G.H. PEMBER AND THE FIRSTFRUITS, PRE-TRIB RAPTURE (PT.1)
The firstfruits rapture doctrine is a vital teaching in the Christian life. Although the next world is the time for absolute judgment, there are temporal, earthly warnings here as well. Every believer is commanded by Christ to:
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Although this includes all of life, there is a serious time of “temptation” that the believer should watch and pray to be delivered from:
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
In regard to Rev.3:10, and Luke 21:36, you will have not, because you ask not and believe not! Either one must pervert the words of the Bible in Luke 21:36, etc. or one must fall for the absurd idea that the “Church” only comprises people from Pentecost to the start of the Trib, and that therefore since the Jews are being grafted back “in”, that such means all Christians get a free ride out before Rev.6:1! The men that perverted the pre-trib translation doctrine into an unconditional sponge, did so by the use of that Augustinian, Catholic, Hyper Puritan doctrine that there “aren’t really any disobedient Christians”. So when they see Rev.3:10, or the example of Enoch in Heb.11:5, they conclude that since all Christians are good boys and girls, the warnings about being left only apply to unbelievers!
Well some men were the true warriors of dispensational, pre millennial, pre trib theology. Men like G.H. Pember were so hard-core that many Bible school professors still praise him, while making sure their students don’t ever see any of his writings! Perhaps many are afraid lest Pember’s truth be made known and they be not able to put out the fire of his weighty arguments.
*The following is excerpts from an unpublished letter by G.H. Pember in 1903:
Your kind letter has been forwarded to me to Malvern where I am staying for two or three weeks. But I have placed my permanent address at the head of this page, in order that you may know it, if you should wish to write to me again.
Opposition to anything that is new must always be reckoned upon, and more especially in the case of Biblical interpretation. Men will not readily give up that which they have been in the habit of teaching; nor do they find it easy to adapt their thought to unfamiliar ideas.
We shall not, therefore, be likely to increase spiritual wisdom if we allow opposition to affect our judgment; but can only do so by imitating the Bereans and diligently searching the Scriptures to see whether these things be so.
I have had much opposition in England which, however, is beginning to give way because it is becoming evident that opponents cannot prove their assertions from Scripture and often endeavour to make up for deficiency in argument by vehemence of expression.
In reply to the extract from your friend’s letter, I would remark:
1. His argument from men is, generally, unsafe; he may also be misinformed. But, even if he be not, it is only in the Bible issues that truth can be discerned.
2. He is, however, certainly misinformed in regard to Dr. Bullinger, who, instead of being “an enthusiastic Firstfruits advocate, is a strong opponent of that view, as he is of many other things which I am trying to teach. One of his heterodoxies is mentioned by your friend: another is his idea that the whole of the New Testament, save the Epistles of Paul alone, were written for the Jews, or for Jewish Churches, and not for the Churches of this Dispensation.
3. I do not know Mr. Schofield; but Mr. Gabelein, as an “Exclusive Brother”…follows of course, the traditions of J.N. Darby…
Sir Robert Anderson I have not seen lately, illness having prevented my usual visits to London. But he has once or twice supported me in public, and always, when he could, helped in the Prophetic Conferences which I organized in London….
Certainly Dr. McKilliam.. is opposed to the doctrine of the Firstfruits; but hitherto he has produced no valid Scriptural argument against it. …
4. The difficulty which your friend finds in the idea of a Firstfruits plainly indicates that he does not understand the doctrine which he criticizes. For the blessed dead have no concern whatever with the object of the Firstfruits rapture;..
5. Your friend is also inaccurate in one of his details. Without doubt many believers have lived soberly, righteously and godly, “all down the centuries”; but, as a rule, they were not “looking for that blessed hope.” For the hope of the Lord’s return was lost in very early times; was almost, if not quite unknown in the Middle Ages; and even after the Reformation, was cherished only by a very few, until the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Nay, even in the earlier days of my own work, I had frequently to contend against the false idea that the conversion of the world and not the return of the Lord, is the great hope of the Church…
The reward which deceased believers will be found to have either won or lost is the First Resurrection, which involves membership in the Body of Christ and participation in His glorious millennial reign. Of this I have treated fully in The Church, The Churches, And The Mysteries, and briefly in Who Will Reign With Christ.”