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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11 NIV)

Prophecy students owe a great deal to Thessalonian believers. Without their habit of becoming confused, distressed and led astray, we would not have clear, supportive Scriptures on subjects such as the rapture and Christ’s return. Paul loved the Thessalonians, as his letters testify, despite the fact they were easily swayed by men.

In the church in Thessalonica, they nightly turned out to listen to Paul. Afterward, they probably shook his hand and told him how nice his message was. Unfortunately, they may have forgot what they heard by the time they reached home.

The dear folks were no doubt polite and thoughtful, making sure Paul, Luke and their companions always had enough to eat and comfortable lodging, yet something was amiss. Luke, the writer of Acts,  did not compare them favorably with the Bereans. As we read above, only the Bereans listened eagerly then examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 

Friendly people, but the Thessalonians failed to employ critical thinking. They did not test the spirits to determine if what they heard was of God. One can imagine the Bereans had questions, sought clarity, and were hungry to learn the Scriptural basis for what Paul taught. (The Reformation-era Pietists were much like the Bereans. Their famous reply to a never before vetted statement on doctrine was, “Brother, where stands that written?”)

The Bereans compared Paul’s Bible passages with other Scriptures. They reviewed the full context. Among their band, some took detailed notes. On the other hand, the Thessalonians contributed a part of the New Testament simply because they failed to retain Paul’s teaching on prophecy, or failed to familiarized themselves with his Scriptures. As a result, they easily fell into error.

We still have Thessalonian Christians around, wouldn’t you say? Dear folks, who would give the shirt off their back and sit through every service. They seem attentive to the teaching, but they leave everything behind at the double doors. (“That was a good word from Pastor today. What was it again he talked about?”)

Thanks to the Thessalonians we have a record of what Paul taught. In one he chastised them for being easily led astray by a false prophecy, false letter or false report supposedly coming from him. “Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:5)

The Thessalonians were not equipped to catch an error in interpretation or in sound biblical teaching, but the Bereans were right on top of it. The lie never had a chance, because they interacted with what they heard and the inspired word of the Old Testament. False prophets may have avoided the Bereans altogether, which might explain why no letter was necessary to correct them. As a false teacher, why deal with being exposed when down the road, in Thessalonica, he could be treated like a star?

Revisiting what Paul taught about the events preceding Christ’s return and the rapture are to our benefit, but should it have been necessary? The Thessalonians probably treated every teacher with hospitality and an open door to their mind. If they did remember something, they lacked the discipline to put it to the accuracy test. Scriptural authority was not that big of a deal to the Thessalonians. The entertainment value of the experience had more importance.  Do you know of any Thessalonian churches with Thessalonian Christians near you? I hope you are acquainted with other Bereans.

 

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 23:16 NIV)

At lunch recently, our friends began to describe their friend who made his living discovering counterfeits. He was on the lookout for popular labels of clothing made to look like the genuine. He became totally familiar with the hot selling brand—the stitching, the cloth and materials, the cut, every pleat, the logo, as well as the printing on the tag. For the fake to come to light, he compared the imitation with all that made the original product unique.

The fake can have a lot of similarities to the real, but, with counterfeits, something is always amiss. Our lunchtime discussion raised the possibility of Christians, without knowing it, possessing a counterfeit faith. It looks real. It may feel like it is real. They may assume what they have is genuine, but they had been sold a clever counterfeit.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but some time ago I bought an expensive looking watch. Without asking too many questions, I bought it from a man with whom I worked. George had a persona and an office that had the feel of money and success.  As for the watch, it had an inscription on the face that read “Rolex,” yet I paid a penny on the dollar of what the genuine would cost.

Who was I hurting anyway? If someone asked about my nice watch, I did not lie. I may have sent them to George. The sad truth was that I was wearing deceit.

Before you judge, what about the brand of Christianity you wear? Is your faith genuine? Could it be that you are you okay with the small portion of false teaching you received from the most prestigious and prominent church around? Are you willing to sell others the fake item of faith you own? Are you comfortable displaying the fraudulent doctrine you were sold, and disinterested about knowing the truth? You did not realize it was fake, but why now the reluctance to compare it with God’s word?

“What harm can an imitation faith do?” you ask. “Fake is the new in-thing.” No one cares for authentic. No one holds it up to the Light to see if it meets God’s standard for truth.”

We may be particular about the food we eat, our clothing or our jewelry, yet all too willing to swallow the lie.  Even if no one cares to investigate matters of faith, we should. With counterfeit Christians, something is amiss. Critical thinking is absent. The Bible is not used as a source of authority. Jesus is exalted, but his truth is not (1 Timothy 2:4).

Let the buyer beware. We live an era filled with deceit and with men like George.  It would be wise to examine ourselves for the lies we believe, then warn others who might be ready to buy into a counterfeit faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

 

This is the final part of the interview on the soon-to-be-released The Priests of God.

Q- You bring an uncommon perspective on women and God’s priesthood. What can you tell us about that?

A- This, to me, was a thrilling discovery. From an historical and spiritual perspective, the role of godly women is beyond our ability to calculate. It begins in the Garden of Eden with God’s curse on the serpent and on the woman. Briefly, it became clear, from the prophecy in Genesis 3:15, “the serpent would bruise her seed’s heel, but the woman’s seed would crush his head,” was partially fulfilled in Christ’s suffering and his empty tomb. Her “seed” is plural. It refers not just to Christ, but to the saints in the last days. The saints will crush Satan’s head, according to Romans 16:20. Attention has always been on the male heirs and as the head, but, specifically, it is the seed the godly woman carries that will produce Satan’s downfall. I refer to this seed as the priestly seed, as opposed to the righteous man’s kingly seed or the seed of Abraham. When the priestly and kingly seeds unite in one being, we have God’s royal priesthood. There’s more to it, of course. Some is explained in Proverbs and in the wise women of faith throughout the Bible. Look at the strong women of faith we have today. I hope everyone who reads The Priests of God grasps this. It’s beyond genius, on God’s part.

Q- You are saying that women are the unsung heroes of your book?

A- I’m not sure about that, but to understand the order of Melchizedek is to acknowledge the seed of the woman and its role in Bible history and end time prophecy. As a pastor, I remember announcing prayer service to the church. Who would attend, but the same small core of praying women. I don’t think that’s uncommon in churches that have prayer services.

I have to tell you what a friend shared the other day. He witnessed a Christian youth camp service where there were–I wish I could recall how many–let’s say a good number, of young girls aged 9 to 11 at the altar. What he heard he described as wailing. He thought these precious little girls were crying out to God for their fathers, for God to forgive their sins. He also had a sense they were pleading to God for young men who would be worthy husbands. We were wiping away tears as he shared. I’m guessing this has to be global. It’s a preview of Joel 2:28-29 . The Priests of God is right on time. It explains what’s up with God’s daughters.

Q- For our last question, “Where has this book taken you?” By that I mean, “What about it has changed you or your way of thinking?”

A- It has deeply impacted me in several ways. One in particular immediately comes to mind: I now see God’s law in a new light. I used to see it as arbitrary; I could take it or leave it. My idea was Moses’ Law was for Jews, but, since I’m a Gentile, I could choose which law I wanted to follow. Now, I see God holds his priesthood responsible for law enforcement among his people. (That was how it was handled in the Camp of Israel. The Levites had police powers.) As a priest, it is not for me to enforce certain commands, such as those against stealing, murdering and dishonoring our parents, but not others, like adultery, coveting or keeping the Sabbath. If we offend in one, we offend the whole law. I am called to uphold all of God’s commands. It is all about loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. If I love Him, I love his Law.

As far as our nation’s law is concerned, I could keep 99% of it, but if I break one law in over forty years, I may land in jail. With me, the old argument that keeping the law does not save, used to go a long way. I used it as an excuse for avoiding the Old Testament Law. But after seeing the perfection of God’s commands and my present and future role as a priest, teacher and enforcer of God’s Law, I now have a way to please my King. I please him, not only by my obedience, but by my love for his commandments. This is prophetic. Ezekiel 36:24 and following, plus other passages, tells us God will plant in us a new heart and put in us a new spirit to obey his laws. In the last days, he will have a holy priesthood. Whether we are a part of it remains largely up to us and our attitude about His law.

There’s so much I could say, but my focus on God’s future priesthood has made clearer who will surround Christ when he comes to reign on earth. It’s repeated throughout the Bible. The Lord will have a kingdom and priests. If I do not care to learn what it means to be a kingdom and priest of God, how can I expect to play a role? The answer is, I won’t. That is sobering to me.

In general, Christians appear to be confused by the next age, the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth, and who will take part. The fault lies two ways: An unwillingness to look deeply into the subject in the Bible, and teachers who are looking at it from an incorrect theological perspective. I intend to devote a large segment of The Kings of God to the Millennium. We need to know these things now, then put them into practice. God will do his part, if we do ours. Like I said, there is so much to learn. I’ve only scratched the surface. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it.

Q- Thank you. It’s been interesting.

A- I’ve enjoyed it.

Q- You make a unique connection in your portrayal of Melchizedek. How do you predict it will go over with the public?

A- I don’t think “unique” is helpful in this context. I prefer something in the order of “discovery.” I see it as a rich vein of gold that perhaps no human ever laid eyes on. No one would say the gold is unique, but the discovery is without precedent—at least as far as I know. Mysterious is often how Melchizedek is described, so I wrote about him in the style of an investigation. First, I laid several chapters of groundwork for the priest, and his God-given role, so we could identify them by their actions. The mine is the Old Testament and its history, so that’s where we did the biggest share of the digging. The Lord directed not only our curiosity, but he led us to the unveiling of Melchizedek and of his order of priests as well.

Q-  How do you think it will be received by Christians?

A-  Hard to say. I am not optimistic that those who share my faith will see this book for what it is. I see it as transformational, but, most are not to the point where they see anything wrong with the traditional way we are doing things. Reform must come from the outside, and this has that potential. What I write is solid from a Biblical standpoint, but lies outside the accepted boundaries of what we call “the church.”

Many will look at the title and go “Ho-hum,” though “priest” is a common Bible term and common to our faith. Some may be somewhat intrigued by the sub-title, but, after seeing it doesn’t confirm their belief about Melchizedek, they will likely dismiss it. (I ran into this already.) Others will ask their trusted church leaders or teaching elders what they think, and will meet with a negative caution such as “You must be careful about books like these! I heard it was written by a Mormon,” or something else absolutely false. Whatever enthusiasm there is, then has water poured on it. I understand, believe me. I used to do the same thing. With all of that said, I’m hopeful there are believers who will trust the Scriptures, trust the Holy Spirit and read with a Christian mind—sort of like a non-prejudiced juror charged with hearing and weighing objectively all the evidence before rendering a decision.

The first time we saw the house we live in today, nothing on the outside sparked my interest. My wife suggested we look, since it had a “For Sale” sign and was across the street from the church. We had an accepted contract on another house, but were dealing with some big obstacles. I listened and we toured it. It had a lot of things we didn’t like—they were style things like carpeting and paneling—but the price was right and buying it made a ton of sense. From the street, it is still not an eye-catcher. Inside, there are big pluses. It’s the backyard, the gardens, and all that, that have made it great for us. The thing I’m saying is if we were only subjective we wouldn’t have given it a serious look. We would have missed out on a fine home. Subjectively, this book may appear uninteresting but it is anything but–if you love God’s Word that is.

One other obstacle I should mention, keeping Christians from picking up The Priests of God and saying “Wow!” is how we receive our information. Book reading is not exactly what many are spending time doing these days. Looking at our devices and monitoring our social network is more the norm. So, if there is no buzz on Facebook or Twitter about The Priests of God, then, for those on social media, it might as well not exist.

Rank-and-file Christians are conditioned: They rather be told what to think, then how to think. That’s what our culture has become. Reading this series is work. It challenges people to use Scripture to determine what is true–which is a superb concept. God gave us a mind for figuring out things. I love to make people think about important matters. Once thinking begins, there are fabulous rewards. There is a niche-market of Christian thinkers that will absolutely love The Priests of God–if they hear about it.

(Next week’s Part 6 of this interview with John Finkbeiner will be the last in the series.)

Q- You seem to speak in epic terms about salvation and truth. Do you view The Priests of God as being on the scale of an epic or even a monumental volume?

A- With regard to the ideas and insights it contains, the answer is “Yes, I see it in big terms,” but not as a best seller or a hit among Christians or anything like that. An analogy is a treasure in an earthen jar. The jar is my part with all its flaws to the literary purists. The treasure is God’s part. The writing is mine and I’m about as plain, brown paper wrapping as anyone God could find. By that I mean, I have nothing to attract readers but my ideas. Everything God does is epic and His ways are monumental. I just describe what I see the Lord is doing and why. I consider myself more of a scribe than a writer. I do not like “author” as a description. Author, has a connotation that belongs to the Creator. I’m simply passing on revelations from studying prophecy, all of which I find astounding. I’m in awe of God and I hope that comes through.

Q- There are some rather amazing claims in The Priests of God. I don’t want to spoil anything, but did it occur to you that some of your more sensational discoveries could be wrong? What if you are mistaken?

A- I thought long and hard on this question. The decision I made when I finally sat down to write is that this is the hill on which I take my stand. God entrusted me with some wonderful and amazing revelations. (I am not saying that I am the only one who ever saw these things in Scripture, but I don’t know of others. I did not receive this from another person.) But, God prompted me to put what he was showing me in writing. I’ll be judged for it by men, but God is my judge. I’m willing to take the heat or the outright rejection of my fellow saints. Everything about The Priests of God is challenging and calculated to make God’s people think and dig into the Word. Some will react negatively and I get that. Some will ask others to think for them and be discouraged by their response, but God is in control of who does what. As for me, I’m willing to die for the truths I affirm in this book—obviously, I would not say all that if I had any doubts of being wrong.

My test of whether my conclusion is right or wrong is this: Can I open up my Bible and find confirmation everywhere? If anyone can show me from Scripture a passage that clearly contradicts what I have written, then, if I cannot harmonize it, I will delete it and do a mea culpa. If I am accurately interpreting the Bible, people may disagree, and often do, but their disagreement is not with me. I’m not claiming perfection, but I am a bent on accuracy. My reading of the Word is constant. I am finding more supportive passages all the time. I eliminated 150 pages of text–more or less–and four chapters from my first draft to pare it down to the size I want. What’s that tell you? I did not struggle to find material; I had to pare it down. The Priests of God: Unveiling the Order of Melchizedek is the real never-ending story.

The key that unlocks the mystery of Melchizedek came several years ago. I can’t exactly remember how or when, but I wrote into the book that God asked me a question. It became the kernel of a suggestion He planted in my brain, and, as it grew, I began to share it with a couple of my prize Bible prophecy students. (One was Benaiah, who was kind enough to provide the Foreword to The Priests of God, the other Elijah, who wrote the Foreword to Lifesaver.) The feedback from Benaiah caught me off-guard. What I heard was his concern. If I wrote this—I sensed him saying—I would do damage to how I am perceived. Later on, I shared with my sister Marilyn. I felt she was basically of the same mind as Benaiah, trying to safeguard my credibility. Some of that concern was caused by my inability to defend what sounded like a wild idea.

This is years ago now, but I could not let this idea go. One of the last people I shared it with was more adamant than the others. He was sure I was wrong. This was the big test. Some of his objections made sense, so I backed off and put The Priests of God on the shelf. Gradually, I picked it up again. Something was telling me I was accurate. I dug into all the objections and analyzed them. The Lord gave me sound counter-arguments to harmonize the objections, plus more evidence. He also gifted me with a strong biblically-minded brother, Elijah, who thought I was on to something. Finally, I had enough. I knew we were on solid ground. God was saying it is time. I left my position to give full attention to this baby the Lord conceived in me. My final confirmation was when Elijah said that I had persuaded him. No one but God could have done that.

The artist Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime—or so I heard. Since I gave the Lord control over marketing, I am content if I have to give away copies of The Priests of God. If, during my lifetime, no one gives this book a favorable review, I will be fine. I wrote it for my God and the glory of His Son. He will use it according to his purpose. In the meantime, I’m turning my attention to The Kings of God.

Q- Who is going to enjoy or benefit the most from The Priests of God?

A- Without a doubt it will be the saints who are most eager to do God’s will. The “God is in heaven to serve me crowd” won’t get much further than the first chapter.

Q- Why do you think that?

A- Part of it is human nature. We do not like to challenge our assumptions. One of them may be that God has a big net that takes everyone who confesses Jesus to heaven. I won’t argue who goes to heaven and who doesn’t; that is not my call and, certainly not my purpose. My purpose is to accurately interpret prophecy. If we are in the end times, then we have another aspect of being saved to concern ourselves with. It is not who goes on to glory; it is who will stay for the next age, the Millennium. To be a part of Christ’s blessed kingdom of righteousness, most do not realize they must first live through a lot of hardship at the end of this age. Living means overcoming, or enduring to the end, and standing firm ’til Jesus comes with his rewards for the saints.

A major premise of The Priests of God is that God has specific priestly criteria in order to make it through the distress of the last days. So, being among the privileged to serve King Jesus, belongs to those who enter the narrow gate. Take Noah for example: He met God’s specifications in the first age, and, so, he and his family were saved. We ought to understand the concept of following criteria to make a selection. It’s part of life. It will be as it was in the days of Noah, except there will be multiplied thousands of Noah’s, world-wide, chosen to lead God’s people to salvation from the jaws of the beast. The difference between Noah’s time and now is our tests will be more compressed and intensified.

One of God’s criteria for Noah ought to wake us up. He had to have an accurate picture of what was going to take place. He received the prophetic word, believed it and acted accordingly. Most lack Noah’s clarity. When it comes to God’s set times and laws, the devil confuses, deceives, uses peer pressure, undermines, distracts, leads astray and causes apathy. I once heard a well-known pastor say that he was okay with his confusion about prophecy, as if it were an okay state of mind. I guess he thought everyone should be muddled like he was. The underlying message was no one should be so prideful as to think they have prophetic truth–like Noah did. Is God the author of confusion? Believe me, I was totally confused after seminary and almost two decades of ministry. We should not find this condition acceptable. How can the Lord expect his people will act in concert with his plan of salvation if prophecy was not knowable? The Lord is our guide through the valley of the shadow of death, through the traps and tribulations of the last days. He is the Light, but what if we are walking in darkness? The problem of the many contradictory voices is a big one. Unless we filter out the noise, and listen to the Spirit of truth like Noah, the narrow way to life will elude us.

God’s truth is attainable. Wisdom is too, but it must be pursued. Many Christians think they can fritter away the present, then, when they need it, wisdom will fall like pixie dust. That certainly isn’t the example Noah gives to God’s people. He produced an ark with his hands. He built something. It wasn’t just lip service. God expects his saints to manifest their knowledge of prophetic truth with goods and services that will save others in His family–the Noah way. The Priests of God and our other books are a means to that end.

Q- Who are you writing this book for? What is your target audience?

A- That’s a question I wrestled with from the beginning. I used to think the books I would write were for Bible students of all ages. Now I am not so sure. Some excellent students of the Bible that I’ve met had no–I mean zero–curiosity about the end times. I came to the conclusion there is a sub-section of Bible students that The Prophets, Priests and Kings Series connects with, namely the last day’s saints. There has to be an interest in end time prophecy or, even if one is a student of Scripture, the lights won’t go on. There is a veil over the mind. On the other hand, end time saints who are going through hardships like we find in the Gospels, or they expect to go through persecution, for instance, well, they have a hunger that this series satisfies.  Since we cannot be sure when final events leading to Jesus’ return will happen, I may be history before The Priests of God serves it’s true purpose. So be it. As long as it serves the saints.

Q- Define the term “order” in reference to “the Order of Melchizedek.”

A- I like this question because I believe there is a lot of misunderstanding on this issue. When the Bible uses “order” it implies both heritage and legacy. For example, we have the Aaronic Order of priests, which means Aaron’s descendants inherited their position as priests because they were in the blood line of Aaron, the high priest of Israel. God anointed and appointed Aaron as high priest over the nation of Israel, then his sons took over, then his grandsons, and so on down through the generations. In Jesus’ day, there were twenty-four divisions of priests (1 Chronicles 24:1), all descendants of Aaron. His offspring will go forever, but take a back seat in the Millennium serving the priestly order of Melchizedek.

Let’s go back. Aaron’s order made up the priesthood, while others from their tribe, Levi, served the worship community in other ways. But here is something I did not realize until I studied this, the priesthood of God was being passed from generation to generation long before Aaron came along. Amram, Moses’ and Aaron’s father,  was a high priest of the Hebrews while in Egypt. Does the Bible say this exactly? No, but it is implied. We see evidence in the protection of Moses and Aaron from Pharaoh’s edict to kill the male Hebrew babies. Obviously, God and the people took great pains to let no harm come to the infants Moses and Aaron. Hebrews tells us they were special babies. From Levi, Jacob’s son, came offspring who assumed priestly roles of carrying on sacred rites and guarding God’s oracles passed on from Noah to Abraham all preserved by a remnant. What I am getting at is the order of Aaron, the high priest, did not start with him; he was a priest in an order that started with God, heaven’s high priest, and passed to Adam as a priest of God, then to his sons.

If I may continue, we have a parallel to this order thing in the kingly line of David. The royal line–a synonym for order–runs in both directions from David. In one, leading through the present and culminating in the future, we have David’s legacy in Christ, the royal son of David, the Son of God. The Ruling Messiah is called David in Old Testament prophecy. And He, meaning Christ, will be seated on David’s throne and reign forever and ever. Others will learn in the last days they are also of the seed and offspring of David–but Christ Jesus is the ultimate King of kings.

In the other direction, David was an offspring of Caleb, an offspring of Judah, son of Jacob, grandson of Abraham. God told Abraham in Genesis 17, kings would come from him. So David is the father of royalty as well as a royal heir. With whom did David’s line begin? Listen to how Jesus refers to himself with respect to David in Revelation 22:16. “I am the Root and Offspring of David…” David sprang from Christ, the root, meaning the royal order originated with Christ, through God’s son, Adam (Luke 3:38). It ends with Christ. The order of Melchizedek originated in Christ, the root. Christ ministered at the altar in heaven. Many generations after Adam and Eve, Christ’s priestly seed was manifest in Melchizedek. He inherited it from the daughters of Eve. It was passed on by his female offspring to Mary, and other daughters of Zion yet to be identified in these last days. Christ, our high priest, is Root and Offspring, not of Aaron, but of Melchizedek, Priest of God Most High. It is amazing when we put it together.

 

It is with great joy that we at The Prophets of God blog announce “The Priests of God: Unveiling the Order of Melchizedek,” the next installment in THE PROPHETS, PRIESTS AND KINGS SERIES. God willing, we expect a release on or before July 26th. Below is part one of a question and answer with writer, pastor and teacher, John Finkbeiner.

Q- First off, I congratulate you. I do not recall any books on this subject. Are you aware of any? How did you come up with the idea for The Priests of God?

A- I’m reluctant to accept congratulations after all the patience and grace God has shown me. This book was written because God wanted it to be, not because of anything I’ve done that deserves congratulations. For some reason, the Lord chose me and never gave up on me. Eventually, we produced a book I am proud to be a part of, but it took awhile.

No, I don’t know of anything like it. There may be, but I never researched the topic. My approach is to dig into the Bible. I heard recently the Mormons have had a shared interest in Melchizedek. Not sure what they came up with, but it does not really matter. I write on Biblical-rich topics. I don’t have any reason to read commentaries or extra-Biblical materials.

As to the last part of your question, the idea for The Priests of God was born of necessity. The idea for the series Prophets, Priests and Kings, came to me first. I noticed it was a theme in Scripture as a whole and felt it was begging to be explored. It was too big a subject to treat as one book so I had to individually examine each part.

Q- How long did it take you to write?

A- I like the answer “All my life.” I heard that from a writer once and believe it’s true for me. I was a ripe old age before I published anything. The People of God came out in 2010, then it was two more in three years. Here we are, more than four years after Lifesaver. There were months of no writing activity, but ideas were marinating and my Scripture reading was producing great results. Thinking seriously about the topic started ten years ago. There were times I wasn’t sure whether I was going to write this book, but that’s all history now. The Priests of God is in book form and I could not be happier.

At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense, “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

“I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.” (Acts 26:24-25 NIV)

Men, like the Apostle Paul, want those who oppose them to know that their position is true and reasonable. Near the end of The Book of Revelation we twice read the book’s prophecy is trustworthy and true (21:5, 22:6).

Deceivers claim they are telling the truth if they think they cannot be proven a liar. There are many false prophets for that reason. How can you disprove something that is future? (ex. “The sun will explode in the year 2030.”) The expert may stake his reputation on his prediction, but is his argument true, trustworthy and reasonable?

If I recall, it was the philosopher Blaise Pascal that said that it is more reasonable that something that happened before could happen again, then something that has never happened will happen for the first time. Also, the preacher in Ecclesiastes gave us this:

Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before… (3:15)

So, is it reasonable to think that the Church will be suddenly taken up in the rapture, if nothing like it has ever happened? Is it trustworthy to say the saints will escape the tribulation and be taken up to heaven if nothing of this nature has ever transpired? (Yes, I have heard of Enoch, but tell me, what tribulation was he escaping?) The pre-tribulation rapture is completely without precedent.

Is it reasonable to believe that Christ will come at any moment, without any signs, if no Scripture supports the claim? We are talking about “imminency,” the cornerstone of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. Are PTR teachers trustworthy if their “any moment rapture position” contradicts the One seated on the Throne (ex. Revelation 13:9-10), His Son (Matthew 24:29-31), as well as Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

Come let us reason together. Something that happened before will happen again–this age will end and the wicked will perish as they did in Noah’s day. (Was the construction of the ark not a sign of God’s announced judgment?) Saints, forced to undergo great hardship, always precedes God’s deliverance, not the other way around (ex. the exodus).

So how has an illogical, unreasonable and untrustworthy teaching captured the minds of smart Christians. It is because a trusted person said it was true. We are also willing to overlook the illogical arguments that prop it up. But Salvation is never without her escorts, Truth and Reason.

For a reasoned Biblical criticism of Pre-Tribulation Rapturism, order Lifesaver: Saving God’s People from the PTR Ship. (Booklocker.com, ebook or paperback)

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”  Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:19-20 NIV)

What permanent advantage is there in supporting a lie? If conventional wisdom urges toleration on some matters, but rabid opposition in others, should we go along with it? To do so is to risk sharing in their destruction. We must consider all matters with a Christian mindset, that means rationally. Anyone who tells you otherwise, should be considered suspect.

Last time, I shared my frustration. I had an argument. After what seemed like an hour, it ended in a truce. No one gave an inch. I lay part of the blame upon my reliance on my ability to persuade, and part on this dear one’s “Christian” fellowship. This is no knock on the people for they are precious souls, but on their church’s way of teaching disciples. Some of their more controversial views are protected by a wall of bad reasoning and poor Scripture interpretation. Leaders are entrusted with the pulpit after demonstrating skill in defending long-held doctrines. Whenever challenged, their rote training kicks in. They have ears but cannot hear. Anyone who differs, is an enemy. They stand on their version of truth, no matter what. (For that reason, many regard them as a Christian cult.)

This group is not alone. Much of Christianity has become illogical. Our diversity of doctrines is the result of lawyer-like argumentation more than seeking truth. I could site many examples. Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) is one. Again, it is not a knock on the people, but on the illogical nature of their arguments, a reliance on intelligence and the lack of a Christian mind.

Logic and reasoning will protect us from the deceitful but clever-sounding arguments of our day. Next time, we will briefly look at the skillful way unbiblical and illogical teachers have succeeded in persuading much of Western Christianity. Did I say “unbiblical” and “illogical”? So what!

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