. (see Appendix [i] research of Doc Marquis).

Here are a few examples of  early church writings: 

Irenaeus – 130-202 AD

Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp. Polycarp learned his Christian faith from the apostle John, “…the disciple whom Jesus loved…” (John 21:7). As well as writing the gospel that bears his name and a number of early letters, John wrote the Book of Revelation. Irenaeus later became bishop of the church in Lyons, France and is famous for his five volume treatise, Against Heresies, which described and challenged all false teaching from the emerging cults of his day.

Irenaeus believed in the three and a half year reign of the Antichrist as ruler of the world before the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed in a literal millennial reign of Christ on earth following the Second Coming and in the resurrection of the just. Irenaeus also believed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. In Against Heresies 5:29 he wrote: “And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, ‘There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.’ For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”

Note Irenaeus’ use of the “caught up.” It is the exact same Rapture terminology used in 1 Thessalonians 4. The word used is 1 Thessalonians 4, is “harpazo”, meaning to be “caught up.” Irenaeus believed that the Rapture of the Church occurred prior to Israel’s Tribulation.

Ephraem the Syrian – 306-373 AD

As early as the 4th century a PreTrib rapture exponent nicknamed Pseudo-Ephraem wrote this: “All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.” [4]

Actually, Ephraem the Syrian was not alone in interpreting Bible prophecy literally in his day.

He was living one generation from the era of Augustine (354-430), whenever there was a dramatic change. When Ephraem died in 373, Augustine was 19 years old. It was in the era of Augustine that allegoricalism widely replaced the previous method of interpretation. Prior to this, it was common among Bible believers to interpret prophecy literally. They believed that Christ would return literally (and imminently), bind Satan, and establish a literal millennial kingdom (see end time’s kingdom in Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14) on earth.

Attested by scholars, historians, and theologians

Scholar William Newell wrote, “The early Church for 300 years looked for the imminent return of our Lord to reign, and they were right” (Newell, Revelation).

Historian Phillip Schaaf said, “… the most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age [prior to AD 325] is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment” (History of the Christian Church, 8 vols, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960, 2:614).

Theologian Dr. Henry Thiessen agrees with Newell and Schaaf, “It is clear … that the Fathers held not only the pre-millennial view of Christ’s coming, but also regarded that coming as imminent. The Lord had taught them to expect His return at any moment, and so they looked for Him to come in their day. Not only so, but they also taught His personal return as being immediately, with the exception of the Alexandrian Fathers, who also rejected other fundamental doctrines … The early Church was keenly interested in the doctrine of the return of Christ. The Apostles had held out the possibility of His returning in their day, and the next generations kept alive the “blessed hope” as something that was imminent. Not until the third century was there any great exception to this rule; but from the time of Constantine onward this truth began to be rejected until it was finally entirely set aside” (Thiessen, Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 477, 441).

Gotcha Gimmick:
The rapture is a satanic hoax conjured up

by Margaret MacDonald, pilfered by JN Darby,

and published by CI Scofield

While claiming their fight has a Biblical basis, the main evidence anti-PreTribbers proffer is far from sola scriptura. It has risen instead on the back of untruthful accusations disguised as “scholarship” from disgruntled men conflating God’s plan for Israel with His plan for the church that over time has proven to be part of an irrational but profitable scheme with motives that are suspect first surfacing about 40 years ago.

The anti-PreTrib conspiracy begins with a neurotic[5] rapture-loathing news reporter named Dave MacPherson who in the 1970s began taking and twisting into books the undocumented claims of Textus Receptus enemy Samuel Tregelles. At this writing, MacPherson [6] has parlayed his hatred for the rapture into a lucrative book franchise. Using the same material over and over but under separate titles like “The Incredible Cover-Up”, [7] “The Great Rapture Hoax”, “The Rapture Plot”, MacPherson alleges – without indisputable proof – that the PreTrib rapture is a pervasive fraud that didn’t exist until 1830 when Margaret MacDonald [8] – a demon possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[9] Catholic Apostolic Church[10] – conjured it up in a vision. [11] Then, according to MacPherson’s mythos, dispensational scholar John Nelson Darby pilfered it [12] for CI Scofield to publish in his reference Bible as part of a sinister plot the two cooked up to deceive Christians for no apparent reason other than the indescribable joy both men received from misleading people.[13]

The problems MacPherson’s misrepresentations present are deep, wide, and insurmountable. If there was any evidence anywhere linking Darby [14] and Scofield to MacDonald or her charismatic trance and utterances, researchers would have discovered it; especially John Bray who searched every nook and cranny and ultimately penned this,

“[Darby] rejected those practices, and he already had his new view of the Lord coming FOR THE SAINTS (as contrasted to the later coming to the earth) which he had believed since 1827. It was the coupling of this “70th week of Daniel” prophecy and its futuristic interpretation, with the teaching of the “secret rapture,” that gave to us the completed “Pre-Tribulation Secret Rapture” teaching as it has now been taught for many years. . . . (and) makes it impossible for me to believe that Darby got his Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching from Margaret MacDonald’s vision in 1830. He was already a believer in it since 1827, as he plainly said.”[15]

The fact is, no one – including Tregelles, MacPherson, nor any of their lackey loyalists – has ever provided a shred of credible proof linking Darby or Scofield directly to plagiarizing MacDonald or to any of these appalling activities. Researcher Frank Marotta adds this: “The importance MacPherson places on The Rapture Plot reveals his spiritual condition. … 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.” [16]

Commenting on the entire farce, Dr. John Walvoord wrote, “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.” Walvoord continues, “PreTribulationists should be indebted to Dave MacPherson for exposing the facts, namely, that there is no proof that MacDonald … originated the preTribulation rapture teaching.” [17]

The outcome of MacPherson’s ruse reminds me of the book of Esther. Haman was a pompous prevaricating political insider who over estimated his value to the king. He was also a rabid anti-Semite who in a fit of rage ordered gallows built to lynch his nemesis, Esther’s uncle Mordecai. Ironically, once the king discovered Haman’s lies, the nefarious accommodations he’d built for Mordecai served quite adequately to hang Haman and his household instead. Divine reciprocity at its best!

In my opinion, MacPherson did the same thing using his mendacity as the gallows to marginalize or destroy hope in the PreTrib rapture. Surely as a seasoned reporter, he must have expected the scrutiny from PreTrib scholars he received from Dr. Walvoord and others [18]. However, how could he foresee the backlash from fellow post trib journalists he thought would cover for him? After examining his spurious allegations, they did the unthinkable; they stood him up by unmasking his deception in full view of everyone paying attention. [19]

We should do no less.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The word Rapture isn’t used in the Bible”

Although this partially true, it’s extremely thin. While “rapture” is NOT mentioned in the King James Bible, it is a transliteration of the Latin word rapturo from 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where Paul used the Greek harpadzo translated “caught up” in the KJV.

Now think about something. Does a subject have to be specifically mentioned in the KJV in order to be true? Find the word “trinity” or “grandpa”.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The rapture teaches easy escapism”

Here’s a pejorative containing a splash of truth. The fact is, the Christian faith is itself an escape from future judgment, the punishment of Hell, and the Lake of Fire God created for the devil and his followers (Matt. 25:41). Now, let’s take this a step further.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The words saints, elect, and disciples used in connection with Israel’s Tribulation include the church Body”

Wrong! Here’s a prime example of shoddy research linking arms with willful ignorance. In order to make their theories work, our adversaries exploit the conventional division between the Testaments,[20] which allows them to assign partisan definitions to three key words that in context deserve no such treatment: saints, elect, and disciple(s). Once again hoping trust and verify WON’T make its way into your thinking.


Our adversaries cavalierly claim the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation because Daniel and Revelation both use the word saints. After studying the word, it is becomes clear that their misuse is a prime example of eisegesis advanced by those with a conclusion hunting for a gimmick to confirm it. Unfortunately, in the mind of those who don’t study, they found one!

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines saint as a generic term meaning “sacred, holy, or set apart”. On its own, it doesn’t designate either Israel or the church Body therefore context is crucial unless an agenda is being followed.

Hermeneutics are vital to interpretation. The first mention of saints in both Old and New Testaments are in connection with Israel.

OT: Deuteronomy 33:1-3  And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.  (2)  And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.  (3)  Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

NY: Matthew 27:52-53  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  (53)  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Saints in Daniel and Revelation

Anyone studying Daniel and Revelation in context knows that references to saints can’t include the mystery church Body. The church Body was a mystery Daniel knew nothing about. Moreover, his prophecies consistently identify his subject as Israel “thy people”. (Study “thy people” references: Daniel 9:15,16,19,24; 10:14; 11:14; 12:1).

Remember, Revelation fully explains what Daniel first exposed. As such, it is the “full color” expansion of Daniel’s prophecies to Israel. Therefore, using the hermeneutic comparative mention principle, we must interpret the terms, prophecies, and imagery in Revelation in light of Daniel’s definitions. For instance, the 10-horned Beast in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 are the same. They both blaspheme God and make war with the saints (Rev. 13:5-6, Daniel 7:8, 20, 25; Rev. 13:2, Daniel 7:21). These saints in Daniel which are Jews (Daniel 7:18,21,22,25,27; 8:13) are the same saints in the companion book of Revelation (Revelation 5:8; 8:3,4; 11:18; 13:7,10; 14:12; 15:3; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24; 19:8; 20:9). Finally, the return – aka  Revelation of Christ, the Son of Man in Daniel 7 and Revelation 19 are describing the same event.

Now answer honestly this question: Why would Daniel’s prophecies which did not include the church Body suddenly include the church Body when they are fulfilled in Revelation?

Hint: They wouldn’t!

Daniel writes: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth [Daniel addressed the influence of the beast over earth]. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Daniel 7:17-21).

In Revelation John writes: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea [John addressed the sea of people on earth comprising the Beast], having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1).

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:7-8).


Our adversaries also claim the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation because the Lord Jesus used the term elect when explaining signs surrounding His return to set up Israel’s Kingdom in His Olivet Discourse to Israel. Once again, we have a clear misrepresentation of an important word in order to support a contrarian agenda.

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines elect in generic terms “to designate, choose or select as an object of mercy or favor.” Like saint, is not an automatic term for the church Body as our adversaries infer.

Elect in the Olivet Discourse to Israel

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:22-24).

Once again, hermeneutic principles help disprove their theory.

The first mention of elect in the Old Testament addresses Israel under the Old Covenant (Isa. 42:1; 44:9). The first mention in the New Testament is from the Olivet Discourse where the Lord Jesus is also addressing Israel under the Old Covenant: “Throughout the Olivet Discourse,” Dr. Chafer explains, “Christ refers to Israel as the elect. The most casual contemplation of this discourse (Mat. 24:1-25:46) will disclose the truth that only Israel is in view as the elect of God. Similarly, a revealing Scripture from Paul (Rom. 9:1-10:4) sets forth the truth respecting Israel’s election. Too often this portion of Scripture has been applied to believers today who comprise the Church. The salient facts in the case which make it impossible, however, are that in Israel’s election there is a national objective and that an individual Jew, though belonging to the elect nation, did not have any personal election assured him. God is thus sovereign in His dealings with Israel. He disregards the enmity and hatred of the nations as they resent the fact of Israel’s election. The election is made a public matter, indeed, for Jehovah selects, preserves, and defends this one people out of all the nations of the earth. They are His “chosen people” above all the nations and chosen specifically for His glory. In relation to Israel’s election, then, God acts in sovereign authority. All other nations must eventually take a subordinate place. During Israel’s kingdom on earth, accordingly, the nation or peoples that will not serve Israel shall perish (Isa_14:1-2; Isa_60:12). No true interpretation of the Old Testament is possible if the fact of Israel’s national, sacred, eternal election be rejected.” (Systematic Theology, 1948)

Now answer honestly another question: Why would the Lord Jesus speaking under the Old Covenant to Israel while quoting Daniel’s prophecies – which did not include the church Body –suddenly include the church Body in this Jewish setting where He outlined with signs His return to inaugurate the Kingdom?

Hint: It wouldn’t!


Our opponents tell us the Body of Christ is on earth during Israel’s tribulation because the Lord Jesus was referring to the church Body when He used the word disciple(s) in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:1, 3). However, they are wrong for many reasons including the following.

To begin with, they violate the Context Principle to advance their pretext. This is done by ignoring the nagging Jewish setting surrounding the Olivet Discourse that extinguishes their assumptions. In it Jesus answered questions presented by Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) concerning His return to inaugurate the Kingdom (see end time’s kingdom in Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14) with carefully outlined signs preceding it. The message had nothing to do with the Body of Christ which was unknown at that time to the disciples who therefore had no frame of reference [21] for it whatsoever (Gal. 2:6-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-16).

By ignoring and downplaying the context – which is Jewish – our opponents have been free to pull from it a single word – disciple – to use as proof for their hypothesis that frankly falls flat under examination.

The word disciple is another generic term meaning “learner.”[22] Dr. Chafer confirms this, “(Disciple) is not equivalent to the terminology believer or Christian.” (Systematic Theology, 1948).

Using hermeneutics again, the first appearance of the word disciple also disproves their theory.

In both the Old and New Testaments describes Jews following God’s law (Isa. 8:16; Matt. 5:1). Disciple(s) is used used 274 times in our King James Bible and over 240 of those occurances appear in the Gospels to describe Jewish followers of Christ. Interestingly, the specific designation of “His disciples” and “the disciples” is used 210 times. The remainder of occurences appear in Acts where it describes early believers linked to the first church of Jerusalem. It is seldom if ever used in Acts in reference to what Paul later revealed as the mystery Body of Christ.

You may be surprised to learn that while connected in Acts to the Jewish church the term disciple is changed to Christian in Antioch (Acts 11:26) after the conversion and ongoing involvment of Paul, our apostle – who was charged with providing the aggregate body of mystery information. However, we find it very strange that if the term “disciple” is to be the definitive moniker of the Body of Christ solely from inferrences in the Olivet Discourse as our adversaries want us to believe, why didn’t Paul use the term “disciple” in any of his 13 letters of doctrine and duty when referring to the Body of Christ (Romans through Philemon).

Based on the facts as they are the terms saints, elect, and disciples referred to in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation are at best generic that while linked to Israel, do conclusively identify or implicate the church Body of Christ.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The PreTrib rapture gives false hope
and those preaching it are reprobates”

Right division reveals this as another baseless accusation by association. To begin with, ignoring context highlights the other side who refuse to recognize that the false prophets were out of fellowship with God, were NOT preaching His Word, and were making excuses for Israel’s sin by softening and denying God’s judgment. And God rebuked them.

Second, this allegation treats Israel’s Tribulation like a kind of Romanist purgatory that requires the Body of Christ to prove herself thereby redeem herself. Hogwash!

Third, this false charge presupposes Israel’s Tribulation – which exists in the prophetic word for Israel (Deut. 4:30-31) – was somewhere consigned to the mystery Body of Christ. It never was.

Finally, may I say first off that all those spreading this specious accusation do so as a wholesale indictment upon the moral character of every preacher that teaches the PreTrib rapture hope.

Right division reveals that since Israel’s Tribulation is part of Israel’s prophecy program and the Body of Christ is from mystery not prophecy and therefore was never mentioned by a single prophet and cannot be seen anywhere on earth during Israel’s Tribulation, the only logical conclusion is that we are not here for a single moment of Israel’s Tribulation. Let me say this once again. There isn’t a verse anywhere in the King James Bible clearly and indisputably placing the Body of Christ on earth for a single moment of Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27) without redefining the words “saints” and “elect”, which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation s are specifically linked to Israel in Israel’s Tribulation prophesied for her (Deut. 4:30-31).

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The Bible doesn’t teach imminency”

Honesty with Scripture proves this is utter nonsense! This argument is used in a myriad of ways by PreTrib antagonists in the advancement of their scheme. They begin with the notion that the early church didn’t teach imminence and yet their greeting proves otherwise: Maranatha (James 5:9; Rev. 3:11; 1 John 3:2-3).  Dr. Walvoord quotes the Didache (apostolic teachings) dated about 100-120 A.D., which contains the exhortation: “Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh.”

Paul didn’t believe in imminence since he was told he had to go to Rome to preach: Phil. 4:5. This is preposterous. Paul often taught believers to look for Christ and be ready for His any moment return. The fact is, while God ordered many things in Scripture, He also  adjusted His plans according to His will (“it repented the Lord”, etc). Paul was merely being obedient to the divine prerogative. Peter didn’t believe in imminence because he was told he would die: First Pet. 4:7. See comment above.

I’ve listed a few examples of an any moment expectation of the Lord Jesus’ return for His church:

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11).

“So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7).

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (1 Cor. 11:26).

“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).

“For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 4:5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 3:20).

“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).

“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The Last Trumpet of First Corinthians 15:52
is the Seventh Trumpet of Revelation”

A random statement issued with contempt for context! Those who hold to a midTribulation rapture teach that the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15 and the last trumpet of First Corinthians 15:52 and First Thessalonians 4:16 are identical. Those who teach a preTribulation rapture identify them as separate events. What difference does it make, and how can we know the truth?

Why does it matter whether or not the trumpets are the same? God has given us His Word as the revelation of His plan of redemption, and that plan covers everything from creation to the new creation. Deuteronomy 29:29 says “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” There are many things that God has chosen to reveal to us, and it is important for us to understand them so that we can obey Him. We don’t always understand why He does things, but we are called to trust Him for the parts we don’t understand, and to study to understand the rest. As we look at the texts about these trumpets, it becomes clear that they are part of a chronology that God has given us of events in the last days. Whether or not we are still living when those events come to pass, they involve us, so we ought to know what God has revealed to us.

The book of Revelation has sometimes been viewed as a book of mystery, yet the title itself implies something brought out of hiding. More specifically, it is “the revelation of Jesus Christ… to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1). God wants us to know what is going to happen, so we can be prepared, and to help us in calling others to repentance. Beginning in chapter 6, we are given a chronological record of things that will happen in the last days. There is a series of seven seals, then a series of seven trumpets, then a series of seven bowls of wrath. We read in Revelation 11:15, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.’” In the context, this clearly seems to come around the middle of Israel’s Tribulation period.

First Corinthians 15

In First Corinthians 15, Paul is writing to believers concerning the transition from this life to eternal life. Our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal, incorruptible bodies, prepared for the eternal kingdom of God. Verse 52 says, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Paul addresses the same subject to the Thessalonians, and specifically connects it with the (Rapture) of Christ. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (First Thessalonians 4:16-17).

There is no question that God has revealed these things to us, and that He intends for us to be encouraged and instructed by them. The question is whether they are the same. If they are the same, then the rapture of the church happens in the middle of the Tribulation period, and saints need to be prepared to endure those trials. If they are not the same, then we need to know when the last trump will sound, so that we can be prepared for it. In order to find out whether they are the same, we can compare the events they are associated with by looking at this chart once again.

Chart: Rapture and Revelation Trumpet Comparison

Events First Thessalonians 4

Mystery Program

Written: 54:AD

First Corinthians 15

Mystery Program Written: 59 AD

Revelation 11

Prophecy Program

Written: 90-95 AD

Trumpet sound

Dead saints raised

Living saints changed

Death overcome by victory

Jesus descends from Heaven

Kingdoms of the world taken over by Christ

Wrath of God on dead

Rewards given to saints

Intended result

v. 16

v. 16

v. 17

v. 14


v. 16



v. 52

v. 52

v. 52

v. 54










v. 57-58






Rev. 19:11 no trump





v. 18

v. 18


Chart adapted from


In all three accounts, the trumpet is a commonality. However, there are evidential discrepancies between Paul’s trumpet accounts and John’s. Paul describes saints caught up and transforming while John does not. John describes the kingdom finalized while Paul does not. Accounting for this is the fact that these men were writing to separate groups of people expecting separate inheritances and comings of Christ. Paul apostle to the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7-9 – Gentiles) outlined the Rapture of the Body off to our heavenly inheritance as part of the Mystery Program, while John, apostle to the circumcision (Gal. 2:7-9 – Jews) was explaining the Revelation of Christ to Israel to establish the Kingdom under the Prophecy Program.

First Thessalonians 4

This adapted and or copied from The argument connecting them has to depend on the meaning of the word “last” in First Corinthians 15:52. The Greek word eschatos can mean either last in point of time or last in point of sequence. This trumpet sounds before the wrath of God descends, yet Revelation 6:17 speaks of the wrath of the Lamb as having come, and the seventh trumpet doesn’t sound until Revelation 11:15. The trumpet of First Thessalonians is given in a moment, whereas Revelation 10:7 indicates that the seventh trumpet will be sounded for a number of days. Even though the seventh trumpet is the last one described in Revelation, Matthew 24:31 indicates there is yet another trumpet which will sound “after the Tribulation of those days,” when Christ returns to the earth, which parallels with Revelation 19.

If the “last trumpet” of First Thessalonians 4 is not the same as the seventh trumpet, then what was Paul referring to? Both First Thessalonians and First Corinthians were written long before John wrote Revelation, so Paul’s readers would have no knowledge of the seven trumpets of Revelation. Paul intended for them to understand what he was writing about, so we need to look elsewhere for clarification. Paul’s writing was distinctly in reference to the church, and the closing of the church age at the rapture. Throughout Scripture, trumpets were used as signals to gather people, to set armies on the move, and as part of the worship of God. The trumpet that summons the church is called “the trump of God,” while those in Revelation are angelic trumpets. Since it is a summoning trumpet, we can look to the Old Testament for further understanding. Numbers 10 gives instruction to Israel about the use of trumpets to calling an assembly of the people and to set them in motion. The first trumpet blast (v. 4) called the leaders together, while a continual blowing was an alarm for the people. A series of trumpet blasts was the signal for each group of tribes to begin their journeys, and the last blast indicated the movement of the last group in the camp. Similarly, First Corinthians 15:23 speaks of different orders, or ranks, in the resurrection: “Every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” Further, First Thessalonians 4:16-17 divides Christ’s own into two groups – the dead in Christ, and those who are alive and remain.

So if the trumpet is the call for saints to assemble and journey to heaven, what does that mean for us? Jesus said that no one knows when the Day of the Lord will begin (Matthew 24:36), and First Thessalonians describes it as coming as a thief in the night, without warning. In First  Corinthians 15:58, we are told to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Just like the Israelites in the wilderness, we do not know when the trumpet will sound, so we are to be always ready. While we may not know the day or hour, we have been given enough information to know it can happen at any moment. We are to be ready, putting on the armor of God, because we have been appointed to receive salvation through Jesus Christ (First Thessalonians 5:8-9). [23]

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The Rapture happens immediately
after the Tribulation in Matthew 24:29”

Understanding and studying the Bible using right division between prophecy for Israel and the mystery church Body solves this problem immediately. However, too many Bible teachers desperate to disprove the PreTrib rapture of the church invariably run to this Matthew 24:29 for their principal “gotcha” moment. However, if they were as zealous for context as they are for conflict they’d discover the entire passage is under a Jewish setting and based on Old Covenant prophecy for Israel’s Kingdom on earth. The Lord’s return He Himself pictured is the Revelation prophesied all through the Old Testament for Israel.[24] It has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST. The four disciples it was delivered to (Peter, James, John, Andrew – Mark 13:3) had no frame of reference for the Body of Christ, [25] and no connection to it when interpreting it or instructing others. They simply wanted to know when Jesus would return to set up the Jewish Kingdom (Mark 13; see Matt. 24; Luke 21; see end time’s kingdom in Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14) recently rejected.

[NOTE: Peter, James, and John were exclusive ministers of the Jews, aka the circumcision-Gal. 2:7-9]. In response the Lord provided several signs (Jews require signs- 1 Cor. 1:22) referencing twice Moses’ Tribulation[26] prophecy (Deut. 4:30) He revealed would precede the Kingdom,

“For then shall be great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be . . . Immediately after the Tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, (this describes the Revelation of Christ, not the Rapture. See Last Days Signs in the Sun, Moon, and Stars in Appendix [ii]) and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matthew 24:21, 29).

Gotcha Gimmick:
“Second Thessalonians 2 teaches
Antichrist must come Before Jesus”

Understanding right division is very important. Paul wrote: “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”(2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 written about 54 AD).

First Thessalonians, written in 54 AD, was Paul’s earliest letter. As such, it contains foundational truth for the 13 books of church canon that he wrote (Romans – Philemon). To signal the importance of the return of the Lord, every chapter in the Thessalonian epistles contains a reference to either the rapture or the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote Second Thessalonians to address an unsettling heresy in the church revolving around a letter with his name on it (2 Thess. 2:2) claiming the day of Christ – which includes Israel’s Tribulation – was underway and therefore the church would have to endure it. When comparing Scripture with itself, this seems a bit reminiscent of what was happening in Timothy’s ministry when Paul wrote: “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already[27]; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:18).

Paul dealt with the dilemma by encouraging them with his previous teachings (2:5) which obviously included a PreTrib rapture (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:9). To do this he opened with an appeal based on the fact of the rapture itself. Plymouth Brethren author William Kelly said: “The comfort of the Lord’s coming is employed as a motive and means for counteracting the uneasiness created by the false presentation that the day (of the Lord) was there.”

To put it another way, what Paul is saying is this: “I appeal to you on the basis of the Rapture (I taught you) that you should not fear that you are in the Day of the Lord. The Rapture must take place first. You will be taken home to heaven at that time and will thus escape the horrors of the Day of the Lord.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary -Dr William MacDonald)

He then went on to prove how erroneous the letter was by listing events that would have occurred if they were in Israel’s Tribulation: the falling away (v4), the revelation of the man of sin aka the Antichrist (v4). Since these things had not occurred, Paul assures them the day of Christ – including the seven-year Tribulation – had not happened regardless of what the forged letter purported.

CONSIDER these scenarios carefully:

First, if Paul taught them they were going through Israel’s Tribulation – aka the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) – why were they scared since this would mean the Lord Jesus would after all be returning within seven years?

Second, if Paul taught them they must endure Israel’s Tribulation, why didn’t he encourage them to stock pile food, weapons, and other necessities like our adversaries do since this would have been the perfect opportunity to teach them?

Third, if Paul taught anything but a PreTrib rapture, why didn’t he stress this in any of his 13 books?

The fact is, Paul clearly taught the Thessalonians – and the Body of Christ at large – there were 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 (YHWH) which is to come (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:9, 23), and the Revelation to Israel [taught by the prophets] where Christ returns with His saints after Israel’s Tribulation: (1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; see Matt. 24:29; Rev. 19:11-21).

Gotcha Gimmick:
“There isn’t a single verse in the Bible
teaching a PreTrib rapture”

Over the past forty years, I’ve discussed the rapture, the revelation, and Israel’s Tribulation with advocates of every angle imaginable. While all are convinced of their scriptural infallibility, one “gotcha” question continues to surface repeatedly:

“Can you give me a single verse proving the rapture is pre-Tribulational.”

Let me answer this with two observations.

First, this is a highly disingenuous argument. The fact is there are many subjects in the Bible that cannot be explained in a single verse and require a progressive revelation to understand them. Israel, the Davidic Kingdom, the Antichrist, Trinity, Heaven, Hell, and the rapture are among them.

Second, this is a deflective argument. The burden isn’t on us to prove we aren’t here during Jacob’s trouble – Tribulation. The onus is on those who insist we are here without a single verse of Scripture anywhere verifying their empty speculation.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“PreTrib Rapture teachers are in
cahoots with Satan to deceive the Church”

Nonsense! This baseless indictment is sadly typical of the attitude of those who hold a different opinion on Israel’s Tribulation and coming of Christ for the church. Not only is this an unwarranted and unkind assessment, the far reaching scope of it is a blanket indictment of some of history’s finest Bible teachers including Paul, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Hippolytus, JN Darby, CI Scofield, Charles Spurgeon, DL Moody, Lewis Chafer, HA Ironside, RA Torrey, Arno C. Gaebelein, J. Dwight Pentecost, J. Vernon McGee, Harold Willmington, Ed Hindson, Noah Hutchings, Zola Levitt, Renald Showers, Randell Price, David Hocking, John Walvoord, Mark Hitchcock, Tommy Ice, Chuck Missler, Lehman Strauss, Grant Jeffrey, Hal Lindsey, JR Church, Dave Hunt, Gary Stearman, Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe and on and on. And while this impressive list does not in itself prove the dispensational, PreTrib position, it certainly makes a strong statement in favor of it when compared with the host of virtual unknowns who support their position.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The PreTrib Rapture isn’t fair to those in
Church History who suffered and or died for Christ”

Nonsense! The argument is framed like this. “It’s not fair that the modern church should escape Tribulation when throughout history many have suffered and died.” The fact is, fairness isn’t a Biblical doctrine. It’s part of end time’s political correctness the church has become sadly victimized by. If this scenario were true, God will have to resurrect every person in history who was not been vigorously and viciously persecuted or martyred to mete out to them their fair share. Friend, the “Greek” word for that is balderdash!

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The PreTrib Rapture is a Satanic Deception”

Nonsense! Recently, pre-wrath advocate Marvin Rosenthal wrote that the pre-trib rapture was of Satanic origin and unheard of before 1830. “To thwart the Lord’s warning to His children, in 1830,” proclaims Rosenthal, “Satan, the ‘father of lies,’ gave to a fifteen-year-old girl named Margaret McDonald a lengthy vision.”1 Rosenthal gives no documentation, he merely asserts that this is true. However, he is wrong. He is undoubtedly relying upon the questionable work of Dave MacPherson. If you would like more information on this false accusation, please request it from our ministry.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The Rapture is not PreTrib, but PreWrath”

This is the newest – and perhaps the most disingenuous – argument in the anti-PreTrib series. Its claim is that the rapture occurs prior to God’s pouring out His wrath about 2/3 of the way through Israel’s Tribulation when in fact the wrath of the Lamb opens the Tribulation in Revelation 6. We have a lengthy PreWrath rapture refutation if you write and request a copy from our ministry.

Gotcha Gimmick:
“The Tribulation will purify the Church”

In my experience discussing Israel’s Tribulation with PreTrib rapture antagonists – and I’ve had my fill – one common argument they put forth that the church needs purifying and perfecting and Israel’s Tribulation horrors will do that. When I point out the universal bloodshed and horrors of this time where 2/3 of the world is killed, they often use illustrations like Noah in the ark to show how God will protect us from everything happening. Now here’s the paradox in the “God will protect us” argument. If Israel’s Tribulation makes us stronger, why would God then protect us from it?

The fact is, this is another version of Romanist purgatory. By claiming Israel’s Tribulation will purify the church suggests our salvation wasn’t complete at Calvary even though the Lord stated otherwise: “It is finished” (John 19:30)! This would mean righteousness and holiness come from human effort thereby making men co-redeemers with Jesus. Paul explained how righteousness is imputed to us by faith: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference …  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:22, 26). “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). He alone presents us holy in heaven, not we ourselves: “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:22).

Our conclusion once again is this: Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ.






[1] Please understand my experience with these people is first hand. Their hatred for the PreTrib rapture is unrelenting even though ardent PreTrib rapture antagonists – and I’m including Mid Trib, PreWrath, and Post Trib – usually won’t admit to the depth of their loathing. A peek at their writings will convince you of their prowess in twisting facts, hiding and ignoring documentation, disparaging good men simply for disagreeing with them, and an overarching impugning of sound scholarship.

[2] John L. Bray, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching (Lakeland, FL: John L. Bray Ministry, 1982), 31.  Lacunza is a reference to the Jesuit Priest Manual de Lacunza (1731–1801), who wrote under the pseudonym of Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, a converted Jew, The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty.

[3] Source:

[4] Pseudo-Ephraem (c. 374-627). Source:

[5] If you‘ve read his materials you would know what I’m talking about. MacPherson actually blames proponents of the PreTrib rapture for all of his misfortunes, beginning with his expulsion from Bible college, a drunken binge in Mexico, a car accident, his mom’s death, his sister’s inability to have more children, the demonic possession of his dog, and all his father’s woes. MacPherson.html

[6] MacPherson’s allegations are outlandish to say the least. He incessantly pounds the drum that all who teach a PreTrib rapture are somehow culpable in the death of millions of Christians worldwide (especially the Chinese) that had been taught the rapture and suffered martyrdom! The fact is, Christians of every age- whether or not they have believed the PreTrib rapture- have suffered persecution, including today at the hands of islamic savages. While MacPherson deems it unfair that God would spare us what others were not spared begs the notion God will have to resurrect every person in history who was not vigorously and viciously persecuted or martyred. This is simply one of their most desperate- and may I add, deceptive- attempts at discrediting the PreTrib position. MacPherson and his minions should be ashamed of themselves.

[7] The outrageous nature of MacPherson’s prevarications have increased over time as books emerge under his name charging new cover ups that unbiased scholarship finds laughably ludicrous. Frank Marotta in writes: His latest book is The Rapture Plot. It claims to reveal “. . . the most astounding historical revisionism of the past century” (p. 138). The plot is that brethren scholar William Kelly used his periodical The Bible Treasury to conceal that J.N. Darby took the pretribulation rapture from the Irvingites. This was accomplished by alleged misrepresentations of Irvingite prophetic views in Kelly’s 1889-1890 articles on the Catholic Apostolic Church. In these same articles Kelly is alleged to have created a smoke screen by emphasizing Irvingite heterodoxy. Then in 1903 (13 years later), having discredited the Irvingites, Kelly was able to credit Mr. Darby with pretribulationism in his article, “The Rapture of the Saints, Who Suggested It, or rather on what Scripture?” This “plot” is considerably more dull than his Margaret Macdonald material and is equally lacking in any substance. That an orthodox Christian such as William Kelly should write articles exposing a contemporary heterodox sect should surprise us no more than a Christian periodical of today printing articles exposing Mormonism. Nor is it shocking that an ardent pretribulationist as Kelly would defend the history and doctrine of the rapture. We fail to see any plot at all.

[8] The rise in belief in the pre-tribulation rapture is often wrongly attributed to a 15-year-old Scottish-Irish girl named Margaret McDonald who was of the first to receive a (alleged) spiritual baptism under a Pentecostal awakening in Scotland. In 1830, she had a vision of the end times which describes a post-tribulation view of the rapture that was first published in 1840. It was published again in 1861, but two important passages demonstrating a post-tribulation view were removed to encourage confusion concerning the timing of the rapture. The two removed segments were, “This is the fiery trial which is to try us. – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus” and “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept” [Hommel, Jason. “Margaret MacDonald’s Vision” – Jason Hommel’s Bible Prophecy Study on the Pre Tribulation Rapture. Grass Valley, California. Retrieved 23 January 2011. Quotes the account in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861).]

[9] 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]

[10] Here’s a few problems. First, Miss MacDonald’s “prophecy” doesn’t contain any elements related to a pre-trib rapture [Read her prophecy and 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, he had to conflate the two accounts of Margaret’s vision. Second, no one has ever demonstrated from actual facts of history that Darby was influenced by MacDonald’s “prophecy” even if it had contained pre-trib elements – which it certainly did not. There is evidence that Darby heard about Miss MacDonald’s strange vision and labeled it demonic. 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. John Walvoord has said, “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.” More information available at MacDonald: (visionary).

[11] “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]

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

[13] This is another desperate and disingenuous deception from the other side. Roy Huebner documented from Darby’s writings beginning as early as 1827 that he was teaching a PreTrib rapture. Huebner provides clarification and evidence that Darby was not influenced by a fifteen-yea-old girl (Margaret Macdonald), Lacunza, Edward Irving, or the Irvingites. These are all said by the detractors of Darby and the pre-trib rapture to be bridges which led to Darby’s thought. Instead, he demonstrates that Darby’s understanding of the pre-trib rapture was the product of the development of his personal interactive thought with the text of Scripture as he, his friends, and dispensationalists have long contended. Darby’s pre-trib and dispensational thoughts, says Huebner, were developed from the following factors: 1) “he saw from Isaiah 32 that there was a different dispensation coming . . . that Israel and the Church were distinct.”13 2) “During his convalescence JND learned that he ought daily to expect his Lord’s return.”14 3) “In 1827 JND understood the fall of the church. . . ‘the ruin of the Church.'”15 4) Darby also was beginning to see a gap of time between the rapture and the second coming by 1827.16 5) Darby, himself, said in 1857 that he first started understanding things relating to the pre-trib Rapture “thirty years ago.” “With that fixed point of reference, Jan. 31, 1827,” declares Huebner, we can see that Darby “had already understood those truths upon which the pre-tribulation rapture hinges.” R. A. Huebner, Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby, Vol. 1 (Morganville, N. J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1991; p24).

[14] Excuse my reiteration of some of this material, but it is vital that you recognize and refute the prejudicial arguments these people have invented. Brethren writer, Roy A. Huebner claims and documents his belief that J.N. Darby first began to believe in the pre-trib rapture and develop his dispensational thinking while convalescing from a riding accident during December 1826 and January 1827.12 If this is true, then all of the origin-of-the-rapture-conspiracy-theories fall to the ground in a heap of speculative rubble. Darby would have at least a three-year jump on any who would have supposedly influenced his thought, making it impossible for all the “influence” theories to have any credibility. Huebner provides clarification and evidence that Darby was not influenced by a fifteen-yea-old girl (Margaret Macdonald), Lacunza, Edward Irving, or the Irvingites. These are all said by the detractors of Darby and the pre-trib rapture to be bridges which led to Darby’s thought. Instead, he demonstrates that Darby’s understanding of the pre-trib rapture was the product of the development of his personal interactive thought with the text of Scripture as he, his friends, and dispensationalists have long contended. Darby’s pre-trib and dispensational thoughts, says Huebner, were developed from the following factors: 1) “he saw from Isaiah 32 that there was a different dispensation coming . . . that Israel and the Church were distinct.” 2) “During his convalescence JND learned that he ought daily to expect his Lord’s return.” 3) “In 1827 JND understood the fall of the church. . . ‘the ruin of the Church.'” 4) Darby also was beginning to see a gap of time between the rapture and the second coming by 1827. 5) Darby, himself, said in 1857 that he first started understanding things relating to the pre-trib Rapture “thirty years ago.” “With that fixed point of reference, Jan. 31, 1827,” declares Huebner, we can see that Darby “had already understood those truths upon which the pre-tribulation rapture hinges.” [Dr Thomas Ice-

[15] Bray, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching, pp. 24-25, 28.

[16] Quoted from:

[17] Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, p. 47.

[18] Drs. Thomas Ice and Gerald Stanton among them.

[19] Post tribulation rapture author Ernest Sandeen wrote: “This seems to be a groundless and pernicious charge. Neither Irving nor any member of the Albury group advocated any doctrine resembling the secret rapture. . . . Since the clear intention of this charge is to discredit the doctrine by attributing its origin to fanaticism rather than Scripture, there seems little ground for giving it any credence. Others include Robert Reiter, Ian Rennie, William Bell, John Bray, and Timothy Weber to name a few. Source:

[20] They teach the Old Testament ended at Malachi and the New Testament begins with Matthew when in fact the New Testament didn’t officially begin until the death of the Testator, the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:16-17).

[21] The Body of Christ was unheard of for another 20 years. Forcing Christ’s Kingdom expositions for Israel on the church (ie the Sermon on the Mount) always leads to disastrous results and can be seen in cults such as Seventh Day Adventists.

[22] A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato. (Webster’s Dictionary 1828)

[23] Source:

[24] Some include: Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice (Psalms 50:3-5). When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory (Psalms 102:16). For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain (Isaiah 26:21). And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4); etc.

[25] The Body of Christ was unheard of for another 20 years. Forcing Christ’s Kingdom expositions for Israel on the church (ie the Sermon on the Mount) always leads to disastrous results and can be seen in cults such as Seventh Day Adventists.

[26] The Tribulation is a ubiquitous term that has become a well-known doctrine. Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. It was well known by the prophets (Deut. 4:30) so it was never a part of the mystery. That being said, there isn’t a prophecy or verse for that matter anywhere in Scripture: (1) clearly consigning the mystery Body of Christ to the time of Jacob’s trouble,  or (2) revealing her as being on earth for a single hour during this time [unless two terms used for Israel, “elect” and “saints” are pulled from their context to prove something that simply is not provable in any other fashion].

[27] This would make no sense if the resurrection alluded to was for the Great White Throne judgment following the millennial reign of Christ (Rev. 20:11-15). It must be a reference to the rapture of the mystery Body of Christ they had been told they missed.

Appendix [i]
The PreTrib Rapture Teaching is NOT NEW


After author and apologist Doc Marquis had his fill of this feckless flimflam he wrote, “The blatant lie (knowingly or unknowingly) that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church is a new concept that can only be traced back to 1830 is simply that … a lie! I shall now present to you good people another literary list and, this one will prove, once and for all, that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church is “not” a new concept, but was a teaching that came directly from the Apostles themselves (dating back) “before” 1830” . . . to the 1st Century A.D.”

1) 1792 – Thomas Scott – he taught that the righteous will be carried to Heaven where they will be secure until the time of the judgment is over.

2) 1763 – James Macknight – he also taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven until the judgment is over with.

3) 1748 – John Gill (Commentary on the New Testament) – teaches of the imminent return of Christ, firstly in Rapture, and then He will return again to judge the earth (Armageddon).

4) 1744 – Morgan Edwards (founder of the Ivy League School, Brown University) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” beliefs.

5) 1738 – Phillip Doddrige (Commentary on the New Testament) teaches along the same lines of John Gill; a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” perspective.

6) 1687 – Peter Jurieu – (“Approaching Deliverance of the Church”) Christ would return during the Rapture and take His saints to Heaven and later return at the Battle of Armageddon.

7) 1674 – 1748 – Isaac Watts (known as the Father of the English Hymn) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” belief. (As a side note, Isaac Watts was solely responsible for writing over 1,000 Christian hymns if I recall the numbers correctly. Study his life because it was truly a miraculous one by all definitions of the word).

8) 1674 – Thomas Collier – makes reference in the belief to the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”.

9) 1532 – 1591 – Francisco Rivera wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church beliefs

10) 431 – 1500 – Any mention of Pre-Tribulation (Millennial) Rapture of the Church perspectives are outlawed by the Catholic Church and deemed heretical and punishable by death!!!

11) 431 – The Council of Ephesus; the Catholic Church decrees and condemns Pre-Millennial views as heresy. Books and such are destroyed or altered.
The following all wrote of the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church:

12) 354 – 430 – Augustine, Bishop of North Africa

13) 306 – 373 – Ephraem of Nisibus

14) ? – 204 – Victorinus, Bishop of Petau

15) 200 – 258 – Cyrian

16) 170 – 236 – Hippolytus of Rome

17) 150 – 272 – Apocalypse of Elijah (an Extra-Biblical book)

18) 120 – 202 – Ireaneus (“Against Heresies”)

19) 36 – 108 – Ignatius of Antioch, the Third Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch (who as a student of John the Apostle) – His “Letters of Extra-Biblical works are:

  1. Letter to the Ephesians
  2. Letter to the Magnesians
  3. Letter to the Trallians
  4. Letter to the Romans
  5. Letter to the Philadelphians
  6. Letter to the Smyrnaeans
  7. Letter to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

20). ?– 99 A.D. – Clement of Rome, “Letter to the Corinthians” also known as “I Clement” (an Extra-Biblical book).



Appendix [ii]
Chart of Signs in the Sun, Moon, and Stars


Reference Stars/Heaven Sun Moon Day of the Lord 2nd Coming



Armageddon/Valley of Jehoshaphat/Judgment

(see Ezek 32:1-16)

The stars and the constellations shall not

give their light

The sun shall be darkened in his going forth The moon shall not cause her light to shine Day of the Lord cometh,

cruel both with wrath and fierce anger



He shall destroy sinners; I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity


Not mentioned The sun ashamed The moon shall be confounded And it shall come to pass

in that day;

after many days

Lord of hosts shall reign in

Mount Zion and in


The Lord shall punish the host of the high ones and the kings of the earth, and they shall be gathered together in the pit
2:10, 30-3:2
(see Acts2:19


I will show wonders in the


The sun shall be turned into darkness [ii] …and the moon into blood before the great and the terrible Day of

the Lord come; in those days, and in that time



I will also gather all nations, and bring them down into the valley of

Jehoshaphat. In mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance



The stars shall withdraw their shining The sun shall be darkened The moon shall be


The Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, the children

of Israel

Let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-34 The stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken The sun shall be darkened The moon shall not give her light Not mentioned Lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; immediately after the tribulation of those days. The sign of the son of man in heaven; coming in the clouds with power and great glory Eagles are gathered at Armageddon/sign of the Son of man coming with power and great glory, tribes mourn, sends his angels w/great sound of trumpet, elect gathered . . . then shell he sit upon the throne of his glory and separate the sheep from the goats in his kingdom.
Acts 2:19-21

(see Joel 2:30 above)

I will show wonders in heaven above The sun shall be turned into darkness …and the moon into blood Before that great and notable Day of the Lord Implied in the context


Implied in the Day of the Lord
Rev. 6:12-13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth The sun became black as sackcloth of hair And the moon

became as blood

The great day (of his wrath) Implied since Judgment occurs

in Jerusalem

The throne and the wrath of the Lamb follows

(Rev. 6:16-17)


Summary: When studied in context, these passages collectively tell us that the sun moon and star activity accompanies the Lord’s return to Jerusalem to conduct His wrathful judgment prior to the Millennium. It is, therefore, Israel’s by prophecy.


“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16)







Published by

PMI Center for Biblical Studies
POB 177 – Battle Creek, MI 49016-0177

Israel and Church Body Differences

Dr. Mike Johnston

Israel is a physical nation existing from prophecy awaiting an earthly Kingdom. The church is a spiritual body existing as a mystery awaiting a heavenly inheritance not known by the prophets or discussed in prophecy. The two have both existed since the world began (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25), but that’s where most of the similarity ends.

The distinctiveness, therefore, between the earthly nation Israel and the heavenly Body of Christ is an inescapable fact reflected in the prophetic Covenant still in effect with Israel. Dr. CI Scofield’s insight is well worth restating here: “(Israel’s) history alone is told in Old Testament narrative and prophecy [which incidentally continues through the crucifixion]; other nations are mentioned only as they touch the Jew [really consider this last statement because in it is the key unlocking this entire book]. It appears, also, that all the communications of Jehovah to Israel as a nation relate to the Earth. [1]

Notwithstanding, comingling God’s program for Israel with His program for the church Body is the “ploy du jour” among PreTrib antagonists often claiming they believe in a clear distinction while spinning unsupportable yarns inserting the church into “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7)  – aka Tribulation – where she can’t be seen and she doesn’t belong. Rightly dividing the word of truth between Israel and the Body of Christ helps clarify the reason the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s Tribulation.

Scripture clearly teaches Israel and the Body of Christ are not the same. Every effort to diminish their distinction is a dubious distortion. It’s no secret that Satan hates God’s elect Israel for many reasons, not the least of which is the Lord Jesus Christ – God the Father’s Preeminent offspring – God the Son – from the tribe of Judah and royal seed of David who will one day rule the world from Jerusalem. In the wake of Lucifer’s contempt, he has inspired haughty [2] heretical Bible teachers to make unfounded claims –originating in the first centuries of church history – that the Body of Christ is the new Israel – aka Replacement Theology. It’s as if Satan opined after many unsuccessful attempts to annihilate Israel, “Ok, fine. If I can’t personally destroy these Jews, I’ll marginalize and malign them with a mass misinformation campaign led by a cabal of otherwise respected men teaching that the church has replaced them.”

To further help us understand why the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s Tribulation – let’s get back to the premise underlying the truths in this entire treatise: Israel and the Body of Christ are not the same and neither is God’s plan for them.

I reiterate; the church is not the new Israel. [3] Her future is not on earth and she is not looking for – nor does she require – Israel’s judgment and punishment [4] (Deut. 30:7; 32:43; Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13; 24; 34;  Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15; Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19) and purification God is going to mete out to Israel and the world during the “Tribulation” (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). [5] In fact, her inheritance (Eph. 1:11) has nothing to do with the earth. She is the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), spiritually seated in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-3). Her “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) is Christ  and His imminent return in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18) to deliver her from Israel’s Tribulation wrath [6] to come (1 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 3:10) by escorting her back to His heavenly home according to His immutable promise (John 14:2-3). [7] In short, the Body which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will also disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

Distinctives of the Pauline Body

I appreciate what Miles Stanford wrote regarding the Body of Christ as revealed in Pauline Dispensationalism:

We hold to the following indispensable tenets regarding the Church–the Body of Christ:

First and foremost, “Classic Pauline Dispensationalism is based upon the division of LIFE, not simply that of economies.  Once that total separation of the two seminal lives [First and Last Adam] is seen and maintained, the economies will never coalesce.”  The quintessence of the rightly divided Word is the doctrine of the two Adams!

“The Church (Body of Christ) was neither prophesied nor revealed in OT Scriptures.”  The Church is a heavenly entity.  The Church is not, as per covenant theory, the fulfillment of the promised blessings to Gentiles according to the Abrahamic Covenant”Abraham:Abrahamic Covenant”.  Further, the Church is not the recipient of blessing formerly promised to the nation of Israel nor of any “spiritual blessings” from Israel’s New Covenant.  God made no covenant with the heavenly Church.  The Body of Christ is unique.

“The Church was a complete mystery until revealed doctrinally by Paul.”  It is the Body of Christ and her uniqueness that is the central mystery, not the principles of grace or faith.  There is one Body of Christ, whose advent was on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts Chapter 2.  The Church (Body of Christ) did not begin with the Apostle Paul, but rather his ministry was one of unfolding the truths associated with that one Body.

“Paul, in the Church Epistles, was the minister of Church truth.”  “Those who do not center in the truths which the ascended Lord communicated directly to this Apostle will not know who and where they are in Christ, nor what their part is in the purpose of God.  Neither will they know their heavenly privileges and responsibilities. Those who are ignorant of, and not centered in, the Pauline Gospel as set forth exclusively in Paul’s epistles, are constantly astray in their interpretation of the Gospel, to say nothing of Church truth.

“…for a dispensationalist it is best not to refer to the difference between the Old Testament (books) and New Testament (books), as such.  Much of the NT (Synoptic Gospels) is OT (related to Israel and her covenants): all is OT to Matthew 27, Mark 15, and Luke 23.  Church (Body) truth, the new, is totally different from Judaistic truth, the old; and it was not fully revealed until after the Cross, via Paul.”

“The thirteen epistles of Paul (Romans to Philemon) form a distinct body of truth; and this realm of truth is about us, the Church, the Body of Christ, as no other Scriptures are.  And Paul is the Father’s special messenger to us.  As has been truly said, ‘All of the Bible is for us, but it is not all about us.’”[8]

Before we advance in our study, may I insert here that all this is moot if you do not know Christ as your Saviour and Lord. If you do not, He is willing to come into your heart and life if you will ask Him. [9]

Conflating Israel and the Body of Christ

While conflating Scripture for Israel and the Body of Christ is heretical, it isn’t new especially as it relates to placing the church Body into Israel’s Tribulation where she can’t be seen and doesn’t belong.

This ruse originated almost two thousand years ago when a frightening letter arrived in Thessalonica  [10] signed by someone pretending to be the apostle Paul (2 Thess. 2:1-2). Although he had carefully and systematically expounded Israel’s day of the Lord[11] and the assurance of a PreTrib rapture to this church (1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:9; see 2 Thess. 2:5), this latest epistle implied Paul had apparently been deceived by divine revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:11-12) and changed his mind. According to the letter, he evidently now believed Israel’s Tribulation beginning with the day of Christ was at hand and that all Christians were going to have to endure it.

When you discern the divine distinctions between Israel (prominent on earth), Gentiles, Church (subordinate) hinges on the prophets, you possess one of the keys for rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). The prophets were clear as they spoke Kingdom related messages to Israel (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21). These men never knew about the church Body, never spoke about us, and certainly never placed us into Israel’s Tribulation – which originated from prophecy and exists in the prophecy program for Israel – for a single moment. They knew this epoch has been reserved for currently unsaved Israel and anti-Semitic nations of the world.

In brief, while many PreTrib rapture combatants glibly request a single verse promising the Body of Christ an escape from Israel’s Tribulation – and I’ve provided many in this treatise – I in turn have asked for a single verse of Scripture clearly and indisputably placing the Body of Christ in Israel’s Tribulation without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in context identifies Israel.

None have because none can!

[1] This includes the future Tribulation judgment as Isaiah reveals: The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. (Isaiah 24:19-21)

[2] Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

(Romans 11:18)

[3] Replacement theology is a rank heresy Jesus said originated in the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).

[4] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion (Isa. 34:8).  For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates (Jer. 46:10).

[5] Also called “Jacob’s (aka Israel’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7), “the time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10) as well as a few other names.

[6] This coming wrath is described fully in Rev. 6-19).

[7] We refer to this as the Rapture of the church.

[8] Copied from

[9] 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)

[10] Such was the case in Thessalonica where teachers pretending to be Paul sent letters claiming he’d changed his position and that the church was going through the tribulation (Second Thessalonians).

[11] The day of the Lord (Isa. 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 tribulation is part of the day of the Lord; 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; Revelation 6-19), where the focus is Jerusalem, and the abomination of desolation in the Temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).

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