by Paul Benson
A while back a brother contacted me with an accusation I was misleading the Church with *my teachings on the Return of Christ; and he put forth an invitation to debate the matter. He asked me to submit my best arguments against the pre-trib doctrine. So I did.
*(My teachings on the Return of Christ center around an exhortation to search out and embrace what is clearly and plainly stated in the Scriptures on the subject; and to be very wary of presupposed and unsupported claims that have no foundation in the Word. Gee Whiz folks, sorry for misleading you with such rotten advice!)
Sadly, it turned out this brother was not open to pray over and consider what was presented him; and flatly refused to acknowledge any discrepancies between what he was saying and what the Scriptures plainly state. Like so many others, who derive a fleshly stimulation from heated debate, he was all talk and no listen.
Surprisingly this brother who wanted to debate (and who pridefully claimed he had never lost a debate on this issue) soon withdrew from the discussion stating there was no sense debating with someone so mixed up as I who was having so much problem accepting the ‘proofs’ he was giving.
But the problem I was having was that the proof he gave was all speculation and presupposed notions that had to be read into various Scriptures, and not things explicitly stated in the Bible. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel if we are going to claim ‘the Bible says’ this or that we ought to be able to show just where the Bible actually does say this or that. If it’s correct doctrine the Bible normally has much to say on it; particularly on matters crucial to our understanding.
But you cannot show solid scriptural validation for something the Bible does not actually teach!
The idea of a rapture before the time of great tribulation is an outright lie! A bold statement and quite offensive to many; but one borne out by solid evidence. Here are some of the strongest examples of that evidence:
Lack Of Biblical Mention
Any doctrine that does not have scriptural foundation for its various facets is NOT a ‘biblical’ teaching! In spite of claims to the contrary, the popular notions presented by the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine really have very sparse Bible behind them!
Why is this?
I have discussed before the importance of recognizing the difference between ‘explicit’ and ‘implicit’ doctrine. In the hopes that this will stick with some of you that have not yet caught that difference let’s look at it one more time.
Explicit doctrine is that which is expressly stated in the text of the Bible; and there is no problem grasping what is being said because it is clearly and plainly right before your eyes. And you can say ‘the Bible says’ because it really does say it in black and white. You can actually open your Bible and show exactly where that truth is expressed. Upon this standard rest the true doctrines of the Christian faith!
Nearly every pre-trib promoting theologian and teacher will readily admit that particular doctrine is not expressly stated in the Scriptures, but has to be derived by means of ‘implicit reference’. If you don’t believe me ask a few of them.
An implicit doctrine would be one whose support is garnered from the claim that certain texts seem to ‘imply’ that notion. Since this verse seems to imply this, and that passage seems to imply that, then we can now deduce that such and such is true.
Although the Scriptures are absolutely chock-full of implied truths, teaching doctrine by implicit reference is a very shaky practice in that there is great potential for people to see whatever they want to see and claim it as ‘bible proof’. They cannot show where the Bible plainly states what they are claiming it does (two coming of Christ in the end-times, a secret invisible coming, an imminent return, a ‘poof we are gone’ disappearance, and so on and so on); all they can do is point to passages that they think imply those things, and state that as proof.
Doctrine by implicit reference is an open door for private interpretation to run amok! And thus we end up with wayward teachings like Soul-Sleep, OSAS, Annihilation, Preterism, a Non-Divine Christ. Or the doctrine in question: the deceiving and damaging Pre-trib Rapture teaching.
(And yes, it is quite damaging!)
That being said, let’s look at the three main pillars of pre-trib theory: Imminence, Escape, and Election. Watch yourself now! Because if you examine these pillars too closely they will crumble right before your eyes; and I would hate to see you crushed by all that rubble!
The Ongoing Deception Of An Imminent Return
The Doctrine of Imminent Return is most vital to the pre-trib Rapture theory. But it is a provably false doctrine! And although this concept has been widely promoted (since its introduction into the Scofield Reference Bible many years ago), it is NOT the historical position of the Church no matter how many claim it to be so. The Church has always expected to face Antichrist prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
There are many prophetic fulfillments that had to have been (and still have to be) manifest before the return of our Lord. That fact clearly proves that the Apostles did not receive from God, nor teach their disciples, this notion of an ‘about to happen at any minute’ rapture. Why would they teach such a false thing? They (along with God himself) knew that, because of prophesy yet to be fulfilled, it was not a possibility in their lifetime! The Holy Spirit was NOT speaking ‘imminent return’ to them; and they were NOT speaking it to others!
That concept is of recent origin; and most certainly DID NOT come from the teachings of Paul, nor from the Scriptures he wrote! Anyone who attributes that doctrine to the Apostle Paul is lying to you! I explore this further in THIS ARTICLE that absolutely proves the Doctrine of Imminent Return to be false. As is the claim the Apostle Paul believed such a thing and taught it to his followers; a claim that is a provable lie, but is preached as though it were true each and every day! I like to point out that the very meaning of the word imminent forbids the doctrine of imminent return as taught by the pre-trib crowd.
An event is not imminent until immediately before it happens!
To claim an event is imminent years before it is to occur is to state a lie!
God is not the author of lies!
Common sense should dictate that something that has not yet occurred today could not have been ‘imminent’ centuries ago; and if it were not imminent then most assuredly the Holy Spirit would not have told folks it was! And if the Lord did not reveal an imminent return to the Apostles they did not teach it, or include it in their writing of Scripture. So then where did the notion come from?
Not from the Bible!
The doctrine of ‘Imminent Return’ is a lie; and those promoting it need to repent before God and stop deceiving others with that falsehood!
The False Claim The Great Tribulation Is The Wrath Of God
Another pillar of deception the Pre-trib theory firmly perches upon is the claim the Church must depart the world before the tribulation because it is the outpouring of God’s wrath (and since the Church is not appointed to wrath the Lord must remove the Church from Earth before that time).
But there are TWO bogus claims in play here. First that God has to remove his people from the planet to vent his wrath (doesn’t he provide the Jews with a refuge during this time? Wasn’t Lot safe in a little village smack dab in the midst of the ‘cities of the plain’ while they were destroyed by God’s wrath all around him?); and secondly the deceptive claim that the tribulation is even God’s wrath in the first place.
There is not one place in the Scriptures that portrays the final years before Christ’s Return as the wrath of God. Great cataclysms? Yes. Great wars, famines, plagues, and societal upheaval? Yes. One giant last call to repentance for mankind? YES! But the Scriptures clearly teach the wrath of God is administered by Jesus at his return. This is a consistent theme throughout the Bible! (For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity… Isaiah 26:21)
The notion that the time of tribulation is the wrath of God being poured out upon mankind is not in line with the Scriptures! And that nullifies any demand that the Church be removed before this period. And WHY would God remove his people just when they are needed the most? (Gee, let’s see here: I will bring great judgments upon the earth to bring a final call to repentance for mankind; but first I think I will remove the Church that carries the message of salvation they need to hear. GREAT PLAN!)
And finally: IF the great tribulation WAS the wrath of God then the Lord Jesus spoke false words in his end-time discourse when he said this tribulation (whatever it is) would be the worst expression of it that ever had been, or ever will be. Does your Bible read as follows? Mine doesn’t!
For then shall be
great tribulation God’s Wrath, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Matthew 24:21
To claim the tribulation is God’s wrath is just another provable falsehood! Could the events of the final 3½ years eclipse the wrath that once destroyed the entire planet and killed all but eight people? Could they eclipse the ‘bowls of wrath’ to be poured out by Jesus at the Second Coming after the tribulation? Or eclipse the eternal wrath yet to befall the wicked? Since I fully explained all of this in THIS ARTICLE it need not be repeated here. The claim that the tribulation is the wrath of God is totally unmerited, and should not be considered proper doctrine.
The claim is a lie; and those teaching this lie need to repent of the deception they are promoting!
The third pillar of deception holding up the pre-trib teaching is the twisted and unbiblical concept of election presented by Dispensational theory. The notion that the Gentile Church and the redeemed of Israel are two separate entities, and are dealt with by God in a separate manner in the end-time scenario, is fundamental to the pre-trib theory. In fact, without this separation of the two there is literally no grounds for that theory!
And, although it is quite easy to prove otherwise, they stubbornly teach that the promise of inheritance for the redeemed Jew is not the same promise of inheritance for the Church.
But the concept of election as taught by dispensationalism is easily proven contrary to the concept of election as taught by Scripture! It is not complicated if we would just believe what we read in the Scriptures and question what we are hearing from man!
To embrace the misconceptions on election presented by the pre-trib theory you must turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what is clearly stated in the Bible on this matter; for the Scriptures plainly teach believing Jews and believing Gentiles are both joined as one new man in Christ. That we (the Gentile Church) join the believing Jews in their promise of inheritance.
There is NO separation!
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: Ephesians 2:11-16
Believing Jew and believing Gentile are now joined in one body sharing one promise of inheritance. How much plainer could it get: That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Ephesians 3:6).
God did not give one promise of salvation and inheritance to the Jews and one to the Gentiles! The promise to both was made long before there was even such a thing as a Jewish nation! He gave us that promise in his dealings with Abraham. Please consider these relevant portions of the third chapter of Galatians:
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. … 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. …. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. … 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. … 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. … 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. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:7-29
The Lord made the promise to Abraham’s seed, not his seeds! God only has ONE elect people; and those people are joined together in Christ as one elect body. Period! This is totally contrary to what the pre-trib/dispensational crowd are trying to pawn off as a biblical teaching on election. They are teaching deception!
And though it may not be easy for you to grasp this; if their concept of election is bogus then their theory of a pre-trib escape goes right out the window! It is no longer a workable theory.
(Actually it never was!)
For an easy understanding of true biblical election using a simple illustration Paul gave in Romans 11 please see THIS ARTICLE.
Dispensational theology re-establishes the middle wall of partition between believing Jew and believing Gentile that was removed in Christ! Should we follow teaching that seeks to undo a major part of what was accomplished by the Cross of our Lord?
The concept of election that undergirds the pre-trib rapture theory is a lie! Those promoting that lie need to repent and stop deceiving others with that false teaching!
It is quite apparent to me that the strongest evidence against the pre-trib rapture doctrine can be found in scrutinizing these three unbiblical notions (Imminence, Escape, and Election) which are the very pillars of that doctrine. They just do not jive with the truth of God’s Word!
And as I have examined each of the other various facets of pre-trib theory I have found the same lack of biblical foundation. It really amazes me people could put so much confidence in a teaching so out of sync with the flow of truth we find in the Scriptures. It is a fearful thing to behold Christians embracing lies and calling them the truth!
Only a satanic delusion could keep people slumbering on in the grip of such unmistakable deception. But that delusion is quite real; and it is so strong it prevents those captivated by it from examining their beliefs, or even questioning the validity of them! So they remain asleep; comfortably oblivious to the obvious errors they would see…
…if they would but open their sleepy eyes and L
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: Isaiah 52:1
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14
WAKE UP SLEEPY CHURCH! YOU ARE BEING LIED TO!
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