INTRODUCTION

It is written in Amos 3:7, "The Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets"

 

A secular survey was done in 1997 asking reasons why people believed in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Here are the top 10 reasons, going down

10) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because the Church isn’t mentioned after Revelation 4:1.”

9) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because the judgments of the Tribulation are just for the Jews.”

8) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because the ‘falling away’ of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is the rapture.”

7) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because the Holy Spirit must be removed for the antichrist to be revealed.”

6) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because we are spared from the hour of testing.”

5) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because we are not appointed to God’s wrath.”

4) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because the Messiah will come like Noah and the Flood.”

3) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because we cannot know the time of the Messiah’s return.”

2) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because it is the traditional view.”

 

Now look at the #1 Reason:

1) “I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture out of respect for my pastor/Bible teacher.”

It is written in 2 Peter 2:1, “There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves”

 

I know that this is a controversial teaching, and I have tried to be fair to both sides.  The biggest problem I found was that of "Proof-texting" (Having an assumed belief and finding scriptures to back it up.)  When "Proof-texting" is not done, The Rapture theory, as it is taught today, has a lot of holes.  I have listed the Scriptures used in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching, and its problems.  If you "Proof-text" the Scriptures listed, you cannot "Rightly divide the Word of Truth”. It is my prayer that this is not done.  

 

The “Default” Position of the Rapture is Post-Tribulation.  If there is only one Coming and Rapture, It must be Post-Tribulation. It is the only one, SCRIPTUALLY, that makes sense; therefore it falls on the Pre-Tribulation and Mid-Tribulation believers to prove, SCRIPTUALLY, their case is correct.

Q- Can this Be Done?  - You are the Judge

COVENANT THEOLOGY VS DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY

Before we continue, we must establish a correct starting point. The correct starting point will determine the correct outcome of interpretation. There are two basic theologies – Covenant and Dispensational.  They are totally incompatible. To accept one requires the rejection of the other. 

 

God has always operated with men through covenants.  The covenants of Noah and Abraham, the giving of the Torah through Moses, David’s covenant, and the “Renewed” Covenant stands as proof.  The scriptures are part of these covenants.

 

Man created the Dispensational Theology.  The Roman Catholic Church created it after the Council of Trent.

 

This theology can be divided into two classes, Replacement or Separation.  When the Roman Catholic Church left its Jewish roots, a vacuum was created, which resulted in the “New Israel” theology. This theology, known as “Replacement Theology”, teaches that the Christian church has replaced the nation of Israel.  It teaches “Out with the Jews, in with the Gentiles”.  It was this belief that brought about the Holocaust in Europe by the Nazis. 

 

Separation Theology became known as a “Two-Covenant” Theology, one for the Jew and one for the “Church” [Gentile]. According to this view, the Church, separate from Israel, was born on Shavuot in Acts 2 and continues to the Rapture. 

 

When the Church is removed in the Rapture than God is to fulfill the promises given to Israel.  This is the doctrine taught by most Christian prophecy teachers today.  This is different from the Replacement Theology, but still places an unscriptural wall between Israel and the Church.  The Replacement and Separation Theologies destroy Romans, Chapters 9, 10, and 11, as well as other verses of Scripture.

 

John Darby added other portions to make the rapture “fit.” [This process will be developed later in the History portion]. 

Q- Can a Jew “convert”to Christianity, be raptured, and watch while his people are being destroyed on earth?

 

WORDS AND MEANINGS

Before we continue, let’s lay out some foundational terms.  It will allow us to follow the correct meanings.  Rather than discuss one Bible over the other, I chose to define the words in their original meaning - Greek

 

“Coming” [PAROUSIA] also “Appearing” {EPIPHANEIA]

POINT: These two words are used interchangeably

Q – If the Rapture is a major event, would not one of these words have been set aside to explain it?

 

 

Both have the meaning of:

  1. Presence, being at hand, being present
  2. Coming, Arrival, The Presence of One Coming, Presence with

[The Idea is: “He has come, He has Arrived, He is now here”]

It is used in 2 Rapture verses [I Corinthians 15:23, 50-52; I Thessalonians 4:15-17], and 2nd Coming [Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; II Thessalonians 2:8; II Peter 3:2]

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“Tribulation” [THLIPSIS] does NOT mean Wrath. It means Pressing, Pressure, oppression, affliction, suffering, a pressing together. It isfound 21 times in the Brit Hadashah and is used, in most cases, as believers suffering for being believers [Matthew 24:9] – It is caused by caused by unbelievers.

(Matthew 13:21; Matthew 24:21; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Romans 2:9; Romans 5:3; Romans 8:35; Romans 12:12; II Corinthians 1:4; II Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 3:13; I Thessalonians 3:4; II Thessalonians 1:4; II Thessalonians 1:6; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 2:9; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:22; Revelation 7:14))

Nowhere does “Tribulation” connect to God’s Wrath

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“Wrath” [ORGE / THUMOS]

ORGE= Anger, Indignation, Wrath, Judgment, Rage, Fury [It is an active emotion]

THUMOS= Passion, Intense Desire- NOT Anger [It is an inward feeling]

 

POINT: When Scripture speaks of the “Wrath to come,” it is making reference to the 2nd Coming.

It is written in II Thessalonians 1:7-10 “And he will give relief to you who suffer and to us as well. He will do this when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with his mighty angels, with a flaming fire, to punish those who reject God and who do not obey the Good News about our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from his glorious might,when he comes on that Day to receive glory from all his people and honor from all who believe. You too will be among them, because you have believed the message that we told you.

-          This is what believers are delivered from [II Thessalonians 1:9]

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“Take” [PARALAMBANO], meaning “Take, Take With, Take Over, To Receive From, TO Join to One’s Self, To Receive Something”

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“Falling Away” [APOSTASIA] means “Rebellion, Abandonment, To Rise Up in Open Defiance of Authority, Deflection, Revolt”

It is NOT USED as a “Physical Departure” [You cannot call a Verb a Noun]

It is NOT USED by Paul [II Timothy 4:6] or Peter [II Peter 1:15] to describe Physical Departure

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“Descend From” [KATABAINO ET] ET means “From, out of, away from, come down, go down, climb down, to descend, to step down, to come to land, TO come down from the Tribune”  [This can be seen in I Thessalonians 4:16-17]

Q – If Yeshua is ‘Coming Down’, then where is He going?

[The Language presents the Idea of a Return for us, not for Him]

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“To Meet” [APANTESIS] means “meeting, encountering, to meet one, The Official Welcome of a Newly Arrived Dignitary”

It gives the picture of a plane leaving New York, bound to Miami, and landing to pick up passengers at Orlando and continuing to Miami, NOT going back to New York.  [It presents the Idea of Welcoming a New Ruler into the Capital City to begin to Reign]

This word is used only 4 times in the Brit Hadashah

  1. Matthew 25:6  - 10 Virgins (2 times)
  2. Acts 28:15  - Paul on his way to Rome
  3. I Thessalonians 4:17  - the Rapture verse

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“Remain” [PERILEIPOMAI] means “be left behind, to survive, to be left, remaining, continuing to exist”. [It is used only 2 Times in the Brit Hadashah, both of them in the same chapter [I Thessalonians 4:15, 17]

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DOCTRINE: A Teaching that affects your core belief system sets your convictions, and changes / guides the way you live your life

 

Two rules must be followed.  The Scriptures must be read in its context, and ALL of the scriptures that apply to this doctrine must be applied.

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There are 14 parts of the Pre- Tribulation Doctrine that are taught:

  1. The Pre-Tribulation view is based on the Literal Approach in interpreting Scripture
  2. The Rapture and the 2nd Coming cannot be the Same Event
  3. Certain End-Time Events MUST occur between the 2 Comings so an interval between the 2 Future Comings is required
  4. The Rapture distinguishes between Israel and the Church thereby excluding Israel from the Church
  5. It is the only View that makes the 'Blessed Hope'truly a Blessed Hope and refers to the Rapture
  6. It is the only View that claims God's promises literally to save us out of 'the wrath to come'
  7. It is the only Doctrine that teaches an imminent Rapture w/no prophesied Events which must occur
  8. Believers look for the Coming of the Lord instead of waiting Tribulation, Anti-Messiah, and Suffering
  9. It makes a Major Event out of the Rapture
  10. The Rapture in Revelation 4:1-2fits the flow of the book of the Revelation
  11. It explains why the 'Church' is not mentioned in Revelation 4:3through to chapter 18
  12. It explains how the believers will be kept from the “hour of testing” and kept from the tribulation
  13. The rapture gives a doctrine of comfort to the saints
  14. It explains why there is no bible instruction on preparation for the Tribulation

 

[Before the teaching is done, ALL 14 parts of this doctrine will have a response.

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Let’s take a look at the two main scriptures used by the Pre-Tribulation movement and compare it with Matthew 24

 

It is written in I Corinthians 15:51-58 “Behold I will tell you a mystery; We will not all sleep, but we shall all be changed "In a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [SHOFAR]; for the trumpet [SHOFAR] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed" For the perishable must put on the imperishable, and the mortal must put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory' O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law" But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Yeshua, the Messiah" Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" [NASB]

 

The Teaching:

- This is a Main Rapturescripture. According to this teaching, this scripture will be fulfilled when the remnant is raptured to meet the Lord in the air. It explains the purpose of the Rapture (TO give the remnant victory over death, hell, and the grave)

It is NOT the 7th Trumpet of Revelation 11:15 which reads "The Seventh Angel sounded His SHOFAR: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The Kingdom of the World has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Messiah, and He will rule forever and ever"

-       This trumpet is used to announce a great woe upon men

-       The trumpet here in I Corinthians 15:52 will announce a great blessing - The Resurrection of the Dead

 

The Problem:

Here is the problem: this deals with the 2nd Coming, NOT the Rapture. There is NO SCRIPTURE existing showing 2 separate comings

Jewish Teachings teach that there are 3 Trumpets [SHOFAR Blowing] of God

      1) The FIRST Trump was blown at Mt Sinai for the Giving of the Torah

      2) The LAST Trump will be blown when the Messiah comes from the Throne of God to reign on Earth in Israel. This is known as the “First Resurrection”

     3) The GREAT Trump will be blown when the Book of Lifeis opened at the Great Throne Judgment. This is the “Second Resurrection”

 

READ I Corinthians 15:23-24 and count the Order!  SAME Chapter!

"But every man in his own order: The Messiah the firstfruits: afterward they that are the Messiah's at his coming."

"Then cometh the end..."

I count 3 times

  1. When the Messiah Rose from the Dead
  2. When Yeshua comes back
  3. The End – Great White Throne Judgment.  Where is the Rapture?

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It is written in I Thessalonians 4:13-17 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, Brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yeshua 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 the Messiah shall rise first.  Then we who 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."  [KJ]

This passage is considered one of the main passages for the Rapture.  Does this passage'hold water'?

 

The Teaching:

It is used to prove the coming "FOR" His remnant, and explains HOW the Rapture will occur. It is also used to support the two comings and, when compared with I Corinthians 15:23-24, it presents the timing of the Rapture

"But every man in his own order: The Messiah the firstfruits: afterward they that are the Messiah's at his coming. Then cometh the end..."  [KJ]

The words “at His coming” is refers to the Rapture

 

The Problem:

It is written in John 6:40 "Yes, This is the will of My Father: That all who see the Son and trust in Him should have eternal life, and that I should raise them up on the LAST DAY'" [JNT]

This context says that the "LAST DAY" means the last day of the world. Paul declares that the remnant are "CAUGHT UP" to meet the Lord the same time the dead in the Messiah are raised

The Greek word "APANTESIS", translated "MEET", means "RETURNING WITH" and implies continuing in the same direction as at the starting point to the destination point [see definitions]

 

It is used only four times in scripture

It is written in I Thessalonians 4:17 "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the L-rd in the air: And so shall we ever be with the L-rd."

It is written in Acts 28:15-16 "And when we ARRIVED at Rome, the Offices allowed Sha'ul to stay by Himself, though guarded by a Soldier" [JNT]

It is written in Matthew 25:1, 6 [V1] "The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the Groom" [JNT]

[V6] "It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out 'The Bridegroom is Here! Go out to meet Him!'" [JNT]

- Continue Reading! - 4 Verses Later

It is written in I Thessalonians 5:3-4, “When people are saying 'Everything is so peaceful and secure' then destruction will suddenly come upon them, the way labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and there is no way they will escape,

But you, brothers, are not in the dark so that the day should take you by surprise like a thief" [JNT] 

This scripture talks about "THE DAY OF THE L-RD" and "SUDDEN DESTRUCTION" coming on them

-       How can the"LAST TRUMP" sound if there is no"END OF TIME"?

 

Jewish teachings teach that the 'LAST Trump' is sounded when the Messiah is to reign on Earth. Now READ I Thessalonians 3:13 [“…WITH all His saints”]

Q – If Paul used the word“PAROUSIA” [coming]to refer to both the 2nd coming after the Tribulation and to a Pre-Tribulation rapture – HOW would the Thessalonians know when he was referring to each one?

 

Here is an interesting question:  Hosea 2:2 says, "Then shall the Children of Israel be gathered together, they shall appoint themselves one head, and they will go up from the Land".

Q- Does this mean that they will make 'Aliya' from the lands of their exile to the Land of Israel [Rashi, Soncino] OR will Jews be RAPTURED from the Land of Israel, while the CHURCH stays behind?

 

- Matthew 13 says in the parable that the Wheat & Tares would grow together until the "END OF THE WORLD" and then be separated - Not 7 Years before the end

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Let’s COMPARE Matthew 24:27-31 [2nd Coming], I Thessalonians 4:15-17 and I Corinthians 15:52 [2 Rapture Verses] together!

Matthew 24:27-31 I Thessalonians 4:15-17 I Corinthians 15:52
  1. Called “HE PAROUSIA”
“the coming” [V27]
  1. Called “HE PAROUSIA”
“the coming” [V15]
  1. Called “HE PAROUSIA”
“the coming” [V23]
  1. Yeshua appears in Heaven [V30]
  2. The Lord descends from Heaven [V16]
  2)    ……………………….
  1. Coming on the Clouds [V30]
3)   …with them in the Clouds [V17] 3)    ……………………….
  1. Angels Present [V31]
4)   Archangel Present [V16] 4)   ………………………..
  1. Great Sound of a Trumpet [V31]
 
  1. Shout and Trumpet of God
 
  1. At the Last Trumpet [V52]
 

6)    ……………………….  

 

  1. Dead in the Messiah will Rise [V16]
  2. Dead will be Raised [V52]
  3. Gathering of the Elect [V31]
  4. We are caught up to meet Him [V17]
 
    7)   ……………………….

 

When you compare these 3 together, you can see that I Thessalonians 4:15-17 has more in common with Matthew 24:27-31 [2nd Coming Verses] than with the other Rapture verses

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HISTORY

When you look at Church History, you find that the Church fathers believed the church would be going through the Tribulation – Consider:

 

- The Didache          Before 100ce           [Chapter 10]

- Barnabas               100ce             [The Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter 4]

- Justin Martyr         100-165ce     [Dialogue w/Trypro, Chapter 110]

- Irenaeus                 120-202ce     [Disciple of John, Against Heresies, 5.35.1]

- Tertullian                145-220ce     [Against Marcion, 3.25, in the Resurrection of the

                                                            Flesh, Chapter 25, Chapter 41]

- Hermas                   160ce             [The Shepherd of Hermas, Vision 2.2, Vision 4.2]

- Hippolytus             170-236ce     [Treatise on Christ and Anti-Christ, Chapter 60-61]

- Cyprian                   200-258ce     [Treatise 7.2, Epistle 55:1]

- Victorinus              3rd or 4th Cent           [Commentary on the Apocalypse of John 7:2]

- Augustine              354-430ce     [The City of God, Chapter 23]

At the same time, these early church fathers does not show any “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”

 

Let’s consider additional pieces of Church History:

1545 to

1563 Ce         The Council of Trent was held to counteract the Reformation

                        - It was at this point, the Renaissance was winding down

- People was reading the Book of Revelation and Daniel 9:27and believing the Pope was the Anti-Messiah (the reason the Bible was removed)

- Pope Gregory XII instructed 2 Jesuit priests, to prove that the pope was not the anti-messiah

- One of the priests, Francisco Ribara, developed the theory of Dispensationalism and released it to the people in 1590 under Pope Gregory XIV.

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HISTORY OF DISPENSATIONALISM [Meaning: To Manage, Regulate, Administer, and Plan the affairs of a Household]

1580 to

1590 Ce         Francisco Ribara - Founder of the Theory of Dispensationalism (A Jesuit monk) created only 3 dispensations, using:

PAST [LAW]: Colossians 1:25-26

"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the DISPENSATION of God which is given to me for you to fulfill the Word of God. Even the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints" [KJ]

 

PRESENT [GRACE]: Ephesians 3:2 "If ye have heard of the DISPENSATION of the Grace of God which is given me to youward:" [KJ]

FUTURE [Judgment]: Ephesians 1:10  "That in the DISPENSATION of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in the Messiah both which are in Heaven, and which are on the earth: even in Him" [KJ]       

           

[Francisco Ribara: "Dispensational Truth",Clarence Larking, 1920, p.5]

[Evangelical Dictionary of Theory, "Dispensation", p322]

 

1731               Manual de la Cunza - a Jesuit monk in South America wrote a book called 'The Coming King'. This book helped to increase the Theory of Dispensationalism

 

1830 ce          Margaret McDonald gave what was believed to be an inspired utterance concerning the (2) comings of the Messiah in a Scottish church pastored by Edward Irving [this is the utterance of the “secret” rapture.] John Darby was at this meeting.  [This “Rapture” was to finish the age of Grace and open the age of Judgment – yet Yeshua said in the Great CommissionHe would be with us until the“end of the age”]

[If the“end of the age” is the Rapture, does that mean He is not with the“TribulationSaints”?]

1850 to

1860 Ce         John Nelson Darby, A Plymouth brethren preacher [United Brethren] and writer in England, introduced this teaching on a large scale, and added the other dispensations to 'fit' the Rapture

Let’s consider the life of John Darby [1800 - 1882]

1822 - 1828   = Anglican Priest

1828               = Joined United Brethren

1840               = Became Leader of United Brethren

                        - Applied Church History w/Prophecy

                        - Added the failures of each Dispensation

                        - Added "secret rapture" of true believers

[Evangelical Dictionary of Theory,"Darby, John Nelson" p.292]

 

John Darby added one dispensation before the Law, and divided it into PRE and POST Fall economics. Then he added the next 2 dispensations, which includes the Flood and another with the Call of Abraham. He then added punishment at end of each dispensation to "FIT" the Rapture

(Let’s continue…)

 

1876 Ce         The 'Gap Theory' came into being to fight the Darwin Theory

 

1909 Ce         Cyrus Ingerson Scofield [United Brethren], a strong believer in Darby's teachings, incorporated the Dispensation and the "Gap Theory” into his notes of his "Scofield Reference Bible". It is his notes that became the foundation for the Rapture Teaching. His bible was sent to every seminary in America to be used by learning pastors

 

1918 Ce         Clarence Larkin [United Brethren] used the "Scofield Reference Bible" to write his book on "Dispensational Truth"

 

 

 

1960 to

1970 Ce         Hal Lindsey [United Brethren], a strong believer in Darby's teachings used the "Scofield Reference Bible" to write his book "The Late, Great, Planet Earth" which increased the Rapture Theory.

 

Today            Tim LaHaye [Southern Baptist] becomes the leader of the Pre-Tribulation Movement.

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The Ages of Dispensationalism as created by man

 1)        DISPENSATION OF CREATION

            - Satan Fell

 2)        DISPENSATION OF INNOCENCE

            - Adam Fell

 3)        DISPENSATION OF CONSCIENCE

- Flood

 4)        DISPENSATION OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT

            - Tower of Babel

 5)        DISPENSATION OF PATRIARCHAL (Abraham to the Exodus)

            - The Giving of the Law

 6)        DISPENSATION OF LAW

            - The Cross

 7)        DISPENSATION OF GRACE

            - Rapture

 8)        DISPENSATION OF JUDGMENT

            - The Secret Rapture Doctrine

            - Brakes off the 70th week of Dan 9:27 and puts it at the end

            - The Messiah secretly takes the righteous

            - 7 years of tribulation on earth and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven

            - The wicked given a second chance to accept the Messiah

            - After 3 1/2 years, the Anti-Messiah appears

            - The Messiah returns at the end of the seven years, then

            [Point: A number of these steps CANNOT be proven by scripture]

 9)        DISPENSATION OF MILLENNIUM

            - Satan, the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet are destroyed

            - Great White Throne Judgment

10)      DISPENSATION OF PERFECTION

(…To Be Continued)

 

 

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