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Walvoord's 50 Arguments for a Pre-Trib Rapture - Refuted - 1-10

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  • Walvoord's 50 Arguments for a Pre-Trib Rapture - Refuted - 1-10

    This is a critique of John Walvoord’s list of 50 reason why the Rapture must be Pre-Tribulational. They are extracted from his book, The Rapture Question.

    There is one thing I should clarify – the author, Dr. Walvoord, is basing his refutation of Post-Tribulationism on the classical, traditional approach to Post-Trib, that is, that Christ returns after the seals, trumpets, and bowls of Revelation are all finished, one after the other, that the Church rises to meet Him in the air, immediately does a u-turn and returns to the earth with Him, at which point the Millennium begins at once. I would agree with him that this model for Revelation does not hold up to scrutiny.

    A better scenario is one that could be called “Red Moon Post-Tribulationism”. Under this scenario, the trumpets begin while the seals are still in progress, the bowls begin while the trumpets are still in progress, and they all finish nearly together, with the Sixth Seal, the Seventh Trumpet, and the Seventh Bowl all being at the same time, which is also when the Rapture and the 2nd Coming occur. Those three events are the Day of the Lord, which is described in more detail in Joel chapter 2. The Rapture can also be found in Revelation 14, which coincides with these three events. Under this scenario, the actual Day of the Lord and the Tribulation are mutually exclusive – they are NOT the same thing. The Tribulation is followed by the 2nd Coming/Rapture, which in turn is followed by the Day of the Lord, which we will watch from a position of safety after having been Raptured. After the Day of the Lord is completed, we will descend to the earth with Jesus and begin the Millennial Kingdom.

    Having now explained my position, here are the so-called “50 reasons”, each followed by my reply.

    1. While posttribulationism appeared as early as 2 Thessalonians 2, many in the early church believed in the imminency of the Lord's return, which is an essential doctrine of pretribulationism.

    Two things right off – the author acknowledges that “posttribulationism appeared as early as 2 Thessalonians 2”. We have an admission from the very start that the apostle Paul’s position was Post-Tribulationism. That should be the end of the discussion right there, but of course it isn’t, so we’ll plunge ahead. In addition, the author acknowledges that Pre-Tribulationism is heavily dependent on the so-called “Doctrine of Imminency”. More on that later…..

    2. The detailed development of pretribulational truth during the past few centuries does not prove that the doctrine is new or novel. Its development is similar to that of other major doctrines in the history of the church.

    While it is true that a historically recent development of a doctrine does not in and of itself disprove the doctrine as being untrue, neither is it true that “other major doctrines” have undergone a similar development. The vast majority of the Church’s current doctrines have been firmly in place at least since the Reformation, many demonstrably so from long before that. Pre-tribulationism is the only major doctrine taught today that has a recorded history of less than 200 years.

    3. Pretribulationism is the only view that allows literal interpretation of all Old and New Testament passages on the Great Tribulation.

    This is almost laughable. Post-tribbers would say the same thing about our position. Demonstration will be offered before this reply is finished of multiple examples where Pre-Trib requires an imposed allegorical interpretation of various Scripture passages. Making such grandstanding statements like this will hardly give added credibility to the author’s position.

    4. Pretribulationism distinguishes clearly between Israel and the church and their respective programs.

    The author is assuming that to be a good thing. I, on the other hand, would use the Olive Tree analogy from Romans 9-11 to demonstrate that there is to no positional separation at all between the Church and Israel. Ridiculous, you say? Show one passage in Scripture that proves that God has to deal with the two separately.

    5. Pretribulationism maintains the scriptural distinction between the Great Tribulation and tribulation in general that precedes it.

    So do Post-Trib, Mid-Trib, Pre-Wrath…………..this argument means nothing in regard to the timing of the Rapture.

    6. The Great Tribulation is properly interpreted by pretribulationists as a time of preparation for Israel's restoration (Deut.4:29-30; Jer.30:4-11). It is not the purpose of the Tribulation to prepare the church for glory.

    While the first statement regarding Israel is indeed true, the 2nd is not true at all. Consider Revelation 19:7 – “The wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” Here we see the “bride” in a state of readiness at the END of the Tribulation. That would seem to be a serious problem for pre-tribulationism.

    If the Rapture were to be at least seven years earlier as a Pre-Tribber would argue, why has the bride just now made herself ready?

    7. None of the Old Testament passages on the Tribulation mention the Church.

    This is, at best, an argument from silence. And one that is easily answered when the analogy of the Olive Tree is properly understood, as I mentioned above.

    8. None of the New Testament passages on the Tribulation mention the Church.

    This is simply not true. There are numerous references in Revelation to the “saints”, plus in the entire Olivet Discourse, Jesus is consistently telling his disciples about experiences that “you” will experience.

    Luke 21:28 – “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

    Pre-Tribbers will try to dismiss this with the explanation that “Oh, Jesus was addressing ‘Israel’ there.” Really? Where did Jesus ever say He was addressing Israel? That’s just garbage Pre-Tribbers have to come up with to explain away the Olivet Discourse, because they know that the idea of Jesus addressing the fledgling Church here would destroy Pre-Tribulationism.

    In fact, further down, you’ll see where the author himself refers to the Church as “saints”. So his own choice of wording places the Church in the Tribulation during Revelation 4-19.

    9. In contrast to midtribulationism, the pretribulational view provides an adequate explanation for the beginning of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 6. Midtribulationism is refuted by the plain teaching of Scripture that the Great Tribulation begins long before the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11.

    This argument makes no sense unless the author is perhaps assuming the idea that the Church cannot go through any of the Tribulation because we are not destined to experience God’s wrath and the entire Tribulation is assumed to God’s wrath. While I agree that Mid-Tribulationism is in error, the author’s reasoning for concluding so is incorrect and is dependent on the two assumptions I already mentioned, that (1) the Church cannot go through any of the Tribulation because (2) the entire Tribulation is to be viewed as God’s wrath. Both of these assumptions are in error, and the author fails to support these two assumptions with Scripture.

    10. The proper distinction is maintained between the prophetic trumpets of Scripture by Pretribulationism. There is no proper ground for the pivotal argument of midtribulationism that the seventh trumpet of Revelation is the last trumpet in that there is no established connection between the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11, the last trumpet of I Corinthians 15:52, and the trumpet of Matthew 24:31. They are three distinct events.

    The author is assuming with no proof from Scripture that these three trumpets are mutually exclusive. I would actually tend to agree about the seventh trumpet of Revelation being different, but I will have the integrity to admit that it is only my personal opinion.
    When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

  • #2

    11. The unity of Daniel's seventieth week is maintained by pretribulationists. By contrast, posttribulationism and midtribulationists destroy the unity of Daniel's seventieth week and confuse Israel's program with that of the church.

    This is an erroneous assumption based on a faulty understanding of Dispensationalism and the relationship between God’s program for Israel and His program for the Church. In fact, Pre-Tribulationism imposes on Daniel’s Seventieth Week an inconsistency in God’s redemptive program for Israel that I have never seen a satisfactory explanation for. It is often argued that when the Church is Raptured before the Tribulation that the Age of Grace is now over and God turns His attention back to Israel, resulting in a return to the Mosaic Law. Even a Pre-Tribber would agree that Israel's national salvation depends on their final acceptance as a nation of Jesus not only as their Messiah, but also as their Savior. Therefore, the “rules” of the Mosaic Covenant are not in effect, at least certainly not in their original form (which would beg the question, what other changes can we expect? to which a reasonable answer does not seem possible without useless random speculation and guesswork). There was no Jesus during the Old Testament that Israel had to accept, so the Mosaic Covenant’s rules therefore cannot be re-applied. There's no going back. It also seems foolish to suggest that every single Gentile on the entire planet who remains after the Rapture (unless it is literally a Post-Trib Rapture) has absolutely no further opportunity for salvation. This would mean that God's focus will NOT be exclusively on Israel. In fact, even Pre-Tribbers agree that Gentiles will be saved (by the billions, is what Pre-Tribbers usually say) during the Tribulation! That sets up a contradiction in a Pre-Trib Dispensationalist’s position. They say that God will be dealing only with Israel, but then they say there will be billions of Gentile converts. So which is it?? And this author has the audacity to accuse Post-Tribulationism of “destroying the unity” of Daniel’s Seventieth Week???????? Look at the havoc caused here by Pre-Tribulationism and see for yourself who is “destroying unity”.

    12. The translation [or Rapture] of the church is never mentioned in any passage dealing with the Second Coming of Christ after the Tribulation.

    This is simply not true. It is an assumption that none of the Rapture passages are referring to the 2nd Coming. In fact, consider the following:

    I Thessalonians 4:15 – “We tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

    II Thessalonians 1:6-10 – “God is just: He will…give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

    Luke 21:28 – “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

    Revelation 19:7 – “The wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

    13. The Church is not appointed to wrath (Rom. 5:9; I Thess.1:9-10; 5:9). The church therefore cannot enter “the great day of his wrath” (Rev.6:17).

    On this point, I have to agree – the Church is not appointed to even one second of wrath. The problem is that the author is assuming the Tribulation is to be equated with God’s wrath, when in fact, it is not. The Day of the Lord does not begin until AFTER the Tribulation. By the time the Day of the Lord wrath begins, the Church will indeed be Raptured off the surface of the earth and will be with the Lord forever, out of harm’s way.

    14. The church will not be overtaken by the day of the Lord (I Thess.5:19), which includes the Tribulation.

    Once again, we have an assumption by the author that the Tribulation is to be equated with God’s wrath.

    I have to say that, even though we’re only on item # 14, it’s already really getting tiresome how the author continually makes one assumption after another with no support from Scripture to back it up, and then uses that assumption as a justification for his position. My replies have already included more Scripture than his arguments. For you Pre-Tribbers reading this, that alone should be setting off alarm bells in your mind, that the POST-Tribber is the one quoting the most Scripture. Moving on…….

    15. The possibility of a believer escaping the Tribulation is mentioned in Luke 21:36.

    Really? Here’s Luke 21:36 – “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.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see the word “tribulation” in there. Now, if you want to talk about the idea of escaping the Day of the Lord, I could certainly see that argument.

    But wait, there’s another problem here: Pre-Tribbers argue that “Jesus is talking to Israel in the Olivet Discourse, not the Church.” Well, if that’s true, this verse here at Luke 21:36 is part of the Olivet Discourse, so Pre-Tribbers by their OWN ADMISSION cannot claim it! See what I mean guys? The twisting and pulling of Scripture and picking and choosing what fits and just discarding the rest that goes on in the Pre-Trib camp just defies all logic and consistency.

    16. The church of Philadelphia [the Last Days faithful remnant of Christianity] was promised deliverance from 'the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (Rev.3:10).

    I agree, this is absolutely true – the Church will not endure even one second of God’s wrath – which begins AFTER the Tribulation is over.

    17. It is characteristic of divine dealing to deliver believers before a divine judgment is inflicted on the world, as illustrated in the deliverance of Noah, Lot, Rahab etc. (II Peter 2: 59).

    And this fits perfectly with the Post-Trib Rapture, just BEFORE the Day of the Lord’s wrath begins.

    18. At the time of the translation of the church, all believers go to the Father's house in heaven (John 14: 3) and do not immediately return to the earth after meeting Christ in the air as posttribulationists teach.

    In the numerous Old Testament passages which mention the “house of the Lord,” the Temple is always in view. This includes the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 1:24), Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 2:1, 7:16), and sometimes specifically the Millennial Temple and Kingdom (Isaiah 2:2-4, Joel 3:18). The Old Testament writers never referred to “heaven” as the Lord’s house. The “house of the Lord” is always earthly and related to the Temple, which will be the focus of Christ’s Kingdom. Here is one example where Isaiah alternates between “the Lord’s temple” and “the Lord’s house”:

    Isaiah 2:2-4
    In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

    In addition, Psalms alone has nine examples of the Temple being referred to as the Lord’s “house”:

    Psalm 23:6

    Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    Psalm 27:4
    One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

    Psalm 92:13
    planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.

    Psalm 116:19
    in the courts of the house of the Lord — in your midst, Jerusalem.

    Psalm 118:26
    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.

    Psalm 122:1
    I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (When does anybody make a “rejoicing” decision like this to go as a group to heaven, which would have to involve the whole group dying together? However, to agree as a group to go to the Temple in Jerusalem and to rejoice with those around you would make perfect sense.)

    Psalm 122:9
    For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.

    Psalm 134:1
    Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. (I didn’t realize that there is “night” in heaven.)

    Psalm 135:2
    you who minister in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
    When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


    • #3

      And this does not even begin to cover the numerous other examples throughout the Old Testament where the Temple is referred to as the Lord’s “house”. So this is the context in which the apostles would have understood this phrase when Jesus spoke it to them in John 14.

      As a side note just to clarify something, in the New Testament, occasionally the “Church” is called the Lord’s dwelling in a metaphorical sense, such as in Ephesians 2:19-22. But the disciples were not familiar with this metaphorical usage by Paul since it would not come until years later, and they would certainly not understand Jesus’ words as a metaphor. They would understand His words in light of their familiarity with the Old Testament usage and Jesus’ earlier usage of the phrase “my Father’s house.”

      Most important of all, here’s an illustration of how Jesus Himself understood “my Father’s house”:

      John 2:15-17
      So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

      Here Jesus Himself referred to the Temple in Jerusalem as “my Father’s house.” Verse 17 shows the disciples associated Jesus’ expression with an Old Testament reference to the “house of the Lord” at Psalm 69:9. Therefore, it is natural they would understand the same expression in John 14 in the same way.

      Here is another example of Jesus’ own usage:

      Luke 2:46 & 49
      After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

      So the use of “my Father’s house” to refer to heaven is based on yet another assumption on the part Pre-Tribbers of what a passage means.

      Look at Jesus’ own words – Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” “In my Father’s house are many rooms.”

      How can one instance mean the temple and the other mean “heaven”????????????????????

      Moving on…..

      19. Pretribulationism does not divide the Body of Christ at the Rapture on a works principle. The teaching of a partial rapture is based on the false doctrine that the translation of the church is a reward for good works. It is rather a climactic aspect of salvation by grace.

      I agree. A partial Rapture has no Scriptural support whatsoever. We actually see eye to eye on something, how ‘bout that!

      20. The Scriptures clearly teach that all, not part, of the church will be raptured at the coming of Christ for the church (I Cor.15:51-52; I Thess.4:17).

      Again, I agree.

      21. As opposed to a view of a partial rapture, Pretribulationism is founded on the definite teaching of Scripture that the death of Christ frees from all condemnation.

      And once again, I agree, although Post-Trib teaches the same things as well.

      22. The godly remnant of the Tribulation are pictured as Israelites, not members of the church as maintained by the posttribulationists.

      Here we go again with an assumption made with no Scripture to support it. There is indeed an Israeli remnant as the author says, and they will be holed up in Petra/Bosrah at the 2nd Coming, hiding from the Antichrist, but there will be Gentile believers waiting for Jesus as well, all over the world.

      23. The pretribulational view, as opposed to posttribulationism, does not confuse general terms like elect and Saints, which apply to the saved of all ages, with specific terms like church and those in Christ, which refer to believers of this age only.

      Then perhaps the author will be good enough to explain this:

      The Greek word translated “Church” in the Bible is “ekklesia”. It means “a called out assembly.” It is found 112 times in the Greek New Testament. In all 112 cases, except Matthew 16:18, Acts 7:38, 1 Corinthians 10:32, Ephesians 1:22, Ephesians 3:10, Ephesians 5:23-32, Colossians 1:18,24, Hebrews 2:12, Hebrews 12:23, “ekklesia” refers to local churches. Of these few exceptions, one of them refers specifically to Israel in the Old Testament (Acts 7:37), and another is a quote of an Old Testament prophecy about the Church (Hebrews 2:12).

      Acts 7:37-38
      37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
      38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:(KJV)

      Dispensationalists typically define the “Church” as a unique body which began on the day of Pentecost, completely separate from the nation of Israel. Yet, in Stephen’s defense before the Sanhedrin, he referred to Israel after the exodus as “the Church in the wilderness.” Why would Stephen violate the supposed dispensational divide by referring to Israel as “the Church?”

      Most of the early Christians could not read Hebrew. They used a Greek translation of the Old Testament made by 70 Jewish scribes about 200 years before Christ. The early Christians and Jews called it “The Version of the Seventy.” Today it is referred to as the “Septuagint” (meaning 70) or simply by the Roman numerals “LXX.” In the first century, the Greek LXX was the common Bible of the Jewish synagogues and the early churches, although the Jews of Judea primarily used the Hebrew Scriptures. The Apostles frequently referred to the LXX and quoted it extensively in the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament writers quoted the LXX more frequently than the Hebrew Old Testament. This is because it was written in the common Greek and could be read by the average believer of that time. Copies were plentiful and relatively cheap, while copies of the Hebrew Scriptures were usually only found at the synagogues within Israel itself and were moreover very expensive.

      In Acts 7:37, the reason Stephen referred to Israel as “the Church” was because of his familiarity with the LXX. He was referring to passages like the following.

      Deuteronomy 9:10 (LXX)
      10 The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the Lord proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the Church. (“ekklesia”)

      Deuteronomy 18:16 (LXX)
      16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Church (“ekklesia”) when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

      There are many more cases in the LXX where the whole assembly of Israel, when they were gathered to worship, is called “the Church” or the “ekklesia” in the LXX. In fact, the Greek word “ekklesia” (Church) is found 73 times in the LXX Old Testament, almost as many times as in the Greek New Testament. So, the early Christians who spoke Greek had this background as their understanding of the word. They saw the “ekklesia” of the Old Testament as being the same organism as the “ekklesia” of the New Testament of which they were a part and had been “grafted in”. And we are the continuation of that even today at this moment! It is all one assembly of the remnant of those being called out to salvation by faith in God’s sacrifice on our behalf. Those of us today are fortunate enough to know that this sacrifice’s name is Jesus Christ.

      So we Gentiles who are being grafted in are not a separate group in God’s program of redemption, but are one with the others, all under the death of Christ on the cross on our behalf. We will have distinctive national identities during the Millennium, such as Jews occupying the land given to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant, and everybody else, the redeemed Gentiles, having the rest of the world, but we will all be citizens of the same Kingdom of God under Christ’s rule from His throne in Jerusalem and Ezekiel’s Temple.

      I should clarify that this is certainly NOT Replacement Theology. Replacement Theology says Israel has been cast aside and has no place in God’s plans. Quite the opposite is true. Were it not for Israel, we Gentiles would have no place in God’s plans. Without Israel, we are nothing. “You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” – Romans 11:18

      So the author’s argument about Post-Tribbers “confusing” our terms actually works against him, because as we have just seen from THE BIBLE, the Post-Trib position is the one that actually has it right.
      When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


      • #4

        24. The pretribulational interpretation teaches that the coming of Christ [the Rapture] is actually imminent.

        The problem with this is that the “Doctrine of Immanency” is a lie.

        Jesus’ Prediction of Peter’s Death
        The Bible indicates that certain things MUST take place before the rapture. One such prophesied event was the martyrdom of the Apostle Peter in his old age. All of Paul’s Epistles were written while Peter was alive and well. Yet, Peter was told by Jesus that he would die a martyr’s death in his old age (John 21:19). “...but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.” Both Peter and Paul were martyred around AD66, some thirty-three years after Jesus made this prediction. If Peter was a fairly young man, say in his mid thirties, when Jesus spoke this, putting him at around 70 years old when he was finally martyred. Peter, Paul, and the early Christians expected Peter to live to an old age, to die, and be resurrected later at the resurrection of believers. As long as Peter was still fairly young and alive the rapture could not possibly be “imminent”. Therefore, Paul knew Jesus’ coming was not “imminent” while he penned the very Epistles that Pre-Tribbers claim teach “imminence.” And Paul’s readers, who knew Peter, fully understood that the rapture was not imminent as long as Peter was still around. Even Peter’s death could not be said to be imminent while he was still a fairly young man, or while he was a free man, because Jesus prophesied martyrdom for Peter in his old age. Therefore, Jesus’ prophecy about Peter’s death defies “imminence,” and plainly indicates that the early Church could not have held to the kind of “imminence” that pre-tribbers espouse throughout the first thirty-three years of its existence.

        The Great Commission Rules Out “Imminence”
        Jesus sent the Apostles out to preach the Gospel to all nations. He gave them specific instructions to wait in Jerusalem for the “power.” He also was very explicit that they were to begin in Jerusalem, move on to Samaria, and then to the remote Gentile nations.

        Acts 1:7-12
        7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
        8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
        9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
        10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
        11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
        12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

        Notice that world evangelism was the task assigned to Jesus’ Apostles. The power that came on Pentecost was clearly linked to their obeying the Great Commission. It was therefore the Apostles’ job, once they received power on the day of Penteocost, to obey Jesus’ Great Commission. As we read Acts, we see that the Church did indeed do exactly as Jesus said. They began preaching in Jerusalem (Acts 2:7). Then in Samaria (Acts 8:9). And then finally to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

        If imminence is correct, Jesus could have come back at “any moment” after Pentecost, before they ever preached in Samaria or to a single Gentile! Is that what the Apostles expected, knowing that Jesus had commanded them to preach to the Samaritans, and to all nations? Hardly! They expected to get with the program and do as Jesus commanded them. Jesus could not have returned until at least a large portion of the events in Acts had occurred. That is, at least several years after Pentecost. Therefore, the rapture could not be “imminent” for quite some time after the Church was established.

        Paul’s Refutation of “Imminence”
        Paul also wrote an extensive refutation of “imminence” because some of the early Thessalonian believers had mistakenly assumed that Jesus’ coming was imminent. In his first Epistle to the Thessalonians Paul indicated that Jesus’ coming would not catch them by surprise, something that could not be said if Jesus’ coming would be completely unannounced, as “imminence” requires.

        1 Thess 5:1-4
        1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (KJV)

        This passage teaches that the wicked will be caught by surprise by Jesus’ coming, but believers will NOT be surprised by Jesus’ coming. “As a thief” is an expression borrowed from Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, and indicates being caught totally by surprise. While Paul says plainly that it applies to the wicked, he also says that this does NOT apply to the “brethren.” This is impossible in “imminence” (no warning) theory. Only by having some kind of idea when Jesus is coming can believers not be surprised “as a thief.” And that warning comes in the form of the signs in Matt. 24.

        Apparently, some of the Thessalonian believers did not understand this distinction, and were influenced by other sources indicating that Jesus’ coming might be imminent. They were already enduring severe persecution, and Jesus’ coming in the midst of persecution was indeed their “blessed hope.” So, Paul wrote his second Epistle to correct this error.

        In the first chapter, Paul unmistakably tied together their relief from persecution with the posttribulation coming of Jesus. In verse 7, Paul told them that their relief from persecution would come when Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His army of angels, to take vengeance on the ungodly. That is, their relief from persecution (not only the punishment of their persecutors) could be expected at the posttribulation revelation of Jesus Christ. That this relief was not imminent, but would be preceded by specific signs, was explained by Paul in the verses that follow.

        II Thess 2:1-3
        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.(KJV)

        The first thing we should note is that verse 1 plainly links the “coming” of the Lord with our “gathering” together to Him, and establishes the “rapture” as the subject of this passage. Contrary to some pre-trib writers, the “coming” and “gathering” in verse 1 are not separate or unrelated events.

        Some modern translations read “has come” (past) rather than “is at hand” (is imminent). However, the Greek Scholar A. T. Robertson agreed with the KJV rendering. In his “Word Pictures” Robertson wrote the Greek word translated “at hand” in verse 2 means “is imminent.” “Perfect active indicative of enisthmi, old verb, to place in, but intransitive in this tense to stand in or at or near. So “is imminent” (Lightfoot). The verb is common in the papyri”. That the perfect tense is used implies the Thessalonians thought that Christ’s coming had just become “imminent,” or was already standing near or in close proximity. John Gill, the Baptist Greek and Hebrew scholar, had this to say in his commentary on this passage. “As that the day of Christ is at hand; or is at this instant just now coming on; as if it would be within that year, in some certain month, and on some certain day in it; which notion the apostle would have them by no means give into.” It was this mistaken idea of “imminence” that Paul sought to correct in this passage.

        How did Paul refute this false expectation of “imminence” (or perhaps “immediacy”) by the Thessalonians? It was by claiming that certain known signs must occur before “our gathering together unto Him.” Verse 2 contains Paul’s explanation of the mistake (thinking that the rapture was “imminent” or “immediate”), and in verse 3 Paul corrected their mistake. That day (the “coming” of Christ and our “gathering” together unto Him — the “Day of Christ”) cannot come until after two signs occur — the apostasy and the revelation of the Man of Sin. Paul then went on to explain how the Man of Sin will be revealed — sitting in the Temple claiming to be God. Both of these signs were major features of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse in the same order (cf. Matt. 24:9-15), as events that must occur before His posttribulation coming. According to Paul, until the “apostasy” and the “Man of Sin” is revealed by sitting in the Temple of God, “our gathering together unto Him” cannot be imminent. Notice also that it is this very issue of a false sence of imminence that Paul warns, “let no man deceive you by any means.” I would suggest that the reader take Paul’s advice.

        Paul further explained the “apostasy” in other passages. He wrote of a future sharp increase in apostasy among the Church in “the last days,” far beyond what they currently were experiencing (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 3:1ff, 2 Tim. 4:3). Peter also wrote that scoffers would come “in the last days saying, where is the promise of His coming” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

        Therefore, we have definite prophecies by Jesus, Peter, and Paul that indicate certain things must occur before the rapture.
        •Peter’s growing old and becoming a martyr
        •The Gospel being preached to the Samaritans and Gentiles
        •The Apostasy in the last days
        •The revelation of the Man of Sin
        •Scoffers in the last days

        Therefore, we may conclude that the rapture was not “imminent” while these things remained unfulfilled and while Paul’s and Peter’s Epistles were being written. If it was not imminent when the very passages that pre-tribbers claim teach imminence were being written, those passages cannot teach “imminence,” otherwise, they would not have been true when delivered to the first century Christians, when the above things were still unfulfilled.

        James’ Parable of the Farmer
        James 5:7-8
        7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
        8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

        James used a parable of a farmer to illustrate how believers should await the coming of Christ. He pointed out that the farmer patiently awaits the time of harvest. He recommended that believers take the same approach as the farmer, patiently waiting for the coming of Christ. Is this an illustration of an “any moment” coming with no prior signs? Does a farmer expect the harvest “at any moment” during the entire year after planting? A farmer knows that there is an appointed time for the harvest, after the crop has matured. He patiently awaits the rainy season before harvest. In Israel, there were two main rainy seasons. The harvests followed these rainy seasons. Farmers never harvested their fields until after the rains. The rainy seasons in this parable are equivalent to the signs that must come prior to Christ’s “harvest.” While the coming of the Lord is drawing near (fast approaching), it is not “imminent” in the sense that nothing needs to occur first. If there are signs (rains) prior to the harvest for the farmer in James’ parable, so too are there signs prior to Jesus’ coming, before it can be considered “imminent.” If the farmer knows that the harvest is not “imminent” during the growing stage, James expected his readers to realize that Jesus’ coming would be delayed for a season as well. In fact, the whole point of this parable was to exhort them toward patience, because the Lord’s coming was still some distance away.
        When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


        • #5

          Imminency in the New Testament
          -According to immanency advocates, any New Testament passage that speaks of Christians waiting for or watching for Jesus’ coming necessarily implies “imminence.” First of all, we should dispense with the notion that any passage indicates Christ might come “without warning,” because no passage makes such a claim. That is something immanency advocates are forcing into the Scriptures. There are a variety of passages that speak of believers waiting and watching for Christ’s coming. The question is, does “waiting” or “watching” imply that it could occur at any moment? Here are some passages that are often claimed as teaching “imminence”:

          1 Corinthians 1:7-‘awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,’
          1 Corinthians 16:22-‘Maranatha.’
          Philippians 3:20-‘For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;’
          Philippians 4:5-‘The Lord is near.’
          1 Thessalonians 1:10-‘to wait for His Son from heaven,’
          1 Thessalonians 4:15-18-‘For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of {the} archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall 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 one another with these words.’
          1 Thessalonians 5:6-‘so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.’
          1 Timothy 6:14-‘that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,’
          Titus 2:13-‘looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;’
          Hebrews 9:28-‘so Christ . . . shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.’
          James 5:7-9-‘Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. . . . for the coming of the Lord is at hand. . . . behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.’
          1 Peter 1:13 -‘fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’
          Jude 21-‘waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.’
          Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20-‘‘I am coming quickly!’’
          Revelation 22:17, 20-‘And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ ‘‘He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’ “

          Look carefully at the above passages. Where do any of these passages claim or imply that no signs can precede Jesus’ coming? Immanency’s entire premise is that one cannot wait or watch for an event unless it can occur “at any moment.” That is simply a false premise.

          “Watching” Defined by Jesus
          Jesus’ posttribulation coming is clearly spoken of in precisely the same way, with instructions for “watching.” In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus gave a whole series of signs that will precede and announce His coming “immediately after the tribulation.” Yet, Jesus told His followers to WATCH for this coming!

          From Mark 13
          14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: ... 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. ... 24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
          27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. ... 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

          Since the context plainly indicates that Jesus commanded His followers to WATCH for His posttribulation coming, which will be announced by a host of signs, how can statements about “watching” or “waiting” in the Epistles imply that NO SIGNS can occur before Jesus comes? Should we not rather interpret the biblical kind of “watching” and “waiting” for Jesus’ coming based on biblical precedent, rather than on some imaginary concept of “imminence” proclaimed by pretribulationists?

          Imminence and Pretribulationism
          A pre-tribber’s/immanency advocate’s conclusion is that the Scriptures listed above prove pretribulationism because they prove “imminence” which is compatible only with pretribulationism. Thomas Ice, a prominent scholar of this postion, writes; “As we consider the above passages, we note that Christ may come at any moment, that the rapture is actually imminent. Only pretribulationism can give a full, literal meaning to such an any-moment event.” Yet, the passages Ice cites could just as easily indicate that Christians were doing exactly what Jesus said in Mark 13, watching for His posttribulation coming “immediately after the tribulation.” If “watching” does not require Ice’s kind of “imminence” in Mark 13 or Matt. 24, neither does “watching” require “imminence” in the Epistles. This is particularly so because the readers of Paul’s Epistles were no doubt familiar with the discourse of Christ.

          Pretribulationists have difficulty imagining how one can “watch” and “wait” for an event that will be preceded by prior signs. But, not only did Jesus command His followers to “watch” for an event that would be preceded by signs, but He also gave the perfect illustration in the same discourse. Jesus referred to some of the signs that must occur first as “the beginning of birth pains” (Matt. 24:8 & Mark 13:8). He spoke of the events that follow the abomination of desolation as “great travail” (Matt. 24:21/Mark 13:19). The imagery Jesus used for His coming, and the brief period of tribulation prior to it, was a pregnant woman giving birth. The pains of labor and childbirth are certainly not pleasant. A woman does not look forward to or “wait” for the time of labor. But, she most certainly awaits and looks for the birth of her child with eager anticipation! Is she aware that the birth will come after a short period of travail? Of course! But, she looks beyond the labor pains to the moment when she can hold her child in her arms. “Watching” and “waiting” for Christ’s return in Scripture has to do with anticipation and placing our HOPE in Jesus’ coming, not merely a sequence of events. Paul wrote, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:25). The focus of our HOPE and our JOY is Jesus’ coming, regardless of whether there are prior signs or not. We WATCH for the thing in which we place our HOPE. This is how Jesus described His coming. And it is how the early Christians “watched” and “waited” for Jesus’ coming as their HOPE of deliverance. Unless we define “watching” and “waiting” for Christ’s coming as Jesus did, we can easily be misled by such seemingly logical (but anti-biblical) arguments.

          Ice claims that “other rapture views must redefine imminence more loosely than the New Testament would allow. Dr. Walvoord, the author of this list of “50 reasons”, declares, ‘The exhortation to look for ‘the glorious appearing’ of Christ to His own (Titus 2:13) loses its significance if the Tribulation must intervene first. Believers in that case should look for signs.’ ”

          But, Walvoord’s and Ice’s “imminence” is not what the Bible teaches, as we have proven from Jesus’ own words about WATCHING for His coming. Since Jesus gave a series of signs, He clearly taught that WATCHING for His coming includes paying attention to the signs He gave that will immediately precede His coming.

          As a woman eagerly watches for, and awaits the day she will give birth, yet is keenly aware of the signs that will precede it, so also must we await and anticipate the coming of Christ, while being aware of the signs Jesus gave us. Jesus taught that His coming would BECOME imminent at some point in the future, but that it was NOT imminent at that time. When would it become “imminent?” Only after the signs He predicted come to pass. After giving the series of signs and describing His coming afterwards, Jesus said this:

          Matt 24:32-33
          32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (KJV)

          Jesus used a fig tree to illustrate the relationship of signs to “imminence.” The disciples could tell when summer was “imminent” by watching for the signs of the fig trees sprouting leaves. In the same manner as the disciples observed the fig tree as a sign of summer, Jesus said they should know when His coming is “imminent,” or “near, even at the doors.” It will be imminent after the signs come to pass. Within this context Jesus went on to instruct them to WATCH for His coming. Therefore, the New Testament concept of WATCHING and WAITING for Jesus’ return places the focus on our hope (His actual coming), while at the same time including the expectation that the signs will signal His coming, indicating when it becomes “imminent.” Only after we see all these things come to pass is Jesus’ coming “near, even at the doors.”

          No “Blessed Hope” without Imminence?
          Ice attempts to denounce the posttribulation hope of a rapture as no hope at all. Ice writes, “The New Testament exhortation to be comforted by the Lord’s coming (John 14:1; 1 Thess. 4:18) would no longer have meaning if believers first had to pass through any part of the tribulation. Instead, comfort would have to await passage through the events of the tribulation. No, the church has been given a “Blessed Hope,” in part, because our Lord’s return is truly imminent.”

          I for one would like to hear Thomas Ice explain to an expectant mother that her “hope” of holding her child in her arms is no hope at all because she must first experience labor. Another major problem with this argument is that the Church was already experiencing great persecution when these Scriptures were written. Ice is writing from a Western mindset, where the ease of living for Christians is an anomaly, not consistent with the history of true Christianity. Our modern lifestyle is NOT the normal Christian experience according to Jesus. He said that “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Paul told the churches that “we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The Thessalonian believers were comforted in their tribulation by Paul’s encouragement that they would rest from their troubles “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire” (2 Thess. 1:4-10). One of the reasons Jesus’ coming was the “blessed hope” was because He would rescue believers out from among severe persecution and trouble. Going through the events of Matt. 24 was not a foreign concept to the early Church (as it is to most Western Christians). They were already suffering intense persecution and martyrdom. Tribulation may seem foreign to western Christians because we live in relative ease and comfort. By comparison, going through the tribulation is repulsive. But, not so for the early Church. Therefore, the problem often raised here for the posttribulation view is really a reflection of our peculiar western culture and ease of lifestyle. Christians living in China today, or in other places where Christians are persecuted, would not buy this argument for one second. In fact, a good case can be made that the more difficult the situation, the more “blessed” the “blessed hope” becomes. The term “blessed hope” was not coined in the midst of a bunch of stylishly dressed Christians sitting on padded pews in an air conditioned mega-church, singing “praise and worship” songs. It was coined during Paul’s imprisonment, and amidst the intense suffering of the early Church. Perhaps we would be closer to the truth if we say that the more comfortably we live now, the less “blessed” the hope of Jesus’ coming becomes. The more tribulation we endure, the more “blessed” that hope becomes. I assure you, the “blessed hope” if far more “blessed” for Christians in Chinese prisons than for Americans seated on padded pews. If we are going to stick to the grammatical historical interpretation of Scripture, we must interpret these kinds of statements in their historical setting of great persecution for the Church, and not from our modern western mindset.

          Lastly, it is often claimed the word “maranatha” implies imminence. Thomas Ice writes, “The early church had a special greeting for one another, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 16:22, which was “Maranatha!” Maranatha consists of three Aramaic words: “Mar” (“Lord”), “ana” (“our”), and “tha” (“come”), meaning “our Lord, come.” As with other New Testament passages, Maranatha only makes sense if an any-moment or imminent coming is understood. Such an understanding supports the pre-trib position.”

          As with Ice’s other statements, it is his false assumption that “watching” or “waiting” for Jesus’ coming requires his brand of “imminence” that is the problem. He has ignored the precedent in the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus fully explained “watching,” and has substituted an artificial criterion nowhere taught in Scripture. His whole argument is defective because his claim that the Bible teaches an “any moment” coming is not true. His faulty claim that “watching” and “waiting” require his “any moment, no prior warning” kind of anticipation, skews not only the Scriptures, but also his interpretation of the writings of the Early Church Fathers. (Ice and other pretribulationists claim some of the early Christian writers believed in “imminence” because they too spoke of “watching” and “waiting.”) Ice is forcing an UNBIBLICAL kind of “imminence” into “watching” and “waiting,” which distorts both the New Testament as well as the Early Church writings. Not only does the New Testament (the Olivet Discourse in particular) refute Ice’s “imminence,” but so do the writings of the Early Church Fathers. They also spoke of “watching” yet at the same time clearly wrote that certain events MUST occur first. Rather than Ice defining what “watching” and “waiting” mean from the precedent set by Jesus, he forces his own fabricated meaning into the text, and then tells you that the rapture MUST be pretribulational because “watching” means “any moment,” and “any moment” only works in a pretribulation scenario! He does the same with the early Church writings. He finds a few passages where they spoke of watching for Christ’s return, and insists that this means they thought Jesus could come at “any moment.” He ignores the same writers’ plain statements that clearly indicate they expected many things to occur first. For example, the Roman Empire must fall, the ten kings must rise to power, the Church must be persecuted by the Antichrist, the Jewish Temple must be rebuilt with the Antichrist defiling it, etc. And how do pretribulationists reconcile both kinds of statements in the writings of the early Church? Could it be that perhaps the early writers understood “waiting” and “watching” as Jesus explained in His Olivet Discourse? No. Instead, these pretribulation writers indicate that the early Christians were just too stupid to realize that Jesus’ coming could not be “imminent” when it would be preceded by signs!
          When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


          • #6

            The eschatology (including their Rapture position) of the Early Church, after the deaths of the Apostles, was the direct result of the labor of the Apostles. One big advantage the Early Christians had over us is oral tradition. The Apostles not only wrote the New Testament books under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but they spent their lives teaching the Word of God to the next generation of Christians. A good illustration of the importance of oral tradition is found in 2 Thess. 2, where Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers about the “Restrainer,” who was holding back the revelation of Antichrist. Paul wrote, “remember ye not, that when I was with you I told you these things. And now ye know what witholdeth...” [v. 5,6]. Unfortunately, Paul did not reveal the identity of the Restrainer in this passage, and we are left to guess just what he actually told the Thessalonians when he was with them.

            The oral teaching of the Apostles, as well as the written Word of God, molded the thinking and theology of the earliest believers. And some of this personal instruction is reflected in the writings of the earliest of the Church Fathers, who either knew the Apostles personally, or were taught by those who were linked to the Apostles. For example, below I have quoted Ireneaus and Hippolytus rather extensively. Both of these men dealt with eschatology extensively, and both had a chain of linkage to the Apostle John who wrote Revelation. John personally discipled several men, including Papius, Ignatius, and Polycarp, the famous martyr. Polycarp was Bishop of the Church of Smyrna under John’s leadership, and was most likely the one to whom the letter to Smyrna was addressed in Revelation. Polycarp in turn discipled Irenaeus, who later became Bishop of the Church at Lyons, Gaul (France). Irenaeus conveyed some very intriguing oral tradition that John passed down through Polycarp, and his other disciples, regarding the nature of the Millennium (including some sayings of Jesus). Irenaeus, in his work Against Heresies, Book V, was the earliest writer (who’s works have survived) to deal with end-time prophecy in any depth. So, in Irenaeus we have both extensive treatment of eschatology, and a high degree of credibility due to his direct linkage to the Apostle John’s oral teaching.

            Hippolytus, bishop of Portus, was a disciple of Irenaeus, and carried on his work of refuting heresies after Irenaeus’ martyrdom. Hippolytus’ eschatological work is even more extensive than Irenaeus’.

            If Post-Trib is correct, that a uniform rapture view can be traced from Jesus through the Epistles and Revelation, then we would expect to find the same continuity in the writings of the post-apostolic Church. On the other hand, if pre-tribbers are correct in their theory, that Paul was given a new prophetic scenario for the Church, we would expect the post-apostolic Church (especially Gentiles to whom Paul was sent) to embrace this alleged pre-trib scheme, and to distinguish their eschatology from what Jesus taught in the Olivet Discourse. If the post-apostolic Christians display the kind of post-trib expectancy consistent with Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse, then pre-tribbers would be forced to the awkward conclusion that the Apostles failed in transmitting sound Christian teaching to the very next generation.

            I do not want to give the impression that the eschatology of the Early Church was uniform throughout. There was some controversy, mainly concerning whether the Millennium should be understood literally. Most of the writers understood the Millennium as the literal reign of Christ and the saints on earth for 1,000 years after the second coming. But, those who favored allegorical interpretation (spiritualizing the Millennium) thought the 70th week (but not the tribulation) was already fulfilled. These were exclusively North African writers, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Julius Africanus (all of which were connected with the heretical Alexandrian school). Tertullian, also of North Africa (Carthage), thought the 70th week was past. Yet, like the orthodox writers, he still believed in a future tribulation and Antichrist, and a literal Millennium.

            However, despite the disagreement over the nature of the Millennium, and how to interpret Daniel 9:27, there was absolutely no controversy regarding the timing of the rapture. All saw a future tribulation, a literal Antichrist who would persecute the Church, and all were post-tribulationists, seeing only one future coming of Christ after the tribulation.

            I should clarify that I am not assigning the same level of authority to the early church writers as I would give to the Bible. Some of the writers I refer to carry greater weight than others, depending on their level of orthodoxy, and their linkage to Apostolic teaching. I present the following evidence only for its historical value, to illustrate how the next generations of Christians understood the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. Due to the natural tendency for error to creep in and compound over time, I have limited my evidence to the Ante-Nicene period (from the Apostles until A.D.325). Also, I have tried my best to be thorough. I have NOT selected only quotations that support the post-trib position, and ignored those that oppose it. The writings of the early Christians consistently support post-tribulationism, and give absolutely no hint of pre-tribulationism. Anybody who can produce writings from the same period to the contrary is certainly welcome to present them.

            One of the key elements of pre-trib thinking is the idea that Jesus could come at any moment, and no intervening prophetic events need occur prior to Jesus’ coming. Some pre-trib authors have claimed the early Christians believed in the immanency of Jesus’ coming, but that is simply not true. While there are passages in the Church Fathers that show they expected a soon return of Christ, we should not mistake this for belief in “imminence.” The one thing that precludes an “any-moment” coming is their clear belief that intervening events must occur prior to the coming of the Lord for His Church. Yet, most were convinced the end-time scenario would unfold soon. Therefore, they had a healthy EXPECTANCY of the Lord’s soon return, while NOT believing in “immanency.”

            Below is a quote from Irenaeus, Bishop of the Church at Lyons. In this excerpt, Irenaeus was speaking disapprovingly about a group of fellow believers who were enthusiastically trying to figure out the name of the Antichrist based on the value the Greek letters. (There were a few manuscripts of Revelation circulating that had an error in the number of the name of the Beast, 616 rather than 666). Their expectation was quite real, thinking that the end-time scenario — tribulation, Antichrist, second coming — would play out in the near future. But they were in error by using a corrupt manuscript with the erroneous number. In this section, Irenaeus was concerned both with this erroneous number, as well as their unhealthy eagerness to find a candidate whose name added up to the number of the Beast. Irenaeus’ advice was to await the fulfillment of certain prophecies in Revelation, including the fall of the Roman Empire and rise of the ten kings, before they begin to speculate on who the Antichrist might be. Hence, it is obvious they did NOT believe the coming of the Lord was “imminent.”

            Irenaeus: (AD. 120-202)
            “Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against. These men, therefore, ought to learn [what really is the state of the case], and go back to the true number of the name, that they be not reckoned among false prophets. But, knowing the sure number declared by Scripture, that is, six hundred sixty and six, let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom, [let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation. ... It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfillment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. ... But he indicates the number of the name now, that when this man comes we may avoid him, being aware who he is: ... But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” [Irenaeus: Against Heresies, Book V, XXX]

            Now, why would Irenaeus have said anything about Christians waiting for these events to be fulfilled if he knew that we weren’t going to be here, via the Pre-Trib Rapture? Wouldn’t he have said something more to the effect that we need not concern ourselves with identifying the Antichrist because we wouldn’t be here to live through his persecutions in the first place?

            The early Christians unanimously believed the Antichrist would persecute the Church, and that the resurrection and gathering to Christ would occur at a single coming, after the tribulation.

            Justin Martyr: (AD. 110-165)
            “[T]wo advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonored, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians, ... Now it is evident that no one can terrify or subdue us who have believed in Jesus over all the world. For it is plain that, though beheaded, and crucified, and thrown to wild beasts, and chains, and fire, and all other kinds of torture, we do not give up our confession; but the more such things happen, the more do others and in larger numbers become faithful, and worshippers of God through the name of Jesus.” [Dialog with Trypho, CX]

            The early Christians did not believe they were in the tribulation, as is claimed by some. They considered the revelation of Antichrist to be entirely future, as well as the appearance of the two witnesses. They believed the Antichrist would defile and rule from the Temple in Jerusalem. And remember, the Jews had been driven from Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed in AD. 70, and Roman law at the time forbade them from returning. These Church Fathers expected that Rome would fall and be replaced by the ten kings. Then Antichrist would arise and take over the kingdom, the Jews would be restored back to Jerusalem, and Antichrist would rebuild the Temple. Only afterward would the Antichrist commit the “abomination of desolation,” and then persecute the Church. They held a literal “futurist” view of Revelation, just as Pre-Millennialists do today.

            Hippolytus: (AD. 170-236)
            As these things, then, are in the future, and as the ten toes of the image are equivalent to (so many) democracies, and the ten horns of the fourth beast are distributed over ten kingdoms, let us look at the subject a little more closely, and consider these matters as in the clear light of a personal survey. The golden head of the image and the lioness denoted the Babylonians; the shoulders and arms of silver, and the bear, represented the Persians and Medes; the belly and thighs of brass, and the leopard, meant the Greeks, who held the sovereignty from Alexander’s time; the legs of iron, and the beast dreadful and terrible, expressed the Romans, who hold the sovereignty at present; the toes of the feet which were part clay and part iron, and the ten horns, were emblems of the kingdoms that are yet to rise; the other little horn that grows up among them meant the Antichrist in their midst; the stone that smites the earth and brings judgment upon the world was Christ.” [Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 27,28]

            Some pre-trib authors have implied that the reason the early Christians did not teach pre-tribulationism is because they were not as theologically sophisticated as modern scholars. They had not developed their doctrinal positions enough to realize a pre-trib rapture. They excuse this absurdity by claiming the early Christians were not really focused on prophecy. They allege the Church did not concern itself with eschatology until after the Reformation, when pre-tribulationism was “rediscovered.”

            This line of reasoning implies that correct theology comes from an evolutionary process. And, the Church is progressing and becoming more theologically sophisticated as time goes by. But, isn’t the transmission of doctrinal truth from one generation to the next supposed to be fixed? Weren’t the early Christians taught personally by the Apostles? Were the Apostles not as sophisticated theologically as today’s scholars? Perhaps we flatter ourselves too much if we think we have arrived at truths unseen by the early Church. Did the Apostles transmit a crude system of theology that needed to be refined by later generations? The whole concept of evolving theology is absolutely antibiblical. Acts records that new converts continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine, [Acts 2:42]. Paul told Timothy to faithfully transmit what he had been taught to other faithful men who could then be trusted to pass on pure doctrine to succeeding generations, [2 Tim. 2:1,2]. Paul also warned the Ephesian elders to guard what they had been taught because after the Apostles died, error was bound to dilute the pure doctrine of Christ and the Apostles, [Acts 20:28,29]. And Jude exhorted the brethren to “earnestly contend for the Faith which was once delivered to the saints” [Jude 3]. There was no eschatological vacuum in the early Church. And the extensive treatment of end-time prophecy by Irenaeus and Hippolytus demonstrate a well developed understanding right from the beginning. If there is any need to advance in theology today, it is to get back to what Christ and the Apostles taught. Aside from the Scriptures themselves, the best evidence is to examine what the disciples of the Apostles believed and taught. Obviously, just as Paul warned, as time went on, and new generations of Christians were taught by the preceding generation, a degrading of pure doctrine occurred. Men brought in their own ideas, intentionally and unintentionally, diluting the true teaching of the Apostles. This degrading process is clearly demonstrated in the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, where tradition upon tradition has been heaped up, with the modern teaching hardly resembling the Apostle’s doctrine. Of course, those of us who hold only the Bible as our final authority are better anchored than Catholics. But, it cannot be denied that theology has evolved even among non-Catholics. People still bring their preconceived philosophical ideas to their interpretation of Scripture.

            At times, the evolution of theology has been checked by a revolution. This was clearly demonstrated in the Reformation. Over a millennia of Roman Catholic tradition was thrown off and Christians again began to search the Scriptures. As the masses became familiar with the written Word of God, they began to shed the false and cumbersome doctrines they had been fed. Most of the “new” doctrines the Protestants embraced were explicitly taught in the Scriptures, and in the writings of the early Church, so were not actually “new,” just rediscovered.
            When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


            • #7

              It is obvious that the closer we can trace a doctrine back to the time of the Apostles, the more likely it is to actually be doctrine taught by the Apostles. This is especially true if a doctrine can be shown to be contiguous to the time of the Apostles. For example, widely accepted doctrines taught by Church leaders from the later decades of the first century, while the Apostle John was still alive and overseeing the local churches of Asia Minor, are more likely to have met with John’s approval. If such doctrines can be shown to have been widely or universally accepted by faithful early Christian leaders who had ties to the Apostles, the likelihood is much greater that they are orthodox. Conversely, if a particular doctrine has no support in the early Church, and is even opposite the universally held view, then such doctrine is highly suspect! While we do not consider linkage to the early Church to be proof of a doctrine’s correctness, it does provide weighty supporting evidence. The essence of the post-trib argument against pre-tribulationism on historical grounds is that any new doctrine is false doctrine. If it cannot be traced back to the inspired biblical writers, it is not “the faith once delivered to the saints,” and we should not be “contending” for it!

              Of course, some false doctrines were developed even in the first century, and were then passed to succeeding generations, so that they can be traced very far back in Christian history. However, in the early Church, this could not, and did not, occur without a strong reaction from orthodox believers. When serious false doctrines were developed, the large number of orthodox believers trained by the Apostles were a natural deterrent to the spread of these false doctrines, and sounded the alarm against them. The writings of the early Christians display ferocious attacks on new and false doctrines, and valiant defenses of the orthodox Faith. The five books of Irenaeus Against Heresies are a catalogue of the false teachings of the day and Irenaeus’ refutation of them, based on the teaching of Scripture, and oral tradition passed down by the Apostles. In fact, much of the writings of the early Ante-Nicene Fathers are refutations of heresies. One of Irenaeus’ arguments against these early heresies was that they had no traceable linkage to the Apostles. Irenaeus argued that the orthodox Faith could be traced back through the succession of ordained local Bishops in the local churches founded by the Apostles. These local churches were entrusted with both the original New Testament manuscripts as well as the oral teaching of the Apostles who founded and originally pastored them.

              Since the early Christians who knew both the Scriptures and the Apostolic oral tradition were unanimously post-trib, it seems difficult to believe that they all had departed from the teaching of the Apostles without a single writer challenging them! Furthermore, it seems almost impossible to imagine that if pre-tribulationism was indeed taught by the Apostles, there should be no trace of it left in the very next generation of believers! The claim, that these early Christians were not theologically sophisticated, is utter nonsense, as anyone who has read their discourses can easily see. They quoted Scripture extensively, and brought together a well developed eschatology that depended on a literal interpretation of prophecy, and was pre-millennial, futurist, and post-tribulational.

              What pretribulationists have done is to construct a reverse engineered argument for “imminence.” “Imminence” is NOT derived from Scripture itself, but is custom tailored to fit the pretribulation view and exclude all other rapture views. Then it is forced on the Scriptures. “Imminence” is proclaimed to be a biblical doctrine that “proves” the pretribulation rapture by injecting a definition of “imminence” into several passages that speak of “watching” for Christ’s coming. My challenge to you, the reader, is to explain how Jesus could instruct His followers to be watching for His posttribulation coming immediately after telling them a series of signs that will precede it.

              In contrast, the posttribulation view establishes what “watching” really means from Scripture first (from Jesus teaching in the Olivet Discourse). And then interprets the rest of the Scriptures that refer to “watching” based on this foundational understanding. And amazingly enough, this is also in perfect alignment with what the early Christians wrote as well.

              25. The exhortation to be comforted by the coming of the Lord (I Thess. 4:18) is very significant in the pretribulational view and is especially contradicted by most posttribulationists.

              As I stated in the above argument about immanency, this is like telling a pregnant mother that because she must go through labor pains before giving birth to her new child, that she is without hope. That’s just ridiculous. For that matter, the idea of being “comforted” will be far more significant while going through the Tribulation than for those of us enjoying a life of ease in Western civilization where persecution is the exception rather than the rule.

              26. The exhortation to look for the “glorious appearing” of Christ first to His own (Titus 2:13) loses its significance if the Tribulation must intervene first. Believers in that case should look for signs.

              I’ve already covered this in depth in my answer to # 24.

              27. The exhortation to purify yourselves in view of the Lord's return has most significance if His coming is imminent (I John 3:2-3).

              Again, this is something that was covered in the answer to # 24, but I’ll just re-iterate that “looking forward” to something is not negated by the existence of a seven-year Tribulation in the interim. On the contrary, the expectancy is only heightened.

              The idea that Pre-Tribbers will automatically have more of a tendency to live Godly lives holds no water. As a Post-Tribber, I could argue that Pre-Tribbers are less prepared to face persecution, because they expect to have a get-out-jail-for-free card in the Pre-Trib Rapture. Pre-Tribbers would rightfully find such an argument offensive and ridiculous – the idea of Post-Tribbers being “less purified” while we are waiting is no less offensive and ridiculous.

              28. The church is uniformly exhorted to look for the coming of the Lord, while believers in the Tribulation are directed to look for signs.

              Hogwash. If I’m a believer in the Tribulation, I guarantee you the only reason I can think of for living is the return of Christ. That’s what I’m looking forward to if I’m stuck in the Tribulation.

              29. The Holy Spirit as the restrainer of evil cannot be taken out of the world unless the church, which the Spirit indwells, is translated at the same time. The Tribulation cannot begin until this restraint is lifted.

              Here we go with another round of assumptions. First of all, the Bible NEVER says the Holy Spirit is the “restrainer”. We actually don’t really know who it is. But even if it IS the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is “omnipresent”. He is everywhere, because He is God. Taking a whole bunch of human beings off the surface of the earth is not going to turn off the switch on the Holy Spirit. In addition, if the Holy Spirit is “removed”, then how will anybody be saved during the Tribulation? Assumptions, assumptions……..

              30. The Holy Spirit as the restrainer must be taken out of the way before “the lawless one”, who dominates the tribulation period, can be revealed (II Thess.2:6-8).

              See my answer to # 29.

              31. If the expression “except there come a falling away first” (KJB) is translated literally, “except the departure come first,” it would plainly show the necessity of the Rapture taking place before the beginning of the Tribulation.

              “Plainly” not, because he’s not even translating the Greek word, “apostasia” correctly. The Greek word “apostasia” signifies a willful separation, especially like a divorce. It has nothing to do with changing your location. Think of it this way: In a marriage, you don’t go around talking about whether or not you’re only a little married or if you’re completely married. You either are or you aren’t. Period. But then if one day you decide to end the marriage, you are now divorced. There is no middle ground – you either are or you aren’t. That’s what Paul was talking about. When Paul spoke in 2 Thessalonians 2 about the “apostasy” or the “falling away” (depending on your translation), he was speaking of a specific event. Notice the usage: “THE falling away” (or “THE apostasy”). We’re not just talking about a general concept here – Paul is speaking of a very specific occurrence that was yet future when he wrote it (and it still is future as of right now). Now, what, precisely, that occurrence turns out to be depends on how you interpret Bible prophecy. Suffice to say that at some point in the future, there will apparently be large numbers of so-called “Christians” who will turn their back on their beliefs and will choose a different belief system. They will willfully reject the atoning sacrifice of Jesus as the means of receiving eternal security. THAT is “apostasy”, not going off on a trip to heaven.

              32. According to II Corinthians 5:10, all believers of this age must appear before the judgment seat of Christ in heaven, an event never mentioned in the detailed accounts connected with the Second Coming of Christ to the earth.

              Go look up II Corinthians 5:10 and tell me where it says “in heaven”. Here we have yet ANOTHER assumption. You see what I mean? Pre-Tribbers have to twist and change and add so much stuff to the Scriptures that it blows my mind away. In fact, I would suggest the “judgment seat of Christ” will be at the start of the Millennium, although at least I’m not going to pretend to have Scripture to be dogmatic about it.

              33. If the twenty-four elders of Revelation 4: 4-11 are representative of the church as many expositors believe, it would necessitate the rapture and reward of the church before the Tribulation.

              The problem with this is that the Bible does not give us any indication that these elders are the Church.
              When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


              • #8

                34. The coming of Christ for His bride must take place before the Second Coming to the earth for the wedding feast

                In the attempt to support pre-tribulationism from the Jewish Wedding customs, pre-trib writers have promoted the myth that the coming of the groom for the bride was “imminent” throughout the engagement period. That is, she had no idea when the groom would come to snatch her away. She must always be in a state of readiness for his arrival.

                Zola Levitt writes: “And she waited at home every night. She certainly didn’t want to be caught away from home when the bridegroom came. The tradition was that he would come at night, even at midnight, and try to take her by surprise. Matt 24:42-44 ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. You must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’ ... Yes, suddenly one night the groom would come. The bride’s father and brothers would ensure it was the man with the marriage contract, then look the other way while the two of them and all their friends eloped! They were all whisked away into the into the night to begin the reception. ... Would they have no warning at all? Well, just this much. When the groom’s party was close, they would shout; and when the bride heard that shout, she knew she was as good as married.” The bride, for her part ... did a lot of waiting .... Custom required her to be ready ... have an oil lamp ready in case he came in darkness ... she was to be ready to travel at a moment’s notice. ... The bride would assemble her bridesmaids and whoever would go with her to the wedding ... they were all to have oil lamps ready. They would wait at her house every night on the chance that the groom would come ... and sweep them all away to a sudden wedding ceremony. ... When the Father deemed all to be ready, the bridegroom would assemble his friends ... and set out in the night .... The Jewish brides were stolen ... as the party would get close to her house, they were required to give her a warning. Someone in the party would shout! When the shout was heard, the bride and her party were to go out to meet the bridegroom.”

                Chuck Missler writes: “Although the bride was expecting the groom to come for her, she did not know the time of his coming. As a result, the groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, which announced her imminent departure to be gathered with him. ... The Bridegroom has departed, and His return to gather His Bride is imminent.”

                Both Levitt and Missler are simply wrong. Levitt gives no source for his information. Missler cites the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia to support several of his other points regarding the Jewish customs. But, his own source says plainly on pp. VII. 372-373 that the time of engagement was 12 months. The fact is, the bride knew the length of time of the betrothal; it was agreed upon at the beginning of the engagement. She knew the time of the groom’s coming right from the start of the engagement. If not the actual day, at least that it would be at the end of the twelve month engagement. The coming of the groom was NEVER considered by the bride to be “imminent” during the 12 months of their separation. It is simply disingenuous for pre-trib writers to attach the idea of “imminence” to the bride’s expectation. Not until the twelve months had passed, and the arrangements made for the consummation of the wedding, did she consider his coming to be “imminent.” And even then, she was certainly made aware, in advance, of the day on which to make herself ready and to expect his arrival. His coming was not actually “imminent,” in the sense pre-tribbers use the term, until the shout from the young men who ran ahead of the procession.

                In “The Parables of Jesus,” Joachim Jeremias, an authority on Jewish customs, quoted an earlier book written by his father in 1909, which describes the ancient Semitic wedding custom.

                “In the late evening the guests were entertained in the bride’s house. After hours of waiting for the bridegroom, whose coming was repeatedly announced by messengers, at last he came, half an hour before mid-night, to fetch the bride; he was accompanied by his friends; floodlit by burning candles, and received by guests who had come out to meet him. The wedding assembly then moved off, again in the flood of light, in a festal procession to the house of the bridegroom’s father, where the marriage ceremony and fresh entertainment took place.”

                This ancient Semitic custom does not fit the pre-trib scheme, where the groom is alleged to arrive at the bride’s house secretly to snatch her away, without any warning. The Gospel accounts agree with Jeremias’ historical account, also implying that the date of the groom’s coming for his bride was fully planned and known by the bridal party prior to his arrival. Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins is strikingly similar to the custom described above by Jeremias. This passage of Scripture is the ONLY account of a Jewish wedding procession in the Bible dating around the time of Christ.

                Matt 25:1-10
                1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
                2 “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
                3 “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
                4 “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
                5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
                6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
                7 “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
                8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
                9 “But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
                10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. (NKJV)

                In Jesus’ parable, all ten of the bride’s maids had their lamps and oil in them while they awaited the groom’s arrival. Are we to assume that the bride’s maids were all waiting for a full 12 months with their lamps burning? Hardly! The picture painted by Jesus was of ten virgins accompanying the bride at her home on the day of the groom’s planned arrival. He was scheduled to arrive half an hour before midnight in a grand procession, to take the bride to their new home where the wedding would take place. When the shout came that the groom was on his way, they took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. They must have known the day of the groom’s arrival, otherwise they could not have known when to bring their lamps and assemble at the bride’s house! The whole purpose of the lamps was to participate in the festivities of the lighted procession once the groom arrived to fetch the bride. This fits perfectly with the custom described by Jeremias above. “In the late evening the guests were entertained in the bride’s house. After hours of waiting for the bridegroom,...” Apparently, there was some delay in the groom’s arrival in Jesus’ parable. Jesus said they all fell asleep awaiting the groom’s arrival. At midnight the announcement was made, “behold the bridegroom cometh go ye out to meet him.” This fits perfectly with the above custom as well. “After hours of waiting for the bridegroom, whose coming was repeatedly announced by messengers, at last he came, half an hour before mid-night, to fetch the bride; he was accompanied by his friends; floodlit by burning candles, and received by guests who had come out to meet him.” In Jesus’ parable, the bridegroom was half an hour late. This is why the virgins fell asleep. Instead of arriving at 11:30PM according to custom, the announcement finally came of his impending arrival at midnight! Even then the bride’s maidens scurried around to trim their lamps. The foolish virgins were told to go quickly and buy oil for their lamps. This strongly implies that there was some expected time anticipated between the final shout and the groom’s actual arrival at the home of the bride.

                Alfred Edersheim writes: “The parable proceeds on the assumption that the Bridegroom is not in town, but somewhere far away; so that it cannot be known at what precise hour He may arrive. But it is known that he will come that night.”. In Jesus’ parable, the foolish virgins expected that the groom might come while they were out buying oil. Therefore, both the historical and biblical data strongly refutes the idea of “imminence” at any time during the betrothal period except after the shout on the scheduled day of the groom’s coming. In his Sketches of Jewish Social Life, Edersheim wrote that the custom in Jesus’ day was to have the wedding on a Wednesday, allowing the first three days of the week for the bride to prepare herself for her groom’s coming.

                “The marriage followed [the betrothal ritual] after a longer or shorter interval, the limits of which, however, were fixed by law. The ceremony itself consisted in leading the bride into the house of the bridegroom, with certain formalities, mostly dating from very ancient times. Marriage with a maiden was commonly celebrated on a Wednesday afternoon, which allowed the first days of the week for preparation, and enabled the husband, if he had a charge to prefer against the previous chastity of his bride, to make immediate complaint before the local Sanhedrim, which sat every Thursday. ... This circumstance enables us, with some certainty, to arrange the date of the events which preceded the marriage in Cana. Inferring from the accompanying festivities that it was the marriage of a maiden, and therefore took place on a Wednesday... On “the third day” after it, that is, on Wednesday, was the marriage in Cana of Galilee.”

                Notice Edersheim stated clearly that the first three days (Sunday - Tuesday) were set aside for the bride to prepare. Since the day of the week was known (at least three days notice), it was impossible for a bride to be totally caught unaware, as pre-trib writers claim. The day of the groom’s coming for His bride was known by both bride and groom. It was also known by the bride’s maids who came to her home to await the groom’s arrival. And it was known by the friends of the groom, who accompanied him to the bride’s home to fetch her.

                The ONLY evidence we have in Scripture of the Jewish wedding customs, related to the arrival of the groom for his bride, is the parable of the ten virgins. And it does not support the pre-trib scheme! Rather, it supports a post-trib scheme, where there is some advanced warning. This fits perfectly with Jesus’ teaching in this very same Olivet Discourse. Jesus indicated a fixed period of time prior to His coming. The Gospel must be preached in all the world first. He outlined a series of signs that would occur just before His coming “immediately after the tribulation” [Matt. 24:29-31]. Then, He told the disciples;

                Matthew 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (KJV)
                When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


                • #9

                  After their recognizing the fulfillment of the signs described in verses 15-29, they would know His coming was imminent. This perfectly parallels the prior announcement made in the parable of the ten virgins, “behold the bridegroom cometh.” Even the three days notice could be analogous to the time between the abomination of desolation and Jesus’ coming, clearly mentioned in Matt. 24:15. Pre-tribbers cannot account for any prior warning, without destroying the concept of “imminence,” which is so important to their system.

                  The Second Cup Indicates Consummation In Christ’s Millennial Kingdom
                  The Jewish custom was for the bride to be given a glass of wine at the time of the engagement. This was called “the cup of acceptance.” If she accepted the proposal, she drank from the cup, and the betrothal covenant was sealed. The parallel to the Lord’s supper is striking, where Jesus gave the cup to His disciples. Yet, Jesus made an interesting comment at this event.

                  Matt 26:27-29
                  27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
                  28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
                  29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

                  We know that at the wedding, the bride and groom again share a cup of wine together for the first time since the betrothal covenant was made. Yet, Jesus told the disciples that He would not share in the cup of wine with them again until the coming Millennial Kingdom. This rules out any such activity in heaven during the tribulation. If Jesus had Jewish wedding customs in mind, His statement clearly precludes the pre-trib rapture scenario! The consummation of the wedding must be POST-tribulational.

                  The Seven Days in the “Huppah”
                  Pre-tribbers point to the fact that the groom would fetch his bride, and bring her into the bridal chamber [“huppah”], where they would resort for seven days immediately following the wedding ceremony. It is alleged that this represents Christ’s coming for His Bride in a pre-trib rapture, where she is taken into heaven [the huppah] for seven years. This reasoning depends on some unproved assumptions. First, that “heaven” is the “bridal chamber” [or “huppah”]. Secondly, the seven days are allegorical (meaning years) and represent the seven years of the tribulation, rather than taking them literally. Pre-tribbers point to John 14:1-3 to support the idea of heaven being the “bridal chamber” [huppah]. Jesus said to the disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you.” It is claimed that this was a reference to the groom’s preparing a bridal chamber in his father’s house.

                  It is certainly likely that Jesus had the “huppah” in mind here. But, heaven is not necessarily indicated by the word’s “my Father’s house.” (See my answer to #18 for a discussion about what Jesus actually meant by “my Father’s house”.) Jesus used the phrase “my Father’s house” earlier to refer to the Temple, [John 2:15-17]. And, the phrase “house of the Lord,” used some 250 times in the Old Testament, always referred to the Temple, (many times referring to the future Millennial Temple). Finally, the Hebrew word “huppah” (bridal chamber) is found only once in Scripture, in a prophetic sense, and it clearly refers to the Millennium.

                  Isaiah 4
                  2 In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
                  3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy-- everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
                  4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning,
                  5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.
                  [Heb. - “huppah”] (NKJV)

                  Alfred Edersheim says basically the same thing. “The Covenant-union between God and Israel was not only compared to a marriage, but the Tabernacle and Temple designated as ‘the bridal chambers.’

                  There is one other prophetic passage which indisputably has the Jewish wedding custom in view. And that passage does not fit the pre-trib model either.

                  Rev 19:1-11
                  1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
                  2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
                  3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
                  4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
                  5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
                  6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
                  7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
                  8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
                  9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
                  10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
                  11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

                  The context indicates this is the very end of the tribulation. Notice, those John saw rejoicing over the (past) destruction of Babylon were also rejoicing in anticipation of the “marriage of the Lamb” to come. The “Bride,” the true Church, is shown in direct contrast to this false church (Mystery Babylon). It is vitally important to recognize the sequence laid out in this passage. John did not describe any wedding or supper occurring here. He was a witness to a joyous bursting forth of anticipation on behalf of the “Bride” after Mystery Babylon was destroyed. What John actually witnessed, after the destruction of Babylon, was the saints rejoicing because the time had arrived for the wedding of the Lamb. John then heard a pronouncement regarding the Bride’s wedding garments. Then he heard a blessing pronounced on those called to the wedding supper. Immediately, John saw heaven opened, and Christ descending, followed by the angelic armies of heaven. It is quite clear, from Revelation 19, that at the very end of the tribulation the marriage of the Lamb is still being anticipated right up until the second coming.

                  Does Revelation’s mention of the Bride, the wedding, and the supper fit a pre-trib rapture scenario, where the Jewish wedding customs are followed? No! In fact, according to Judges 14:12, the wedding feast (supper) lasted for the full seven days. If pre-tribbers are right, we would expect the wedding and the feast to commence at the beginning of the tribulation, not after the tribulation as Revelation 19 plainly indicates. If Jesus was referring to heaven as the seven years in the “huppah” in John 14:1-3, the bride should have “made herself ready” before the pre-trib rapture (around Rev. 4). And the “marriage of the Lamb” should have occurred at the beginning of the tribulation, and not at its extreme end. The pre-trib scenario has Jesus being intimate with the Bride in the “huppah” for seven years before Revelation 19 indicates the wedding occurs! That would be impossible because it would make Jesus a fornicator. Only immediately prior to the second coming do we find the excited anticipation of the impending wedding. Only then has the Bride finally “made herself ready.” And, as we saw, even this passage does not describe the wedding ceremony actually occurring, but simply indicates the excited anticipation of the wedding that is about to commence, followed immediately by the post-trib second coming. The expression “the Bride hath made herself ready” implies that the Groom is about to go and fetch her!

                  The anticipation in heaven at the end of the tribulation, is because the rapture is about to occur, and Jesus is about to fetch the remnant of His Bride who have endured the tribulation, and take the whole body of saints to the place prepared, [the huppah] in the Millennial Kingdom. This view does not have the conspicuous problem of the Bride and Groom moving out of the “Father’s house” right after the seven days in the “huppah,” back to the Bride’s house. Since the Millennial Kingdom is where both Bride and Groom will reside, it makes perfect sense that this is where the “huppah” is located. And, it fits the concept of the “Father’s House” and “House of the Lord” being the Temple, found everywhere else in Scripture.

                  The Marriage Supper
                  The marriage supper occurs AFTER the tribulation, on earth, not in heaven.

                  Isaiah 24:23 & 25:1,2,6-8
                  23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
                  25:1 O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee...
                  2 For thou hast made a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city: it shall never be built....
                  6 And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of morrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
                  7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
                  8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.

                  Isaiah 24:23 indicates the timing of this event, referring to the cosmic signs that accompany Christ’s coming “Immediately after the tribulation,” [Matt. 24:29], and His reigning in His Kingdom. Isaiah 25:2 refers to the saints rejoicing over the destruction of Babylon the Great (which occurs at the end of the tribulation [Rev. 17&18]). Verse 6 indicates that the Lord will prepare a great feast for His people ON MT. ZION in Israel. This is the marriage supper anticipated in Rev. 19, and it occurs immediately following the second coming, where Christ fetches His bride. Notice that verse 8 is the prophecy that Paul quoted in 1 Cor. 15:54 in conjunction with the resurrection & rapture of believers! Paul wrote, “THEN (Gr.- “at that time”) shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Also, notice the reference to the “vial” and “covering” in verse 7. Upon the consummation of the wedding, the veil and covering was removed from the bride and she was intimate with the groom. Notice also that the veil and covering had been spread over ALL NATIONS. In this passage Christ is wedding his bride. And, even though the context is clearly “Jewish,” the Bride is made up of the redeemed of “all nations.”

                  Contrary to what is commonly taught, the marriage feast does not occur after the 7 days in the huppah. The feast begins right after the marriage ceremony, and lasts the entire seven days, [Gen. 29:21-27, Judges 14:10-18]. Yet, Revelation 19 places both the marriage and the feast at the END of the tribulation. This makes the pre-trib scheme impossible to reconcile with Revelation.

                  One final thought. Some, including this author, are convinced that the Jewish Feasts give an outline of Christ’s first coming in the Spring Feasts, and a pattern of His second coming in the Fall Feasts. If so, the Battle of Armageddon will most likely occur on a Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is the day the Jubilee begins, [Lev. 25:9]. The “last trumpet” normally sounds ten days earlier on the Rosh Hashanna, the feast of Trumpets. But, every 49 years, there is one final trumpet, on Yom Kippur, to announce the beginning of the Jubilee. If the Feasts do indeed point to the end-time scenario, the seven days in the huppah should be interpreted literally, and would likely refer to the seven literal days of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles [Lev. 23:33]. This feast, which occurs five days after Yom Kippur, is symbolic of the coming of the Millennial Kingdom. It is the most joyful celebration of all the feasts. It is the wedding feast of the Messiah, [Zech. 14]. And, John referred to this feast in Revelation, in reference to the saints who “came out of Great Tribulation,” [cf. the “palm branches” in Rev. 7:9 & Lev. 23:40].

                  I am sure some are thinking this Old Testament stuff refers to Israel, not the Church. Yes, it does refer to Israel. But, so does the New Covenant refer to Israel, and we are included in the New Covenant, [Jer. 31:31-34, & Heb. 8:8-13]. I hate to disappoint you, but the Lord has only one bride. And, she includes all saints of all time, from Israel and the nations.

                  Rev 21:9-14
                  9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
                  10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
                  11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
                  12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
                  13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
                  14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
                  When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


                  • #10

                    35. Tribulation saints are not translated at the Second Coming of Christ but carry on ordinary occupations such as farming and building houses, and they will bear children (Isa.65:20-25). This would be impossible if all saints were translated at the Second Coming to the earth, as posttribulationists teach.

                    This is no doubt leading up to the old argument, “Who will re-populate the earth by having children?”

                    The argument most often presented is as follows: (1) Post-Trib requires all of the world’s believers to be Raptured at the time of the 2nd Coming. (2) Matthew 25 then (supposedly) has all of the world’s unbelievers gathered in front of Jesus for a judgment and subsequently condemned by Jesus, thus eliminating all unbelievers from the planet at the start of the Kingdom. (3) The supposed result of this is that nobody is allowed to enter the initial stages of the Millennial Kingdom except believers, Jewish or Gentile. (4) The problem this scenario would present for Post-Trib is that all of the world’s Gentiles would have “glorified”, raptured bodies that are not able to bear children, because there would be no other Gentiles left, the others having been eliminated by Christ at the Matthew 25 judgment. (5) This would mean there would be no Gentile children born during the Millennium which would lead into… (6) There would be no Gentile unbelievers at the end of the Millennium to participate in the 2nd Gog/Magog rebellion found in Revelation 20:7-10.

                    The problem here is with the mistaken assumption that all unbelievers are automatically condemned. Jesus’ exact words in Matthew 25:32 are “all nations” will be gathered before Him. Most Pre-Tribbers take this to mean every single person on the entire planet Earth will stand before Jesus at this point to receive their judgment of either being welcomed into the Kingdom or being cast out into “outer darkness” and “gnashing of teeth”. But what does “all nations” mean? Is there any indication in the Bible about exactly what “all nations” actually means? There are numerous uses throughout the Bible of the phrase “all nations.” Zechariah 14:2 says “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it.” Using a pre-tribber’s understanding of the same words in Matthew 25, this would mean that every man, woman, and child on the earth will be gathered together to “fight” against Jerusalem at Armageddon. Is that really what pre-tribbers wish to assert? In addition, look at the following quotes:

                    Isaiah 2:2-4 – “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

                    Who is the bolded part speaking of if not unbelievers who have entered the Millennial Kingdom? Most Pre-tribbers would quickly argue (as I once did) that this is talking about unbelievers who are born later on during the already-established Kingdom. But then, where did the “swords” and “spears” come from? If all weapons are banned during the Millennial Kingdom, why are these people having to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks”? They have apparently entered the Kingdom with this equipment and are now having to destroy it.

                    Isaiah 14:1-2 – “The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will take possession of the nations and make them male and female servants in the LORD’s land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors.”

                    Again, who is the bolded part speaking of if not unbelievers who have entered the Millennial Kingdom? Do pre-tribbers wish to suggest that gentile believers will be Israel’s slaves during the Millennium? I didn’t think so.

                    One more:

                    Zechariah 14:16 – “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

                    Who are these survivors?

                    Pre-Tribbers must answer who all these people are. For the Pre-Trib view to succeed, it must harmonize ALL of the Scriptures including these. The suggestion that Matthew 25 is a problem for Post-Trib is based on a presupposition of a Pre-Trib Rapture. It fails to account for the passages quoted here. The new Gentiles born during the Millennium and who subsequently participate in the Revelation 20 Gog/Magog will come from 2 groups: (1) They will come from children around the world at the time of the 2nd Coming who have not yet reached the age of accountability and who are consequently allowed to enter the Millennial Kingdom as full-fledged citizens, and (2) from survivors from “all the nations” who enter the Kingdom as servants of Israel, as we saw in the Isaiah and Zechariah passages above. Matthew 25 is no problem for Post-Trib.

                    36. The judgment of the Gentiles following the Second Coming (Matt.25:31-46) indicates that both saved and unsaved are still in their natural bodies. This would be impossible if the translation had taken place at the Second Coming.

                    See my answer to # 35.

                    37. If the translation took place in connection with the Second Coming to the earth, there would be no need of separating the sheep from the goats at a subsequent judgment, but the separation would have taken place in the very act of the translation of the believers before Christ actually sets up His throne on earth (Matt.25:31).

                    See my answer to # 35 to explain the true nature of the sheep/goats judgment.

                    38. The judgment of Israel (Ezek.20:34-38), which occurs subsequent to the Second Coming, indicates the necessity of regathering Israel. The separation of the saved from the unsaved in this judgment obviously takes place sometime [following] the Second Coming and would be unnecessary if the saved had previously been separated from the unsaved by translation.

                    The author is misunderstanding the judgment in this passage of Ezekiel. The separation the Lord speaks of occurring here takes place during the Tribulation. The faithful remnant will refuse to go along with the Antichrist and the False Prophet and will hide in Petra/Bosrah. That is where the “wilderness” spoken of by Ezekiel in 20:34-38 is located.

                    39. At the time of the Rapture the [Church] saints meet Christ in the air, while at the Second Coming Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to meet the saints on earth.

                    The author is not even factually correct about the location of the 2nd Coming:

                    Isaiah 63:1-6 – Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.

                    Jesus’ initial appearance will not even be at the Mount of Olives. It will be at the ancient city of Petra/Bosrah, where the Antichrist will be preparing to launch his forces that had gathered at Armageddon for the final annihilation of the Jews. But Jesus will appear and save them, and the Rapture will be at the same time. THEN, later on, He will ascend the Mount of Olives during the process of carrying out His Day of the Lord judgments, at which time the Mount of Olives will split in two, just as Zechariah predicted.

                    40. At the time of the Rapture the Mount of Olives is unchanged, while at the Second Coming it divides and a valley is formed to the east of Jerusalem (Zech.14: 45).

                    This is just plain not even true. I defy ANYBODY to show me anywhere, anything in the Bible that says the Mount of Olives is unchanged at the time of the Rapture. That’s pretty sad when we have to start using falsehoods to fill out our list of 50. Good thing he wasn’t going for 100, huh?

                    41. At the Rapture living saints are translated, while no saints are translated in connection with the Second Coming of Christ to the earth.

                    Another falsehood! There is NOTHING that says “nobody” is translated in connection with 2nd Coming. This is purely an assumption based on the author’s presupposition of a Pre-Trib Rapture.

                    42. At the Rapture the saints go to heaven, while at the Second Coming to the earth the saints remain on the earth without translation.

                    There is NOTHING in the Bible that says the saints go to heaven at the Rapture. (And before you bring up “In my Father’s House..”, go re-read my answer to # 18.)

                    Something else also. Notice that the author is identifying the ones who are Raptured with the word “saints”. I thought he said the Church doesn’t appear in Revelation after chapter 4. Yet we see the word “saints” numerous times throughout chapters 4-19. He just belied his own position.

                    43. At the time of the Rapture the world is unjudged and continues in sin, while at the Second Coming the world is judged and righteousness is established in the earth.

                    This has nothing to do with establishing the timing of the Rapture. This statement is based wholly on the supposition of a Pre-Trib Rapture and proves nothing.

                    44. The translation of the church is pictured as deliverance before the day of wrath, while the Second Coming is followed by the deliverance of those who have believed in Christ during the Tribulation.

                    Unfortunately for the author, they are the same thing. The Church is delivered before the day of wrath, at the 2nd Coming, just after the Tribulation.

                    45. The Rapture is described as imminent, while the Second Coming is preceded by definite signs. (Matthew 24:4-33).

                    This has already been answered at length in my response to # 24.

                    46. The translation of living believers is a truth revealed only in the New Testament, while the Second Coming with its attendant events is a prominent doctrine of both Testaments. The Rapture has nothing to do with the remnant of Israel, and so the Old Testament does not mention it. The New Testament tells the Christian Church about the Rapture, but does not involve Israel in it. Thus proving that the Rapture must happen before God takes up the Jewish remnant in renewal, which happens during the Tribulation.

                    This proves nothing except that the Rapture occurs before “all Israel will be saved” as Paul said in Romans 11. The Post-Trib Rapture agrees with that sequence completely. It says nothing regarding how long before the salvation of Israel the Rapture must occur. The author is assuming it to be before the Tribulation because that is his pre-supposition, but it could just as easily satisfy this condition by occurring only moments before the salvation of Israel.

                    47. The Rapture concerns only the saved, while the Second Coming deals with both saved and unsaved. The “saved” in this period are only the Church people who are redeemed by the Blood of Christ. The Rapture must happen before the Second Coming does.

                    This is another assumption that is based completely on a pre-supposition of a Pre-Trib Rapture. Nothing in the Bible requires the Church to not be dealt with at the time of the 2nd Coming. I can’t help noticing that no Scripture is offered to support this point (just like many other items in this list of 50).

                    48. At the Rapture Satan is not bound, while at the Second Coming Satan is bound and cast into the abyss. This shows two Divine events clearly, the Rapture and the Second Coming.

                    Please show me one place in the Bible where Satan is ever viewed as “unbound” AFTER the Rapture. You won’t find it.

                    49. No unfulfilled prophecy stands between the Church and the Rapture, while many signs must be fulfilled before the Second Coming.

                    This is directly contradictory to Jesus’ entire Olivet Discourse. This was covered very thoroughly in my discussion of “immanency”, so I’ll refer to you to my answer to # 24.

                    50. NO passage dealing with the resurrection of saints at the Second Coming ever mentions translation of living saints at the same time.

                    This one is going to be the easiest one to answer out of the whole list:

                    I Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

                    Here are living saints and dead saints both rising together. So much for # 50.
                    When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


                    • #11
                      I'll stick with Walvoord, Luke.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dworthington View Post
                        I'll stick with Walvoord, Luke.
                        Just because of who he is? (Never mind the arguments?)
                        When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dworthington View Post
                          I'll stick with Walvoord, Luke.
                          So will I, DW. Even though I don't agree with everything Walvoord said, his other writings (outside of eschatology) showed me he has a better grasp of the Word than many of his critics did/do. Something else many people don't know is that he had a mentally/physically handicapped son, who preceded him in death. He wasn't just required to talk/think the walk, he had to actually walk it too.

                          So yeah, Luke. WHO he was is an important part of the equation. I like to point out to people that now that he is with the Lord, he is "certifiably" pre-trib, as is every other Church saint who preceded him in death, regardless of what end times position they held when alive.


                          • #14
                            1. While posttribulationism appeared as early as 2 Thessalonians 2, many in the early church believed in the imminency of the Lord's return, which is an essential doctrine of pretribulationism.

                            Two things right off – the author acknowledges that “posttribulationism appeared as early as 2 Thessalonians 2”. We have an admission from the very start that the apostle Paul’s position was Post-Tribulationism. That should be the end of the discussion right there, but of course it isn’t, so we’ll plunge ahead. In addition, the author acknowledges that Pre-Tribulationism is heavily dependent on the so-called “Doctrine of Imminency”. More on that later….
                            I believe the position by pre-trib is that although posttribulationism was around early, Paul is combating that view, not embracing it.
                            Acts 17:11


                            • #15
                              After reading, I'm still a mid-tribber.