Wednesday, June 24, 2015

IT'S THE RAPTURE, STUPID ! by Dave MacPherson

First, let's get something straight. Many conservative evangelicals in America are not longing for the "world's end" or "judgment day" or a "millennium" or an "antichrist" or even the "second coming." Although these phrases are in their theology books, the same books emphasize what they are waiting (and would almost die) for: the "any-moment pretribulation rapture" which is expected several years ahead of the second coming and most assuredly BEFORE a future "great tribulation"! 

Hal Lindsey, the big rapture guru of the late 20th century, ended his best-selling book "The Late Great Planet Earth" with the word "MARANATHA" which pretribulation rapturists know is a code word for their rapture. And the same literal removal from earth at any moment lurks in Lindsey's other writings.

Tim LaHaye, the current rapture tycoon whose "Left Behind" bonanza has left even Lindsey behind, knows how to milk the rapturized masses. After his 1992 pro-rapture book "No Fear of the Storm" was published, it was revealed that he had sloppily omitted 48 words when airing a brief 19th century document - hardly good publicity! After sales slowed down, it was re-issued as "Rapture Under Attack" (with the same 48 missing words) and appeared to the public to be a new book. But not even the title change seemed to help things, and merchandiser LaHaye knew it was time to come up with some other titles that could further his rapture obsession. And Jerry Falwell never seems to miss an opportunity, when preaching, to remind his audience that he most certainly believes in the “pretribulational rapture" view.

I can almost believe that the middle name of many Christian Right leaders is "Rapture"!

When checking pre-19th century prophetic development, one finds that "dispensational" thinking as well as Christian Zionistic roots had been in existence long before the emergence of pretribulation rapturism. Even the prophetic word "rapture" had been in print well before the 19th century - but always in reference to only an after-the-tribulation coming and never to a pretribulation coming.

Many are still unaware that the pretrib rapture idea was first publicly aired in the fall of 1830 in "The Morning Watch" (hereafter: TMW), a little-known quarterly journal published by the Irvingites (followers of famed London preacher Edward Irving) from 1829 to 1832 in Britain. Not only was this innovative publication years ahead of John Darby and his Plymouth Brethren colleagues, rapturally speaking, but in it we find shocking militancy that can be observed today in Christian Zionist preachers like John Hagee and Jerry Falwell. As early as the September 1830 issue of TMW (pp. 510-514) a writer declared that only worthy Christians (which he labeled "Philadelphia") would be raptured before "the great tribulation" and less worthy ones (labeled "Laodicea") would be left on earth. The September 1832 issue of the same journal (pp. 6-7) saw "Jews" as well as the less worthy Christians left behind. But the March 1833 issue (p. 147) said that only "the Jews" would be excluded from the rapture.

So within a short period of time the Irvingites, while following the same Scriptures, revealed their innate anti-Jewishness by switching from a “church/church" dichotomy to a "church/Israel" dichotomy after convincing themselves that only "the Jews" would deserve a future tribulation! After their adoption of an escapist view that no organized church had ever taught before 1830, the same early pretrib rapturists, feeling superior, began exhibiting some vices that often come to powerless persons who suddenly obtain power - vices like pride, hatred and persecution of others, playing God, and so on.

Sounding like Hagee and other warlike warmongers, TMW expressed even more delusional, rapture-inspired fantasies:

The September 1830 issue (p. 514), looking ahead to the hoped for "great escape," declared that the raptured believers would then collectively become "the victorious minister of the great tribulation" upon those left behind!

In March of 1832 the same Irvingite journal (p. 3) taught that the "vials" of wrath in the book of Revelation "shall be poured out by the risen [raptured] saints"!

And TMW in September 1832 (p. 27) went even further and announced that the collective group of raptured ones will "wield the thunders of its power against the dragon [Satan] and his angels, and cast them down from heaven"!

Note that these fanatics were more than willing to be the "chosen ones" to pour out tribulation and wrath on those not worthy to be "chosen": the Jews.

(I'm glad to report that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina is now the only North American institution that contains a complete set of every issue of "The Morning Watch." I recently gave SEBTS my 35-year collection of rare material including those issues and Robert Norton's valuable 1861 book.) We've just had a glimpse of vengeful and power-crazy fanaticism within the very earliest pretrib rapture group. But where in the Bible did those deluded Britishers find support for such "rapture rage"? And where are the followers of Christ commanded to pick up a sword and conquer or convert non-believers with it - or even support such sword-bearers? Why have so many Christian Zionists, who seemingly give more attention to governments than to their Gospel, turned the Great Commission into the Great Commotion?

Many of the above historical details are in my 300-page book "The Rapture Plot," the most complete and documented history of the 176-year-old pretribulation rapture merchandised today by Hagee, LaHaye, Falwell, Lindsey, Swaggart, Van Impe etc. for their pet agendas - an escapist view never taught by any church for 1800 years! If you don't have time for my book, I invite you to read my internet items including "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Deceiving and Being Deceived," "Famous Rapture Watchers," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal," "The Rapture Index (Mad Theology)," and "Pretrib Hypocrisy." All of my royalties, by the way, have always gone to a nonprofit corporation and not to me or anyone else. Interested in obtaining my unique "Plot" book? Just call 800.643.4645 or visit online bookstores.

(Type in "Scholars Weigh My Research" on Google etc. to read endorsements of it by leading scholars.) Do Hagee and his fellow preachers really love Jewish persons as much as they say they do? Then why do they pervert Scripture to try to get themselves raptured off earth before their future and final "tribulation" instead of wanting to remain on earth during that period to minister love to ALL of earth's citizens?

Hagee stated on July 19, 2006 that "The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West...." Which Bible verse inspired him to utter this - the one that says "Love ye your enemies" or the one saying "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord"? It would appear that Hagee, Falwell and other pretrib rapture merchandisers and Christian Zionists are trying to identify with the predicted group whose love will "wax cold" (a la Matthew 24:12) during what Hagee etc. see in the future as earth's darkest days!

(The now famous "rapture" view promoted by politics-loving American evangelicals is related to various topics. If you would like to publish the above non-copyrighted paper, feel free to even change the title to "Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism" or “Armageddonism and Politics" or "The History of Dispensationalism" or anything else.)

Dave MacPherson. What People are saying

What They Are Saying About ... THE RAPTURE PLOT!                                                                           
Gary DeMar (President American Vision): "A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture. Dave MacPherson does the work of a journalistic private investigator to uncover the truth....The Rapture Plot is the never-before-told true story of the plot - how plagiarism and subtle document changes created the 'mother of all revisionisms.' A fascinating piece of detective work." Robert H. Gundry (Professor Westmont College): "As usual MacPherson out hustles his opponents in research on primary sources. C. S. Lovett (President Personal Christianity): You don't read very much of Dave MacPherson's work before you realize he is a dedicated researcher. Because his work has been so honest and open his latest work The Rapture Plot has produced many red faces among some of the most recognized rapture writers of our time. When their work is compared to his it is embarrassing for them to see how shallow their research is." R. J. Rushdoony (President Chalcedon): "Dave MacPherson has been responsible for major change in the eschatology of evangelical churches by his devastating studies of some of the central aspects thereof. In The Rapture Plot MacPherson tells us of the strange tale of 'rapture' writings, revisions, cover-ups, alterations and confusions. No one has equaled MacPherson in his research on the 'pretrib rapture.' Attempts to discredit his work have failed...."

About the Author: Born 1932 of Scotch/English descent Dave MacPherson is a natural for British historical research. His calling was journalism. Receiving a BA in English in 1955 he spent 26 years as a newsman reporting and filming many notable events persons presidents and dignitaries.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is the gift of healing still for today? If so, I need your prayers!

This message was initially designed to be sent solely to a select group of people (friends and family), many of whom inquire regularly about my health. Most of them (Thank God) wished me well and said they would pray for me, and a few have even asked me to cite the specific ailments so they could focus their prayers more directly on those maladies. Many of them actually suggested to me that I should make this message public and get even more people to pray for you!
There are so many folks out there who are in worse shape than me, and I'm always praying for their needs. Seldom do I ask for anything for myself, having dedicated my life to serve others. Suddenly the Holy Spirit brought the following scripture to remembrance, James 4:2-3:  "...You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

Well, I never pray for money, nor seldom for physical healing, especially when I know what Jesus means when He conveyed to Paul what He meant about grace: 
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, For when I am weak, then I am strong, (  2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

This is so true, nevertheless, I always say "the more the merrier!"

As we can see in the word of God (James 5:15-17)  and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.…(James 5:15-17)

First of all, there are millions of people throughout the world that are in worse physical pain than me. I recognize this and always include their healing in my prayers. Secondly, pain always accompanies 'old age' regardless of how well a person takes care of themselves. Many also tell me that pain and suffering is mostly attributable to emotional issues in their lives (this coming from many of my holistic friends) and that those 'psychological' problems must be addressed before healing can ensue. Lastly, I believe God allows many of us to experience the "Job Syndrome (afflictions that God allows Satan to inflict to test our faith resolve). 
I believe I am experiencing all of the above to one degree or another for the reasons cited. Nevertheless, being a person who believes that regardless of the source of pain, or whatever medical solutions I have at my disposal, why should I leave God out of curing my ailment equation. Therefore, I am sending this list of specific maladies in this prayer request for healing:

(1) Although my scheduled bunion surgery has been delayed until I finished other tests to determine if I can go under anesthesia, this pain is constant and makes it almost impossible to walk;

(2) My Sleep Apnea problem is manageable (once pain killers wear off I awake regardless) and it causes irregular sleep patterns that contribute to complete and total exhaustion throughout the day;

(3) My sciatica problem is constant and not even pain killers are helping. The symptoms, in addition to constant pain to my left side (buttocks, thighs, calves and ankles) are physically and emotionally perplexing;

(4) Degenerative Arthritis of both knees and ankles is constant, which makes walking almost unbearable, much less lifting myself from chair and couch. My inability to get the slightest degree of exercise makes weight management nearly impossible;

(5) My Spinal Stenosis problem is probably the most painful. It includes severe pain to my spine from the neck down to my tail bone. It usually takes about a half hour to get out of bed in the morning (or in the middle of the night due to sleep irregularity) with such excruciating agony that require pain killers (hydrocod/apap 10mg) at least 20 t0 30 minutes to kick in once I wake up.

This problem (along with the sciatica) is the most painful and causes me the most grief. I can't sit in front of my computer for more than an hour before shooting pains kick in and force me to lie down. I can't lay down for more than an hour and have to get up to move around to relieve pain, unless I medicate myself to sleep, which usually lasts no more than 3 hours.

The exciting thing about these two symptoms combined is the unexpected shooting pains that I experience (mostly to muscles located below the waist) almost every 15 minutes, jolts that come out of nowhere and almost knock me down. Sometimes I feel like there is someone out there with a little Joe Ortiz doll and jamming knitting needles into it at their discretion. 

(6) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has increased (mostly in my right hand) the last couple of months (never paid much attention to it in the past), which makes typing extremely painful. This problem has obviously impacted my writing for those who have seen a decrease in my blogging ventures.

(7) My eyesight seems to be diminishing each passing day. The Myasthenia gravis condition (which has caused my left eye to almost close shut) also contributes to unexpected moments of complete exhaustion throughout the day. Although my doctor has increased the dosage to a prescription medicine (pyridostigmine) to counter this ailment, I have some good days and some bad days with my vision. If the weather temperature gets over 70% (which also causes complete exhaustion), my eye almost closes shut. This, in addition to cataracts in both eyes.
Overall, I'm either in constant pain or medicated to the point I can't function in a manner I have been accustom to in the recent past, or even lucid enough to write my messages in a clear, coherent and comprehensive fashion to do justice to the word of God. More importantly (and possibly damaging to my spirit) are the many occasions of despondency which I fight constantly on a moment by moment basis, knowing full well that it comes from diabolical attacks. But, I'm not a quitter and plan to die fighting this!

As we can see how troubled society is nowadays, and that so many need words of encouragement and insights to God's will, I am determined to continue the 'good fight' and contribute as much as I can to be a force for good, and hopefully to do the best that I can with the tools I've been given.

God's word obviously is my only saving grace at this point in my ministerial journey. It gives me the confidence and assurance that I need to know I am still in a right relationship with the Holy Spirit, who always brings to remembrance the word of God to fit whatever occasion or I am dealing with as best as I can. More importantly, whether the source of my afflictions come from the reasons mentioned above (old age, punishment for past peccadilloes or the "Job Syndrome," I need to address this dilemma in the most spiritual manner that I can.

I'm mostly reminded by Paul's words cited in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, when he asked God to remove the thorn the devil was buffeting him with. Like many of us in ministry, we believe we are "special" in the eyes of God, possibly fooling ourselves to believe we have been chosen for a special work. Who truly knows?

But, like Paul, who was also known for more than his share of arrogance and boasting in God, nevertheless moved forward and approached God in this manner:

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong, ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

I thank you ahead of time for keeping me in your prayers, and pray that God's will (not mine) be done!

I'm in His peace!

Joe Ortiz