by Terry James
The past number of weeks has brought a ramping up of vitriol against the doctrine of the pre-Trib Rapture to my inbox. The assault seems spearheaded by one blog thrust in particular. I receive as many as three long diatribes from this source in a single day. The accusation is that those who believe in the pre-Trib Rapture are part of what this blog entity calls the Rapture Cult.
A number of emails pour in from various individuals who, close examination uncovers, are likely in cahoots with the blog-entity initiating this latest strategy against pre-Trib Rapture teaching. These emails, without exception, use the “Margaret McDonald” accusatory proclamation. They claim that we who believe the Bible presents a pre-Trib Rapture have been taken in by the hellish vision of the nineteenth century false prophetess who is said to have also caused John Darby to fall for the lie of a pre-Trib Rapture. C. I. Scofield, the DeHaans, and the rest of us have joined and perpetuated this ” Rapture cult.”
The anti-pre-Trib blog writer points an anger-tinged condemnation of the ancient writings such as that of one called Pseudo-Ephraem. This writer from antiquity has been studied by prophecy scholars such as Grant Jeffrey and others in order to find extra-biblical validation that the pre-Trib view of Rapture was held by the early church fathers and by the early church in general.
The blogger insinuates that the very use of the title “pseudo” indicates this is a false teacher. The “genuine” Ephraem, he writes, apparently lived in the fourth century, while the “pseudo” lived in as late as the seventh. Yet he confuses his attempt to make his case by using both Ephraems to claim that they both, in the final analysis, write a firm denial of the pre-Trib Rapture.
The blogger writes of both Ephraems: “Both said the only thing ‘remaining’ is the arrival of Antichrist”–i.e., they both believed, according to him, that the Antichrist coming to power is the next prophetic event to take place. No Rapture is in view.
Grant Jeffrey plainly refutes that claim through his research. Jeffrey wrote the following in a chapter for one of my books:
Ephraem’s manuscript lays out the events of the last days in chronological sequence. Significantly, he began with the Rapture, using the word “imminent,” then he described the Great Tribulation of three and a half years duration under the Antichrist’s tyranny, followed by the second coming of Christ to earth with His saints to defeat the Antichrist.
Significantly, at the beginning of his treatise in section 2, Ephraem used the word “imminent” to describe the Rapture occurring before the Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist. “We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers which is imminent or overhanging.”
He clearly described the pre-Tribulation Rapture: “Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.”–Grant Jeffrey, “Rapture, Three Fascinating Discoveries”
The writers of those earlier times used the term “pseudo” as merely a literary device in order to not have their names made public for one reason or the other. The same devices are used today in modern literature, of course. And, there are other factors involved in why such pseudonym devices were employed, but that’s not relevant here.
The point is that very meticulous scholarship examining the writers of that ancient period has proven beyond doubt–to me and many others who study Bible prophecy–that there were many students of God’s Word amongst the early believers who held to a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.
Yet the blogger calls the writings by Ephraem the Syrian (A.D. 306 to 373) “false witness” and refers to the writer as a “forger.” This he does without actual proof of his charge, but with high-sounding, pseudo-scholarly phraseology, in my opinion.
The danger in all this is that these assaults on the Rapture deflect the study of many of the true children of God who have a desire to look into Bible prophecy these days. Believe me, these seem to constitute a group that is diminishing in number.
The bloggers that are virulently against the truth about the pre-Trib Rapture brought to us by Paul the apostle in his letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians, and indeed by Jesus Himself as given in John 14:1-3, send their seemingly well-studied dogma in mass mailings on an ever-increasing basis. People are all too quick to take the sophistry thus delivered, usually unsolicited, as factual. Like those who get their news from cyberspace venues who twist truth that is not news at all, but fable, those marginally interested in Bible prophecy often take the lazy way and choose the blog presentations from the purveyors of anti-pre-Trib Rapture propaganda.
This is a primary reason I wrote my latest book, Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That will Be Left Behind. My prayerful desire was and continues to be to get the book into the hands of as many as possible in order to counter such satanically spawned attacks. My special prayer is that we get the book to as many pastors and teachers within churches that are still of the Philadelphian rather than of the Laodicean sort.
My thanks to all who have seen to it that your pastors and teachers now have this book in their possession. For those who haven’t yet seen to it that these ministers of your acquaintance have copies, I ask that you consider providing each a copy.
Time looks to be running out in this Age of Grace. Pray, if you will, that these will begin using their pulpits and teaching opportunities to deliver truth about Christ’s imminent coming for all believers. As chapter 1 of Rapture Ready…Or Not puts it: “The end isn’t near, it’s here.”