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Friday, April 29, 2016

Baptist Press reports Pre-Trib Rapture unraveling among American Christians

Read the Baptist Press article below, then download the free PDF, Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture

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End times, rapture & Antichrist focus of new study

by Bob Smietana, posted Tuesday, April 26, 2016 (2 days ago)

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Most Protestant pastors believe Jesus will return in the future. But few agree about the details of the apocalypse, a new study shows.

A third of America's Protestant pastors expect Christians to be raptured -- or taken up in the sky to meet Jesus -- as the end times begin. About half think a false messiah known as the Antichrist will appear sometime in the future. A surprising number think the Antichrist has already been here or isn't on his way at all.

Those are among the findings of a new telephone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors and their views on end-times theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, sponsored by Charisma House Book Group.

End-times theology remains popular with churchgoers, says Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research. But it's not an easy topic to preach about.

"Most people want their pastor to preach about the Book of Revelation and the end of the world," he said. "But that's a complicated task. Pastors and the scholars they cite often disagree about how the end times will unfold."

No consensus about the rapture

Researchers found widely varying views about three aspects of end-times theology:

-- The timing of the rapture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and Matthew 24)

-- The nature of the Antichrist (found in 1 John and 2 John and other texts)

-- The millennial kingdom, when Jesus reigns for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-10)

Graphic by LifeWayResearch.com
About a third (36 percent) of Protestant senior pastors believe in the kind of pre-tribulation rapture familiar to pop culture. In that scenario, Christians disappear at the start of the apocalypse. Those left behind suffer great trouble or tribulation.

One in 4 pastors say the rapture is not literal. Nearly 1 in 5 thinks the rapture happens after the tribulation (18 percent). A few believe the rapture already happened (1 percent) or that it will occur during the tribulation (4 percent) or before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth (4 percent). Others don't agree with any of these views (8 percent) or aren't sure what will happen (4 percent).

Mainline Protestant pastors (36 percent) are more likely to say the rapture isn't literal. Pastors who hold this view include about half of Lutherans (60 percent), Methodists (48 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (49 percent). Few Baptist (6 percent) or Pentecostal pastors (less than 1 percent) hold that view.

Evangelicals overall (43 percent) are more likely to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.

Education and age also play a role in how pastors view the rapture. Pastors with a master's degree (33 percent) or a doctorate (29 percent) are more likely to say the rapture isn't literal than those with no degree (6 percent) or a bachelor's (16 percent).

Sixty percent of pastors with no college degree believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. By contrast, 26 percent of pastors with a master's hold that view.

Pastors under 45 are least likely to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture (28 percent), compared to their older cohorts. They're also most likely (23 percent) to believe in a post-tribulation rapture.

Most expect the Antichrist, disagree on timing

LifeWay Research also found diverse views about the Antichrist.

About half (49 percent) say the Antichrist is a figure who will arise in the future. Others say there is no individual Antichrist (12 percent); that, he is a personification of evil (14 percent) or an institution (7 percent). Six percent say the Antichrist has already been here.

Baptists (75 percent) and Pentecostals (83 percent) are most likely to see a future Antichrist. Lutherans (29 percent), Methodists (28 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (31 percent) are more likely to see the Antichrist as a personification of evil.

Education also played a role in how pastors see the Antichrist. Two-thirds of those with no college degree (68 percent) or a bachelor's (63 percent) believe in a future Antichrist figure. Fewer than half of those with a master's (39 percent) or a doctorate (49 percent) hold that view.

Premillennialism is commonplace

Pastors also disagree about the details of the millennial kingdom. About half (48 percent) believe in premillennialism, the view that the 1,000-year reign of Christ happens in the future. A third (31 percent) believe in amillennialism, the view that there's no 1,000-year reign -- instead Jesus already rules the hearts and minds of Christians.

One in 10 (11 percent) believe in postmillennialism -- the idea that the world will gradually become more Christian until Jesus returns.

Most pastors were split by denomination:

-- Baptists (75 percent) and Pentecostals (84 percent) are most likely to choose premillennialism.

-- Lutherans (71 percent) were most likely to choose amillennialism, followed by Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (52 percent) and Methodists (37 percent).

-- Methodists (27 percent) were more likely than other denominations to choose postmillennialism.

Education also played a role. Premillennialism is popular with those with no college (71 percent) or a bachelor's degree (63 percent).

Amillennialism is favored by those with a master's degree (41 percent). Billy Hallowell, author of the upcoming book "The Armageddon Code: One Journalist's Quest for End-Times Answers," said the research quantifies the prevalence of different end-times theories.

"I'm hoping the data opens a discussion about preachers' eschatological beliefs, why they hold those ideas, and how congregants and faith leaders can better understand the biblical texts," he said.

McConnell said it's not a bad thing that pastors disagree on the details of the apocalypse. Most agree on the main teachings about the second coming. The rest of the details, he noted, don't affect the day-to-day life of most Christians.

"The big picture of Revelation is clear -- Jesus returns, people must be ready, evil is defeated," he said. "With the rest of the details, there is room for disagreement."

Methodology: The phone survey of Protestant pastors was conducted Jan. 8-22, 2016. These questions were sponsored by Charisma House Book Group. The calling list was a random sample stratified by church size drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Each interview was conducted with the senior pastor, minister or priest of the church called. Responses were weighted by region to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,000 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.1 percent. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. The full survey report is available at LifeWayResearch.com.

LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based, evangelical research firm that specializes in surveys about faith in culture and matters that affect the church.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Guess Who's Coming with Jesus

Guess who's coming with Jesus. 

The Bible is clear about this point. Below is a section called, "Who Is Returning from Heaven with Jesus?" from my new book, "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture." 
Free PDF (reviews at Amazon, Goodreads, B&N appreciated) - http://comeoutofhermypeople.com/images/Why_Most_Christians_Believe_in_-_C.W._Steinle.pdf

Begin excerpt - [

Who Is Returning from Heaven with Jesus?

The Pre-tribulation Rapture doctrine teaches that "the Church" must already be in heaven (by way of the pre-trib rapture) prior to the Second Coming, so that they can return to the earth with Jesus. The Book of Jude is usually quoted because many English translations say that the Lord will come with His saints.
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints (hagiais myriasin), to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”” - Jude 14,15
The Greek word translated above for “saints” is the Greek word, hagias, which can be translated either as “holy ones,” or "saints." But "holy ones" can also refer to the holy angels. So how can we know whether the Church, or an army of angels, will accompany Jesus to earth?
Matthew 25:31 gives us clarification about the holy ones who are coming with Jesus. Christ Himself stated that these "holy ones" are holy angels.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels (hagiais oi aggelloi) with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.”
Verse 32 also places this Second Coming ahead of the same time of judgment described in Jude 15. “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” - Matthew 25:32
So Matthew’s description of Christ’s return identifies these "holy ones" as the holy angels. The holy angels will be returning with Jesus - not holy people.
But even if some people should be included with the army of angels that are coming with Jesus, these could be any of the millions of Christians who have died over the ages before Christ’s return; because, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
The Church has had nearly 2000 years to add souls to the spiritual realm. Based on a 70 year generation, 97% of all the "saints" who have lived up until now are already residing in heaven with Jesus. Therefore, there is no requirement that any of the people, who might possibly be coming with Jesus and the angels, should have ever experienced the rapture. The rapture is simply not necessary to get more Christians into heaven in advance of His second coming.
Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians contain the verses most often quoted as the basis for the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture. Amazingly though, the Thessalonians letters not only place the 1st Thessalonians Four rapture at Christ's second coming; but 2nd Thessalonians prepares the Church for persecutions and tribulations, and goes on to state expressly that "mighty angels", rather than saints, will be accompanying Christ back to earth.
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (angelon dynameos), in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” - 2nd Thessalonians 1:3-10] - end excerpt from Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture.



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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Memorandum To the Protestant Powers of the North of Europe and America

Memorandum To the Protestant Powers of the North of Europe and America

COLONIAL TIMES [Vol. 29] - Tuesday, February 23, 1841

- Transcription by C.W. Steinle, excerpt from "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture": http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ELQDL5E

[Memorandum,

To the Protestant Powers of the North of Europe and America, - Victoria by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Frederick, (William) III, King of Prussia; William (Frederick) (Frederich), King of the Netherlands; Charles (John) XIV, King of Sweden and Norway: Frederick VI., King of Denmark; Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover; William, King of Württemberg; the Sovereign Princes and Electors of Germany; the Cantons of the Swiss Confederation professing the Reformed Religion; and the States of North America, zealous for the glory of God; grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
High and Mighty Ones,
The Most High God, who reigns in the kingdoms of men (Dan. iv, 32), by whom kings reign and princes decree justice (Prov. viii. 15), having in these days granted a season of repose to his witnessing church (Acts ix. 31, Rev. xii. 16), planted in the lands whereof ye are kings and governors (Isaiah xlix. 23); the vine of his planting among the Gentiles (Acts xxviii. 28) hath extended her boughs unto the seas and her branches unto the rivers (Isaiah xlix. 6), that now in nearly all the world the gospel of the kingdom is being lifted up as a witness unto all nations (Matt. xxiv. 14), and in the isles afar off. The days are drawing near (Rev. xxiii. 20) when the dominion, and the glory, and the kingdom, with all people, nations and languages, shall serve Him who cometh in the clouds of heaven (Dan. vii. 14, Rev. i. 7), whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Psalm xlv. 6), Blessed be He! He hath given him waiting people to hear the sound of His approaching footstep, and to mark the signs of His drawing near (1 Thess. v. 4). The fig-tree putteth forth her leaves again (Matt. xxvi. 32). Israel's sons are asking the way to Zion, by which we know that the summer is at hand. Blessed are all they that wait (2 Thess. iii. 5). and hold fast (Rev. iii.11), for quickly He cometh. Amen.
In the prospect of the Christian church, of the speedy appearing of her glorified head, the zeal of the Lord's servants hath been stirred up (Rev. iii. 2), when the Son of God, as a man taking a journey into a far country, bade his servants occupy until he returned again (Luke xix. 13). With other responsibilities, the circumstances of one peculiar people, whom the Most High hath separated (Gen. iii, 7, Exod. xxxiv. 7), and which covenant no act of theirs, however iniquitous and rebellious, can repeal or destroy (Mal. iii. 6) whom He hath scattered in all lands as witnesses of His unity and power (Isa. xliii. 19) connected with whom the welfare of mankind is bound up, and in the lifting up of whose head the most stupendous consequences are made to depend (Rom. xi. 15) are presented at this eleventh hour for the repentance and faith of Christendom, that the blood of our brethren of the circumcision which has been unjustly shed may be atoned for in the blood of the Lamb (Matt. iii. 8) in presenting the children of this people continually at the throne of grace (1 Pet. ii. 5., Ps. cxxii. 6) for the atoning sacrifice of Christ to cover them (Joel. ii. 17); and as the Almighty, in His providential appointments, shall make the way plain to present the children of Israel who may be willing to go up (Ps. ?x. 3) as an offering to the Lord of Hosts in Mount Zion (Isa. xviii. 7.)
For 300 years the testimony of the churches, planted in the lands over which Almighty God hath made you rulers, hath been lifted up against that apostasy which usurped the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth (Rev. xvii. 5, and Rev. xviii. 5) daring presumptuously to assert power over nations (Rev. xviii. 7) and over kingdoms, to root up and to pull down, to build, to plant, and to destroy (Dan. vii. 20, Rev. xiii. 2,7). The millstone which shall sink the Great Babylon in the abyss of an unfathomable perdition (Rev. xviii. 21) when her hour arrives (and it is very near!), with the judgment under which she hath long lain, for being drunken with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus (Rev. xvii., 6) shall include the avenging of the wrongs of God's ancient people (Isa. li. 22, 23) and a terrible account it is; and the issue shall be joy and gladness to the whole earth, for it is written, "Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He avengeth the blood of His servant, and shall render vengeance unto His adversaries, and will be merciful to His land, and His people." (Deut. xxxii. 43). "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help and the sword of thy excellence; and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread on their high places." (Deut. xxxiii. 29.)
In the events on which the eyes of nations are fixed, taking place around, whilst the continuance and stability of your thrones and sway, O kings, is the earnest prayer of the Christian church (1 Tim. ii. 2) she cannot but uphold the witness that the days draw nigh, when, under the hallowed sway of Messiah the Prince, the now despised nation of the Jews shall possess the kingdom (Dan. vii. 27) and she directs, with reverential awe, your eye to that mighty empire in the east which is crumbling to the dust , and drying up in all her streams (Rev. xvi. 12) to make way for the event. Palestine hath been a burdensome stone (Zech. xii. 2) unto the followers of the false Prophet (Rev. xvi. 13) as it was to the ancestors of many of you, O Princes, when, under the banners of the Popish Antichrist, their mistaken zeal sought to recover the Holy City from the Saracen's grasp. But the fullness of the Gentiles is at hand (Rom. xi. 21) and unto Isael the dominion shall return. (Micah iv. 8.)
The apostate Julian sought to plant the children of this people in the seats of their fathers, in despite of that holy faith, one of the external evidences of whose truth was, that their house was left unto them desolate, until they should say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. xxiii., 38,39). But is it anywhere declared in the word of our God, that the children of Israel, scattered and pealed, humbled, and dispirited, impoverished and broken down, should not be presented as an offering in faith to Jehovah of Hosts in Mount Zion, that there their fathers (Isaiah xxv. 7) which is over their hearts (2 Cor. lii. 15) that there they may look on Him whom they have pierced? (Zech. xii. 10). Your attention, high and mighty ones, is directed to the recorded fact that such an offering is expected. And before that full and final gathering which follows the judgments poured out on all the earth (Isaiah lxiii. 15,16,20) a power, and that power a northern one, (Jer. iii. 12, xxxi.,6,9, xxiii., 7,8 - Isaiah xliii.,6, xlix., 12) shall be employed to lead a people wonderful from her beginning hitherto - a nation expecting and trampled under foot - where land rivers have spoiled, unto the name of the Lord of Hosts in Mount Zion. (Isaiah xviii). These designs and purposes of the Lord God of Israel, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, are declared unto you, high and mighty ones, His servants (Dan. v. 23) that you may ponder them, and know His will, from the voice with which His is about to speak unto nations and unto men (Haggai ii, 6 - Isaiah 10) for the time is at hand (Rev. i. 7.)
Your wisdom hath been exercised to mark the boundaries of kingdoms, and to define the limits of empires; and has not the aggressor overleaped all barriers, and the strength of treaties snapped asunder as [low]? And why? Because when the Almighty awarded to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to number of the children of Israel (Deut. xxxii. 7,8). By an un-repealed covenant, the Lord Gad declared unto Abraham, concerning the land of Palestine, "Unto they seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. xv. 18). This gift was ratified unto him for an everlasting possession, and to his seed after him, when the Almighty gave him His covenant, and changed his name to Abraham (Gen. xvii. 4,8). For the purposes of infinite wisdom fast hastening to maturity, the Lord God hath scattered His inheritance to the four winds of heaven. But hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off. He that scatted Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock (Jer. xxxi. 10).
As the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, was stirred up to build the Lord's Temple, which was in Jerusalem (1 Chron. xxxvi. 22,23), who is there among you, high and mighty ones of all the nations, to fulfill the good pleasure of the holy sill of the Lord of Heaven, saying to Jerusalem, " Thou shalt be built," and to the temple "Thy foundations shall be laid?" (Isaiah xliv. 28). The Lord God of Israel be with such. Great grace, mercy, and peace shall descend upon the people who offer themselves willingly; and the free offerings of their hearts and hands shall be those of a sweet-smelling savour unto Him who hath said, "I will bless them that bless thee (Gen. xii. 3), and contend with him who contendeth with thee" (Isa. xlix. 25).
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
Signed and sealed in London, 8th of January, in the year of our Lord 1839, in the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, on behalf of many who wait for the redemption of Israel.
(Copy 1.)
London, January 22, 1890.
May it please your Majesty, - I have the high honor of laying at your Majesty's feet the accompanying memorandum relating to the present condition and future prospects of God's ancient people, the Jews. Your Majesty's pious feelings, I doubt not, will be excited to give the Scriptural hopes and expectations therein set forth you earnest attention, considering the high station which it hath pleased Almighty God to call this Protestant land to, as the great seat of the church.
According to the petitions of this peculiar people at the throne of grace, that in your Majesty's reign, "Judah may be saved and Israel dwell safely," is the prayer of your Majesty's dutiful subject and servant.
Her most Gracious Majesty Victoria,
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.
(Copy 2.)
My Lord, - I have the honor of transmitting through your Lordship a document which it is the desire of some of Her Majesty's subjects should be laid at Her Majesty's feet, relation to the Scriptural expectations of the church connected with the restoration of the Jews to Palestine, the land of their fathers.
I am induced to solicit you Lordship's good offices as being the medium of communicating this document to Her Majesty, as the substance of it relates to the present rights of an ally of this county - namely, the Sublime Porte.
But I would respectfully press upon your Lordship's attention, that, in holding forth the Scriptural hopes of God's ancient people, those who emanate the accompanying document, never for one moment dream of political force to accomplish the end desired. When the hour comes of Israel's planting it, doubtless Almighty God will not fail to raise up chosen instruments, who, with willing hands and hearts, shall accomplish the good pleasure of His will.
If we are wrong in the course we have taken to bring this memorandum before Her Majesty, we sill be happy to be set right. Should you Lordship undertake the duty, desiring the glory of God in this matter to be furthered, the Lord God of Israel will not be slack to reward the labour of faith and love proceeding form a desire to honour His name.
I have the honour to be, &c.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Viscount Palmerston.
LORD PALMERSTON'S ANSWER.
(Copy, No. 3.)
Foreign-office, March 14, 1839.
I have to acknowledge you letter of the 13th of January, enclosing a letter and memorandum from some of Her Majesty's subjects, who feel deeply interested in the welfare and future prospects of the Jews, and I have to acquaint you, that I have laid those documents before the Queen, and that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to receive the same.
I am, &c. PALMERSTON.
(Copy, No. 4.)
London, January 22, 1839.
[Forwarded from the Hague.]
Sirs, - At a season at which your Majesty is called upon to assume a defensive attitude against the encroachments of that system of apostasy which has proved itself hitherto the most determined enemy to the church of our Lord Jesus Christ - having gathered fresh strength from its repose, and audacity from the lawlessness of the age in which we live - it is a privilege, as it is my humble duty, to lay at your Majesty's feet the accompanying document, which testifies of the approach of Him, who, with the Spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming, shall overthrow the Man of Sin, and bring to an issue the assumption of the church and Court of Rome.
May the Lord God of Heaven strengthen you Majesty's hands, may His wisdom and grace richly endow you in the present struggle, and may your Royal house and line be found amongst the number of those who are faithful unto the end, that a crown of life may be your and their joyful exchange for the anxieties and cares which encircle royalty, in the personal absence of Him upon whose lips grace and truth are poured, and whom the Lord God Almighty hath highly exalted, giving Him a name that is above every name - the Prince of the Kings of the Earth.
Sirs, with the deepest respect, believe me you Majesty's dutiful and obedient humble servant.
His Majesty Frederick William, King of Prussia.
The Answer.
(Copy, No. 5.)
La Haye, le 13 Mai, 1939
Monsieur, - Le Roi, mon . . .
. . . Le Charge d'Affaires de Prusse,
CONTE DE WESTPHALEN.
Monsieur -------, Londre.
Letters of similar tenour follow, addressed to the Kings of Sweden, Hanover, Denmark, the Netherlands, Wertemberg, and the President of the United States, to which no answers are appended.
----------
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - Every right-minded person must feel gratified at the general expression of interest in the Jewish nation which as been elicited by the recent sufferings of their brethren at Damascus. It is to be hoped that the public feeling will not be allowed to evaporate in the mere expression of sympathy, but that some effectual measures may be adopted to prevent a recurrence of these atrocities, not merely in our own times, but in generations yet to come. We must not forget, when giving utterance to our indignation at the late transactions in the east, that but few centuries have passed since our country was the scene of similar enormities on a far larger scale. What reader of English history does not recall with shame and sorrow the wholesale tortures, executions, and massacres of the Jews who had sought shelter here, or who can estimate the amount of property seized and confiscated, or the number of hearts wrung by the endless repetition of cruelty and injustice? I in England they have till lately been thus treated, how can they look for more security elsewhere? Instead of wondering that they should become sordid and debased, the only cause for surprise is that any should rise to intelligence and respectability. Subject to the caprice and cruelty of any nation among whom they may dwell, fleeing from persecutions of one only to meet with like treatment from another, having no city of refuge where they can be in safeguard, on single spot to call their own, they are in a more pitiable condition than the Indian of the forest, or the Arab of the desert.
"The wild bird hath her nest, the fox his cave,
Mankind their country, Israel but the grave."
Is this state of things always to continue? They think not. Though many hundreds of ears of hope deferred might have been enough to quench the anticipations of most sanguine, they still hope on, and turn with constant and earnest longing to the land of their forefathers. Their little children are taught to expect that they shall one day see Jerusalem. They purchase no landed property and hold themselves in readiness at a few hours notice to revisit what they and we tacitly agree to call "their own land." It is theirs by a right which no other nation can boast, for God gave it to them, and though dispossessed of it for so may ages, it is still but partially people, and held with a loose hand and a disputed title by a hostile power, as if in readiness for their return.
There are political reasons arising from the present aspect of affairs in Russia, Turkey, and Egypt, which would make it to the interest not only of England but of other European nations, either by purchase or by treaty, to procure the restoration of Judea to its rightful claimants. About a year since, I heard it said by a German Jew, that a proposal had some time before been made by our (then) Government to the late Baron Rothschild, that he should enter into a negotiation for this purpose, and that he declined, assigning as a reason, "Judea is our own; we will not buy it, we wait till God shall restore it to us." The desirableness as well as the possibility of such a step seems daily to become more evident, but England has lately proved that she needs no selfish motives to induce her to discharge a debt of national honouor and justice, or to perform an act of pure benevolence. The one now suggested would not, judging from appearances, cost 20,000,000 of money, or be unaccomplished after 50 years of exertion, or be so vast and so laborious an undertaking as the extinction of slavery throughout the world. It would be a noble thing for a Christian nation to restore these wanderers to their homes again. It would be a crowning point in the glory of England to bring about such an event. The special blessings promised in the Scriptures to those who befriend the Jews would rest upon her, and her sons and daughters would sit down with purer enjoyment to their domestic comforts when they thought that the persecuted outcasts of so many ages had, through their agency, been replaced in homes as happy and secure as theirs.
Hoping that some master mind may be led to take up this subject in all its bearings, and to form some tangible plan for its accomplishment, and that some Wilberforce my be raised up to plead for it by all the powerful and heart-stirring arguments of which it is capable,
I am, Sir, your obedient servant.
AN ENGLISH CHRISTIAN.] - end transcription, end excerpt from "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture" - by C.W. CW Steinle

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Does the Bible promise a Great Escape from the Great Tribulation?

Learn why most Christians place the rapture at Christ's Second Coming. 

C.W. Steinle examines the verses and arguments commonly used by pre-trib proponents, revealing their true and obvious meaning.
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Destined to become a classic reference for establishing the Bible's timing of the rapture.

Honest book reviews will be appreciated at Goodreads, Amazon, and Smashwords.

Mobi format available at Amazon Kindle for the introductory price of $0.99: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ELQDL5E
No stone is left un-turned.  A comprehensive investigation of the Scriptures and theological arguments most often used to defend the pre-trib position.  (see the expansive Table of Contents below)

Excerpt:[ Zionism and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The advancement of the pre-tribulation rapture theory over the last century has become so successful among Western Protestants that the younger members of these churches are often unaware of its novelty.  I too was taught, and taught others, that the Church would be removed from the earth before the opening of Revelation's Seven Seals.  But as I studied my Bible, I began to find that some scriptures spoke differently than I had been taught.  I realized that I would not have come to the pre-trib conclusion by reading the Bible on my own.  That's when I began to research the history of the pre-tribulation rapture teaching.  I was disappointed to learn that 99% of the Christians who have lived and died over the last 2,000 years had never considered a pre-tribulation rapture.  And, that the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Reformed churches (the vast majority of today's Christians) don't believe it either.  The majority is not always right.  Nevertheless, Christians who hold to the pre-tribulation rapture theory should be willing to consider why most Christians remain unconvinced of the pre-tribulation rapture teaching.

Christians who have studied Church History acknowledge that the pre-trib teaching was not a popularly held doctrine in any denomination before the nineteenth century.  Pre-tribulation proponents who are aware of this fact usually propose that the theory has risen to acceptance by a move of the Spirit, in order to minister to the Church in the last days.  However, the Zionist movement, especially in the British Isles, preceded the acceptance of the pre-tribulation rapture theory.

Shortly after the Reformation, Protestant Christians embraced the notion that the Second Coming of Christ could be ushered in by the conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith.  This movement for the conversion of the Jews was based on The Restoration spoken of by St. Peter in Acts 3:19-21; "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."

The logic behind the Restoration Movement was that Jesus would remain seated at the right hand of the Father "until the times of restoration of all things," and then He would return to the earth.  They also believed that if they could persuade the Jews to return to the Holy Land, the Spirit of God would surely fall on them; and, consequently, they would "look upon Him whom they pierced" unto repentance and place faith in Jesus their Messiah.  Thus, the Restorationists drew a connection between the salvation of the Jews and the "restoration of all things."  I believe it was this distinction between the conversion of the Gentiles and the conversion of the Jews that started theologians thinking about the dispensational approach to theology.

Before this time, the Church at-large, had merely considered the Jews to be independent  from the Christian faith because of their blindness toward Jesus, their Messiah.  But in the early nineteenth century, the possibility of a national Israel shifted the focus away from the individual conversion of the Jews.  We will see this more clearly in the next chapter.  There we will review C.H. Spurgeon's reaction to the theology of John Nelson Darby.  An in-depth analysis of national Israel, as well as, a closer look at the time of restoration will be presented in subsequent chapters of this book.

Contrary to popular conspiracy theories, the Zionist Movement was facilitated more by the Restoration Christians than by the Rothschilds, or other Jewish organizations.  By 1809, the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews was established and even set up a ministry in Jerusalem.  A similar society was established by the churches in Scotland, which sponsored an expedition to inquire of the condition of the Palestinian Jews, and their readiness to receive the gospel.  There they found a few thousand Jews who had mostly struggled in poverty under the rule of the Ottomans (and  later the Egyptians).  Some had lived in the Land for several generations, but many had gone in their old age to die and be buried in their sacred soil.

Upon returning from Palestine, the Scottish explorers, led by the Reverends Robert McCheyne and Andrew Bonar, published their findings in the Narrative of a Visit to the Holy Land and Mission of Inquiry to the Jews.  Shortly after the Scottish expedition, the Zionist Movement in England, led by Anthony Ashley-Cooper (7th Earl of Shaftesbury) became so influential that the following article was published in-full on the front page of the Colonial Times.
Begin transcription- [COLONIAL TIMES
[Vol. 29]
Tuesday, February 23, 1841
Memorandum,
To the Protestant Powers of the North of Europe and America, - Victoria by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Frederick, (William) III, King of Prussia; William (Frederick) (Frederich), King of the Netherlands; Charles (John) XIV, King of Sweden and Norway: Frederick VI., King of Denmark; Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover;  William, King of Württemberg; the Sovereign Princes and Electors of Germany; the Cantons of the Swiss Confederation professing the Reformed Religion; and the States of North America, zealous for the glory of God; grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
            High and Mighty Ones,
The Most High God, who reigns in the kingdoms of men (Dan. iv, 32), by whom kings reign and princes decree justice (Prov. viii. 15), having in these days granted a season of repose to his witnessing church (Acts ix. 31, Rev. xii. 16), planted in the lands whereof ye are kings and governors (Isaiah xlix. 23); the vine of his planting among the Gentiles (Acts xxviii. 28) hath extended her boughs unto the seas and her branches unto the rivers (Isaiah xlix. 6), that now in nearly all the world the gospel of the kingdom is being lifted up as a witness unto all nations (Matt. xxiv. 14), and in the isles afar off.  The days are drawing near (Rev. xxiii. 20) when the dominion, and the glory, and the kingdom, with all people, nations and languages, shall serve Him who cometh in the clouds of heaven (Dan. vii. 14, Rev. i. 7), whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Psalm xlv. 6), Blessed be He! He hath given him waiting people to hear the sound of His approaching footstep, and to mark the signs of His drawing near (1 Thess. v. 4). The fig-tree putteth forth her leaves again (Matt. xxvi. 32).  Israel's sons are asking the way to Zion, by which we know that the summer is at hand.  Blessed are all they that wait (2 Thess. iii. 5). and hold fast (Rev. iii.11), for quickly He cometh.  Amen.
            In the prospect of the Christian church, of the speedy appearing of her glorified head, the zeal of the Lord's servants hath been stirred up (Rev. iii. 2), when the Son of God, as a man taking a journey into a far country, bade his servants occupy until he returned again (Luke xix. 13).  With other responsibilities, the circumstances of one peculiar people, whom the Most High hath separated (Gen. iii, 7, Exod. xxxiv. 7), and which covenant no act of theirs, however iniquitous and rebellious, can repeal or destroy (Mal. iii. 6) whom He hath scattered in all lands as witnesses of His unity and power (Isa. xliii. 19) connected with whom the welfare of mankind is bound up, and in the lifting up of whose head the most stupendous consequences are made to depend (Rom. xi. 15) are presented at this eleventh hour for the repentance and faith of Christendom, that the blood of our brethren of the circumcision which has been unjustly shed may be atoned for in the blood of the Lamb (Matt. iii. 8) in presenting the children of this people continually at the throne of grace (1 Pet. ii. 5., Ps. cxxii. 6) for the atoning sacrifice of Christ to cover them (Joel. ii. 17); and as the Almighty, in His providential appointments, shall make the way plain to present the children of Israel who may be willing to go up (Ps. ?x. 3) as an offering to the Lord of Hosts in Mount Zion (Isa. xviii. 7.)
            For 300 years the testimony of the churches, planted in the lands over which Almighty God hath made you rulers, hath been lifted up against that apostasy which usurped the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth (Rev. xvii. 5, and Rev. xviii. 5) daring presumptuously to assert power over nations (Rev. xviii. 7) and over kingdoms, to root up and to pull down, to build, to plant, and to destroy (Dan. vii. 20, Rev. xiii. 2,7).  The millstone which shall sink the Great Babylon in the abyss of an unfathomable perdition (Rev. xviii. 21) when her hour arrives (and it is very near!), with the judgment under which she hath long lain, for being drunken with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus (Rev. xvii., 6) shall include the avenging of the wrongs of God's ancient people (Isa. li. 22, 23) and a terrible account it is; and the issue shall be joy and gladness to the whole earth, for it is written, "Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He avengeth the blood of His servant, and shall render vengeance unto His adversaries, and will be merciful to His land, and His people." (Deut. xxxii. 43).  "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help and the sword of thy excellence; and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread on their high places." (Deut. xxxiii. 29.)
            In the events on which the eyes of nations are fixed, taking place around, whilst the continuance and stability of your thrones and sway, O kings, is the earnest prayer of the Christian church (1 Tim. ii. 2) she cannot but uphold the witness that the days draw nigh, when, under the hallowed sway of Messiah the Prince, the now despised nation of the Jews shall possess the kingdom (Dan. vii. 27) and she directs, with reverential awe, your eye to that mighty empire in the east which is crumbling to the dust , and drying up in all her streams (Rev. xvi. 12) to make way for the event.  Palestine hath been a burdensome stone (Zech. xii. 2) unto the followers of the false Prophet (Rev. xvi. 13) as it was to the ancestors of many of you, O Princes, when, under the banners of the Popish Antichrist, their mistaken zeal sought to recover the Holy City from the Saracen's grasp.  But the fullness of the Gentiles is at hand (Rom. xi. 21) and unto Isael the dominion shall return. (Micah iv. 8.)
            The apostate Julian sought to plant the children of this people in the seats of their fathers, in despite of that holy faith, one of the external evidences of whose truth was, that their house was left unto them desolate, until they should say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. xxiii., 38,39).  But is it anywhere declared in the word of our God, that the children of Israel, scattered and pealed, humbled, and dispirited, impoverished and broken down, should not be presented as an offering in faith to Jehovah of Hosts in Mount Zion, that there their fathers (Isaiah xxv. 7) which is over their hearts (2 Cor. lii. 15) that there they may look on Him whom they have pierced? (Zech. xii. 10).  Your attention, high and mighty ones, is directed to the recorded fact that such an offering is expected.  And before that full and final gathering which follows the judgments poured out on all the earth (Isaiah lxiii. 15,16,20) a power, and that power a northern one, (Jer. iii. 12, xxxi.,6,9, xxiii., 7,8 - Isaiah xliii.,6, xlix., 12) shall be employed to lead a people wonderful from her beginning hitherto - a nation expecting and trampled under foot - where land rivers have spoiled, unto the name of the Lord of Hosts in Mount Zion.  (Isaiah xviii).  These designs and purposes of the Lord God of Israel, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, are declared unto you, high and mighty ones, His servants (Dan. v. 23) that you may ponder them, and know His will, from the voice with which His is about to speak unto nations and unto men (Haggai ii, 6  - Isaiah 10) for the time is at hand (Rev. i. 7.)
            Your wisdom hath been exercised to mark the boundaries of kingdoms, and to define the limits of empires; and has not the aggressor overleaped all barriers, and the strength of treaties snapped asunder as [low]?  And why?  Because when the Almighty awarded to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to number of the children of Israel (Deut. xxxii. 7,8).  By an un-repealed covenant, the Lord Gad declared unto Abraham, concerning the land of Palestine, "Unto they seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. xv. 18).  This gift was ratified unto him for an everlasting possession, and to his seed after him, when the Almighty gave him His covenant, and changed his name to Abraham (Gen. xvii. 4,8).  For the purposes of infinite wisdom fast hastening to maturity, the Lord God hath scattered His inheritance to the four winds of heaven.  But hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off.  He that scatted Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock (Jer. xxxi. 10).
            As the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, was stirred up to build the Lord's Temple, which was in Jerusalem (1 Chron. xxxvi. 22,23), who is there among you, high and mighty ones of all the nations, to fulfill the good pleasure of the holy sill of the Lord of Heaven, saying to Jerusalem, " Thou shalt be built," and to the temple "Thy foundations shall be laid?" (Isaiah xliv. 28).  The Lord God of Israel be with such.  Great grace, mercy, and peace shall descend upon the people who offer themselves willingly; and the free offerings of their hearts and hands shall be those of a sweet-smelling savour unto Him who hath said, "I will bless them that bless thee (Gen. xii. 3), and contend with him who contendeth with thee" (Isa. xlix. 25).
            The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.  Amen.
            Signed and sealed in London, 8th of January, in the year of our Lord 1839, in the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, on behalf of many who wait for the redemption of Israel.
(Copy 1.)
London, January 22, 1890.
            May it please your Majesty, - I have the high honor of laying at your Majesty's feet the accompanying memorandum relating to the present condition and future prospects of God's ancient people, the Jews.  Your Majesty's pious feelings, I doubt not, will be excited to give the Scriptural hopes and expectations therein set forth you earnest attention, considering the high station which it hath pleased Almighty God to call this Protestant land to, as the great seat of the church.
            According to the petitions of this peculiar people at the throne of grace, that in your Majesty's reign, "Judah may be saved and Israel dwell safely," is the prayer of your Majesty's dutiful subject and servant.
            Her most Gracious Majesty Victoria,
            Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.
(Copy 2.)
My Lord, - I have the honor of transmitting through your Lordship a document which it is the desire of some of Her Majesty's subjects should be laid at Her Majesty's feet, relation to the Scriptural expectations of the church connected with the restoration of the Jews to Palestine, the land of their fathers.
            I am induced to solicit you Lordship's good offices as being the medium of communicating this document to Her Majesty, as the substance of it relates to the present rights of an ally of this county - namely, the Sublime Porte.
            But I would respectfully press upon your Lordship's attention, that, in holding forth the Scriptural hopes of God's ancient people, those who emanate the accompanying document, never for one moment dream of political force to accomplish the end desired.  When the hour comes of Israel's planting it, doubtless Almighty God will not fail to raise up chosen instruments, who, with willing hands and hearts, shall accomplish the good pleasure of His will.
            If we are wrong in the course we have taken to bring this memorandum before Her Majesty, we sill be happy to be set right.  Should you Lordship undertake the duty, desiring the glory of God in this matter to be furthered, the Lord God of Israel will not be slack to reward the labour of faith and love proceeding form a desire to honour His name.
                                                            I have the honour to be, &c.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Viscount Palmerston.
LORD PALMERSTON'S ANSWER.
(Copy, No. 3.)
Foreign-office, March 14, 1839.
            I have to acknowledge you letter of the 13th of January, enclosing a letter and memorandum from some of Her Majesty's subjects, who feel deeply interested in the welfare and future prospects of the Jews, and I have to acquaint you, that I have laid those documents before the Queen, and that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to receive the same.
I am, &c.                      PALMERSTON.
(Copy, No. 4.)
London, January 22, 1839.
[Forwarded from the Hague.]
            Sirs, - At a season at which your Majesty is called upon to assume a defensive attitude against the encroachments of that system of apostasy which has proved itself hitherto the most determined enemy to the church of our Lord Jesus Christ - having gathered fresh strength from its repose, and audacity from the lawlessness of the age in which we live - it is a privilege, as it is my humble duty, to lay at your Majesty's feet the accompanying document, which testifies of the approach of Him, who, with the Spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming, shall overthrow the Man of Sin, and bring to an issue the assumption of the church and Court of Rome.
            May the Lord God of Heaven strengthen you Majesty's hands, may His wisdom and grace richly endow you in the present struggle, and may your Royal house and line be found amongst the number of those who are faithful unto the end, that a crown of life may be your and their joyful exchange for the anxieties and cares which encircle royalty, in the personal absence of Him upon whose lips grace and truth are poured, and whom the Lord God Almighty hath highly exalted, giving Him a name that is above every name - the Prince of the Kings of the Earth.
            Sirs, with the deepest respect, believe me you Majesty's dutiful and obedient humble servant.
            His Majesty Frederick William, King of Prussia.
The Answer.
(Copy, No. 5.)
La Haye, le 13 Mai, 1939
            Monsieur, - Le Roi, mon . . .
                                    . . . Le Charge d'Affaires de Prusse,
CONTE DE WESTPHALEN.
            Monsieur -------, Londre.
            Letters of similar tenour follow, addressed to the Kings of Sweden, Hanover, Denmark, the Netherlands, Wertemberg, and the President of the United States, to which no answers are appended.
----------
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
            Sir, - Every right-minded person must feel gratified at the general expression of interest in the Jewish nation which as been elicited by the recent sufferings of their brethren at Damascus.  It is to be hoped that the public feeling will not be allowed to evaporate in the mere expression of sympathy, but that some effectual measures may be adopted to prevent a recurrence of these atrocities, not merely in our own times, but in generations yet to come.  We must not forget, when giving utterance to our indignation at the late transactions in the east, that but few centuries have passed since our country was the scene of similar enormities on a far larger scale.  What reader of English history does not recall with shame and sorrow the wholesale tortures, executions, and massacres of the Jews who had sought shelter here, or who can estimate the amount of property seized and confiscated, or the number of hearts wrung by the endless repetition of cruelty and injustice?  I in England they have till lately been thus treated, how can they look for more security elsewhere?  Instead of wondering that they should become sordid and debased, the only cause for surprise is that any should rise to intelligence and respectability.  Subject to the caprice and cruelty of any nation among whom they may dwell, fleeing from persecutions of one only to meet with like treatment from another, having vo city of refuge where they can be in safeguard, on single spot to call their own, they are in a more pitiable condition than the Indian of the forest, or the Arab of the desert.
                        "The wild bird hath her nest, the fox his cave,
                        Mankind their country, Israel but the grave."
            Is this state of things always to continue?  They think not.  Though many hundreds of ears of hope deferred might have been enough to quench the anticipations of most sanguine, they still hope on, and turn with constant and earnest longing to the land of their forefathers.  Their little children are taught to expect that they shall one day see Jerusalem.  They purchase no landed property and hold themselves in readiness at a few hours notice to revisit what they and we tacitly agree to call "their own land."  It is theirs by a right which no other nation can boast, for God gave it to them, and though dispossessed of it for so may ages, it is still but partially people, and held with a loose hand and a disputed title by a hostile power, as if in readiness for their return.
            There are political reasons arising from the present aspect of affairs in Russia, Turkey, and Egypt, which would make it to the interest not only of England but of other European nations, either by purchase or by treaty, to procure the restoration of Judea to its rightful claimants.  About a year since, I heard it said by a German Jew, that a proposal had some time before been made by our (then) Government to the late Baron Rothschild, that he should enter into a negotiation for this purpose, and that he declined, assigning as a reason, "Judea is our own; we will not buy it, we wait till God shall restore it to us."  The desirableness as well as the possibility of such a step seems daily to become more evident, but England has lately proved that she needs no selfish motives to induce her to discharge a debt of national honouor and justice, or to perform an act of pure benevolence.  The one now suggested would not, judging from appearances, cost 20,000,000 of money, or be unaccomplished after 50 years of exertion, or be so vast and so laborious an undertaking as the extinction of slavery throughout the world.  It would be a noble thing for a Christian nation to restore these wanderers to their homes again.  It would be a crowning point in the glory of England to bring about such an event.  The special blessings promised in the Scriptures to those who befriend the Jews would rest upon her, and her sons and daughters would sit down with purer enjoyment to their domestic comforts when they thought that the persecuted outcasts of so many ages had, through their agency, been replaced in homes as happy and secure as theirs.
            Hoping that some master mind may be led to take up this subject in all its bearings, and to form some tangible plan for its accomplishment, and that some Wilberforce my be raised up to plead for it by all the powerful and heart-stirring arguments of which it is capable,
                                    I am, Sir, your obedient servant.
AN ENGLISH CHRISTIAN.] - end transcription

Thus, it was not by coincidence that the pre-tribulation doctrine was formulated in the British Isles, and around the late 1830's.  Although pre-tribulation proponents find fault with post-tribbers, because they insist that the tribulation must occur before Christ's return, the Jewish presence (or control) of Jerusalem was also a logical prerequisite within the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine.  These pre-trib doctrinal assumptions being:
  • The end-time events contained in Revelation occur after the rapture, and,
  • The end-time events described in Revelation occur within a seven-year time span, and,
  • The Antichrist will enter the Temple 3 1/2 years after the rapture. . .
  • Therefore the Jews must have either taken control of the Temple Mount, or be so close to gaining control of Jerusalem, that the end-times might commence at any moment.
According to this typical pre-tribulation interpretation of Revelation, the rapture was not imminent between the years 70 AD and 1800 AD.  The rapture could not have happened during that time because the Jews did not control the land of Israel.  Thus, a Temple could not have been built during that time.  Furthermore, the procurement of the Temple real estate, planning, and construction of the Temple, are still unlikely to be accomplished within a 3 1/2 year period - making an imminent rapture unrealistic until such time as the Temple project is nearly or actually under construction.

But finally, in the early 1800's, at the hope of the formation of a Jewish nation, some Christians began to expect an imminent return of the Lord prior to the time of  tribulation.  This may sound strange, but up until that point in time, the Church strongly rejected the idea that Jesus would return before the tribulation.  Consider the following quote from John Calvin's Commentary of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.

Begin quote - "On the other hand, those false prophets whom Paul expenses, while they ought to have kept men's minds in suspense, bid them feel assured of his speedy advent, that they might not be wearied out with the irksomeness of delay. "Let no man deceive you." That they may not groundlessly promise themselves the arrival in so short a time of the joyful day of redemption, he presents to them a melancholy prediction as to the future scattering of the Church. This discourse entirely corresponds with that which Christ held in the presence of his disciples, when they had asked him respecting the end of the world. For he exhorts them to prepare themselves for enduring hard conflicts, (Matt. 24:6) and after he has discoursed of the most grievous and previously unheard of calamities, by which the earth was to be reduced almost to a desert, he adds, that the "end is not yet", but that "these things are the beginnings of sorrows". In the same way, Paul declares that believers must exercise warfare for a long period, before gaining a triumph." - end quote
Few references occur in the writings of the Church Fathers to a pre-tribulation rapture.  In fact, the idea was always quickly dropped.  And a pre-tribulation rapture never became a source of debate among church leaders, never surfaced in any of the great councils, nor did it make its way into any creed or statement of faith - prior to the late 20th century.  The reason why these sparse references to a pre-trib rapture were often quickly contradicted by the Fathers themselves, is that the imminence of the tribulation was recognized as an essential element of the Second Coming. 

The birth pangs of the tribulation that the world is beginning to witness will quickly accelerate from occasional groanings into full-fledged contractions.  These trials should drive more and more people to research the Bible's end-time prophecies.  The last few decades have spawned increasing numbers of end-time prophecy websites, books, and movies.  Indeed, the internet has changed, forever, the common person’s access to knowledge.

In previous generations, people were trapped in a fairly small learning environment, and primarily within their own generation, unless they had access to an extensive library.  The situation is different today.  As people do their research on the internet, they are finding out what people believed 100 years ago, in just a few seconds.  They’re finding out what people believed 1,000 years ago.  And they are able to compare and digest this information in an attempt to make sense of it all.  In fact, the reader would be wise to research the information presented in this book as well.

"Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight." - Proverbs 18:17 (TLB)

Spurgeon on End-Times Prophecy and John Darby

Prior to presenting the historical origins of Futurism and of the Pre-tribulation Rapture Theory, please consider the attitude of one of John Nelson Darby's contemporaries; Charles Spurgeon.  C.H. Spurgeon's thoughts regarding the end-times, as well as his assessment of Darby, are represented below by his grandson, Minister Tommie Spurgeon.

Quotation begins - [Charles Spurgeon and End-time Prophecy
“Charles Spurgeon believed that the Baptist faith was exactly the same as the early Church under the Apostles and he taught that. Yet today if he was applying for a job as a pastor in a Baptist church and he told them how he believed about the Rapture and the Resurrection he would be rejected. His scriptural understanding and messages are praised by many and they often place him at the top of the list for their spiritual leadership. But there are things in Prophecy that he taught that the Baptist would reject as heresy. One of the reasons many do not know what CH Spurgeon taught on Prophecy was the fact that he never preached in direct messages such as a sermon on the rapture or end times. But we know what he believed by what he included in his messages of salvation and enlightenment because he often included his belief in prophecy in the message itself rather than it being the main topic of his sermon.

What most believers do not know is that Charles Spurgeon believed that the Rapture and Resurrection would happen at the same time following the Great Tribulation. That the judgment seat of Christ would happen and Satan would be bound for a thousand years. He also believed that Jesus would then literally set up his kingdom on earth and rule for a thousand years. He believed that a second resurrection would occur after the thousand-year reign for the unrighteous dead. This would be followed by the great white throne judgment of God and then there would be a new heaven and a new earth.

During Spurgeon’s day there was another preacher that people today believe was a knowledgeable man on prophecy. His name was John Darby. It is amazing to me that the Baptist organization would accept his teachings over Charles Spurgeon. Charles did not care for the teachings of Darby and if he were alive today would be preaching in direct opposition to him. He did it back then and he would continue to do it today. What I am referring to is the belief that the Rapture and Resurrection would occur before the tribulation. How could anyone believe that Darby had a greater understanding than what CH Spurgeon did? Spurgeon was not ignorant when it came to prophetic teachings and took them just as serious as his teachings on grace because he wanted his listeners to know the truth. However his main focus was on the cross of Christ and Salvation because he felt that it was more important than prophecy, however he did include prophecy teachings in his preaching and teaching. He did not reject end-time prophecy or think that it was wrong to be enlightened by it.”

An article at <www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.html> [no longer active] had the following to say:
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle and contemporary of Darby published criticism of Darby and Brethrenism. His main criticism was that Darby and the Plymouth Brethren rejected the vicarious purpose of Christ's obedience as well as imputed righteousness. He viewed these of such importance and so central to the gospel that it led him to this statement about the rest of their belief. "With the deadly heresies entertained and taught by the Plymouth Brethren, in relation to some of the most momentous of all the doctrines of the gospel, and to which I have adverted at some length, I feel assured that my readers will not be surprised at any other views, however unscriptural and pernicious they may be, which the Darbyites have embraced and zealously seek to propagate."

“Another thing that Charles Spurgeon rejected about John Darby was his teachings on dispensationalism. This belief teaches that the Jews are under a different covenant than the one we have today and do not need to be saved through the preaching of the Gospel the same as the Gentiles. He believed that when Jesus came back he would rule over them in Jerusalem but they would be saved by their own covenant with him. At that time dispensationalism taught that Israel would not go back to the land of Palestine until Jesus returned at Armageddon. Charles Spurgeon disagreed with their teaching and said that he believed that the Jews would return to the land of Palestine before Jesus came back. He was right and John Darby was wrong. Charles also taught that the Jews had to be saved through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that many would be born-again before Jesus came back. Clarence Larkin came along after Darby and improved upon his theory of dispensationalism by including that 144,000 Jews would be saved during the tribulation but the rest would not accept Jesus until he comes back. Charles Spurgeon would have rejected this as well.

This issue may not seem to be important to some but it is very important to me and those that are trying to reach the Jews with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What I would like to point out is that most churches believe John Darby and Clarence Larkin over Charles Spurgeon. Charles Spurgeon in our day couldn’t be licensed or perform any duties in any church such as Baptist, Assembly of God, Church of God, Methodist, etc because he didn’t believe that the Rapture would occur before the Tribulation. There were many more great men of God in his day and before that did not accept that and wouldn’t accept it to this very day. Why does it matter? There are over 13 million Jews in the world today that need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The modern day teaching of pre-tribulation rapture and the teachings on dispensationalism prevent a very large number of Christians from even praying that the Jews will be saved. It is interesting to note that many evangelicals are supportive to Israel because they want to be blessed by doing so, but they are only interested in blessing Israel in material ways, not spiritual. Their salvation is very important and Satan has thrown up a smoke screen to keep Christians from seeking God for Israel’s salvation. The Scriptures teach us that it is our responsibility to reach Israel with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The churches in America are so dug into dispensation teachings that they would not allow Spurgeon or any other great man of God to pastor or preach in any of their churches. I am amazed at that. In fact many churches will run off members that do not agree with it or peer-pressure a person until they are afraid of not being accepted unless they do. We do not realize how anti-Semitic this is.

John Hagee will tell you that to preach the Gospel to the Jews is a waste of time. Yet if you were to tell people such as Jews for Jesus or other Jews that have been born again you would soon realize how ridiculous this is. Their souls are as important as any Gentile and we should realize it. It took me a long time to realize why people like John Hagee and others could be so hard when it comes to the Jews and salvation? Now I realize that they are defending what they were taught in Bible College being taught dispensation teachings. They don’t want to lose their license. By the way John Hagee does have a great concern when it comes to protecting the lives of the Jews and I appreciate what he is doing with defending Israel. But it is very important that while we protect the sinner that we provide the Gospel for their souls as well and not teach against it. The teaching of pre-tribulation Rapture leaves the Jews out of the Rapture because most will be saved during the Tribulation period itself and the Bible is clear on this. But they will have to receive the Gospel from us, the Gentiles. There are only two Resurrections in Scripture; one when Jesus comes back and the other at the end of the millennium for the unrighteous dead. The Rapture and Resurrection occur at the same time in the same moment. If we miss the Rapture there will be no eternal life because we won’t be changed. To leave the Jews out of this and to say that God prefers us over them is anti-Semitic and a sin.
The reason that I am telling the Church about all of these things is not to be critical of others but to open the eyes of Church to do what God has called us to do. It is try to get others to pray for the salvation of Israel whether their pastors do or not. If the pastor wants to pray for the salvation of Israel that is more than great but if he opposes it we need to do what we know is right in our hearts and not worry about it. I would like to encourage everyone especially Baptist to search their hearts and ask themselves whether they believe John Darby or CH Spurgeon when it comes to Biblical truth. God Bless You.”
Your Brother in Christ,
Tommie Spurgeon] - end of Tommie Spurgeon's original post

Charles and Tommie Spurgeon were both concerned that Darby's pre-tribulation rapture doctrine would have a detrimental effect on the Church's enthusiasm to restore Israel through the individual conversion of the Jews, that is - one Jew at a time.  Darby's Dispensationalism shifted the focus away from individual Jewish salvation; and, in effect, relegated the Jews to a mysterious future mass-conversion of national Israel.  Nevertheless, the prospect of the gathering of the Jews in their Holy Land raised a sort of "chicken or the egg" dilemma.  Would the time of restoration come as result of Jewish conversions?  Or, would the Jews all come to faith in Christ at the time of restoration of all things?] end excerpt

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