Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Biblical Reasons for Pretribulation Rapture

I have read several debates between Christians who belief in the Pretribulation Rapture vs. Midtribulation Rapture. I have not encountered many who believe in the Postribulation view.

During the past 18 years of study, I have found that the Pretribulation Rapture makes the most sense, biblically speaking. At one post, a debater almost had me convinced that the Midtribulation view could be viewed as biblically sound, too. No matter which position you hold, please feel free to comment. Either way, the Rapture will one day occur. It may seem like we are going through segments of the Great Tribulation already, but these are just "birth-pangs" or what is commonly called "signs of the end times." Jesus told us to watch for such signs and to know that our redemption is near.

Hat tip to Sothenes for sending these "50 reasons" to believe in the Pretribulation Rapture.

I have added a few comments [Notes] inbetween.



50 Reasons for the Pretribulation Rapture

Historical Argument
1. While posttribulationism appeared as early as 2 Thessalonians 2, many in the early church believed in the imminency of the Lord's return, which is an essential doctrine of pretribulationism.

2. The detailed development of the pretribulational truth during the past few centuries does not prove that the doctrine is new or novel. Its development is similar to that of other major doctrines in the history of the church.

[Notes: Midtrib believers have used a similar argument. However, since Scripture interprets Scripture, we must not rely on one chapter (2 Thess. 2) to determine when the Rapture will occur. The following 48 reasons illustrate why.]

3. Pretribulationism is the only view that allows literal interpretation of all Old and New Testament passages on the Great Tribulation.

[Notes: Some hold to the belief that much of end times prophecy (especially the book of Revelation) should be held as allegory only. Although there are allegorical accounts within the prophetic books (i.e. Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Revelation etc.) there are passages that are to be taken literally, as well.]

4. Pretribulationism distinguishes clearly between Israel and the church and their respective programs.

[Notes: This is one of the strongest reasons to believe in Pretribulationism. The additional points below illustrate this.]

Nature of the Tribulation
5. Pretribulationism maintains the scriptural distinction between the Great Tribulation and tribulation in general that precedes it.

[Notes: Jesus spoke directly about the "signs of the times" and that redemption will be "at the door." However, he also told us that such signs will be "birth pangs" and that the end will not be yet; however, we are to always keep a watchful eye out for the day of the Rapture. Jesus described the event as "two men in a field, one will be taken and one left."]

6. The Great Tribulation is properly interpreted by pretribulationists as a time of preparation for Israel's restoration (Deu. 4:29-30; Jer. 30:4-11). It is not the purpose of the Tribulation to prepare the church for glory.

7. None of the Old Testament passages on the Tribulation mention the church (Deu. 4:29-30; Jer. 30: 4-11; Dan. 8:24-27; 12:1-2).

8. None of the New Testament passages on the Tribulation mention the church (Matt. 13:30; 39-42, 48-50; 24:15-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:4-9; 2 Thess. 2:1-11; Rev. 4-18).

[Notes: Another strong argument for PreTrib view.]

9. In contrast to midtribulationism, the pretribulational view provides an adequate explanation for the beginning of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 6. Midtribulationism is refuted by the plain teaching of Scripture that the Great Tribulation begins long before the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11.

[This is what has convinced me that the MidTrib view in inaccurate.]

10. The proper distinction is maintained between the prophetic trumpets of Scripture by pretribulationism. There is no proper ground for the pivotal argument of midtribulationism that the seventh trumpet of Revelation is the last trumpet in that there is no established connection between the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11, the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52, and the trumpet of Matthew 24:31. They are three distinct events.

11. The unity of Daniel's seventieth week is maintained by pretribulationists. By contrast, postribulationism and midtribulationists destroy the unity of Daniel's seventieth week and confuse Israel's program with that of the church.

[When prophetic messages cannot be reconciled together, it serves as a strong case against the view.]

Nature of the Church
12. The translation of the church is never mentioned in any passage dealing with the second coming of Christ after the Tribulation.

13. The church is not appointed to wrath (Rom. 5:9: 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:9). The church therefore cannot enter "the great day of their wrath" (Rev. 6:17).

14. The church will not be overtaken by the day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:1-9, which includes the Tribulation.

15. The possibility of a believer escaping the Tribulation is mentioned in Luke 21:36.

16. The church of Philadelphia was promised deliverance from "the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (Rev. 3:10).

17. It is characteristic of divine dealing to deliver believers before a divine judgment is inflicted on the world as illustrated in the deliverance of Noah, Lot, Rahab, etc. (2 Peter 2:5-9).

[The pattern in God's Word of "rescuing the righteous" for any coming judgment causes me to believe that PreTrib Rapture is correct.]

18. At the time of the translation of the church, all believers go to the Father's house in heaven (John 14:3) and do not immediately return to the earth after meeting Christ in the air as postribulationists teach.

[I studied this part via Ed Hindson's books.]

19. Pretribulationism does not divide the body of Christ at the Rapture on a works principle. The teaching of a partial rapture is based on the false doctrine that the translation of the church is a reward for good works. It is rather a climactic aspect of salvation by grace.

[Best short explanation I have read!]

20. The Scriptures clearly teach that all, not part, of the church will be raptured at the coming of Christ for the church (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:17).

["The Church" means all genuine believers. Those who attend "church" may not necessarily be saved.]

21. As opposed to a view of a partial rapture, pretribulationism is founded on the definite teaching of Scripture that the death of Christ frees from all condemnation.

22. The godly remnant of the Tribulation are pictured as Israelites, not members of the church as maintained by the posttribulationists.

[I would add that those "left behind" who were nominal "Christians" may recognize what had happened to all the true believers and turn to the Lord during the Tribulation period; including the godly remnant of Israelites.]

23. The pretribulational view, as opposed to posttribulationism, does not confuse general terms like elect and saints, which apply to the saved of all ages, with specific terms like church and those in Christ, which refer to believers of this age only.

[So, the "elect" would include those Old Testament saints who looked forward to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.]

Doctrine of Imminency
24. The pretribulational interpretation teaches that the coming of Christ is actually imminent.

[All of the signs of the times are mulitiplying exponentially today. Even the "million man army from the East" can be seen as possible today; especially because China has a one child policy which leads many would-be moms to abort baby girls in the hope for a boy child. There will be millions of men with no women available as spouses. (Paraphrased from Grant Jeffrey's "The Signature of God" book.)

25. The exhortation to be comforted by the coming of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:18) is very significant in the pretribulational view and is especially contradicted by most posttribulationists.

26. The exhortation to look for "the glorious appearing" of Christ to His own (Titus 2:13) loses its significance if the Tribulation must intervene first. Believers in that case should look for signs.

27. The exhortation to purify ourselves in view of the Lord's return has most significance if His coming is imminent (1 John 3:2-3).

[The book of Jude warns that heresy and apostasy will be rampant as the end times approach. We are already seeing various "christian" cults popping up that ignore the Laws of God as recorded in the Bible and thus they do not seek purity, righteousness, and godliness as their goal. The deceptions of pride and lust of the flesh fills their time and energy rather than seeking the will of God in their lives.]

28. The church is uniformly exhorted to look for the coming of the Lord, while believers in the Tribulation are directed to look for signs.

[I think that we can do both. Jesus told us to be "ready" for him, but to work and spread the gospel too. Sharing the "signs of the times" and prophecy of Scripture can be a valuable tool in leading people to Christ.]

The Work of the Holy Spirit
29. The Holy Spirit as the restrainer of evil cannot be taken out of the world unless the church, which the Spirit indwells, is translated at the same time. The Tribulation cannot begin until this restraint is lifted.

[Wouldn't want to be around when this happens!!! Imagine the chaos on earth when there is absolutely no restrainer of evil here!!!]

30. The Holy Spirit as the restrainer must be taken out of the world before "the lawless one," who dominates the tribulation period, can be revealed (2 Thess. 2:6-8).

[This is precisely why the deception of and false prophet, anti-christ and the beast will be so convincing at first. They will feign a "peace" that the world so craves and desires, not knowing that after 3 1/2 years, the peace treaty signed with Israel will be revoked and satan will cause devastating death and destruction on those who chose "the mark of the beast."]

31. If the expression "except there come a falling away first" (KJV) is translated literally, "except the "departure" come first," it would plainly show the necessity of the Rapture taking place before the beginning of the Tribulation.

Necessity of an Interval Between the Rapture and the Second Coming
32. According to 2 Corinthians 5:10, all believers of this age must appear before the judgment seat of Christ in heaven, an event never mentioned in the detailed accounts connected with the second coming of Christ to the earth.

[This is in keeping with Scripture that tells us that the Judgment Seat of Christ is only for believers and involves rewards, not punishment. The Great White Throne Judgment is at the Second Coming of Christ and involves only non-believers.]

33. If the twenty-four elders of Revelation 4:1-5:14 are representative of the church as many expositors believe, it would necessitate the rapture and reward of the church before the Tribulation.

34. The coming of Christ for His bride must take place before the Second Coming to the earth for the wedding feast (Rev. 19:7-10).

35. Tribulation saints are not translated at the second coming of Christ but carry on ordinary occupations such as farming and building houses, and they will bear children (Isa. 65:20-25). This would be impossible if the translation had taken place at the Second Coming to the earth, as posttribulationists teach.

[Tribulation saints are those where were "left behind" at the Rapture, but became believers in Jesus Christ during the Tribulation period.]

36. The judgment of the Gentiles following the Second Coming (Matt. 25:31-46) indicates that both saved and unsaved are still in their natural bodies. This would be impossible if the translation had taken place at the Second Coming.

37. If the translation took place in connection with the Second Coming to the earth, there would be no need of separating the sheep from the goats at a subsequent judgment, but the separation would have taken place in the very act of the translation of the believers before Christ actually sets up His throne on earth (Matt. 25:31).

38. The judgment of Israel (Ezek. 20:34-38), which occurs subsequent to the Second Coming, indicates the necessity of regathering Israel. The separation of the saved from the unsaved in this judgment obviously takes place sometime after the Second Coming and would be unnecessary if the saved had previously been separated from the unsaved by translation.

Contrast Between the Rapture and the Second Coming
39. At the time of the Rapture the saints meet Christ in the air, while at the Second Coming Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to meet the saints on earth.

40. At the time of the Rapture the Mount of Olives is unchanged, while at the Second Coming it divides and a valley is formed to the east of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4-5).

41. At the Rapture living saints are translated, while no saints are translated in connection with the second coming of Christ to the earth.

42. At the Rapture the saints go to heaven, while at the Second Coming to the earth the saints remain on the earth without translation.

43. At the time of the Rapture the world is unjudged and continues in sin, while at the Second Coming the world is judged and righteousness is established on the earth.

[Again, this is one of the main reasons why the lawless one will have his way with people on earth and be worshipped as a false "messiah." He will promise (and bring about peace, at first) and have a believable explanation for why all those people (which the sinful, secular world hated anyway) disappeared. However, once people accept the "the mark of the beast," they will be giving away their one last chance for redemption through Jesus Christ. After 3 1/2 years of so-called "peace" with the lawless one, he will turn on them and the people will realize they have made a terrible, eternally lost decision.]

44. The translation of the church is pictured as a deliverance before the day of wrath, while the Second Coming is followed by the deliverance of those who have believed in Christ during the Tribulation.

45. The Rapture is described as imminent, while the Second Coming is preceded by definite signs.

46. The translation of living believers is a truth revealed only in the New Testament, while the Second Coming with its attendant events is a prominent doctrine of both Testaments.

47. The Rapture concerns only the saved, while the Second Coming deals with both saved and unsaved.

48. At the Rapture Satan is not bound, while at the Second Coming Satan is bound and cast into the abyss.

49. No unfulfilled prophecy stands between the church and the Rapture, while many signs must be fulfilled before the Second Coming.

[This is a huge statement and realization. It is one that I need to study further. I do know that most of the prophetic signs that were to occur before the Rapture have been fulfilled. I am just not certain that all of them have. What do you think about this?]

50. No passage dealing with the resurrection of saints at the Second Coming ever mentions translation of living saints at the same time.

Written by: John F. Walvoord
(The Rapture Question, Zondervan)

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