Monday, September 7, 2009

Gospel Tract Society Abandons Pre-Trib Heritage

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

From its humble beginnings in 1926, with only a stall within the family barn and a $100 donation, Lester L. Buttram founded the Gospel Tract Society. God put on his heart a very clear instruction — "Print My Word." For over 80 years, Lester Buttram and his family have spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through their free tracts, never promoting a particular denomination or church doctrine. Only the Lord knows how many thousands of people over the decades have come to accept Jesus as Savior from the hard work of this faithful ministry.

The Gospel Tract Society has historically taught through their tracts that "prior to The Great Tribulation and the onset of the Antichrist, (the one that the prophet Daniel spoke of as the fourth beast in chapter 7), the Church would be removed from this earth in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye in something called in these latter days as the Rapture or in Biblical times as the Blessed Hope."

This view, called the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, teaches that Christians can find encouragement and hope that Jesus will return and take up to be with Him those who have accepted Him as Savior. This happens before He pours out his wrath upon the world for its continued rebellion against God during a distinct seven year time period known as the Tribulation.


A Drastic Refocus

The Gospel Tract Society has changed their longstanding view in the last month. Lamb & Lion Ministries was first alerted to the change when the ministry's successor, Tom Buttram, asked founder Dr. David Reagan to change the wording in his tract "Living for Christ in the End Times" (based on the article) from "Rapture" to "Second Coming." The second alert came when a friend of Lamb & Lion Ministries contacted the Gospel Tract Society for copies of that tract, only to be told the remaining 6,000 in inventory were going to be destroyed.

Upon inquiry as to why the Gospel Tract Society would desire to change the wording and destroy the existing inventory, Tom Buttram responded with a very startling revelation. "As though someone reprinted my Bible overnight," Tom Buttram now believes humanity has already entered into the Tribulation and the Church will not be raptured until the Seventh Trumpet Judgment has sounded mid-way through the Tribulation. He tells of his overnight revelation:

"I was similarly disturbed when I realized that the coming of the Man of Lawlessness is nearer than we think and deep into that study, I found Daniel telling in Chapter 7:24-28, the order of events, then Paul also in II Thess. 2:3,... but I believe Daniel's 'time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time' has begun today. I believe we will be 'delivered,' but not removed from that time until the final Trump... I am now preparing for the Greatest Delusion of all times."

The Gospel Tract Society's new website at The Coming Christ further explains in point three under "Where We Are" their dramatic shift in emphasis:

"Most importantly, we have made a major shift in one core belief that the Church of Jesus Christ would be miraculously taken out of this world before The Great Tribulation was initiated and until it was completed (a 7yr. Period.) This is referred to as a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Today, we believe that when the Rapture of the Church takes place, it won't be until well into the first 3 & 1/2 years. We as Dispensationlists... are having to sort out what our role in the world is now and in the time to come."

And so, after over 80 years of the Gospel Tract Society proclaiming the imminent return of Jesus Christ, they will now refocus their attention on printing materials "needed for all to escape delusion and attack" by the Man of Lawlessness (the Antichrist) and a Mid-Tribulation rescue by Jesus.


An Evaluation

An alarming statement is posted on The Coming Christ website — "We don't have all the answers yet and that can be a source of calm to you, as so many others seemed to have it all figured out."

OK, the esteemed Gospel Tract Society after 80 years of preaching the Rapture of believers before world judgment has just declared that they got it all wrong, that we are actually living in the Tribulation, and that we will all be attacked (means "massacred," folks) by the coming world leader — and that is supposed to be a source of calm!?! Just how much "calm" are they now going to spread with their newest batch of tracts?

While the Gospel Tract Society is still very amicable with Lamb & Lion Ministries, even offering to give the 6,000 "Living for Christ in the End Times" tracts to the ministry rather than destroying them, I have to in all good Christian brotherhood state that their sudden refocus is not founded in reality.

Take this editors note by Dr. David Reagan from the September/October 2009 edition of the Lamplighter magazine under the article "The Judgments of the Tribulation."

"I often received calls, even from pastors, asking if we are currently in the Tribulation. Such calls reflect a great ignorance of Bible prophecy because the book of Revelation makes it clear that the seven year period called the Tribulation will be a time of unparalleled horror on planet earth. For example, one half of humanity will die during the first three and a half years! Once the Tribulation begins, no one will have to call anyone and ask if we are in the Tribulation."

How bad will the first half of the Tribulation be? Look at what Jack Van Impe in that article also says occurs during the first half of the Tribulation, the part Tom Buttram says we are now living in.

Seal Judgments 1-4 of 7:

  1. The world's greatest dictator (Rev. 6:1-2)
  2. The world's greatest war (Rev. 6:3-4)
  3. The world's greatest famine (Rev. 6:5-6)
  4. The world's greatest death blow (Rev. 6:7-8)

Trumpet Judgments 1-7 of 7:

  1. The world's greatest fire (Rev. 8:7)
  2. The world's greatest oceanic disturbance (Rev. 8:8-9)
  3. The world's greatest pollution of water (Rev. 8:10-11)
  4. The world's greatest darkness (Rev. 8:12-13)
  5. The world's greatest pestilential invasion (Rev. 9:1-6)
  6. The world's greatest army (Rev. 9:16)
  7. The world's greatest storm (Rev. 11:19)

I'm looking out my window now and am just not seeing this level of destruction. Sure, fires are raging through Greece and California. Christians are facing increasing persecution, especially in India and Pakistan. Nuclear bombs are coming in and out of hiding in the Arctic Circle. The swine flu is getting a lot of hullaballoo.

But, the worst thing in many American minds is that their 401k is down, or that they are on unemployment, or that Obama is forcing healthcare down our throats. It's certainly worse elsewhere, but really! Can today be really worse than the times of World War II or the Black Death? Can we actually say that today is full of, as Jesus stated in Matthew 24:21 "great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again"?

No world leader is currently trying to conquer the world. No peace covenant with Israel exists. No global famine is starving the world population. No demonic hordes are ravishing the populace.

And, if there was all that going on, what Christian could be "set apart" to survive that? What Christian would be particularly protected to survive the Tribulation when Revelation 7 says "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language... have come out of the Great Tribulation". The bodies of the martyrs will be stacked as high as the world population's will from all that dying from starvation and battle. In comparison, people in the Tribulation will look on today as "the good old days."

The first half of the Tribulation will be anything but peaceful.


Reasons Why

What would cause the Gospel Tract Society and other intelligent, searching believers to give up hope that Jesus will fulfill His promises to rescue the Church from His own wrath (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3:10)?

I believe the answer is two-fold. For one, as The Coming Christ website says:

"Today, the approach of difficult times along with signs and wonders has left most everyone (Christian and non-Christian) with the innate knowing—that something very important is about to happen. It seems that we all know that something has to give—the weather, our magnetic fields, even the heavens seem to be in flux. Spiritually, the world is falling apart and it seems that something bigger than us is approaching."

Even those who couldn't possibly quote John 3:16 know that statement is true. The world feels something big is around the next corner. Secular movies like "Knowing" and "2012" and books and commentaries and pundits (and the list goes on) are very interested in End Time speculation. Only the overall Church seems to be sleeping on this subject. But, for those believers who are anticipating Christ's return, a certain hysteria has begun to set in. The people are getting very antsy and have begun chasing after every new theory and speculation that rises to the scene.

Secondly, as Dr. Ron Rhodes once said, we are filtering God's Word through our human antennae and our fallen nature is putting static in our reception.

Every person believes God is giving them a particular revelation or insight into the Bible that is different than what they once believed — but they all conflict! I get hundreds of emails a week from people all over the world, and many writers purport to have discovered some special insight from God. For example, could the Pope, Javier Solana, Prince Hassan, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, the Mahdi and the entire United States of America all be the Antichrist at the same time? Saved believers in Christ each have a candidate God has "revealed" to them in Scripture. Or, could the Tribulation be seven years long, World War II, the Papal years, only for Israel, for the entire world, and it's just the conflict in our hearts all at same time? Saved believers each have a position. But, only one answer can possibly be correct.

To use an 80's term, we all need to "take a chill pill." Let us not abandon God's promises to rescue the Church from His coming wrath. Let us not assume some hardship means the Tribulation has begun. Instead, let us trust in God and stay the course, proclaiming the soon return of Jesus Christ and His life-saving work to as many people as we can as quickly as we can in the time we have left on this Earth before the Rapture and then the Tribulation begins.

43 comments:

Billy said...

"As though someone reprinted my Bible overnight," says it all. The guy had to re-write the word of God to come to his conclusion. Therefore, he's obviously wrong.

Also, if we are already in the Tribulation, Israel better get started pretty quickly on rebuilding the Temple!

At this point, I almost want to hope that people who don't believe in a pre-trib can get their wish and go through it.

hartdawg said...

billy, i ALMOST feel the same way. tho its a little harsh i would like to see people who dont believe in a rapture left behind just for a couple of days to see how off they were. arent thes people doinng the excact same thing the people in thessonalica did?(2thess ch 2)

motherofmany said...

Dear Brother Nathan,

First, I have to disagree with you that the Bible specifically teaches a pre-trib rapture.
If the rapture is to occur before the tribulation, then even Paul was wrong, as he warned us that when watching for the signs of the End Days, we had to see the appearance of the Antichrist first. The very chapter being used here to try and point a finger at any who don’t believe in the pre-trib rapture as losing their faith (2 Thessalonians 2) says that the AC will show up and reveal himself by calling himself God and try to receive the worship due the Father by sitting in the temple. You cannot take verses out of context and say this chapter is discussing our soon deliverance when it clearly says the son of perdition comes before the Saviour. In fact, in his speech about the signs of the end (Matthew 24) Yeshua warns us that the great delusion would have to do with his return to gather us to himself. And he follows it with For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (21-22) Why would the tribulation be shortened on our account unless we were to experience it?

You stated above, “Let us not assume some hardship means the Tribulation has begun.” But I say to you that just because tribulation means hardships, do not assume that our experiencing the tribulation means we are abandoned by the L-rd. If all the elect are gone, who are the warnings in Revelation directed at? Surely not the world who has abandoned his Word. Revelation 2:10 says we will suffer. Is it not possible that the tribulation and the wrath are separate? Why aren’t the seals called wrath? In fact, the word wrath doesn’t appear in Revelation 6 until after the horsemen have been loosed. The scene with the multitude from the nations standing before the throne comes AFTER the horsemen, the signs in the sun and stars, and the sealing of the remnant. There are many more passages pointing to a pre-wrath rapture than a pre-trib one.

But even putting all of that aside, who do you think you are to attack a brother over a difference in beliefs that ARE NOT EXPRESSLY STATED IN THE WORD?!?! As much as the pre-trib camp tries to use the Bible to support their point, it cannot be proven. We aren’t talking about a brother who is teaching against the doctrines that Yeshua himself said are not negotiable- his sinless life and resurrection. And the greater danger of a mistaken timing for the rapture falls to your camp, as a false return engineered by Satan would fool many who believe that their L-rd will return first. What is the risk of not putting all one’s faith in being saved out of trouble? And if our Messiah said no man knows tha day or hour, what cause do you have to be so smug in determining that another is in error and you are not?

Further, I cannot imagine the Gospel Tract Society putting out a pamphlet calling your ministry out based on a disagreement over the timing of our ascension, nor can I imagine your readers who disagree with your pre-trib stance, like myself, posting links to your blog and calling it a heresy. Why mock his humility at not knowing all the answers when you yourself do not have all the answers? In fact, the Father told Daniel that NO ONE would have all the answers until all was revealed at the coming of the Son of Man.

Show me the verse that says anyone who does not believe in a pre-trib rapture will be lost (or, just as uncharitable, left behind). I CAN show you the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, and I do not see that offering of gracious speech being extended here.

Motherofmany

Donald Dolmus said...

I have seen this same phenomenom manifested in several Christian ministries in the Spanish speaking community. Ministries that have been preaching and teaching about the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church, now are teaching that the Church will pass through the Tribulation.

As you have stated in this article, I think that due to the difficult times we are living in, they believe that the Lord is not going to come back very soon, at last not before the Tribulation begins.

It looks like the same scene when Moses climbed up to the Sinai and he delayed his return to the campament.

I'm glad that you were able to rescue those 6000 tracts!

Rapture Forums said...

Excellent article Nathan. I think this falling away form the sound doctrine of the pre-trib rapture is just another sign of the apostasy in the church and that people are starting to fall for doctrines of devils.

And I agree completely that people are chasing every fad theological theory that comes down the pipe. We've heard about all the preachers and teachers who are date-setting, playing around with the Jewish feasts while date-setting, talking about eastern AC candidates, etc. The list goes on and on.

One popular site even teaches the Tribulation started on 1/1/2007. There seems to be so much theological confusion and alot of it is rooted in people not understanding the conservative and biblical positions. There are people who are promoting "alternative" theories because they think they have some sort of new revelation that the rest of us don't have.

Praying that people wake up, return to sound and biblica teaching, and continue to watch for the blessed hope.

God bless.

Paul said...

Motherofmany said Nathan accused the Gospel Tract Society of heresy.
I didn't remember that and did a word search in his blog and it isn't there. Before I came to the dispensationalist (and pre trib rapture) viewpoint I knew something was wrong with preaching Matt 24 as concerning the church. At that time I didn't know what replacement theology was. M...many seems to be applying Matt 24 to the Church and not to Israel and those saved during the tribulation. Verses 41 and 42 cannot be the church being taken away because Jesus clearly said in verses 38 and 39 that the wicked would be taken away. As in Sheep and Goats judgment.

motherofmany said...

Paul,
If we read Matthew 24:38-39 in the context of your argument, then the rapture is really the stealing away of the wicked world and the leaving of the church on earth, because the next verses describe one being taken and the other left. Also, if Christ is speaking to his followers here, he cannot mean Israel as a whole, both because the church is part of Israel by grafting (Read Romans) and because when judgment comes on unbelievers, they are not given warning signs on how to escape it.

Also, the pre-trib rapture is NOT the time-honored, established doctrine many here are pretending it to be. Only dispensational, evangelical churches teach it as doctrine. I grew up in an independant church and never knew what the rapture was, because the second coming was the same event as the taking the saints into the air.

If the Israelites experienced the first of the plagues right along with Egypt and then were left in place but protected from the rest, why is it such bad theology to imagine the same thing happening for us, especially when we are forwarned of what will come so that we can watch for it and not be part of the wrath?

Why did the Father allow so many believers throughout history to ezxperience torture and death? It was a purification and testing of the faith. But faced with the same possibilities today, the church goes weak at the knees and closes it's eyes, just sure they will not face hardship because they are the elect.

Judy said...

Dear Precious Nathan, Praise God that you are not persuaded by those who are turning from His truth. The apostacy is definitely growing rampant on a daily basis. What an exciting time that the Lord has chosen for us!

While reading my VOM newsletters this morning, and praying for the Persecuted Church, I realized that American churches are full of spoiled brats. Very few Americans have experienced any suffering for their faith. Many people who call themselves Christians have no idea what it means to pick up their cross and follow Jesus. They cry out that this is the Tribulation, only because their delusional faith in their god of prosperity is being judged. Many are indeed Laodiceans.

Have we Americans been beaten, bruised or afflicted for spreading the good news? Have we gone to prison for proclaiming the gospel? Has any one in America been murdered for their faith in Jesus this year?

We are only experiencing birth pains, which will wax worse and worse. We need to pray daily as Jesus taught us from Luke 21:36:

KJ - Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
NKJ - Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
NIV - Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
AMP - Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.

The definition of escape means flight, get away, break, breakout, running away, running off, evasion, avoidance, dodging, averting, prevention.

The definition of stand means place, position, rest, park, deposit, remain, continue, exist, stay, prevail, endure, survive, last.

There is only one place that we can escape to and stand before the son of Man. Where is Jesus now? He is sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is not on the earth yet! He will gather His Bride to Him, before that dreadful Day of the Lord.

Remnant Saints, continue to encourage one another of our Blessed Hope, stay steadfast in His Word, and fervently cling to our Comforter. HE WILL NOT ALLOW HIS TRUE BRIDE TO BE FORSAKEN, NOR LED ASTRAY!

Judy said...

Saints, we are not to look for the coming antichrist, we are to watch for Jesus Christ. Following is some more words of comfort from John:

1 John 2:18-27

18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Laura said...

Judy,

The words you quote from Luke 21:36 are not for born-again believers this side of the rapture. After all, how can we "make ourselves worthy"? It's either all Christ's work that saves us or it's nothing. All our attempts to make ourselves "worthy" are filthy rags in God's eyes.

This verse quite possibly is referring to post-rapture believers, who some think will not have the indwelling Holy Spirit and who will have to maintain faithfulness to go to heaven. I myself am not sure of that interpretation.

A much better encouragement would be to remind believers of what Christ has already DONE for us--He has forgiven us of ALL our sins; He has given us His very life; He has made us holy, righteous saints; He has freed us from the Law, laws, principles, commandments, etc.; He has written God's laws on our hearts and minds; He has given us a new heart that DESIRES to live righteously; He speaks love to us all day, every day, so that we may RESPOND to Him; He has already seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.

Now, those are things that encourage me, but even if I fail, even if I am discouraged, even if I am faithless, even if I don't stay the course, God is still faithful and He will save me.

And by the way, I don't eagerly anticipate opportunities to suffer for Christ. I think that's nonsense. Suffering will come for every child of God. It's par for the course, but I don't go looking for it, and I certainly don't feel guilty for not suffering as others have suffered. God leads His children--sometimes through difficult circumstances, but that journey and the results of it belong to Him.

son of thunder said...

The part that bothered me is when Bro. Buttram said it was like someone reprinted his Bible.

That frightens me. How long until it's reprinted to the point that Joel Osteen's is and he's not sure that Jesus is the only way to the Father?

Anonymous said...

Rapture Forums,
I think that popular site still is holding to that view and don't dare question it even if time's about up for the Temple etc.

Ian said...

Clearly this is the beginning of the "falling away" warned about in 1 Timothy 4. As the body of Christ we must stay in prayer, now more than ever, seek the word of God and not worry about the predictions and postulations of man. Yes I will readily admit I'm as eager as the next man for the Tribulation to begin- because then we'll be taken out of the way and spend all our time worshipping Him. But if you read some of the content on their (very slick) website, one article says the "World Teacher" is already here- when we know that when Christ returns he won't be skulking around the fringes of society, but rather he'll be coming on the clouds! Let us keep our eyes on Jesus and let the world worry about the rest.

Mitchell said...

Ian said, "Clearly this is the beginning of the "falling away" warned about in 1 Timothy 4. As the body of Christ we must stay in prayer, now more than ever, seek the word of God and not worry about the predictions and postulations of man."

No, Ian, it is not the "falling away." The timing of the rapture is a secondary doctrine, not an essential Christian doctrine, and it has zero bearing on one's salvation, so please don't let something like this be divisive within the Body of Christ. What is the "apostasia" (revolt, rebellion, apostasy from the faith)? Look at the textbooks in our public schools today. Listen to the lyrics of many of today's pop/hip-hop/rock songs. Watch a few blockbuster "comedies" at the theater. Listen to a few "evangelists" on TV today. Look at the rising influence of false religions in our culture and even our governments. That will give you an idea of the "revolt/rebellion/apostasy" that is happening in these Last Days ...

son of thunder said...

Mitchell! Where ya been, man? You know I don't always agree with you, but I, for one, have missed you.

son of thunder said...

And, Ian, I have to disagree when you say we're at the beginning of the apostacy: we are fully immersed in it and have been for some time. It's just gotten so big, we're just now really noticing it.

Mitchell said...

Thanks son of thunder! I've been so busy lately with work, it can be draining, and I've only had limited time to post anywhere at all, but with a bit of extra time lately here I am :)

Mitchell said...

Hey Nathan, I noticed some of my comments were removed. I think that's a first brother, any reason why in particular?

Mitchell said...

As for the Gospel Tract Society changing their position, it sounds like they've shifted towards the pre-wrath position. They are not the first ones to question the pre-trib position, and they will not be the last. I often see many people switching from pre-trib to post-trib and/or pre-wrath, but how many who are post-trib and/or pre-wrath are switching to pre-trib? Very few, if any.

In the end though, I consider this a positive development that will get many to start talking about the other positions because many of us have never even heard of anything other than the pre-trib view. Naturally, some will think such a switch is strange and will be baffled by the news, but those of us who think like that are usually the ones who have never seriously studied any of the other rapture positions -- unless it were the pre-trib-version and explanation of the other positions, which is rarely ever fruitful for a good study in my opinion. If you want to learn about, for example, the post-trib view, get it from a post-tribber.

Bottom line, we should all remember that it is a secondary doctrine, not an essential Christian doctrine, and regardless of what position we hold we are all members together of One Body.

Now I'm about to *shock* everyone here -- I am no longer pre-trib, I am post-trib (or to be more specific, post-trib *and * pre-wrath) :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, they aren't pre-wrath.

http://www.thecomingchrist.com/present.html

Mitchell said...

It's either mid-trib or pre-wrath, unless they've come to their own view. Sounds like they haven't decided which one yet. I'd be willing to bet that they'll settle on pre-wrath.

Anonymous said...

Their view seems to be late first half of the week. That would be close to mid-trib. But they provide no rationale for their new stance.

Nathan Jones said...

You know much I value you're well researched input, Mitchell. Instead of posting an entire article in what is only meant to be a comments section, though, just put a link to your website that has the article.

I now have to go delete a joker who posted their same article on 6 different posts. :(

Mitchell said...

I hear ya Nathan. You know Mr. Brevity and I are always engaged in a wrestling match. :P

Anon said, "Their view seems to be late first half of the week. That would be close to mid-trib. But they provide no rationale for their new stance."

Yeah. It's towards mid-trib, and it would be nice to read what their reasoning was, as I will always receive a well-reasoned argument with all readiness of mind and then test it in light of Scripture. I don't know of many who settle on mid-trib though, it's usually a move towards pre-wrath or post-trib. I suspect that this is a first step towards the latter.

I can understand them saying though that it was as if someone had reprinted the Bible for them. I probably wouldn't have used those exact words (as some have criticized above), but it was similar for me. I believe that the Holy Spirit had allowed me to read Scripture with a "new set of eyes" as it were. During the transition from pre-trib to post-trib, portions of Scripture that I had read numerous times before began to leap out at me. Questions started jostling around in my mind, often in conflict with much of what the pre-trib position taught me for so long, but it wasn't long before I put 2 and 2 together. And then the First Resurrection of Revelation 20:4-5 slapped me in the face, and everything began making much more sense from that point on ...

hartdawg said...

mitch&nathan, one reason why i flunked outta college is when writing a 5 page paper i`d spend hrs or even days and after writing EVERYTHING down i barely had half a page! i donno how someone can write long comments. spose i`d be a horrible preacher:)

Anonymous said...

Perspective is an interesting thing. I’ve been praying for clarity and feel I’ve been led to pre-trib.

Paul said...

I am certain of one thing for sure, I cannot see any reason for a rapture-catching up-blesse hope whatever you want to call it other than before Israel goes into an agreement with a European leader who promises them peace and the ability to rebuild their temple and resume their blasphemous animal sacrifices.

Seems those who believe in a mid trib post trib rapture usually hold to replacement theology.

That said: If I see a European leader enter into such a covenant with Israel and he suggests I receive a little computer chip for my security I would have to reconsider.

Mitchell said...

Paul said, "Seems those who believe in a mid trib post trib rapture usually hold to replacement theology."

Hi Paul, this is a misconception. I am a Progressive Dispensationalist, and believe that Replacement Theology is heretical and fundamentally flawed. At the same time, I am post-trib. Here is one quick reason why:

When we read Rev 10, notice what happens when the angel begins to sound the 7th and LAST TRUMPET:

Rev 10:1,3a,7, "And I saw another mighty angel COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire ... And cried with a LOUD VOICE, as [when] a lion roareth ... in the days of the voice of the SEVENTH angel, when he shall begin to SOUND, the MYSTERY of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."

This is directly related to 1 Thess 4:16 and 1 Cor 15:51-52, the most popular rapture passages in the entire Bible.

1 Thess 4:16, "For the Lord himself shall DESCEND FROM HEAVEN with a SHOUT, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, and with the TRUMP of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" *and* 1 Cor 15:51-52 reads, “Behold, I shew you a MYSTERY; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP: for the TRUMPET shall SOUND, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

In Revelation 10 we have:

1. A "mighty angel" coming down from heaven, 2. Crying out with a loud voice, 3. The seventh and last trumpet begins to sound, 4. And the "mystery" of God is finished once the last trumpet begins to sound.

In 1 Thess 4:16 and 1 Cor 15:51-52 we have:

1. The Lord coming down from heaven with the voice of the Archangel, 2. With the trump of God, 3. The Mystery: At the last trump the dead are raised, and 4. At the last trump we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye.

I don't think that this is just a mere coincidence.

You know Paul, all of us understand and agree that the dead in Christ mentioned in 1 Thess 4:16 rise first before the rapture, and THEN we who are alive and remain will be caught up with them. Knowing this, here is something that I consider to be extremely important regarding this resurrection, and it is what turned the light switch on for me: it happens after the tribulation (Rev 20:4-5).

Now consider the logical implications of what John is telling us: If the First Resurrection is after the tribulation like he says it is, then there is no resurrection before it, and if there is no resurrection before the tribulation then there cannot be a rapture before the tribulation. It is impossible. This sheds light on why Paul said those who are “alive and remain”. This statement would make no sense if the rapture were pre-trib.

Mitchell said...

hartdawg said, "mitch&nathan, one reason why i flunked outta college is when writing a 5 page paper i`d spend hrs or even days and after writing EVERYTHING down i barely had half a page! i donno how someone can write long comments. spose i`d be a horrible preacher:)"

Or, a really good preacher. A good communicator can say more in half a page than most others would say in two or three pages. And if I had to write everything down, I wouldn't say nearly as much either. I really don't like writing. Typing is where it's at now. I just close my eyes and let it flow... :)

hartdawg said...

i do the one finger typing thing. even when posting a comment i`d spend alot of time on it trying to be really thorough but then after previewing it its still only like one or two paragraphs. i`m a little wordier when asking nathan a question online tho cuz i want the question to be understood so i can get the answer i`m looking for.

Mitchell said...

Nathan asks, "What would cause the Gospel Tract Society and other intelligent, searching believers to give up hope that Jesus will fulfill His promises to rescue the Church from His own wrath (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3:10)?"

Hi Nathan, I just noticed this question. The problem that I see here is that the question assumes that the wrath that we are promised to be rescued from happens during the tribulation. Let's look at the verses you listed:

1 Thess 1:10 -- The wrath we will be delivered from is the Greek "orge" (G3709).

1 Thess 5:9 -- The wrath that we are not appointed to is the Greek "orge" (G3709).

Romans 5:9 -- The wrath that we are saved from is the Greek "orge" (G3709).

Eph 5:6 -- The wrath upon those who are disobedient is the Greek "orge" (G3709).

The word "wrath" is found 13 times in Revelation from the Greek word "thymos" and "orge", but the "orge" of God that we are promised to be saved from is only found six times. Each time "orge" is used it is in a post-trib context:

1 and 2. It is mentioned AFTER the cosmic signs and the revealing of Christ Jesus (Rev 6:16-17). Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that these signs happen immediately AFTER the tribulation (Matt 24:29).

3. It is found AFTER the SEVENTH trumpet (Rev 11:18).

4. It is used to describe the final torment of unbelievers in hell (Rev 14:10).

5. It is found AFTER the SEVENTH bowl (Rev 16:19).

6. It is used in connection with Christ’s Second Coming (Rev 19:15).

http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/post/link3.htm#Anchor6

Therefore, even if the rapture does not happen until after the tribulation, we are still saved from the "orge" of God as promised.

Col 3:4 -- says, "When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." This says that when Christ appears, we will then be with Him. When does He appear? Matthew 24:29-31, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days ... shall appear the sign of the Son of man ... And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect". The rapture happens as soon as the last trumpet begins to sound (Rev 10:7), and it is instantaneous.

Notice what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:7, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." The Greek word for "appearing" here is "apokalypsis", and it's not hard to figure out what this is referring to. It is the manifestation, the revealing of Christ Jesus at the Second Coming per Matthew 24:29-31.

All the verses listed points to and supports a post-trib rapture, not a pre-trib rapture.

Rev 3:10 -- I shared my view on this verse here. It explains why this does not refer to any type of physical removal, but rather to spiritual protection from deception and temptation. :)

Blessings! ...

glen walling said...

although i'm not 100% sure i tend to agree with what you say mitchell
on this matter
if there is a pre trib rapture, then i believe it will be a very small one, considering only enoch was translated before the flood, and we all know how close to god enoch was

Mitchell said...

Hi glen, thanks for the comments. If you have any questions that you're not sure about let me know.

As for a pre-trib rapture, in all honesty I don't see support for one anywhere at all in Scripture, not even a very small one. The dead in Christ rise first before the rapture, and there are obviously dead in Christ at the end of the tribulation that are still waiting to be resurrected in the First Resurrection. I'd love for there to be a pre-trib rapture, but I have to accept what I believe the Bible is saying: there is only one gathering of the elect, and it is after the tribulation.

Anonymous said...

"What would cause the Gospel Tract Society and other intelligent, searching believers to give up hope that Jesus will fulfill His promises to rescue the Church from His own wrath (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3:10)?"

Good question, Nathan. Thanks for the great work.

Mitchell said...

You know, considering the Gospel Tract Society's statement in which they believe we are already well into the tribulation, it is possible that they may now hold to the view expressed on the following website:

http://www.lasttrumpet.org/

Personally, I am not completely convinced of a seven year tribulation, and remain open to other views that only believe in a period of 3.5 years. We read about a period of "Great Tribulation" a number of times which lasts for 1260 days / 42 months / a time, times and half a time (each of these is 3.5 Biblical years) but we NEVER read about a seven year tribulation anywhere in Scripture. This seven year trib view is based on only one interpretation of only one specific verse in Daniel 9.

Knowing that there are 3.5 years of Great Tribulation, however, and considering that Mark Biltz could be on to something regarding the Feasts of the Lord, I will be keeping a very close eye on the spring of 2012 for the Abomination of Desolation. Things are lining up ...

Anonymous said...

Skimming thru that website mentioned above: http://www.lasttrumpet.org/

It seems the author believes Paul is a false prophet. Go down to the end.

Harv E. Ster said...

From my perspective, I can assure you that a pre-wrath or post-trib position of the second coming causes me to walk soberly, and allow God to prepare my heart for future persecution. I'm not partying or beating my maidservants. Yeshua graciously gave us the sequence of End Time events in Matthew 24, verses 4 through 31. He never once mentions an event called the rapture. That would be a "key" event for Yeshua to mention, don't you think, if there really was a rapture?

Mitchell said...

Anonymous said, "It seems the author believes Paul is a false prophet. Go down to the end."

Yeah, I noticed that after I posted the link. The Gospel Track Society does *not* believe that I'm sure. I only posted the link above because the first portion does a good job of describing their position and it references the research done by Mark Biltz, which I find intriguing.

Here are some better links:

http://www.lookupfellowship.com/2009/03/mark-biltz-timeline-revisited.html

http://www.zimbio.com/Total+Lunar+Eclipse/articles/92/SOLAR+LUNAR+ECLIPSES+2014+15

Mitchell said...

Harv E. Ster says, "Yeshua graciously gave us the sequence of End Time events in Matthew 24, verses 4 through 31. He never once mentions an event called the rapture. That would be a "key" event for Yeshua to mention, don't you think, if there really was a rapture?"

Love the name. :)

I agree, Jesus does not mention a pre-trib rapture at all anywhere in Matthew 24. In fact, He does not mention a pre-trib rapture anywhere in Scripture, period. But, notice that the Apostle Paul -- when speaking about the "rapture" (ie, the gathering) -- directly referenced the teaching that Jesus gave in Matthew 24:29-31 regarding the gathering and it taking place immediately after the tribulation.

Read the following to learn these extremely significant parallels:

http://www.oasischristianchurch.org/air/009.pdf

Mind blowing, isn't it? Why do so many of us not connect these dots?

Anonymous said...

Walking soberly is a call to Christians of all ages regardless of their end time position.

More dots to connect…Deu 30:4, Isa 11:12, 27:12-13 note the trumpet, Jer 16:14-15, Eze 11:14-18, 36:24, Zep 3:18-20, Zech 10:8-12.

Anonymous said...

Motherofsomany is absolutely correct to question the timing of the Rapture. His arguments are sound. To all who believe dogmatically in the pre-trib timing of the Rapture: We all believe in the same Jesus, and He promised to lead us into all truth by His Spirit. However it is possible to quench the Holy Spirit as a result of our pride. He seeks to teach us something, but we have believed something else for so long, we would be embarassed to admit our view might be in error. I was a pre-tribber. But there were always things in Scripture that did not quite fit this view. Theological gymnastics are necessary to justify some of the finer details of the pre-trib theory. Motherofsomany, here's another argument.
Q. How are the Great Multitude and the 144000 saved? A. The same way we are. Q. What Bible do they read? A. The same one we do. Q. Are they "in Christ", as we are? A. Of course. Q. Being "in Christ", are they members of His Body? A. Yes! Q. (for the pre-trib crowd) When will the Body of Christ cease to be the Church? A. Never.
THEREFORE: As long as there are Christians on Earth, whether before or during the Great Tribulation, the Church is on Earth, since every Christian is a member of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. This doctrine is NON-NEGOTIABLE, unlike the timing of the Rapture. Prayer and humility must combine, and the Truth will become clear.

Nathan Jones said...

Too true, Anonymous, Christians should never part fellowship over a non-primary doctrine like Eschatology.

After all these years I still find the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view strongly biblically supported. For information on why I believe the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the best argument for the timing of the Rapture, please check out these articles on our website at Why I Believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and The Rapture.

Anonymous said...

Buttram is even more deceived than you imagine. Read the following article:

http://www.thestillman.com/stillmanfiles/2012/03/what-who-do-the-rapture-and-the-curse-of-ham-have-in-common/