Sunday, June 29, 2008

PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

Pre-Tribulation Rapture?
I must state, up front, that I believe in a pre-wrath rapture. That (in my opinion) places the rapture either before the revealing of the antichrist or before the sixth seal of Rev 6:12, but I am leaning toward the first or a pre-tribulation rapture. I will also state that there is no single verse that definitively states the Lord will return for His Church at this time, before, mid or post-tribulation, although taking Luke 17:26 in conjunction with Gen 7:10 does come very close (see below). The Word does say that He will return for the Church.
If the following is taken in total and if the God’s Word is not redefined, there can only be one conclusion drawn. The rapture of the Church will occur before the wrath of our Lord is poured out upon the earth.
Brief
The Word says that Christ will build His Church; it is a New Testament Church. The building started after Christ said this, not before. - Mat 16:18
Israel is not part of the Church. - Mat 16:18, Read and study Heb 10:8-10 (8 speaks of the old or under the law. 9 speaks of the change, 10 speaks of the Church or grace). The first, Israel under the law, was removed so that the second, the Church under grace, could be established. Also 1Cor 13:10.
The above two statements are very important, as the two different and unique people of God must be one in order to make post-tribulation rapture feasible.
The word says that the Tribulation is the wrath of the Lamb. Re 6:16-17 & Re 14:10
The word says that we are not appointed unto wrath. - 1Thes 5:9, John 3:36
The Word says that the Tribulation is the Judgment of the Lord. - Re 6:10, Re 11:18, Re 14:7, among others.
The word says that our sins have been washed away. - Heb 10:17
How can we be judged for sins that aren’t remembered? Heb 10:17. Our judgment is in the rewards we either receive or loose. 1Cor 3:14-15.
Would God pour His wrath out on Himself or His temple? Would God judge Himself or His temple? 1Cor 3:16 Remember that only the Church has the promise of The Holy Spirit never leaving us. Heb 13:5 We will see later that this was not the case for the Old Testament saints.
Israel’s saint’s sins were covered by sacrifice and uncovered yearly. – Heb 10:1-4
Israel’s saint’s sins will be wiped away after those days. Jer 31:33 in conjunction with Heb 8:10 & Heb 10:16-17. Prophetically “those days” - Mat 24:22, Mat 24:29, Mark 13:17
The Lord will return for His bride and take us back with Him. John 14:2-3.
A description of His return for us, notice this is only for believers and we meet him. 1Thes 4:16-18 & 1Cor 15:52-58. These are the two references of Christ returning for His believers, His bride. Christ is not making a U-Turn; it was His plan to return to the Father’s house with
us. John 14. No mention of His going into battle.
A very strong implication of when is given. The Word says, “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” God shut Noe (Noah) and his family up, in safety, in the ark for 7 days (1 week. pointing to the beginning of the 70th week) before He poured out His final wrath and judgment on the known world. Read Gen 7:6-10. Appling this to the tribulation, we would have the Lord returning for us 1 week (7 years) before He returns for the great battle of Armageddon.
Again the Word points to an Old Testament event (Sodom) to describe the revealing of the Lord in Luke 17:29-30. Then in Luke 17:32-37 the Word goes on to show what will occur before His revealing. Some will be removed, some not. The Lord gave Lot a place of refuge and did not just have him go out into the mountains in Gen 19:19-26. Some were removed (Lot and his daughters), some were not (his sons-in-law and wife). I believe that this is directly pointing to Mat 23:16 (Israel is told to go into the mountains). The parallel is quite evident, before destruction the Church will be given refuge.
The Bride is seen in Rev 5:9-11. Only the saved can sing this new song, not angels or other heavenly creatures, as they have not been saved. Notice large number (out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation), only the Church is promised to be kings and priest and to rule with Him.
The Tribulation saints seen in Rev 6:10-11. Notice that they are given white robes, a covering for sin. Also, the robes and not these saints are washed in His blood in Re 7:14. It is important to see that they are killed for their belief in Christ and their fellow servants would be also, therefore they do not go through the wrath or through the judgment. Yet, they are not being raptured.
The remnant of Israel will be kept through the Tribulation and will not be hurt. – Rev 7-1-8. God knows these tribes from their foundation, in fact from the foundation of the earth. If these are anyone but Jewish saints, God would be authoring confusion and we KNOW He will not do that.
The Church was given the promise that they would be kept "from the hour of trial” not kept through the hour of trial. Rev 3:10 & 1Thes 1:10 & 1Th 5:9
The wrath of God is to be poured out on the ungodly, not His bride. Rom 1:18 & Eph 5:6 & Col 3:6
Millennial Views
Is there a literal millennial, or 1,000 years, when Jesus Christ will rule and reign? The Bible says yes six times in Rev 20:2-7. This kingdom is then described in such verses as Isaiah 2:2-4, 9:6-7; Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 15:14-17 and many others.
Before any discussion on pre / post tribulation can be started, we must look at the three views relating to the millennial.
Pre-millennial – The position of the early church, for the first four centuries. It teaches that Jesus will return to the earth prior to setting up His 1000 year kingdom age.
Amillennial – The position brought on by Augustine because the times didn’t match the reality of his world. It teaches that there is no actual millennial kingdom and the Bible is really referring to a spiritual kingdom within the hearts on mankind. He went on to say that that the last days really weren’t the last days, that the church was to become the new Israel, receiving the promised blessings to Israel, but allowing Israel to receive the cursings. Not bad, if you can pull it off, the best of both worlds. The truth about Amillennial foundations is in a statement of one of its staunchest supporters, Dr. James Fleming as he explains, "The western mind will have a tendency to focus too much on the details of visual images in the Apocalypse rather than what the images stand for." He then advises, "The Book of Revelation does not mean what it says; it means what it means. One cannot interpret Revelation using a Western structure and form of perspective. The functions of the things described in Revelation have to be understood in order to know what they mean." In other words, if it doesn’t fit a common sense viewpoint, it can be made to do so.
Post-millennial – This position came about in the 17th century by Daniel Whitby. This proposes that the gospel, through the church, would bring about the transformation of the world into the kingdom of Christ. As we can see, the world is not turning to Christ, but rather to sin.
As can be seen, both the amillennial and post-millennial positions do not look for the returning of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ to snatch us away. As such, they only argue that there isn’t a rapture. Therefore, I will not discuss these positions in any detail.
The pre-millennial position does look for the returning of our Lord for the church, but is split between pre (before the tribulation (2)), mid (in the middle of the tribulation (between 5 & 6)) and post tribulation (after the tribulation (before 8)). It looks for the following eight points:
1. Man’s rebellion against Christ
2. The rapture of the church
3. The end of the “times of the gentiles”
4. The revealing of the antichrist
5. The apostasy of the nation of Israel
6. The outpouring of God’s wrath
7. The spiritual rebirth of the nation of Israel
8. The ultimate defeat of satan and the antichrist
Will there be two, possible three, future resurrections?
Yes. One as Jesus Christ comes for His Bride and another when the Lord raises the Israel and a resurrection of the remainder, who are dead.
Let’s look at the resurrection as seen in John 5:28-30
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Notice two points: 1) All who are in the graves, not a select few. 2) No mention is made of those who are alive and remain. When is/was this to occur?
John 5:25
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
Again take notice that there are two occurrences. The first is depicted as “now is”, or that it occurred before Pentecost - Mat 27:53-54. The second is depicted as “the hour is coming”, at the Last Day. Rev 20
We also have Daniel 12:1-2 Where many in the grave shall awake, or be resurrected, but the word many implies not all. If the verse stopped there we could say that it relates to 1 Thes 4, but it continues and negates that thought. The continuation says some to everlasting life and others to everlasting contempt. 1 Thes only speaks about the saints and our meeting Him in the air. So this verse isn’t the same as either John 5 or 1 Thes 4.
Daniel 12:1-2
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
So who are the people spoken of here? The Jews; those who Michael stood for or Daniel’s people. When? In the Tribulation, a time of trouble, such as never was… At the Secnd Coming of The Lord.
Now let’s look at the Rapture.
1Thes 4:16 -17
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.
In this verse it is very important to notice that only the dead in Christ shall be raise. Also, here the Lord was speaking, through Paul (the apostle to the Gentiles) to the Church, those who are alive and remain. Why is He coming? John 14:1-3
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. 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.
He is not coming here to enter into battle, but to get His bride. I will discuss the trumpet later.
Post Tribulation Prayer of Comfort?
Because, while speaking of the rapture, the Word says: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thes 4:18; imagine saying the following prayer to comfort your love ones.
"Please, God, I hope and pray for the tribulation to start, so that we will 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. To watch our unsaved love ones die of boils and
plagues by the millions. Oh we look forward to the smell. Then maybe, WOOSH off with our heads or off with our child’s head. Because then, and only then, may we be assured that Jesus will return in about 7 years."
No, that is not comforting, is it?
The reply of those who do not believe in a pre-trib raptured church, is that this comfort is really pointing to the fact that we will not only be reunited with our dead love ones, but more so that we will enter Heaven with them (our salvation). In reality, Christians rejoice in our salvation and know that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. The only thing new in this passage, is the resurrection of the dead in Christ happening an instant before the resurrection of the living in Christ. This passage is speaking about the rapture (mystery unveiled) of the Church and our taking comfort in that. To have to look forward to going through the Tribulation is not comforting, no matter what anyone says.
The Old Testament Jews saw two comings of the Lord
Jesus Ben Joseph - Jesus son of Joseph, who was rejected, suffered, but eventually delivered his brethren from famine. He came in humility riding a donkey. He was judged. He came as a lamb unto slaughter.
Jesus Ben David – Jesus son of David, the glorious Christ who will rule and reign as King of kings. He comes in triumph riding a great white horse. He will judge. He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
What they saw, was a distant mountain top, when He deals with Israel. What they couldn’t see (the mystery) was the valley before the mountain, the Church age or the times of the Gentiles. The Church age began with the pouring out of The Holy Spirit at Pentecost and will end with the removal of The Holy Spirit, prior to the pouring out of God’s wrath.
The Seventy weeks of Daniel
Post-tribulationism requires that the church will be present during the 70th week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27) even though it was absent from the first 69. This is in spite of the fact that Daniel 9:24 says that all 70 weeks are for Israel and Jerusalem and no one else – “thy people”
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”.
Pre-tribulationism is not in conflict with this passage, as is post-tribulationism, since the church departs before the beginning of the seven-year period. This is why it is so important to the post-tribulation viewpoint that the saints of Old Testament Israel are somehow made to be part of the Church.
The seven-year period, commonly referred to as the tribulation is derived from Dan 9:25
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And Daniel 9:27
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.
Note that vs 24 states that there are 70 weeks and vs 25 shows that 69 weeks have taken place when the Messiah the Prince. Messiah the Prince is of course Jesus Christ and we know when He came to earth. That leaves 1 week remaining where God will deal with the Jews and Jerusalem. That leaves one week, where he, the antichrist, shall make a covenant with many.
The gap between the 69th and 70th week is where God deals with the gentiles, by bringing them into the Church if the are born again. Luke 21:24
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
states that the Jews shall be removed from Jerusalem and Jerusalem shall be trodden down. Remember that the 70 weeks of Daniel pertain to God’s dealings with the Jews. We see here, before the second coming, that there is a time of the Gentiles or a time where God is not dealing with the Jews. When will the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled? The answer is, when our salvation is complete. The salvation of our soul and spirit is complete, but we are waiting on the transformation of our bodies, when we receive our glorified bodies. 1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1 Thes 4:16-17
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.
1 Cor 15:50
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
We will discuss the “last Trump” or “the trump of God” later; as this is the basis of post-tribulation belief in Christ meeting His bride on His way down to do battle.
Church – Christians – Born Again Believers – Elect – Saints
Many say that all of the above are identical, but I would like to suggest that they are only foundationally the same. Saints are the elect, who are “born again believers” and the Church consists of “born again believers”, thus today the elect are part of the Church. Biblically speaking, today’s “born again believers” would have been called those @#$ Christians by those in Paul’s time, because Christ can be seen in us. Yet today many “Christians” are only so in word, but not deed and can be grouped with the lost. So we may discount the false church and false christians (purposely not capitalized).
But who would say that those “born again believers” in the Old Testament are part of the Church? Who would call them Christians? Who would call Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or David a Christian or a Church member, but they are part of the elect and “born again believers”, for they are with Christ (John 3:3). The only way someone can be with Christ in Heaven is to trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ho 13:4; Acts 4:12; John 3:3 & 14:6).
The Holy Spirit indwelt the “born again believers” at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) as the Church is born and the promise was given that He would never leave or forsake us (the Church); and not the Old Testament “born again believers” or the Old Testament elect, where He came upon the chosen elect for a time, not forever.
Num 11:17 & Num 11:25 Show us the Lord removing part of His spirit from Moses and placing Him on others.
Num 11:17
And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone
Num 11:25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
In Judges 11:25 we have Him coming upon Samson three times. If the Spirit hadn’t been removed He wouldn’t have had to come upon him and upon him and upon him(Samson), then leaving him. Also see Jud 14:5-6, 19 & Jud 15:14 for other times.
The Lord departed from Sampson in Jud 16:20
That being said, if God didn’t pour out His spirit into the believers forever during the first 69 weeks, what makes us think He will pour out His Spirit in during the seventieth week?
Some would say how can we say those who are “in the Lord” during the Tribulation are not part of the Church. Likewise, I would ask how can we say that those who were “in the Lord” before the Cross are not part of the Church?
Will there be Christians or “born again believers” in the Tribulation (the 70th week of Daniel), yes of course. Will the Church be there, no.
Tribulation is God's Judgment
The Tribulation is the Judgment of God on an unrepentant world and upon His adulterous wife.
Rev 14:7
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Re 15:4
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Re 16:7
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments
Are we to be Judged?
Rom 5:8-9
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
1 Thes 1:10
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thes 5:9
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rom 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 6:3
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
1 John4:17
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of
judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Jude 1:15
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Tribulation is God's wrath
In Revelation 3:10 the Church at Philadelphia was given the promise that they would be kept "from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth." The implication is clear that God's wrath would be poured out on the whole evil world as He had done at the time of the flood.
Revelation 6:16
“And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Revelation 16:1
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.”
During the Tribulation, however, there are "saints”. They are also called the "elect”. They are undoubtedly true believers in Jesus Christ, because there has been "no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. Just as it has been since the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, they may be Jews or Gentiles who have decided to receive Christ as Savior. As the story unfolds in the book of Revelation, these believers will undergo great persecution, and many of them will be martyred for the cause of Christ. Those who die are the subject of the Fifth Seal (Revelation 6:9-11). Those who survive to the end will be gathered together by angels (Matthew 24:31) and will undoubtedly be the mortals who populate the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20), as they are NOT given glorified bodies.
Lightning – (Revelation 24:27).
Frequently referred to by the Bible’s writers - Na 1:3-6
1. Thunder and lightning are spoken of as tokens of God’s wrath: 2Sa 22:15, Job 28:26 37:4, Ps 135:7 144:6, Zec 9:14
2. They represent God’s glorious and awful majesty Re 4:5
3. Some judgment of God on the world Re 20:9
God Hath Not Appointed Us to Wrath
In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul assures us that God has not appointed His people to wrath. This wrath is plainly God's anger, which will be poured out during the tribulation. Pre-tribulation believers interpret this as meaning that Christians will be removed from the earth. Post-tribulation believers tell a different story. They describe this as meaning that God will protect Christians during the tribulation and pour this wrath out on the unbelievers only. This idea runs
against the statement made in Revelation 13:7, in which the Antichrist is given power to make war with the saints and to overcome them. A post-tribulation view would make God's promise of protection from wrath into a lie. In years past, it was possible to think of being protected from the guns and swords of that day. Today, when any major war would involve nuclear and chemical weapons, it's impossible to expect that same kind of protection. When Nagasaki, Japan was bombed during World War II, the bomb exploded over a Catholic church. Everyone who was in the center of the explosion died--both Christians and non-Christians. The only way to validly interpret God's promise of protection from wrath is by viewing 1 Thessalonians 5:9 as the bodily removal of the Church from this world.
Some say that God will keep us through the Tribulation, but His word says “from” the Tribulation (Rev 3:9). The only ones promised to be kept “through” the Tribulation are limited only to the 144,000 and 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 in the Bible there is NO promise of protection during the tribulation: in fact the saints will be overcome (Dan 7:21, 25; Rev 13:7).
Others point to the Church being persecuted as in
Mat 13:21
Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
There is no similarity between persecution and the wrath of God and any attempt to do so is ridiculous. There have always been tribulations for believers and the Church, but none brought on by The Lord Jesus Christ like when He opens the seven sealed book. That is reserved for non-believers.
Some say the Tribulation is mostly Satan’s wrath and not God’s
Zephaniah 1:13 -18 show us clearly that this is the wrath of God being poured out, not the wrath of Satan.
Looking to Rev 5:1-5, we see that the only one worthy to open the book of the seven seals is Jesus Christ (God incarnate), who loosed the seven seals on the earth. The seven Spirits of God are then sent forth into all of the earth. Then we see that The Lamb of God opens the seals to be poured out on the earth. Who could logically say this tribulation is the work of Satan?
Is the Word of God a lie? God forbid! Read Revelation 6:16 & 16:1
Some have said that the Antichrist will be "given power" to "make war" against Christians "and to overcome them" (Revelation 13:7). A closer reading shows that he makes war and overcomes the saints, not the Church.
Mat 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Here is where I think there may be a little wiggle room. The first six seals are not specifically
denoted as the wrath of God. It is said that only The Lord was worth to open the seals though.
Rev 5:5
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”
He will loose all of the seals, not just the seventh. It is by His will, by His worthiness and by His might that these seals are poured out upon mankind.
Two separate events
The Rapture
The Glorious Return
Christ comes for His own
He claims His bride
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Christ returns with His own
He comes with His bride
Revelation 19:7-8 & 14
Believers taken to Father's House
John 14:1-3
Believers come to Earth
Matthew 24:30
Seen only by believers
1 Corinthians 15:52;
Hebrews 9:28
Every eye will see Him
Revelation 1:7; 19:11-16;
Matthew 24:30
No reference to Satan, in fact he
will reign if only for a short time
Satan bound for 1000 years
Revelation 20:1-3
Earth not judged
Earth judged
Revelation 20:4-5
A Mystery
1 Corinthians 15:51
Foretold in Old Testament
Dan. 12:1-3; Zech. 12:10; 14:4
Unknown Day & Hour
Mathew 25:13
1,260 days after Antichrist stands
in the temple
Revelation 12:6
Translation of all believers
1 Corinthians 15:52
No translation at all
Who is Left to Populate the Millennial Kingdom?
If the Rapture were to take place just before the battle of Armageddon (very end of the Tribulation) and all the believers were taken just before the final events of the Tribulation,
what people would become believers at the very last moments so that there would be godly people to populate the Millennial Kingdom?
Some say that there will be many Jewish people who believe at the end when they see the Lord whom they have pierced and mourn for Him. (Zechariah 12:10).
However, according to Revelation 7:3, the 144,000 are sealed before any destruction occurs:
"Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
The Judgment of the Sheep and Goats
According to Matthew 25:31-46, there will be a judgment of "sheep" and "goats" based on how people treated Israel. In the pre-tribulation view, surviving believers of the Tribulation period will qualify as the "sheep." In the post-tribulation view, all believers would have been taken at the Rapture and only a remnant from Israel itself would become believers at the very end. It is difficult to imagine that these new converts could be the "sheep" who acted kindly toward Israel.
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares also refers to the separation of believers from non-believers at the end of this age.
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
This parable makes good sense from a pre-tribulation point of view because it is similar to the Judgment of Sheep and Goats. In both cases, there are many believers and many non-believers. This takes place at "the end of the age" and the agents are angels. It is difficult for the post-tribulation position because that view does not allow for a large number of believers at the end of the age.
The Unknown Hour
When we search the Scriptures and read the passages describing the Lord Jesus' return, we find verses that tell us we won't know the day and hour of that event. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will return at an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 indicates that the Jews will have to wait on the Lord 1,260 days, starting when the Antichrist stands in the Temple of God and declares himself to be God (2 Thes 2:4). This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation (Dan 9:27). Note that some people only see a three-and-a-half-year tribulation. In a way, they are correct because the first half of the tribulation will be relatively peaceful compared to the second half. Nonetheless, peaceful or not, there still remains a seven-year period called the tribulation or the time of Jacob’s trouble. When the Jews flee into the wilderness, they know that all they have to do is wait out those 1,260 days (Mat 24:16, Rev 12:6, Rev 13:5). There is no way to apply the phrase "neither the day nor the hour" to this situation. The only way for these two viewpoints to be true is to separate the two distinct events transpiring here: 1) the rapture of the Church, which comes before the tribulation; and 2) the return of Jesus to the earth, which takes place roughly seven years later.
The great Saint U-Turn
In the pre-tribulation scenario, after we rise to meet the Lord in the air, we will go to heaven and abide there seven years (also see marriage below). At the end of that period, Christ will come down to earth, defeat the Antichrist, and cleanse the temple. In a post-tribulation rapture, we would rise in the air to meet the Lord, then do a 180-degree U-turn and come back down to earth. Revelation 1:7 states that Christ will appear out of the clouds and come down to earth. Zechariah 14:4 says that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. Is He returning for war with fine linen and riderless horses, ready to be mounted by the rising saints as they are clothed in fine linen? If He's already headed our way, why would we need to be caught up to meet Him?
Some say that we will rise to meet Him in the air, turn around as He defeats His enemies and sets His feet on the Mount of Olive, and then participate in the marriage supper. That is they say Rev 19:7-14, Rev 19:11-14, Rev 19:15, Rev 19:20, and then oops back to Rev 19:9, 17.
We must also remember that we are being called up to Him, by Him. Not that we will choose to go out and meet Him, and then turn around and join Him in the city, like on Palm Sunday.
”He” That is taken Out of the Way
Before the Antichrist can be revealed, Paul said a certain "He" must be taken out of the way. According to 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the "He" that must be removed is widely thought to be the Holy Spirit (who else could He be?). It has been promised that the Holy Spirit would never leave the Church, and without the working of the Holy Spirit remaining on earth, no one could be saved during the tribulation. The removal of the Church, which is indwelt by the Holy Ghost, would seem the best explanation for this dilemma. The working of the Holy Spirit could go on during the tribulation, but His influence would be diminished because of the missing Church (as it was in the Old Testament when God dealt with the Jews, His adulterous wife)
Notice that the Word says “he”, not it or they or her. Also notice that the he was restraining the son of perdition at the time Thessalonians was written and is still doing so now. Who else, but God The Holy Spirit could the Word be referring to.
I have heard some say that the restrainer can not be The Holy Spirit. The only reason someone would say this is because that is the only way a post-tribulation rapture could take place, not because there is scripture that points to this.
The Trumpet Call
As this is the main focal point of Post-Tribulationism, we will look at it in depth. We cannot go to the Book of Revelation and say that the voice of the seventh angel (Revelation 11:15) is the last trump. In the first century, the last trump (shofar) meant a specific day in the year. In Judaism, there are three trumpets that have a name. They are the first trump, the last trump, and the great trump. Each one of these trumpets indicates a specific day in the Jewish year. The first trump is blown on the Feast of Pentecost (Exodus 19:19). It proclaimed that God had betrothed Himself to Israel. The last trump is synonymous with Rosh HaShanah, according to Theodore Gaster in his book, Festivals of the Jewish Year, in his chapter on Rosh HaShanah. Herman Kieval also states the same thing in his book, The High Holy Days in the chapter on the shofar. The great trumpet is blown on Yom Kippur, which will herald the return of Jesus back to the earth (Matthew 24:31). We will go into this in more depth in the following paragraphs.
GOD’S TRUMPET
1Thes 4:16 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:
When did God provide a trumpet? In Gen 22:11-13 the Lord provides a Ram with two horns. There were two types of trumpets in the Old Testament; 1) a metallic (usually silver) trumpet and 2)the shofar or ram's horn.
Gen 22:11-13 “And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind
him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” The Ram was perfect and had two horns.
Rabbi Eliezer tells us in Pirkei Avot, that the left horn (first trump) was blown on Mount Sinai, and its right horn (the last trump) will be blown to herald the coming of the Lord for His Church. Isaiah 18:3 and First Thessalonians 4:13-18 speak of the resurrection of the dead. First Thessalonians chapter 5 continues with the day of the Lord and the birth pangs of the Messiah. The festivals will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, tell you that the resurrection of the dead precedes the time of Jacob's trouble (the tribulation). First Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that the dead in Christ will rise first, and that the catching away of the believers will immediately follow.
LAST TRUMPET
1Cor 15:52 “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”.
We must remember that the rapture is a calling of the Lord’s people to Him; and not the announcement of a coming judgment. These will be discussed below.
THREE JEWISH TRUMPETS
In Judaism, there are three trumpets that have a name. They are the first trump, the last trump, and the great trump. Each one of these trumpets indicates a specific day in the Jewish year.
The first trump is blown on the Feast of Pentecost (Exodus 19:19). It proclaimed that God had betrothed Himself to Israel.
The last trump is synonymous with Rosh HaShanah Festivals of the Jewish Year. The great trumpet is blown on Yom Kippur, which will herald the return of Jesus back to the earth (Matthew 24:31). The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in the books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends. It is customary to wear white on the holiday, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that our sins shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1:18). Some people wear a kittel, the white robe in which the dead are buried.
The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah or the feast of the new moon) is also referred to as 'Yom Teruah', the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar, or the Day of the Awakening Blast. Each of the thirty days of the preceding month (Elul) the trumpet is blown to warn the people to repent and return to God, before he proclaims judgment.
Yom Teruah is the only festival that no man knows the day or the hour in which it begins. This is due to the fact that it begins on the new moon. The new moon was sanctified when two witnesses see the new moon and attest to it before the Sanhedrin in the Temple. This sanctification could happen during either of two days, depending on when the witnesses come. Since no one knew when the witnesses would come, no one knew when the Feast of Trumpets would start. On the 30th of each month, the members of the High Court assembled in a
courtyard in Jerusalem, where they waited to receive the testimony of two reliable witnesses. They then sanctified the new moon. The new moon is very difficult to see on the first day because it can be seen only about sunset, close to the sun, when the sun is traveling north. So, looking for a very slim faint crescent moon, which is very close to the sun, is a very difficult thing to do. If the moon's crescent was not seen on the 30th day, the new moon was automatically celebrated on the 31st day. For this reason, Yom Teruah is always celebrated for two days. These two days are celebrated as though it is just one long day of forty-eight hours. The reason that it is celebrated for two days is because if they waited to start the celebration until after the new moon had been sanctified, they would have missed half the celebration because the new moon can only be sanctified during daylight hours. The command seems to be that we know the season, but not the day or the hour (Matthew 24:32-36).
Teruah means "an awakening blast". A theme associated with Rosh HaShanah is the theme "to awake". Teruah is also translated as "shout". The book of Isaiah, chapter 12, puts the shouting in the context of the thousand-year reign of Jesus. The Messianic era and shout is mentioned in Isaiah 44:23 and Zephaniah 3:14. The first coming of Christ is associated with a shout in Zechariah 9:9. The ultimate shout is the rapture in First Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Whether it is by the blast of a shofar or the force of a supernatural shout, God's goal is to awaken us. "...Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." -Ephesians 5:14. The book of Ephesians has many references to Rosh HaShanah and the high Holy Days. For example, in Ephesians 4:30, being sealed unto the day of redemption refers to Yom Kipur, the Day of Atonement. God gave this festival to teach us that we will be judged on Rosh HaShanah and will be sealed unto the closing of the gates on Yom KippurThe theme of awakening from sleep is used throughout the Bible. It is found in John 11:11, Romans 13:11, Daniel 12:1-2 and Psalm 78:65.
Each Sabbath, two men with silver trumpets and a man with a shofar made three trumpet blasts twice during the day. On Rosh HaShanah, it is different. The shofar is the primary trumpet. On Rosh HaShanah, a shofar delivers the first blast, a silver trumpet the second, and then a shofar the third (or last trumpet of Rosh HaShanah (last of the last))
Another name for Rosh HaShanah is 'Yom HaDin', the Day of Judgment. The righteous are separated and will be with God. This is known to Bible believers as the rapture. The wicked will face the wrath of God during the tribulation period.
The shofar blown on Rosh HaShanah is known as the last trump, which the apostle Paul mentioned in First Thessalonians 4:16-17. At this time, the believers in Christ will escape the tribulation on earth and will be taken to Heaven in the rapture along with the righteous who had died before this time.
The gates of Heaven are opened on Rosh HaShanah so the righteous nation may enter (Isaiah 26:2, Psalm 118:19-20). Because the gates of Heaven are understood to be open on Rosh HaShanah, this is further evidence that the rapture of the believers in Christ will take place on Rosh HaShanah.
.1. The Feast of Trumpets is known as the Wedding of the Messiah, and the Church is the
Bride of Christ, and the rapture is when the Church is caught up to heaven to be wed with Christ.
2. The Feast of Trumpets happens on the "new moon", which is 29.5 days after the last one, meaning it might occur on the 29th or 30th day, nobody knows for sure. "Of that day or hour no man knows" is an expression referring to this feast, and thus, the rapture.
3. The "Open Door" of the rapture in Matt 25, and Rev 3, & Rev 4:1 is a symbol of the Feast of Trumpets. [Ezek 46:1] "Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days; but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened.
4. We are told that the new moon and the Feasts of the Lord are a shadow of things to come in Col 2:16, 17. Since the Feast of Trumpets is the only Feast of the Lord that falls on a new moon, we should take particular note.
5. There are seven days of awe in between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. This is a picture the seven years of tribulation. Atonement pictures Satan being defeated and cast away at the end of tribulation. If you add the two day Trumpets feast, and the Day of Atonement, the 7 days of awe are "ten days of tribulation" which might be referred to in Rev. 2:10.
6. In the Jewish Wedding, a marriage takes place over a period of time known as the "bridal week". During the bridal week, the groom and bride have sex in the bridal chamber. At the end of the week, there is a marriage supper. Compare Judges 14, Rev. 19, and Gen. Genesis 29:22-28. This bridal week will be the tribulation week on earth, while the bride of Christ is in heaven.
7. The Feast of Trumpets is also known as the coronation of the Messiah, when he will start reigning as king, thus the beginning of the "Day of the Lord", which includes the tribulation.
8. It is also time for the bema judgment, or the judgment of the works of the righteous, and judgment must begin at the house of the Lord.
Historically, at the instant that the Jewish workers heard the trumpet of the Shofar, all would immediately stop harvesting, even if they were not finished (think about that!) and go to the Temple for worship! In those days, as it is sometimes today, a Jew & an Arab might be working side by side in the fields - but when the trumpet sounded on this particular day, the Jew would stop and go to worship, while the Arab kept on harvesting. Jesus used this same analogy in Matt. 24:36-44 of the 2nd Coming." Another interesting note - the Feast of Trumpets occurs on the 7th New Moon of the Year - (Seventh Month - Tishrei); This is a significant time for the conclusion of an age - 6,000 yrs. have already come to pass. - The 7th Millennium is about to begin!
Comforting
Wherefore comfort one another with these words
1 Corinthians 4:8
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:3
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Titus 2:10-13
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
The post-tribulation rapture viewpoint does not, can not, will not, is not a comfort.
Again, can you imagine saying the following Post-tribulation prayer in front of your family? "Please, God, I hope and pray for the tribulation to start, so that we will have to flee naked into the wilderness risking starvation and attack by wild animals and death by exposure to the elements taking our elderly and children with us. Watching our unsaved love ones die of boils and plagues by the millions. Oh we look forward to the smell. Then maybe, WOOSH off with our heads. Because then, and only then, may we be assured that Jesus will return in about 7 years." No, that is not comforting, is it?
Marriage
In the Jewish Wedding, a marriage takes place over a period of time known as the "bridal week". During the bridal week, the groom and bride have sex in the bridal chamber. Compare Judges 14, Rev. 19, and Gen. Genesis 29:22-28. In the Jewish Wedding, the groom comes for his bride "like a thief in the night" to take (size / rapture) her away and into the bridal chamber for the bridal week at his father's house. “Of that day or hour no man knows, but my Father only" is an expression used by a groom when asked when his wedding will be. He says this because it is his Father that will tell him when his preparations on the bridal chamber are completed and it is time. Again, the wedding pictures the rapture.
Also look at the wise virgins in Matthew 25:10:
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
Also notice that the Bridegroom is the one who comes, not His angels. Post-trib believers wrongly say the rapture is seen in Matthew 24:31, but notice who is doing the gathering.
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.
Speculative on my part – Not written in The Bible, but not ruled out either
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
In Luke 12:36, the Word states that when Christ returns, He will be returning from a wedding.
In Revelation 19:7-8, we read about the marriage itself. We do not find the marriage or marriage supper in earlier chapters, but we must note that here it is His wife and not His bride that is made ready.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
The marriage supper takes place after the marriage (possible the bridal week). According to Jewish custom, the marriage contract, which often includes a dowry, is drawn up first. The contract parallels the act of faith we use when we trust Jesus to be our Savior. The dowry is His life, which was used to purchase us. When it’s time for the wedding, the groom goes to the bride's house unannounced. She comes out to meet him, and then he takes her to his father's house. This precisely correlates with the events according to the pre-tribulation scenario. Jesus, the Groom, comes down from heaven and calls up the Church, His Bride. After meeting in the air, He and His Bride return to His Father's house, heaven. The marriage supper itself will take place there, while down here on earth the final events of the tribulation will be playing out. After the marriage supper of Jewish tradition, the bride and groom are presented to the world as man and wife. This corresponds to the time when Jesus returns to earth accompanied by an army "clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (Rev 19:14

1 comment:

Zelma Pack said...

>Hi Ken-
>
> Thanks for replying to my inquiry about the article on Zelma's blog. Also, thanks for the formatted copy of your study. It is easier to read in that format. I had forgotten about our interaction on the message board. I do recall now. I guess I never knew your last name.
>
> I am a fairly outspoken advocate of the PreWrath Rapture position. So when someone uses the term, it piques my interest. My contact to Zelma was not just a desire to debate differing positions, but for there to be a good understanding of what the PreWrath Rapture actually consists of.
>
> Just for background, in case you don't know but I'm sure you do, there is a position entitled the PreWrath Rapture. The term was coined by Marv Rosenthal who wrote a book entitled The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church back in 1990. Since then, many prophecy scholars have rallied around this position establishing it as one of the leading rapture positions within PreMillennialism. Notably, Roger Best, Charles Cooper, Robert VanKampen, Ron Wallace, Gary Vaterlaus, Alan Kurschner, all these are interested in keeping the platform of the PreWrath Rapture position in its basic form.
>
> So my desire to contact who wrote the article, meaning you, was for the opening portion of the article to be clarified. For one to believe in a PreWrath Rapture, they would have to believe that the rapture would occur at the sixth seal as the position teaches. The PreWrath position teaches a separation between the great tribulation which is against the church, and God's wrath which is against the ungodly. This separation is evidenced at the sixth seal. Previous to the sixth seal has been the great tribulation during the fifth seal whence we see the martyrs under the altar. Immediately after the sixth seal, the church is raptured into the presence of God. This is the great multitude which comes out of the great tribulation, Rev. 7:9-17. Then right after this, the wrath of God is poured out during the trumpets.
>
> The timing within the seventieth week of Daniel is that the great tribulation does not begin until after the midpoint. The abomination of desolation occurs at the midpoint, Daniel 9:27. After the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation begins, Matthew 24:15-21. The rapture will occur after the great tribulation which will not be allowed to continue to the end of Daniel's seventieth week, but instead be cut short, Matthew 24:22. So the second coming of Christ will be at a day and hour that no man knows, but will be heralded by cosmic signs, Matthew 24:29-30. After this, the elect, which includes the New Testament church and believers from Adam and throughout all the Old Testament, will be gathered to be with Christ. The first resurrection and rapture occur at this time.
>
> Now whether or not you agree with all of this is sort of beside the point. This is, in essence, what is known as the PreWrath Rapture position. You can read Rosenthal's book, or you could go to wikipedia. Here is a link which describes the position fairly.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prewrath_rapture
>
> Now I understand that in your article you were stating that you o not believe that the church will endure the wrath of God. So the term PreWrath, in the way that you were using, could be accurate. But to use the term should imply an understanding of the position as a whole. It seems that you may not have the matter completely settled in your mind. You state that you are leaning toward a certain view. If you like, I could explain certain matters a bit more in depth in an unofficial attempt to persuade you of the PreWrath view. If you would like to interact, let me know.

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