What’s Next On God’s Prophetic Program?

  As the end of the age draws nearer, Christians often wonder what is the next major event on God’s prophetic program.  When we turn to today’s prophecy teachers, we are usually told that it will be — A: The rapture; or B: The Gog and Magog battle.  Although I am not going out of my way to be “different,” I cannot agree with the popular consensus.  If someone were to ask me what would be the next major prophetic event, my answer might surprise him.  I think the next event will be the complete collapse of mainstream Christianity

  There are many reasons for my thinking so, and some of these have to do with the “signs of the times” (Matthew 16: 2-3).  But I am not a futurologist.  Although observations of current trends are important, it is best to get our info directly from the inspired Word of God.  And when we look at the very last epistles that Paul wrote (around A.D. 67-68), before he suffered martyrdom in Rome, we’re told that at the end of the present dispensation there will be a great apostasy (1 Tim. 4: 1-3; 2 Tim. 3: 1-5; 4: 3-4). That’s where I believe we are today.

 Now, I am not saying that the gates of hell have prevailed against Christ’s church — for that is impossible (Matt. 16: 18).  But when Christ made that promise, we must keep in mind that He was talking about the church invisible, and not visible organized Christianity.  To say that He meant the visible church is to make Him a liar, because for hundreds of years the mainstream church worshipped icons and images, before the Reformation set Christianity free.  That was a corruption of the visible church.

  So, at least we know that there is precedence for a widespread apostasy.  It should come as no surprise, then, to find so many Christians wandering from the truth and taken in the nets of error.  Various forms of false doctrine have seeped into the larger denominations, so that it may be said that the collapse of the western church is “even at the doors.” 

   These doctrines have taken diverse forms, from the “Purpose Driven” theology of Rick Warren, and the emergent iconoclasm of Brian McLaren, all the way down to the latest fad of the hour.  Paul was right on the money when he wrote: “For the time will come when they shall not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4: 3).

   True, it took many centuries for this trend to become fully developed.  As we know, the mystery of iniquity was working in Paul’s own day (2 Thess. 2: 7).  Yet over the course of centuries, the final manifestation of this mystery never got a chance to ripen — until now.  And so it’s here, the predicted apostasy.  It’s only a matter of time before it attains full growth.

 What will we do?  Is there any place to run?  And, if we could run, would we choose to do so? or would we stand our ground and remain on the field to fight the enemy?  To those entangled in the things of “this life,” the proposition is a difficult one.  For us, however, who remember our high and heavenly call, we recall the words of Jesus.  “For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9: 24).  This thought will help keep us in the trenches, as we wage war for the Captain of our Salvation, and wait for the morning-star to appear on the horizon (2 Peter 1: 19) — and for that voice like a trumpet that will say, “Come up Hither!” (Rev. 4: 1).

   Speaking of the rapture: Although many Christians feel that the rapture will occur before the apostasy is fully developed, I cannot agree with this concept.  Remember, the apostasy involves the church, and the church will not be taken up until it has become Laodicean in thought and practice (see Rev. 23).  Thankfully, there is a Philadelphian remnant (Rev. 3: 8) that remains pure in all ages, and it is this remnant that will be saved from the hour of temptation (Rev. 3: 10).  But the rapture, when it occurs, will leave a church that is so corrupt that it will be nauseous in the sight of God (Rev. 3: 16).

  There will be many reasons for this nausea.  Lack of zeal to preach to the Gospel; an over-emphasis on formalism and ceremonialism; lack of prayer and spiritual preparation on the part of ordained ministers: all these will contribute to the problem.  But the “killing factor,” the thing that will bring the whole to a state of putrefaction, will be the church’s final alliance with the world, and it’s love of men’s regard.  Once this happens, and the church ceases to be distinct from the world, then the gangrene will be incurable.

   Keep in mind, in Christ’s letter to the Laodicean church, he upbraids them for their boasted wealth and worldly prosperity (Rev. 3: 17).  That is a sign of a church that has commingled with the world — a church that has no more witness.  And when we look at the modern-day churches, what do we see?  All the signs are in order, are they not?  Again, that tells us how close we are to the full development of the apostasy.

  With a spiritual collapse so widespread, it won’t be long before the smaller denominations start getting sucked down by the undertow.  This is why it is essential to to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ and His inspired apostles — come what may — and not to be entrapped by novelties.  As Paul said: “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines” (Hebrews 13: 9).  Even if this entails leaving a church that has become corrupt in doctrine or practice, what is more important? our image before men? or our walk with Jesus Christ?

  Let us make no mistake.  When the apostasy comes, it will come like a flood, and take everything in its path.  Only those who have remained spiritually pure will survive the epoch of darkness which will precede Christ’s second coming.  As the night looms darker over our heads, let us put on all the armor of God, that we may stand in the evil day (Eph. 6: 13).  And when the last trump sounds, and we are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4: 17), then we’ll know the victory that is ours in Christ.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. internet elias says:

    Brian, can’t tell you exactly what is next on God’s prophetic program. But I can tell you something happening now. Three years ago on a sunny day in April, I heard, audibly, the voice of Elias, who remains the forerunner before the Second Coming of Christ. He loudly proclaimed to me, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make His path straight!” Elias’s tone was joyous! He was fervently busy preparing those who ‘love His appearing’ for the return of the King! My heart even heard the immense love and honor Elias has for the Master. Brian, the apostasy is already here. ‘Christians,’ for the most part, reject the pure Gospel of the Kingdom. They are content with tradition, doctrines, and ‘itching ears.’ Like those who killed the prophets, today’s religious folks don’t want Truth. Hearing from God is not on the agenda. So, even though I was blessed, as was many others…I am sure, to hear the beautiful announcement equivalent to ‘behold, the bridegroom cometh…..I don’t expect to be taken seriously. Few believe me….most don’t. And I’m not at all surprised….but I am very concerned….for those who are not interested in hearing from God …prophetically speaking. But I believe. My heart is on being a servant of God and neighbor. Of more fully developing the personal relationship He is drawing me to. And you are so on target with your post. Things are changing quickly. But God is in control of ALL. Daniel 4:17..God reminded Nebachadnezzar that ‘God rules in the kingdom of men.’

  2. Bruce says:

    (Saw the following web bit – Bruce)

    The NEWEST Pretrib Calendar !

    Hal (serial polygamist) Lindsey and other pretrib-rapture-trafficking and Mayan-Calendar-hugging hucksters deserve the following message: “2012 may be YOUR latest date. It isn’t MAYAN!” Actually, if it weren’t for the 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised pretribulation rapture bunco scheme, Hal would still be piloting a tugboat on the Mississippi. roly-poly Thomas Ice (Tim LaHaye’s No. 1 strong-arm enforcer) would still be in his tiny folding-chair church which shares its firewall with a Texas saloon, Jack Van Impe would still be a jazz band musician, Tim LaHaye would still be titillating California matrons with his “Christian” sex manual, Grant Jeffrey would still be taking care of figures up in Canada, Chuck Missler would still be in mysterious hush-hush stuff that rocket scientists don’t dare talk about, and John Hagee might be making – and eating – world-record pizzas! To read more details about the eschatological British import that leading British scholarship never adopted – the import that’s created some American multi-millionaires – Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” (note LaHaye’s hypocrisy under “1992”), “Hal Lindsey’s Many Divorces,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers)” and “Thomas Ice (Hired Gun),” “LaHaye’s Temperament,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “Chuck Missler – Copyist,” “Open Letter to Todd Strandberg” and “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Humbug Huebner,” “Thieves’ Marketing,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “The Real Manuel Lacunza,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts,” “Dolcino? Duh!” and “Scholars Weigh My Research.” Most of the above is written by journalist/historian Dave MacPherson who has focused on long-hidden pretrib rapture history for 35+ years. No one else has focused on it for 35 months or even 35 weeks. MacPherson has been a frequent radio talk show guest and he states that all of his royalties have always gone to a nonprofit group and not to any individual. His No. 1 book on all this is “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books online, etc.). The amazing thing is how long it has taken the mainstream media to finally notice and expose this unbelievably groundless yet extremely lucrative theological hoax!

  3. Hi Elias,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We certainly ought to open to fresh communications of the Spirit. The day is drawing near, and we must be more watchful now than ever before.

    Bruce,

    Are you denying the rapture altogether? or do you just disagree with the 7-year timing? This is an important question, for denial of the popular view on timing does not necessitate denial of the doctrine itself.

    Peace & Health,

    Brian

  4. Howie says:

    (check out this new web bit! – Howie)

    PRETRIB RAPTURE DISHONESTY

    by Dave MacPherson

    When I began my research in 1970 into the exact beginnings of the pretribulation rapture belief still held by many evangelicals, I assumed that the rapture debate involved only “godly scholars with honest differences.” The paper you are now reading reveals why I gave up that assumption many years ago. With this introduction-of-sorts in mind, let’s take a long look at the pervasive dishonesty throughout the history of the 179-year-old pretrib rapture theory:

    Mid-1820’s – German scholar Max Weremchuk’s work “John Nelson Darby” (1992) included what Benjamin Newton revealed about John Darby in the mid-1820’s during his pre-Brethren days as an Anglican clergyman:
    “J. N. Darby was a very subtle man. He had been a lawyer, or at least educated for the law. Once he wanted his Archbishop to pursue a certain course, when he (J.N.D.) was a curate in his diocese. He wrote a letter, therefore, saying he had been educated for the law, knew what the legal course would properly be; and then having written that clearly, he mystified the remainder of the letter both in word and in handwriting, and ended up by saying: You see, my Lord, such being the legal aspect of the case it would unquestionably be the best course for you to pursue, etc. And the Archbishop couldn’t make out the legal part, but rested on Darby’s word and did as he advised. Darby afterwards laughed over it, and indeed he showed a copy of the letter to Tregelles. This is not mentioned in the Archbishop’s biography, but in it is the fact that he spoke of Darby as ‘the most subtle man in my diocese.'”
    This reminds me of an 1834 letter by Darby which spoke of the “Lord’s coming.” Darby added, concerning this coming, that “the thoughts are new” and that during any teaching of it “it would not be well to have it so clear.” Darby’s deviousness here was his usage of a centuries-old term – “Lord’s coming” – to cover up his desire to sneak the new pretrib idea into existing posttrib groups in very low-profile ways!
    1830 – In the spring of 1830 a young Scottish lassie, Margaret Macdonald, came up with the novel notion of a catching up [rapture] of Spirit-filled “church” members before Antichrist’s “trial” [tribulation] of non-Spirit-filled “church” members – the first instance I’ve found of clear “pretrib” teaching (which was part of a partial rapture scheme). In Sep. 1830 “The Morning Watch” (a journal produced by London preacher Edward Irving and his “Irvingite” followers, some of whom had visited Margaret a few weeks earlier) began repeating her original thoughts and even her wording but gave her no credit – the first plagiarism I’ve found in pretrib history. Darby was still defending posttrib in Dec. 1830.
    Pretrib promoters have long known the significance of her main point: a rapture of “church” members BEFORE the revealing of Antichrist. Which is why John Walvoord quoted nothing in her revelation, why Thomas Ice habitually skips over her main point but quotes lines BEFORE and AFTER it, and why Hal Lindsey muddies up her main point so he can (falsely) assert that she was NOT a pretribber! (Google “X-Raying Margaret” for info about her.)
    NOTE: The development of the 1800’s is thoroughly documented in my book “The Rapture Plot.” You’ll learn that Darby wasn’t original on any chief aspect of dispensationalism (but plagiarized the Irvingites); that pretrib was initially based on only OT and NT symbols and not clear Scripture; that the symbols included the Jewish feasts, the two witnesses, and the man child – symbols adopted by Darby during most of his career; that Darby’s later reminiscences exaggerated his earliest pretrib development, and that today’s defenders such as Thomas Ice have further overstated what Darby overstated; that Irvingism didn’t need later reminiscences to “clarify” its own early pretrib development; that ancient hymns and even the writings of the Reformers were subtly revised to make it appear they had taught pretrib; and that after Darby’s death a clever revisionist quietly made many changes in early Irvingite and Brethren documents in order to steal credit for pretrib away from the Irvingites (and their female inspiration!) and give it dishonestly to Darby! (Before continuing, Google the “Powered by Christ Ministries” site and read “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers” – a sample of the current exciting internetism!)
    1920 – Charles Trumbull’s book “The Life Story of C. I. Scofield” told only the dispensationally-correct side of his life. Two recent books, Joseph Canfield’s “The Incredible Scofield and His Book” (1988) and David Lutzweiler’s “DispenSinsationalism: C. I. Scofield’s Life and Errors” (2006), reveal the other side including his being jailed as a forger, dishonestly giving himself a non-conferred “D.D.” etc. etc.!
    1967 – Brethren scholar Harold Rowdon’s “The Origins of the Brethren” quoted Darby associate Lord Congleton who was “disgusted with…the falseness” of Darby’s accounts of things. Rowdon also quoted historian William Neatby who said that others felt that “the time-honoured method of single combat” was as good as anything “to elicit the truth” from Darby. (In other words, knock it out of him!)
    1972 – Tim LaHaye’s “The Beginning of the End” (1972) plagiarized Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
    1976 – Charles Ryrie”s “The Living End” (1976) plagiarized Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970) and “There’s A New World Coming” (1973).
    1976 – After John Walvoord’s “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation” (1976) brutally twisted Robert Gundry’s “The Church and the Tribulation” (1973), Gundry composed and circulated a 35-page open letter to Walvoord which repeatedly charged the Dallas Seminary president with “misrepresentation,” “misrepresentations” (and variations)!
    1981 – “The Fundamentalist Phenomenon” (1981) by Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson, and Ed Hindson heavily plagiarized George Dollar’s 1973 book “A History of Fundamentalism in America.”
    1984 – After a prof at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Florida told me that the No. 2 man at the AG world headquarters in Missouri – Joseph Flower – had the label of posttrib, my wife and I had two hour-long chats with him. He verified what I had been told. But we were dumbstruck when he told us that although AG ministers are required to promote pretrib, privately they can believe any other rapture view! Flower said that his father, an AG co-founder, was also posttrib. We also learned while in Springfield that when the AG’s were organized in 1914, the initial group was divided between posttribs and pretribs – but that the pretribs shouted louder which resulted in that denomination officially adopting pretrib! (For details on this and other pretrib double-mindedness, Google “Pretrib Hypocrisy.”)
    1989 – Since 1989 Thomas Ice has referred to the “Mac-theory” (his reference to my research), giving the impression there’s no solid evidence that Macdonald was the real pretrib originator. But Ice carefully conceals the fact that no eminent church historian of the 1800’s – whether Plymouth Brethren or Irvingite – credited Darby with pretrib. Instead, they uniformly credited leading Irvingite sources, all of which upheld the Scottish lassie’s contribution! Moreover, I’m hardly the only modern scholar seeing significance in Irvingism’s territory. Others in recent years who have noted it, but who haven’t mined it as deeply as I have, include Fuller, Ladd, Bass, Rowdon, Sandeen, and Gundry.
    1989 – Greg Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry produced evidence in 1989 that Lindsey’s book “The Road to Holocaust” (1989) plagiarized “Dominion Theology” (1988) by H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice.
    1990 – David Jeremiah’s and C. C. Carlson’s “Escape the Coming Night” (1990) massively plagiarized Lindsey’s 1973 book “There’s A New World Coming.” (For more info, type in “Thieves’ Marketing” on MSN or Google.)
    1991 – Paul Lee Tan’s “A Pictorial Guide to Bible Prophecy” (1991) plagiarized large amounts of Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
    1991 – Militant Darby defender R. A. Huebner claimed in 1991 to have found new evidence that Darby was pretrib as early as 1827 – three years before Macdonald. Halfway through his book Huebner suddenly admitted that his evidence could refer to something completely un-rapturesque. Even though Thomas Ice admitted to me that he knew that Huebner had “blown” his so-called evidence, prevaricator Ice continues to tell the world that Huebner has “positive evidence” that Darby was pretrib in 1827! Ice also conceals the fact that Darby, in his own 1827 paper, was looking for only “the restitution of all things” and “the times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19,21) – which Scofield doesn’t see fulfilled until AFTER a future tribulation!
    1992 – Tim LaHaye’s “No Fear of the Storm” (1992) plagiarized Walvoord’s “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation” (1976).
    1992 – This was when the Los Angeles Times revealed that “The Magog Factor” (1992) by Hal Lindsey and Chuck Missler was a monstrous plagiarism of Prof. Edwin Yamauchi’s scholarly 1982 work “Foes from the Northern Frontier.” Four months after this exposure, Lindsey and Missler stated they had stopped publishing and promoting their book. But in 1996 Dr. Yamauchi learned that the dishonest duo had issued a 1995 book called “The Magog Invasion” which still had a substantial amount of the same plagiarism! (If Lindsey and Missler ever need hernia operations, I predict that the doctors will tell them not to lift anything for a long time!)
    1994 – In 1996 it was revealed that Lindsey’s “Planet Earth – 2000 A.D. (1994) had an embarrassing amount of plagiarism of a Texe Marrs book titled “Mystery Mark of the New Age” (1988).
    1995 – My book “The Rapture Plot” reveals the dishonesty in Darby’s reprinted works. It’s often hard to tell who wrote the footnotes and when. It’s easy to believe that the notes, and also unsigned phrases inside brackets within the text, were a devious attempt by someone (Darby? his editor?) to portray a Darby far more developed in pretrib thinking than he actually had been at the time. I found that some of the “additives” had been taken from Darby’s much later works, when he was more developed, and placed next to or inside his earliest works! One footnote by Darby’s editor, attached to Darby’s 1830 paper, actually stated that “it was not worth while either suppressing or changing” anything in this work! If his editor wasn’t open to such dishonesty, how can we explain such a statement?
    Post-1995 – Thomas Ice’s article “Inventor of False Pre-Trib Rapture History” states that my book “The Rapture Plot” is “only one of the latest in a series of revisions of his original discourse….” And David Reagan in his article “The Origin of the Concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture” repeats Ice’s falsehood by claiming that I have republished my first book “over the years under several different titles.”
    Although my book repeats a bit of the Macdonald origin of pretrib (for new readers), all of my books are packed with new material not found in my other works. For some clarification, “The Incredible Cover-Up” has photos of pertinent places in Ireland, Scotland, and England not found in my later books plus several chapters dealing with theological arguments; “The Great Rapture Hoax” quotes scholars throughout the Church Age, covers Scofield’s hidden side, a section on Powerscourt, the 1980 election, the Jupiter Effect, Gundry’s change, and more theological arguments; “The Rapture Plot” reveals for the first time the Great Evangelical Revisionism/Robbery and includes appendices on miscopying, plagiarism, etc.; and “The Three R’s” shows hypocritical evangelicals employing occultic beliefs they say they have long opposed!
    So Thomas Ice etc. are twisting truth when they claim I am only a revisionist. Do they really think that my publishers DON’T know what I’ve previously written?
    Re arguments, Google “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” and also obtain “The End Times Passover” and “Why Christians Will Suffer ‘Great Tribulation’ ” (AuthorHouse, 2006) by media personality Joe Ortiz.
    1997 – For years Harvest House Publishers has owned and been republishing Lindsey’s book “There’s A New World Coming.” During the same time Lindsey has been peddling his reportedly “new” book “Apocalyse Code” (1997), much of which is word-for-word the same as the Harvest House book – and there’s no notice of “simultaneous publishing” in either book! Talk about pretrib greed!
    1997 – This is the year I discovered that more than 50 pages of Dallas Seminary professor Merrill Unger’s book “Beyond the Crystal Ball” (Moody Press, 1973) constituted a colossal plagiarism of Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970). After Lindsey’s book came out, Unger had complained that Lindsey’s book had plagiarized his classroom lecture notes. It was evident that Unger felt that he too should cash in on his own lectures! (The detailed account of this Dallas Seminary dishonesty is revealed in my 1998 book “The Three R’s.”)
    1998 – Tim LaHaye’s “Understanding the Last Days” (1998) plagiarized Lindsey’s “There’s A New World Coming” (1973).
    1999 – More than 200 pages (out of 396 pages) in Lindsey’s 1999 book “Vanished Into Thin Air” are virtually carbon copies of pages in his 1983 book “The Rapture” – with no “updated” or “revised” notice included! Lindsey has done the same nervy thing with several of his books, something that has allowed him to live in million-dollar-plus homes and drive cars like Ferraris! (See my Google articles “Deceiving and Being Deceived” and “Thieves’ Marketing” for further evidence of this notably pretrib vice.)
    2000 – A Jack Van Impe article “The Moment After” (2000) plagiarized Grant Jeffrey’s book “Final Warning” (1995).
    2001 – Since 2001 my web article “Walvoord’s Posttrib ‘Varieties’ – Plus” has been exposing his devious muddying up of posttrib waters. In some of his books he invented four “distinct” and “contradictory” posttrib divisions, claiming that they are either “classic” or “semiclassic” or “futurist” or “dispensational” – distinctions that disappear when analyzed! His “futurist” group holds to a literal future tribulation and a literal millennium but doesn’t embrace “any day” imminency. But his “dispensational” group has the same non-imminency! Moreover, tribulational futurism is found in every group except the first one, and he somehow admitted that a literal millennium is in all four groups! On the other hand, it’s the pretribs who consistently disagree with each other over their chief points and subpoints – but somehow end up agreeing that there will be a pretrib rapture! (See my chapter “A House Divided” in my book “The Incredible Cover-Up.”)
    2001 – Since my “Deceiving and Being Deceived” web item which exposed the claims for Pseudo-Ephraem” and “Morgan Edwards” as teachers of pretrib, there has been a piranha-like frenzy on the part of pretrib bodyguards and their duped groupies to “discover” almost anything before 1830 walking upright on two legs that seemed to have at least a remote hint of pretrib! (An exemplary poster boy for such pretrib practice is Grant Jeffrey. To get your money’s worth, Google “Wily Jeffrey.”)

    FINALLY: Don’t take my word for any of the above. Read my 300-page book “The Rapture Plot” which has a jillion more documented details on the long-hidden but now-revealed history of the dishonest, 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised-until-the-real-bad-stuff-happens pretribulation rapture fad. If this book of mine doesn’t “move” you, I will personally refund what you paid for it!

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