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The primary purpose of this paper is to expose the falsity of the pre-tribulational rapture view. Its second purpose is to show that the post-tribulational rapture view is the only biblical one. The pretribulational rapture is thought to be an instant removal of Christians, worldwide, from the earth seven years before the Second Coming of Jesus. The post-tribulational rapture position sees the simultaneous resurrection of dead Christians and transformation of living Christians into glorified bodies on the day of the Second Coming, also called the Day of the Lord, the Day of Wrath, and the Day of Christ. As with all argumentative papers, reading this will only be effective if the reader is open-minded. When someone has a belief, it is not uncommon for him to be presented with an argument against his belief, only for him to pass over the argument without further thought. It is also not uncommon for one to discard a whole train of arguments one by one, if he does not want to accept the belief system behind them. As the author of this paper is not a good debater, it is up to the reader to allow himself to be convinced - at least momentarily. The reader is asked to suppose the viewpoint of the author is true, until finishing the entire document (hopefully it will then “click” :). The information in this paper will be presented progressively, with a few important points being raised early, and the bulk of arguments presented later. This paper is not a comprehensive eschatological essay. Eschatology is too vast a branch of theology to cover in one document. It is intended for the inquisitive layperson, confused by the number of conflicting positions taken on the rapture; specifically its timing with respect to the Second Coming of Jesus. If the reader pursues eschatology beyond solving the rapture question, she will find herself raising many more questions out of the scope of this paper. Happy hunting...
The Day of the Lord in the Old Testament
The Bible has many references to the "Day of the Lord", in the Old and New Testament. It is the day of the Second Coming. The evil antichrist’s empire will be destroyed by the Second Coming, and Jesus will establish His own Kingdom on earth that Day. Almost all eschatological views accept this. These are some of the Old Testament references to this Day: Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Joel 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
Amos 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. Amos 5:20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? Zephaniah 1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. Zephaniah 1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: Isaiah 13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Isaiah 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. The reader is encouraged to read all of these verses in context if she feels they do not refer to the same Day.
The Day of the Lord in the New Testament
The Day of the Lord is also mentioned many times in the New Testament, although it is often called the "Day of Christ". Once again, the reader is invited to read all of the passages in context to affirm that they refer to the same Day. Phrases that strongly suggest that all Christians will be on earth until this Day are underlined. 1Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 1Corinthians 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 1Corinthians 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 1Corinthians 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 1Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 1Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, Philippians 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 2Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 2Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2Thessalonians 2:1-4 should be paid much attention. Paul’s language suggests that the "coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" and "our gathering together unto him" (verse 1) are events that happen on the same day, for the simple reason that he only mentions one day, "the day of Christ" (verse 2), and referred to again as "that day" (verse 3). Arguably, if our gathering is not to be on the Day of Christ, but on some other day, a distinction would be made to avoid confusion. Peter also spoke of the Day of the Lord. It is clear from his wording that this is the day Christians are waiting for. This passage also should remove any doubt that the New Testament's "Day of the Lord" is the same one mentioned in the Old Testament, with its usage of destructive imagery: 2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Acts agrees with the Old Testament prophecies, in saying that the Day will be literally dark. This entire passage strongly suggests that there will be Christians on earth right up until the Day of the Lord, and does not need to be underlined: Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. The post-trib position is not argued by specifically showing that the rapture is after the tribulation. It is hard to do so, because scripture is written as though the reader already assumes the post-trib timing.
Pre-tribulationism is only a 200-year-old understanding of scripture. Firstly, the post-trib view is argued by showing that there is a rapture at the Second Coming; and that there is no good (biblical) reason to suppose there is another, separate, gathering. Secondly, the post-trib view is argued by showing that Jesus’ speech on the last days simply rules out a pre-trib rapture when taking into consideration other things He said. The pre-trib claim is that post-tribbers are "confusing the rapture and the second coming”. The post-trib response is that attempting to separate the rapture and Second Coming is “splitting hairs”; that is, making a distinction where none can be safely made, and is not made, anywhere in scripture.
Jesus' speech on the end of the world and our gathering unto Him
Hopefully the reader agrees by now that the Day of the Lord is a literally dark day of destruction. Let us see what the Lord Jesus has to say in Matthew 24 about the world soon before it ends. This is Jesus' longest recorded speech - who dares to say eschatology isn't importaant? - and it is commonly known as "The Olivet Discourse". This is just because Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives as He spoke it to his disciples. Mat 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. Mat 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Mat 24:15 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:) Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Mat 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Mat 24:25 Behold, I have told you before. Mat 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
This passage is indeed where the phrase "great tribulation" originated. The most glaring difficulty (for pre-tribbers) with this passage is that Christians will be on earth during the tribulation. The order of events in Matthew 24:29-31 indicate that the sun will turn dark before Christians are gathered to Him. As was already established using Old Testament prophecies (Joel 2:31, Amos 5:18), the sun will be darkened before the Day of the Lord. Is it not reasonable then to think that our gathering to Him is on the Day of the Lord, after the tribulation? Also note verses 23-27; Jesus tells us not to believe any false Christs because the whole world will know Jesus when He appears! The whole world will see the glorious Jesus in the sky before the elect are gathered (verse 30). This does not fit with the popular pretribulational image of Christians vanishing without a trace, and with no sign of Jesus in the sky. Nor would there be any point in Jesus saying the words in verses 23-27 if Christians are supposed to be absent from the earth at this time. The pre-trib claim is that the rapture has already occurred seven years prior to Matthew 24:31. But Jesus didn’t mention another rapture anywhere. Surely that would be a significant enough event to mention, especially in the speech dedicated to the end times. Remember, the post-trib view is argued by showing that the Bible makes no distinction between the rapture and the Second Coming, but it does tie them together at several places. Like here in the Olivet Discourse.
The resurrection of the dead in Christ
What about Christians who are not in the last generation, and not part of the rapture (which is of course most of them)? When will they be resurrected? Jesus tells us that this is the last day: John 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Why are these passages relevant to the rapture? They are relevant because Paul tells us that the dead in Christ are resurrected before the living Christians are gathered!: 1Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 1Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1Thessalonians 4:14-17 is a "proof text" of the pre-trib rapture. Problem with using it, though, is that it mentions the dead Christians will be raised before the rapture. This means that if Jesus' words in John 6:39-40, 6:44, and 6:54 (all quoted above) are not lies, the rapture is on or after the last day! Oops! It is natural to think that all Christians will be raised, whether they be dead or alive, on this day ("Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood", “all which he hath given me“- both universal phrases). Verses 16-17 describes a post-trib rapture perfectly – the Second Coming, the raising of dead Christians and the “catching up” of the living Christians all at the same time. 1Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 1Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Again, if the dead in Christ are raised on the last day, how can any Christians be gathered before the last day without violating the premise that the dead in Christ will rise first? Pre-trib authors are divided on how they handle this. The simple and natural explanation is that the rapture is also on the last day. Also, the wording of 1Corinthians 15:52 strongly suggests that the transformation of the living Christians and the resurrection of the dead Christians are essentially the same event; once again it is "splitting hairs" to try and suggest they are separated by several years!
The post-tribulational view is the only scriptural view
We must not assume there is a rapture before the tribulation, because Jesus never promised one. He only spoke of "the coming of the Son of man" (Matthew 24:27) in which the whole world will see Him in the sky; and our gathering after the world sees Him. His own description of our gathering is clearly post-trib, and He mentioned no other. To have faith in a gathering before the great tribulation is to have faith in something that Jesus never promised. Nobody will be able to blame Jesus when the tribulation has begun. Paul's and Peter's epistles strongly suggest that Christians will be on earth until the Day of the Lord; they certainly don’t lend to a pre-trib rapture. If there is such thing as a pre-trib rapture, Paul and Peter were oblivious to it. The classic passages that are used to "prove" a pre-trib rapture can just as easily be used to describe the rapture on the Day of the Lord. In fact, no author in the New Testament ever mentioned a gathering of Christians and distinguished it from the post-tribulational (only) gathering taught by Jesus. And no, there is no distinguished gathering in the Old Testament either. The pre-trib authors who explain that some verses "clearly" describe the pre-trib rapture are essentially implying they have extra information the New Testament authors never had. Do not be fooled by their confidence in what they say. If we believe Jesus' words, and if we believe Paul's words, and if we believe Peter's words, we cannot conclude that there is a pre-trib gathering. Jesus suggested (more than once) that all Christians will be raised on the last day. Paul wrote that the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. Therefore, the rapture and resurrection could be almost simultaneous, or the resurrection could be a short time before the rapture. But the rapture certainly will not precede the resurrection, and therefore it will not precede the tribulation either. There is no room, chronologically, for a pre-tribulational rapture. Modern pre-trib "experts" (experts of text manipulation!) have gone to great lengths, creating very convoluted stories of the end times, to allow for a pre-tribulational rapture. Some do this by creating multiple resurrections and raptures; others even make the sun turn dark twice. Meanwhile, the fact that their supposed pre-trib gathering is never explicitly described in the entire Bible seems to be ignored. It is just assumed to exist. The fundamental, significantly older, post-tribulational view is simple, and requires no “expert” to be understood. If one chooses to trust modern-day fairy tales utilising misused scripture more than Jesus’ simple discourse of the last days, then frankly, he is asking to be deceived. 2Thessalonians 2 says "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." Nobody disputes that this is the antichrist. Christians will be on earth during the tribulation, being persecuted by the government of the antichrist!!
Pre-tribulational teachings rejected
These are the most popular beliefs pre-tribulational rapture believers hold. Of course, not everyone holds all of them: Belief: "The rapture is imminent; the Lord could return to snatch us away at any time. No prophecies need to be fulfilled before the rapture. Nobody knows the day or hour of the Lord's return." Rebuttal: Paul addressed this very misconception the Thessalonians were having, in 2Thessalonians 2:1-4. Our gathering unto Him will not occur until the antichrist is revealed, and a notable apostasy ("falling away") occurs. This is not new information, it is based on Jesus' Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:9-16). As for not knowing the day or hour of the Lord's return, the verse quoted is Matthew 24:36: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only". This verse is not describing imminence of a pre-tribulational rapture. It is referring to the posttribulational Second Coming Jesus was just talking about!!! Another reading of Matthew 24 will clear the confusion up. Clever pre-trib authors have realised the laughable stupidity of using this verse to prove imminence of the rapture, but it was once an oft-quoted verse (out of context of course - no pre-trib author would attempt to use Matthew 24 wholly to describe a pre-trib rapture). Nobody can pinpoint the time of the Lord's return, but the last generation will be able to tell when it is near by the signs He gave us, though not the actual day. Did the Lord contradict Himself when He said "when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors"? (Matthew 24:33) Please don't say yes. Realise that Jesus' return will be preceded by signs for us, else He is a liar, an idiot, or just plain confused.
Belief: "We are raptured on the Day of the Lord, but that Day is an extended period of time beginning at the same time the tribulation does." Rebuttal: Jesus said the sun will turn dark after the great tribulation, in Matthew 24:29 and Mark 13:24. Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 explicitly state the sun will turn dark before the Day of the Lord, and several Old Testament verses describe the Day of the Lord as being dark. Therefore, the Day of the Lord is after the tribulation and does not overlap with it whatsoever.
Belief: "The tribulation is only for the Jews. That means the Gentile Christians do not need to be on earth, so they will be raptured." Belief: "The tribulation is only for those lukewarm Christians who are not ready to be raptured." Rebuttal: This is non-scriptural rhetoric, a desperate means of explaining away the fact that Christians will be on earth during the tribulation whilst holding to the view that some of us will be whisked away. It is also disgustingly proud and elitist. There is no New Testament scripture that draws any distinction between Jews in Christ and Gentiles in Christ. Much less is there any mention of an early mark rapture for Gentiles as opposed to Jews, or "hotter" Christians as opposed to lukewarm Christians. In fact, there is ample scripture to teach us that all in Christ are equal, and are under the same redemptive plan. Ephesians 2 explains that the wall once between Jews and Gentiles is now broken down. Galatians 3 says this more explicitly, by explaining that Gentiles in Christ have inherited all of Abraham's promises. Romans 11 creates an image of an olive tree, which is the entirety of His people. Natural branches have been broken off the olive tree, and these are likened to Jews who have rejected their Messiah. Gentile Christians are described as branches taken from a wild olive tree, and "grafted" into the natural olive tree. A better metaphor intended to show the equality of Jews and Gentiles in Christ
could not be constructed. Dispensationalism has introduced so much confusion to the Christian church, that it really is not funny. Dispensationalism is the doctrine that (contrary to the New Testament) maintains that Jews in Christ and Gentiles in Christ are two different types of “God’s people”. It was created around 1830. The most popular form of pre-tribulationism requires the tenets of dispensationalism. The dispensational pre-tribulational rapture view was popularised by being published (as fact, not flimsy speculation which it is) in the American Scofield Reference Bible of 1909. Incidentally, this is the first Bible to have man’s interpretations included with the Bible’s text. It is highly doubtful that the pre-trib view would be so popular had it not been published in a Bible.
Belief: "God loves us too much to let us be exposed to His wrath. That's why we need to be raptured before the tribulation begins." Rebuttal: The former is true, the latter is not. This argument is moot because "tribulation" is not "wrath". Tribulation is persecution. Refer back to Matthew 24. "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." This is the reason it is called the great tribulation. "Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: ..... But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For[because] then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:16-21) Why is Jesus telling those who are in Judaea to flee to the mountains? To attain safety! If fleeing to the mountains provides safety, a complete removal from the face of the earth is not necessary. Thus this pre-trib argument is defeated. Thinking that God is unable to protect His children through the tribulation shows a lack of faith and robs Him of omnipotence; however, as will be shown soon, it is His will that many Christians will be martyred during the tribulation. Christians have been martyred by the ten thousand every year this century, mostly in the Eastern world. Has God then failed to protect His children from wrath? No - because it is not wrath, but tribulation. In the New Testament, the word "tribulation" (translated from "thlipsis" in New Testament Greek) almost always refers to persecution of Christians at the hands of heathen. The word "wrath" (translated from both "thumos" and "orgay" in New Testament Greek) is always used to describe God's vengeance on the heathen. Confusion between these two meanings is the origin of the unbiblical idea that the tribulation is full of God’s wrath. Whilst it is true that some of God’s wrath is poured out during this time, the book of Revelation says that it will be targeted at the antichrist’s empire, and those who definitely will not be saved. The bulk of wrath is on the last day, on which Christians will be rescued. The great tribulation is a time when Christians will be subject to horrible persecution, even martyred for their faith. It is God's plan that it will happen: "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:9-11). The terrible wrath of God starts after all the appointed martyrs have died; this is strongly suggested because the very next verses are: "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men,
and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:12-17) Note the similarities between this passage and Matthew 24: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" (Matthew 24:29) "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth...." (Revelation 6:12-13) This is the Day of the Lord. "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:17). Now it is evident that Matthew 24 does teach the gathering will be on the Day of the Lord. Of course, since Christians are not appointed to wrath, they will be raptured sufficiently early so that the earthquakes, meteors and other disasters will not affect them. Revelation 6 does not mention this - but Matthew 24 does. This is a good time to mention that prophecy is in pieces all over the Bible, and has to be consolidated into a consistent picture after lots of study. Unfortunately, this fact alone makes it easy for satan to construct unbiblical doctrines by putting the pieces together incorrectly.
Belief: "In Revelation 4:1, John (the author) was told to "come up hither". This is symbolic of the rapture." Rebuttal: No, it's a voice that John heard, and nothing more. John was shown the future to see everything he needed to write the book of Revelation. Can we really assume this verse to be symbolic of the rapture!? Not objectively!
Belief: "The Holy Spirit is, at the moment, holding the antichrist back. The antichrist cannot come to power until the Holy Spirit leaves the earth. As a side-effect of the Holy Spirit leaving the earth, the Church will have to go with it, because the Holy Spirit indwells the believer." Rebuttal: This is simply not supported by scripture, except for the part about the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer. This idea that the Holy Spirit will leave the earth is unheard of, except when used to defend pre-trib. It is based on gross assumption, as are most pre-trib arguments. Firstly, the Bible does not ever say that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer of the antichrist. Secondly, even if He was, why would He have to leave the earth? There is a big difference between releasing a grip of the hand and flying away completely! Surely, if allowing the antichrist to come to power means that many people must be sucked off the face of the earth, the Bible would mention it!!! Beside the fact that this belief is just not supported by scripture, there are scriptural reasons to discard it. Firstly; that there will be new Christians being made during the tribulation is a pre-tribulational teaching, to explain the fact that Christians will be on earth before the end. It is supposed by some pre-trib authors that the Jews will evangelise people in every nation, to meet the requirements of Matthew 24:14. Now how can that happen if the Holy Spirit has left the earth? Nobody can become a Christian until the Holy Spirit leads him to God (Romans 8:9-17). Therefore, this particular pre-trib argument is totally at odds with the entire doctrine of grace, and for this reason alone should be angrily rejected (pre-trib proponents will go to great lengths to support their view- hopefully the reader is very suspicious by now). Secondly; Mark 13:9-11 says that the Holy Spirit will be working inside Christians to make them speak during the tribulation. "ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. ......
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." The Bible never, ever, says that the Holy Spirit will leave the earth, and as just shown, there are significant reasons to believe that He definitely will not.
Belief: "In the book of Revelation, the word "church" only appears between chapters 1 and 3, and after that it does not appear until chapter 22. This is strong evidence that the Church is not present on earth." Rebuttal: Note the contents of Revelation carefully. The first 3 chapters are letters to seven real life churches, and chapters 4 and onwards are prophetic. During the great tribulation, there will probably not be any "churches" per se, because Christians will be persecuted too greatly to belong in large groups. But this is secondary to that fact that chapters 1 to 3 are letters to churches and the rest of Revelation is not! Completely different subject matter! The word "saints" is used throughout Revelation to refer to the Christians: "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)
Why this document been dedicated to destroying the pre-tribulational view
The pre-tribulational rapture view is full of claims that are unbiblical, and everyone should know that they are unbiblical. Also, having faith in a removal from persecution, when none was promised, is extremely dangerous!!! The pre-trib arguments are mostly based on gross assumption; and where scripture is used, it is used selectively; a verse taken from here and there... The gathering of Christians on the Day of the Second Coming is what the Bible's words teach. Nobody who reads the Bible as the only source of prophecy will come to any other conclusion. Unfortunately, the very popularity of the pre-trib view leads many to believe that they cannot trust their own interpretation of the Bible. Nobody has found the pre-trib rapture written in the Bible, but many assume the Bible teaches it because others believe in it. Also, anyone who believes that the Bible does not have enough information for him to ascertain the timing of the rapture with respect to the tribulation is already a victim of the pre-trib view. Like this author was. The pre-trib view is less than 200 years old, and various mid-tribulational views (which place the timing of the rapture somewhere in the middle of the tribulation) are younger still, like 20 years old. This suggests that they appeared because of confusion caused by the pre-trib view. The pre-trib view remains popular for several reasons. One is that authors are making a nice profit publishing entertaining fictional pre-trib book series like Left Behind. Also, there are "non-fiction" books explaining how scripture supports a pre-trib rapture. It is horrible how badly the authors of these books take verses out of context to support their view. These books are bought in large quantities by the masses who have a fascination about the end times. The fact that the pre-trib scenario gives (false) hope of removal from persecution makes pre-trib themed books all the more attractive. The truth about humans is that appeal to emotion often sways their minds more than reason does; politicians, advertising agencies, and satan all know this. Another reason the pre-tribulational view is popular is that it is often used to evangelise people. Promising people that faith in Jesus will give them membership to an elite group that will escape "7 years of God's wrath" is a common evangelism technique. Although it may work, it is deceptive because the tribulation is filled with persecution rather than wrath; and because there is no rapture before it anyway. Time will tell whether those evangelised Christians have true undying faith, or whether many of them will be like the seeds thrown onto rocks (Matthew 13:20-21).
The Bible is the only source of prophecy anyone needs. If we are deceived by someone else, it is sill our fault in God's eyes. Discernment of truth is every man's own responsibility: "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matthew 15:13) The Bible does warn of false doctrines. Chillingly, it also says that these false doctrines will be believed because they are pleasant to the ears: ”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) The rapture of Christians will be at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and nobody who reads the Bible as the only source of prophecy will come to any other conclusion. Everyone who reads the scriptures without bias will naturally consolidate the events of the end times into: a time of great tribulation, which will be terminated by the Second Coming of Jesus, which will resurrect and rapture believers almost simultaneously, then destroy the antichrist's kingdom. “Proving” the pre-trib view requires that it first be assumed true, and subsequently choosing proof texts from the Bible for it.
The danger in believing in a pre-tribulational rapture
There are many dangers involved in believing in the pre-trib rapture in a reality where there will be none. The tribulation will require preparation to endure. Keeping faith in Jesus will become nigh on impossible as we are tested to the bone. It may mean being a martyr. Sadly, many or most people who identify themselves as Christians will probably lose faith (Matthew 24:9-13, 2Thessalonians 2:1-4). For the pre-tribber who is not aware that his view is wrong before he is in the tribulation, what will be his end? Will someone teach him that his eschatology is wrong? Maybe not; and if not, will he believe that the antichrist is God when he claims it? He could. Will he then accept the mark of the beast? Even if he manages to identify the antichrist for who he really is, will he be mentally prepared for martyrdom? Or will he, in fear, succumb to the desires of the antichrist and accept the mark? Turn to the book of Revelation, chapter 13, verse 16 to read about the mark of the beast, in case you don’t know about it. "And he[the antichrist] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Now turn to chapter 14, verse 9. "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." With the way that economics and technology is headed, it is highly likely that the mark will be a tiny computer microprocessor injected under the skin, which acts as an identification tag and has the economic functionality of a "smart card". This means it can totally replace cash. In fact, several people in the United States have volunteered to be injected with such a device. This is not because it has practical economical use yet, but mainly for the novelty of being the first to use it. It is projected that an electronic economic system in which all trade will be done using a chip similar to this is not far off. Whatever the mark is, Revelation says that no man can buy or sell without it. The danger is that everyone who is dedicated to Christ will be tempted to accept the mark if it replaces cash. Those who have no plan to survive the tribulation without buying things from the market will be especially tempted to receive the mark. The alternative to accepting the mark could be starvation, imprisonment or martyrdom. Revelation does say that the antichrist has the power to kill whoever refuses the mark. Realistically though, it is imaginable that he will not bother to dispose of every single dissident if some can manage to survive by legitimate means and not be public nuisances, such as living on a farm and growing food to survive. The Bible may be suggesting this in Revelation 12:6. Let us try to picture ourselves in this image: And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. (Revelation 15:2-3)
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