Paul Benson – A Bottomless Bucket (Part 2)
A Critique of Paul Benson’s book, “A Bucket Full of Holes: Solid Proof The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory is False”
Why Call It “The Rapture”?
Paul Benson starts Part 2 of Section 1 in his book “A Bucket Full of Holes: Solid Proof The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory is False” entitled “Why a New Name: ‘The Rapture’?” by saying:
“Have you ever asked why there was a need to come up with the new name ‘The Rapture’? Did anyone really need to rename our promise of the Resurrection? Do we need a new name for salvation? For healing? For the Cross? No, those names have been working just fine! How about for Heaven? No, Heaven doesn’t need a new name either. But, for the sake of discussion, let’s say I came up with a new doctrine that is a little different than what has been commonly believed about Heaven. And what if I said getting there is a little easier than what we’ve been taught? Just how would I go about promoting my new revelation? How could I get people to take the bait and swallow the hook?”
It is amazing to what lengths Paul Benson will go to defraud the Pre-tribulation Rapture, and in the process, I may add, effortlessly fall into a bottomless bucket full of errors. “The Rapture” is not a renaming or rechristening of the Resurrection.
It is an extended, new revelatory designation in terms of the Old Testament’s definition thereof, or a wider description of the characteristics of the resurrection of the Church (Body of Christ) compared to that of the Resurrection in general.
It is a unique event in the sense that an entire and very large corporate body of believers are going to be taken at once by force to meet the Lord somewhere in the air above the earth, and then to be whisked off immediately to heaven where, first the Bema Throne judgment, and then the Marriage of the Lamb are going to take place. It never happened before, and it will never happen again.
There is no need to rename the Resurrection. However, you cannot fully understand the Resurrection without taking into the account the unique characteristics of the Church’s Resurrection and how it differs from the Resurrection in general.
Paul Benson’s “bucket” expertise to defraud the Pre-tribulation Rapture reaches new heights when he unashamedly mocks it. Even his feigned asking for forgiveness, “Please forgive me for jesting,” is cloaked in a contemptable shroud of mockery (Jude 1:17-18). He writes:
I couldn’t call it Heaven. Folks might look into what the Bible really teaches on Heaven, and the path that leads there, and call me on it. I’d need a way to get them to turn loose of long held beliefs and embrace my theory instead. I would need some real catchy phraseology and have to concoct some very subtle distractions.
First I would have to invent a new name for my new revelation. Then I could say I’m not talking about that old concept of paradise but this other more ‘enlightened’ one. Then I would start pulling snippets of Scripture out of context that kinda-sorta sound like my theory; and go to work devising all kinds of clever ‘proof texts’ about my new doctrine. Skewed understandings of Bible verses so cunningly devised that my unsuspecting followers will be totally convinced they are ‘Bible Truth’!
I could probably even get them to finance a book series! Where could I find a really appealing name?
I know! I’ll take a word for Heaven from the Greek, translate it into an obsolete dialect, then render that word into English; and I’ll have a new name for my new doctrine (don’t laugh, that’s exactly how they came up with the name ‘Rapture’!). And I can say it’s from the Bible because it is (kinda-sorta).
I’ve got a great idea! Let’s just call this other concept of paradise ‘Ecstasy’, shall we? Now I’ve got a catchy name that will appeal to the senses of the carnal: ‘Ecstasy’! (‘Rapture’ anyone?)
And good news! You can get into this Kingdom of Ecstasy much easier than was previously believed. New revelation shows us you can escape all that ‘suffering for Christ’ business. You don’t have to identify with his death. And you don’t have to suffer persecution for taking a stand for Jesus in this world. Have it your way! Just accept my new teaching of escapism and all will be well.
Wouldn’t you rather go hassle free to the realm of Ecstasy than to suffer aggression and hardship along the path to that other place? (Wouldn’t you rather go in the Rapture and escape the endtime trials and persecutions to be endured by those awaiting the Resurrection at the Second Coming?).
Enough about my new name for my new doctrine. Please forgive me for jesting. (Emphasis added).
Have you noticed how cleverly Benson changed a verb into a noun so it may seem that “The Rapture” is a place to which the redeemed are taken? He mockingly calls it the “Kingdom of Ecstasy (Rapture)” in his choreography of deception.
Any Christian in his right mind knows that “harpazo” (to be caught up, plucked up or away by divine intervention) is a verb which makes it impossible to envision it as a place, such as heaven, paradise or kingdom. Paul’s own catching up into Paradise clearly shows that “harpazo” is not a place but a divine action on the part of God into a place.
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:3-4).
It instantly and effectively debunks Paul Benson’s argument that the Pre-tribulationists have invented a new way to “get into this Kingdom of Ecstasy much easier than was previously believed. New revelation shows us you can escape all that ‘suffering for Christ’ business. You don’t have to identify with his death. And you don’t have to suffer persecution for taking a stand for Jesus in this world. Have it your way! Just accept my new teaching of escapism and all will be well.”
How to Identify Yourself with Christ’s Death: Disregard His Word (a.k.a. Paul-“Bottomless-Bucket”-Benson)
False teachers tend to act like, and even outdo the proverbial Jack in a Box. First, he hides the one side of his deception and then suddenly allows it to pop up in defense of his efforts to ax the Pre-tribulation Rapture. On page 180 he writes:
Although we must expect great persecution and even possible martyrdom during the tribulation (and even today for many); we do have very many promises as to personal provision and protection. …the sun shall not smite thee by day… (Psalms 112:6) … in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. (Psalms 37:19). It doesn’t sound like all of them had been partaking of those promises. Had maybe (I am just wondering here) some of ‘the things written in this book’ come upon many of them due to their disregard of God’s Word? I see this as a distinct possibility. [Please note that Paul Benson uses the plural form “them” instead of “us” because he does not see himself as one being guilty of disregarding God’s Word and therefore he will be one of the elect who are going to be protected during the Great Tribulation.]
Let’s unpack his statement a bit more to see how Benson portrays the Jack in a Box syndrome to perfection. Here goes: The saints who partake of God’s promises of protection during the seven-year tribulation are the ones who love, honor, revere and obey his Word, and acknowledge with reverent humility the truth that they need to experience suffering and persecution so that they may be partakers of Christ’s death.
Nevertheless, God is going to protect them from suffering and persecution, as He protected Israel in the Land of Goshen during their exile in Egypt. Gone forever are their awesome opportunities to identify with Christ’s death. Paradox? You bet!
The longing to escape the seven-year tribulation by means of a Pre-tribulation Rapture is wrong and even a curse, as Paul Benson says toward the end of his book, but it is quite acceptable to escape the persecution, martyrdom, and suffering by means of God’s protection during the tribulation.
Nevertheless, we dare not despair in realizing that at least a portion of the saints is going to learn how to identify themselves with Christ’s death.
Believe it or not, their disregard of God’s Word is going to offer them a magnanimous opportunity to identify them with Christ’s death because God’s displeasure with their disregard of his Word will prompt Him to allow them to suffer the most excruciating persecution that never was, and never will be again, and so grant them an opportunity to identify with Christ’s death.
Hallelujah! Benson’s tip-toeing through his tulips of deception has, at last, proved beyond any doubt that the Pre-tribulation Rapture is a myth, a thing from the abyss, and a grotesque lie of Satan. He writes:
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.
Oh, yea, “The proof is in the pudding” but the pudding should not be bug-ridden as Benson’s pudding clearly shows. Those who have eaten of his pudding and liked its taste should bear the following warning in mind.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).
Needless to say, a wrong premise almost always leads to erroneous doctrines. Paul Benson’s notion that the identification with Christ’s death relates to the persecutions, tribulations, and sufferings the saints often endure during their sojourn on earth, and that any endeavor to escape it (such as in a Pre-tribulation Rapture), is not biblical.
If persecutions, tribulations and sufferings were necessary for the saints to identify them with Christ’s death, then a countless number of saints throughout the centuries missed their glorious opportunity to identify them with Christ’s death, because many of them were never subjected to martyrdom, persecutions and suffering.
The idea that persecutions, sufferings and tribulations are the means to identify with Christ’s death is an entirely Roman Catholic concept. Mother Teresa said:
Suffering will never be completely absent from our lives. So don’t be afraid of suffering. Your suffering is a great means of love, if you make use of it, especially if you offer it for peace in the world.
Suffering in and of itself is useless but suffering that is shared with the passion of Christ is a wonderful gift and a sign of love. Christ’s suffering proved to be a gift, the greatest gift of love, because through his suffering our sins were atoned for.
During his visit to Krakow, Poland in July 2016 Pope Francis reflected on the question: “Where is God?” “Where is God, if evil is present in our world, if there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles and refugees?” he asked.
“Where is God, when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism and war?” He asked, ”. . . where is God in the face of cruel and deadly disease, in the exploitation and suffering of children,” and in “the anguish of those who doubt and are troubled in spirit.”
“These are questions that humanly speaking have no answer,” Pope Francis said. “We can only look to Jesus and ask him. And Jesus’ answer is this: ‘God is in them.’ Jesus is in them; he suffers in them and deeply identifies with each of them. He is so closely united to them as to form with them, as it were, ‘one body’.”
Was this the kind of identification with Christ’s death Paul had in mind? Whenever he wrote that the saints should identify themselves with Christ’s death, it was in connection with a death to sin, the old Adam nature or the ego (self) and never in connection with persecution, tribulation and suffering.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:10-14).
Also note the following verses.
- Dead unto the Law: Galatians 2:20.
- Dead unto the lusts and affections of the flesh: Galatians 5:24.
- Dead unto the world and its dainties: Galatians 6:14.
- Dead unto ordinances: Colossians 2:20.
The identification with Christ’s death does not come through persecution, tribulation and suffering; It merely requires a reckoning with the mind.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11).
Paul Benson’s view that the Pre-tribulation Rapture stems from a fear to suffer persecution and death at the hand of Antichrist is, to use his own maxim, a bucket full of holes.
Peter articulated a very serious warning when he said:
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:1-4; 14-16).
Paul Benson likes to put words into peoples’ mouths and then build an argument around what he believes they supposedly believe. He writes:
“I am surprised at how many people don’t understand that Scripture plainly teaches a Resurrection at the Return of Christ to this world. Even if there was an earlier ‘rapture’ event there would still have to be another Resurrection and catching away at the Second Coming (to deal with those saved during the tribulation).
Failure to believe or to acknowledge that Scripture plainly teaches a Resurrection at the Return of Christ to this world, subsequent to the seven-year tribulation, may possibly stem from the fact that the people to whom he refers are not saved. Every Bible-believing Christian does and must of necessity believe in the Resurrection. Paul Benson seems to be unsure about his own surmising about the existence of a Pre-tribulation Rapture, hence his statement “Even if there was an earlier ‘rapture’ event there would still have been another Resurrection . . . at the Second Coming (to deal with those saved during the tribulation.”
He inadvertently mentioned one of the many differences between the resurrection of the Church prior to the seven-year tribulation and the resurrection of the tribulation saints (not the Church) at the end of the Great Tribulation, when he correctly says that the Second Coming of Christ will be to the earth. This we learn from the prophet Zechariah.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:1-5).
Verse 5 echoes the prophecy Enoch proclaimed in Jude 1:14, “Behold, the Lord cometh with (accompanied by) ten thousands of his saints,” It very clearly suggests that the saints who return with Him to the earth must have left the earth with Him sometime earlier.
Are there any other passages in Scripture that support the return of his saints (the church) with Him to the earth at his Second Advent at the end of the seven-year tribulation?
According to Revelation 19:7 the Marriage of the Lamb will already have been a fait accompli when Christ Jesus returns to the earth at his Second advent. The word “erchomai” (is come) denotes something that has already taken place.
The word, when it is used in conjunction with people, does not mean that something is about to occur or in the process of taking place; it means that something which has already taken place, has come from one place to another, in this case the marriage of the Lamb which will have come from heaven to the earth.
It indicates that the Marriage of the Lamb will already have been consummated in heaven when Jesus Christ returns to earth with his bride to appear in the public eye of those who will have survived the holocaust during the Great Tribulation. Verse 8 of Revelation 19 proves this in saying “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
She (the Bride) will be adorned with fine linen, clean and white, which are the righteous deeds of the saints when she returns with her Bridegroom at his Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, just prior to the inauguration of the Millennium of peace on earth.
The fine, clean and white linen garments, as we’ve seen, refer to the saints’ righteous deeds. There is only one way to determine whether the deeds of the saints are righteous and acceptable to the Lord, and that is the judgment seat of Christ called the Bema Seat judgment which will occur after the Rapture in heaven.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).
Indeed, the Bema Throne Judgment will occur in heaven prior to the Marriage of the Lamb so that when the Bride returns with her Bridegroom from heaven to the earth she will already be arrayed in clean and white linen garments.
Revelation 19:14 confirms this in saying: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Some say that the armies are angels. It cannot be angels because they are not going to be arrayed with fine, clean and white linen garments (righteous deeds) because there is no need for God’s angels to be judged at the Bema Throne Judgement Seat.
There are two very important passages in Scripture that are absolutely essential for a correct understanding of the Rapture. They are Luke 12:35-36 and Revelation 19:7-9
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. (Luke 12:35-36).
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:7-9)
To make it easier we need to break it down to its basic essentials.
Let Your Loins Be Girded About
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? (Luke 17:7-8).
“Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37).
The girding in Luke 12 and 17 refers to two groups of people—the Jews during the tribulation who shall know that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming is at the door and consequently need to prepare themselves, and Jesus Christ Himself who is going to be the host at the marriage supper of the Lamb and his wife here on earth.
Incidentally, there are only two places in Scripture where believers are called Jesus’ wife and no longer his Bride to be, i.e. Revelation 19:7 and 21:9. In each case the word “guneÌ„” is used for “wife” which is the very same word used for a married woman in a consummated marriage throughout the New Testament.
This plainly tells us that when Jesus returns to earth at his Second Advent the believers will come WITH Him as his wife to the earth, and not TO his Bride who allegedly will have been persecuted and killed during the seven-year Tribulation so that just about none of them remain alive (Revelation 17:14).
If Jesus were to return from the wedding to come for his wife or Bride and gather her to Himself at the end of the Tribulation, it would mean that his Bride won’t be at his side at the wedding in heaven, making it a marriage something similar to a marriage by proxy.
The Jews, represented by the five wise and five foolish virgins will be the ones who must ready themselves for his return and not his Bride.
He is going to serve all the redeemed Jews who were ready to meet Him at his Second Advent. They are presented by the five wise virgins in Matthew 25.
Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ as the suffering Messiah and as such his revelation of himself to his brothers represents Jesus’ Second Advent when He is going to reveal Himself to his brethren, the remnant of saved Jews at the end of the Great Tribulation and prior to his Millennial Kingdom on earth.
Note that Joseph first sent out all the Egyptians (non-Jews; Gentiles) of his household before he revealed himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1). In like manner, Jesus is going to take his Bride out of the world at the Pre-Trib Rapture before He reveals Himself to his brethren, the remnant of the Jews at his Second Coming.
John the Baptist alludes to Matthew 25 when he said:
“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” (John 3:29).
In Near Eastern weddings, the friend of the Bridegroom was only an assistant (the best man, if you will) and not the main participant in the marriage. It was his task to make preliminary arrangements for the Bridegroom’s wedding and marriage banquet.
His joy came when he heard the Bridegroom coming with his wife to the marriage supper. It follows that the wedding itself will take place in heaven and the marriage banquet here on earth during the Millennial age of peace on earth.
A parable that proves that the wedding banquet will be on earth, is the one in Matthew 22. Nothing whatsoever in this parable suggests that the scene is going to transpire in heaven.
It is inconceivable that anyone will be able slip into heaven unnoticed without a garment of salvation or a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; Matthew 22:11-13). However, such a thing can certainly happen here on earth.
A question we need to ask, is: How will a person without a garment of salvation or a robe of righteousness gain entrance into the Lamb’s marriage banquet? Bear in mind that only the King was able to identify the person without a garment of salvation (verse 11).
It suggests that the people who are going to guard the entrance to the banquet to check whether the guests are appropriately dressed in a garment of righteousness will be unable to see through his facade. (Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30?)
He will look like a saved Christian, speak like one, and even make them think that he believes like a Christian. Only the King will be able to see through his facade and promptly order that he be cast into outer darkness.
The parable describes how John the Baptist’s statement “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12) is going to play itself out at the end of the Tribulation just before the inauguration of Christ Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom on earth.
The chaff refers to Jews who will think they may enter into the Millennial age of peace (the wedding banquet) by virtue of their elect status above all the other nations. Not so, says the King, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
It is imperative to realize that the Millennial age of Peace (the wedding banquet) is distinctively Jewish. Jesus’ disciples knew this and so did the Jews in general. (Matthew 19:28; Luke 19:11-27; 22:28-30).
Throughout their history, God called them unto Himself (chose them – Romans 11:28; Isaiah 45:4; 65: 22; Matthew 24:31) with a specific intent to save them all (clothe them with the garment of righteousness).
Yet, most of them chose to follow idols and refused to repent and to be redeemed. Only those who will respond in faith to God’s call to receive his garment of righteousness and salvation are the real chosen ones to enter into the Millennial Kingdom (the wedding banquet).
His words, “Many are called, but few are chosen” has nothing to do with Calvinism and its reformed doctrines of election and predestination. The “election” here, if you will, is based on faith and not a monergistic, sovereign choice unto salvation.
Let Your Lights Be Burning
Like “Let your loins be girded about,” the command “let your lights be burning” in Luke 12:35-37 also alludes to the five wise and five foolish virgins (the believing and unbelieving Jews) in Matthew 25. Note the two elements in verse 1 that make it impossible for the Rapture to take place at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Had it been the Bride of Christ waiting for her Bridegroom at his Second Advent toward the end of the seven-year tribulation and prior to the inauguration of his Millennial Kingdom here on earth, it would mean that the splitting up in two groups – the one called wise and the other foolish virgins – must be applied to the Bride.
Consequently, it would also mean that one group within the ranks of the Bride won’t have enough oil in their lamps. That alone is ridiculous because not a single member of the Bride of Christ can be suspect of not having enough oil, i.e. of not being redeemed.
She couldn’t possibly be called the Bride of Christ whilst some of them do not have enough oil, and thus unredeemed. God’s salvation is 100% perfect. If salvation is the quickening of a sinner’s dead spirit by the Holy Spirit, which indeed it is, then the fullness of God’s Spirit is given, which means that the newly born is saturated with God’s oil.
There is no such thing as not having enough oil with the Bride of Christ. The question we need to ask is: Could this be possible within the ranks of God’s elect (the Jews)? Indeed, it can when we take into account what they are going to experience during the Tribulation, called the time of Jacob’s trouble. They are going to make a covenant (peace treaty) with the Antichrist (John 5:43)
Mid-way into the seven-year tribulation they will be forced to flee when the Antichrist sets up an idol of himself in the most holy in the newly built temple. (Matthew 24:15-21).
The elect (remaining Jews; children of the Kingdom; Matthew 8:11-12) will be regathered from the four corners of the earth to meet Jesus Christ in Jerusalem prior to the Millennial Kingdom (Mark 13:27). Some will be ready to meet Him (having enough oil and their lamps burning, i.e. saved) while others won’t (not having enough oil resulting in lamps going out, i.e. not saved).
A mistake most Christians make, when dealing with the Rapture, is to disregard two major events that follow the Rapture and that is the Bema Throne Judgement seat of Christ and the marriage of the Lamb itself.
These events must of necessity follow each other chronologically, as we shall see as we go along. But first, we need to examine the meaning of the phrase “is come” in Revelation 19:7.
Most Christians interpret this as being at the end of the seven-year tribulation and just prior to the Millennial Kingdom on earth when Jesus allegedly comes for his Bride who will have been battered, bruised, maimed and killed by Antichrist during the Tribulation, because the No-Trib bunch have done and accomplished their sacred duty to prepare them for the tribulation.
If this were true, from whence are the Post-Tribbers going to get enough time for the Bema Throne Judgement and the marriage of the Lamb here on earth in an environment dictated by time and space?
The aorist tense ἔρχομαι (erchomai) (“is come”) denotes an already completed event which, in simple language, means that the marriage of the Lamb will already have been consummated in heaven when Christ returns with his wife to the earth at his Second Advent (Jude 14-15).
It means that the marriage of the Lamb will have to come after the Bema Throne Judgement (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and prior to his Second Advent to the earth (Zechariah 14:4).
The reason why the marriage of the Lamb cannot be placed anywhere else other than after the Bema Throne Judgment in heavenly places, is that Christ’s wife “was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: “for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8). When and where will this take place? The only acceptable answer is – at the Beman Throne Judgement Seat of Christ Jesus.
The purpose of the Bema Throne Judgement will be to finally settle, by God’s fire, the question whether every individual saint’s works which he had done in his body have any spiritual value, and thus glorifying God or not. Why is this event so necessary? It is vitally important because many performed good works on behalf of their own braggadocios and must of necessity be judged by fire.
Their carnal works which had been done for self-aggrandizement and to be seen and heard by others will not be rewarded because the praise and public approvals they received on earth for their good works (righteous deeds), will be their reward (Matthew 6:1-3).
These are the works described as wood, hay, and stubble in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Once these saints’ works have been tested by fire and have purged their braggadocio kind of works, will it be granted that they are arrayed in fine, clean and white linen, together with the other saints whose works will have withstood the fire (gold, silver and precious stones).
Then, and then only, will the Bride, fully arrayed with fine, clean and white linen, become Christ’s wife. This proves that the Rapture will and can only take place before the seven-year tribulation which means that the vitally important event, the Bema Throne Judgement of Christ, will take place first, followed by the marriage of the Lamb IN HEAVEN.
Should we be surprised that Paul Benson is completely silent about two of the most important doctrines in Scripture – the Bema Throne Judgment and the Marriage of the Lamb? What else can we expect of him when he fails to see that the time element poses a problem for the Post-tribulation view.
If the Second Coming of Christ which is going to occur in a split second (like a lightning flash), and the catching up of the saints which will also occur in a split second,(in the twinkling of an eye) were to take place instantaneously, where will they find the time for the Bema Throne Judgment and the Marriage of the Lamb?
Only Paul Benson will know from whence he got the idea that Pre-tribulationists believe in two catchings away, the one before the commencement of the seven-year tribulation and the other at the end of the Great Tribulation at Christ Jesus’ Second Advent to the earth. (We will deal with this fallacy later).
In his interpretation on 1 Corinthians 15:20-24 on page 15 and 16 he writes:
“The Scriptures portray the Resurrection of the Righteous as ONE event which transpires at ONE time!
“This passage gives us a clear biblical order of the Resurrection. Doesn’t sound much like two different ‘catchings away’ does it? No, it plainly shows one event. When does this event happen according to the Bible? At Christ’s Coming!”
Notice the term ‘firstfruits’ in the passage above. This is a reference to the Old Testament practice, commanded by the Law, by which a man would ask God to sanctify, or bless, the harvest of his fields, orchards, or vineyards etc..
Do you see now why Paul called Jesus the ‘firstfruits’? The offering up of Christ was a firstfruit offering to God.
“What a beautiful image of Christ’s work on our behalf found there in the Law. And just what is the pattern given to us here? The firstfruit offering first, then the remainder of the crop harvested. The same as we saw in 1Cor. 15! Christ resurrected first; then the rest of us at his Coming! The harvest of ALL believers down through the centuries will take place at one time: the Second Coming! The rapture theory divides our resurrection into two events, but the Word of God tells us this takes place all at once.”
This is yet another example of Paul Benson’s aptitude for context wrenching. He quotes four verses and then concludes that “it plainly shows one event.” “Let’s get it right,” as he would say, and carefully observe the grammar to get to the heart of the matter.
Note carefully the colon (:) in verse 23, i.e. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; . . .” A good definition of the colon can be found here.
“The colon ( : ) is a mark of punctuation used after a statement (usually an independent clause) that introduces a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series. In English grammar, an independent clause is a group of words made up of a subject and a predicate. Unlike a dependent clause, an independent clause is grammatically complete—that is, it can stand alone as a sentence. An independent clause is also known as a main clause or a superordinate clause.”
a punctuation mark : used chiefly to direct attention to matter (such as a list, explanation, quotation, or amplification) that follows.
According to these definitions the colon in verse 23 describes that which precedes it as being complete, and that which follows as an amplification of the preceding sentence or clause. It follows that “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: . . .” is grammatically complete or an independent clause.
It has a subject and a predicate, verifying its complete independence. In short, the sentence “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: . . .” describes the resurrection within the ranks of all the believers throughout the ages in their proper order, and, therefore, cannot, as Benson suggests, be grammatically linked to Christ’s resurrection to prove that “The Scriptures portray the Resurrection of the Righteous as ONE event which transpires at ONE time! . . . At Christ’s Coming!”
Please note, I am not saying it cannot be linked spiritually to Christ’s resurrection; I’m saying it cannot be linked grammatically because the clause after the colon is an amplification or a broader description of the independent clause that precedes the colon.
Even some of the earlier Bible scholars who reject a dispensational rapture acknowledged two resurrections in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24. When taking into account the full context, Paul discusses a resurrection whereby “in Christ” all shall be made alive (verse 22).
However, each group will be resurrected in their own order (“tagma”- something orderly in arrangement (a troop), that is, (figuratively) a series or succession: – order): Christ the firstfruits; and subsequently, those (believers) who belong to Christ (Bride of Christ) at the Pre-trib Rapture; and after this the consummation of the ages whenever Christ returns in the future to hand over the Millennial Kingdom to his Father, including whenever He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.
Benson ends chapter 3 of his book with these words, and while you are reading it imagine for a wee moment that Paul of Tarsus aslo uttered these very same words to comfort the Thessalonian Christians when he said, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
“If you want a truly biblical understanding of end-time events, focus your studies on the resurrection, Christ’s and ours, and you will see a much different picture than that presented by those promising an escape from the coming time of great persecution. The Bible promises us a wonderful day when we will be caught up to meet Jesus at the Resurrection of the Just at the Second Coming (after the tribulation). The promise of an earlier ‘rapture’ is nothing but a fable!”
Paul Benson portrays Paul and the Thessalonian Christians as ignoramuses who had no understanding of the resurrection. J Dwight Pentecost writes:
“The Thessalonian Christians were not ignorant of the fact of resurrection. This was too well established to need presentation of defense. That which elicited the revelation from Paul to them was their misunderstanding of the relation between the resurrection and the saints who were asleep in Christ to the rapture. Paul writes then, not to teach the fact of resurrection, but rather the fact that at the rapture the living saints would not have an advantage over the dead saints in Christ. If the Thessalonians had believed that the church would be going through the seventieth week, they would have rejoiced that some of their brethren had missed the period of suffering and were with the Lord without experiencing the outpouring of wrath. If the church were going through the tribulation it would be better to be with the Lord than to have to await the events of the seventieth week. They would be praising the Lord that their brethren were spared these events instead of feeling that those had missed some of the Lord’s blessings. These Christians evidently believed that the church would not go through the seventieth week and in their anticipation of the return of Christ mourned for their brethren, whom they thought had missed the blessing of this event.” (J Dwight Pentecost: Things to Come. A Study in Biblical Eschatology, p. 209).
What is kinda-sorta comfort is it to tell Christians that Christ’s return at the rapture, to receive his Bride unto his bosom for the final consummation of their marriage in heaven, is a fable? The central and most important rapture passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, with verse 13 shining like a miraculous light of hope to “not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.”
The Pre-tribulation Rapture is every Bible-believing Christian’s Blessed Hope and anyone who dares to call it a fable and a curse is playing with fire. All God’s promises are yea and amen in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).
The idea that some kind of rapture appears simultaneously with Christ’s second advent to the earth is not biblical and we shall see why later in this series of articles.