The Bible says that "there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." Does that mean that the great tribulation will be worse than the holocaust? Could it mean that it will be worse than what some Christians are going through around the world today?
Unfortunately, most believers have never really looked for themselves to see what the Bible has to say about these things.
The PRETRIB viewpoint has been taught from the pulpit, in the seminaries as well as from the notes contained within the covers of the Bible itself, but does it deserve closer scrutiny by those charged with the welfare of families and even entire congregations?
Here are a few of the more glaring problems:
Most believers in the pretrib rapture theory would have that celestial event in which the the sun turns dark, the moon to blood and stars falling occurring three times. I believed in the pretrib theory myself for years, yet I don't think I ever stopped to ponder this.
What do you think? Read these scripture passages, and decide what YOU believe!
A) Matt 24:29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, 30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky... (see also Mark 13:24 and Luke 21:25.)
B) Acts 2:20 'The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. (see also Joel 2:31)
C) Rev 6:12 And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth [made] of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.
Compare Matt 24:31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect..." and 1 Cor 15:52 "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the dead in Christ shall rise..." Should we make these two separate incidences also? The elect being gathered could be Israel... oops, the parallel passage in Mark 13:27 says they are gathered from earth and heaven. If this isn't the rapture, what is it? E me!
Pretribbers have to explain where the fifth seal martyrs (Rev 6:9-11) come from. If we are gone, who witnesses to them? "The 144,000 Jewish witnesses, of course." Just one problem (well, maybe two:-), they aren't even mentioned until after the sixth seal. "Oops! I guess we'll have to take the chapters out of order to make the theory work... "
Sorry, I don't buy that either. What is the very first phrase of Chapter 7? "After this..." After what? After the sixth seal has been opened. I think we had better leave the 144,000 where God put them.
By the way, which verse is it that says they are witnesses? My translation says they were "bond-servants", but doesn't actually specify what type of service they render. E-mail me if you know what scripture describes this, or if you can explain how these martyrs got saved in the first place. Otherwise, we must be prepared for the possibility that this could be us, or our children. Are your children, your family, your friends ready to lose their lives for the sake of the Word of God and their testimony of Jesus? Are you?
So many believe that "wrath" = "tribulation" but does it? John 16:33 says, "In the world you shall have tribulation..." Are we destined for tribulation? Yes! (Read the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3). But are we destined for wrath? No!
Maybe you just believe that "wrath" = "seven year tribulation" but does
the Bible ever mention a "seven year tribulation"? What about Daniel 9? Look it up. Does it anywhere mention "tribulation"? Does it anywhere mention "wrath"? No and no! But wait... what about the abomination of desolation? That is mentioned here and it is also mentioned in relation to tribulation, isn't it? What does Matthew 24:15-21 say?
Anyway, I still can't find any proof that the whole seven years is tribulation or wrath. If you've found something I haven't, please e-mail me the scripture reference and I'll publish it. Until then, it's a problem.
But, Jesus is coming like a "thief in the night" (1 Thess 5:2), right? This proves we won't know the day or hour; this proves His coming is "imminent," right? Well, what does it say? "The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night..." So, the rapture must come at the beginning of the Day of the Lord for the "thief in the night" to refer to the rapture, right? ("The day of the Lord" is definitely God's wrath. Check out any Old Testament reference.) That's what I believe too, but look at verse 4. "But you brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief."
Can we use the "thief in the night" to refer to an imminent (at any moment, "perhaps today") rapture? Keep reading. There's our "God has not destined us for wrath" passage. Could it mean we are not destined for "the day of the Lord" wrath? Definitely! The rapture is even alluded to in verse 10! But, is He going to come like a thief in the night to us?
"But of that day and hour no one knows..." Matt 24:36. What day and hour? Shouldn't "that day and hour" have an antecedent somewhere?
I know, I know, you are saying that the "day and hour no one knows" is referring to the rapture. Right? Well, there's one small problem with that. Pretribbers deny that the rapture is ever mentioned in this passage... in fact, some go so far as to say that this was written for the Jews and not for the Church. (Besides, how many Jewish people do you know who study the New Testament?:-)
Where is the antecedent? What day and hour? It would
appear to be verses 30 and 31, but if that was the rapture, then the rapture
isn't pretrib, is it? And if we decide that it does refer
to those two verses (interpreting them to be Christ's second coming in
glory), then how is it we can't know the day? It comes right at the
end of the seven year tribulation, right after the sun, moon and stars
event, doesn't it? (Or does it?:-) If you figure this out,
Anyway, to me, these are the most obvious problems with the Pretrib doctrine. I just cannot believe in a doctrine that has as many holes in it as this one does, no matter who teaches it.
A WORD OF CAUTION: The rapture debate has gotten quite ugly, in my opinion. Different people write books teaching about their beliefs, while "Christian brothers" write books about their brothers' books. I have read statements in two books in particular (you'd recognize both authors' names) in which the authors judge the motives of the other authors. Pretribbers are accused of being escapists or fearful, because they "choose" to avoid the tribulation. They are said to be continuing to teach a false doctrine, even after they learn better, because they would loose a lot of monetary support if they "changed sides." Post-tribbers are accused of being fear-mongers, who can sin and sin until the day just before Jesus comes back. A similar excuse is used against eternal security. (If you knew your family was headed for the great tribulation, would you be encouraged to sin?) Some are accused of outright lying. Others are accused of writing controversial books just for monetary gain. All of this judging is WRONG! To be sure, we must judge the accuracy of the teachings, and discover the truth for ourselves, and even proclaim the truth from the highest mountain tops; BUT to judge the heart motives of others is not even within our capability (God alone knows the intentions of our hearts), and it is just plain wrong! "Do not judge lest you be judged yourselves. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you..." Matt 7:1-5.
Let's assume that everyone just wants to know the truth about what God said. We have this in common. With that and a belief in the inerrancy of God's Word, we can work together to put the pieces of this giant puzzle in place in time to do whatever the Lord may call on us to do about it. Let's work together on this!
|The RAPTURE Pages||Site Index|