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Saturday, 8 July 2017

UNRAVELLING THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD PRE-TRIB RAPTURE STATEMENT

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The following statement in blue is the report of the Assemblies of God committee to study the rapture of the Church. The report was adopted by the Assemblies of God General Presbytery, August 14, 1979.{1}

I have highlighted many flaws in their statement, and I have stated the scriptural position at the relevant points. The repeated warnings from both Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul that believers should not be deceived in these matters is testimony of the criticality of understanding the timing of the rapture and the second coming, and that we should rightly handle the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15).

AOG: “The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52).”

..waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing (epiphaneia) of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.. (Titus 2:13).

In context, "the blessed hope" in Titus 2:13 is synonymous with "the appearing of the glory". Technically, the rapture (harpazo), should be distinguished from the blessed hope since believers are to be caught up in the clouds prior to that event. (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Titus 2:13 refers to the second coming of Christ in glory i.e. Jesus Christ's epiphany/epiphaneia .. his appearing, manifestation., glorious display... conspicuous appearing.(2) Epiphaneia appears six times in the New Testament, and each time it refers to the visible appearance of Christ in glory at his second coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8). 

AOG: Jesus taught that He will return to earth. He was careful to warn His disciples to be constantly prepared for this (Matthew 24:42-51; 25:1-13; Mark 13:37; Luke 12:37).

They understood that the present age will end with His coming (Matthew 24:3). The assurance of His return was one of the truths with which He comforted His followers before His death (John 14:2, 3).
At the time of Christ’s ascension two angels came to the group of watching disciples to repeat the promise that He will return. They declared it would be in the same manner as He went away (Acts 1:11). This clearly means His second coming will be literal, physical, and visible.


The New Testament Epistles refer often to the Second Coming, and the theme of imminence runs through all the passages of Scripture dealing with this subject.

*Imminence is the doctrine that no specific events must take place before the rapture can occur aka any moment rapture. This is a false doctrine. Paul explicitly places the rapture (gathering together) after the rebellion (apostasia) and the manifestation of the man of lawlessness i.e. the Antichrist:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ),

Further examples in the scriptures defy imminence, e.g. John 21:17-19;2 Peter 1:12-15; Acts 23:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9; Luke 21:24.


AOG: Though there would be a period of time between the first and second comings (Luke 19:11), the whole body of teaching concerning the return of the Lord emphasizes that it will happen suddenly without warning; that believers should be in a state of continual readiness (Philippians 4:5; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8, 9; Revelation 22:10). 

Philippians 4:5: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
The Lord is at hand or near i.e. the Lord is omnipresent. In context with the passage, the Lord sees and observes the conduct of his people.


Hebrews 10:37: For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
Paul utilises the OT prophets:
Isaiah 26:20: He that cometh will come and will not tarry.
Habakkuk 2:3: For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

(1) the certainty, notwithstanding delay, of the fulfillment of the Divine promise;
(2) the necessity meanwhile of continuance in faith and perseverance..{3}

James 5:8-9: You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

James 5:8 ..the coming of the Lord is at hand..
The context of James 5:7-9 is The Parousia! The Parousia is the particular term used for the epiphany i.e. the second coming of Christ at the end of the age.{4} Since the pre-trib view dislocates the rapture from the Parousia by a period of seven years, the AOG argument is nonsensical. The AOG would have to place the rapture and the Parousia synonymously if they want to use this verse as a proof text, but this then destroys pretribulationism. They cannot have it both ways! See also 1 Peter 4:7: The end of all things is at hand. cf. Matthew 4:17). The specific context of James 5:7-9 is the analogy of the natural progression following the early and late rains leading to fruit (Parousia). (James 5:7). This reflects Jesus teaching in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. In other words, certain things must happen before the Lord returns. The Greek word eggizó = near/at hand never means imminent, it means to come near or to approach, as also in Matthew 24:32.{5} 

..behold, the Judge is standing at the door. ..before a door (thera) is the literal translation..  thera does not preclude events before Jesus return. Compare Matthew 24:32: So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. (at the door). Revelation 3:20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

Revelation 22:10: And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

The same argument applies to "near" (eggus). Revelation 22:12: "I am coming soon"..  as the judge.

Believers in the early days of the Church lived in this state of expectancy (1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10). Paul’s “we” in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1Thessalonians 4:17 shows that he maintained the hope he would be alive when Jesus comes back.

Expectancy is not imminence. It is possible for the Parousia to occur in any given generation when the circumstances of Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 allow. Early believers, including Paul, appear to have expected Jesus' return during their own lifetime, and yet other scriptures indicate something else.

The Thessalonian church expressed confusion about the timing of the Parousia/rapture. Paul explained to them that both these events would not happen until the Antichrist was revealed (2 Thessalonians 1-3). Since the Antichrist has not yet been revealed, the return of Christ and the rapture cannot be imminent.

2 Peter specifically warns about scoffers in the last days who will question the slowness of Jesus' coming: But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:1-13).
 
A comparison of passages of Scripture relating to the Second Coming shows that some speak of a visible event seen by all mankind and involving the judgment of sinners. Others describe a coming known only to believers and resulting in their deliverance from earth.

The latter is referred to among evangelicals as the Rapture. This word is not in the English Bible, but has been used so widely that one of the definitions of “rapture” in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary Unabridged is: “Christ’s raising up of His true church and its members to a realm above the earth where the whole company will enjoy celestial bliss with its Lord.” The word raptured could well be used to translate the expression “caught up” of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Jesus said His coming will result in one individual being taken from a location while another is left. This indicates a sudden removal of believers from the earth with unbelievers left to face tribulation (Matthew 24:36-42).
Jesus spoke of His return as a time when the nations of the earth shall mourn as they see Him (Matthew 24:30). The apostle Paul spoke of the Lord’s return as a time of judgment and wrath upon the wicked (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Matthew 24:36-42 does not concern the tribulation, it follows it! These verses speak of the second coming of Christ to the earth (Parousia). Matthew 24 moves chronologically through the events leading up to the second coming of Christ. The "elect" are "gathered together" (episunagó) by the angels at the end of the age! 

Matthew 24:29:“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.. 
cf. Revelation 6:12-17; 8:6-13.

Matthew 24:36:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows..

AOG: In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, he considered a different aspect of the Second Coming. This brief passage is the most direct and clear teaching on the Rapture in the New Testament. It speaks only of believers, living and dead. Nothing is said about the wicked seeing Christ at this time. Paul described Jesus as coming in the air, but nothing is said about His feet touching the earth, as we are told elsewhere they will at His return (Zechariah 14:4). It is the moment when 1 John 3:2 will be fulfilled, and we shall be like Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming (Parousia) of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

This passage concerns those who are alive, who are left until the coming (Parousia)
of the Lord. One must completely disregard Matthew 24 in order to fit parousia into a pre-trib rapture!

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming (parousia) and of the end of the age? (Matthew 24:3). See also Matthew 24:27, 37, 39.

AOG: The same Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for “caught up” is used in Acts 8:39 to describe Philip’s being “caught away” after baptizing the Ethiopian. The latter verse states that the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away—identifying the source of the power that will remove believers from earth at the Rapture.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Paul called the Rapture “our gathering together unto him.” The Greek word for “gathering” is the same as the one used for “assembling” in Hebrews 10:25, referring to the assembling of Christians for worship. It is a picture of the saints congregating around Christ at His coming for them.

The supernatural removal of godly individuals from earth is not unknown in Scripture. The outstanding event in the life of Enoch was his miraculous disappearance from earth after years of walking with God (Genesis 5:21-24). The author of Hebrews called this experience a translation, bypassing death (Hebrews 11:5).

Although some aspects of Elijah’s translation differed from Enoch’s, it also involved the sudden removal of a believer from the world without experiencing death (2 Kings 2:1-13).

First Corinthians 15:51-54 deals with the same event as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Here also Paul spoke of the changes that will take place in both living and dead believers at the Rapture. He called this a mystery (1 Corinthians 15:51), a truth previously unrevealed but made known to him by the Holy Spirit.

In Philippians 3:21 Paul connected the Lord’s coming to the time when “our vile body” will be changed—another reference to the Rapture.

Passages which pertain to the Rapture describe the coming of the Lord for His people. Passages which refer to the revelation of Christ describe the coming of the Lord with His saints. Colossians 3:4 speaks of believers appearing with Christ at His coming. Jude 14 also foresees the Lord’s return with His people to execute the judgment referred to in many other passages relating to His public appearing.   

1 Thessalonians 3:13 refers to Jesus' Parousia with all his holy ones (hagios). Revelation 19:14,19: ..it granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Scripturally the rapture does occur prior to the Parousia in order for the saints to return with Christ. However, the claim that the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 51:51-54 is blown before the great tribulation is insupportable!

AOG: Since Scripture does not contradict itself, it seems reasonable to conclude that the passages describing Christ’s coming for the saints and with the saints indicate two phases of His coming. We believe it is scripturally correct to assume that the intervening period between the two is the time when the world will experience the Great Tribulation, involving the reign of Antichrist and the outpouring of God’s wrath on the wicked (Daniel 12:1, 2, 10-13; Matthew 24:15-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

Although God’s people may endure severe trials before the Lord comes, the Church will be raptured before the period called the Great Tribulation.

In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul indicated certain things must take place before the Day of the Lord (of which the Great Tribulation is a part) can begin. An individual called the man of sin (Antichrist) will appear. The mystery of iniquity has been at work since Paul’s time but is being restrained by the power of the Spirit working through the true Church. Only when the Church is removed from earth by the Rapture can this man come forward publicly.

The Day of the Lord is distinguished from the Great Tribulation both by Jesus Christ and Paul. I refer again to Matthew 24:29 immediately after the tribulation of those days..   

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

Paul explicitly places the Parousia and the rapture together above. The great tribulation does not occur before the man of lawlessness takes his seat in the third temple at the mid point of the 70th week of Daniel. That day.. i.e. the day of the Lord and the rapture both follow the great tribulation. Paul warns about the possibility of believers being deceived about this subject. (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

AOG: In 1 Thessalonians 5, following the passage on the Rapture in chapter 4, Paul taught about the Day of the Lord. He warned of the destruction it will bring to the wicked (vv. 2, 3). He was quick to assure Christians that those who abide in Christ will not be overtaken by it (v. 4).

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (2 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The above passage is a further warning from Paul that believers should not be ignorant about eschatological events. Paul clearly places believers as being alive at the Parousia.

AOG: Still speaking of the Day of the Lord Paul wrote: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 9). It seems clear that he meant the deliverance of believers from the judgments of the Day of the Lord, including the Great Tribulation.

The scriptures clearly distinguish wrath (orge) from tribulation (thlipsis). The persecution of the Antichrist is not the wrath of God. As explained above, the Great Tribulation it is not the Day of the Lord.

AOG: Christians are told repeatedly in the New Testament to be watchful for the Lord’s appearing. Never are they taught to watch for the Great Tribulation or the appearance of Antichrist. To expect that such things must happen before the Rapture destroys the teaching of imminence with which the New Testament is replete.

Believers are told to wait “for his Son from heaven,” not the Great Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10). When the signs of the end of the age are evident, they are to look up and lift up their heads in expectation of their redemption, not the Great Tribulation (Luke 21:28).

The Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). However it will come as no surprise to believers, precisely because they will recognise the signs preceding it: But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:4). This is an illogical statement if pre-trib is correct. Why would believers "not be surprised" if they are not here? This verse directly follows Paul's statement that believers will be alive at the Parousia. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Jesus Christ and Paul went to great lengths to explain the specific signs in detail.. we ignore them at our peril if we are to avoid the tragic consequences of false hope. (Matthew 24:10; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14).

The signs of the Lord’s coming will be fulfilled before His public appearing, but they do not have to be fulfilled before the Rapture. Any teaching that certain events must transpire before the Rapture is out of harmony with the doctrine of imminence.*

It is consistent with God’s dealings with His people in the Old Testament to believe that the Church will be removed from the world before the Great Tribulation. God did not send the Flood until Noah and his family were safe in the ark. He did not destroy Sodom until Lot was taken out.
The weight of Scripture supports a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Wherever teaching about the Second Coming occurs in the New Testament, imminence is underscored. To interpose other events before the Rapture does violence to such teaching.

The events of Sodom and Gomorrah was the wrath of God being poured out upon the ungodly.. it was not tribulation. Similarly Noah and his family were preserved through the flood, God's judgement upon the ungodly.. again this was not tribulation.

While Christians are looking forward to the coming of the Lord, it is well to remind themselves of Paul’s words to Titus: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
https://ag.org/Beliefs/Topics-Index/The-Rapture-of-the-Church

In conclusion, the AOG  statement consistently and incorrectly identifies "the blessed hope" as the rapture. However, the scriptures identify the blessed hope as the Parousia or the Epiphany, and the rapture as gathering together (episuningage)/caught up (harpazo). Scripturally the Parousia and the rapture are synonymous, or almost synonymous events, and so the AOG argument simply falls apart.

{1} https://bible.org/seriespage/15-second-coming-christ-and-millennial-kingdom
{2} http://biblehub.com/greek/2015.htm  
{3} http://biblehub.com/hebrews/10-37.htm
{4} https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Parousia
{5} http://biblehub.com/greek/1448.htm

26 comments:

Irv said...

Thank you for your much needed eye-opener on the AOG church. The "falling away" (II Thess. 2:3) is not the pretrib rapture, as some latter-day loony Laodiceans try to palm off on us. But the TEACHING of a pretrib rapture is certainly part of the true meaning of "falling away" (that is, the end-time departure from the faith once delivered to the saints)! Don't ever stop writing, Treena!

Treena Gisborn said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement Irv. God bless.

colin said...

Certainly I agree with what you write with regard to the false doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture, and the other manifold errors of the AOG!

But, what do SOME mean by the imminent return of Christ? I believe in His imminent return, but AFTER "the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed"!
This has been the view held by the NT Church through the ages (correct me if I am wrong) until circa 1830 onwards, so I believe! Imminent doesn't necessarily mean "any moment", although it can do! According to my trusty old Collins English dictionary the principal definition is "close at hand". And we all believe that the Lord's appearing is close at hand? But NOT in the way that the AOG teach!
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

According to the "eminent (not imminent) expert" "Dr" Thomas Ice at the Pre-Trib Rapture Center:

"While other events may take place before the rapture, no event must precede it. If prior events are required before the rapture, then the rapture could not be described as imminent. Thus, if any event were required to occur before the rapture, then the concept of imminency would be destroyed."

Unsurprisingly, he has a lot more to say on the subject on the following link if you have the patience:
http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/imminency-and-any-moment-rapture

According to the above definition, no events MUST precede the rapture... but scripturally they must.

I believe the rapture becomes imminent before the bowls of wrath are poured out... Revelation 6:17. This is Pre-Wrath not Intra-Seal.
God bless Colin

Monopode said...

When I attended a British AOG church we weren't taught much about the rapture (as far as I can recall) except that it was pre tribulational. Maybe some believed it came at the mid point I seem to think, but certainly before the Beast's rampaging. What convinced me was reading 2 Thessalonians 4:17 and a commentary or two where the word translated as 'meet' in English is used elsewhere in the scriptures and always means people going out to meet a dignitary and them accompanying him back to the place they just came from. That killed pre trib for me.

You've written a very good article Treena. I like the way you've laid it all out. Interestingly, I don't know the official position of the British AOG regarding the rapture although as I said I was taught pre trib. It seems the teaching is going to cause a lot of trouble and confusion.

Treena Gisborn said...

I am not completely certain, but it appears that the AOG in Britain follow the same teaching as the US Monopode, since they do not have their own definitive statement.
The trumpets are a particularly tricky subject which I need to study in further detail. The seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:15 is the last silver trumpet to be sounded in the NT, but is this the trumpet that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:52? I am particularly struggling with this today. What is clear is that the "rapture trumpet" is not sounded prior to the great tribulation.. I am firm on this.
Thank you for your positive input.
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

I have now added the definition of imminence as it applies to the pre-trib rapture to the main body of this post for clarity. I have made some further tweaks and removed much of the trumpet discussion as it really is not applicable to the AOG statement, though I may use that material elsewhere.

Having done some further reading, I have concluded that the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is not the seventh trumpet of Revelation. This scenario would put the rapture at Jesus' Parousia which does not fit in with the coming of the Lord WITH his saints.
Alan Kurschner (Pre-Wrath) cannot reconcile these two trumpets either:
"Paul’s 'last trumpet' (1 Corinthians 15:52) is not the seventh trumpet judgment in the book of Revelation."
http://www.alankurschner.com/2012/07/31/tenets-of-prewrath/

God bless

colin said...

Clarity! Don't we EVER need it?

Now, as to these trumpets. Many are perplexed by them.
It is good that you are seriously studying this subject, trying to figure it out for yourself (2 Timothy 2.15). I commend you for this. I have "wracked my brains out" many times on this. Ecclesiastes 12.12 should also be borne in mind as well!

You say "the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15.52 is not the seventh trumpet of Revelation." The Revelation (Apocalypse) knows of only seven trumpets, so, are you suggesting that the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15.52 is the same trumpet as the sixth trumpet in the Revelation? I think this lines up somewhat with pre-wrath teaching, but correct me if I am wrong? And where does the "trump" in 1 Thessalonians 4.16 figure in all of this?
I believe the seventh trumpet in the Revelation is the SAME as in 1 Thess 4.16 and 1 Cor 15.52. So simple, but too much so? Many struggle with this because, (so I believe, at any rate) the post-tribulation Coming seems to be inherently Calvinistic (or long held), and many would seem to shun it only for this reason, in my opinion at least.
You are also in 'perfect' agreement with Bullinger on the trumpets, as he taught that "last trumpet of 1 Cor 15.52 is not the seventh trumpet of the Revelation. If you can find his teaching on-line, you really ought to read it-very hard to follow, if it be possible!

It was an absolute delight to read Monopode's latest contribution; it is so obvious that he is no shallow student of God's word. The word for "meet" in the Greek is apantesis, (Acts 28.15) this word is also used in Matthew 25.6 to describe the action that he writes about. This also "killed pre-trib for me" as well!

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

The way I have resolved this (I think!) is the timing of the wrath of God:
..the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:17).
This happens at the end of the sixth seal.(Revelation 6:12)
Since we are not appointed to wrath, the rapture seems to become imminent at this point, prior to the seventh seal which introduces the seven trumpets. (1 Thessalonians 5:9). This is the pre-wrath view.
The seventh trumpet is associated with the third woe.. (Revelation 11:14-15) which are the seven bowls of wrath... it appears that at this point no one repents??? and human rebellion reaches it climax.(Revelation 16:1,9,11,14,21).
The seventh trumpet of Revelation is the very last silver trumpet sounded in the NT and it occurs right at the very end of the age. Its timing does not fit in with the pre-wrath view (if pre-wrath is correct).
Having spent time previously studying Robert Van Kampen and Martin Rosenthall, the pre-wrath view makes sense to me - all the various pieces fit very well together. I do not know what Alan Kurschner's other views are, but certainly on pre-wrath he is impressive and I have come to respect his biblical integrity. Then we come to Jacob Prasch and Intra-Seal.. certainly Prasch's timing agrees with pre-wrath, but Intra-Seal is a deviant teaching in many other respects.
To come out of the AOG, or any "charismatic" church is a challenging thing to put it mildly and I too applaud you Monopode. We have to learn to become like the Bereans. (Acts 17:11).
It recently became very clear to me that Trinity Life Church in Leicester(AOG), regard me as a pariah! I admit that have said some difficult things about them; they are a great concern in many ways. As someone once remarked to me, TLC are a ticking time bomb. Galatians 4:16; Hebrews 13:12).
I have located Bullinger and have read.. It is deep stuff and I need to spend further time re-reading.
https://www.levendwater.org/books/revelation/rev_8_1-6_seventh_seal.htm

God bless you Colin.

Treena Gisborn said...

Just to add a little more..

1 Corinthians 15.52 and 1 Thessalonians 4.16 refer very clearly to the "rapture trumpet":

"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:52).

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and soo we will always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

However, is the Thessalonian trumpet blown by the Archangel, or is it the voice of God Himself as in Exodus 19:19?

The sixth trumpet occurs during the various seventh seal judgements.. I cannot see how this can be the "last trumpet" or the rapture trumpet.

God bless.

colin said...

Certainly 1 Corinthians 15.52 & 1 Thessalonians 4.16 "refer very clearly to the rapture trumpet"! As I believe, the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11.15 is one the same as in the aforementioned Scriptures.

I quote Alexander Reese "The Approaching Advent of Christ" (page 74)

Paul tells us that the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible at the Last Trumpet (1 Cor 15.52). We have already seen that this trumpet sounds on the Day of the Lord, when Israel is converted and the Kingdom introduced, and here in Rev. xi. 15, we have these very events under the seventh or last trumpet, which also blows at the Day of the Lord. The conclusion is inevitable, therefore, that the Last Trumpet of Paul, and the Last Trumpet of John are one and the same. We are right, therefore, in inferring the Resurrection from Rev. xi. 15-18...

The whole chapter is well worth reading if indeed you can.

Going back to Bullinger, I must say that his exegesis of the trumpets is the most convoluted writing on ANY topic I have ever read by the pen of man! But then he believed and taught an 'any moment' rapture seven years or more before the Second Advent!
He taught a distinction between the "body" and "bride", Matthew's Gospel is for Jews only, the Church is not in Acts before Paul, the use of the Lord's prayer is unchristian, the First Resurrection is not the first-but the second, and other things that would simply astound you!

This pre-wrath doctrine, in your opinion, what are its 'benefits' (if that is the right word), over and above the classic post trib teaching? It is almost as if pre-wrath is suggestive of a rapture an hairbreadth before the Second Coming? Surely not!
Simple soul that I am!
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. Revelation 19:14

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, Jude 1:14

If we agree that both saints and angels return at the Parousia, then the rapture must necessarily occur before that?

"In the post-tribulational schema, God’s people immediately descend to earth after they were just caught up to the clouds in the rapture. The pre-wrath position, instead, affirms that after the rapture the Son will usher his redeemed people before the throne of the Father in heaven (John 14:2–3; 2 Cor 4:14; Rev 7:13–15; Isa 26:19–21). And only after the completion of the series of judgments on earth will God’s people then descend to earth in the New Jerusalem." Alan Kurschner
http://mydigitalseminary.com/pre-wrath-rapture-interview-alan-kurschner/

BTW I agree about Bullinger.

God bless.




colin said...

It seems to me that you are using classic pre-trib arguments that they use to defend their position?

The whole scenario of the Second Coming happens on THE Day of the Lord, not one day!
We are now in mans day the "night is far spent", and soon it will be His Day.
After the saints (living & dead) have been "caught-up" they will return with Him as you describe. Our friend Monopode could see this.
I have read through those Scriptures that Mr Kurschner quotes, and I cannot see any conflict with the post tribulation Coming of Christ anywhere! but, I digress.

If I have a blind-spot to something (and certainly I could have!), I pray that God would "Open thou mine eyes"!

God bless

Treena Gisborn said...

Paul Dorgan has recorded an excellent pre-wrath series on YouTube.
The following link explains the trumpet judgements:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/474342246106168/permalink/502134296660296/

For detailed teaching of the Trumpet Judgments themselves during the Day of the Lord, please view the 2nd half of the attached video of Session 7 of the End Times Seminar:
https://youtu.be/C0eS4ih8LKM

It is a while since I looked at pre-wrath, so I will go over it again Colin.
God bless

colin said...

Good idea!
As and when time allows it would be good to read (and study!) Mr Van Kampen's work from start to finish, I may do it myself again sometime. It is some four years or so since I read it, whereas there is much to commend his work; I remember that it didn't quite 'join the dots' for me.
Certainly his subsequent work did much to destroy some of his credibility.

Can you remind us, was it Van Kampen's work that inspired Jacob Prasch's? Although, if I remember rightly Prasch would have us believe his pre-wrath inspired intra-seal theory predated it?!
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...


The Biblical Defense for the Prewrath Rapture of the Church 1 of 3
Robert Van Kampen on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL5hQLCYPXk&list=PLyMohrMoR8bwSTLruRK8PDlDELM_TxL1-

I began listening to this last night. Dr John Walvoord (pre-trib) stated that there is no explicit teaching in the scriptures for a pre-trib or post trib rapture. Both of these positions are loaded with problems. "The Bible does not, in so many words, state either." ..the problem of ecclesiology versus eschatology.. Dr Richard Mayhew (pre-trib) says the same thing about both positions. "..pre-trib arguments are logically invalid or at least unconvincing"

from about 6 minutes into the video.. very interesting.
I can't say anything about his subsequent work as I have not read it.

I also have Van Kampen's book "The Rapture Question Answered" which I have dug out again.

Jacob Prasch: "LONG BEFORE the term 'pre-wrath' was crystallised... I and others like me.. BEFORE pre-wrath came into vogue, BEFORE the term was coined, I believed that the rapture was between the sixth and seventh seal.. I and others have ALWAYS believed that the rapture will not take place until the faithful church knows who the Antichrist is .. I believed it BEFORE pre-wrath was even termed 'pre wrath' and believed it BEFORE those books that launched pre-wrath were written."

https://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/jacob-prasch-moriel-ministries-and-his.html

See also: ..four key disagreements that pre-wrath has with the post-trib view.
http://mydigitalseminary.com/pre-wrath-rapture-interview-alan-kurschner/

God bless.


colin said...

You have got to be very careful when quoting pre-trib theologians!
Dr Walvoord is correct in what he asserts about pre-trib, but disingenuous with regard to post-trib, as you would expect.
How can he truthfully say there is "no explicit teaching in the Scriptures for a ... post-trib rapture"? Granted, the phrase "post-trib rapture" is nowhere recorded in the Bible, much the same as the word "rapture" or "trinity" is not there either. But, when you read, for example, Matthew 24.29-30; (and Mark 13.24-26!)

"Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days......they shall see the Son of man COMING in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

According to my dictionary "post" when applied as a prefix means "AFTER"!

And this sloppy statement from the top man at Dallas Theological Seminary!
It is ONLY his theology that "is loaded with problems"!


And what can we say about Mr Prasch, other than call him a revisionist?

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

I understand what you mean Colin, but I do regard Dr Walvoord slightly differently, since he had the integrity to admit pre-trib could not be explicitly found in the scriptures. This was a huge admittance from the top pre-trib man for many years! He even incurred the displeasure of "Dr" Ice.
It is good that we agree that we will have to go through the great tribulation i.e. the persecution of the Antichrist. The scriptures are very clear about this.
God bless.

colin said...

Certainly, Dr Walvoord wasn't as "off the scale as 'Dr' Ice, but regardless of this, he taught something entirely contrary to the Scripture of Truth.

It seems to me that pre-wrath is some kind of half way house between false pre-trib doctrine and post-trib/Second Advent doctrine? There is MUCH that I have gleaned from this conversation.

Pre-trib predates pre-wrath, and if it were not for Irving, Darby, Scofield & Co, pre-wrath may never have seen the light of day?

Yes, we can now see wickedness increasing on a daily basis! it WILL continue until the "man of sin be revealed"; Christians will have to prepare to meet this 'man' and suffer under his persecution. But, how can many do this if they BELIEVE they are going to be 'raptured' before his appearing??
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

Matthew 24:29-31

29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

verse 31... the rapture:

31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Revelation 6 describes the same event:

12When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slaved and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Revelation 7:9
9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands..

Revelation 8 -- the seven trumpets and the wrath of God begins.

God bless

Treena Gisborn said...

I have now read the travelling dignitary argument about "meet" in 2 Thessalonians 4:17. I do not dispute that it cannot have that definition, but there are plenty of places where it does not e.g. Matthew 25:1,6. The basic meaning of apantaó is simply to "meet" "encounter". http://biblehub.com/greek/528.htm
I think we are in danger of reading more into the text than it actually says here. There is always a danger of this when we are convinced of our own view of things as against what the scriptures actually say.

Gill's exposition:
"..and this suggests another reason why he will stay in the air, and his saints shall meet him there, and whom he will take up with him into the third heaven, till the general conflagration and burning of the world is over, and to preserve them from it; and then shall all the elect of God descend from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband, and he with them, and the tabernacle of God shall be with men;"
http://biblehub.com/1_thessalonians/4-17.htm

Pre-wrath answers many of the anomalies brought up about the classic post-trib view by the pre-trib camp. I have gone over all this material again and I remain just as convinced about pre-wrath. I think that God has brought some good out of this debate, despite the dangerous pre-trib doctrine.

God bless you both.

colin said...

Dr Gill was a giant among reformed Calvinist theologians; a great expositor, what more can I say? I can't say that I agree with every 'little' thing he taught, but certainly I am at one with his soteriology and much else. I would, however, depart from his understanding of prophecy, for he wasn't pre-millennial, much like many of his contemporaries (not all!) and those who went before, such as Matthew Henry and earlier puritans. We have much more light today, let us use it? Are you absolutely sure that the meaning of Apantesis that we advocate, is not seen in Matthew 25.1-6?

I have recently discovered a blind spot of mine; I hadn't fully realized until this 'debate' (as you call it!) that pre-wrath doctrine contends for a pre-Second Coming rapture as opposed to a pre-tribulation rapture (BIG improvement!). Somehow, I had naively thought that Van Kampen's theology taught ONE Second Coming, but ever so slightly before the ONE post-tribulation Second Coming, believed and taught (exclusively?) by the NT Church until around 1830. In effect then, pre-wrath teaches TWO Second Comings! (Not totally unlike pre-trib; great tribulation aside!) please correct me if I am wrong. I had read Van Kampen's work some 5 years ago, and there is much to commend it. Likewise, at about the same time I read Jacob Prasch's "Shadows Of The Beast". It is no easy thing to fully grasp (all at ONE time!) the sophistries, or indeed truths that are being taught in these 'theological schemes'! I come from a non academic background; I hadn't read one book (NOT ONE) until about age 44.

When you talk about "anomalies" being answered by pre-wrath theology, I must vehemently disagree (in the nicest possible way, of course!), for there are absolutely NO "anomalies": We may call them "anomalies", but why is it so? Do we HAVE to KNOW and EXPLAIN everything? (Try explaining the multiplication of the "loaves" and the "fishes", just for ONE example?). Does not God's word tell us that "without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him" Heb 11.6?

There is more, (another time) but, certainly pre-trib doctrine is very "dangerous" as you rightly say, for I believe a great many have been deluded into believing on a 'biblical' deliverance that will NOT happen.

Also, I am sure you have noticed that many pre-trib teachers/believers of late have been somewhat reduced to a bunch of stargazers trying to figure out THEIR rapture from thence!
Apparently it will now happen on 23rd September!

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

The travelling dignitary argument runs directly contrary to the scriptures:

The Rapture:

"In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John14:2-3).

Briefly, the ancient Jewish wedding involved that the husband returned to his home to prepare a place for his soon to be bride after their betrothal. At an undetermined time he would return for her to take her back to HIS home.
Believers i.e.the bride of Christ go out to "meet" the Bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1,6)..those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast.. (Matthew 25:10).

There will be no welcoming committee waiting for Jesus on his second coming!
"And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army." (Revelation 19:19). Saints and angels form this army. Jude 1:14.

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ AND our being gathered together to him... 2 Thessalonians 2:1
The rapture is referred to as a linked but separate event in the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:52; Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Jesus and Paul went to great lengths to explain eschatology... they warned REPEATEDLY about the danger deception. Clearly they wanted us to understand! (though we cannot know fully in every detail) The miracles of Jesus are not a valid comparison.

Jacob Prasch's Intra-Seal "scheme" is full of sophistry I agree, but pre-wrath is not. It answers all the questions head on.

I really do not know what else to say Colin. We will have to agree to disagree about this.

God bless

Treena Gisborn said...

"Historic premillennialism was a popular view amongst Protestant Christians[citation needed] until the rise of dispensationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Proponents of historic premillennialism include Baptists John Gill,[1] Charles Spurgeon,[1][2] Benjamin Wills Newton (a contemporary and fierce theological rival of the father of dispensationalism John Nelson Darby), George Eldon Ladd,[3] Albert Mohler,[4] and Clarence Bass and Presbyterians Francis Schaeffer and Gordon Clark,.[1]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_premillennialism

God bless

colin said...

I agree!
But, regardless, "Historic pre-millennialism" and the post-tribulation rapture, which contends that the Second Advent, and the rapture are one and the SAME event; is the least convoluted of all the 'theories'. Ecclesiastes 7.29!
If a person believes in Christ as Saviour, he or she can say "I believe Christ will come according to the Scriptures"! (if only it were that simple?)
It is my understanding that Gill, (Spurgeon's predecessor) was not pre-millennial.

BTW, I don't see how John 14.2-3 is in opposition to post-tribulationism?
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible online:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/revelation-20-4.html

God bless.