Pre-tribulation Rapture Myth and the Remnant of Israel May 24, 2011Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
Tags: False Doctrines, pre-tribulation, rapture, remnant of Israel, replacement theology
I have done a number of articles in which I have attempted to dispel the myth of the pre-tribulation rapture but in this study I will attempt to approach the subject from a different angle than I have done before.
Numerous studies have so far been carried out and numerous books, articles and blog posts have been written concerning the end times scenarios yet many are completely wide of the mark concerning the realities of those times. One of the popular positions is that the church will be “raptured” (secretly, unbeknownst to the world) sometime prior to the opening of the first Seal mentioned in the Book of Revelations. Following this event it is believed Israel will go through a seven year tribulation period (supposedly Daniel’s 70th week, See Daniel 9). It is believed that at the start of this week (the seven last years of planet earth) the anti-christ will make a covenant with Israel and in the middle of the week (3.5 years later) the anti-christ will break the covenant and cause the sacrifice and oblation offered by the Jews in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (The third temple) to cease. This will be followed by the setting up of the abomination of desolation in the temple culminating with great tribulation at the hands of the anti-christ. It is then believed that it is out of this “hour of trial” that Israel will be saved and will be gathered to meet Jesus at His full appearing when all eyes shall behold Him. This is normally the general view adopted especially by pre-tribulation rapture “theorists”. In my view however all of this is simply fancily suppositions by people who do not apply proper exegesis in interpreting scriptures.
The first glaring contradiction in the afore-mentioned scenario is that though it is claimed that Daniel’s 70th week marks 7 years of tribulation, in effect there is only 3.5 years of tribulation since the first 3.5 years are characterised by a period of peace. This point however is just an aside and is of little consequence to the business end of this study.
One of the important points to note is that in order for the “theorists” to arrive at their conclusions they make namely two false claims. First they claim that Israel rejected God and therefore salvation went to the Gentiles instead and therefore Israel will only be saved after having gone through the tribulation at the hands of anti-christ (the beast of Revelations 13). The second false claim is that the saints who are persecuted by the anti-christ are merely tribulation saints who are distinct and apart from the church which has already been raptured sometime before or at the start of the 7 year tribulation period. In support of this latter claim it is suggested that the Holy Spirit will no longer be on earth when the church is raptured and so these saints are saved perhaps through the preaching of the “Two Witnesses”. Of course none of this is supported in scripture and I will demonstrate why.
The first thing we should note is that salvation came to the Jew first and then to the Gentiles (Rom 1:16). The question here then is this: Did allIsrael reject the gift of salvation? The apostle Paul had this to say in Romans 10:
1Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
We know from these verses that there is no “special way” for the Jew (or Israel) to be saved but through the said Gospel that is available to the gentiles. So then howbeit that some argue that the Jew will only be saved at an appointed time during the so-called 7 year tribulation period? Are we to believe that no Jew (or Israelites) were saved though God purposed salvation to come to them first. God forbid. In verse 16 of the same passage of Rom 1 Paul went further to say this:
16But they have not all obeyed the gospel.
Although not all Israel believed the gospel the crucial point is that some did – a remnant of Israel did believe the gospel even though the majority might not have believed. First, John the Baptist preached to the Jews and baptized many unto repentance. Then Jesus came and preached the gospel to the Jews and sent His 12 disciples to the lost sheep of the Houses of Israel (the 12 tribes). The theorists seem to forget therefore that the early church largely comprised of Jews initially before the gospel was spread abroad to the gentile nations. It isn’t correct therefore to say that the Jews rejected salvation – whilst some did, not all did. God had purposed to save a remnant through the election of grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 11:5, Rom 9:27). The point needs to be emphasized here that God will not save this remnant of Israel at the end of the tribulation period after gentile Christians had been “raptured” but they were being saved since the going forth of the Gospel. Paul refers to these as the “first fruits” in verse 16 (Note that the 144,000 males of the 12 tribes of Israel are also referred to as the “first fruits” to God [Rev 14:4] – Christ being the first of the first fruits).
Having now established that God had purposed to save a remnant of Israel through the election of Grace and that this remnant are regarded as a type of “first fruits” unto God we can now address the issue of the “pre-tribulation rapture”. The pre-tribulation rapture is defined as an event where Christ will secretly come in the clouds and gather all those that are his prior to the beast of Revelations 13 establishing his [second] kingdom. Do the scriptures support this view? If there were to be such an event as a pre-trib rapture then surely the remnant of Israel that are saved through grace would surely be amongst those that are raptured during the “first resurrection and catching away”. However, Revelations 12 presents a serious problem for this argument [if indeed the events of Rev 12 are in the future and not already fulfilled]. The relevant verse says this:
17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Note here that the woman referenced is Israel and this can be gleaned if we read from verse 1. The poignant point here then is whether the Lord would indeed rapture the “second fruits” (the gentile Christians) and leave His “first fruits” who incidentally have also been saved according to the election of Grace (they have the testimony = Gospel of Jesus Christ) at the mercy of the anti-christ beast. If there were any rapture taking place the first fruits would most certainly have been among the first to be raptured. Similarly the 144,000 who are referred to as first fruits to God were sealed first before the great multitude were seen gathering before God’s throne at the opening of the 6th Seal (Rev 7). If the scripture says therefore that the remnant, which we understand to mean those Jews who accept Christ since the inception of the church, were left for the dragon to make war with them then you can rest assured that so too the rest of the church will be left at the mercy of the dragon. This remnant are not merely tribulation saints but they include those who have the election of grace since the gospel began.
Perhaps the Lord has a plan and a purpose for the remainder of the Jews [Israel] who have rejected Christ but the remnant will clearly face the dragon which has 7 heads, 10 horns and 10 crowns as per Rev 12:17. That remnant isn’t separate and apart from the church but they are numbered amongst the church. This scripture clearly demonstrates that there is no basis on which a pre-tribulation rapture can be established. I pray that people will wise up to the truths of these end days.