Eschatology matters, folks, as the following prerib rant demonstrates from a Wesley Norris who essentially calls Jesus and Paul’s warnings to the church blasphemous. If you can’t argue against it biblically, try calling it blasphemous! (I don’t mean to minimize Wesley’s slanderous accusation against God’s Word). See also Ryan Habbena’s response in the link (source here).
Wesley Norris: [I]f I may be frank here, I find it sickening how the pre-wrath crowd waits with bated breath for Antichrist to instigate a supposed “enormous persecution” of the Church before the Rapture takes place.
Not only is it blasphemous to put the revealing of Antichrist before Jesus and the Church, and not only is this teaching heretical, but those of you who put this unbiblical burden upon the Church do so by breaking several commands of scripture.
Your teachings of the Rapture are REMOVING comfort, encouragement and peace from the Church. You are doing the exact opposite of what you are commanded to do!
– You are commanded to comfort the Church with rescue from the Tribulation (Rom 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10; 1 Thess 5:9; Rev 3:10).
– You are commanded to encourage the Church about end times (1 Thess 4:18; 1 Thess 5:11; Heb 10:25).
– You are commanded to be at peace and give peace to God’s children about being rescued from the horrors of the end times (2 Pet 3:12, 14; 1 John 3:3).
By telling Christians that they are going to go through the Tribulation not only decimates their Blessed Hope, but it also breaks the commands of comforting, encouraging, and being in peace with the Church about being saved from the Tribulation. You pre-wrath people give none of this to the Church.
Wesley Norris, as do many ignorant pretribulationists, fail to recognize the clear biblical distinction between the Antichrist’s great tribulation against believers and the day of the Lord’s wrath against the ungodly. Why is he so agitated on the claim that the Bible teaches believers will be persecuted before Christ returns? It is pure emotionalism. Wesley’s tradition blinds him from thinking clearly and responding biblically. If you deny imminence, pretribs frequently go into these frenzied incoherent rants—it’s a site to behold, sadly.
Reading his rant, I get the impression that his faith is in a theological rapture system that was developed in the early 1800’s in Britain. Listen closely reader: the blessed hope is not escaping persecution by means of an any moment rapture; the blessed hope is simply the future reality of meeting and fellowshiping with Christ in our glorified bodies. I am afraid that Wesley has the kind of faith that would be shaken if he found himself within the Antichrist’s great tribulation, realizing that pretribulationism was a phantom not a foundation. But he represents so many Christians who have been deceived by the pretribulational Trojan horse.
I am going to also respond to Wesley Norris’ escapist theology with a few people that have more authority to say on this matter than I do:
So when you see the abomination of desolation [Antichrist] — spoken about by Daniel the prophet — standing in the holy place …For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be…Remember, I have told you ahead of time.” (Matt 24:15, 21, 25)
And Paul’s warning:
Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. (2 Thess 2:1–4)
And Jesus’ revelation to John:
One of the beast’s heads appeared to have been killed, but the lethal wound had been healed. And the whole world followed the beast in amazement; they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth speaking proud words and blasphemies, and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority for forty-two months. So the beast opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, that is, those who dwell in heaven. The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, (8) and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. If anyone has an ear, he had better listen! If anyone is meant for captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, then by the sword he must be killed. This requires steadfast endurance and faith from the saints.” (Rev 13:3–10)
I also want to note something else Wesley Norris wrote:
I’d like to ask you, [Ryan], does Tom’s opening post [about Christian persecution just before Christ returns] provide any comfort, any encouragement, or any hope to the Church? Read it again. Digest it. Contemplate its structure, intent, and meaning, because Tom’s post above encapsulates the very heart and modus operandi of the pre-wrath movement.
The apostle Paul would be glad to answer that:
“(35) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” (37) No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! (38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:35–39).
Wesley, if you cannot find your “comfort and encouragement” in Paul’s words here, then you will never find real comfort elsewhere, including the pretribulational system.