Paul Benson – A Bottomless Bucket (Part 3)
A Critique of Paul Benson’s book, “A Bucket Full of Holes: Solid Proof The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory is False”
The Paul Benson Liquorice All Sorts — Continued. Read: Part 1 here and Part 2 here
The parable of The Wheat and the Tares
In yet another bizarre attempt to degrade the Pre-tribulation rapture to a mere fable and even a curse, Paul Benson calls upon the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13, to prove that the catching away of the saints and the Second Advent of Christ occur instantaneously and simultaneously; and, in addition, to prove that God’s wrath is poured out on unbelievers only after the alleged catching away at Christ Jesus’ Second Advent and not during the seven-year tribulation. On page 19 of his book he writes:
Those promoting the pre-trib rapture theory say this parable cannot be about the Resurrection of the Just and our catching away because the tares (they say) are destroyed first then the wheat is harvested, so this parable must be about something else (a later judgment or something). This is a very common misunderstanding. But they are not discerning the real sequence the pattern presents.
What they miss is the tares were not destroyed first in this harvest of old, only separated and marked for destruction; (…bind them in bundles). Notice the passage said, ‘As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so, shall it be in the end of this world’. It’s saying the manner in which these tares at the end of the world are dealt with will mirror that of the tares of the old-time harvest. It’s not saying, ‘Go burn the tares now!’; it’s saying, ‘Go bind them in bundles for burning.’ Think about it. Those tares couldn’t be burned with the wheat still in the ground. It would set fire to the field and destroy the crop! The field was not burnt until AFTER the harvest! (Likewise, the wrath of God does not fall until AFTER the catching away at the Second Coming.) (Emphasis added).
It corresponds to what Alexander Reese wrote in on pages 96-97 of his book, “The Approaching Advent of Christ.”
. . . the phrase “time of the harvest” implies a certain period occupied with the various processes of ingathering. At the beginning of this period the angels are sent forth in a purely providential way, immediately before the Lord’s Coming ‘for the church.’ In some mysterious way, secret and providential, the angels gather professors into bundles in readiness for judgment. But no judgment whatever really takes place yet. The Lord then comes for the true Church, symbolized by the wheat, and gathers it to Himself. The ungodly professors, however, who had previously been bundled by the angels, are still left in the world for a number of years until the Lord comes forth in judgment.
The only way to test Paul Benson’s and Alexander Reese’s view of the binding in bundles of the tares, and the when and how their burning is going to take place, is to look at it from God’s perspective. And then, to decide who are the liars.
|WHEN? In some mysterious way, secret and providential, during the seven-year tribulation, for later burning when Jesus Christ first snatches away his saints and immediately returns with them to earth at his Second Advent.||WHEN? Immediately after the seven-tribulation and Christ Jesus’ Second Coming to the earth. Matthew 24:29-31)|
|HOW? The Antichrist, filled with Satan, binds the tares in bundles with his number 666 during the seven-year tribulation.||HOW? God sends his holy angels to gather the elect (wise and foolish virgins; Isaiah 45:4) from the four corners of the earth.|
|WHERE ARE THEY BOUND: On earth during Daniel’s seventieth week in preparation for Judgment at Christ’s Second Advent.||WHERE ARE THEY BOUND? While the believing remnant of Israel (wise virgins) and the tribulation Gentile saints will be granted entrance into the Millennial Kingdom on earth, the unbelieving Jews (foolish virgins) and Gentiles will be bound in Hades, the very same place the rich man in the Lazarus narrative is at this moment.|
|WHEN ARE THEY JUDGED? After the alleged catching away of the tribulation saints (living and deceased) at Christ’s Second Advent when He is going to burn his field on earth.||WHEN ARE THEY JUDGED? After the 1000-year age of peace on earth (Revelation 20:5).|
If the darnel (professors of faith) are gathered and bound into bundles by angels in preparation for judgment when Christ returns at his Second Coming, we need to ask ourselves whether the binding itself forms part of the procedures that will be taking place at the final judgement. Assuredly, when a police officer accosts a criminal and shackles him on the evidence that he is guilty of murder, the process of judgment had already begun at the very moment he is fettered and taken into custody. One may safely say that the wrath of the legal authorities already abides upon the murderer the moment he is arrested, in preparation for the final consummation of their righteous wrath when the judge strikes a wooden base with his gravel and says, “You have been found guilty of murder and hereby sentenced to life imprisonment.”
According to Alexander Reese and Paul Benson, God’s wrath is only poured out in judgement on mankind when He returns at his Second Advent, and, therefore, the entire gamut of the seven-year tribulation cannot be interpreted as the “wrath of God.” It follows that the providential binding of the darnel (professors of faith) by God’s holy angels during the seven-year tribulation is not God’s wrath but merely a mysterious kind of secret counsel of God that allows the false Christians to continue their 666 kind of lifestyle, typified by their worship of Satan and his Antichrist and their slaughter of the true saints.
Paul Benson even goes a step further by saying that the Antichrist will have a major role to play in the binding of the darnel. Here are his exact words.
The Mark of the Beast will identify and separate the tares, sealing their fate, (binding them for later burning). Then the Lord will harvest the wheat, gather us up unto him, and return to burn his field.
Then the tares separated out and bound up for later destruction. The Mark of the Beast and persecution of Antichrist will accomplish this separation between the true believers and the unbelievers / make-believers in preparation for the harvest of mankind.
Need a breather to sop up this trash into your mind? OK, go ahead and take a breather, and while you are doing that, let me tell you a little providential secret. Paul Benson is planning to release a brand-new translation of the Bible. It will be called The Paul Benson Bucket Full of Holes Edition of God’s Word. Here is an example of the magnanimously new revelations he received from who knows who or what.
And the Antichrist came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto him, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, Mr. Antichrist, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:10-17).
Another parable put he forth unto him (Antichrist), saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The Antichrist said unto him, Wilt thou then that I go and gather them up? But he said, would you do that for me? I would be so pleased if you could do that for me. You have a number, don’t you? I think it is 666. Am I right? OK, imprint your number 666 on all the professing Christians’ foreheads or right hands. Accordingly, you shall be doing me a great favour by binding them up to seal their fate (binding them for later burning), and also making it much easier for me to burn my field when I return to earth at my Second Coming. Thank you so much, Mr. Antichrist, for your unselfish assistance. (Matthew 13:24-30).
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but Paul Benson just loves to give angels and the Antichrist the honors, adoration and praises that are due only to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. First, he attributes to the archangel Michael the expertise and power to restrain the Antichrist, and then more or less the same know-how and authority to the Antichrist to identify the darnel (weeds; professing Christians) and to bind them into bundles for judgment, and the fires of hell.
It would have been more beneficial for Paul Benson if he first read the passages he uses to defuse the Pre-tribulation Rapture. Had he been accustomed to the most basic hermeneutical tool to guard against error and deception, which is to read Scripture prayerfully without making the mistake to imprint on those passages his own preconceived ideas, he would never have fallen into error.
Alas, he relentlessly makes himself guilty of his own indictment when he says, “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.
Think of it this way: Jesus commanded his disciples (servants) who were all filled with his Holy Spirit not to make any effort to uproot the darnel lest they uproot the wheat together with the weeds. Paul Benson, on the other hand, gives the Antichrist, who will be filled with Satan, permission to bind the darnel with his satanic number 666 and in doing so, bind them for later burning. Something else you may have noticed thus far is Paul Benson’s strange statement: “Then the Lord will harvest the wheat, gather us up unto him, and return to burn his field.”
It ties in with his statement, “Notice the passage said, ‘As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world’. It’s saying the manner in which these tares at the end of the world are dealt with will mirror that of the tares of the old-time harvest. It’s not saying, ‘Go burn the tares now!’; it’s saying ‘Go bind them in bundles for burning.’ Think about it. Those tares couldn’t be burned with the wheat still in the ground. It would set fire to the field and destroy the crop! The field was not burnt until AFTER the harvest! (Likewise the wrath of God does not fall until AFTER the catching away at the Second Coming.)”
Benson’s premise, as seen from the above quote, is that the burning takes place on earth and not in hell. Hence his interpretation that the tares need to be bound in bundles first, and then to separate them from the wheat for later burning in the same field the wheat and the tares grew together side by side. He may not know or acknowledge it, but his view suggests that the tares must be bound in bundles first and await the final judgment, lest the wheat (redeemed saints) are burned together with the tares in the fires of hell.
That’s not what Jesus says in Matthew 13. He did not say, “Nay; lest while ye burn up the field in which the tares grow side by side with the wheat, ye burn up also the wheat with them.” He said, “Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” (Matthew 13:29). Hopefully Paul Benson can see there is a huge difference between “burn up” and “root up,” although I strongly doubt it, especially in the light of his inability to distinguish between God’s saints, his holy angels and the Antichrist.
The word for “root up” is “ekrizoo” and means “to pluck up or out with he root.” In sharp contrast, the word for “burn” is katakaio.” We may easily have tipped the scale from a Pre-tribulation to a Post-tribulation rapture if the burning was an earthly scenario, that is, the burning of the field in which both the wheat and the tares flourished side by side on earth. Is this what Jesus meant when He told his disciples the parable of the wheat and the tares? Hardly!
Before we can make a substantial and satisfactory conclusion as to the meaning of the message Jesus conveyed in Matthew 13, we need to focus our attention on two words He used in the parable. They are “harvest” and “reapers.” Everyone knows that “harvest” is the process or specific period of the gathering in of crops. Nonetheless, what we often overlook is to bear in mind how harvesting relates to the end-time.
The very first thing to take in account is that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2). He, and He alone, decides when and where the end-time harvest ought to take place, whom to appoint for the harvesting, and how it should be conducted, etc. Needless to say, only God’s holy saints and angels are tailored by divine decree to do the harvesting. Unbelievers, let alone the Antichrist who opposes Christ by feigning to be the Christ, can and may have any part whatsoever in the harvesting. It completely debunks Paul Benson’s infamous declaration that “The Mark of the Beast will identify and separate the tares, sealing their fate, (binding them for later burning).” Then the Lord will harvest the wheat, gather us up unto him, and return to burn his field.”
The Lord of the harvest will never, I repeat never, employ the Antichrist or any of his cohorts to be a part of the end-time harvesting. Satan and his Antichrist would never, for a single moment, want to be part of the destruction of their followers. In fact, Satan’s stealth sowing of his seed (tares) in the field whilst men slept, was not to aid and abet God in his destruction of the tares in fire but to engulf and completely govern the field. Remember Matthew 12:25-26?
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
It is preposterous to think Satan and Antichrist is going to have a hand in the binding of the tares to be burned in fire later. I would be ashamed to even say something so outlandishly sacrilegious, let alone print it in a book to deceive the masses. Paul Benson should bear in mind what God says in Malachi 3:13,
“Your words have been harsh against Me,” says the Lord. “But you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’
The other word we should take note of, is “reapers.” Who are they? Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Himself provides the answer in Matthew 13:39.
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
What we need to determine, is when the angels will be sent out to gather in the elect. Will it be before or immediately after Christ’s Second Coming to the earth.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31).
Chronologically, the reapers (angels) are sent out to gather the elect immediately after Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to the earth, and not during the tribulation as Alexander Reese and Paul Benson avow, in a secret providential way just before the Second Coming of Christ. Speculation, of which Paul Benson is a master, soon heartens the false teacher to shroud his thoughts and views in a cloud of providential secrecy where no mystery or secrecy is intended. The covering of truth in a veil of contrived secrecy or speculation leads to a situation where false teachers get to rob their hearers of the treasures God promised to those who listen and understand what he says so much easier. In the parable of the lamp (Luke 8) God’s precondition for receiving and understanding or forfeiting truth, is made perfectly clear.
“Now no one lights a lamp and then covers it with a container [to hide it], or puts it under a bed; instead, he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come out into the open. So be careful how you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”
Paul Benson unswervingly covers up the truth in a way that outshines the cunning of the angel of light. He does not openly deny end-time semantics but craftily ascribes new meaning to terms that are often used for end-time events. These are, for instance, the catching away” or “rapture,” “the elect,” “the Olive Tree,” and “the wrath of God.”
Differences Between the Rapture and the Second Advent
On pages 19 and 20 Paul Benson writes:
“Also the Bible says the harvest is the end of the world. This must take place in conjunction with the Return of Christ which is at the end. A purported pre-trib rapture would not happen at the end, but 7 ye ars before the end! That is totally out of sync with this parable. Their scenario has the wheat harvested (pre-trib rapture) before the tares are bound up; and then more wheat growing after this preliminary harvest (the Jews and Gentiles saved during the tribulation)! No wonder they have to say the parable of the wheat and tares is not about the resurrection and our catching away. It rebukes over and over the bogus order their doctrine presents of the end-time events!”
Benson’ dislike of Dispensationalism is the main reason why he accuses Pre-tribulation rapturists of saying there is no resurrection in the parable of the wheat and the tares. That’s not true; they do believe there is a resurrection of the slaughtered tribulation saints at Christ’s Second Coming, prior to the Millennial age of peace on earth. There are several differences between the secret rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ.
|The complete removal of all believers (Jews and Gentiles; the Church) from the earth to meet their Lord in the air, and to partake in the Bema Throne Judgment and the Marriage of the Lamb in heaven.||The descent of the Son to the earth and his appearing on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). The saints who departed with Him at the Pre-tribulation rapture appear with him to execute his righteous judgments on the unbelievers (tares) (1 Thessalonians 3:13: Jude 1:14).|
|The Bridegroom comes to claim his Bride and to array her with fine linen, clean and white and the Bema Throne Judgment in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)||The Husband returns with his bride arrayed in the fine linen, clean and white they received at the Bema Throne Judgment.|
|The translation results in the removal of the saints and the inception of the seven-year tribulation.||The Second Advent results in the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom on earth.|
|The translation is imminent. However, many Christians believe that a falling away from the faith is the most important sign to herald the rapture.||The Second Advent is preceded by a multitude of signs.|
|The translation of the Church before the tribulation is accompanied by a message of hope and comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:18).||The Second Advent is accompanied by a message of indignation, wrath and judgment. (1 Thessalonians 5:3; Isaiah 26:9).|
|The translation is related to the programme for the Church (Bride of Christ)||The Second Advent is related to the programme for Israel and the world. (Jermiah 30:7).|
|The translation is a mystery (1 Corinthians 15:51).||The Second Advent is predicted in both Testaments.|
|At the translation believers are judged at the Bema Throne to determine who will receive rewards and crowns.||At the Second Advent Israel in particular will be judged to determine who will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. (Matthew 25:1-13).|
|The translation leaves creation unchanged.||The Second Advent entails numerous changes in creation. It waits in earnestness for the manifestation of the sons of God (the Church) when she returns with Christ at his Second Advent (Romans 8:18-23).|
|At the translation the Gentiles (unbelievers) are not judged and remain unaffected.||At the Second Advent the unbelieving Gentiles are judged together with unbelieving individuals from Israel.|
|At the translation Israel’s covenants are yet unfulfilled.||At the Second Advent all of Israel’s covenants are fulfilled.|
|The translation has no particular relation to the programme of God in relation to evil.||At the Second Advent evil is judged.|
|The translation takes place before the Day of God’s wrath (seven-year tribulation. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11; Revelation 3:10)||The Second Advent follows God’s wrath.|
|The translation is for believers only.||The Second Advent will effect all men.|
|The expectation of the Church in regard to the translation is “the Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5).||The expectation of Israel in regard to the Second Advent is “the kingdom is at hand.” (Matthew 24:14).|
|The expectation of the Church at the translation, is to be taken into the presence of the Lord.||The expectation of Israel at ther Second Advent is to be taken into the kingdom.|
Christians tend to think that whenever the Bible uses the term “the elect” it inevitably always refers to the redeemed in Christ. Unfortunately, the Reformation under the auspices of John Calvin had a huge influence in the spreading among Christians of such a false perception.
The word “elect” appears twenty times in Scripture; four in the Old Testament, all of which are in the book Isaiah that deals extensively with God’s promises to Israel in regard to his righteous judgments on Israel, and their subsequent blessings in the Millennial Kingdom on earth; four in Matthew which also deals with God’s promises to his elect, the Jews, in relation to his judgments on his people during the seven-year tribulation; three in Mark which are a duplication of the events described in Matthew in regard to thee seven-year tribulation and God’s dealings with his people, the Jews; once in Luke which emphasizes the incorporation of Gentile believers into God’s sphere of blessing and salvation; once in Romans; once in Colossians; once in 1 Timothy; once in 2 Timothy; once in Titus; twice in 2 Peter, and twice in 2 John.
It is interesting to note that all the instances dealing with Daniel’s seventieth week, Christ’s Second Advent and the Millennial Kingdom, the word “elect” pertains mostly to Israel. This is plainly confirmed by the prophet Daniel when he says,
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24).
Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall in the latter days
thy people: for yet the vision is for many days. (Daniel 10:14).
And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. (Daniel 11:14).
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1).
Matthew’s opening verse introduces the King of the Kingdom and his relationship to the two great covenants with Israel — the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel chapter 7, and the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis chapters 12 and 15, which alludes to the fact that God had his mind focused on his people, the Jews, when his Spirit inspired the apostle to write it. Furthermore, it references roughly fifty verses and seventy-five events from the Old Testament, confirming its Jewishness and his peculiar peoples’ unique connection with the Millennial Kingdom. In fact, when Jesus healed the Roman Centurion’s servant (a Gentile) because He was amazed at his great faith, He said something very alarming, proving beyond any doubt that Israel as a nation was and still is God’s elect.
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:11-12).
It echoes what God says in Jeremiah 30:7, “Alas! for that day (seven-year tribulation) is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble (Isaiah 45:4; 65:9, 22) but he shall be saved out of it.” God will never rescind or back-down on his covenants with Israel and even allow them to go through the most excruciating suffering and persecution to win back their hearts to him (Isaiah 29:6). Israel’s history shows how often God had to bend their backs under his disciplinary rod (wrath) to win back their hearts. The children of the kingdom who are cast into hell at the end of the seven-year tribulation when Christ returns at his Second Coming are the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25, and the five wise virgins are the small remnant of Jews who will be saved at that time. Then the King shall ascend the throne of his father David in fulfilment of the promise made to his mother Mary in Luke 1:32 to establish his 1000-year reign of peace on earth.
It is an irrefutable fact that the seventieth week of Daniel (seven- year tribulation) pertains to the nation of Israel and not the Church (Bride of Christ). If the Post-tribulation rapture had been true, we could then never have trusted Jesus and his words in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
The Post-tribulation devotees interpret this as being a protection within the time of putting to proof (“peirasmos“), solicitation, of the Church during the seven-year tribulation, also known as Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). The words “ek ho hora peirasmos” in Revelation 3:10 prove otherwise, and I will even use Paul Benson’s resurrection arguments against a Pre-tribulation rapture to prove him wrong. To do that we need to turn our attention to Jesus’ words in Matthew 17:9, “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” The words “ek nekros” used here to describe in what manner He would be raised from the dead, is the exact same word Jesus uses in Revelation 3:10.
The disciples were familiar with a general resurrection at the end but had never heard of the expression “from among the dead.” “Ek” (“from”) expresses a complete removal from without a place or a condition, never to return there ever again. Say farewell to Benson’s hard-set argument that the seven-year tribulation is not God’s wrath, insisting that Revelation 3:10 does not entail the Church’s divinely ordained protection from without (“ek”), in the sense of being removed completely, but a protection within, provided that the saints who are protected in this way do not disregard God’s Word.
On pages 89-90 Paul Benson writes:
Where Is The Wrath In Revelation 3:10?
First off, is there anything in this verse that says ‘wrath’? Does it say, ‘the hour of wrath’? Does it say, ‘to bring wrath upon all the world’? I sure don’t see it, do you? It says to ‘try them’ not to ‘destroy them’. Where did anyone get that this promise was about escaping wrath? Quite a stretch folks! I mean really. When the Scriptures talk of the ‘wrath’ of Almighty God, the Lord isn’t using statements like, ‘I think I’ll try them for a season.’ or ‘I think I’ll give them an hour of temptation.’
Terms like temptation, trying, or testing suggest a hope for success or victory, or maybe even a redemptive work in progress; but God’s wrath carries no such hope, The wrath of God is him venting his fury upon his enemies, as in the days of Lot and Noah (Luke 17:26-29). Its purpose is destruction; a plowing under of the field, so to speak (not the call to repentance we clearly see given time and time again during the time of great tribulation). Does this verse convey that imagery of an outpouring of God’s wrath? No, it absolutely does not.
The verse is obviously a promise about a time of testing; but strangely, rapture theory folks think they can claim this as a solid promise God is going to rapture them off this planet before the time of great tribulation begins. The real question is not whether the words ‘keep thee from’ in this verse mean ‘out of” the tribulation or ‘thru it’, as many have argued over the years; but is this verse even talking about end-time events in the first place? Is there anything in this verse, or the context in which it is found, that plainly states a promise of leaving this planet, or even mentions the great tribulation itself? If you had never heard of the pre-trib rapture theory would you read this verse and say: ‘Hey cool, God is going to catch away the Church before Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast gets here!’ Would you honestly receive that meaning from this verse if no one had first taught you to think that way? I highly doubt it.
God’s wrath (righteous judgment) has a two-pronged purpose. The first, which typifies his gracious longsuffering, is an outpouring of his wrath on those whom He repeatedly warns to repent but refuse to do so. Yet, He allows his wrath to run its full course in order to save the few who learn to fear Him in the midst of his wrath. In this sense wrath and temptation or testing go together very well, simply because God’s wrath is not maliciously poured out as humans usually tend to express their wrath. (Read again Isiah 29:6). Paul Benson seems to know very little about God’s wrath to prompt lost sinners to repent. It shows in his remark,
Terms like temptation, trying, or testing suggest a hope for success or victory, or maybe even a redemptive work in progress; but God’s wrath carries no such hope, The wrath of God is him venting his fury upon his enemies, as in the days of Lot and Noah (Luke 17:26-29). Its purpose is destruction; a plowing under of the field, so to speak (not the call to repentance we clearly see given time and time again during the time of great tribulation). Does this verse convey that imagery of an outpouring of God’s wrath? No, it absolutely does not. (Emphasis added).
God always grants sinners a time of respite before He lets the gravel come down hard on the wooden base and says “Ichabod.” God released his righteous judgments on the antediluvian world after a reprieve of 120 years while Noah built the Ark and preached the Word.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7).
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Peters 2:5).
No wonder the wisest man who ever lived said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) and why his dad could write, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalm 111:10).
Paul Benson’s denial that the seventieth week of Daniel is the time when God’s wrath will be meted out on the inhabitants of the earth (nation of Israel), is essentially a very subtle attack on the worthiness of Jesus as the lamb of God. The gist of my accusation will become clear when we read the following passage from Scripture.
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Revelation 5:1-5).
Think of it this way: If Jesus hadn’t been worthy to open the seven seals, and, indeed, opened them one by one, the seventieth week of Daniel could never have been set in motion. And, if it can be proven that the entire seventieth week encompasses the righteous wrath of God, Paul Benson’s “no wrath mantra” will have to be cast into the abyss because Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44). Unless Jesus is God and his worthiness as the Lamb of God to open the seven seals was impaired, no one, not even the illustrious scholar Paul Benson, can deny that the seven-year tribulation is God’s wrath. Nonetheless, Benson must at all cost deny it, in order to defend his defenseless animosity of a Pretribulation Rapture.
The worthiness of the Lamb of God to open the seven seals ratifies to pinpoint precision the true meaning of Revelation 3:10 and the wrath of God during Daniel’s seventieth week because the Lamb of God, is GOD, the great I AM. Thank God for Paul of Tarsus who decisively silences Paul of NW Montana and his illicit “no wrath mantra.” Paul of Tarsus, who received his insights into the Pre-tribulation Rapture from the Lord Himself, says that the Day of the Lord will begin at a time when the world will relish in a global peace and safety (1 Thessalonian 5:2-3).
Then, sudden destruction will shatter their false peace when the Lamb of God, who is the only One worthy, will open the first seal, letting loose a mighty warrior who will go forth conquering and to conquer (Revelation 6:1-2). As soon as Jesus breaks the second seal, people will be killing one another when peace and safety are removed from the earth. (Revelation 6:3-4). Scripture is replete with examples where God uses wars between nations to execute his wrath. (Isaiah 10:5-6); Jeremiah 50:9-13, 25).
The breaking of the third seal releases a world-wide famine (Revelation 6:5-6). Famine too is often an expression of God’s wrath (Jeremiah 42:17-18; 44:8, 11-13; Ezekiel 5:11-17; 7:14-15).
When Christ breaks the fourth seal, one fourth of the earth’s population will be killed through sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts (Revelation 6:7-8). The prophet Ezekiel declares with resounding clarity that God often uses famine, beasts, pestilence, and sword as expressions of his anger and fury (Ezekiel 5:15-17), and God called these means of death “my four sore judgements.” (Ezekiel 14:21).
The remaining seals, trumpets and vials are all an intensification of God’s wrath in response to Satan’s and his Antichrist’s persecution and slaughter of the tribulation saints (not the Church). (Revelation 6:9-11).
How Paul Benson can possibly conceive the seven-year tribulation as exclusively a time of testing and not of God’s wrath, would have prompted anyone to laugh out loud if it had not been so sad a tragedy. The sixth seal displays the magnitude of God’s awesome wrath when cosmic disturbances and earthquakes plague the earth. It is foolish to think that these cosmic disasters are not God’s wrath but merely the means to test the inhabitants of the earth. Isaiah foretold the sixth seal and associated it with the Day of the Lord.
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Perhaps Paul Benson would like to re-translate the following verses and prove to us that they do not portray a period of wrath in the end-time.
- WRATH: Zephaniah 11:15, 18; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelations 6:16-17; 11:14; 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19.
- JUDGMENT: Revelation 13:7; 15:4; 16:5, 7; 19:2.
- INDIGNATION: Isaiah 26:20-21; 34:1-3.
- TRIAL: Revelation 3:10
- TROUBLE: Jeremiah 30:7; Zephaniah 1:14-15; Daniel 12:1;
- DESTRUCTION: Joel 1:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
- DARKNESS: Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18; Zephaniah 1:14-18.
- DESOLATION: Daniel 9:27; Zephaniah 1:14-15.
- OVERTURNING: Isaiah 24:1; 19-21.
- PUNISHMENT: Isaiah 24:20-21).
No person in his right mind can find the chutzpah to alleviate to any degree whatsoever the severity of the seventieth week of Daniel and dare say it is not the wrath of God.
Imagine what could have happened if Jonah preached a sermon in that great city Nineveh and worded it himself instead of God, saying,
God is pleased with your wickedness that has gone up before him for so long now (1:2) and have no fear because He won’t overthrow your city. Consequently, there is no need for you to repent of your wickedness. Tallyho! (3:4).
Paul Benson’s message to Nineveh would probably have been something in the line of the following:
You really don’t have to be concerned about God’s wrath and Him having to destroy you and your city because of your wickedness that has gone up before Him for so long now. Consequently, God did not command Jonah to preach a message of repentance to you. Why? Because when God’s wrath is kindled his purpose is destruction; a plowing under of the field, so to speak (not the call to repentance . . .). God’s wrath carries no hope for repentance. The wrath of God is him venting his fury upon his enemies, as in the days of Lot and Noah (Luke 17:26-29). So sorry you lost, you, you, you despicable varmints.
You may recall what happened to the prophet who failed to obey God (1 Kings 13).
A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies. A lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright, but a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight. — Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
Of all the outlandish things Paul Benson had written in his book, his interpretation of the chaff is the proverbial cherry on the cake. On page 20 he writes:
A vital part of this process of harvesting the wheat was the separating of the wheat from the chaff. The chaff was once quite important in that it housed, nourished, and protected the kernel of wheat while it was alive; but it is no longer of use to the heat after it has been harvested. It is also of no use to the farmer, and must be removed before the wheat is acceptable to him.
Our mortal body is typified by the chaff. Like the chaff of the wheat it now houses, nourishes, and protects us, but will be of no further use to us (or God) after the harvest of mankind. It has to go! Just as the wheat is shed of it’s husk, we also will shed our ‘chaff’ at the resurrection of the Just! The fallen flesh we now inhabit, no longer of any value to us (or God) will be replaced with a glory we can only imagine!
Just as the wind blowing over the threshing floor blew away the chaff, at the Resurrection the wind of the Holy Spirit will move upon us and free us from this body! And once the wheat (us) has shed its chaff (our earthly body) we will be accepted, and gathered unto our Lord (the catching away)! Is this harvest not the hope and anticipation of every believer?
There is not a single verse in Scripture that even remotely alludes to the fact that the chaff is a metaphor of our mortal bodies. In fact, “chaff” consistently refers to the ungodly. The word chaff appears in 14 verses, 12 in the Old and twice in the New Testament.
How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger. They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. (Job 21:17-18).
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. (Psalm 1:4-5).
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 5:21-24).
The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. (Isaiah 17:13).
Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly. Isaiah 29:5).
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34-35).
When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. (Hosea 13:1-3).
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).
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. (Luke 3:16-17).
How Paul Benson can link these verses, the only ones in the Bible where the word “chaff” appears, with the resurrection of our mortal bodies, only he will know. Not even the first three letters “res” of Resurrection are in these verses. Moreover, the two verses in the New Testament state that the chaff will be burned with unquenchable fire which obviously refers to eternal hell fire. Is Benson saying that our mortal bodies will be burned up in the eternal fires of hell before we can be resurrected with new bodies unto the one like Jesus Christ. Bear in mind that Paul said the believers will be raised from the dead in the very same way Jesus Christ was raised.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11).
I don’t think Paul Benson would like us o think that Jesus’ body was burned in the unquenchable fires of hell before He was raised from the dead. At any rate, the Bible never says that “at the Resurrection the wind of the Holy Spirit will move upon us (externally) and free us from this body!” It says the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (internally)I will quicken our mortal bodies. All these facts mentioned above put to rest Paul Benson’s eschewed affirmation on page 20:-
So we see the post-tribulation Return of Christ, and the resurrection / catching away that happens at that time, is a perfect match to the prophetic imagery of this parable!
Excuse me, but this is utter rubbish.