Concerning Dr. Fruchtenbaum's Apostasia
Concerning Dr. Fruchtenbaum's apostasia, he appears to be just one of the thousands who have succumbed to the peer pressure of the ever more tenacious flag bearers of pretribulationism and the insatiable appetite (itching ears) of the millions of professing Christians who want to be reassured that they will not suffer at the hand of the Beast even though that is not the truth.
As the various tenets of pretribulationism fall to the sound exegesis of the Word, instead of repenting and correcting their false teaching many prominent pretribbers are doubling down and going to ever greater insanity to find justification for that defunct eschatological system. This is just the latest in a long list of pseudo-proofs of a pre-seventieth-week rapture of the church.
When one begins to go down the road of wresting the Scriptures to fit his or her desired theological and eschatological narrative, no truth is safe from being tampered with. It is sad to say that the wresting of the Scriptures by many is not likely to end with their wishful thinking that apostasia = the rapture. I believe this is just one of many steps on the road to fulfilling the very apostasia under discussion. 2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [apostasia] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
In a future day, like the stony ground in the parable of the soils (Matt 13:20-21) many who profess Christ will DEPART FROM THE FAITH due to being offended at the persecution that they will suffer for Christ's name's sake. Many will also be deceived by the signs and wonders performed by the false prophets and false Christ's. That is what Jesus told us, as recorded in Matt 24:9-11; 21-24.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Mat 24:9-11)
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Mat 24:21-24)
The promise of an escape of the church before the unprecedented persecution (brought upon the elect by the Beast), when it fails to happen, will leave professing Christians bewildered and many will fall away. This is the apostasia that Paul referenced, the falling away of 1) those offended at the severe persecution brought to bear upon them by the Satan-empowered Beast, and 2) those deceived by the lying signs and wonders. This is the apostasia that Paul said must take place before the DAY OF CHRIST. Paul defined the day of Christ in verse 1 as "the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him."
The apostasia coincides with the revelation of the man of sin at the abomination of desolation. Jesus mentions that when the abomination of desolation stands in the holy place "then shall be great tribulation" (unprecedented persecution upon the elect) after which He will come. Paul says that the man of sin sitting in the temple of God, shewing himself to be God (the abomination of desolation), will take place along with the apostasia BEFORE the day of Christ (day of the Lord) which is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him.
Jesus is the one who said that His coming (Matt 24:27-31) takes place AFTER many are deceived and many are offended. He says, His coming, the same coming that Paul references in 1Thes 4:15 (involving the rapture), will be unmistakable. It will be perhaps the most obvious event in mankind's history. It will be as obvious as the lightning that fills the sky.
Apostasia is not the rapture. The great tribulation (megas thlipsis, unprecedented persecution) Jesus spoke of is not the wrath of God. The elect of Matthew 24 is not unbelieving Israel. 1Thes 4:15-17 does not describe a SECRET rapture but the glorious trumpeted arrival of Jesus Christ for His saints at His coming (parousia). Parousia is not the same as erchomai (translated coming), parousia (translated coming) means arrival and continuing presence. The parousia of Christ is not a one-day event, it continues through the long period of the day of the Lord (day of Christ). The future events which John saw at the opening of the first five seals are not the wrath of God. The rapture of the church is not imminent. There are not two future parousia(s) of Christ, there is only a SECOND coming. Etc.
There are thousands of variations of eschatological beliefs. Many of these errors in understanding have little to no practical or spiritual harm associated with them. That is not the case with pretribulationism. Pretribulationism, with its promise of a pre-seventieth week exodus of the church, convinces the believer that they may disregard the warnings of Christ, the prophets, and the apostles concerning all the events of that week, specially the severe persecution and great deception that will take place in the days immediately before Christ's coming. The words with which Jesus meant to prepare us for these dark future days are applied to some other group by the "pretrib experts." These dark days will come upon much of professing Christendom as a thief comes upon an unsuspecting household, simply because Christ's warnings were neglected. Jesus said to take heed (prepare) because He is telling us ahead of time (Mk 13:23; Matt 24:25). Pretribulationists are not taking heed.
Although I WAS a pretribulationist for 40 years, today I reject pretribulationism fully and see it as an escapist belief system which aligns closely to the prosperity gospel. They both claim glory without suffering.
Another thing I see is that pretribulationists appear to boast against the natural branches, saying God would never allow the church to go through the Beast's persecution, it is for the Jews, not for the primarily Gentile church. Many pretribulationists see themselves above the Jews and the "tribulation saints," saying it is OK for them to suffer the wrath of God (thinking the AC's tribulation is the wrath of God), but not us. Paul warned against such boasting (Rom 11:17-24).
Jesus is coming for us, but not until the man of sin is revealed, the unprecedented persecution of the great tribulation takes place, and the apostasia (falling away) happens. Maranatha By Pastor Conley