by Paul Benson
(I know I have recently touched upon the issues addressed in this article; but feel led to do so in a more thorough manner. So I ask my readers to please excuse any redundancy. P.B.)
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27
Of all the truths critical to the well-being of humanity we can say certainly the most vital center around the love of God for us, and his desire to rescue us from the consequence of sin through faith in his Son and the sacrifice of Calvary. And I hope that divine truth reigns supreme in your consciousness!
And there is definite reason that the Apostle Paul said ‘comfort one another with these words’ in regard to the resurrection of the dead and the future catching away of the believers. The reality of the resurrection unto eternal life is the hope of the believer. And we should all be firmly settled in that hope.
But as a watchman at the wall I feel divinely compelled to consistently raise warning concerning another vein of truth. And that is concerning the danger of people of faith being seduced away from Christ by the lure of deception. That there are those who can with great subtlety twist the truth into a lie. And they can make these lies sound so plausible and reasonable with their ‘great swelling words of vanity’ (2Peter 2:18) that it can corrupt your understanding of God’s ways to the point you lose your grip on the truth.
And this is one area where we had better ‘get it right’! God is a God of Truth. Lies and deceptions are a defilement and an abomination to him! Please read the opening verse again asking the question: What will be the fate of those who turn aside to lies, and defile others with those lies?
Scary business. The path to eternal life is truth. We must not depart from that path!
Let’s look at another one of those lying notions that is gaining popularity in the Western Church. The deceptive teaching that the apostasy spoken of in 2Thessalonians 2:3 is not a falling away from the faith but is a reference to (and proof of) a ‘pre-trib rapture’!
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Romans 1:25
In this passage from Romans Paul associates the changing of the truth of God into a lie with self-serving and self-worship rather than giving the Lord his due. As a long-time believer few things have become clearer to me than the tie of a genuine love for the truth to a genuine love for God; and, inversely so, the tie of a propensity to reject biblical truth (and turn to ear-tickling fables) to a love for self. From my booklet ‘Escape or Passover’:
QUOTE: There is a spiritual seduction that goes hand in hand with false teaching. You’ll always find a temptation to the flesh involved in accepting error. Somehow wrapped up in every false doctrine is a benefit to the flesh. Whether it be the exaltation of self, the promise of pleasure, escaping the call to crucifixion, the lure of personal prosperity, or simply an easier route to be had; somewhere in every false doctrine is an appeal to the carnal man.
Recognizing Satan’s tactics of offering benefit to non-subdued flesh or a carnal mind is key to living in victory over seducing spirits and doctrines of devils… …There is a delusion and a deception involved in false teaching that escapes the detection of the natural man, and has to be discerned spiritually. END QUOTE
Today I would like to discuss another falsehood that seems to be gaining somewhat of a foothold in the Church today. One that I believe epitomizes the deluding satanic influence at work in the promoting of the pre-trib hoax.
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. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2Thessalonians 2:1-3
Reading those words of the Apostle, and accepting what they plainly teach, we are given one of the clearest and most unambiguous prophetic statements of the entire Bible. That before the Coming of Christ, and our gathering together unto him, 2 things must transpire.
A falling away and the revelation of the Man of Sin!
Reading those words, and being impacted with what they unmistakably teach, was a big part of what kick-started my rejection of the pre-trib teaching.
Quite strangely, and absolutely indicative of satanic delusion at work, many are asking us to believe that Paul was not talking in 2Thess. 2:3 about a prophesied falling away from the truth (apostatizing) that would precede the Second Coming, but instead the supposed pre-trib rapture event!
Somehow, in their desperate attempt to turn a blind eye to what is stated in the passage, this ‘falling away’ now becomes ‘caught up to meet Christ’! In their deluded state they are seeing in the passage a physical departure of the Church rather than a departure from the truth that saves.
In my mind the fact delusions such as this are today sweeping the modern Church is proof that the day of that apostasy (prophesied to precede the return of Christ) is now upon us!
To show I am not just making much ado over a problem which is nonexistent I would like to draw attention to a video teaching of a man named Andy Woods. It is typical of a great deal of teaching from others also on this same subject. He devotes an entire hour to giving what he feels are ten solid points that should cause one to believe it was a pre-trib rapture spoken of in verse 3 of the chapter and NOT a coming apostasy.
Why do I feel this video is significant? Mainly because of who Mr. Woods is. This is not some wild-eyed conspiracy theorist living in his mothers basement posting his wacky ideas to the internet. This man is a well known and respected minister. He is president of Chafer Theological Seminary. He is also the senior pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church in Sugar Land, Texas, and spent the previous seven years teaching full-time at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston.
The man is completely convinced of what he is saying in this video, and a great many others are swallowing what he says hook, line, and sinker; but, as we shall see, a simple reading of the passage and a little common sense shows his whole presentation to be bogus. It is merely an exercise in the wisdom of man attempting to explain away the truth of God that he doesn’t want to hear! And the very fact so many well known preachers and teachers would spend the amount of time they do promoting notions so easily proven false is quite troubling to me. Why is this happening?
Why can they not see their obvious errors? DELUSION! The Western Church has fallen under such an increasingly evident delusion that weird and wacky notions have become the order of the day. They are everywhere you look or listen!
And as I said: I really believe it is a sign we are in the end-of-days!
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2Timothy 4:3-4
If you want to skip the video (it IS a bit excruciating to listen to such obvious error) and jump right to the evidence proving the falsity of such a claim please feel free to do so. But I wanted to illustrate the extreme lengths people are going to in order to turn their ears away from what is plainly stated in the Scriptures. And I wanted to present the matter in such a manner that if you know someone who has bought into that nonsense you could say: “Here – watch this seemingly convincing video; and then read these words that contrast it against what is really stated in the passage. Why are you buying into such dribble?” Please share this article with anyone you think may be benefited by it!
I know that some of my efforts may seem a bit redundant; or that at times I might seem to be overly emphasizing certain points. But for various people it takes various triggers to ‘get the light to come on’. And that is the reason I try to hit this issue of deception in the Church from so many different angles.
And it is truly rewarding when I hear testimony that others have found help in work such as mine. I recently received an e-mail from a minister who preached the pre-trib lie for 30 years but recently has seen the error of that theology! He is now refuting pre-trib theory from the pulpit! He wanted to thank me for my writings; and I am always thrilled to hear when others figure out that myth needs ‘left behind’ and then do so!
I would like to send you into the watching of this video with a helpful heads-up to some obvious deceptive practices at work. And if you are looking for them I am sure you will not miss them.
1. In his efforts to bolster his claim he repeatedly refers to other translations that render the words ‘a falling away’ (apostasy) instead as ‘departure’. He then preposterously claims THEY ALL were thinking like he does – that their usage of ‘departure’ in 2Thess. 2:3 is not speaking of a departure from the faith; but that they also were conveying the idea of a physical removal of the Church (ie. Rapture)! What nerve! Where does he get off making this presumptuous claim? And then repeating it over and over? Non of them placed rapture in the verse, merely departure (which is a fitting description of apsotasy)! Obvious fabrication of evidence at work here.
2. He continually states as fact various elements of pre-trib theory which have absolutely NO Bible behind them. For example: He without qualification states Paul had told the Thessalonians they would be raptured out of this world before the tribulation. Absolutely bogus! There is not one place in the Scriptures where Paul presents any such notion. In truth there could have been NO coming of Christ and NO catching-away as long as the Apostle Peter was still alive since Jesus prophesied Peter would die a martyr as an old man! The early believers knew this! Paul had to have known this fact! And if he didn’t the Lord Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) that gave Paul his doctrine sure did! Since Paul and Peter died at about the same time (around A.D. 67): the Coming of Christ for his Church was NOT EVEN A POSSIBILITY during the ministry of Paul. Or Jesus would have been a false prophet! Paul was not taught a ‘imminent return’ from the Lord; and he did not teach such a thing to others, nor include such a concept in his writings! Let’s get it right!
Here is that deceptive video:
If left unmolested, and taken for what it truly says, the passage in question absolutely destroys pre-trib theory! That is why it is so frequently attacked, maligned, and wrested by those promoting that fable. That entire video is an effort to steer you away from what is plainly stated in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2! He has changed the truth into a lie, and is luring his listeners into embracing his false teaching. His words are truly the great swelling words of vanity that both Peter and Jude used to describe the orations of the deceivers!
I do not know Andy Wood personally so I cannot comment on his character or his intentions. His intentions may very well be quite noble. (I personally believe most false teachers are well-intentioned! They are just passing along the deception by which they themselves have been deceived; and are thinking they are helping folks learn about God and his ways.) But I can say this: He is teaching things he ought not! He is teaching deception and, sadly, that makes him a deceiver.
Jesus taught that those who sit under folks out of sync with the truth end up twice as messed up as their teachers! (Matthew 23:15) People who listen to and receive religious instruction from these ‘learned ones’ that have lost the key of knowledge (Luke 11:52) go away confused about the Bible rather than instructed by it!
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1Corinthians 14:33
To call Mr. Wood a deceiver may seem like a harsh accusation; but how could you call the bottom-line of what he is saying anything other than deception and confusion? Let’s apply his ‘learned conclusions’ to the passage in question. If what he is saying about the ‘apostasy’ is correct then we must read Paul’s words in this manner:
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. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come
a falling away RAPTURE first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2Thessalonians 2:1-3
Now, I ask you, how much sense does it make to say ‘that day’ (the Coming of Christ and our gathering together unto him) cannot happen until after the rapture? Does that sound like a plausible exegesis of the passage to you? The rapture cannot happen until after the rapture happens?
NO! That’s complete foolishness!
But to the biblical illiterate a presentation like that one seems to make a great deal of sense. And he did have a lot of info that kind of seemed to back up what he was saying. But it was all smoke and mirrors. A distraction to get your eyes off what is truly being said in the passage. That is the Devil’s intent behind such wayward teaching as this. To fog up your comprehension of the Word and fill you with error.
Such teaching is dangerous; and it is satanic in origin.
The only people such preaching makes sense to are those who are feeding off the words of these deceivers rather than taking the time and effort to actually READ the Bible and accept the simply stated truths from which we are to receive our doctrinal beliefs.
What does it say about the current condition of the Western Church that so many are so open to anything that promotes the ear-tickling fable of a rapture before the coming time of persecution and chaos that they will accept such bizarre wresting of Scripture? Alterations that turn the Word of God into such nonsensical statements, like: ‘the rapture can’t happen until after the rapture happens’, are swallowed up like candy as long as they provide ANY alternative to the truths which are not palatable to a pampered, pompous, and back-slid generation!
This makes me afraid. Seriously afraid!
It makes me afraid for me – that I might speak things that are untrue and damaging to the Body of Christ. That’s why I am wary of teaching on things that lack a firm foundation of Scripture; and try to be careful to label all speculations as such.
It makes me afraid for you – that you might be seduced aside from the path of truth by smooth words and enticing notions. That’s why I harp on about basing your beliefs only upon what is clearly and plainly stated in the Bible; and recommend being very cautious over doctrine that relies heavily upon implicit reference (or extra-biblical sources).
It makes me afraid of the coming day – when we shall all stand and give an account of these things. And YES, that day and that accountability approach rapidly. Those who have no fear of that coming day have not a proper grasp on the Word of God!
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2Corinthians 5:10
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, Deuteronomy 10:12
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: Proverbs 1:29
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. Proverbs 3:17
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. Psalms 25:14
MORE FOOD4THOUGHT: It is also worthy of note that, in his effort to wrest the meaning of the words ‘a falling away’ in order to promote the pre-trib fable, Mr. Woods leaves unanswered the issue that the passage also states that before the coming of Christ and our gathering together unto him the man of sin must be revealed! Even if his mistaken notion about the words ‘a falling away’ was true (and it certainly is not) the passage STILL disproves a pre-trib rapture by stating Antichrist must come to power first! And if you read further in the chapter it states the glory and power of this Coming of Christ (and our gathering together unto him) destroys Antichrist! How could a pre-trib rapture destroy Antichrist at the end of his 3 ½ year reign of terror? It could not! That is why they must twist the verse’s meaning, introduce much other confusion into the chapter, and then steer you off elsewhere – before what the chapter REALLY SAYS sinks in to your understanding!
A Word To Mr. Woods
Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle. Psalms 109:29
Mr. Woods: Shame on you! Your treatment of the Holy Scriptures has turned the passage from Thessalonians into a nonsensical mess that obfuscates the truth that lays therein. Truth you stubbornly deny all the while thinking you are exercising scholarly prowess. How could you (or anyone else) honestly examine the passage in light of your ‘correction’ and possibly think it acceptable to state the coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto him cannot happen until after the ‘Rapture’? (Even if you try, as some do, to fall back on the idea the ‘day of Christ’ (v.2) is a lengthy period, and is not the day of the Second Coming/catching away from v.1 of the chapter, ‘that day’ (v.3) whatever length it is, has to BEGIN with the day of the Second Coming/catching away; and it MUST be preceded by the events described in verse 3. So you still have the same problem with your ‘correction’ of God’s Word.)
Has your scholarship hindered your ability of critical reasoning? Please keep your confusion to yourself! You are not benefiting anyone with your mistaken notions about a catching away of the Church before the coming persecution of Antichrist and his war on the Saints. Your modern pre-trib rapture theory is a lie and a provable hoax!
That error is damaging the Body of Christ, and will result in a crisis of faith for multitudes in the future time of chaos; and many will stumble and perish. There WILL be accountability! You have been deceived by seducing spirits and have embraced the doctrine of devils; and your teaching of such has made a deceiver out of you! I fear for your eternal state.
May the Lord grant us ALL a repentant heart unto the acknowledging of his divine truth! In Jesus name I pray.
NOTE: I sent Mr. Woods a link to this article.
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