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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How Many Christians Believe in Pre-Trib?

The Pew Foundation reported in 2010 that there were roughly 2.2 billion Christians worldwide.  In 2016, Wikipedia calculates there are approximately 2.6 billion Christians - not counting the growing Chinese and Middle-Eastern churches, making 3 or 3 1/2 billion professing Christians a more realistic number.  There are roughly 650 million Christians who belong to Christian denominations teaching that the rapture will occur before the time of great tribulation.  These denominations are made up of primarily of cessational Baptists, charismatic Assemblies of God, and a number of smaller Jesus Movement churches.  Using the most conservative figure of 2 1/2 billion Christians worldwide, as many as 1/4 of today's Christians believe in a pre-tribulation rapture - or about 25%.

Does the Bible promise a Great Escape from the Great Tribulation? The majority of today's Christians; Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Reformed, expect the rapture at Christ's Second Coming. And 99% of the Christians who have lived over the past 2,000 years have believed in a post-tribulation rapture. Discover what the Bible clearly states in the original language. Learn how the Restoration Movement of the 19th century influenced the theology of the British Isles. See the Thessalonian prophecies through the eyes of St. Paul to uncover the mystery behind his eschatology. Find the key to Paul's end-time timeline based on the last enemy of Christ found in the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians. Examine the verses and arguments used by pre-tribulation proponents in this no-stone-left-un-turned exposé. Includes four charts, Greek language study, and 20 illustrations.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

1st Thessalonians Four contradictions the Pre-Trib theory.

One of the first rules of Bible interpretations is "The Obvious Meaning is the Obvious Meaning".  That's why someone reading the Bible on their own can easily see that adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions are all sins.  People have to be taught to see something else.
Since my childhood - when I have read 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, I have always assumed that both Epistles were talking about the same Day of the Lord, and the same Gathering.  And almost all Christians (up until the nineteenth century) have thought the same thing.  That's the obvious meaning when people read the Bible on their own.
Paul was a strong believer in order and orderliness.  So his end-times verses contain a number of conditional, "This" can't happen until "that," statements.
·         In 1st Thessalonians Four, Paul says the Lord's Coming can't happen until the resurrection of dead.
·         In 2nd Thessalonians Two, the Lord's Coming can't happen until the appearing of the Man of Sin and the Apostasy.
Anyone studying end-times prophecy is familiar with these conditional statements.
Now let's look at another conditional statement in 1st Corinthians Fifteen.  Here, Paul starts off with the resurrection of Jesus.  But then he transitions to the time of the end - and begins to discuss the general resurrection of the dead.  This is also the section of Scripture where Paul says "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" - obviously referring to the rapture.
Paul's conditional statement here in 1st Corinthians is actually a quote from Psalms 110.  Speaking of Jesus, Paul says "He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet."  And then Paul adds, "The last enemy that will be destroyed is death."  Jesus had personally already overcome death.  Paul associates the death which is this last enemy - with the general resurrection of the dead.
Peter also made a conditional statement concerning Jesus' return in Act Three Verse 21, where he says that "Jesus must remain in heaven until the time of restoration of all things."

Now let's go back to Thessalonians.  Watch what happens.
In 1st Thessalonians Four, since Jesus must sit at the Father's right hand until His last enemy - death - is subdued, He can't descend from heaven until the dead are raised.  Christ's coming or descending cannot precede the resurrection of "those who have fallen asleep."
In 2nd Thessalonians Two, Paul mentions two more enemies and these are straight out of Daniel Chapter 12.  Because neither one of these are the last enemy, these two problems must be resolved even before the resurrection of the dead.  You could say that these are the next-to-the-last enemies." So "that Day" and the Gathering cannot happen until the Man of Sin is revealed and the Falling away come first.
Paul had evidentially already explained this order of Christ's enemies during a previous visit.  Probably much the same as he had written about it to the Corinthians.  Paul expected that just reminding them of the conversation would put an end to the rumors that "that Day" had already come.
But the real death blow to the Pre-tribulation rapture theory is right there in 1st Thessalonians Chapter Four.  Jesus must remain in heaven until the time of restoration of ALL things.  Jesus is either seated in heaven, or He's descending from heaven.  First Thessalonians Four says He's "descending from heaven."  Jesus' coming and descending from heaven is a technical indicator - signaling that all of Jesus' enemies have been made His footstool. Paul would never write about Jesus coming and descending from heaven unless he was referring to the actual Second Coming of Christ.  And Jesus must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things, not until the beginning of the tribulation.
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It's not necessary to measure how far Jesus' feet came to touching the ground before He is met be the saints.  The fact that, in 1st Thessalonians Four, Jesus no longer remains seated in heaven is all we need to know.  The dead are raised and the restoration of all things has come. Jesus' descending accompanied by great fanfare and the resurrection of the death all point to a rapture during the Second Coming of Christ.  This is the obvious meaning.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why Most Christians Believe in a Post Tribulation Rapture - Interview

Listen and share with your friends and ministers. Trunews interview with Christian author C.W. Steinle and new book, "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture." Steinle reveals the statistical minority of pre-trib, and why the pre-trib theory opposes the obvious meaning of the Scriptures. Learn why St. Paul would never suggest that Jesus would leave the Father's right hand and descend before all of His enemies had been made His footstool. This interview should bring an official end to the pre-tribulation rapture theory.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Imminent Second Coming Defeated by Pre-Tribbers' Own Assumptions

Zionism and the Pre-Trib Rapture

Excerpt from "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture"
[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:

1.      The end-time events contained in Revelation occur after the rapture, and,

2.      The end-time events described in Revelation occur within a seven-year time span, and,

3.      The Antichrist will enter the Temple 3 1/2 years after the rapture.

Ø      Therefore, the Jews must have either taken control of the Temple Mount or be so close to gaining control of Jerusalem that the rapture 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.

"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."

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 infrequent 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) ] - end excerpt.
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Monday, May 9, 2016

The Church of Philadelphia - Left Behind to Persevere

What About Rev. 3:10? (Church of Philadelphia)

Excerpt from "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture" by C.W. Steinle

[Revelation 3:7-13 is Jesus’ letter to the Church at Philadelphia.  The pre-trib teachers claim that God is promising, in these verses, to take the Church out of the world just before the Great Tribulation.  The verse of particular interest is Verse Ten.

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”-Revelation 3:10

The argument made by modern Futurists is that“kept from” actually means “taken out of.”  The underlying assumption made by pre-tribbers is that the Philadelphians, or a similar type of church, will be "taken out" of the world before the “hour of trial.”  The best way to test this theory is to examine the original Greek words; and then to ask the question, "Has St. John ever used these same Greek words meaning, "to take" and "to keep," in his other writings?"

Ares (should take).  This is the root word "to take" or "to lift."  (If reading the digital version click on the words to go directly to Strong’s for examples of usage).

Tereso (will keep).  This is the future tense of “to keep.” Tereso is the word John has used in the verse above.  In fact, he has used it twice in this one verse.  This word implies, the maintenance of, safety, or care.  The changes in prefixes and suffixes below only indicate tense and usage in the Greek.  Now look again at Revelation 3:10.

“Because you have kept (eteresa) My command to persevere, I also will keep (tereso) you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
You see that John is using the same root word in both instances.  The epsilon prefix on the first mention of "kept" merely puts it in the past tense, indicating that the Philadelphia Church had already kept His command to persevere.  What kind of Bible scholar would interpret the same word to mean two different things when it is used within the same verse?  Should the verse be interpreted, “Because you have "taken out" My command?”  Of course not!  Keep means "keep," and it does not mean "taken out."

Understanding what the text says (and does not say) should be enough to put this argument to rest.  But now let’s look at how John has used these words, "kept" and "taken," in his gospel.  In the seventeenth chapter of John, we find Jesus’ prayer to the Father.  Here John used this word for safekeeping - profoundly contrasting the idea of being "lifted out of trouble" with the promise of being "kept safe through trials."
“I do not pray that You should take (ares) them out of the world, but that You should keep (terese) them from the evil one.”- John 17:15 (Emphasis added).  John could have used these same two words with their two different meanings in Revelation 3:10, IF, he had desired to contradict Jesus' prayer for His Church, stated here in John 17.  But John did not mean to contradict Jesus.


Now in the same way, Jesus speaks to the Church of Philadelphia.  He promises to keep (persevere) them in the midst of their trial, just as they had kept His command to persevere.  Jesus is merely reciprocating their obedience "to keep" His command to persevere, with the promise of keeping the Philadelphia Church  in return.  He is not submitting the dissimilar promise of "taking them out" of harm’s way.  This is a simple apples-to-apples reward for the Philadelphians' own perseverance.

And again, in John Chapter 17, “keeping” the Apostles from the evil one did not mean "taking them out" of the world, but keeping them from being overcome by the evil one - that they would be kept safe from the evil one - even though they would still remain in the world to accomplish Christ's purpose. (The purpose for which he was sending them into the world in the first place.)  Christ was sent into the world, and was not taken out of the world until He had accomplished his death and resurrection.  Why would God remove His Church from the world (into which it was likewise sent) until such time as it had also accomplished its purpose?  Didn't Jesus clearly state that His followers (servants) would not be treated better than their Master?

Does the Philadelphian Church Typify the Last Days?

If further proof of Revelation 3:10’s failure to support the pre-tribulation theory is needed, we only have to consider the order in which these “types” of churches appear in Revelation; and how they are expected to emerge over history (by those who choose to extrapolate the seven church-types into the future).  The Laodicean Church is the type expected to exist at the end of the age, not the Philadelphian type.  If the Philadelphians were intended to be the recipients of “take out,” they should at least be home when the doorbell rings.

Why didn’t Jesus give the Laodicean Church an opportunity to escape the hour of trial, if they were the type of church that would exist in the last days?  So, once again, trying to force Revelation 3:10 to point to a pre-tribulation rapture is a miserable failure on all accounts.] - end excerpt.
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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Guess Who's Coming with Jesus

"Who Is Returning from Heaven with Jesus?"
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 Excerpt from "Why Most Christians Believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture"

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 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.
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