Debunking the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Myths
Lighthouse Church, Kissimmee, FL
From the Lighthouse
Volume 11, Issue 4, Oct 2005
portion of the Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine is based upon a statement made by the
apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, “For
God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus
Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
has clearly informed us that God has not appointed his people to wrath. The
common understanding of this assurance is that Paul was plainly speaking of
God's wrath that will be poured out during the tribulation. Pre-trib believers
cite this as “proof” that believers will be removed from the earth prior to
the Tribulation period. But Post-trib believers find greater assurance in their
understanding that God will not allow His wrath to effect the Believers during
the tribulation while He pours out His wrath on the unbelievers. The Pre-Trib
view severely limits God ability to protect His people while He punishes their
Pre-Tribbers think they have the Post-Tribs boxed in by quoting Revelation 13:7
where the Antichrist is given power to make war with the saints and to over come
them. Please note, “Persecution from
Antichrist is not the same as Wrath from God.”
wrath of God is far worse, as it will destroy and condemn to Hell. The true wrath of God means eternal destruction.
Whatever an antichrist may do, no matter how evil, mean and destructive he becomes, he can only destroy the body, not the soul.
Regardless of the power given to him, no antichrist is capable of pouring out
the wrath of God. Only God can do that. The pre-tribs often confuse the wrath of
God with the persecution from the antichrist. They are not the same thing. The
wrath of God is intended for the ungodly and will be poured upon them and them
only. The Lord knows His target and He never misses.
Pre-Tribber revealed his lack of faith and knowledge of God when stating, “A post-trib view would make God's promise of protection from wrath into
a lie. In years past, it was possible to think of protection from guns and
swords. Today when the battles are fought with nuclear and chemical weapons,
it's not possible to expect protection from these types of forces.”
ye of little faith! Is God incapable of protecting us from nuclear and chemical
weapons? Has God’s limit been found, or a weakness in Him exposed? Get Real.
Pre-Tribs often cite instances during war when both believers and non-believers
were killed by bombs indiscriminately dropped in a war zone. This illustration
is given to imply that our only protection is removal. While it is true that an
atomic bomb will kill anyone within its range,
we must not forget that a nuclear warhead and the wrath of God are not the
same things. It is appointed unto man once to die. If the Lord tarries long
enough we shall attend our appointment with death. Jesus warned in Matthew
10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the
soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in
conclusion is that the only way to correctly interpret God's promise of
protection from wrath is the bodily removal of the Church from this world. This
is a very wrong conclusion. A bodily removal of the church would not be a
“protection” from wrath, but an “escape” from wrath. While an escape may
be man’s preferred way, it is not God’s planned way. To correctly interpret
God’s promise of protection, one must stay with Scripture and avoid man’s
concepts and theories. God’s power and glory will be evident as He delivers
His bride throughout great Tribulation.
are at least 2 serious flaws in this statement. First, it is not the strength or power of the church that holds back
“antichrist,” it’s the power of God. Even if the church were removed, the
power of God will remain. It was here before the Holy Ghost was given and will
remain until the end.
this verse is taken out of context. Matthew 5:10-13 is an admonition to the
believer to be strong during times of persecution. If anything, the reference to
the “Salt of the Earth” points to the attitude and conduct of the believer
DURING the tribulation period. Read it for yourself:
Matthew 5:10-13 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) Blessed are ye,
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil
against you falsely, for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great
is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before
you. (13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast
out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
An antichrist can only do what God allows. The hand of the wicked has no more freedom today than it did a hundred, or a thousand years ago. Only what God allows. It has always been that way and always will.
The Pre-Trib mindset says, “If
the Antichrist came to power with the Church still here, he would be powerless
to operate. When Hitler was fighting to conquer England, a number of Christians
where praying for victory. Hitler made mistake after mistake, and England out
performed its enemy at every stage of the conflict. It is difficult to measure
the actual impact of intercessory prayer in physical warfare. Little is known of
how great a role praying saints played in the defeat of Nazi Germany. If the
Church was to reside on earth during the tribulation, I am sure she would give
the Antichrist fits. In Rev 11:3 the two witnesses give the Antichrist enough
headaches. Millions of Christian, who know their Bible well, would recognize the
man of sin and pray fire down on his head. A post-trib view would have to plan
on the Church just rolling over and playing dead, the whole seven years.
Myth #3 is right, then where are these praying Christians that are standing
against evil today? How can homosexuality run rampant and terrorism thrive
against such a strong praying church? With all the prayers that were prayed for
Teri Schiavo how is it we could not stop a reprobate court system? And you think
if the church is here during tribulation the Antichrist will be powerless?
the beast in Revelation 13, the Scripture says, in verse seven, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to
overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and
nations.” The saints will make trouble for the antichrist and he will
overcome them. As noted above, the two witnesses, obviously Christian, make
plenty of trouble for him.
note: Not one verse of Scripture shows the Tribulation to be seven years. That
concept comes from Dispensational theory and not from Scripture.
following four points were written in a single paragraph by J. R. Church and
published in Prophezine, an on-line
dispensational, pre-trib newsletter. There
are many problems with Mr. Church’s thesis. We will deal with some of the key
errors in his viewpoint:
“Mainline theologians have long taught that the rapture of New Testament
Christianity is imminent - that is, at any moment. We have held to the view of a
pretribulation rapture primarily because a mid or post-trib rapture would not be
can safely say the return of Christ will be sudden when it occurs, as “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” but sudden does not
mean imminent. Consider the fact that in the entire Bible, there
are no verses of Scripture that state the return of Jesus Christ and the
gathering together of the saints, is “imminent.” In fact, the word,
“imminent” is not even found in a single verse of Scripture, Old or New
Testament. When Jesus returns, He will come quickly, but His return has not been imminent for the past 2000 years.
to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
“imminent” comes from Latin and means: to
project, threaten, ready to take place;
hanging threateningly over one's head <as
one in imminent danger of being run over>.
the truck is coming and contact is only a second away we consider that to be
‘imminent’, but sitting in the middle of a road in the jungle with no truck
in sight is not ‘imminent’. Eventually a truck will come and when it does it
may come at a high rate of speed, but until the truck is only moments away, it
is not imminent.
the saints of God the return of Jesus Christ is certainly not an event that is ”hanging
threateningly” over our heads. So why use the word: “imminent?”
Obviously an imminent rapture is in fact used as a “threat” to the unsaved,
but it is not Scriptural.
fact that we do not know the day, nor the hour, of the Lord’s return does not
mean that his return is imminent. It simply means that it is a secret known only
to God. When it does happen, it will happen suddenly! The moment before it
happens it will be imminent.
question is, “Why is it so important that the return of the Lord be
imminent,” especially when there is not a single verse of Scripture that
supports an “imminent” return of the Lord? Sudden: yes; imminent: no. Mr.
Church tries to answer that question with the next sentence in the subject
2. “If any
predicted event had to occur before the rapture, the church would be awaiting
that event instead of the shout and trumpet sound.”
Mr. Church doubt Jesus? Does he not believe the very words the Lord Himself
spoke concerning the last days? Matthew 24 is filled with events that must
precede the return of Jesus Christ and the catching away of His bride. Below is
a synopsis of some of the things that Jesus said must precede the return of
Abundance of Messianic Deception
Nations & kingdoms at war & rumors of war
Famine, pestilence and earthquakes
Believers hated, afflicted and killed
Many are offended and betray one another
False prophets deceive many
Iniquity abounds, love waxes cold
Gospel is preached in all the world
Abomination of desolation in a holy place
There shall be great tribulation
With great signs and wonders false christs and false prophets
try to deceive the very elect.
Matthew 24:29-31 = Immediately after the tribulation
the sun and moon shall be darkened, the stars shall fall from heaven, 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. (31) He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his
elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matthew 24:32-33 = “Now
learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth
forth leaves, ye know that summer is
nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”
Yes, Mr. Church, when ye shall see all these things, know that it
is near, even at the door. While there is no Santa Claus, there are events that
must precede the return of Jesus Christ, a.k.a. the rapture.
Matthew 24:27 For
as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so
shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
His return will be at lightning speed and visible for all to see,
but for the past 2000 years His return has not been imminent.
Matthew 24:36 But
of that day and hour knoweth no man,
no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
It is a secret, known only unto God. God has many
secret that are only revealed in due time, but the revealing of His secrets
cannot be considered imminent.
Matthew 24:42 Watch
therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Jesus repeated the fact that we need to be ready, but he did not
indicate that his return was imminent.
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also
ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
If his return was imminent, we would know the
hour because it would be hanging threateningly over our heads.
Church’s argument becomes weaker as he continues:
3. “If we did not keep
ourselves diligent, we might not have an incentive to keep ourselves pure.”
he suggesting that without the threat of rapture, we would fail God? Does he
think we are serving the Lord only because we are in danger of His return? Has
Mr. Church not read that we are to deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily and
follow him? Is he not aware of our need to present our bodies a living
sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God? This is a daily requirement. We would
tire of listing instructions from Scripture that are given to keep us pure and
holy before God.
wasted all those words, Mr. Church whimpers out the last “evidence” of an
“imminent” catching away:
“Also, the teaching of Jesus that no man would know the day nor hour would be
is a 2000 year old secret, Mr. J. R. Church, not an indicator of something that
is imminent. How is it that a pre-trib Dispensationalist can take English words,
not having a root in Scripture, and create doctrines, thereby adding to
Scripture, and then have the audacity to suggest that rejecting one of those
man-made doctrines invalidates Scripture?
return of Jesus Christ is “secret,” but not imminent. The “rapture”
cannot happen until all of the events Jesus said would take place have been
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