(ANP: In the only video below, Pastor David Lankford recently joined The Hagmann Report to discuss the world's embrace of evil.)
As the earth turns in restlessness, volcanoes erupting, politicians rattling their swords, famine sticking its head above the horizon, sporadic shooting already increasing in contested areas, millions of Christians look to the sky and anticipate an appearance of Jesus coming in the clouds. They expect a “pre-trib” rapture to snatch them away at any moment. But it’s not to be. “Pre-Trib” is a heresy that was designed in hell to catch as many as possible unaware and unprepared for the great tribulation we all are about to endure.
Jesus will come in the clouds and He will collect His Church, just not when the sleepers expect Him.
From the late 1700s to around 1830 a major heresy was introduced into the western Christian Church. It came in slyly mostly through the mouth of a Scottish lass named Margaret MacDonald. Many say Edward Irving, a Charismatic minister and self styled “prophet” conducted the séance in which Miss MacDonald spoke and from her utterance began to develop a doctrine that would eventually become almost as important to its adherents as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the tortured dreams of one Scottish lass, the Church by and large has been sucked into believing the doctrines of demons.
It is known as the “Pre-Trib Rapture” of the Church.
Because literally millions of words have been written about the subject of this article we can only give the barest of outlines as to what has happened causing wholesale acceptance of a doctrine diametrically opposed to Scripture. Because of space limitations we are forced to attempt to condense those millions of words into a few short paragraphs of history.
Briefly then, in the late 1700s a teenage Baptist minister to be, and an ex Catholic priest both wrote of their dissatisfaction that the dominant (reformed) Church teachings of 1260 days of Revelation (11:2,3; 12:6) were actually years. The first was Morgan Edwards, the second Manuel de Lacunza with both sometimes being credited with early pre-tribulation thinking. The early 1800s brought Edward Irving, a charismatic Presbyterian minister from Scotland. Being impressed with Lacunza’s writings Irving translated his book into English. Then, apparently around 1825 Irving became acquainted with Miss MacDonald and attended prayer meetings and perhaps séances in her home. Out of that grew the teachings known today as “pre-trib raptureism,” where it is proposed that before the Great Tribulation believing Christians will be taken out of the world, straight to heaven, escaping the 70th week of Daniel when hell comes to earth.
Reportedly, Margaret went into a altered state of consciousness and began to speak, telling how the chaste virgins of Mt 25:1-11 would be raptured away prematurely while those not so holy would be left behind to suffer through the tribulation that was coming quickly. Lest there be any confusion, this writer believes in the rapture simply because it is taught in God’s Word. The problem however lies in the timing. Pre-trib is in plain opposition to the Word of God and is built upon “circumstantial evidence.” By reaching from one book of the Bible to another and taking verses out of context and then stringing them together, a hypothetical doctrine emerges out of Scripture that is actually speaking of entirely different things.
Let me briefly illustrate; 1Thess 4:15-17 speaks of the Lord descending and taking His people out of this world.
1Th 4:17 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.
There is no dispute about that event. When this occurs however, is not specified in the passage. From Thessalonians however the imagination of Margaret and those who embrace her ideas take over. By reaching into Revelation a verse is found in 3:10 which says,
Re 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
By pinning the second verse to the first, along with a few other cherry picked verses it is assumed and taught the Church will be kept from any part of the trouble to come. The problem is, there is no definition of, or the timing of “the hour of temptation” and therein lies the puzzle. By making the assumption the rapture occurs before the coming trouble, the sense of Scripture is twisted into saying something that is simply not there. When all else fails, read your Bible. Here’s what it says plainly,
2Th 2:1 ¶ 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.
With a straightforward, plain reading the inescapable conclusion therefore is that the day of the gathering (rapture) CANNOT OCCUR until (2:3) “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” which clearly places the rapture AFTER a falling away (wholesale apostasy) and the revealing of anti-Christ. The teaching is simple and plain and if wiggle room is found it has to be invented. Because anti-Christ will not be revealed until the midpoint of Daniel’s week (all agree on that), the rapture therefore has to come later.
There are those however who are so wedded to their Pre-Trib heresy they contort themselves like clowns attempting to explain away that plain and simple teaching. Dr. Tommy Ice (Pre-Trib Research Center) gets out his theological knife and starts dissecting the Word by arguing the phrase “falling away” translated from the Greek “apostasia” that means “defection from truth” is in his view “a physical departure from earth.” When retranslated from a spiritual falling away into a physical one, Ice then informs us 2 Thessalonians 2 now means the departure of physical bodies into heaven instead of the traditional meaning of apostasy of falling away from the faith. The only apparent falling away for an observer is Dr. Ice’s own.
What does all this have to do with current events?
There are literally millions of Christians sleeping in the pews totally unconcerned about the descent of the world into a blackness that will end with at least half (almost four billion) people perishing in the probable near future. They don’t have extra water or food on hand and when the crunch comes the present trouble in Venezuela will be looked back upon as a time of bountiful harvest. Famine is going to stalk our land, worldwide souls will die by the billions and our lazy and blind Christians will die right along with the rest. Never having a chance to help someone with food or water, a tract, a kind word or a simple explanation of the Gospel. When the lights go out, these blind Christians will be poking their dead cell phones and puzzling instead of getting about the business of helping their neighbors.
Satan has used Lacunza, Irving, C.I. Scofield, Tim LaHaye, Tommy Ice and thousands of lazy pastors who simply repeated what they had been told instead of searching Scripture to find out what the Bible really teaches. As a result, instead of an alert Church ready to help and witness through the coming night we will find them groping about in the dark, staggering from here to there in an attempt to save their own lives instead of being ready to help others.
The Church went blind and Lucifer danced.
Let it be noted for over 1700 years (70 AD to 1800) there was no such teaching as a pre-trib rapture. Only when Margaret stirred and spoke and only when preachers thought they had heard a new revelation did the pews start filling with Christians looking for an escape from prophesied trouble. Whenever someone had the temerity to question what was being taught the standard response was “Those verses are talking about the Jews which are separate from the church.” No, “those verses” are speaking of believers no matter what their origin. Please take a little time and study the following.
Matthew 24 says the rapture (24:29-31) comes after great tribulation (24:21). Mark 13:24-27 teaches plainly the same thing. Luke 21:23-27 also says there will be great trouble before redemption. Add 2nd Thess 2 (et al) and you have many STAND ALONE verses that plainly teach God’s people will have to undergo great tribulation and persecution before Jesus returns to gather them up. Pre-tib teaching attempts to link unrelated Scripture to build a case for an opposite conclusion.
It’s more than high time for dispensational and pre-trib doctrine to be carefully re-examined and to reject the teachings of self-styled prophets.
Here is a good place to start; “Great Tribulation” and the “Wrath of God” are two different phases of Daniel’s 70th Week. A probable timeline;
1. The first 3 ½ years of the Week are “The beginning of sorrows.”
2, Midpoint, anti-Christ is revealed and sets himself up to be worshipped.
3. Christians and Jews flee to the wilderness to avoid Great Tribulation.
4. Sometime (unknown when) during the 2nd half of the Week, Christ returns to earth and the rapture takes place with all believers (Christians and Jews converted to Christianity) will now be with the LORD forever more.
5. The remainder of the last ½ of the week, the WRATH OF GOD falls on unrepentant earth.
Many will find fault with the above and it probably is at fault, but we will soon know the truth of the matter because the days appear to be upon us.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ANP.
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