End-Times Eschatology

"A Biblical Study Of Last Things"

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What Is The “Last Trump” To Bryan Denlinger?

Posted by Brian Simmons on April 26, 2015

imageThis weekend I decided to spend an inordinate amount of time on YouTube.  It’s probably the only “networking” site I presently endorse, having dropped Facebook and others last year. That said, I’ve been really getting into the videos of Bryan Denlinger, known as husky394xp.  To me he seems an exceptional man of God, gifted with unusual powers of discernment.  Like myself, he is a staunch KJV-only Baptist, and seems to exhibit a real pastoral calling.  However, he is not averse to questioning the salvation of those who disagree with his rapture doctrine.  This is the dead fly in his otherwise excellent ointment, which causeth it to send forth a stinking savor (see Ecclesiastes 10: 1).

Denlinger holds staunchly to the what he calls a “pre time of Jacob’s trouble rapture” of the church.  He implies that those who believe otherwise are not worshipping the God of the Bible.  So, in his view post tribbers are probably not Christians.  He also comes down hard on those who (like myself) believe the rapture will take place in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, when the seventh trumpet sounds.  His thesis (see embedded video below) is that God cannot put the church through the time of Jacob’s trouble, because if He did so He would be punishing the righteous with the wicked, and that would make Him an unjust God.  Therefore, those who don’t hold his view that believers will be raptured prior to the tribulation, are worshipping a different God.  Hmm..

I guess the main question is, what kind of “righteousness” is required to keep one out of the way of God’s temporal judgments?  Like Denlinger, I firmly believe in the doctrine of imputed righteousness via the substitutionary atonement of Christ.  However, it is clear that while our standing is as perfect as it will ever be, our state is variable; and Christians who live on a low level before God are open to any Divine chastisement short of the forfeiture of eternal salvation.  If Paul could deliver the incestuous offender unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Corinthians 5: 5), how much more can God deliver saved-but-disobedient Christians into the tribulation?  If justifying righteousness is the only kind of righteousness God looks at in His children, then why does He chastise us at all?  All one has to do is read Christ’s messages to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2 & 3), and he/she will see that it is practical righteousness that determines the issue of whether or not we are worthy of escaping these things (cf. Rev. 2:22 and Rev. 3:10).  See also Luke 21: 36.

But, apart from all the talk of righteousness and questioning of people’s salvations, I could agree with Pastor Denlinger in placing the rapture before the tribulation… As anyone reading my blog already knows. Problem is, Denlinger believes that the tribulation will fill up the whole 70th week of Daniel.  That is where he and I must decisively part ways!

I don’t like to keep hammering on the issue of the seventh trumpet.  But the Holy Spirit doesn’t waste words.  There is a reason Paul mentioned the “last trump” when he spoke of the rapture and resurrection of the saints (1 Corinthians 15: 52-53).  It is not the first time he mentioned a trumpet, either.  In 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, he references the trump of God and voice of the archangel as associated with the resurrection/rapture of believers.  It is Biblical terminology, and ought to be found elsewhere in the Bible.  For “no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1: 20).

It is clear to me that the archangel can be none other than Michael, for he is the angel in Scripture associated with the time of Jacob’s trouble, the deliverance therefrom, and the resurrection of those who sleep in the dust (see Daniel 12: 1-2).  Whatever may be said about  the resurrection of the just in that passage, the tribulation is unquestionably tied to the period at which the man of sin will “plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain” (Daniel 11: 45).  It is “then” that the time of trouble shall occur. (12: 1). The future session of the “man of sin” in the temple of God is a subject of New Testament predictive prophecy.  When Paul speaks of the man of sin being “revealed” (see 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4), he is probably referencing that event.

We know that the man of sin cannot be revealed until “he who now letteth” is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2: 7-8); leaving him exactly 42 months to persecute the saints on earth (see Revelation 13: 5).  That’s 3 1/2 years, not 7, folks. And whilst I agree with Denlinger that the “he that now letteth” is the body of Christ, I must remind him that the taking out of the way of the church and the revelation of the man of sin appear to be connected in point of time.  There is no hint in the prophetic texts of any significant delay between the two events.  To shuffle the rapture backwards another 3 1/2 years and stick it at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, all for the sake of theological cohesion, is reckless and irresponsible – not to say dishonest.

But we have something else.  Another key timing issue, is that the body of Christ cannot be removed until after certain birth pains have commenced.  If there are no prophesied events to take place before the rapture, then why did Paul and Peter and James and John make so many bleak predictions regarding the last days of the church age?  Don’t they involve the church? If not, how are we to interpret Christ’s messages to the seven churches of Asia??

Notice in Revelation 12: 2, 5 that it is after the birth pains of the “Jerusalem which is above” (see Galatians 4: 26) that the manchild is caught up unto God.  Allowing that the manchild is the body of Christ, this puts the rapture sometime during the apocalyptic judgments, after what Christ called the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24: 8), carrying the presence of the church well through the seals and trumpets.  Note: The manchild cannot be Christ because the visions of Revelation 12 belong to the “things which shall be hereafter” (Revelation 1: 19).  They are prophecy, not history.  Nor can the manchild symbolize a mere “Jewish” fulfillment.  For it is to the church that Christ gives the promise of ruling the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2: 26-27).

Will Denlinger accept this most lucid Biblical proof?   If not, conclusive evidence for our position is found in the fact that the living in Christ cannot precede the dead; for Paul said the dead will be raised first, then the living (1 Thess. 4: 15).  But the “time of the dead” doesn’t occur until after the seventh apocalyptic trumpet sounds (Revelation 11: 18).  This means that living church saints cannot be taken out of the way until that time.  And as their removal is followed by the revelation of the man of sin, who has only 3 1/2 years to operate, this places the 7th trumpet, resurrection of the saints, and the rapture smack in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week.

If Pastor Denlinger still refuses to agree with me, I would ask him simply: what did Paul mean by the “last trump?”  Was it the Holy Spirit’s intent to lead Christians into confusion by referencing a seventh trumpet at whose sounding the dead are judged, but which is entirely different from the “last trump” mentioned elsewhere and connected with the blessed hope of believers? It is doubtful whether Denlinger will address these points, but I will do my job in trying to get this information out to him. Yes, I realize that Denlinger may have to amend some of his theological views should he accept the proof offered above.  However, it wouldn’t be the worse thing that happened, since it appears he has fallen victim to the “Christ never taught church truth” school of thinking.. Which logically cracks the door to hyper-dispensationalism, rejection of the Lord’s supper as a church ordinance, abnegation of the new covenant as relating to the present age, and sundry other potential heresies.  Let us pray for him.

Posted in Antichrist, Great Tribulation, Rapture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Children And The Rapture

Posted by Brian Simmons on April 12, 2015

Regardless of how bad the Great Tribulation will be for those living on the earth, there are quite a few Christians who do not want to be raptured before Antichrist wreaks havoc during his 3 1/2 years terror.  That may sound surprising.  However, it all becomes clear when we think of the vast amount of Christians who are actually parents of children not able to fend for themselves.  These adult Christians won’t want to be raptured because while they would be safe in heaven their children would be suffering on earth.  Thus, it’s evident there are large numbers of Evangelical, Bible taught Christians who are not actually looking for that “blessed hope” of the church (Titus 2: 13).  They are still chasing after the things of Egypt, having accepted the pop Gospels of “health and wealth” to justify their shifty worldview; forgetting that Paul represents our citizenship as in heaven, from whence we look for Christ to return (Philippians 2: 20).

Christ explicitly taught that “if any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14: 26).  Of course, the hate He was talking about is comparative, not actual.  Compared with our love to Christ, love for family should seem almost like hate.  The main point is that we have to put Him first. Christ offered no “bronze plan” to half baked disciples who would put their own natural relations and interests before Him.  In fact, He went so far as to say they cannot be His disciples at all.

It would be a complete cop-out to say that all children will be raptured before tribulation strikes.. Just for the sake of parents being united with their loved ones.  That would make the dilemma disappear for some.  But The Lord doesn’t rapture away our responsibilities.

Now, prepare for a sobering truth.  Nowhere do Christ and His apostles ever give any class of people immunity from having to go through the tribulation.  Not even us!  Remember, Christians need to be on guard lest they become unwatchful and miss the prize.  Once the door of rapture shuts (Matthew 25: 1-13), carnal believers will have no choice but to hunker down with lots of canned ham and bottled water, and hope that Antichrist’s nigh-omniscient agents will overlook them.  It’s doubtful they will, for under his regime the vast majority of human beings will be easily trackable.  It may be that ultimately, such Christians who choose to fight it out will have no choice but to suffer martyrdom for Christ.  They will doubtless be raised at the close of the tribulation, just in time for the wedding of the Lamb (see Revelation 19: 7-8).  But look at the cost.

Christians who judge themselves now need not be chastened of The Lord (1 Corinthians 11: 31-32).  That means recognizing our sins and shortcomings, and amending ourselves accordingly – thus avoiding punishment.  There is no necessity that we should partake of the tribulation judgments.  However, what if we fail to live our lives and adjust our hopes according to God’s word?  Divine chastisement is the only remedy.  Thus we become candidates for the Great Tribulation.

If we make it a habit to pray always and maintain a level of personal worthiness, Christ assures us a way out of tribulation (Luke 21: 36; Rev. 3:10).  This will be by rapture, when all the dead in Christ are raised.  It will take place at His presence (parousia), when He personally comes to set up His tribunal in the air over the earth.  The world won’t see Him at that time, for there will be plenty of cloud cover.  But He will appear to those who look for Him (Hebrews 9: 28).

Christ knows what it will be like for those left on earth who have children.  Concerning those who are left behind in that day, He says woe unto them (Matthew 24: 19). Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he talked of the pitfalls of marriage, saying “such shall have trouble in the flesh” (1 Corinthians 7: 28). Once marriage and children kick in, Christians are just as well wedded to the world.  Making them keep their eyes on the prize of the high calling is no easy matter, for their main concern will be pleasing their spouses.  So tribulation hangs over them too.  Only through the purifying strength of the Holy Spirit can the distractions of the world be overcome.  And they can!  Regardless of marital status, those who truly love the Lord can gain the prize.

We are inclined to conclude that unless children are saved (and they will have to be of such an age that they feel the need for salvation) they will not be raptured.  There will certainly be no “general rapture” of all children. Naturally, some children stand in better chance of being raptured, since they are apter to believe in Christ’s promises, and have fewer distractions to keep their eyes off the prize.  So much the better for them.  When the rapture does occur, it may be that parents will see their children depart into the heavenly ark of refuge, while they bewail themselves for living such selfish and fruitless existences.

Posted in Antichrist, Great Tribulation, Rapture | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Who Are The 24 Elders Of Revelation?

Posted by Brian Simmons on April 4, 2015

imageAs I study God’s word on a daily basis, there come times when occasionally I have to amend or revise a view which I previously held.  One of my most beloved fields of study is, and has been, that of the timing of the rapture.  I am not post-tribulational anymore, because I do not believe the true church will go through tribulation.  But neither can I accept the view that the tribulation will be seven years in duration, and that all believers (however carnal and unprepared they may be) will be caught up before Daniel’s 70th week begins.

The Bible states that the tribulation will only be 3 1/2 years.  This has been the uniform Christian teaching since the days of the apostles.  Christ taught it. John taught it.  Irenaeus and Hippolytus taught it.  The Catholic Church used to teach it. Morgan Edwards taught it.  Scofield taught it.  I mean, really..

Of course, the birth pains or “sorrows” will have already commenced during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week.  Nobody can deny that.  But the “day of Christ” will not be present until at least the middle of the week, when Antichrist has been revealed (2 Thess. 2: 1-4).  It is around the middle of the week that the church will be raptured.  The Book of Revelation proves this.

Yesterday as I was studying the Scriptures, I realized that the identity of the 24 elders in the Book of Revelation is a matter of great concern to anyone who would delve deeper into this topic.  If the 24 elders represent the church, then the rapture will have taken place prior to the start of Daniel’s 70th week; thus squaring with the popular pre-trib views.  But this is a problem for several reasons:

1) The dead in Christ aren’t raised until the 7th trumpet sounds, for it is at that time that the dead [in Christ] are judged and the saints receive their reward.  Read Revelation 11: 18. Thus the judgment seat of Christ (where judgment begins with us – 1 Peter 4: 17) won’t be set up till that time.

2) Paul agrees with John, since he also places the rapture and resurrection at the “last trump.” 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52.

3) The last trump can’t sound until the two witnesses of Revelation 11 shall have completed their testimony and been martyred.  Their ministry lasts 3 1/2 years (Rev. 11: 3), placing their death and resurrection at the middle of the 70th week.

4) The rapture/resurrection of the church saints is the very event which displaces Satan from his primacy as prince of the power of the air (see Ephesians 2: 2), forcing him to transfer his main seat of government to the earth.  Read Rev. 12: 9.  Once this happens, Antichrist will operate for 3 1/2 years (the last half of the week).  That is the “short time” he has left.  See Revelation 12: 12-17; 13: 5.  If the seven-year pre-trib rapture view were correct, then Satan would actually be ejected before the commencement of the 70th week, having a “longer time” of 7 years to fulfill his anger against Christ and the saints.  As both views cannot be held, the Scriptural one must be adopted.

5) The true church (as symbolized by the “wise virgins” of Matthew 25 and “manchild” of Revelation 12) won’t be around during the last half of the week because the manchild is caught up before Antichrist’s 3 1/2 year reign of terror.  The church has to be around during the beginning of sorrows, for it is the labor pains of the “Jerusalem above” (Galatians 4: 26) that bring about the rapture of the man child.  Revelation 12: 1-5.  For proof that the manchild is the church, compare with Revelation 2: 26-27.

If the 24 elders are the church, then the church is raptured too early, and the living saints are caught up at least 3 1/2 years before the dead in Christ are judged.  That is not Scriptural.  Paul emphatically stated that the living in Christ will not precede the dead (1 Thessalonians 4: 15).  The “time of the dead, that they should be judged,” occurs at the last trump — about the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, as we’ve already shown.  Daniel himself confirms this, because he placed the “deliverance” and resurrection at the time of trouble.. The great tribulation!  See Daniel 12: 1-2.

Of course, I agree that the “open door” promised to Philadelphia (Rev. 3: 8) and through which John was brought up to heaven (Rev. 4: 1) is the door of rapture.  But the text doesn’t say that the elders were raptured.  It shows them as already being before the throne when John enters the open door.

After much study in the Scriptures, I am convinced that the 24 elders are redeemed and resurrected saints.  I am convinced that they are in heaven now.  However, I am convinced that they are not of our “order.”  Who are they then? They can be none other than the saints that came out of the graves after Christ’s resurrection and appeared unto many in Jerusalem after Christ was raised (Matthew 27: 52-53).  They are the “wave sheaf” that was offered to God the day after the sabbath, in accordance with the law (see Leviticus 23: 10-11).  They are part of the “first fruits.”

But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15: 23).

If those saints were raised from the dead (the Bible says they were), then they cannot have returned to their graves.  Therefore, they must still be alive.  If they are not in heaven, then where are they now?  If not on earth, then they must be in heaven.  The only plausible answer is that they are the same 24 elders which John saw in the apocalyptic visions.

There is no need to make the 24 elders the church, as some expositors do, or to make them symbolic, as do others.  They are very real persons who were brought to heaven when Christ Himself went to heaven; but beyond that we can say no more.  All we can do is continue to study this subject, trusting that God will shed more light thereon as the day of His return draws nearer.

Posted in Parousia, Rapture, Revelation, second coming | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Christians Backslide

Posted by Brian Simmons on March 29, 2015

imageI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the temptations that Satan uses to lure Christians away from serving Christ.  We all know some believers who seemed to start off well, but somewhere in their journeys fell off the wagon, so to speak.  I mean, they trusted in Christ.  They read their Bibles every day.  They prayed daily.  They kept themselves free from sin and worldliness.  And then somehow, they seemed to lose all interest in the things of God.  Their fall was probably not immediate; it was certainly gradual.  But where are they now?

There are at least three people I work with who profess Christ as their savior.  Neither of them now shows any signs of being genuine, but there’s one guy who seemed to be going strong for awhile.  He was not afraid to confess Christ before others.  He never used to cuss or swear.  He would pray before every meal.  He obviously trusted in Christ.  Now he takes the Lord’s name in vain on a regular basis.  He no longer prays before lunch.  He hangs around with mockers and vain persons who have no interest in salvation through the blood of Christ.  He has evidently backslid.  But why?

When I look back at my own backsliding period, and trace the cause of my downgrade, I find that it all started with an occasional drink.  What seemed to be quite harmless was something that Satan used to get his foot in the door.  Once his foot was in the door, it wasn’t long before he was in my house, tearing stuff up.  I know of other Christians who have started their backslide in a similar manner.  It may start with something as morally poisonous as a pornographic image on one’s computer screen.  Or it could start as something so seemingly God-sanctioned as a promotion at work.  One opens the door to lust and adultery; the other to pride and the temptation to cheat and lie for our employer.  In all events, we need to keep ourselves watchful; because the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8).

People backslide because they allow idols in their life.  An idol doesn’t have to be a painted image.  It is anything that takes us away from God, causing us to put our trust in the things of this world.  It is something that we sacrifice to: not necessarily our money, but our time and our thoughts and interests.  A wedge can be a powerful tool, though it looks small and insignificant.  Once you get it under the door jamb, that door will remain open to whatever you decide to let in.  You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 5: 22-24).

We’re living in times right now when apostasy and backsliding are at their height.  Regardless of how strong you think your walk with Christ is, nobody is immune from backsliding.  Yes, Christ will keep His own unto the end; but the only way God’s grace can flow down to us is through faith (Ephesians 2: 8).  And it is faith in all that the Father has revealed to us through the Scriptures.  If we start putting our trust in idols, then our eye is no longer single, the body becomes full of darkness, faith ceases to effectually operate, and God’s grace is cut off.  As fruitless branches we fall from the vine, and are profitable for nothing (see John 15: 1-6).

Sooner or later The Lord will descend into the air to inaugurate a period of judgment upon the world.  Born again believers who have kept the word of His patience will be, like Enoch and Lot, raptured into His presence; whereas those who have backslidden and chased after things that do not profit, will be left to endure the tribulation.  If you think Satan and his engines of war to be formidable now, wait till God’s judgments sweep the world, for then the tempter will have free rein (Revelation 12: 12).

Christians backslide because they forget they are pilgrims called out of Egypt and traveling to a better country (1 Corinthians 10: 11).  They forget that this world and its baggage are all temporary, and could end tomorrow. Hast thou trusted in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection on the third day to save thee?  Thou hast done well.  Trust also in His power to lead thee through the wilderness of this sin-sick world, knowing that Canaan and it’s promises are right around the corner.  Blessed are all they who follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth.

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor” (John 12: 26).

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