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5 Theologians on the Child of Revelation 12

September 8, 2017 Leave a comment

 

August 30, 2017

Last weekend one of my favorite pastors implied that “Every conservative theologian that’s worth reading…” interprets Revelation 12 in a way contrary to how those of us following the sign do. Among other things this pastor was quite adamant that Revelation 12 is simply talking about the birth and ascension of Jesus Christ, and has nothing to do with the rapture of the Church.  In his words this view is “longtime held, conservative, orthodox eschatology.”

Well, I would like to address that statement…

Wait….who cares what I have to say?  How about we let some longtime, conservative, orthodox, eschatology teachers address the subject!  And when I say longtime, well, you’ll see what I mean…

  1. John Nelson Darby (1855)

“If the mighty man, the mystic man, the man-child of Revelation xii. is to act [in judging the world with a rod of iron], He must first be complete (of course He is so, essentially so, in Himself, but as Head over all things to the Church which is His body). The head and the body must be united before He can act as having this title before the world; because the mystic man as a whole cannot take it until the Church is taken up to Him. For not until then—until the Church, the body, is united to the Head, Christ, in heaven—is the mystic man in that sense complete; and therefore, the Church must be taken up before Christ can come in judgment. ”

And this…

“In the chapter we have read, you have first Christ Himself and the church, figured in the man-child; and then in the woman who flees from persecution for 1260 days you have the Jewish remnant, those who are spared in the time of judgment but are not yet brought into glory.”

And this…

“I have no doubt that the “man child” spoken of in the chapter that we have been reading includes the church as well as Christ. But it is Christ that is principally meant, for the church would be nothing without Christ; it would be a body without a head. It is Christ who has been caught up; but the church is included, for whenever He begins to act publicly, even as regards Satan being cast down, He must have His body, His bride, with Him; He must have His brethren, His joint-heirs.”

Reference: John Nelson Darby, Seven Lectures on the Prophetical Addresses to the Seven Churches (3d rev. ed.; London: G. Morrish, c. 1855)

  1. William Kelly (1870)

“On this principle then I cannot but consider that the rapture of the man-child to God and His throne involves the rapture of the church in itself. The explanation why it is thus introduced here depends on the truth that Christ and the church are one, and have a common destiny. Inasmuch as He went up to heaven, so also the church is to be caught up.”

Reference: William Kelly, Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Revelation (London: W. H. Broom, 1870)

  1. Richard Chester (1882)

“Now if the male Man-child of Rev. xii. is to be regarded as solely representing the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into the heavens, as some interpreters affirm; or as representing the visible Christian Church exalted into political power, as taught by others, it were not easy to establish any parallelism, or any correspondence whatsoever between Zech. iii. and Rev. xii. But if the Man-child represents, as is the belief of many students of prophecy, the entire body of “the dead in Christ” raised, and the living in Christ who shall be changed, and both together caught up to meet Him in the air—or if, as I have suggested in the article above referred to—he is to be rather regarded as a portion of the Jewish people—of “the remnant according to the election of grace” incorporated by conversion to Christ into the Church of this dispensation—and thus “brought forth”—“born again,”—and then, “caught up to God and to His throne,” in the rapture of the risen and living saints of 1 Thess. iv.—then, in either of these cases, I submit that this vision of Zechariah iii. corresponds most accurately.”

Richard Chester, “Old Testament Light on New Testament Prophecy,” The Prophetic News and Israel’s Watchman (December, 1882)

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
Revelation 12:5

  1. Harry Ironside (1919)

“I have read or carefully examined several hundred books purporting to expound the Revelation. I have learned to look upon this twelfth chapter as the crucial test in regard to the correct prophetic outline. If the interpreters are wrong as to the woman and the man-child, it necessarily follows that they will be wrong as to many things connected with them.”

And this…

“If we allow Scripture itself to answer, we find there is a person and a company of people answering to this description. In the 2d Psalm Jehovah says to Messiah, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (vers. 7–9). This, clearly enough, is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is soon to reign over all the earth, and undoubtedly He is primarily the Man-child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and the special object of Satan’s malignity. But we have already seen, in Rev. 2:26–28, that when He reigns He will not reign alone. . . . Is there then any incongruity in understanding the man-child to represent both Christ Jesus our Lord and His church? Surely not, for He is the Head of the body, the church, which is the fullness, or completion of Himself, so that the title, “The Church” is applied to both head and body viewed as one in 1 Cor. 12:12. . . . We may then, on the authority of Scripture itself, safely affirm that the man-child represents the one New Man who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron—Christ, the Head, and the church, His body. If this be so, then it is impossible that the woman should symbolize the church.”

And this…

“We have seen that the man-child symbolizes both Head and body—the complete Christ. Therefore, as in other prophecies, the entire present dispensation is passed over in silence, and the church is represented in its Head, caught up with Christ. For immediately after this, Satan, again acting through the Roman Empire which is to be revived in the last days, turns upon the woman Israel and seeks to vent his wrath and indignation against her.”

Reference: Harry A. Ironside, Lectures on the Revelation (New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1919)

Quotes 1-4 were compiled by Dr Michael Svigel, a Department Chair and Associate Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.  You can read more context surrounding those quotes (and many more which weren’t included) here:
Proof of the Rapture in Revelation 12

UPDATE: Unsealed.org just put up an amazing post listing 15 Conservative Scholars who agreed that the Male Child of Rev 12:5 Represented The Church. Be sure out that expanded list out as well!!

Here is the link:
http://www.unsealed.org/2017/08/conservative-scholars-agree-male-child.html

  1. Chuck Missler (approx. 2005) / G. H. Pember (1884)

We need one guy who is still living, don’t we?   One of the greatest teachers of our lifetime, Chuck Missler, says the following about Rev 12:5…  He references a fairly famous book written in the 1800’s by G.H. Pember:

“I always USED TO view that as the ascension of Our Lord.  But there is a guy by the name of Pember who wrote a book about Genesis, Earth’s Earliest Ages.  And it BLEW ME AWAY because he see’s this differently and I don’t know that he’s wrong.  He see’s… that child… as the Body of Christ.  He see’s in that The Rapture.   Isn’t that wild?  And it doesn’t alter the text because what happens from verse 6 on is Tribulational.”

Listen to the quote for yourself here: (58 seconds)

Source: https://rev12daily.blogspot.com/2017/08/5-theologians-on-child-of-revelation-12.html

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When Did the Church Body of Christ Begin?

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

by Shawn Brasseaux

Was it Acts 2? Acts 9? Acts 13? Acts 18? Acts 28? Or later? In this Bible study, we hope to clear up the confusion surrounding this issue.

Nearly everyone in Christendom is convinced that Acts chapter 2 is “the birthday of the Church the Body of Christ” (here is a link to our study specially dedicated to refuting the “Acts 2” position, which is beyond the scope of this discussion). While there seems to be an anti-Acts-2 consensus within the so-called “grace movement,” there is often little clarity as to when the Church the Body of Christ did begin; that is, among grace believers, there is an overwhelming agreement that the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2, but very few of these Christians can actually state with certainty when it did begin. Hence, the general term “mid-Acts dispensationalism” is applied, for some hold an “Acts 9” view, others believe in an “Acts 13” view, and still others an “Acts 18” view. There are even some who hold to “Acts 28” view, or something beyond Acts 28. It is very sad that many grace Christians seem to be guilty of being just as fragmented as the denominationalists they often deride. “When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?” is such a simple question with a simple answer, but it seems like very few are aware that God already settled the matter almost 2,000 years ago. Beloved, we grace believers must not allow denominationalism to divide us, lest we discredit ourselves and the message we so fervently claim to believe!

It is of utmost importance to our discussion to remember that the term “the Church the Body of Christ” is never found outside of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. James, Peter, and John never mentioned it in their epistles. In fact, Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry (recorded in Matthew through John) never mentioned it (the overwhelming Scriptural testimony is that Matthew 16:18 is not the Body of Christ). In his epistles, the Apostle Paul made over 20 references to “the Church the Body of Christ” by name (Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13,14,15,27; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:4,12,16; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 5:23,30; Colossians 1:18,24; Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:15). Save Paul, no other Bible writer uses the term “the Church the Body of Christ.” Since only Paul uses that term, he seems to know more about it than anyone else in Scripture, so should we not allow Paul to tell us when it began? Rather than blindly agreeing with a grace preacher or a grace church’s doctrinal statement, we need to believe what the Holy Spirit through Paul taught and believed concerning the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ.

1. PAUL’S SALVATION IS OUR “PATTERN”

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Notice the four very important words in the passage quoted above:

  1. “chief” — The word “chief” means “first, primary” (such as in Acts 14:12). For any “Greekophile,” the Greek word translated “chief” in 1 Timothy 1:16 is protos, meaning “beginning or foremost.” It does not mean “worst” as commonly thought.
  2. “first” — Means just what it says; it is the “earliest.”
  3. “pattern” — A “pattern” is “an example for others to follow.”
  4. “hereafter” — “Hereafter” is an adverb meaning, “from now on.”

These four terms are four different ways of saying the same thing—something new began with Paul. Paul was the “chief,” the “first,” the “pattern to them which should hereafter [that is, after Paul] believe on him [Jesus Christ] to life everlasting.” When Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” he was not saying that he was the worst of all sinners. In the context (look again at the four key terms highlighted above), what he meant was that he was the first of all sinners Jesus Christ saved. Yet, how could that be? What about the 12 apostles? Were they not sinners saved by God years prior to Paul? Yes, they were, but the manner by which Paul was saved, and the purpose to which Paul was saved, were different than those before him. Jesus Christ saved Paul and those after him with a special plan in mind.

The Scriptures could not be plainer that something new began with Paul’s salvation in Acts 9. Paul was the “first.” The first of what? The only sensible answer is the first member of the Church the Body of Christ (the only other group of believers God has in His Word is the redeemed nation Israel, and Israel is fallen at this point; the Church the Body of Christ had to be created in order to save Saul of Tarsus and make him Paul the Apostle). Paul was the first individual to be saved apart from Israel’s program. There had to have been a new program in Acts 9, otherwise Paul could not be saved unto eternal life (more on this later). The Holy Spirit said that Paul’s salvation is our “pattern.” Are we members of the nation Israel? No. Do we belong to Israel’s program? No. According to the Holy Spirit, and according to Paul himself, Paul was saved the same way we are—apart from Israel (1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:15) and apart from her program (1 Timothy 1:13-16 cf. Matthew 12:31-32; Romans 11:11-13; 1 Corinthians 1:17 cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:14-15 cf. Matthew 5:17-19; et cetera).

2. PAUL COULD NOT BE SAVED IN ISRAEL’S PROGRAM

In Galatians 1:15-16, Paul writes, “[15] But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:…” In 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul wrote, “And last of all he [the resurrected Jesus Christ] was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” Paul was not a part of Israel or her program. God “killed” Israel, as one would take the life of a pregnant woman, and He delivered her unborn child, in this case, Saul of Tarsus (Paul). (Look at the “stillborn” birth Job longed for in Job 3:16, “Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been….”).

The Lord Jesus said to the nation Israel in Matthew 12:31-32: “[31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [32] And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Saul/Paul encouraged the murder of Stephen, and he was guilty of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost. After all, Jewish Saul was leading the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ (see Acts 7:57-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-5; Acts 22:3-7; Acts 26:9-11; et cetera). Paul wrote that he was a “blasphemer” in 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul was saved, but he blasphemed against the Holy Spirit! So, how was Paul saved, and yet, how could it not break Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32? Paul could not be saved in Israel’s program, for it would contradict Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32; nevertheless, God opened our Dispensation of Grace, a program separate from Israel’s program, in Acts 9, and saved Saul/Paul. Saul/the Apostle Paul could only be saved if God interrupted Israel’s program with a new program, and if he was placed into a new group of believers. Paul was saved in our dispensation, not in Israel’s program; he was saved in the Church the Body of Christ, not in the nation Israel. Certainly, a new dispensation was in effect in Acts 9.

3. NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE IN PAUL’S MINISTRY, WHETHER DURING ACTS OR POST-ACTS

When understanding the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ, we need to determine what the Church the Body of Christ is. From Paul’s epistles, we learn that it is a spiritual, invisible body of believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, who have trusted exclusively in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Consider the following verses found in Paul’s epistles:

Romans 3:22: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Written during Acts.)

1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (Written during Acts.)

Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Written during Acts.)

Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Written during Acts.)

Ephesians 2:11-17: “[11] Wherefore remember, that 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; [12] 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: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews].” (Written after Acts.)

Colossians 3:10-11: “[10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: [11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” (Written after Acts.)

The distinction between Jew and Gentile (“Greek” delineated the prominent Gentile nationality of that day, as in the Graeco-Roman Empire) was abolished with Paul’s ministry: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Romans 3:22). Paul was “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13)—Paul wrote Romans during the Acts period. Israel had fallen back in Acts chapter 7 and was now “diminishing” (see Romans 11:11-12), so any lost Jews were technically Gentiles. In Acts chapter 15, Paul agreed to minister to the “heathen” (Galatians 2:9)—this would be anyone who was not a member of Israel’s little flock, her believing remnant. A Jew who had not trusted Jesus as Messiah was still just as much a “heathen”—a child of the Devil, and an enemy of the God of the Bible—as a lost non-Jew (Gentile) (see John 8:44, Acts 13:10, and Ephesians 2:1-3).

Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, had been one of those Christ-rejecting Jews, a heathen just as sinful before God as a Gentile. Paul’s ministry and message were directed toward any Christ-rejecting lost people—Jews or Gentiles. This distinction of Jew and Gentile being done away could only be possible if Israel’s program were fallen; the distinction between Jew and Gentile is always indicative of “time past” (Ephesians 2:11-12). The Church the Body of Christ had to have begun at the very beginning of Paul’s ministry, otherwise those to whom he ministered could not be saved. Yea, Paul himself could not be saved if a new program (the Dispensation of Grace) and a new agency (the Church the Body of Christ) had not begun back in Acts chapter 9.

4. PAUL’S INCLUSION IN THE RAPTURE

Paul considered himself to be a member of the Church the Body of Christ because he mentioned himself in reference to the Rapture. The Rapture of the Church the Body of Christ does not involve Israel or her prophetic program; the Rapture actually prevents our mystery program from overlapping with Israel’s program. Had the Body of Christ began after Paul was saved in Acts chapter 9—such as in Acts chapter 13, Acts chapter 18, or Acts chapter 28 or beyond—it would make no sense for Paul to be including himself in the Rapture. Paul had a hope to be included with the members of the Church the Body of Christ at the Rapture. He says “we” not “you” throughout 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18—Paul included himself in the Rapture, which is exclusively Body-of-Christ doctrine (verses 15 and 17). In fact, remember what Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13)—Paul did not use the pronoun, “you,” indicating that he included himself in the Church the Body of Christ. Paul mentioned God blessing “us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3)—this is the Body of Christ doctrine, and when he wrote that God “blessed us with all spiritual blessings,” he included himself. “For we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:30)—Paul included himself in the Body of Christ. To have the Body of Christ begin after Paul’s salvation is to ignore the many verses that indicate that Paul was a member of the Body of Christ.

5. THE DANGERS OF STARTING THE BODY OF CHRIST AFTER ACTS 9 (SUCH AS ACTS 13, ACTS 18, ACTS 28, OR BEYOND)

To begin the Church the Body of Christ at some time other than Acts chapter 9 is to ignore the foregoing verses and passages. Furthermore, a non-Acts-9 view of the Body of Christ will introduce increasing confusion into your Christian life and the lives of those around you. You lose Paul’s salvation as your pattern, you make your Christian life less clear, and you make the transitional period of Acts more confusing. Without going into too much detail, we will briefly comment about the “Acts 13,” “Acts 18,” and “Acts 28” positions:

ACTS 13.

This position is taken because Paul began his apostolic journeys at the beginning of this chapter. Furthermore, Acts 13:46 is used to justify this position: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Some use this verse to contend that Paul will go unto Gentiles from this time on, so the Gentile body of Christ could not begin until Acts chapter 13. Still, we understand that Paul was considered a Gentile because he had rejected Jesus Christ and was a “heathen” (Israel had fallen in Acts 7, see Point #2, “Paul could not be saved in Israel’s program”). Moreover, the Body of Christ had already begun with Paul’s salvation in Acts 9 (see previous comments). Had the Body of Christ begun in Acts chapter 13, Paul could not have been saved unto eternal life. The clear teaching of Acts 13:46 is this—it was Paul’s announcement to unbelieving Israel in Asia (modern-day Turkey) that God had now changed His dealings with mankind, that Israel was now fallen and diminishing. Nothing more.

ACTS 18.

Acts 18:8 is used to teach that the Gentile Body of Christ began in Acts 18: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” Yet, by this time, Paul had already gone to Gentiles—he spoke with the pagan Greeks in Athens in Acts chapter 17. In Acts 18:8, Paul was not saying that the Body of Christ was now beginning. He was simply announcing in a new region (Europe) to unbelieving Israel that his ministry was amongst Gentiles. He was speaking to a new Jewish audience to inform them that JEHOVAH God had now changed His dealings with mankind, that Israel was now fallen and diminishing. To begin the Church the Body of Christ in Acts chapter 18 is to divorce ourselves from Paul’s earliest epistles—Thessalonians and Galatians.

ACTS 28.

Acts 28:28 is used to support the Acts 28 position: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” This does not say that God’s salvation will go to the Gentiles; by this time, we have seen that it has already gone to the Gentiles and is going to the Gentiles (recall our earlier comments). The Body of Christ had begun long before Paul announced those words in Acts 28:28—some 30 years earlier actually. Acts 28:28 was Paul speaking in Rome, the world’s capital at this time. “Acts 28” is a particularly dangerous position to take because it divorces you from Paul’s Acts epistles (Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Romans) and makes you believe they are not to or about you—Paul never divides his epistles between one section of the Body of Christ in Acts and another section of the Body of Christ after Acts. The admonition in 2 Timothy 2:15 refers to all of the Bible, and does not teach “rightly dividing” Paul’s epistles.

Acts 13:46, Acts 18:8, and Acts 28:28 are not the beginning of the Body of Christ and, despite what some “grace” people may tell you, they are not indicative of such. These three verses should be considered one unit, for they comprise a three-fold announcement that the Apostle Paul made to unbelieving Israel in three separate regions. God was now going and had gone to the Gentiles, and Israel’s prophetic program was diminishing. By the time of Acts 28, that transition period was over. How clear, how simple!

CONCLUSION

We so-called “mid-Acts dispensationalists” agree that the Church the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2 (as “traditional dispensationalism” teaches). Yet, there is often great confusion and doubt concerning when it did begin (hence the broad term “mid-Acts”). Some say it was Acts chapter 9, others Acts chapter 13, still others Acts chapter 18, and some even say Acts chapter 28 or later. Indeed, it sounds just as bad as denominationalism in Christendom! Mid-Acts dispensationalists often blame traditionalists (denominational people) for holding to the “traditions of men” to advance a particular church’s viewpoint regarding Scripture. Sadly, however, some so-called “mid-Acts dispensationalists” are just as guilty of this error. One glance at the “Acts 9/13/18/28” controversy demonstrates that religious tradition and preconceived notions often deceive, divide, and defeat us “mid-Acts dispensationalists” just as it does denominational Christendom.

Honestly, some years ago, when I first learned of the Acts 9/13/18/28 division within “grace circles,” I grew very discouraged. I had left my religious confusion in a denominational church behind, only to wind up with more confusion parading as “grace doctrine.” I wanted to know when the Church the Body of Christ began so that I could then determine what parts of the Bible on which to focus the most. It took me at least two or three years to finally learn the truth about the matter (during that time, many “grace people” were telling me different things, and they seemed to be just as confused as I was). When I finally studied the Scriptures on my own, I was thrilled to see how clear the Bible was regarding the issue. Acts chapter 9, the Apostle Paul’s salvation, was the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ; to say otherwise is to cause abounding confusion.

Dear friends, the fragmentation of grace believers regarding the beginning of the Body of Christ, often aids the Adversary’s cause in keeping God’s truth hidden. Having struggled with this issue myself, I can personally testify to that. Furthermore, this Acts 9/13/18/28 conflict affords our denominational critics another reason to undermine our stand on Paul’s special apostleship/ministry to us Gentiles and our stand in the Gospel the Lord Jesus Christ committed first to his trust. Thus, the question, “When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?,” is one of the most important questions the Bible student will face. He or she must answer it using Bible verses, not religious tradition (even if that church tradition parades under the guise of “grace doctrine!”).

If we are to be a pure church, we too must discard traditions, even if “grace” brethren believe and teach them! No question about it, the Apostle Paul was the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. It is not that difficult to understand unless we refuse to see it for sake of keeping our own traditions.

Source: https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.org/2014/07/29/when-did-the-church-the-body-of-christ-begin/

The Rapture and Right Division

Dr. Mike Johnston

Rightly dividing the word of truth makes it clear that Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ. Right division encompasses two programs (prophecy and mystery) that have existed “since the world began” – designed by God to cover three periods: time past, but now, and ages to come. [1] Conflating the prophecy and mystery programs generally leads to disorder, disputations (as seen in the emergence of denominations), and ultimately deception. [2]

Prophecy (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) [3] came through the prophets featuring events primarily surrounding Israel’s coming King and His kingdom on earth; while the mystery (Rom. 16:25) [4] was unknown to the prophets and given initially to Paul concerning the church Body of Christ promised an inheritance in heaven where we are now spiritually seated there with Christ. [5] Before Israel’s Tribulation leading to her kingdom can begin, the church Body that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) must first disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).

Key to understanding eschatology is Israel, God’s preeminent earthly nation. God spoke her into existence through specially appointed and anointed messengers called prophets. These men collectively prophesied five unilateral covenants promising Israel perpetuity of lineage (Abrahamic Covenant), land (Land Covenant), Law (Mosaic Covenant), Lordship (Davidic covenant), and longevity (New Covenant). These messages were clarified over time through a means known as progressive revelation featuring the promise of a Messianic King who will inaugurate a universal kingdom that will flourish for a thousand years [6] 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). Its location is Jerusalem, city of David (2 Kings 14:20), the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19).

About 2000 years ago, this Covenanted kingdom was offered by John the Baptist, Christ, and the twelve disciples who all preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and its requisite repentance (Matt. 3:2; 4:17, 23; 10:7; John 1:45; see Gal. 2:7-9). However, Israel’s rejection of the Kingdom summoned God’s judgment decreed in eternity past expressly to prepare and purify her, earth,[7] and collaterally the Gentile nations supporting Israel prior to the Kingdom in the latter days (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 23; 30-31; Dan. 10:14; etc). Scholars – using vernacular from Moses (Deut. 4:30), Christ (Matt. 24:21, 29), and John the Revelator (Rev. 7:14) – refer to this period of judgment on Israel and the inhabitants of earth as (the) Tribulation.

Beginning with Moses [8] the prophets progressively outlined and revealed Israel’s Tribulation (study Isaiah 24-26; Jer. 30-31; Ezekiel 34-48; Dan. 12; Revelation 6-20). They described it with names defining it, like the time of (Jacob’s) trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15); day of His wrath (Psa. 110:5; Isa. 13:9; Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:15; Rev. 6:17; 11:18; 14:10);  and a number of other euphemisms all connected to the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Joel 2:1; see Isa. 13:9, 13; Ezek. 7:19).

We see a foreshadowing of purpose for Israel’s Tribulation judgment in the Book of Judges, which tells the story of a loving God retrieving His rebellious nation. “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not” (Judges 2:20-22-bold added). The Tribulation will result in her final repentance with full restoration when Christ the Jewish Messiah returns full view at the Revelation followed by the Kingdom.

Context vs. pretext

Biblical truth in context is conclusive. You can accept it or reject it, but the fact is, it doesn’t lie and it won’t change. To be fair with it, I listed most every major passage of Scripture dealing with the time of Jacob’s trouble – aka Jacob’s (Israel’s) Tribulation “trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). You can verify what I’m telling you by studying each of the passages in full context as they appeared throughout this treatise. If you are willing to conduct the comprehensive research as I personally have, you will discover a grave dilemma experienced by all of our opponents. The church Body can’t be located on earth during Israel’s Tribulation.

Consider this with your King James Bible open to Tribulation passages. Israel and the Gentile nations associated with her are indisputably identified on earth during this time. Since they are, wouldn’t it stand to reason the church Body would be just as easy to spot? Let’s take a closer look.

Open an Exhaustive Concordance for the King James Bible (ie Strong’s) and search carefully the 117 times in the KJV that the singular or plural of the word church appears. Do the same with all variations of Paul’s designation, Body of Christ.

Here’s what we find.

If the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation, it is impossible to clearly identify. Wouldn’t the Lord want us to be able to recognize our dilemma so we could prepare? It would have been a simple thing for the Holy Spirit to inspire the use of the word church or Body of Christ in any of the scores of Tribulation passages IF we were actually here, wouldn’t it?

So why didn’t He? The inconvenient fact is, there isn’t a single mention in a single verse within context of Israel’s Tribulation that specifically mentions us being here. NOT ONE!

Was this an oversight? A mistake? Translator’s error? A deliberate deception? No! We aren’t here!

Notwithstanding, here’s the desperate solution from our narrative hawking adversaries.

Interpretation or lying

Interpretation is one thing, but lying is quite another. Since our adversaries have no indisputable Scriptural evidence, the only way they can put us on earth in Israel’s Tribulation is by employing unorthodox interpretation methods I call “Houdini hermeneutics”.

Any good illusion includes a good distraction. Rapture antagonists do this by impugning the longevity of the PreTrib doctrine, causing us to invest our time and resources in a non-essential issue. Dave MacPherson – more on his artifices later – is one of the most skilled at this. Then, with our attention diverted, they are free to complete the trick. One ploy is to remove from context and redefine three words fundamental to their fraud, “saints”, “elect”, and “disciples”.

Now again, I urge you to open your King James Bible and your concordance to study the setting and the definitions of all three words. In context from Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation, they all refer to Israel not to the Body of Christ as hotly pushed in anti-PreTrib claptrap.

So what’s wrong with giving one’s personal interpretation? Nothing if that’s what it is. My experience tells me this is something more.

Let’s suppose you witnessed a crime that a man you hated was charged with. Although you didn’t actually see his face, you could interpret that the defendant was the perpetrator because your friends said so, and the prosecutor wanted you to agree with them in a testimony against him.

So, in the final analysis, would you go along to get along by compromising your integrity to help convict a man you admittedly hated but had no indisputable evidence to condemn?

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

It is definitely something to think about, is it not?

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

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

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

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

(Romans 16:25)

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

[6] John the Revelator revealed the Kingdom will last on Earth 1000 years (Rev. 20:2-7)

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

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

Fake News about the Rapture

Dr. Mike Johnston

Mark Twain observed, “It’s easier to deceive people than it is to convince them they have been deceived.” Never has this been truer than it is today.

Deception made its debut 6000 years ago when Satan used it as a ploy to seduce Adam and Eve away from God’s Word (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-6). Today the devil’s patent trickery has become the international delusion Jesus, Paul, and Peter warned that it would:

“Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:4). “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1-2).

I believe we are approaching the apex of these prophecies. Serving as evidence, are hypocritical media[1] liberals invoking their First Amendment rights to promote a perverse Leviticus 18 agenda while litigating against the free speech rights of patriots exposing 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 sneaky tactic called fake news that was unmasked and named during 2016 Presidential election.

It gained steam in 1925 when Adolph Hitler released Mein Kampf. The con which was later perfected by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels involves telling a lie so “colossal” that no one would ever conceive of a person possessing “the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” [2] I think Rush Limbaugh had this in mind when he stated, “The truthfulness of an accusation is not nearly as important as the seriousness of the charge.”

This is precisely the strategy employed in 1973 with the release of an incendiary paperback purporting the following unfounded but colossal allegation:

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

There are several things required for defamation of this magnitude to deceive anyone. First, it requires an element of truth to twist, which it does. Second, it requires numbers of people possessing marginal knowledge of the truth twisted, which there are. Third, there must be an unapologetic truth twister who refuses to relent even when faced with conflicting evidences will grit his teeth and carry the lie all the way from conception to deception; and we have one. In this case, that man’s name is Dave MacPherson.[3]

MacPherson is a mean spirited [4] rapture-loathing book peddler renegade who portrays himself as an “investigative reporter” stumbling on a cover up regarding the PreTrib rapture. The truth is, he nothing more than an architectural academic connecting a few dots he created.

Now let me hasten to say at the outset, I’m not opposed to anyone having an opposing opinion about the rapture; all of us are entitled to make our own assumptions. What irks me is the deceitful manner in which MacPherson lays claim to journalistic integrity while inventing facts to substantiate conclusions he can’t prove in any other way. Where I come from, that isn’t scholarship, that’s scandal. After much research, my assessment of MacPherson is in line with the following scholars review of “The Rapture Plot”: “Blinded by his rush to a preordained conclusion, his analysis of those sources is clouded by a hateful style which prevents much of what he says from being taken seriously.” [5]

In the end, astute readers will find it ironic if not hilarious that all MacPherson’s drum-thumping about a vast rapture cover up is eclipsed by discovering he has personally presided over a cover up hiding the fact he has no evidence to prove it.

Dave’s Incredible Cover-Up

MacPherson’s chicanery has existed in manuscript form over four decades. The fact is while DM is expressly livid with proponents of PreTrib rapture, he neither does scholarship nor himself any favors by misrepresenting history. His Houdini like specialty is illusion whereby he makes fiction appear to be factual with the stroke of a keyboard and the hope his “evidence” draws no scrutiny which most of the time in the sphere of rapture antagonism, proves to be true.[6]

My initial exposure to his material occurred a few years after I came to Christ. [7] I’ve since studied his scheme with more intensity. My research reveals that preparation for his ruse began in 1953 with what he calls “a jolting encounter with the rapture”. [8] From that, Dave presents himself as an innocent victim of mean PreTrib rapture people. This includes his expulsion from BIOLA College for arguing the merits of the Post Trib rapture in a PreTrib school. [9] Entering at this juncture are escalating signs of clinical paranoia as he begins to blame every evil in his life [10] on the rapture and its teachers, including but not limited to, 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 Wolf, and all his father’s pastoral woes. [11] Believe it or not, Dave goes so far as to blame hundreds of thousands of deaths in Communist China to the rapture.

Armed with acrimony – and a Goebbels-like determination to eliminate rapture teachers – his mission statement has ostensibly centered on the wholesale destruction of the “blessed hope” – aka rapture (Titus 2:13) – along with the good reputations of every person on earth promoting it. This he began in 1973 by publishing what is essentially the same document with cosmetic changes which has now become 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.

MacPherson’s shtick in every book – beaten like a jungle drum, but never proven – is that the rapture is a pervasive fraud with an elaborate cover up hiding a dubious origin he pretends [12] didn’t exist until 1830. [13] That, he alleges, was the year a demon-possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[14] Catholic Apostolic Church by the name of Margaret MacDonald [15]  conjured it up in a vision; recorded and published later by her apostolic husband Robert Norton then stolen by a Plymouth Brethren scholar we’ll discuss in a moment, John Nelson Darby.

Now bear in mind, there are two published versions of Miss MacDonald’s vision; both provided by her husband. [16] The second one was glommed onto by MacPherson because it was redacted slightly making it more palatable to MacPherson’s mythos. What follows, is excerpted from the first record of the alleged utterance.

“I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation. Now will the wicked one be revealed with all power…It will be a fiery trial…Nothing but what is of God will stand…I said, Now shall the awful sight of a false Christ be seen on this earth; and nothing but Christ in US can detect this awful attempt of the enemy to deceive…This is the trial through which those are to pass, who will be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man…The trial of the Church is from Antichrist … Oh be filled with the Spirit – have the light of God within you, that you may DETECT Satan…” This was the unedited first recording of Miss MacDonald’s vision published in 1840. Note that she warned the church about contending with Antichrist NOT escaping from him in a PreTrib rapture. What you may not know is her vision was a slightly redacted in another version [17]that appeared twenty-one years later. This redacted version is the one DM seized upon in order to arrive at his crafty conclusion. [18]

Let’s think logically here. If Darby stole an original idea from Margaret MacDonald or anyone else for that matter, why is everyone except MacPherson and his gang silent about it? No one – including himself, Robert Cameron [19] or Samuel Tregelles [A] (possibly the man Dave “borrowed” the germ for his idea from), nor any of their cronies – has ever provided a shred of credible proof demonstrating Darby or Scofield stole the rapture from under Miss MacDonald’s nose.

Now we see a problem. In order to sell his books, MacPherson must convince his customers – without substantive proof – he has new evidence Darby stole the PreTrib rapture from Miss MacDonald (who remained silent about it) – rather than getting it from the Bible three years earlier as Darby and extant records maintains. Therefore, since historical documentation won’t support MacPherson invented invectives, he simply plays Houdini by convincing his audience that he is right and the historical records are wrong.

But there are many inconvenient records disproving Dave’s allegations. Does he admit his cover up, or conceive of and carry out the character assassination of the main witnesses against him.

Being who he is, Dave opts for the latter option.

There is a frightening resemblance between Dave’s determination to hang a rapture origin cover up on Plymouth Brethren[20] scholar John Nelson Darby [21]  and Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria who bragged, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”.

Devoid of any compassion, conviction, or constraint, MacPherson’s wages all-out war on Darby  by framing him as a compromising theological thug who jettisoned his integrity to pilfer and plagiarize MacDonald’s demonic vision [22] – then share it with CI Scofield – another deceased nemesis he excoriates – to use in his reference Bible.[23] All of this rumored by MacPherson to be part of an arcane scheme Darby, Scofield[24] 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.

What you’ve read is what research reveals. It’s out there and you can find it very easily. Personally, by the time I got to this point in my investigation, I’d completely changed my mind about MacPherson’s credibility. The evidence speaks for itself that his work amounts to nothing more than unscrupulous historical revisionism; and I’m not alone in believing that.

Plymouth Brethren scholar Roy A. Huebner, another victim of the MacPherson hate syndicate, accused DM of what amounts to sloppy scholarship for “Using slander that J. N. Darby took the (truth of the) pretribulation rapture from those very opposing, demon-inspired utterances.”  Huebner proves that MacPherson essentially had confused the statements of a number of people in a rush to go to print without solid research confirmation (concluding) … 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. [25] (parenthesis added)

Evidence against MacPherson’s supposition is heavy. While you are certainly free to believe his unsubstantiated appeals, you are joining others who do so simply on the merits of MacPherson’s urging. Godly scholars from every rapture position have studied and refuted his rogue ruminations about Darby and MacDonald for instance simply by comparing actual history with the unsubstantiated claims he continues to retail.

Commenting on MacPherson’s unverified link between Darby and MacDonald or her charismatic connections, PreTrib opponent Ernest R. Sandeen declares, “This seems to be a groundless and pernicious charge. Neither Irving nor any member of the Albury group advocated any doctrine resembling the secret rapture. . . . Since the clear intention of this charge is to discredit the doctrine by attributing its origin to fanaticism rather than Scripture, there seems little ground for giving it any credence.”[26]

After years of research, PreTrib opponent 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.”[27]

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.”[28]

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. [29]

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.” [30]

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.”[31]

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). [32]

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[33],

“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.” [34]

The bottom line is that Dave MacPherson’s anti-PreTrib rapture enterprise comes from the pen of an angry man, blinded by rage, and incapable of fairness with facts inconvenient to his conclusions. The result is the shadowy sham he created, consisting of a bevy of books, teaching the same thing, yet all of them collectively proving nothing except there’s a market in the church for conspiracy theories delivered with high levels of emotion even though non evidential.

Consider with me this writer’s final observation:

“Macpherson’s thesis has been rejected by many competent scholars who are not pre-trib. Men like F.F. Bruce, John Bray, Timothy Weber, and others have found his conclusions untenable. MacPherson misleads his reader by mentioning F. F. Bruce as a good friend of his without letting the reader know that Bruce, a Brethren scholar who rejected pre-trib, totally discarded the rapture plot idea (p. 40). The fact of the matter is that the real test of whether the pre-trib rapture is correct doctrine is not its historical origin but its exegetical support from the Bible. MacPherson’s book provides no help in this area.”[35]

Men of God MacPherson Mocks and Maligns

In the final analysis, Dave MacPherson’s scholarship consists of nothing more than hate filled attacks from assumptions underwritten by a daisy chain of vastly unknown bibliographical references all underwriting him and his dubious sources. What’s equally troubling is his rowdy refusal to be civil by insisting everyone disagreeing with him is by default in league with Lucifer. Nastiness notwithstanding, here’s a small list of unimpeachable Biblical scholars MacPherson by default consigns to heresy if not 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. [36]

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

 

NOTES

[1] 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

[2] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, Chapter 10. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie

[3] Be sure to study Brethren scholar Timothy Stunt’s extensive expose on the underhanded tactics MacPherson employed to arrive at his conclusions: http://brethrenhistory.org/qwicsitePro/php/docsview.php?docid=415

[4] This brief bio is a response in kind to MacPherson’s relentless mean spirited attacks against good men and women simply for disagreeing with him.

[5] Source: http://our-hope.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ReviewMacPherson.pdf

[6] BTW, this isn’t this called LYING? Check the records yourself if you still refuse to believe me.

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

[8] DM claims to have had a jolting encounter with the Rapture in 1953. (Rapture Hoax p. 3)

[9] He learned this tactic from his father who was himself a recent convert to the Post Trib rapture ruse.

[10] My friend, if this doesn’t qualify for insanity, let’s at least call it “intellectual insolvency”.

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

[12] 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.

[13] 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.

[14] 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]

[15] Margaret MacDonald was born in 1815 in Port Glasgow, Scotland and died around 1840.[1] She lived with her two older brothers, James and George, both of whom ran a shipping business.[1] Beginning in 1826 and through 1829, a few preachers in Scotland emphasized that the world’s problems could only be addressed through an outbreak of supernatural gifts from the Holy Spirit.[2] In response, Isabella and Mary Campbell of the parish of Rosneath manifested charismatic experiences such as speaking in tongues. Around 1830, miraculous healings were reported through James Campbell, first of his sister Margaret MacDonald and then of Mary Campbell (through James’s letter to Mary).[3] Shortly thereafter, James and George MacDonald manifested the speaking and interpretations of tongues, and soon others followed suit in prayer meetings. These charismatic experiences garnered major national attention. Many came to see and investigate these events. Some, such as Edward Irving and Henry Drummond, regarded these events as genuine displays from the Holy Spirit. Others, including John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton, whom the Plymouth Brethren sent on their behalf to investigate, came to the conclusion that these displays were demonic. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_MacDonald_(visionary)

[16] “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]

[17] This editing was performed by her husband who wanted to give her credit for a PreTrib vision.

[18] The first account which was a full account of MacDonald’s utterance was published in 1840 in Robert Norton’s Memoirs (pp. 171–76). The second account appeared 1861 with some words removed in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets pp. 15–18. In order to further the anti-PreTrib rapture scheme, these two accounts were conflated by MacPherson in his book The Incredible Cover-up (p. 151–54)

making it appear to reach a conclusion context would not allow].

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_MacDonald_(visionary)

[19] American Robert Cameron in 1922 wrote a book against pretribulationism that centered his attack against the doctrine of imminence.[2] Early in his book he penned a chapter that ask: “Could Christ Have Come At Any Moment?”[3] Throughout Cameron’s lengthy chapter[4] be cites what he believes are items that would have to take place before any return by Christ, thus nullifying, in his mind, the any-moment doctrine of imminency as advocated by pretribulationists. Cameron believes that imminency “is opposed to the whole of the New Testament.”[5] Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/imminence-and-rapture-part-1

[20] 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.

[21] 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

[22] 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.

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

[24] 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

[25] Source: http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/mar2015/pastorbob329-2.htm

[26] Source: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1101&context=sor_fac_pubs

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

[28] 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

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

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

[31] 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.

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

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

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

[35] Analysis of The Rapture Plot: http://our-hope.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ReviewMacPherson.pdf

[36] 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.

Appendix [A]
Excursus on Tregelles

Tregelles (in 1864) made the claim that the pre-trib teaching arose from an utterance in Irving’s church:

“But when the theory of a secret coming of Christ was first brought forward (about the year 1832), it was adopted with eagerness…I am not aware that there was any definite teaching that there would be a secret rapture of the church at a secret coming, until this was given forth as an ‘utterance’ in Mr. Irving’s church, from what was there received as being the voice of the Spirit. But whether any one ever asserted such a thing or not, it was from that supposed revelation that the modern doctrine and the modern phraseology respecting it arose.” (Tregelles, “The Hope of Christ’s Second Coming,” 1864)

Tregelles does not document this “utterance.” G.H. Lang therefore writes:

“No evidence is available that any of the Powerscourt circle took the idea of a secret rapture from the Irvingite utterances, no evidence beyond Tregelles’s assertion, and for this he gives no proofs.” (“The Disciple,” 1954)

In “The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin,” (1973), Dave MacPherson does his best to make his own far-fetched idea “believable.” He attempts to link the origin of the pre-trib rapture view with a young lady named Margaret McDonald. However, he fails considerably in offering any evidence that this young lady influenced anyone on ANY Biblical subject (other than perhaps, whether or not Apostolic gifts were reviving). To start with, she was in Scotland (not England, where Irving’s church was located). As to M. McDonald’s particular “revelation,” she appears to teach that the “Spirit-filled” will be “kept” from deception in the MIDST of the Trib (i.e. the post-trib view)! She has the faithful (including herself) on earth when the Antichrist is revealed:

“I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation. Now will the wicked one be revealed with all power…It will be a fiery trial…Nothing but what is of God will stand…I said, Now shall the awful sight of a false Christ be seen on this earth; and nothing but Christ in US can DETECT this awful attempt of the enemy to deceive…This is the trial THROUGH which those are to pass, who will be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man…The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept. I frequently said, Oh be filled with the Spirit – have the light of God within you, that you may DETECT satan…” (emphasis mine)

It is obvious that by being “kept,” McDonald means Christians are kept from DECEPTION while the Antichrist is manifested!

McPherson erred by stumbling onto a book written by Robert Norton in 1861 which claimed that Margaret McDonald originated the pre-trib rapture view. The book was titled, “The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Catholic Apostolic Church” (i.e. Irving’s movement). In 1852, Norton wrote “Reasons for Believing the Lord has Restored to the Church Apostles and Prophets.” By 1861, the pre-trib rapture view was a well-established doctrine among premillennialists. Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that Norton (a member of the Catholic Apostolic Church) would greatly desire to argue that something “significant” originated from someone exercising a restored “Apostolic” gift? Notice his words in describing Margaret McDonald’s supposed “revelation” of the pre-trib rapture (i.e. two-stage coming):

“Marvelous light was shed upon Scripture, and especially upon the doctrine of the Second Advent BY THE REVIVED SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. In the following account by Miss M.M…we see first the distinction between the final stage of the Lord’s coming…and His prior appearing…” (emphasis mine; MacPherson, p.47)

Sadly, Norton (1807-1883) was simply a victim of his own wishful thinking. He read into M.M.’s “revelation” in order to argue that “marvelous light” (i.e. the pre-trib rapture teaching which was WIDESPREAD among prophecy students at the time) had come forth from his own restoration movement. Why would he need this type of prop? Because the majority of Christians at the time thought his movement was inspired by the Devil and that Norton himself was “fanatical”! How advantageous it would be to argue that the prized teaching in regard to the two stages of the Lord’s Coming was first manifested by someone with a supernatural gift. Yet, he failed in offering anything other than his own assertions to validate his claims. MacPherson repeated the mistake (for different reasons). –Pastor Joey Faust; Source: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Believer%27s%20Corner/Doctrines/rapture_history.htm

 

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.

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