The Doctrine of Imminence is Man-Made and False
A pastor whom I respect was on a radio show that takes calls and answers questions. A caller asked for clarification on whether the rapture would be pre-tribulation or post-tribulation. The pastor, who holds to the pre-tribulation viewpoint, referred the caller to a book– not the Bible, just some book by some author! This pastor is not alone in the fact that he offered zero scriptural evidence for the pre-trib rapture. Go listen to online sermons in which your favorite Bible teacher mentions the pre-trib rapture. You will not hear the specific verse mentioned that states the rapture happening before the Great Tribulation, because no such verse exists. I hear it over and over. Bible teachers make statements such as “the Bible says that the church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation,” and then move on without citing the verse in which the Bible supposedly says this.
Whenever Christians mention the pre-trib rapture to me, I ask them to show it to me in the Bible, and not a single one of them has done it. Most won’t even try! This is because the pre-trib rapture is everywhere in Christianity (Christian radio, Christian literature, Christian conversation), but nowhere in the Bible.
I write this article with love and respect to my pre-trib brothers and sisters. I do not call people names. I do not identify the Bible teachers with whom I disagree (and I disagree with almost all of them). What I am doing is emploring you all, whether pastor or congregant, mature Christian or new Christian, to take Paul’s words to heart:
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ~ Acts 17:11
If the Apostle Paul was not above having his doctrine scrutinized against the Bible, then neither are we.
Getting back to the pastor who referred a radio-show caller to a book other than the Bible, here is another remarkable fact. One of the brothers I challenged on the pre-trib rapture made an admirable attempt to convince me of his position. By the way, for those of you who think it’s not our job to convince anyone in our evangelism, here is a verse for you:
They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. ~ Acts 28:23-24
I constantly hear from brothers and sisters that “it’s not our job to convince anyone. That’s up to God.” Nonsense!
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. ~ 2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NKJV)
Anyway, back to the brother who tried to convince me. So, this brother (to his credit) tried to convince me that pre-trib was the way to go. But, ironically, he handed me a book authored by the pastor who referred the radio caller to another author’s book. Do you see the circular reasoning? One author refers to another, and the church ends up chasing its tail– all because we refuse to refer to the Bible!
In this post, I want to specifically address the non-biblical Doctrine of “Imminence” that is so popular with pre-tribbers. The Doctrine of Imminence states that the return of Jesus Christ is “imminent.” In other words, it could happen at any time and has no prerequisites. The Bible says otherwise:
I will tear at Israel and Judah as a lion rips apart its prey. I will carry them off, and there will be no one left to rescue them. Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and look to me for help. For as soon as trouble comes, they will search for me.” ~ Hosea 5:14-15 (NLT)
The return of the Messiah of Israel is not imminent. It depends upon Israel realizing that they rejected him at his first coming when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. It will dawn on them. The light will go on. Then, they will repent and plead with him to save them from the wolf at their throats.
This will all happen when Israel’s back is against the wall like never before– which is saying a lot considering everything the Jewish people have been through. Israel will then “admit their guilt and look to me for help.” THAT is when Jesus returns! The conclusion that Jesus will return at any moment can not be reached if one lets the Bible interpret the Bible, yet legions of Christians have no problem with it– and we criticize the Catholic church for their non-Biblical traditions, such as having statues of saints. It’s no different. In fact, at least there is artistic talent involved in making a statue.
Jesus makes 2 appearances in world history, not 2.5. The church has added a sorta-kinda appearance where Jesus bungee jumps down to cloud level, raptures the church, and then bungees back up for another 7 years, or 3.5 years, or whatever the theory mandates this week. Does the Bible teach this?
…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. ~ Hebrew 9:28
Two appearances. Not 2.5.
Please show me the verse where Jesus begins his descent, raptures the church, then reverses direction and goes back up. No such verse exists. We have imposed this idea upon the Bible.
In addition, the Bible admonishes us over and over and over that we need to endure, endure, endure, stand firm, stand firm, stand firm. How obvious can God make it??? Does it sound like God wants us to put it on cruise control because we’re going to be bungeed out before the tough times come?
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. ~ Mark 13:13
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. ~ Matthew 24:13
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— ~ Jesus Christ, Revelation 2:26
Find me the verses that say “he who stands firm until 7 years before the end will be saved.” Find me the verses that say “to him who overcomes and does my will until 7 years before the end, I will give authority over the nations.” The Bible does not teach that we will be spared the Great Tribulation. To the contrary, the Bible teaches that we must be tough enough to “endure” and “overcome.”
As a result of the non-Biblical teaching that the entire church will be raptured out before the Great Tribulation, legions of Christians will fall away from the faith when the Great Tribulation comes. Stop believing it, and stop teaching it.
Finally, the Doctrine of Imminence is based on verses whereby Christians who were alive just after Jesus’ ascension back into heaven express their anticipation of his return.
“awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:7-
“waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” ~ Jude 21
To these verses I say, so what? What’s the big deal? The Christians alive just after Jesus’ first coming did not know exactly when his 2nd coming would be, so they eagerly awaited it. Jesus himself did not know when his 2nd coming would be.
By the way, even if we cannot know the day and hour, we can absolutely know the geo-political configuration that will exist just before the 2nd coming. The Bible clearly lays this out, and it looks an awful lot like the configuration we see rapidly taking shape in the Middle East today.
So, Jesus could not have told his followers the date and time of his 2nd coming, even if he wanted to, because he did not know this information. Nor could he tell them the exact extent of the horror Israel was about to suffer at the hands of the Roman Army. Jesus alludes to what’s coming when he mentions that not one Temple stone will be left atop another, but Jesus spared his followers the explicit details. Had his followers known that the Roman Army would soon sack Jerusalem, killing 1.1 million Jews, demolishing the sacred Temple, annihilating the Jewish nation, and scattering the survivors worldwide for a 2,000-year diaspora, they would have fainted from terror and closed up shop. So, Jesus spared them the details. He simply told them to keep watch:
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” ~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:42
And that’s exactly what his followers did. They kept watch. They anticipated his coming. Yet, vast swaths of the church swallow this hook-line-and-sinker as the “Doctrine of Imminence.” This doctrine crumbles at the slightest scrutiny, but nobody scrutinizes it, and that is the problem!
The Doctrine of Imminence is a man-made doctrine resulting from taking verses in which early Christians anticipate the return of their Lord, as he instructed them to, and torturing those verses to make them fit an unbiblical sorta-kinda coming of Christ in which he bungee jumps down to cloud level and then goes right back up.
There are 2 comings of Jesus Christ, not 2.5.
The Doctrine of Imminence is a false doctrine.
The Bible is always proven true.
Categories: Rapture: Pre-Trib Is Nowhere In The Bible