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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!

A whip for a horse, a halter for a donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!  Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:3-4 NIV)

If you’re asking “Where’s Part 1?” my answer is I do not know. It vanished, at least for now. But, as promised, we will proceed with Part 2 of “Contrived Arguments” in hopes that Part 1 can be found. First, what are “Contrived Arguments”?  My definition is this: A contrived argument is a charge or accusation created from whole cloth or made up out of someone’s imagination. The purpose is to promote a larger, hidden agenda. For contrived arguments to work, they need a promoter and willing dupes who are inclined to believe their narrative.

We could offer scores of examples, but let’s pick one. One of the leading early members of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Dr. Bernard Nathanson, was a powerful advocate for a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion.  His conversion to Pro-Life is detailed in his book “The Silent Scream”. Dr. Nathanson reported how, from the inside, he participated in the contrived argument that “68,000 women die annually from complications of ‘backyard’ abortions. Therefore, to save lives, women need safe, therapeutic abortion.” Willing accomplices at the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Guttmacher Institute published graphs and statements to back up the NARAL story. Sympathetic media ran with it and the rest is history.

To explain how contrived arguments work, I want to repeat something written in a recent post. “The one who forms the argument, in all probability, will win the argument.” It is easy to figure out why. For one thing, it is impossible to disprove a negative, such as an accusation (ex. “How many times have you hit your wife?”) Challenging the fabricator will fail to convince anyone who is sympathetic to their cause. Also, the one who contrives the argument has the advantage of considering potential counter-attacks and preparing for them beforehand.

Let’s say I claim: “The Russians stole the 2016 presidential election.” Here’s another: “Fossil fuels are destroying the planet.” What about this one: “Modern Bible translations have corrupted God’s Word. The only reliable version is the inspired and infallible Authorized King James.” Try to rationally dispute these statements with an ideologue and it will probably result in frustration.

Here’s a popular contrived argument. “The Church will be taken up in the rapture before the Tribulation. Anyone who disagrees does not believe the Bible.” (The roots of this contrived story are in Lifesaver: Saving God’s People from the PTR Ship.) When the preacher pounds on the pulpit, becomes red in the face, holds his Bible in the air and yells the above, it tends to discourage honest debate. That’s the purpose. Unanswered propositions embolden the accuser so they feel wise in their own eyes.

Be aware of false narratives that have made their way into our culture—even the culture of the Church. Challenge them with Scripture, facts and rationality. You may not save everyone from believing contrived arguments, but you can at least save yourself from yielding to the lie. It is more important to stand for truth than it is to win the argument.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NIV)

In America, some speech is unwelcome. Things turned violent in early February at the University of California at Berkley.  Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to address some students interested in hearing his political views. In a show of displeasure, students opposed to Mr. Yiannopoulos’ position on the issues,  set fires and smashed windows while U.C.-Berkley police passively watched. Dare we say the talk was cancelled. Days later, the demonstrators pronounced the Anti-Milo protest “stunningly successful”.

On other campuses, such as Vermont’s Middlebury College, disruptions have become more violent. A professor was treated for a neck injury after helping a libertarian political commentator escape the student mob.  Preventing the airing of opposing political views has become the newest student cause celebre. Censorship is not just coming from students. A professor at Marquette University last year was placed under review and relieved of all faculty and teaching duties for publicly supporting a student’s right to defend traditional marriage. Marquette, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a Jesuit Catholic institution.

Protests to throttle free speech, unleash diatribe and overturn elections have taken to the streets. The anti-hate crowd is acting very hateful. Disagree with one of their orthodoxies, and you are automatically branded a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc., etc.  Does anyone think this bodes well for our future as a democracy? What are they angry about? Why do some feel obligated to prevent free speech? Why the fear of words?

My concerns for this country, and its liberties, are not mine alone. The concerns don’t end there. Of all places, differing views on Scripture are not usually welcomed in the church. Instead, most pastors practice the “binary solution”:  My way or the High-way.

Since not all concepts are equally valid, a balance is required. Being heard is one thing, and being persuasive is another. The Areopagus in Athens was a gathering place for diverse opinions and philosophies. Paul spoke there (Acts 17:22-34). He did a masterful job of connecting popular beliefs (ex. “the unknown god”) to Christian faith. When he finished, some wanted to hear more.

Paul found common ground then, from it, he built a case for the gospel. Today rabble-rousers purposely cause a media spectacle and take over a meeting. They shout down the headline speakers and black-ball from their assemblies anyone with whom they do not fully agree.

The last days’ doctrine of The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church (PWR) is an example of a Christian controversy. PWR wins over Biblical-minded Christians when given the opportunity to be fairly presented to objective minds. I am a witness. So what are we afraid of? Why not freely debate the Scriptures so we can come to unity in the faith?

As with left-wing radicals, the popular Pre-tribulation Rapture (PTR) (the imminent or any moment Jesus can return) crowd, has little interest in sharing the floor, the megaphone or the mic. They seek a monopoly on the discussion of prophetic doctrine (eschatology) rather than revealing truth. PTR loyalists often portray PWR in a false light unfairly characterizing the position. (Sounds like today’s politics, doesn’t it?)

What are the PTR faithful afraid of? We know why some feel PWR arguments must be silenced: If they are allowed to be spoken in truth and in love, they demolish strongholds of ignorance and fear.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up [Greek, “harpazo”] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV)

Above we have the conclusion of the classic rapture passage in prophecy (1 Thess. 4:13-18). What’s missing? Not trying to be funny; I am not referring to the saints but rapture is missing. The word “rapture” is absent from Paul’s teaching on “the rapture”. (Make sense? Let me explain.)

You may already be aware that “rapture” is not in your Bible, that is unless you read the Latin Vulgate (ca. 500 A.D.)  Rapture, like many other English words, is borrowed from the Latin raptureo, translated from the N.T. Greek harpazo (cf. Matthew 11:12, Acts 8:39, Revelation 12:5, et. al.) (See Rapture is Not Resurrection, Part One, posted, August 9, 2015.)

Other Greek words actually contained in the New Testament and relevant texts provide depth and additional information on 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18, such as paralambano (cf. John 14:3. et. al.), episunagoge and anafero (cf. Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9).

There are two major problems with “a one-word-fits-all approach” using “rapture”: First, it discourages students from reviewing relevant Biblical parallels; therefore, they miss the full details of a key prophetic event that Scripture provides (cf. Matthew 24:29-31). Lastly, neglecting to explore the synonyms and parallels paves the way for definitions tailor-made by humans to fit their preferred theological systems. In other words, we don’t get the whole truth.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) teaching has taken the ownership of “rapture”–as they have defined it. That’s not all; they also attach the “Christian Truth” label. However, the PTR definition of “rapture” as “taken up to escape tribulation as a simultaneous event with the resurrection of the church” will not stand the test of Biblical accuracy. Those ardently defending “any moment rapture” have drawn an inference from verses they have taken out of context (ex. Matthew 24:36, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

In this blog’s “Current Events” section, Elijah posted, October 10th, (“The Days of Awe”).  He argues that God’s pattern is to display his power and sovereignty through “appointed days” or “set times” (sp. Fall Holy Days of Israel). The Lord does this to fulfill his purposes (Galatians 4:4-5). Times and seasons are, therefore, revealed to the wise. The foolish will miss what was right in front of them and add things that were never there.

“Surely the eyes of the LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth–yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,” declares the LORD. “For I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground. All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ ” (Amos 9:8-10 NIV)

Reading Revelation invokes a promised blessing. We are doubly blessed if we take the prophecy to heart. The reason why is given: “Because the time is near.” (Rev. 1:3).

Past the middle of the book is a warning that needs to be taken to heart. It involves an evil figure who will dominate the landscape.

“He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (Rev. 13:7-10 NIV)

Here we have in the Word of God a book to which the Lord has attached blessings and curses (cf. Rev. 22:18-19). In it we are forewarned of an unparalleled disaster and time of distress for the saints. The problem is this: The Church is populated with Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) and Amillennialist teachers who make irrelevant the above prophecy. Many, if not most of the PTR promoters, tell their flock the rapture occurs at the beginning of Revelation 4. They say that in verse 1 a voice calls to John, “Come up here.” So that is it. That’s the rapture in the Bible’s last book. (TV Pastor and evangelist John Hagee is prominent among this group.)

In other words, Pastor Hagee’s flock is supposedly gone before the opening of the seven seals in Chapter 6 and assuredly absent when the antichrist rules in Chapter 13. Those following this Christian teacher–and others like him–have become convinced Christians will not be overtaken by disaster. They believe they will be in heaven wearing crowns after Chapter 4. Then who are “the saints” in 13:7? Who are “the saints” “killed with the sword” in Revelation 13:10?

Though Amillennialists often scoff at the PTR crowd, they are really in the same boat. Little attention is paid by this segment of Christianity to prophecy period. Though, infrequently, they may cherry-pick a verse from Revelation to buttress their teaching, they more or less erase all the warnings. How so? By declaring that Revelation is an allegory or symbolic. Millions of Christians under their influence have swallowed the lie that “Disaster will not meet us.”

What does God call his people who reject a literal judgment or a physical Coming of Christ? Through the prophet Amos, He calls them “sinners”. (See Amos 9:10 at top)

Of course, an Amillennialist could try to make “die by the sword” symbolic. A symbolic sword won’t hurt so much. For my Bible-believing PTR Christian brothers and sisters, I go to my knees. Please, please, question your false prophet teachers. Prepare for the day of disaster before you taste the blade.

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“A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it that way. But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:30-31 NIV)

As if mesmerized, all present nod toward the pulpit. Are the spellbound part of a mass hypnosis? The words roll off the tongue of the preacher (priest), “Jesus can come at any moment?” “His Coming is imminent. No more signs are necessary.” “The Lord will come for his Church like a thief in the night.” “We will be taken up in the rapture and changed in the twinkling of an eye.” So it goes. The robots are successfully programmed.

The mantra is reinforced by Christian television and books–even Hollywood has gotten into the act (ex. “Left Behind”, 2014). We could recite the story-line in our sleep. This is what most know of prophecy about the end times. But there is a problem; none of it is accurate.

Produce one clear Scripture that supports Jesus’ return can be at any moment. Ask the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) prophecy expert to cite a single verse, not just the required two or three Scripture witnesses, but one. There is none. So how did we come up with a doctrine that has no Biblical foundation? It doesn’t matter.

Teachers who repeat “No more signs are necessary” ignore the Lord’s prophetic “Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). Some, to their own peril, twist it until it doesn’t mean what it says. So what?

They also fail to consider Paul’s rebuke of the Thessalonian believers. He reminded them that the Lord cannot come in glory and the gathering of the saints cannot happen until (1) the rebellion occurs, and, (2) the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) It makes no difference.

Other passages confirm that signs are God’s way of readying his people for what comes next on the prophetic timetable. In Thessalonians 5, the phrases “the day of the Lord” and “like a thief in the night” catch our eye. When we see “like a thief in the night”, it is in the context of the disastrous consequences for the unsuspecting who sleep or remain in a trance (Matt. 24:43, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3).

While people are saying “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thess. 5:3-6 NIV)


Of course, the Bible has no relevance to the mindless masses if it contradicts their Group-think creed.

Confusing Paul’s teaching on the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 with his apostolic teaching on the general resurrection of the righteous in 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 has erroneously blended two events separated by a thousand years. The water has been muddied to create a false scenario (i.e. Jesus comes for the Church in the rapture and believers are changed in the twinkling of an eye).

Rapture is not resurrection, it is the rescue or the deliverance of the righteous.

Read your Bible. Ask yourself, “How can the general resurrection of the saints at the Judgment, taught in Revelation 20:11-15, precede the Millennium described earlier in Revelation 20:1-10? Does anyone care about the truth?

Prophets prophesying lies. Priests teaching by their own authority. People loving it that way. Question if this is you: What will you do in the end?

Snap out of it! Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14b NIV)

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“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:16)

Recently, family friend Carol, a retired professor, sat with my sister Marilyn and I. She described the available sources for uncovering our ancestors. This was interesting, but I realized I wasn’t there to learn about my great-great grand-uncle. God wanted me to receive an insight into prophecy.

When Carol, cautioned not to trust every leaf of information, I leaned forward. “I’ve found out the hard way people can enter wrong data,” she said. “I may practice due diligence, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does.” Her next statement startled me: “You have to develop critical thinking skills! Though a credible source may pass it on and many others accept it, it is possible that it’s not true.” Our mentor added, “Two things have served me well: I have a detective mentality plus I’m trained in history and geography.”

I was struck by the connection between ancestry and prophecy. “Critical thinking”, “due diligence”, “credible sources presenting false leads” are concepts I use to discover future events.

Most likely, we have a “doctrinal” family tree. It descends from our teachers. We may be Pre-millennial, viewing prophecy literally, because our tutor was a literalist. Perhaps our Amillennial pastor gave a convincing argument why Bible prophecy should be treated as allegory. In fact, we may have adopted their “Preterist” belief that all prophecy has been fulfilled.

Pre-Millennialism and Amillennialism cannot both be right. We must do our research. Trace your branch as far back as it will go. Regardless how esteemed our Christian mentors, only one position leads to the root of God’s Word. Amillennialism can be traced back to the notable St. Augustine. It stops with this 4th century theological giant who was sold on replacing Israel, the people, with the Church. Pre-Tribulation Rapturism’s branch (PTR) is very popular. This, despite historical evidence its leaf suddenly appears in the early 19th century. (See Lifesaver, #22, “Charge!”)

My branch is Pre-Wrath Rapture (PWR), an end-time doctrine expounded on by Van Kampen and Rosenthal. My detective work and knowledge of history and geography has removed doubts. PWR descended from the prophets and apostles. What does your research tell you?

Question 7- What is your next book?

Answer 7- I am working on The Priests of God. Again, I am going to present a Biblical view of the true priesthood and attempt to bring what we know in line with the last days. It will expose more myths and reveal more exciting insights the Lord has given. I try to make each book rock solid, treasure filled and better written than the last one.

Question 1: You seem to be saying that The Prophets of God is unique; that it is a fresh, new approach to truth. Is that possible? How do you back up that claim?

Answer 1: The proof is in the reading. I cannot speak for everything in print or on the internet but, personally, I do not know of anything like this book. The conclusions, insights and arguments I put out there for the reader did not come out of a book nor did I hear them from anyone. The Prophets of God is a product of my study of God’s Word, input from and discussions with other Bible students, interaction with historical and contemporary events and—most of all, I think—insights God has given me. After a time, when I began to see some things differently, I looked around and thought, “You know, I have not heard this from a human.” So, God impressed it on me to write what I discovered.

Question 9: The Bible gives hope, indeed, but what is hopeful about experiencing the tribulation?

Answer 9: That is a good question and one that we need to thoroughly grasp. Viktor Frankl, the Nazi holocaust survivor who wrote, “In Search of Meaning,” gave good insight from his horrific experience. He said something like, “When we find meaning in our suffering, it is then no longer suffering.” Besides the testing of our love and loyalty to Christ, tests demonstrate that we are genuine and belong among the people of God. There is rich meaning to be found in tribulation. It refines us like gold. It allows us to participate in the sufferings of Christ. Tribulation takes away our love for this world; it allows us to do good deeds and express our love for our fellow man, even for our enemies.

   Peter wrote that we should not think of our suffering as though something strange was happening to us. Paul and the apostles taught the disciples outside of Lystra, where he was stoned and left for dead. Their message was in Acts 14:22, “We have to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God.”

  I could go on and on. Largely, because of the PTR influence we have not connected with members of our Christian family who suffer in our day. We often fail to see reality. We live in denial. The signs are unmistakable. The U.S. and the West will soon experience a persecution of all those who claim Jesus as their Savior like we cannot imagine.

   We desperately need to develop a “theology of suffering” because the Scriptural teaching is rich on this subject. We need the mind of God about it because we are soon going to face it. Pre-tribulationalism is escapism. It is a place for those to go and listen to what their itching ears want to hear.

   I have to add that what gives suffering meaning and therefore makes it something to embrace rather than avoid is that it is the way to honor and please God and gain eternal life. It is not simply talking the talk; it is walking the walk the saints have long trod.

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