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May 26, 2003

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Q/A Topics:
Why make such a fuss over the 'pre'-trib Rapture?

READER COMMENTS:
I read and am edified by much of your teaching but I really don't see why you are so adamant about pre-trib rapture. There are just as many scriptures indicating that believers will endure the tribulation until the second coming of Christ at the seventh trumpet. Should not believers be prepared to endure tribulation? Jesus went to the cross to endure it and thus our redemption. God did not spare his own son from the hour of trial. Do those of us who follow Jesus expect the wide path? What is the exact harm in believing (as I do) that disciples will be around for almost all of the seven years of tribulation? And preparing myself to stand firm and not be deceived?

FOLLOWUP: when I stated that Jesus endured the tribulation- I meant He endured the cross- suffering. Why are his disciples taken out of suffering? I think it would be amazing to be alive during the tribulation. Those who know their Lord will be jailed, loose everything and their lives but it will be like childbirth where you think you are not able survive but then a child comes forth.

VW ANSWER:
The things this person questions have all been answered in the past, at other times, and can be found scattered/smattered throughout the website. But we have here, in one concise little package, pretty much 'all' the "post-trib" arguments. Let's review them in order:

ITEM:
so adamant about pre-trib rapture?

VW:
because Jesus promised to come and "receive" us to Himself. (Jn14:3) It is the "blessed hope" and "glorious appearing" of Jesus Christ (Tit2:13) Because Christ's "appearing" is distinguished from His "kingdom" (second coming) (2Tim4:1) and it is those who "love His appearing" who are expecting the "crown of righteousness". (2Tim4:8) The Church being the "righteousness of God in [Christ]" (2Cor5:21) It is this special time in history where we are called "CHRIST-ians". And the Rapture is in association with the raising of the "dead-in-Christ" (1Th4:16) where the Believers go up to meet the Lord "in the air". (vs17) At the end of the 70th week when Christ comes -to- earth, He is coming "with" the saints. (Zec14:5) They -obviously- had to go 'to' Christ "prior" to that 'end' event, didn't they. And the "lawless one" (2Th2:8), who seems to coincide to be the one who also "confirms the covenant" (Dan9:27), which begins the 7-year period of time, is not "unveiled" until the One who is "restraining...arises from out of the midst...AND THEN the lawless one will be unveiled" (2Th2:7-8) The One who "restrains" is the same Spirit of God who "strives" with man. (Gen6:3) If the Spirit (the one who restrains) "arises from out of the midst" (2Th2:7), the Church HAS TO arise with Him. If the Holy Spirit left without the Church, the Church would cease to be the "Church", by definition, because "...if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Rom8:9) In other words, if such a thing were possible, which Rom8:35-39 says it is not; if the Holy Spirit left without the Church, the Church would cease to be saved. And such a scenario is simply not in the nature of God. Jesus promised to not leave us as "orphans". (Jn14:18) Our birth "from above" (Jn3:3) is from the Holy Spirit. (Jn3:8) It is the very nature of salvation. To be lost is to be without the Holy Spirit; to be saved is to receive the Holy Spirit. (Ac2:38) The Holy Spirit is the -guarantee- of our salvation, the "earnest" which is "promised" by which we are "sealed". (Eph1:13-14) Thus, the Church comes out of the world along with the Holy Spirit, because we are "one" with Him. (Jn17) As such, what is commonly called the "pre-trib" Rapture doctrine -defines- the Church of Jesus Christ. If it is not "pre-trib", it is not Christ's Church; by definition.

ITEM:
There are just as many scriptures indicating that believers will endure the tribulation until the second coming of Christ

VW:
Please show me even one such Scripture. There is none. To date, any Scripture I have seen by those promoting the so-called "post-trib" view have distorted the Scriptures, taking prophecies for Israel, and apply them to the Church. They typically believe in "replacement theology" (Church has "replaced" Israel prophetically). I have yet to have one of them, then, explain to me what they think is going on daily over there in the middle east with the nation called "Israel". Islam wishes to erase Israel from being a nation, labelling their maps of Israel as "Palestine"...the WHOLE THING, not merely the so-called "occupied territories". And the pretend church is no better, claiming God's promises to Israel for themselves...because Israel is allegedly "done for". In effect, they might as well also say that Israel "doesn't exist". Both Islam and Replacement theology are ministers of satan in his attempts to eliminate the "pupil of [God's] eye". (De32:10, Zec2:8)

I suspect the most 'famous' so-called post-trib passage is Mt24:29-31 "...And immediately after the affliction of those days the sun will be darkened...And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens... And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." You see how they look at this: "after" the affliction (tribulation) the Son of Man is coming; and in 'that' context He is gathering together His "elect". They think "elect" means "Church". They have missed the fact that Israel has this special 'title' from God: "For Jacob My servantís sake, and Israel My elect, I have even proclaimed your name; I have entitled you, though you have not known Me." (Is45:4) No mistaking...it is from "Jacob" that -Israel- is God's "elect". The fact that they "have not known" God makes it -impossible- for this to be the "Church", because, by definition, the Church is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and are the "righteousness of God in Christ". By definition, the Church "knows" Jesus Christ. This entity that does -NOT- "know" God cannot be the Church, it is Israel. It is -this- entity, Israel, that is being gathered "from the four winds". It is "the winds" to which Israel was "scattered" in the first place due to their idolatry (Jer49:32); from where, as God is giving Israel a "new heart" (Eze36:26) as Paul reiterates: "..Israel shall be saved.." (Is45:17, Rom11:26) He will gather them back "after" the 70th week...like we observed recently, contrary to those who are trying to gather -all- Israel back 'now'; and rapture the Church 'afterwards'. Both are in error: 1) the Church is raptured 'prior' 2) Israel is fully gathered 'after'

ITEM:
second coming of Christ at the seventh trumpet

VW:
Paul states that rapture/resurrection "trumpet" (1Th4:16-17) is the "last trumpet" (1Cor15:52) He does not say "seventh". The "seventh" trumpet is found in Revelation. Revelation has seven seals, bowls, trumpets. If you were to make a comparative chart with columns, you would find that the seven bowls and seven trumpets seem to run parallel to each other, in terms of the numbered item, and the nature of the judgment accompanying that number. The trouble with people's view of Revelation, is that they try to make it into a time-line. It is not. Yes, you've got the Church age (ch1-3) and the call "come up here". (4:1) You've got the time of affliction where the 2 witnesses then killed, resurrected, are then summoned: "come up here" (11:12) But you've also got a little mini-history of Israel's entire history and Christ's first coming in one chapter tucked in the middle of everything. (ch12) But the fact that the trumpet and bowl events are doubled is not to say that these events follow one another chronologically, but rather, as with Pharaoh, God is confirming the certainty of their coming. Remember, the book of The Revelation came to John as a dream/vision from God, and is put together symbolically as dreams from God are. Pharaoh dreamed 'twice', about cows and grain, but was informed: "the dreams...are one" (Gen41:25) and again: "And the dream was repeated unto Pharaoh twice because the thing is determined by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." (vs32)

The fact that the "seventh" trumpet in Revelation is the 'last' of those seven, does not necessarily suggest that it is the 'same' trumpet as what Paul calls "last". (1Cor15:52) Throughout the O.T. trumpets were used for a wide-assortment of events and feasts. A "last" trumpet could (could) be associated with -any- one of those Feasts during which trumpets were blown...which also has future fulfillment. When trumpets are being blown, eventually when the event/Feast is finished, that final trumpet sound associated with that event is the "last" trumpet (for 'that' Feast). For previous discussions on this, please see:

ITEM:
Jesus went to the cross to endure it and thus our redemption. God did not spare his own son from the hour of trial. Do those of us who follow Jesus expect the wide path?

VW:
Not to seem facetious, but... that's like to suggest that: Because a woman suffers travail in childbirth, 'therefore' a criminal who has committed an offense should 'suffer' confinement in prison.

You say: What does one have to do with the other? Exactly.

Jesus died to redeem us to Himself. When Believers suffer persecution, or even martyrdom, that does not redeem anybody else to give them eternal life. Yes, we suffer -because- we are followers of Christ (Jn15:18-20), and Jesus promised that this would be the case (Jn16:33), and also that much of it would come from the '[c]hurch' (16:2); as history has borne out, and we experience it even today. But a Believer's suffering for Christ is not redemptive. It is for the same reason they persecuted Jesus 'before' He was crucified, because they do not believe the Father; they do not know God. (Jn16:3, 15:21) This persecution comes from satan and the world -against- God and His children.

On the other hand, while the 70th week includes satan's wrath (Rev12:12); it is primarily characterized by -GOD's- WRATH upon the world... satan and sinful man. Please see:

Covenants: "wrath"

If you were not around when we had the series, you might be advised to read the entire file as background to the section "wrath" that this link goes to.

Since it is a time when God is judging the world (Rev3:10), and purifying Israel: the "sons of Levi", Israel's 'pastors' (Mal3:3) who had rebelled against God from leading Israel in a Godly path (Jer23); it is not even 'appropriate' for the Church to be here, to receive God's wrath. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights.." (Jac1:17) "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Mt7:9-11) God gives His children (which -unbelieving- Israel is not: they may be His "elect" whom He is yet going to redeem unto Himself, but when they are in unbelief, they are judged like anybody else) GOOD THINGS; "..God did not appoint us to wrath.." (1Th5:9) because we are no longer "..children of wrath.." (Eph2:3) but "..children of light.." (Eph5:8)

Yes...until the Rapture happens, Believers receive persecution/affliction/tribulation from the world...as history has shown to be the case for the past 2000 years. But God does not subject His children, who are "righteous" (by definition), to -His- wrath. That's why He delivered "righteous Lot" -prior- to Sodom's destruction of God's wrath. (2Pet2:7)

ITEM:
What is the exact harm in believing (as I do) that disciples will be around for almost all of the seven years of tribulation? And preparing myself to stand firm and not be deceived?

VW:
Because it demonstrates a non-belief in God's Word, His promises. Why do you suppose it is called the "blessed hope"? There are also those who waffle: They 'tend-to' believe in "pre", but "just-in-case" they are wrong, they are making contingency plans. I've said this before: True Faith in God's promises HAS NO CONTINGENCY PLANS. By definition, if a person has contingency plans, it demonstrates that their faith is false. It is not real. It is 'pretend'. And if a person's faith in Jesus' promise to "receive" us to Himself (Jn14:3) is in doubt, well... what is the nature of such a person's alleged Faith unto salvation? Is it pretend, too? If a person doesn't believe Jesus' promise for Rapture, how can they claim to believe His promise for salvation and Eternal Life? Do they also have contingency plans for Eternal Life?

What is the harm? VERY MUCH IN EVERY WAY!!!

  • to believe otherwise is to not believe Scripture's 'clear' teaching
  • to believe otherwise is to not believe that Israel is God's elect
  • to believe otherwise is to likely reveal one's state of lostness
On that last item, please see: Saying: "They're not saved"?

Believing a wrong doctrine (such as this) may not condemn a person, if they don't know any better. After all, there are so many deceptive doctrines out there, and if a younger Believer listens to some trusted 'guru', they may inadvertently accept as true, various false doctrines. Salvation is based on receiving Christ (Jn1:12), not one's proclamation of "pre-trib". However, in receiving Christ, one must also believe His promises...it is only a natural outworking of that faith. For the earlier half of my life I 'tended' to believe "pre", but was "not sure"...only having heard/read the teachings of the so-called "experts"...you know, the ones from the famous seminaries with the alphabet behind their names. But then around 1982 the -LORD- began showing me THROUGH SCRIPTURE, He opened my eyes to little things here and there along the way, to where the Scriptural evidence became overwhelming to me, there was NO QUESTION about it.

And if you read that link above from the "Covenants" series, you will understand that it is IMPOSSIBLE for the Church to go through the 70th week. It DOES NOT BELONG in it; because of the covenants. The 70th week is -about- 1) ISRAEL, 2) Babylon/World/[c]hurch, and 3) Satan/serpent... (Yes...the [c]hurch of christendom will go through the 70th week; not for purifying, but for eternal judgment, because they are not the Church of Jesus Christ, they "-did-" not believe 2Th2:10) ...NOT the "[C]hurch" of Jesus Christ

Amen.

Additional related links:

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"pre-trib" verses needed

WEBSITE VISITOR QUESTION: (not a subscriber)
I need some help. I have been trying to find any scriptural reference to support the Pre Trib Rapture. Is there a verse or passage that clearly places the return of Christ for the Church before any of the following: Just one clear passage would be enough.

  1. Before Daniel's 70th Week = the 7-year Tribulation?
  2. Before the Antichrist, beast or man of lawlessness is revealed?
  3. Before the last 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation?

VW ANSWER:
We just had a review of this a little over a week ago. You can find it at the website in the "Q/A" page, the very top link "Why make such a fuss...?"

Besides all the numerous things that indicate the Church does not belong here for God's wrath, a very specific verse should answer #2 of your questions here...2Th2:6-8. Particularly vs 7-8. Most translations muddy up the meaning of vs7...speaking of "taken out of the way". It actually more correctly should say "..until he arises from out of the midst." (VW-edition)(LITV, MKJV & ALT are closer to being correct in this verse than the others) If you read it with that correctly translated, and then see how vs8 begins with "and THEN" ...it is pretty much irrefutable.

But if you read that recommended Q/A, there are links within it to other past writings...and put them all together, I believe should pretty much present most of the Scriptural argument for the matter. In addition, you might find the Portions link: "Lot was raptured" of interest...in connection with the fact that he was rescued out of Sodom 'prior' to Sodom's destruction, and Jesus said that His coming would be like the "days of Lot".

VISITOR FOLLOW-UP:
Thanks for the response, this is good information on the Rapture. I have no problem with the fact of the rapture, What I am having difficulting finding is specific scriptural support for the pre trib timing of the rapture/resurrection. Jesus said in Matthew 24:29-30 that He would come immediately after the tribulation of those days referencing both the parousia and the great tribulation . Paul also wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 that our gathering would not occur until after the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) was revelaed which we can know is the middle of Daniel's 70 Week.

[VW Note: "parousia" meaning "coming". ALT renders it as "arrival"]

In light of these two passages that state the coming will not occur until after the Antichrist and after the Great Tribulation, are there comparable passages that state as clearly that the rapture comes before those events?

VW ANSWER:
Did you -read- the suggested links? In amongst them was 2Tim4:1 that speaks of Jesus' 1) appearing and His 2) kingdom.

2Th2:1-4 speaks of the same things. The 1) coming of Jesus, and 2) our gathering to Him. Always remember... when Jesus 'comes' to set up His kingdom, He is coming 'with' the saints..."And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with You." (Zec14:5) That means, the saints had to have been resurrected/raptured 'prior' to that 'coming'. This is something that many simply do not accept, and confuse others about: that the Rapture and the Second Coming are -NOT- the same event.

There are two types of "day" of the Lord. There is a "Day of the Lord" that encompasses everything about Jesus from His human birth, through His crucifixion/resurrection, ascension, second coming, kingdom, destruction of this heaven and earth to establish the new when Christ then "will be subjected to [the Father].." (1Cor15:28) That particular "day" traverses something like 3000 years. For an overview of that, in the "Morsels" section at the website is a series of Scriptures along this theme. 2Pt3:10 represents the tail end of this.

But the other "Day of the Lord" is the occasion of Christ's return to defeat His enemies and rescue Israel from what will turn out to be near-imminent annihilation at the hands of the gathered armies of the world at Armageddon. 1Th5:2, Ac2:20, Jer46:10, Is13:6,9, Ezek30:3, Joel, Am5:18, Ob1:15, Zeph1:7,14, Zec14:1, Mal4:5, etc. If you read these passages...and so many others like them throughout the O.T. Prophets, the "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer30:7) corresponds to Mt24:29-30

But notice how Mt24:23-24 speaks of the deception 'before' that day, just as 2Th2:3-4 speaks of the falling away and the one declaring himself to be God which comes "first" before "that Day". But the "day" and "deception" do not necessarily speak of the Rapture...although we certainly do see much deception already, because you don't suddenly wake up one morning and, Sh'zamm! Look at all this deception that popped up overnight! Thus, can you imagine how much worse it will be during "that day"!

But it is in this context that Paul sets the stage for the one who deceives (vs9-10)... that he won't be "unveiled" until -after- that which restrains "arises from out of the midst". (vs7) And notice also that he speaks of the ones experiencing the deception in the third person: "himself" (vs4), "those", "they" (vs10), "them" (vs11), "they" (vs12) to receive judgment.

And then he speaks to "you, brethren" (second person)(vs13) as being the ones who experience "salvation". 'they' receive judgment, but -not- 'you'. The Church of Philadelphia is -kept- from the "hour of trial" that comes to "test -THOSE- who dwell on the earth" (Rev3:10) "you" (second person) are escaping what is coming to "those" (third person) dwelling on the earth. If "those" are spoken of being 'on' earth in such a 'disjointed' fashion, then the ones He speaks of as "you" are not.

In similar fashion Jesus speaks in the third person about "many" (Mt24:10), "those" (vs16), "him" (vs17), "those" (vs19); and then goes into second person: "So -you- also, when you see these things, know that it is near, at the doors!" (vs33)

[Grammatical note, considering today's dumbed-down education, for some who may not understand: first person is the one 'doing' the talking; second person is the one being spoken 'to'; third person is the one being spoken 'about'. In other words... first person speaks 'to' second person 'about' third person]

Now, from Daniel 9:24-27 a person could 'know' when the "Day" is, by counting seven years from the time of the "confirming" of the covenant. Daniel also speaks of 1290 days from the time of the "abomination of desolation". (12:11) And there is also the 1335 days (12:12) John speaks of 42 months/1260 days. (Rev11:2-3) These are things which can be counted from those two events.

But Jesus says, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, but My Father only." (Mt24:36) Jesus must be speaking of something 'different' from the rest of it all...otherwise, is it not stupid to give days/weeks/years to count...only to say that nobody can know? Well, Jesus goes into describing the similarity of the days of Noah, where some were saved from destruction in the ark. (vs38) And He then goes on to describe the nature of the Rapture. (vs40-41) And defines the timing of what He has -just- described, the "taking" of some out from the company of others...and He repeats in the second person -to- His disciples (Believers), "..-you- do not know what hour -your- Lord comes" (vs42)

There are many trying to 'calculate' when they think the Rapture will happen...but Jesus says that He will come "..at an hour you do not expect" (vs44) I must confess that I often wonder about the Rapture corresponding to one of Israel's Feast days...but I should think this verse pretty much guarantees that it WON'T BE one of those.

We don't know the year/day/hour...but we DO KNOW that it is 'prior' to the "unveiling" of the one in 2Th2:7-8. It will be before destruction comes, as was the case in the "days of Noah". (Lk17:26)

"Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even in the same way will it be in the day when the Son of Man is REVEALED." (Lk17:28-30) It is "..when He is REVEALED [that] we shall be like Him.." (1Jn3:2) ...having been "changed" (1Cor15:52)

Remember: it is His 1) appearing (rapture) & 2) kingdom (coming)(2Tim4:1) The Rapture happens 'before', His coming happens 'after'. Although both events are part of His -broader- "coming": for the Rapture He comes as far as the clouds to catch away the Church to Himself, and for His kingdom He then comes all the way to the earth to the Mt.of Olives. (Zec14:4, Ac1:11-12)

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