Benson and Poonen Dishonesties
In our so-called enlightened age of reason, one of the most dangerous mortal sins you dare not do is to tell someone to their face they are liars or are lying. I realized this again when Paul Benson, the author of “A Bucket Full of Holes! Solid Proof the Pre-Trib Theory is False,” reprimanded me for calling one of his supra knowledgeable anti-Pretribulation gurus Zac Poonen a liar.
It all started when I read an article Benson had written on Zac Poonen some time ago, which he entitled “The Church, The Tribulation, and The Great Falling Away.” Paul Benson’s adoration of Zac Poonen falls a nano-millimeter short of praise and worship. He wrote:
I don’t know that I could possibly recommend a more insightful and balanced ministry than that of brother Zac Poonen. His teachings on Christian doctrine in general, and the eschatology in particular presented in the following video, are in excellent harmony with the Scriptures. He, a former ‘pre-tribber’, left behind that erroneous teaching for the very same reason I did. He could not find it in the Bible though he searched for it diligently.
The Word of God was speaking no such thing to him. The only place he was hearing it was from the pulpit! Please take time to listen to this man of God warn of the deceptions associated with the Return of our Lord being taught today by Christians who have been deceived by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. (Emphasis added).
Indeed, please take time to watch the video and experience first-hand how to go about lambasting doctrines of devils and their lies (in this case, the Pretribulation Rapture) whilst they (Benson and Poonen) themselves exuberantly defend and promulgate Satan’s lies.
Please bear in mind that Jesus Christ Himself said that Satan is the father of all lies, every single one of them, and, therefore, may not in any circumstances be excused or tolerated. As you may see from the following passage, Jesus never beat around the bush.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)
Here now is the video Paul Benson encourages you to view, and please listen carefully to see if you can notice the lie coming from his lips in the very first sentence he utters during the first 43 seconds.
Were you able to spot the lie? To make it easier, here again, is what Zac Poonen said:
Today I wanna speak to you about a word which is never found in the Old Testament but is found frequently in the New Testament which means it’s a distinctively new covenant word. And It will surprise you what it is. It’s the word “tribulation.” Have you ever thought of that as a new covenant word?
We all make mistakes because we are all fallible human beings. This is probably the understatement of the year. However, there is one thing that angers me very much, and that is when “Christians” cover up lies of well-known-preachers just because they have “insightful and balanced ministries.”
Insightful and balanced ministries, personalities of renown, spiritual celebrities and brothers and sisters in Christ have never been and will never be the litmus tests for truth. God’s Word and his Word alone is the litmus test for truth. Whatever anyone says that is not in harmony with God’s Word must be rejected outright because all lies come from the father of lies, Satan himself.
My most natural response, whenever I am confronted with Satan’s lies, is to retort in writing or personally, simply because, to me, deception and especially deliberate deception, is the most contemptible thing imaginable. Jesus Himself regarded deception so intensely despicable that He could say to the Pharisees:
Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:52)
I wrote the following comment on Paul Benson’s site “Let’s Get it Right.” To my surprise, he posted it with one edit. He edited out the Scriptures I used to prove to him that Zac Poonen was lying when he said “Today I wanna speak to you about a word which is never found in the Old Testament but is found frequently in the New Testament which means it’s a distinctively new covenant word. And It will surprise you what it is. It’s the word “tribulation.”
Zac Poonen is not telling you the truth, but a lie. He asserts that the word “tribulation” never appears in the Old but only in the New Testament.
In fact, the word “tribulation” appears three times in the Old Testament: When thou art in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (Deu 4:30). Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. (Jdg 10:13-14)
These two passages refer to Israel’s end-time seven-year tribulation which prove that it is indeed Jacob’s Trouble and not the Church’s trouble or tribulation.
The other passage relates to King David’s tribulation when King Saul and his men pursued him and tried to kill him.
And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. (1 Samuel 26:24).
Mr. Benson-the-Bucket-Full-of-Holes, I urge you to make doubly sure that whatever you or your fundi say can indeed be substantiated by God’s Word.
Let me remind you what you wrote in your book: A Bucket Full of Holes.
“It is absolutely amazing the lengths folks will go to in order to fabricate various proofs, or twist alternate renderings out of verse, to provide support for their theory. Much of this book deals with debunking those cagey ‘proofs’ and showing them to be unworkable. All in all I think you will find much to ponder in these pages. So let’s engage that safeguard of critical examination and take a thorough look at all the various facets of pre-trib theory, and see if there really is any reason we should be believing in such a concept.” – Paul Benson.
You are guilty of your own indictment. How can we trust you and your fundi when you refuse to remove the beam from your own eyes?
He responded as follows:
Hi Tom; I caught that statement also; but I would caution against such an attitude of accusation and mistrust of Bro. Poonen’s (or my own ministry) over his words. Those words are easily explainable; and I think he deserves a bit more grace than you seem to be willing to give him.
As I understand it Brother Poonen and those associated with his ministry use the New American Standard Bible for their study and preaching. Although I strongly advise my readers to use only the KJV due to the errors and deletions I have discovered to be prominent in ALL modern versions; I do not discredit the preaching or ministry of any who do chose to use them. Brother Poonen was not lying or being deceptive with what he was saying.
The word ‘tribulation does NOT occur in the Old Testament in the NASB. Brother Poonen is a humble and faithful man of God; and I am sure that if any pointed out to him the word tribulation does occur 3 times in the O.T. in the KJV (or others) he would gladly amend his statement to reflect that fact.
But be that as it may; it does not alter the validity of his comments concerning the difference between God’s dealings with man in either the O.T. or N.T. era; nor the validity of his message on the incorrectness of pre-trib theory.
He was not being cagey, twisting Scripture to make false claims, nor was he fabricating ‘proofs’ (practices I can clearly show evident in pre-trib preaching and teaching!). Your insinuation Brother Poonen was lying, and his entire teaching was untrue just because you found a point you thought you could discredit him on is unfounded (and quite telling).
The truth remains that the pre-trib rapture teaching is a provably false concept. It is an unbiblical creation of man that disregards the truths that are plainly and clearly stated in the Bible; and exalts instead man’s wayward notions about the end-time scenario that have no foundation in the Word of God!
I am sorry you have chosen to embrace that fable rather than the expressly stated truths of the Scriptures. May the Lord lead us all into his perfect truth; Paul Benson
So, according to Post-tribulation and Pre-wrath aficionados, you may lie, and that without compunction, when your hellish hatred of the cursed Pre-tribulation Rapture needs to be satisfied by your desperate wickedness (Jeremiah 17:9).
The only thing needed to set things right (pun intended) is to throw your best spiritual gurus’ holy credential in your face and everything is hunky-dory. As Paul Benson would probably say, “Let’s get it Right” to allow our revered preachers to use the NASB and lie as much as they please.”
Guess what? Paul Benson refused to post my follow-up answer.
I am pretty sure Poonen has a KJV Bible and should have made sure what it and other versions of the Bible say before making such a claim. I am sure you will agree there can never be two contradicting truths.
Only one can be true which automatically makes the contradiction of that truth a lie. What else can you call it other than a lie? For instance, you do not only call the Pretribulation Rapture a lie, but a lie from the pit of hell. I cautioned you against such an attitude of accusation and mistrust of God from Isaiah 5:20, but you just brushed it off as if it was nothing and of no concern of yours.
So, it’s OK to accuse God of lies from the pit of hell but a mortal sin to accuse a Bro who wilfully and deliberately spreads a lie. “He was not being cagey,” you said. Really? Any Bible scholar who searches out the truth will always, I repeat ALWAYS, at least consult with the KJV because he knows it is very dangerous to deceive others.
You wrote:”Brother Poonen was not lying or being deceptive with what he was saying. The word ‘tribulation does NOT occur in the Old Testament in the NASB. Brother Poonen is a humble and faithful man of God; and I am sure that if any pointed out to him the word tribulation does occur 3 times in the O.T. in the KJV (or others) he would gladly amend his statement to reflect that fact.
But be that as it may; it does not alter the validity of his comments concerning the difference between God’s dealings with man in either the O.T. or N.T. era; nor the validity of his message on the incorrectness of pre-trib theory.”In fact, the word “tribulation” in the Old Testament verifies to perfection how God aims to deal with his people the Jews during the seven-year tribulation.
The authors of Deuteronomy and Judges could not possibly have referred to the Church as we know it today. Therefore, the use of “tribulation” in those passages are, as I said before, Old Testament predictions of how God is going to deal with Israel (not the Church) during the seven-year tribulation.
Hence the designation “Jacob’s Trouble.” Allow me to remind you of your own words in your book, “A Bucket Full of Holes” “It is my hope people would realize how deceived we have been by the teachings of man; and thus be convinced of the need to embrace the corrective apparatus of proper Bible study; looking for the true meaning of verses of Scripture through studying them in the passages of their origin.
I believe this practice will ultimately lead to a similar belief structure as I have; for that has been the source of mine. And so much better to get there on efforts of your own, and not just because of what others, or even myself, have taught. I am definitely fallible; but God’s Word is not. We need to verify whether people are preaching the same meaning for Bible verses as what you would get reading them in context.
This practice of critical appraisal destroys the majority of false teaching; and will prove to be a valuable defense. ‘Proof texts’ that are snippets of Scripture taken out of context are the basic building blocks of all pseudo-Christian false teaching. And these false teachings are not only damaging and defiling, but also quite divisive.” Yet, now you make excuses for a fallible man like Zac Poonen? Is that the way you apply your own rules and regulations?
If you caught the statement also, as you said, why didn’t you warn others about his error? Or is Brother Poonen’s status and esteem as a humble and faithful man of God more important than God’s truth?
Brother Peter was also a humble and faithful man of God, but Paul openly and publicly rebuked him for his error (sin). Is Brother Poonen any better than Peter? I have proved to you again and again that you do not heed your own indictments but regularly fail to remove the beam out of your own eye.
By the way, why did you edit out the passages I quoted from Scripture? Is that the way you propose to defend your doctrines by not allowing your readers to study and understand Scripture?
You wrote: “I am sure that if any pointed out to him the word tribulation does occur 3 times in the O.T. in the KJV (or others) he would gladly amend his statement to reflect that fact.”
I suggest that you contact Bro Poonen as soon as you can and ask him to publicly admit that he made a mistake and did not willfully try to deceive the body of Christ. You may even buy a KJV Bible for him and publicly present it to him as the only trustworthy English translation of God’s Word.
If Zac Poonen was to publicly admit that he misrepresented the Word of God by his use of the NASB instead of the KJV, which uses the word “tribulation,” he would have had to admit that the seven-year tribulation is, in essence, a Jewish phenomenon and does not in any which way possible refute the Pre-tribulation Rapture.
In fact, he will have to admit that the word “tribulation” is not a new covenant term, as he says, but a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy in regard to the seven-year tribulation. Nonetheless, their argument, which one may call “the absenteeism syndrome,” and which claims ad infinitum that this or that word, or this or that doctrine, do not appear in the Bible, is so typical of false teachers.
How can you expect them to believe that the word “tribulation” also appears in the Old Testament when they consistently argue that the Pretribulation Rapture is not in the Bible because the once-off and simultaneous resurrection and rapture of the just at Jesus Christ’s Second Advent is the final proof of the pudding?
Imagine Paul having said to the Thessalonian Christians, “Behold I shew a mystery” and they all answered him by saying, “Brother Paul, don’t be silly and please do not claim you are telling us a mystery. We already know your so-called mystery from the Old Testament scriptures.
The mystery is the resurrection of the just at the end of the age when Christ Jesus returns at his Second Advent to the earth. Even Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible tells us this mystery when he says, ‘And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.’ (Job 19:26).
According to Paul Benson of “A Bucket Full of Holes” fame (or is it infamy?), you may tell a lie and deceive others when you use the NASB version because the word “tribulation” does not appear in the Old Testament in the NASB.
So, if some saints in the audience have their KJV’s opened while Benson’s guru, Zac Poonen tells them the word “tribulation” does not appear in the Old Testament because it is uniquely a new covenant word, they must humbly submit to his lies because his NASB overrides and surpasses their KJV Bible. Oh OK, what about the word “distress” which, believe it or not, does appear in the NASB’s Old Testament. Strong’s concordance defines “tribulation” as follows:
tsar tsârtsar, tsawrFrom H6887; narrow; (as a noun) a tight place (usually figuratively, that is, trouble); also a pebble (as in H6864); (transitively) an opponent (as crowding): – adversary, afflicted (-tion), anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, strait, tribulation, trouble.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Do you see that, Mr. Benson-the-bucket-full-of-holes-little-liar? The word “distress,” which just happens to be used in the NASB has the very same etymological meaning as the word “tribulation.”
How nice of you to say, “Brother Poonen was not lying or being deceptive with what he was saying. The word ‘tribulation does NOT occur in the Old Testament in the NASB. Brother Poonen is a humble and faithful man of God, and I am sure that if any pointed out to him the word tribulation does occur 3 times in the O.T. in the KJV (or others) he would gladly amend his statement to reflect that fact.”
Wow! I never knew that humility and faithfulness were determined by the degree of lies and deceit that oozes from false teacher’s pure, untainted and holy lips? What is so humble in telling lies? What kind of faithfulness is entrenched in deception? You must be kidding me.
Let’s unpack this a little more to understand why anti-Pretribulation warriors of the Benson and Poonen caliber are happy to defend false doctrine, even to the extent that they are unashamedly and intentionally prepared to lie without blinking their eyelids in the twinkling of an eye, and in their efforts to validate their hatred of Jesus Christ’s imminent return at the Pretribulation Rapture.
How can you trust them and their doctrinal views on the Rapture when they can’t even get it right (pun intended) to discern with biblical accuracy that the word “tribulation” (“distress”) appears in the Old Testament? Their mathematical tomfooleries look something like this.
OT NASB – “tribulation” (distress) = truth (not a lie).
OT KJV + “tribulation” = truth (not a lie).
But wait, it gets even better as Poonen continues to define the word “tribulation.” About nine minutes into the video, Poonen says that “tribulation throughout Scripture is generally always referring to man troubling Christians, because of their faith: Man persecuting Christians for their faith. This is what we need to understand, clearly. They (men) will deliver you into tribulation and they will kill you; birth pains.”
In compliance with Paul Benson’s request to be more gracious in my apologetics and not to call Zac Poonen a liar or deceptive, I shall refer to his mistakes as little white lies. However, white lies are extremely more dangerous because they come from the same source, the father of all lies (John 8:44) who, as an angel of light, knows how to don his lies in light so that we may call them little white lies, instead of lies and deception.
As you may recall Poonen said that “tribulation throughout Scripture is generally always referring to man troubling Christians, because of their faith.” Let’s don our Berean caps to see whether this is the truth or a lie. In the book of Romans, Paul says:
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; (Romans 2:9). Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; (2 Thessalonians 1:5-6). Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:22).
Only those who are deliriously moon-struck with images of what a Christian should look like will say that the three examples quoted above refer to Christians and not unbelievers.
Moreover, they will fight tooth and nail in trying to prove it is not God but men who perpetrate the tribulation in these passages. It again shows to what measures of deception many Christians are prepared to go to prove that their hatred of Jesus Christ’s return at the Pretribulation Rapture for his own, is justifiable and a curse from the pit of hell, as Paul Benson wrote in his book “A Bucket Full of Holes.” Allow me to remind you, Mr. Paul Benson, what you wrote on page 192 of your book.
A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin. (Proverbs 26:28). Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22)
Why are the anti-Pretribulation cronies so easily disposed to lies, and then, when their lies are exposed, so deftly prone to devise all kinds of little white lies to cover up their dishonesties?
The main reason ex-Pretribulation aficionados lie so easily is that they must at all cost find a way to circumvent Revelation 3:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9, where God promises to keep his saints from the hour of temptation (his righteous judgments and wrath upon the entire world). What do they do to accommodate these two passages?
Oh, that’s easy, they move God’s wrath either to some time between the middle and the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Pre-wrath Rapture) or to the close of the seven-year tribulation (Day of the Lord; Post Tribulation Rapture).
The aridest consequence of both these views is that the seven-year tribulation (Daniel’s Seventieth Week) must be divided into first, man’s wrath and then, God’s wrath.
This explains why Zac Poonen and Paul Benson need to lie about the meaning of the word “tribulation” which supposedly “throughout Scripture is generally always referring to man troubling Christians because of their faith.”
If Zac Poonen’s assertion that “tribulation throughout Scripture is generally always referring to man troubling Christians for their faith,” we would have to conclude that the tribulation Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24 has already existed for over 2000 years.
It also would have meant that God never afflicts mankind with tribulation because it is supposedly a man to man troubling phenomenon because of one’s faith. It is by peace that Antichrist is going to destroy many (Daniel 8:25) and not particularly for the believers’ faith because his seven-year peace treaty will be with the unbelieving Jewish nation.
This alone proves again that the seven-year tribulation does not involve the Church (Bride of Christ) but national Israel who God is going to prepare for his Second Advent at the end of the seven-year tribulation.
Part of his preparation is to allow his people (God the Father’s wife) to commit adultery with other gods (Antichrist and the false prophet), as she had done so many times in the past, for one final time (John 5:43), and to open their eyes to the deception they themselves had allowed to lead them astray when Antichrist sits as the abomination of desolation in the newly built temple in Jerusalem.
“For then,” Jesus said, “shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22).
Note very carefully that neither the tribulation nor the great tribulation is by any means man troubling Christians for their faith. All flesh (unbelievers and those who will come to faith) will be subjected to tribulation, no matter what their faith is.
If like most adherents to the Pre-wrath and Post-tribulation positions would say, they used to be keen Pretribbers because the pulpits from whence they heard it preached, convinced them of its validity and soundness, why did they abandon one of the grandest doctrines in the bible? “We could not find it in the Bible though we searched for it diligently,” is their most famous mantra when asked why they stopped believing in a Pretribulation Rapture.
My personal opinion is that they also diligently searched the Scriptures in pursuit of the word “Trinity” because the pulpits from whence they heard it, convinced them that God is One and yet three distinct Persons known as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
Did they abandon their belief in the Trinity because they diligently searched the Scriptures and failed to find the word “Trinity” in it? This example just shows how childish the argument of absenteeism really is.
It proves nothing. And so also the term “original sin” never appears in the Bible. Are they going to deny the fact of original sin because the words “original sin” are not found in the Bible? I don’t think so.
In addition to their puerile argument of absenteeism, whenever they cannot deny the appearance of key doctrinal words in the Bible, they shift into second gear which is to rehash the meaning of words that do appear in the Bible.
As we have already pointed out, “tribulation” is one of the words they dishonestly divided into two separate kinds of wrath – the wrath of man during the first 3 ½ years of the seven-year tribulation and God’s wrath during the second 3 ½ years of the seven-year tribulation.
Another word they conveniently changed is the word “imminence.” However, this is enough, for now, to prove that the Pre-wrath and Post-tribulation supporters don’t care a hoot to pull lies out of their “Let’s Get it Right” hats to validate their heresies.
See all our articles on Rapture/Tribulation here.