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(revised 04/12/14)

Although I prefer the Post-Trib Premillenial view, I greatly enjoyed the following article by Don Koenig, in which he defended Premillenialism (including the Pre-Trib view) against Postmillenialists and Preterists. I am especially disturbed by the Emergent/New Apostolic Reformation move towards Postmillenialism (aka “Dominion Theology”, “Kingdom Now Theology.”)

(As an aside, I am leaning towards the Post-Trib view, which like the Pre-Trib view falls under Premillenialism.)

I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Christians will be caught unaware because they gave up premillennialism

Don Koenig
On February 10, 2011 · 33 Comments

One of the chief signs of the end times that premillennial futurists fluffed over in their eagerness to see the return of the Lord for His Church is the passages that make it clear that the Lord is coming at time when we think not (Luke 12:40).

We also know that in the last days there would be Christians mocking other Christians about their belief in the soon return of the Lord [I believe anyone mocking a premillenial return of Christ is mocking Bible prophecy].

2 Peter 3, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

In hindsight, one of the reasons why the hope of a Rapture in the 20th century was premature was because during that period a great percentage of Evangelical Christians believed in premillennialism. They believed in a literal and future fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Therefore, the coming of Jesus really did not fit what Jesus said it would be like in the Church just before His return. Let me explain.

The doctrine of the Rapture and the Lord’s Second coming was one of the major focuses of the Bible believing Church in the last third of the 20th century. Yet, scripture implies that many Christians would not be expecting Jesus when He comes. So one of the signs that premillennial 20th century believers were presumptuous, and that Jesus would not return on our time-lines, was the general expectations that prevailed during that period among Christians. This irrational exuberance led to date setters and the fallout of that led to a general discrediting of all teaching dispensational Premillennial Theology.

Futurist Premillennial Theology probably reached its peak from 1970 to around the year 2000. In those days it was hard to find a Evangelical Bible believing church that did not believe in the soon coming of Jesus with the Rapture of the Church. [I have seen this change for myself in the Evangelical Friends, aka the EFCI, whose top administrative leaders preached about the imminent return of Christ. But no longer – they are becoming increasingly Emergent]. They also taught that the Rapture would be followed by judgment of evil on earth, followed by the establishment of the millennial kingdom where Jesus would rule and reign on earth with His Church for a thousand years, and then Satan once again would be loosed to deceive mankind into a final rebellion.

Because of the Lord’s delay and the presumptuous false hopes presented by some, there since has been a  falling away from premillennial theology. Many pastors now have post-millennial beliefs where the Church will have to Christianize the world before the Lord will actually physically return. Preterism is also gaining ground.   They teach that prophecy about Israel was all fulfilled in 70 AD and the prophetic promises to Israel are either annulled or are now only promises to the spiritual Church. With preterists, the Church is the kingdom promised on earth and the Church allegorically fulfills Bible prophecy. When all the saved come in, God will then judge all and eternity will began. There is no literal thousand year reign on earth in Preterism.

Today premillenial futurist Dispensational Theology is losing ground every day in Evangelical Christianity and you will seldom hear it taught from the pulpits anymore. It also will not be found in your Sunday school material. I think this falling away from premillennialim and the teaching of the imminent coming of Jesus is prophetic in itself. It had to be fulfilled, if we are indeed in the last days.

Jesus said He would come at a time when most think not. That would not have been true when people were still claiming His soon coming and also followed the date setters.  Few premillenial believers in the 1980′s thought that we would still be here in 2011. There are still some premillennial Christians that are hanging on to the hope of the Lord’s soon coming, but they are becoming a smaller and smaller minority within Christianity.

I suppose that those following the 2012 end of the world presumptions and heretics like Harold Camping will just make premillennial believers even more rare in the future. This will set the conditions in Christianity for what Peter said would happen in the last days.

Peter said Christians will be mocking other Christians saying, “where is the promise of His coming”, they will obviously insinuate that your belief of a soon coming Rapture and the return of Jesus is a false hope that is even harmful to the Church. Pastors will teach that we must put away all such foolishness and work to Christianize the world through social justice programs. All that are teaching Premillennial Theology with the physical return of Jesus will be marginalized and perhaps not even welcomed in their fellowships.

The trend in Christianity is already this way in the churches that have become unequally yoked with unbelievers that intend to set up an interfaith world of social justice. This trend away from premillennialism will only increase because of more failed date setting. Soon premillennial evangelicals will become open game for soft and hard dominionist media Evangelicals, and their mocking will spread into the general church populations.

That is when this “where is the promise of His coming” rant will be literally fulfilled. Some have claimed fulfillment in the past, but they were really grasping at straws. I do not believe it will be some subtitle innuendo. It will be a direct mocking confrontation against those that hold fast to Premillennial Theology and the soon return of the Lord. This is what I believe Peter is saying in his passage. We have not seen that fulfilled yet, but we see that things are rapidly trending in that direction. We now see the Seeker, Purpose Driven, Emergent and New Apostolic Reformation churches are becoming increasingly hostile toward Premillennial Theology. Get ready for more flame throwing against anyone that takes Bible prophecy literally.

But, blessed is the the person that holds fast to the promise of the Lord’s coming. That promise of His patience was held by only one of the seven church types that identify Christianity, and they are the only Church type that was promised to be kept out of the great trial that will come upon all those that dwell on the earth.

Rev 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Jesus said, “will there be faith on the earth when I come” (Lk 18:18), Jesus probably was not talking about faith to believe that salvation came through Him. The Church has to have salvation faith, or it is not the Church. Jesus was referring to faith that He would soon return and judge the earth. The answer to His question is that other than a small minority that kept the promise of His coming and His patience, there will not be that kind of faith on the earth when Jesus comes.

We need to keep the faith, the Lord is not slow in coming. He just is not willing that any should perish. Nevertheless, the signs of the times are evident, the Lord will not delay His coming much longer. We are not in darkness, that this day should overtake us as a thief (1 Th 5:4).

Lk 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Finally, one reason not usually talked about why Jesus must return very soon is The Singularity. We are only a few decades from when man will be able to extend his lifespan indefinitely. The doubling of knowledge every 18 months means that artificial intelligence will soon make it possible for collective man to solve any technical problem, but he still will not deal with the problem of his own sin. [This entire paragraph sounds a bit far fetched to me, other than the last phrase:  “he still will not deal with the problem of his own sin.”]

Unforeseen technology will get into the hands of evil people and they would destroy the world if it went on past the middle of this century. So Jesus must return and deal with evil before that happens. The mark of the Beast probably somehow ties in. Man will attempt to undo the confusion given to him at Babel. That is not acceptable while mankind is still in rebellion against God. So the end is soon for sure, but first the scoffers must come from even those that call themselves Christians.


 Don Koenig founded http://www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named “The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages”. This World and Church and Bible Prophecy Blog was started in 2007. This Blog now has over 1000 articles written by Don and contains almost 10,000 comments mostly related to the post topic.

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(blog under construction)

I was brought up believing in a Pre-Trib Rapture. I did not learn until the 1980s that the Pre-Trib Rapture was a very recent theory, popularized in the 1800s.

One caveat: although I now hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib.

Click here for the original text of the following article. I have corrected the grammar in a few places. Also, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

The Origin Of The Pretribulational Rapture Theory

Ed F. Sanders


1. Origins

There have been many articles, essays, and books written about the origin of the pretrib rapture teaching. The most prevalent theories among scholars are:

1. that the doctrine began within the Irviningite sect in England in the early 1800’s (see article by George Ladd, article by Art Katterjohn)
2. that it originated in the Plymouth Brethren movement from the teachings of John Nelson Darby in the early 1800’s.
3. that it originated with a Mr. Tweedy, who passed it on to Darby and the Plymouth Bretren [sic]
4. that it originated with aberrant Catholic theologians (Jesuit priests) Ribera and Emmanuel Lucanza, see article by J.P. Eby)
5. that it originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788 (1).
6. The doctrine started in the early church with a writer called Pseudo-Ephraim. (The author of this work is unknown (hence, ‘pseudo’), its conclusions uncertain, and the date written is in question. Of all the ‘theories’ this is the least credible (2)).

One thing is clear from the available historical documents: Darby, called the ‘father of dispensationalism’, was responsible for the widespread dissemination of the new and novel pretrib doctrine beginning around 1830 through his ministry in the Plymouth Brethern movement. The doctrine soon spread to America and was widely popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible.

In my mind the final word on the origin of the pretrib teaching cannot be known with 100% certainty based on the documents available. I think that the best explanation is summarized by Timothy P. Weber (Memphis Theological Seminary) who wrote:

 “The pretribulation rapture……historians are still trying to determine how or where Darby got it. . . . Possibly, we may have to settle for Darby’s own explanation. He claimed that the doctrine virtually jumped out of the pages of Scripture once he accepted and consistently maintained the distinction between Israel and the church”. (Timothy P. Weber, Living In The Shadow Of The Second Coming: American Premillennialism 1875-1982. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983, pp. 21-22).

John Nelson Darby commenting on 2 Thess. 2:1-2 in 1850:

 “It is this passage which, twenty years ago, made me understand the rapture of the saints before — perhaps a considerable time before — the day of the Lord, that is, before the judgment of the living.” (3)

So, according to Darby he held a different view until 1830 when he came to understand the pretrib rapture doctrine. Until further documentation turns up it seems then most likely that John Nelson Darby originated the pretrib teaching and was responsible for its wide distribution in the years that followed.

2. Quotes from early Plymouth Brethren: (contemporary with Darby)

Under “The First Appearances of Secret Rapture Teaching” on page 45 of B. W. Newton and Dr. S. P. Tregelles – Teachers of the Faith and the Future (2nd Edition, 1969, The Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, London) George H. Fromow says, “Dr. S. P. Tregelles has recorded for us the origin of this teaching in his book The Hope of Christ’s Coming, How is is Taught in Scripture and Why? (page 35 of the fifth edition).

“Dr. Tregelles further wrote:  ‘When the theory of a secret coming of Christ was first brought forward (about the year 1832), it was adopted with eagerness; it suited certain preconceived opinions, and it was accepted by some at that which harmonized contraditory [sic] thoughts, whether such thoughts, or any of them, rested on the sure warrant of God; [sic] written Word”.

There follows the quotation given above by Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Fromow goes on to opine, “If the exactterms [sic] used by Dr. Tregelles are noted, allowance can be made, that suggestions of a ‘secret coming’ were put forth a few years earlier, some say at the first Albury conference in 1826; but the precise date does not alter the fact that it was a novel doctrine”.

3. More Quotes regarding the origin of the pretrib rapture theory:

[I have rearranged these individuals alphabetically]

F. F. Bruce: well known Plymouth Brethren historian and theologian says: “Where did he [Darby] get it? The reviewer’s answer would be that it was in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy”. (Book Review of The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin in The Evangelical Quarterly, (Vol. XLVII, No. 1).

Robert Cameron: “Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down…. Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church – a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past – that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom – such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.” (Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73).

Harry Ironside(4): In 1908 Ironside claimed Darby had rediscovered the apostolic teaching lost to the church: “Until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of the distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, [the pretribulational rapture] is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred years! If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological treatises of the scholastic divines, Roman Catholic writers of all shades of thought; the literature of the reformation; the sermons and expositions of the Puritans; and the general theological works of the day. He will find “the mystery” conspicuous by its absence”. (Harry A. Ironside, The Mysteries of God, New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1908, pp 50–51).

Philip Mauro: “The entire system of ‘dispensational teaching’ is modernistic in the strictest sense; for it first came into existence within the memory of persons now living; and was altogether unknown even in their younger days; It is more recent than Darwinism.”“A system of doctrine that contradicts what has been held and taught by every Christian expositor and every minister of Christ from the very beginning of the Christian era—suddenly made its appearance in the later part of the nineteenth century”.”

Alexander Reese: “About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.” (Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18)

Charles C. Ryrie: a dispensational theologian writes: “The distinction between Israel and the Church leads to the belief that the Church will be taken from the earth before the beginning of the tribulation (which in one major sense concerns Israel).” (Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, pp. 158-160). (That seems to fit with the theory that Darby originated the teaching based on his dispensational hermeneutic. Ed.)

E. R. Sandeen: “Darby introduced into discussion at Powerscourt (1833) the ideas of a secret rapture of the church and of a parenthesis in prophetic fulfillment between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel. These two concepts constituted the basic tenets of the system of theology since referred to as dispensationalism” (E.R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism 1800-1930, University of Chicago Press, 1970)

Edmund Shackleton: All who held the premillennial Coming of Christ were, till about sixty years ago, of one mind on the subject. About that time a new view was promulgated that the Coming of Christ was not one event, but that it was divided into stages, in fact, that Christ comes twice from heaven to earth, but the first time only as far as the air. This first descent, it is said, will be for the purpose of removing the Church from the world, and will occur before the Great Tribulation under Antichrist. This they call “The coming for His saints” or “Secret Rapture.” The second part of the Coming is said to take place when Christ appears in glory and destroys the Antichrist. This they call “The coming with His saints.”

Apart from the test of the Word, which is the only final one, there are certain reasons why this doctrine should be viewed with suspicion. It appears to be little more than sixty years old; and it seems highly improbable that if scriptural it could have escaped the scrutiny of the many devoted Bible students whose writings have been preserved to us from the past. More especially in the writings of the early Christian fathers would we expect to find some notice of this doctrine, if it had been taught by the Apostles; but those who have their works declare that they betray no knowledge of a theory that the Church would escape the Tribulation under Antichrist, or that there would be any “coming” except that spoken of in Matthew 24, as occurring in manifest glory “after the Tribulation.” This is all the more significant, because these writers bestowed much attention upon the subject of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. Augustine, referring to Daniel 7, wrote: “But he who reads this passage even half asleep cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church.” (Edmund Shackleton, Will the Church Escape the Great Tribulation?  pp. 31, 32, cited by Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, p. 231.)

A. W. Tozer: “Here is a doctrine that was not known or taught until the beginning of this century and it is already causing splits in churches.”

John Walvoord: thinks the pretrib rapture theory originated from Darby’s understanding of ecclesiology: “any careful student of Darby soon discovers that he did not get his eschatological views from men, but rather from his doctrine of the church as the body of Christ, a concept no one claims was revealed supernaturally to Irving or Macdonald.  Darby’s views undoubtedly were gradually formed, but they were theologically and biblically based rather than derived from Irving’s pre-Pentecostal group”. (Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, p. 47.)

4. Implications!

Sometimes overlooked are the implications of the pretrib rapture recent origins. In my book Outline Studies On The Rapture Question (1973) I wrote “Search the pages of Church history and literature, and you will not find one mention of the Lord coming before the Tribulation until after 1800. No one has ever cited any literature, writings, or quotes to the contrary! The implications of this truth are serious. If the Pre-Tribulation doctrine were true, it would mean that it was hidden from the church for 19 centuries. Not one of the brilliant theologians or Bible teachers before the 1800’s were able to find a Pretrib rapture and coming of the Lord on the pages of Holy Scripture—an incredulous improbability to say the least!”


(1). Some scholars like John L. Bray promote the theory that the pretrib teaching originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788. A close analysis of his writing Millennium, Last-Novelities clearly does not outline end-time events as found in the teachings of Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, etc. See the analysis by Tim Warner in his article on Morgan Edwards.

(2) For more information on the pre-Darby pretrib theories see my friend Dave MacPherson’s article Deceiving And Being Deceived.

(3) Cited by Wm Kelly in The Rapture of the Saints: Who Suggested It, Or Rather On What Scripture? The Bible Treasury, New Series, vol. 4, p. 314-318.

(4) Harry Ironside (1876-1951) was an ardent pretrib dispensationalist, prolific writer, and former pastor of Moody Memorial Church.

(5) This was written in 1973 before the various claims of a pre-Darby pretrib rapture were widely known. But even if Morgan Edwards or one of the Jesuit priests taught the pretrib rapture theory before the 1800’s it would mean that the doctrine was hidden from the Church for more than 1600+ years!

Updated 7-24-2011

www.theologue.org

FOR FURTHER READING

The Rapture, the Tribulation and Christ’s Churchincludes a number of links to additional Post-Trib articles

Who’s Who in Prophecy – A huge list, this article gives positive ratings to Pre-Tribbers only.  Although I may not agree with the negative way Post-Tribbers are rated, the list provides a great deal of info on a number of Bible prophecy authorities, holding many different views. I see some big  names are not included, such as Berit Kjos.

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(revised 07/03/12)

Don’t get me wrong – I love Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches – particularly those recommended by Bro. David Cloud. Specifically, I love their faithfulness to the King James Bible, their zeal for soulwinning, their adherence to traditional worship services only, altar calls, the old hymns of the Faith, and so on.

But being brought up in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, there are certain teachings I am uncomfortable with among IFBs. I am addressing a few of these in this blog.

Below I am reposting an article from Andrew Strom. Strom is a controversial character in some circles, but I believe this article is right on. Click here for the original text of Strom’s article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

THREE DOCTRINES from HELL

by Andrew Strom


Let us begin with an important question, “What are the worst and most damaging doctrines in the Western church today?”

I believe that the most damaging ones are the ones that actually steal people’s salvation and afterwards wrap them in a false cocoon of comfort and assurance.  Three major doctrines do this. [I would disagree that these are the three most damaging doctrines, but they are certainly a problem.]

There is nothing worse than giving false comfort to people who are in danger.  It is the worst crime imaginable and yet preachers do it every week across the Western world.

Imagine if a building was on fire, but instead of crying out and warning the people, you went and comforted them and assured them they were OK — even while the smoke curled up from beneath.  Wouldn’t it be your fault if those people believed you and were killed?

Such is the situation today, and God will hold to account those who lull the sheep falsely with soothing lies. I tell you – this is a matter of life and death. And God’s judgment is coming against all who prove to be such hirelings – “tickling the ears”.

The 3 DOCTRINES from HELL:

(1) “ASK JESUS into your HEART”.  [IFB David Cloud does an excellent job of critiquing Easy Believism – he prefers the term Easy Prayerism. On the second and third doctrines discussed in this article, Bro. Cloud tends to defend them.] We have spoken about this before, so I won’t spend too long on it here. The fact of the matter is that NOBODY in the Bible ever “asked Jesus in” or ‘gave their heart to the Lord’ to become a Christian. There is NOT ONE instance of this ever happening. There are no people in the Book of Acts repeating a “sinner’s prayer” to get saved.  Nothing like it.  This doctrine simply DOES NOT EXIST in the Bible.

So what did people do in Acts?  Well, every time they wanted to become a Christian, they deeply REPENTED, they were BAPTIZED IN WATER, and also BAPTIZED in the HOLY SPIRIT. [I’m not sure why Strom puts this emphasis on immediate water baptism. To me water baptism is simply a witness to the world, “the outward sign of an inward change.” I do realize that in certain countries – such as India – Christians put their lives on the line when they take the step of a public witness i.e. water baptism. Also, I’m not sure why Strom places emphasis on immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit. This usually is not the reality of most Christians’ lives; even in the book of Acts,  Christians prayed, grew in Christ and prepared themselves for forty days before the Day of Pentecost. Also, an immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit runs against the grain of my Wesleyan Holiness beliefs.] These three things were always done straight away [again I question this – “always”?] – and were regarded as ESSENTIAL – not just “optional extras”. We are short-changing the entire church today with a doctrine that simply CANNOT BE FOUND in Scripture.  Merely “ASKING JESUS IN” is totally unscriptural. It is time to go back to getting people saved the BIBLE WAY. (-See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6, Acts 22:16, etc.  See also my in-depth article at- http://www.revivalschool.com ).

Please notice that what the church is doing here is replacing Truth with something CONVENIENT, COMFORTABLE and EASY. “Just come forward and say this little prayer,” we tell them. No mention of DEEP REPENTANCE at all. -And a total lack of any real TRANSFORMATION into a “NEW CREATURE”. This is no salvation at all. We are robbing people blind in the name of comfort and convenience. How typical of the West. We have invented a lukewarm “salvation experience” to go with our lukewarm church.

(2) “ONCE SAVED – ALWAYS SAVED”. Now, having got people falsely “saved”, we create another ear-tickling wonder to make sure that they sleep on contentedly in the pews. While emphasising ‘tithing’ and attending church (-in that order) the main thing now is to keep them warm and happy – convinced of their “eternal security”.

And so we lull them with a doctrine saying that if they once got “saved” (ie. prayed the ‘little prayer’) – even if it was 20 years ago, then it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation.  No holiness needed!  Of course, we have to rely on the fact that they do not read their Bibles lest they find out that such a doctrine is a complete fabrication.

Thus, we conveniently leave out of our preaching such Scriptures as this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works IN YOUR NAME?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART from me, you EVIL-DOERS.'” (Mt 7:21-23). Hmmm. “Eternal security”, anyone?

And of course, we must also leave out parables such as “The Parable of the Talents” because it contains this verse: “And cast the WORTHLESS SERVANT into outer darkness, where there shall be WAILING and GNASHING OF TEETH” (Mt 25:30). Notice that both the above Scriptures are speaking of people who think they are ‘saved’ but who END UP IN HELL. -And Jesus says there will be “MANY” like this.

And then there are dozens of other Scriptures such as, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” and ‘Those who do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God,’ and “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” etc, etc.  So many Scriptures have to be ignored if we are to preach this cheap “Once Saved – Always Saved” doctrine.

But notice again how well this teaching suits our comfortable, convenient Western mindset.  Ear-tickling by the truckload.  Candy- coated and syrupy-sweet.  Can’t it be said that this is making people “two-fold more a child of hell” than they already were?

(3) The CHEAP “No Cost” RAPTURE Theory.  [A caveat: although I hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib. Andrew Strom seems to take a stronger stand than I would against Pre-Tribbers and Mid-Tribbers.] Now this is a dangerous one to bring up! But I am concerned not so much with the TIMING of the Rapture here – but rather with the CHEAPNESS of it. Do I believe in a ‘Rapture’?  Yes, I do believe in a great “catching away” (as the Bible describes it).  But again, we have so degraded it in the West that it just becomes one more source of false comfort and cheap grace.  This time to escape without a scratch before any persecution or tribulation begins.  Once again – how CONVENIENT!

We are led to believe that our rich, fat-cat Western Christians with their false salvation and their “no need for holiness” doctrines will one day be flying in their jet airplanes and “Woosh!” – suddenly they will be gone. -‘Raptured’. Just in time to escape any bad stuff happening on the earth.

There are entire industries and multi-million-dollar ministries built on this whole thing — the “no cost” Rapture theory. How wonderfully it tickles Western ears! How we rush to buy the latest Best-seller!

But wait a minute. Wasn’t it Jesus (talking about the ‘time of the end’) who told his DISCIPLES, “This is but the BEGINNING of the birthpangs. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake”? (Mt 24:8-9 RSV). How is it then, that we are taught a ‘Rapture’ theory today in which we are “caught up” without any major tribulation or persecution? Jesus in the above passage clearly tells his DISCIPLES – His true followers – that they MUST expect great tribulation and persecution before the end.

It is very obvious from all the New Testament writings that Christians must go through persecution, sufferings and tribulations – and that this will get much worse in the end-times. There is never a hint that we should expect to be ‘Raptured’ without going through this.  But again, the Western doctrine preaches comfort, safety and convenience – a kind of “cheap way out”.

Why is this such a serious issue?  Well, a people who have been told again and again that God will “rescue” them before the real trouble starts – these are the most ILL-PREPARED people to face real persecution. The people who are most prepared are those who have looked the danger in the eye, and prepared their hearts to go through it. With our false comfort we are doing the worst job in the world of preparing our people for what is to come.

To SUMMARIZE

As you can see, what we have set up in the Western church is an entire system of FALSE ASSURANCE. First, we falsely assure people that they are “born again” when they are not. Then we falsely assure them that it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation – no matter what they do. Then we falsely assure them that they will escape all end-time tribulation and persecution with an ultra-convenient Rapture.

We have it all sewn up! It is a kind-of “cradle to the grave” system of false salvation –a whole set-up devoted to convincing Hell-bound people that they are going to Heaven by the “cheap and easy” route. Like the Fast Food outlets that we have invented in the West, it is all about ‘Instant Gratification’. It is the warm and comfortable way. No holiness needed. Just like going through a McDonalds drive-through. “Do you want fries with that ‘HAPPY MEAL’, sir?”

Every one of these lies is perfectly suited to our Western mindset.  That is why they have been so successful. But that does not stop them being LIES. -Nor does it stop them sending multitudes to Hell.

We in the West have become devotees of a kind-of “no pain” religion. Sadly, that religion no longer resembles true Christianity.  Let us REPENT of ALL such doctrines before it is too late, my friends.

To respond with feedback about this article, please write to prophetic@revivalschool.com.

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom

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