Thomas Ice is is Executive Director of The Pre-Trib Research Center (PTRC). He founded the PTRC in 1994 with Tim LaHaye to research, teach, and defend the pre-tribulation rapture and related Bible prophecy doctrines. http://pre-trib.org/about/dr-ice
"Dr" Thomas Ice received his PhD from Tyndale Theological Seminary which is an unaccredited private Christian seminary with its campus in Fort Worth, Texas.
"WorldNetDaily reported on March 7 that a Texas district court has ordered the Tyndale Theological Seminary to pay fines totalling $170,000 for issuing 34 theological degrees without receiving approval from the state education agency."
The key verse the PTRC use to promote the pre-tribulation rapture deception: Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13). The PTRC works on the presupposition that "the blessed hope" IS the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. There are some very serious problems with this presupposition. The relevant word in Titus 2:13 is "appearing" epipháneia, literally an epiphany, a fitting manifestation or a conspicuous appearing. This emphasises the impact that Christ's visible appearance will have on the entire world when every eye shall see him, both the saved and the unsaved (Revelation 1:7). In the New Testament epipháneia occurs six times and it is always used of Christ's coming (once of His first coming, 2 Timothy 1:10). The context is the appearing of the glory further confirms this understanding since the glory will not be manifest until Christ's second coming to the earth. The blessed hope is synonymous with the parousia i.e. the second coming of Christ (Matthew 24:3, 27, 37; 1 Corinthians 15:23).
"PTRC wants to impact Pastors and individual Christians with the central role and importance that Bible prophecy, especially the any-moment possibility of the rapture, should play in the life of the church. Dr. LaHaye and PTRC stresses three practical implications that flow from the rapture teaching. The first implication of pretribulationism is that it leads to godly living in an unholy age. Next, this New Testament teaching promotes a strong emphasis upon evangelism of the lost. Finally, when believers come to understand this eternal perspective, it leads to a zeal for worldwide missions." http://www.pre-trib.org/about
Exhortations to godly living in the New Testament do not hinge on a pre-tribulation rapture:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation (apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13) The meaning of apokalupsis is to lay bare. It is the the manifestation of Jesus Christ, not in a pre-tribulation rapture, but his final advent.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, (2 Peter 3:11) This verse links godly living to the day of the Lord, not a pre-tribulation rapture.
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light (Romans 13:12) the approaching parousia (see also Hebrews 10:37; 1 Corinthians 3:13).
.....for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Luke 16:8; John 12:36). Christians are exhorted to walk as children of light because they belong to Christ.
See also 1 Peter 3:8-18, 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:1-9 etc.
Similarly, evangelism and missions are centered on the salvation message i.e. the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, not on a pre-tribulation rapture.
The doctrine of imminency, i.e. the teaching that the rapture could take place at any moment, is not found in the Bible, rather it is an induction.
Thomas Ice interprets the "falling away" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as the rapture, due to his interpretation of apostasia "the departure". 1 Timothy 4:1 demonstrates very clearly that apostasia is not the rapture - apostasy is defection, desertion, rebellion departure from a previous standing. There are several instances where the meaning of apostasia is clear: Luke 2:37, 4:13, 8:13, 13:27; Acts 5:37, 12:10, 15:38, 19:9, 22:29; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 3:12. You cannot possibly get the rapture from apostasia!
Thomas Ice would have us believe that "the 24 elders" in Revelation 4:4 are the complete raptured church in heaven prior to the tribulation. This is yet another induction. Firstly, Revelation 4:4 is a description of the throne-room of God, there is nothing to indicate that it is a future event. Revelation 15:1-6 is a future scene with those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. This seems clear enough, but additionally, Revelation 5:8 has the 24 elders each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. This verse seems to indicate that the "elders" represent the saints, not that the saints are actually present. Furthermore the redeemed of Revelation 6:9 are not with the 24 elders around the throne of God, they are under the altar. The word "elder" is not used of angels in the scriptures, but neither are "elders" referred to as the complete church - elders are simply "elders", we are given no further information about their identity.
Thomas Ice et al are very adept at mis-translating the scriptures in order to advance their pre-tribulation deception. Theologians call it "revisionism" - I call it cheating! A terrible judgement awaits anyone who dares to alter God's word (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19).
THE SORDID HISTORY: JOHN NELSON DARBY OR EDWARD IRVING?
Prior to the 1830s no one had heard of the pre-tribulation rapture theory. The church looked to the second coming, the parousia, as their hope for just over 1800 years, until Darby that is. Even today, pretribulationism is a doctrine which is held exclusively by the western church, the rest of the Christian world holds to the apostolic position. It was not until Darby departed from the apostles teaching and began to inflict pretribulationalism onto congregations, both in the UK and the US, that the deception began to take hold. In his own words, Darby's wish was that it would spread through the church like "leaven". The deception was further popularized in the US in the early 20th century by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible. Scofield's unholy life is a subject in itself; suffice to say that he was a dishonest man known for scandal, lies, fraud, adultery, forgery, drunkenness and disgrace.
The PTRC credits John Nelson Darby, and Darby alone, with the pre-tribulation rapture theory.
".....I believe it can be established that Darby first came to believe in both dispensational truth and pretribulationism by December 1826 or January 1827, before these other alleged sources even surfaced."
The above PTRC statement is very misleading. It appears that Darby did not clearly teach the pre-tribulation rapture until after the split of the Brethren movement in 1839, twelve years after the date claimed by the PTRC. In fact, evidence suggests that Edward Irving and his followers came up with all of the crucial aspects of dispensationalism well before Darby. Irving published extensive pre-tribulation teachings in his journal "The Morning Watch" from 1829 to 1833. Furthermore, it seems inconceivable that Benjamin Wills Newton would have invited Darby to join the Plymouth Assembly had Darby held pretribulational views in 1831. It was not until 1834 that cracks began to develop in the relationship between Darby and Newton, when Darby began to shift positions and became increasingly convinced in a pre-tribulation rapture. Ordinarily these details would not be critical, but there are good reasons why the PTRC want to credit Darby as the originator of pre-tribulation theory and distance themselves from Irving. Irving was declared a heretic by the Church of Scotland in 1833 for teaching that Christ's human nature was sinful. Furthermore, Irving was a Universalist, an occultist and a false prophet (he predicted that Christ would return in 1864). Clearly Irving's pedigree is not conducive to the PTRC aims of promoting pre-tribulation rapture as a credible proposition. It has been suggested, and not without some foundation, that there has been a sordid cover up in order to credit Darby with pretribulationalism. This plot is promoted primarily through the prevarications of Thomas Ice, and more recently the PTRC's new thug, Paul Wilkinson, who is also a member of the PWMI in the UK. Wilkinson has recently conducted a vicious attack against Joe Schimmel, Jacob Prasch and Joel Richardson, through his defective critique of the DVD Left Behind of Led Astray (LBOLA) by Good Fight Ministries. His subsequent rebuttal to the round table discussion is very weak if not pathetic; he refuses to even answer certain questions saying: "They are not worthy of comment".
As General Director of The Prophetic Witness Movement International (PWMI), Colin LeNoury's knowledge of the subject is embarrassingly sparse. One would think that the General Director of the PWMI would be fully conversant with the history of the pre-tribulation rapture theory. In the DVD LBOLA, Le Noury says that Darby's pre-tribulation ideas ran concurrently with Edward Irving. This contradicts Ice and Wilkinson who say that Darby pre-dated Irving. LeNoury could not answer the question whether there was evidence that Darby's ideas about a pre-tribulation rapture had crystallized prior to 1830: "I am not sure. It is not an area I have researched deeply enough to say whether we have or not." Le Noury has also stated in the same DVD that there is no verse in the scriptures which proves a pre-tribulation rapture. Enough said I think!
THE RECENT SORDID HISTORY: HAL LINDSEY AND TIM LAHAYE
During the 1970's the pre-tribulation rapture theory came back into focus and was popularised by Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth (1970), which has reportedly sold over 60 million copies. The film A Thief in the Night, which followed in 1972, was heavily influenced by The Late Great Planet Earth. In 1995, the pre-tribulation rapture theory was further popularised by Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of best selling novels which sold tens of millions of copies and later developed into a multi-media franchise. Needless to say, since the 1970s, the pre-trib industry has developed into big business worth millions of pounds.
Very little is known about Hal Lindsey's co-author Carole C. Carlson. This seems very odd for someone who has co-authored several best sellers. It has been suggested by some that Carlson is a Roman Catholic nun writing under a pseudo name in order to hide her true identity. Lindsey and Carlson went on to write several sequels, including Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth and The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon. Carlson is also co-author of Escape the Coming Night with David Jeremiah. Why do we know so little about Carlson? Lindsey is also equally tight lipped about his four marriages. Should we take a man seriously as a Bible prophecy expert who has been married four times and who has close associations with the apostate TBN TV station? According to several sources, the 2002 Alumni Directory of the Jesuit Gonzaga University lists two of Lindsey's daughters as attendees. In addition to this, Lindsey is a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:20; 2 Peter 2:1):
Lindsey prophesied in The Late Great Planet Earth, that the Soviet Union would be the Empire of the Anti-Christ.
He also prophesied that Jesus would return within 40 years of the birth of the nation of Israel (citing Matthew 24 and the budding of the fig tree).
Despite all of the above, Thomas Ice refers to Hal Lindsey in glowing terms.
Tim LaHaye: "No single verse specifically states Christ will come before the Tribulation."
Tim LaHaye has strong connections with Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church (the Moonies). Moon has proclaimed himself "the world’s new Messiah" and "the Lord of the Second Advent." LaHaye was the chair of Moon’s Coalition for Religious Freedom, and is reported to have received at least half a million dollars in funding from Moon’s associate Bo Hi Park. It is extraordinary to say the least that LaHaye and his wife have attended and spoken at Moon-sponsored events without raising any theological objections to Moon's claims.
Tim LaHaye to Sun Myung Moon: "Your suffering will cleanse the sins of America."
In 1981 LaHaye founded The Council for National Policy described by The New York Times as: "A little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country." LaHaye along with others, is said to be a major figure in subverting the messianic faith. Please read the details of this very secretive organization on the links below. Additionally LaHaye's book Power of the Cross uses the unmistakable Freemasonry Knights Templar symbol, the Cross and Crown, on its cover.
The above information should be quite enough for any Christian to avoid Tim LaHay and Left Behind like the plague. However so called "prophecy expert" "Dr" Thomas Ice
actually founded the PTRC with him!
What are we supposed to make of all this? I do not know what Thomas Ice and Paul Wilkinson are in reality, only God knows what they are. What I do question is:
- Why, without one verse of scripture to corroborate it, do intelligent "Christian" men seek to promote pre-tribulation theory so vehemently?
- Why do the PTRC and the PWMI promote flawed ideas of disreputable men like Irving, Darby, Lindsey and LaHaye?
- Why did Paul Wilkinson seek to make the pre-tribulation theory a divisive issue at the Berean Call Conference this year?
- Why did Paul Wilkinson seek to destroy the ministries of reputable biblical experts and teachers Joe Schimmel, Jacob Prasch and Joel Richardson?
We see so called evangelicals Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes etc. openly aligning themselves with Rome and Jesuit Pope Francis, but is there something just as sinister going on among "respectable" evangelical leaders who claim to be "Bereans"? I personally believe that there is.
Joe Schimmel and Jacob Prasch have stated that the timing of the rapture should not be a divisive issue. I agree that there are many genuine Christians who have been sucked into the pre-tribulation rapture deception by their pastors and/or denominations, and I am not saying that I would divide from these dear believers in Jesus Christ. My personal problem at this point in time is that I cannot maintain unity with those who in my view are deliberately perpetrating a deception which threatens to turn Christians away from their salvation. This is no small issue! I regard these men as false witnesses who are facilitating the "apostasia" (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Mark 10:19; Proverbs 12:17; 14:25). They muddy the waters and have sought to re-invent the sordid pre-tribulation rapture history with no scriptural basis to authenticate their position . I personally have no confidence in either Thomas Ice or Paul Wilkinson as true leaders of the church; I regard them as wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). I could no more fellowship with these men than I could with Benny Hinn!
I see nothing of the gospel on the PTRC website, all of their time and substantial efforts are focused upon this deception to the exclusion of the gospel itself.
.....and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:20)