NINE REASONS FOR A PRE-TRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE
Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California
Copyright © 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved
There are at least nine reasons why the Church will not go through the Tribulation period that immediately follows the Rapture of the Church. I have presented a few arguments to support that doctrine from the Word of God.
There are prophetic non-essentials and prophetic essentials. An example of a non-essential would be the exact identity of the two witnesses of the tribulation period. Some believe that they are Enoch and Elijah, John the Baptist and Elijah, or Moses and Elijah. It is not essential that one be dogmatic over their identity, as long as we believe that they will exist, preach, be martyred, and be resurrected immediately preceding the Second Coming of Christ. However, it is an eschatological essential to believe in a pre-Tribulational rapture! We should be inflexible on this concept because it is clearly taught in the Scripture.
NINE REASONS WHY THE CHURCH WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION
The Dispensational Argument
This reason is based upon the distinction between Israel and the Church. The Lord never deals with Israel and the Church at the same time. Some of Gods promises to the Jews are still unfulfilled. Therefore, Israel must still have a future. Israel's evangelistic and missionary responsibility will be resumed and completed during the Tribulation. The dispensation of Israel has not been completed because "Daniel's seventy weeks" have not been completed as seen in Daniel 9:2,24,25. "Daniel's seventy weeks" concern 490 years promised to the Jews after the Babylonian Captivity. From the decree of the Persian King, after the Babylonian Captivity, to the Crucifixion of Christ entailed 483 years. The Cross, resurrection, and glorification of Christ cut short the Age of Israel by seven years. God is faithful and always keeps His promises to us and to the Jews. The Jews will have the last seven years promised to them under "Daniel's seventy weeks" during the Tribulation period. The Church must be removed before the Tribulation so that God can begin His purpose and program with Israel during the last seven years of their dispensation.
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. (Daniel 9:2)
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. (Daniel 9:24-25)
The Argument from Revelation 3:10
The statement "TEREO EK" in the Greek in Revelation 3:10 means "to keep out," not "to take out." The Greek word "AIREO" which means "to take out" is not used in this context. The implication is that the Church Age believer will be kept out of the entire Tribulation period. This means the Church Age believer will not be taken out or removed during the middle of the Tribulation period either because they were never left on earth to enter it (See Rapture).
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
The Argument from the Chronological Structure of the Book of The Revelation
It is clear from the chronological structure of the Book of The Revelation that the Church on the earth becomes the Church in heaven before the Tribulation transpires on the earth. Revelation 1 presents Jesus Christ in glory. Revelation 2-3 presents seven different types of local churches making up the Church on the earth. Revelation 4-5 presents the Church in Heaven. Then, Revelation 6-19 presents characteristics and events of the Tribulation on earth and Christ's return to the earth at the Second Advent. Revelation 20 presents the Millennium where Jesus Christ rules in perfect environment and under perfect justice here on the earth ending with the Great White Throne Judgement. Revelation 21-22 completes the book by presenting the eternal state.
The Argument from Revelation 3:22 Contrasted to Revelation 13:9
In Revelation 3:22, we find the phrase "What the Spirit says to the churches." As we contrast this verse with Revelation 13:9, we see the omission of the phrase "unto the churches" and simply "he that hath an ear let him hear." In Revelation 4 & 5, we see the Church in heaven. There she remains while the Tribulation period transpires on the earth. The Church is not referred to again until she returns with her Lord at the Second Advent as in Revelation 19.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:22)
He who has an ear, let him hear. (Revelation 13:9)
The Argument from Thessalonians
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, the phrase "in Christ" is technical for positional truth and refers to Church Age believers only. By this we mean that only a Christian is in union with The Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 refers to a comfort which could never exist if the Church went through the Tribulation. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 teach us that we do have a blessed hope, confidence, and comfort in realizing that God has not appointed us unto the wrath of the Tribulation, but has promised to deliver us from that period during which He is judging a Christ-rejecting world.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)
The incorrect translation of the King James Version of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 confuses the entire passage. The phrase "the day of Christ" is actually "the day of The Lord." In the context of 2 Thessalonians 2, the Day of the Lord refers to the Tribulation. False teachers had approached the Thessalonican congregation with a forged epistle supposedly from the Apostle Paul which implied that the Day of the Lord, or the Tribulation, had already come.
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. (2 Thessalonians 2:2)(KJV)
2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 tells us that the removal of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit is impossible without removing the Church at the same time. The removal of the restraining presence of the Holy Spirit at the point of the Rapture does not imply that the Holy Spirit will not be active during the Tribulation. He will be active in His Old Testament ministry of being the Agent of Regeneration as He is in every dispensation, and, of course, He will come upon certain mature believers and indwell and fill them to perform a specific ministry for God. This is identical with the Old Testament ministry of "enduement" of the Holy Spirit.
And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)
The Argument from the Tribulational Remnant
We see from 1 Thessalonians 3:13 and Jude 14-15, that our Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth with His Church Age saints. The Lord Jesus Christ at the same time delivers saints by His Second Coming per Zechariah 14:1-5. It is obvious from these two deliverances that Christ cannot come with saints and deliver saints unless there are two groups of saints - Church Age believers and Tribulational believers. Obviously, both groups exist and both groups of saints are separated (i.e., by the seven years of the Tribulation). Remember, at the Rapture, He comes for His saints. At the Second Advent, He comes with His saints and also delivers the Tribulational saints.
May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14-15)
A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:1-5)
The Argument from the Imminency of the Rapture
No prophecy of the Bible has to be fulfilled before the Rapture can occur as indicated in 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, Colossians 3:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:1, and Titus 2:13. The obvious application here is the fact that the Rapture can take place at any time. This is not so with the Second Advent. Before the Second Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ will occur, much prophecy has to be fulfilled. This prophecy includes the Rapture and all the events of the Tribulation.
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:7-8)
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, (2 Thessalonians 2:1)
While we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13)
The Argument from the Nature of the Tribulation
The Purpose of the Tribulation - God's purpose is to administer His judgment on a Christ-rejecting world, both Jew and Gentile. God shows that man cannot establish a perfect environment with Satan in full control and the restraining presence of the Holy Spirit removed.
The Completion of the Tribulation - This refers to the Lord completing His dealings with Israel, which permits the Jews to fulfill their missionary responsibility begun after the Babylonian captivity.
The Preparation of the Tribulation - God prepares Israel for the fulfillment of the four unconditional covenants by the return of Christ during Israel's darkest hour and the low point of human history (the Tribulation).
The Argument from the Activity of the Church in Heaven - (Revelation 4 & 5)
Before the Church returns to the earth with Christ, it must appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ for evaluation of service during time. The result will be either reward or no reward as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. Therefore, some interval is evidently necessary (seven years) before the bride of the Lamb can be prepared. The marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven as in Revelation 19:6-8 after which the bride returns to the earth with the groom as in Revelation 19:11. The wedding feast is held upon the earth as in Revelation 19:9.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:6-8)
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11)
Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." (Revelation 19:9)