Jacob Prasch’s “Shadows of the Beast”, Pt 2
I have completed Prasch’s book and as I mentioned in my last blog, I am finishing my review of it.
Prasch makes some great points. He introduces a good amount of historical and biblical data to help us understand how the spirit of the antichrist is at work in the world. This, he says, is to help us know the identity of the coming, final “man of sin” when he is revealed to the world.
He brings out the point clearly that for every antichrist (and there have been many and will be more until the final one arrives), there has been his false prophet. With Joseph Smith, we have Brigham Young, as just one example. In every cult, there is a leader and then someone right behind that leader who props that leader up. In many ways, both the leader and the false prophet of every cult share authority equally. This certainly seems to be the case for the two beasts of Revelation as well.
While Prasch provides a great deal of accurate historical and biblical data related to the spirit of the antichrist and how it has been and continues to work in the world, in other areas he seems to simply assume things. For instance, I was really hoping to learn something new about the Rapture and specifically, why he does not hold to the PreTrib Rapture position. While he does not believe the Bible teaches a PreTrib Rapture, he does not – in my opinion – adequately explain why he believes the Rapture will occur between the 6th and 7th seals of Revelation.
I was not always one who believed in a PreTrib Rapture. It was not on my radar years ago. I simply assumed that if I was alive when the Tribulation began, I would go through it along with millions of other Christians. As I studied the Bible, I arrived at the conclusion that the Rapture is to occur prior to the start of the Tribulation. This is not to say that I might be wrong because I could be, but my study has shown me that the Rapture will occur prior to the Tribulation.
Yet, rather than delve into Scripture too deeply in this area, Prasch seems content to point out that the Exodus itself by the children of Israel represents a type of Rapture. He uses this and other examples of Scripture to prove his own belief about a Rapture occurring roughly midway through the Tribulation.
In Egypt, the children of Israel suffered through the hardships and witnessed (but did not experience) the plagues that God sent to Egypt until Pharaoh was brought to a point of absolute defeat through the final plague – the death of his firstborn son. After that, they were guided out of Egypt by Moses, certainly a type of Christ.
Prasch points out that the trek out of Egypt was like the Rapture of the living and the dead (they were carrying Joseph’s bones with them). Frankly, that was news to me, as I had not read that opinion before. That’s not to say the argument does not have merit. It simply says this is the first time I have come across that as an example of a type of Rapture.
I’m wondering why Prasch did not also make use of the Noah and the Flood scenario as representative of the Rapture? Is it because there was no real “Antichrist” that Noah was fleeing from? I don’t know. Prasch does use Elijah and his leaving this world as a type of Rapture.
To me, Noah is the quintessential type of Rapture. He was in the world, but was not part of it. The world had become extremely evil to the point that all men thought about was doing evil all day long. I’m sure it was a terrible place to live. Then again, Jesus warns us that “as it was in the days of Noah/Lot, so shall it be during the days of the coming of the Son of Man,” (Matthew 24:36-39; Luke 17:26-27).
Noah continued living and working on the Ark under those hellish conditions until the day arrived for him, his family, and the animals to be sealed up inside the Ark. God sealed it from the outside. God had predetermined exactly when He would shut Noah and the rest into the Ark and Noah was not privy to that information until the day came. There were no signs that indicated to Noah when that day might be. He worked and waited. Notice he did not simply wait.
The world – while exceedingly evil during Noah’s day – did not represent God’s wrath. It represented then and now – what naturally happens when humanity rebels against God and allows Satan and his minions room to “occupy” society.
(By the way, Prasch himself indicates that Christians will not experience God’s wrath.) It was only after everyone was safely tucked away inside the Ark that the rain – representative of God’s wrath being poured out onto the world – began to pour down onto the earth, eventually killing all life on this planet.
By the way, I saw a moronic billboard not long ago from an atheist group ridiculing the idea that so much rain could have fallen in such a short period of time during the time of Noah. They called it nonsense and then asked what other nonsense there was in Scripture. Of course, what they fail to realize is that the world was not merely flooded because of rain, but also because the “fountains of the deep” opened up and the water they held came to the surface of the earth. It wasn’t merely rain. It was torrential rain, coupled with the fountains of the deep, coupled with landslides caused by massive water, etc. All of these things added to the problem. Gaines R. Johnson has a terrific book out called “The Bible, Genesis, and Geology” in which he discusses this “problem” that took place during the Deluge. You can go to his web site for more information: http://www.kjvbible.org/ or purchase his book.
Back to Noah…the actual wrath of God did not begin until everyone was safely inside the Ark, where they were “saved” from experiencing God’s wrath. They did not get rained on. The Ark was not flooded. They were completely safe and in essence, were taken “above” the earth because of the flood waters. Everyone and everything outside the Ark was affected by the water and eventually killed, but everyone within the safety of the Ark not only remained alive, but were kept completely safe from God’s wrath.
I think it is important to understand that the wrath of God did not pour out until after they were safely sealed inside the Ark. They then floated above the earth just as those in Christ will be caught up with Him to meet Him in the air according to 2 Thessalonians 2.
Some say that Noah’s Ark is representative of a PostTrib Rapture, but I don’t see it at all. They say that Noah was kept safe through the wrath of God. He was more than kept safe. It did not in any way, shape, or form affect Noah at all, or his family, or the animals. They were neither affected indirectly or directly by God’s wrath outside the Ark.
In effect, there was no place on earth that would have been safe for Noah, so God took him, his family, and the animals he wanted to exist after the flood high above the surface of the earth. Once the flood (God’s wrath) subsided, Noah came back to the earth (just as Jesus will do with His saints at the end of the Tribulation) and started the entire process over again, by being fruitful and multiplying over the face of the earth. So to will authentic Christians be removed from this earth (and God’s wrath) before the Tribulation, but will come back to the earth with Christ in the lead.
To my way of thinking, this is a far more accurate scenario that Prasch’s version of the Rapture using the Exodus as a type. Even the Sodom and Gomorrah situation with Lot is a type of PreTrib Rapture. Again, note that God’s wrath was not poured out onto the twin cities until Lot had been moved safely out of harm’s way and away from the surface of the earth, up into the mountains. It was then that God’s wrath poured out onto the city in the form of fire and brimstone.
One thing we can be sure of is this: as in the days of Noah (and even the days of Lot), we honestly do not know how bad things will be before the Rapture occurs. We do know that things will become very bad, but to what degree is difficult to tell, mainly because we have no real grasp of how bad things were during Noah’s time. Obviously, they were bad, but how bad is bad?
Prasch believes that the Rapture occurs between the 6th and 7th seals. Unfortunately, it is clear from Scripture that the denizens of earth (and not believers) recognize the 6th seal as being God’s wrath (cf. Revelation 6:15-17). If that is understood as the wrath of the Lamb by non-believers, then my understanding is that we – as authentic Christians – won’t be here to experience His wrath. We are not partakers of it. Some of course would argue that even though this is God’s wrath, He protects His own through it and they also use Noah and the Ark as an example of how God kept His people safe through His wrath, as noted. To me, that seems a bit of a stretch.
Ultimately, I was really hoping that Jacob Prasch was going to provide new insight into an age-old debate concerning the Rapture, but he simply doesn’t do that. He seems to wind up assuming a good deal, just as others accuse the PreTribber of assuming, or the Posttribber of assuming, and so it goes. In all fairness, maybe he did not feel it was necessary for this particular book. Yet, because he emphasizes the importance of knowing what to look for regarding the Antichrist, it makes sense that more should have been offered on the subject of the Rapture.
Here is my understanding so far regarding the Rapture. I would like to be able to without equivocation state based on Scripture that the Bible teaches a PreTrib Rapture. I believe it is more than implied in several instances but when 1 and 2 Thessalonians are read and studied, the water truly tends to become muddied. This is because there is so much debate about the phrase “the day of the LORD.” Some argue that it this coming day starts with the Rapture. Others argue that it merely incorporates the Tribulation period and His Second Coming. Still others proclaim that the day of the LORD represents the exact single day that Jesus returns to the earth. I have read and studied each of the main arguments. It is difficult to be dogmatic and on our best day, we may have to simply state what we believe and then agree to disagree without rancor and vitriol.
If you stop to consider it, people debate and argue about the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His physical death (or whether He actually existed), or the resurrection. They argue about the truth of the Trinity and other orthodox beliefs of Christendom. They debate about whether or not Israel is completely kaput or whether God will yet turn His attention back to that nation.
There are a good many things that those within the Church discuss and with which they disagree. Most have their staunch opinions regarding these issues and others. In my view, some things are non-negotiables, while with others, there is a certain amount of wiggle room. In all things however, we should extend to one another brotherly love and kindness. I believe Prasch does that with his book even though he does not agree with the PreTrib Rapture.
For instance, Jacob Prasch is obviously part of the Pentecostal movement (he says that) and believes that tongues as well as healings are for today. While I absolutely believe that God can (and DOES) heal, He does not need a “faith-healer” to do it (and I did not get the impression that Prasch believes faith-healers are needed either).
In fact, many today have built their ministries specifically around signs, wonders, and “prophetic words” (the first two of which Prasch condemns; the third he emphasizes the need for discernment). On the issue of tongues, Prasch and I disagree, though he is very quick to condemn the excesses that are obvious within the hyper-Charismatic and hyper-Pentecostal movements (as well as the obvious error within the hyper-Calvinistic groups). It obviously saddens him a great deal.
I believe – at this point – that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. Prasch believes that Christians will be here and will have the opportunity to recognize the Antichrist when he is revealed.
To me, this is a simply matter of seeing who is actually able to broker peace in the Middle East, though to Prasch, that might be too simplistic. Prasch believes that the reveal will not come until this coming man of sin sits in the Temple and desecrates it. Prasch also believes and teaches that there will be so many antichrists and false prophets that they will actually mask the work of the real Antichrist and False Prophet, making it that much more difficult to see and discern.
But Paul seems to be clear in 2 Thessalonians 2 when he says that “the day of the LORD” cannot come until the apostasy occurs, followed by the revelation of the man of sin. Paul then goes onto explain just exactly what this coming man of sin will attempt to achieve, including deifying himself as God.
Yet, in Daniel 9, we learn that this Antichrist will broker a peace treaty or covenant with “the many” but will break it, doing something to cause the sacrifices to cease in the middle of the “week.” If that is the event that kicks off the Tribulation – the signing of the covenant – as noted by the angel to Daniel, then obviously, that’s what we should be looking for, isn’t it?
Is it going to be that difficult to see happen, as Prasch believes? I would respectfully disagree because it will be this event that actually begins the Tribulation and as far as I’m concerned, it will be this same event that catapults a relative unknown to instant stardom. The world will see this and rejoice that someone, finally, has been able to create “lasting” peace in the Middle East. Why would Satan allow this event to be hidden from the average person’s eyes? This would be Antichrist’s first “miracle” and because of that, it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
Of course, if we know the actual beginning of the Tribulation, then we can easily figure out the last day of it, can’t we? All we need to do is count seven sets of 360 days (representing the solar calendar), not the lunar calendar. If we can figure out the actual day that ends the Tribulation (the day Jesus returns), then obviously we can pinpoint the day/date of His return, something that Jesus said we would not be able to do. Something is wrong somewhere.
We also need to remember that the angel was talking to Daniel about Daniel’s people – the Jews and the nation of Israel. Jacob Prasch seems to blur the lines of demarcation between the Church and Israel, though he is adamantly opposed to Replacement Theology. (He does use the phrase “the true Israel of God,” which Replacement Theologians also use, but he is resolute in claiming that Replacement Theology is not something taught in Scripture.) In essence then, the instructions given to Daniel were essentially for the Jews, not the Church. Throughout that chapter – Daniel 9 – the angel speaks of Daniel’s “people” (the Jews) and his “holy city” (Jerusalem). It is difficult to also connect this to the Church, except as possibly incidental.
I should also point out that Prasch believes that Scripture can have a double fulfillment, which is the idea that the same portion of Scripture can have a near and a far view. This means that it has two different fulfillments. I’m not convinced that this is a valid way to handle Scripture, but I will grant that I could be wrong. Much of Prasch’s book utilizes this type of hermeneutic or interpretive method.
Regarding the Rapture, as I said, at present I believe that it will occur prior to the start of the Tribulation. How far in advance, I have no idea as Scripture is silent on that issue. However, having said that, I want to be dogmatic in this: we have absolutely no idea how bad things will get prior to the start of the Tribulation and the event of the Rapture.
With the way things are moving in society, it has become clear that the truth is more and more being labeled “hate-speech.” At every turn, the rights of Christians are being torn down, in favor of homosexuality or some other problematic area of society that the Bible speaks against.
Just recently, I read that a Christian photographer who refused to be the photographer for a gay wedding was overruled by the courts. Essentially, the court ruled that the rights of society trump freedom of religion. I doubt that this judgment is final and certainly the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights would have something to say about that assessment.
This is one of the goals of radical homosexuality. Years ago, all they said they wanted was to have civil unions and they would be content. Not so. Once they were granted civil unions, they began clamoring for official same-sex unions to be recognized by the state. In California, even though the majority voiced their opinion that marriage was between one man and one woman, radical gays fought and radical courts agreed, overturning Prop 8.
Now, what we are seeing is same-sex couples trying to “divorce” in states that do not even recognize same-sex unions. If they can accomplish that, then obviously, that state has then indirectly recognized same-sex unions and a precedent is then set up.
I also believe that homosexuals are actually targeting people like Christian wedding photographers and churches and other businesses and places where they can open up a civil court case against Christians. This is simply another way of overruling Christians and the Bible and if they win in court, the religious freedoms of Christians are then chipped away. Once this precedent is created, Christians can then be held accountable either by jail, fines, or both for going against the established precedent.
In Canada, from which many gay activists take their cue, it is considered hate-speech to preach against homosexuality on the radio or TV. I’m sure it will not be long before it will be against the law to preach against it in church, whether or not it is broadcast on the radio or TV.
Moreover, in Canada, not only is homosexuality and transgenderism taught in the public schools, but curriculum that supports the “six” genders is part of the public school platform. This is taught under the guise of equality. This is also entering the picture in California public schools.
All this is to say that society is once again becoming thoroughly evil and we are seeing the actual hidden agenda of gay activist groups come galloping to the fore. “As it was in the days of Noah” or “As it was in the days of Lot” is becoming reality for society and Christians everywhere. In an effort to undercut it, we can become as politically involved as we want to be and accomplish little to nothing. Forces are in place and they are too strong to ignore. God is allowing them to do what He allowed them to do during both Noah’s time and Lot’s.
I believe that Satan would love Christians to become politically involved because when we do, evangelism tends to go out the door. Remember the Moral Majority? No matter how good the intentions are, it is not long before things go awry and the sinner is seen as the enemy. That is not God’s intention. He came to save. When He returns, He will then be political, something the Pharisees and other leaders of Israel expected the Messiah to be then. He came as a babe who opened not His mouth the first time. When He comes again, He will be carrying a sword and judgment will be meted out.
This is also not to say that we should not vote, or do what is right. We should vote. We should certainly pray for our leaders as well. Beyond this, if you believe God is calling you into the arena of politics, then you must respond with a “Yes, Lord.” However, please realize that you have a tremendous responsibility to never lose sight of the fact that you are a sojourner in a strange land and your main responsibility is to evangelize the lost of this world. Changing laws will not make one bit of difference in eternity. Affecting lives for Christ will.
Becoming politically involved as a Christian can tend to create a belief in Kingdom Now theology which essentially states that as Christians change society for the better, Jesus will be able to return to set up His Kingdom, because we will have worked to advance His Kingdom on the earth. Folks, this is exactly what Islam believes about the Final Mahdi – that as the religion of Islam is forced upon the world, the world will change to become a place where the Mahdi can finally appear. That’s ludicrous as far as the Christian is concerned. The time of Jesus’ return is set in stone. We are simply not aware of the dates and that’s as it should be. We should actually live each day as if it is our last anyway. In that way, through death, Jesus can come “at any moment” for any of His children. We had best be prepared.
So, when will the Rapture happen? I don’t know. I believe strongly that it will occur before the Tribulation. How much before? I have no idea. How bad will things get before the Tribulation actually starts? Bad. They will get very bad.
Does this mean that God will not protect His own? Of course He will, but let’s not forget that around the world right now, Christians are being slaughtered by godless people bent on ushering in the next caliphate. Does God have a hand in that? Absolutely.
I believe that just as Saul (who became the apostle Paul) witnessed the death of Stephen (the first Christian martyr – Acts 6-7) and was likely very affected by it, so too are the deaths of precious Christians in various parts of the world a witness to the lost and dying. Who knows how God will choose to use the death of His saints during these tumultuous times? Is it an accident that Christians are being brutally murdered by worshipers of Allah? Nope. Don’t think it for a moment.
We are to pray for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world and we are also to pray that the deaths of these saints will impact the lives of these godless individuals who slit their throats or burn them to death. Among Stephen’s last words were that God would not hold the sin of his murder to their charge. Yet too often, our blood boils and we want God to exact vengeance on the murderers. That is not what Jesus would do or say. He could have but did not. How can we?
I am going to keep studying areas like the Rapture, because while I am – at this point – fairly certain that it will occur prior to the Tribulation, I cannot be dogmatic about it and it is that simple. In fact, I really do not believe a person holding any position of the Rapture – whether pre, mid, post, or something else – can be dogmatic about it either, though many argue otherwise.
The truth seems to be that in spite of what I maintain and believe, I could be wrong. But this I do know that up until the time when the Tribulation begins, society will become very evil. We are seeing it now. It is ramping up. It is as if evil itself is chomping at the bit to be finally and fully released onto society so that it can do the full measure of damage without limit. Of course, God will hold evil in check as He always has done.
As Christians, we need to understand what is happening in our world. The truth is that I might die a natural death long before any Rapture (or even the Tribulation) occurs. I cannot count on something like the Rapture to take me away as I have no idea of how long it will be before these events occur.
In the meantime, what is most important is for me to be about the Father’s business and that business is the evangelism of the lost. It is really that simple, though we try to make it so complicated.
There are very learned people who hold to a pre, mid, or post Rapture viewpoint. One book that I would recommend is “Three Views on the Rapture.” It is thorough and unique in its lack of vitriol. Of course, it goes without saying (though I’ll say it anyway to avoid being accused) that it is supremely important to find the answers in God’s Word. It’s fine to learn what other scholars say on the subject, but God is also very capable and will help us understand the flow of His Word and the mysteries that it holds.
Keep studying His Word. Keep looking up. Keep living for Him that the lost of this world might come to know Him as Savior and Lord.
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