Friday, November 15, 2019
As a teenager in the mid-1960s, my life like all teens, was highly impressionable by those having authority. And when those having public religious authority, namely pastors and Bible teachers, taught that Christ was returning at any imminent moment, it inspired no need to search out the Scriptures “to find out whether these things were so” (Acts: 17:11). We took pastors at their word, but not God’s Word. That’s how we were taught to believe, after all, if you couldn’t believe the preacher, then who could you believe? That tradition largely remains today.
The mold being cast of the pulpit’s authority over God’s Word came centuries ago and remains inherited from Roman Catholicism, under whose dictates many were turned to idolatry. Today, there remains the spiritually deadly condition of believing church tradition rather than personally studying God’s Word of truth in Christ “to present yourself approved to God, [not man] a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Today, though largely fallen silent, the cry of wolf, meaning an imminent pre-trib rapture, is yet the false belief of many as the church adopted John N. Darby’s ~ 1830 lie that Christ gathers His elect in a pre-trib rapture. Not one verse of Scripture supports Darby’s lie. Yet, the church loves the lie. Many pastors and teachers cried wolf for so long, that today, nearly no one in or out of the church even wants to hear about the end-times. And that’s a great spiritual travesty.
“Cry wolf, To give a false alarm. The term comes from an ancient tale about a shepherd lad watching his flock on a far-off hillside. Lonely and fearful, he called for help by crying out, “Wolf!” After people had responded to his cries several times and found no wolf had threatened him, they refused to come to his aid when a wolf finally did attack his sheep. It soon was transferred to all such false alarms, and was already a cliché by the time R. D. Blackmore wrote about the French invasion, “The cry of wolf grows stale at last, and then the real danger comes” (Springhaven, 1887). The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer”.
Blackmore’s quote rings remarkably true of our day: “The cry of wolf grows stale at last, and then the real danger comes”. And now we approach 2020 and the church’s response is virtual silence. It’s fruitlessly cried wolf for many years, but now that Antichrist is imminent, very few in the church are even interested. Many are now dull of hearing as much truth has been lost to traditions. Worse, millions of Christians cannot discern even being in the end-times.
Jesus is the truth. His truth produces trust. But if perceived truth fails, trust is lost. The church should now deal with that lost trust, but it’s not. It remains silent, willing to let many continue believing the pre-trib rapture lie. There’s no worse example of a counterfeit love. True love for God discloses the truth and testimony of Jesus Christ, that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) and then leads the body of Christ in preparing to endure the tribulation to its end. Difficult as that message is, that’s real love that produces real trust.
From C. Ammer, “After people had responded to his cries several times and found no wolf had threatened him, they refused to come to his aid when a wolf finally did attack his sheep”. How apropos! Antichrist’s attacks now intensify, but many Christians are unaware and disinterested. Nor will dispensational pastors come to the people’s aid. At best, that love is lukewarm and trust is betrayed, both of which are end-time co-conspirators against the testimony of Jesus Christ.
As mentioned in previous Letter’s, the pre-tribulation rapture tradition conceals much prophetic end-time Scripture intended for the benefit and preparation of saints. Of course, the destruction of the testimony of Jesus is what Satan wants. That conflict has raged since the Garden of Eden. Sadly, I’ve heard it said that when pre-trib churches study the Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ, it’s more from a morbid curiosity of what happens to those left behind than that of a loving, informative and preparatory study of how to endure to the end.
On October 11, 2014, I emailed a Spirit-led, four-page letter to Dr. Ed Hindson, Dean of the School of Divinity, Liberty University, at Lynchburg, VA, where our youngest daughter earned her BS degree in Biomedical Sciences. My stated concerns to Dr. Hindson were the dangers of the pre-trib rapture I heard him preach at Convocation to nearly 15,000 students. Dr. Hindson responded twice, which I appreciated, but his only answer was to refer me to a pre-trib website “to have my questions answered”. But I had no questions. Nor did he offer an explanation for Jesus’ teaching that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31).
About a month later, on November 8, 2014, I emailed the nearly verbatim letter to Dr. George O. Wood, then General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God. In summary, I said, “I appeal to you on the qualifications of Jesus Christ and His Spirit, to prepare the church to endure to the end of this age, “at the last trumpet”, “at the last day”, at “the first resurrection” as Christ taught. The pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is a cruel and false hope. The post tribulation rapture truth, however, will equip saints to endure to the end, find God’s safety and provision, and greatly limit “the falling away” promised by the holy, infallible Word of the Lord.” I received an impersonal and cold email response addressed to “Rev. Yonder”, referring me to the AoG position papers, a callous and Christ-dishonoring response to my Christ-honoring letter.
I share these two examples to demonstrate the guarded, dismissive, and unbiblical defense of the pre-trib rapture from the earthly pinnacles of Christian authority that has destroyed much truth. They fruitlessly cried wolf for many years, and now that real end-time dangers are imminent with the world descending into chaos, their defenseless position of silence and turning a blind eye to the truths Jesus taught creates a lukewarm spirit that’s “neither cold nor hot” (Rev. 3:15).
Don’t be caught believing the pre-trib rapture lie. We will all be right here on earth to endure the seven-year tribulation. The 2020s are set to be an economic and social upheaval. The question is, do you discern the signs of the times, and are you equipped to find God’s safety and provision at the point of mid-tribulation for 1,260 days, the last 3 1/2 years of great tribulation?
Dear reader, if you profess faith in Christ, but have been deceived by the pre-trib rapture lie, know that Jesus invites you to come, “Just as I am without one plea”. He wants to rid your soul of that one dark blot of unbelief that you would believe the testimony of Christ who purchased your salvation, and to empower you to endure faithfully to the end of this present age.
Marlin J. Yoder
To Marlin Yonder,
Sorry Marlin, I just could not help myself. Thanks for the inclusion of your couple of emails. I too have vivid memories of the preaching and teaching of an any minute pre-tribulation rapture. I left the church as a very young teenager. I spent the next 13 years or so extending evil in the world to my dear mother’s much regret. Finally, her prayer became, “Whatever it takes Lord, to save my first born son of nine children.” She thought with God’s help I would be faithful to pray for her husband, my father, and the other children. It took her being much too late diagnosed with cancer. I received the notice of her having two months to live the day before Easter some 41 years ago. And at age 25, at an old altar Easter Sunday morning I became the recipient of God’s grace due to a mother’s extremely sincere and selfless prayer.
Since that day I have been removed from four positions of leadership within various churches. And yet, God remains faithful to reveal the truth of His Word to our hearts and minds as we study to show ourselves approved unto Him. And part of that truth revealed is that of the gathering of His saints immediately after the tribulation as you so often allude to in your teachings. Thanks you for doing so Marlin!
One removal especially stands out in similarity to the response you received from the so-called dean of divinity at Liberty University in Lynchburg. I was the associate pastor at a Calvary Chapel in a small town in Virginia. My duties varied from children’s pastor, worship leader, occasional Sunday preaching, and Wednesday evening bible teacher. It was a Wednesday evening, having spent several months teaching through the gospel of Matthew, that I found myself face to face with Jesus’ teaching on the timing of the gathering of His saints or the rapture in Matthew 24.
I found myself teaching that true believers should study the Word of God for themselves, rather than simply agreeing with Brother Mike, that’s me, Brother Ray, the senior pastor at the time, or even Chuck Smith, the founder of Calvary Chapels. The pastor’s wife was in attendance and before that Sunday I was removed from leadership. When I asked for some time for some biblical debate and discussion, I was given a book by John Walvoord, who highly regards the pre-tribulation concept.
Therefore, I am again amazed that anyone would be referred to a website or to another book other than the bible to prove or to disprove a concept such as a pre-tribulation rapture or a secret other coming of Jesus Christ that only goes back to 1830 and possibly 1790. How sad! And how devastating the end time offense this fanciful fable will cause when the Antichrist is revealed before the second coming of Christ in all His glory and before His gathering of His saints from the four corners of the earth.
And yet, because the majority of humankind did not and does not love the truth of the Word of God, God has promised to send strong delusion that unbelievers will believe the lie of the father of lies! Our prayer must be that God’s grace opens the eyes of the spiritually blind and unstops the ears of the spiritually deaf, that we may have spiritual ears to hear what the Holy Spirit of God is saying to this true end time church.
Therefore, let us be listening, and let us not be deceived by the delusional lie of man and Satan.
In Him Always, Brother Mike…