Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nail #1

The sadness of tradition involved with the Pre-trib rapture

I have some points I use in debates with “pre-tribulation rapturists” that prove my belief about the church going into the Great Tribulation and/or the non-existence of the pre-tribulation rapture.  I have invited them to offer me proof of their position as well and they are unable to adequately prove their position with Scripture, nor disprove mine.

Each blog post listed to the right, or "Nail," covers biblical evidence the Church WILL go into the final 7 years (i.e. Daniel’s 70th week) OR proof against the Pre-tribulation rapture.

One of the first things I’d like to point out is that nowhere in the Bible is this 7-year period called the Tribulation.  The 7 years is divided into three time periods, of which Jesus refers to two of them in Matthew 24:
1. The “Beginning of Sorrows” which is the first 3.5 years (Matthew 24:8); and
2. The “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) which starts at the mid-point of the 7-year period, or Daniel’s 70th Week (Daniel 9:27).

We do not know how long the Great Tribulation will be but God ends it with the Rapture which occurs immediately before the beginning of the “Day of the Lord,” also known as the wrath of God, which is the third segment or time period within the 7 years.  Regarding the length of time of God’s wrath, the only thing we know is that the 5th trumpet judgment is 5 months long (Revelation 9:1-11).  Other than that it’s possible that God could drop every other trumpet and bowl (vial) judgment on the earth very quickly.

Bottom Line - I believe the Bible clearly teaches the Church will go into and through “The Beginning of Sorrows” AND “The Great Tribulation” and those Christians who are alive and have survived (1 Thessalonians 5:15,17) will be taken off the earth before God’s wrath begins.

By the way - The reason I will be using the term “nails” in the subject line is because I’m putting nails in the coffin of the Pre-Trib Rapture theory that got its start in the 1830s.

Nail #1 - Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
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;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Some otherwise excellent and strong preachers have said that there is no more prophesy that must be fulfilled before the Lord returns.  This is not what Scripture says! Paul himself wrote in the verses above, BEFORE the Lord’s return and “our being gathered to Him” the man of lawlessness must be revealed.  Our “being gathered together to Him” is the rapture and the man of lawlessness is the Antichrist.

So, read that Scripture again with the meaning the same but different word phrases - “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church, ... it will not happen until the Antichrist has been revealed, exposed, for who he is.”  Now Christians have different opinions as to what revealed or exposed means but according to verse 4 above and Daniel 9:27 (which supports verse 4), I believe he will be revealed to the whole world for who he really is when he stops the sacrifice in the middle of the 7 years (Daniel’s 70th week) and sets himself up as God in the rebuilt temple.  This is one of the signs Jesus told His apostles to look for: the abomination of desolation - (Matthew 24:15).  If someone doesn’t consider that being revealed, I don’t know what would.  But the Antichrist will be revealed BEFORE the Rapture.

Now some good strong Christians who misunderstand this passage will say that the word “apostasy” in v3 is referring to the rapture of the church.  That position in fact is impossible because it involves circular reasoning.  Let’s reword the Passage to take their understanding as fact: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the rapture of the Church, ... that won't happen until the church is first raptured and the Antichrist is revealed.”  The rapture of the church won't occur until we are first raptured?  That is circular reasoning.

Second, the Greek word for apostasy is apostasia and it is NEVER used in any of the classic rapture passages for what will happen to the church when Christ returns.  It is used only one other time in the New Testament and it is in Acts 21:21 regarding FORSAKING Moses.  Please consider that context: the Church being forsaken?  No, God said that He would never forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).

One other thing to pay attention to is that Paul ties three events together, they happen on the SAME day. (Matthew 24:38-39, Luke 17:26-30)
1 - The coming of our Lord. (Verse 1)  The Greek word translated as “coming” is parousia and it is a noun, meaning it is an event, not a verb indicating come or go, enter or exit.
2 - Our gathering together to Him, the rapture. (verse 1)  The usage of the word indicates an upward gathering (episynagoge).  You can see the prefix and word where that idea comes from. Epi meaning above - (like epidermis being the top level of skin), and synagogue - in the most common use it is where Jews would gather to worship on the sabbath.  Epi - above or upward; synagoge - gathering.  Here are some Rapture passages where the word or its root is used - Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:272 Thessalonians 2:1.  The use of the word in Matthew and Mark are verbs because the angels are doing the gathering but in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 it is a noun referring to the gathering itself, or the body of believers.
3 - The Day of the Lord. (verse 2)  The Day of the Lord is not a single 24-hour day but a period of time when God’s Wrath will be poured out upon the Earth.

These three things happening together is important and I will show why in a future “Nail.”

Bottom Line of Nail #1: The next prophetic event that may occur regarding the sequence of the end-times is the rise of the Antichrist, not as an evil fiend killing millions but as the world's savior bringing peace and safety.  He will be loved by billions.  According to 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the rapture will NOT take place until AFTER this man is revealed as the Antichrist - whenever you believe that is.

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