By Nathan Jones
What's the single most important argument on behalf of a Pre-Trib Rapture?
To answer this question, we are pleased to have as our special guest the renowned Bible Prophecy teacher, Dr. Tommy Ice. Tommy is the head of the Pre-Trib Research Center and is a prolific writer on all aspects of Bible prophecy.
Dr. Reagan: I've been accused of many times, "The problem with you guys who believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture is that you are just a bunch of escapists." What do you say about that?
Dr. Ice: Tell that to all the millions of martyrs who have been persecuted for their faith in Christ. In Revelation 3:10, Jesus talks about how that church had been faithful through the time, in essence the Church Age. So, we are not saying as a lot people claim, "You know we have to go through persecution." I reply, "That's an American viewpoint, because we happen to live in a unique time in America where we haven't been persecuted. But, most Christians down through history and in other parts of the world especially today have been persecuted. Go to Saudi Arabia and start doing street evangelism if you want to be persecuted."
Dr. Reagan: And the persecution is coming here to the US as well.
Dr. Ice: It is coming. But the point is that the Church Age is a time in which we have tribulation and we are persecuted. In fact, there's a lot of talk about the persecution of Christians in the news today. Revelation is not talking about that persecution, because that is indeed the wrath of man or Satan. No, the Tribulation is said to be the wrath of God throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament. That will be a time when God will judge. Firstly, He's going to use wrath to purge out the rebelliousness in order to convert the Jews. And secondly, He's going to judge the earth-dwellers for rejecting Christ.
Dr. Reagan: When people tell me that I'm an escapist, I ask, "Did you know Jesus Christ is one? He said in Luke 21, 'Pray that you may escape these things.'"
Dr. Ice: That's true. Yes, Jesus seems to be anticipating something there.
Pre-Trib Rapture Imminency
Dr. Reagan: What would you say is the single most important argument on behalf of a Pre-Trib Rapture?
Dr. Ice: It's hard to come up with a single most thing, because it's somewhat complicated in the sense that there are many factors that contribute to the concept of a Pre-Trib Rapture. That's just like how the Trinity is a complicated concept.
Dr. Reagan: What about imminence?
Dr. Ice: Well, yes, the fact that Christ could come at any moment is one of those important arguments. How could Jesus come except through a Pre-Trib Rapture?
Dr. Reagan: He can't come in the Second Coming because there are too many prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled.
Dr. Ice: That's right.
Dr. Reagan: I shouldn't look for Him today if I don't believe in the Rapture.
Dr. Ice: Right. There are in the New Testament Epistles primarily comments about how we are to be ready at any moment because Christ could come. For example, Luke 21 says, "When you see this," Jesus is talking about the first events of the Tribulation, He says, "The end is not yet." And then He says, "When you see this," talking about the mid-point at the Abomination of Desolation, "the end is not yet." Then when Jesus is at the end in verse 28 of Luke 21, it says, "But when you see this," talking about the Second Coming, then He says, "look up for your redemption draws neigh." So, obviously when signs are involved that are referring to the Tribulation, those are signs leading up to the Second Coming.
The Rapture is something that we are always to be ready for. That is why you can't date it. I asked it out for a date one time, and it said, "I can't." [chuckle] I mean, I may not know when the Rapture will happen, so it has to be Pre-Trib.
Nathan Jones: That means then that there are no prophecies that need to be fulfilled before the Rapture happens?
Dr. Ice: That's right. But things can happen, like Israel coming back to the land. Those are not signs of the Rapture. They are related to the Tribulation events that are going to follow the Rapture. Like, if you see Thanksgiving, then you know Christmas is near.