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.
Now that we’ve set the stage and discussed dispensationalism, the churches, and what the purpose of the tribulation is, let’s begin looking at the Rapture. Roman Catholic apologists dismiss the Rapture as heresy. Funny talk for people whose doctrines actually are the polar opposite of Christianity, but whatever.
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; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (KJV)
There has to be a fallling away first (vs 3). I think everyone would agree we’re seeing that in this day and age. Even people who are unaware how widespread the apostasy is are realizing that. There’s a quote from a radio pastor who commented that he was seeing things (this was before his death a few years back) happen that he had been convinced would not happen until after the Rapture. This shows only that… we didn’t understand how FAR the apostasy would go prior to the Rapture.
51 Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (KJV)
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV)
One Roman Catholic apologist likes to say that “protestants” (he means Baptists, I think) derive the entire Rapture theology from 1 Thess. 4, and from nowhere else in the Bible. I’m assuming this Roman Catholic priest has never read the Bible, because I can’t see how he can possibly come to a conclusion like this from reading one!
1 Thess. 4 is concerned with the dead in Christ. Paul reassures the Thessalonians that the Lord won’t forget those who’ve died – they still go up in the Rapture. They actually go first. Then we shall be caught up with the Lord in the air, and together we shall always be with the LORD.
1 Cor. 15 actually gets into the mechanics of it. We are all changed, in the twinkling of an eye. In other words, we get our new, incorruptable glorified bodies, and are caught up in the air. We wait out the Tribulation in heaven.
“IT says the last trump, and Marv Rosenthal says…”
Trust me, I know what Marv Rosenthal said. I fell for it at first, and it led me into leaving Christianity. I’m going to deal with Marv Rosenthal’s theory at length. Not Marv Rosenthal himself, just his theory. I’m only concerned with making sure everyone understands correct Biblical interpretation.
I’ll just put it this way. The Bible says no man knows the day or hour. Once the tribulation starts, and we see how long the interval is between the first and second seal, guess what? We can approximate how long until the seventh trumpet. And all the Antichrist has to do to attempt to frustrate God’s plan is… hunt down and expterminate all Christians in the world. And all he’s got to do is offer a cash bounty, and everyone in the world will join in. And lo and behold, every last Christian alive will be killed long before the seventh trumpet. How long is that? Well, roughly 3 1/2 years after the antichrist comes into power. Tada. I’m pretty sure that he can kill every Christian in a world wide genocide. Certainly, Somalia was able to kill hundreds of thousands of people in just a year of starvation and mass shootings. A worldwide effort by a powerful dictator would probably be enough to wipe out almost every Christian.
I don’t suppose Marv Rosenthal thought of that. Rosenthal also forgets that the sixth seal is described as “The wrath of God.” so if his position is that we’re raptured prior to the wrath of God, that places us before the seven seals are opened.
Satan knows his time will be short when the tribulation begins. How does it begin? By releasing the Antichrist? Satan has tried countless times to release Antichrists. He’s got to wait until the Lord allows it, by opening the first seal. Certainly Satan will try to kill as many Christians as possible. So if we have to wait until the seventh trumpet, the Rapture will consist mostly of dead saints, and perhaps 3 or 4 thousand worldwide that were clever enough and resourceful enough to hide long enough.
Let’s go ahead and get Margaret McDonald out of the way.
If you read her vision, clearly – it’s post trib. So, why does everyone continue to throw this straw man up constantly? Because they know they’re not save,d and will go through the tribulation, I think. There’s going to be a lot of shocked men and women after the rapture.
Don’t be one of them.