My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 1 )
There is not a single verse in both 1 & 2 Thessalonians that teaches either explicitly or implicitly that some Christians shall be raptured and receive glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies pretribulationally before the antiChrist is revealed. Rather it teaches that that day in which the rapture will take place will not occur until two events take place ( 2 Thess.2:3 ). First, the Man Of Sin, the Son Of Perdition, the antiChrist must be revealed ( unveiled ). Second, there shall be an apostasia ( Hellenistic, Classical Greek: apostasis ), a falling away from the Faith. The massive abandonment of the Christian Faith will be precipitated by the unveiling of the antiChrist as a dead man who ruled over one of the seven previous Beast Empires of Satan, was killed with a military weapon in battle, descended into the abyss, and ascends from there to rule over the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan ( Rev.13:3, 17:8 ). He will demand to be worshipped by all mortals. He will use food and commerce as bargaining chips ( Rev.13:17 ). His unveiling will take place in the yet to be rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This is the abomination of desolation which will occur at the midpoint of the 70th week ( Dan.9:27; Matt.24:15; Mk.13:14 ). It is concurrent and coincident with the invasion of Jerusalem by the armies of the antiChrist ( Luk.21: 20-24 ). For clarity, consult this article: https://mtzionheritage.com/?s=Two+critical+events.
The Holy Spirit as the restrainer is another pretrib mantra. It is not revealed any where in the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer. The Holy Spirit cannot hitchhike with the Church at the Rapture. The Holy Spirit as the Third Person Of The Godhead, the Trinity, has always been here. He was here at the Creation. He glided over the waters ( Gen.1:1-2 ). He anointed Moses and the prophets of Israel. Jesus was anointed of the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil Act.10:38 ). That was before Pentecost. At Pentecost, a new relationship between man and God was created within the framework of a new order, the New Covenant. After the Rapture, the Holy Spirit will still be here. As God He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. The two witnesses will be uniquely and extraordinarily anointed of the Holy Spirit ( Rev.11 ).
The restrainer is not an NT doctrine. It is Christian scholars who debate about his identity. The restrainer is an OT doctrine. His identity has been known in Judaism for hundreds of years before Christianity. His identity has been revealed by jewish scholars like Rashi. He is archangel Michael who stands for the people of God ( Dan.12:1 ). His identity is known to Paul’s immediate audience in 2 Thess.2:6-8. That is why Paul did not bother to name him in that passage. After he casts Satan down to the Earth at the midpoint of the 70th week, he shall “amad,” that is stop doing what he normally does which is restraining the Devil. Then there shall be Great Tribulation ( Rev.12:7-9 ). When Satan is cast down to the Earth, he shall possess the antiChrist who shall declare himself God ( Rev.13:2 ). Satan has Great wrath when cast down to the Earth because he knows he has a short time. He will go to make war with the remnant of the seed of the woman who keep the commandment of God ( observant Jews who repudiate his authority by refusal to bear his Mark of allegiance, the Mark of the Beast ), and those who have the testimony of Jesus ( the believers who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast ). Who are those who have the testimony of Jesus? Are they not believers in Jesus The Christ? They are some of the greats of the saints at this momentous hour of history. How can they be feeble saints left behind to bear the brunt of the antiChrist’s reign of terror?
There are no Scriptures that teach that there are two phases of the Christ’s Second Advent. The Greek word Parousia translated coming is a compound word consisting of para and ousia which mean coming and subsequent presence with. Like the First Advent, there is a series of events like the annunciation, the birth of Christ, the presentation in the Temple, His temptation, His three year Ministry, arrest, trial and condemnation, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, appearances to His disciples, ascension and session and intercessary ministry at the right hand of the Throne Of The Father at the Throne Room in the Temple in Heaven ( Heb.7:25 ). The Second Advent begins with the breaking of the 6th seal which begins with a massive earthquake, followed by cosmic disturbances that darkens the heavens and freezes the Earth ( Rev.6:12,13 ). This shall be followed by the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens, which is the sign of the coming of the Son of Man in the heavens ( Matt.24:29,30 ). When the Shekinah appears in the heavens, the saints are advised to look up, for their redemption draweth nigh ( Luk.21:28 ). If the rapture had already taken place, what is their redemption at this time? The Shekinah is the visible manifestation of the Yahweh of Israel. Every eye shall see Him when He appears in the darkened heavens with an entourage of angels who will blow the trumpet and gather His elect from one end of the heavens to the other to meet the Lord in the air ( 1 Thess.4:14-17 ). So the Rapture annot be silent, quiet or secret as pretribs teach. Quite the opposite, the heavens shall blaze it forth.
The trumpet will be blown. Christ will dispatch His angels to gather His elect from the fours corners of the Earth. But before then, the 144,000 must be reconciled to God and sealed for protection with the name of God ( Rev.7:1-8, 14:1 ). God will not leave Himself without a witness. It is like the handing over of a baton in a relay race. The Church will be taken away in the Rapture, and the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel will become God’s witness on Earth. Then the 7th seal shall be broken and the wrath of God begins. After the wrath of God which ends at Armageddon at the end of the 30-day Reclamation Period, the whole Earth will be renovated during the 45-day Restoration Period, and Christ coronated by the Father in Heaven to reign over the Earth in the Millenium. These series of events constitute the Second Coming Of The Lord. There is no silent or secret rapture anywhere in the Scriptures. That is a pretrib concoction and fabrication. The people of the Earth who see His appearance like lightning in the heavens shall mourn ( Matt.24:29-31; Rev.1:7 ). See article on The Tribulation The Great: https://mtzionheritage.com/?s=The+Great+Tribulation.
The Sheep and the Goats are not Christians as you have rightly pointed out. They are Gentiles unbelievers who did not take the Mark of the Beast who survived the Great Tribulation and the wrath of God. The basis of their judgment is how they treated the Lord’s brethren ( Jews and believers ) during the Great Tribulation ( Matt.25:31-46 ). The Sheep shall be justified to enter and repopulate the Earth in the Millennium alongside their Jewish counterpart who survive the Great Tribulation and the wrath of God, specifically the first six trumpet judgments.
Your view of and comment on the 5th seal matters is both fallacious and egregious at the same time ( Rev.6:9-11 ). The pretribs have always denigrated these wonderful saints as spiritual weaklings who could not make the first round up. This is totally false. These were martyred for “the word of God and the testimony which they held.” They were quartered under the the golden altar of incense in the Holy Place in the Temple in heaven from where they make their plea of vengeance to God. They are referred to as souls because they have not received their glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies because the Rapture has not yet taken place. They were instructed by God to wait until their fellow believers who were to killed is complete. There is certain number of believers to be martyred before God can interrupt the Great Tribulation with cosmic and celestial disturbances. This number is not revealed to us. The secret things belong to God ( Deut.29:29 ).
The patience of the saints during the Great Tribulation is that if anyone is destined to killed with the sword, with the sword, the one shall be killed; and if anyone is destined to go into captivity, the one shall be taken into captivity ( Rev.13:10 ). The KJV translation of this verse is faulty, and does not reflect the original meaning of the Greek. At the time these saints made their plea to God, the killing was still going on here on Earth under the 4th seal which is the Great Tribulation. The 5th seal is entirely a heavenly scene, a reflection of the killings going here on Earth. It is therefore concurrent, coincident, and simultaneous with the 4th seal. The other seals are progressive and consecutive. There is no distance in the real of the spirit. The souls and spirits of the 5th seal martyrs arrive in heaven as soon as they killed here on Earth. Whatever happens to the saints who are taken captive if the rapture has already taken place? The 5th seal martyrs are raptured with the others in Rev.7:9-17. They are not inferior to the other saints at all. If anything, they are highly honored. If the wrath of God has begun at the commencement of the 70th week as pretribs teach, then God should be held accountable for the death of the 5th seal martyrs. This is utter nonsense. Please read my refutation, a critique and rebuttal of Dr. Dave Williams 20 pieces of counsel or advice to those left behind after the Rapture: https://mtzionheritage.com/?s=Critique+and+rebuttal.
Christ will come as a thief for those who do not known the times and the seasons. Those who are in darkness. We the saints are not in darkness. We are of the day being children of light, not of night nor of darkness. That day cannot come upon us unawares ( 1 Thess.5:1-13 ). We cannot know the day and the hour of His coming but we can know the general time period. The Fig tree is a sign of approximation not the symbol of Israel as you taught in your book ( Matt.24:32-35 ). In the Lukan account ( Luk.2129-33 ), it says “and all the trees.” All the trees cannot be the symbol of Israel. When those in the temperate region see the Fig tree and all the trees begin to sprout after the Fall and the Winter and the rain in the Spring, they know that Summer is near. Likewise when we see the events of the 70th week of Daniel begin to unfold, we know that the coming of the Lord draws near. This generation shall not pass till these things be fulfilled ( Matt.24:34 ). The generation of believers that shall enter the 70th week, experience the horrors of the Great Tribulation perpetrated by the antiChrist and his acolytes shall be the generation of believers that shall be raptured alive. That generation shall witness the end of the Ages at which point in the eschatological timeline that the rapture occurs. The end of the Ages is the point of transition from this age to the age to come which is the Millennial reign of Christ. For details, see my article on the Fig Tree: https://mtzionheritage.com/123-2/. See also the article on the parable Of The Wheat And The Tares: https://mtzionheritage.com/the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-the-tares/.