Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Doctrine of Imminence: Have Men Determined That Our Sovereign God Cannot Act According to His Will?

The man-made and so-called “Doctrine of Imminence” has three main tenets according to an article at the Pre-Trib Research Center by Dr. Gerald Stanton, “The Doctrine of Imminency: Is It Biblical? ”  Those three tenets are:

(1) While no one knows the time of Christ's return, He may come at any moment and it is possible that He might come today.
(2) The Rapture is signless, and will be unannounced and largely unexpected.
(3) No clearly prophesied event must transpire prior to the Rapture (Harpazo), for this might date the time of His coming.

While I accept and agree with the first two tenets because they are based solidly upon multiple Scriptures, the third presents a very significant problem because it unilaterally precludes our Sovereign God from any prophetic act according to His will prior to the Rapture (Harpazo) during the present age. This tenet is not based upon any Scripture that I am aware of, and therefore is based upon human error.

Since when can any man or group of men attempt to dogmatically tell other men what our Sovereign God can or cannot do according to His will? 

Since when has any man or group of men determined to dogmatically know the precise order of fulfillment of all prophecies our Lord God has given us in His Word, and when they can or cannot come to literal fulfillment?

What language might one use to describe such a man or group of men holding to such a dogmatic view as this?

This is the error within the third tenet as expressed above. There is nothing within the Word of God which unambiguously states that the Rapture (Harpazo) is the next prophetic event on “the revealed program of God.” How can the third tenet be correct when the tenet which precedes it clearly holds that the Rapture (Harpazo) is signless, unannounced and unexpected?  

I’m not aware of any Scripture wherein God has published His personal calendar of unalterable prophetic events. On the contrary, Scripture clearly tells us that only the Father knows when He will send His Son to collect His Bride.

I maintain that there are numerous prophecies in the Word of God which must come to a literal fulfillment prior to the 70th Week because they are essential precursor events that will shape the geo-political world that will exist during the 70th Week.

For the brevity sake I’ll name just a few of the more important among these prophecies.
Have not the prophecies of within Ezekiel 36/37 come to a literal fulfillment in the modern State of Israel?

Is the modern State of Israel not the single stick composed of the house of Joseph and the House of Judah as prophesied? And has this prophecy not come to literal fulfillment within just the past 70 years?

Do not the prophecies of Ezekiel 38.39 foretell of this State of Israel living securely within the land, and is this state of existence not prior to the 70th Week? And how does Israel achieve this existent sate of safety and security if not for the literal fulfillment of other prophecies such as Isaiah 17, Isaiah 19, Psalm 83, Joshua, 13:1-5 and Jeremiah 49 among still others? Does not Ezekiel provide prophetic proof of this prophetic fulfillment occurring prior to the prophecy of chapters 38 and 39 by saying the following in Ezekiel 28:20-26:

“Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it,
And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.
For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the Lord.
And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord God.
Thus saith the Lord God; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.
And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God.

Is this prophecy from Ezekiel not mirrored by Isaiah 11:11-15:

“ And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.

And, to conclude, there is also the prophetic rebuilding of the Temple which the fulfillment of these prophecies will by then have created the conditions for in allowing unfettered construction to occur on Mount Moriah where the previous two Temples once stood on that sacred ground. 

The sovereign will of God is His alone, He determines its course for His purposes; it is not subject to tenet within a man-made doctrine.  The Harpazo will occur when God the Father determines the time for the Son to elope with His Bride and keep her from the wrath that will follow on the Earth.


hartdawg said...

Hi Sean! What an amazing coincidence that you published this post today. I have been pondering this very thing. I personally think the rapture COULD be the next event, but I'm seriously doubting that it is. I'd like to run something by you and I'm open to correction because as I said I been pondering this all day. Here it is, the purpose of the rapture is to remove us from the wrath of God and the wrath begins at the beginning of the 70th week. The second purpose of the rapture is for the marriage of the lamb. During the ancient Jewish wedding the marriage lasted 7 days. Not 8 or 9 but 7. No more no less. If the rapture is patterned after the Jewish wedding then we would be hidden in the bridal chambers for exactly 7 years which would run perallal to the 70th week which to me means there is no significant gap between the rapture and the commencement of the 70th week. That being the case it would seem that we will be here to witness psalm 83, Isaiah 17 and the start of Ezekiel 38&39. In short, we are close but not quite there just yet. Am I in error here?

Sean Osborne said...


To be very forthcoming, the publishing of this was no coincidence. It was, in fact, made known to me by the Holy Spirit early in the morning hours that I would write it, and I then announced this in advance before a single word had been written to a group of brothers who were involved in the continuing discussion regarding the reasons behind the continuing attacks of Dr. Thomas Ice being deliberately re-posted by Roger Welty on his blog.

This article has a multiplicity of purposes. They are:

To reject the labels of "futurist" and "historicist" that Dr. Ice applies to those he disagrees with based upon a faulty man-made doctrine as published by the Pre-Trib Research Center;

To reject the third tenet of the "Doctrine of Imminence" as expressed by Dr. Gerald Stanton; to state clearly that no man can interfere with the Sovereign will of God the Father by creating a doctrine denying His Will to act in the fulfillment of His prophetic word prior to the Harpazo.

To reject the intentional division of a body of dispensationalist believers that has been ongoing through the "Consistent Futurist" series of articles by Dr. Thomas Ice.

With respect to what you have stated in your comment, I believe you are exactly correct - the template from the Jewish wedding will be followed, we are here to bear witness to the fulfillment of the Lord's prophetic word, and the Harpazo could occur imminently at any microsecond of time that God the Father chooses to send His Son to collect the Bride.

Sean Osborne said...

For DuncanMc,

(3) No clearly prophesied event must transpire prior to the Rapture (Harpazo), for this might date the time of His coming.

What you, mattfivefour and a few others do not yet understand is that no error has occurred here. On the contrary, an error is being corrected here that is based upon the third tenet of this doctrine.

The error I speak of is the manner in which this third tenet is being applied by the Pre-Trib Research Center, i.e. by certain members of that organization.

They apply this tenet as if it reads... (3) No clearly prophesied event CAN transpire prior to the Rapture (Harpazo), for this might date the time of His coming.

Applying the tenet in this manner is the ad hominem baseball bat that Dr. Ice has been hitting Bill Salus in particular with in parts 10 and 11 of his "consistent futurism" series, and all the rest of us brethren who also believe that the prophecies listed in my article can occur prior to the Rapture(Harpazo).

Dr. Ice' and others adhering to that view are saying that none of these prophecies - Isaiah 17, Isaiah 19, Psalm 83, Jeremiah 49, Ezekiel 38-39 NOR ANY OTHER CLEARLY PROPHESIED EVENT can come to fulfillment prior to the Rapture.

Is this what you, mattfivefour and others believe? I sincerely hope not because it is an erroneous belief.

Sean Osborne said...

To expound a little bit further:

"3. No clearly prophesied event must transpire prior to the Rapture, for this might date the time of His coming."

Even though Dr. Gerald Stanton used the word "must" in the above sentence, as I understand his meaning from the context of the article it is that no other clearly prophesied event can transpire prior to the Rapture (Harpazo) as that would constitute a sign and that would be a violation of the of third tenet of his 'imminence doctrine' as it is crafted.

Here is how Stanton expressly states that the Rapture is the next prophetic event, that no other prophetic fulfillment can precede it: "The Rapture... is next on the revealed program of God."

In this view there is only

A)The present age.
B)The Rapture.
C)The 70th Week.

This means that no other clearly prophesied event can occur during the present church age.

This is highly, demonstrably incorrect. Prophecies are coming to fulfillment in the church age which prove this to be an incorrect 'doctrine' to adhere to.

In other words, what those who hold to this are saying is that nothing prophetic has occurred from Jesus ascension to this very minute and will not occur until the start of the 70th Week.

They are ignoring the Biblically stated facts that when Jesus gave the disciples His in-private response to "what is the sign (sēmeion) of Your coming," His reply contained several signs (i.e. prophesies to be fulfilled)!

Our LORD did not reply to His disciples that the signs would occur after His second coming came again, but that they would occur prior to His second coming. (We all should be aware of the fact that signs are not signs if they occur after-the-fact.)

In Matthew 24:6 we have the multiple preceding signs - clearly prophesied events - of "wars and rumors of wars." These are prophetic wars by definition that occur prior to His coming (Hapazo-Rapture). These are the same prophetic wars I have noted above and in my article.

I have made no error.