Imminency Is Not Scriptural…

October 21, 2009 at 8:30 AM 3 comments

Yep, I’m hammering this home, because Posttribbers hammer things like this all the time.  Please understand, I’m not being vindictive, or vitriolic, or sarcastic, and I could easily move into that mode, but what would that accomplish?

Posttribbers like Dave MacPherson, and others like to loudly proclaim the idea that the doctrine of imminency is not found in Scripture…when it is related to the Rapture.  That’s their opinion, but I have noticed that their own definition of imminency does not square with Scripture.  “Soon” is not a synonym for imminent.  The word imminent, when used Scripturally, normally refers to the possibility of something happening at any moment.  In other words, there is nothing keeping it from happening, except a decision.  In the case of the Rapture, there simply needs to be a nod from God, the Father to God the Son and the Rapture happens.

Posttribbers like to point out that imminency (they mean “soon”) is not part of the Rapture equation.  With that definition, I would not disagree.  However, since imminency means at any moment, then they are not standing on a firm foundation.  They go to great extra-biblical lengths in their attempt to show that the Rapture will not occur until the actual, physical 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ, when His feet touch the Mt. of Olives, splitting it into two.  These extra-biblical arguments are referred to again and again, all the while, the Posttribber complains that the PreTribber is constantly deferring to extra-biblical argumentation.  In point of fact, it was NOT the PreTribber who first deferred to the created scenario which indicated that a 15 year-old girl gave the idea of a PreTrib Rapture to Darby.  Posttribbers did that.  PreTribbers began writing about it to rebut MacPherson’s claims.  No one was convinced – those who were already inclined to believe MacPherson’s every word, followed through with complete belief.  Those who questioned him were seen as “revisionists.”  Never mind, that MacPherson has also seemed to revise things (by ignoring, glossing over, or what have you), in his repeated attempts to create a conspiracy theory that is seen by intelligent people as nearly impossible to believe (that a 15 year-old girl, and a couple of men could completely bamboozle the entirety of the visible church!).  But why allow intelligence to override what someone has taken 8 books to explain?  Apparently, this conspiracy is so convoluted and involved that it makes 9/11 look like it was done by children.

If we consider most of the extra-biblical arguments surrounding the many Rapture views, with specific reference to the PreTrib Rapture scenario of course, we find that it is not the PreTribber that has gone off into the extra-biblical, but it has been others who have done that.  The PreTribber has taken the time to respond to these arguments and they have done so not in the style of Dave “Mr. Sarcasm” MacPherson, but in a style of love, patience and endurance, hopefully glorifying God in the process.  Still, the accusations by Posttribbers that PreTribbers simply argue from the extra-biblical, persists.

I say we stick with Scripture and Scripture only, unless the argument outside of Scripture directly impacts the Bible itself.  For instance, in an argument with Preterists, who believe that Revelation was written prior to the fall of the Temple (they prefer an A.D. 65ish date), one need only consider the fact that at least one city that John wrote to did not even exist in A.D. 65, having been destroyed and not yet rebuilt!  That type of extra-biblical argument directly impacts the dating of the book.  In this case, it is not “hearsay” or “circumstantial evidence,” but evidence that has actual meat to it, supplying some missing pieces to the puzzle.

In the case of the Rapture, the event that Paul first reveals is clearly taught in Scripture.  Determining the timing of it depends upon how one views aspects of Scripture which deal with it.  One of the largest arguments for a PreTrib Rapture is found in the letters to the Thessalonians themselves.  What is most interesting is what Paul does not say.  Can you imagine an apostle not saying one word of preparation about the upcoming Tribulation to the people he was writing to, and at the same time convincing them that they should not mourn for those who already “fell asleep” in the Lord because they have not “missed it?”  Missed what?  For the masochistic Posttribber who believes that he is blessed to partake of the upcoming wrath of the Lord during the final seven years of human history, Paul is obviously talking about the Tribulation.  However, to those who do not believe that they have to “prove” anything to the Lord, and that they will in fact, be raptured out prior to the Tribulation, Paul is speaking of the Rapture.  The argument though rages because of the phrase “day of the Lord.”  Posttribbers generally believe this to refer to one specific day; the day Jesus actual returns to the earth.  Unfortunately, many other references to the “day of the Lord” indicate a period of time, including but not limited to, the Tribulation itself.

This is one of the major sticking points in determing how people understand the phrase “day of the Lord.”  If you – after having studied, spending hours verifying the meaning of that phrase and others similar to it – are convinced that it refers merely and specifically to the actual one day upon which the Lord returns, then you go with that.  Paul then can only be referring to that one day, which occurs at the end of the Tribulation.  However, if your study has brought you to the conclusion that the phrase “the day of the Lord” refers to a period of time, including the Tribulation, then that is the direction you go in.  In that case, then Paul is giving us a breakdown of the way things will happen “that day cannot happen until” the man of sin is revealed, etc.  In this case then, Paul is saying that that “day” cannot begin until the man of sin is revealed.  Mid-Tribbers take their cue from this because they believe that Paul then is obviously referring to the mid-point of the Tribulation where the man is fully revealed.  However, this is not necessarily the case.  Paul could mean “revealed onto the scene” or something similar.

But in any case, the overall sense of meaning is missed if we concentrate solely on word meaning, to the exclusion of Paul’s overall meaning of the entire context of his words to the Thessalonians.  It is clear that Paul is telling them to not be sad that some have fallen asleep, because they will not miss “it” (which obviously refers to the Rapture since he explains what happens DURING the Rapture).  If Christians were to be here for the Tribulation, I would have thought that Paul would have taken the time to actually be GLAD for those who have fallen asleep.  In fact, I would have thought that the Christians in Thessalonica would have also been relieved for them, due to the fact that they would be missing the most horrendous period of time to befall the earth. 

Paul takes no time to explain to them what is upcoming in the sense that they need to prepare for it.  With all the mysteries that Paul was privileged to reveal and explain to Christians, he spends no time explaining the supposedly impending Tribulation that Christians are to go through.  Why?  He must have forgotten.  No, maybe he did not want to scare them.  Who knows?  From all outward appearances as we read the letters to the Thessalonians, we are struck by the very loud absence of any admonisions regarding the upcoming Tribulation.  That silence speaks volumes and compared with the rest of Scripture that also speaks of the Rapture, we gain a good look at the entire picture.

However, regarding imminency, as I said yesterday, what is undoubtedly imminent (meaning:  at any moment), is your death and my death.  We are all merely one breath away from the next life.  That is imminency and it is not to be messed with, or given another definition.  It means, I could die at any time now.  Only the Lord knows and He is not tell me.  I went to teach my normal college class yesterday, to find out that someone who had worked in the financial aid office unexpectedly die over the weekend.  No one was prepared for that.  She was in her mid-forties.  Gone.  Out of this world and into the next.  I do not know if she was a Christian.  In fact, I never met her and only knew of her by name.  The tragedy is that if she was not a Christian, it is too late for that.  Her decision (one way or another) was made during this life, either by cognitively receiving or rejecting Christ or by ignoring it and rejecting Him by default.

This is why we are here, ladies and gentlemen.  We are here to be a living witness now.  We do not know how much longer the Lord has chosen to give us, but we must work while there is light, because soon the light may be fully gone and then no one will work.  The reality of living in this world as a Christian is that while our death is always imminent, so is our neighbor’s.  We must do what we can to ensure that they have heard the Word, in understandable terms so that an intelligent decision can be made.  God will use whatever we say for His glory, even if we do not believe our intelligence lives up to His standard (which it does not).  It does not matter.  God will use any means at His disposal to save those who are perishing.  He did it with Zaccheus, the thief on the cross, the Ethopian eunich, and many, many others.  He is not looking for polished spokespersons.  He is looking for individual Christians, who are fully dedicated to Him, daily dying to Self, and keeping Him enthroned.

We are here to do His bidding, not our own.  We are also not here to involve ourselves in endless arguments over things that do not matter.  In the coming days, Lord willing, I am going to fully dismantle this stupid argument that says that PreTribbers live carnal, unspiritual lives.  THAT my friends, is nothing less than a LIE that has been perpetrated by dishonest Posttribbers, using everything at their disposal to cast doubt on something that they do not agree with, and the fact that some have gone so far as to virulently create a false conspiracy shows just how far they will go to castigate those with which they disagree.

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Death May Trump Rapture AND Tribulation Always Ready and Watching?

3 Comments

  • 1. amc  |  November 4, 2009 at 8:09 PM

    Belle,

    We have MM’s vision available to us. You can even Google it ;-) Given we have that vision and given that she states:

    “Now will THE WICKED be revealed, with all power and signs and lying wonders, so that if it were possible the very elect will be deceived. This is the fiery trial which is to try us. It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus…”

    “…now shall the awful sight of a false Christ be seen on this earth, and nothing but the living Christ in us can detect this awful attempt of the enemy to deceive…”

    “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept.”

    Can you explain how one derives a preTrib view from that? Perhaps you have a preTrib statement from MM that you can point out. She sure looks postTrib to me – perhaps even pre Van Kampen preWrath?

    For another perspective, I suggest you read Paul Wilkinson’s “For Zion’s Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby”.

    However, I would caution that if you want to continue to believe MacP’s assertions, that you abstain from reading Dr Wilkinson’s book.

    As for C H Fisher, I’ve read much of his materials. Unfortunately, he habitually misquotes both Dr Stanton and Dr Ice, quite apart from his biased treatment of pretribulationists.

    In Him

    amc

  • 2. Miss Belle Wethers  |  October 21, 2009 at 6:51 PM

    My dear boy–
    Can you show me where historian MacPherson ever stated that he thinks that Christ’s return is “soon,” as you claim he stated? And who informed you that he gets tons of money from his writing? And which source told you that Darby could not have been influenced by MacDonald?
    Although Darby admitted in his 1853 book “The Irrationalism of Infidelity” that he visited MacDonald and recorded her views and published many of them in the same book (which I have seen), Todd Strandberg has the audacity – or stupidity – to keep repeating in his “Margaret MacDonald Who?” article on his Rapture Ready site that MacPherson has “never been able to prove that Darby had ever heard of MacDonald or her vision”! (Is Todd your cousin perhaps? Since you sound so much like him, why not give him some public credit?)
    For the record, MacPherson proves endlessly in his writings that the Irvingites (followers of Edward Irving) – as well as MacDonald – taught Darby’s “truths” long before Darby taught them. Pretrib defenders typically (and dishonestly) focus on poor little Margaret whose very short “vision” account confessedly had not the clarity and extensive detail found in Irvingite prophetical writings between 1830 and 1833 including amazingly clear statements upholding a pretribulation coming as well as “any-moment”-ness as amply demonstrated in MacPherson’s bestselling book “The Rapture Plot.”
    You have also blasted C. H. Fisher by declaring that he “does not preach or teach truth.” Where did you find a brush that covers such a broad area? Can’t you supply just a few unbiased sources or quotes? When I was a little girl many years ago my mother would wash my mouth with soap if I told even a tiny lie. Was your childhood deprived of such upbringing? I don’t know if I sound like your mother, but I hope that Fred DeRuvo will back up his assertions with unbiased and reliable sources. Please listen to you heart and to the Lord and not to me.
    In Christ, Belle

    PS–I would like to know if “modres” stands for “mangles or disregards recognized eschatological sources.”

    -

    • 3. modres  |  October 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM

      Thanks so much for proving (once again) how rude and sarcastic followers of Dave MacPherson can be. Taking your cue from Mac, you undoubtedly believe the Lord is blessed that you take this tone. Think what you would like to think. It really makes absolutely no difference to me. There has been enough material written on the subject to show that for all of Mac’s boasting, he has proven nothing, except to folks like yourself who are inclined to believe what he states anyway.

      But the reality is this: whether or not YOU believe there is any merit to the PreTrib Rapture position or not, one thing you cannot argue (intelligently) is that your death (as well as mine) IS imminent. It could occur today, now, or tomorrow, or next month. You have no clue when it will occur. So, are you living for the Lord NOW? If we look at the worn out Posttribber argument that the PreTrib Rapture creates immature, carnal Christians (I note the sarcasm in your two responses as I state that), due to the “fact” that apparently, those who believe in the PreTrib Rapture are merely using it as an escape clause, waiting with nail-biting ferocity for that wonderful day when they will be whisked from the face of the earth, just prior to the start of the Tribulation period. The Posttribber delights in pointing out how this thinking creates a selfish, carnal, spiritually lacking “Christian” who can no more stand up under daily temptation much less the coming testing through the Antichrist.

      If that is so, then the very SAME rationale holds true for all who live as if each day could be the last. Are we living for Christ, in all that we do, think, and say, because my next breath may be my last? Apparently, thinking like this, causes me to STOP living for Christ and actually only concern myself with ME, and getting to heaven. Yet, Scripture is replete with reminders that He is near, that when we see Him, we will be like Him, and that those who consider these things are purified by them. So, let’s see, should I believe Scripture, or should I believe the Posttribber, who comes along and with the BROAD brush, paints me as a heretic, a loser, a Christian wannabe, but someone who is in danger of being deceived by the Antichrist, because I am currently deceived into thinking that the Rapture could occur at any moment.

      My DEATH could occur at any moment, and rather than argue with you or others like C H Fisher who told me in an email that because of my delusion (believing the PreTrib Rapture), I am in danger of hell (Fisher does not believe in eternal security, but believes that Christians can lose their salvation, as do some other Posttribbers I have had conversations with, who while vilifying PreTribbers, hold in high esteem Mac, creator of the Darby/Scofield Cover-up), I would prefer to state my case and leave you to your thoughts. You have been convinced by nothing that anyone else has written rebutting Mac’s presentation, so why would I waste the time discussing something with you when your mind is clearly made up? After all, you’re entitled to your opinion, so enjoy it.

      This is a BLOG. I reserve my deep research for my books. This BLOG is simply where I share my opinion on things and while something subjects might ask for “proof,” the nature of a BLOG is such that it is not required. A BLOG is where people state their opinions, comment on the weather or other things, and it is where they say what they want to say.

      However, getting back to the subject, there is NO difference in believing that the Rapture could occur at any moment, and my death could occur at any moment. In fact, there is more chance that my death could occur before the Rapture since at any time, I am only one breath away from the next life. Since this is the case, then it behooves me to live a life that pleases my Savior and Lord. The thought that at any moment through death, I may be ushered into His presence, creates within me the desire to please Him and separates me from those things that do not please Him. That is the purpose of considering that when I see Him, I will be like Him because I am purified by the realization that at any moment, I could be in His presence, as my sister was quite unexpectedly taken home not long ago. There was no warning. There was no expectation of it. She was simply gone.

      Now, I would appreciate it if you would change your tone, if you want to carry on this conversation, or you will be blocked. Your pugnacious attitude is not appreciated here, nor is your condescending tone. Save that for your own BLOG. I cannot make that anymore clear.


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