This 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.