If you like the “Left Behind” end times teachings, you may not like this post

Neil does an excellent job showing the pre-trib rapture to be false.

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10 thoughts on “If you like the “Left Behind” end times teachings, you may not like this post

  1. Julie

    Very interesting post and a subject that I tend to avoid, as I don’t fully discern/understand the rapture theology. I believe we need to be living our fullest and sold out for Him now and not expecting that we have a “get out of jail card, free” way out of the tough stuff that is to come worldwide. I look at those that are being martyred presently for their faith and wonder rather cynically, “where’s their rapture?” If the church is pulled from this world before or during the tribulation, Praise the Lord and if there is no “rapture”, Praise the Lord! It’s just not a subject I feel I can speak on knowledgeably and haven’t discerned a real need to know one way or another. My trust is in my King, Jesus Christ and He will provide all I need in due time. His grace is sufficient in all things, wonderfully.
    Blessings and I pray your world is looking up, Julie

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    1. Hi Julie,
      I think you have the right attitude about the rapture. It is that very attitude that lead many to start questioning the doctrine itself. Putting it this way: “How come 21st Century Americans get a pass on suffering and tribulation? What makes us so special that we don’t have to go through it, while those brothers and sisters in the LORD around the world ARE going through tribulation?”

      One of the reasons rapture theology sells so well is because it plays into the false belief that once we become Christians, suffering becomes a thing of the past. It’s just an extension of health and wealth prosperity gospel. You know as well as I do that the Bible never gives us those outs. We suffer because He suffered and we identify with Him in our sufferings. It’s part of being Christ-like.

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      1. phoebehb

        Pastor T., with all due respect–and you are due much respect– that last is NONSENSE!

        (1) How many generations of Western Christians have lived long, happy, fruitful, peaceful lives (at least since the Reformation took hold and Roger Williams’ revolutionary Freedom of Conscience precept took root in Western civilization) totally free of “suffering & tribulation” beyond the normal vexations of human life: gout/drought/flood/nagging wives/straying husbands/senile parents/rebellious teenagers/menopause/erectile dysfunction/chiggers/mosquitoes/the price of tomatoes? I can list for you (how many generations in the ~350 years since my first ancestor landed in Elizabeth City Colony, VA in 1674?), right up to my mother’s death in 2007 at age 96 and the 4-5 deaths of dear old church members whose funerals I’ve provided the music for in the last year. And you and everyone reading this can make a similar list. “How come they got a pass on suffering & tribulation”?

        (2) And the comparison to the “heath and wealth prosperity gospel” is a flat-out insult. To live in constant, every morning, any minute anticipation of Jesus’ coming for us – what He might find us thinking or doing – is the most powerful incentive to holy living there is. And the awareness of the horrors of that coming “hour of testing” when the unrestrained wrath of first Satan, then God, falls on the world – the awful thought that anyone we love might have to experience it – is the most powerful incentive to evangelism I know of.

        I don’t make an issue of whether the Tribulation is 3 1/2 or 7 years long, though the theory that (per Daniel 9) God will spend the last 7 years of this age on unfinished business with Israel makes sense to me. I just know that “the wrath of the Lamb” will never fall on His church. To quote a black preacher whose name I’ve forgotten: “Jesus is not a bride-beater”.

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  2. Phoebe,
    Really? Christians lived free from tribulation? When? How many lived free of tribulation during the Civil War, and out west, trying to settle in areas with Indians, and during World War 1 and World War 2? And did they live tribulation free during the depression? And what about the sicknesses as the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th Century? Did they skirt those tribulations too? Were they free of hard ache and trials, and illnesses and war and just the day to day toils of life?

    Please, take off your rose colored glasses. There is no golden era of Christianity, and hence, trials and tribulations during all of them.

    What we are saying is that we are in tribulations now, and Christians have been since Christ’s ascension and will be until His return. What you say is a rapture, is the Second Coming. We will all go through the Second Coming, but a rapture to get us out of The Tribulation? Again, a new doctrine on the scene. The church in every age has faced tribulations and in every age has believed in the imminent coming of our LORD. What you call a rapture is nothing more than false security for those who think we will avoid the great tribulation.

    Let’s play Pascal’s wager. If you are right and I am wrong, the voila! We get a free get out of tribulation card. But if I’m right and you are wrong, there are going to be a lot of people who lose their faith because they thought they had the card with them.

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  3. phoebehb

    P.S. (I’m steamed.)

    You write: ” It’s part of being Christ-like.”

    Are you suggesting that “21st Century Americans” who (seem likely to) live through the Tribulation will be thereby rendered more Christ-like than Spurgeon, Criswell, Machen, Torrey, Schaeffer, Whitefield, Moody, C.S. Lewis, George Mueller, Lottie Moon, Wm. Wilberforce, Roger Williams, Fanny Crosby, Hodding Spafford, my God-loving parents, my Uncle Bernard & Aunt Edith whose faith brought their little farm and their 6 devout Christian children through the Depression in the Oklahoma panhandle–the very heart of the Dustbowl, my blessed Grandmother Brooks and her 18 year old son – the baby of the family – whose personal effects (sent to her by the War Dept. after he, wading to shore wearing a big red cross vest & carrying a stretcher, was shot in the water the first morning of the Battle of Saipan) included a spiral notebook filled with his own several dozen poems thanking God for all His blessings & tender mercies?

    I don’t think so.

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    1. I think we are actually discussing the same issues. How Christ-like a person is, is between them and the LORD. What one has to go through and another doesn’t, is between them and the LORD. So you implying that some are more Christ-like than others simply because of the time in which they live, is off base. What I’m saying is that we all live through tribulation. The Bible has taught that and so does a proper view of the book of Revelation. Some will go through the actual Tribulation at the end of time. But all face tribulation.

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  4. Irv

    [Yo Timothy. Love your blog. Here’s what I saw on the web. Another great Google piece is titled “Pretrib Rapture Pride.”]

    FAMOUS RAPTURE WATCHERS !

    [See if you can determine the rapture views held by these famous Christians of the past. Also note how the greatest Greek experts of all time interpreted Rev. 3:10.]

    Barnabas (40-100): “The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) approaches…for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger….That the Black One [Antichrist] may find no means of entrance…” (Epistle of Barnabas, 4).
    Clement of Rome (40-100): “…the Scripture also bears witness, saying, ‘Speedily will He come, and will not tarry’; and, ‘The Lord shall suddenly come [Matthew 24:30 coming] to His temple, even the Holy One, for whom ye look'” (I Clement, 23).
    Hermas (40-140): “Those, therefore, who continue steadfast, and are put through the fire [of the Great Tribulation that is yet to come], will be purified by means of it….Wherefore cease not speaking these things into the ears of the saints…” (The Pastor of Hermas, Vision 4).
    Polycarp (70-167): “He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead” (Epistle to the Philippians, II).
    Justin Martyr (100-168): “The man of apostasy [Antichrist], who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians…” (Dialogue With Trypho, 110).
    Melito (100-170): “For with all his strength did the adversary assail us, even then giving a foretaste of his activity among us [during the Great Tribulation] which is to be without restraint…” (Discourse on the Resurrection, i, 8).
    Irenaeus (140-202): “And they [the ten kings who shall arise] shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight” (Against Heresies, V, 26).
    Tertullian (150-220): “The souls of the martyrs are taught to wait [Rev. 6]…that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God…” (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 25).
    Hippolytus (160-240): “…the one thousand two hundred and three score days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church, which flees from city to city, and seeks concealment in the wilderness among the mountains” (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 61).
    Cyprian (200-258): “The day of affliction has begun to hang over our heads, and the end of the world and the time of the Antichrist to draw near, so that we must all stand prepared for the battle…” (Epistle, 55, 1).
    Victorinus (240-303): “…the times of Antichrist, when all shall be injured” (Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John, VI, 5).
    Lactantius (240-330): “And power will be given him [Antichrist] to desolate the whole earth for forty-two months….When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes” (Divine Institutes, VII, 17).
    Athanasius (293-373): “…they have not spared Thy servants, but are preparing the way for Antichrist” (History of the Arians, VIII, 79).
    Ephraim the Syrian (306-373): “Nothing remains then, except that the coming of our enemy, Antichrist, appear…” (Sermo Asceticus, I).
    Pseudo-Ephraem (4th century?): “…there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one [Antichrist]…” (On the Last Times, the Antichrist etc., 2).
    Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386): “The Church declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive…it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself ready beforehand” (Catechetical Lectures, 15, 9).
    Jerome (340-420): “I told you that Christ would not come unless Antichrist had come before” (Epistle 21).
    Chrysostom (345-407): “…the time of Antichrist…will be a sign of the coming of Christ…” (Homilies on First Thessalonians, 9).
    Augustine (354-430): “But he who reads this passage [Daniel 12], even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church…” (The City of God, XX, 23).
    Venerable Bede (673-735): “[The Church’s triumph will] follow the reign of Antichrist” (The Explanation of the Apocalypse, II, 8).
    Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): “There remains only one thing—-that the demon of noonday [Antichrist] should appear, to seduce those who remain still in Christ…” (Sermons on the Song of Songs, 33, 16).
    Roger Bacon (1214-1274): “…because of future perils [for the Church] in the times of Antichrist…” (Opus Majus, II, p. 634).
    John Wycliffe (1320-1384): “Wherefore let us pray to God that he keep us in the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii” (Writings of the Reverend and Learned John Wickliff, D.D., p. 155).
    Martin Luther (1483-1546): “[The book of Revelation] is intended as a revelation of things that are to happen in the future, and especially of tribulations and disasters for the Church…” (Works of Martin Luther, VI, p. 481).
    William Tyndale (1492-1536): “…antichrist preacheth not Peter’s doctrine (which is Christ’s gospel)…he compelleth all men with violence of sword” (Greenslade’s The Work of William Tindale, p. 127).
    Menno Simons (1496-1561): “…He will appear as a triumphant prince and a victorious king to bring judgment. Then will those who persecute us look upon Him…” (Complete Writings…, p. 622).
    John Calvin (1509-1564): “…we ought to follow in our inquiries after Antichrist, especially where such pride proceeds to a public desolation of the church” (Institutes, Vol. 2, p. 411).
    John Knox (1515-1572): “…the great love of God towards his Church, whom he pleased to forewarn of dangers to come, so many years before they come to pass…to wit, The man of sin, The Antichrist, The Whore of Babylon” (The History of the Reformation…, I, p. 76).
    John Fox (1516-1587): “…that second beast prophesied to come in the later time of the Church…to disturb the whole Church of Christ…” (Acts and Monuments, I).
    Roger Williams (1603-1683): “Antichrist…hath his prisons, to keep Christ Jesus and his members fast…” (The Bloody Tenent, of Persecution, p. 153).
    John Bunyan (1628-1688): “He comes in flaming fire [as Judge] and…the trump of God sounds in the air, the dead to hear his voice…” (The Last Four Things: Of Judgment).
    Daniel Whitby (1638-1726): “…after the Fall of Antichrist, there shall be such a glorious State of the Church…so shall this be the Church of Martyrs, and of those who had not received the Mark of the Beast…” (A Paraphrase and Commentary, p. 696).
    Increase Mather (1639-1723): “That part of the world [Europe] was to be principally the Seat of the Church of Christ during the Reign of Antichrist” (Ichabod, p. 64).
    Matthew Henry (1662-1714): “Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation [Revelation 3:10]” (Commentary, VI, p. 1134).
    Cotton Mather (1663-1728): “…that New Jerusalem, whereto the Church is to be advanced, when the Mystical Babylon shall be fallen” (The Wonders of the Invisible World, p. 3).
    Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): “…continuance of Antichrist’s reign [when the Church is persecuted] did not commence before the year of Christ 479…” (A History of the Work of Redemption, p. 217).
    John Wesley (1703-1791): “‘The stars shall…fall from heaven,’ (Revelation, vi. 13)….And then shall be heard the universal shout…followed by the ‘voice of the archangel,’…’and the trumpet of God’…(I Thessalonians iv. 16).” (The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., Vol. V, p. 173).
    George Whitefield (1714-1770): “…’while the bridegroom tarried,’ in the space of time which passeth between our Lord’s ascension and his coming again to judgment…” (Gillies’ Memoirs of Rev. George Whitefield, p. 471).
    David Brainerd (1718-1747): “…and I could not but hope, that the time was at hand, when Babylon the great would fall and rise no more” (Memoirs…, p. 326).
    Morgan Edwards (1722-1795): “[Antichrist] has hitherto assumed no higher title than ‘the vicar general of Christ on earth’…” (Two Academical Exercises etc., p. 20).
    John Newton (1725-1807): “‘Fear not temptation’s fiery day, for I will be thy strength and stay. Thou hast my promise, hold it fast, the trying hour [Revelation 3:10] will soon be past'” (The Works of the Rev. John Newton, Vol. II, p. 152).
    Adam Clarke (1762-1832): “We which are alive, and remain…he [Paul] is speaking of the genuine Christians which shall be found on earth when Christ comes to judgment” (Commentary, Vol. VI, p. 550).
    Charles G. Finney (1792-1875): “Christ represents it as impossible to deceive the elect. Matt. 24:24. We have seen that the elect unto salvation includes all true christians.” (Lectures on Systematic Theology, p. 606).
    Charles Hodge (1797-1878): “…the fate of his Church here on earth…is the burden of the Apocalypse” (Systematic Theology, Vol. III, p. 827).
    Albert Barnes (1798-1870): “…he will keep them in the future trials that shall come upon the world [Revelation 3:10]” (Notes on the New Testament, p. 94).
    George Mueller (1805-1898): “The Scripture declares plainly that the Lord Jesus will not come until the Apostacy shall have taken place, and the man of sin…shall have been revealed…” (Mrs. Mueller’s Missionary Tours and Labours, p. 148).
    Benjamin W. Newton (1805-1898): “The Secret Rapture was bad enough, but this [John Darby’s equally novel idea that the book of Matthew is on ‘Jewish’ ground instead of ‘Church’ ground] was worse” (unpublished Fry MS. and F. Roy Coad’s Prophetic Developments, p. 29).
    R. C. Trench (1807-1886): “…the Philadelphian church…to be kept in temptation, not to be exempted from temptation…” (Seven Churches of Asia, pp. 183-184).
    Carl F. Keil (1807-1888): “…the persecution of the last enemy Antichrist against the church of the Lord…” (Biblical Commentary, Vol. XXXIV, p. 503).
    Henry Alford (1810-1871): “Christ is on His way to this earth [I Thessalonians 4:17]…” (The New Testament for English Readers, Vol. II, p. 491).
    John Lillie (1812-1867): “In his [Antichrist’s] days was to be the great—-the last—-tribulation of the Church” (Second Thessalonians, pp. 537-538).
    F. L. Godet (1812-1900): “The gathering of the elect [Matthew24:31]…is mentioned by St. Paul, 1 Thess. 4:16, 17, 2 Thess. 2:1…” (Commentary on Luke, p. 452).
    Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1842): “Christians must have ‘great tribulation’; but they come out of it” (Bonar’s Memoirs of McCheyne, p. 26).
    S. P. Tregelles (1813-1875): “The Scripture teaches the Church to wait for the manifestation of Christ. The secret theory bids us to expect a coming before any such manifestation” (The Hope of Christ’s Second Coming, p. 71).
    Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890): “…the approaching day is the day of Christ, who comes…for final judgment” (Commentary on Hebrews, Vol. II, p. 183).
    C. J. Ellicott (1819-1905): “[I Thessalonians 4:17] ‘to meet the Lord,’ as He is coming down to earth…” (Commentary on the Thessalonian Epistles, p. 66).
    Nathaniel West (1826-1906): “[The Pre-Trib Rapture] is built on a postulate, vicious in logic, violent in exegesis, contrary to experience, repudiated by the early Church, contradicted by the testimony of eighteen hundred years…and condemned by all the standard scholars of every age” (The Apostle Paul and the “Any Moment” Theory, p. 30).
    Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910): “He will keep us in the midst of, and also from, the hour of temptation [Revelation 3:10]” (The Epistles of John, Jude and the Book of Revelation, p. 266).
    J. H. Thayer (1828-1901): “To keep [Revelation 3:10]:…by guarding, to cause one to escape in safety out of” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 622).
    Adolph Saphir (1831-1891): “…the advent of the Messiah…to which both the believing synagogue and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ are looking…” (The Epistle to the Hebrews, Vol. I, p. 96).
    M. R. Vincent (1834-1922): “The preposition [‘from’] implies, not a keeping from temptation, but a keeping in temptation [Revelation 3:10]…” (Word Studies…, p. 466).
    William J. Erdman (1834-1923): “…by the ‘saints’ seen as future by Daniel and by John are meant ‘the Church’…” (Notes on the Book of Revelation, p. 47).
    H. Grattan Guinness (1835-1910): “…the Church is on earth during the action of the Apocalypse…” (The Approaching End of the Age, p. 136).
    H. B. Swete (1835-1917): “The promise [of Revelation 3:10], as Bede says, is ‘not indeed of your being immune from adversity, but of not being overcome by it'” (The Apocalypse of St. John, p. 56).
    William G. Moorehead (1836-1914): “…the last days of the Church’s deepest humiliation when Antichrist is practicing and prospering (Dan. viii:12)…” (Outline Studies in the New Testament, p. 123).
    A. H. Strong (1836-1921): “The final coming of Christ is referred to in: Mat. 24:30…[and] I Thess. 4:16…” (Systematic Theology, p. 567).
    Theodor Zahn (1838-1933): “…He will preserve…at the time of the great temptation [Revelation 3:10]…” (Zahn-Kommentar, I, p. 305).
    I. T. Beckwith (1843-1936): “The Philadelphians…are promised that they shall be carried in safety through the great trial [Revelation 3:10], they shall not fall” (The Apocalypse of John, p. 484).
    Robert Cameron (1845-1922): “The Coming for, and the Coming with, the saints, still persists, although it involves a manifest contradiction, viz., two Second Comings which is an absurdity” (Scriptural Truth About the Lord’s Return, p. 16).
    B. B. Warfield (1851-1921): “…He shall come again to judgment…to close the dispensation of grace…” (Biblical Doctrines, p. 639).
    David Baron (1855-1926): “(Tit. ii. 13), for then the hope as regards the church, and Israel, and the world, will be fully realised” (Visions of Zechariah, p. 323).
    Philip Mauro (1859-1952): “…’dispensational teaching’ is modernistic in the strictest sense…it first came into existence within the memory of persons now living…” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 8).
    A. T. Robertson (1863-1934): “In Rev. 3:10…we seem to have the picture of general temptation with the preservation of the saints” (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, p. 596).
    R. C. H. Lenski (1864-1936): “…it [Philadelphia] shall be kept untouched and unharmed by the impending dangers [Revelation 3:10]” (The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation, pp. 146-146).
    William E. Biederwolf (1867-1939): “Godet, like most pre-millennial expositors, makes no provision for any period between the Lord’s coming for His saints and His coming with them…” (The Second Coming Bible, p. 385).
    Alexander Reese (1881-1969): “…we quite deliberately reject the dispensational theories, propounded first about 1830…” (The Approaching Advent of Christ, p. 293).
    Norman S. MacPherson (1899-1980): “…the view that the Church will not pass into or through the Great Tribulation is based largely upon arbitrary interpretations of obscure passages” (Triumph Through Tribulation, p. 5).

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    1. Irv,
      Thanks for the contribution. A bit overload though. I don’t have time to read all of them, but do get the point and glad you posted it.
      Blessings

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