Friday, March 30, 2007

A Bible study refuting 10 attacks on the Pre-trib Rapture

A Bible Study refuting 10 attacks on the pretribulation rapture.
The pre tribulation rapture is often attacked. The truth is always attacked. But which is the truth, the pretrib rapture, or some other prophetic scenario? The only way to know is to study scripture. Refuting one doctrine does not make another true by default. But debating back and forth can help bring understanding to the key issues. [Prov 27:17] "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." And I believe a serious study of the particularly controversial issue of the rapture in the Word of God shows the glory of god, and brings honour to Christians who are promised to rule with Christ.
Prov 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
The Bible tells us to "prove all things" in 1 Thess 5:21, and to be able to give a "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear"1 Peter 3:15. We are encouraged to [2 Tim 2:15] "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." and be like the Bereans who [Acts 17:11] "...searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." And we are also told to rebuke those who bring in false teachings.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
A heresy is simply a false teaching, and false teachings will always be among Chrisitans.
1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Therefore, there will always be an ongoing debate regarding prophetic and doctrinal truths. We should not run from the debate, nor should we rufuse to examine scripture. Knowledge of true prophecy is the only way we can be sure to detect false prophecy. Prophecy is a protection, a comfort.
This paper is my attempt to reprove, rebuke, correct, teach, and exhort with all long suffering, Dan Corner who attacked in a paper the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture. My paper will not make nearly as much sense unless you read his paper first. I would suggest you read point number one in his article, then point number 1 in mine, back and forth. His paper was titled and linked at the following:
Pre-Trib Rapture Arguments Examined
It is my hope that those who have doubted the pretribulation rapture will be encouraged to study more so that they will no longer doubt and have a lack of faith. And that one day, they, too, will be able to give a ready answer to those who ask for a reason for their hope.
PRE-TRIB RAPTURE ARGUMENT NUMBER 1. Our pretrib critic, Dan Corner, gives us a pretrib argument, but no scripture is quoted:
"God is a loving God and would NEVER allow his children to suffer through the great tribulation. Hence, we will be leaving through the rapture before it occurs."
The following may have been the verse in mind for this pretrib argument:
[Rom 5:8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
[Rom 5:9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
[Rom 5:10] For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Thus, it is not wrong to use God's love as an argument and reason that we will not suffer his wrath in the tribulation. The Bible makes this argument in Romans 5:8-9.
This supports that Christians will not enter the wrath of the tribulation, and that the rapture will be before the tribulation. Later, I will address the argument that the tribulation does not contain the wrath of God.
The pretribulation rapture doctrine does not rest on the argument, "God won't let his own suffer." Of course his faithful have suffered in the past, and there are Christians being killed today. Tribulation is a word that is used to describe the trials the early Christians went through. (John 16:33, 2 Cor 1:4, 1 Thess 3:4, 2 Thess1:4, Revelation 1:9) . However, the future "great tribulation" is a time unlike any other, unlike these tribulations, by definition.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Therefore, it is wrong to compare past and present tribulations that Christians have had to endure and do endure today, and say the future great tribulation will be no different. The Bible says it's different.
One difference is that we will not suffer God's wrath, as Romans 5 (and many other verses such as 1 Thess 5:9) states. We should be already reconciled to God, and thus, will not face His wrath.
PRE-TRIB RAPTURE ARGUMENT NUMBER 2: Dan Corner gives an alternate possible way to interpret Rev 3:10 by arguing it is a promise to be kept "through" the time of tribulation instead of "from" it. I have read that this argument does not hold up to the scrutiny of grammar analysis, and I apologize that I do not remember the specifics at this time. Nevertheless, and however, even if true that the word can be used in either of two ways, this does not prove that Rev 3:10 is not a promise of the pretribulation rapture.
Elsewhere in scripture, the promise of protection in the tribulation is limited only to the 144,000, or to the two witnesses. And the two witnesses who have the power of God to protect them, end up killed by the middle of the tribulation in Revelation 11.
In other places there is NO promise of protection during the tribulation: the saints will be overcome.
[Rev 13:7] 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.
[Dan 7:21] I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
[Dan 7:25] And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Thus, the promise to be "kept through" the tribulation is doubtful at best. Most will obviously be made war on, prevailed against, worn out, and killed, becoming the martyrs in the fifth seal in Rev 6.
An alternate possible reading of Rev 3:10 should not be used as a proof text; either to doubt one view or prove another. If the verse is unclear and can prove either of two things, and if pretrib cannot use it, then certainly the post trib view cannot use it either!
The somewhat unclear word becomes more clear when we realize that Rev 3:10 is a very strong pretrib verse, containing many pretrib themes. It is connected with the "open door", a rapture symbol of Rev 4:1.
The open door is also a strong symbol in the parable of Matt 25:1-13 the ten virgins, which is a rather clear pretrib parable which contains many other rapture themes, sleeping as death, a shout to awaken them, a wedding, some going in with the groom, and some being left behind.
The open door is also a symbol of the Feast of Trumpets which strongly teaches about the pretribulation rapture. From Ezek 46:1 we see the gate to the temple is to remain open on the new moon. The temple is a symbol of heaven, and the Feast of Trumpets takes place on the new moon.
[Rev 3:8] I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
[Rev 3:10] Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
[Revelation 4:1] After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The critic ignores the the open door, and the fact that this symbol creates a strong link to Rev 4:1, which, if it is the rapture, then the rapture is solidly proven to be pretrib.
PRE-TRIB RAPTURE ARGUMENT NUMBER 3: I agree with Dan Corner that it is a bad pretrib argument to say that Rev 4:1 is the rapture because the word Church is not mentioned after the verse. A good argument is that Rev 4:1 is the rapture because every symbol in the verse suggests the rapture: the trumpet voice, the open door in heaven, the call to come up here to heaven.
In fact, Rev 12 is another pretribulation rapture text, as the man child represents the Church as "the body of Christ". The reason I would say the rapture of the man child is the Church, is because each and every description of the man child in Rev 12:5 also applies to the Church.
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Christ rules, and we rule as his bride (1. over the nations (Rev 2:26-27, Rev 5:10), 2. with a rod of iron (Rev 2:27), 3. sitting on his throne Rev 3:21).
Rev 2:26 He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations,
Rev 2:27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father;
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Further, the Old Testament mentions a man child nation in Isaiah 66. This cannot be Christ as Christ is not a nation. Nor was Christ taken up to heaven as a child just born, he was a man of 33. This man child in Isaiah 66 is born before the travail, and the travail is also another term for the tribulation and Day of the Lord, thus proving that the man child rapture must be before the tribulation.
Therefore it is wrong to say the Church is not in view after Rev 4:1. This doesn't mean that Rev 4:1 isn't the rapture, it just means that the popular reasons given to show why Rev 4:1 is the rapture are not valid reasons to give.
I agree we should not give symbolic meaning to the Bible's use of symbols. We should let the Bible tell us what the symbols mean. And not deny the Bible's descriptions of these symbols.
The two strongest rapture texts are 1 Thess 4:15-18 and 1 Cor 15:51-54, and both of these verses mention the trumpet, as does Rev 4:1, which is clearly a call up to heaven, and connected right back to Rev 3:10 through the open door.
PRE-TRIB RAPTURE ARGUMENT NUMBER 4: Lot and Noah delivered from destruction as in Luke 17:26-30, Matthew 24:36-44
There is another verse which quotes these arguments about Noah and Lot, which is found in 2 Peter 2:4-9 which concludes:
[2Pet 2:9] The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
And as we saw from Rev 3:10, the tribulation is an "hour of trial", "to try those who dwell upon the earth".
Finally, to address the "taken and left" verses in Luke 17:31-37 which conclude with the parable of the eagles/vultures gathering together by the body/corpse. These lines are also found in Matt 24:40-41 and Matt 24:28.
The eagle/body parable does not necessarily mean those taken are taken to be destroyed. I agree there is a strong similarity to Rev 19, when the eagles are invited to feast on the bodies of those destroyed, which is clearly in the context of the return of Jesus after the tribulation. However, there is another Biblical interpretation of this parable.
Isaiah 40:31 says believers "shall mount up with wings as eagles".
And John 6:34-61 says that we must eat the flesh of Jesus to enter the kingdom.
Thus, this eagle/body parable, by the Bible's own definition of symbols, also signifies that this is the rapture, and that those taken are taken in the rapture, which would be the gathering together of believers to Jesus.
If we look at the definition of the words for "taken and left", we see that the word for "taken" is paralambano, which means to be joined together, or arrested. At first, that looks inconclusive. Do I want to be joined with Christ, or do I want to avoid being arrested, which sounds bad? Is taken, paralambano, a good or bad thing?
Paralambano means to be received & joined together, and is used in John 14:1-3, which is a primary rapture text (completely unmentioned by these 10 reasons to doubt), which tells us Jesus will paralambano, or take us or receive us, to be with him.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus obviously left for heaven, and will take us again there. That paralambano means to be joined is also very appropriate for the rapture, since we are wed to Christ (Eph 5:25, 2Cor 11:2, Rom 7:4) And those in marriage are joined together and two become one flesh. Gen 2:24, Eph 5:31, Matt 19:5-6, 1 Corinthians 6:16.
That paralambano also means to be arrested or taken or seized does not refute that this is a rapture word, since harpazo also means to be arrested and seized. Harpazo is the rapture word from 1 Thess 4:17. Both words, paralambano and harpazo are used to describe an arrest, Jesus in Mat 27:27, and Paul in Acts 23:10. Therefore, paralambano is a very appropriate rapture word, and the "taken and left" verses signify that those taken are taken in the rapture, not taken to be destroyed.
The word for "left", aphiemi, also means 1) to send away 1c1) to disregard 3d) to desert wrongfully 3i) abandon, leave destitute. This would be an appropriate word to describe those left behind after the pretribulation rapture.
As for me, I would rather be taken, as Lot was physically taken out and saved. I would rather be taken with Noah in the ark than be left behind in the flood or left behind in the city of Sodom.
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This is an expression, an idiom, referring to both the wedding and to the Feast of Trumpets. In the wedding, a groom would say this of his wedding day, "of that day and hour knoweth no man,... but my Father only". He would say this because he would have to build a bridal chamber, and he could not leave to fetch his bride until his father gave permission and said the chamber was finished and furnished for the bridal week, which is a type of honeymoon.
The expression "of that day and hour knoweth no man" refers to the Feast of Trumpets, because this is the only feast on a new moon, which comes every 29.5 days, meaning it is inconclusive when it arrives, either on the 29th or 30th day, thus, the "unknown" day, or "day or hour no man knows".
In contrast, the "after the tribulation" time can be pinpointed to the day, it is known to the day. It is 3.5 years, or 42 months, or 1260 days after the middle of the tribulation when the antichrist takes power, which would be the sign from 2 Thess 2:4, when he stands in the temple saying he is God.
[Rev 13:5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
[Rev 12:6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
If the day the tribulation ends is unknown, these verses would have to say something like "about 1000 days", but they are specific. The end of the tribulation cannot be the "unknown day".
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
I am glad our critic recognizes this as a rapture verse. He presents no scriptural rebuttal for this verse. He claims, "the tribulation is not the wrath of God." but presents no evidence for that yet.
It should be clear to anyone who reads Luke chapter 21, that this is a parallel account of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. The subject of "all these things that shall come to pass" is the events of the great tribulation just described, such as the abomination of desolation, and false christs, such as the event of 2 Thess 2:3-4, the man of sin in the temple.
Luke 21:36 does not specifically say "wrath", so to divert the argument into this side argument, "yes not appointed to wrath, but wrath is not in the tribulation," is really unfair and irrelevant for a valid rebuttal to Luke 21:36. If Luke is a rapture verse, it is clearly supporting pretrib. To escape all these things that shall come to pass could only happen in a pretribulation rapture.
Our critic states regarding, "tribulation is the wrath of God ... There are no Scriptures to back that up." This is why discussion on these arguments is fruitful and important. Clearly, our critic has not done his research, or has not yet realized the definitions of the words in the following verses:
Zephaniah 1:15 describes the day of the Lord as "tribulation, trouble, or distress"
This shows that the great tribulation (a day unlike any other) (Matt 24:21), and the Day of the Lord (a day unlike any other) (Joel 2:1-2), are speaking of the same time. Yes, the Day of the Lord, which is indisputably identified with the wrath of God (Zeph 1:15) is clearly described as "tribulation, distress, trouble".
Zephaniah 1:
14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
Other translations, such as the NIV translate the word for tribulation in Matt 24:29 as "distress", in which case we would have an exact match. The Worldwide English translation says "time of trouble" for Matt 24:29. Of course, the words in Zephaniah 1:15 is not the exact same word as in Matt 24:29, one is Hebrew, the other is Greek. Here are the definitions from Strong's concordance so you can see how well they match: They match extremely well, even being derived from similar root words, see for yourself:
Matt 24:29 "tribulation"
2347 thlipsis {thlip'-sis}
from 2346; TDNT - 3:139,334; n f
AV - tribulation 21, affliction 17, trouble 3, anguish 1,
persecution 1, burdened 1, to be afflicted + 1519 1; 45
1) a pressing, pressing together, pressure
2) metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits
2346 thlibo {thlee'-bo}
akin to the base of 5147; TDNT - 3:139,334; v
AV - trouble 4, afflict 3, narrow 1, throng 1, suffer tribulation 1; 10
1) to press (as grapes), press hard upon
2) a compressed way
2a) narrow straitened, contracted
3) metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress
Zeph 1:15 "trouble"
06869 tsarah {tsaw-raw'}
from 06862; TWOT - 1973c,1974b; n f
AV - trouble 44, distress 8, affliction 7, adversity 5, anguish 5,
tribulation 3, adversary 1; 73
1) straits, distress, trouble
2) vexer, rival wife
06862 tsar {tsar} or tsar {tsawr}
from 06887; TWOT - 1973a,1973b,1974a,1975a; adj
AV - enemy 37, adversary 26, trouble 17, distress 5, affliction 3,
foes 2, narrow 2, strait 2, flint 1, sorrow 1, misc 9; 105
1) narrow, tight
2) straits, distress
3) adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor
4) hard pebble, flint
Zeph 1:15 "distress"
04691 m@tsuwqah {mets-oo-kaw'} or m@tsuqah {mets-oo-kaw'}
from 04690; TWOT - 1895e; n f
AV - distress 6, anguish 1; 7
1) straitness, distress, straits, stress
Well over five key concepts are shared between these Hebrew and Greek words: a narrow compressed tightness, tribulation, trouble, distress, affliction, straits". Not only that, but Daniel 12:1 and Jeremiah 30:7, which both quote this "time unlike any other" both use the phrase "time of trouble".
If it is true that the wrath of the Day of the Lord comes after the great tribulation, then there would be two times of trouble unlike any other. This is a logical contradiction.
I have personally identifed eight solid irrefutable proofs that the tribulation is at the same time as or during the Day of the Lord, and thus the tribulation contains the wrath of God, but I do not have the time to share them all here. But to say that there "are no scriptures to back that up" is just not true. Such a statement only shows the lack of study and scriptural analysis conducted by our critic.
The church will depart before the antichrist is revealed
2 Thess 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 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:
Our critic says 2 Thess 2:3 contradicts the pretrib interpretaion of verses 2:7-8. In fact, the verses are in complete harmony. It is our critic's interpretation of 2 Thess 2:3 which is wrong, not the pretrib interpretation of 2 Thess 2:7.
He says 2 Thess 2:3 means that two things must come first. But the grammar of the verse does not say that at all, only one thing must come first, the apostasia. The apostasia and the man of sin are not two things in a list! Look at the plain grammar of the verse:
2 Thessalonians 2:3 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;
It does NOT read as follows:
...for that day shall not come except there first come (1. a falling away and 2. the man of sin revealed).
Nor does it read:
...for that day shall not come except there come (1. a falling away and 2 the man of sin revealed) first.
The apostasia, or falling away, clearly is the singular event which must come first. It appears as if the revealing of the man of sin is a consequence of the apostasia, just as verses 2 Thess 2:7 confirm. The word for and can also mean "then". "kai" is translated as "then" 20 times in the King James Bible. When words have two meanings like this, context helps determine the meaning, we cannot arbitrarily pick one and say the other cannot be correct. The verse can be understood that the apostasia comes first and then the man of sin is revealed. In which case, it would harmonize perfectly with 2 Thess 2:7-8, the removal or taking away allows the revealing of the man of sin.
There is a growing number of scholars that have realized that the apostasia signifies the rapture, since it has also been translated as "departure", and this is also the meaning of the root word of apostasia, which is aphistemi. Since the subject is the Day of the Lord, then this means that the singular event of the departure, or rapture, must come first before the Day of the Lord is here.
The other common argument from 2 Thess 2:3 is that the man of sin must first be revealed--which is said to be at the middle of the tribulation. But the verse does not say that. It does not say "when", it says "who". Thus, the description of the man of sin in the temple describes the who, the man of sin, not the when, the event of the revealing. But there are about 50 other descriptions of the man of sin in scripture. In fact, as Daniel 9:27 makes rather clear, the antichrist will confirm the covenant for seven with many. Thus, this is a public action which would reveal him at the start of the tribulation week. So, if the revealing of the man of sin is not a consequence of the apostasia, and the verse is listing two events that must come first, then the revealing of the man of sin and the departure/rapture would be located at the start of the tribulation week, when the man of sin is revealed by confirming the covenant with many at the start of Daniel's 70th week.
There are no scriptures listed, so this hardly seems worth the time to refute. Yet, our critic seems to embrace the OSAS doctrine as he says, "All Christians will leave the earth at the point of the rapture, regardless their position on the timing of the rapture. In fact, even the Christians who believe there will be no rapture will also go up at that point in time".
Apparently, our critic seems to think that those people who have been teaching the post tribulation rapture will go up in the rapture anyway. Of course, at the pretribulation rapture their doctrines would turn out to be false prophecies and lies. How could those teaching such lies and false prophecies go up in the pretribulation rapture? Wouldn't they be woefully unready and have to at least repent first?
There is a certain danger in teaching the Bible:
James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (KJV)
So there cannot be zero consequences to making false prophecies and being wrong about this issue.
He concludes, "So no one is getting out of here through the rapture merely because he wants to go." To me, it is unbelievable that this man didn't see three clear statements in Luke 21:36, a subject of this debate earlier:
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Apparently, we do not need to watch?! Apparently we do not need to pray always?! Apparently, we do not need to be accounted worthy?! It is amazing that these instructions have been completely ignored. I would ask the question: How can someone who refuses to believe in the pretribulation rapture honestly pray to be accounted worthy to escape the tribulation to come in the pretribulation rapture?
In the Bible, faith is continually stressed as being so important for miracles. Will the rapture not be a miracle??
Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Matthew 9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
I believe that with regard to determining who will go up in the rapture, God would echo his words in Matthew 8 & 9, "as you have believed, and according to your faith, let it be done unto you".
If there is a crown for all those who believe in and hope for the appearing of the Lord at the pretribulation rapture, I hope you will not let this crown be stolen from you.
2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Thus showing once again, the key rapture verse of Rev 3:10 contains strong rapture themes.
That the rapture is encouraging from 1 Thess 4:18.
Our critic says the timing of the rapture is not the subject of importance, but that the fact of the resurrection is what is encouraging.
But truly, any position which places the 7 year tribulation prior to the rapture, causes one to hope that the return of Jesus is far, far away so that one might live to a peaceful old age and die in peace. Nobody wants to endure tribulation if they don't have to.
There are many verses that say that prophecy is for comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
The post tribulation rapture viewpoint does not, can not, will not, is not a comfort, and all reasonable men know it.
Can you imagine saying the following prayer in front of your family? "Please, God, I hope and pray for the tribulation to start, so that we may have to flee into the wilderness risking starvation and attack by wild animals and death by exposure to the elements taking our elderly and children with us, because then, only then, may we be assured that Jesus will return in about 7 years if we survive and are not martyred as the Bible says will happen to the vast majority of the saints in the tribulation." No, that is no comfort. Such leads to fear, the desire to accumulate wealth and survivalist gear, and would be a false prophecy by definition! Compare with The Lord's prayer in Matt 6:9-13
In Conclusion:
I agree with Dan Corner that there will be saints in the tribulation who will have their faith seriously tested. But this in no way proves that there is not a pretribulation rapture. After the rapture, a few people will realize what happened, and they will wail, weep and gnash their teeth and beg to be raptured too, but it will be too late. Their only hope will be to repent and remain faithful to the end, which may very well require their death as they are handed over to the antichrist for the 42 months.
It is sad that some people will not be ready for the pretribulation rapture because they have been deceived into doubting it, and believing that our Master delayeth his coming. (Matt 24:48-51) It is also sad that others will not be ready because they are too comfortable and complacent, because of the false doctrine of "once saved always saved", thinking they don't need to prepare for the pretribulation rapture. These would be like the foolish virgins of Matt 25:1-13, who know the Lord is coming, and expect to go, but won't be ready.
The pretribulation rapture is not a false hope and snare. The snare is OSAS. The deception is doubt in the pretribulation rapture and the false prophecy of a post trib rapture. When one realizes that we must prepare spiritually to be ready, then even if one is not deemed worthy for the pretribulation rapture, then they will be as ready as one can be for the tribulation too. Those who are complacent and unready today need to realize that if they do not escape in the pretribulation rapture, they may well be called upon to die for the faith. And if people realize that, perhaps they will be motivated to give their lives for the faith today, and begin living for Jesus now, which will encourage their faith and walk in Christ, and hopefully lead them to be ready and wise virgins.

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