Pastor Bob (7 Sep 2014)
""Evidence for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture""

All Doves:

As I am entering this into my computer, we are down to the two week marker, with September 24-26 being just two weeks away.  I just haven't had the time to do a post with the over 200 passages of Scripture that speak to the "Theme of Deliverance" before Judgment.  This is from other previous studies that I have done over the past decade.  I'll keep them ready if I have time to get in another post before the Feast of Trumpets, but I can promise.  My days are passing by at an unbelievable clip.  I'm up at five, and rarely get to bed before midnight. 

Over the past 4 months I have given it my best as a defender of the faith to refute the arguments contrary to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and it suddenly dawned on me as I was drafting a reply to another Dove inquiry I received this past Sunday, that I had not done a post on why we can be confident in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, if not this Feast of Trumpet, perhaps next year. 

The Pre-Trib position is not a cardinal doctrine of Scripture; however, but if one reads the Bible from the Dispensational view, a literal plain sense reading of the Word you will find a pretty strong case to believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  In my previous posts I have examined this position from a variety of perspectives and approaches, hoping to strengthen the reader's minds to recognize that we have lots of reasons for our hope doing so.  I have been convinced of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture for twenty-six years.  It is interesting to say the least, but before that when I was marching to the tune of the United Methodist Covenant/Reform theology treating the text as if it was one giant book of an allegorical mish-mash approach, none of it really made much sense, i.e., the prophets especially.  I began to get a new perspective as a result of Zola Levitt, Chuck Missler, and Grant Jeffrey.  Their programs, videos, books, began to question the framework of hermeneutics that I had been taught in twelve years of higher education.  The metamorphosis for me was painful.  When I came into contact with Dr. Arnold Fruechtenbaum, it was as if being struck by lightning.  Suddenly, I began to realize that I had been deceived by Covenant/Reformed theology-based schools. 

So when I post here on Five Doves, it is from a position of a repented believer.  None of the other positions regarding a Biblical Rapture make sense, they are not cohesive, they don't have a coherent Biblical construct.
Logically the other positions present far more questions than they provide intelligent answers.  The Bible was a mishmash of unrelated things and stories, a hodgepodge of a patch-quilt fables.  With that in mind, let's take a look at the logical aspect of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

1.  The Pre-Tribulational view offers the most logical interpretation of the Second-Coming of the Lord's Scriptures when they are taken for their plain, literal meaning.  Indeed, the late John Walvoord, once said, "The only view that interprets prophecy literally and consistently is that of the Pre-Tribulational Pre-Millennial position".  The Pre-Tribulational position has a logical explanation of every Second-Coming passage.  Other views do not unless they discard literal interpretation at least one or more points.

2.  Both Jesus and the apostle Paul promised believers they would be saved from the "wrath to come" -(Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7; 1st Thessalonians 1:10 and kept from "the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the Earth."  -(Revelation 3:10).  Such a "trial" has not yet occurred.  Paul gave the same promise in Romans 5:9 and 1st Thessalonians 5:9.  All the other viewpoints contradict these Scriptures by stating that at least a portion of the Church will experience all or some of the Tribulation period.

3.  The Pre-Tribulational position clearly and logically untangles the details of Christ's second coming.  This was illustrated in the post on the difference between the Rapture and the Second-Coming.  On one point I left off a verse reference on that chart because there isn't a verse, it is deduced by logic. 

My nemesis Jovial is what we know as a classical sophist.  Permit me to explain:  Sophistry is a rhetorical art form which relies upon ingenuity, fallacies and specious effectiveness rather than soundness of argument.  A 'sophist' in the modern day sense of the word is therefore a person who debates adroitly but reasons superficially.  In some cases, sophistry is used to cover up one's underlying ignorance of the subject matter.  Other times, the purpose of sophistry is to deliberately mislead.  This adequately describes the "Pre-Wrath-Rapture-Babble" site.  If I hadn't had some background in philosophical logic and debate, I would have been paralyzed because it is virtually a waste of time to debate a person who uses sophistry.  You will go crackers as my classmates in seminary often said.  This is precisely what the folks at the "Pre-Wrath-Rapture-Babble" site do by posting bizarre stupid nonsense.

To continue my point, the Rapture is a movement of the Church from Earth to Heaven and is in sharp contrast to the Church's return with Christ Jesus at the Second Coming, which occurs more than seven years later as a movement from Heaven to Earth.  The book of Revelation and 2nd Thessalonians 2 clarify what takes place between these two events.

4.  The Pre-Tribulatonal Rapture position is the only view that makes a clear distinction between Israel and the Church.  The lack of a proper understanding of the relationship between Israel and the Church in prophecy is one of the major causes of confusion in the teachings of amillennialism and postribulationalism.

The Church was born in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost.  We know this because the Church is the body of Christ -(1st Corinthians  12:12; Ephesians 5:23; and Colossians 1:18), believers become part of the body of Christ through baptism with the Spirit -(1st Corinthians 12:13), and Spirit baptism commenced when the Holy Spirit came upon believers on the Day of Pentecost -(Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4; 11:15-16).

The Church was a "mystery" (it was not revealed) in the Old Testament -(Ephesians 3:3-5, 9; Colossians 1:26-27).  Furthermore, the Church could not have come into existence until Jesus Christ died -(to provide atonement - Matthew 16:18-21), rose again -(Ephesians 1:20-23), and ascended to heaven -(Ephesians 4:7-11).  In fact, the Holy Spirit was not provided for believers until after the Christs ascension -(John 16:7-13).

The apostle Paul calls the Church "one new man" composed of Jews and Gentiles -(Ephesians 2:15) - a completely new entity.  It is distinguished from both Israel and the Gentiles, composed of members from both groups, and identified as the "church" and "one body" -(Ephesians 2:16; 3:6).  First Corinthians 10:42 distinguishes the Church from both Israel and the Gentiles.

Also, the name Israel is never used of the Church.  In the New Testament, it refers either to Jews in general or Jewish believers in particular.  The reference to the "Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16, so often taken by amillennialists as a synonym for the Church, in fact refers only to Jewish believers in Christ.

In summary, there is no evidence that the Church began before Acts 2, and much evidence that it began at that time as a new entity in the program of God.  Therefore it must be kept distinct from Israel, and a Pre-Tribulational understanding of the Rapture is the only means of doing this.

5.  Pre-Tribulationalism is the only view that makes "the blessed hope" -(Titus 2:13) truly a blessed hope.  Few doctrines in the Bible have brought more hope to grieving and persecuted souls during the past 2,000 years than the doctrine of this blessed hope, which is the teaching that Christ Jesus will return for His Church, resurrect the dead, and transport living believers to be with Himself while the world endures the Tribulation.  The Mid-
Tribulational position destroys that hope by forcing Christians to anticipate the trauma of at least part of the 
Tribulation.  Post-Tribulationalism further destroys the hope by propelling Christians through the entire Tribulation period.  No proper reading of Bible prophecy gives credence to the idea that the Church will be on Earth during that seven-year period.  The judgments pictured in Revelation is clearly intended for Israel and the unbelieving world.

6.  Pre-Tribulationalism allows sufficient time for important end-time events to occur.  Christ Jesus will take Christians to His Father's house and reward them at the judgment seat of Christ -(Romans 14:12).  The marriage of the bride of Christ in Heaven occurs before He comes "with power and great glory" to the Earth -(Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27).  Other viewpoints are all too brief to allow time for the important events listed in Revelation.

7.  Only the Pre-Tribulational view preserves the motivating power of the imminent return of Christ Jesus.  In John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 1st Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:4; and many other passages, the apostles taught that Christ Jesus could come at any moment.  When the Church loses this anticipation, it tends to become carnal and spiritually dead.

8.  Pre-Tribulational Christians are looking for the coming of the Lord.  In other views, Christians are awaiting the Tribulation, the Antichrist, and great suffering.  In fact, only the Rapture could occur as soon as today.  The glorious appearing of Christ Jesus (Second Coming) cannot occur for at least seven or more years.

9.  Pre-Tribulationism emphasizes that magnitude of the Rapture.  At least four passages of Scripture describes the Rapture, so it must be a significant event.  The post-tribulational view trivializes the Rapture, treating it as a quick trip up and right back down.  The Pre-Tribulational view treats it as a dignified, blessed event commensurate with a heavenly bridegroom who comes to take His bride to His Father's house for their wedding.

10.  Pre-Tribulationism most clearly fits the flow of the books of Revelation -(Revelation 4:1-2).  Further, this view explains why the Church is so central in the first three chapters of Revelation but then disappears and is not mentioned again until Revelation 18:24.  Pre-Tribulationists insist that the Church has already been Raptured before the events of Revelation 4-18.  Other views try hard to find the Church in the Tribulation even though she is not mentioned in these chapters.

11.  Pre-Tribulationism preserves the credibility of Christ Jesus' Word that Christians will be kept from the Tribulation.  It is the only view that resolves the contrasting difficulties of Revelation 3:10 and 7:4.

12.  The purpose of the Tribulation is not to prepare the Church for glory but rather to prepare Israel for restoration in God's program.  See Deuteronomy 4:29-30 and Jeremiah 30:4-11.

13.  The Rapture of the Church is not mentioned in any passage describing the coming of Christ Jesus following the Tribulation.

14.  None of the Bible passages describing the Tribulation mentions the Church -(See Jeremiah 30:4-11; Daniel 9:24-27; 12:1-2; Matthew 24:15-31; Revelation 4-19).

15.  The Church has not been appointed to wrath -(Romans 5:9; 1st Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9; Revelation 6:17).

16.  When the Church is Raptured, believers will go to the Father's house in Heaven -(John 14:3).  They will not immediately return to the Earth, as post-tribulationism teaches.

17.  The exhortation in Titus 2:13 to look for Christ's return as a blessed hope is misleading if the Tribulation must come first.  Believers would need to look for signs instead.  On the contrary, the Church is always exhorted to look for the Lord's coming.  In the Tribulation, however, believers are told to look for signs -(Matthew 24).

18.  According to Old Testament texts, living Tribulation saints are not translated and glorified at Christ's Second Coming.  They continue earthly human lives and occupations, including having children and raising crops -(Isaiah 65:20-25).  If all saints are translated and glorified  (as described by the Rapture) at Christ's Second Coming to the Earth, this would be impossible.  In addition, the separation of the "sheep" and "goats" described by Jesus in Matthew 25:32 would be unnecessary because it would already have occurred at the Rapture before He even set up His throne of judgment -(Matthew 25:31).

19,  God has often delivered believers (including Noah, Lot, and Rahab) before punishing the world for sin -(see 2nd Peter 2:6-9).

20.  Jesus mentions the possibility of believers escaping the Tribulation in Luke 21:36.

21.  Almost all scholars acknowledge that the early church believe in the imminence of Christ Jesus' return, which logically leads to Pre-Tribulationism. 

22.  God's Master Plan is only effectively understood through Dispensationalism.  The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.  The focus of God's dealing with man changed with the introduction of a Savior, a God/Man Atonement versus an unblemished lamb.  God's righteousness and holiness did not change, but how God chose to deal with and reconcile the issue of man's sin becomes central to our understanding of Law vs. Grace.  Grace is the "operative" word in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture framework of the Church!  Many people do not like the idea of God changing His plan and that's why they live in the Old Testament.  I prefer to thank God that He had a 'Plan B' in His Master Plan for dealing with humanity.  Our attitude should always be gratitude in the matter of one's salvation. 

As you can see here, many of these points depend on a logical analysis of comparing Scripture, line upon line, precept upon precept, her a little, there a little.  A reading of the passages of Isaiah 28:10 and 28:13 along with Proverbs 25:2 motivated me many years ago to seek out the deeper insights in the logical and objective conclusions that are to be fleshed out by comprehensive study, analysis, and looked at in the total context of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Second Coming.  Gleaning, gathering, and "Mining the Diamonds and Nuggets" of God's Word has been my wonderful joy for now over fifty years.  

Blessings to all of you as we anticipate the call of the trumpet!

Pastor Bob