Marilyn Manson: Satan’s Disciple?

Satanic and occult influences can be found everywhere especially in contemporary music. Don’t believe it, then just try playing your favorite records backwards and you’ll hear all the occultic and satanic messages. Oh, I forgot…nobody buys records anymore, they just download MP3s.

I’ve been listening to music a long time from various sources including radio, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM vinyl records, cassette tape, reel-to-reel tape, and CDs. I never considered playing the songs backwards; I never even thought to try. That was back in the 1970s, now if you want to learn how to play your media backwards, all you need to do is watch a video on YouTube.

Of course, not even Mr. Ed was exempted from the 1980s Satanic Panic hysteria since the notion of a talking horse must be satanic after all. Since Satan is cunning and deceptive, his followers needed to find a clever covert way to get his messages across to the masses and that was through backward masking. A clear example is in the theme song to the Mr. Ed TV show played backwards includes the phrase, “the source is Satan.”1 Shocking! I watched the Mr. Ed show when I was a kid and I don’t remember the theme song ever being played backwards and I don’t remember hearing any satanic messages either.

I guess those folks who are determined to find Satan will find him wherever and whenever they choose.

Many of those folks were pastors and evangelists along with a few politicians, namely Tipper Gore, who along with other Senators’ wives, created the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC).2 I never realized there were so many pastors and evangelists who liked to play their heavy metal records backwards. On the other hand, most politicians naturally hear everything backwards anyway.

As a result of the PMRC getting its way with forcing the record industry to affix parental warning labels on album covers containing objectionable material, the sales of heavy metal records surged.3 If you want people to touch your freshly painted doorways or handrails, all you need to do is display “Wet Paint!” signs. It’s in our nature to want to do the things we are told not to do. Remember the biblical story of Adam and Eve? (I know there’s a heavy theological implication in that last question.)

So, heavy metal music that instigated the Satanic Panic which gripped the nation during the 1980s and threatened to destroy Western civilization is still alive and well today primarily due to the fact that most current heavy metal artists and those from the 1980s have become mainstream. And then there’s Marilyn Manson…

Brian Hugh Warner was born on January 5, 1969 in Canton, Ohio into a seemingly normal family and according to photos provided in his book, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, he was someone who appeared to be your typical all-American, midwestern, innocent looking, clean-cut high-school student— the kind of guy who would have the prettiest girls lining up to sign his yearbook.

Brian’s parents insisted he attend Heritage Christian School instead of public school through his first year of high-school. Brian’s family was Episcopalian, not exactly a fundamentalist, evangelical faith. So, why did they insist on sending him there? Could it be that they were fully aware of the grandfather’s depraved behavior4 and wanted to prevent their son from following in his grandfather’s footsteps?

Based on Brian’s recollections, I’d say the Friday assemblies at Heritage Christian School resembled the alter call at Billy Graham crusades. The young Brian Warner knew he should have gone forward but the embarrassment was too much for him.5 Brian writes that he realized he was “morally, spiritually and religiously behind everyone else.”6 Again, this where most unbelievers get it wrong. You can’t compare yourself to other people because you will either feel unworthy or worse, superior to others as the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and publican. (Luke 18:9-14 NASB).

So, did Brian’s first year of attendance at a Christian high-school contribute to his low self-esteem, feelings of isolation, frequent nightmares, and sexual frustrations as he strongly infers in his book?7 Probably so. But, contrary to what some may believe, Christianity doesn’t just rub off on you because you attend Christian school, have Christian friends, listen to Christian radio, or attend church. If Christianity actually spread that way, everyone in the United States would be a Christian.

Nevertheless, Brian found no “safe spaces” during his time at Heritage Christian School. For Brian, everything he was allegedly taught about Christianity concerned the antichrist, the beast rising from the ground, 666, and the rapture.8 These apocalyptic teachings can be terrifying to mature believers let alone to a troubled teenager who apparently didn’t have parents who could explain the doctrines he was being taught at school.

As it turned out, his Heritage Christian School teachers’ obsession with the imminent return of Christ and the end of the world had the opposite effect on Brian. Instead of driving him toward Christianity, it drove him away…permanently.9 Cry wolf too many times and after a while people won’t take you seriously.

In the end, Brian convinced his parents to transfer him to public school in his sophomore year, but the damage was already done.

During one of Marilyn Manson’s meetings with Anton Szandor LaVey, LaVey made Marilyn a minister in the Church of Satan.10 So, M. Manson became a card-carrying11 member of LaVey’s satanic church. This was quite an honor for Brian (LaVey never called him Marilyn),12 but was it deserved?

I’ve never even heard a Marilyn Manson (MM) song until I landed on a music video of him covering the Doors song “The End” while researching material for this writing. While I never particularly cared for the Doors song at first, I thought it was too long and boring, nevertheless I started to get into it again after I heard it in the movie Apocalypse Now. Quite to the contrary, MM’s cover is anything but boring; it is loud and aggressive while still retaining the dark feeling and imagery of the Doors original. This is not what I was expecting from MM.

Marilyn Manson’s music videos are not your usual MTV garden variety. I would describe MM’s videos as an amalgamation of images resembling those seen in movies like Saw, Insidious, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Depraved and disturbing are also adjectives I’d use to describe MM’s videos but does that qualify them as satanic? Sometimes, the most satanic lyrics in music recordings and TV/movie dialog and situations are the ones that portray good as evil and evil as good.13

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

Anton Szandor LaVey never believed in a literal Satan, so by extension he also didn’t believe in God. How is it possible for a person to so vehemently hate someone or something they don’t believe exists as LaVey had hated God and Christianity? This is a contradiction. As MM has said, “it’s a lot easier to hate someone you’ve cared about than someone you never have.”14

I like to tell people who are afraid to watch horror movies that you can’t be afraid of something you don’t believe is real. But maybe, just maybe…deep down inside they entertain the possibility that it could be real. And so, I believe it is with LaVey and Manson, particularly Manson.

Marilyn Manson’s song catalog is extensive which precluded me from being able to analyze most of the lyrics but one song in particular stood out to me and that was “Terrible Lie.” I’ve reproduced snippets of the song lyrics here from the AllTheLyrics.com website. (Since MM is male, I’ve decided to use masculine pronouns.)

Hey God, I really don’t know what you mean.
Seems like salvation comes only in our dreams.
I feel my hatred grow all the more extreme.
Hey God, can this world really be as sad as it seems?

In the preceding verse, the author claims ignorance of God’s plan of salvation and is angry that he can’t make it real for himself. The author again levels an accusation against God for allowing all the suffering in the world. I provided a somewhat terse explanation for why God allows suffering in my “GOD & the Gods: LaVeyan Satanism” blog post.

Don’t take it away from me.
I need someone to hold on to.
Don’t take it away from me.
I need you to hold on to.
Don’t take it away from me.
I need someone to hold on to.

This verse closely resembles the plea the biblical David directed to God in Psalm 51.

Hey God, there’s nothing left for me to hide.
I lost my ignorance, my security and pride.
I’m all alone in this f***king world you must despise.
Hey God, I believed your promises. Your promises were lies.

Again, this verse illustrates the reaction of someone trying to approach God on their own terms instead of on God’s terms and then blaming God for rejecting their overtures. Again, more accusations. Does God really owe anyone anything?

How many you betray.
You’ve taken everything.

These lines from a verse imply that because God has placed constraints on human behavior, the author’s life was ruined because he didn’t receive the reward he was expecting at the end.

I’m on my hands and knees.
I want so much to believe.

The author wants God to accept him but only if it’s on his (author’s) own terms as was the case with the biblical Esau. (Heb. 12)

As mentioned earlier, Anton bestowed Brian with a great honor by naming him a minister of LaVey’s Church of Satan. But what was the one thing that endeared Brian to Anton so strongly. I believe that one thing could have been the evocative quality of Brian’s music. As I wrote in a previous blog post, LaVey wasn’t a fan of rock music, he was a musician who played “The lyrical, romantic tunes of the ’30s and ’40s,”15 quite unlike any of the music being played by heavy metal groups at the time or now for that matter. According to LaVey, true “occult” music is music that is unique, forgotten, neglected.16 17 Hardly the type of music that could inspire the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.

And…I’m beginning to like Marilyn Manson’s music.

I think the Stones got it right in the song “Sympathy for the Devil” with the lyrics, “Please allow me to introduce myself I’m a man of wealth and taste.” Can these lyrics which describe some of the Devil’s characteristics be applied to either MM or LaVey considering the words, “wealth and taste” imply sophistication? Probably not.

It cracks me up that LaVey, an avowed atheist, was the technical advisor on the movie, The Devil’s Rain, a film about literal Devil worship.

In LaVeyan Satanism, the person of Satan is an archetype or an imitation and if it is an imitation, then what is it an imitation of? The archetype of Satan opposes God who also doesn’t exist so He must also be an archetype. So, in LaVeyan Satanism, we have an archetype in opposition to another archetype. The bottom line is that LaVeyan Satanism is guilty of the same error it accuses Christianity of and that is it is all man-made. Anton LaVey used his Devil shtick18 to attract attention to himself and to shock the Christian community, an angle which MM adopted with great success.

While researching Anton LaVey and his Church of Satan, I found myself in agreement with many of his so-called satanic positions. I consider myself to be fairly individualistic and out of the mainstream. I am also no fan of organized religion. I find myself to be “old-school” on a lot of things. I’m also somewhat of an introvert and I do prefer animals and things to people19 So, does all this make me a Satanist of the LaVeyan variety? Probably not, since I don’t harbor any hatred towards God. Yes, I believe Christians can legitimately question God’s motives and sometimes feel anger and disappointment towards God, but not the vehement hatred that LaVey expressed.

I’m sure many would argue that I’m hypocritical because I haven’t passed judgment on MM as other more “spiritual” Christians might have done given Manson’s membership in LaVey’s pseudo-church. Remember Jesus’ teaching on not trying to remove a splinter in someone else’s eye when you yourself have a log in your own eye. (Matt. 7:2-5) Oh yea…they also say the Bible is humorless.

M. Manson believes the Bible is outdated; a book written for a “culture long since defunct.”20 Is that really true? Can anyone argue that any society at any time in history wouldn’t have benefited from the stability provided by the Ten Commandments. Without them, chaos and lawlessness would prevail.

MM also claims to be the Antichrist.21 I would disagree since the Bible teaches there are many antichrists (1 John 2:18). In addition, the spirit of the antichrist was already in the world when the Apostle John wrote his gospel. (1 John 4:3) Was he (John) describing Marilyn Manson? I think not since MM can’t lay blame on a God whom he doesn’t believe exists and he certainly isn’t trying to deceive anyone either since his song lyrics speak for themselves.

In the Acknowledgements section of his Long Hard Road book, Marilyn Manson includes the dedication, “to the memory of Anton Szander [sic] LaVey”

When I visited the Marilyn Manson website, I watched the “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” music video and really liked it. I did some research and learned that Johnny Cash also recorded the song for his American V album. I like Cash’s rendition also, but Manson’s version is more urgent with the usual sonic overload placed in just the right spots that Manson is noted for. And you don’t even have to play it backwards to hear all the lyrics. I liked the song so much that I ordered the limited-edition vinyl picture disc from a link on Manson’s website.


  1. “SATAN TAKING MR. ED ALONG FOR THE RIDE?” Justin Mitchell, Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1986, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1986-05-08-8602020267-story.html

  2. “6.66 Hot Points Of The ’80s Heavy Metal Satanic Panic,” Mike McPadden, VH1 News, February 11, 2015, http://www.vh1.com/news/54726/remembering-the-80s-heavy-metal-satanic-panic/

  3. Ibid. 

  4. Marilyn Manson with Neil Strauss, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, (Dey Street, New York, 1999), 15-16. 

  5. Ibid., 20. 

  6. Ibid. 

  7. Ibid., 19. 

  8. Ibid., 18-19. 

  9. Ibid., 22. 

  10. Ibid., 170. 

  11. Ibid. 

  12. Ibid., 168. 

  13. Gerard Sczepura, “GOD & the Gods: LaVeyan Satanism,” Theological Ruminations (blog), February 17, 2019, https://gerardsczepura.com/god-the-gods-laveyan-satanism/

  14. Manson, Long Hard Road, 126. 

  15. Barton, Blanche. The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton Szandor LaVey (p. 130). Feral House. Kindle Edition. 

  16. Ibid. 

  17. Sczepura, “LaVeyan Satanism.” 

  18. Ibid. 

  19. Barton, The Secret Life of a Satanist, 121. 

  20. Manson, Long Hard Road, 176. 

  21. Ibid., 213. 

The End Times: Apostasy, Antichrist, and Politics

Apostasy

In a previous post I identified three things concerning Jesus’ return that are indisputable: visible and unmistakable; unexpected; and normalcy, as in the days of Noah and Lot.1 And now we have a fourth thing, apostasy in the Church.

In a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, he reminded them that they shouldn’t be deceived into believing that the day of the Lord had come unless the apostasy has come first. (2 Thess. 2:3 NASB) So what is apostasy and how are we to identify it? Well, according to the online dictionaries: merriam-webster.com and dictionary.com, apostasy is defined as abandonment and departure respectively. To abandon something is to let go of it and you can’t let go of something unless you first had possession of it. Unbelievers, people who were never saved, cannot be apostate since they can’t let go of something they never had; only saved people can become apostate.

A common misconception is that apostates are Christians who have lost their salvation. However, I don’t subscribe to that theory; I believe apostates are Christians who have left their first love, (Rev. 2:3) that is, they have abandoned or compromised many or most of the fundamental doctrines of the faith. They hold on to the “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so…”2 refrain from the well-known children’s song, but they put aside other biblical doctrines or strong teachings that conflict with the popular culture that we find ourselves in the 21st century. Everyone is familiar with the current social issues that are in conflict with biblical teaching: women in ministry; divorce; same-sex marriage; and abortion but not everyone would consider belief in evolution; man-made climate change; and economic inequality as qualifications for apostasy, but they are. And yes, a person’s political and religious beliefs are both interrelated and inseparable.

Antichrist

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18)

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4:2-3)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

Antichrist is anyone who doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Christ. Contrary to Hollywood’s misappropriation of the term, antichrist is not a specific person.3 The character Damien in The Omen is portrayed as the antichrist, but in reality, he is really the beast who the Bible introduces in Revelation chapter 13. Antichrist and beast are sometimes used interchangeably; I guess because “antichrist” has more of a ring to it than “beast.”

Christians can be apostate but they cannot be antichrist. But according to Jesus, it’s possible for false Christians (antichrists) to become assimilated in the Church such that they become almost indistinguishable from the true believers; nevertheless, God is able to differentiate the wheat from the tares. (Matt. 13:29-30)

Politics

The theology of liberation or liberation theology is one such example of blending politics and religion. In liberation theology, Scripture is reinterpreted with a bias towards the poor. This brand of theology advocates its followers to engage in the struggle to liberate the poor from their male-dominated, rich, white capitalist oppressors.4 You know the old saying, “If it looks like Marxism and smells like Marxism, it’s Marxism.” So, the question becomes, can a person still be a believing Christian while embracing socialism and Marxism? Well, according to William Montgomery Brown, the answer would unequivocally be “No!”

The Rt. Rev. William Montgomery Brown, D.D. was a bishop in the Episcopal Church who published a very interesting and enlightening booklet in 1920 called Communism and Christianism Analyzed and Contrasted from the Marxian and Darwinian Points of View. In his booklet Rev. Brown describes the relationship between supernatural Christianity and science (Darwinism); Christianity and socialism; and Christianity and communism (Marxism). I present here some excerpts from Rev. Brown’s booklet. I have numbered them for later reference:

[1] No man can be consistently both a Socialist and a Christian.5

[2] It is, therefore, a profound truth that Socialism is the natural enemy of religion.6

[3] The Creation idea is unsupported by evidence, and is in conflict with every scientific law.7

[4] Religion, which is the ideal half, and politics, which is the practical half, of the same reality, human socialism, are like all else in the universe, constantly changing, and necessarily so, because life and progress are dependent upon change.8

[5] Yes, strange, even blasphemous, as the representation may seem, it is nevertheless true, the machine is the only name given under heaven whereby the world can be saved.9

[6] Darwinism and Marxism constitute one gospel, the only true, comprehensive and sufficient gospel which the world has ever had or can have, and there is no hope for the future of mankind except in it.10

[7] Christianity has held the world back from civilization instead of advancing it towards civilization.11

While Rev. Brown was never a real Christian, he definitely was a bonafide, dyed-in-the-wool communist. Note how in excerpt [5] and [6] he professes to worship the creation (the machine) instead of the creator (God) whereby the machine becomes the savior of the world not Jesus. In fact, Rev. Brown never actually believed that Jesus was a real person let alone the son of God. He vigorously denounced the supernatural or spiritual aspect of Christianity. (It’s Interesting to note that Rev. William Montgomery Brown remained a professing Christian even after he was convicted of heresy in 1925—the only person to be convicted since the Middle Ages.)12

In excerpt [4] he declares that religion and politics are really two sides of the same coin. That is to say religion being the theoretical side and politics being the practical side. In his mind, he attributes capitalism (the scourge of the working class) as being created and sustained by Christianity. Capitalism being the devil and Darwinism/Socialism/Marxism being the triune god that saves the world.

In excerpt [1] and [2] the battle lines are drawn; Christianity is declared the enemy of socialism. After reading Rev. Brown’s booklet, it should come as no surprise to the reader why the political Left is so hostile to Christianity. The Left believes that Christianity is hindering their entire agenda, namely wealth redistribution, income equality, social justice, and whatever else that goes along with it.

Since all public school curriculum has been coordinated along left-wing ideology, there’s no tolerance for creationism or intelligent design as inferred from excerpt [3].

Has Christianity really held the world back from civilization as stated in excerpt [7]? Certainly Rev. Brown thinks so, but so does President Obama based on his “pattern” of anti-Christian remarks such as his infamous comment made during an Easter breakfast held at the White House:

On Easter I do reflect on the fact that, as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.13

Or how about this comment:

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.14

And this one:

Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. And in our home country, slavery, and Jim Crow, all too often was justified in the name of Christ.15

So, based on his own words, Obama really is acknowledging that ISIS is carrying out terrible deeds in the name of religion; otherwise, why would he draw a comparison with the Crusades and the Inquisition which everyone identifies with the Roman Catholic Church. Furthermore, like Obama said, the ISIS threat is not unique; history records wars against militant Islam for almost four hundred years during the 7th, 8th, 15th, and 16th centuries.16 Even though the “Mohammedan Arabs with fire and scimitar had crushed and subjugated the entire Persian Empire and over half of Christendom,”17 it was the Crusaders who were the oppressors.

Nevertheless, the one thing President Obama can’t do is label ISIS for what it really is, an organization that wants to convert the world to its brand of Islam through terror and intimidation.

So then according to the Left’s rewriting of history, it really was the Christians who held back civilization. And “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”


  1. Gerard Sczepura, “The End Times: Arguments Against a Pre-Trib Rapture,” Theological Ruminations (blog), May 4, 2015, http://gerardsczepura.com/?p=627

  2. Anna B. Warner, Jesus Loves Me, 1860, http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Jesus_Loves_Me/

  3. Gerard Sczepura, “The End Times: Hollywood’s Take,” Theological Ruminations (blog), March 7, 2015, http://gerardsczepura.com/?p=599

  4. “Christian Revolution in Latin America: The Changing Face of Liberation Theology,” Ron Rhodes, accessed June 21, 2015, http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Liberation.html

  5. Brown 1855-1937, William Montgomery (2010-02-16). Communism and Christianism Analyzed and Contrasted from the Marxian and Darwinian Points of View (p. 10). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition. 

  6. Ibid., 12. 

  7. Ibid., 17. 

  8. Ibid., 44-45. 

  9. Ibid., 53. 

  10. Ibid., 54. 

  11. Ibid., 60-61. 

  12. “Bishop Brown,” Galion Historical Society, accessed June 22, 2015, http://www.galionhistory.com/about-bishop-brown/

  13. “Obama’s anti-Christian ‘pattern’ disconcerting to some,” Chris Woodward, OneNewsNow.com, April 8, 2015, http://onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2015/04/08/obamas-anti-christian-pattern-disconcerting-to-some

  14. “What Obama just said about Muslims and their influence on America is beyond disturbing,” Joshua Riddle, Young Conservatives, July 28, 2014, http://www.youngcons.com/what-obama-just-said-about-muslims-and-america-is-beyond-disturbing/

  15. “People are freaking out after Obama compared ISIS to the Crusades,” Colin Campbell, Business Insider, February 6, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/people-are-freaking-out-after-obama-compared-isis-to-the-crusades-2015-2#ixzz3divxEH1V

  16. “On the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades,” Dr. Miguel Faria, Hacienda Publishing, September 12, 2011, http://www.haciendapub.com/randomnotes/spanish-inquisition-and-crusades

  17. Ibid. 

The End Times: Arguments Against a Pre-Trib Rapture

I concluded my previous blog post by asking the question, “is the notion of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture really taught in Scripture?” The doctrine of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture is an assumption based on the belief in a 7-year tribulation which some have interpreted as Daniel’s 70th week. Pre-Trib Rapture proponents argue that God will remove the Church before the beginning of the great tribulation mentioned in the Book of Revelation. However, in the Book of Revelation, the Pre-Trib Rapture is conspicuous in its absence—it just isn’t taught! The doctrine was, in fact, created by John Nelson Darby in 1830.1

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of John Nelson Darby until I started doing research for this writing. I guess proponents of this fabrication aren’t that anxious to divulge its origins especially if it didn’t originate in 1611. So, while it’s not really known how Darby came up with this doctrine, I have my own theory. I believe Darby knew that the Pre-Trib Rapture was easier for congregations to swallow than the alternative actually taught in the Bible. As can be seen clearly in the Church today, the doctrine hasn’t lost even an ounce of its appeal.

In order to optimize the structure of my arguments, I’ve decided to partition my discussion of the Rapture in two separate posts. This blog post contains my analysis of the popular arguments that have been used to defend Darby’s Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine and in my next blog post, I’ll present my own arguments for a Post-Trib Rapture.

Multidimensional Second Coming

Noted author Hal Lindsey describes Jesus’ second coming in two phases, where the first phase is His secret unexpected return in the air and the second phase is His return where every eye will see Him.2 When Jesus described the signs of His second coming to His disciples, He said that it would be just like the days of Noah and like the days of Lot; where everyone was going about their normal business. (Luke 17:26-29 NASB) On the surface this seems to support the surprise return of the Lord before the start of the 7-year tribulation period. However, in the very next verse, Jesus makes clear that it will be the time of His visible return, “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:30, emphasis mine) So, without taking any of the verses I’ve just mentioned out of context, the Scripture clearly teaches Jesus’ second coming will be a visible, not a secret event. Nowhere does Jesus even hint at His second coming being multidimensional.

The Tribulation is Not for Believers

There are many instances in Scripture to substantiate the fact that believers will experience tribulation in this life. The most well-known verse on this subject is given by Jesus in John 16:33 where He says, “’these things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’” The Apostle Paul clearly teaches that believers will experience tribulation as he wrote in Romans 5:3, 8:35, and 12:12. So, in order for Pre-Trib proponents to say that God is somehow obligated to deliver believers from tribulation in unscriptural.

Punishing the Just with the Unjust

Another popular defense of a Pre-Trib Rapture is that God doesn’t punish the just along with the wicked. They always use the example of Lot being delivered from the destruction God brought upon Sodom. They will even go so far as to point out that God preserved Noah and his family when He brought about a flood to destroy all living things on the earth. However, an example they will never point out is when Moses brought numerous plagues upon the land of Egypt. At that time, God demonstrated that He was able to preserve Israel in the midst of the plagues that were being brought upon the Egyptians. As was spoken by God through Moses:

But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land.
‘I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur.’ (Exod. 8:22-23)

I believe that God is able to protect His elect from any or all of the judgements that will be brought upon the earth during the Tribulation period. Not only do I believe that He can preserve His elect, but I believe that is exactly what He will do.

The Timing of Paul’s Snatching Away

The favorite verse that Pre-Trib Rapture proponents use to defend their position is 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16-17)

As far as Pre-Trib proofs go, there are none more pervasive than 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. As far as importance is concerned, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is to the Pre-Trib Rapture as John 3:16 is to salvation. But is the Apostle Paul really trying to teach a Pre-Tribulation Rapture? The only reference to the timing of the event is that it will occur along with the trumpet of God. Compare the language used in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 with the language used by Jesus when He describes His second coming as recorded by Matthew:

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matt. 24:30-31)

Notice that in Matthew 24:30, Jesus’ return is visible, not in secret as is taught by Hal Lindsey and other Pre-Trib proponents. It’s interesting to note that Jesus also refers to a trumpet which seems to coincide with Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The only reasonable conclusion we can arrive at is that the verses in 1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24 are describing the same event.

A particularly troubling aspect of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is the “alive and remain” phrase. Wouldn’t saying just “alive” be enough to get the point across? But by saying “alive and remain” gives the reader the impression that it implies a special condition for those believers to be in at that time; and It would be special for those who have survived the Tribulation.

Clearly, the verses we’re considering in 1 Thessalonians and Matthew 24 strongly corroborate a Post-Tribulation Rapture position.

Seven-Year Tribulation Theory

As I’ve mentioned in the previous post in my End-Times series, there are two schools of thought on how to interpret Daniel’s 70 weeks. One school of thought says that there is a gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week and that it will be fulfilled by the Antichrist (or more accurately, the beast) during the 7-year Tribulation. The second school of thought says that Daniel’s 70th week has already been fulfilled by Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion; and had ended when the Jews stoned Stephen to death as recorded in the Book of Acts.

I don’t recall ever hearing any sermons or reading any books that taught Daniel’s 70 weeks have already been fulfilled. What I have heard were fantastic theories such as the Israelis secretly building a temple under the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and are waiting for the Antichrist to come and give them permission to raise it up!

Thief in the Night

There are many verses in Scripture that teach that Jesus’ second coming will be “like a thief in the night,” such as: Matt. 24:43, Luke 12:39, 1 Thess. 5:2, 2 Pet. 3:10, Rev. 3:3, and Rev. 16:15. This saying tends to give credence to the Pre-Trib Rapture theory since it appears to suggest that the second coming will be in secret. The problem with all this is that Jesus never taught that His return will be in secret or that it will be in two different stages. Every time Jesus talked about His second coming it was always in reference to the time when He will be revealed. Jesus’ analogy of His return being like a thief in the night was given as a warning to His hearers that His return will find many unprepared and that it will be when they least expect it. Since Jesus was talking only with His disciples (Mark 13:3) and not with the general public, we have to assume that His warnings about His second coming were intended for believers and not for the world at large.

Conclusion

Even though Jesus gave us a lot of information about His second coming, we still struggle to understand all that is written in the Scriptures concerning this important event. As a matter of fact, He even said that He told us “everything in advance.” (Mark 13:23) Many books have been written by authors who have attempted to lay out a clear timeline of the end-time events. I believe the assertions made in many of these books are based on presumptions that are not entirely scriptural. That being said, the approach I plan to take in my defense of a Post-Trib Rapture is to start with things that we already know for sure and use these as a key to understanding other more obscure scriptures. I’ve gleaned from Scripture what I believe to be three things which we know for sure:

  • Jesus’ second coming will be visible and unmistakable
  • His second coming will take many by surprise, as a thief in the night
  • At the time of His second coming, people will be going about their normal business as they always have done, e.g., as in the days of Noah and Lot.

I’ve used this same approach in previous posts to defend my proposition that salvation is by election. I think it worked well. Stay tuned…


  1. “John Nelson Darby and The Pre-Trib Rapture,” Thomas Ice, Pre-Trib Research Center, accessed April, 28, 2015, http://pre-trib.org/articles/view/john-nelson-darby-and-the-pre-trib-rapture

  2. Hal Lindsey, There’s a New World Coming: A Prophetic Odyssey, (Santa Ana, Vision House Publishers, 1973), 77-78. 

The End Times: Hollywood’s Take

It’s undeniable that the concept of the end of the world holds a strange fascination for many people. This fact has not been overlooked by the film industry as evidenced by the number of recent apocalyptic movies released such as: Knowing (2009), 2012 (2009), The Book of Eli (2010), and many others. There were, of course, even earlier films which attempted to portray the end times such as: On the Beach (1959), The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omen (1976), Mad Max (1981) The Terminator (1984), Armageddon (1998), and End of Days (1999). The premise being depicted in most of these films is that the world can or will end through natural means such as war, disease, climate change or some other natural disaster. Some films even go so far as to suggest extraterrestrials as the antagonists.

While some movies about the end times are entertaining and even plausible, others are just totally ludicrous such as the zombie apocalypse in the anti-Israeli World War Z or the laughable climate change disaster as portrayed in the anti-American 2012. Those who don’t believe in what the Bible teaches about the end of this age are left with nothing else but to fantasize about how man can prevent or even ride out the coming apocalypse. On the other hand, the Bible presents a totally different explanation for how and why these events will come to pass.

While war and disease are certainly strong possibilities, the notion of climate change bringing about the apocalypse is ridiculous from a biblical perspective. The Bible teaches that the laws of nature won’t be changed while the earth exists as recorded in Genesis, “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22 NASB)

Even though it is certain that there will be severe storms; extremes in temperature; floods and droughts; earthquakes; and volcanic eruptions, another certainty is that God is in control of the weather and He has determined that the current order of things won’t be changed.

Climate change is the least of man’s concerns; there are many other things to worry about. We can see in our day the constant threat of war including terrorism—which is still a war whether you want to accept it or not. Jesus himself predicted there would be “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6) (Mark 13:7) before the end comes. Wars have always been with us; as the poet has said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

More troubling than wars, if that’s possible, are pandemics. Infectious disease outbreaks are becoming more frequent and deadly than they have been in the past. Worse yet, some diseases are difficult or near impossible to treat effectively including antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA, VRE, and MDR-TB. The Bible predicts such things will exist in the end times. (Rev. 6:8)

So, how does Hollywood’s take on the end times stack up against Scripture? Let’s look at a few examples:

On the Beach

This film presents a post-apocalyptic scenario which depicts the end of the world brought about by nuclear war. In the movie, almost everyone has died from radioactive fallout except for those living in Australia and those serving on an American submarine. The end of the movie depicts the death of every human being. The movie closes with a warning to the viewer that “There is still time…brother.”1 implying that man can prevent the apocalypse whereas the Bible teaches that God is going to bring it about and no one will be able to stop it.

The Last Man on Earth

This is a creepy movie about a plague that turns those affected into vampire-like creatures. There appears to be only one survivor who is immune to the disease. You can almost make a case for this scenario from a verse in Revelation which states, “And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.” (Rev. 9:6) Of course, in order to accept this possibility would take a stretch of the imagination and would certainly require reading more information into the verse than is given.

The Omen

This film is about the birth and early childhood of the antichrist or beast which is mentioned in Revelation. Most people use the terms antichrist and beast interchangeably. The apostle John refers to the antichrist or spirit of antichrist as being anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. (1 John 4:3) (2 John 1:7) On the other hand, the references to the beast in Revelation seem to indicate that he is a specific person. (Rev. 19:20) Since the Bible doesn’t give any information about where the beast comes from; his background; or his childhood, the events depicted in the movie are pure speculation.

Armageddon

Unlike what the title implies, this movie is really about an asteroid hitting the earth and has nothing to do with the biblical references to a major battle to be fought in the Valley of Megiddo. The movie is entertaining even though it’s one or two references to the Bible are inaccurate such as the quote made by the President, “The Bible calls this day ‘Armageddon’ – the end of all things.”2 If you read the book of Revelation in the Bible, you’ll find that the battle of Armageddon is not the end of all things; there will be survivors on earth who enter into the 1000 year reign of Christ. (Rev. 19:15) (Rev. 20:7-10)

End of Days

This film was obviously inspired by the Y2K (Year 2000) hysteria that was going around during the 1990s. The movie was released in 1999 in order to take full advantage of the uncertainty surrounding what would happen if all the computer software in the world couldn’t handle four-digit dates. The movie’s premise is based on a misinterpretation of the 1000 years mentioned in the book of Revelation. Again the premise of this movie is based on an amillennial interpretation of Revelation Chapter 20, verses 7 through 8. The term “amillennial” or “amillennialism” refers to a theological belief that teaches there is no literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth. Hence, the year 1999 is the last year of a 1000 years, (1999 – 1000) +1 = 1000 years, so Satan is released to wreak havoc on the earth. The movie proposes that if Satan can find a bride before the Year 2000 arrives he wins; and if one man can stop him, it would be Arnold.

The Terminator

The antagonists in The Terminator are the infernal machines developed by Cyberdyne Systems Corporation and adopted by the U.S. Air Force in a global defense network called Skynet. Skynet becomes self-aware and through a bug in programming decides that all humans are a threat. This movie capitalizes upon President Eisenhower’s fear of the “Military-Industrial Complex” and its consequences. Obviously, the movie takes these concerns to an extreme. And it’s not surprising that almost every issue of the Journal of the ACM in the 1980s contained at least one article in opposition to the development of Skynet…I mean, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). In this film, the antagonists are corporations and the military.

Most all the other films have themes that are similar to those I’ve just described. I won’t even mention World War Z and 2012 since they are just beyond ridiculous in my opinion.

It’s clear that Hollywood is convinced that the end of the world will be brought about by man’s actions, either through war or climate change or by some natural calamity such as disease or by some extraterrestrial event. In many of the movies listed above, there is always some individual or group of heroes that steps in to save mankind from himself; in The Terminator it was Sarah Connor; in End of Days it was Jericho Cane; in Armageddon it was NASA. But according to the Bible, there won’t be a superhero that comes along to save the world; neither will man’s attempts to reduce his carbon footprint prevent the end from coming. The only hope for mankind is the King of kings and Lord of lords. (1 Tim. 6:15)


  1. “Synopsis for On the Beach (1959),” IMDb, accessed March 3, 2015, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053137/synopsis

  2. “Armageddon (1998) Quotes,” IMDb, accessed March 3, 2015, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120591/quotes