Friday, May 28, 2010

God’s wrath at the 5th seal

A while ago I came across an opinion at a rapture forum which I’ve heard a few times. One of the posters noted that God’s wrath couldn’t possibly occur during the opening of the seals because the 5th seal causes the martyrdom of the saints. Since the church is argued by many to be exempt from God’s wrath then it cannot occur at that point.

I’ve covered this in an earlier post. The opening of the 5th seal doesn’t cause the martyrdoms. What John saw had already occurred at the opening – the verb is in the past tense. Interestingly, the first four seals had riders on horses that parallel the chariots of Zechariah, but the 5th seal has no rider.

You could try to make the case that while the saints may have already been martyred at the 5th seal, the opening of the previous seals eventually contributed to it. Following on from that argument, you might then submit that, therefore, all the previous seals couldn’t be God’s direct or indirect wrath.

However, the same case can be used for the trumpet and bowl judgments. Eventually, whether you’re mid-trib, pre-wrath or post-trib you’ll still expect that someone must be saved in their physical bodies to enter and populate the Millennium. This must occur post-rapture and during God’s wrath. The chances are that some saved people will also die during God’s wrath whether by misadventure or martyrdom.

If you argue that there is no distinction between Tribulation saints and God’s church then those who are saved after the rapture are part of the church. Therefore part of the church will experience God’s wrath. That being the case, you have exactly the same quandary that you think applies to the pretribulational model.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exploding the Replacing Israel Deception

See also this article.

That was a cheeky heading. I used that title because I’m drawing attention to Steve Wohlberg’s Replacement Theology inspired book, “Exploding the Israel Deception”. A blurb on his website states:
Exploding the Israel Deception is like dropping an atomic bomb upon the prophetic ideas of the majority of the Christian world. Steve Wohlberg proves that the book of Revelation swirls around "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16), not "Israel after the flesh" (1 Cor. 10:18).
If you’ve read the book “End Time Delusions” which covers a good portion of “Exploding the Israel Deception” don’t bother buying the latter. Just go to his website and read the supplementary articles on Israel. His arguments are pure rehashed Replacement Theology.

In End Time Delusions (p 15) we’re informed that, “…when it comes to what the majority thinks is going to happen during earth’s last days and what the Bible says will occur, the difference is seismic.”
There’s also a seismic difference between Wohlberg’s understanding of eschatology and a literal reading of the Bible.

Wohlberg adopts a flexible hermeneutic. Wherever it’s expedient for him to take a literal approach he will but where Scripture contradicts his eschatology, he opts for allegory. For example, Revelation chapter seven clearly tells us that the 144,000 are called from the twelve tribes of Israel, but within a few paragraphs he’s morphed them into the (Sabbath keeping) church. He “personally” feels that the 144,000 figure is symbolic. He reasons that it must be symbolic because he expects there will be more than 144,000 (SDA) church members at that time. Of course, if the 144,000 figure is symbolic then what about all the other numbers?

He also allegorizes the gathering of the armies at Armageddon in End Time Delusions. He reasons that the gathering isn’t centered in Har-Megiddo (Armageddon) despite it being plainly so in Rev 16 – to him it’s more of a global affair. There’s a reason for Wohlberg to think that way. It isn’t a biblical one but it’s a very good reason if you want your church to be the true Israel.

Unfortunately for him, the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel etc) prophesied that the nations would surround Israel and Jerusalem, and this is exactly what we read in Revelation.
A major problem for RT end time watchers is that what is occurring today is exactly what the Bible said would happen. The nations are all against Israel. Anyone keeping an objective eye on Middle East affairs and another on the Bible cannot fail to spot the connection to prophecy.

There isn’t a single biblical reference to God’s changing His program for Israel even though it was suspended after they rejected their Messiah. The “if” statements in Leviticus 26 are a warning of the consequences of disobedience - they are not an annulment of God’s promises to Israel.

Isaiah 46 tells us that God knows the end from the beginning. The atonement was first promised in Genesis and the OT sacrificial rituals foreshadow Christ’s work on the cross. Moreover, Israel’s rejection of the Messiah was prophesied in Isaiah 53. Jeremiah prophesied later than Isaiah, yet Jer 31 gives iron-clad promises for Israel’s restoration in the Messianic kingdom.

So the logical conclusion is; if Israel’s rejection was known beforehand then Jeremiah’s prophecy would be a wasted exercise, as would Ezekiel’s detailed measurements of the future Messianic Temple. The simple answer is that Israel will be restored as a non-allegorical approach to Scripture attests.

God hasn’t cast out Israel (Rom 11:1). The promises are irrevocable (Rom 11:29). The church has not become the Caretaker of Israel; it has become a PARTAKER of the blessings found in the olive tree (Rom 11:8; 11:17; 15:27). The context of Romans is that the Gentiles are sharing in the Abrahamic promise of salvation. There is nothing there about sharing land promises or a withdrawal of the material promises to a future believing Israel.

When Paul says there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Gal 3:28, he also tells us that that there is neither male nor female. Yet we still have different genders. Once again the context is salvation. He is not saying that membership in the church makes one a Jew. Gal 6:16 does not call the church Israel. The Israel of God refers to the Jewish believers. 1 Cor:10 does not refer to the Gentiles as Jews – Paul was referring to his forefathers, not to the Gentiles.

Some resources for exploding the Israel Replacement deception:

Judeo-Centric Eschatology

Future Israel Ministries

Israel and the Church

There Really Is A Difference

The Coming Apocalypse

ISRAELOLOGY: The Missing Link In Systematic Theology

Israelology is a seven hundred plus page doctrinal thesis that explores every conceivable verse that is used to argue for Replacement or Expansionist Theology.

Galatians, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson

See especially Gal 16

Romans Chapter 9--Israel's Past

Romans Chapter 10--Israel's Present

Romans Chapter 11--Israel's Future

The Use of the Term "Israel" in the N.T.

A Comparison and Contrast Between Israel and the Church

A Compilation of Bible Prophecies Demonstrating that Israel Has a Glorious Future in the Plan and Purpose of God

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First Thessalonians 4 and the Rapture PART 2

With regard to the coming of the Lord Jesus, there is much emphasis upon the Greek words parousia, apokalupsis, and epiphaneia. As demonstrated in the first part of this article, those words do not catalog one single event; rather, these words are used throughout the New Testament to characterize both the rapture and the second coming. Since it is the biblical context that determines which coming is referenced, we will how show the context of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 demonstrates that the comfort of this passage is the reunion of the deceased and living saints in Christ at the pretribulational rapture...Read more