My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 3 )
The 70th Week Of Daniel
This is the last seven years of the 70 weeks or 490 years appointed by God for Israel to finish the transgression, make an end of sin, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” ( Daniel 9:24 ). The starting point of this period is the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and the leader of the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan, the leader of the most powerful empire in the history of man on Earth. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” ( Daniel 9:27 ).
This leader of a powerful confederacy of ten nations will enforce a false peace agreement between Israel and her Arab and Islamic neighbours who are part of the ten nation confederation. This leader will pose as the Saviour of Israel from her surrounding enemy nations who would want her driven into the Mediterranean Sea. Jesus told the Jewish leaders, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” ( John 5:43 ). It is most probable that many from within Israel, especially the scornful leaders ( Isa.28:14-19 ) of the nation will see this great and powerful emperor of a consortium of ten nations as the Messiah of Israel. This period is divided into two equal halves of 1, 260 days, 42 months or three and one-half years.
( a ) The Tribulation Period
Pretribs call the whole of this 7-year period the Tribulation Period. Obviously it will be a time of trouble. But does that warrant it being designated as the Tribulation Period? We must bear in mind that this period relates to Israel. It is the last 7-year period appointed for her to finish the transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness. For the first three and one-half years, Israel enjoys relative peace under the protection of the this powerful leader of ten nation confederation. He will probably station a protection force in Israel and her Holy City, Jerusalem, as did the United States in South Korea and Japan, and Russia in East Germany, Poland, etc., after the Second World War. Although this leader is the antiChrist, he is as yet veiled. Apart from the saints who understand the end times, and some members of his inner circle who know his mission, the large majority of the inhabitants of the Earth, including the leadership of Israel will see him as the answer to humanity’s myriads of problems. He will enjoy wide acceptance. Designating the 70th week of Daniel as the Tribulation Period builds an a priori case for the Pretrib Rapture Position. There are no Scriptures that gives warrant to this designation. It is better to refer to it as simply the 70th week of Daniel.
( b ) The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble
Another error the pretribs commit which is like the first is the designation of the whole of the 70th Week as the time of Jacob’s trouble. “And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” ( Jere.30:4-7 ). Although not all pretribs share this view ( Dr. Ronald E. Showers ), the large majority do. Like the previous one mentioned above it builds an a priori case for the Pretrib Rapture Position. If the whole of the 70th week is the time of Jacob’s trouble, then the Church is exempt from it. After all, God is dealing with Israel and no the Church.
But the whole of the 70th week cannot be the time of Jacob’s trouble because Israel enjoys relative peace during the first three and one-half years of the 70th week under the protection of the antiChrist prior to his unveiling at the midpoint of the 70th week.
The antiChrist will enforce this false peace agreement for the first half of the 70th week. He will ensure that none of the surrounding hostile Arab and Islamic nations attack Israel during the first half of the 70th week. This is to give Israel a false sense of security. He will deal with Israel himself. Until the midpoint of the 70th week when he abrogates the False Covenant of peace, he does not attack Israel. It is precisely in the middle of the 70th week when the antiChrist breaks his Covenant with Israel, and surrounds Jerusalem with his armies in what is called the Jerusalem Campaign by Robert Van Camden of blessed memory that every Jewish Israeli will put his hands on his loins, and face turned into paleness as a result of fear. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” ( Luke 21:20 ). At the same time he surrounds Jerusalem with his armies, he also desecrates the temple, and abrogates daily animal and grain offerings began at the ratification of the false peace agreement. This is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet ( Dan.9:27, Matt.24:15 ). Therefore the time of Jacob’s trouble begins at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel. It does not include the first half of the 70th week of Daniel.
( c ) The Time Of God’s Wrath
It obvious from the Scriptures that the Church is exempt from the wrath of God: for God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Christ ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). If it can be established or proven from the Scriptures that the wrath of God begins at the commencement of the 70th week, hurrah, the game is over, the Church cannot go through any part of the 70th week. But are there any Scriptures that teach explicitly or implicitly that the wrath of God begins at the beginning of the 70th week? Pretribs teach that the whole of the 70th week is the period of God’s wrath, thusly building an a priori case for Pretrib Rapture Position inasmuch as the Church is exempt from the wrath of God. But the Scriptures are unequivocal in teaching that the day of the Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances, and that the wrath of God occurs in the day of the Lord.
The prophet Joel announced that the day of the Lord shall be heralded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the appearance of the blood Moon.
“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.” ( Joel 3:15 ).
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” ( Joel 2:30-31 ).
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the same. “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” ( Isaiah 24:23 ).
John the revelator told us that this event occurs at the breaking of the sixth seal, after the breaking of the fourth and fifth seals which signal the Great Tribulation and the martyrdom of the saints. The Great Tribulation begins at the midpoint of the 70th week. The sixth seal therefore is broken way into the second half of the 70th week. “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.” ( Rev.6:12-14 ). It is obvious therefore that the wrath of God which occurs in the day of the Lord begins in the second half of the 70th week.
The cosmic and celestial disturbances shall send men scurrying for non-existent refuge under the rocks and mountains in fear of the wrath of God which is about to begin. “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?” ( Rev.6:15-17 ).
In the Olivet Discourse, our Lord Jesus told His disciples that the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars shall be preceded by the tribulation of those days. “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:” ( Matt.24:29 ). The tribulation of those days is the Great Tribulation spoken of earlier in verse 21.
In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” ( 2 Cor.13:1 ). We have established from the Scriptures that the day of the Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances, and that this phenomenon is preceded by the Great Tribulation which begins at the middle of the 70th week. It is evident therefore that the wrath of God does not begin at the commencement of the 70th week but rather begins way into the second half of the 70th week after the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week.
( d ) The Tribulation
Pretribs generally label the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel as the Tribulation. Is this designation biblically accurate? Admittedly, the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel is a period of trouble. Apart from the emergence of false christs, prophets, and teachers, and of course the ultimate false christ, the antiChrist, there are wars, commotions, rumors, and threats of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. These are troubles no doubt, but is there any biblical warrant to label it the Tribulation? Believers are not specifically targeted for genocide. The troubles are such as arise from attempt by the antiChrist to gain world domination. In the Olivet Discourse our Lord Jesus calls this period the beginning of birth pains. “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” ( Mat.24:5-8 ).
It is better therefore to stick to the biblical label or simply call it the first three and one-half years. If we designate it as the Tribulation, is it in relation to Israel or the Church. During this period the antiChrist protects Israel. So Israel enjoys relative peace, tranquility, and prosperity during this period. And because the notorious world leader has not yet declared himself God, nor has demanded worship by all mortals, the saints are not specifically targeted for genocide because of their refusal to worship the Beast and to give him allegiance. Who is persecuting who? Nations are at war with one another, jockeying for power and prominence, and there is realignment of nations. On top of that are famines, pestilences, and national disasters like earthquakes which are the natural consequences of war. There is utter chaos. The rules of engagement enshrined in the Geneva convention will be rubbished. International NGOs like Medicine Sans Frontier and WHO will not be able to function. The essence of the second horse and rider is to take away peace from the Earth in order that men shall kill one another ( Rev.6:3,4 ). This is not particularly against Christians and the Jews. But that is not to say it will be easy for the believers and Jews. Not at all. But this is the narrow window of opportunity for both Jews and Christians who understand the end times to abandon the cities and towns, move into villages, forests, and wildernesses to prepare safe havens, store away food, medicine, and other supplies. It will be extremely difficult to do these things once the Great Tribulation has begone, and the Christians and Jews, and any other persons who refuse to give allegiance to the antiChrist are targeted for genocide.