- Pastor Steve Conley
Pre-Trib Refuted Part 4
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 informedchristians.com 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.
Let's continue where we left off.
35) II Cor. 5:10 records all believers before the judgment seat of Christ in Heaven - an event never mentioned in the detailed accounts connected with the Second Coming of Christ to earth.
This statement is false. It is mentioned in connection with Christ’s second coming.
Revelation 11:18 describes the activity of Christ’s single second coming, the Parousia. Before God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth dwellers, the first resurrection/rapture must take place, after which the saints are judged for their reward.
Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Scripturally we know that the judgment seat of Christ happens right after the resurrection and rapture of the saints. Also, we find that throughout the Scriptures the rapture is associated with the coming of Jesus Christ or the Day of the LORD.
There is an obvious link between the revelation of Christ and the catching up of the saints that is found in many of the eschatological statements of Jesus, the Prophets, and the Apostles. By approaching every text with the unbiblical framework of an “any moment”, pre-seventieth week rapture, what should be very evident from a simple and plain reading of the Scriptures is hidden. When one sets aside the faulty paradigm of the pre-trib rapture, he or she can see clearly from a multitude of Bible texts that the revelation and rapture take place at the same time. Also, it is clear that the rapture is hinged to the Day of the LORD. First there is the sign of the sun, moon, and stars going dark, then Jesus is seen coming in the clouds, then the angels gather the elect to Him, then the wrath of the Day of the LORD begins to fall upon the unbelieving world.
Let’s look at a few of these instances of the rapture and revelation being spoken of together and in the process, we will see where the judgement seat of Christ fits in and is emphasized as the day of Christ.
Matthew records Christ’s revelation in the clouds followed by the rapture.
Mat 24:30 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.
Mat 24:31 And 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.
Paul places both the Parousia and the gathering of the saints unto Jesus together, identifying that time as the day of Christ.
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.
The day of Christ is a term closely associated with the Lord’s coming for His saints and the bema seat judgement which is to follow.
Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Php 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
The believer is said to rest from tribulation when Jesus is 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.
In the next passage we see the Parousia, the rapture, the Day of the LORD, being saved from God’s wrath poured out upon the earth dwellers, and the change and resurrection of the saints. We also see that the watching believer will not be caught by surprise but the unbelieving world will; they shall not escape sudden destruction.
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.
1Th 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
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.
It is evident that the rapture/resurrection is connected to the Day of the LORD. It is also true that it must take place before His wrath is poured out upon the Earth dwellers. The believer will not experience God’s wrath.
These are a few of many statements in the Scriptures connecting the rapture/resurrection to the appearing/parousia.
36) The 24 elders (Rev. 4:4-11) as reps of the church would necessitate the rapture and reward of the church before the Tribulation. They cannot be in three spots at the same time if post-trib.
The 24 Elders are never said to be the Church. It is only an assumption.
37) The wedding feast takes place before the Second Coming. Rev. 19:7-10.
The second coming is at hand in Rev. 6:12-17. Rev 19 is Christ’s destruction of the Beast and the armies which follow him, long after Christ’s coming.
38) Tribulations saints are not raptured at the second coming, but remain and have children (Isa. 65:20-25) and enter into the Millennium Kingdom.
Those who trust Christ after the pre-wrath rapture, which takes place sometime in the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week, who remain alive unto the end will enter into the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
39) The judgment of the Gentiles following the second coming (Matt. 25:31-46) is on natural bodies - which would have been impossible if they were translated at the Second Coming.
Again, much of your confusion is that you fail to understand that there is just one second coming (parousia) of Christ to the Earth. It begins with His arrival, being portended by a great earthquake and the sun, moon, and stars going dark. In the darkness the whole world will see Him in His brightness with the host of angels coming in the clouds. The unbelievers, caught like a thief in the night, will hide themselves from His coming wrath. Before His wrath is poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants, He sends the angels to gather His elect unto himself. His revelation, His appearing, His coming (parousia), and the catching up of the saints all take place at the same time when He cuts short the “great tribulation” (Matt 24:22).
40) If the Rapture took place at the Second Coming, there would be no need to separate the sheep from the goats. (Matt. 25:31)
The sheep and goats are separated at the end of the seventieth week not earlier in the second half when the Lord is revealed in the clouds and sends the angels to gather His own unto himself.
41) The coming of Christ is imminent. If it waited on the Tribulation, it would not be imminent.
There are no Scriptures that, when rightly examined, support imminence or an “any moment” rapture and there are many which speak against it. In fact, no event can be said to be imminent if there are other events which must come first. There are at least four specific things that must take place before the rapture can happen according to the Scriptures.
Paul says that there must first be 1) a falling away and 2) the revelation of the Antichrist.
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;
The day in reference is the Day of Christ from 2Th 2:2.
The day of Christ is defined by
2Th 2:1 where it says “the coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him.
The prophet Malachi tells us that 3) Elijah must first come.
Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Joel prophesied that there will first come 4) the cosmic sign of the sun, moon, and stars going dark.
Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Before the Day of the LORD, which includes: the revelation of Christ, the catching up of the saints, and the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the earth dwellers, the scriptures explicitly say these four things must take place. Only when these and others have come to pass will the rapture be imminent.
42) The exhortation to be comforted (I Thess. 4:18) is very significant in the pre-tribulational view (contradicted by most post-tribulation). There is no comfort in having to suffer through the Tribulation and its horrors.
In context, the comfort is that the Lord will take the saints which sleep with him when He comes. Comfort is also the rescue from the persecution of this age and being spared the wrath of the Day of the LORD. Some of the saints today face the most severe forms of persecution imaginable. The difference of the “great tribulation” is that it won’t just be some of the saints facing severe persecution but the great majority. Give this reason to the 322 Christians who are killed for their faith each month. Your escapism, thinking that God hasn’t called you to suffer or even die for Him is contrary to all we find taught in the N.T.
43) Believers are to look for signs of His coming, not signs of the Tribulation. Titus 2:13.
The disciples asked Jesus “what shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world” (eon). Jesus then described “the beginning of sorrows”, “the abomination of desolation”, the “great tribulation”, and the sun, moon, and stars going dark. We are told to watch for His coming. He said when ye shall see all these things the generation will not pass until all be fulfilled. He gave us the signs of His coming we are to watch for them.
The “blessed hope and glorious appearing” is the revelation of Jesus in all His glory with the mighty angles to rescue his persecuted elect (the saints) and to pour out His wrath upon the Beast worshiping world. The words appearing and revelation are translated from the same Greek word.
44) The exhortation to purify yourself in light of His coming has most significance if His coming is imminent. I John 3:2-3.
It might be true that if the rapture was imminent, it would be most significant, but it is not true that the rapture is imminent.
Luke records Christ’s exhortation on being ready to meet God.
Luk 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
Luk 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Luk 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Luk 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming
• Church meeting Christ in the air.
• Christ on Mount Olive to meet saints on earth.
The saints (hagios, holy ones) and the church are one and the same at the second coming of Christ, which happens after the great tribulation, and before the wrath of God is poured out.
• Mt. Olives unchanged.
• Mt. Olives divides, forms valley east of Jerusalem.
The mount of olives splits in two, later into the Parousia (His continuing presence), not upon Christ’s appearing and revelation.
• Saints translated.
• No saints translated.
There is only one second coming. It is portended by a great earthquake and the sun, moon, and stars going dark. The elect are gathered to Jesus by the angels, the 144,000 are sealed, then the trumpet judgements begin to be poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants.
• Saints go to heaven.
• Saints remain on earth.
The church is gathered by the angels to Christ and is taken to heaven. The Israelites who are converted after the rapture are gathered from the nations into the kingdom of Christ.
• World is unjudged; continues in sin.
• World is judged; righteousness established.
On the very same day of Christ’s appearing His wrath begins to be poured out upon the earth dwellers.
• Deliverance before Day of Wrath.
• Deliverance of those who believed in Christ during the Tribulation.
Those of the Church who remain alive through the great tribulation and all the dead in Christ will be gathered to Him before the Day of the LORD (wrath of God on the earth dwellers) begins.
• Described as imminent.
• Preceded by definite signs (Matt. 24:4-33)
The Scripture never indicate that the Lord’s return for His own could happen at any moment. The day of Christ, which involves both the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him, has many precursors which must happen before it will come.
• Revealed only in NT.
• Doctrine prominent in both testaments. The Rapture is not in the OT because it has nothing to do with the remnant of Israel.
It is true that many of the details of eschatological events are revealed in the New Testament however, Daniel 12:1-2 tells us that there will be deliverance at the time of trouble (great tribulation) and a resurrection of the dead. Sounds like the rapture to me.
• Only the saved.
• Deals with saved and unsaved.
At the beginning of the Parousia those in Christ are gathered to Him and glorified. During the Day of the LORD judgements 1/3 of Israel is brought through the fire and purified and is converted.
• Satan is not bound.
• Satan bound and cast into the abyss.
Only after Armageddon, at the end of the seventieth week, is Satan bound and cast into the abyss.
• No unfilled prophecy stands between the church and the rapture.
• Many signs must be fulfilled.
This statement is false. (See reason 41)
As it has been demonstrated, there are a multitude of Scriptural answers for all the supposed reasons why the rapture of the church must be pretribulational. It should be obvious by now, that the Biblical model for the rapture is that which is today called pre-wrath. The pre-wrath model for the rapture is what one would expect from a faith-filled, simple reading of all the eschatological texts. It is the historic understanding of the Church that we would see the Antichrist, face great tribulation, and then expect to be raptured off the earth before the Lord pours out his fierce wrath upon the unbelieving world.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Rev 22:7)