The Satanic Verses?
|The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest|
Vol: 153 Issue: 21 -
The Satanic Verses? I was informed recently that the doctrine of a pre-tribulation Rapture is not only unbiblical, it is probably satanic.
I was granted the opportunity to work with Hal Lindsey on his book, "Vanished" in 1997. It was one of the most intense learning experiences of my career -- (and also the most fun I ever had while getting paid for it.)
In order to work on "Vanished" it was incumbent upon me to become an expert in all four views of the Rapture.
Hal's advice was to forget everything I already knew about the Rapture and then study each possible view separately with an eye toward convincing myself that the view I was currently examining was the correct one.
If I couldn't convince myself that it was correct, Hal said, take note of those things that stood in my way. The end result was a book that presented all four possible views as fairly as possible.
My own conclusion was that of the four possible views, the one that had the least conflict with Scripture was the most probable one. And the view most harmonious with the Scripture was the pre-Tribulation Rapture.
The idea that a pre-Trib Rapure is probably satanic in origin demands an examination of the 'origin' of the opposing views.
The post trib perspective is the most widely taught and from that fact, rather than any Scriptural support, draws most of its credibility, in much the same way that arguing 'the pretribulation view is a product of the 1800's" is used to argue against pre-trib.
Protestant Christianity is a product of the Reformation Movement of mid-15th century. Traditional Protestant denominations arose as different Reformers chose different parts of Catholic dogma to reject as being unscriptural.
The Rapture was a problem for the Vatican since it teaches that sinners are only partially washed by the Blood of Christ and have to undergo further purification in Purgatory.
There can be no Rapture. Therefore, there is no real 2nd Coming and no Millennial Kingdom to follow. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:
"The amillennial view interprets Revelation 20 symbolically and sees the millennium not as an earthly golden age in which the world will be totally Christianized, but as the present period of Christ’s rule in heaven and on the earth through his Church. This was the view of the Protestant Reformers and is still the most common view among traditional Protestants, though not among most of the newer Evangelical and Fundamentalist groups."New doesn't mean 'wrong' when 'old' refers to the Church during the Dark Ages. They were called the "Dark Ages" because the Bible was repressed by the Vatican. That's what the term refers to -- the period between the fall of Rome and the Reformation.
The Scriptures say that at the 2nd Coming, the Lord returns with ten thousands OF His saints, not FOR them. The origin of the post Trib view doesn't inspire much confidence when compared with the Scriptures.
Paul's 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians addressed a pre-trib Rapture directly.
Chapter 2 begins with a discussion of the coming of the Lord and 'our gathering together unto Him" and then rebukes them for believing the Day of Christ is 'at hand'.
Warning them to "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come" (until certain preparatory events take place) "except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
First, Paul warns of a great apostasy, out of which a man could credibly claim the title of Messiah. Paul draws the messianic imagery in the next verse:
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."Then Paul rebukes them again.
"Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5)Now, let's try a totally different perspective on for size. Read through that chapter and see if you can understand it in some other sense.
What else could "our gathering together unto Him" mean?
What event called "the Day of Christ" being "at hand" could Paul have been referring?
What other 'man of sin' could Paul logically have been referencing, if not the antichrist?
Stay with me, here. There is no gratuitous or unnecessary passage of Scripture. It ALL means something. What else COULD this passage mean? Nobody wants to be wrong about something as important as eternity.
No honest Christian would want to teach a doctrine of satanic origin. And certainly, no Christian would want to learn it.
Is Paul talking about a Rapture event here? Logic and context leave no room for any other interpretation.
Is Paul talking about it in the context of the Tribulation? Clearly. Paul says it has to happen BEFORE the man of sin is revealed.
"And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time."This verse is NOT that obscure or complicated. The Thessalonians were well aware of the antichrist -- they thought it was Nero. Paul was explaining that Nero can't be the antichrist because if he was, they wouldn't be there.
(Remember, they thought they had been left behind -- that's why Paul was writing to them in the first place.)
Paul is reminding the 1st-century Christians who lived at Thessalonika what is holding back the man of sin until the time is right.)
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way."Who is "he"? It can't be referring to the antichrist. The phrase 'let' means 'to occupy' in Old English.
We still use it to some degree today. When one offers a "room to let" it is an offer to occupy a place in an established dwelling.
So, He who now occupies will occupy until He be taken out of the way.
So, Paul says that while there is sin enough for the antichrist to prosper, the time is not right, and it won't be right as long as He who occupies continues to occupy. Is there any possible alternative understanding of that verse's intent or meaning?
Without dancing around the Bible with seemingly contradictory verses aimed at proving something one way or the other, but just at face value, is there ANY other way to interpret just these verses presented?
To continue, after He who occupies is taken out of the way, Paul writes,
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."The translators of the KJV capitalized "Wicked" as a personal pronoun, since there is only one figure in Scripture to whom it can refer -- the literal antichrist who is personally indwelt by Satan during the Tribulation.
Now, the Occupier occupies me. He began His occupation when I trusted Christ. Christ promised me that the Holy Spirit would comfort and guide me until He comes.
Paul says the antichrist cannot be revealed until after the Occupier ceases to occupy.
So teaches me that just when I need the Holy Spirit's strength and comfort the most, He is going to abandon me to face the worst time of spiritual trial the world has ever known on my own.
Or it teaches me that the Rapture must precede the revelation of the antichrist.
Can you read it literally and make it come out differently?
"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." (Revelation )I am regularly accused of teaching some kind of satanic doctrine that doesn't prepare the Church for the coming tribulation period. Particularly by those who believe we're already in the tribulation and that the antichrist has already been revealed.
They argue that the promise to keep the Church from God's wrath really means God will preserve it through His wrath. So the Church should prepare itself to withstand the coming of the antichrist.
But I can't find anywhere in Scripture that directs me to do that, or anything from Scripture that would teach me how.
The Scriptures only tell me how to come to Christ, how to lead others to Christ, and how to trust in Christ. What it teaches about the Tribulation comes from two perspectives.
The first is the one presented by Paul: "Don't be fooled. When the real thing approaches, here's how you'll know. . . you won't be here."
The Tribulation is unique in human history. In centuries past, there have been persecutions and pogroms against God's people. The pogroms against the Jews was the product of wicked men and the devil conspiring against God's Chosen People.
The persecutions against Christians was the product of wicked men and the devil conspiring against God's Son. In both cases, and down throughout human history, the perpetrators were wicked men and the devil and the targets were the chosen of God.
The Tribulation is the time of God's wrath -- God is the perpetrator of the judgments. The targets are wicked men and the devil.
Jesus said of the Tribulation, "as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." (Luke ) If it comes upon the whole earth, it means everybody. It rains on the wicked and the righteous alike.
The post-trib argument is the traditional argument, not the Scriptural one. It fails to acknowledge the purpose of the Tribulation Period. The purpose of the Tribulation is the pouring out of God's Wrath upon ALL those that "dwell upon the earth."
"And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth." (Revelation )
"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)Four times does the Scripture repeat the phrase, "they that dwell upon the earth." In the first, it is a promise to those who "kept the Word of My patience" (trusted Jesus) that they will be "kept from" God's Wrath.
It is also a statement of purpose. The purpose was "to try them that "dwell upon the earth."
The second and third instances refer to those who will rejoice and make merry at the death of the Two Witnesses. The final reference to those 'that dwell upon the earth' identifies them as those whose names are not written in the Book of Life.
It does not seem that complicated to me. If your name is written in the Book of Life, then you can't be numbered among those who dwell upon the earth when God is pouring out His wrath.
The Church Age has a purpose. It is to present Christ to a lost world and to afford that lost world every opportunity to accept the promise of Pardon secured for them at the Cross.
It is to afford each of us the opportunity to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ instead of trusting in our own.
The Tribulation has a purpose. It is to pour out the wrath of God on the earth and to judge it according to its own righteousness. Mix the two and neither has a purpose.
Paul says the antichrist can't be revealed until the Occupier is taken out of the way. I just can't read it any other way.
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