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  • Pastor Steve Conley

Pre-Trib Refuted Part 2


50 Reasons the Rapture

Takes Place Before the Great Tribulation.

A Rebuttal by Pastor Steve Conley

Over the past 100 years, numerous authors have published lists of what they think are strong reasons why the rapture of the church must take place before the last seven years of this age, which they call “the Tribulation Period”. This belief system is known as the “Pre-Trib Rapture Model”.

The purpose of this post, is to critically examine these supposed proofs through the faithful exegesis of the Holy Scriptures. To achieve this goal, I have chosen to deal with a single list of fifty+ reasons for the Pre-Trib rapture.

Daniel Valles at has put together a paper called “50 Reasons the Rapture Takes Place Before the Great Tribulation.” It states that “This is a compilation of notes by Daniel Valles, a concise, abridged compilation of notes from Dr. John F. Walvoord's book, "The Rapture Question", and notes by Wendy B. Howard.”

In this rebuttal, we shall look at each of these 50 statements and judge them in the light of the Holy Scriptures. We shall also seek to identify the presuppositions which cause “good godly men” to fail to grasp what is very clear and understandable from a simple reading of the Bible.

Lets continue where we left off.

16) Historical concept of imminency surrounding Christ's return. From a historical concept, the doctrine is not new, just more clearly classified and understood.

Imminency is a new teaching, it is not found in the Scriptures, nor is it found in historical Christian records of great antiquity. The few historical examples often given can be explained with the understanding that the saints of that day believed that the Antichrist was already revealed and that they were presently going through great tribulation. So, they naturally would have expected Christ’s imminent return.

Expectancy is not imminence

The so-called doctrine of imminency purports that the Bible teaches that a secret rapture could happen at any moment and that the condition has been such since the days of the Apostles. Many passages which communicate an air of expectancy are referenced in support of this teaching. However, this is just another of the false notions which support the Pre-trib rapture model.

Let’s look at each of the supposed proofs for the doctrine of imminence and ask of each of them the question: does this verse say that Christ could rapture His church at any moment?

Before each passage of Scripture, I have written a short statement of what is communicated in it concerning the rapture and Christ’s coming. You will notice that not even one of these passages say that Jesus will return unexpectedly at “any moment.”

Jesus says he will come again to receive His own to Himself

Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

All creation is waiting for the day the saints come into the fullness of their inheritance

Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The living believer will be changed in an indivisible point of time at the last trump following the resurrection of the dead in Christ.

1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1Co 15:52 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.

The Lord is coming

1Co 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Looking for our Saviour and our glorification

Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

The Lord is near

Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

When He appears we shall appear with Him

Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

We are to wait for Jesus to rescue us from the coming wrath

1Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

For the believer to be in the Lord’s presence at His coming is Paul's ultimate reward

1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

Jesus is coming to take unto Himself both the dead and the living in Christ. Those alive shall be caught up together with the dead in Christ into the clouds to be forever with the Lord.

1Th 4:13 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.

1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1Th 4:15 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.

1Th 4:16 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:

1Th 4:17 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.

1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The believer whether living or dead is not appointed unto wrath but to be saved from it

1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Paul prayed that the whole man would be blameless unto the Lord’s coming

1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ’s coming and our gathering to Him (the day of Christ) will not be at hand until the ap-os-tas-ee'-ah and revealing of the man of sin comes

2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2Th 2:2 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.

2Th 2:3 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;

Paul tells Timothy to keep the commandment until Jesus appears

1Ti 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus will judge the living and dead at His appearing and His kingdom

2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Believers are to live right as they look for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

For many years, it has been taught that the blessed hope is the rapture/resurrection of the dead in Christ and that the glorious appearing is something altogether separate. But this is absolutely false. The rapture is an integral part of the Parousia (coming and continuing presence) of Christ.

Jesus will save or rescue those who look for Him when He appears the second time

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Be patient waiting for the Lord’s coming, it is getting nearer

Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Jas 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Jas 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Be rewarded at the revelation of Jesus by passing the test when your faith is tried

1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Peter says that the trial of our faith we will be rewarded at Christ's appearing. The Greek word translated appearing in this passage is the same one from which we get the title of the book of Revelation in Rev. 1:1. It is the word (ap-ok-al'-oop-sis) which is a disclosure, revealing, or manifestation of something or someone. In this text, it is the revelation or appearing of Jesus Himself. The word is used to describe this event seven times in the New Testament.

Paul speaks of this event using the same Greek word. It is here translated “revealed”.

2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

2Th 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Notice that His revelation is when the saints will be able to rest from the tribulation they are experiencing. His revelation is when He comes in vengeance with the mighty angels. It is when he will be glorified with His saints (holy angels) and be admired by all who believe. The redemption that brings God glory is complete at the first resurrection/rapture when the saints receive their immortal bodies [Luke 21:28, Rom. 8:23, Php. 3:21, 1 Cor. 15:51-52]).

It really isn’t hard to see, that again and again the Scriptures tell us that the rapture/resurrection and the revelation/second coming are part of the singular return of Christ (parousia) and they happen at the same time.

Be completely confident that at His revelation Jesus Christ will come with favor toward you

1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Peter says that it is at Christ’s revelation that we are to with confidence expect his favor, implying that we meet Him then. This is the revelation (ap-ok-al'-oop-sis).

Have confidence and not shame before Christ at His coming and appearance by continuing in Him

1Jn 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

John here clearly says that it is at His coming (parousia) that we, the church, stand before him.

We will be like Christ when He appears

1Jn 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Guard your love for God as you confidently await His mercy unto eternal life

Jud 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jesus tells the faithful in Thyatira to maintain their faithfulness till He comes

Rev 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

Because of their faithfulness those of the church in Philadelphia will not experience the time of trial that will come upon the earth dwellers

Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

The texts that we have just looked at are the 26 prominent passages used to teach imminence, the any moment return of Jesus Christ to rapture His church. However, as it has been demonstrated, not a single one of them says that Jesus will appear at any moment to rapture away His church. In them, we are told that He will at some future time gather His own unto Himself. We are also told that we should patiently wait for His return. But not even one says to expect Him at any moment.

Imminency is a false doctrine

In fact, the teaching of an “any moment” return of Christ is a subtle twisting of the true Bible doctrine of watchful expectancy for Christ’s return.

Imminency was developed and has become entrenched as essential support for the pre-trib rapture model. As such it has found a place in the doctrinal statements of evangelical churches right alongside the Deity of Christ and Christ's future literal, physical, premillennial coming. For roughly the past hundred years, believers without any critical scriptural investigation have believed in the “any moment” return of Christ for His church.

One single passage of Scripture is all it takes to expose the teaching of imminency as a false one.

Peter didn't preach imminency

Jesus says to Peter in the forty days after His resurrection:

Joh 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

Joh 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Jesus told Peter how he would die, saying that he would be an old man. That being true, it is certain that Peter could never have believed or taught that Jesus could come at any moment and rapture him away. Jesus spoke of Peter’s death, how he should glorify God. Peter would die as a martyr in his old age, he would not be raptured.

That passage alone should strike the death nail to the false doctrine of imminency. Yet there are many more, simple scriptural observations that make it clear that the "any moment" rapture is unsupported by the Holy Scriptures.

Paul didn't preach imminency

It is also true that Paul didn’t believe or teach the "any moment" rapture either. At the time of Paul’s conversion, it was promised that he would bear Christ’s name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel and that he would suffer great things for Christ’s sake.

Act 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Act 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

God also spoke through Agabus concerning Paul’s future.

Act 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

Later the Lord told Paul that he would witness in Rome also.

Act 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Paul when writing to Timothy spoke of his soon departure from this life (his death as a martyr).

2Ti 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

2Ti 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

All this being true, there is no way that Paul taught an “any moment” rapture. In fact, he taught exactly what Jesus did, which is that there must first be a falling away (a great departure from the faith) and that the Antichrist would be revealed before the coming (parousia) and our gathering together unto Him.

2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2Th 2:2 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.

2Th 2:3 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;

When you quit trying to squeeze every Scripture into the Pre-trib model the whole picture will become very clear; no more hermeneutical gymnastics around contradicting texts. What the prophets foretold, Jesus taught. What Jesus taught, Paul taught, Peter taught, and John taught. They all say the same thing.

The elect in the context of Matthew 24 are believing Jews and Gentiles who make up the body of Christ, the church. It is they who are persecuted by the Beast before the Lord cuts the “great tribulation” short. It is cut short with the sign of a great earthquake and the sun, moon, and stars going dark and, the rapture of the Church. The rapture is preceded by the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the change and catching up by the angels of believers who remain alive.

To be continued.

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