Sunday, 2 October 2011

Pre, Mid, or Post Trib Rapture?

Today's Church is very soft and weak, imho. We have become conditioned to "Have it our way" instead of trusting that even if we (like Daniels 3 friends were) get thrown into a fire, God will see us through...and that even if we (like the early church martyrs) get our heads chopped off for not denying Jesus, He will bless us and bring us into His presence when our mortal bodies expire. So why do so many want to escape all tribulation and think that there is an escape hatch that Jesus is going to keep His true ones from suffering any hardship or pain and persecution? That we will avoid tribulation is exactly contrary to what the Bible REALLY  says. Dr Robert Luginbill had this on his Q & A page, and thought it very good:

Question #2: 
Dear Dr. Luginbill, I believe that faith in our Lord saves and not one's theology i.e., belief in pre-trib rapture, but my question to my friends is if they are not raptured and find they are in the Great Tribulation would they also find that their misunderstanding of scripture had done them no harm and even so be spiritually able to get through it? All said yes, but they still believe they will be raptured. And if you and I are wrong, won't that be a nice surprise! Why do you think so many people are so insistent about being right on this point, and how much difference does it make? Again, thanks and God bless.
Response #2:
The list of good and true believers who wrongly believe in a pre-trib rapture is very long indeed. My main complaint is with pastor-teachers who should know better. Anyone who is reasonably prepared in biblical languages, theology, and some basic hermeneutics – and who reads his Bible diligently every day – could not help but to be at the very least beset with doubts and concerns about this issue. Some doctrines of scripture are plainly difficult to develop and honest disagreements on these are understandable. But in my view, the pre-trib rapture does not fall into this category. There simply is not a single passage in scripture which even seems to teach it prima facie (i.e., it is not something that a person would ever come up with on their own by reading the Bible if they had not been taught it first by someone else). And there are only a scant few passages which may superficially seem to agree with it if one doesn't probe too deeply. On the other hand, that our great hope is the resurrection of the Church at the return of Christ, His parousia, is taught throughout the New Testament and was clearly taken for granted in apostolic days.

So I have to ask myself, why it is that so many prepared men have chosen to stick with this what-I-believe-to-be so dangerous false teaching? The answer seems to be that they have embraced tradition over truth, and that is also dangerous in and of itself, because once one lets go of scripture as the guiding light in exchange for any other standard, no matter how well meant, there is no end to the amount of falsehood that can creep in on the one hand, and on the other hand this attitude becomes both a symptom and a cause of degeneration in the teaching of the truth of the Bible.

Inasmuch as we are on the threshold of the greatest deception and greatest apostasy of believers in world history, being wrong on this issue (and on other issues as a result of not caring enough about the Bible to change one's position even though it may be uncomfortable) has the potential of producing egregious harm to self and to all who listen and accept the wrong view. I know your friends mean well, but the problem is, to use a military example, the time to learn military discipline and procedure is not when you find yourself being shot at for the first time. Without these qualities already drilled in, you are likely to panic and run (as in fact very often happens to conscript armies who have never been properly trained).

The Tribulation is going to be very difficult (what an understatement!), and it will at the very least place those who have squandered opportunities to prepare at a tremendous disadvantage. Add to this the fact that true Bible teaching will likely be very difficult to come by in the Tribulation (see the link:The dearth of Bible teaching in the Tribulation" in CT 3A, and we have a recipe for apostasy among those who have been lackadaisical during the calm before the storm. Failing to understand that they need to prepare contributes to the problem. For if your friends (or any Christian who believes in a pre-Trib rapture) really believed and understood that they were possibly going to have to negotiate the Tribulation, it just stands to reason that on the one hand they would be preparing more aggressively now, and on the other hand that they would be less inclined to have their faith undermined or eroded altogether when it suddenly became clear at that future time that what they had believed was wrong (i.e., thus causing them in the crucible of unprecedented pressure to doubt everything else they have come to believe as well).

Yes it would be wonderful if you and I were wrong. It would be a great relief if, like Enoch, the Lord just took us out of all our trouble. My reading of scripture, however, tells me that we have a very important job to do: to demonstrate to men and angels alike that come what may we are going to remain faithful to Jesus – even in the midst of the Tribulation. For this I am preparing and to this end I am trying to help others get ready as well (see the link: “Coming Tribulation”). But it is hard to motivate people who remain convinced that nothing bad is ever going to happen to them.
In this world you do have tribulation. But be courageous. I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

[They were] strengthening the hearts of the disciples, and encouraging them to remain in the faith, and saying "We must pass through many tribulations to reach the Kingdom of God".
Acts 14:22

And we sent Timothy to you, our brother and co-worker in the gospel of God and of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that none of you might waver in the midst of these tribulations. For you yourselves know [very well] that we have been appointed for this (i.e., to endure pressure in this life). Indeed, when we were with you I was warning you that we [all Christians] were destined to be persecuted (lit., tribulated).
1st Thessalonians 3:2-4
If this is true of Christian life generally (for all those who are truly committed to spiritual growth at any rate), how much more will it not be so during that time of intense pressure to come? Here is the verse which rings in my ears about our likely future job (potentially - none of know exactly what the Lord has in store):
Strengthen the hands that are weak. Steady the knees that are giving way. Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong! Don't be afraid! Look, your God is coming to avenge you. God [will] recompense [both them and us]! He will come! And He will rescue you!
Isaiah 35:4-5
Whether we are taken home before all this, martyred in the cause of Jesus Christ, or destined to endure until the blessed day of our Lord's return, our purpose needs to be to get ready for all of these eventualities and to help others to do so as well. In my experience and observation, the pre-Trib rapture is a tremendous detriment to all of these things (for reasons I have written about in the series linked above). I certainly don't blame your Christian friends. I love and pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, I commend you both for your willingness to share your point of view with others, and for the appropriately diplomatic and loving way in which you are clearly doing it. I too feel that is very important not to break fellowship over this issue. Observation that there are other genuine Christians who do not share the rose-colored pre-Trib view is the best way to get them thinking. And if they start thinking, they will start reading their Bibles. And if they read long and honestly enough, they will be led to the truth.

In our Lord whose return is our blessed hope,

Bob L.


  1. I'm not nearly so concerned about this as I once was.

    It's amazing how He works stuff in His time:)

    There is some hermenutical funny business with a lot of different points of theology I'm learning. I can see why this is attractive, but to me not a hill to die on at all anymore.

  2. Great excerpted article, well spoken especially the last, "Observation that there are other genuine Christians who do not share the rose-colored pre-Trib view is the best way to get them thinking. And if they start thinking, they will start reading their Bibles. And if they read long and honestly enough, they will be led to the truth."

    Praying for our being filled with the Holy Spirit to "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." as we live out our witness/lives while we wait for His correction/perfection to be applied to each member of the body of Christ.

  3. Hi Ma and Musemater,

    My favorite part of Dr. Luginbill's comments above:

    "to use a military example, the time to learn military discipline and procedure is not when you find yourself being shot at for the first time. Without these qualities already drilled in, you are likely to panic and run (as in fact very often happens to conscript armies who have never been properly trained)."

    I understand that those who are saved won't and can't lose their salvation, but I do believe there are blessings that can be missed out on. I think I too can be cavalier about that by thinking "Oh well, God knows and He loves me so I have nothing to fear."...well, that's true, HOWEVER (lapsing back to legalism, I suppose) we need to seek the truth even and especially when it is painful to our flesh. That military analogy is a good one because a person who is not properly prepared is more likely to fail. I think the missed blessings will be terribly missed and I think alot of people will be really sorry they missed out on them so nonchalantly.

  4. Sweet Sister in Christ, that's exactly how I feel!

  5. Thanks, Susan, for a first-rate blog that all should read. Enjoyed the part Dr. Lugenbill has on it; he is a Christian genius! He refers to historian Dave MacPherson's dedicated focus on pretrib rapture history for decades and his well documented book "The Rapture Plot" which, BTW, can be easily and inexpensively borrowed at any library through inter-library loan. MacPherson has many web articles including "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" (a bombshell), "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Letter from Mrs. Billy Graham," and "Famous Rapture Watchers." Another interesting Google article, by a Bruce Rockwell, is titled "Christ's Return is NOT Imminent." Lord bless.

  6. Hi Rocky2,

    I'll have to look more into those, thank you :)


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