Will The Church Be Taken Away Before The antiChrist Appears?
RAPTURE!!! WILL THE CHURCH BE TAKEN AWAY BEFORE THE ANTICHRIST APPEARS?
This is one of the toughest questions that confront believers in relation to the end-time. Our interpretation of the sequence of end-time events varies widely, and has become a strong point of contention and, at times, division.
There are three distinct schools of thought on when the saints will join Jesus in His triumphant entry into the world. These are Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation, and Post-tribulation. The Pre-tribulation interpretation says believers will join Him BEFORE the tribulation period starts. Mid-tribulationists posit that this event will occur in the MIDDLE of the tribulation; while Post-tribulationists believe that believers will go through the entire period of tribulation with the unbelieving world. Three totally different concepts – yet all three groups support their interpretation with copious reference to Scriptures!
So, which interpretation is correct? The confusion does not even end there. It is also evident in the varied interpretation given to the 1,000-year reign of Christ, commonly called the Millennial Reign (Revelation 20:1-6). Here, again, we have three clearly different viewpoints. We have the Premillennialists that believe Jesus will return to the earth physically to commence the Millennial Reign. We also have Postmillennialists that believe Jesus will not come until the preaching of the Gospel has taken root all over the society, influencing the conduct of humanity towards godliness. Then there are the Amillennialists that say the Millennial Reign is not a literal 1,000 year-period, but just a metaphor for a long period. They believe we are currently in that period, with Christ reigning from heaven and His saints reigning on earth today. Three widely-different interpretations, same Bible.
Before we move on, here is one more area of divergent opinions about the end-time. Many Christians believe that the Antichrist is a human being that will literally rule the world on behalf of Satan. But there is also a huge number of mainstream believers that say the Antichrist is not a person, but a global system that is actively opposed to God and His ways on earth. Both groups cling tenaciously to their positions, supported with Bible passages.
These examples show the quantum of confusion that abounds among believers as we approach the close of the age. This confusion is DEFINITELY not God’s will for His Church! On the contrary, God actually wants us to know His programme for the end-time. We can deduce this from His words in Revelation 22:10 when He instructed Apostle John: “… SEAL NOT the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” Please contrast this with the instruction given in Daniel 12:9, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are CLOSED UP AND SEALED till the time of the end”.
So, if God wants us to have a clear understanding of end-time prophecies, why is there so much confusion in our midst? Why has the Book of Revelation become a closed, mysterious, confusing book to us? I’ll suggest an answer to this question in a minute. But, first, let’s look at a related subject.
The end-time events that are written in the Scriptures are ENCODED in what we call prophecies. Prophecies are A REVELATION OF THE MIND OF GOD for the future. To have a clear understanding of prophecy is to understand THE MIND OF GOD. The purpose of God. The will of God.
A thorough understanding of prophecy is usually a product of INTIMACY WITH GOD. God unveils His mind to those that are close to His heart – usually through revelation. It is revelation that breeds understanding and accurate interpretation of prophecies. Without this revelation that springs directly from God ALONE, man can never fully understand and accurately interpret prophecies by diligent study, scholarship, or permutation. All such attempts will ALWAYS lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding of prophecies.
One of the most classic examples of this is found in John 7:52 when the elders of Israel said, “… Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Of course, with the benefit of hindsight we all know today that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, Galilee! It was a series of such misunderstanding of prophecies that led the Jewish priests/elders to kill the Messiah the whole nation had been expecting for thousands of years! This is despite the fact that they had hundreds of both direct and veiled prophecies about Him! This is how dangerous it could be to mis-interpret prophecies. Wrong interpretation may lead to wrong expectations and wrong outcomes.
To take this a step further, we’ll recall that it was not until AFTER the death and resurrection of Christ that His disciples FULLY UNDERSTOOD most of the prophecies about Him. After He had come and gone! This is how delicate prophecies can be, requiring great humility for revelation, for understanding. An understanding that flows from intimacy with God.
Collectively, it is this intimacy with God that our generation of believers lack today. We have lost the true essence of discipleship that separates a believer from the world and binds Him to Christ as a single unit. Our lip-confession of Jesus has deepened in this generation, while our FOLLOWERSHIP of Him has become more shallow and superficial. We are just like our Laodicean brethren – poor, wretched, naked, blind, and miserable (Revelation 3:17).
Yet, in spite of our spiritual condition, we want to understand prophecy! We want to understand the mind and programme of God for this MOST SIGNIFICANT period in human history. It won’t work! God is not mocked. Spiritual understanding is a product of intimacy and submission, not a fruit of religious curiosity.
When we truly understand this point, humility will set in. And this humility will cause us to re-order our priorities. Will cause us to place A PREMIUM VALUE on focussing on deepening our intimacy with God through Jesus Christ. As this happens, and grows, prophecies that appear to be veiled will begin to speak to us clearly. Then shall we truly understand God’s mind for this end-time.
Until that time, our conflicting interpretation of end-time prophecies will remain a religious speculation that raises more questions than it answers. For example, our brethren that postulate that GENUINE believers will be on earth during the reign of the Antichrist may be overlooking the significance of the EXTREME HORROR of that period. It is the FULNESS OF THE HOUR OF DARKNESS. The hour of Satan. The culmination of all his endeavour on earth. The zenith of his kingdom, and of his reign over the people that have chosen him instead of Christ.
Definitely, believers did not sign up for the fullness of this evil kingdom. And it is doubtful that God will inflict it upon His ransomed Church. For this period is also a period of the expression of the fullness of God’s wrath against a rebellious world. An aspect of the wrath that Jesus came to save believers from.
Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will catch both the world AND lukewarm believers like a thief in the night. The suddenness of His arrival is a fundamental hallmark of His coming. This is why the Bible repeatedly urges believers to be ready AT ALL TIMES for His arrival. This warning would have been totally unnecessary if believers would be in the world during the reign of the Antichrist. For once the Antichrist arrives, it will be clear to all that the return of Jesus will be just around the corner. The surprise element that the Bible emphasises about His return will be largely gone!
These and similar points cast a shadow on both the Post-tribulation and Mid-tribulation interpretations. But even the Pre-tribulation position, as plausible as it may sound, also has quite a number of significant sticky points in its interpretation.
In reality, the sequence of events in the end-time may actually be a combination of some elements of the three interpretations, or it may also be totally different from what we think. Only God knows the truth 100%. And as we focus our minds on becoming more intimate with Him, He’ll tell us what He wants us to know, when He wants us to know it.
Thus, it is NOT the understanding of the sequence of events that really matters – but our intimacy with the Organiser of the sequence of events. He has told us the MOST IMPORTANT thing about the sequence – and it is this: BE READY AT ALL TIMES.
If we follow this simple, clear instruction that requires no interpretation, we’ll be absolutely fine!!! For if we are TRULY READY and waiting for Him, He’ll take us to Himself as He said. It will NOT matter if this is before the tribulation, in the middle of it, or even after it. The important thing is to be ready for ALL EVENTUALITIES.
As we prioritise this earnest pursuit of intimacy with God, who knows what could happen? Indeed, it may please the Lord to open our understanding of the prophecies and give us clarity. Or, He may choose to keep our hearts and mind focussed on the majestic King that could descend in glory AT ANY TIME. The King that we are eagerly awaiting.
“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:40). Key words – ‘at an hour when ye think not’.
May His imminent arrival, like a thief in the night, be the culmination of our blessed hope of His reign of peace and love. May we be in the number that will reign with Him in glory. Amen.
Thanks for reading, God bless you.
The above is an anonymous WhatsApp post that found its way to our WhatsApp group. Below is my critique and rebuttal of this anonymous post.
“Will the Church be taken away before the antiChrist appears?” The author says this is the toughest question that confronts believers in relation to the end time. This is an assumption by the author because the Scriptures are clear the Church will be here during part of the reign of the antiChrist. “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;” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ). Our brother Apostle Paul makes it clear in his second Epistle to the Thesssalonians that That Day, that is the day in which the rapture will occur will not come until two events occur, vix, ( 1 ) the revelation of the man of sin and ( 2 ) the apostasy or the falling away from the Faith. The falling away from the faith will be precipitated by the unveiling of the antiChrist in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This event occurs precisely in the middle of the 70th week. Our Lord Jesus the Christ in His Olivet Discourse also told His disciples that His Coming ( parousia ) to gather His elect will occur after 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: 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. 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.” ( Matthew 24:29-31 ).
The same Apostle Paul told us in his first Epistle to the Corinthians that our gathering together unto the Lord will occur when Christ descends from heaven with the trump of God and the voice of the archangel. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.” ( 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ). The other classical rapture passage in 1 Thess.4:14-18 tells us also that the rapture will happen when Christ descends from heaven with the voice of the archangel. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” The Coming of the Lord to evacuate the saints from siege occurs after the unveiling of the antiChrist and the amputation of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist with cosmic disturbances. In The mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established ( 2 Cor.13:1 ) . So, how is this the toughest question when the Scriptures have given us the answer? The confusion concerning the timing of the rapture is created by the Devil and his gang to obfuscate the minds of those who are ignorant of the Scriptures.
The author says, “ our interpretation of the sequence of events varies widely, and has become a strong point of contention and, at times, division.” This observation is true, but it arises majorly out of ignorance of the Scriptures, and the presence of the agents of Satan who are hell bent on causing divisions, fractions, and shims amongst us.
The author talks about three views of the rapture. I do not know when this piece was written. However, it could not have been over 20 years ago. There are now about five views of the rapture: Pretrib, Midtrib, Posttrib, Prewrath, and the Partial rapture theory. The latest of them is the Prewrath Rapture Position which was proposed jointly by Robert Van Campen and Marvin J. Rosenthal in 1990 when Marvin J.Rosenthal first published his book, “The Pre-wrath Rapture Of The Church.” Yes, they are all totally different concepts. The proponents try to support them with Scriptures. However, some of these Scriptures are taken out of context or totally misinterpreted.
The author went about to liken the confusion about the timing of the rapture to the varied meillennial views. Amillennialism and postmillennialism have been discredited both by the Scriptures as well as history. There are very few theologians and biblical scholars that hold these views today. By far the largest view of the rapture in the Church is Pretrib. All pretribs are premeillennialists as are all midtribs, posttribs, prewrathers, and partial rapture theorists. It is not possible to hold any of these views and be amillennialist or postmillennialist. Anyone who holds any of these views, must believe in the literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. The author says, “three widely-different interpretations, same Bible.” The reason is very simple, the God of this age is not asleep.
The author went on to say also that though majority of believers believe in a literal antiChrist, there are some that believe he is just a global system that is antiGod. There is no confusion as to whether the antiChrist is a literal person or not. The Scriptures in so many words state that he is. Let us consider the following Scriptures:
“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 ). Her Jesus told the leaders of the nation of Israel that He has come in Father’s Name, but they did not receive Him. If another comes in his own name, him they will receive. He was referring to the antiChrist. This is a literal person, not some abstract political system. Just as Jesus was a literal person so will the antiChrist be a literal person. This world leader will force Israel to make a peace agreement with its hostile Arab neighbors. “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 ). The he that shall make a peace pact with Israel is a literal person not some political system that is antiGod. The prophet Isaiah warned the nation of Israel not to trust in this man whose breath is in his nostrils. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” ( Isaiah 2:22 ). The antiChrist will be human; his breath is in his nostrils. Although he is also described in the Scriptures in other worldly terms like Sheol ( Hell ), Lies, death, and falsehood, he is nonetheless human. “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” ( Isaiah 28:14-15, 18 ).
He is also described as a beast. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” ( Revelation 13:1 ). This beast shall make war with the saints and overcome them. “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 ). He has an enforcer, the second Beast also called the false prophet who is also human. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” ( Revelation 13:11-12 ).
To be human means that a spirit being lives in mortal body of man and is subject to its limitations. In that case Jesus is human. But we know he is more than human. The antiChrist is also more than human. There are some mysteries about him. He shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition. “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” ( Revelation 17:8 ). He had lived on Earth before and ruled one of the seven previous Beast Empires of Satan. “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” ( Revelation 17:9-11 ). He shall arise out of the bottomless pit to rule over the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan. He is the beast that was and is not, and shall rise out of the bottomless pit. He shall go into perdition, that is return to the bottomless pit.
He shall sit in the Temple Of God displaying himself as God. “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.” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ). This is not a system but a person. He is the man of sin. His coming is after the working of Satan with signs and lying wonders. The antiChrist will perform miracles, signs and wonders in order to try to authenticate his claim to messiahship and deceive the true believers. “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 ). He is the wicked one who shall be unveiled in the Temple of God. For further elucidation on the person of the antiChrist, see my article “the antiChrist.” Link: https://mtzionheritage.com/the-antichrist/. There should be no confusion about the person of the antiChrist except such as are created my men. There are numerous facts in the Scriptures that point to the person of the antiChrist.
The author points out there is quantum of confusion amongst believers with regards to the end times. He rightly also observes and indicates that these confusions are not from God. God is not the author of confusion ( 1 Cor.14:33 ). The confusion is definitely not God’s will for His Church. He rightly also points out that God wants us to know His programme for the end times. God’s word concerning the end times is not sealed ( Rev.22:10 ). It is open to be understood by those who have the Spirit of God. The seven-sealed Scroll in Rev.5 is not the Bible per se. It is the tittle deed of the Earth in the Throne Room Of The Temple Of God in Heaven. It is only Jesus the Son Of God who is the heir apparent to the throne of the earthly domain of God’s Universal Kingdom that has the power and authority to break the seals and open the Scroll ( Rev.5:5,6 ). He will do so in heaven beginning from the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel. For yet a little while, and He that will come will come and will not tarry ( Heb.10:37 ).
He says the events of the end times are encoded in prophecies. This is not exactly true. The OT prophecies concerning end time events are plain except in cases where allegories and metaphors are used. This kind of teaching means that biblical prophecy is only understandable to those who have access to the so called codes. Anyone can study biblical prophecy and come to a fairly good understanding of it. There is form, context and setting involved in prophecy. These prophecies are given in a particular culture, context and setting. Studying Jewish culture and language will greatly inform and enhance our understanding of biblical prophecy in the OT and understanding koine Greek will enhance our understanding of NT prophecies. Intimacy with Jesus is very vital as he said. A combination of these two facts are required, biblical scholarship and intimacy with the Holy Spirit who is the best teacher and interpreter of the Scriptures.
Yes, the Jewish elders misunderstood who Jesus is. They were looking for a conquering Messiah, Messiah ben David, not a suffering Messiah, Messiah Ben Joseph. Although Jesus is both, but He did not play both roles at the same time. He had to suffer first, and be rejected of men, both Jews and Gentiles. He made some valid point with regards to the lukewarmness that is prevalent in the Church in our day. However, in every generation there is always a remnant. I believe there is a remnant amongst the saints that are in intimately fellowship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. Humility is a paramount quality in His presence. It is an exhibit to enter into His presence. All believers have right of passage into His presence. We can avail ourselves of it. Our understanding of the Scriptures is not static but progressive. As we grow in the knowledge of Him, our understanding of Him grows pari passu with our understanding of the prophetic Scriptures.
This author has made a very valid point in our understanding of the prophetic scriptures. But he turned round and appealed to human emotions, fear of suffering and persecution as reasons why the believers will not be here on Earth during the reign of terror by the antiChrist. Does the fact that the Great Tribulation is the fullness of Satan’s evil kingdom exclude believers from his reign of terror. He says, “definitely believers did not sign up for it.” It is written: “he that endure to the end ( of the ages ) shall be saved” ( Matt.10:22 ). And Jesus promised to be with us till the end of the ages ( Matt.28:20 ). The end of the ages is the point at which Christ begins to bring to an end the rule of Satan over the earthly domain of God’s Universal Kingdom. What is it then that the believers did not sign up for the worst of satanic rule when Christ admonished us that it is those who endure to the end of satanic rule that will be saved? This guy who has given us excellent analysis of what it takes to understand the prophetic Scriptures has turned round and said something that contradicts Christ promise to be with us till the end of Satan’s rule and reign of evil over the Earth. This is deliberate deception. He says God will not inflict Satan’s reign of evil on the Church. Is God responsible for the reign of Satan? Will God be held accountable for the atrocities committed under Satanic rule? Is God responsible for the horrors perpetrated by the antiChrist? He also contradicts himself by superimposing God’s wrath on Satan’s reign of terror. This is a deliberate error for theological convenience by pretribs in order to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel. By the way, who is Satan antagonizing? The saints or his own followers? He says Jesus has come to save us from an aspect of His wrath. This is also half truth. We are not appointed unto God’s wrath ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). This guy like all pretribs has not rightly divided the word of God. He has not distinguished the wrath of Satan from the wrath of God ( Rev.12:12 ). They are two different things and mutually exclusive. Satan wrath is directed against the saints of the Most High whilst God’s wrath is directed against Satan and his minions. This is the usual thing amongst Pretrib teachers, confusion of the wrath of Satan with the wrath of God for theological convenience.
He says, “furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will catch both the world and lukewarm believers like a thief in the light.” This is absolutely correct. Then he follows with “the suddenness of His arrival is a fundamental hallmark of His Coming.” Is this correct? In relation to whom? He continues, “this is why the Bible repeatedly urges all believers to be ready at all times for His arrival.” This is also correct, but why? Because any generation of believers may be called upon to enter the 70th week to experience the horrors of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist. This is expectancy not imminence. He concludes, “this warning would have been totally unnecessary if believers would be in the world during the reign of the antiChrist.” Wrong inference. He infers again that once the antiChrist arrives, it will be clear to all that the return of Jesus is around the corner, and that the surprise element that the Bible emphasizes about His return will be largely gone. Another baldadash. Does the presence of the antiChrist in the world eliminate the surprise element of Christ’s return in relation to the world and lukewarm believers? Is the world expecting the coming Christ? Does knowing the general time period of His Coming mean the same thing as knowing the day and the hour? Even the majority of the believers who are ignorant of the prophetic Scriptures will not recognize the antiChrist until his unveiling in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem at the midpoint of the 70th week. For the first three and one-half years of the 70th week, the antiChrist will be veiled. Until he reveals or unveils himself as a dead man come back to life who had ruled over one of the seven previous Beast Empires of Satan, most believers even the Jews who made Covenant Of Peace with him will not recognize him as the antiMessiah. That is why it will be terrifying for them to understand the report.
He says that the points he has marshaled out so far cast shadows on the midtrib and posttrib rapture positions. That’s right. Both are biblically inaccurate though certain elements of them are true. To appear even and fair he acknowledges that even the Pretrib position, as plausible as it may sound in his own estimation, has also quite a number of sticky points in its interpretation. The Pretrib Rapture position as well as midtrib and posttrib are not explicit teaching of the Scriptures. The Bible does not in so many words state any of these. The proof of the Pretrib Rapture Position is logically invalid and unconvincing.
This guy who seems to be so convinced that the Pretrib is the biblical accurate rapture position turns round again and makes a true statement. “In reality, the sequence of events of the end-time may actually be a combination of some elements of the three interpretations, or it may also be totally different from what we think. This is absolute correct. None of these three views are biblically accurate although some elements of them are biblically founded and defensible. The Prewrath Rapture Position which combines these three biblically accurate elements in addition to the missing element in these views is the biblically accurate rapture view. The rapture chair has fours legs as illustrated by Dr. Charles Cooper. Link: http://www.solagroup.org/articles/endtimes/et_0004.html. These legs can be represented by the acronym EDDA.
E: Exemption from from the wrath of God. The Church is exempted from the wrath of God ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). This is the only merit that Pretrib has. Unfortunately, it starts the wrath of God from the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel which biblically inaccurate and indefensible. The wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances and the coming of Elijah, the herald of Coming ( Joel 2:30-32; Mal.4:5,6 ).
D: Distinction of the wrath of God from the wrath of Satan ( Rev.12:12; 8-9, 16-20 ). Pretrib fails on this count. The other two views, midtrib and posttrib qualify.
D: Distinction of the Great Tribulation from the eschatological Day Of The Lord. Both Pretrib and Midtrib rapture views fail on this count. Posttrib Rapture Position qualifies.
A: Amputation of Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation will be cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal. All three views, the Pretrib, the Midtrib, and the Posttrib fail on this count. It is only the Prewrath Rapture Position that qualifies on all four counts. For further elucidation see my article, Rapture Views. Link: https://mtzionheritage.com/rapture-views/.
He continues, “only God knows the truth 100%. And as we focus our minds on becoming more intimate with Him, He’ll tell us what He wants us to know when He wants us to know it.” These statements are true, but applying it to the study of the prophetic Scriptures breeds indolence. We must continue to search the Scriptures, and as we do, our understanding improves. Knowledge is not static but progressive. Again the logos is not subservient to the rhema. The logos is the Gold standard. Whatever we hear must be subjected to the written logos. There is no new revelation to be added to the Scriptures, but we can have better understanding as we study the logos.
Our brother says that it is not the understanding of the sequence of events that really matters- but our intimacy with the organizer of the sequence of events. This is also half truth. Both are important. If the sequence of events were unimportant why did our Lord Jesus teach it His disciples in the Olivet Discourse in Matt.24 and also in the Scroll Of Revelation given to Apostle John on the Island Of Patmos? Why would Jesus repeat this sequence of events in greater details to John the apocalyptist in the Scroll Of Revelation after over sixty years ( 30-96 AD )? It is because it is very important, and of utmost importance to believers who find themselves in the last seven years of this age. There is a simple rule in prioritizing facts of the Bible. If it is spoken once, it is important. If it is repeated twice, it is very important, if is repeated three times or more, it is of utmost importance. The sequence of events of the end times is of utmost importance being repeated more three times in Matthew, Mark, Luke,First Epistle Of Peter, Paul’s letters to the Thesssalonians, and the Scroll of Revelation. So also our intimacy with our Lord Jesus the Christ. Our intimacy with Christ should lead us to understand the sequence of events of the end times.
Our brother continues his admonition, “ He has told us the Most important thing about the sequence-and it is this: Be ready at all times.” Yes, anyone of us could be called upon of Heaven at any moment to give account of ourselves to God. We should not be foolish like the rich fool who said to himself: l have ample goods laid down for many years. I will say to my soul rejoice. But that very night his life was require of him ( Luk.12:13-21 ). But how can we be ready if we do not know the times and the seasons. Proper understanding of the sequence of events of the end times fuels our preparedness and readiness.
Our brother now commits a very egregious error. He tells us “if we follow this simple, clear instruction that requires no interpretation, we’ll be absolutely fine!!! For if we are truly ready and waiting for Him, He’ll take us to Himself as He said. It will not matter if this is before the tribulation, in the middle of it, or even after it. The important thing is to be ready for all eventualities.” I have heard this mantra several times before from pantribulationists. One told me, just live right, you will be raptured whenever the rapture takes place. They will not tell us the condition under which the rapture will take place. How can a soldier be ready for the battle his commanding officer or general has told him he will not have to fight? Which athlete trains hard for a major tournament in which he will not compete? Which student prepares very hard for an examination his professor has told him he will not have to write at the end of his course? Sports officianados do not win trophies. It is the athletes who train very hard and compete that win gold medals at the Olympic. If for earthly and perishable trophies which are temporal men train so hard, how much more heavenly trophies which are eternal. One pastor refused to sit at one of our meetings. He said he is a preacher of righteousness. All you have to do is to live right, and you will be raptured when the rapture takes place. Sounds pious, doesn’t it? He refuses to study biblical prophecies and teaches his congregants to do the same. Will that day not overtake him and his ilk unawares even though they live right supposedly?
Our brother continues to admonish us to prioritize intimacy with Jesus which is good. He is not sure what will happen. What is the essence of studying biblical prophecy? Is not that we may know what will happen? Is it not that we may know the times and the seasons. If we do not know what will happen, we are then passive observers of time. Christ may open our understanding of the prophecies and give clarity. I know exactly what will happen. He will help us to understand biblical prophecy, more so as we approach the last seven years of this age. We must focus our minds on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith ( Heb.12:2 ). Then he quotes this Scripture, “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when he think not ( Luk.12:40 ). Yes, the hour we think not, not the general time period the Scriptures have revealed. This Scripture does not in any way negate the fact that we can know the general time period of His Coming. We may not know the day and the hour ( Matt.24:36 ) but if we are prepared and observant we can see when the fig tree begins to bud ( Matt.24:32-35 ). When the fig tree begins to bud, we know that Summer is near. The fig tree is a sign of approximation. When it begins to bud, we know that Summer is near. When the sequence of events given by Christ in the Olivet Discourse and the Scroll Of Revelation begin to unfold, we know that His parousia draweth nigh. That generation shall not pass away till these things be fulfilled. The generation of believers that shall witness the peace treaty between Israel and the Man of sin, shall enter the 70th week of Daniel to witness the horrors of the Great Tribulation, and be raptured when the Great Tribulation is cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal.
He concludes with an invocation of His imminent arrival. Will the coming of Christ to rapture the saints be imminent? No. Imminence means no prophesied event needs occur before the rapture can take place. In other words, the rapture will be signless and can occur at any moment. This is a blatant lie. The rapture will be preceded by the Great Tribulation and the cosmic and celestial disturbances that amputate the Great Tribulation ( Matt.24:29-31; Rev.6:12-17, 7:9-17 ).
The author is one of those smart pretribs. He argues as though he is for none of the views, trying to find out a mediating position, but at the same time passing off his pretrib position. See how he manipulates th element of suddenness and Christ coming like a thief in the night, but fails woefully to relate it to the unbelievers who are of the night and darkness, not of the light and day, and are drunken and fallen asleep in the night. He failed to show that believers are not of the night and darkness, but of the light and day, and therefore that day cannot come upon us unawares like a thief in the night, which our brother, Apostle Paul made clear in 1 Thess.5:4-6. He failed to show that Christ in the Oliver Discourse pinpoints the time of the rapture to follow the Tribulation of those days. Knowing the general time period is not the same as knowing the exact day and the hour ( Matt.24:36 ). He says if the Church goes through the tribulation, the surprise element will be largely gone. Does the surprise element relate to believers or unbelievers? The element of surprise belongs to the unbelievers. The believers are waiting for the coming of the Lord. The unbelievers are not waiting for the Coming Of The Lord. When the Shekinah appears in the heavens, the believers are told to look up for their redemption draweth nigh ( Lu,.21:28 ). How can such a people be surprised? Therefore, it is the unbelievers that will be surprised, not the believers.
He surreptitious slips in that the believers did not bargain for the horrors of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist. This argument appeals to human emotion and fear of torture, suffering and persecution. The fear of suffering and persecution is one of the areas of compromise in the five unfaithful and compromising churches ( Rev.2:19 ). Human foibles and peccadilloes are not the bases of doctrine but sola scriptura ( Scriptures only ). He argues that intellect or rather intellectualism is not enough to understand the End Times prophecies but spirituality and intimacy with Jesus. He scores himself high on this point, all in the bid to convince us his pretrib position is borne out of spirituality and intimacy with Jesus. However his spiritual arrogance is not hidden to any discerning person.
The plain sense of Scriptures always makes sense except in cases where figures of speech are employed. Allegorizing and spiritualizing will always lead to a confusion of views. So, we should stick to the plain sense of Scriptures. And the rhema must be subject to the logos.