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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

john whitcomb twisting scripture the ptrc way. the two witnesses and the pre-tribulation rapture deception!

"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23: 1-2)

The Pre-Trib Research Center (PTRC) describe themselves as a "think tank" committed to the study, proclamation, teaching and defending of the Pretribulational Rapture (pre-70th week of Daniel) and related end-time prophecy. They also believe that God's plan for history demands a consistent distinction between national Israel and the church which includes an ongoing plan for national, ethnic Israel that culminates in Christ's millennial kingdom.1 This post continues to examine the function of the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation, and to expose the unsustainable arguments of John Whitcomb which are at odds with the scriptures.Whitcomb's examination of the role of the two witnesses below are an integral part of his preposterous assertion that the third temple will be "divinely ordained" and that the two witnesses will authoritatively set the pattern for halakhic blood sacrifices on earth following the rapture of the Church. 2  

The Chronological Relationship of the Three Septet Judgements of the Tribulation To Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Dr. Robert Dean

"In 2007, Dr. Whitcomb presented a cogent argument for the witnesses having their ministry in the first half of Daniel's seventieth week. This argument is based on several reasons, the most significant of which I will summarize here."

1) "First, our Lord commanded those who witness the abomination of desolation in the middle of Daniel's seventieth week should immediately flee to the mountains. Whitcomb raises the obvious question: Would the two Jewish witnesses remain in Jerusalem during the latter half of the Antichrist's reign of terror since the Lord commanded them to flee to the mountains?"

Satan' s wrath will be directed towards the Jewish people living in Israel at the mid point of the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27). A Jewish remnant will flee to the mountains (Petra?) where they will be divinely protected for 1,260 days during the latter half of the 70th week (Revelation 12:6 cf. Matthew 24:15-21). The ministry of the two witnesses will also be of 1,260 days duration (Revelation 11:3). Their ministry will end with their death and resurrection, which will occur towards the end of the 70th week, after the sixth trumpet is sounded, during second woe of the seventh seal (Revelation 9:12; 8:1-2 9:13;11:11-15 cf. 16:1-21). It is important to note that it is after the flight of the remnant that the two witnesses will begin their unique 1,260 day ministry. The remnant will be protected for the duration of the 1,260 day ministry of the two witnesses, not only from the wrath of Satan, but also from the devastation the two witnesses will inflict upon the earth (Revelation 11:4-6). The two witnesses are therefore not subject to the instruction to flee to the mountains, since their appearance coincides with the flight of the remnant.

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. (Revelation 11:4-6; cf. Zechariah 4:1-14 ) 

2) ".....if the 1,260 days occur in the last half of the week, then the world would engage in the three and a half day celebration of their death after the return of Christ and the consignment of the two beasts and the dragon to their respective punishments."

The two witnesses ministry ends with their death and resurrection which occurs after the sixth trumpet is sounded, during second woe of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1; 9:13; 11:14). However, Christ's second advent will not take place until the seventh bowl of God's wrath has been poured out during the third woe, after the sounding of the seventh trumpet of the seventh seal (Revelation 10:7; 11:15; 16:17-20; 19:11 cf. Joshua 6:16). The "Day of the Lord" (God's wrath) begins with the opening of the seventh seal, "day" (hémera/yom) being an indefinite period of time (Revelation 6:17; Joel 1:15). The period of time between the sixth trumpet/second woe and the end of the seventh bowl/trumpet/third woe therefore allows for the three and a half day "celebration" of the death of the two witnesses. The consignment of the two beasts and the dragon to their respective punishments will take place after Christ returns at his second advent as above, following the seventh bowl/trumpet/seal (Revelation 19:11-20:3).

3) ".....how can he (the first beast) bring fire from heaven upon their enemies (Rev. 13:13) when the two witnesses are bringing fire from heaven upon theirs (Rev. 11:5)? The only other option would to make the terms 1,260 days describe a free-floating three and a half-year period which began at sometime in the middle of the first half and end sometime in the second half. Such a use has no precedent or support in the Scripture. In the absence of other usage, it should refer to either the first or second half. Those who support the second half option have no answer to these weighty observations."

Whitcomb's third point is scandalously inaccurate in several details. It is the second beast i.e. the false prophet, not the first beast, who brings fire down from heaven as an impressive (satanic) sign, not upon their enemies, but "in front of people", in order to deceive the earth and its inhabitants and cause them worship the first beast. (Revelation 13:11-14; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9). The two witnesses do not "bring fire down from heaven", fire pours from their mouths as a defensive and judgemental act. The book of Revelation replays Exodus when Moses and Aaron inflicted the plagues upon Egypt. One might similarly ask Whitcomb: How could Pharaoh's magicians (Jannes and Jambres) copycat the signs of Moses and Aaron? (Exodus 7:11-12 cf. 2 Timothy 3:8) The distinctive differences between the two witnesses and the two beasts are vitally important. The two witnesses will be hated, despite their prophetic ministry and the accompanying judgements they produce (Revelation 11:1-14), whereas the false signs and wonders performed by the false prophet on behalf of the first beast will deceive those who dwell on the earth.

The False Prophet (Second Beast): It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, (Revelation 13:13) 

The Two Witnesses: And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. (Revelation 11:5)

Whitcomb cannot even produce an accurate summary of two straightforward verses of scripture, let alone analyse the complexities of the sequential of events in the book of Revelation! I am afraid I must pour contempt upon his "weighty observations" - they would be laughed out of any serious academic forum.

I have limited my exposure to Whitcomb's three "most significant arguments" for the two witnesses ministry during the first half of Daniel's 70th week. I will not dignify his further arguments with an answer. You can read the full extent of Whitcomb's drivel on this subject on the link below.3

The PTRC are desperate to find reasons for placing the ministry of the two witnesses in the first half of the 70th week, so much so that they are reduced to academic dishonesty and myth!

Whitcomb: "Immediately following the rapture of the church, there will be no believers left on this planet. Assuming that God never leaves Himself without a witness in the world, the two witnesses will suddenly appear in Jerusalem to begin their powerful work." 4

Whitcomb's claim that the two witnesses ministry occurs during the first half of the 70th week is a claim that props up (albeit falsely) the pre-tribulation rapture theory. Indeed this all falls into the category of the lucrative pre-tribulation rapture deception the PTRC so avidly promotes! 


Irv said...

At the end of your most instructive and worthwhile article you spoke of "the lucrative pre-tribulation rapture deception the PTRC so avidly promotes!" How true! If the great "God of Filthy Lucre" did not exist, pretribulationist leaders would have no sane reason to keep on shoring up a collapsing latter-day theory which was totally unknown throughout the bulk of past church history. Treena, you are a voice of eschatological sanity in a world of stark, raving pretribber fibbers!

Treena Gisborn said...

Fibbers indeed Irv! xxx

colin said...

The "academic dishonesty" as you call it is plain to see, this is what happens when you steadfastly adhere to false systems of theology instead of believing what the Scriptures plainly teach. You would think by now that deafening alarm bells would be ringing in the ears of all at PTRC? If the PTRC were around in the dark ages (I think they still are!) they would probably be campaigning for a flat earth-talk about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole?
We don't need to be intellectuals to understand plain statements of Scripture, but certainly you DO need to be an 'intellectual' to understand pre-tribulationism and belong to PTRC, who else but a deceived 'intellectual' could belong to a 'think tank' like this?
God bless you.

Treena Gisborn said...

The PTRC would like to put us all back in the dark ages Colin. I find everything they stand for despicable. I do not condemn those Christians they have deceived, but it is definitely time for people to wake up. Joe Schimmel says on the video link I have added that the persecution of the Antichrist will hit Christians like Pearl Harbour, and that many, in his view, possibly millions, will fall away from the faith at that time... and people are telling me that this subject is not important! God bless tx

colin said...

It is so very strange that some will say that we are "nit-picking" and "looking for controversies" when all we are trying to do is expose errant Bible teaching?
How can the Lord's Second Advent be "not important!" as you rightly say?
I looked up the PTRC on Wikipedia tonight for more information, apparently they are now based on the Thames in a boathouse at Kew of all places!
God bless you.

Treena Gisborn said...

According to Jacob Prasch, some people are given over to deceiving spirits and no matter how much evidence you produce, they refuse to acknowledge the truth: "Don't confuse me with the facts, I've made up my mind....." seems to sum it up Colin! He was talking about cults, but the PTRC are very cultish I think. God bless tx