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Edition 320: July 13th 2016
Post-tribulation rapture impossibilities (Part 3):
Post tribulation rapture impossibilities (Part3).
Truth is a wonderful thing. It causes you to rest and be in peace as you embrace it. Most biblical truths are clear and simple and easy to understand, but some require a lot of searching, digging, praying and fighting opposition forces.
Thankfully, the Bible says that the message of salvation is so simple a child and a wayfaring man won’t go wrong in it. I wish it said that for eschatology as well!
Finding answers to deeper truths is very satisfying and comforting, but as always, bear in mind that these particular eschatology subjects are not issues of salvation.
The rapture trumpet ending the church age is about to sound. We are now right at the sunset of the church age. We are on the doorstep of a major dispensation change. The seven trumpet judgements will soon sound for Israel bringing her to correction and glorious salvation in the tribulation period.
The dispensation deniers:
There are many, big differences between the dispensations, but there is one huge, undeniable difference between the Old Covenant dispensation and the New. It is that God, in the Old Covenant operated and worked in big demonstrative ways and means. For example He brought huge judgements directly on the world, people, cities and even things. He poured plagues out, fiery judgements, floods, storms, inflicted his enemies with sickness and many such things.
The New Covenant brought a dispensation change, beginning at Pentecost, and what we call the era of grace or the long-suffering of God began. This church age of grace sees no such judgements. Yes there have been natural upheavals in the last 2000 years or so, but they have all been of natural origin. God is not sitting in heaven pushing big red buttons in this dispensation.
It can be demonstrated that some events have corresponding human rebellion associated with them, but nothing like those of the Old Covenant.
The final seven-year tribulation period is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble, which is primarily for Israel. It is also called the seventieth week of Daniel 9:27. Daniel’s seventy weeks is “determined upon My people” the Jews. There is a gap between the sixty ninth and seventieth week, where the church age fits in, but the sixty nine and seventieth week are all part of the whole and “determined” upon the Jews and not the church.
Numerous other passages of scripture show that the final seven-year tribulation is a period cut-out and determined upon the Jews dispensationally. It is the close of the full seventy weeks or the fullness and completion of the Old Covenant.
The biblical descriptions of this seven year tribulation show that the big, huge judgements that were on the go in the Old Covenant are back again in the seven-year tribulation.
God does not use natural disasters today within the church age to punish mankind. In the Old Covenant He most certainly did and will again in the tribulation period. This alone is proof of different dispensations and operations of God.
Genesis 6:17 “Behold, I Myself am bringing the flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life and everything upon the earth shall die.”
I have said all of this to prove that there are different dispensations, cut out in time in which God has chosen to work in certain different ways with man. That does not mean that God Himself has changed.
Besides this, the Bible itself speaks of different dispensations: Hebrews 1:1, Ephesians 1:10, 3:2, Colossians 1:25.
There is an almost consistent view, belief and chant from those who support a post-tribulation rapture (post tribbers), denying the existence of dispensations. Their theology requires the removal of dispensations and they’re all pretty much in the same boat.
Post tribers must get rid of Daniel’s seventieth week as a clear-cut dispensation for “My People” the Jews. A post - tribulation rapture requires the church to be on the earth in the tribulation, so that it can be raptured at the end of the tribulation.
So then, post tribbers must include the church and Jews as one single group with no separate purposes or plans upon them.
In other words Mr. Post-tribber, you are of replacement theology – like it or not. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
The post-tribber is of replacement theology in the sense that they must replace Israel as a specific cut-out group with the church, making them both one in the tribulation.
There can be no church present in the tribulation, if we have a pre-tribulation rapture. The church must be in the tribulation, if there is a post-tribulation rapture. So, if the church is in the tribulation, the seventieth week of Daniel is not for “My people” the Jews. So that part of the Bible would then be wrong.
But do you see the problem, impossible to resolve? The post-tribber has to get rid of the seventieth week as a dispensation. So, someone’s living in cloud cuckoo land!
The 144,000 conundrum:
The mid-tribulation rapture of the 144,000 totally disproves a post-tribulation rapture. It seems as though the Bible actually labours the point of not harming the earth in any way until the 144,000 are sealed.
Revelation 7:-4 “Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads. And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty four thousand of the tribes of Israel were sealed.”
Yet during the tribulation, especially the second half, we see a third of the people of the earth killed, the earth itself wrecked by multitudes of events, the sea, rivers, trees and much more destroyed, poisoned and wiped out.
It is obvious from the verse above that the 144,000 are sealed and saved near the start of the tribulation, while this angelic restriction is still in place upon the destruction of the earth.
Revelation 14:1-5 reveals more on the 144,000. They are now seen in heaven after their mid-tribulation rapture and after much destruction upon the earth.
Now let’s remember that the post-tribbers must get rid of dispensations. They must include the 144,000 Jews with the church. They can’t have them as a distinct separate group of people.
The post tribber, according to their own beliefs have to include the 144,000 in their post-tribulation rapture, which, according to them, occurs right at the end of the tribulation.
Do you see the un-resolvable problem?
The Bible clearly teaches that the 144,000 are in heaven at mid-tribulation. This does not have enough weight to mean that the entire church will go in a mid tribulation rapture. These 144,000 Jews, as they arrive in heaven are called the first fruits. But these are the first fruits of the Jews as a dispensation. The church is the “first fruits” of the church dispensation, and arrive in heaven right at the start of the tribulation.
Sheep and goats:
A post tribulation rapture would see the church raptured at the Second Coming, do a U-turn and return to the earth, which would now have all unbelievers removed from the earth. So who then are the “sheep and goat” nations to be separated by judgment at the Second Coming?
If this were the case, obviously the “sheep” nations are still on earth at the Second Coming and would not be the ones returning in the U-turn rapture. If the “sheep” nations had already been to heaven, been rewarded, seen in their heavenly attire, how can they also be the ones on earth awaiting the Second Coming?
At the Second Coming, we all agree that the goat nations, the unbelievers of the world are cast off the earth, removed in judgement to hell. So, if the sheep nations, the tribulation saints, are raptured at the Second Coming, we have an empty earth and no one to repopulate it in the Millennium.
This is a post-tribulation rapture impossibility.
The antichrist rules in the Millennium if you are a post-tribber!
Of course, and rightly so, many would object to this headline! But read on, and you will see the post-tribber’s dilemma.
The rapture and the removal of the restrainer occur at the same time. The restrainer is the one who is preventing the antichrist from being revealed. The restrainer is the true church indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So, for the tribulation to begin, the antichrist must be revealed and present upon the earth. For this to occur, what is holding him back from being revealed must be removed.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (the entire tribulation) will not come unless the falling away (Lit=departure) comes first, and the man of sin (antichrist) is revealed, the son of perdition.”
(The term “falling away” as used here does not mean falling away from the faith, but rather the departure of the church. Look it up)
2 Thessalonians 2:7 “The mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains, (church indwelt by Holy Spirit) will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (antichrist) will be revealed...”
So, in these two verses above we see that the restrainer, who most now believe is the church indwelt by the Holy Spirit, must be removed for the antichrist to be revealed. The removal of the church is also the very thing that closes the church dispensation. These two events must happen together. You can’t have the church dispensation still open during the seventieth week dispensation.
The thing that actually starts the tribulation period is the Daniel 9:27 peace covenant, but it is this that also reveals the antichrist. So, when we put it all together, this is the order: The peace covenant is signed (confirmed), the church is raptured, and the antichrist is revealed. All must occur in very close proximity to each other.
So now, how can any of this fit a post-tribulation rapture scenario? That would mean that the church would have to be raptured at the end of the tribulation as the antichrist is revealed and a peace covenant is signed, all as we go into the Millennium! Sorry – it just doesn’t fit at all!
That would mean that the antichrist is around and in force during at least the first seven years of the Millennium!
Do you see the impossible post-trib scenario?
The “gathering together” after the tribulation:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God and the dead will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort on another with these words.”
The classic rapture verses above are often shot-down by the post tribbers quoting Matthew 24:31.
Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
The post tribbers point out some similarities between the two discourses and then say – “you see, the rapture happens at the end of the tribulation.” What we must do is look at the differences and not only the similarities between the two.
Here are some of the differences between Matthew’s description and Paul’s: Only Matthew speaks of: the sun being darkened, the moon not giving its light, the stars falling from the sky, the powers of the heavens being shaken, all the tribes of the earth mourning, the whole world seeing the coming of the Son of Man, God sending His angels to gather the elect.
Paul’s account has none of those descriptions.
In Matthew 24 our Lord comes slowly down through the clouds with all eyes seeing Him. In Paul’s account we rise in a blinding flash, the twinkling of an eye to meet our Lord in the air, seen by no one else. In Matthews account, the angels gather the elect in Paul’s account our Lord Himself does.
There are numerous visible, demonstrative sign before the Second Coming in Matthews account and no prior signs at all before the rapture in Paul’s account.
In Matthews account the saints are gathered on the earth for our Lord’s return. In Paul’s account, the saints are translated immediately to heaven.
The “elect” of Matthew 24 are the remnant Jews, saved in the tribulation and not the church. It is the church which is the subject of Paul’s discourse.
In Matthew’s account we have the words “gather together.” This is referred to by the post-tribbers as the rapture. The word is Strong’s G1996 “episynago” meaning “to bring together or gather into one place”. It does not mean rapture. It is the gathering of the Jews together after their scattering through the world, for the purpose of their salvation.
Matthew 24’s account includes passages of reference from various books of the Old Covenant. This is not the case in Paul’s discourse at all. This implies again that the Jews are in view in Matthew’s account and the church in Paul’s account.
Another little snippet of proof of difference lies in the fact that Matthew’s account speaks of the gathering of the elect from the four winds, from one end of the earth to the other. This is exactly the phrase used by God describing the scattering of the Jews for their rebellion to Him. Again, the Jews are in view here.
So we see the same phrases used for the scattering of the Jews and for their regathering.
What about the rapture trumpet and the trumpet of God in Matthew’s account. Are they not one and the same? No they are not.
Isaiah 27:13 “It shall be in that day that the great trumpet will be blown; they shall come who are about to perish in Assyria, and they who are outcasts in Egypt and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount in Jerusalem.” – The “great trumpet” here relates to Israel’s ingathering.
The church is not seen on earth in the tribulation verses of the Revelation. But surprisingly neither is the church in view in Matthew’s account of the tribulation in chapter 24. The church is not in view in Daniels seventy weeks, nor is the church in view in the time of Jacob’s trouble (tribulation).
There is an undeniable consistency used in the passages describing the tribulation, both Old and New Covenants and this is that the Jews are in focus and not the church.
The Bible itself distinguishes between the Jews and the church. Many post tribbers deny this.
But before we write off the post tribber altogether, let me inform you that there are one or two other important “doctrines” and portions of scripture that they hang their beliefs on. I will deal with them in a future edition. I’ve kept their most compelling argument till last, but you can relax, because it will also be the final nail in their coffin.
The book of remembrance:
Malachi 3:16-17 “Those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and those who esteem His name. They shall be Mine says the Lord of hosts, on the day that I make them my special treasure, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
The verse above is not the “Lamb’s book of life.” This is a very special book for a select few of the Lord’s real special favourite people. The main characteristic of these people is that they “feared the Lord!” They valued and “esteemed” or respected and uplifted the name of the Lord, which relates to all of His characteristics and the entirety of His word.
These verses fly in the face of political correctness. You can protest that “God does not show favour,” and you would be wrong, O so very wrong!
God does not show favour, in terms of who gets saved, but after salvation, God not only shows and has favourites, He rewards them, protects them and records their names in a special book which lasts and endures forever!
There are other wonderful hidden mysteries about this spectacular, magnificent book, which I’ll share another time.
You can scream the odds that God is not politically correct, but instead of sitting on your high horse judging God without fear, it would be a better idea to fall on your face in repentance before God.
By this way, this amazing book will always have few entries in it. It is for the few and not the majority.
It’s such a good idea to surrender totally to our Lord in fear, love and humility.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “We, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Transformed = Strong’s G3339, “metamorphoo” = To change form to another.
This verse above relates to our on-going transformation as we renew or exchange our minds for His and the word of God.
The real great news is that there is soon coming a time when this transformation will instantly switch to the full and complete transformation and metamorphosis of our entire body, mind and soul, into an image of untold glory.
That’s a good thought to always keep in mind even when we go through difficult times.
I took this picture of an ancient camel-thorn tree in the Namib Desert, converted it to black and white, add some textures and the flower for interest
Shalom and grow in grace!