s the rapture doctrine sweeps across America in the most unprecedented fashion in modern history, very few realize that the spiritual trap has been set, the snare has snapped shut, and the prophesied Strong Delusion is already upon us. I'm speaking of the false doctrine of dispensationalism, and the marketing tool of that ungodly system - the pre-tribulation rapture.
With the release of the Left Behind book and movie series, the Satanic doctrine of demons has now come to fruition and borne the fruit of its devilish design. While most Christians that have been programmed by the rapture cult continue to "heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" 1. and defend the system because they want it to be true, others simply dismiss the issue as having any importance. `What does it matter?' they reason--`as long as we truly love the Lord, it's just an unimportant issue of timing.'
The latter group will never know why it matters, because they've already chosen to close their minds to a study of the issue on that basis. The truth is, this issue has enormous implications for the hearts and souls of end time believers. Indeed, I can categorically state that if you continue in the pre-tribulation rapture delusion and refuse to hear the truth of the matter, you are on extremely dangerous ground in your supposed relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will continue to read this essay, you will hear the truth of the matter.
Fortunately, a very few courageous souls have taken the Word of God to heart and determined that they will indeed "study to show (themselves) approved." 2.
Would I Lie To You?
One of the difficulties in arriving at the truth of this matter is the way in which we perceive the vessel that brings us the information. For instance, I just cited scripture that speaks of those that have "itching ears" and how they will seek to validate their existing belief by surrounding themselves with teachers that will tell them what they want to hear. That very verse categorically proves that there are "teachers" within the "church" that are, indeed willing to lie in order to preserve their position.
If you are a believer in the pre-tribulation rapture, I also intentionally insulted you by referring to "the rapture cult." While rapturists find the term offensive and routinely suggest we should be more loving and diplomatic, they simply do not understand the present situation. The Lord led me to dub the doctrine as cultic. If I've upset you with that characterization, I do not apologize. What I'm trying to do is get your attention. If I've angered you, I have a better chance of breaking through the conditioning so that you will listen to the warning that I have for all pre-tribulationists. That warning is very simple. You are in deadly peril.
Actually, the subjectivity aspect of this issue is much larger than just the rapture. The very nature of "delusion" in a spiritual context is associated with the way we receive and process information. We tend to reason that the great pastors, book authors, and media ministry figures that we admire would never actually lie to us. Of course, this phenomenon of a predisposition towards credibility itself runs counter to the prophetic expectations that are explicitly stated in the scriptures.
The Bible plainly tells us that in the last days there will be deception on a wholesale level. When Jesus was asked about the conditions that would characterize the end times, his vivid description focused heavily on deception. He further stated that it would be the individuals that are saying that Jesus is Lord that will be the ones that "shall deceive many." 3.
This point cannot be emphasized enough. Jesus Christ himself stated that "many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ." 4. At the risk of being redundant, although commonly misinterpreted as referring to false messianic figures, Jesus said those that declare that He is the Christ will be the ones that will "deceive many." This plainly tells us that it will be the "Christian" pastors and teachers, declaring that Jesus is the true Christ, that will be the source of the great deception of the end times.
Because of this stern warning, you should be extremely wary of what I have to say to you. At the same time, you should be just as careful concerning what your own leadership is teaching you. This is why the scriptures are so important. The Word of God is the final authority on all these issues. The "scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 5.
On another level, that very same chapter of II Timothy tells that the ones that will deceive us are themselves deceived. The text states that these leaders "shall become worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." 6. This principle would also seem to apply to those last days "teachers" that will encourage people to "be turned unto fables." 7.
Because the Bible tells us it will be the professing "Christian" teachers that will deceive the people, 8. it is more than appropriate that we closely examine their teaching in the light of scripture. Thus, even though the Bereans greatly loved Paul and Silas when they went there to preach, "they searched the scriptures daily" in order to see "whether those things were so." 9. They were considered "noble" because they did just that.
Furthermore, because Jesus Christ vehemently warned us about "false prophets," it is relevant to look at the accuracy of the information the various teachers bring us. The scriptures say "Ye shall know them by their fruits." 10. Thus, my abrasive "attitude" doesn't make or break the issue either way. What is important is if we find a consistent pattern of deceit and distortion of the data in the rapture proponent's books, videos, and speeches (i.e. the fruits of their labor), then we have a powerful indicator that the Spirit of truth is not leading them.
While rapture teachers commonly say a study of the historic belief of the church is irrelevant, the truth is rapture teachers have been widely exposed as having "revised" the historical documentation that surrounds the origin of the doctrine. In other words, our research clearly demonstrates that rapturist oriented writers, pastors, and teachers have almost universally sought to cover up the true history of the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. Thus, it comes as no surprise that modern pre-tribulationists seek to downplay the importance of the history of the doctrine.
The plain truth is, a significant number of dispensational writers, seminarians, and media communicators have been exposed for repeated instances of plagiarism, intentional misquoting of historical authorities, and blatantly lying concerning the way this doctrine came into the modern church.
While this factor alone certainly does not prove the efficacy of the church's historic post-tribulationist position, it is a powerful indicator that something is seriously wrong within the rapture cult. Furthermore, because pre-trib proponents now have an enormous financial, theological, and political commitment to the doctrine, they are in a very difficult position if they wish to change course.
Rapture oriented teachers don't like to address this aspect of their predicament because they don't want to undermine their own argument that the difference between pre-trib and post-trib is only one of timing. That is yet another lie. Once the bulwark of pre-trib is broken through, pre-trib pastors know the entire foundation of dispensational thought is threatened. Novices don't understand that dispensationalism falsely teaches that the Jews are the chosen people, and as such they are still the center of God's redemptive plan. The truth is, "there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek" 11. in Christ Jesus - and prophetic fulfillment is never going to go back to a pre-eminence of one group based on racial background.
Most rapturists cannot seem to fathom the fact that Jesus prophesied to the Jews, "the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." 12. If the believers in Christ have become, as Peter said, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation...," 13. then the CHRISTIANS are now at the forefront of the Lord's great plan of salvation.
The rapture cult seeks to characterize anyone that teaches what I've just put forth as somehow involved in the Catholic oriented "replacement theology," or even worse as anti-Semitic. For example, Hal Lindsey (who is considered one of the premier rapture teachers) has repeatedly accused post-tribulationists as somehow having complicity in the holocaust!
In his rapturist oriented Road To Holocaust, Lindsey states that "...anti-Jewish policies can be traced to the attitudes of the Church that began in the fourth century." 14. By describing basic New Testament doctrines under sub-chapter headings like "A Major Root Of Anti-Semitism," Lindsey deftly tries to show that all historic interpretations other than pre-tribulationism are anti-Semitic!
Indeed, in another section of this work, Hal Lindsey has a heading referring to the 2nd century Bible translator Origin - yet here he brazenly connects 18 centuries of Christian history with, once again, the Nazis! Lindsey calls it "The Trail from Origen to Auschwitz." Elaborately teaching that Christians that believe that the church has become synonymous with Israel, this vicious liar has now firmly implied that anyone that opposes the rapture cult system is somehow anti-Semitic:
"Using this method of prophetic interpretation, Church theologians began to develop the idea that the Israelites had permanently forfeited all their covenants by rejecting Jesus as the Messiah....the most serious consequence was that the protections provided by the clear Scriptural warnings of God against those who would harm His covenant people were snatched away." 15.
He goes on to plainly state that Adolph Hitler was the result of Christians holding the historic view that the Church has inherited the promises to Israel! This is a deplorable tactic, yet so-called "reputable" rapture cult leaders never oppose such incredibly false assertions.
In essays in the Christian Media newspaper and in several books, I have described the tendency of rapture cult leaders to malign and smear Christians that believe them to be in error. Because Hal Lindsey wrote the hugely successful rapturist oriented Late Great Planet Earth, and he is one of the worst offenders when it comes to plagiarism, 16. I have examined his work in print on more than one occasion.
A couple of years ago, a caller to Lindsey's national radio show asked him about those that have examined his repeated plagiaristic thefts and distortions of fact. Following is a transcript of what was said on national radio:
Caller: I wanted to know, Hal, if you'd heard of James Lloyd from Christian Media?
Hal: No, I haven't
Caller: Well, he's putting out - promoting some books by Dave MacPherson [a Post-Tribulationist writer], and he's picking on Chuck Missler and calling them dishonest 'pensationalists [the ignorant caller's own `word'].
Hal: Yeah, I know. These are just-these books are so poor that you won't find most bookstores even handling them.
Cliff: [Hal's co-host] Actually, some of them aren't even books, Hal. They're just manuscripts that they're trying to get published and aren't able to.
Right. I looked at a manuscript and it was so bad that, you
know, I don't know that any publisher would even take it
Hal: I know.
Caller: ...on the timing of the tribulation.
Hal: Right. You see, this is someone who's trying to grind an axe - can get so far out in their almost insanity of wanting to disprove it that they'll start getting loose and fast and loose with quotes. But thanks for your call.
In this transparent effort to marginalize his critics and deflect a thorough analysis of his false doctrine, Lindsey has actually claimed the fashion in which a book is bound has some correlation to its spiritual integrity! He's claiming that "these books," evidently referring to my material, "aren't even books," because they examine Lindsey's lies! This is a brazen effort to malign our efforts to tell people the truth about this doctrine and the leaders that propagate it.
Think about this for a moment. When Hal Lindsey says "most bookstores" won't even carry "these books," he is attempting to equate commercial marketing success with scriptural truth. In my particular case, I've deliberately chosen to bypass the Christian bookstores with my books and distribute them directly via mail and the Internet. Yet Lindsey says this demonstrates that the material is so poor that "most bookstores" won't handle them!
I'd call this "bad fruit" from the best selling rapture writer in American history. Unfortunately, when it comes to dishonesty in the rapture cult, Hal Lindsey is the rule -- not the exception.
Dr Randall Price And The Pre-Trib Research Center
Many are unaware of the clashes that have been occurring on radio and in print as the cult leaders continue to propagate their doctrine utilizing deception and distortion of the Scriptures. For example, a couple of years ago, I clashed with a high profile rapture scholar named Dr. J Randall Price on a national Christian television network. We were booked on the same show and I had occasion to speak with Dr. Price before we were interviewed.
I knew that he is one of the key leaders of a group known as The Pre-Trib Research Center, a loose association of pre-tribulationists that are seeking new ways to promote the rapture doctrine. I pointedly told him I have no respect for his group and have a particular dislike for the head of the organization Dr. Tim LaHaye. Price said LaHaye, who is the author of the huge literary hit Left Behind, was "a wonderful man."
I responded that he's been proven to be dishonest in his books defending the rapture. He changes crucial historical dates that are already well established, misspells names of key individuals in the history of the doctrine, and seriously misquotes other authors - all in an effort to deceitfully prop up the faulty pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. 17. Price responded that "Well, everyone knows that Tim is not a scholar." By this, I presume he meant that all the rapturists at the Pre-Trib Research Center (PTRC) know that Tim is not a scholar.
Yet a few months later, I received a mailing from J R Church's rapturist oriented ministry that was heavily promoting the Left Behind book that was written by the "noted scholar" Dr. Tim LaHaye! Apparently, when you've made $10 million dollars on a fictional novel, you're entitled to deceitfully claim you're a scholar!
During that conversation with Dr. Price, I asked him when the PTRC was going to stop promoting the erroneous idea that the text in Matthew 24 concerning "one shall be taken, and the other left" 18. is a prediction of the rapture. I pointed out that Jesus clearly said the ones that were "taken" were destroyed - not evacuated. This passage is, of course, the signature text for the entire Left Behind premise. For those that are unfamiliar with the true meaning of the passage, Jesus said his second coming would be "as the days of Noah were." 19.
The text is simply saying that the return of Christ will be analogous to the days of Noah. In the story, the majority of the world's people were completely unaware that there was a terrible destruction coming, and so "they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away." 20. Thus, when "two women shall be grinding at the mill (and) the one shall be taken and the other left," 21. the question is, who knew not the disaster was coming? The lost. So who got taken away? The ones that were destroyed. The one that is "left behind" is actually the one that is preserved.
Dr. Randall Price conceded that this text is not describing any pre-tribulation rapture. He further stated that since the Pre-Trib Research Center leaders have also acknowledged this fact, that I "should not use this scripture" to attack the pre-trib position anymore because they all know it doesn't teach the rapture. Furthermore, Dr. John F Walvoord, the Chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary (where Price, Lindsey, et al got their degrees) and a key member of the PTRC has categorically stated that Matthew 24's allusion to the "two in the field, the one shall be taken" does not refer to any theoretical pre-tribulation rapture. Yet 2 years later, when the $17 million Left Behind movie based on the rapture was released, we find one of the few Bible verses even quoted in the film to support the pre-tribulation rapture was this very passage!
Since Dr. Tim LaHaye is the founder of the Pre-Trib Research Center, is the writer of the Left Behind book, and the scholars around him in the PTRC have plainly told him this text is not teaching the "rapture," he has now been proven to have deceitfully manipulated the Bible by intentionally misquoting a primary passage. And he's not the only one.
Hal Lindsey, Chuck Missler, Grant Jeffrey, J R Church, John Hagee, Chuck Smith, and tens of thousands of other pastors, writers, and teachers around the country continue to teach a plainly unscriptural premise. Do you really believe they don't know any better?
No Judgment On America?
Another blind guide is the rapture cult writer Arno Froese of the widely read Midnight Call Magazine. In addition to his influential prophecy periodical, Froese sponsors annual prophecy conferences featuring prophetic celebrities that are equally void of any spiritual discernment. In what can only be described as a gross indifference to the truth, writing in the September 1994 issue of The Midnight Call, Froese attacks those that think America is under the judgment of God with the following statement:
"In recent years, the theory has been popularized that because America has forgotten God, he will send severe judgments upon this country. A number of false prophets have arisen and claimed certain visions from God giving dates & detailed descriptions about that coming destruction. What is the truth of this matter? It is a great error to assume that America will be judged because she has forgotten God."
A real prophet of The Lord, Jeremiah, was also faced with false prophets like Arno Froese that predicted peace & safety:
"Behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed." 22.
Jeffrey: The Greedy Profit Of Pre-Tribulationism
Another individual that regularly demonstrates the true nature of the spirit behind the rapture cult is Canadian writer Grant Jeffrey. Another PTRC figure, I have clashed more than once with this deceiver. The author of many best selling books promoting the rapture, Jeffrey has a lucrative non-profit, state licensed "ministry" in the United States.
Several years ago, I had occasion to discuss the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine with Mr. Jeffrey. I asked him to consider the following scenario: He wakes up one day and there are 100 million dead in North America alone. The emergency radio bands are warning all survivors not to leave their homes and the world leader that has emerged after a sudden overnight nuclear war has declared global martial law. The tribulation has begun, and he has survived the initial destruction that has destroyed so many lives.
The one question I asked was "What is your responsibility or liability to the thousands of surviving Christians that took your advice and failed to prepare in any way, because they were counting on the pre-tribulation rapture that you espoused in 8 books, several videos, and hundreds of broadcast interviews?"
Grant Jeffrey's answer may be paraphrased as "I would have no responsibility whatsoever."
The Bible says otherwise. In the well known passage known as the `Watchman Of Ezekiel' verses, God says to the prophet:
"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman; If, when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people, Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning, if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take away any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." 23.
This verse plainly states that every prophecy teacher in the world that is not sounding the alarm that the church is about to enter the tribulation is going to be held accountable by God. Woe unto every one of these blind guides.
This was not my first exposure to Grant Jeffrey, as we had previously written about him when he was publicly caught misquoting from ancient authors in an effort to support the pre-tribulation doctrine. While space doesn't permit a thorough re-telling of that particular episode, the bottom line is Jeffrey (and many other rapture writers) have a nasty habit of quoting some early writer on the subject of prophecy, and then cutting off the quote just when the statement shows the writer was post-tribulationist. Grant Jeffrey and others then assert that the ancient authority believed in the pre-tribulation rapture!
The interesting thing about this practice is that virtually anyone can prove the rapture writers are intentional liars with just a bit of research. Thus, those that continue in error will be without excuse.
Some time after my conversation with Grant Jeffrey, I had another encounter with the clever Canadian. On very short notice, I was scheduled to substitute host for a radio talk show host that had already scheduled Grant Jeffrey as a guest. Thus the stage was set for a rather interesting radio interview.
For the first 15 minutes of the interview, I politely allowed Jeffrey to pitch his new video. About 20 minutes into the interview, I cordially stated that there had been some disagreement with my guest in the past, so perhaps we could discuss his position on the rapture.
Without any provocation of any kind from me, Jeffrey attacked the post-tribulationists and said that we were guilty of "low blows" in our tactics. I responded by citing several well known facts of junior pastors getting fired for questioning the doctrine, students being denied college credit at seminaries because they took a post-tribulationist posture, and other similar episodes of rapturist institutions suppressing and punishing those willing to tell the truth.
Grant got very defensive, and quickly realized he was in a public forum, live on a national radio interview, with someone who not only knew the truth about the lack of scriptural support for pre-trib, but was fully aware of his guest's repeated lies on the subject. Jeffrey muttered that he `wouldn't put up with this,' & hung up the phone less than 1/2 an hour into a 2 hour interview! To put it bluntly, he turned tail and ran when confronted with a man with a Bible.
I then found myself live on the air without a guest (& no prepared program), so I commented on Jeffrey's apparent unwillingness to even discuss the issue. This episode would not surprise anyone that is experienced in dealing with the rapture cult because it is well known in certain circles that they prefer to espouse a Christian charity and unity to your face, and then seek to launch attacks at a later time behind your back. They don't like face to face confrontation. In short, I consider the entire collection of rapture cult leaders to be a pack of lying thieving cowards. But the Grant Jeffrey story didn't end there.
About 10 minutes after Jeffrey abandoned the interview because he couldn't defend his own dishonest behavior in front of someone that knows the truth, the radio network went to a commercial. A network rep then came on the phone line and told me they would have someone else finish the show! After the commercial, yet another substitute host came on the air, and presto - Grant Jeffrey was back as a guest! In short, the radio network kicked the host (me) off the air for asking Biblically based questions of the guest!
Then, for the next 90 minutes, Jeffrey was able to accuse me of having "a root of bitterness" because I politely confronted him concerning his false doctrine. If the Bible actually taught pre-tribulationism, one might think this was a perfect opportunity for one of the leading teachers to defend it. Instead, Grant Jeffrey followed the time honored tactic of avoiding a direct scriptural challenge - and instead neutralized the truth through political maneuvering. This type of suppression of opposing views by the cult has now been occurring for about 100 years, and is widely documented in several books, articles, and tapes. 24.
The Bible Predicts The Great Falling Away - The Rapture Cult
The Apostle Paul was also faced with false prophets that had sought to confuse the simple truth that Jesus is only coming one more time, and that event will be His 2nd coming. In the book of Thessalonians, it is clear there was already some confusion over the very same subject: the timing of the return of Jesus Christ. Thus, in the 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, we have a priceless text that states quite plainly the learned Apostle's understanding of the chronological events surrounding the return of Jesus. In chapter two, Paul writes
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand." 25.
Paul plainly states that he is going to address the "coming" of Christ, and our "gathering" unto him. While he doesn't specifically say that "gathering" coincides with his "coming," it is readily presumed because Jesus himself has already stated in Matthew that when "...they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven....he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect...." 26. The return of Christ is clearly linked with the gathering of his elect. There is no hint whatsoever of a secret or invisible coming here. The Apostle then zeros in on the sequence of events. He writes
"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...." 27.
The key words here are "that day." What day is he referring to? The day of the Lord, which he just mentioned in the previous verse - the day of Christ's coming and our gathering unto him. Paul categorically states that two things will happen before the return of Christ occurs. There will be a great "falling away," and the son of perdition (the Antichrist) will be revealed.
Now the question should already be evident. If the coming of Christ is the time when he gathers (read "raptures") His believers, but that day "shall not come" until the Antichrist emerges, how can there be a pre-tribulation rapture before the Antichrist shows up? The entire rest of the chapter continues with several other chronological statements, but they all continue in sequence after this revealing of the Antichrist.
Because these verses completely corner the dispensationalists (rapturists) with very plain language that precludes any pre-tribulation rapture, they have 2 choices open to them. They can read the text for what it plainly states, and realize that they should conform their interpretation to what the Bible is telling them, or they can cling to the interpretation and try to find a way around the plain sense of this particular Scripture. Most have chosen the 2nd option.
For example, Chuck Smith, a highly revered rapture teacher that has anchored the entire Calvary Chapel denomination to the doctrinal scheme, commonly teaches that the great "falling away" is actually the rapture itself!
Even before looking at the Greek of the text, it should be apparent that no-one is going to "fall" into heaven! Unless, of course, "Heaven" is actually down below. How many of you have ever fallen upward? The plain and obvious meaning of being "raptured" (or resurrected) is to rise up to meet him in the air. In fact, in the resurrection passage from the earlier letter to these same Thessalonians, Paul wrote that "we shall be caught up together with them in the clouds..." 28. How then can we "fall away," in an upward direction, to the clouds? Obviously, this is a ridiculous assertion, but it shows the lengths that deceived leaders will go to defend what they want to believe.
Reverting to the underlying Greek word is also a futile exercise - although the cult continues to twist the words anyway they can. The Greek word used here for "falling away" is Apostasia. Significantly, this is a word that has such widespread understanding of its meaning that the Greek word has actually become an English word. The American Heritage Dictionary, for example, renders it as "apostasy n. pl. An abandonment of one's religious faith." 29. A related English word, apostate, is rendered as "one who forsakes his faith or principles." 30.
In fact, in the only other verse where this word "apostasia" is used in the New Testament, that very word forsake is used in the King James Version of the Bible. It's found in Acts 21:21 where the Jews are attacking the Apostle Paul. They raged that Paul "...teachest all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs." 31. In the book of Acts and the present text in Thessalonians, the meaning is clear.
Paul says "that day [the return of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [a forsaking of the faith], and that man of sin be revealed...." 32. It doesn't get much plainer - the events that precede the return of Jesus Christ are the departure from the faith, and the revealing of the Antichrist. There is no pre-tribulation rapture - at least not in this chapter.
A Seamless Cultural Conditioning
Calculating church climbers long ago determined the best way to continue their control of the church through their doctrine of demons is to condition the kids at a tender age. Essentially, I'm saying that, like the communists, they're after your children. Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's, large numbers of baby boomer Christians were converted in laid back cultural settings characterized by Christian rock music, long hair, and surfer sandals ala Love Song, Daniel Amos, Larry "I wish We'd All Been Ready" Norman, and hundreds of other Maranatha bands that have now grown into middle age pastors. These minions of pre-tribulationism now promote the unscriptural scenario in homegrown churches around the country. In short, the error is firmly ingrained in American society.
Now the marketeers want the next wave, so we recently saw the release of the best-selling Left Behind: The Kids Version. Christian retailers are overflowing with rapture oriented videos, CD's, and other `Christianized' trinkets apparently aimed at the notorious Generation X and even their kids. Thus, we now have a younger, hipper, Bible translation called WWJD -- an acronym for "What Would Jesus Do?"
This "New Living Translation" is put out by Christian product marketers including jeweler Bob Siemon who comes out of the Southern California rapture cult. Interestingly, this is building on the WWJD bracelet for kids which originated in the Eastern US with another Christian youth group. While the idea of asking yourself what would Jesus do is a laudable one, another Madison Avenue motto masquerading as the Bible is not.
The truth is, the cash registers are crankin' at the cult as the fraud of the century continues its commercial march to power. At the top of this hideous dung heap is Cloud Ten Pictures who has just released their million dollar feature Left Behind. This gar�bage is already on video (it debuted at #1 on the video charts), and because it's the worst piece of pseudo-biblical trash ever released, it's destined to make lots of' dough. This guaranteed success is predicated on the spiritual reality that the millions of suckers with itching ears will line up to shell out their hard earned cash to anyone that will tell them what they want to hear.
Not to be outdone, even the legal shysters have gotten into the act. In Southern California, an enterprising Christian attorney (an oxymoron if there ever was one) is marketing a legal document called The Rapture Amendment. The equivalent of a "Christianized" will, this is a 10 page legal amendment to your will that you can `leave behind' when you get "raptured." It's being pitched as a perfect way to legally transfer your money after you've been caught up -- don't laugh, this clown is getting $37.50 for 10 sheets of paper.
Then there's the vendor that brings us The Rapture Button. This clever little cash cow consists of a cheesy little up-arrow on a pin that is to be worn on your shirt, but the button comes attached to a card with in�structions that tell the buttonee to be sure and "tell them it signifies an event that could occur at any time," even as it quotes I Thessalonians 4:16 out of context. In short, it's instilling false doctrine under the simplest of pretenses.
The Rapture Button is just the latest gimmick in a series of promotional products, known in the business world as premiums, that continue to inculcate doctrine in a low profile fashion. For instance, there are literally dozens of T Shirt vendors that regularly reinforce the rapture perspective with new product offerings. A good example is one by Solid Light Productions in Ohio with a T Shirt emblazoned with a banner that reads Enjoy The Ride - wrapped around an image of a teenager's tennis shows swooping upwards towards the heavens (so much for "falling away" into glory).
In addition to T Shirts (and sweat shirts), the rapture motif has now emerged in posters, CD's and cassettes, greeting cards, books, magazines, comics, bumper stickers, and evangelical tracts. Now, with the release of the $17 million dollar feature motion picture Left Behind, even Hollywood has embraced the seductive doctrine. If you think I'm exaggerating the impact of such social conditioning, consider the following. As I write these words, the Left Behind video has just become the number one home video for 4 weeks in a row according to sales figures from the Internet mail order giant Amazon.com. To put it bluntly, this thing is huge.
Dishonesty In Dispensationalism
Recently "Chaplain" Tom Cole, who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program called the Chaplain's Hour, publicly demonstrated that he not only doesn't understand the Bible, he is just like most other rapture oriented "Christian" leaders. In short, he's just another liar masquerading as a man of God.
In this particularly example of dispensational duplicity, newsletter writer Darryl Eberhardt, who was a member of Cole's militia group, bears witness that in July of 1999 Cole privately and emphati�cally promised him he would not promote the pre-tribulation rapture on the air.
The promise came shortly after Cole had Dr. David Wolfe on as a guest. Wolfe, the host of his own rapture cult radio show, is a notorious liar that has been repeatedly humili�ated in public because of his apparent propensity to forget what he said a week previ�ously. A couple of years ago, Christian Media wrote about how Wolf would make a typical rapturist statement like "Matthew was written for the Jews," on his broadcast, and then a week later earnestly deny to on-air callers that he ever said such a thing!
Dr. Wolfe continued this pattern so many times that Christian Media eventually produced a radio special where we actually played clips of Wolfe's own taped statements back to back in order to demonstrate the incredibly brazen nature of his lies. Later, a transcript of many of Dr. Wolfe's obviously untrue statements was included in the James Lloyd book The Rapture Cult: Dishonesty In Dispensationalism.
When Darryl Eberhardt heard Dr. Wolfe being interviewed on Cole's program, being acquainted with the truth about Wolfe, he called Cole in an effort to save him from further embarrassment as many Shortwave listeners are already aware of the truth about David Wolfe. Cole thanked Eberhardt for the cautionary note and specifically stated he would not have Wolfe on his program in the future.
Then on August 8, 1999, Cole reneged on his promise and brought on Dr. Wolfe again. During that program, Wolfe denounced me (James Lloyd) as a malicious false prophet. This is predictable for I have done great damage to Wolfe's "ministry" by publicly exposing his willingness to issue bald faced lies to promote the rapture.
On that program, Cole and Wolfe took an on-air phone call from a rapturist listener who proceeded to pitch the now discredited theory that Ephraim the Syrian, a 4th century pastor, had written about the pre-tribulation rapture 1,600 years ago. The caller read a section from an ancient writing that he specifically stated was authored by Ephraim the Syrian. Because this particular quote is frequently read out of context, it sounds like a genuine reference to pre-trib from the 4th century. As usual, the truth is decidedly different.
Actually, later in the very same document the caller was reading from, the author clearly states that Christ comes for his church after the tribulation. Predictably, that portion of the ancient writing wasn't read. Not only that, but the document in question was not even written by Ephraim the Syrian! Students and scholars fluent in church history call this work Pseudo-�Ephraim because it is believed to be a forgery from the 7th century, written by an unknown author that put Ephraim's name on it!
The revealing thing is that the Pseudo-Ephraim essay is examined at some length in the James Lloyd book The Rapture Cult - the same book that Dr. Wolfe has obviously read as his radio statements demonstrate. So let's get this straight. Dr. David Wolfe takes a caller on a radio show that is reading from a work Wolfe knows is a forgery. The caller misidentifies the author, and Wolfe knows that also. The caller was quoting from a Chuck Missler published writing that only quoted 2 lines (out of context) and completely omitted the portion of Pseudo-Ephraim that plainly states the Antichrist will persecute the church during the tribulation.
The Missler published writing the caller is reading from also misidentifies the document as having been written by Ephraim the Syrian from the 4th century - as opposed to Pseudo-Ephraim from the 7th century. The caller obviously does not have the entire Pseudo-Ephraim document in his possession, so he thinks he's accurately representing the teachings of Ephraim. Wolfe knows all of this, yet he never corrects the caller. Instead, he takes the opportunity to deliberately distort the facts, and agrees with the uneducated caller that this ancient writing from "Ephraim the Syrian" proves the pre-tribulation rapture!
Meanwhile, the foolish Chaplain Cole also says nothing to contradict the lies being broadcast on his own show. This places the "Chaplain" in a very awkward position. Either Cole is simply ignorant of the truth of the Pseudo-Ephraim writing, which makes him look rather stupid since he's the "Bible teacher" propagating the false doctrine he apparently knows very little about, or he's just as dishonest as Wolfe. Thus, Chaplain Tom Cole now joins the long and illustrious list of liars that seem to think the truth is something to be manipulated when it comes to Bible prophecy.
As of this writing, the misidentified Pseudo-Ephraim document continues to be re-quoted in literally dozens of newsletters, newspapers, and magazines that all simply reprint the earlier misidentification. The real culprit is Grant Jeffrey, by way of Chuck Missler, by way of Hal Lindsey, ad infinitum.
I've personally received about a dozen newsletters from writers that have never even read the entire Pseudo-Ephraim document - all thinking they're going to correct me on the rapture. Obviously, I have a copy of the entire writing, so I've embarrassed more than one would-be prophecy teacher or writer (sometimes on the air) with the truth of the matter. In almost every case, the writer of the newsletter has no idea they are printing patently inaccurate information. Sadly, most of them don't really care to correct or retract their previous disinformation -- even when they're confronted with the truth. The point is, the error has now been compounded many times over, and it is now virtually impossible to track down every instance of the disinformation being distributed.
For those serious students of Bible prophecy that actually do care about the truth, an entire transcript of Pseudo-Ephraim, including a substantial examination of the internal statements of the document, appears in Dr. Robert Gundry's book, First The Antichrist. 33 You may also care to review several works by the greatest living authority on Pseudo-Ephraim and Ephraim the Syrian - a scholar named Paul Alexander. Also, the Christian Media tape exposé on Dr. David Wolfe entitled Wolfe In Sheep's Clothing refers to this aspect of the present work.
Disinformation In The Anecdotal Data
One of the most common tactics utilized by the spirit of the age in the Strong Delusion is to distort or misrepresent what is actually being taught by anyone that opposes the apostasy being perpetrated by the rapture cult. Christian Media (the newspaper) and our sister publication The Apocalypse Chronicles have both been repeatedly attacked by rapturists that regularly misrepresent what we actually teach.
Considering the fact that we are consistently accused of unfairly criticizing these "nice" rapture cult folks, perhaps some of their followers should review the distorted statements that regular spew out of their own ranks. Most people have no idea of what it's like to be reviled by the cult on a daily basis, to say nothing of having your own statements twisted beyond recognition.
For example, a magazine put out by Perry Stone Jr with the title The Rapture Revelation attacks post-tribulationists as "scoffers.......who almost mock the idea of Christ's return." Stone even labels his slick 4 color article with the blaring headline "The Anti-Rapture Church." Stone goes on to say "Why would anyone be so blatantly against preaching on the coming of Christ?"
Of course, any semi-literate person with a shred of genuine synaptic activity knows post-tribulationists never preach "against" the coming of Christ! This is simply a rapture cult form of distortion of the views of those that can plainly see the scriptures never teach a pre-tribulational return of Christ.
We believe HE IS COMING BACK for His remnant church just as He said He would - "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (See Matthew 24 for details). Stone is just another liar trying to protect the lucrative `goose that laid the golden rapture egg' by inaccurately stating the teachings of those that would expose his false prophetic interpretive system. The fact is, their protestations notwithstanding, this distortion of the debate is the norm among the rapture cult.
As a case in point, another current cult voice is a publisher called Present Truth Publishers. This is a group that is dedicated to practically deifying John Darby, the Irishman who introduced pre-trib to America in the l9th century. They've released a piece of propaganda that makes the audacious claim that the post-tribulationist "theory leads to fundamental evil." When a serious and scholarly group like this tells the public the view that was held by the Christian church for 18 centuries "leads to fundamental evil," how can we have fellowship with lying reprobates like that?
Speaking of John Darby, because he was the British based theologian who introduced the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine to America during a series of high profile speaking tours, his prophetic history has been widely misquoted and distorted for about 150 years. This is because the cult wants to portray him as the individual who "rediscovered" the doctrine that they claim had been "lost" since the time of the disciples.
To this end, the idea is to keep pushing Darby's first mention of pre-tribulationism to an earlier date in order to show he didn't receive it from the occultists that first espoused the doctrine to him. Because it is now firmly documented that the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine was first uttered by the famous Scottish girl in a trance in 1830, the cult continually misquotes the dates of Darby's written documentation in order to show he had taught pre-tribulationism before Margaret MacDonald first conjured it up in her occultic group in Scotland.
Here is an example of how the tactic works. Writing in the rapture cult magazine God's News Behind The News, published by Dr. Joe Van Koevering and Dr. Ray Brubaker, literary criminals Dr. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of Left Behind fame write the following:
"Darby claimed he got the inspiration for his understanding of a pre-Trib rapture in 1828...." 34.
The record shows that in 1829, Darby wrote an essay called Reflections. This later became part of a compendium of his articles known as Collected Writings. In that 1829 work, we see that "Darby still had a post-tribulational outlook....[and] the only coming Darby looked for in 1829 was the Revelation 19 coming [the 2nd coming after the tribulation]" 35.
In fact, the following year, Darby wrote another piece entitled "On `Days' Signifying `Years' in Prophetic Language." This 1830 publication taught the historicist view that says the 1,260 days of the two witnesses of Revelation were actually the previous 1,260 years. Because the historicist position states that this 1,260 "year" period is actually the prophesied time of the great tribulation, Darby could not have held to a pre-tribulational rapture since at that time (1830) he believed the tribulation was almost over.
Four years later, in an 1834 writing entitled "The Dispensation of the Kingdom of Heaven," Darby wrote that "the saints....will be raised with Jesus at His second coming." 36. In that work there is no pre-tribulational rapture at all - only the plain post-tribulational statement that the believers will be "raised" when Jesus returns at "His second coming."
Yet less than 6 months ago, Tim LaHaye categorically stated that John Darby got "his understanding of a pre-Trib rapture in 1828."
The reason Tim LaHaye, Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Smith, and all the other rapture liars keep trying to push the date back is because it has been firmly established that Margaret MacDonald's pre-tribulational teaching occurred in 1830. Because people in her group were practicing levitation and her credentials are sorely lacking as a legitimate source of Holy Spirit inspired prophetic truth, the cult historians keep changing the dates in order to make it look like the more respectable John Darby actually introduced the doctrine.
After all, if everyone knew the doctrine was first brought forth in a spiritualist séance-like setting, many so-called Christians would be far more cautious about embracing the teaching. Thus, the incredible cover-up that began with Darby's primary biographer back in the early 1900's continues to this very day. 37.
Another liar of like kind is a Carolina cultist named Joseph Chambers. This crafty old fraud writes "There has been such an attack on those that look for the Rapture that many Christians will not open their mouth about this hope." Writing in his prophecy newspaper, Chambers then goes on to posit that Biblical post-tribulationists "have forsaken the Biblical hope of the rapture." He then states that this view of scripture will cause post-tribulationist Christians to "miss the Rapture and find out that fleeing from God's judgment on this earth is impossible."
This is simply an indefensible series of gross misrepresentations. For the record, we have never "forsaken" the hope of the return of Jesus Christ in glory. We believe Jesus will return physically to raise "the dead in Christ." I've never heard of a post-tribulationist (and I'm well read on the subject) that believed he could "flee" (or escape) from "God's judgment on this earth."
The great irony of this situation is that this rapture cult teacher accuses us of teaching the very thing he promotes! Chamber claims pre-tribbers can escape the tribulation through the fictional pre-tribulational rapture doctrine, but he tells us that we'll soon learn that "fleeing from God's judgment on this earth is impossible!" Amazing!
The Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit
One of our readers sent in a revealing correspondence that is sharply indicative of just how important this issue actually is. In Lansing Michigan, Mount Hope Church recently gave away theatre style tickets for a presentation called What To Do If You Miss The Rapture featuring the church's pastor - a man named Dave Williams.
A local Christian in his area then wrote to Pastor Williams and challenged his teaching of false doctrine and the pastor responded in writing. In his letter, Williams has apparently blasphemed the Holy Spirit by saying those who teach the post tribulationist view have given heed to "seducing spirits and doctrines of demons." Unfortunately, the only good thing about this statement is that it demonstrates that we both can't be right.
Either Williams is teaching "doctrines of demons" with his pre-tribulationist system, or we are with the post-tribulational view. In other words, this is anything but a minor, unimportant issue. Yet rapturists routinely try to present the idea that this is a just a disagreement over timing and the issue is unimportant.
My Bible tells me that Jesus Christ taught that the only unpardonable sin is "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost." 38. The occasion of this statement was when the Pharisees attributed the works of God to the Devil. They said "This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils." 39. Jesus told them "all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." 40.
To put it another way, in his written letter defending the pre-tribulation rapture, Pastor Williams has plainly stated that he believes that post-tribulationists are moving in the power of Satan. I say the same thing to the rapture cult: "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye." 41. Since only one of us can be right, apparently one of us has committed the unpardonable sin. Would it not then be a prudent move to seriously study this issue?
An Appalling Ignorance
Because even Pastor Williams himself has apparently recognized the importance of the issue, one would think he would be diligent enough to at least try and get his facts straight. The balance of his correspondence defending the rapture demonstrates that his total ignorance of the subject is downright embarrassing. His letter attacks what he refers to as the "disciples" of writer Dave MacPherson -- whose name he misspells.
Believers knowledgeable in prophecy know that Dave MacPherson is the author of numerous books that chronicle the early history of the doctrine from its 19th century inception.
Incredibly, Pastor Williams writes that MacPherson "...has been called into question by his colleagues for his statement that the rapture came through Jan Darby, who got it from a girl who was speaking in tongues and giving an interpretation. This is, of course, utter nonsense."
He is, "of course," clumsily referring to the previously mentioned early rapture proponent John Nelson Darby. The historical record actually shows that Darby received the doctrine through another British pastor named Edward Irving. MacPherson's writings show that Darby got the doctrine from an exposure to Irving - who received the doctrine from the 15 year old Scottish girl named Margaret MacDonald.
Williams' letter is historically inaccurate in almost every statement. The "girl" in question spread the new teaching to Irving, not "Jan" Darby - and she was most definitely not "speaking in tongues." In short, he is either intentionally misrepresenting the impeccable historical work done by Dave MacPherson, or he is completely ignorant of the subject that he is teaching on.
For the record, there is no "girl" by the name of "Jan Darby." There was an Irish preacher named John Darby that was pivotal in the dissemination of the doctrine, but Pastor Williams doesn't seem to place any importance on accuracy. Because this man is asking anyone who will listen to him to follow his interpretation of Bible prophecy, I can only hope that this degree of ineptitude in his handling of the facts does not inspire confidence in his doctrinal stance. In short, Pastor Dave Williams is an abominable liar, and his fruit is so bad it stinks.
This moron then goes on to say in writing, that "all true theologians and true Bible scholars who once held to the post-tribulation theory, have now changed their view�point." 42. The sheer stupidity of this statement is beyond comprehension, but such is the state of those who refuse to hear the truth.
We have a scripture for Mr. Williams. II Peter refers to certain scoffers who are "willingly.... Ignorant" of the truth during the last days. 43. Peter also wrote that the Lord knows how to "reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished..." 44. Perhaps if Mr. Williams is still alive once it becomes obvious that the prophesied tribulation period has begun, he'll remember what he taught at his church presentation of What To Do If You Miss The Rapture. Of course at that point, he would do well to avoid contact with any of his attendees who have survived the first wave of tribulational events, but have made no preparations because they were foolish enough to listen to him. Chances are they'll be in a bad mood.
The ignorance of Pastor Williams is not the exception - it's the rule. For example, I have another letter from an author named D. H. Babies that calls himself "a qualified theologian" that makes statements just as stupid as Pastor Dave Williams. This pompous ass, who claims to have "two earned doctorates" cannot even spell Thessalonians! He writes "Please read I Thessolonians 4:13-17 [sic] which proves the rapture."
In reality, a thorough review of that passage provides no time element whatsoever that can demonstrate the passage is referring to the theoretical pre-tribulation rapture. The truth is, the passage plainly speaks of Christ returning from heaven at the 2nd coming, and tells us He will descend "with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise...." 45.
Since Christ tells us that dead Christians will be raised "at the last day" FOUR TIMES in John, 46. how can "the dead in Christ rise" seven years before the last day if this passage is the "pre-tribulation rapture?" In fact, the corollary passage in I Corinthians tells us that when "the trump of God" blows as Christ returns, it will be "at the last trump..." 47. If you look for "the last trump" you'll find it in Revelation 11:15 - at the very end of the tribulation. There is much more to I Thessalonians 4; however, no part of it teaches pre-tribulationism.
Dr. Babies then goes on to commit the time honored tactic of the rapture cult: putting forth the proposition that the rapture was taught by great church leaders throughout the ages. He writes "Great Bible scholars throughout history have always believed the rapture: Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley, Finney, Torrey...." 48.
This apparent pathological liar never offers any quotations because there aren't any. Even though it is incumbent on the one making the assertion to document his conclusion, Dr. Babies has failed to offer one quote. Nevertheless, I will offer a citation or two to refute his audacious assertions.
Martin Luther is well known for his virulent anti-Semitism. "What then shall we Christians do with this damned rejected race of Jews?...First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn..." 49. This hideous statement is not exactly what one would expect from a dispensationalist (rapturist) that believes the Jews are still God's chosen people! Indeed, even after the protestant reformation, Luther still largely held to Catholic thought. A key biographer of Luther writes that concerning "....purgatory, Luther accepted that souls were suffering there and had to be helped through prayers, fasting, and alms." 50.
Because the anti-Semitic 16th century reformer followed Catholicism's version of millennialism as well as the thoroughly unbiblical intermediate place of torment known as "purgatory," it is obvious that Martin Luther never heard of a pre-tribulation rapture.
Moving to the 2nd name on the rapturist deceiver's list we find John Calvin, another giant of the Protestant Reformation. In Calvin's Institutes, written in 1535, he writes that in spite of "...those who rage against us with dungeon, whip, torture, fire and sword...we shall continue like sheep to be led to the slaughter, then we shall possess our souls in patience, waiting for the mighty hand of God, which, when the time is fulfilled, will appear armed to deliver us from our tribulation and to punish the proud and spiteful." 51. There isn't even a hint of pre-tribulationism in any John Calvin writing.
In the early 18th century, Jonathan Edwards wrote Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God. Since we distribute this pivotal work and I've read it from start to finish, I can categorically say that in this writing Jonathan Edwards never addressed the subject of Bible prophecy. He never wrote about the millennial reign of Christ, and he never wrote a word about the chronological order of Christ's return. Focusing on repentance, he did write that God "...is angrier with many who are now in the congregations of our churches, many who seem to be at ease, than He is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell." 52.
The fact is, no preacher before 1830 ever heard of a pre-tribulation rapture. Thus Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards et al could never have believed in "the rapture" because it was never conceived of before that time. Indeed, this man's statement is so far off base that it's difficult not to laugh - yet most "Christians" refuse to "study to show thyself approved," 53. so they're cowed by this lunatic's degrees and the hot air of his rhetoric.
Indeed, if I were in the rapture cult's position and attempting to prove such a point, it would be a simple matter to provide a quote from the prolific Martin Luther's writings, or John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion that show a 15th, or 16th century discussion of the rapture. These classic works are in every seminary library, but to the best of my knowledge, no rapture teacher, cult writer, or other communicator has ever even attempted to quote Luther, Calvin, Edwards, & others from their era trying to show they held to a pre-tribulational rapture. This is simply because no Christian writer during the first 18 centuries of the Christian church ever heard of the doctrine.
But this particular seminary trained rapture deceiver with the advanced degrees goes well beyond the sin of pride (to say nothing of his inability to even spell books of the Bible) and bearing a false witness of history. The next portion of his letter indicates he has the same reprobate mind as the Michigan pastor who slanders people whose names and gender he can't even accurately reproduce!
Dr. Babies goes on to write "Please be cautious of frauds such as Dave MacPherson and Robert Gentry." There has never been any evidence whatsoever that Dave MacPherson has ever committed any "fraud," yet this liar just swipes away with no facts at all to support his malicious statements. The truth is, when it comes to scholarship, his letter plainly indicates that Dr. Babies is not fit to tie Dave MacPherson's shoelaces.
But the second name in his correspondence is most intriguing. He also speaks of another "fraud" whom he names "Robert Gentry." There is no known or published prophecy author named Robert Gentry. Since the writer indicates he's read our material, we know who he means - but it is clear that in addition to an inability to spell, he can't even seem to get his opponent's names right.
Christian Media distributes a book written by a brilliant post-tribulationist named Dr. Robert Gundry. He's a professor of New Testament at a California college. Then we've also written about a prominent preterist writer named Dr. Kenneth Gentry. He's a pastor, lecturer, and published author. So apparently the babbling Dr. Babies has confused the two writers and combined their names. In other words, he may not know who he's talking about, but he's sure the guy is a fraud. Such is the incredibly sloppy state of scholarship at the rapture cult.
Would you trust your family's life and fate to a man like that? That's exactly what every rapturist has done, for these deceivers are virtually all the same. God will hold them accountable, but don't let them take you with them to their unpleasant eternal reward.
The Son Of The Father Of Lies
In this essay, I've chosen to focus on the writings and statements of rapture cult proponents. In other works, such as The Rapture Cult: Dishonesty In Dispensationalism, I've devoted considerably more effort to the scriptural record that militates against pre-tribulationism. After reading this article, I can safely predict that critics will say `he attacks the teachers because he doesn't have any scripture to back up is position.'
The truth is, I'd rather focus on the scriptural statements -- for that is what truly decides any controversy. I am, however, forced to respond to the historical inaccuracies put forth by the rapture cult. The fact is, in every interaction we clearly best them with scripture, so they attempt to use the historical record to support their false doctrine.
we respond and prove the historical record shows no
pre-tribulationism until the 19th century, they
commonly accuse us of arguing from history instead of
scripture! I would thus emphatically urge all readers to get
more information-such as any of the post-tribulationist
materials advertised in this issue of
I will address one more section of scripture with the brief space I have left. In the signature passage that describes the strong delusion, Paul writes that there will be a great "falling away" from the truth just before the revealing of the Antichrist.
Most Christians have been taught that this doesn't apply to them because they believe they won't be here to see the Antichrist; therefore they don't see that the strong delusion that the Bible says will come in the last days could be aimed at the believers. Indeed, they've been taught the "strong delusion" is for the Jews after the "rapture" occurs.
I would ask the following questions. Because the overwhelming majority of Jews have steadfastly rejected Jesus Christ for the last 2,000 years, are they not already lost? How then can they be subject to the great "falling away" from the truth when they've never held the truth in the first place?
The fact is, Jesus himself told the Christians to "take heed that no man deceive you." 54. He said that if he did not shorten the days "even the very elect would be deceived," and the entire New Testament tells us the "elect" are the Christians. 55. Who does the devil want the most to deceive - the ones he already has (the Jews), or the ones he hopes to get? (the Christians) The truth is, the Bible plainly tells us Satan already has control of the Jews because they've rejected Christ. It is the believers that Satan hopes to lure into following his false Christ. In short, the target of the strong delusion is the Christians.
One final point bears mentioning. This same text in II Thessalonians show us that it is actually God that will allow Satan to manifest the last day's strong delusion. The verse tells us that "for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie..." 56. What cause is that? The previous verse provides the answer.
It says that God sends a strong delusion "because they received not the love of the truth." 57. Do you understand the enormous importance of what this actually says? The meaning is clear. The people that are deceived are deceived because they don't really love the truth. I believe I've shown that substantial numbers of prophecy teachers, writers, pastors, and other communicators in the rapture cult are willing to twist the truth because they love their doctrine more than they love the truth.
This means that II Thessalonians chapter 2 is describing a significant group of Christians that will be around in the last generation. They will be here when "the man of sin [is] revealed." 58. According to verse two, they will be deceived concerning the timing of the return of Christ because Paul says "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except...." 59. They've been warned that the return of Christ will not come until a great "falling away" occurs. That falling away from the truth is a result of the great deception which will be specifically targeted at the believers ("we beseech you, brethren....") These "brethren" are to be caught in a "strong delusion" that deceives them because they "received not the love of the truth." 60.
Other writings from Paul also warn about following "Jewish fables." 61. If the fictional number one "Christian" film Left Behind that promotes this unscriptural drivel is not a fable, then what is? In II Timothy, Paul says in the last days the Christians will "heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." 62. As I stated previously, these "itching ears" demonstrate there will be plenty of teachers that will tell them what they want to hear. What the church wants to hear is that they will not have to endure great tribulation. The truth is, it is about to occur and vast numbers of "Christians" are about to be swept away by the Antichrist, and sadly, they will "believe the lie."
This may be your last warning. Drop everything and study this as if your life depends upon it. The truth is, it does.
Copyright © 2002 Christian Media Network
1. II Timothy 4:3
2. II Timothy 2:15
3. Matthew 24:5
4. Matthew 24:5
5. II Timothy 3:16
6. II Timothy 3:13
7. II Timothy 3:4
8. Luke 21:8, Matt 24:5
9. Acts 17:11
10. Matthew 7:16
11. Rom 10:12
12. Matthew 21:43
13. I Peter 2:9
14. Road To Holocaust, Hal Lindsey, Bantam Books, 1989, page 7
15. Road, page 7, 8
16. See the ad for 3 R's: Rapture, Revisionism, & Robbery in this issue of CM
17. see The Rapture Plot by Dave MacPherson available from CM
18. Matthew 24:40
19. Matthew 24:37
20. Matthew 24:39
21. Matthew 24:41
22. Jeremiah 14:13‑15 KJV
23. Ezekiel 33:2-6
24. See Thief In The Light from Christian Media, The 3 R's: Rapture, Revisionism, & Robbery by Dave MacPherson, and The Rapture Cult by the present author.
25. II Thessalonians 2:1,2
26. Matthew 24:30-31
27. II Thessalonians 2:3
28. I Thessalonians 4:17
29. American Heritage Dictionary, Houghton-Mifflin, 1978
31. Acts 21:21
32. II Thessalonians 2:3
33. Available from CM
34. Rapture Under Attack, page 4, God's News, V22 #4 Jul/Aug 2000, emphasis mine
35. The Rapture Plot, Dave MacPherson, page 98
36. Rapture Plot, page 111,emphasis mine
37. See The Rapture Plot
38. Matthew 12:31
39. Matthew 12:24
40. Matthew 12:31
41. Acts 7:51
42. Dave Williams letter on church letterhead
43. II Peter 3:5
44. II Peter 2:9
45. I Thessalonians 4:16
46. John 6:39,40,44,54
47. I Corinthians 15:52
48. Dr Babies letter to James Lloyd on file
49. A tract of Luther from 1543, cited in A Legacy of Hate by David A Rausch, on page 29.
50. Luther And His Times, E G Schwiebert, Concordia Publishing, page 383
51. Institutes Of The Christian Religion, John Calvin, cited in Calvin, A Life, by Emanuel Stickelberger, John Knox Press, page 37
52. Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God, Jonathan Edwards, pages 21
53. II Timothy 2:15
54. Matthew 24:4
55. Luke 18:7, Rom 8:33, Rom 11:7; II Peter 1:10 says "make your...election sure." If the "elect" are Jews as the cult teaches, how do you "make sure" you're born a Jew?
56. II Thessalonians 2:11
57. II Thessalonians 2:10
58. II Thessalonians 2:3
59. II Thessalonians 2:3
60. II Thessalonians 2:10
61. Titus 1:14
62. II Timothy 4:3
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