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Friday, April 24, 2009

What The Early Church Fathers Believed About The Rapture

As more people come out of the touchy-feely, God is love, easy believism theology and embrace the doctrines of the Reformation, many of these people fail to discard the errors that some of the Reformers were unable to discover in their limited lifetimes. They were too busy undoing all the damage done by the Popes to the scriptures, grace and God's glory to study prophecy. Mainly, the reformers could see Israel no where so that God could have a people to which He could deliver His promises in the Old Testament. They, wrongly, assumed that the church was a replacement for Israel. If one will look, Israel, never in its history, has ever possessed all of the land God had promised to Abraham. The Popes assumed that the church was replacing Israel and this unfulfilled promise would be fulfilled to the church. But the church and Israel are two separate entities.(Read Rom. chapter 11.)

Many of the Covenant Calvinists embrace the Roman Catholic ideology of amillennialism. Furthermore, many within this tradition, and even within the premillennial family, assert that the doctrine of a pre-trib rapture did not develop until the 1800s. Such statements are terribly inaccurate.

I agree with Dr. Richard Mayhue, and Dr. Wayne Brindle when they state: "The timing of the rapture is not a cardinal doctrine that should divide God's people, but those who interpret the Bible literally find many strong reasons to believe that the rapture will be pre-tribulational" (The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, 289).

No matter whether one believes in a pre-trib rapture or not, there are historical statements that verify that people have indeed believed this teaching before the 1800s. It is clear that the early church immediately following the apostles held to a premillennial view of Christ's coming to earth. These theologians embraced two key truths concerning Christ's return to earth. The idea of an any moment return and a coming of Christ to rule as the political and spiritual king over the world were advocated by many of the earliest theologians. Here is a partial list of some of the theologians who embraced the doctrine of imminency and/or the future kingdom rule of Christ:

Papias (60-130)

Clement of Rome (90-100)

The Sherpherd of Hermas (96-150)

Ignatius of Antioch (98-117)

Barnabas (100)

The Didache (100-160)

Justin Martyr (110-165)

The Epistle of Barnabas (117-138)

Irenaeus (120-202)

Tertullian (145-220)

Hippolytus (185-236)
Cyprian (200-250)

Lactantius (260-330)

From these men we see the doctrine of Christ's soon return within a premillennial framework. The doctrine permeated the early church. And some of these men even had direct contact with the apostles and held to this belief. A little “individual research” rather than accept whole hog what one’s seminary professor teaches may be in order for most pastors today.

Two Pretribulational References in the Early Church
1. The Shepherd of Hermas (95-150)The Shepherd of Hermas was written between 96-150 AD. This document provides a statement that resembles a teaching of a pre-trib rapture doctrine. Though it is not exactly as found in modern day scholarly pretribulational writings, it still shows that an idea existed in some degree that God's people could escape the future tribulation that was to come on the whole earth. The text reads:
"You have escaped from the great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life serving the Lord blamelessly."
This is not a systematic teaching, nor does it answer all of the questions that one may have. But it does give a reference to the teaching that God's people can escape the great tribulation.”

2. Victorinus ( Well known by 270 and died in 303 A.D.)Victorinus wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation. In one place he made an interesting statement that reflects his idea that the church would be removed prior to the tribulation. Of course his ideas were not systematic, and some will argue that he contradicts himself in other places, which may very well be true. But even with such an admission it still serves us well to see that early in the church history someone taught in some sense that God's church could escape the tribulation period by being removed from the earth. His commentary notes in Revelation 6:14 indicate a pre-trib reference:
"And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up. "For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away. "And every mountain and the islands removed from their places intimate that in the last persecution all men departed from their places; that is, that the good will be removed, seeking to avoid persecution.
This reference gives light into a developing idea in the earliest periods of the church. There was an idea that God's people could be spared the terrible time of wrath that God would pour out on the earth by removing the saints. The saint's departure from the earth would occur so they would not undergo the terible wrath at the beginning of the judgments of God upon the sinful unbelieving world.

Here Are Three Clear Summary Points from the Early Church Fathers' Teachings:
These early church fathers expected Christ to physically return to earth followed by a 1000 year kingdom rule on earth.
By many of the writings we can see they believed in the possibility of an any moment return of Christ with some statements that resemble a pre-trib view point.
Even though the early church was under heavy persecution these teachers believed there would still come a distinct time of great tribulation in the future.

Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373)Ephraem wrote an important sermon "On the Last Times, the Antichrist and the End of the World." As a prominent theologian and prolific writer of the Eastern Byzantine church, he advocated for a pretribulational rapture position for the church. Dr. Grant Jeffrey has noted that he had a profound love for the Scriptures. Below is a selected quote that concerns the escape of God's people from the horrible tribulation. He stated:
"We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled, and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that He may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms the world? Believe you me, dearest brothers, because the coming of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see it with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: "Woe to those who desire to see the Day of the Lord!" Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is to 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. And so brothers, most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of this world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and invasions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!”
Notice that there is a clear teaching on the rapture of the saints before the terrible tribulation period. This theologian admonishes the people not to desire to see the Day of the Lord? Why? Because in his mind to see the day of the Lord means a person is not a believer. The believers will be snatched away and taken to the Lord before this time period begins. Look closely at what he says again:
"See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: "Woe to those who desire to see the Day of the Lord!" Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is to 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."

Scholars Dr. Ice and James Stitzinger provide some other insights as to what this theologian taught concerning the end times. They note that Ephreum "develops an elaborate biblical eschatology, including a distinction between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. It describes the imminent rapture, followed by a three-and-half-year-long Great Tribulation under the rule of Antichrist, followed by the coming of Christ, the defeat of the Antichrist, and the eternal state. His view includes a parenthesis between the fulfillment of Daniel's sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks (Daniel 9:24-27)."

Keep in mind that this reference is 1500 years before the time that many critics of the pre-trib view claim this doctrine developed. Many falsely advocate that the idea of a pre-trib rapture view developed in 1800s through J.N. Darby or through some sects and mystics. Such a view does not hold water, though it is popular in many circles.

Ed Anthony

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What the Protestants & Puritans Believed About The Rapture

Here Is A List Of Teachers and Theologians AFTER the Protestant Reformation
Who Believed In A Pre-tribulation Rapture

At the time of the Protestant Reformation a major shift in how one interpreted the Bible caused the church to adjust in her views on the end times. Predominately under the Roman Catholic Church the Bible was interpreted allegorically. Scripture dealing with end times, prophetic texts, for the most part suffered from the hands of those who would not take the text literally. However, as the Reformation grew and as people began to return to a literal interpretation of the Bible the more people shifted to see that Christ was going to come back to earth to rule and reign. Many of the Puritans and Pilgrims, the 2nd generation of the Reformation movement, adopted the idea that not only was Christ going to reign on the earth but he would also translate his church saints before the awful time of his outpouring of wrath. Several of these scholars in some form or another held to a pre-tribulational rapture position.
1. Joseph Mede (1627): Clavis Apocalyptica
Some believe that he in this work made a distinction between the rapture of the saints in contrast to the second of Christ to earth.

2. Increase Mather (1639-1723)Increase Mather was a pastor, scholar, and was the first President of Harvard College. Paul Boyer has noted that this Puritan scholar proved "that the saints would be caught up into the air beforehand, thereby escaping the final conflagration." This teaching from Mather was an early formulation of the rapture doctrine it seems.

3. Peter Jurieu (1687)Peter Jurie in his book "Approaching Deliverance of the Church " (1687) taught that Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon. He spoke of this secret Rapture prior to His coming in glory and judgment at Armageddon.

4. John Gill (1748)Dr. John Gill was one of the most brilliant scholars of his day. This Calvinist Baptist theologian wrote a full commentary set on the Bible in 1748. In this commentary he made a statement in his notes on 1 Thessalonians 4 that supported a time difference between the rapture of the saints and the coming of Christ to earth. He said:
“ Christ will stop and will be visible to all, and as easily discerned by all, good and bad, as the body of the sun at noon-day; as yet He will not descend on earth, because it is not fit to receive Him; but when that and its works are burnt up, and it is purged and purified by fire, and become a new earth, He'll descend upon it, and dwell with his saints in it: and this suggests another reason why He'll stay in the air, and His saints shall meet Him there, and whom He'll take up with Him into the third heaven, till the general conflagration and burning of the world is over, and to preserve them from it.…”

5.Morgan Edwards (1742-1744) the Founder of Brown UniversityEdwards was a prominent Baptist Leader in his day. When he came to America he was recommended to a pastoral role by the famous John Gill. He founded the first Baptist College in the colonies. This college later became known as Brown University, a well known Ivy League University of our times. Edwards taught that Christ would return for his church saints 3.5 years before he returned to establish the Kingdom of Christ on earth, the 1000 year reign of Christ.
He specifically said:
"The distance between the first and second resurrection will be somewhat more than a thousand years. I say, somewhat more--, because the dead saints will be raised, and the living changed at Christ's 'appearing in the air' (1 Thess. 4:17); and this will be about three years and a half before the millennium, as we shall see hereafter: but will he and they abide in the air all that time? No: they will ascend to paradise, or to some one of those many 'mansions in the Father's house' (John 14:2)."
This is proof that the Pre-Tribulation was not a "late teaching" and this is about as serious students of scripture to be found anywhere.
Ed Anthony

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lies, Freedom and Gun laws

Well, they are at it again! I believe that this time they are going for the take down. With what I’m seeing, I believe that the Marxist/Socialist Obama administration is going for the “Full Monty” to take down the US Constitution and take away America as we have known it. Those of you who say I am overstating the case may as well move on down the road to the jingle of the “bell-cow” you follow. You are not going to like hearing these truths.

First, the main stream media (MSM) is having a field day deriding and ridiculing the “patriot tea parties” all across our nation. These useful idiots can not grasp why anyone would not want everyone in lockstep with big government and would dare to speak against the party line. There goes our 1st. amendment.

Second, anyone who holds certain politically incorrect views like “Constitutional government - Right to life - One man One woman is a marriage - Right to keep and bear arms and what I work for belongs to me” are now being put on government list and categorized as “a threat to America” by Homeland security. The most demeaning part of this report paints the brave men and women who put their life and limbs on the line to protect these ingrates’ rights to be stupid, are the most disparaged and put down. This, by the way, is a flanking movement against both our first and especially our 2nd. amendment rights. They are listed as kooks, psychotic or deranged, therefore they can’t own firearms.

Third, the American public is being lied to at every level and about every subject brought before this administration. This is NOT the first time America has had to endure this from it’s elected leadership. My fear here is, I believe this administration has a far darker agenda than we have ever faced before. Lying is not the issue, the un-American, un-Godly agenda they are attempting to hide behind those lies is the real danger to us and our freedoms.

Last, but certainly not least, The spear point of their attack is NOT taxing, redistribution of wealth, health care or even kissing Iran’s butt until they faint in submission. The most power is being brought against our 2nd. amendment right to keep and bear arms. Now, anyone with the IQ of a doorknob and has attended at least one remedial reading class in elementary school can see that is two items in this 2nd. amendment right. #1 = “to keep” (that would be “keep or secure” in your home, your work place and even in your buggy-wagon-car-motorcycle or truck) #2 = “to bear” (means to wear, to carry) Throw aside all of the politically correct BS, lawyer double-speak, judge-stuttering and look it up in a dictionary - old or new it says the same thing. Any law that restricts the clear reading given here is a violation of Constitutional rights. Should there be some limits? We can discuss that at another time. But not if we are being lied to.

This brings me to the conclusion. It’s not bad enough that our President, in less than 100 days, has traveled all over the globe apologizing, bowing and scraping before Islamic kings, and playing “lets-make-nice-kissy-face” with the lunatic, rogue despots of the world, but even to our friends he lies and pledges to do things for them that we have no control over. That’s FALSE hope for them and chains for us. Case in point: “President Obama stood before the Mexican President, world press and public to declare that 90% of all guns recovered by Mexican authorities at crime scenes, could be traced to the USA.” Now, all of the anti-Constitution, Marxist/Socialist, America-haters, the bell-cows and sheeple will accept that as fact, agree with tighter gun laws and move on to the slaughter. As of this writing FOXNEWS seems to be calling Mr. Obama on this one. The truth is, “ONLY 17% of all guns recovered at crime scenes” can be traced ANYWHERE! 90% of those can be traced to America. All this proves is that we already have the best, most efficient (almost too efficient) system of gun record keeping in the world. The other 83% of recovered guns in Mexico crime scenes come from God-only-knows where. In this case as in almost all others, America is NOT the problem; America is the solution.

I have listed a few sites where you can find truthful information that will put things in perspective and help make rational decisions about what is real. Two quick points; #1. If you are focused on children’s gun-deaths - GOOD!. Consider that abortions still kill almost a million children a year. (Bigger problem that guns.) #2, To the pacifist out there, if you won’t stand up to despots, rogues and usurpers of authority, if you have nothing so dear, nothing so precious to you that you will fight against liars, thieves and enslavers to defend, I’m so sorry for you. Please do not hinder those of us who are willing to defend your right to be slothful in these things. In fact I would tell you:
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Resource sites:Alcohol linked to 75000 U.S. deaths a year - Addictions-
Alcohol abuse kills some 75000 Americans each year and shortens the lives ... the rate of alcohol-related driving fatalities to 4 deaths per 100000 people ... -

College Student Alcohol-Related Deaths: 36 or 1400 Per Year?
An estimated 36 college students die in alcohol-related incidents each year, much lower than the 1400 estimated by Ralph Hingson in 2002 and now raised to ... -

ACS :: Cigarette Smoking
Each year, a staggering 440000 people die in the US from tobacco use. Nearly 1 of every 5 deaths is related to smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than ... - 35k -

Annual Causes of Death in the United States | Drug War Facts
(2000): "The leading causes of death in 2000 were tobacco (435000 deaths; .... die each year because of adverse reactions to their prescribed medications. ...
Marijuana - Prisons & Jails - Cocaine & Crack - Race and Prison

Gun-related deaths in the USA
Statistics and causes
The definitive source for US injury death statistics is the Centers For Disease Control National Center for Injury Prevention & Control website which provides statistics on all deaths by injury, not just gun deaths. To get the number of gun deaths for a year just set the Cause of Injury to Firearm. If you only want to know the number of child gun deaths per year then choose the custom age range and input 0 years ( <1 ) as the lowest age and 17 years as the top age. Be sure to select "No Age-Adjusting Requested" if you are only interested in a particular age group.
Note that the CDC child gun death figures are typically half of the figures that the gun control lobby publishes. The difference is in the definition of a child. The gun control lobby counts young adults that are 18 or 19 years old as children, but they do not count 20 year olds as children. You can choose from one of two possible reasons, depending on your level of cynicism: 1. The standard CDC age groups used to go from 0-19, 20-39, etc and the gun control lobby couldn't figure out how to select a custom age group. 2. Counting 18 and 19 year olds as children doubles the number of so-called child gun deaths, and more child gun deaths means more support for gun control.
In 1999 there were 1776 gun deaths in the 0 through 17 age group and 3385 gun deaths in the 0 through 19 age group. By subtraction we find that there were a whopping 1609 gun deaths in just the 18 through 19 age group. Historically the 18 through 24 age group is the highest crime-committing group. At age 18 part-time drug dealers leave school and become full-time drug dealers. Despite the misinformation, criminals in general and drug dealers in particular are the group of so-called children most likely to be shot by their fellow criminals. You can verify this by reading the local gun death news stories in any city newspaper. School shootings are so rare that every one gets national television coverage, but drug dealers are shot so often that they are barely mentioned in their local newspaper.
Older people's gun deaths are most likely to be suicides. Suicides typically make up 56.5% of all gun deaths according to the Bureau Of Justice Statistics. In fact, drugs and suicides account for more than 2 out of every 3 gun deaths in the USA.
The best way to prevent gun deaths is to treat depression and other mental illness, teach children not to sell or use illegal drugs, treat drug addiction, and have police concentrate on enforcing drug laws. However, the gun control lobby says that we should spend billions of dollars on gun registration and gun licensing instead of using the money to treat depression and combat drugs. The accidental gun death rate has been falling since 1930 and US accidental gun deaths per year were down to 824 by 1999 according to the CDC.
Cut and paste the web sites, read for your self. If we lose the battle over the 2nd. amendment, everything else becomes a moot point! We lose it all when the 2nd. amendment goes down the drain!

He was ahead of his time.
We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.
--Ronald Reagan, 1964

Thursday, April 02, 2009


This is another re-print. This one is from Dr. Anne Wortham. She is a very serious thinker and writer who I think you will enjoy! She is awesome and honest.
Anne Wortham is Associate Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University and continuing Visiting Scholar at Stanford University 's Hoover Institution. She is a member of the American Sociological Association and the American Philosophical Association. She has been a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow, and honored as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. In fall 1988 she was one of a select group of intellectuals who were featured in Bill Moyer's television series, "A World of Ideas." The transcript of her conversation with Moyers has been published in his book, A World of Ideas. Dr. Wortham is author of The Other Side of Racism: A Philosophical Study of Black Race Consciousness which analyzes how race consciousness is transformed into political strategies and policy issues. She has published numerous articles on the implications of individual rights for civil rights policy, and is currently writing a book on theories of social and cultural marginality. Recently, she has published articles on the significance of multiculturalism and Afrocentricism in education, the politics of victimization and the social and political impact of political correctness. Shortly after an interview in 2004 she was awarded tenure.

by Anne Wortham
Fellow Americans,
Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul's name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival - all that I know about the history of the United States of America , all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America.

Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn't look like them. I would have to wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration - political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University 's Kennedy School of Government.I would have to believe that "fairness" is the equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.

Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of 125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park, Chicago irrationally chanting "Yes We Can!" Finally, I would have to wipe all memory of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists, editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead - and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.

So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a black man to the office of the president of the United States , the wounded giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over - and that Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy men. Jimmie Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statists in the suburbs can feel warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a black person. So, toast yourselves: 60s countercultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee Harvard, Princeton , Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Berkeley. You have elected not an individual who is qualified to be president, but a black man who, like the pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to - Do Something! You now have someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. But you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine - what little there is left - for the chance to feel good.

There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.

"When a man who is honestly mistaken is confronted with the truth;
he ceases to be mistaken or he ceases to be honest!".....Ed Anthony