- Pastor Steve Conley
Why Pretribulationism is So Dangerous
Updated: Sep 11, 2021
The "Secret Rapture" is a doctrine that was largely created by J.N. Darby and popularized among Western evangelicals by a slew of popular teachers over the last 180 years. I believe its creation was primarily due to the fact that Darby did not recognize the difference between the great tribulation and the day of the Lord. It appears to be an attempt to reconcile what seamed to him to be contradicting statements within the Scriptures concerning the saint's presence in the great tribulation and Paul's statement that we are not appointed unto wrath. Instead of seeing that the nature of the great tribulation is that of the unprecedented persecution of the saints which has nothing to do with the wrath of God in the day of the Lord, he chose to bifurcate the people of God and the singular future parousia of Christ, His second.
This wrongly dividing of the saints into subgroups ("the church" which Jesus loves and will not experience His wrath and "the tribulation saints" which Jesus must love less because they will experience His wrath) and wrongly dividing the parousia into two distinct comings (one for the saints and another with the saints) has served as the underpinning of the pretrib system. Both would be laughable if it wasn't for the serious nature of the error.
The dangerousness of the error has to do with the resulting neglect of Christ's warnings given in Matt 24. Pretribulationists see the warnings as belonging to another subgroup of saints or even unbelieving Jews. For this reason, they are dismissive of their applicability to present-day believers. It is these warnings of our Lord that provide much-needed protection for believers who will live in the generation of Christ's parousia.
The warnings fall into two categories, physical and spiritual. The real danger lies in the spiritual realm. The danger is that of departing from the Faith. Jesus said that due to the unprecedented violent persecution many would be offended, that is, they would depart from the Faith.
Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
He also said that the false prophets would deceive many through their lying signs and wonders.
Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Paul called this notable departure from the faith apostasia, a falling away. He said it would come before Christ's arrival.
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;
This most dangerous apostasy will have eternal consequences for anyone who worships the Beast and takes the mark, particularly those who forsake Christ to do so.
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
For those who choose not the love of the truth, the Lord Himself will send them strong delusion that they might believe a lie.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The Scriptures are clear that if any fail to continue in faith toward Christ they are not a partaker of Christ. It is in Christ that we have righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Any, who do not continue to believe, are not of Christ's household.
Heb 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Continuing in the Faith is non-negotiable. We must continue having faith in Christ. None can deny Christ and hope for Salvation.
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
If one fails to continue in faith toward Christ, they have believed in vain.
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
Continuing in faith is absolutely essential. Our salvation is not based upon merit or human performance, but it does require an abiding faith in Christ.
Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Believing unto the end is required. Faith is not a meritorious work, it is the hand that reaches out to receive the grace of God. Any who abandon faith in Christ are lost.
Heb 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Falling away due to persecution or being deceived results in eternal damnation. Salvation is only found in Christ. To forsake Him is to cast away all hope.
1Jn 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
Many pretribers are as unprepared as the lost for this period of unprecedented persecution and supernatural deception.