In the first part of this series of posts, I closed off with the notation that the Apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 that the Rapture is a "mystery", "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye..." Because some people can't see the forest for the trees this series will be addressing the Pre-Tribulation Rapture from an ancillary positions. The "Absence of Proof is not Proof of Absence".
Paul establishes the existence of a Rapture as a given future event. The critics dismiss the Pre-Trib Rapture simply by arguing that not one verse exists to prove that a Pre-Tribulation Rapture is absent and reject it outright stating that there will be no "seven" year Pre-Tribulation Rapture because not one verse exists stating there will be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. In essence they argue from the position of "Absence of Proof" negates the concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I am going to offer a lot of Biblical evidence that deals with this matter from a number of Biblical positions that builds a case for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. One of those is predicated upon a position that the Rapture is an imminent event, meaning that it could happen any time, as early as I typed this post. We will deal with that in due time.
The fact that this issue is even debatable is due to the aberrant way the "Allegorical" method is applied to under-standing the Bible in the first place. Since 80% of all churches are in this camp, you cannot expect them to understand this issue exists because of a Satanical anti-Semitic view of the Bible. Lucifer hates the Jews first and foremost. Their existence validates a whole set of promises outlined throughout the Bible. If Lucifer can destroy the Jews, he would be able to call God a liar with impunity. Throughout Biblical history, God has saved or delivered a remnant of the Jews and the Messianic "blood line" of the Savior. At least twenty-times in recorded Biblical history, God intervened to protect the Messianic "blood line". That is for another post at another time. I note it because the issue is all about Israel. Israel is not the Church, and the Church is not Israel. The "Allegorical" camp crowd teach that the Church has "Replaced" Israel. You will find that in the writings of Constantine and Augustine. In so doing, this group have for all intent and purpose sided with Lucifer against God. The Roman Catholic Church is an agency for Lucifer. Despite what you may or may not know about the RCC, Catholicism is all about "SUN" worship, and not "SON" worship. One masks or hides behind the other at the local level as well as the pinnacle of the Vatican.
This is not to disparage those believing they worship Jesus Christ in the RCC. It is a simple fact of history. The Council of Trent never was repealed, revoked, or rescinded by the Vatican. Even in Vatican II, of 1962-1965, the Council of Trent was reaffirmed by the Vatican. The ecumenical movement was merely for show and deception. Vatican II retained the content and intent of the Council of Trent, which was Rome's answer to the Reformation.
As such Rome has never changed regarding its lost brethren/heretics. Rome has adopted the less painful side of the proverbial "carrot or stick" approach of gaining your allegiance to the Vicar of Christ. The ecumenical move- was not a negotiated reconciliation. It was mere theater dressing and show, papered over with platitudes. In the end Vatican II reaffirmed the Council of Trent, but most Christians/Protestants believe all is well between Rome and us. The publicity campaign was successful into creating a mood of harmony and unity. That was all a ruse.
But I digress and my focus here is to provide the reader an understanding that we have numerous ways that confirm a solid case for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. We will be looking at this as much the way a prosecuting attorney would examine the evidence that creates a case for conviction. In the case of a criminal case, there are at least ten types of evidence: Fingerprints, blood, hair, skin, witness testimony, written documents, semen, shoe prints,video tape/pictures, and ballistic evidence. DNA is critical factor in several of the types of evidence named. Evidence can be physical, trace, or biological, but for a court of law, evidence is classified as being: circumstantial, reconstructive, individual, or testimonial. I have done a church worship bulletin insert for about a decade titled Bible/Biblical Forensics as a faith builder.
As an example of a piece of evidence that supports the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, we can build from Scripture as well as historical evidence. We first begin with a passage in Daniel 11:31, "And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolation."
Six hundred years after Daniel, Jesus Christ also made reference to both the 'abomination' and the prophet who foretold it. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)" -(Matthew 24:15).
There are those who argue that, because of Daniel's astonishing accuracy in foretelling the rise and fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Alexander the Great's Greek Empire, the book of Daniel must be a forgery written long after the prophet's death. Even scholars that wrote for the Encyclopedia Brittanica could not agree, since the Gospels specifically identify Daniel as a prophet. If Daniel wasn't a prophet and if he did not pen the book bearing his name, then it follows that Jesus Christ could not be the Son of God. It is thus impossible for Jesus to be Whom He claimed to be and not know whether Daniel was a Divinely inspired prophet or whether Daniel was just the name ascribed to a latter work of forgery.
If Jesus is the Son of God, then He is also the One Who makes an appearance in Daniel's narrative. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that he be worshiped as a god. Three Hebrew captives (and companions to Daniel), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedingo refused. Nebuchadnezzar ordered the three men thrown into a furnance to be roasted alive. Later, he looked in, and then questioned his counsellors: "Did not we cast three men bound into the middle of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king."
But there were four figures visible in the flames, and it was Nebuchadnezzar himself who identified the mystery figure: "He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.." -(Daniel 3:24-25).
Jesus identified Daniel as a prophet and quoted from the book of Daniel in His public addresses. If Daniel is a forgery, then Jesus could not be anything more than a fraud. If Jesus is a fraud and Daniel is a forgery, then the Bible isn't worth studying.
Jesus trusted Daniel enough to quote him in a message. I trust Jesus for my eternal salvation. Logically, I can also trust the book of Daniel as a Divinely inspired work of God.
Now, what is the 'abomination of desolation' to which Jesus Christ refers? There are two answers - one from history and the second from prophecy. When Alexander the Great's empire broke up, it fractured into four major kingdoms. Selucus was one of Alexander's generals, and came to control the Syrian portion of the empire. Syria was one of the two dominant divisions of the empire, and continued through twenty kings. Antiochus IV was the eighth king of the Selucid Empire. Antiochus IV had two key passions which are worthy of note, since they bear on the prophecy. He hated the Jews, and he fancied himself a conqueror in the fashion of his father, Antiochus III Magnus ("the Great").
In 167 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes raided the Temple, entered into the Holy of Holies and sacrificed a pig on the altar. Of singular importance for our understanding of prophecy that Antiochus did NOT destroy any part of the Temple. He did build extra structures, including pagan "enhancements" to the altar of sacrifice. However, none of this can be considered "throwing down" the foundation of the sanctuary.
Jesus referred to the "abomination of desolation" in the context of the signs of His return. Jesus was not referring to an historical event as the fulfillment of of His prophecy. He was providing an example from history of what such an event meant. The abomination of desolation, therefore, is a future event that involves the desecration of the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple.
Jesus is clearly describing events that take place during the Tribulation Period (the 70th week of Daniel) and He is just as clearly addressing the Jews in the last days, and not the Church. He speaks directly to those Jews who will live in Judea (the West Bank today) at that time. "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For THEN shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." -(Matthew 24:20-21).
While some argue that Jesus is addressing the signs of His return in the last days to the Church, in an effort to support their argument that the Church will be present during the Tribulation. A Jew is not permitted to undertake a journey exceeding 1,000 steps on the Sabbath. The Church is not bound by Sabbath day restrictions. So why would Jesus warn the Church to 'pray' that the time for flight does not occur on the Sabbath? Applying Jesus' warning to the Church doesn't make sense. But to a religious Jew, it makes perfect sense. In reading the Gospels, you always need to remember to ask yourself who is being spoken to, and who is the speaker.
Jesus divides the Tribulation into two parts, splitting it at the point in which the Antichrist replicates the abomination committed by Antiochus Epiphanes. The Apostle Paul reveal that the Antichrist will, in the last days, "AS GOD, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." -(2nd Thessalonians 2:4). Paul provides us another important clue that is often overlooked or omitted when trying to find the presence of the Church during the "Time of Jacob's Trouble." (see Jeremiah 30:7).
Many critics of a Pre-Trib Rapture call the Third Temple the "Antichrist's temple". Paul describes the Tmple in the last days as the "Temple of God". This is described in Ezekiel 40-47. The Tribulation is the 70th Week of Daniel. Jeremiah refers to it as the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Jesus warns of persecution that will come on Sabbath-keeping Jews.
Ask yourself where is the Church? What is the role of the Church during the Tribulation? To answer that question, we need to look at the role of the Church in the Church Age. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" -(Matthew 28:19).
But during the the Tribulation, the Great Commission, is carried out, not by the Church, but by an angel appointed to the task of God. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to PREACH TO THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." -(Revelation 14:6).
If the indwelt Church is present at a Pre-Trib Rapture, why did the Great Tribulation get passed from the Church to an angel? Again, what is the Church's role during the Tribulation.
Those who argue against a Pre-Trib Rapture claim the role of the Church in the last days is to be massacred. To what purpose? To bring the Church to Christ? Clearly not, since by definition, the Church is already Christ's. Jesus promised the Church in Matthew 16:18 that "the gates of Hell shall not prvail against it." But we then read in Revelation 13:7, "And it was given unto him (the religious beast) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them."
Which is it? Do we prevail, or does the Antichrist? It cannot be both. Apart from Dispensationalism, the two statements contradict each other. The truth is that only Dispensationalism reconciles the issue.
But if the Church Age is over and the Tribulation period is the time of 'Jacob's Trouble' and judgment against "them that dwell upon the earth" rather than the Church, then Scriptural harmony is restored. One can only conclude the Pre-Tribulation Rapture scenario in the view that is most harmonizing with Scripture, particularly when given the added dimension of actuality watching the preparation unfold before our very eyes.
The evidence and logic both indicate that we are living in the last generation of history. It also indicates that there are people reading this who will never, ever die in the traditional sense, but be caught up alive to be with the Lord.
The essence of this premise is that you cannot produce any evidence whatsoever that precludes or excludes a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Furthermore, the words of Jesus speaks to the abomination of desolation as a future event. It cannot be referring to the destruction of the second Temple in 70 AD.
The critics offer no evidence for a case other than to reject the Pre-Tribulation Rapture flatly, offering no evidence to prove or support their claim. It's no difference than one of my grandchildren telling grandma they don't like a particular food when they have never even tasted it. The evidence offered here would clearly show the historical record, and the words of Jesus Christ, and the accuracy of Daniel, provide us a larger picture of events yet to be fulfilled with a third Temple during the 70th week of Daniel. As my series are titled, "Absence of Proof is not Proof of Absence.