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Busting the Pre-tribulation Rapture Myth! April 18, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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As I read the scriptures the more I find evidence which completely destroys the pre-tribulation rapture “theory”. Though I would not call myself a student of eschatology nor have I conducted much study on the subject, my excursions into this area has opened me up to certain truths that have been missed by students who have been studying this subject area for years. One of those simple truth is that if there were going to be a pre-tribulation rapture or even a mid-tribulation rapture then the disciples doesn’t seem to have been aware of it. The Apostle Peter for example, who was with Jesus from the time of His early ministry doesn’t seem to have any knowledge of a pre-tribulation rapture when he wrote the following passage:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:10-16)

What do we learn from this passage then? From verse 10 we learn that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (Matt 24:43, 1 Thess 5:20). It should be noted here that pre-tribulation supporters are agreed that “the Lord coming as a thief in the night” is the same day of the rapture which the unsaved will not be aware of due to the fact that Jesus comes hidden in the clouds and only those that are caught up with Him will see Him. As a result everyone else that are “Left Behind” will be here to face the tribulation during the anti-christ’s reign. However we also learn from verse 10 of the above passage that at the day when the Lord comes as a thief in the night, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” John describes the same event though in slightly different language in Revelations 6:12-17. This picture therefore does not fit with the pre-tribulation rapture theory then because every one on earth will be able to see that the heavens have dissolved and departed. So then it is either this day which Peter speaks of is the day when Jesus visibly returns to earth or there is another separate day in which Jesus comes to perform the pre-tribulation rapture then comes visibly to earth. However, there is no such day that can be found in scripture anywhere. From the prophets of old through to the present the day of the Lord has been spoken of as a single day and not two days. Here is the clincher. Peter says in verse 12 that “we” should be “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God”.

Question: If the rapture takes place before the day of God, a day in which the heavens are dissolved or depart as a scroll why is Peter admonishing “us” to look for and haste unto the coming of this day? This of course would be irrelevant if the church would not be around (on earth) to witness this day. So what he should have said then is that “we” should be looking for and hasting unto the coming of the rapture – but he did not say that.

Question: If “we” (the church) are looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, will this day happen before the tribulation or after the tribulation spoken by Jesus in Matt 24:21? The answer can be found here in the following scripture:

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 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. (Matt 24:29-31)

In conclusion, we have therefore learn that the day of the Lord, which comes as a thief in the night will occur “immediately after the tribulation of those days”. This is the same day spoken of by Paul in I Thess 5:2. So in spite of Peter being privy to all the epistles which Paul had written to the church (see verses 15-16); privy to the Olivet Discourse prophesies since he was there in person; privy to the scriptures of Daniel; he seems to demonstrate a distinct lack of knowledge concerning a pre-tribulation rapture. The implication then is that neither Paul’s epistles nor the scriptures in Luke or even Daniel can be used to support the pre-tribulation rapture position. Where then is the evidence for the pre-tribulation or even mid-tribulation position?

A Brief Perspective on Luke 21:36 and Rev 3:10 March 16, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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I have decided to put this post out to address those two verses which are used to support the pre-tribulation rapture viewpoint, primarily because I do not want to be accused of running away from “key” evidence. On the face of it these two scriptures might imply that believers will somehow escape the prophesied events leading up Christ’s physical and bodily return earth. However these verses should not be read in isolation but be read in conjunction with the other verses of the passage. In Luke 21: 31 for example Jesus says, “when you see these things happening (the signs of the end), you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Emphasis mine)

 If Luke 21:36 therefore meant that the church would not witness the signs why ever would Jesus say “when you see these things happening”. Here are the scriptures:

 Luke 21 

30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32“ I tell you the truth, this generationb will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “ Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (constrast with Rev 6:15-17)

 Again looking at verse 36 Jesus admonished the Disciples (and the rest of the church) to watch. If Jesus’ return is “imminent”, and He can come at anytime without warning to rapture the church, why does He give this exhortation to watch? Clearly the exhortation to watch is in relation to the signs given and this is supported by verse 30 where Jesus related the sign of summer when the trees start to sprout leaves. It must be noted though that the admonition to watch is also in relation to the condition of ones heart and state of readiness to meet Christ as per verse 34. So then if the church were to “escape” these things by way of the rapture then there would not be a need for watching for these signs. Could the use of the word “escape” mean something different then? Perhaps a clue to the meaning can be gleaned from 1 Cor 10:13:

 1 Cor 10:

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

 In this portion of scripture we learn that God will not suffer us to be temted above what we are able to bear and that with the temptation He will also make a way to escape that we may be able to bear it. Note here that though there is a way of “escape” this does not mean one will not witness the temptation but the “escape” allows us to be able to bear it. Could it be then that the same thing was meant in Luke 21:36, in that we will not be miraculously whisked away from the evils of the day but that the Lord will enable us to bear it by means of an “escape”? Bear in mind that the scripture of Luke 21 is saying “when you see these things” when it uses the term “escape”.

 So then in relation to Rev 3:10, could the term “keep you from the hour of trail” have a similar rendering to the use of the word “escape” in 1 Cor 10:13 above?

 Rev 3

10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.

 This verse of Rev 3 however should really be conflated with Rev 2:10 for further understanding:

 Rev 2:10

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

 Is there any promise here that the church of Smyrna will miraculously escape these things by way of a rapture? No! Yet Jesus is saying to them to fear none of the evil that will befall them. Could it therefore mean the “escape” relate to Jesus aiding them to be able to bear what shall befall them?

A Review of the Olivet Discourse – Matthew 24 March 8, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Olivet Discorse prophesies of Matthew 24 and one of those confusions reside in the assertion by mainly “preterists” that the prophesies Jesus spoke were to be fulfilled in the Disciples lifetime. However is it plausible that these prophesies could have been fulfilled in the Disciples lifetime? It is important to be able to understand this passage especially in relation to who Jesus was speaking and it’s implications for us today. The key to unlocking the passage though resides in verse 3:

 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

 From the beginning of the chapter Jesus started out by relating to the disciples what would befall the temple in Jerusalem, in that it would be destroyed at an appointed time. Now the desciples proceeded to ask Jesus to, ”Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” There are three separate questions rolled into one here. First, when shall these things be, i.e., the destruction of the temple; second, what shall be the sign of thy coming; third, what shall be the sign of the end of the world? The two last questions are obviously interrelated however.

 Where confusion arises however is that in verse 34 of the passage Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass till all these things (everything He outlined in the previous verses including His return) be fulfilled.” Based on this verse, the assumption is therefore made that Jesus meant that the prophesies he spoke would be fulfilled in the Disciples lifetime. Some interpreters may wrongly claim also that Jesus only meant the destruction of the Temple would occur in “this generation” since we know with the benefit of hindsight that this occurred in 70 A.D. when the Roman general Titus sacked Jerusalem. But this ignores the fact that Jesus said “till all these things be fulfilled”. To “confuse” the matter Jesus told the disciples in John 16 that: 16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. This again gives weight to the preterist’s arguments, if taken literally, that Jesus had to return in the Disciples lifetime. The first question to be answered therefore is what did Jesus mean by “this generation shall not pass”? Secondly, what did Jesus mean in John 16:16? Would the Disciples really see him after a little while and how long is a “little while”?

 In answer to the first question aforementioned I would venture to suggest that by “generation” Jesus meant the generation of New Testament believers – in other words the dispensation of the New Covenant constituting a “generation”. It is clear from scripture that there will not be another dispensation given to man in this life before the end comes. In verse 14 of Matthew 24 for example, Jesus said:

 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

 Since “this generation” shall not pass till the end comes and the end cannot come until “this gospel of the kingdom be preached in all the world”, then “this generation” must necessarily mean the “generation” of the church age and not generation in terms of age groupings. To reinforce this point however we can look at an example from the Old Testament. In Gen 17 God made a covenant with Abraham pertaining to circumcision. Looking at verses 9 and 13 it says:

 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

 We see here that the covenant of circumcision was to be an everlasting covenant in the flesh unto Abraham and his seed in their generations. However, was circumcision an everlasting covenant to this day and to the end of time or was it a covenant for the period appointed, i.e. their generations? To answer this we may look at Acts 21:20-21

 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

 If therefore the covenant made with Abraham regarding circumcision was meant to be everlasting why was Paul teaching the Jews not to observe circumcision? Clearly the covenant was appointed to the generation/s of that dispensation only and it was therefore everlasting to them.

 The other point of contention therefore is what did Jesus mean in John 16:16 when He said, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me”? Scripture tells us in 2 Peter 3:8 that a thousand years is like a day with God: 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. It is also interesting to note that Peter said this when he warned that in the latter times there will be scoffers asking where is Jesus’ promised coming (see verse 4)? So then a “little while” to Jesus might be thousands of years to us. But if Jesus were to return thousands of years after the Disciples death why then did he say that they will see Him? The answer clearly is that those who died in Christ will be resurrected at His coming and so if they regain their life then they will of course see Him. John puts it this way:

 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 John 3:2)

 In summary therefore it is clear that when men misinterpret Jesus’ words they technically make His word into a lie and this is why we need to be careful how we read the scriptures and what interpretations we accept. Jesus sets out a chronology of the events that would precede His coming and He stated clearly that all these things will be fulfilled then the end comes. Evidently the end could have come around the Disciples lifetime because Jesus said no one knows the day nor hour of His coming, not the Son but the Father. So if He didn’t know it wasn’t unreasonable of the Disciples to expect His coming in their life-time. But with the benefit of history we know that all these things have not yet been fulfilled, though some have, but can occur at anytime into the future. One question I would like readers to ponder however is to put themselves in the Disciples shoes and ask themselves whether the Disciples felt from having heard Jesus’ words on the Mout of Olive, that they would be raptured before the promised tribulation.