The wealth of evidence heretofore has been conclusively on the side of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Despite the naysayers, the God of the Bible has provided us substantial proof that His Word is Truth. God's message to man in Proverbs 25:2 is a clear invitation to the reader to investigate and seek out the evidence that He has spread throughout His Holy Writ.
In my recent posts on "The Biblical Theme of The Bride" and God's Festival of "Rosh HaShanah" we have provided the conclusive evidence that supports the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. 2nd Timothy 2:15, states: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Verse 16 adds, "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." With the freedom of the Internet today, its easy to see how all of this is easily facilitated by theological wantabes, putting out their shingle and pontificating on God's Word.
The word "study" here is much broader than the meaning of the word as it relates to book learning. It means "be eager, be zealous, be diligent, make every effort, do your utmost." This letter was very likely Paul's last letter penned. He knew his days were numbered, and because of that fact, he had to pass the mantle of leadership to others, it became essential to impart truth about the Word being handed off to the young Timothy. The word "rightly dividing" ("orthotomounta") means to literally "straight cutting". The likely metaphor behind this phrase is the farmer who plows a straight furrow. Timothy was to be a person who goes straight ahead, not veering to the right or to the left. Another meaning is "correctly handling" and refers to Timothy's call to the correct exegesis of God's Word. He must not twist or change the truth. The two verses that I noted are part of a larger context that drives home the need to be diligent about protecting the Truth.
The exposure of the Pre-Wrath (3/4 view) and Mid-Trib positions were dealt with more than twenty-years ago. Marvin Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen, voice of the Pre-Wrath position were dealt with way back in 1990. I'm surprised that there are wags and airheads trying to revive this grossly flawed teaching trying to say the Church will go through part of the Daniel's 70th Week.
We know from history that not all those called to this task are as faithful in their rendering of God's Word. Because we live in a fallen world, we are all the victims of the 2nd Law of Physics - Entropy, where everything passes from order to disorder. Before I cease posting on Five Doves, I would like to share with you the words of the late Dr. John Walvoord. He resides today in God's heavenly mezzanine. In one of his books, he gave an interesting list of evidence facts for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. He broke them into six categories.
Historical Doctrine of Imminency
1. The early church believed in the imminency of the Lord's return. While it can be debated which church father said what, there is a consistency in the early church on imminency, which is essential in the Pre-Trib position and in opposition to some other positions.
2. The Pre-Trib position is the ONLY one which truly teaches imminency.
3. The fact that there is a greater development of the doctrine in recent centuries does not preclude it from the early centuries. In the very early years of the church you see the development of great fundamentals - doctrines of the Trinity, Deity, God-man, canon of Scripture, etc. Following those early church councils is a time of decline in the corporate church into great apostasy. The teaching of that time are built on many of the heresies of Augustine. When the Reformation comes, there is a period of reestablishing the foundational doctrines of salvation. Now, in these days there is both an ability and a need in the church to better understand the doctrines of eschatology and the Spirit is continuing His ministry of guiding the church in all truth.
4. The exhortation to be comforted by the "coming of the Lord" -(1st Thessalonians 4:18) is valid only in the context of the Pre-Trib view. It could even be a fearsome thing in a Post-Trib view.
5. We are exhorted to look for the "Glorious Appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." -(Titus 2:13). If there are any prophetic events (i.e., tribulation) to come first, then this passage is nonsensical.
6. Again, we are to "purify ourselves" in view of His coming -(1 John 3:2-3). If His coming is not imminent then the passage is meaningless.
7. The Church is told *only* to look for the Coming of Christ. It is Israel and the tribulation saints that are told to look for signs.
Nature of the Church
(Those who do not understand the nature of the Church as unique in the program of God will continually be confused about the nature of His coming for the Church.)
8. The translation of the church is never mentioned in any context dealing with the second coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation.
9. The Church is "not appointed to wrath" -(Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). The church cannot enter into the "great day of their wrath."
10. The Church will not be "overtaken by the Day of the Lord" -(1st Thessalonians 5:1-9)(Day of the Lord is another term for the great tribulation.)
11. The Church will be "kept from the hour of testing that shall come upon all the world." -(Revelation 3:10).
12. The believer will escape the tribulation -(Luke 21:36).
13. It is the character of God deliver His own from the greatest time of trial. -(Lot, Rahab, Israel, Noah, etc).
14. It is clear that there is a time interval between the translation of the Church and the Return of Christ. -(John 14:3).
15. Only the Pre-Trib position does not divide the Body of Christ on a works principle as does partial rapture does so clearly and others to a lesser extent. It becomes a climactic finale to the grand plan of salvation by grace alone.
16. The Scriptures are adamant that the Church is undivided. In this age the Church is divided by the continuing old nature in the believers. When we are glorified at the coming of Christ, the Church is no more divided.
17. The godly remnant of the tribulation has the attributes seen in Old Testament Israel and not the Church. The Church is not present in the prophecies of Revelation.
18. The Pre-Trib view, unlike the Post-Trib does not confuse terms like elect and saints which apply to believers of all ages, as opposed to terms like Church and in Christ, which apply only to those who are the body of Christ in this age.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
19. The Holy Spirit is the Restrainer of evil in the world. He cannot be taken out as prophesied unless the Church which is indwelt by the Holy spirit is taken out.
20. The Holy Spirit will be taken out before the "lawless one" is revealed. That lawless one will certainly be revealed in the tribulation. In fact, the tribulation begins with the signing of the covenant between the lawless one and Israel. That act will reveal him.
21. The "falling away" in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 would better be understood in its context as "the departure". This is a reference, whereas the Old Testament saints (see many of the Psalms) and the tribulation saints cry out for vengeance - (Revelation 6:10).
22. The work of the Holy Spirit making the Church like Christ where they submit to death and persecution, whereas the tribulation saints cry out for vengeance -(Revelation 6:10).
The Hermeneutical Argument
23. Only the Pre-Trib view allows for a truly literal interpretation in all of the Old Testament and New Testament passages regarding the great tribulation.
24. Only the Pre-Trib position clearly distinguishes the Church and Israel and God's dealing with each. The Necessity of an Interval of Time between the Rapture and the Second Coming.
25. All believers must appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ -(2nd Corinthians 5:10). This event is never mentioned in the account of events surrounding the second coming.
26. The "four and twenty elders" in Revelation 4:1-5,14 are representative of the Church. Therefore it is necessary that the Church , undivided, be brought to glory before those events of the tribulation.
27. There is clearly a coming of Christ for His Bride before the second coming to earth. -(Revelation 19:7-10).
28. Tribulation saints are not translated at the second coming of Christ but carry on ordinary activities. These specifically include farming, construction, and giving birth. -(Isaiah 65:20-25).
29. The Judgment of the Gentile nations following the second coming -(Matthew 25:31-46) indicate that both the saved and the lost are in a natural body which would be impossible if the tribulation had taken place at the second coming.
30. If the translation took place at the same time as the second coming and requires a regathered Israel. Again, the separation of the saved and the lost would be the separation.
31. The Judgment of Israel -(Ezekiel 20:34-38) occurs after the second coming and requires a regathered Israel. Again, the separation of the saved and the lost would be unnecessary if all the saved had previously been separated by a translation at the second coming.
Differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming
32. At the Rapture, the Church meets Christ in the air. At the second coming, Christ returns to the Mount of Olives.
33. At the time of the Rapture, the Mount of Olives is unchanged. At the second coming it is divided forming a valley east of Jerusalem.
34. At the time of the Rapture, saints are translated. No saints are translated at the time of the second coming.
35. At the time of the Rapture, the world is not judged for sin, but descends deeper into sin. At the second coming of Christ, the world is Judged by the King of kings.
36. The translation of the Church is pictured as a deliverance from the day of wrath, whereas the coming of Christ is a deliverance for those who have suffered under severe tribulation.
39. The Rapture is only for the saved, while the tribulation and second coming deals with the entire world.
40. No unfulfilled prophecy stand between the Church and the Rapture. Many sighs must be fulfilled before the second coming of Christ.
41. No passage in either the Old Testament or New Testament deals with the resurrection of the saints at the second coming nor mentions the translation of living saints at that same time.
The Nature of the Tribulation
42. Only the Pre-Trib view maintains the distinction between the "great tribulation" and the tribulation in general which we all experience.
43. The great tribulation is properly understood in the Pre-Trib view as a preparation for the restoration of Israel. -(Deut. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:4-11; Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12:1-2).
44. Not one single passage in the Old Testament which discusses the tribulation, mentions the Church.
45. No one single passage in the New Testament which discusses the tribulation mentions the Church.
46. In contrast to Mid-Trib or Pre-Wrath views, the Pre-Trib view offers an adequate explanation for the beginnig of the great tribulation in Revelation 6. These others are clearly refuted by the plain teaching of Scripture that the great tribulation begins long before the 8th trumpet of Revelation 11.
47. There is no proper groundwork provided that the 7th trumpet of Revelation is the last trumpet of 1st Corinthians 15. It is accepted only on the basis of assumption. The Pre-Trib view maintains the proper distinction between the prophetic trumpets of the Church and the trumpets of the tribulation.
48. The Unity of Daniel's 70th week is maintained by the Pre-Trib view. By contrast, the Mid-Trib view destroys the unity and confuses the program for Israel and the Church. The Post-Trib view usually denies the clear teaching of the 70th weeks by subverting it into some form or another of allegory.
49. The gathering of saints after the tribulation is done by angels whereas the gathering of the Church is done by "The Lord Himself".
50. Revelation 22:17-20 states And the Spirit and the Bride say come, And he that heareth, let him say come .. He who testifieth of these things saith, "Yea, I come quickly, AMEN COME LORD JESUS".
Dr. John Walvoord's list of evidence furthermore provided additional insight in understanding why ONLY the Pre-Tribulation Rapture fits the framework of the Biblical corporate text.
There is another fact that I have yet to note in my series on "The Theme of the Bride" and "Rosh HaShanah", and that our western understanding of the Jewish culture and customs suffers from myopic vision. In terms of the Greek mindset, we expect prophecy to be prediction + fulfillment = true prophecy. In the Hebrew mindset, "pattern is prophetic"! What this means is pattern precedes prophecy. This is endemic to the Feasts of Leviticus 23. Jesus Christ fulfilled the spring and summer feasts, precisely to the day, hour, moment. This serves as our example, of how, Christ Jesus will fulfill the fall feasts as well, in the same fashion. So too, we have the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church as a picture in view of a Jewish wedding, and how the model of that ties in with building the Bride of Christ and our being Raptured out prior to the great and terrible day.
The salient point here is that none of the other Rapture positions, i.e., Pre-Wrath, Mid-Trib, Post Trib, No Trib eschatological positions simply DO NOT FIT ANY MODEL THAT CAN BE RELATED BACK TO THE JEWISH WEDDING allusion as referred to in John 14:1-3.
One of the main problems with the Pre-Wrath position, is that there is no consensus even in the Pre-Wrath community on when it starts, since the Rapture for them is not tied to the imminent return of Jesus Christ, but watching certain world events transpire. Dr. Renald Showers and Dr. Timothy Ice exposed the Pre-Wrath work of Marvin Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen back in 1990/91. But every now and then someone wants to resurrect the Pre-Wrath 3/4 position, as Dr. Ice labeled it years ago.
When you stand back and take a look at the picture in its totality, you can see clearly that God's plan is not a haphazard one, chocked full of inconsistencies and unknown truths.