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The Doctrine of Imminency
Is It Biblical?

By: www.FeastfTheLord.Net


Excerpts taken from “The Doctrine of Imminency”

By: Dr. Gerald Stanton

 

(1)  While no one knows the time of Christ's return, He may come at any moment.

Early believers were taught to look for the Savior (Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13).

  • For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  Phil. 3:20-21

  • Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:12-13 

These "Frequent exhortations" supposedly caused them to believe that the Return of Christ was imminent.

 

(2) No clearly prophesied event must transpire prior to the Rapture ,

for this ‘might’ date the time of His coming.

 

(Contrary to a multitude of scripture to know the season of His coming expected by Jesus:  refer.  Mth. 24:5-31, Luke 21 plus others.).  

Reference:    DATE. vs. "A SEASON" Of Events

 
IF the return of Christ for His Church is imminent, then obviously it will be before the coming period of Tribulation with its prophecy of signs and judgments.

 

Therefor, the Rapture of the Church must be Pretribulational.

Therefor, The Rapture of the Church will take place before the coming Great Tribulation, the time of the outpoured "wrath" of God.

 

(3) The Doctrine of Imminency states this is our "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) that we have been delivered from the wrath to come (2 Thess. 1:10; 5:9), and the next voice we shall hear from heaven will call us home.

 

("Frequent exhortations", "IF", “then obviously” and must be and "therefor" are presuppositions based upon an assumption  "IF" with no Scriptural hermenetical bases, and Assumes the definitions of tribulation and wrath are synonymous!)

   *******************************

However, Jesus rebuked those who did not anticipate the “Season of His Coming

Jesus said to the Pharisees: 

“… Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times” (Mth. 16:3)

   *******************************

 THE DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCY:

The doctrine of imminency states the no prophetic event must occur prior to Jesus' return. The doctrine of imminency  presupposes that sound Biblical hermeneutical principles are not applicable to its definition; and application to sound eschatology interpretation.

 

The “Doctrine of Imminency” is in conflict with other Scripture, specifically Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:5-31, where Jesus specifically states that there are events which will occur prior to His coming to “gather His elect”.

 

In Matthew 24 the apostles question Jesus: “Lord, what shall be the sign of Your coming and the end of the Age?”  Jesus’ response did not specify His Return to “gather His elect” at any other time other than after the Great Tribulation and prior to His outpouring of wrath upon the unrepentant.

 

Pre Wrath rapture is consistent with Matthew 24:5-31 and those prophetic Scriptures which speak of the imminent Return of Christ. 

 

We are expected to know the ‘signs’ of the ‘season’ of Jesus’ coming.

 

Secondly, If “Tribulation” and “Wrath” are redefined as a “Synonymous” descriptions of the entire 7-year period, then “Tribulation” would effectively be treated as “wrath” theologically.  This would then also justify the Rapture occurring before  tribulation poised as “wrath” during the entire 7-year period. 

 

However, Scripture clearly states that believers are subject to “Tribulation”, but not “Wrath”. 

*****************

‘Imminent’ Synonyms:

about to happen, approaching, close, coming, expectant, fast-approaching, forthcoming, gathering, impending, inevitable, likely.

 

Imminency Scriptures:

"Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28).  “Likewise, they were to wait for God's Son from heaven” (1 Thess. 1:10).  They were to “watch and be sober” (1 Thess. 5:6), and to “comfort one another with the hope of Christ's coming” (1 Thess. 4:18).  Paul included himself among those who looked for Christ's return (1 Thess. 4:15, 17; 2 Thess. 2:1). Timothy was exhorted to "keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 6:14). Jewish converts were reminded that "yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Heb. 10:37). Many have concluded that the expectation of some was so strong they had ceased their work and had to be exhorted to return to their labors (2 Thess. 3:10-12), and all were exhorted to have patience (James 5:8). Finally, John concluded the book of Revelation and closed the canon of Scripture with the glad cry: "He Who testifies these things says, ‘Surely I come quickly’.  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).

 

*****************

Hermeneutically, none of these Scriptures support a contradiction of prophetic  events according to Scripture; especially Jesus' own words.

 

The Imminency Doctrine contradicts a multitude of prophetic Scriptures such as: Ezek. 37, Dan. 9:24-27, Matthew 24:5-31, Luke 21, Rev. 6 & 7.

 

 

An accurate hermeneutical definition of "Imminent’ does not eliminate or negate, the possibility of events occurring prior to that which is ‘expected’ or ‘likely’ / ‘inevitable’ to occur. 

 

Prophetic 'signs' are part of the imminent return of Christ.

 

Jesus Himself described certain events that would occur prior to His gathering of His ‘elect’ as noted in Matthew 24:5-31 (below). 

 
 

THE DOCTRINE OF PRE WRATH RAPTURE

Hebrew / Greek DEFINITIONS:

Peirasmos, Peirasmos, Peirasai: 

Tribulation / Trials / Temptations / to Test, to Try, to Tempt.

Thlupsis

Tribulation / Distress / Affliction / Persecution

 

Ebrah / Orges:  

Wrath / Anger / Rage / Fury; Strong’s #5678 connotes the “overflowing fury of God”

 

*****************

The Pre Wrath Rapture is placed between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, i.e. between the 6th and 7th Seals.

Reference: Revelation Chapter 6 & 7 and Matthew 24:29-31.

 

Tribulation vs. Wrath” Overview:  Matthew 24:4-31

 

Beginning of Sorrows” (Year 1-3.5)  (Peirasmos; Tribulation, testings, trials)

Abomination of Desolation

“Great Tribulation(Thlupsis; Tribulation, Affliction, Persecution)

 

Jesus (vs.29) then describes the 6th Seal: “the sun and moon darken.."

      Signals the End of the “Great Tribulation

              Is a “sign” that occurs Before the “Day Of The Lord

             “Day of the Lord” and His WRATH;

            (Ebrah / Orges; Wrath, Rage, Fury)

Matt. 24:29-31   Rev.6:12-14, 17  plus  Other Scripture:

             The 6th seal signals the End of the “Great Tribulation”

             The 6th seal occurs Before the “Day of the Lord”

             and His “Wrath”

             (“Day of the Lord” and His “Wrath” initiated at  7th Seal)

 

Jesus States that "After the Great Tribulation":

           “The sun & moon darken ... and the stars fall...”.  

           Matt.24:29-31 (6th Seal; Rev. 6:12-14) 

 

Matt.24:30-31   Then shall the Son of man come  (parousia)  …

                     “…with a great sound of a trumpet of God.”

                     &  gather  the  “elect” / "chosen" 

 
Note that Jesus did not describe His coming to “gather His elect” prior to ‘tribulation’.  Whereas Pre Tribulation theology describes Jesus coming to gather His elect prior to the events Jesus describes in Matthew 24:5-31. 

This has no effect upon the imminent return of Christ.  Jesus Himself did describe certain events that would occur prior to His gathering of His ‘elect’ as noted in Matthew 24:5-31 (above).

Jesus’ own description of His gathering of His elect (Rapture) was given only once. 

Note that Jesus clearly states that after 'Tribulation' His return to gather the "elect" occurs only once

Revelation continues to say that Jesus, the "Lamb of God" then delivers God's Judgment of His "Wrath" upon the unrepentant, i.e. Feast of Atonement, then rules 1K years during the Millennial Kingdom i.e. Jubilee.

In other words, Jesus stated that He comes and stays; in contrast to Pre-Tribulation rapture theory, there is no coming and going to return again, which position is contrary to Jesus' own words.

          Rev. 6:17 then states:

        “For the great day of His wrath is come;

 and who shall be able to stand?” 

(present infinitive tense) 

 

The Prophets Isaiah & Joel as well as Acts Declare:

         BEFORE the ‘DAY OF THE LORD” and His WRATH the

        Sun be darkened & the Moon give no light, & the Stars fall ...”

  Joel 2:1; 10,31,  Acts 2:17-21, Isaiah 13:9-11;24:21-23, Rev. 6:17, 

  2 Peter 3:1012, Zech. 14:1-6; i.e.: Matt. 24:29-31 and Rev. 6:12-14,17

 

Wrath:

The great Day of the LORD is near, that day is a day of wrath … “ Zeph. 1:14

         "Who delivers us from the wrath (Ebrah / Orges) to come…" 1Thess. 1:10

“For God has not destined us for wrath (Ebrah / Orges) … "  1Thess. 5:9

For the great day of His wrath is come; and

who shall be able to stand?”  Rev. 6:17 

“Behold, the Day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and

fierce anger”  Isaiah 13:7


 

If “Tribulation” and “Wrath” are redefined as a “Synonymous” descriptions of the entire 7-year period, then “Tribulation” would effectively be treated as “wrath” theologically.  This would then also justify the Rapture occurring before  tribulation poised as “wrath” during the entire 7-year period. 

However, Scripture clearly states that believers are subject to “Tribulation”, but not “Wrath”. 

 

Hermeneutical Consistency:

Spurgeon states: “When seeking the meaning of one passage we must seek unity with all other Bible teachings related to it, particularly the words of Jesus.”

Milton Terry adds: “If the Scripture has more than one meaning, it has no meaning at all”.

 

Tribulation:

In this world ye shall have Tribulation (Peirasmos), John 16:33.

Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Thlupsis), Isaiah 48:10

Then mankind is subject to “Tribulation” & “Great Tribulation” during the periods described as the “Beginning of Sorrows” (Peirasmos) and “Great Tribulation (Thlupsis)

Consequently, Pre Trib Rapture Theology effectively eliminates the “believers” from exposure to “Tribulation” during the first 7 years; also called the “Beginning of Sorrows” and “Great Tribulation”.

Therefore, Pre Trib theology is not in unity with the words of Jesus and other Scripture.  It is therefore a hermeneutically unsound interpretation.

SEE “Parallelism” Hermeneutics: PRE-TRIB  THEOLOGICAL  FOUNDATIONS

“Tribulation” vs. “ Wrath”   By: Feasts Of The Lord.Net

AT:   http://www.feastsofthelord.net/id132.html

 

Imminency & Events Prior to the Rapture:

While no one knows the time of Christ’s Return, He may come at any moment. 

Note:  Both the “imminent Scriptures” and the definition & synonyms of ‘imminent’ convey a meaning of impending, inevitable, expectancy, etc. which does not eliminate the possibility of events prior which could be expected or likely/inevitable to occur.

 
The doctrine of imminency when applied to the list of imminency Scriptures listed, uses subjective reasoning, drawing unsupportive conclusions and assumptions by use of phrases such as: “then obviously”, “must be”, “might” and “therefore”.

 

Consequently, ‘frequent exhortations of Scriptures to look forward to Christ’s Return’ became emphasized beyond the point of its original meaning.  These then became the foundation of “Imminent Return” with its own self made definitions; determining that no other prophetic Scripture is therefore applicable.

 

Also note that the definition & synonyms of ‘imminent’, convey a meaning of ‘impending’, ‘inevitable’, ‘expectancy’, etc. which does not eliminate or negate the possibility of events occurring prior to that which is ‘expected’ or ‘likely’ / ‘inevitable’ to occur.

 

Most notable, this doctrine also conflicts with other Scripture, including Jesus’ own words.

 

Consequently this faulty definition also attempts to eliminate all biblical prophecy relating to Jesus’ Second Coming; including Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:5-31 and other major prophetic Scriptures. 

 

Lastly, application of this hermeneutically unsound definition of “imminent”, is used to justify another hermeneutically unsound eschatological doctrine, of ‘tribulation’ and wrath’ as supposedly synonymous.

 

This supposedly synonymous definition of tribulation and wrath is used to justify even another leap of sound hermeneutics termed Pre-Trib Rapture.  This is another example of subjective reasoning, drawing unsupportive conclusions and assumptions based upon hermeneutically unfounded definitions.

 

Thus all the evolving words and definitions become self-defining; consequently avoiding solid biblical hermeneutics.

 

The “Doctrine of Imminency” is in conflict with other Scripture, specifically Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:5-31, where Jesus specifically states that there are events which will occur prior to His coming to “gather His elect”.

 

In Matthew 24 the apostles question Jesus: “Lord, what shall be the sign of Your coming and the end of the Age?”  Jesus’ response did not specify His Return to “gather His elect” at any other time other than after the Great Tribulation and prior to His outpouring of wrath upon the unrepentant.

 

Pre Wrath rapture is consistent with Matthew 24:5-31 and those prophetic Scriptures which speak of the imminent Return of Christ.  Hermeneutically, imminency is not required to preclude the events as stated by Jesus Himself.  We are expected to know the ‘signs’ of the ‘season’ of Jesus’ coming.  Otherwise, Jesus would not have clearly answered the apostles’ question; nor would He have neglected to mention His coming at any other additional time and mislead the apostles by this elimination.

 

While no one knows the “day or hour” of Christ’s Return, we are expected to recognize the ‘season’ of His coming provided for by Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:5-31.

 

This is supported by Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees for not being able to discern the signs of the seasons to plant, but not knowing the ‘signs’ of the season of His coming, as provided by prophetic Scripture.

**********************

Tribulation vs. Wrath:

Tribulation and wrath hermeneutically are not synonymous by meaning of Scripture or by definition and are in conflict with many Scriptures, including Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:5-31 as described above. 

 

The Doctrine of Imminency conclusion that the Rapture of the Church must be pre-tribulation is based solely on two issues: 

 

First, their definition of ‘imminent’ which presupposes that no other event can occur prior to Christ’s inevitable, forthcoming, impending Return. 

 

Secondly, their incorrect definition of Tribulation and Wrath as being synonymous when applied to the 7-year tribulation period.  Therefore, due to this inaccurate definition, a Pre-tribulation Rapture must occur prior to the start of the 7-year period.  This is in direct conflict with Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:5-31. 

 

Reference:

"Parallelism” Hermeneutics: PRE-TRIB  THEOLOGICAL  FOUNDATIONS

http://www.feastsofthelord.net/id132.html 

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