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The Case for a Post-Tribulation Rapture

The Case for a Post-Tribulation Rapture

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Published by Donovan Neufeldt
Explains the Biblical and logical reasons for believing in a post-tribulation rapture and gives response to the arguments for the pretribulational position.
Explains the Biblical and logical reasons for believing in a post-tribulation rapture and gives response to the arguments for the pretribulational position.

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Published by: Donovan Neufeldt on Mar 08, 2010
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 The Case for a Post-Tribulation Rapture
A Study in Premillennial EschatologyWritten by Donovan NeufeldtFebruary 19, 2010
 
The Case for a Post-Tribulation Rapture 2
1. INTRODUCING RAPTURE DOCTRINE
The following paper describes something that we have come to know as the rapture, what the Bible saysabout it, and the importance of understanding the timing of it. Most conversations about the end timesare dominated by the topic of when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. This makes sensebecause if one can establish that we will not be here when the big trouble (or the Great Tribulation)occurs, one does not need to concern his/herself with studying it or preparing for it. However, if theBible describes the church going through the midst of historys most intense hour and there is a chanceone may be living in a generation that will experience those final events of natural history, there is animperative to ready oneself and ones children that they might not fall in the midst of great shaking.The rapture is a term used by theologians to describe what happens to the church at Jesus firstappearance in the sky, namely being caught up gathered to be with him and receiving resurrectedbodies. The passage always associated with defining the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The timingof it is thought of in context to the two halves of Daniels seventieth week, or the last seven years beforethe public, bodily, second coming of Jesus to the earth at the end of the age (Daniel 9:24-27).The doctrine of the rapture is held exclusively by pre-millennialism, which is the belief that Jesus iscoming back before the thousand-year messianic kingdom. Because this is the only millennial view thatinterprets Revelation 20:1-6 to mean what it says. Premillennialism is the foundational premise of thispaper, yet it will not be developed nor defended in this paper because it is not my intended focus, andthere is much information and books that describe the commonly held views of the millennium. MostChristians today are pre-millennial even if they do not know the terminology, so you probably do notneed to understand these theological classifications to follow the rest of the paper.There are four views concerning the timing of the rapture:
y
 
Post-Tribulation
: The rapture occurs after the Great Tribulation at the same time as Jesuspublic, bodily return to the earth. The church is gathered to meet Him in the sky.
y
 
Pre-Tribulation
: The rapture occurs before the last seven years prior to Jesus Second Coming.The church is in heaven during the seven years.
y
 
M
id-Tribulation
: The rapture is half way through the tribulation, three and a half years beforethe Second Coming. The church is in heaven during the Great Tribulation.
y
 
Pre-Wrath
: The rapture occurs at the sixth seal. The church is taken to heavenThe mid-trib and pre-wrath view are very recent ideas, are basically a variation of the pre tribulationperspective, and there are few who hold these perspectives. Because these three views are foundedupon the same premises, only the pre-tribulation view is specifically addressed. If the premises for a pre-tribulation rapture are not biblical, all views except for the post-tribulation are false; if these premisesare true, it is mere speculation as to which of these three views is correct. The Post-tribulation view ispresented first, followed by an examination of the objections to it. Secondly the pre-tribulation view ispresented, followed by a response to it. Finally a conclusion will be given based upon consistency withbiblical text, the teachings of the early church, and reason.
 
The Case for a Post-Tribulation Rapture 3
2. THE POST TRIBULATION PERSPECTIVE
Unique to the post tribulation position is the literal interpretation of the phrase in the air from 1Thessalonians 4:17. The belief is that at the end of the tribulation, after discernable signs occur as setforth by Jesus and the apostles, Jesus will appear in the sky. The saints who have previosly died willcome with him, while the Christians who have survived the great tribulation will be caught up (raptured)to receive their resurrected bodies (all the saints will) and meet Jesus in the sky before he touches footon the earth. This will not be a secret event that unbelievers will be uninformed of, but ratherunmistakably public and very very loud (1 Thess. 4:16-17 is considered the noisiest passage in the bible).Saints will shoot up like roman candles to meet Jesus in the air as the earth watches and mourns.
2.1 ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE POST TRIBULATION PERSPECTIVE
The blessed hope of the early church in all known writings is the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth,not a pre-tribulation rapture into heaven. This is more fully developed in the following section usingBiblical texts, but for now the extra-biblical Christian writings of the first and second century will beobserved, that it might be made known what the belief was of the disciples of the apostles.The Didache is called the first Christian catechism by many and even considered canonical by some earlyChristian Fathers
1
. This compilation of Christian doctrine was written close to the end of the firstcentury
2
, and the sixteenth chapter included a call for the church to prepare themselves to go throughthe tribulation, that they might not succumb to the deception of the antichrist
3
. Furthermore, earlyChristians including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, the Shepherd of Hermas, and Hippolytus, have writtendocuments which warn of the Antichrist and his kingdom persecuting the church during the greattribulation. Irenaeus even clearly states that the resurrection of the church takes place after the comingof the Antichrist
4
. Enoch, who walked with God and even prophesied the great flood of Genesisthrough his son named Methusalah (when he dies it will come), also may have understood eschatology
1
 
 Apostolic Constitutions
"Canon 85" (approved at the Orthodox Synod of Trullo in 692); Rufinus,
Commentary on Apostles Creed 37 
(as Deuterocanonical) c. 380; John of Damascus
Exact Exposition of Orthodox Faith
4.17; and the81-book canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
2
Draper, JA (2006),
The Apostolic Fathers: the Didache
, Expository Times, Vol.117, No.5, p.178
3
Kirkby, Peter (2001),
Didache: the teaching of the twelve apostles.
Retrieved Feb. 14, 2010 fromhttp://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-lake.html
4
Kirkby, Peter (2001),
Irenaeus of Lyons: Book V.
Retrieved Feb. 14, 2010 fromhttp://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book5.html

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