I am often surprised at the things that people get worked-up over, and how the things that should work them up are so often ignored. This week a person who calls themself “boldncourageous” posted the following article as a response to my article Rapture? Of Whom? When?
Of course this is a very inappropriate pseudonym since the person will not identify him/herself, as if he/she is hiding something, but my main issue with him/her is their lack of skill in biblical hermeneutics;
“Everyone thinks their view is correct, but how can you really tell, and how important is it really?
Both Jesus and Paul tell us to be careful that no man deceive you concerning this issue… Matt. 24:4, 2 Thess. 2:3. Peter tells us that those who don’t get it correct, “..twist the scriptures as the always do…” 2 Pet. 3:16. So obviously the warning stipulates that there is a lot of deception and twisting of the Word.
If you are interested in the truth, you must be willing to set aside all opinion, assumption, conjecture and speculation. If you can do this the truth will become available to you. This is not an easy task, especially if you have studied a lot of man’s opinion, and therefore see through those lenses. If you, however, are new to the study, let the Bible be your guide. Otherwise, you must be able to set aside all the movies, lectures, and ideas that may have bombarded you with man’s opinion over the years.”
Up to this point I have no problem with anything this person is saying, I have said much the same on this blog, and in The Spirit of Prophecy, myself. From this point on, however, “boldncourageous” falls off the rails, time, and time again;
“One certain way to understand that the Word of God has been tampered with is that certain ideas or doctrines create loose ends that must be tied up and therefore must be explained only by man. Like a child who has told a lie and must tell others to cover for the first on. These ideas create sub-doctrines that cannot be substantiated by the Word and must be explained by someone in order to be understood. You will not be able to find any explanation from the Word, because they are super-scriptural, and therefore added to the Word. For the truth to be found the idea must flow with the whole of Scripture and all “loose end” must be dealt with by Scripture, leaving no room for man to interfere.
Here is an example of a loose end or sub-doctrine: The pre-tribulation rapture view tells us that the bride is raptured seven years prior to the second coming. That is the initial idea. However it creates many loose ends that must be explained and must be addressed solely by man. One loose end is the sub-doctrine of the tribulation saints. The tribulation saint cannot be the bride, because the bride is in heaven (according to the view). This causes many problems with the whole of Scripture; “we are one body in Christ Jesus”, the promises that apply to the bride, don’t apply to the tribulation saints, etc. How can the saints be one body as a bride, and another as separate from the bride, and remain one body? Man’s explanation of this view, tells us that the tribulation saints must become eternal heavenly servants of the bride. This in effect makes the tribulation saints greater than the bride, because, “He who wishes to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven must become a servant of all.” If that is the case, it would be more desirable to be a tribulation saint than a member of the bride. There are a lot of other complications that this the concept of tribulation saints bring, and those who carry this particular view cannot agree exactly on how this all plays out. Here in lies the problem. It is super-scriptural in nature. Not explained by the Word and therefore the end result must be conjured to make sense of it all. As a result there will be many views concerning the sub-doctrines. This is a loose end that creates a sub-doctrine that is derived and conjured by man. Be careful that no man deceive you! This sub-doctrine is a secondary lie to cover the initial.”
Oh brother! Just because there are questions, it does not necessarily follow that there is an error. There is no place in the Old Testament where the two comings of the messiah are specifically stated. It does NOT say “the Messiah will come two times”, but the two visitations are clearly there. God left the Jews to figure it out, however, and they couldn’t. Some thought there would be two messiahs; the suffering Messiah, and the conquering Messiah, but this can’t be true, for only the suffering Messiah is worthy to also be the conquering Messiah.
After the resurrection, Jesus met two disciples on the road to Emmaus and He had to personally explain to them (Luke 24:27) how He had fulfilled the OT prophecies of the Messiah. To this day many Jews still doubt that He was the Messiah, because he did not fulfill all the messianic prophecies at that time.
“boldncourageous” accuses Dispensationalists of creating doctrines without Scriptural support, and then uses the idea of the bride of Christ as being separate from the Tribulation saints as proof of this contention.
“The tribulation saint cannot be the bride, because the bride is in heaven (according to the view). This causes many problems with the whole of Scripture; “we are one body in Christ Jesus”, the promises that apply to the bride, don’t apply to the tribulation saints, etc. How can the saints be one body as a bride, and another as separate from the bride, and remain one body?”
Well, what he/she is doing is taking Scripture out of context, and also taking the contentions of Dispensationalists out of context as well.
For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Luke 7:28
This statement and its companion from Mat. 11:11 provide us with the answer to this person’s contentions. Wasn’t John saved, and in the kingdom of God? Aren’t all the saints “born of women”? Obviously then the “kingdom” Jesus was speaking of was a different kingdom than the one John was a part of. He was speaking of the Church-age. He was speaking of the phenomenon of the Church-age where all believers are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist was ONLY born of a woman. He was not “Born-again”, yet he was a saved man. Neither were all the Old Testament prophets, including such notable prophets as Abraham, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Elijah, and etc.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:39
There are many instances in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit is said to come upon a person, and he prophesies a certain thing, but then the spirit leaves. In fact even the disobedient prophet Balaam, and the disobedient king Saul, prophesied by the Holy Spirit, but they were not permanently indwelt.
Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? Isaiah 63:11
The Holy Spirit, in the Old Testament, came upon people at times, but He did not stay their whole life. David cried out “take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11) when he had sinned with Bathsheba, because the Holy Spirit would not stay in a situation like that. David knew fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and also knew that He was not promised to stay permanently, at that time.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:27
This promise, given through the prophet Ezekiel, is regarding a future time, when the Holy Spirit would stay and never leave; the Church-age. It was not fulfilled during the age of Israel.
“boldncourageous” says it is a problem if we don’t have all the answers! I don’t have all the answers, do you? In my experience those who think they have all the answers are usually relying on themselves. Even Paul admits that he does not have all the answers;
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:12
The bible is a collection of books which were inspired by the most magnificent and complicated mind in all creation. There is no way that any fleshly human can understand everything in that book. Nevertheless, we are on a journey, and God gives us knowledge as we rely on Him in faith. He will never give us everything we want to know, but He does give us that which we need.
Suffice it to say that according to the lips of Jesus Himself, there is a difference between the Old Testament saints and the New. Can I spell out every nuance of every difference? No I can’t, but it appears to be a difference based on the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believer.
It also appears that as the Tribulation is a return to the last seven years promised to Israel through Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:24-26), that the same Old Testament conditions will also prevail at that time. This must mean that the relationship the Holy Spirit has with his people will revert to the same as it was during Daniel’s time.
Neither I, nor John Darby, made this up; it is there in the Word of God, and “boldncourageous” fails to address this difference.
He/she quotes “we are one body in Christ Jesus”, but fails to mention that this is a statement of the Church-age. During the Church-age, believers of the Jews and Gentiles are one body in Christ Jesus. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that Old Testament believers are a part of the Church.
The illustration that is used is that of a graft in a fruit tree; When you graft a variety on to a root, the branch produces its own fruit. For instance, if you graft a Ida Red branch on a McIntosh trunk, you will not get McIntosh apples from it, but Ida Reds! So, when Gentiles are grafted into the tree of Israel, we produce Gentile fruit, not Jews, though we obtain our life from the same source.
Boldncourgeous goes on to say;
“Another issue is a doctrine changing the Word of God to be able to accommodate their view. Peter addresses this… 2 Peter 3:16. In order for the doctrine to be received it must be taught to those with a shallow understanding of the Word.
Here is an example of this: Luke 21:36 tells us to pray always that we may be counted worthy to escape all that is coming upon the earth… The pre-tribulation view tells us that the word “escape” in this passage refers to the rapture. Okay if that is the case, what does this concept do with the rest of the verse? “…Pray always that you may be counted worthy…” Most have the understanding that the prerequisite to being raptured is being saved. We are saved by grace and not by works or being worthy… Eph 2:8,9. However, for the word “escape” to be the rapture, we must be raptured by our worthiness and pray always accordingly. So now we are told that only some Christians will be raptured because not all are worthy, although saved. To continue this thinking, they would also loose any bride status in order to become tribulation saints. Perhaps even having to have to face martyrdom to earn their way into heaven because Christ died for the bride, and not for them. This verse creates division among those who hold the view. Some believe there is no division of those who are saved that get raptured at the rapture and some do. Overall the understanding of salvation equating those “assigned for rapture” must be severed, otherwise we would have to be saved by works, contrary to the Word.
It seems to me that those who are truly saved will be the ones counted worthy to be raptured. Pray to be accounted worthy? Maybe that prayer ought to be about something else;
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13
There will be many church members who are left behind, because they don’t have the Holy Spirit. The oil in the parable of the virgins is the Holy Spirit. Those left behind at the rapture are apparently Christians, but they don’t have the Holy Spirit. Revelation 2:22 tells us plainly that there will be disobedient church members who will experience the Great Tribulation for themselves.
In the same vein, the Church of Philadelphia is told that they will be kept “out of” the time of testing which will come upon the whole world. (Revelation 3:10) The word that is translated as “from” is “ek” which means “out of” and not “through”. “ek” is never translated as “through”. God is not going to keep the true Church through the Tribulation, but “out of” it.
Jesus also uses “ek” in John 12:27 where He prays “and what shall I say? Father save me from (ek) this hour?” (speaking of the crucifixion) He was not talking about being saved through the crucifixion, that was a given, but He was talking about not having to go through it at all!
Jesus told us the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt. 25. The five foolish were not only told, “depart from me, I never knew you,” but “go to hell” as well. What they were not told is that they would get a second chance as a tribulation saint. As you can see the Word gets changed (twisted as Peter states) to accommodate the view.
Here, boldncourageous actually does the exact thing he/she is accusing us of doing!
Here is the pertinent verse from Matt. 25. See if you can find “hell” in it;
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matt 25:11-13
What boldncourageous, and most Post and A-millennialists do is they read Hell into thispassage, as he/she does here, and they don’t even realize they are doing it!
The unwise virgins are actually left in the same place they were when they were waiting for the bridegroom. That would have to be on the earth!
Later on, in the same chapter, Jesus tells the parable of the talents, and the lazy servant is cast “into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Even here, this does not have to be Hell, although it could be. Nevertheless, there is no warrant for equating the five unwise virgins with the disobedient servant.
It appears that the parable of the ten virgins takes place at the end of the Church age, and the next parable takes place on judgment day at the end of the Millennial kingdom.
“You must ask yourself, is your own desires clouding your view? Often I get asked, “Why would you want to go through the great tribulation?” As if what I want as anything to do with God’s plan. The obvious conclusion to those who ask this question is that their personal desires have clouded their perception of the truth. Is it foolish to walk directly in the direction of persecution? Peter rebuked Jesus for walking into His crucifixion. Jesus in turn stated, “Get thee behind me Satan.” Today the church spends much of their time running from taking up their cross.”
Good advice. He/she is certainly correct that we must guard our heart from reading our own desires into Scripture. My concern with this person is that when he/she sees something that is like the Great Tribulation in their mind, they will think they are experiencing it. When someone comes along who promises “peace and safety”, and because they already think the Tribulation is over, they will be inclined to accept them as “a man sent from God”. Because they have a tendency to allegorize Scripture they will also have a tendency to allegorize the return of Christ. They already do.
If Peter tells us that those who do not get it right concerning the view of eschatology (end times), “twist the scripture as they always do.” The “as they always do” is huge. That means that your perceptions of truth concerning your “end time” beliefs exemplifies your perception of the Scriptures as a whole. This puts great importance upon the study of eschatology. We must be lovers of the truth, if not God Himself will send a delusion upon us as stated in 2 Thess. 2 at the end of chapter.
Those who are truly born-again are not susceptible to the delusion, but it will be so powerful that if not for the witness of the Holy Spirit they actually could be. That is the complete issue we have been talking about. We can’t understand Scripture without the witness of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 2:14) “boldncourageous” is correct that the study of eschatology is far more important than most Christians imagine. Unfortunately boldncourageous takes Scripture out of context, and reads his/her own ideas into it, so I am confident in saying that such a person cannot be counted on to rightly divide the Word of Truth.