Edition 89. September 11th 2011
Pre, Mid or Post tribulation rapture
News events and comment.
●Many reports from astronomers around the world say comet Elenin has split in two and virtually disintegrated. If true there will be no effects on earth at all. we need to be careful in dealing with extra-Biblical issues.
●Throughout the Middle East governments are teetering on the edge. What a time for a new political super-saviour to walk onto the stage! Just the climate for the antichrist!
●Nations around the world are teetering on the edge of an economic disaster. What a time for a new political super-saviour to walk onto the stage with a big fix-it!
●Turkey says will send warships with new flotilla ships headed to Gaza.
●A huge problem is brewing as a result of the "Arab Spring" uprisings. Egypt, Libya, Yemen and others are being left with little food, water and general supplies. Food production has disappeared and little to no imports have taken place. It is fast becoming a major crisis in all the middle eastern countries except Israel. Interestingly one of the reasons for the Arab invasion of Israel (Ezekiel 38&39) is "to take a spoil." Israel is rich with food commodities.
●A secret classified report says Iran is planning to build nuclear missiles. The IAEA says it believes the report: "Iran is pursuing development of nuclear weapons." Iran is now installing weapons grade uranium centrifuges in deep underground facilities. Both Russia and China have been helping Iran. There is no way Israel will allow full development.
●Thousands of Egyptians gather in Cairo. They break into and destroy the Israeli Embassy, set fire to its flag. Chants of Israel's destruction rang out.
●Israeli General Eyal Eisenberg, warns of "all out war" when the Arab Spring turns to a "radical Islamic winter."
●There is one new fast-arising common denominator within the Arab spring and that is - unified hostility towards Israel. The regular western media is not reporting on any of this dangerous undertone. The West is blind to the quickly radicalizing Middle East.
●Palestinians leaders say UN statehood bid will be "our moment of truth." They don't know that God's truth supersedes their lie
●UN head Ban K-moon says "Palestinian statehood is long overdue."
●Palestinians say they will resume peace talks with Israel after recognition of statehood at the UN. - Abbas. Could this be pointing to the fateful seven year peace treaty, which reveals the antichrist?
●Netanyahu accidentally says of Ariel Sharon "May he rest in peace." He quickly corrected himself and wished him long life! Ynet News, carrying the story had an unrelated advertisement right next to the story headed "When will you die?"(Some readers will know why this may have prophetic significance!)
●Turkey looks to signing military pact with Egypt. That's a dangerous alignment!
●A new world financial crisis is now upon us. I read a headline the other day which said, "When this is over, all hell's gonna break loose." Little did the poor journalist know how right he is!
Pre, Mid or Post tribulation rapture
Introduction: I've studied this subject extensively since 1980. I've read and rejected many books and their views. I've also read some good ones. Perhaps the most significant study was the three times when I separated myself to read the Bible through from cover to cover. This was under the influence of nobody and no church view or doctrine. I can't stress enough the liberation and importance of Bible study alone, under the exclusive leading of the Holy Spirit.
All books and study material must be secondary to the Bible itself.
The best and most complete is Dwight Pentecost's monumental work "Things to come" written in 1950 and published by Zondervan. It's a powerful, big thick 700 pager. I've read it through many times.
Please be aware that as we head closer into these things deception will intensify. You need to be fully prepared with the full armour of God through the Holy Spirit. A major characteristic of the end-time period is great deception. Yeshua / Jesus warned of it five times in His end-time discourse given on the Mount of Olives.
This evil age of spiritual darkness with its god, Satan is about to end with the wrath, fury and anger of God in the most cataclysmic judgements of all time. But first of all our God will remove His own who are His family by birth.
There will be a rapture. That is an absolute certainty. The only people who reject the rapture (at any time) are those who believe in the allegorical method of interpretation of scripture. These are generally counterfeit believers who place themselves above God making the Bible say whatever they want it to say. Of course Satan has led them into the trap of delegitimizing the Bible, claiming that it can't be interpreted literally.
Some say that the word rapture does not appear in the Bible. They are right. The original word used is "harpazo". It means to "catch up by force". The English word rapture is simply a word that has evolved from others meaning the same thing. So it's pointless to argue the issue.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 "For this we say to you by the word of our Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will by no means preceded those who are asleep (dead) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (rapture) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we will always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 "Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed - In a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.:
Philippians 3:20-21 "For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform out lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself."
The Pre-tribulation rapture position:
This is the most logical and accurate view when compiling all scripture.
The pre-tribulation rapture position is synonymous with the Biblical teaching on dispensations. For more on dispensations please see edition:53
If you don't understand the truth of dispensations you will get many things all mixed up. By the way, those who reject Bible dispensations have no answer for the nine times the original word occurs in the New Testament.
The most common verses relating to the rapture are 1Thessalonians 4:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Both have reference to a trumpet blast and neither have any reference to suffering through the tribulation. The verses speaking of the second coming at the end of the tribulation in Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 have no reference to a rapture or trumpet sound.
In fact the Bible specifically says that we are not appointed to wrath (1Thessalonians 5:19)
●Of the seven churches in the Revelation, one is promised that it will escape the tribulation. Revelation 3:10. "Because you have kept My word to persevere, I will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world."
In the above verse the "hour of trial to come upon the whole earth" is obviously not one hour. It's a well used term for a wider period. For example we say "in this day age..." We don't mean a day do we? The "hour of trial" is a reference to the tribulation period.
The original word used in the verse saying "I will keep you from" is the word "ek" which means "clean out away from." It most certainly does not mean "I will preserve you through." It is a word that is associated with the rapture.
Another church, in the seven letters of the Revelation is the church of Thyatira. This is most certainly a reference to the Catholics and similar orthodox churches. It is promised that it will be cast into great tribulation. Revelation 2:22 "I indeed will cast her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her, into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds."
In the above verse "great tribulation" has the definite article in front of it in the original. In other words it is not tribulation in the general sense but the great tribulation.
If we are all going to go through the tribulation why is that church specifically singled out and told it will go through the great tribulation?
If we are all going through the tribulation why is one church promised that it will "escape all these things" and be caught clean out away from the hour of trial (tribulation)?
The message to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:16 promises that this church will be "spewed out of My mouth." Although it does not say so exactly, many including myself, believe that this "spewing out" is into the tribulation period.
●The seven letters to the churches in the Revelation are very interesting. They plot the course of church history. The letters end at the start of chapter four. Revelation 4:1 "I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven and the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking saying "come up here"". This is undoubtedly a reference to the rapture. After this point no mention is made of the church on earth. In fact the church is next seen at the marriage feast of the Lord in heaven and then returning to the earth with our Lord at the second advent right at the end of the tribulation.
In the message to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, the word "church" appears 19 times. The church does not appear again on earth in the Revelation. There are "saints" seen on earth during the tribulation, but these are they that get saved in the tribulation. In Revelation 4:4 we see 24 elders in heaven. These have crowns and are clothed in white. Some say that these are angles. This is a reference to church leadership. Angles are never seen with crowns or said to be clothed in white. What are these elders doing in heaven right at the start of the tribulation?
The seventieth week of Daniel:
Daniel 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city." The word "week" is "shabua" which literally means a seven. It does not mean it's a week of days. In the context, it is clearly a week or seven of years. In other words, what's being spoken of here is a 70X7=490 year period.
This 490-year period ending in the second coming, would have been completed long ago if there were not a gap between the 69th and 70th, as implied in the section of scripture. This gap is the 2000 year-church era. But the 70th week (the tribulation period) is part of the 69 in every way, form and character. This is one of the essential discourses on the importance of dispensations.
The full 70 weeks is "determined for your people and holy city" There is no doubt that this is referring to the Jewish people and Jerusalem The church is not viewed here at all.
The church age begins at the Feast of Pentecost and ends at the rapture. The tribulation will begin on a Feast of Trumpets and ends with the second coming.
The church is not seen in the 69 nor the 70th week. The whole church era was a "mystery" to the Old Testament. - Ephesians 3:9
There are many other words in the Bible describing this full seven-year period. It is called a period of "wrath", "punishment", "the hour of trial", "destruction", "darkness", "the time of Jacob's trouble," and others. The whole period bears this character. In every single verse of scripture, the Jews and not the church are seen and being dealt with. There is not one exception.
Daniel 9:27 reveals that the lawless one (antichrist) will be revealed and manifest right at the start of the seventieth week of years (the tribulation)
Of course we need to bear in mind that all Jews who've been truly saved in the church era are equally a part of the true church as a anyone else. In fact the true church has a Jewish Messiah and a Hebraic character.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-7 shows that there is clearly a restraining influence in the world. The sin and evil of the world would be much, much worse without the restrainer. The only One who could perform such an act is the Holy Spirit, who indwells the true church.
At the rapture, the person who becomes the antichrist is revealed and possessed by Satan himself. The church indwelt by the Holy Spirit is called the "restrainer". This "restrainer" must be removed for Satan to be fully manifest and lead the world into disaster after disaster.
Those who believe in the post tribulation rapture, believe that the "restrainer" is the Holy Spirit alone. This can't be so. The Holy Spirit is omni-present. The true church indwelt by the Holy Spirit can only be the "restainer"
The judgement of the church for reward:
True believers do not go through judgment. That happened at the cross, but they are judged for reward. This occurs in heaven, well before the second coming.
The church has been judged for her works, rewarded and fully glorified before the second coming. The 24 elders are seen in heaven having already been rewarded right at the start of the tribulation. Believers in general are seen being rewarded and invited to the marriage of the Lamb in Revelation 19:8-9, which occurs in heaven before the second coming. The second coming is seen after the marriage in Revelation 19:14
The rapture and second advent are not synonymous. Here are some irreconcilable differences:
●The rapture involves the removal of all true believers, while the second advent sees the removal of all people who have not been saved during the tribulation. The rapture sees the catching up of believers in a blinding flash with no warnings. The second advent sees the Lord returning with His saints, and with many known signs beforehand.
●The rapture is spoken of as a message of comfort and hope, while the second advent climaxes in a time of wrath, destruction and judgment.
●The rapture is a mystery, while the second advent is prophesied in both testaments.
●There is no instruction given to the church on how to survive the tribulation / wrath of God. There are numerous instructions to the Jews on how to survive.
●The primary teaching for the church age or dispensation is in the epistles. There is no mention of the tribulation in the epistles at all. Of course there is persecution mentioned, but this is general persecution common to all. It's not the tribulation.
●The church is not seen in the tribulation portions of the book of Revelation.
●Think about that: No mention of the tribulation in the epistles and no mention of the church in Revelation's tribulation!
●All evangelism in the tribulation is done by Jews. Where is the church and why are they not fulfilling their "great commission"? Why is it that throughout the tribulation period as seen in the Revelation, only saved Jews are seen performing mass evangelism? These are the 144,000 single male Jews and the two witnesses. Revelation 7:4-8
●The main subject of Satanic attack during the tribulation period is seen as the "woman who produced the child to rule the world" Revelation 12:5 This "woman" is widely recognised as Israel. Why is the church, the body of Christ, not the subject of attack as it has always been? The only answer can be because the church is not there.
●The true church of the living God is called the "bride of Christ" and is seen at the wedding in heaven Revelation 19:7-9 How can the true church be at the wedding feast in heaven and on the earth at the same time?
●The church is then seen returning to the earth with our Lord at the end of the tribulation. Revelation 19:14
●At the rapture sin gets drastically worse. At the second coming sin is judged, and stopped.
●The rapture is imminent while the second advent has numerous signs including the days being numbered.
Rapture examples in the Bible:
There are examples of real literal raptures in the Bible.
Elijah: His was a ministry to prepare the people for the coming of the King. (Luke 1:17) Elijah was caught up to heaven alive.
The dead body of Moses was caught up to God.
Many dead people flew up out of their graves when our Lord was raised. These people did later die, so it's not a strong case for rapture, but is a case for something totally mindboggling.
Yeshua / Jesus Himself was caught up alive to God.
In the days of Noah and Lot, we have types of the faithful believers being removed from the wrath of God. Both are directly associated in the scriptures with the end-time period.
The Mid-tribulation rapture position:
The mid-tribulation rapture position is based on the idea that we will are not appointed to wrath and the real wrath of God only begins at the mid way-mark in the tribulation.
It's a nice theory, but has no substance to it.
There are a few problems with this view. Firstly, the whole seven year period is called the tribulation. The great tribulation is the second half and does get much worse. But the geo/physical upheavals run right through the seven years. The first half does see a sort of peace on earth, but this is a political peace with Israel.
The entire seven year period is characterised very distinctly with Israel and the Jews. Daniel 9:24 and others.
During the entire period Satan is fully manifest and at work. The church indwelt by the Holy Spirit can't be subject to this.
Interestingly if the tribulation starts this year, 2015 will be the mid-tribulation mark. At this time we will have four "blood moons" on the feast days and not again this century! In the Revelation, the second half of the tribulation begins with "blood moons"
A "blood moon" is a particular lunar eclipse in which the moon appears red.
We had "blood moons" on feast days in 1948 and 1967. These were both associated with Israel and Jerusalem.
The mid-tribulation position does not fit in with all of the above factors in the pre-tribulation position. There are far too many discrepancies.
A major problem with the mid-tribulation view is that it denies the imminence of the rapture. Once the tribulation begins, the days are numbered, so people will know exactly when the middle is and the end.
The Post-tribulation rapture position:
This is the most flawed belief.
Post tribulationalism must be based on the rejection of dispensations and the fact that the church is a "mystery" era not seen in the Old Testament.
People who have a problem with dispensations can't answer or deal with the nine times the original word appears in the Bible. See edition 53 for more on dispensations.
In terms of dispensations the church age began at Pentecost. The main teaching for the church is the epistles. Of course the whole Bible speaks to all believers, but the Old Testament dispensation ends at the end of the gospels.
Over and over again people who support post tribulation view quote verses in the gospels which are addressed to the Jews and not the church, in terms of dispensations. If you simply apply the verses addressed to the Jews to them, everything falls perfectly into place. If you try to make the church fit into these verses, you have major problems with many other verses.
●One of the arguments in favour of the post tribulation position comes from a well published, badly researched giant lie that the pre-tribulation position is a new doctrine. It is not new. It was preached by the Apostle Paul, the early church and many since. There are far too many historical examples to mention here. Pages 164 to 170 of Pentecost's "Things to come" deals with these lies.
If the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation period, there are many problems with a host of verses. All the issues discussed in the pre-tribulation chapter above, simply don't fit in.
The post tribulation rapture would be a great U-turn. We would go up to meet the Lord only to come down immediately to the earth.
●At the end of the tribulation Christ comes and destroys all the wicked and unsaved. They are all removed and cast into hell. If all believers and the tribulation saints (those who get saved in the tribulation) are raptured, at the end of the tribulation, there would be no one left to populate the earth in the millennium.
By the way, many verses from the gospels are often used to explain the rapture. For example we know the story of "one taken and one left" The correct interpretation of these verses is: One is taken into hell and the one who got saved in the tribulation is left on earth to meet the Lord at the second coming. These ones will become those who re-populate the earth in the millennium.
At the pre-tribulation rapture the world continues. At the second advent the world comes to a bitter end and a fully restored earth comes about after the destruction and devastation of three and a half years of world wars ending in Armageddon.
●A major problem with the post-tribulation view is that it denies the imminence of the rapture. Once the tribulation begins, the days are numbered, so people will know exactly when the end is.
●Another misconception is that the last trumpet of Revelation 11:15 is the same as the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Quite simply there is a last trumpet for the church and a last trumpet for tribulation. "Last" can mean last in a point of time or last in a sequence of events. On top of this, the trumpet that calls the church in rapture is called "the trump of God" while the last trumpet of Revelation is an angel's trumpet blast. The last trumpet for the church has no preceding trumpet blast, while the trumpet of Revelation is the last of a sequence of seven.
Qualifications for rapture:
There is one supreme qualification. No it's not believing in Yeshua / Jesus. The Bible says even the demons believe and shudder at their future. It is being born into the family of God. The Bible says that unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.
Many people think that they're Christians, because they're not Jews, or they think they're Christians because they believe in Jesus. Many believe that they're okay because they're basically good people.
The Bible identifies what a true Christian is. A true believer or Christian is one who has been born again. It's the new birth that counts. He has not only been forgiven in the new birth, through shed blood, but made righteous and perfect in spirit. The realm of the mind is not made perfect at the new birth. The mind is "renewed" through Bible study etc.
A true believer is one who has had a spirit regeneration and now is one with God and His family.
A true believer is one who has accepted the finished substitutionary work of the cross and the shed blood of our Messiah. You cannot be saved outside of the cross of Christ.
Adult water baptism and baptism in the Spirit are requirements in following our Lord effectively after the new birth.
What to do if you're left behind
You will still have a chance to become what the Bible calls "tribulation saints" These are those who get saved in the tribulation period. They will undergo severe persecution. They will not be raptured, but go on into the millennium to repopulate the earth. They will have longevity restored.
At the second advent, there is no further opportunity to be saved. All unbelievers are cast out into hell, leaving a new world of only those who've been saved.
Pre, mid or post should not be a source of division amogst true believers.
The rapture will be the biggest shock ever for those left behind. Those who thought they were Christians because they did good works, but rejected exclusive salvation through the cross, will be left behind and shocked to the core and to their very roots. The rapture will show who's who in the zoo! It will forever silence the counterfeit Christians.
All those who thought they were saved and are left behind will either turn in rage towards God or repent in true humility and brokenness.
You see, although the rapture will be the most incredible event ever, it is itself also a blinding flash of great judgement because it is so selective. The rapture is an act of judgement between those who are part of the Kingdom of God and those who are not.
Those that are left behind will not be left behind by mistake. Those left behind will go into the tribulation of wrath.
Think of Jack and his friend Jill. Jack is not perfect as Jill knows, but Jack is saved and IS perfect in his re-created spirit. Jill is a good girl but not saved. There will soon be a blinding flash and Jack will be gone in the rapture. Jill will scream the odds at God saying, "I knew Jack, he was far from perfect. Look at me I'm good...how could you take Jack, God."
Jill of course thinks that because she is good she deserves salvation. If Jack was 30% good and Jill is 70% good, Jack's 30% will be rewarded and Jill's 70% will burn with her.
What an incredibly wonderful and privileged thing it is to know our Lord and His powerful ways through salvation.
The tribulation period is actually part of the love of God. It is the purifying and cleansing of the world from all evil. It ends in the establishment of a Kingdom of universal glory, majesty, perfection and holiness.
You reading this...beware! These things may all begin very soon. It's time to get right with God now! If these things are delayed and you made right with God, you've lost nothing. You have gained greatly.
1Thessalonians 5:9 "For our God did not appoint us to wrath"
Romans 5:9 "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him"
Psalm 97:10 "You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints."
Heaven or hell:
Aisha Gaddafi, you look a million times better than your dad next to you, but neither your good looks nor your infamous father will give you a Kingdom-of-God birthright. No amount of honest or ill-begotten wealth will get you anywhere with God. You've received an incredibly dangerous inheritance from your father. You need to forsake Islam. Your father will die soon, but I know someone who wants to become your Father. His name is Yeshua / Jesus the King of the Jews and all others who've received Him as Lord.
Yes Gaddafi, I wonder how much longer you're going to be alive. It may be only days! Even in your terrible position as a mass murderer, you can still be forgiven on repentance and acceptance of the finished work of the cross of Calvary. Outside of that, you will soon meet with Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam and others in an eternal prison. I know you love your own family, but what if your daughter next to you gets saved and you don't? You will be forever separated!
Here an old woodcut done by Gustave Dore of Elijah being swept up to heaven.
Kind regards and many blessings...Shalom and grow in grace!