April 22, 2008
POST-TRIB vs. PRE-TRIB
Brother in Italy Wants to Know
Letter from G.M. in Italy:
Dear Brother Doug.
My name is G.M. and I live in Italy. Words fail me to express my gratitude for the service you are rendering to the Body of Christ in letting us know the real truth, at long last, about the coming days.
I wish I were there to share with you how much good you have done to me with great insight into the last - the very last days we are about to live in.
The chapter called “The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy” is really something. I’ve never read something so wonderfully exposed like that in my life (prophetically speaking, of course).
But when it comes to share the same truth with friends it seems that they are miles away from any discourse on prophecy, because all they can see is what they have been taught since their conversion, and that's it.
I have the privilege to serve Christ in a little fellowship in my town. I love the Lord with all of my heart and I am grateful to Him for choosing even to preach the gospel. Our Pastor is very nice, polite and really gifted from God; BUT THE PROBLEM IS STILL THERE. I cannot talk to him about tribulation, lest I get pointed out as fanatic, so I stay low and don't say anything.
Do you have any articles in which the error of pre-trib is exposed in a very simple way so that I could share with love with my pastor and church as well? I perceive that this is a life and death issue.
If you would help me in this matter I would be forever grateful to you. You even don't know how much good you could do just pointing me in the right direction.
May the Lord richly bless you with the abundance of His everlasting peace.
Yours in Christ
Dear Brother G.M. –
How good it is to hear from a brother who hails from the land where the Apostle Paul testified of the Grace of God – that Grace continues to bear fruit unto this day!
From time to time the Lord allows us to see His blessing through this little ministry – which continues to bear fruit both unto salvation and to liberate the people of God to see their high calling in Christ Jesus – FOR TO ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST, AND TO DIE IS GAIN!
Now, many of our dear brethren, who as I and Bro. Dene McGriff – and even my own pastor, Doug Shearer – were found in the grips of this teaching which denies that final Testimony and Witness of the “Faithful and True Witness” – our Lord Jesus Christ to principalities and powers and as vibrant witness against that Great City, Babylon. Their confidence is in their aspiration of the Blessed Hope – but their ignorance, even refusal, to come to terms with His glorious testimony—even the Testimony of Jesus—as the Spirit of Prophecy—belies their responsibility as a follower of the Lamb of God, whithersoever He leads!
The arguments and the contestations regarding these matters is endless – suffice it to say – surely, I will extend my knowledge of this topic and point you to marvelous insights of brethren who have been influenced, even by us, to embrace the Cross of Christ and to look toward that day, both now and when that Seventieth Week arrives, to “overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” – which testimony, is in spiritual reality and fact, the TESTIMONY OF JESUS, as our PROPHET in these Latter Days of abject materialism, political power gone awry and religious apostasy found in so much of today’s so-called Church.
Notwithstanding, there are yet 7,000 who have NOT bowed their knee to Baal – OH LORD JESUS, OPEN OUR EYES TO SEE YOU AS CAPTAIN OF THE HOSTS OF THE LORD!
Now, a number of years ago, our brother, Dene McGriff, influenced another brother in Florida by the name of Tim Warner – Bro. Tim greatly and earnestly gave himself to search the Scriptures “whether these things be so.” How blessed we have been—his mind is marvelous—and I do believe he has “the mind of Christ” in these matters. Tim, perhaps more than any other brother we now know has so clearly articulated the appropriate view of the Christian’s responsibility at the end of the age.
Likewise, as you most assuredly know, our sister in Christ, who awaits us on that day, Corrie Ten Boom, was greatly exercised on these matters – to such an extent that she clearly believed that brethren who confirm that the pre-tribulational rapture of the Church was “sound doctrine” were, in fact, into “doctrines of demons!” Her understanding of this topic was undoubtedly greatly influenced by her suffering in the Nazi concentration camp; however, what she shared with us all has had a profound impact on many of us and our stand in the Lord.
As you know, dear brother, the Seventieth Week of Daniel is committed to that final testimony whereby the Almighty calls upon His people to STAND AND DELIVER! We are not so naïve to think we can endure His sufferings in our own strength and by our clever postures before the world, and that final Gentile World Power headed up by the Antichrist-Beast – no, no, no – but both now and then, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”
Now the doctrines on these matters are altogether sound in so far as the so-called Post-Tribulational nature of the singular resurrection and rapture of His people on that glorious 1,260th Day—the latter half of the 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy. But greater the glory still is His coming in the clouds on the 1,290th Day to “judge the nations” and to reveal Himself to National Israel as Messiah – HOSANA IN THE HIGHEST – BLESSED IS HE THAT COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!
Therefore, I will include hereunder some of our dear Bro. Tim’s exceedingly plain and clear statements on our position and strongly urge you to go to his site frequently and often on these matters. Notwithstanding, however, I encourage you to bear with your dear pastor and the brethren gathered together with you, to patiently persist to show them “a more excellent way” in the midst of this “crocked and perverse generation” – among whom you all “shine as lights in the darkness” – revealing the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!”
Remember – because there is One who stands in the midst of the Churches of the Revelation – even today in our midst – it is only He Who can shine upon the churches to bring them to their final hour and to prepare them for “such a time as this!”
God’s blessings abound in you and yours without reservation until that DAY OF REDEMPTION!
Now, may God bless you through the writings of Pastor Warner and Dr. Finley…
Sincerely in Him – Doug Krieger
First of all, Pastor Tim Warner’s web site is: THE LAST TRUMPET – everything can be found there regarding this topic.
Now, I simply reprint Tim’s outstanding introduction on this topic – likewise, his vast storehouse of knowledge on these matters and the love and care he manifests in enabling brethren to see “a more excellent way” regarding these matters, is altogether noteworthy. But one more thing – I would sincerely ask you to visit another website of another beloved brother in Christ, Dr. Gavin Finley (I attach an article from him on this post-tribulational topic and encourage you to visit his outstanding input to Wikipedia @ Post Tribulation Rapture). Dr. Finley is indeed a most wonderful brother, also from Florida. He and Brother Tim actually held the first ever Post-Tribulation Conference (as far as I know) ever held ON EARTH! To God be the glory! There were but 65 in attendance at a Baptist Church – now, we held such a conference here in Sacramento and some 200 showed up – so we’re growing!! Dr. Finley’s Website can be found by linking here at his logo:
Introduction & Methodology
DESCRIPTION OF THE POST-TRIB RAPTURE VIEW
HISTORY OF THE POST-TRIB RAPTURE VIEW
To my knowledge, the first to separate the rapture from the second coming was a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards (1722-1795). He wrote a paper while in seminary that outlined a hypothetical form of mid-tribulationism, and years later published his thesis. Within forty years of his death, Edward Irving (Catholic Apostolic Church), and shortly thereafter John N. Darby (Plymouth Brethren), both of England, were teaching pre-tribulationism.
It is fair and accurate to say that, regardless of their views on the Millennium, the vast majority of those who have called themselves Christians held to a post-trib rapture and resurrection throughout Church history. They saw only a single future coming of Christ both to judge the "Man of Sin" and his followers, and to rescue the Church.
THE RAPTURE QUESTION IN MODERN TIMES
In the last several decades, there has been a considerable trend away from pre-tribulationism. I believe this trend is mostly due to individual Christians studying the Scriptures on their own and coming to the conclusion that the pre-trib view is simply not biblical. Another reason is the historical argument that post-tribbers have been increasingly advancing, that the post-trib view was exclusively the view of the early Church. Also, pre-tribulationism's recent roots have been exposed by the research of men like George Ladd, Robert Gundry, and especially Dave MacPherson.
The pre-trib establishment is taking this thinning out of their ranks very seriously. The Pre-trib Research Center, founded by Tim LaHaye, and currently headed by Thomas Ice, is dedicated to countering this trend and dealing with the powerful historical evidence that post-tribbers have put forward. Pre-tribbers are also responding with a blitz of propaganda in the form of fictional novels and prophecy films, like LaHaye's "Left Behind" series, in order to shore up their base. But, despite this effort, there is a steady exodus of Christians from the pre-trib camp.
The Last Trumpet - Post-Trib Research Center is dedicated to providing Christian pastors and laymen the biblical and historical reasons for adopting the ancient rapture view of the Church. It is our contention that the pre-trib view is not explicitly taught anywhere in Scripture, and is based solely on incorrect inferences and a faulty version of the dispensational system. It was not what Jesus commanded to be preached in all the world until the end of the age. Neither was it the view handed down by the Apostles to the next generation of Christians. The view presented on this website is essentially the same as what was held by the earliest Christian writers contiguous with the time of the Apostles. We are not suggesting that anyone should hold to the post-trib view simply because of its history or antiquity. We aim to show that it is the only biblical view of the rapture timing. The historical information is just further confirmation that the early Church trained by the Apostles understood the Scriptures in a similar way.
WHY IT MATTERS WHAT YOU BELIEVE
For those who are honestly considering the various views of the rapture timing, and are open to God's leading regarding this issue, there is plenty of opposition ahead for you. The "rapture question" has been a hot potato issue in the recent past. In some cases, splitting churches. Christians who have abandoned the pre-trib view and been the least bit vocal about it have often found themselves being offered the "right foot of fellowship." Many pastors who have abandoned pre-trib have lost their churches, and missionaries have been abandoned by their mission boards and supporting churches because of their switch to the post-trib view. So, if you have no tolerance for hardship, you had better stop here. If you've got the guts to face the truth head on no matter what it is, then please continue.
Some say it really doesn't matter if Jesus is coming before or after the tribulation, as long as we are "ready." They think we should all just agree to disagree, and love one another. But, "ready" is a relative term! It begs the question, "ready for what?" There is a huge difference between being ready to be gently whisked away to heaven on a pillow, and being ready to become a martyr at the hands of Antichrist! Is surface harmony worth the risk of huge numbers of believers being caught totally unprepared spiritually, emotionally, and physically? What about the "many" believers whom Jesus mentioned in Matt. 24:9-13 who would fall away when the deception and persecution of the last days arrives? If Jesus' coming is several decades away, then perhaps the rapture debate is not all that critical. But, if Jesus is coming soon as the signs seem to indicate, one's views on the timing of the rapture are crucial to being prepared to be an overcomer in the difficult days before His coming.
Knowledge of what lies ahead motivates people to prepare. A rookie soldier, who knows he is about to be shipped to the front lines in a brutal war, will have a much different attitude about basic training than a new recruit who joined up to get a free education and a pension! The soldier who is about to engage the enemy knows his training may mean the difference between life and death. He learns survival techniques; he gets physically fit; he learns his weapons inside and out; he makes sure his weapons are in good working order; through countless hours of practice he becomes a marksman. He also prepares himself mentally for combat and the possibility of being a POW. His objective is clear; he is fully equipped; and he is mentally focused on getting the job done and coming home in one piece! On the other hand, the new peace-time novice, with big ideas of a comfortable career, could have a ho-hum attitude about basic training. If he is unexpectedly thrust into a fierce battle, he will find himself woefully unprepared. While staring down the barrel of the enemy's rifle is not the time to be fumbling around for your weapon's instruction manual. He might just conclude that this is not what he signed up for!
If it really doesn't matter what we believe about the last days, why did God devote such a large portion of His Word to end-time prophecy? Is it just filler material? Is it for intellectual entertainment? The answer is really quite simple. Prophecy was intended to provide the kind of motivation needed to turn flabby pew-potatoes into Christian soldiers. This website is an introduction to "basic training" for Christians, alerting them of the coming trials we will soon face in time to prepare themselves and their families spiritually and emotionally, and perhaps even physically at the proper time. And don't kid yourselves about your own or your family's ability to easily digest the emotional implications. Without strong spiritual character first, Christians who live at relative ease in the western world often react badly to the idea that they may soon face the Antichrist, and all the venom that hell can dish out on God's children.
METHODOLOGY IN BUILDING OUR BIBLICAL CASE
Because of the progressive nature of Bible prophecy, when interpreting a given passage, we cannot assume things (that we know from later prophecy) that had not yet been revealed to mankind when that particular prophecy was written or spoken. For example, when examining what Jesus taught His disciples about His coming and the end of the age, we need to place ourselves in their shoes. We should take into account what they already knew from their Jewish training in the Old Testament Scriptures. They were certainly not aware of later prophecy, such as the book of Revelation given six decades later! When Jesus taught His disciples, He was quite aware that their understanding was limited to PAST revelation. Jesus built on and added to their current foundational understanding with more detailed revelation. This is clear in the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus referred the disciples to what Daniel had written about the "Abomination of Desolation" [Matt. 24:15]. Many other passages could be cited in the New Testament, where the writer or speaker quoted or alluded to Old Testament prophecy when teaching about eschatology.
In our study, we will not hop-scotch all over the Bible in order to interpret a passage. We will try our best to understand a passage in the way the original audience would have understood it given their current level of learning. This assumes that Bible prophecy was first and foremost intended for the audience to whom it was first given. Of course, all Bible prophecy is beneficial to us who live thousands of years later. But, it was not originally written specifically to us. Therefore, we need to resist the temptation to interpret earlier prophecy in light of later revelation. The original hearers of that prophecy did not have the benefit of later revelation. When giving new revelation, which was obviously meant to be properly comprehended by the intended audience, we assume the writer was fully aware of what his audience knew and did not know. He expected his hearers or readers to interpret the prophecies correctly, given their limited understanding. This approach to interpretation is called the "historical" method.
We will also pay close attention to the grammar. It is important to understand that the mechanism for God's transferring knowledge to people is the use of nouns, pronouns, articles, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and prepositions. The use of language has certain rules which must be followed if we expect to properly understand the original intent of the speaker or writer. And after all, original intent is the goal we are striving for in our study. Therefore, we will try our best not to violate the rules of grammar with our interpretations of Scripture. This approach is called the "grammatical" method.
Because we intend to follow the "grammatical - historical" methodology, we have built our case for the post-trib rapture progressively, avoiding logical fallacies. We assume that the original hearers were aware of older revelation, never newer revelation. Let me give a couple of examples of sequential fallacies to illustrate the point, one fallacy made by some post-tribbers and one made by some pre-tribbers.
Post-trib fallacy: Some claim that when Paul wrote to the Corinthians of Jesus' coming at the "last trumpet," he meant the seventh trumpet in Revelation. The problem with this reasoning is Paul wrote in such a way that his readers would know what he was talking about. They had no idea of the seven trumpets in Revelation, because that was not revealed until several decades later. We should look backward in the prophetic record for "trumpets" with which to identify or compare the "last trumpet," rather than forward, because that is what the original audience was expected to do. Otherwise, we assume things that the original audience could not possibly know, and therefore would certainly not understand. Our premise is that the original audience was expected to understand what they were told.
Pre-trib fallacy: Some claim that Jesus taught a pre-trib rapture in John 14:1-3. Yet, nothing in that passage specifically indicates the "coming" is pre-trib, or is separate from the "second coming." Jesus had just told the same disciples to be watching for the signs of His coming "immediately after the tribulation" in Matt. 24, and to be expecting the coming of His Kingdom to earth in Luke 21. The only "coming" Jesus spoke of prior to this (and the only one in the Old Testament) is post-tribulational. Some pre-tribbers try to superimpose a pre-trib rapture in John 14, claiming that the passage fits the pre-trib scenario better, and conclude it is new revelation about the rapture. But, what would the disciples think of such an interpretation given their current understanding? Would they think Jesus was speaking of a new and different coming before the tribulation after He had just told them to watch for His post-trib coming two days earlier? Hardly!
These two examples illustrate the absolute necessity of keeping the original audience in view at all times in their particular historical setting. By doing this, we will guard ourselves against the typical fallacies committed by many students of Bible prophecy.
As you read the articles in the first section, you will notice that they follow a sequential path through the New Testament. It is beyond the scope of this website to do the same with Old Testament prophecy. However, when appropriate, we will look at Old Testament prophecy and consider its implications regarding the knowledge of the original audience of the New Testament prophetic Scriptures. By using this format, we will build our case sequentially, and demonstrate the level of reliance on previous prophecy, as well as examine new revelation when given. By default, we will assume that prophetic details given have a foundation in past prophecy. Where unique details are given that have no apparent basis in past prophecy, we can assume that this is new revelation. Often, the text itself tells us when new revelation is being given and when old revelation is being reiterated. For example, when Paul wrote, "behold I show you a mystery" (1 Cor. 15:54), we can conclude he was about to reveal something not previously understood. But, when Peter wrote that he was reminding his readers of the "words of the prophets" (2 Peter 3:1,2), we can conclude he was referring to previous prophecy.
Pre-tribbers often claim to be the champions of the "literal" method of interpretation. While literalism necessarily leads to a pre-millennial understanding of prophecy, it does not favor the pre-trib rapture view within the pre-millennial camp. I realize that this is a radical statement in today's eschatological climate. But, we mean to prove our assertion in the following articles. It is pre-tribbers themselves who frequently appeal to non-literal interpretations as the primary support for their view. Some common examples of this are...
John's being caught up to heaven in Rev. 4:1 represents the rapture
The 24 elders in heaven represent the whole Church in heaven
The 7 letters in Revelation represent 7 consecutive "church ages"
Enoch's and Elijah's catching up are types of a pre-trib rapture
The articles on this website will prove conclusively that post-tribbers can far surpass pre-tribbers in holding to a consistent "grammatical - historical" or "literal" methodology. And a consistent literal methodology will necessarily lead to a post-trib rapture (within a pre-millennial framework).
The second major section of this website presents our historical argument from the post-Apostolic early Church. We do not claim perfection for the post-Apostolic Church, nor any of the early Christian writers. However, our intent is to demonstrate that the second generation Church was solidly post-trib, and that no hint of pre-tribulationism can be found in their writings. While this is a secondary argument, and does not carry the weight of the Biblical arguments, it is the natural extension of our premise. Since we are viewing prophecy progressively, always building on previous revelation, it is logical to conclude that students (or disciples) of the Apostles would reflect the view handed down to them by Apostolic oral tradition. The second generation Church was the product of the lifetime teaching ministries of Jesus' Apostles. The early Church not only possessed the written documents of the New Testament, but also a considerable body of oral personal instruction from their mentors, the Apostles. We will demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the second generation Church was unanimously post-trib regarding the rapture. The implications of this fact are enormous. If the pre-trib view is correct, the Apostles of Jesus were miserable failures in transmitting sound doctrine to the very next generation of Christians, and grounding them in the Word, since no hint of pre-tribulationism can be found in the post-Apostolic Church. That means, the entire Church succumbed to a false view of the rapture virtually overnight, and no record can be found of any kind of resistance or rebuttal of this alleged post-trib error. All this despite the fact that the early Christian apologists, like Justin, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, wrote volumes against the contemporary heresies that threatened the Church, appealing to the Scriptures and Apostolic oral tradition. If pre-tribulationism is true, we are forced to conclude that as soon as the Apostles died (actually while John was still alive), the whole Christian Church abandoned the Apostles' doctrine and substituted a false eschatology that required them to go through the tribulation.
The third section of this website addresses the arguments advanced by the pre-trib side. Post-tribbers in the past have been accused of arguing our case by merely tearing down pre-trib, rather than advancing a positive presentation of the Biblical basis for our view. Unfortunately, this is a fair analysis in many cases. At The Last Trumpet - Post-Trib Research Center we intend to take the high road by first building our case from Scripture alone, then dealing with the historical arguments, and lastly providing our rebuttal of the pre-trib arguments.
The process of developing our eschatology first and foremost from a progressive handling of Scripture using the grammatical - historical (literal) method, and then adding the testimony of the early Church, leads firmly to a post-trib understanding of the rapture. One of the reasons the pre-trib view cannot be correct is because it is derived from reading many ideas (some biblical and some not) into the text that the original hearers could not possibly know. Pre-tribulationism is the result of a long series of post-hoc arguments, and largely ignores the historical setting and progressive nature of prophecy. It is "reverse engineered" and forced onto the Scriptures rather than built progressively on a proper foundation. Because we have built our case progressively, you will benefit the most by reading the articles in sequence, at least in the first section titled "Post-Trib Rapture."
CHALLENGE TO PRE-TRIBBERS
Now – the article from End-time Pilgrim (rather long – but wonderful and very devotional, which is Dr. Finley’s way . . . ):
WHEN IS THE RAPTURE?
Corrie Ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom was a Christian girl in Holland during World War 2. At that time the German Nazis controlled Europe. She, along with her sister and father were captured by the Germans. Their crime? They were sheltering Jews. For this they were sent to the camps. Only Corrie survived.
Corrie Ten Boom was a woman of faith and commitment to her Jesus. She
knows of God's provision during the inevitable trials of our faith.
This great woman of God is a lone voice speaking out for scriptural
truth in the present eschatological wilderness. Corrie Ten Boom has
sounded a warning to American and western Christians. She has spoken
out very specifically about the popular Pre-Tribulation Rapture
teaching abroad today. Here is
Corrie Ten Boom's warning to
the American church.
Most evangelicals have been taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture scenario as established fact. Few have ever had a chance to hear the Post-Tribulation Rapture position expounded. They have been programmed to believe that the Pre-Trib Rapture is the final and correct biblically correct truth concerning the closing dramas of this age.
But are they correct about this early special edition secret Rapture?
Is there any sound scriptural proof of this?
Do they have any solid Biblical evidence for it at all?
The short answer is "No. They do not".
The fact is there is not one single passage of scripture that gives sound and convincing proof of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Not one! The doctrine sounds nice and it goes down well with the middle of the road Christian crowds. And it sells well in the religious marketplaces. Indeed the Pre-Tribulation doctrine has become entertainment for the masses. It is a huge multi billion dollar a year religi-business.
But here is the question. Can the idea of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture
stand up to faithful Berean scrutiny? Or is the doctrine emotionally
driven by wishful thinking? Quite obviously it is a soothing
Has it been crafted by men to keep the masses amused, - and "quiet".
The fact that this is now a popular amusement is reason for us to be concerned. Karl Marx was a very evil man, the father of humanistic state communism. And he once quite cynically said that "religion was the opiate of the people". If by "religion" he means an attenuated somewhat twisted Christianity founded on the traditions of men then was he right? Do our fancies, even as Christian believers, ride roughshod over a plain and faithful reading of the Holy Scriptures? Are we as submitted to the Bible as we suppose we are?
have been on many online Bible Prophecy Forums. presenting numerous
scriptural proofs of a post-tribulation rapture. On one occasion I
offered $1,000 check to anyone who could produce just one scriptural
proof of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. No one could off me one single
Unfortunately, as often happened, some of them became rather angry.
still have the $1,000 check.
And the offer has now been bumped up to $5,000.
If you know someone who might be able to claim the prize please ask them to email me. If they can present even just one scriptural proof for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture then the reward is theirs. I will send the check to them on overnight mail. Then I will take down all my articles that point to a Post-Tribulation Resurrection-Rapture and ask forgiveness of God and my fellow believers for false teaching.
So let us go back to the Bible. Here is question number one. Just how does the Rapture fit in with the sure and blessed hope of the Resurrection of those dear saints who have passed on?
Here is what our Apostle Paul had to say.
4:15 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 will by no means precede those who are asleep.
4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
4:17 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.
Here in this passage of scripture we see Paul clearly showing us a
The Rapture will "by no means precede" the Resurrection, Paul says.
So if we are going to have a Pre-Trib Rapture then it must be accompanied by a Pre-Trib Resurrection.
Does such an animal exist in Holy Scripture?
Of course such an idea is extremely problematical. There is no scripture laying out a special early Resurrection coming seven years before the end of the age. The Bible, as we shall discover in the paragraphs below, clearly shows us a Post-Tribulation Resurrection.
- - - - - - WHEN IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS DEAD?
As we have seen, the timing of the Rapture is linked to the timing of the Resurrection. So here in this article, and I pray in our churches as well, let us dare to stand up and ask the question. Mysteriously, this is a question that we are apparently hypnotized or intimidated by religious spirits into not asking. But ask the question we must. And we must answer it truthfully from the Holy Scriptures.
So here is our question again.
When is the Resurrection of the righteous dead?
THE 70th WEEK OF DANIEL
(The Final Seven Years Of This Age) (Dan. 9:27)
* Is it here?
Or is it here? *
The Harlot Rides (Rev.17)
It is like the game "pin the tail on the donkey".
Only here we seek to "pin the Resurrection on the final seven years of this age."
Can we do it?
In Revelation 20 John saw the Resurrection of the Tribulation saints. These saints had rejected the mark of the beast during the Great Tribulation. They had died for the faith in the 666 regime. The 666 economic identification system will be instituted by the Antichrist in his beast role during the final 3.5. years of the 70th Week. Now we see the Tribulation saints. They have come through the Tribulation period victoriously. In Revelation 20 John sees the Tribulation martyrs being raised up after the tribulation in the "first resurrection". This is the resurrection of the righteous. And the Tribulation saints are there. In fact they lead the procession. They are at the head of the Resurrection party!
Quite clearly there is no early Pre-Tribulation Resurrection of the Elect coming seven years before this "First Resurrection" we see in Revelation 20. It simply is not to be found in the Bible. The Resurrection and the Rapture are a combined event. Quite clearly a combined Pre-Tribulation Resurrection and a Pre-Tribulation Rapture cannot be found anywhere in our Bible.
Here it is again. Revelation 20 describes the resurrection of the end time heroes of the faith. These are the saints that finish the race on behalf of all the saints who have run before. The Bible in Rev.20:5 says that these Tribulation martyrs are in the "first Resurrection". They head up the Resurrection of the righteous. And the procession of the saints go in at the end of this age, not seven years before! Now the Rapture, according to our Apostle Paul in 1Thes.4:15-17, cannot precede the Resurrection of the righteous dead. It cannot precede this 'First Resurrection' which John tells us includes the Tribulation Martyrs. All the saints are raised up together in a combined Resurrection-Rapture to enter the glory together as one big happy party at the end of the age.
Dear saints, we must face the Holy Scriptures honestly here.
This First Resurrection John mentions involves the Tribulation martyrs.
Quite clearly this Resurrection is at the end of the tribulation.
It is at the end of this age.
John the Beloved calls it the 'First Resurrection".
So let us make no mistake about this.
This "First Resurrection" in which the Tribulation Saints get special mention is late!
And it occurs after the Great Tribulation when all the tribulation saints are gathered.
This is the Resurrection, and there is only one.
There can be no Resurrection that precedes this!
One thing that Christians do not realize, until it is pointed out to them, is that the Rapture, as it is presented by today's popular Bible prophecy teachers, is strangely isolated from the Resurrection of the righteous dead. Why is this so? Did God separate them? Or was this separation crafted by men? Our western Bible prophecy teachers are careful not mention the Resurrection. Nor do they place it in its proper scripturally founded position immediately preceding the Rapture and bonded with it. The Bible clearly bundles these two events together as a combined Resurrection-Rapture. (1Thes.4:15-17) So why are we not hearing about this? If God has joined them together in the Holy Scriptures why are churchmen dividing them asunder? And where are the Bereans who have the gumption to stand up and ask them to check the scriptures and explain the discrepancy?
There is a hidden reason for this. Our Bible teachers are clearly being pressured by the spirit of the age. They are under the influence of the prevailing religious spirits.
Here, for them, is job #1. They are bound and determined to pin the Rapture to the very beginning of the 70th week of Daniel. This is the final seven years of this age and two 3.5 year periods of trials and tribulations, the latter one being especially severe. But in order to do this they must strike the Resurrection_Rapture with a cleaver and divide it asunder. Then they must rip the Rapture from its Resurrection moorings and put a cloak over the Resurrection and its late timing. They must put a smokescreen over the Resurrection, (which is clearly too late for any possible association with their spurious Pre-Tribulation Rapture). They do not want to speak about the Resurrection of the righteous dead or its obvious late timing at the end of the 70th Week, the final seven years of this age.
Of course most Bible believing Christians already sense, (or can quite easily find out), that the Resurrection of the righteous dead comes at the very end of the age. So in order to engineer a Pre-Tribulation Rapture such a rapture must be unhinged from its true Biblical connection to the (late) Resurrection.
So here we have the strange matter of the Resurrection being made to vanish away like magic. Tinker Belle waves her magic wand and the Resurrection of the righteous dead disappears in a sparkling cloud of stardust. The Resurrection is thereby hidden under some theological "cloaking".
O yes we are under a spell. Any memory we have of the Resurrection of the righteous dead is spirited away. It is submerged or stretched out like taffy in a wad of resurrection theology extending back 2,000 years to the resurrection of Jesus. So if we ask whether the Resurrection of the righteous dead will come before or after the Tribulation we get strange and evasive responses. Because Christians are under religious witchcraft. They are under a heavy spell. They can look at the matter of the Resurrection of the righteous dead. But they do not see anything. And why? Because they are under a spell.
Does this sound far fetched? Are religious spirits at work in Christians? O yes! Just try asking about the timing of the Resurrection of the righteous dead sometime and see for yourself. The subject is quickly diverted and spirited off. This strange confusion in the face of Biblical truth is evidence of religious spirits at work. This is why we need to pray without ceasing. Religious spirits can be at work among Christians even as they discuss holy things. And they are often operating in Christians who are otherwise quite sound.
The Rapture of the Church will occur in an instant, in a twinkling of an eye. At a moment in time "the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed". The living saints will be glorified at the same time as the resurrecting dead. We shall find ourselves changed, glorified, into new incorruptible bodies. Here then is another passage from our Apostle Paul showing us once again the close relationship in time of the Resurrection and the "catching up" or Rapture.
51. "Behold, I tell you a mystery:
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--
52. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality. - 1Cor.15:51-53
This is a 'mystery', a reality we have not yet seen. We cannot yet fully grasp or comprehend it. Nevertheless this magnificent moment is out there in the future somewhere. And when we answer this Resurrection question we begin to get somewhere. The second coming of Christ not only involves the Rapture. At His coming the righteous dead are raised in the Resurrection. Then, immediately after this comes the Rapture.
Does the Bible does give us a specific timing of the Rapture?
No it does not. It would be nice if it did.
Well does The Bible give us a specific timing for the Resurrection
Yes, it does.
Well when is the Resurrection of the righteous dead?
Is it pre-tribulation or is it post-tribulation.
Well we don't need to look very far for the answer. Jesus Himself
gives us the answer.
Four times in John 6 Jesus states categorically that this glorious resurrection was going to occur at the "last day".
John 6:39 "This is the will of the Father who sent Me,
that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing,
but should raise it up at the last day."
John 6:40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life;
and I will raise him up at the last day.""
John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws
and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him up at the last day."
Is our Lord Jesus trying to get a message to us here? If He saw fit to tell us four times in the one message that He will raise His people up at the "last day" then who would dare contradict Him? His Word should be final. And who would dare tamper with the message the Holy Spirit has so clearly laid out for us in the Holy Scriptures? The Resurrection of the righteous dead will occur at the 'last day". Therefore it must come at the end of the 7 year period of Daniel's 70th week. And therefore the Resurrection must be after the tribulation.
Here is some further evidence of the resurrection coming at the very end of the age. Martha left her kitchen to come out and get in Jesus' face over the death of her brother Lazarus. At that time she made a strong confession of her faith. She spoke of the sure hope of the resurrection. The Old Testament saints, unlike many of us evangelicals today, had a very good handle on the resurrection of the righteous dead. And from the testimony of the patriarchs and Job, Daniel etc. they knew when this resurrection of the righteous would occur. Here is Martha's word on the matter and her magnificent confession of the blessed hope of the glorification of the saints at the resurrection. This account is recorded by the Apostle John. As we see here in this scripture below, Martha knew very well when this end-time Resurrection of the righteous dead would occur.
John 11:24 Martha said to Him,
"I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
This seems pretty plain and straightforward doesn't it?.
The Resurrection will come at the last day of this age.
Now remember, we just read in the passages earlier that the Resurrection immediately precedes the Rapture. The Resurrection and the Rapture are a combined event. So voila, if we have our timing for the Resurrection at the last day then we also have the timing of the Rapture. We have the Rapture nailed down as being on the last day as well.
So there we have it.
Proof of a Post-Tribulation Resurrection-Rapture.
Here is some additional solid scriptural evidence for this.
We know from scripture above and the Olivet Discourse that the Elect will be gathered to the returning Christ at the Second Coming. In fact the Bible only speaks of one Second Coming of Christ.
So when is this gathering of the Elect? And yes, Jesus only spoke of
one single unified Elect,
Will the gathering of the Elect come before the Great Tribulation?
Or will Christ our Messiah be gathering His Elect after the Tribulation?
Again, the Bible speaks.
And Jesus Himself gives us a plain and simple answer.
Here are His words on this important matter of the time of the gathering of the Elect.
29. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
In this same passage Jesus also tells us about the SIGN of His coming and the timing of that SIGN which would herald His coming to gather the Elect in the Resurrection-Rapture. The SIGN of the Son of Man would be seen in the heavens in those epic future days that would see the cosmic signs of a darkened sun, a bloody moon, and stars falling.
29. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30. Then the SIGN of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Then after the coming of these cosmic signs we have the gathering of the Elect at the last trumpet.
31. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The darkened sun and bloody moon are the cosmic signs time linked to the sixth seal. They occur late in the 70th week, towards the very end. A nuke will have gone off. Joel describes the awful scene in poetic language. "Blood, fire, and pillars of smoke" will go up as a mushroom cloud to fill the atmosphere with smoke. The sun will be darkened and there will be a bloody moon. These are the cosmic signs mentioned by the prophet Joel. (Joel 2:31-32) They are also mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse These are the cosmic disturbances that are associated with the Battle of Armageddon. This epic battle will be fought at the very end of the final 7 years of this age. These 6th seal cosmic signs indicate that 5th seal witness of the saints is now over. The Second Coming of Christ is now truly imminent.
"The Lost Sheep" by Alfred Soord (1868-1915)
The prophet Ezekiel saw the same event. He saw it from another perspective. He saw the Shepherd of Israel gathering His lost sheep 'on a cloudy and dark day'.
12 'As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.' - Ezek. 34:12
This will be an awesome scene. The righteous dead are resurrected. And then the living saints are gathered. Something will have happened to the atmosphere around the earth. And the world is about to be judged. Yet here at the climax of holy history there is a magnificent rescue of God's covenant people. The prophet Micah speaks of the Bozrah Deliverance.
So at the climax of the age we see a single triumphant party. They are
gathering together around the returning Christ. All of His
Elect Congregation spanning 4,000 years plus are gathered together as
one. They are one united 'called out' company, the 'ekklesia'/congregation
of God. They are the remnant Church and remnant Israel coming into
confluence together as a 'royal priesthood and a holy nation'.
(1Pet.2:9) The returning Christ will be gathering all who are
in Christ and all who belong to the God of Israel. At the "great
sound of the trumpet" all the saints will be gathered as a
single Elect. They are
gathered from among the living and the dead. They come from all races,
from among both the Jews and the Gentiles, and from both sides of
Calvary, and from around the world. Jesus Himself said that He would
return to gather His Elect from "the four winds of heaven", from
across space and time. He gathers His own from across the racial
divides of Israel and out from the clutches of the heathen gentile
nations. He gathers His people from beyond the gates of Sheol and
brings them home across the very borders of life and death.
What a magnificent harvest this will be!
Of course there is more to this matter of the timing of the Resurrection-Rapture than "just the facts". Each one of us is created by God to be a creature of some emotion. We have a heart and we have a very powerful "feelings department" within our soul or psyche. Those feeling are not subject to reason. That is a well known fact.
The fact is we are not entirely rational in what we believe. Our "feelings" play a very big part. This question of the timing of the Rapture is certainly an emotionally charged issue. Our heart is often cross wired with our rational mind. And so our minds and loaded with what we believe are facts but are not. They are our notions, really just our own fondly held, (and often false, pre-suppositions. This is why the process of deciding on what we believe can play tricks on us. We don't want to "hear" some hard truths. Nor do we want to "see" some things. We might think we have all the issues in alignment with God and His Word. But there are pied pipers out there, and we pay them to play our tune. So it is often what we "want to hear" that we end up hearing, and believing.
Of course seeker friendly religious salesmen are close by our side. They know what we "want". And like good salesmen they are very keen to sell us what we want to hear. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture package is a case in point. It is just a religious dream, but we love it. Dear saints, we must face the brutal truth here. Jesus said that where our treasure is there will our heart be also. We as Christians have have opened our pockets here. We have made this Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine a multi-billion dollar a year business.
This is an exceedingly difficult matter for us to address. Bible teachers who teach a Pre-Trib Rapture are usually sound in every other way. For the most part they are dear evangelical brothers and sisters. But the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is a corporate belief. There is a huge amount of Pre-Trib traffic and peer pressure involved here. When we finally see the error of this it is difficult for us. It is hard to accept that we have been entangled in error and confusion for many years of our Christian lives. It is also exceedingly hard for us to believe that we have been deceived. We have been deceived by well meaning teachers. And we have been self-deceived as well. We have not done our homework in the Holy Scriptures as we should. We also expect the political status quo to last forever. So why bother about the end-time?
So here is the awful question we must face. What if we as Christian believers are largely living on the carnal side of our nature? What if our lower nature and our ego lords over the spiritual side of our nature. Our mind is like an iceberg, mostly submerged and unseen beneath the surface. Just what is going on deep down in our subconscious? Are we Holy Spirit led Bible believing overcomers? Or is the fleshly side of our nature on the throne of our hearts and calling the shots? Could it really be that carnal religious desires can trump out Biblical truth? Could this really be what is happening deep down in our heart with our eschatology?
These are awful things to have to consider. So most of us don't bother. We just drift along with the crowd. It is not just our teenagers who are giving in to "peer pressure". It seems our opinion will not change until the opinion of the crowd and our peers changes first. Can it really be this bad?
The Bible repeatedly alludes to human beings being like sheep.
The prophet Isaiah said,
"All we like sheep have gone astray.
We have turned, everyone of us, to his own way."
And he was right.
The prophet Jeremiah lamented,
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end?
A realization of the scriptural certainty of a Post-Tribulation Resurrection-Rapture is always a strait and narrow and difficult passage. It is nearly always a rude awakening. Sometimes the truth really hurts. We shall always need emotional solace from our God when we go through these sort of major spiritual transitions. This was certainly the case for me when I went through the threshold in my passage from Pre-Trib to Post Trib. I know others who have had the same experience. It is a tough initiation into the Way of the Cross. But it is a necessary one if we really want to be "sold out" for God. And the Holy Spirit is with us. He is our Comforter as well as our Guide.
Here is another pointer. It is quite normal for saints to cry out to God in their distress. We need His covering in such times. It is even normal to cry or even become broody or moody for a season. We can even get angry at God for a time as we pass through these straits. Anger at God is the real and the hidden cause of depression. The depression remains until we reach a point of acceptance. Then we get better.
Don't we often see the same pattern in the Psalms? The psalmist begins in a cry of distress. "How long, O Lord....?" Then they remember YHVH/God's great acts of mercy and deliverance in times past. The psalmist then reminds himself about those times when God was faithful in trials. The songwriter then finds himself entering into the glory and the Psalm ends on a high note. The psalmist affirms his faith in the lovingkindness of God. Then he concludes by speaking of the wonderful future God has planned for His covenant people.
The emotional issue is definitely the main issue for Post-Trib truth. The scriptural foundation is rock solid. It is all very simple, elegant, plain, and straightforward. Pre-Tribbers nowadays prefer not to debate Post-tribbers. When they are asked to back up their end-time scenario with chapter and verse of scripture they do not do well. They have learned that it is best for them to just find some reason to shut us out of their discussion boards.
If we are allowed into a Bible prophecy forum and encounter Pre-Tribbers keen to debate the issue of the timing of the Rapture then the outcome is quite inevitable. We just bring the scriptures to bear on any one of a number of relevant issues.
The timing of the Resurrection, for example, is a telling point to raise. Jesus tells us four times in John 6:39, 6:40, 6:44, and 6:54 that He will be raising His people up at the "last day". So we know the Resurrection will be after the Great Tribulation. Revelation 20:4 tells the same story. The "first Resurrection" contains tribulation martyrs. Clearly the Resurrection of the righteous dead occurs art the very end of the age after the Great Tribulation.
Then we have them. We show them the combined Resurrection-Rapture in 1Thes.4:15-17. If the Resurrection is late and the Rapture cannot precede it then the Rapture is late too. This is a simple uncomplicated logical conclusion any child can draw from a plain reading of the scriptures. Soon afterwards we have the Pre- Tribbers pinned down. They have no place to go except into Post Trib.
Of course they are usually not emotionally prepared for this. They refuse. Then they get angry. All too often, the discussion then becomes acrimonious. And both sides fall from the high pathway of grace.
This is why we see so few good debating arenas nowadays. The discussion boards that still remain open see more and more "rules of engagement" added by moderators. We see, "No discussion of the timing of the rapture is allowed on this discussion board". Or, "Please be aware of Rule #5". Offenders are typically "warned" and then "banned". Many times post-tribbers, trying very hard to be gracious in their presentation of scripture, get too successful at showing the truth. When they attempt to enter the online discussion forum the next day they find that they have been locked out.
Emotional issues are the main reason people refuse to leave the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. The "cut and run" eschatology is very popular. There are peer pressure issues as well. None of us likes to leave friends or to lose them. And then too, as sheep, we are gregarious creatures. No one likes to be a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
For ministers of religion there are financial and job security issues at stake here as well. A man has to take care of his family. So he must learn to please a deacon board. I know of several cases where ministers have lost their job over this issue of the timing of the Rapture. I personally know a fine evangelical pastor who has been sent a letter banning him from using the library of a Christian college when they learned that he held to a Post-Trib rapture view. This is so sad to have to report. We can be so childish and manipulative at times. It is truly unfortunate that Christians cannot discuss such an important matter without being bullied by the ones who have the money and the power. The fact of the matter is that most of us are still balking at Post-Trib truth. And we are not doing it for sound Biblical reasons. They are doing it for all sorts of carnal, emotional, non-rational, and non-scriptural reasons.
Fortunately we serve a gracious God. He understands what we are going through. He has promised to lead us "in Spirit as well as in Truth". The Shepherd of the sheep is with us. He does not just hit us with the data. Nor does He just "sock it to us" with the cold facts. He has sent us His Holy Spirit. He is our Comforter as well as being our Guide. He empowers us to walk on in God. The Holy Spirit also helps us to walk in the graces. He helps us to wrap up the Truth in the graces of His love, joy, and peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
The scriptures on the end-time are not as complicated as we have been led to believe. Even a little child could lead us into the truth here. This author found it very easy to counter the arguments of one of the champions of Pre-Tribulationism when he made his challenge to the Post-Trib position. Grant Jeffrey came out strongly against Post-Tribulation Rapture position some years back. Here is my response to Grant Jeffrey's arguments.
Pre-trib is a really quite a mess. It is a complicated colossus of disharmony and confusion. Post-Trib, on the other hand, is simple, elegant, orderly and beautiful. As we proceed on into this Bible study we shall soon see just how easy it is to use the scriptures to put the jigsaw puzzle of the end-time together harmoniously.
The timing of the Rapture of the Church is an important matter to have nailed down. It must be made clear to the true saints of God. These essential truths of the revelation/apocalypse/unveiling of Jesus Christ are not going to remain a mystery forever. This information relates to the end-time drama. It is a history for which we need to be prepared. Epic events will erupt onto the world stage. They will do so very quickly and forcefully. It may well happen on some future Jewish new year on the Feast of Trumpets.
Here is the burden of this writer. If the saints are not properly
warned and adequately informed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to
give themselves to the Redeemer in a time of peace then what will
happen when they find themselves suddenly thrust into the epic events
of the end-time? They will be confused. They will be bewildered. They
will be fearful, and perhaps unpredictable in what they might do. They
could be caught unprepared and unready. The scriptures warn us about
this very thing. The following scripture is time dated to the
'swelling of the Jordan'. This is a biblical reference to the time of
the harvest. - Josh.3:15 The harvest is that time of high intensity of
events as God prepares to reap the earth. - Rev.14:15 He will gather
the wicked for destruction and gather His elect for glorification at
the end of the age. - Mat.13:33 It is a message to us, ...now,
God is asking us some questions.
"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you,
then how can you contend with horses?
And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you,
then how will you do in the swelling of Jordan?"
Are we listening? And how shall we answer? Are we connecting the dots?
Or do we just say.
"That message of warning and exhortation to preparation is for the Jews.
That is Old Testament stuff.
We are in a different dispensation.
We are the New Testamant Church!" Preparation in God is "works". We are people of "grace".
Dear saints, now is the time for us to take a long hard look at our attitude to Christian witness. God has given us time for peaceful reflection and preparation in the Holy Spirit. And that time is now!
True shepherds know that sheep will only drink from still waters. God has given us this time of peace for a purpose. This is a time to leave our pursuit of pleasure and material things. Now is the time to allow ourselves to be led in quietness deeper into the heart of the Shepherd. Let us get to know His voice. (John 10:3-4) A dark and cloudy day is coming. (Ezek.34:12) True believers will need to stay very close to the Shepherd of Israel.
Let us join our Apostle Paul and affirm our faith to the end.
"For the which cause I suffer these things,
Nevertheless I am not ashamed,
For I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded, that He is able,
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that Day". -1Tim.1:12
The highway of holiness leads onwards and upwards;
- towards the gates of splendor.
Grace and shalom to all the saints.