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Fake News about the Rapture

Dr. Mike Johnston

Orchestrated deception [1] has existed since the beginning of time (Gen. 3:1-6). However, Paul warned of an exponential glut of deceivers in the last days: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

I believe we are at the apex of Paul’s prophecy. Serving as evidence, are hypocritical liberals in the media[2] promoting a Leviticus 18 society by invoking their First Amendment rights while denying those rights to patriots who oppose and expose them.

Blowing the whistle on media mendacity, Charlie Daniel’s warned, “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.” What America’s fiddle man described is a propaganda tactic used by Joseph Goebbels[3] that was properly unmasked in the 2016 Presidential election as fake news. What’s most perplexing, however, is the ease by which these conniving cretins can get away with employing outrageous lies as their stock in trade to do it. Rush Limbaugh addressed this giving clarity to a caller expressing dismay about the effectiveness of outright lies marshaled against innocent people, conservatives specifically. I’ll paraphrase his response,

“The truthfulness of an accusation is not nearly as important as the seriousness of the charge.”

Not only has this worked in politics, it has been successfully employed in the church for over forty years under the following – and may I say seriously disturbing – fake news headline:

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

Make no mistake. If this allegation about the rapture is true – and it most certainly is not – the fallout would be devastating. The fact is, impartial research reveals the claim itself is nothing more than a retaliatory ruse invented by a resentful, rapture-loathing book peddler named Dave MacPherson who begins his diatribe Rapture Hoax  with the following statement: “Back in 1953 I had a jolting encounter with the Rapture” (p. 3).

To start with, MacPherson – an admitted anti-Zionist [4] – positions himself as an investigative reporter yet unmasks himself as an artificial academic who connects dots he creates. My initial exposure to his shameless chicanery occurred a few years after I came to Christ. [5] Dave makes his intentions well-known; from the Table of Contents forward, his greatest joy in life would be the wholesale destruction of the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) along with the good reputations of every person on earth promoting it. The hatred he harbors for this developed soon after his expulsion from BIOLA College for teaching things he learned from his father’s recent conversion to rapture antagonism. However, the level he has taken his animosity is quite telling. Without a blink MacPherson blames a drunken binge in Mexico, a tragic 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 pastoral woes on the evil PreTrib rapture and its wicked teachers.[6] If this is not insanity then it certainly qualifies as intellectual insolvency.

MacPherson’s malarkey

Armed with acrimony, and a penchant for creative license, MacPherson has published the same narrative with minor changes in a multi-volume fantasy franchise using incendiary titles like “The Rapture Plot”, “The Incredible Cover Up”, “The Great Rapture Hoax”, “Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin”, “Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture”; et al. His shtick in every book – assumed but never proven – is that the rapture is a pervasive fraud with an elaborate cover up hiding a dubious origin he claims [7] didn’t exist until 1830. [8] That, he alleges, was the year a demon-possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[9] Catholic Apostolic Church by the name of Margaret MacDonald[10] conjured it up in a vision; recorded and published later by her apostolic husband Robert Norton.[11]

While there are many sinister aspects of MacPherson’s malarkey, the most disgusting by far is how eerily similar he is to Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria – who bragged, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”. Without constraint, conviction, or credence Dave depicts the late Plymouth Brethren[12] scholar John Nelson Darby [13] as a compromising theological thug who jettisoned his integrity to pilfer and plagiarize MacDonald’s demonic vision[14] – then share it with CI Scofield – another deceased nemesis he excoriates – to use in his reference Bible.[15] All rumored by MacPherson to be part of an arcane scheme Darby, Scofield[16] and ultimately the Plymouth Brethren apparently cooked up in some dank, dimly lit room for no earthly reason other than the indescribable joy they all shared knowing they were deceiving innocent Christian people.

Dave’s incredible cover-up

To be sure, astute readers will find ironic if not hilarious MacPherson’s drum thumping about a rapture cover up since he has covered up the fact that he has no unbiased evidence to prove a thing he alleges against the rapture. Although it is very clear Dave needs to connect Darby and Scofield to MacDonald evidentially, he also fails in every book to do so. Notwithstanding, while you are certainly welcome to believe him if you so choose, you’ll be flying in an unfueled airplane without a parachute. The fact is, MacPherson is admittedly “convincing”, he achieved that by being skilled at embellishing the truth rather than establishing it. The way he does this is by conjecture and I’m not alone in seeing this. I found many godly scholars [17] who went on record after fact checking sources he offers for the rogue ruminations he retails.

German author Max S. Weremchuk has produced a comprehensive biography on Darby entitled John Nelson Darby: A Biography. “Having read MacPherson’s book . . .” says Weremchuk, “I find it impossible to make a just comparison between what Miss MacDonald ‘prophesied’ and what Darby taught. It appears that the wish was the father of the idea.”[18]

Another staunch researcher Pastor Billy Crone arrived at the same conclusion after traveling abroad trying to uncover any truth that Darby pilfered the rapture as alleged by MacPherson. He also affirmed there is NONE to be found. [19] A highly suspicious Plymouth Brethren researcher Frank Marotta put it in perspective I think, “It is significant that Dave 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, and DM stands alone in exposing the “plot,” is rather a testimony to polemical bias, not the facts. Those anti-pretribulationists who have adopted DM’s revision have done so merely on the basis of his word, not as a result of original research.” [20]

Even Hank Hanegraff agrees with the testimonial evidence: “According to Darby himself, however, his dispensational doctrines originated neither from an ecstatic utterance in Edward Irving’s congregation nor from the vision of a Scottish lassie named Margaret MacDonald. Rather, they evolved from the hypothesis that Scripture is replete with two distinct stories concerning two distinct people for whom God has two distinct plans.”[21]

So where did Darby get his rapture theology? Plymouth Brethren F.F. Bruce – no friend of the PreTrib position – I believe is very close to exact truth by stating it was “in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy; (therefore) direct dependence by Darby on Margaret Macdonald is unlikely.” (F. F. Bruce, Review of The “Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin” in The Evangelical Quarterly, (January – March 1975), p. 58). [22]

Roy A. Huebner considers Dave MacPherson’s charges as “Using slander that J. N. Darby took the (truth of the) pretribulation rapture from those very opposing, demon-inspired utterances.”  He goes on to conclude that Dave MacPherson essentially had confused the statements of a number of people in a rush to go to print without solid research confirmation.  There is much the reader is not aware of and the writings of dozens of theologians would take more time than we can take here to refute the writings of journalist Dave MacPherson.

I’ll quote two other reliable researchers with impeccable credentials who dug up, digested, and dismantled most of the wild misrepresentations about the PreTrib rapture and its proponents MacPherson has ever made.

In Kept from the Hour, Dr. Gerald Stanton makes this observation: “It will immediately be apparent that his book titles are provocative, if not abusive. There has been no “cover-up” or “hoax,” for Pretrib authors and leaders have arrived at their conclusion from Biblical exegesis rather than from any presumed history of the doctrine, and most certainly with no desire to defraud. Furthermore, to attack the morality and integrity of fellow believers just to further an eschatological opinion is a disgrace to the Name and cause of Christ.”

Another observation of MacPherson’s distortions comes from the late Dr. John Walvoord[23], “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.” [24]

I’ve often wondered how a con man could command such lackey loyalty. During my devotions one morning, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the connection: “A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4).

Men of God MacPherson maligns

In closing, MacPherson’s scholarship consists of nothing more than assumptions underwritten by a daisy chain of unknown bibliographical references all originating with him and his untenable sources. What’s worse is his denial, resulting in a combative, non-conciliatory attack against anyone believing in the PreTrib rapture. Readers are assured – with much support from the pages of his books – that Dave thinks since rapture believers are in a full-blown conspiracy with Satan, it is his job to destroy them by whatever means necessary – even if it requires lying. His nastiness notwithstanding, here’s a small list of unimpeachable Biblical scholars MacPherson by default consigns to Hell purely and simply for disagreeing with his crass, clumsy conclusions.

Isaac Watts, JN Darby, CI Scofield, John Gill, Morgan Edwards, DL Moody, RA Torrey, Clarence Larkin, Lewis Sperry Chafer. William R. Newell, J. Vernon McGee, David Jeremiah, Lehman Strauss, Merrill Unger, Dave Reagan, Sir Robert Anderson. Charles Swindoll, Jerry Falwell, Jack Hyles, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Dave Hunt, Noah Hutchings, J. Dwight Pentecost, Zola Levitt, J. Randall Price, Dave Breese, Jimmy DeYoung, AC Gaebelein, MR DeHaan, JR Church, HA Ironside, Gary Stearman, Tommy Ice, Hal Lindsey, Ed Hindson, Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Missler, Jack Van Impe, and many more. [25]

The following links provide a partial list of rapture information from Biblical scholars who have themselves thoroughly researched and refuted most every misrepresentation, misquote,  and misapplication MacPherson has made over the past 40 years of attacks against the “blessed hope”.

  • Church, JR (deceased) Founder of Prophecy in the News

https://prophecyinthenews.com/articles/pretribulation-rapture-taught-by-early-church/

  • Ice, Dr. Thomas: Director of the PreTrib Research Center

http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/myths-of-origin-pretribulationism-part-1

http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/rapture-myths

  • Examining a PreTrib Rapture Statement

http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/examining_an_ancient.htm

  • Marotta, Frank: Brethren scholar

http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html

  • Missler, Dr. Chuck: Byzantine Text Discovery: Ephraem The Syrian

http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/39/

  • Reagan, Dr. David: Director of Lamb & Lion Ministries

http://christinprophecy.org/articles/in-defense-of-the-pre-tribulation-rapture/

https://www.raptureforums.com/rapture/origin-pre-tribulational-rapture/

  • Strandberg, Todd: Director of Rapture Ready

http://www.raptureready.com/faq-did-dave-macpherson-invent-the-false-history-of-the-pr-trib-rapture/

  • Stunt, Timothy CF: Brethren scholar

http://brethrenhistory.org/qwicsitePro/php/docsview.php?docid=415

  • Wilkinson, Dr. Paul: Brethren scholar

http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/left-behind-or-led-astrayexposed-long-version

 

 

[1] Rejecting God’s truth is a solemn decision often leading from delusion to debauchery (Romans 1:18-32).

[2] The media admits over 90% of them support Democrats in elections. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/06/just-7-percent-of-journalists-are-republicans-thats-far-less-than-even-a-decade-ago/?utm_term=.b8704f1259f3

[3] Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.

[4] MacPherson fails to mark the clear distinction between Israel and the church Body, often painting Christians supporting Jews as evil “pretrib rapture merchandisers and Christian Zionists” who DM claims are more interested in the government than in the gospel. http://www.moresureword.com/MacPherson.htm

[5] I was saved April 24, 1975 at seven thirty in the morning.

[6] http://www.raptureready.com/faq-did-dave-macpherson-invent-the-false-history-of-the-pr-trib-rapture/

[7] MacPherson offers what he swears is proof, but since he is the only person that has stumbled onto the sources, scholars have concluded his “findings” are NOT to be trusted.

[8] Dave lied. The invention of the internet allows us to explore archives of writings from the early church fathers discussing the coming of Christ to remove His church.

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

[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] Pastor Darby is known as the father of modern dispensationalism. MacPherson’s hatred for dispensationalism (calling it a heresy) stems from his refusal to rightly divide the Word and allow Israel her rightful place in God’s overall economy. His writings are inexorably anti-Semitic.

[13] In his commentary on Revelation, William R. Newell called Darby the greatest interpreter of the Bible since Paul – http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/newelltr.pdf. A collection of Darby’s writings are available at Plymouth Brethren archives: http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/byauthor/5/john_nelson_darby

[14] Researcher Billy Crone traveled to Europe including Scotland where he discovered Darby no doubt heard about MacDonald’s 1830 charismatic manifestation, but considered them demonic and not of God. It also appears in the book by Wilkinson, Paul Richard (2007). For Zion’s Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby. Paternoster. pp. 192–93.

[15] If Darby laid claim to MacDonald’s vision – which incidentally was partial mid trib and post trib, why didn’t Scofield give him credit?

[16] MacPherson loathes both Darby and Scofield. For a clear report on the life of Scofield, may I suggest Dr. Robert Sumner’s piece: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/dispen/canfield.pdf

[17] After years of study, anti-PreTrib researcher John Bray came face to face with the truth regarding the unverifiable accusations against John Darby’s alleged association with a charismatic occultist, and offered this, “[John 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.” (Bray, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching, pp. 24-25, 28)

[18] Max S. Weremchuk, John Nelson Darby: A Biography (Neptune, N. J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1992). P242. Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Ice-Part2-MythsoftheOrig.pdf

[19] Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOWX5EZfgBk

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

[21] I disagree with Hanegraaff on some important doctrinal issues such as Covenantal Theology. With that caveat, I offer this for consideration from his perspective. Hank Hanegraaff,. Apocalypse Code. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 46.

[22] http://www.raptureready.com/faq-did-dave-macpherson-invent-the-false-history-of-the-pr-trib-rapture/

[23] Respected theologian and former President of Dallas Theological Seminary.

[24] More information available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret: MacDonald: (visionary)

[25] Once again, if you buy MacPherson’s narrative, you have to believe as he does that he’s the chosen and enlightened one and EVERY ONE else including this list of renowned PreTrib Bible scholars are half baked malevolent morons deceiving the church with the devil’s lie.

Revelation for Israel, Rapture for the Church Body

Dr. Mike Johnston

 

Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.  (4)  He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the Earth, that he may judge his people.  (5)  Gather my saints together unto me [see Matt. 24:31 [1]] ; those that have made a covenant [Abrahamic] with me by sacrifice.

(6) And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah”

(Psalms 50:3-6).

A contrarian clique represented in the current rapture debate suffers from the same passing blindness Israel surrendered to 2000 years ago (Rom. 11:25). In that state, they refuse to accept right division between Israel and the church Body and the subsequent distinctions. For instance, why is it such an insurmountable task for our opponents to understand the Rapture as a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-52) when in fact the entire church Body is a mystery (Rom. 16:25) having no connection to the Revelation outlined progressively by the prophets to Israel? Those who insist on placing the church Body in the middle of it sound eerily familiar to a group Paul addressed:

“But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” (Romans 2:8-9).

Understanding right division God placed in Scripture is a prerequisite to arriving at right conclusions and clears up the Rapture confusion completely. Let’s be clear. We are not afraid of Biblical truth verified via Scripture; something every student has access to yet numbers are unwilling to avail themselves. I’ll explain the untoward upshot of this in the last chapter.

As we’ve seen, Israel’s Tribulation throughout the Bible is part of God’s prophecy program for Israel and Earth (Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zeph; Rev. 3:10; 6-19). It precedes the Messianic Kingdom prophesied throughout the OT. [2] This time of trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) is Israel’s Tribulation which originated in the prophecy program is Covenant related. It was initially revealed by Moses in a prophecy specifically for Israel in the latter days, (Deut. 4:30-31).

This is a simple three-point synopsis of Israel’s Tribulation:

  • It is punishment [3] of Israel’s enemies as well as Israel (Deut. 30:7; 32:43; Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13; 24; 34; 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15; Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19);
  • It is positioning Israel back under Abrahamic Covenant(Gen. 15-17; Deut. 4:30-31),
  • It is preparing Israel – and in a collateral sense, the Earth – (Jer. 30-31; Ezek. 20:37; 22:18-22; Zeph. 1:14-18) – for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Jewish (Millennial) Kingdom promised in perpetuity through the Davidic Covenant(2 Sam. 7:8-16).

Please take careful note. Every Bible reference to Israel’s Tribulation speaks of at least one of these three important things while NEVER mentioning the Body of Christ which was a mystery completely hidden from the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:2-9; Col. 1:26).

We can easily identify Israel’s Tribulation as a major change component prophesied to her for the latter days. In his monolithic treatise on Systematic Theology, Dr. Lewis Chafer described Israel’s Tribulation as “one of the major highways of prophecy, which may be traced through Scripture as follows: Deu_4:29-30; Jer_30:4-7; Dan_12:1; Mat_24:9-26; 2Th_2:1-12; Rev_3:10; 6:1-19:6. See also Psa_2:5; Isa_2:10-22; Isa_13:9-16; Isa_24:21-23; Isa_26:20-21; Isa_34:1-17; Isa_43:1-6; Isa_49:15-24; Jer_25:29-38; Eze_30:3; Amo_5:18-20; Oba_1:15-21; Zep_1:7-18; Zec_12:1-14; Zec_14:1-4; Mal_4:1-4.

(The Tribulation) is the period known as Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan_9:24-27), the order of events being the same in Daniel as in Matthew 24 and in 2 Thessalonians 2. The final week or heptad is seven years in duration, which is proved by the fact that it was exactly 69×7 years between the order to rebuild Jerusalem and the cutting off of Messiah. This remaining seventieth “week” of years belongs to Israel’s age and will be characterized by the same general conditions as obtained in the past Jewish age. The time is to be shortened a little (Mat_24:22). It is known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer_30:4-7) out of which Israel will be saved. The great tribulation is the time of God’s unavoidable judgments on a Christ-rejecting world (Psa_2:5). It is characterized by:

  1. The removal of the Holy Spirit together with the Church from the Earth (2Th_2:7).
  2. The casting of Satan into, thus restricting him to, the Earth (Rev_12:9-12).
  3. The development of sin which was hitherto restrained (2Th_2:11).
  4. The rule of the man of sin (Joh_5:43).
  5. Termination by the second coming of Christ, the battle of Armageddon, and the smiting stone of Daniel 2.”

Revelation and Rapture Distinctions

A wrong division of the Bible will not tolerate making a distinction between the Lord’s return to Israel with the church Body, or His return for us preceding Israel’s Tribulation – an event prophesied for Israel in the latter days (Deut. 4:30-31). From the beginning when Moses first announced it, there has never been any mention of or allusion to the Body of Christ because we didn’t exist except as a mystery in the complexities of God’s heavenly program. Bear in mind, the God who created us as a provisional mystery during this prophecy interim, had already planned our mystery escape before the prophecy clock would resume for Israel. It is known as the Rapture and as we’ll see, it is as distinct from the Revelation as the Body of Christ is from the nation Israel.

Study Scripture. The Revelation was a well-attested future hope of Israel with a progressive prophetic basis for understanding. The Rapture, however, is a mystery [4] NOT known by the prophets and only revealed to the Body of Christ by Paul.

The Revelation of Christ involves His return to Israel and Earth. The Rapture by Christ involves Jesus taking the Body of Christ to heaven. Currently Israel awaits the final seven years of Daniel’s prophecy followed by the Kingdom (Dan. 7), the Body of Christ looks for Christ our Deliverer who promised to take us to Heaven (John 14:2-3; see 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10;). The removal of the church Body via the Rapture will occur once “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25), allowing the prophecy clock to resume at Daniel’s 70th week where Israel’s Tribulation and the final preparations for the Kingdom can once again get underway following the Revelation of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:6).

Now let’s ask ourselves a question: Why is this even disputed?

In a sentence, conflation lends confusion, which leads to contention. Paul’s warning is direct, “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” (Romans 2:8-9).

The Revelation is Prophecy for Israel

What we are witnessing today is a mixing together of the prophecy program for Israel with the mystery program for the church Body and posturing against the differences. I’m reluctant to admit (from sheer embarrassment) the vast numbers of Bible teachers who are not only acrimonious adversaries of the mystery (study carefully the destructive outcome of this- 2 Pet. 3:15-17) [5], they are stubbornly combative in their opposition to it, even though Scripture is very clear about the two distinct program outcomes of prophecy and mystery. Prophecy is for Israel progressively revealed by the mouth of God’s holy prophets since the world began (Acts. 3:21). The Revelation – known by Christians as the Second Coming – is part of Israel’s established prophecy program. Dr. Rice writes: “There is more said in the Bible about the second coming than there is about the first coming. The restoration of Israel, the putting down of evil, the establishment of a reign of righteousness, the end of war, the end of disease-all these wait on the return of Christ. The events of prophecy cluster around, precede, or follow the return of the Saviour.” (The Second Coming of Christ in Daniel, 1935). It concerns Israel’s future Kingdom in the “ages to come” and her King, the Messiah (Psa. 102:16; Isa. 66:15-18; Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:3-4; etc).

Messiah’s coming to Earth of course originated with God’s servants the prophets and centers around the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Jerusalem. Progressive revelation teaches us it will occur at the completion of Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:29) also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:24-27, “the day of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10, etc), a “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10). This Revelation of the Messiah to Israel was well known; the Rapture of the Body of Christ – a mystery hidden from the prophets – was NOT.

The Distinction and Description of Messiah’s Revelation to Israel:

The Revelation of the Messiah is a monumental event witnessed and experienced by the world (Rev. 1:7). Study carefully the Revelation verses below in their relation to Rapture verses because the prophets NEVER described the Revelation in the fashion Paul described the Rapture. In an article entitled The Glorious Appearing of Christ, Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost wrote: “When the Son returns in glory (Rev. 1:13-16 He is fulfilling His God given role as Judge (John 5:27). He is portrayed in that role throughout the book of Revelation. Christ is the one (Rev. 5:5) who looses the series of judgments described in the breaking of the seals (Rev. 6:1-17) and the blowing of the trumpets (Rev. 8:2-9:21) . . .  Upon the Second Coming, He will assemble living Israel for judgment (Matt. 24:31; 25:1-30) and will judge living Gentiles to determine who will enter the covenanted kingdom.”

Here are some of the prophetic Revelation verses describing this event

1 Chronicles 16:33 “Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the Earth.”

Job 19:25-26 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the Earth:  (26)  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:”

Psalms 50:3-6 “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.  (4)  He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the Earth, that he may judge his people.  (5)  Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.  (6)  And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.”

Psalms 96:13 “Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the Earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”

Psalms 102:16 “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.”

Isaiah 26:21 “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 66:15-18 “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.  (16)  For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.  (17)  They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.  (18)  For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.”

Daniel 7:13-14 “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.  (14)  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.”

Zechariah 14:4-5, 9 “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.  (5)  And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the Earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.  (9)  And the LORD shall be king over all the Earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

Matthew 24:29-31 “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, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  (30)  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.  (31)  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.”

1 Thessalonians 2:19 “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?”

Jude 1:14-15 “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, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Revelation 1:7  “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

Revelation 19:11-15 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  (12)  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  (13)  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  (14)  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  (15)  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

The Rapture is a Mystery for the Body of Christ

The church Body is a mystery that was unknown to the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). Since they didn’t know about us, never mentioned us, and there isn’t a verse anywhere in Scripture indisputably identifying us here, how could we possibly be included in Israel’s Tribulation with God’s elect Israel (Isa. 45:4) and the unsaved nations of the world?

Answer: We aren’t! God shrouded the Body of Christ in mystery (Rom. 16:25). The Rapture is a mystery event experienced by the mystery church Body alone.

The distinct Rapture description – including its imminency – from Paul

I had to laugh some time ago when I was involved in a very heated “discussion” with a delusional anti-PreTrib man who charged me with being a “stinking liberal” for believing in the PreTrib rapture. Excuse me, while believing in the imminent rapture doesn’t itself make a person conservative, I’ve never found in 40 years one liberal that is PreTrib.

Let’s look at some verses discussing the Rapture of the church Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I shew 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 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “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.”

Galatians 1:4 “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver (pluck out, rescue- Strongs) us from (ek) [6] this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

Philippians 3:20-21 “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  (21)  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Philippians 4:5 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

1 Thessalonians 1:10 “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 Thessalonians 4:13-18  (13) “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  (14)  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  (15)  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  (16)  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:  (17)  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.  (18)  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 “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 3:5 “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

1 Timothy 6:14  That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 2:18 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

2 Timothy 4:1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing (Rapture) and his kingdom (Revelation)”

2 Timothy 4:8 “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”.

QUICK COMMENT: Second Timothy 4:8 is a very compelling proof that the church Body will be removed BEFORE Israel’s Tribulation because it promises a “crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8) for all who “love His appearing”. Now think about this! Who in their right mind wouldn’t love and long for His appearing if they had to endure the persecution, plundering, pillaging and possible torture and martyrdom facing Earth dwellers during Israel’s Tribulation bloodbath? This fact alone would render this crown worthless! Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, [7] and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” 

Chart: Rapture and the Revelation

RAPTURE

Unrevealed and not predicted in O.T. Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:51 – “mystery” compare Eph. 3:9 – “which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God”)
Christ comes in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
Christ comes for His saints (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-56) and returns to Heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:14).
Christ claims His bride (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-27)

Only His own people see Him (1 Thess. 4:17-18; Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13)

 

A wedding ceremony will occur following this coming (Rev. 19:7; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-27)

 

Christ coming as the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16)
Translation of living believers to Heaven (1 Cor. 15:51-52; John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)

A time of blessing and comfort (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11)
Earth not judged (John 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 2 Thess. 2:1 – no mention of judgment)

 

Imminent (any moment), signless – (Phil. 3:20; 4:5; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 3:11; 22:12. 20)

 

Believers only are involved with this coming (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor.15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Occurs before God’s wrath  (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:4, 9; Rev. 3:10 – “keep thee from the hour”)
Marks the commencement of God’s day of wrath on Earth (1 Thess. 5:1-9).
Tribulation begins following this coming (1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:1-3; Rev. 3:10; Rev. 6-19)

No mention of Satan (1 Thess. 4:13-18)

 REVELATION

Revealed and predicted often in O.T. Scriptures (Isa. 9:7; 11:4; 26:19-21; 63:1-4; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:9-12; Zech. 14:1-9; Ma. 4:2-3)

Christ comes back to Earth (Zech. 14:4)
Christ comes with His saints (Zech. 14:5; 1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14) and returns to Earth (Rev. 19:11-14).
Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:7-9; 11-14)

Every eye shall see Him – visible to entire world (Matt. 24:27; Rev. 1:7)

 

A wedding feast will occur following this coming (Rev. 19:9; Matt. 22:1-14; Lk. 14:12-24; Isa 25:6)

 

 

Christ comes as the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2)
Transfer of unbelievers to judgment (Matt. 24:37-41; 25:31-46; 13:41-42; 3:11-12)

A time of Earthly destruction and judgment (2 Thess. 2:8-12; Matt. 24:51; 25:46)
Earth judged (Rev. 16:14-20; 19:15; Isa. 11:4)

 

Follows definite predicted signs (signs occurring during Israel’s Tribulation Period – Matt. 24:29-34)
All humanity is affected by this coming (Matt. 24:1-25:46 – Israel and Gentile nations)

 

Occurs “after the Tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29-30) – 7 years later
Marks the culmination of God’s day of wrath on Earth (Joel 2:31; Rev. 19:15)

Millennium begins following this coming (Rev. 20:1-3; Matt. 13:41-43; Daniel 7:13-14; 12:2-3)

Satan is bound (Rev. 20:1-3)

 

Paul’s Mystery

When Paul introduced the mystery rapture, he did so as a well-educated duly connected ex-member of the powerful, prestigious Jewish Sanhedrin and graduate of the tutelage of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). This is where he received an extensive study of the prophets and OT Law including the hope of a future resurrection (Psalm 2:5-9; Isa. 2:1-4; 26:19-21; Dan. 12:2; see his commentary in 1 Cor. 15). This hope – aside from the liberal Sadducees (Matt. 22:23) and their followers – continued to dominate religious thinking on through the time of Christ (John 11:24).

With unassailable educational credentials, Paul unveiled the Rapture resurrection of the church as a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-53; see 1 Thess. 4:13-18), to the mystery people (the Body of Christ)- (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27; Eph. 3:3-9; 5:32). This he revealed as part of the dispensation of the mystery we are now in (Eph. 3:2-4; see also Romans 11:25; 16:25; First Corinthians 2:7; 15:51; Ephesians 1:9; 3:3,4,9; 5:32; 6:19; Colossians 1:26,27; 2:2; 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:9). All who know Christ when He returns will go with Him back to Heaven (John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Question: Are you sure you know Christ as your Saviour and Lord? If not, ask Him into your life today.

The Galatian Judaizers

Paul made much of the distinction between his gospel (good news) message and that of his predecessors with claims he received it by special revelation (Gal. 1:11-12; see Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3). With that, he taught a distinct separation between the nation Israel and the Body of Christ and that our salvation in Christ excluded the pronouncements made in Israel’s Law and prophecy specifically to her, because our dispensation is distinctly[8] “not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). These prophecies include Israel’s Tribulation given her in time past to occur in the ages to come – aka the latter days (Deut. 4:30; see progressive revelation in Isaiah; Jeremiah; Dan. 9:24-27; Joel; Zeph 1; etc). The Body of Christ was NOT known to the prophets who never mentioned us. We have to be removed BEFORE this chaos begins.

A reference to this appears in Paul’s letter to the Galatian church – troubled by Judaizers trying to force God’s plan for Israel upon the Body of Christ just as many false teachers do today. He wrote, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver [Strong’s: Grk exaireō means to tear out; pluck out, rescue] us from [Strong’s: Grk this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). Although this can be interpreted as an act of separation from the world, comparing Scripture with Scripture as a hermeneutic requisite provides some interesting PreTrib rapture consistency:

  • The Restrainer (Holy Spirit) will be taken out of (Grk: ek) the way (2 Thess. 2:7)[9]
  • Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from (Grk. ek) the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Daniel, prophecy and the Revelation

Daniel’s book predicts events swirling around the end times leading to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Gentile nations as well as Israel are clearly identified then appear later in Revelation, the fulfillment. Currently the prophecy clock awaits resumption at the 70th week. This cannot happen with the church body on earth because Scripture reveals God never operates simultaneously in His programs. Israel’s Tribulation is part of the prophecy program predicted to her as a prerequisite to the Kingdom, therefore the clock can’t resume while the mystery Body of Christ is here.

To further confirm our absence, God’s word proves the church Body of Christ is NEVER MENTIONED anywhere on earth during this time. While this alone should convince our opponents, it hasn’t. They continue pumping out propaganda in books quoting one another while ignoring this truth. Verify this for yourself. There are admittedly “words” that could be interpreted to be the Body of Christ, contextual use disqualifies it as inconclusive. Therefore, the only deduction making sense is that the church Body which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) after Daniel’s prophecy clock stopped after the 69th week must be removed in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51; see 2 Thess. 2:7) in order to restart that prophecy clock at the 70th week.

That event is imminent; it’s the Rapture of the church in the heavenlies by Christ and it removes us before Antichrist [10] is revealed and the time of Jacob’s trouble begins with the signing of a seven year covenant of peace (2 Thess 2:6-8; see Dan. 9:27).

Chart: distinctions between Israel and the Church

 

Israel, a Nation Church, a Body
Prophecy – Earth Mystery – Heaven
Gospel of the Kingdom Gospel of Grace
Prophets of Israel Apostle to the Gentiles (Paul)
Focus on Israel Focus on the Church
Revelation with the Church

(to deliver Israel from Antichrist enemies and establish the Millennial kingdom)

Rapture for the Church

(to deliver us from Israel’s  Tribulation and bring us to Christ in Heaven- John 14:1-3)

Trumpet of angels (Mt 24:31) Trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16; Rev 4:1)
Gathering together on Earth

(Mt 24:31; 25:32-33; Mk 13:27)

Catching up into heaven
(1 Thess. 4:17)
He sends His angels to gather the elect

(Mt 24:31; Mt 25:31-32)

The Lord personally gathers His Church
(John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:15-17)
All who survive Israel’s Tribulation

(Mt 25:31-33)

Only the saved
(1 Thess. 4:14)
Trumpet without voice
(Mt 24:31)
Voice of the archangel
(1 Thess. 4:16)
To the Earth (Zech 14:4) In the air (1 Thess. 4:17)
Both sheep and goats are gathered

(Mt 25:31-33)

Only saints are gathered
(1 Thess. 4:14-17)
Signs abound

(Mt 24; Mk 13:24; Acts 2:17-21)

No signs

(Titus 2:13; 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-5:3)

A horrible time where all tribes mourn

(Joel 2; Rev 1:7)

A blessed hope and comfort

(John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:18; Titus 2:13

All who are alive at this time on Earth
(Mt 24:26; Rev 19:11-16)
Them which sleep, we which are alive
(1 Thess. 4:15-17; 1 Cor. 15:51)
No mention of resurrection of church saints, only Tribulation saints (Mt 24-25; Rev 20:4) Resurrection of dead church saints

(1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:16)

Comes on a horse (Rev 19:11-16) Comes on His own (1 Thess. 4:16)
The elect are on Earth

(Mt 24-25)

The Church is in Heaven

(Rev 1:12;20 cp. 4:1-5; 19:7-9)

Sheep and goat judgment

(Mt 25:31-33)

Judgment Seat of Christ

(Rom 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10)

Gathered from four winds (Mk 13:27) Gathered unto the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17)
Separation of mortal people for entrance into the Kingdom (Mt 25:31-36) Translation of saints into immortality

(1 Cor. 15:51-53)

Christ returns with His saints (Zech 12:5; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; Jude 14-15) Christ returns for His saints

(1 Thess. 4:16)

A well-known fact Called a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51)
Leaves them on the Earth

(Mt 25:31-34; Rev 20:6-7)

Takes us to Heavenly mansions

(John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)

Israel and Gentiles are judged according to works (Mt 25:31-46) Church judged for rewards

(1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10)

Not a friendly encounter

(2 Thess. 1:7-8; Jude 14-15; Rev 19:11-21)

Meet  the Lord on friendly terms

(1 Thess. 4:17)

 

[1] 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. (Matthew 24:31)

[2] Here is an expressive listing of OT and NT references to the Kingdom: 2 Sam. 7:16; Psalm 85; 86:9; 89; Isa 2:2-4; 11; 14; 35; 52; 60; 62; 65; Jer 33; Ezek 33:21-36:38; 34:11-31; 37:21-28; 40-48; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14, 26-27; Hos 3; Amos 9; Micah 4-5; Zech 2:4-13; 8; 9:10; 14:9; Matt. 25:34; Rev 11:15; 20:1-7.

[3] 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).

[4] The definition of the word mystery given by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of English Words is “a profound secret; something wholly unknown or something kept cautiously concealed, and therefore exciting curiosity or wonder . . . in religion, anything in the character or attributes of God, or in the economy of divine providence, which is not revealed to man.” Both the Body of Christ and the Rapture fit this description perfectly.

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

[6] Ek is also used in Rev. 3:10 by the Lord in His promise to the Philadelphia church: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from (ek) the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth.”

[7] In a ten point PreTrib Rapture apologetic article, brother Geoffrey Grider, Editor of Now the End Begins, offers this: THE RAPTURE IS THE ‘BLESSED HOPE’ WHILE THE SECOND COMING IS A DAY TO BE GREATLY FEARED. We start with this one first because it is the one difference most overlooked in a study of the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming. In Titus 2:13, talking about the Rapture, Paul calls it “the Blessed Hope”, a day of great comfort and joy. But in Amos 5:18, talking about the Day of the Lord, which is in fact the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, God tells us that it is a day of “great woe”, and greatly to be feared! Now, how can the Rapture and the Second Coming possibly be the same? Read Joel 3 for more on the ferocity and woefulness of the Second Coming. Paul calls the Rapture of the Church the “day of Christ”. The Second Coming is called the “day of the Lord”. The day of Christ is to be looked forward to, the Day of the Lord to be feared. If you are someone who believes the Bible, then I could stop this article right here as I have established my case well beyond the shadow of any doubt, reasonable or otherwise. But for  you who are ” fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” then we have added another 9 rock-solid reasons why the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ cannot be the same event. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV) – The Rapture

“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 2:2 (KJV) – The Rapture

“Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.” Amos 5:18 (KJV) – The Second Coming (Revelation)

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9 (KJV) – The Second Coming (revelation). Source: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/the-bible-believers-guide-to-understanding-the-differences-between-the-rapture-and-the-second-coming/

[8] A dispensation is simply a period of time whereby God deals with man differently than in other periods. 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 forth.

[9] May I reiterate by comparing Scripture with Scripture. The Greek word for “out of” Paul used here is “ek” which is the same Greek word the Lord Jesus used in Rev. 3:10 when promising to keep the church “from the hour of temptation” we know to be the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30-31; etc.

[10]Antichrist, aka the beast. This “Beast” is the “little horn” of (Dan_7:24-26), and “desolator” of (Dan_9:27), the “abomination of desolation” of (Mat_24:15), the “man of sin” of (2Th_2:4-8), Earth’s last and most awful tyrant, Satan’s fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of (Rev_6:2), who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him, Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ. (Mat_4:8); (Mat_4:9); (Rev_13:4). (Old Scofield Study Bible)

It’s Israel’s Tribulation after all

Dr. Mike Johnston

The tribulation – as it is most commonly known (Moses: Deut. 4:30; Jesus: Matt. 24:21, 29; and John: Rev. 7:14) – is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10. From beginning to end, it is prophesied to Israel (Deut. 4:30), and primarily for Israel (Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1, Zeph. 1:15; Matt. 24:21, 29). Its purpose is to punish sin and sinners, and prepare earth and Israel for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Jewish Davidic Kingdom following (2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 11; 65; Matt. 25:34; Rev. 20). While the prophets revealed the tribulation as a horrific but integral component in the Day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12, etc ), it was Daniel’s prophecy where its duration was revealed as the final week of seven years in his seventy week prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27; see Rev. 11:2-3; 12:14). To wit, while we can easily find Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations on earth during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15), the heavenly Body of Christ – which has been promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). In fact, since God’s inspired prophets never mentioned or associated the Body of Christ with Israel’s tribulation one time, it would appear every attempt to place us here during this time is nothing short of an agenda driven attack on “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) demonstrably devoid of integrity and Biblical authority. In summary, there isn’t a prophecy or a single verse anywhere in the Bible conclusively identifying the Body of Christ on earth during Israel’s tribulation without pulling from context and redefining the words “saints” and “elect” – which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation specifically refer to Israel. In lieu of this, we are convinced that the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s tribulation!

Reviewing the Facts about Israel’s Tribulation

Dr. Mike Johnston

You may have gathered from what you’ve read that Israel’s Tribulation is a highly disputed Bible doctrine. Retrospectively, over the past forty years I’ve found opinions surrounding it such as its name, length, participants, purpose, and timing of the Lord’s return, to be vacuous, vicious [1] and extremely varied. This need not be if Bible teachers will employ sound hermeneutics rather than self-serving hubris.

From the first mention [2] in Deuteronomy 4:30-31 through Revelation 19, the Tribulation is pictured as a time of trouble for Jacob, and Jacob is Israel (Gen. 32:28; Deut. 31; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). God designed it to ultimately lead His rebellious, stubborn hearted Jewish people into repentance preparatory to the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; Rev. 20) in Jerusalem.

One can be sure, “in that day” (Isa. 2:11, 17, 20; 11:11; Jer. 30:8; etc); “the day of the Lord” (Isa. 2:12; 13:6; 13:9; Jer. 46:10; etc), “a day of darkness and of gloominess” (Joel 2:2), the wayward, blind, and slumbering Israel (Rom. 11:8) will awaken to find herself once again on center stage fulfilling Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27), (study Isaiah 2; 24; Joel; Zephaniah, Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; and Revelation 6-19), currently on hold. The Tribulation week will be followed by the Revelation of Jesus Christ predicted for Israel “in time past” (Zech. 14:4; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Acts 14:16; Rev. 19:11-21) to occur in the “ages to come”.

Now keep at the forefront of your thinking that understanding right division God placed in Scripture is a prerequisite to arriving at right conclusions. This author – along with numerous scholars – has identified Israel’s future time of trouble as Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; 26; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14). Moreover, it is significant to note that every prophet discussing it invariably consigned it to Israel (study the descriptions in Isaiah 2; 24; Jeremiah 30-31; Hosea. 5:15; Joel; Zeph. 1:15). Unless you understand the connection prophecy brings to Israel’s Tribulation and her earthly Kingdom – which are completely separate from the church Body – you will have nothing from which to base right division and will remain as doctrinally destitute as most of the writers filling bookshelves with their groundless supposition presuming what they can never prove.

With that, allow me reiterate what Scripture reveals from cover to cover: There isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible clearly and indisputably placing the Body of Christ on earth during Israel’s Tribulation without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples ”which in context of Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation clearly identify Israel. Now, using this as a backdrop, we must continue to Biblically reject the crass manipulation that exists in the PreTrib antagonist writings beginning by misrepresenting as untrue the fact that Israel’s Tribulation has been – from the beginning – prophesied for Jacob, aka Israel; NEVER for the Body of Christ (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29; Isa. 2; 24; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15).

Israel’s Tribulation is one of the most misunderstood doctrines in the Bible. As an eschatological theme, we know Israel’s Tribulation part of Israel’s prophecy program, given to her in “time past” [3] (Eph. 2:11) to be fulfilled in the “ages to come”[4] (Eph. 2:7). However, trying to make sense of it apart from understanding God’s purpose for it, is like trying to assemble a 1000 piece puzzle with no picture and pieces missing.

Here’s the dilemma driving our opponents to distort the truth about us and the PreTrib rapture position we interpret from right division.

If the church Body of Christ is present on earth even for a moment of Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19), the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to keep us from knowing it. To wit, while we can easily identify Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations here during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; see Deut. 4:30-31; Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7-12; Joel 2; Zeph. 1), the heavenly Body of Christ – which is promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1), is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). Let the record show, there isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible clearly and unequivocally placing the Body of Christ on earth for a single moment of Israel’s holocaust without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation are specifically linked to Israel.

Here is our chart at the conclusion of these next three chapters.

RIGHT DIVISION
Prophecy
Israel

the Elect Nation

Kingdom

Earth

Spokesmen: Prophets and Peter
Time Past – Ages to come

Genesis-John and Hebrews-Revelation
Gospel of the Kingdom – Circumcision

Tribulation – time of Jacob’s trouble

Looking for the Revelation after Tribulation

Mystery
Church
the Body of Christ

Inheritance
Heaven

Spokesman: Paul
But now

Romans-Philemon
Gospel of Grace – Uncircumcision

Looking for the Rapture before Tribulation

Returning with Jesus in the Revelation

[1] For merely disagreeing on the timing of the rapture, I’ve been insulted, cussed out, had my salvation impugned, as well as my intelligence. I’ve even been threatened with bodily harm, all by men who claim to be bearers of truth as “new creatures” in Christ.

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

[3] This covers Genesis through John with historical narrative through Mid Acts.

[4] This covers Hebrews through Revelation.

Israel was Chosen for a Kingdom

February 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

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 – a prophetic pattern is progressively dispensed [1] regarding the Jewish earthly kingdom and the 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; 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; 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 Covenant four 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 Kingdom would 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 week is 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 Jesus Christ 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.

When the Word is rightly divided, we find that it is Israel, not the church, that was promised a coming kingdom of heaven [2] which occupied much of the preaching of 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. 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[3] to establish Israel’s kingdom under the lineage of David in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7) is often the subject.

The inauguration of Israel’s Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16) has been in the works for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus revealed that it will commence 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 Covenant Kingdom 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). [4] It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants [5] 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.

First, 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[6] (Genesis 12:2-3).

Second, David’s seed, which is from the lineage of Abraham, was promised 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).

Third, 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).

Fourth, 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).

Fifth, 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.

Sixth, 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).

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.

[1] 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.

[2] 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).

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

[4]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. The tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ, aka the church.

[5] 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).

[6] 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.

Israel and Church Differences

February 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Excerpted from Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ – 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, co-mingling 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]

 

The Distinctives of the Pauline Body

I like 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.  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 ask if you are sure you know Christ as your Saviour and Lord? If not, ask Him into your life today.

Conflating Israel with the Church to marginalize the distinction

While conflating Scripture for Israel and the Body of Christ is confusing, 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  [9] 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[10] 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 these men to produce a single Scripture clearly 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 http://withchrist.org/pauldisp.htm

[9] 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).

[10] 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).

The Right Division between Two Gospels: Kingdom (circumcision) and Grace (uncircumcision)

February 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

If you’re ever itching for a fistfight with a carnal Christian, tell him that the gospel of grace he preaches in this but now dispensation (Rom. 15:1-4) is NOT the gospel of the kingdom John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the apostles preached (Matt. 4:23; 10:7).

In his superb book “Why So Many Churches”, Dr. Noah Hutchings, one of my favorite Bible teachers, writes, “It is important for Christians to understand … Paul and Peter did not preach the same message. They preached the same Christ, but not the same gospel.” (Why So Many Churches, 1992). You will understand this shortly when I unfold it.

The word gospel means “a good message” (Strong). The fact is, there are several of them listed in the Bible [1] that God dispensed through history. Two primary Gospel messages exist within the harmonious framework of the entire time triad spectrum.

  • Time past: Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) Ended sometime after Paul’s conversion in mid Acts and the revelation of the mystery he received from Jesus (Rom. 16:25).
  • But now: Gospel of the Grace of God to Jews and Gentiles alike. Ends when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25)
  • Ages to come: gospel of the Kingdom to Israel. Daniel’s prophecy calendar resumes at the 70th week of seven years known as Israel’s Tribulation or “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15).

1. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – to Israel in “time past”:

The gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) – is also called “the gospel of the circumcision” (Ga. 2:7-9) that Peter preached. It is good news to the Jews which Christ preached “in time past” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) connecting Israel to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18)[2] including circumcision (Gen. 17; Gal. 2:7) by offering to confirm the Davidic Covenant by inaugurating the earthly Kingdom promised to the seed of David (2 Sam. 7:8-16). [3]

Once again, keep in mind this gospel of the kingdom is NOT the gospel preached by Paul, nor is it the gospel we preach in this dispensation. Ours is the gospel of the grace of God, but only provisionally until the church is removed at the rapture.

2. The Gospel of the grace of God during the Mystery Program – to us in the “but now”:

The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) – is also called “the gospel of the uncircumcision” (Gal. 2:7-9)  which is good news for Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ by faith and are saved, justified, sanctified, glorified, and spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) where we are seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14) apart from anything other than faith in Christ’s shed blood which permanently removes our sin from us. By Paul’s own words this was a “but now” gospel unique for the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), never before preached or taught:

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). [4]

This is the only gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6) for this dispensation. [5]It will continue, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) in the latter days before Israel’s Tribulation.

3. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – to Israel in the “ages to come”:

Following at some point in the “ages to come” after the mystery church has disappeared in the mystery rapture, one of the chosen angels of God will seal 144,000 Jewish servants of God as Tribulation evangelists (Rev. 7:2-8) preaching once again this gospel of the kingdom [6] heralding the Lord’s return to inaugurate His Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:14).

In summary, God’s program for Israel and the church are as different as the time period they occupy and the gospel message assigned each of them to preach during that time.

[1] Salvation in God’s economy has always involved faith and grace that He dispensed separately to particular individuals at any given time. For instance, Adam and Eve never heard the Name Jesus Christ, but God pictured His sacrifice by shedding the blood of innocent animals to cover their sin (Gen. 3:21). They apparently demonstrated their faith the moment they put on this new clothing.

[2] The Abrahamic Covenant is an everlasting covenant (Gen. 17:13, 19). O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (Psalms 105:6-11)

[3] God made 5 unilateral Covenants with Israel and none with the Body of Christ. Bear in mind our time past status: “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise …” (Ephesians 2:12).

[4] Dr. William MacDonald observes that this “is the thrilling message of God’s undeserved favor to guilty, ungodly sinners who deserve nothing but everlasting hell. It tells how the Son of God’s love came from heaven’s highest glory to suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary in order that those who believe on Him might receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995)

[5] This includes the gospel of uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for Gentiles as Paul explains, “Ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13). [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace]

[6] This includes the gospel of circumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for the Jews preached “in time past” linking them to the Abrahamic Covenant, the foundational contract for Israel’s relationship with God. It formed the groundwork for the promises that would be revealed in the other covenants. The Lord Jesus Christ, James, Peter (Cephas) and John were all ministers of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law]

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