Paul Benson – A Bottomless Bucket (Part 1)
A Critique of Paul Benson’s book, “A Bucket Full of Holes: Solid Proof The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory is False”
Discerning The World regularly has to contend with comments of people who have a natural inborn animosity for the Pretribulation Rapture position. Some comments are well-versed and demonstrate not only a keen interest in the subject but also an attentiveness for the need to thoroughly research the subject. Unfortunately, many of the research is based on books and articles that seem to make a lot of sense but usually fail to endure the fiery test of biblical discernment.
There are mainly two very important criteria that facilitate proper exegetical and hermeneutical discernment. The one is context and the other is that the truths explained in one passage of Scripture must always complement another passage or passages. Hence the maxim “scripture explains scripture.” They cannot and may not contradict one another in the very slightest.
If we accept and believe the fact “. . . that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21), then we dare not deter from the fact the “scripture explains scripture.”
These are the two criteria Discernment Ministries have always endeavored to stick to at all times. Yes, of course, there were times when DTW has not been so accurate in its discernment but has always been prepared to rectify its mistakes when proved wrong from Scripture. Please note, I said from Scripture and not any book, article or seminary paper written by men.
My wife is an avid antique lover who likes to collect old things her friends or our family members no longer want or need. I have been waiting for years for someone to give her a priceless painting without them knowing what it’s worth, but we haven’t been so lucky, at least not yet.
Old rusty bottomless buckets are one of her specialties. In typical self-opinionated male ignorance, I once asked her, “What in the world are you going to do with those ugly buckets?” She calmly said, “Oh those? All they need are some good soil, a good deal of compost and a few beautiful flowers to change them into something magical.”
I was introduced to a book by Paul Benson not so long ago who has made it his life’s work to thoroughly rebuke the myth of the Pretribulation Rapture which he aims to hit “soundly from about 50 different points of concern.” (Page 5). He has baptized his book in the water seeping through the holes of his proverbial bucket “A BUCKET FULL OF HOLES! SOLID PROOF THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE IS FALSE.”
Having read it, I am convinced that it should rather have been called “A BOTTOMLESS BUCKET THAT CANNOT HOLD ANY WATER!” I have rarely come across literature with so many statements and innuendos that contradict one another so profusely as Paul Benson’s “BUCKET FULL OF HOLES.”
Nevertheless, he steadfastly holds up his bottomless bucket with outstretched arms above his head and says, “This is solid proof that the Pre-trib Rapture theory is false.” And what a better way to do it than to make his readers believe that what he had written and deposited into his “bottomless bucket” is the truth and nothing but the truth. In the very first paragraph in the preface to his book, he affirms in solid Benson fashion that his book was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“A love for the truth is not an option for the believer! If you are taking the time to read this book it is obvious you have a desire to get to the truth of the matter under discussion. I commend you for that. And I pray your understanding would be greatly increased through this effort. Please proceed prayerfully. Words of truth only truly become words of life when the wind of the Spirit blows upon them.”
“The result is what I consider a pretty thorough rebuke of that myth that hits it soundly from about 50 different points of concern.” (Page 5. Emphasis added)
Certainly, the truth is what all believers should aspire to pursue with all their heart, and also to know with all their mind (John 16:13). Benson, on the other hand, includes several disclaimers in his book, stating that he is merely speculating or “I am not dogmatic on that idea,” or “I am definitely fallible; but God’s Word is not,” as if that is a new truism only he discovered recently.
Bold statements demand bold and truthful corroborates, and may I add, the Holy Spirit never, never speculates or presumes things whenever major doctrines need to be verified. Imagine for one second the Holy Spirit having speculated about the doctrine of salvation . . . and, may I add, that the Pretribulation Rapture is part and parcel of God’s plan for the final fulfillment of the salvation for his Bride.
Paul Benson’s Art of Speculation
The things unbelievers often say are more prudent and noteworthy than the dictums of believers. No wonder God commended the unjust steward in Luke 16 because he had done wisely “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8). Sir Julian Huxley who was a British evolutionary biologist, eugenicist and internationalist (1887-1975) defined the art of speculation as follows:
“To speculate without facts is to attempt to enter a house of which one has not the key, by wandering aimlessly round and round, searching the walls and now and then peeping through the windows. Facts are the key.”
Paul Benson seems to have no qualms to speculate about major or key doctrines in Scripture, one of which is the Rapture. He says on page 64.
“Many others feel this restrainer is the Archangel Michael. And as I have heard some very convincing arguments in favor of that idea I am open to the possibility. All in all, we do not have enough Scriptural input upon which to base a firm statement as to who this restrainer is. All we can do is speculate.”
Speculative truth is no truth. When does speculation creep into one’s doctrinal views? It usually begins to creep in ever so stealthily when you bellicosely and rebelliously refuse to acknowledge the truth at hand and try to exchange it for something else that may possibly seem to be true.
Paul Benson doggedly refuses to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer but must of necessity make amends because he cannot deny that the Bible plainly talks about someone withholding someone or something else.
So, the only option open to him is to speculate, which is no truth at all, that the archangel Michael may be the Restrainer. Still, he boasts that his love for the truth is no option. Any Bible believing Christian will tell you that “THE” truth is called “THE” truth because there is no other truth besides “THE” truth.
Lo and behold, Paul Benson, although he aspires to say nothing but “the” TRUTH, dares to introduce to his readers “A” speculative truth and very subtly suggests that it is “THE” truth. But is it?
Let’s face it. If God alone (the Holy Spirit) has the magnanimous power to quicken a spiritually dead sinner and breath into his soul eternal life through the forgiveness of sins and the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, then surely, He alone must have the power to restrain the man of sin, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Even Paul Benson who so matter-of-factly allows his mind to wander off in a maze of speculations and possibilities, admits that the Holy Spirit restrains sin. On page 60 he writes:
“The Holy Spirit truly restrains sin in the life of one who is submitted to that influence.” (There’s that disclaimer again). (Parenthesis added).
Nonetheless, he denies that the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer of the man of sin. His speculative mindset leads him to believe that the angel Michael has a far better chance to restrain the man of sin than God Himself. Michael alone, according to Benson, can restrain someone who is not submitted to the influence of the restraining power of the Holy Spirit.
We may as well say; The Holy Spirit is quite capable of restraining sin but completely powerless to restrain the man of sin because he will by no means submit to his influence. Enter Chuck Norris. Why Chuck Norris? Because the angel Michael cannot restrain sin, let alone the man of sin, any more than Chuck Norris – zero, zilch, nada.
The archangel Michael cannot restrain sin for the simple reason that he does not live or abide in the spirit of the believers. Had he lived in the believers’ spirit Jesus would have had to extoll him as the one who empowers the saints to overcome Satan since they have the One indwelling them who is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4:4).
Moreover, Michael would then also have been the one who empowers them to be the salt and light of the world. (Matthew 5:13).
It follows quite logically that the Holy Spirit’s restraining office as the Restrainer of sin and of the man of sin will be removed when the Church (Bride of Christ; Body of Christ) is removed at the Pretribulation Rapture.
Mere speculation that someone or something else is the Restrainer of the man of sin, is the kind of borderline blasphemies you expose yourself to when you start gambling with the truth. It is very dangerous. Pure logical thinking is often enough to disprove speculative thinking.
Paul Benson’s Verse/Passage Isolative Exegeses
Paul Benson does not only indulge in speculative thinking but also has a benign resolve to separate doctrinal truths where they are intended to complement one another. He does so by implementing an age-old deceptive tool which I like to call “verse/passage isolative exegeses.” I suppose it is another way of explaining “context wrenching.” Be that as it may, Paul Benson often quotes a single verse, isolates it from the rest of a passage, and says, “See, I told you so.”
A proof positive is his reference to 1 Thessalonians 4:18, ” . . . comfort one another with these words” in the introduction to his book (page 7), in his effort to isolate the Resurrection of the Dead from the Rapture, or at least to create the impression that the doctrine of the Resurrection completely overshadows the Rapture doctrine.
In Section One: Finding A Bible Based Focus Part 1. Rapture Versus Resurrection, He writes:
“I can’t help but notice a trend in today’s preaching that does not mirror a ratio of emphasis we see in the Bible. What I mean by that is: How many times do the Scriptures mention the ‘catching away’ of the Church? Not many. One clear description we find in 1Thessalonians 4 and a few not so clear references to it elsewhere. But the coming Resurrection of the Dead and the transformation of the living Saints, which is going to be such an indescribably awesome phenomenon, is either vividly described or plainly referred to dozens of times in the Bible. It is a theme thoroughly woven into the fabric of Scripture.” (Page 9)
Note how he stretches his speculative thinking even farther in the use of the bizarre header “Rapture Versus Resurrection” as if they stand in opposition to one another. Paul’s words ” . . . comfort one another with these words” does not only refer to the resurrection but also the catching away (harpazo) of the saints (Body of Christ).
If, as Benson says in the very beginning of his book “A love for the truth is not an option for the believer” he would never have opted for one of the oldest methods of deceptions in the book. Whilst he sanctimoniously blames the Pretribulationists of context wrenching, he happily and unashamedly does exactly just that. He writes:
“A thorough application of critical examination leads to an understanding that every passage used to teach the pre-trib rapture is either stolen away from context dealing with the Second Coming of Christ or are benign passages which have a presupposed notion read in to them. I am talking about passages which would in no way give you a certain understanding if you had not come to the text with that preconceived notion in hand.”
The saints’ blessed hope is not just the resurrection. When Jesus comforted his disciples in John 14 with a reminder of his coming, He did not even mention the resurrection. It was not necessary because his disciples were already familiar with the resurrection of the dead.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4).
The term “Blessed Hope” is mentioned only once in the New Testament and relates specifically to “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13). Why did the Holy Spirit leave out any mention of the resurrection in the only place the “Blessed Hope” is mentioned? Because every Bible-believing Christian who does not resort to a maze of speculative thinking knows and believes that the resurrection and the catching up of the saints to meet our Lord in the air is inseparable.
In fact, the resurrection is the means whereby the saints are caught up at the Pretribulation Rapture. No resurrection equals no Rapture. They are inseparable. That’s precisely why Paul wrote:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
On page 11 Paul Benson continues his diatribe against the Pretribulation Rapture.
“So I ask again, why all this modern day focus on the ‘caught up to meet him’ aspect of Christ’s Coming? Does the Bible put the emphasis there? If you stop and think about it the ‘caught away’ part of what we experience that day is relatively minor compared to what we will experience in the Resurrection! How did things get so turned around to the point where a brief journey upwards overshadows what transpires in the Resurrection?
The dead awake with the image of Christ. The mortal has put on immortality (1Corinthians 15:54). No more sickness, disease, or dying! We’ve carried the earnest (down-payment) of our inheritance all these years and now we have the fullness of that promise in our resurrection. We have now entered eternity in a glorified body, and death can never touch us. Why minimize that and maximize being carried up into the sky? Could that be a proper focus?
I realize pre-trib rapture folk believe that the Resurrection and the ‘catching away’ all take place in the same micro-second (a false belief discussed later). But my point is: Why carry on and on about the catching away and say so very little, or often nothing at all, about our resurrection and transformation, and the glory that shall be revealed in us? You might hear it mentioned in the reading of a text, but the pre-trib preachers rarely focus on it.
Usually, the brunt of the message deals with avoiding the time of great tribulation; which they incorrectly state is the wrath of God (a false notion we will also discuss later).”
The author’s efforts to deemphasize the importance of the catching away of the saints and to overemphasize the Resurrection of the Dead, by implying that the Rapture is cited far less in Scripture than the Resurrection of the Dead, is rather unfortunate and exposes his misreading and, therefore, mismanagement of the truth.
What he seems to overlook is that the catching away of the saints in 1 Thessalonians 4 does not only narrate the “harpazo” or catching away of the saints but also describes a deeper expansion of the meaning of the resurrection of the saints. Hence, Paul’s unequivocal statement in 1 Corinthians 15:51, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (1 Corinthians 15:51).
It destroys the author’s efforts to prove that knowledge of the Resurrection of the Dead is much older and even calls for Job to be a witness to his claims. The fact that Paul’s description of the catching away of the saints is rather meagrely discussed in the New Testament does not give one the leeway to minimize its relevance and importance.
His words “I shew you a mystery” clearly stresses the truth that God intended to bring the Rapture doctrine to fruition from the beginning of time and decided to make it known to the saints in his own time. As a matter of fact, the word “mystery” (“Musterion”) expresses the idea of something being unknown (or secret) until such time when it is revealed.
God chose Paul to reveal this mystery to the church when the time had come for it to be made known. As such, it has always been uppermost in God’s mind in the same degree the Resurrection of the Dead had been in his mind from the very beginning of time. That makes the doctrine of the Rapture just as old as the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead.
I find it rather odd that Paul Benson is prepared to stake his life on “cognitive scaffolding” in languages and yet denies the authenticity of a Pretribulation Rapture just because it is allegedly not so old as the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead. On page 58 he writes:
“In language studies there is a term called ‘cognitive scaffolding’ which simply means that in literature we receive a progression of understanding as each new sentence adds information to the previous ones. The fullness of meaning in any verse of Scripture is not found only in that verse itself, but also in the contributing information of the verses around it.”
The “cognitive scaffolding” for the doctrine of the catching away of the saints was already in place and a fait accomplis in God’s mind before the beginning of time, but its final blueprint was only made known when Paul revealed the mystery to the church, when the veil covering the “cognitive scaffolding” in God’s mind was finally removed by his servant Paul.
Paul Benson’s incongruous remarks clearly demonstrate his deliberate undermining of the spreading of the Rapture message among believers and to “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, . . .” (Revelation 22:19). Has he never read these passages:
“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live“. (Deuteronomy 8:3).
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Proverbs 30:5).
The above few quotes from Scripture make Paul Benson’s affirmation “I can’t help but notice a trend in today’s preaching that does not mirror a ratio of emphasis we see in the Bible. What I mean by that is: How many times do the Scriptures mention the ‘catching away’ of the Church? Not many,” look rather silly. A single word from God’s mouth, as Jesus affirmed, is enough to confirm its irrefutability because He is the essence of Truth.
OK, Mr Pre-trib-Buster, here’s a question for you. You lament the fact that today’s preaching does not mirror the ratio of emphasis the Bible supposedly reflects, and that the “catching away” is sparsely mentioned. Yet you have taken the mammoth task upon your shoulders to write a book of nearly 200 pages to prove a relatively minor doctrine in the Bible to be the only acceptable one for the Church, i.e. the Post-tribulation rapture that allegedly occurs simultaneously with the Second Coming of Christ. What’s good for the goose (in this case the Pretribulation Rapture) must be good for the gander (in this case the Post-tribulation Rapture).
You cannot divorce the catching away of the saints from the Resurrection of the Dead. It’s impossible. Consequently, Paul Benson’s failure to see any noticeable emphasis placed on the ‘catching away’ may be attributed to his poor reverence for sparsely mentioned doctrines in the Bible.
If we were to accept Paul Benson’s downplay of briefly mentioned doctrines in the Bible as criteria to evaluate their worth, we would have to talk down other very important doctrines as well. Consider for instance the command “Honour thy father and thy mother” which occurs only once in the Bible (Exodus 20:12) and subsequently in four reminders of the same command (Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10 and Luke 18:20).
In Ephesians 6:2 it is singled out as a command with a promise annexed to it, namely that those who obey it will be blessed with a long life. Surely the promise of a long life is exceptionally important, even though it is a doctrine hidden, as it were, in a small corner of the Bible.
Very little is known about the following persons because their names appear only in a few verses in of the Old Testament.
- Enos (Genesis 4:26; 5:6, 7, 9, 10 -11).
- Cainan (Genesis 5:9-10; 12-14).
- Mahalaleel (Genesis 5:12-17).
- Jared (Genesis 5:15-16; 18-20).
- Enoch (Genesis 5:18-19; 21-24).
- Methuselah (Genesis 5:21-22; 25-27).
There are many other persons who are mentioned but a few times in Scripture but these will suffice for our purpose. If we were to accept Paul Benson’s reasoning that the importance of these persons is relatively minor compared to people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are mentioned and discussed far more in Scripture, then we will have to conclude that they also had a relatively minor position in Jesus Christ’s ancestral genealogy.
All the above-mentioned names appear together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Luke 3:23-38 proving they are just as important, despite their sparsely mentioned names in Scripture. Enoch, for instance, is only mentioned in passing in Hebrews 11:5 and Jude 1:14. However, the context in which his name appears is so magnanimously important that we dare not regard his name as relatively minor compared to those of others.
In fact, both these verses are a prophecy related to the Pretribulation Rapture. Like Enoch who was translated alive by God, the church (Body of Christ) will also be caught up alive to meet Jesus Christ in the air. So too does Jude 1:14-15 attest to a Pretribulation Rapture, for it clearly says that the saints will return with Him to earth to execute judgment on the nations.
How can they return with Him unless they had been translated (“harpazo” caught up) by Him at some stage earlier? It proves that Paul Benson’s argument is flawed and somewhat illiterate and, therefore, cannot be used to refute the Pretribulation Rapture.
Paul Benson concludes Section One: Finding A Bible Based Focus Part 1. Rapture Versus Resurrection with these flowered words:
“It is my firm belief the Bible does teach neither two resurrections of the believers nor two ‘catchings away’ of the Church; one before the great tribulation in addition to the one clearly taught at the Second Coming. Though many don’t realize it pre-trib theory demands two of each! Since I do not believe the teachings of a ‘pre-tribulation rapture’ are portraying the same event the Bible describes, I will be referring to those teachings as the ‘pre-trib rapture theory’; and the genuine event which transpires at Christ’s Return after the tribulation as the ‘catching away’.
I will show many examples of why I say the pre-trib rapture theory is a deceiving and damaging false doctrine; and has been fabricated from Stolen Snippets, Deceiving Distractions, Unbiblical Concepts, and Outright Lies. It is a man-made fable resting solely upon Scripture stolen out of context and notions which completely lack any foundation in the Word of God. This is a bold accusation, and will likely offend many, but as they say: ‘The proof is in the pudding!’ I hope you will consider what is written here prayerfully and with an open Bible. May the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth.” (Page 12).
The Pretribulationists do not believe that there are two separate catching aways of the Church (Body of Christ), one prior to the seven-year tribulation and one at the Second Coming, which again proves Benson’s ignorance of what they believe.
No one will deny that the proof is in the pudding. Benson’s pudding, as we’ve seen up to now, is inundated with false innuendos, outright lies, and corrupt exegeses. His bottomless bucket and pudding contain the same ingredients — inaccuracies in the extreme.
I couldn’t even bring myself to read the entire article because of your false assumptions. This article is a reaction to my comment, so i can categorically state that i have no inborn animosity for the pretribulation rapture ’cause i started out believing that false teaching as biblical truth until God’s Word, the Bible, opened my eyes. I was reading 2 Thess 2 one morning when i began seeing things there that were contrary to the teaching of a SECRET catching away before the Coming of the Lord. it was not someone’s book or article that opened my eyes. I only recommended the book because it is indepth. Many people have bought in this rapture lies that they need someone who has spend years ‘discerning those lies’ and debunking them. Secondly, this article is hypocritcal (at least from the introduction i read) for if you truly employ ‘fiery biblical discernment’ and let ‘Scripture complement Scriptures’ the rapture teaching would crumple. the teaching has to be supported by unbiblical and sometimes heretical claims (dispensationalism that claims a seperate means of salvation for the jews and those supposedly ‘left behind’ after the rapture. as in my last comment, i would recommend you address teachings, without necessarily attacking the teacher. You can’t discredit biblical truth by simply attacking the character or other teachings of the teacher.
I can assure you that I have never in all my life believed that there are two separate means of salvation for the Jews and the Gentiles. But, that’s so typical of Pre-trib haters. You accuse me of making false assumptions whilst you are the one who is making the false assumptions. Goodie for you. Your very first sentence proves that you are not interested in learning the truth. “I couldn’t even bring myself to read the entire article because of your false assumptions.” How on earth can you accuse me of false assumptions if you hadn’t taken the time to read the entire article? Rest assured, much more is following, yet you need not read the whole series of articles because you have already made up your mind. You are guilty of what Paul Benson says in his book.
I am sure you read Benson’s book from cover to cover which proves that your views of the Pretribulation Rapture must have been influenced by his rantings against the Pre-trib.
You say, “i can categorically state that i have no inborn animosity for the pretribulation rapture ’cause i started out believing that false teaching as biblical truth until God’s Word, the Bible, opened my eyes.”
How does that work for you? First, you loved the Pre-trib Rapture and now you have turned your back on it. Turning your back on something you used to love echoes sentiments of animosity, not so?
Another thing, I can see that your understanding of 2 Thessalonians 2 is rather shaky. Where is the “gathering unto Him” (harpazo) in Matthew 24, one of the chapters the Posttribulationists use to argue in favor of their doctrine?
And by the way, I wrote: “Discerning The World regularly has to contend with comments of people (plural) who have a natural inborn animosity for the Pretribulation Rapture.” You are not the only one. There are minions of anti-Pretrib haters. If you’d been that important I would have mentioned your name in the article.
You said “the teaching has to be supported by unbiblical and sometimes heretical claims (dispensationalism that claims a seperate means of salvation for the jews and those supposedly ‘left behind’ after the rapture.”
I echo what Tom said “I can assure you that I have never in all my life believed that there are two separate means of salvation for the Jews and the Gentiles.”
There is no 2 separate ways of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, this is a lie that anti-pretribulationists love to yell out to the world. Nothing but a big fat lie. You don’t understand Dispensationalism. And yes there are many a false teacher that preach pre-trib rapture; it DOES NOT make the “harpazo” false.
You are anti-pretrib and so is the Romann Catholic church, they believe as you do, or you believe as they do. Does that make you a Roman Catholic? I should hope not.
We have addressed every possible Rapture teaching on this website (but you don’t want to read it). That’s your problem, not ours.
Paul Benson left a comment on his site (https://pbenson.me/2017/02/11/a-bucket-full-of-holes/comment-page-1/) in which he uses one of the oldest methods of distractions – playing the martyr. I tried to post a comment on his blog “Let’s Get It Right” but was unable to do so. Here is the comment I made.
Hi Paul, Why do you assume that I am attacking you personally when I am merely critiquing your book in the light of Scripture? You are the one who uses harsh words against the Pre-trib Rapture and its adherents. SO . . . go ahead and attack if you must. You accuse us of using distractions but you are actually the one who uses one of the oldest methods of distraction in the book – playing the martyr by accusing me of attacking you personally. I urge you to read my critique prayerfully and in a real scholarly and gentlemanly way by looking what I had written instead of distracting those who want to read it prayerfully by your self-inflicting martyrdom. For instance, your assumption that Michael the archangel is the restrainer instead of the Holy Spirit gives you a wonderful opportunity to grind the Pre-trib Rapture into the ground once and for all. But, you can’t because you can only speculate, as you have already admitted in your book, something the Holy Spirit will never do.
You deny that you suggested that your book was inspired by the Holy Spirit but boastfully say, “I think most will see that attacking as you sidestepping the firm points made in the book that so many others have thanked me for pointing out.” Doesn’t that imply that most see your book as inspired by the Holy Spirit? At any rate, your ranting that the Pre-trib Rapture is a curse pretty much gives one the impression that you believe your book was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Only those who are absolutely sure of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit will dare to call something that just might be a divinely inspired doctrine a curse because he knows it is very dangerous (Isaiah 5:20-21). For instance, Paul would never have pronounced the curse in Galatians 1:8 and 9 unless he was absolutely sure that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to say so.
You are welcome to post your refutations in our comment section here: https://www.discerningtheworld.com/2018/04/15/paul-benson-bottomless-bucket/
Yes, I too struggled to comment on his site, you have to login to wordpress and all sorts of obstacles. Scratch/ I have left another comment there pointing back to your comment here.
HI Tom and Deborah;
If you choose not to accept my conclusions about the modern pre-trib rapture doctrine that is between you and the Father. And yes it is modern, and not the historical view of the Church. How in the world could the Church have gone on for over 1800 years without believing something supposedly revealed to the apostle Paul and supposedly taught by him to all his disciples? The writings of the theologians , teachers, and preachers down through the centuries are chock full of clear indication the Church has always believed we would face the onslaught of Antichrist’s war on the Church BEFORE Jesus comes for his Bride.
Your claim that you do not believe in TWO separate methods of salvation is in direct opposition to your claim to be a dispensationalist. Dispensational theory firmly teaches the Christian Church is a byproduct of a gospel of grace that is only available in this (supposed) dispensation; and salvation by grace was not available before this dispensation (dispensational theology teaches O.T. saints were saved by the Sinai Covenant, and their adherence to the Law of Moses,) nor will salvation by grace through faith be available after the age of grace supposedly comes to a close at the pre-trib rapture; and then things will revert back to salvation by the Old Testament manner. Dispensationalism teaches salvation by grace through faith for us Christians (and properly so), but salvation by works for the O.T. believers and also those they have labeled as the’ tribulation Saints’.
Dispensational theology teaches Israel is saved by a completely different covenant of salvation that the Christian Church. If you don’t understand that maybe you should examine the theology you claim to hold to a little deeper. It is quite flawed!
The unworkable facets of dispensational theory (particularly concerning election and ‘separation’) are quite numerous. That is why, after years of prayer consideration, I rejected it.
Bottom line: Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, if your are a dispensationalist you believe in TWO separate ways to be saved! And that denies the Cross of Christ, and the life-Blood he shed there, as the ONLY means of salvation!
I do wish you well; and pray God will give us ALL a clear understanding of his truths.
In Jesus Christ;
Hi Paul, and thanks for your comment.
The other Paul, Paul of Tarsus, clearly speaks of the “dispensation of grace.” in his epistle to the Ephesians.
He expounds on it more in Romans 11.
God has set his people whom He chose as his elect (Isaiah 45:4) aside for a season (dispensation of grace) because of their rejection of their Messiah so that He could reach the Gentiles with the Gospel of grace in this dispensation. In this dispensation, Jew and Gentile are being saved by grace through faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross and are united by the Holy Spirit as one body (the Bride of Christ) in Jesus Christ. When this dispensation comes to an end at the Pre-tribulation Rapture, God is once again and finally going to set his mind on his people as a nation. The parable of the five wise (Jewish believers) and five foolish virgins (unbelieving Jews) describes this event which is going to take place when the seven-year tribulation has run its full course (Matthew 25). The prophet Zechariah also prophesied this event in Zechariah 12:10-14 and 14:4.
BY the way, Abraham, who is called the Father of all the believers, was a Gentile when he got saved. He only became a Jew when he was circumcised.
Dispensationalism is a fact, whether you believe in it or not.
By the by, why do you assume that Michael is the Restrainer and not the Holy Spirit? Isn’t that “kinda-sorta sound like” demeaning the Holy Spirit?
I do not assume that Michael is the restrainer; I am merely open to that possibility (as well as others) as the reference to restraint is not given to us in a manner that gives clear indication as to just what or who is doing the restraining. When things are unclear in the Scriptures it is only because the Lord chose not to make them clear. The things that are important for us to grasp are plainly stated.
I feel the undue emphasis on the restraint expressed in v.7 of 2Thess. is a smokescreen to hide the true focus of that chapter; and that is the matter of Christ’s appearance (NOT the restraint of antichrist’s appearance), and just what it is that restrains that appearance of Christ. All the hub-bub over v.7 obfuscates the reality that this chapter clearly states that Christ’s coming and our gathering together unto him will NOT happen until after the great apostasy and the man of sin is revealed. And the text goes on to state this coming of Christ destroys that wicked man of sin. Antichrist is not destroyed until the end of the tribulation. Thus this Coming of Christ and the catching away associated with it cannot be a pre-trib event! If people would stop jumping into the middle of the chapter, focusing on one verse, and then exiting the chapter without examining the entire context, they would see this chapter forbids the notion of a pre-trib rapture.
Speaking of assumptions: Why do you assume Paul was speaking of one of seven supposed dispensations (segments of time) when he referred to the dispensation of grace; and not the true and proper meaning of the word dispensation – (distribution or administration). A soap dispenser is for the dispensation of soap. Joseph was charged with the dispensation of the stored up food during the famine in Egypt. The dispensation of grace is referring to grace being dispensed, not a period of time; and this marvelous grace of our Lord has been dispensed throughout the Old Testament and the New. It is NOT exclusive to a particular period of time.
Where is there any mention of time being chopped up into seven ‘dispensations’ in the Scriptures? NONE! It is an invention of man, and a flawed theory.
You’re not listening. Paul is not merely speaking of the dispensing of grace but also of a Godly induced blindness on the part of his chosen people, the Jews, to his grace. How many times do I need to quote Scripture to you before you will acknowledge the truth?
“(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” (Rom 11:8-12).
I find it rather odd that you are so readily open to the possibility that Michael is the restrainer and yet completely against the possibility that the Holy Spirit alone has the power to restrain, not only sin but also the man of sin. Haven’t you read my remarks on your strange surmisings in my article. Allow me to remind you.
“Let’s face it. If God alone (the Holy Spirit) has the magnanimous power to quicken a spiritually dead sinner and breath into his soul eternal life through the forgiveness of sins and the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, then surely, He alone must have the power to restrain the man of sin, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Even Paul Benson who so matter-of-factly allows his mind to wander off in a maze of speculations and possibilities, admits that the Holy Spirit restrains sin. On page 60 he writes:
‘The Holy Spirit truly restrains sin in the life of one who is submitted to that influence.” (There’s that disclaimer again).’ (Parenthesis added).
Nonetheless, he denies that the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer of the man of sin. His speculative mindset leads him to believe that the angel Michael has a far better chance to restrain the man of sin than God Himself. Michael alone, according to Benson, can restrain someone who is not submitted to the influence of the restraining power of the Holy Spirit.”
You readily attribute to an angel the power to restrain the Antichrist and in the same breath the strength, know-how, and expertise to Satan and his Antichrist to restrain Jesus. If this were true, and you will agree it is, that what He said here is indeed true, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again, This commandment have I received of my Father.” (Joh 10:18), then no one else but his Father and He Himself have the power to restrain Him. And why would they do that, may I ask – to validate your strange interpretations of the Gospel?
I have already warned you that it is dangerous to give Satan and his cohorts the honor and praise that is due only to the Trinity. Be careful! (Isaiah 5:20).
Your argument that God’s marvellous grace was dispensed throughout the Old and the New Testaments, is correct. However, you deny that fallings away from the faith have occurred throughout the Old and New Testaments as well. Instead, you suggest that “a falling away” in verse 3 of 2 Thessalonians, together with the appearance of Antichrist, are the two factors that restrain Christ’s coming. And to give it the impetus you wish it to have, you change “a falling away” (apostasia) to “great apostasy.” The term ‘great apostasy” is as glaringly absent from the Bible in the same way a chicken with teeth is. There is absolutely no discrepancy in the Pre-trib’s chronological reading of verses 7 to 9 or even from verse 1 to 9. Only those, like yourself, who see the restaining as a hindrance of Christ’s coming will make the assumption that we are “jumping into the middle of the chapter, focusing on one verse, and then exiting the chapter without examining the entire context, . . .”
You said “I do not assume that Michael is the restrainer; I am merely open to that possibility (as well as others)”
Do you realise that writing a book/article claiming it to be the truth but at the same time state it’s nothing but a book/article that is full of ‘open possibilities’ is in fact nothing less than false teaching and downright confusion.
Calvinists are pass-masters when it comes to using the age old deceptive tool that anything that can’t be explained in scripture is ‘but a mystery that only God knows’. You say the same thing. If you don’t understand it, you surmise and claim it’s a mystery, something that man will never be able to figure out. Why would God put it in His Word to us, if we are never able to understand it?
Would you mind telling me what you think of Andrew Strom?
Tom, this is a very good article. These issues have been troubling me and just about everybody I know, for a long time. I am now studying the subject from beginning to end. I am reading some of Loretta Vosloo’s book. I just want to ask you which Bible translation you recommend for studying this subject ? Apparently the Ascot and Hort translations of the Bible has about 2900 words missing. Is “The Scriptures” translation more accurate then? I want to make sure I read all there is to read in the Bible about this subject. Keep up your good work :thankyou:
Hello Tom and Deborah;
I would be happy to try and answer any questions or address any issues you want. But first I would like you to address the issue of: Does Dispensational Theology teach two separate means of salvation. One for Israel (the Sinai Covenant)and one for the Church (Grace thru faith)? You both have skirted that question; but formerly stated neither of you believe in two methods of salvation.
Dispensational (pre-trib) theory teaches a separation of believing Israel and the Church that is contrary to the picture of election given in Romans 11. We (the Gentile Church) are grafted into the Olive Tree (elect of God) along with the remnant of believing Jews. Unbelieving Israel is currently cut off by their unbelief. When they embrace faith they are grafted back into the same Olive Tree (election) we are a part of. This is the ‘one new man’ Paul wrote of. Although these things are plainly stated in Romans 11, Galatians 3, and Ephesians 3, Separation theology ignores these truths and instead separates the ‘one new man’ into two separate groups with two separate covenants of salvation. That is heresy.
I am interested to know where you get your information from regarding this ‘separation’ idea of yours? Please name your sources?
Hi Paul, I really do not know what more to say to make it clearer to you that I do not believe in two separate means of salvation for the Jews and the Gentiles. Both are saved by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross – nothing more and nothing less. You seem to be the one who embraces two different kinds of salvation when you suggest that sinners need to be grafted into the “Olive Tree (election)” in order to be saved. As far as I know, sinners (Jews and Gentiles alike) only need to be baptized into Jesus Christ, and by definition into his death. There is not a single verse in Scripture that likens salvation to a grafting into the Olive Tree. Is Jesus Christ the Olive Tree? If so, then every single Jew who had been grafted into the Olive Tree (the entire nation of Israel was grafted into the Olive Tree), was saved but lost their salvation when they were cut off from the Olive Tree. Yet, they can be grafted in again. What kind of see-saw salvation is that? First, they are saved (in the Olive Tree) and then lost (out of the Olive Tree), and then again saved (grafted into the Olive Tree). Once again, I must ask, is Jesus Christ the Olive Tree? According to your reading of Romans 11:24, He must be because He is the ONLY WAY to be saved – both for Jew and Gentile. And by the way, as I have shown in my article, you have an unbiblical view of identifying oneself with Christ’s death.
What do you mean by “Olive Tree (Election)”? Therefore, Your “Olive Tree (election)” kind of salvation is heresy. And by the by, my next article in this series exposes even more heresies in your views of the rapture.
I would be happy to try and answer any questions or address any issues you want.”
I have already put several issues I have with your book on the table. Answer them first before we continue to answer in more detail your issue with our alleged double covenant salvation, which we have answered in any case.
HI Ida, and thank you for your kind words. I know it is somewhat of a hassle to find the right translation of the Bible. I am Afrikaans and use the 1953 edition. However, when writing my articles, I use the old King James version. Hope that helps.
Thank you Tom, I knew there was something wrong with Benson’s claims, Not only from some of the points you brought up but just the spirit behind the words.