Diagnosing A Deceiver:
CHRISTIAN MEDIA : December 20 2005
Senior Rapture Cultist Dave Hunt has once again demonstrated how the Rapture Cult brand of religion is inhabited by a powerful spirit of error. In his latest writing on the subject, he has plainly demonstrated the doctrine can completely cloud the mind of an otherwise intelligent writer.
In the most recent edition of his cult newsletter, The Berean Call, Dave Hunt was responding to a question from a confused reader, and to do so, he reached deeply into the realm of complete absurdity. The reader was concerned with what will happen to his clothes when he gets "raptured." In his letter he asked, "will we leave our clothes behind us in a heap," or do our clothes go with us when we're caught up to meet the LORD in the air?
The question alone indicates the rapture doctrine is the intellectual equivalent of Aspartame poisoning, but Hunt dauntlessly dived in and, apparently resorted to the 67th book of the Bible, where he drew his answer from II Illusions, when he responded as follows:
"We certainly will not take our earthly clothes with us to heaven : nor our tooth fillings, prostheses, etc. But I see no reason why one's false teeth or artificial hips would be visibly left behind. They would simply disappear....
"Some suggest that our clothes will be visibly left behind in a heap to show that we have been raptured to heaven. But that doesn't fit with the fact that a 'strong delusion, that they should believe a lie' (2 Thes 2:11) will be given to those left behind." (The Berean Call, December 2005)
For the record, there is no verse in the Bible that even hints at the idea of the believer losing any clothing at the time of our translation into eternal bodies. There is no verse suggesting any believer's dental work, or any other artificially engineered portion of our bodies will vanish. Indeed, the very fact that such a ridiculous question could even be posed (and taken seriously enough to answer) indicates the spiritual superficiality of those trapped in the cult system.
Dave Hunt has been propagating this cult nonsense for many decades, so it's self evident that he's run out of time to respond with repentance to the leading of the Holy Spirit concerning the false doctrine he publishes. A couple of years ago, he published a detailed pretribulational rapture essay in his newsletter entitled Pre-or Post-Trib Rapture? In this feature article from his monthly newsletter The Berean Call, he twisted the Scriptures so effectively it's practically inconceivable that he will ever turn from the gospel of Antichrist the Scriptures indicate he is purveying.
Constructing his arguments on the assumptions and the slippery statements that are the standard building blocks of the rapturist system, before offering any Scriptural evidence at all, Hunt sets up what is usually called a "straw man" : putting forth a distorted version of the conflict in order to convincingly force the conclusion that his point of view is the accurate application of Scripture. Dave Hunt isn't even on the 2nd sentence of his first paragraph before he starts subtly inserting false prophetic assumptions, while he sets up his fallacious argument:
"The Rapture of the church involves all believers being caught up to heaven : those just resurrected, together with those alive at the time (I Thes 4:13-18). If it occurs at the beginning of the tribulation period, then clearly Christ's Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation to rescue Israel in the midst of Armageddon is a separate event. According to Zechariah 14:3-5, "all the saints" must accompany Christ back to earth. But if the Rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation, it must be simultaneous with the Second Coming, making them one event. Which is it: two events separated by seven years, or one event with two diverse purposes?" [Berean Call, October 2003]
I'd like to diagnose the serpentine tactics that are embedded in this crafty deceiver's approach. In fact, because his dissimulations are so voluminous throughout his work, in the interest of educating the reader on just how Hunt works his harlotry, I will initially focus my comments only on this first paragraph of Dave Hunt's much lengthier article on the "rapture." There are 7 points that I would like to make regarding this single paragraph.
First, notice how he always uses the word "rapture" rather than "return" : a characterization that slants the supposedly objective look at the two views in favor of a word that never occurs in Scripture. The Scriptures use the word "return" and the Scriptures use the word "presence." The Scriptures use the word "appear," the word "arrive," and the word "coming." The Scriptures never use the word "rapture" : thus the very use of the term creates the assumption that such a thing exists in the first place.
Second, while he's setting up his argument on the subject matter by focusing the reader's attention on the theoretical issue of whether the LORD's return is pre or post-tribulational, notice how he has quietly inserted the doctrinal thread that Christ's return is "to rescue Israel." It should be pointed out the "rescue" of Israel is intrinsic to a pretribulational orientation, is not a requisite component of a Scripturally balanced post-tribulational view, and its actual authenticity is only the assumption of Dave Hunt. To put it another way, if this statement assuming Christ's return is "to rescue Israel" was slipped into a presentation made in a court of law, opposing counsel would stand up and say "objection, assumes facts not in evidence."
Third, he positively mangles Zechariah's prophecies by listing, but not actually citing, three complete verses when his only quote is the three words "all the saints" : which, of course, are only found in one verse. This shady effort is made because Hunt assumes the other 2 verses must be tribulational (at least one of them references Christ's first coming), and therefore must refer to Christ's Second Coming with "all the saints." He does this because Hunt is certain the believers will have been raptured before that point. This attempt is sloppy at best, and intentionally deceitful at worst.
The fact is, by taking Zechariah's brief phrase that says "and all the saints with thee" out of its natural context, he has twisted the prophet's words into saying something they never said. Worse yet, he did all this without even reciting the verses themselves! But Dave Hunt's gross distortions of the Bible are just beginning. After all, we're only half way through the first paragraph of his corrupt treatment of the subject.
Fourth, Dave Hunt rips off Zechariah 14:4's wonderful prophecy that the Saviour's "feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives" : something that clearly occurred two thousand years ago (see my commentary on Zechariah entitled They Shall Look Upon Me Whom They Have Pierced). Although a lengthy look at the Zecharian passage concerning Christ's close identification with the Mount of Olives that occurred at his first incarnation is a parallel issue to this critique of Dave Hunt and the Rapture Cult, it may be said the prophet Nahum is a second witness to the Hunt distorted prophecy of Zechariah when he writes "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!" (Nahum 1:14).
Nahum's "good tidings" is a rather precise rendition of the word Gospel : something that Christ brought with Him about 500 years after the time of Zechariah when His feet stood "upon the Mount of Olives" -- in 33 AD. Yet Hunt places this passage at the Second Coming, because he needs the "all the saints" reference to embellish his attempt at having Christ return two more times : once at the fictional "rapture" and then again at the Second Coming (which they dare not call the third coming).
Immediately following his misplacement of Zechariah's prophecy, Dave Hunt continues his wretched manipulation of the text by concluding "...if the Rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation, it must be simultaneous with the Second Coming..." Once again, Hunt is stacking the deck with his linguistic twists, for the fact is, if Christ's return is "immediately after the tribulation" (Matthew 24:29) as the Scriptures plainly state, it wouldn't be the "rapture" at all, it would be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Period. But Dave is still not through in stitching together his straw man in this diabolical writing.
Fifth, the last sentence of this first paragraph of his writing reads "Which is it: two events separated by seven years, or one event with two diverse purposes?" The answer is, of course, neither; but Dave Hunt has set his treacherous trap and by now the hapless rapture cultists that want to believe this drivel are already caught. After all, any properly-indoctrinated cultist would never spot the slippery way "Devious Dave" has mischaracterized the post-tribulational truth of the Scriptures, and woven his tapestry of deceit that seems to makes the pretrib answer the only reasonable point of view.
Sixth, we should take note of how Hunt continues to quietly insert and assume facts that are not in evidence with his just mentioned assumption the tribulation is "seven years" : another assumption that is not explicitly stated anywhere in the Scriptural accounts.
Seventh, Dave puts forth the statement the post-tribulationist "event" has "two diverse purposes" : a characterization he never explains in any way, shape, or form. He just throws it out there, and leaves the reader to wonder as to just what he's trying to say. In the process of studying cult mentality, I've learned the way they think, so I recognize the answer is related to my second point where Hunt has assumed Christ's return is "to rescue Israel" as well as to "rapture" the "church" : thus by referring to these two threads of thought in his reference to "two diverse purposes," he is indirectly validating their veracity. This is Dave Hunt's convoluted perception of the post-tribulational truth of the Bible.
The fact is, there is no "church" aside from the Scripturally defined Remnant of Israel : see Zephaniah 3:13, Romans 1:5, and other texts for details. This remnant IS the so-called "church," so just as Christ said, there is only "one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16). The concept of two separate bodies with the "church" as one group, and "Israel" as another that are both in favor in God's plan is flatly contradicted by Scripture. There are sheep and goats in Scripture. We see wheat and we see tares, as well as saved and unsaved. Revelation has "earthdwellers" and "overcomers," etc. We don't see two saved groups anywhere.
The basic truth that Christ comes once more for the Christians is never mentioned by Dave Hunt. The fact is, the 'straw man' approach to mis-defining the truth which Dave Hunt utilizes, never allows an accurate definition of his opposition.
Having set his doctrinal snare, Dave Hunt's essay promoting the so-called "rapture" then opens up the bottomless pit of pre-trib, and out pours a plethora of assorted distortions, doctrinal errors, and even some outright lies. For instance, he follows his illuminated predecessors with the incredibly brazen false statement that "This question...has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation."
This is the classic cult dodge that arrogantly says 'even though we know we're right, issues of timing really aren't important.' Laughable on its face, the question of whether or not you (or your family, your children, etc.) will be brutally martyred for your faith would seem to be anything but trivial, but the false bravado presented by the Antichrist spirit that inhabits Dave Hunt is seeking to mask the fact that this question has everything to do with salvation. Thus, rapturist readers that marginalize the importance of this issue do so at their own peril.
Hunt boils down his case to 11 arguments that he numbers, and concludes the 11 points prove the pre-tribulation rapture. They are enumerated herein.
1. Hunt claims at the "rapture, Christ does not return to earth but catches believers up to meet Him above the earth, taking them directly to heaven." He cites John 14:3 where Jesus says "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Perhaps I need another cup of coffee, but that verse never says anything about any rapture : nor does it say Jesus will take believers directly to heaven. In fact, there is not one verse in the entire Bible that says Jesus will take believers "directly to heaven" as Hunt states. The assertion that John 14 shows the pretribulational rapture is just pure fiction.
Still trying to get to heaven before the trib, Hunt continues his effort to climb up to heaven "some other way" (John 10:1). Predictably, he cites the well known verse in I Thessalonians 4:17 where we are to be "caught up...to meet the Lord in the air" : and I couldn't help but wonder if Dave Hunt thinks heaven is in the air. Those that have seen through the fraud know this catching up of the saints in I Thessalonians actually is the Second Coming, and that particular verse only says we will be with the LORD forever, but never states He then takes us to heaven. Once again, Hunt is teaching things are not found in the Bible.
Having cited verses dealing with the Second Coming and assigning them to his fictional pretribulational rapture, he then moves to verses dealing with Christ's First Coming, and assigns them to His Second Coming!
The previously mentioned Zechariah 14:4 is quoted as Hunt writes "at the Second Coming Christ returns to this earth to rule Israel and world from David's throne in Jerusalem: 'his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem.'" This verse is routinely misinterpreted to be the Second Coming, when the statement simply says the Lord's "feet shall stand" on the Mountain. Anyone who has read the Gospels knows this occurred dozens of times during Christ's earthly ministry.
Although that same chapter of Zechariah does describe significant geological activity, including the splitting of the Mount of Olives, the passage never states that Christ's return is responsible. There is no impact described and there is no descent described. Furthermore, those that have taken off their "rapture glasses" have learned there are many verses where both incarnations of Christ are in view : often within a single verse. Incidentally, this occurs quite a bit in Zechariah, and is dealt with in some detail in They Shall Look Upon Me Whom They Have Pierced (details in the online catalog at Christianmedianetwork.com).
2. Hunt tries to split the single resurrection of the believers into two events. He writes
"At the Rapture there is a resurrection of all believers who have died up to that time: 'the dead shall be raised incorruptible' (I Cor 15:32,53); 'the dead in Christ shall rise first...' (I Thes 4:16)."
"In contrast, at the Second Coming there is no resurrection until Antichrist is defeated, he and the false prophet have been 'cast alive into a lake of fire' (Rv 19:20) and Satan has been bound in the 'bottomless pit [for] a thousand years' (20:1-3) : none of which is even remotely related to the rapture of believers to heaven. Then to 'the first resurrection' are added a unique group: 'them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus...'
Hunt's unholy prophetic creation is a Frankenstein monster with verses stitched together to create something no Apostle of Jesus Christ ever taught. Christ Himself informed us that "the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And they shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:29).
Jesus further told us that when He raises the believers from the dead, "I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39,40,44,54). He never said anything about raising up dead believers seven years before the last day. Dave Hunt tries to cloud the simple issue of the single resurrection of the believer with irrelevant statements about the Antichrist being defeated, and Satan being cast into the lake of fire.
Also notice how, in the above quotation, he tries to sneak in "a unique group" who are somehow added to "the first resurrection" seven years after that "first resurrection" occurs! Remember, that first resurrection occurs on "the last day" in John 6, so how can he add to the list of those resurrected on "the last day" seven years later? When Mr. Hunt wrote this blasphemous and unscriptural garbage, the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin, but he is now married the false doctrine, and cannot bring himself to admit he's torturing the text to try to make it say what the cult leader wants it to say.
3. Dave Hunt's third line of reasoning is to recombine points one and two. He again goes back to Zechariah, and accurately notes the prophet is writing about the Second Coming with "The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee," (Zechariah 14:5) and seeks to contrast that with the already cited I Thessalonians 4:17 and its parallel I Corinthians 15:51-53 which he thinks is the pre-tribulational rapture.
Hunt's thrust in this point is, in effect, to say that 'we get our immortal bodies at the rapture, and we'll have to have those immortal bodies in order to "return with Christ from heaven" (Hunt's words),' and join "the armies which were in heaven..." (Revelation 19:11-15) which accompany the LORD.
Once again, there is not one verse anywhere in the Bible which says the believers will "return with Christ from heaven." Actually, the problem here is common to all cult groups. They make assumptions that are not warranted by the text. A significant cluster of verses say we'll be "caught up" and "changed" into our immortal bodies (I Corinthians 15). At that time, "the dead in Christ shall rise" (I Thessalonians 4). When the dead believers are raised, this is clearly the resurrection. These verses then tell us we which are alive and then changed into immortal bodies will "meet the LORD in the air" (I Thessalonians 4:17).
These passages never state this will happen before the tribulation because the resurrection cannot be on "the last day" (John 6:40) and occur 7 years before the last day. These passages never state that after Christ raises the dead and changes the living remaining believers, He will then turn around and take us back to heaven. Other verses describe Christ returning with "all the saints" : so it's clear that when we rise to "meet Him," we then accompany Him back to the earth : His original destination. Furthermore, this raising of the dead believers and translation of the living believers is always pinned in Scripture to occur "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (Matthew 24:29).
This sequence of going out to receive and "meet" a visiting dignitary, and accompanying him back to your point of origin is found elsewhere in Scripture. In the book of Acts, Luke describes how He and Paul were on the journey to Rome. He writes "when the brethren heard" they were coming, "they came to meet us" and accompanied them back to Rome.
I can provide a reasonable analogue with a personal anecdote. Some time back, my mother drove hundreds of miles from California up to Oregon to visit me. As my locale is rather remote, and I was anxious to see her, I drove into our nearest town to meet her. I then escorted her back to my mountain home. When I met her in town, we did not then turn around and drive all the way back to California! So it is with the LORD's return. We will be caught up to meet Him "in the air," and we then accompany Him back to the earth, thus the text can state that He will have "all the saints" with Him when He arrives.
4. In his fourth attempt, Dave Hunt seeks to show the return of Christ cannot occur after the tribulation as he believes his fictional "rapture" will occur during a relative calm. He writes
"The Rapture occurs during relative peace and prosperity, when the world does not expect judgment from God: 'And as it was in the days of Noah [the last thing they expected was God's judgment]...they did eat, they drank....married wives...were given in marriage [and as in] the days of Lot...they bought, they sold...planted....builded...Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.'" (Lk 17:26-30).
There is no verse that says the pre-tribulation "rapture" occurs at all. There is no verse that says the non-event occurs "during relative peace and prosperity." In fact, the passage offered by Dave Hunt in the book of Luke (and its corollaries in Matthew and Mark) never describe the "rapture" in any verse : but the cult continues to represent that it does, so we're forced to examine their logic. The basic argument may be paraphrased as 'It will be just like the time of Noah, in which the righteous were removed, then the judgment came.'
This point is important enough to backtrack just a bit. The question from the disciples that prompted Christ's statement as quoted above was "when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?" (Luke 21:7). Jesus described a steadily escalating series of tumultuous events, war, famine, persecution, and much more. He then turned to analogy to make His point.
The Bible verses quoted in Luke 21 have Jesus Christ using the story of Noah and the flood (and Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah) as an analogy to describe what type of events will occur "when these things shall come to pass." (Luke 21:7). Christ says
"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away....."
"Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." (Matthew 24:37-41).
The simplest way to approach this analogy is to ask the question: In Noah's time, who got taken away? The text says those that were "taken away" were those that "knew not" the flood was coming. Obviously, Noah and his family (as the type or symbol of righteousness in the story) knew the flood was coming as they spent years building the ark. Thus, when we ask who "knew not until the flood came," we must answer the wicked. This means it was the wicked that were "taken away" and it's certain they were not taken to heaven!
Then Christ refers to "two in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (Matthew 24:40). Since this is obviously analogous to the flood, who gets "taken away" in the end times? The Wicked! To put it bluntly, the meaning of the story is the exact opposite of that presented by Rapture Cultist Dave Hunt.
In fact, Hunt the deceiver leaves out a crucial verse in his supposed "study" of the subject. After describing how the wicked will be taken away, in the very same section of Scripture Hunt previously quoted from, he left out how the disciples asked "Where, Lord?" (Luke 17:37). The context plainly shows they were asking where did those that were "taken" go to.
"And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither [there] will the eagles be gathered together." (Luke 17:37). Since the eagles are carrion related to vultures, and they feed on dead bodies, Christ was saying 'if you want to know where the dead body is, just look for the vultures.'
The bottom line of this is that virtually every rapture teacher in the world has been misrepresenting this passage to the public for many years. All of the leaders and teachers are aware of this data, but those that teach it is an analogy of pre-trib have intentionally chosen to conceal the truth of the Scripture because this text is central to the entire "left behind" mythos popularized in books, films, radio, TV, and much much more. The ranks of these liars on the very top tier of pre-trib would certainly include Dave Hunt.
5. In his fifth stream of thought pitching the apostate doctrine of pre-trib, Hunt essentially says the same thing as in point four : again saying that "The Rapture occurs when conditions in the world seem to indicate that all is well," so this taking away just described must be the rapture because it's sudden and unexpected. We've just shown the 'two men walking up a hill' passages are detailing a sudden destruction, not an evacuation, so this was essentially just addressed in point four.
Dave Hunt then seeks to contrast his fictional and sudden pre-trib event with his version of the Second Coming by saying "not even Antichrist is caught by surprise" at the Second Coming. He then reverts to the passage wherein Christ says "of that day and hour knoweth no man" (Matthew 24:36), so he's attempting to show that, since the Antichrist will not be "caught by surprise," the 'no man will know the hour' verses must refer to the pretribulational return.
I hope the reader can discern that this is one of the worst stretches of logic ever seen in Bible prophecy. For the record, no verse ever says the Antichrist knows when Christ will return! However, this brings up an interesting point. Like almost every other rapture argument, Dave Hunt is so confused he has the entire scenario 180 degrees wrong. He is basically saying 'the Christians will be surprised because Christ's return for them is pre-trib, but the Antichrist won't be surprised because he will face the Second Coming and he will know it is due.' The Scriptures teach the exact opposite.
The Bible says the to true believer, "ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." (I Thessalonians 5:4). This introduces the "I come as a thief" passages (Revelation 16:15). In a teaching that I call The Thief Of Sardis (see the tape catalog at Christianmedianetwork.com), I point out how the LORD says to a particular end times group of believers
"I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." (Revelation 3:2,3).
In this priceless passage, the LORD says the primary indicator of apostasy in this church is the fact that "thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Contrast this with the previously stated passages that plainly state those that are walking in the light "are not in darkness" and that day will not come upon them "as a thief" (I Thessalonians 5:4, II Peter 3:10). In short, the true remnant of Christ will not be surprised, but those that are in the churches that have not repented of their apostasies will be taken by the "thief in the night" (I Thessalonians 5:2).
Incredibly, we find Christ stating his coming as a "thief" is stated in a future tense at the end of the tribulation : in Revelation 16:15 : one verse before His Second Coming and the battle of Armageddon! Thus, even His post-tribulational return will come as a surprise to the unsaved because the world is in complete darkness, but "ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief" (I Thessalonians 5:4).
The reader would do well to think this through, because these verses prove those that believe in the pre-tribulation rapture are in trouble with the LORD, and their lack of understanding of this crucial truth is described as a faith that is "ready to die" (Revelation 3:2).
6. As Dave Hunt becomes more desperate to field arguments that will sound convincing, he again repeats himself in his sixth point. Just like his points number four and five, he tries to split the only future coming of Jesus Christ into two events by citing verses that contrast different aspects of the end times, and then claiming this shows there are two more returns of Jesus Christ : the pre-tribulational rapture, and the post-tribulational Second Coming.
In this rather tired approach, he again tells us the "rapture" is unexpected while the Second Coming "occurs at the end of the Tribulation in the midst of worldwide devastation and hopeless distress" (Pre- or Post-Trib Rapture? The Berean Call, December 2005).
In this point, he resorts to Zechariah 14 for the fourth time in the same essay, saying "the Antichrist and his armies are attacking Israel, much of Israel is already captured (Zec 14:1,2), and Israel is on the verge of annihilation." Many might be surprised to find there is actually no verse that says it is the Antichrist that attacks Israel, but a lack of Scripture has yet to stop Hunt from saying anything he can to press his false doctrine. The fact is, in this point, Dave Hunt still has yet to offer a single Bible verse that plainly shows a pre-tribulational rapture.
7. Still pushing pre-trib, Hunt tries again to use logic : and it turns out to be the illogic he used in points 4 and 5 wherein his reasoning draws a conclusion that is the exact opposite of what the text is telling us. He clearly states that the so-called pre-tribulation rapture
"...is called the 'blessed hope': 'Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ' (Ti 2:13); 'every man that hath this hope' (I Jn 3:3).
"In contrast, the Second Coming (or a post-trib rapture at that time) could hardly be called a 'blessed hope,' inasmuch as very few Christians (if the church were still here) would survive to enjoy it."
This approach is similar to the mockers who have claimed for years the "rapture" must be true because a return at the end of the tribulation for the believer could not be considered "the good news" (the literal meaning of the word "Gospel) of Jesus Christ. Since the early Christians all recognized the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be extremely good news, and they were all murdered for their faith, yet we see them constantly "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name," (Acts 5:41) it's clear the cowardly brand of the so-called gospel preached by pretenders like Dave Hunt is not the Gospel found in the New Testament.
Indeed, in the verse Hunt cites in Titus concerning "that blessed hope," the text connects two points of identification when Paul writes that the true believer is anticipating "that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing" of Christ. This means the "appearing" of Christ is not the same thing as the "blessed hope." The truth is, the "blessed hope" is the person of Jesus Christ, the fact that He died for our sins, and the powerful belief that He is who the Scriptures tell us He is : the only begotten Son of God.
Although the difference between the two perspective is subtle, the "blessed hope" itself is not the lie of some physically convenient escape into the arms of an invisible Jesus as espoused by the Rapture Cult, it is the reality of the person of Jesus Christ.
8. After failing to provide a single Bible verse that plainly teaches a pre-tribulational rapture (for the simple reason that there aren't any such verses), Hunt then shifts gears, and tries the historical approach by saying
"unquestionably, the early church was taught to expect it at any moment and to eagerly watch, wait and look for Christ's return..."
This statement is pure Bovine Scatology, and it depends on the ignorance and the poor scholarship skills of cult aficionados. There are dozens of early writings in our possession, from The Teachings Of The Twelve Apostles (the Didache) to the work of Clement of Alexandria. Modern scholars possess the writings of the Ante-Nicene fathers, the Post-Nicene Fathers, the early Christian era Dead Sea Scrolls, the writings of Eusebius, the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas, The Shepherd of Hermas, Justin Martyr's Dialogue With Trypho, and dozens more : and not a single one of them shows a hint of the pretribulation rapture.
9. Coming to the end of his arsenal of available lies, Dave Hunt then posits the preposterous fraud that "The pre-trib Rapture has a powerful purifying effect upon those who have this hope in him." This claim would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic, for knowledgeable individuals in the Christian prophecy arena know for a fact the rapturists are the sleaziest, slimiest bunch of reprobates in the so-called "church" today.
I have personally researched and produced several written pieces on the numerous rapturists that have been caught red-handed in plagiarism, outright lying, and intentional deceit. Even the Los Angeles Times produced an exposé some years ago showing how prominent rapturist writers Hal Lindsey and Chuck Missler were definitively exposed as plagiarists who stole the work of a professor named Dr. Edwin Yamauchi : coincidentally a professor whose work had contradicted their false prophetic doctrine.
Even Christian book publishing giant Word Books admitted being forced to destroy the inventory of a Rapture Cult book written by prominent rapture televangelist David Jeremiah when it was learned he had stolen huge portions of the book from another author. Several writers, including Dave MacPherson, who wrote the book The 3 R's: Rapture, Revisionism, Robbery, have produced well-researched material showing what a bunch of dirtbags these false prophets really are.
At the risk of belaboring the point, we would prefer not to dwell on the peccadilloes of local pastors (Rapture Cultists all), such as the Calvary Chapel pastor that lost it all in an adulterous affair with a woman he was "ministering" to. We'd prefer not to mention the two male "counselers" at the huge mega cult church in the Midwest that "counseled" two young wives into divorcing their heathen husbands and ended up marrying the same two "counselors" in that Rapture Cult whore house they call a "church."
Even worse, many locals here in Oregon still tell the tale of the mega church cult pastor literally caught with his pants down with a female staffer in his office. He's still "serving" the LORD on the airwaves, so when Dave Hunt writes about the "rapture" as a "powerful purifying effect," it's clear he either doesn't want to know the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10), or he intentionally covers it up. Either way, I've got to move on to the next point before I throw up.
10. As he runs out of steam in his arguments, Hunt's tenth point has no particular theme at all, but only repeats that which he's already said. He offers no Scripture indicating timing at all, but simply says
"The Rapture is....an event we are to expect momentarily and to eagerly anticipate, but we are to ask our Lord to come immediately. Here is how the Bible ends: 'And the Spirit and the bride say, Come...Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rv 22:17,20).
This awkward argument may be boiled down to 'the Bible says come quickly Lord Jesus, so this proves Scripture is telling us to ask Christ to come for us before the tribulation.' It should be obvious we're all anxious to see the LORD, but this rationale is ridiculous in that it has no bearing on timing at all. Hunt then shifts back to the Second Coming, and writes
"the Second Coming is not of such a nature and timing that we could ask Christ to effect it right now. Since Christ obviously cannot return to the earth in judgment to rescue Israel, stop the destruction at Armageddon and destroy the Antichrist along with his kingdom and his armies until the end of the Tribulation, for us to cry out to Christ, 'Come, Lord Jesus!' would be like demanding payment on a debt that isn't due for seven years."
In this desperate attempt at offering reason instead of Scripture, Hunt is essentially saying 'since the Scripture tells us to ask Christ to return, and since the post-tribulationist scenario cannot occur until the full tribulation runs its course, pre-trib must be true.' The suggestion that no-one would cry out for the LORD to come back to earth in a post-trib setting is fallacious. The fact is, in Revelation we do see the believers that have been murdered crying out and asking Christ to return in order to avenge their blood:
"And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:10).
According to Dave Hunt's indiscriminate lack of discernment, the martyrs could not "cry out to Christ" to return to the earth because the tribulational events have not yet run their course; yet that is precisely what the Holy Bible tells us they do. Furthermore, this text describes souls that are said to be "under the altar" in heaven, so theoretically, they should know what has to transpire before the LORD returns in glory to avenge their murder : yet they cry out "Come, Lord Jesus" just the same. Clearly, Dave Hunt's argument is in direct opposition to what the book of Revelation tells us.
11. In his final attempt to validate pre-trib in his Berean Call essay, Hunt continues to avoid offering any direct Scriptural references concerning timing, and stays with the assumptions and innuendo that characterize the false doctrine:
"There are at least two events which must occur in heaven for which the church must be present and which, therefore, cannot take place until the Rapture occurs: the judgment seat of Christ, and the marriage of the Lamb to his bride..."
Hunt then quotes II Corinthians 5:10 ("we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ...") and Revelation 19:7 ("the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted [to] be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white [as a result of her cleansing at the judgment seat of Christ]."
For starters, we note how Hunt is still assuming the existence of the "rapture" in the first place : even though every effort he has made has offered nothing conclusive as to its existence at all. Hunt's argument in this final effort is just superfluous nonsense. Basically what he's saying is 'in order to have the marriage of the Lamb to His bride, she will have to be present.' He's saying the same thing about the "judgment seat of Christ" referenced in II Corinthians, and his argument can be paraphrased as 'in order for the Christians to be judged at the judgment seat, they've got to be there.' He then concludes that
"It is only after the Lamb has been married to His bride that she accompanies Him back to earth to rescue Israel and to destroy Antichrist and his armies...."
This is pure smoke and mirrors. It's the equivalent of saying 'in order for me to drive my car downtown, I've got to be in the car,' but such a statement offers no data whatsoever concerning when I'll arrive downtown. This type of fluff provides no indication as to timing at all. Also notice how, once again, he sneaks in the assumption that Christ's coming "back to earth" is "to rescue Israel" : a recurring theme with all Rapture Cultist that Hunt never once justifies with any Scripture in his entire written piece.
Since Dave Hunt has cited from the marriage of the Lamb passages in Revelation, we might note these occur late in Revelation in chapter 19 : and indeed, when we see her "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" we also see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the same sequence (2 verses later) of events.
We also encounter the Christians arrayed in white in Revelation 7 where John learns "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb....and white robes were given unto every one of them." (Revelation 7:14, 6:11). Since in the very passage Hunt cites "it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen..." there is nothing to indicate this is a separate group.
Since he keeps trying to split the single Second Coming event into two events (pre-trib and the Second Coming), perhaps Dave Hunt will next propose the "bride" gets linen robes, but the so-called "tribulation saints" only get cotton robes (after all, they've only died for the faith), but the point is, the marriage supper of the Lamb as seen in Revelation has the believers garbed in white robes, and this is in the same passage describing the Second Coming.
In studying the Scriptures, sometimes false prophets can be recognized not just by what verses they choose to twist, but by the verses they choose to avoid. So it is in the case of Dave Hunt and his cult publication The Berean Call.
Since the doctrinal essay being critiqued herein is on the timing of the "rapture" (after all, Dave Hunt's essay was entitled Pre- or Post-Trib Rapture?), it is quite revealing to recognize several key verses that deal directly with timing that Hunt chose to ignore.
For instance, all agree that when Jesus Christ comes back (and He is coming back exactly as He said He would), "the dead in Christ shall rise first..." (I Thessalonians 4:16). When people are raised from the dead, that is called a resurrection, yet in this article Dave Hunt never quotes from the numerous verses that deal directly with the subject of the resurrection.
In fact, even though Dave Hunt quotes from the verses where we see the LORD descending from heaven "with a shout" in which the dead are raised, he always cuts off the quote before the phrase "at the last trump" appears : obviously because this phrase pinpoints precisely when this so-called "rapture" event will occur:
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (I Corinthians 15:52).
It should be obvious that the last trumpet is at the end of the tribulation, and since this is the very verse Hunt uses to describe his alleged pre-tribulational rapture, we can see just why he always leaves out the crucial phrase that tells us this occurs "at the last trump."
He also never mentions the passages in Matthew, Mark, and Luke where Jesus Himself describes that last trump in connection with His return:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light...And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:29,31, see also Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25).
Dave Hunt's unscrupulous avoidance of verses that use the word LAST is not limited to trumpets. He's evidently not particularly fond of the five verses in the Gospels that specifically state that Christ will raise the dead on the last day. After all, since "the dead in Christ" rise at the so-called pre-tribulation "rapture," but those five verses show the dead in Christ will rise on the last day, these verses conclusively prove the event occurs at the very end of the tribulation : not before:
"...this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." (John 6:39)
"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)
"Whoso eatheth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54)
Even Martha, when her brother Lazarus had died, understood this most basic of truths. Jesus had consoled her with the knowledge that her brother would live again, and
"Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:24).
The conclusion is inescapable. Christ returns with His angels "immediately after the tribulation" (Matthew 24:29) and the "last trumpet" sounds (Matthew 24:31, I Corinthians 15:52). That last trumpet blows at the end of the tribulation, and it is sounded by the "last" of the seven angels that blow trumpets (Revelation 10:7).
It occurs on "the last day" (John 6:39,40,44,54,11:24) when "the dead in Christ shall rise" (I Thessalonians 4:16) then "we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..." (I Thessalonians 4:17). We then accompany Christ back to the earth where He arrives with "all the saints" (Zechariah 14:5), sets up His millennial kingdom, where we shall live and reign "with Christ a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4).
The classic Rapture Cult response to being exposed by a balanced presentation of the Scriptures is to either dodge the issues, claim that timing "has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation" (Dave Hunt, The Berean Call, December 2005), or to turn and attack the "attitude" of the person exposing their false doctrine. It remains to be seen what Dave Hunt will do after he realizes his mask has been pulled off with this essay.
However, what is not covered in the present work is just why this really is a crucial issue. It has to do with which Jesus our faith is placed in. The New Testament tells us there is "another gospel" and there is "another Jesus" (Galatians 1:6, II Corinthians 11:4). If you receive the wrong one, you will "have made a covenant with death" and made "lies [your] refuge" (Isaiah 28:15,17).
The Jesus preached by devious Dave Hunt is "another Jesus," and in seeking the truth of the matter, the reader would do well to follow the example found in the book of Acts. Dave Hunt's periodical is named after the believers in Berea, who were said to be "more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11).
We have searched the Scriptures and compared them with the false doctrine taught by Dave Hunt and his "Berean Call" : and found that his work is not worthy of the name.
-- James Lloyd
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