11. The Insanity of Imminence

THE INSANITY OF

THE DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCE

      In the last hundred fifty years, a doctrine has spread through evangelical Christianity like a raging fire. This fire has consumed all reason in its path. It has swept through leadership and laity as well. It has left SOUNDNESS and REASON in a heap of ashes. It is the DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCE.

I will begin with a brief synopsis of this modern heresy. It is broadly taught that the RESURRECTION of THE RIGHTEOUS DEAD and the GATHERING of the Church is an imminent event. It is further taught that this event has been IMMINENT since the DAY OF PENTECOST, on the fifty-fourth day following the crucifixion of Jesus. It is widely taught and believed that Jesus could have raised the righteous dead and gathered the Church into the air on ANY DAY and at ANY MOMENT in time following Pentecost.

It is further believed that SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION will immediately follow that event. This “tribulation period” is believed to be “God’s judgment” on a disbelieving world. It is broadly taught that this “seven years” is tantamount  to “THE DAY OF THE LORD”.  It is believed that ALL those who have rejected Christ prior to this event will be “LEFT BEHIND” to suffer the all out “WRATH OF GOD”. Some teach that there will be no opportunity for repentance and salvation once the “rapture” has occurred, though there are disagreements on this particular point.

At the END of this SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION, Christ will return [bodily] from heaven with ALL HIS SAINTS [raptured seven years earlier] , destroy the wicked, cast Antichrist and the False Prophet into hell and bind Satan for the duration of the Millennial Reign of Christ. There are a number of minor variations to this doctrine. On the surface, this doctrine is certainly interesting. Enough so that a very popular fictional book series [LEFT BEHIND] has earned millions of dollars through the sale of very attractive and well bound books. Opposition and critique of this doctrine is, for the most part, banned from the book shelves of Christian  book stores nationwide because of the powerful pressures placed on store owners by the evangelical denominations who promote this heretical doctrine.

I will now begin a violent  assault on this  heretical scourge that has deceived a LAZY and IGNORANT Church, being thoroughly corrupted with every vile doctrine that can be imagined. I will cite the words of this notable authority who best describes my own feelings in this matter.

Nathaniel West (1826-1906): “[The Pre-Trib Rapture] is built on a postulate, vicious in logic, violent in exegesis, contrary to experience, repudiated by the early Church, contradicted by the testimony of eighteen hundred years…and condemned by all the standard scholars of every age” (The Apostle Paul and the “Any Moment” Theory, p. 30).

And now to the human reasoning and  scriptural rebuttal of this rubbish of the past century.

“imminent”; at any moment, pending event, without necessary preceding signs or indicators, as if hanging from a cliff.

We’ll begin with the claim that the “gathering” of the Church has been imminent since Pentecost. Certainly Peter could never have believed that he could be raptured since the Lord himself spoke these words directly to Peter:

John 21:17-19

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

  • It is very obvious that Peter could never have adopted such an absurd doctrine since Jesus himself prophesied of Peter’s own death. Let’s take a look at what Peter had to say late in his own life:

2 Peter 1:12-15

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

15 Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance

  • This prophecy regarding Peter’s death was well known among those who had walked with Jesus. Can anyone possibly believe that the “Church Universal” believed in an imminent rapture prior to Peter’s death? It takes NO theological training to understand how preposterous such a notion would be.

Let’s take a look at the Apostle Paul;

Acts 23:10-11

10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

  • Now, here we have Paul imprisoned for his own safety, and the [resurrected] Lord himself stood by Paul to comfort him and assure him that nothing was going to keep him from preaching the Gospel in ROME. With any level of SANITY—-can anyone believe that the Rapture could take place before Paul preached in Rome? What kind of mind could contrive such nonsense, yet MILLIONS of Christians swallow this dung—-hook—-line—-and sinker. What’s the problem? The PROBLEM is “IGNORANCE AND LAZINESS”!

Let’s discover what Paul had to say to the Thessalonians;

2 Thess 2:3-5

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [verse 1] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

  •  Paul unequivocally declares to the Thessalonian Church:” that day [of our gathering--- verse 1] shall NOT COME until the MAN OF SIN IS REVEALED”. What is so difficult to understand about the words “NOT COME”? Some would attempt to invalidate these words by a loose and distorted interpretation of the following verse of the text. It is taught that the “he” who now restrains, is none other than the Church which is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and when the Church is removed from the earth [raptured], the Antichrist will then be revealed—————————-

2 Thess 2:7-9

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

  • a ludicrous notion since that would simply show Paul in conflict with his own words. Even the modern founders of this doctrine [Pentecost, and Ryrie] refer to this notion as being Speculative.

On to the words of John and the Book of Revelation;

     The Book of Revelation was penned around the year 95 A.D. We are asked to believe that the “Imminent Rapture” could have taken place at ANY MOMENT from Pentecost to the completion of the New Testament around 95 A.D. Now, the doctrine approaches “IDIOTIC”.  How can one possibly believe that the “Rapture” could take place prior to the completion of the New Testament in the writing of the Book of Revelation?

  • On to Church history; The Council of Hippo [393 A.D.] and the Council of Carthage [397 A.D.] both Ratified, [thereby canonizing] the New Testament into one declared infallible document. Is it sane to believe that the Rapture could have taken place prior to the accumulation and ratification of the entire New Testament?
  • In 1450 A.D., Johannes Guttenberg invented the printing press. It is because of this marvelous invention that the entire WORLD has the capability of receiving the Written word. Jesus said “and THIS GOSPEL SHALL BE PREACHED IN ALL THE EARTH—-THEN COMETH THE END“. Is it possible that the Rapture could take place prior to the invention of the PRINTING PRESS? Could the Rapture take place before the Gospel is taken to all the earth?
  • There is MUCH ADO regarding “Bible Versions” these days. Some hold to the notion that the King James Bible is the “PRESERVED WORD OF GOD”. The K.J.V. was commissioned to be written in the English language in the year 1611 A.D. To those who hold to this notion I will ask, Is it possible that the Rapture could have taken place prior to the printing of the King James Version of the Bible?
  • American Christians boldly proclaim that the establishment of AMERICA was providential and that we are “one nation under God”. Is it possible that the Rapture , followed by SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION, followed by the Millennial reign of Jesus could have happened before 1776? How would this play into the “doctrine of imminence?
  • Jesus said; “and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the gentiles until the TIMES OF THE GENTILES BE FULFILLED”. The Jews had been exiled from the land from 70 A.D. till 1948 when the nation of Israel was established by the U.N.. Tell me now—-could the Rapture have taken place—-seven years of tribulation—–and the millennial reign prior to the establishment of a HOMELAND for the Jewish people?

As we look closer and closer at this “DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCE” we see how outrageous [and even ludicrous] it becomes. Can we just STEP BACK for a few minutes and take a deep breath? Can we just GET REAL? Is there room in the heart for honesty? How about DOCTRINAL INTEGRITY? Does that have any place in the Church today?

     Lest you believe that you are OFF THE HOOK—–we will begin an in depth study of what the scripture has to say about the GATHERING of God’s elect.

 

What Jesus had to say

John 6:39-44

39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day

41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day

John 6:54

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

————————————————————————————-

What the saints under the OLD COVENANT believed?

John 11:22-24

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

John 12:48

48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

  • According to the word of God, there is no possibility of a “resurrection” until——–The LAST DAY! This alone eliminates any possibility of an imminent Rapture!

Let’s look further

Please note that the term “end of the world” in the original language says “end of the age”

Matt 13:37-49

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world [age].

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world [age]: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

Beginning to get the picture?

Matt 10:22

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matt 13:40-50

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world [age].

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world [age]: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matt24:6-14

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

  • what does this verse alone do to the Doctrine of imminence?

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matt 28:20

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age]. Amen.

Mark 13:7

7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.

Mark 13:13-14

13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Luke 21:9-10

9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

1 Cor 1:8-9

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15:23-25

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward,  they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

2 Cor 1:12-14

12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;

14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Thess 3:13

13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.——[the righteous dead]

Heb 3:6

6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Heb 3:14

14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Heb 6:11

11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of  hope unto the end:

1 Peter 1:9-13

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Rev 2:26-27

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

So

  • So—-if the Rapture could not be imminent during the entirety of the Church age, exactly WHEN did/does it become “imminent”? Does the Bible give us a clue? Indeed it does!

Dan 12:1-4

12:1 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.

2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Matt 24:29-31
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Well now

The “Doctrine of Imminence” is only ONE ELEMENT of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. As you can plainly see, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discover the truth in this matter. It only takes time and faithful study of God’s Word. It is well documented, that Christ will return at the end of the age—not before the many prophesied events in the Bible, and further—-no man actually KNOWS the day nor hour.     Danny McDowell

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