Lifesaver

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Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.”  (Mark 13:5 NIV)

As Papa ten Boom, Corrie’s father, said in The Hiding Place, “Just because a mouse is in the cookie jar, it does not make him a cookie.”

The “mouse in the cookie jar” was a reference to the their pastor. In his clergy garb, he had just counseled Papa and his two daughters, Corrie and Betsy, to cease their efforts on behalf of the Jews. The Ten Booms were defying their Nazi occupiers at great risk to themselves, by helping Jews escape Holland and almost certain death.

The Ten Boom’s shepherd spoke as though he was caring for his flock. He sat stoically, and appealed to their objectivity. But Papa Casper ten Boom told his minister, “The Jew is the apple of God’s eye. How can we, as a family, do nothing?”

Let history judge who was right. The names of the Ten Booms appears on the wall of “The Righteous Among the Nations”, an honor accorded non-Jews by the State of Israel presented to those who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination. Where might the ten Boom’s pastor have his name written? He might as well be nameless.

Beware of those who wear sheep’s clothing while making a pretense of objectivity. They are not sheep, but wolves. That is what Jesus warns about (above) in “The Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). It is up to us not to be taken in or deceived by the claim they speak in Jesus’ name. They have an angle or a hidden agenda. Don’t fall for their false or pseudo-objectivity or bad things will happen.

The world is waking up to the state of modern journalism. Years ago the news media quit reporting the story. Instead, they began to skillfully fashion their reporting in order to form public opinion. Important facts that fail to support their version are omitted while others that do are embellished. What comes to us in the news props up their specific world view or stirs the controversy they seek. Forget objectivity. It is all a pretense, a sham. Except on rare occasions, journalism is pseudo-objectivity.

I was recently informed of a scathing “one-star” critique on Amazon of my 2013 analysis of Pre-tribulation Rapturism (PTR), “Lifesaver: Rescuing God’s People from the PTR Ship” (Booklocker). My first thought on learning I was pilloried in a review was a feeling of gratitude: “Thank you, nameless one, for taking time to launch your poisoned-tipped darts.”

No doubt the reviewer would name Jesus as his Lord and Savior, as do I. As I read what “my Christian brother/sister” wrote, I could visualize their guns blazing. The review, “a fizzer”, left me wondering “Why the deceit?” There was a pretense of a serious analysis, but serious it was not–nor did it analyze anything I wrote. There was a hidden intent; keep potential readers away.

By referring to what I wrote as “a rant”, the critic’s agenda was to torpedo a reasoned, Biblical analysis of PTR,  a widely-held Christian view of prophecy. In Lifesaver, I fired my torpedoes at ideas and thoughts in order to save people, not fire at people in order to save my ideas. I should not be surprised a loyal PTR soldier, disguised as an objective critic, went for my throat.

So, I ask, is pseudo-objectivity the best that journalism or that PTR can offer? I believe there are many who see through the deception. We better see through it or Jesus’ warning will be for naught. Such things are signs the deceived, like the Ten Boom’s pastor, are on the losing side of history.

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In Acts 7:9-10, we find this: “These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, ‘We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.’ “

What did Stephen say that stirred the hatred of the opposition? Those who argued with him schemed to have him stoned to death using the false charge of blasphemy. It wasn’t simply what this Spirit-filled follower of Jesus said, but how he said it. He spoke the truth boldly. Stephen exposed the most powerful religious leaders of his day as wolves in sheep’s clothing.

A veteran newsman interviewed the U.S. president in 2012 asking questions the American leader did not like. Afterwards, the TV anchor was the subject of an audit by the tax collection agency of the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service. The same journalist was later fired from his job.

A reporter from a major cable news network covered a story that showed America’s president in a less than favorable light. Not long after, the reporter’s phones were wired with an eavesdropping device—as was his parents’ home phone. The wiretapping was ordered by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

What did these men do to instill the wrath of the federal government? They both spoke the truth boldly. They are in the company of Whistle Blowers.

In reality, prophets are whistle blowers. They bring liars and hypocrites out of hiding. That’s what Jesus did. Christ blew the whistle on those who ran Jerusalem’s temple. Jesus as well as John the Baptist called them what they were, “a brood of vipers”.

There are poisonous snakes in our day, too. They may appear harmless but they spew venom. If anyone blows the whistle on them, they will hatch an evil plot to silence the blower or make them pay for being outspoken.

I’ve made up my mind; I’d rather be in the company of whistle blowers, than stand with those who revile them (Psalm 1:1). That’s why the book “Lifesaver”. That’s why this simple book will be loved by some, yet hated by those it exposes.  

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Question 12- What would you like readers of Lifesaver to take away from the experience?

 

Answer 12-I hope that they’d say the book was fair. I hope they appreciate the objective way I presented my case with Scripture. I hope they realize after reading Lifesaver that truth matters. I hope they can see that Christians can disagree without making the other side out to be villains. I hope they can process everything and be able to take a stand against popular opinion. And, I guess, I want them to know if a brother or sister supports the “any moment rapture” position, it doesn’t mean they have horns. It only means they do not fully understand what the Bible teaches or correctly interpret prophecy–therefore, they are in trouble of being deceived.

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Question 11: The world, our country, and our leaders seem to be falling apart around us. At times, it appears the tribulation period is just around the corner. What are your thoughts on that?

Answer 11: My view on that is based on reading the Bible and studying history. The world is falling apart because we are fast approaching the time of the end and, yes, it is just around the corner. The world is also falling apart because Christians have lost their saltiness or influence with respect to culture, politics, morality, community, respect for life, and all the rest. We have the leadership we deserve. Chaos is on the way.

  Tribulation happens in the natural course of things when we act like the Church is supposed to act. Trials come when we invade Satan’s territory and set his prisoners free. Tribulation is a good sign that we are doing something of relevance to God and to the devil. If we are persecuted, it means we are on the attack. Read Jesus, Peter and Paul on this subject.

 The Church in Laodicea did not suffer the same tribulation as Smyrna and Philadelphia. Why not? Because they were self-centered, self-satisfied, prosperous and compromising, that’s why. Jesus expressed how worthless they were by saying he was about to spit them out of his mouth.

In general, Laodicea then is how we in America and other Western nations are today. We have largely given the world a false Jesus. The Jesus we have marketed wants us all to be healthy, wealthy, sitting in church on Sunday and passive. We will soon see the real Jesus in all his glory. Judgment will begin on the household of God, and for those who profess the name of Christ, it won’t be pretty. That is coming before the Tribulation, by the way.  Expect this soon!

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Question 10: Is knowing the tribulation is coming enough? What must Christians do to prepare for these difficult times?

Answer 10: Knowing is not enough. It is only half the battle, but an important step nevertheless. We have to clear our head of false ideas or we will be unprepared for the distress Jesus says the elect will endure prior to his coming. We must study and teach prophecy. That was Paul’s encouragement to the church in Corinth.  The prophets have the revelation we need. Gather with others who dig into prophecy using the rules I referred to earlier. Develop Christian communities that are self-sufficient. Do all the things Jesus says or we won’t pass our future test. Nothing can be done for those in denial. They will likely fall away because they put their trust in a lie.

   No one can afford to ignore prophecy. Heads must come out of the sand. This is all about salvation. Our Savior wants us to be saved to the uttermost. He wants our bodies and souls to be saved from what will soon come upon the whole earth. His Son Jesus is coming as the deliverer of his people. He is coming to establish his reign and rule over the earth and those he saves from out of the time of great distress will make up his kingdom and his priests. That is the future salvation that is written into Scripture in Revelation. Christ will demonstrate his glory and God will reveal his Sovereignty. He will punish those who alter prophecy for that reason. For those alive today, there is nothing more important than to know the truth. Why are we confused or in the dark about it? I suggest there is a diabolical answer to that question.

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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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Question 8: So what you are saying then, is that those supporting the Pre-Tribulation Rapture look for scriptures to support their view, rather than searching the scriptures for what is actually there?

Answer 8: Yes, you nailed it! That’s what not only Pre-tribbers do but other Christian ideologues do on a host of pet subjects. That’s how we get the cult spin-off groups.

   I have made it a point to tell my students, that if you start out with a wrong assumption, you cannot come to a correct conclusion. That’s where this is at. I saw this repeatedly in the writings or statements of Pre-Tribbers. They begin at the wrong starting place and go from there with cleverly crafted scenarios. Sincere students, those who are teachable, are susceptible because they trust teachers who love the Lord and sound knowledgeable about Scripture. Prophecy is still future so we think, “Who are we to say; they could be right.” If we would be more like the Bereans and listen intently to what our teachers give us from the Bible, then go back and examine it critically for ourselves to see if it is true, we would not have the differences we have in the church.

   I was surprised by how easy this book was to write. Coming up with Biblical arguments that dismantled PTR suppositions or starting points was not difficult. It helps that I did not just destroy. I had something valid to replace the false. Truth always gives hope.

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Question 7: So you are saying that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is a lie?

Anwers 7: As far as what it is, I concluded that Pre-tribulationalism is a failed ideology. PTR ideology is an extension of Dispensationalism—a theology that explains for them in a simple way God’s working throughout history and into the future. It is easy to understand and easy to teach. In regard to prophecy, it happens to be false.

  To support Dispensationalism, a Pre-tribulational story-line had to be created from the Scriptures. For reasons, it caught hold among the Biblically-minded and what was a theory is now dogma in a lot of places. Ideologues make everything fit into their way of looking at things. They believe whatever because that is the prism they choose to look at everything through.

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Question 6: Those who believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture seem to be able to find scripture to support their views. How can two totally opposite views come from the same scriptures?

Answer 6: It comes down to a difference of interpretation—a big difference. There is a reason for that. In each of my books, I place the “5 Major Rules for Bible Interpretation” up front, can’t miss them. I abide by these rules in what I write; it’s important for everyone to know that. If you want to attack my view, do it on the basis of the rules. These aren’t my rules. They are time honored rules developed by those who love the Bible. If only one is following the rules, then the one who doesn’t is free to say or do anything.

    On the subject of the rapture there is no reason for reasonable and committed Christians to have any differences. One of the principles guiding sound interpretation is “That we have not arrived at the truth until all the relevant passages on the subject are harmonized.”

    We hear PTR preachers giving lip service to the Word of God but we don’t see the same pastors, teachers, professors and supporters teaching this principle of harmonization (hermeneutics) with regard to prophecy. If they did, they could not remain Pre-tribbers. Period. There are Pre-trib zealots and defenders, but if they were harmonizing all the relevant Scriptures they would be faced with a decision—continue defending the indefensible or yield to the truth. This group remains Pre-trib because they go to the Scriptures with that mindset and look for anything confirming their view while dismissing anything that doesn’t. That is not interpretation according to the rule.

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Question 5: Why do you think Biblical prophecy is not taught, or not accurately taught in Christian circles today?

Answer 5: It started to become obvious—at least from my perspective—that dark forces were at work. I want to be careful here. I’m not suggesting that my fellow pastors and Christian leaders are doing the work of devils and demons intentionally, any more than Simon Peter was when he rebuked Jesus in Matthew 16:22. Peter did rebuke the Lord when he prophesied his future suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. This man Simon heard only the persecution part of Jesus’ prophecy and told the Lord this cannot be, it can never happen to you. That’s what Peter said, one of Jesus’ closest disciples.

   In 16:23 Jesus rebuked him in return and called him “Satan”. “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You do not have in mind the thoughts of God but the thoughts of men.” That is followed by pretty clear teaching on how his disciples must carry their own cross if they want to follow him, etc.

     I saw a parallel. It is not about our motivations or even our love for Christ. Peter’s heart or motivation was not at issue. It is about being used by the devil in the way that Simon tried to change prophecy. Peter wanted to take Christ’s suffering and his cross from our Lord’s mission. Today Pre-Trib teachers want to take suffering and the cross—which is explicitly taught by Jesus, Paul, Peter and Scripture in general—from our mission. I know these are strong words but I began to see the Pre-Trib position as a clever deception of the enemy and an obstacle put in our path by men to keep God’s people from fulfilling their destiny.

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