Points so far:
- The tribulation has a number of functions: the pouring out of God’s wrath, the returning of God’s focus from the Gentile churches back to the Jews, the return of Christ as King, and the final defeat and punishment of Satan and the fallen angels
- God has never punished believers along with the wicked, but always taken the believers out of the picture before pouring out His wrath.
- the only exception was the Jews in Egypt during the ten plagues, and as a whole, the Jewish people were not saved until the last judgment, death of the firstborn, when the blood was applied to the doorposts.
- All the prophecies to Israel must still be fulfilled.
- Preterism is unBiblical
- “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Mark 13:32 (KJV) If the Rapture occurs at any time except for before the Tribulation, then we pretty much would know the day and hour.
I really want to emphasize that last point. If the Rapture is post trib, it’s going to be seven years from start to finish, and then the Rapture happens. We know the day and the hour. If it’s Pre-Wrath (which is a lousy name, I might add), then we know it’s at the halfway point of the Tribulation. Why? Walvoord and Laheye are both agreed that the Seals and Trumpets are the first half of the Tribulation, and the vials are the last half of the Tribulation.
If it’s mid-trib, that roughly amounts to the same as the pre-wrath. You just gotta wait 3 and a half Hebrew years after the signing of the covenant. As I said yesterday, all you have to do is count the days between the peace accord and the outbreak of world war, and LO!!! you’ll roughly be able to peg on your calendar how long between each seal and trumpet. AS for the vial judgments, it’s probably about 180 days between them, as they take up the entire last half of the tribulation.
So right off the bat, we’ve got a major blow against any other timing of the Rapture besides Pre-trib. And you know what? When dealing with the subject of the Rapture, all the proponents of the other theories always ignore this one, or dance around it.
Why do people get hung up on Mid Trib or Pre-Wrath or Post Trib? It’s simple. Everyone gets all hung up on the english words. The Bible does call this the Great Tribulation.
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Matthew 24:21 (KJV)
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30 (KJV)
Howver, it’s also got other names.
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7 (KJV)
The time of Jacob’s trouble. It’s not meant for the Christians. It’s meant for Israel, to convince all of the Jews who will listen that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We get hung up on words like “Tribulation”. “You think you’ve got tribulation now, just wait until the Great tribulation!!!” Well, that’s our fault for calling it that. It’s not a tribulation per se, but rather, it is the Wrath of God. When we think of it in those terms, then we truly understand what it means.
Christians are promised tribulation in this lifetime. But we cannot be appointed to the Great Tribulation, because again, it is the Wrath of God.
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:12-17 (KJV)
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: Revelation 14:10 (KJV)
Yup. That makes a HUGE difference, as I’ve pointed out before. Never before have believers suffered the wrath of God. They were always removed from the place of wrath. As for the ten plagues in Egypt, again, it was clear the Jewish people were not believers in Christ until the typology of the blood on the doorposts, on the Passover night.
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV)
14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (KJV)
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV)
1 Thessalonians makes the case twice that we are not appointed to wrath, but makes it clear those that oppose Jesus Christ are. It brings us back to the very first question we asked, What is the tribulation and what is its purpose?
“But Mattthew 24 says…”
Yes, this is what I’ve tlaked about before. Who is Matthew 24 addressed to? Hint – the Lord comes right out and says it. The Christians???
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Matthew 24:1-2 (KJV)
Who is the Temple for?
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. Matthew 24:9 (KJV)
“Of all nations…” That’s a big hint. In Hebrew, L’kal Ha’goyim – You will be hated by all Gentiles.
Are Christians hated by all Gentiles?
It may seem like it sometimes, but the answer is – only if they’re Jewish.
In other words, if you’re trying to derive doctrine about the Rapture from Matthew 23, you failed to read it in context. I understand Walvoord does a great job attempting to interpret Matthew 24 and the Rapture, but I think Thomaas Ice and the others are getting more at a Biblical understanding of it
Here’s the dilemna the Gentile Christians have. You’ve consistently looked at Christianity as a Gentile thing. Well, believe it or not, so have the Jews. But who were the 12 Apostles? Who were the 70? Who were the initial 500? All Jewish. It was not for several years with the salvation of Cornelius that any Gentiles were even part of Christianity!
And Romans 9-10 explain a viewpoint that most Christians miss. The Jewish believers are not joining a Gentile Christianity – it is actually the other way around.
With this understanding, suddenly we get a better viewpoint of the Tribulation. The Lord is speaking to a Jewish audience in Matthew 24. He is speaking to those Jews who will get saved during the Tribulation.
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Matthew 24:16 (KJV)
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: Matthew 24:20 (KJV)
Why would Gentiles be told to flee into the mountains? No, it’s those in Judaea… the land of Israel. Who lives in the land of Israel? To whom does it belong?
The Jewish people.
Why would Gentiles be told to pray it not be on the Sabbath? Christians do not need to keep the Sabbath. But Jews do.
Matthew 24 is not speaking to the Gentile church. It’s speaking to the Jews who will be saved during the Tribulation.
Last proof, and I’ll let this go.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24 (KJV)
If you noticed this during my answering of Calvinism, I identified who the Bible calls the Elect.
4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. Isaiah 45:4 (KJV)
Now, the Lord completes the lesson on the second coming by talking suddenly of the Rapture at verse 32. He reminds the listener,
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Matthew 24:36 (KJV)
The parable of the fig tree is the beginning of the talk about the Rapture. So, what is the gathering of the elect? Notice the Lord says, “From one end of HEAVEN to the other…” it’s the return of the believers FROM heaven, having already been raptured. They can’t RETURN if they have not been previously RAPTURED.
That should clear up all the confusion.