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.
Lets continue where we left off.
17) Pre-Trib allows literal interpretation of OT & NT. Post-trib must use some symbols or analogies.
Neither the Pre-trib nor Post-trib models allow for a literal interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. The Biblical Pre-wrath position is a synthesis all that is true about both the Pre-trib and Post-trib models. For instance, many pre-tribbers teach that when John was shown the throne in heaven in Rev 4, that it was actually the rapture of the church.
18) Pre-Trib has a clear distinguishing between Israel and the church. Post-Trib has "replacement theology"
The Biblical Pre-wrath position is a synthesis all that is true about both the Pre-trib and Post-trib models. Replacement theology is a false teaching.
19) Pre-Trib gives distinction between Great Tribulation and tribulation in general. Acts 14:22 - the word tribulation is afflictions, not the time of God's wrath. Two different Greek words.
First, you don’t know what you are talking about. Acts 14:22 uses the same Greek word that we find in Matt 24:21 and Rev 7:14. Which are the only two places we find the full term “great tribulation”.
As with most errors the pre-trib model is built upon a handful of subtle falsehoods or misunderstandings. One of the most prominent is the classification or naming of Daniel’s seventieth week. It has been called “The Tribulation Period” by pre-, post- and mid-tribbers alike. This unfortunate nomenclature has led to much error among the saints in understanding the final seven years of this age as the Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles have described them to us.
In the New Testament, the word tribulation is translated from the Greek word thlip'-sis. Strong’s Greek dictionary tells us that it refers to pressure (literally or figuratively). The word is found 45 times in the NT where it is translated with the words: afflicted, affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, and trouble.
One doesn’t need to look at all 45 occurrences to easily conclude that God’s people have always been the subject of tribulation. In fact, Jesus says that his followers shall have tribulation.
Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Paul taught that godly living will result in tribulation (being persecuted).
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
When the Thessalonian believers were greatly concerned about the level of persecution being brought to bear upon them, Paul reminded them that the followers of Jesus Christ are appointed thereunto.
1Th 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
1Th 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
Biblically speaking, from the beginning of the church believers have suffered tribulation. It can rightly be said that we today are living in the tribulation period. However, we are not presently in Daniel’s seventieth week nor are we in that time Jesus identified as “great tribulation” and Daniel identified as an unparalleled “time of trouble.”
It is important to know that the great tribulation is a period of persecution directed at the church and Israel by the Dragon, Beast, False Prophet, and their followers. However, the Day of the Lord is a period of tribulation upon the “earth dwellers” (Christ rejecting Beast worshipers) which involves God’s wrath being poured out without mixture. These two periods do not run concurrently with each other. In the midst of the seventieth week the great tribulation begins and is cut short after an undisclosed length of time. Then as Jesus said “after the tribulation of those days” the sun, moon, and stars go dark announcing the arrival of the Day of the LORD in which His wrath is poured out.
20) Great Tribulation is for Israel's restoration, not to prepare the church for Glory (Deut. 4:29-30, Jeremiah 30:4-11 - "...even in the latter days..." "correct thee")
God’s dealings with Israel not only includes the “great tribulation” which begins in the midst of the week and is cut short to save some of the elect (church) alive but also continues into the Day of the LORD which is the period of God’s wrath. After the elect have been gathered to Christ, 144,000, 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel, with the exception of Dan, are sealed for protection from the wrath of God before the seven trumpet judgements begin. Also, the fact that a remnant of Israel is hid and fed in the wilderness for 1260 days of in the second half of the week, is another clear indication of the Lord dealing with Israel.
21) Pre-trib is founded on the definite teaching of Scripture that the death of Christ frees from all condemnation.
The believer’s justification in Christ has nothing to do with the false teaching of the Pre-trib rapture. Your problem is not distinguishing between the persecution of the saints and Israel by the Devil, Beast, and False prophet and the wrath of God in Day of the LORD.
22) The Great Tribulation begins long before the seventh trumpet of Rev. 11. Pre-trib teaches that it starts in ch. 6.
That is correct. The “great tribulation” begins in the midst of the seventieth week (Matt 24:15, Dan 9:27). It corresponds with what John describes at the opening of the 4th and 5th seals, but not the first seal.
23) Mid-trib teaches that the seventh trumpet of Rev. 11, the last of trumpet I Cor. 15:52, and the trumpet of Matt. 24:31 are the same event; but, they are three distinct events. They are not connected.
It is true that the seventh trumpet judgement of Rev 11 is not the same as the last trump of 1 Cor 15:52 or the Matt 24:31 trumpet blast. However, the 1 Cor 15:52 trump and the Matt 24:31 trumpet are the same.
24) Pre-trib maintains the unity of the 70 weeks. Post & mid destroy the unity of the 70 weeks and confuse Israel's program with that of the church.
In the past, the pre-trib rapture was unwisely married to a dispensational system. By combining dispensationalism with the pre-trib model of the rapture, a system was formed to explain God’s dealings with the Church and the Israelites separately. However, the system that was instituted had some fundamental errors. Since that time consistent attempts have been made to force the Scriptures to conform to the faulty system rather than making the system conform to the Scriptures.
Dispensationalism and the timing of the rapture
Dispensationalists believe in the literal interpretation of Scripture and that the Scriptures distinguish between Israel and the Church. Both of these are good and right. However, the Scriptural parameters of the Church age are different from that which has been purported by traditional dispensational teachers.
Classic dispensational teaching has the Church removed from the earth prior to the commencement of Daniel’s seventieth week. In classic dispensational thinking the last seven years of this age is exclusively for the nation of Israel with the Church being raptured before it begins. Now that makes for a tidy system but it fails the test of being Biblically supportable. Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say concerning the period of time we have come to call the church age.
The beginning of the Church age
We should first answer the question: when did the Church Age begin? To answer this, it is helpful to ascertain the distinguishing feature of the church as opposed to believers before the cross. The church is said to be the body of Christ. The believer is placed in the body of Christ through the baptism of Christ. Notice what John the Baptist says concerning Jesus.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
He says that there are two baptisms that our Lord will initiate: a baptism with the Holy Spirit and a baptism with fire. The baptism of fire involves the final judgement of the unbelieving as the following verse indicates. The baptism of the Holy Spirit on the other hand refers to the process by which the believer is placed into (immersed or baptized into) the body of Christ.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
The baptism of Christ involves the Holy Spirit being the instrument by which the believer is placed into Christ. This work of the Spirit does not begin until He, the Holy Spirit, is given by the Father upon the day of Pentecost in 32 AD. This is the beginning of the church and hence the Church Age.
Before His death, Jesus told his disciples concerning the Holy Spirit that He that was with them would be in them. He also told them after His resurrection and right before He ascended up into Heaven that they should wait for the promise of the Father. This promise was the giving of the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer.
The giving of the Holy Spirit and His instrumentality in placing the believer in Christ began the Church and the period of time in which God is calling out for Himself a people from among the Gentiles.
Having seen when the church age began we now ask: when does it end? You might find it helpful to know that the Prophets and the Apostles have something to say about this.
On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given the manifestation of such caused much commotion and many wondered what was happening. To those who wondered Peter explained what was being put in place by referencing the prophet Joel.
Act 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Act 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Notice that Peter says to his audience that what they were witnessing was that which was spoken of by Joel the prophet. He says that this unusual happening is the beginning of a period of time that begins with the pouring of the Holy Spirit and continues until the Day of the LORD.
It is important to observe that Peter didn’t include all that Joel had prophesied. Notice that he left out the end of Joel 2:32.
Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Joe 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
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.
Joe 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
The deliverance that is spoken of at the end of verse 32 takes place at the end of the seventieth week and is therefore not part of the Church Age. Peter says that the Church Age will end when the Day of the LORD arrives. It is at this point that Jesus said that He would send His angels to gather His own unto Himself (Matt 24:31).
Just as the beginning of the Church Age focused upon Jewish believers not Gentiles, the first Gentile converts being Cornelius and his household which were converted many years into the period. So also, the end of the Church Age extends into a time determined upon Israel and Jerusalem that we know as Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24).
It is important to allow the Scriptures to define the parameters of the Church Age and not follow a Biblically unsupportable system even though it may have an appealing order. The Biblical parameters of the Church Age only lend support to the pre-wrath rapture of the church.
The church age extends from the giving of the promise of the Father on the Day of Pentecost to the Day of the Lord which is announced by the sun, moon, and stars going dark.
25) The church will not be overtaken by the day of the Lord (I Thess. 5:1-9).
The Day of the LORD begins after the rapture, which is after the sun, moon, and stars go dark, which happens after the great tribulation.
26) The possibility of a believer escaping the Tribulation is mentioned in Luke 21:36.
It is the day of the Lord that is spoken of here, not the great tribulation. We know that because, it comes as a snare upon the earth dwellers.
27) The church of Philadelphia was promised deliverance from "the hour of temptation." Rev. 3:10
The hour of temptation is the Day of the LORD, not the great tribulation. We know this because, in this verse, we are told that it is God’s wrath which is focused upon the earth dwellers and not Satan’s wrath which is upon the elect. The church will be spared from the Day of the LORD not the great tribulation.
28) After translation, believers go to the Father's House in heaven (John 14:3).
29) Pre-trib does not divide the Body of Christ at the Rapture on a work principle (partial rapture). It is the final climatic aspect of salvation by grace.
Neither does the Pre-wrath position
30) All, not part, of the church will be raptured. (I Cor. 15:51-52, I Thess. 4:17).
31) The remnant of the Tribulation are Israelites, not members of the church.
Yes and no. See reason #15
32) Pre-trib does not confuse terms like 'elect' and 'saints' (saved of all ages). "Church" & "those in Christ" are those saved before Rapture. The "elect" and "saints" after the Rapture are not part of the Bride of Christ, the church.
This is false and foolish thinking that cannot be supported from Scripture. See reason #15
33) The church is to look for signs of His coming. Believers in Tribulation are to look for signs.
We are told to watch; thus, there must be signs indicating the general timing of Christ’s return. In fact Jesus gave some to His disciples.
34) Holy Spirit, as a restrainer, is removed before the lawless one dominates the Tribulation. II Thess. 2:6-8. The Tribulation cannot begin until this restraint (Holy Spirit) is lifted. Believers (Spirit-in dwelt) are translated.
The teaching that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer of 2 Thes. 2 is a false doctrine. Daniel identifies the restrainer as Michael the Archangel.
Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
When Michael stands up (moves) the unparalleled time of trouble (great tribulation) begins.
No other spiritual being is mentioned throughout the Scriptures that is more suitable to deal with Satan than Michael.
Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
It was Michael who came to Gabriel’s aid when the prince of Persia withstood him.
Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
It is Michael and his angels who cast Satan and his angels out of Heaven in the middle of the week.
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Satan’s wrath is manifest in the “great tribulation” persecution of believers and Israel by the Beast and False Prophet. The Beast is not revealed until Michael casts Satan out of Heaven and frees him to reveal the man of sin.