The Falling Away from Christianity
Answering a comment on “the falling away“: Lou said; “Tom, one great deserves another great; the great falling away deserves the great tribulation. Some wrongfully claim that the “falling away” in II Thess. 2 is the pretrib rapture! Yes, the Bride is a single body, but there can be cancers within a single physical body – and there were trouble makers and false brethren in the early church. Jesus says He will have a church without spot or wrinkle, and whom the Lord loves He chastens. By the way, why does the wedding of the Lamb take place in Rev. 19 if a pretrib rapture reportedly happens many chapters earlier?”
Great Falling Away or Falling Away?
Lou wrote: Tom, one great deserves another great; the great falling away deserves the great tribulation.
This is what’s generally called bad hermeneutics. First of all, the term “great falling away” never once appears in the Bible. If the “great falling away” were to deserve the “great tribulation,” as you said, Jesus would at least have defined the “great falling away” as “For then shall be a great falling away, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Mat 24:21).
For it (the falling away) to justify the great tribulation, as you said, it too must be something “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” If you can prove to me that there has never been any fallings away or great fallings away since the beginning of the world, I shall change my view on the Rapture. Why hasn’t there been any great tribulations subsequent to these great fallings away?
Wheat and Tares
The majority of Christians interpret the “apostasia” in the last days as being a falling away from the faith of all those who profess to be Christians, i.e. the tares which look like the real McCoy (wheat) but do not bear the fruit of the Spirit. This seems to be highly improbable because there have been many apostasies (fallings away from the faith) since the beginning of time.
Cain and Able
Cain’s apostasy and murder of his brother Abel became the template, if you will, of how and why so many apostasies occurred throughout mankind’s history (Jude 1:11). He refused to accept God’s way of salvation by virtue of the shedding of the blood of an innocent victim (Hebrews 9:22) and dared to present God with his own sweat and toil (good works) to gain his approval for salvation.
Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church became the main promoter of this abominable system of salvation. The biggest falling away that impacted the world in a most profound way was when Emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity (not Jesus Christ) in 313 AD, put an end to persecution and established a church which began to flex its political muscle in world affairs. He took on himself the title of Pontifex Maximus (Greatest Bridge Builder; also the meaning of the office of today’s Pope) and presided over the church as Bishop of Rome. Later he moved to the East and established his permanent seat of rule in Byzantium (now Istanbul).
True born-again Christians, who became the victims of the new Roman Church during the early Crusades and later during the Albigensian Crusades (1208 and 1226), and during the butchering of 900 000 Waldensian Christians (1540-1570), to name but a few, had every reason to believe that the falling away of professing Christians in the Roman fold heralded the beginning of the seven-year tribulation. The question is – did they? I think not.
Why would God wait until the falling away from the faith of professing Christians which has been going on for centuries when this phenomenon has been part and parcel of church history since the very beginning of the world? The Word of God is to me the final authority on the Rapture.
Purification of the Church
Lou wrote: Yes, the Bride is a single body, but there can be cancers within a single physical body – and there were trouble makers and false brethren in the early church. Jesus says He will have a church without spot or wrinkle, and whom the Lord loves He chastens.
There is a vast difference between “chasten” “wrath” and “judgment.” The entire seven-year tribulation shall be a time when God is going to pour out his wrath and judgments on the “inhabitants of the earth” (“them that dwell on the earth) and not the Bride of Christ.
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. (Rev 3:10)
The wrath and judgment of God are always mentioned in connection with unbelievers, never the Bride of Christ. Moreover, the Bride of Christ is never called “earth dwellers” or “them that dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 13:14)
Romans 8:1 (AMP) “Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”
By the way, what do mean by “cancers?” Are you referring to sin? If so then we all have cancers in us because —
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 Jn 1:8-10).
However, if “cancers” are false doctrines then this passage is appropriate.
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God (is not saved). He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (is truly saved). (2 Jn 1:9).
I don’t see how chastisement during the seven-year tribulation can purify cancerous saints. It sounds like the abominable RCC doctrine of Purgatory. Only Jesus’ blood can purify one from these things. To suggest that Tribulation can purify one from sin and false doctrine is as bad as trampling on the blood of Christ.
By the way read this article to see how Dave MacPherson misleads his readers.
Wedding of the Lamb
Lou wrote: (By the way, why does the wedding of the Lamb take place in Rev. 19 if a pretrib rapture reportedly happens many chapters earlier?).
Let us then look at Revelation 19:7-8 in which the Marriage of the Lamb is mentioned.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 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. (Rev 19:6-8)
There are several things we need to take into account in order to understand this passage.
1) “is come does not mean that when Jesus returns at his Second Advent that the marriage will take place then. The word for “is come” is “erchomai” and refers to an already accomplished act, not something to occur at that particular moment when He returns. In other words, when He returns the marriage will already have been consummated.
2) Yet unmarried women are never called “wife.” Any reliable dictionary tells you that a wife is a married woman. Your interpretation makes marriage look silly. In fact, you are saying that when Jesus returns He is going to marry his already betrothed wife. Really?
3) Therefore, the wife must be someone else other than Christ’s Bride. Voila, here again the Bible provides the answer. The nation Israel is unlikely to be the Lamb’s bride because she has already been wed. God the Father is Israel’s husband.
“Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. 3:14).
“They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me,” says the Lord. (Jer. 3:1).
So the only reasonable conclusion we can make, is that the “wife” in Revelation 19 is God the Father’s wife to whom Jesus is going to return, and who needs to make herself ready so that she may be permitted to take part in the wedding supper or feast here on earth (Millennium) . The Parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins attest to this fact. So too does the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22, and even more so John the Baptist’s (a Jew’s) words in John 3,
“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.” (Joh 3:29).
Your argument does not prove that the marriage will take place the moment Jesus returns at his Second Advent and therefore expels a Pretrib Rapture.
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