Monday, August 23, 2010

Quick Q&A: When Will the Rapture Occur?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Q) When is the Rapture going to occur? What will be the timing in relation to the Tribulation?

To answer this tough Bible question, Dr. David Reagan and I on a Christ in Prophecy television episode interviewed Dr. Ron Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes is the founder and director of Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries. With nearly 50 books penned and decades of public teaching, he is an expert on the Bible. As a former "Bible Answer Man," he specializes in easy to understand answers to the really tough questions about the Bible and the defense of the Scriptures.


Dr. Ron Rhodes

I'm a firm believer that the Rapture of the Church is going to happen before the Tribulation, and there's a number of reasons why I say that.

I'd say the most important reason is that the Church has no purpose for being in the Tribulation. The Scriptures clearly define the purpose of the Tribulation and I believe it's two-fold: there's going to be a judgment on unbelieving nations and there's also going to be a purging of Israel.

The Church has no business even being in the Tribulation. Now, that's aside from the fact that there's not a single verse dealing with the Tribulation in the Old Testament that mentions the Church. There's not a single verse in the New Testament dealing with the Tribulation that mentions the Church.

We are told in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 as well as 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that the Church is not appointed to wrath. That leads me to believe that God is going to take the Church out of the world prior to the time of wrath which is coming upon the world. I also think this is related to Revelation 3:10 where the Church has promised deliverance from the actual time period of testing that is going to come upon the earth.

One of my favorite verses is John 14:1-3, which I don't think fits a Post-Tribulation scenario at all. Jesus says, "I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." In other words, Jesus is going to take Christians back to Heaven. That doesn't fit the Post-Tribulation scenario which says that they all stay on the earth.

Imminence is absolute. That's the assumption that is always present. There's nothing that needs to take place before the Rapture of the Church. It could happen at any moment. But, there are many events that must take place before the Second Coming. If you had a nice little calendar you could pretty much tell when Christ was going to come again. You could watch, for example, when the Antichrist signs the peace pact with Israel in Daniel 9:27 and do a countdown of seven years, which is also called the Seventieth Week of Daniel.

When we're talking about the Rapture, we don't see signs that are prophesied prior to that event. So you see, it is an imminent event. It's something that could happen at any moment.


Nathan's IMHO

The Bible teaches about the Rapture of the Church. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks of an event called "the Rapture", Latin "rapio," Greek "harpazo," which means "to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out." "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Paul states that the concept of the Rapture is meant to encourage believers during this Age (1 Thes. 4:18). Other references on the Rapture are Isa. 26:19-21; Mal. 3:17; Jn. 14:1-14; I Cor. 15:51-58; and 1 Thes. 4:13-18.

There will be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture because the Church isn't destined to endure God's judgment on the world, as promised in 1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; and Rev. 3:10.

A great explanation that points to the timing of the Rapture comes from Jesus in the Parable of the 10 Virgins in Matthew 25. This story is about the Bride of Christ (the Church of 2 Cor. 11:2) being prepared for the Rapture and Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Jesus). This parable goes with what Jesus stressed in His teachings concerning end times. Over and over He told His disciples to be ready for His return at any moment (Matt. 24:44). Jesus used the Parable of the Ten Virgins to illustrate this point.

Five virgins were not ready when the bridegroom came and were thus left behind. "Be on the alert, then," Jesus warned, "for you do not know the day nor the hour" (Matt. 25:1-13). On another occasion, Jesus put it this way, "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight... for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect" (Lk. 12:35, 40). And, while the virgins left behind may have a form of godliness, they are not saved and so are not qualified to be members of the Church, and are therefore not ready to be included in the Rapture.

Evidences of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture also come from Paul who comforted the Church of Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 when he wrote, "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come." The church there was concerned that they had missed the Rapture and were living in the Tribulation. Paul assures them in verse 3 to "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." In other words, they'd know if they were living in the Tribulation.

The only hope that comforts someone staring into the face of the horrors of the Tribulation is that they would not have to endure it. These words from Paul and in 1 Thes. 4:18 provide that very encouragement and hope of the Lord rapturing the Church beforehand.

51 comments:

Barnabas said...

I can agree that the Church will not experience God's wrath but I fear you are making too many presuppositions here.

For example, your use of 2 Thessalonians 2 assumes that the Day of the Lord is of 7 years' duration. This is a false assumption. Remember that the sun shall be darkened and the moon turned to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord. This teaching is found in Isaiah, Joel, Matthew and Revelation. But Jesus' words in Matthew 24 indicate that that sign occurs just before the Rapture. Compare Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 and see that this means the Rapture is not imminent until after this sign, which is the 6th seal.

If you agree that 2 Thessalonians 2 teaches that the Rapture occurs at the Day of the Lord, then you must explain why Jesus and John say that the 6th seal events also precede the Day of the Lord, as well as the sending of Elijah.

Anonymous said...

Good article, Nathan.

A.C.

Anonymous said...

For Barnabas: Here is the scripture I think you are referring too (clarify if I am mistaken)

MAtthew 29"Immediately after the distress of those days
" 'the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'[c]

30"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other

I believe this is referring to Christ's second coming NOT the rapture of the church.

Nathan, do you concur?

Expected Imminently said...

Hello Barnabas
I am sorry if this spoils it for you, but anyone who is saved will not suffer wrath. Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him”.

Throughout Scriptures the ‘Day of the Lord’ refers to various lengths. The 70th week of Daniel or the Day of JACOB’S trouble, is the ‘broad’ day which is 2,520 days in prophetic years of 360 days per year. Daniel is told that this is for HIS people which is Israel. Daniel 9:24"Seventy weeks are determined for YOUR people…”


AFTER the Tribulation of those day’s, (the broad day) Joel’s cosmic signs herald the 2nd coming for ISRAEL to the earth, for Messiah to fight for ISRAEL in the very last 24 hours (the narrow day). These are quite different to the sequence of events that includes the 6th seal and the 4th trumpet ‘cosmic signs’. The sun is also darkened as a result of the 5th trumpet.

The Rapture IS imminent otherwise why did Paul use the personal pronouns of US, WE in the PRESENT tense; Paul considered he and the Thess Church would still be living when Jesus suddenly, unexpectedly returned in the Rapture for the CHURCH in the AIR. John14:3 will then fulfilled.

They were literally looking, watching, waiting for Him as we are told to do. The 2nd Coming for ISRAEL is a well timed event, nothing to watch for; it is known for sure that as soon as the A/c is revealed at the confirming of a covenant, then exactly 2,520 days later Jesus would return WITH the Church to fight on the earth.

Beside which the Church is clearly represented by the twenty-four elders John saw in heaven BEFORE the first seal of the tribulation was broken by Jesus in Revelation 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.

Twenty-four is the number of the order of governing priests in the Temple.
Elders were appointed to govern the Church.
The Church is to be called priests and Kings.
Kings sit on thrones.
They wear crowns. (angels don’t wear crowns).
They were overcomers by the blood of the Lamb.(angels aren't)
Wearing the white robes of the righteousness of the saints.
The Church will cast our crowns before Him as in vs 10.
The twenty-four elders representing the Church in heaven sang in Rev.5:9,10
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have REDEEMED US to God by YOUR BLOOD out of every TRIBE and TONGUE and PEOPLE and NATION. And have made US KINGS and PRIESTS to OUR God; And WE shall REIGN on the earth."

The angels and the living creatures could not sing this song, as they were not redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. When they sang it was to praise the Lamb and His worthiness to be praised.

There is more, but I’m too tired and ready for bed.
MARANTHA! (Which ONLY PRE-tribs can truthfully declare).

Billy said...

An opportunity to post a question to anyone other than pre-tribbers...

Please respond to this hypothetical...If YOU had the CHOICE to either be Raptured before the tribulation, during the tribulation or after the tribulation, which would you CHOOSE (regardless of your current belief).

Would any of you CHOOSE mid or post tribulation? If so, why?

hartdawg said...

hey billy, i know i`m not spose to answer (being a pre-trib) but there are times when i`d rather go thru it cuz there are peolpe i really care about who are not likely going in the rapture. when all hell breaks loose (literally) i`d like to be here to explain things as they`re happening and to talk them out of taking the mark.

hartdawg said...

i guess i`m saying that i`m willing to go thru that for my friends.

Nathan Jones said...

You've got a good heart, Hartdawg! Your friends are luck to have you.

I concur, Matthew 24 is about the Tribulation and the gathering spoken of in Matt. 24:31 is for the final Sheep/Goat Judgment. These aren't Rapture passages. For my 11 arguments for a Pre-Trib Rapture, check out Why I Believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Expected Imminently said...

Nathan
I admit it, I'm a drip! in the above post I said the rapture was 'UN expected'; silly woman, and I call myself Expected Imminently.

No, the return of Jesus was EXPECTED which is the reason why they were looking, watching, waiting. They EXPECTED Him at any moment for His IMMINENT return.

Note to self, when tired do not post, go to sleep.

Rodney said...

Actually because of persecution, these believers thought they missed the flight to the great country club in the sky. Paul revealed specifically that this did not occur, simply because the Apostacy was not full blown, and the AntiChrist had not been revealed. Remember we are children of light and of the day, that that day shall not overtake us as a thief.

Billy said...

Dawg,

I didn't get any replies but what I was fishing for was to see if any signs of martyrdom would come to light. That's what I suspect midders and posties motivations to be.

Your answer was amazing as I would not even think of wanting to stay behind for any reason. So Nathan is right about your good heart.

Fortunately you don't have to stay behind since God has things well in control and will still give those people an opportunity to accept our Lord.

Anonymous said...

"I admit it, I'm a drip! in the above post I said the rapture was 'UN expected'"

So, EI, are you now saying the UN are expecting the rapture? They're gonna be mighty disappointed.

BTW has anyone spotted Doc NoFog? Hope all is well with him.

rg

hartdawg said...

billy, ya i know what ur fishing for. i dont know what they`re thinking. and i agree i dont have to be here. my heart aint THAT great, ull notice i said sometimes. frankly, there are times when i wanna be here to explain things but more often than not i just want jesus to take me home. of this God forsak(ing) planet.

Expected Imminently said...

rg
I have missed DrNofog, however you have more than made up for his teasing which is not entirely UN-expected! :D

Anonymous said...

Ping asks
Has anyone read 2nd Thes 1-2
I appears that Paul is saying that we should be able to see the falling away and the lawless one revealed before the day of the Lord. It sounds confusing but if you read verse 1 and carry on it would seem like Paul is saying we should see the revealing of the antichrist before we are taken out to be with the Lord. But you can also interpret this to mean that those of us in Christ are not to fear this dreadful day of the Lord because our gathering unto him would precede this. The key to understanding this is to separate the day of the Lord from the gathering. We know thay can not be the same event so Paul is speaking of the rapture in verse one and the day of the Lord later.
Make sense?

Anonymous said...

The apostle paul was clear when he was telling the church. 2 things must in 2 thess, he said the falling away and the son of perdition revealed. You notice he said AND. So until we see the son of perdition revealed this will not take place he said.Let's go through a couple of scriptures . Dan:7:25 then the saints will be delivered up to him for a time and times and time and a half. the Jesus spoke in MATT:24 :9 AND THEY WILL DELIVER YOU UP TO GREAT TRIBULATION. AND THEN IN VERSE 22 AND UNLESS THE DAYS WERE SHORTENED NO FLESH WOULD BE SAVED. You notice AND again but followed with But for elects sake the days would be shortened.Clearly defining Mid Trib. Let it be confirmed with yhe mouth of how many witnesses (3). Jesus , Daniel, Paul.The apostle Paul you notice said let no one decieve you with words.Here we are right in the same pace he was telling the church back then. Also Nathan I do believe that the lord does need the church unlike your author says in the end time. If the lord pulls us out then who will help reap the harvest while it's ripe. This escapism theory I understand was started in scottland in the 1800's and and has lead the church astray. Hre is the true deception.But I guess the question is to you pre-tribbers .If you are right GREAT, But if you are wromg .ARE YOU READY FOR THE BATTLE WITH THE ARMOUR OF GOD.

Barnabas said...

Pretribulationism will not teach you to see the Rapture in Matthew 24 there because you are taught to see it as being during the 70th week of Daniel (last 7 years) and have Matthew 24 apply to the Jews only. But who is Jesus speaking to in Matthew 24? Unbelieving Jews, or His disciples? Obviously He is speaking to His disciples, who had asked Him the question as to what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age!

But what will solve the issue for you is the Day of the Lord. Think about the Day of the Lord with me. Pretribulation Rapturism says the Day of the Lord is the entire period beginning at the start of the 7-year period and going all the way through to the end of the Millennium.

Well, if that is true, how can so many passages describe events which must occur before the Day of the Lord? Think of how many there are: the great apostasy, the revelation of the Man of Sin, the coming of Elijah, the sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood, blood, fire, pillars (literally palm trees) of smoke.

If the Day of the Lord begins at the Rapture (and it does) then how can the Rapture be before any of those events?

If you compare Matthew 24 and the seals of Revelation you will see that they track very nicely. This would put the Rapture at or about the 6th seal.

Notice in how many place in the OT the heavenly signs occur at the Day of the Lord!

Notice also how Paul's discussion of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 also marches Matthew 24 about being gathered to the Lord with the great sound of a trumpet.

I could go on but for some who have never looked at it, that should be enough to get you started.

God bless you as you read His Word.

Barnabas said...

Also, about the wrath of God. Why do you assume that all the seals are God's wrath?

The souls of the martyred in the 5th seal are asking God to avenge them. We must assume that their theology and perception of the event is accurate!

The people on earth see the wrath coming at them at the 6th seal cosmic signs, NOT during the trumpets. By the trumpets the wicked have been hardened it seems.

It isn't as complicated as we have made it.

Anonymous said...

Barnabas, just some advice. Do some digging by going back to previous posts and read some of the responses to your points above. The guys here have been there done that.

rg

Nathan Jones said...

Barnabas, RG's got a good suggestion. Just search "Rapture" and you'll see we've debated this numerous times. But, since you're fairly new to this blog I'll give some quick questions that also have your answers.

Jesus opens the first seal and every other seal after that, right?

Why is the trumpet heard at the Rapture equated with the Seventh Trumpet Judgment?

Isn't the Antichrist first revealed when he makes a peace covenant with Israel at the beginning of the seven (Dan. 9:26-27)?

Hope that helps.

Barnabas said...

Hello again. Yes, of course Jesus opens every seal. But much of that is permissive. Otherwise, shall we assume that the 5th seal persecution is also the wrath of God? How could that be?

I'm not following what you are getting at with your second question. Who is equating those trumpets and where?

2 Thessalonians 2:3 says Antichrist is revealed at the day of the Lord, and the word is apokalupto. I think this means he will be truly seen for what he is; Christians who know the Scriptures should have no problem identifying him when the covenant with Islam is made.

Now, sadly, if pretribulationists remain too doctrinaire and these things begin to come to pass they may not recognize the Antichrist for what he is at the outset. I hope this will not be the case. However, the success of Left Behind and other media have led the unsaved world to think that all Christians believe in that scenario. This is terrible because it could be the very thing that makes people ask, "Where is the promise of His coming?"

I am new as a commenter so I apologize if I am repetitive but should people have to read the whole site before commenting on the site? :)

Barnabas said...

One of the anonymous posters asks about the Rapture and the Day of the Lord being the same. The Day of the Lord begins at the Rapture.

This is why 1 and 2 Thessalonians pose trouble for pretrib. Read 1 Thess. 4 and 5 without a chapter break - Paul says you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the Lord so comes (meaning in the way described in 1 Thess. 4) as a thief in the night.

So, the Rapture is how the Day of the Lord comes.

This again begs the question of the things that are specifically stated to come before the Day of the Lord, including the sun being turned to darkness and the moon to blood.

Now, there are certainly multiple events of the sun being darkened, but only one that matches Matthew 24.

And certainly all of those episodes come after the midpoint of the tribulation.

Anonymous said...

How does the 6th seal match Matthew 24? Do you believe in a linear opening of the seals?

Why do you think the rapture is tied into the Day of the Lord?

Where is there a problem for pretrib rapturism in 2 Thess?

rg

Nathan Jones said...

Of course we expect you to read the whole site first, Barnabus. There're only 2 years worth of materials to read over. ;)

If you want my detailed answers to your questions and 11 reason why I believe that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the best explanation for the timing of the Rapture, check out Why I Believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Expected Imminently said...

rg and Nathan

I missed this good advice for dissenters to read back what has so oft been repeated.

Alas and alack, oh deary me Mr Mac is still fooling people into buying his books of false history. Naughty Mac.

If that dramatic child MM is mentioned again, I shall post her actual letter - I shall do it, I really shall! Then let them try to find any notion of a pretrib rapture in her nonsense for themselves.

Its wet, draughty and miserable weather here, and I reckon I'm going down with rust - so I'm going to bed EARLY.
God bless.

Anonymous said...

Did someone mention Dave MacP or Maggie M? Did I miss that?

I can't figure whether anony is mid-trib or pre-wrath. Whatever the case, they were both (drum roll) "discovered" later than pr-trib.

rg

Gideon said...

Couple of questions for those of you arguing against pre-trib:

1. If the church is here to give the Gospels of Jesus, then, why does God send 2 witnesses to preach the Gospel? Christians/Messianic Jews are already preaching the Gospels in Israel on a daily basis, and having results.

2. Same question, but this time concerning the 144,000 Jewish ministers sent out to preach throughout the world. Why would they be needed if the church was still here?

3. Jesus opens the seals in Revelation at the beginning of the trib, and this is often referred to as the Wrath of the Lamb, but Paul said the church was not appointed to God's wrath. Revelation 3:10 states: Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. So, if the church is going to be kept from the tribulation, how do you justify anything other than pre-trib?

4. The Old Testament refers to the trib as the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Simply stating the tribulation is meant for the nation of Israel, not the church or necessarily gentiles. Many gentiles will come to know the Lord during the trib, but this time is specifically set aside for Israel. So, wouldn't this answer the questions I just asked...?? The church won't be here, but Israel is.

Ed said...

Nathan:
Concerning the 10 virgins, I think Jack Kelley’s article on gracethrufaith.com makes more sense.
The Parable Of The 10 Virgins
Q. Re: your article “The Parable of the Ten Virgins.” If oil represents the Holy Spirit then how did the foolish virgins have it in the beginning and run out. How is it possible to run out of the Holy Spirit, and then go get more? Did they run out of the Holy Spirit and lose their salvation?
A. As you know, I believe that the parable of the 10 virgins speaks about a time on Earth just after the 2nd Coming, and that these 10 represent Tribulation survivors.
During the Church Age the Holy Spirit is sealed within believers as a guarantee of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14). But only the church is promised this and the Church will be long gone by this time. No such guarantee is mentioned for Tribulation believers. In fact Rev. 16:15 specifically warns them to stay awake and maintain their righteousness, symbolized by keeping their clothes with them. (Clothing is often used to represent righteousness, as in Isaiah 61:10). Rev. 16:15 implies that Tribulation believers are responsible for remaining steadfast in their faith to avoid losing their salvation. Matt. 25:8 agrees, telling us that all 10 virgins had oil in their lamps at the beginning, but the five foolish ones didn’t have enough to carry them through. All 10 fell asleep and their lamps were in danger of going out. Only 5 had the ability to replenish their lamps with oil they had brought, and refused to lend any to the others. (You can’t “lend” the Holy Spirit to someone.)
So yes, the parable would seem to indicate that Tribulation believers are not promised eternal security and the five who fell asleep spiritually did not have time to restore their salvation when they finally woke up and found that the Lord had returned. It was too late.

Barnabas said...

@Anonymous, the seals, read in order, do correspond with the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24). Read them side by side. Or, some prewrather has a table maybe somewhere. ;)

The reason I think the Rapture is tied into the Day of the Lord is because Paul said so. "Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."

(1 Thess 4:17-5:2) The word "so" is houtos and means just what it means in English - in that manner. Check the Greek and Thayer's here if interested: http://goo.gl/DVWF.

The Day of the Lord (DOTL) judgments begin at the rapture.

The 2 Thess. 2 problem is that it mentions things that must happen before the DOTL. Hence, no imminence. The same can be said about the cosmic signs in Isaiah and Joel - which must be the same signs spoken of by Jesus in Matt 24 and John in Rev 6. These occur at the 6th seal. God also said in Malachi that He would send Elijah before the DOTL.

@Nathan, thanks for your courtesy.

@Gideon, why does God send the witnesses? I don't know. That's His business. It would seem to me that they are Elijah and Enoch. If so, one reason is that they have an appointment with death, as all men do. Perhaps they have a particular witness to Israel that no one else could have. There is no Bible answer to that AFAIK. So it should have no bearing on the Rapture issue.

Why the 144,000? Why not? If the casting away of them means life for Gentiles what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead? Why would they be needed? This assumes that the determining question is whether they are necessary by our lights.

The time of Jacob's trouble - why would others not be persecuted at the same time? Hitler killed millions of Jews - and also those who stood by the Jews. And who did John see as the great multitude? Pretrib people would say that many of them are converted, I guess, by the 144,000. They are slain during the 70th week of Daniel and yet they are not Jews!

Anonymous said...

Hi there
I do believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture, but I do not agree with who is going with.
The question you need to ask is, who is saved?
The Word is clear that we are saved through faith and not works (Eph 2:8)
Please see the works of Watchmen Nee on the 10 Virgins and the Book - The Kingdom, Power and Glory from Chuck Missler

Anonymous said...

Anony, Chuck Missler is taking a lot of heat due to his unorthodox view of that topic.

rg

Anonymous said...

Barnabas, I take it you’re pre-wrath. Here’s a link a friend of mine came across that might explain some issues: 2 Thess 2:1-8 . The day of the Lord and the rapture don’t have to occur one after the other. That’s a position based on argument.

If you like getting into the exact Greek grammar, check both Matt and Mark closely. In those accounts the moon doesn’t give its light. At the 6th seal it is blood red. At the 6th seal people are hiding in caves while at Joel’s account armies are gathering for battle. In Revelation the armies gather at the 6th bowl.

Pre-wrath teaches the rapture occurs anywhere after the abomination of desolation and 5 months before the end of the week based on the belief that the great tribulation is cut short. But if that’s the case then why do tribulation saints need to be resurrected at Rev 20:4? (Rev 13:5).

The seals are God’s wrath because Christ opens them. Otherwise nothing would occur. At the 2nd seal peace is taken from the earth, and at the 4th one quarter of the population dies through sword, famine, wild beasts and plague. Compare the 4th seal to Ezekiel 14:21.

If peace is taken at the 2nd seal and Matt 24:21 is the worst time there ever was or ever will be then some aspect of the day of the Lord must occur before those periods (1 Thess 5:3).

rg

Gideon said...

Barnabas,

It amazes me when I have conversations with pre-wrath, post-tribbers because their typical answer to questions is, "I don't know." When pre-trib answers these questions quite clearly. Why the need for the two witnesses, and the 144,000, simple, the church isn't here! You say there is no scripture for this, but that is just it, the scripture is there, and you just don't see it! God doesn't have to explain it any further.

You completely disregarded my question #3.... How do you not see that Revelation 3 states the church will be kept from the trouble that will come upon the whole world, Paul said Christians were not appointed to God's wrath, and Paul said that the restrainer had to be removed before the AC could be revealed? Please don't tell me you think the restrainer is Michael.

Let's look at more scripture:

Malachi 3:6 - I the LORD do not change.

Genesis 7:4

God speaking to Noah:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth
forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I
have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

So, Noah and his family were told to get into the Ark, and wait 7 full days, and then, the rain would start..

Genesis 18:25-26 God and Abraham speaking about destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.

25 - Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

26 - The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."

So, God said he couldn't destroy Sodom or Gomorrah if there were righteous in the cities. And of course, we know that eventually Abraham convinces God that he could find 10, and not destroy the city.

Genesis 19:16 - Angels sent to remove Lot, and his family from Sodom, but he did not want to leave - (19:16) But he hesitated. So the men (N)seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for (O)the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.

So God wouldn't destroy the city with only 1 righteous man and his family living there. In fact, God removed Lot himself before he sent his wrath upon the city.

I can also bring up Rahab, and everyone that was in her apartment was spared judgment from God.

Do you not see a pattern here? Even before any kind of wrath starts, God removes the righteous. God says he never changes.

So, to say pre-wrath or post-trib would essentially be God changing his mode of operation when it comes to sending wrath upon the earth or a civilization, and this doesn't even take into consideration the similarities between the Hebrew wedding ceremony, and the pre-trib rapture.

Nathan Jones said...

Very well said, Gideon! I particularly was blessed by the detailed telling of Lot's removal from Sodom tied to the fact that the Lord's M.O. does not change. Looking at that, a Pre-Tribulation Rapture is really a no-brainer.

Gideon said...

Thanks Nathan! I agree, the story of Lot being removed by God himself is so clear as to the timing of the rapture.

Expected Imminently said...

When God punished Egypt, the plagues didn’t touch Israel as God protected them in the land of Goshan.

Expected Imminently said...

rg
Waddaya know! I posted that same link to John Chingford only tother day.

Its very helpful except for one thing - he says the birthpangs don't start until the Trib starts and they are the same as the seals. I don't see that myself, as I consider he is describing the 'NON' signs as the birthpangs.

Non the less,good stuff :)

Barnabas said...

@Gideon:

I forgot about your Revelation 3:10 statement, I wasn't ignoring it. This verse takes a valid promise to an existing church and expands it in scope to cover all true Christians living at the time of a pretrib rapture. There is no warrant within the text for that. It is purest assumption to say that it even has any reference to anyone other than that church. Doesn't it also depend upon the truth of a supposed viewpoint of 7 ages of the Church, something which again must be read into the text? And something which assumes a good and bad church existing at the end, that of Philadelphia and that of Laodicea? This argument has always assumed far too much to justify building a doctrine upon it!

Re: not knowing the answer, it is better in my opinion to say I do not know than to assume. Pretrib assumes from the mere fact of the existence of the 144,000 Jews that the Church can't be present. This makes no sense whatsoever. Why couldn't Israel according to the flesh be brought back into the household of God and operate as one new man together with the Gentiles? What if Jesus were to reveal Himself personally today to 144,000 Jews and install them into evangelistic ministry. Is He not within His rights to do so? You are making a naked assumption.

Re: appointed to wrath, again you assume that the entire 7 years is God's wrath. Another gentleman mentioned Goshen and that is a good example. The Lord knows how to put a difference between us and them.

Re: Noah, Lot and Rahab, these examples prove pre-wrath or posttrib, not pretrib. Jesus taught it in terms of them going out and then judgment or wrath immediately following, NOT them going out and then having a few years of peace and deception, etc. The "days of Noah" language in the Gospels has been reinterpreted to mean that things are really bad before the end, just as in Noah's time. That is not what Jesus taught.

Barnabas said...

Concerning Michael as the Restrainer, I appreciate the link provided. However, Michael is not a poor choice for the restrainer when compared to the other options. Indeed, IMO the brother should not have been so dismissive and said, "Please don't tell me you think the restrainer is Michael," when the article admits that Colin Nicholl's arguments are "powerful." Perhaps we simply cannot know the answer yet, although I continue to believe that amad can mean "stand still" and it does indeed mean to stand in place. It's worth noting that the heavenly war at the midpoint of the 70th Week has the effect of confining Satan to the Earth at the very time when Antichrist is committing the abomination and claiming divinity. It is unlikely IMO that these two events are unrelated.

Anonymous said...

I should state that I don't agree with Eric Douma on everything. Personally I think Michael as the restrainer is the weakest of all the views. That doesn't make me right of course.

Somewhere in my files I have a really good argument from R Showers that places the pangs within the context of the broad day of the Lord.

rg

Anonymous said...

Actually the Lord’s statement about the days of Noah in Matt 24:36-38 strongly affirms pre-trib. The context is surprise after the world is living normally (v 38) and it perfectly matches the context of 1 Thess 5:3. This fits the beginning of the week.

Pretribbers do not assume the 7years contain God’s wrath. On the contrary, they have Scriptural reasons for holding that position. Some of those reasons were given earlier. Look at the seals.

If the day of the Lord comes after the great tribulation - which Christ calls the worst time in all history - there’s no way that anyone is saying peace and safety. And there’s no way that that period of time fits the framework of Matt 24:36-38.

Rev 3:10 points to the future because the hour of testing involves the whole world. This hasn’t occurred yet. The hour of testing covers the full 7 years – again, look at the seals. The promise was that they would be kept out of the hour of testing.

rg

Anonymous said...

“Yes, of course Jesus opens every seal. But much of that is permissive. Otherwise, shall we assume that the 5th seal persecution is also the wrath of God? How could that be?”

You have exactly the same issue with pre-wrath. People must get saved after the rapture or no one makes it into the Millennium. Therefore saved people will be experiencing God’s wrath after the pre-wrath rapture.

If Christ opens the seals He is ultimately responsible. If I release a pack of dogs into a crowd of people, I am responsible. When the 5th seal was opened what John saw had already occurred. The verb form translated as “were slain” is in the Greek perfect tense. They weren’t martyred as a direct result of the seal but as an indirect consequence of the previous seal judgments.

That the martyrs were asking to be avenged in no way prevents God’s wrath already being present. The actions leading to the deaths of the martyrs are perpetrated by man but the environment was orchestrated by God. These are two different things. God was already pouring His wrath out, but He won’t specifically avenge the deaths until a certain number were killed (Rev 6:11), after the tribulation and at the destruction of the beast.

Did you know that Bob Van Kampen taught that the 5th seal martyrs weren’t among the great multitude? He saw that Rev 20:4 was a problem and so he argued they would be resurrected then. Why? Isn’t this called circular reasoning?

rg

Nathan Jones said...

Only thing I disagree with Tim LaHaye on (other than I won't even get into his early books on sex) is that there's peace for the first few years of the Tribulation. The Antichrist's release in the First Seal brings war in the Second Seal, so it's a misnomer that the world will sit in peace during the first half of the Tribulation. See The Wars of the End Times.

Indeed, Michael is really a non-choice for the Restrainer. Daniel 12 tells us that Michael will arise, not go away. He's the angel assigned to protecting Israel. Clearly the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit's work through the Church, as the Holy Spirit's presence is necessary to remain in the Tribulation for salvation to occur. Proof of Pre-Trib. See Who or What is the "Restrainer?".

Gideon said...

Barnabas,

You stated: "Re: Noah, Lot and Rahab, these examples prove pre-wrath or posttrib, not pretrib."

What I have to say about that is...HUH....?

Noah and his family were sealed away in the Ark for 7 days before anything occurred.

Notice the days here. Seven is the number of completion. Not, 3.5, and certainly not 0. Another hint to pre-trib.

Lot was taken by God himself through the work of his two angels BEFORE anything occurred.

Rahab and everyone in her apartment were hidden away before anything occurred.

Please, please, explain how that matches pre-wrath, post-trib.

Once the treaty between antichrist and Israel is signed the tribulation starts. The seals start being opened. This is wrath by God. You are confusing God's wrath (lower case w) with God's Wrath (upper case, to denote a specific time), which is the last 3.5 years. God has been pouring out wrath on the earth prior, but the last 3.5 he is taking revenge for the slaying of the righteous.

One note about post-trib: How is this even a viable option? If every believer is raptured just as Jesus is coming down from heaven, then, this leaves no one on earth except those gathered to destroy Israel. We know that Jesus destroys all who are gathered to slay the righteous. So, if the righteous were just taken, and the wicked slain, who is left to populate the earth? Then you have the problem of John 14 where Jesus said this: 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. If post-trib is right, then, we wouldn't go back to heaven, and that would make Jesus wrong, which we all know if impossible.

Gideon said...

Let me add this too:

Noah and Rahab were hidden away, and only emerged after God's judgment had been finished. Lot was taken out of the city, and could not look at the judgment, he had to hide his face from the site. Again pre-trib.

The Old Testament said that the tribulation would be so bad that no one could hide from it. We have no scriptures of believers, besides the 144,000 & 2 witnesses being protected by God. On the contrary, we see multitudes of slain saints in heaven.

The answer is obvious. God never changes. The trial will be upon the whole earth, and no one can escape it, so Jesus has to take his bride away, he has to remove the righteous, just like the angels did with Lot and his family.

Expected Imminently said...

Just to clarify that Israel was separated in Goshan from the judgments on Egypt, they did not take part in any of the plagues, none of the judgments touched them or their livestock.

This is symbolic of being removed before judgment not protected within the judgment.

Noah was sealed (Holy Spirit)into the ark, no one could get in or out as GOD shut the door. The ark was 'lifted up' on the waters, they weren't in a diving bell in the water.

Most vivid of all is Lot who was physically 'snatched' out of harms way BEFORE the judgment came. God didn't seal him in a fire-proof box within the city.

Not a gentleman - hopefully a lady?
Sue ;)

Love the Truth said...

Another question that must be posed to pre-tribbers is this: isn't the Word clear that the rapture will not precede the reurrection of the righteous dead? and when do the scriptures teach that the resurrection will occur?On the Day of the Lord. Not prior to the events of the Day of the Lord, but during them. The reasons for this are many, but suffice it to say that the Lord is going to use this time to reunite the two houses of Israel with whom He made the New Covenant and we are a part of this endtime prophetic fulfillment as we have been grafted in to the one tree Israel, the people of God. Hallelu YAH!

It is the belief of myself and other born again believers that we will all be unified as members of one of the twelve tribes, that the 24 elders are the Twelve disciples and the Twelve elders of the twelve Tribes of Israel! The 144,000 are 12,000 from each of the tribes as well, under whose leadership we will enter into the Promised Land! You can read about this in many scriptures which speak about the return of the Remnant people of God. Also, notice this: Jer 16:14 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said: 'As the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,'
Jer 16:15 but: 'As the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the countries whither He had driven them'; and I will bring them back into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
If you are a believer who identifies with Israel, this is one of the very most exciting times to be a Chritian/Messianic believer. Check out our Hebraic roots! You won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Doesn’t everyone “Love the Truth”? I assume you’re a postie. 1 Thess 4:16 tells us the dead in Christ rise first. “In Christ” is a term that’s used for the church. That doesn’t mean the OT saints aren’t saved – it’s just a distinction. 1 Cor 15:23 suggests there’s an order of resurrections. Matt 11:11draws a distinction between the OT vanguard (which John belonged to) and the new.

There’s only one first resurrection? Why do we have trib saints resurrected at Rev 20:4 after the 7th trumpet? I’m tired of asking that question. Why is Daniel told to rest until the end of days in Dan 12 (1335 days)? That’s long after the 7th trumpet. That’s even after the AC is slain. He only gets 1260 days and is destroyed at Christ’s coming (2 Thess 2:8 and Rev 19).

There’s another little problem like who populates the Millennium if the rapture occurs at the end of the week. Personally, I don’t identify with any of the tribes. I’m a Gentile and always will be.

rg

Love the Truth said...

rg- I am surprised you would ask the question but ok- no, not everyone loves the truth or The Truth... one of the saddest verses in the scriptures ( I believe) is the one that says they perish because they received not the love of the truth. 2 Thes 2:10

I am an ex-pretribber (mainly because it is clear from 2 Thes 2:1-3 that our gathering to Yeshua will not come except there come a falling away first and the man of sin is revealed), and I prefer to do without categories.

I know that dispensationalism teaches that there are two second comings and two resurrections of the righteous,(the O.T. and the N.T. saints) but being that I am reevaluating almost everything I have been taught due to the fact that there has been far too much of a Greco-Roman influence on the church and and not enough of a Hebraic perspective, (especially on matters such as the Sabbath day and the days which we typically honor as holy days and the way in which we worship on these days)I am reevaluating what I have learned in regards to the endtimes as well.

I see no insurmountable evidence that there must be either 2 second comings or 2 resurrections of the righteous. Are not those who died before the first coming of Christ saved by faith in the Messiah as well, even though they were still waiting for Him? Therefore aren't they too “in Christ”? 1 Thes 3:13 “all His saints” also in Eph 1:18 “the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints”, and Heb 11:13-15, as well as the “vast cloud of witnesses surrounding us” (Heb 12:1)

I agree that there is order in 1 Cor 15:23 but it is simply that Christ rose to life first, afterward we who are His will be raised up as well.


As for Rev 20:4 I do see your point, perhaps this could be considered an anomaly. I still don't see evidence of one distinct resurrection for the O.T. saints and another for the N.T. saints, however. And although your point about Daniel being told to wait is thought provoking, waiting for the end of the days could simply mean the endtimes which would include the many events and wide timeframe of the final wars, the tribulation, the rapture, and the second coming of Messiah, thereby meaning for him to wait for the resurrection. I myself do not believe we can narrow down the exact timing of the resurrection/rapture at this time, though as the time nears it will be more evident and will most likely be on a future Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah. I will give it some more study though, so thanks.

As for identifying with Israel, have you read Romans 9-11? Especially Romans 11:17-21. Also it is obvious that we will enter our eternal home through the gate bearing one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 21:12), perhaps the tribe of Judah? Also it is interesting that it appears that we will observe both new moons and Sabbaths (Isa 66:23), and the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot (Zec 14:16) during the millenial reign of Yeshua HaMashiach, Christ Jesus our Lord, the Messiah of Israel..

Blessings and Shalom,
Love the Truth

Anonymous said...

Love the Truth, I was being sarcastic. Forgive me.

I’m an ex posttribber ;-) There are a few of us exes.

I don’t believe Rev 20:4 is an anomaly. If the rapture and resurrection occurs while Christ is coming in the clouds then the resurrection of the trib martyrs is contextually after that. This has posed problems for post-trib, so some have devised a grammatical attempt to retro fit it.

The idea of the rapture being separate from the coming in Matt 24:31 is a matter of taking the whole counsel of scripture and deducing a conclusion - a bit like the doctrine of the Trinity or how Calvinists derive their doctrines.

Have I read Romans? Absolutely! There’s a definite distinction between Gentiles and Israel. Gentiles are the wild branches grafted into the Olive Tree. Israel is the natural branch. Gentiles partake in the spiritual benefits of the New Covenant.

There certainly has been a moving away from the Hebraic roots within the church insofar as most churches practice replacement or expansionist theology and allegorize Scripture.

Unfortunately, there’s also been a trend from some Messianic congregations in moving back to forced Sabbath observance and legalism. Some even deny the inspiration of the book of Hebrews.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum has some good Bible studies on these themes here:
http://www.ariel.org/amds.htm

rg

LovetheTruth said...

rg- You're forgiven:)
It's sometimes difficult to pick up on sarcasm. Thanks for the link...I'll check it out.