Post-Trib, Pre-Trib: Answers

I was directed to a web page article by an “Internet friend” for an explanation as to why, so he said, he left post-Trib for a pre-Trib stance, and it provided me good material for refutation. I love to refute!

He first stated his reasons for his former belief in a post-Tribulation rapture:

* A superficial reading certainly suggests that Jesus’ return will be sudden and will take place suddenly and quickly.
* A superficial reading does not appear to show any possibility of an extended period for the second coming.
* Revelation speaks of believers who have gone through the great tribulation and been martyred in it.

No wonder he left off true doctrine! That’s not much to stand on, considering he gave about fifteen times as many reasons for the other side of it. Those are the things I will gleefully refute as follows.

* Jesus said his coming would take people by surprise. If it is preceded by the seven years of the great tribulation, it is impossible for it to be a surprise. Therefore his coming for his church must precede the tribulation.

1 Thessalonians 5:4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

* We are told to be ready at all times for Jesus’ return. There would be little point in that warning if the great tribulation were to happen first and put us on alert for a seven year countdown.

It’s the seven-year covenant that begins the countdown, according to Daniel 9. And according to the same passage, and Jesus in Matthew 24, it is in the middle of those seven years that the Tribulation begins.

Paul said we are not in darkness like the world is. He refuted this misinterpretation of Jesus’ warnings to be “always ready” when he totally debunked it in Thessalonians 5, because the “anytime rapture” was already circulating back then. It’s amazing in light of that clear passage on the subject that Christians still let themselves get fooled by Scofield-inspired wrongheaded interpretations.

* In the world we have tribulation, at the hands of other people, but God does not put his own people through his judgment:
o Noah was taken out of the world and preserved in the ark, and God shut the door on him to keep him separate from the world.
o The angels told Lot that they could not carry out their judgment on Sodom until he had escaped to Zoar.
o The Israelites and the land of Goshen were spared most of the plagues that God put on Egypt. They were told to put the blood of the lamb on their doors and stay inside when the angel of the Lord passed over. Those who did were protected from the disaster of the death of the first born.
o When Rahab gave her allegiance to Israel and to God, she and her family were spared the destruction of Jericho. But they had all to come into the house to do so. Just so, the church must go out of the world to the place Jesus has prepared for us.
o Jesus tells us to pray that we will escape the wrath to come; this shows that his own will not go through it.

God’s judgment during the Tribulation is on the world, not on the people of God. Jesus also promised persecution, but he also said that for the elects’ sake those days woudl be shortened. That’s because the elect will still be here, where the Tribulation is taking place.

But “God hat not appointed us unto wrath”. We are raptured “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (matthew 24) at the last trump (I Corinthians 15:52, Revelations 10:7).

The seventh trump marks our ascension into Heaven (the “Rapture”) and the beginning of the period of the Wrath of God, with the seven vials of the wrath of God (Revelations 16:1).

The Hebrews were still in Egypt during the plagues, and Rahab was still in Jericho, and though we will go through the Tribulation and either die for Jesus or rise to meet him in the air, God will spare us from the wrath to come.

* The church is the bride of Christ. According to the old Jewish wedding custom, the bridegroom would go to prepare a dwelling place for his bride. (This is referred to in John 15, where Jesus says he goes to prepare a place for us.) When the bridegroom’s father judged it ready, he would come without warning to take his bride to the place prepared. The two would be shut up together for seven days until the wedding feast. This corresponds to a removal of the church before the last seven years (a year for each day of the new couple’s seclusion) followed by the marriage supper of the Lamb and then the return of Jesus to earth with his bride. (Revelation 19)

You can only squeeze so much out of that parallel. We are taken before wrath and that’s when we have our wedding feast with the Lord. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for ignoring the signs of the times, and Paul rebuked the early Christians for being troubled for thinking the Lord could come back “anytime” during those days, repeating there that the Antichrist would be revealed first.

* If all believers are raised from the dead and go to be with Jesus after the tribulation and at the moment of his return to earth, no one will be left to populate the renewed earth and for Israel and the church to rule over with Jesus. This is because all unbelievers will be slain at his return. In fact, the earth will be populated by the nation of Israel and the surviving Gentile believers who were converted after the removal of the church.

There will be plenty of people left on Earth to rule over. “All unbelievers will be slain”, I don’t see that in scripture. Certainly all the followers of the Beast who join him in battle at Armageddon, and plenty of his followers around the world. But not all. The fact that there are those who are left during the Millenium after Armageddon testifies to this.

It is clear from scripture that although the Beast appears to rule over the entire world, his own troubles begin with his breaking of his own Covenant and just get bigger and keep building right up until his demise. “He shall come to his end, and none shall help him”, it says.

He even gets a 3,000,000 man army marching across the dried-up Tigris River to do battle against him. “They that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits”! Christians will have to put their faith into action with miracles during those days. 144,000 of us will even be sealed against those plagues by the angel of God, these are probably the leaders of end-time Christians.

I call them “anti-anti-Christs”, if they are not Christians.

* In 2 Thessalonians 2, it says that the day of the Lord cannot come unless the “apostasy” comes first. “Apostasy” is a transliteration of the Greek word, “apostasia”, whose root meaning is “standing away”. Jerome, translator of the first Latin bible in the fifth century, along with Wycliffe, translator of the first English bible (and all the translations before the King James version), translate this as “departure”. If we adopt this translation, the passage means that the day of the Lord cannot come before the departure of the church from the world. This makes better sense in the context of the letter than does the more usual translation. How could we distinguish the particular level of apostasy that would fulfil this passage? There has always been apostasy in the church. Indeed, in the late middle ages one could argue that it was almost completely apostate. Paul says he told them these things before. His letters do not say anything explicit about a general apostasy, but 1 Corinthians does speak of the last trumpet at which we shall meet the Lord in the air. So the Thessalonians are worried that they might have missed the day of the Lord — they were being got at by first century preterists — and Paul tells them not to worry, because the departure of the church will happen first and they will certainly not miss that.

They were NOT worried that they misssed the day of the Lord, they were thinking it could come at any time, that’s exactly how the passage reads, no interpretation necessary. It’s quite a distortion to take it otherwise!

* The first three chapters of Revelation deal with the church, but after the voice says to John, “Come up here” at the beginning of chapter 4, there is no more mention of the church until after Jesus returns. This is because the church is not involved in the judgements on the earth, which are described from chapter 4 onwards.

The first three chapters of Revelation are “letters” so identified, to the various churches of Asia, and there is not reason to think otherwise, just because they are in the book! God was taking care of those churches of John’s day as well, as ALWAYS prophets did.

And believers are all over the place in the rest of the book.

* The twenty-four elders in Revelation are dressed in white robes, which is the sign of redemption, and their song says that they are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they must represent the church and the Old Testament saints (12 apostles and 12 tribes of Israel, or 24 royal priests, corresponding to the 24 courses of the Levitical priesthood). Either way, the church is included and is therefore already in heaven before the judgements of the last 7 years.

How can anybody think heaven is empty before the Rapture. Hello? The angel (messenger) himself that brought the “revelation of Jesus Christ” to John identified himself as a

  • prophet just like John!
  • And the Old Testament prophets that arose from the grave when Jesus did, and were “seen of many”, you think they kept on wandering around down here? To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

    * When Jesus returns to rule he is followed by the armies of heaven, who are dressed in white linen Rev 19:14. In verse 8 we have just been told that “the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints”, so this army is the army of the redeemed, who are therefore already in heaven when Jesus returns to the earth.

    You think nobody gets up there? You think only Enoch and Elijah maybe. Hah. Oh yeah, Moses was seen with Jesus too!

    * The church is characterised by sin mixed in with holiness; this can be seen from the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven, and from the fact that the offering for Shavuot (Pentecost) was the only one which used leaven, which represents sin. So long as we repent of sin, it is all washed away by the blood of Jesus. Pentecost, of course, is the birthday of the church. However, believers in the time of the tribulation are required to demonstrate their faith by living holy lives and must endure to the end in order to be saved.

    This is poppycock. ALL the arguments Paul used against trusting in works in all those epistles apply to believers in the Old Testament, the New, and forever more. Trying to shoehorn it into fitting only the laws of Moses fail miserably with verses like the several of them that tell you plainly that salvation either by works or by grace, and in the same breath, saying the works can do NOTHING for you.

    Commandments to obey him and do good works are just that. Your rewards depend on your works and your degrees of punishment (“many stripes”), but salvation is a gift, period. God never suspended the laws of Love, and NOBODY can EVER keep them.

    * The gospels prophesy a sudden separation of believers from non-believers. Two will be working together; one will be taken and the other left. This is clearly to do with the time of the end. If everything happens on the one day, why should any be left? Are the sinners not all to be destroyed immediately?

    No, there are seven vials of wrath, the last one of which is Armageddon.

    * Jesus says of the church, “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.” However Daniel and Revelation say that the antichrist (the beast) overcomes the saints. Therefore those saints cannot be the church.

    Wow, what do you think the “church” is anyway? And the gates of hell will NOT prevail against it, because we are coming back with Jesus and we will storm the gates of hell and of antichrist in the valley of Megiddo and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

    Even during the Tribulation it is promised we “will do exploits”, there will be miracles but God never promised a life on Easy Street either. But there will be some glorious miracles, the two prophets that defy the beast as they stand in the middle of his stronghold in Jerusalem itself, are only two of them.

    * In John 14, Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.” If the rapture and the first resurrection are after the tribulation, this will not be fulfilled since the saints will not arrive in “my Father’s house”, but will instead meet Jesus in the air and immediately return to earth with him.

    We don’t “immediately” return to earth with him, we are up there while the vials of wrath are poured out upon the nations, and those plagues are MUCH worse than the trumpets’.

    * In Matthew 24:20, Jesus says, of the time just before his final return, “Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on a Sabbath”. This clearly indicates that his warning is not to the church, for whom there is nothing to prevent flight on the Sabbath (Saturday), but for Jews in the land of Israel, and an Israel still operating under the Old Covenant. On the Sabbath in Israel, transport does not run and shops are not open.

    Jesus was talking about the start of the Tribulation there, and Sabbath is only a concern to believers, including us Christians, because we also have a designated day of rest. Used to be nothing was open in the States on a Sunday, at all, it was almost scandalous, even when I was a kid in the 1950s and into the 1960s.

    That’s a nitpicky one though. He’s talking about how things will start happening real fast after the Antichrist places his “abomination that maketh desolate in the holy place”.

    Don’t take the mark, folks.

    –Alan

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