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Refuting the “Gift of Gibberish” Tongues

Dr. Mike Johnston

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

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

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

The Purpose of Tongues

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

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

The Corinthian Chaos

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

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

Occult Practices and Ecstatic Utterances

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

Watch the Christians dance to Dave MacPherson’s Huckster Hustle

Dr. Mike Johnston

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

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

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

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

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

The Malevolent MacPherson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[10] More information available at

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

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

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

Email: rjpel43@XXX.com

RA Torrey on prayer

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

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

Categories: Doctrine, Prayer

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

Dr. Mike Johnston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[2] Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology

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

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

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

Open Challenge to PreTrib Rapture antagonists

This CHALLENGE is still UNANSWERED

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

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

The Glorious Appearing of Christ – Rapture or Revelation?

Dr. Mike Johnston

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

First: there is a Linguistic problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second: there is a Jewish problem

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

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

Third: there is a Pauline problem

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

Fourth: there is a Contextual problem

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

Fifth: there is a Contradiction problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave MacPherson’s PreTrib Antagonistic Baloney

MacPherson, Dave

Truth about Dave MacPherson’s attacks on the Rapture @BillyCrone – The Scofield Bible, John Darby, Margaret MacDonald, Dave MacPherson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bauL5cRooo4

Books promoting right division available at: http://pmiministries.com/books.htm

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