Author: Fuel For Faith

RAPTURE 6: IMMINENCE

Welcome back to excerpts from my book “All Left Behind: The Case Against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture”. I was once a zealous defender of the pre-trib. rapture, but came to see things very differently when I eventually faced up to certain scriptures I had previously ignored, and analysed them more realistically. Here then is installment 6, which considers the doctrine of Imminence.

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Pre-tribulation believers say that Christ’s coming is ‘imminent’. In the context of the rapture those who use the term mean that Jesus could come back secretly at any moment, just for his Church, without any warning or notice; leaving everyone else including nominal believers behind. There’s nothing else which needs to happen “on God’s prophetic clock” before the rapture, they say. Seemingly in support of this view are the words of Jesus who said we cannot know the day or the hour of his coming (Matthew 24:36-42). He said he is coming “quickly (KJV)” or “soon” (NIV, Revelation 22:12).

According to the doctrine of Imminence, if we were to see any of the tribulation signs of his coming we would be able to know he’s coming and when he’s coming. But this cannot happen, since Jesus said he would come “like a thief in the night”. Therefore his secret coming must happen before the “seven year tribulation”. If we saw the “signing of the peace treaty” we would be able to calculate the day and the hour of his coming, but Jesus said we cannot know the day or the hour-therefore we will not see it. Instead the Church will be taken in a surprise rapture before the “peace treaty” is signed and before the tribulation begins. Don’t even question the doctrine of Imminence, they insist: that’s very nearly heresy. Imminence is presented on one web-page in defense of the pre-tribulation rapture as “the grand-daddy of proofs”.

Admittedly, it’s clear from Jesus’ own words that we cannot know the day or the hour of his coming, so it’s inarguable that his coming truly is “imminent”. However, the application of imminence to the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture does not stand up to close scrutiny. 

Pre-tribulation teachers will say, as they must, that most of the content of the Olivet Discourse is intended for a Jewish believing remnant who will be around during the tribulation while the Church is in heaven, and not for the Church. Yet it was during that discourse and to those same believers that Jesus said these commonly-quoted lines:

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36) and;

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42) and;

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (25:13).

There’s something wrong here. Why would Jesus say “you do not know the day or the hour” to the very people who the pre-tribulation believers say will be around during the tribulation, if that warning is intended to support a pre-tribulation rapture? Pre-tribbers tell us that these quotes mean the rapture is imminent and so before the tribulation, but in fact Jesus is saying these things for the benefit and instruction of the people who will be living on earth during the tribulation! Jesus wasn’t even talking to believers who might be gone before the tribulation when he said, “you do not know the day or the hour”. He was talking to his disciples about his visible, physical coming in power and glory!

If Jesus was talking to early rapture candidates in his Olivet Discourse, wouldn’t he have said something like, “Fear not, because I”ll take you away before such things happen”.

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There’s more. Here’s another quote from the same passage:

So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation…” (24:15).

Jesus was speaking of the abomination of desolation-which is at the mid-point of the expected seven years-to the very same people who he said couldn’t know the day or the hour of his coming, and he said that they would “see” it. If this was intended as a warning, not to the Church but to a Jewish remnant, wouldn’t they be able, upon seeing the “desolation”, to calculate the day and hour of his coming? Why then did he also tell them they could not know the day or the hour of his coming, if seeing the abomination would tell them the exact day and time? How can we take his admonition to “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” as an evidence of Imminence doctrine in the form of a pre-tribulation rapture? Jesus is speaking to people living through the tribulation!

By the reckoning of pre-tribulation teachers, the people Jesus was addressing in his Olivet Discourse-the Jewish remnant- should also be aware of the “peace-treaty” they say will be made, and of the rebuilding of the temple. So presumably under the logic of Imminence theory, they would then be able to calculate the day and hour of his coming! But Jesus told them they could not know the day or the hour. It’s faulty logic and just plain wrong to say that if believers were to see any tribulation events occur, they would be breaking the words of Jesus when he said we cannot know the day or the hour.

It’s important to note at this point that Jesus didn’t actually mention any “seven year peace treaty” in his “Olivet Discourse”. Why not? Did he forget? Did he not think it was important? Did the translators leave it out?

When Jesus said “No one knows about that day or hour…” (verse 36) he had, moments before in verses 28-31, been speaking about his physical, visible appearing in power and glory for all the world to see-not about a secret rapture. He was saying this at the time he gave the discourse in the first century, and even in our time now, nobody knows exactly when he’s coming. As we’ve seen, even during the future time of distress he described in Matthew chapter 24, it seems people will still not know “the day or the hour” of his coming. We can look, and we can expect and hope, and we can see certain events which suggest the time is near, but no-one, then or now, or in the future, can know the exact “day or the hour”.

Strangely, the same people who say that “nothing needs to happen before the rapture” will tell you that there are plenty of signs of the coming tribulation to be seen now, and they proceed to publish books and videos and TV shows about those very signs which they are clever enough to divine. They’re the “watchmen on the wall”, and so make a good living telling the rest of us what prophetic signs have been fulfilled, while also telling us that the coming of Jesus is imminent and nothing else needs to happen before the rapture. If it’s imminent to the point of us not having a clue about the time of his coming, and if “nothing else needs to happen before the rapture”, what’s all this talk of signs being fulfilled? Why does the “Imminence” principle have to be applied to a pre-tribulation rapture only?

Thanks for reading. This subject will be continued in a few days.

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TRUMP, THE POLITICAL DIVIDE, AND SEX

European people mock and despise Donald Trump, and then wonder why their own leaders are so spineless. I’m speaking as a Brit., and from what I observe I’m presuming to speak of the people of other European countries as well…

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Here in the US, a large section of one political party-the Republican- is in large part weak and bending with what they perceive to be the winds of public opinion, while the other party now has an insatiable lust for total power at any cost and by almost any method possible.

In what should be the middle is the media, which has a very clear agenda and stands firmly behind the Democratic party and their now extremist policies, also at any cost and by any method possible.

Having spent half of my life in the UK and the other half in the US, I’ve been aligned with both sides of the political divide. I believed the lies about Reagan when he was president, partly because lies were the only “news” we received in the UK. He was “going to start a nuclear war” by standing up to the Soviet Union, they said: the very same charge made against Donald Trump even before he was elected.

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It was also because his conservative counterpart in Britain-Margaret Thatcher-was making conservatism look like the worst thing since dysentery, while Americans thought she was the best thing since roast beef. Those in Britain who were not well off financially saw her as an uncaring tyrant, particularly when she instituted the “poll tax”, greatly raising taxes for those in lower income brackets. She and her ministers were arrogant and aloof, telling those who were unemployed by Thatcher’s policies to “get on their bikes” and find a job. Leftists portrayed the Conservative party as the Nazi party, just as Trump has been labelled in the US, when the truth is that Hitler and his boys made up the German Socialist Workers’ Party. They weren’t conservatives at all, in name or in policy.

So Reagan was hated in Britain, as were the Bushes, even before the war with Iraq. Incidentally, liberals here in the US seem to be willingly ignorant of the fact that Brits and so probably other Europeans don’t have a much better opinion of Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. Only if Americans gave all their money away, became emaciated,  and the nation shrunk to the size of New Jersey by a devastating war would the majority of Brits have regard for Americans. Sorry to break that to you, my fellow Americans, but I’m in the same camp as you, being a naturalized citizen, and proud of it.

Why the hatred? Why was Reagan hated for being strong when weak leaders are similarly despised anyway? Why has Donald Trump been accused of everything his enemies could think up? The result of this perpetual attack on our own democracy and on leaders who actually want to lead and do what’s best for the West must have some sort of origin and reason behind it. The answer is so varied that speculation is inevitable. But a few things are for sure in my view.

One, the worldwide socialist movement has been true to Marx, who wanted to bring Christianity down, bring the traditional family down, and make the state God and the ultimate, all-pervasive power, not only in one country but all over the world. Socialist leaders want everyone to be equal, but with the government and the ruling elite distant and far more “equal” then everyone else. The weakening of the church is partially achieved by the promotion of other religions such as Islam, because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Two, within that socialist framework is the move to global governance. Trump is, as was Reagan, the last thing globalists want. President Kennedy made clear that he didn’t want to go the way of world government, and look what happened to him.

Three, most of our news media is not “news” media at all: it’s opinion media. And it’s largely owned and governed by those on the Left of politics.

Four, there is in the heart of man the desire to rebel against God and godly government, particularly when it comes to sex. The Left is associated more with sexual “freedom”, and the Right is seen to be against it, particularly the “Christian Right”. This really doesn’t make sense since the God of the Bible made humans male and female, made them naked, and told them to be fruitful and multiply. So then it’s illicit sex which people want “freedom” in, and the pushers of illicit sex and abortion have succeeded in convincing a large number of people that conservatives think that all sex is wrong. Hogwash!

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Those wanting sex to be “free” and unhindered think they need to vote on the Left in order to be assured that the local church minister will not be peeping in their bedroom window to ensure that all is above board.

Five, many on both sides of the political spectrum-including conservatives and professing Christians, have let us down. But then, aren’t we all human? How are we going to find the perfect human leader? We aren’t.

And finally, being a Bible-believing Christian, I recognize that the hatred, the division, the lies, the deceit, the falsehoods, the lust for power over other people, while coming from the heart of man, all have one ultimate source: the enemy of our souls-Satan.

WHAT MAKES YOU SO SURE YOUR RELIGION IS THE RIGHT ONE?

Usually people ask this question not in an honest, inquiring way, but rhetorically, cynically, critically. Or perhaps in these more militant days they’ll just tell you straight that you can’t know anything for sure-except, of course, what they believe. They want you to be unsure of your faith, and preferably to abandon it altogether, so that you’re in the same spiritual condition as they are: lost and without hope, and more importantly, without any moral compass to control how they live and how they think.

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Pilate said, cynically, “What is truth?” He was on the wrong side of history.

If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything, like rocks turning into humans and men becoming women. If you’re too open-minded your brains will fall out. And remember, it’s those on the narrow path who are on the way to life, while the broad road, which our society wants us all to travel on, is the road to destruction.

It’s time not to shrink to the size of a mouse when someone challenges us with unbelief and lies from the pit of hell, but to stand firm and strong, in the power of the creator and sustainer of all things. There’s plenty of reason to know what we believe and to know what we know. If you want evidence and reason to support your faith you can find it in history and archaeology-if you avoid the revised versions and the atheistic, relativistic rhetoric. You can find evidence in true science, and in nature.

The Western world is sliding rapidly down a slippery slope, not just to irrelevance and confusion and division and social decay, with only a few brave souls working to stop the rot, but to attack from others who are very committed in their own mistaken beliefs, and who are determined to impose them on the rest of us as soon as they are able.

It’s time to stand firm. It’s time to “..be still and know (not ‘hope’) that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s time to put on that spiritual armor, most particularly “the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16). And when someone asks you how you know your God is the real God, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). We spend hours a day entertaining ourselves: why not spend a half hour a day building up our faith?

We don’t have to be militant, or rude, or arrogant or smug: share your faith with gentleness. But we do need to remember all those examples from the past given to us, of people who have stood firm in the face of hatred and rejection of our God. The most important and relevant of those is Jesus himself, who could not and would not deny himself or his Father. He stood firm to the end, and because of his obedience, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above all names” (Philippians 2:9).

(To my regular readers-I’ll be returning to the subject of the rapture soon. Thanks for your time).

DID OBAMACARE?

To all my friends and acquaintances back in the UK who were fooled into the notion that Mr Barak Hussein Obama was such a caring man by attempting to institute universal healthcare in the US, I say you have been very wrong over this issue, as well as many others.

I, as an ex-socialist in my political leanings, have come to see the hard facts of life from my time in the United States, and I can tell you without reservation that what Mr Obama did in terms of healthcare, was for me and my family and for many others, diabolical.

Before O-care we chose to have no insurance and just pay for treatment as needed. When it came along, being just a little above the poverty level because we worked very hard, we were at the level of income where we would have to pay the monthly fees, even though we keep ourselves healthy and would avoid seeing a doctor unless necessary.

Even if we took basic O-care and payed our dues, the “deductibles” for treatment (that is, the amount we would have to pay for any treatment before the insurance starts paying) would be so high that in effect we would have no coverage. The fees were too high for us to afford, so we decided to pay the fine for not having Obamacare instead, which, it turns out, is around $2000 per year. That’s about three weeks of very hard work for me.

Did Obama, or for that matter, any of the Democrats or even many of the Republicans care for real, hard-working people who were trying to make ends meet? No, because they have all the money they need to have all their family in full insurance. Trump is just about the only one who has worked to reverse the curse.

WHO JESUS IS

There are as many views about who Jesus was and is as there could possibly be about anyone, are there not? He was “just a man”; he was “a revolutionary”; he was “not a real person”; he was “deluded”.

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This post will very briefly outline my own very firm conviction, after decades of serious consideration of the Bible in comparison to other faiths; of history and archaeology, and of my lifetime experiences. If you want a more detailed analysis, with scripture references, see the links below to my older posts*. This is a summary.

You could study the divinity of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures for the rest of your life, because the more you delve the more you can find to demonstrate the fact that Jesus Christ was and is no mere man, no mere prophet, and no mere avatar, guru, or ascended master. He’s is far more than all those things.

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The Bible asserts that God is our savior. However, it also states that Jesus Christ is our savior. It tells us that God is “the first and the last”, but it also states that the Son of God is “the first and the last”. In scripture, God is said to be our creator, but so is the Son of God declared to be our creator.

In scripture, God is the eternal One, and Jesus Christ is the eternal One. God is the Judge, and the Son is the Judge. God “treads on the waves of the sea” and Jesus Christ walked on water.

In identifying God, the Old Testament says he is “the one they have pierced”, and in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the one who was pierced for our sins. God calls himself the “I AM”, and in the New Testament, Jesus Christ called himself the “I AM”.

God is the one who will “come”, and Jesus is the one who will “come”, in “power and great glory”.

In the New Testament, God raised Jesus from the dead, and Christ raised  himself from the dead. God is the giver of eternal life, and Jesus Christ is the one who gives eternal life.

God is our shepherd; the “King of Israel”, and “the King of the whole earth”. The Son also fulfills all these roles. Here’s an example:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God…He will reign on David’s throne and  over his kingdom…” (Isaiah 9:6).

In time every knee will  bow to our God, just as every knee will bow to the Son, says the Bible. The Church (universal) was bought with the blood of God, just as it was bought with the blood of Jesus.

Ask yourself what man can do miracles. I mean real miracles, and not the fakers who are running around claiming to be healers. With a word Jesus Christ healed lepers, made the blind see, and raised the dead. Is that the work of a man? Jesus said he “came from heaven”. He is, according to the testimony of those who knew him, and of the ancient prophet Isaiah, God-made-flesh. He is “God with us”. He is, says Scripture, The one and only, and not just “a” Son of God. He was executed because he claimed to be God, which in the eyes of the religious leaders was an unforgivable blasphemy.

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Jesus stated plainly that he was One with the Father. The apostles called him God and “my Lord and my God”, and he did not correct them. Jesus accepted worship from them, something no man should do. Satan offered him the kingdoms of the world. Jesus called himself “Lord of the Sabbath”. He said that he was greater than Jonah and greater than the temple of God. He said that he is “The way, The truth, and The life”, and he said that he is “the bread of life”. He said even before Abraham was born-thousands of years earlier, he was the “I AM”.

In Jesus’ ministry he made plain that he was in all places, ie omnipresent, and omniscient. He healed all sicknesses and diseases. He had total power over the elements. He had power over death.

CONCLUSION

If you claim to be spiritual in your view of life yet fail to consider the person of Jesus Christ, you are missing out on the Spirit of God, our creator. If you claim the Bible at all as your guide yet reject the divinity of Jesus Christ, you are missing the entire point of it all: that God came to live in human flesh and to save us from our sin. If you are intentionally rejecting his divinity, you are dismantling the Scriptures which you claim as your inspiration and authority. John said of such deniers:

“Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23).

We need to do exactly what Thomas did when he saw the risen Christ who had just walked into a locked room, and gently addressed Thomas’ unbelief:

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Stop doubting and believe.’

“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God’” (John 20:26-28).

 

*FOR MORE DETAIL AND SCRIPTURE REFERENCES, FOLLOW THESE LINKS:

https://nickyfisher.com/2014/04/05/jesus-man-or-god-man/

https://nickyfisher.com/2014/04/12/jesus-man-or-god-man-part-2/

https://nickyfisher.com/2014/10/21/jesus-man-or-god-man-part-3/