Rapture Debates #3

This was a lively debate which started off from a post that I posted entitled "Why the Church will enter the Great Tribulation".  One of the tenets that I postulated was a truth that I have stated on this blog before, namely that the church must provoke Israel to jealousy.  You can read my views here and here.  Let’s read the objections raised by this other poster.
 
> Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

> In verse 25 we see that Israel will not be saved until after the gentiles are.  This can not be at the same time as the Resurrection and Rapture but must happen after the rapture. First the rapture and then the blindness will come off and then they can be saved.  This is strong evidence for a pre-trib rapture.

But we know that the blindness will not be lifted from Israel until well into Daniel’s seventieth week. Zechariah 13:8-9 sort of gives the "spirit" of the timing. The blindness is NOT lifted from Israel at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week. So there is no proof of the "handing off of the torch" so to speak, at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, or before the great tribulation for that matter.

This is strong evidence that the 144,000 being sealed in Revelation 7:1-8 is the Israelite remnant whose eyes have been spiritually opened at the same time that the church enters into the presence of the LORD as they are raptured out of the midst of the great tribulation in Revelation 7:9-17.

> So the pre-trib rapture is what provokes Israel to Jealousy that was referenced in verse 11 of that same chapter (Rom 11).

I’m sorry that I can’t see the timing of the Pre-Trib rapture as you have laid it out. It seems as if there is a type of circular reasoning. Not here in this post specifically, but in other posts. I get the idea that you are saying…

"The pre-trib rapture must happen because the church will not be here for the great tribulation.

The church will not be here for the great tribulation because there will be a pre-trib rapture."

Do you believe that Israel is awakened from her spiritual sleep at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week?

> Yes, but we can not know the exact timing of the rapture from this Roman 11 passage, one thing we can know and that is that the post-trib rapture is not possible.

No sarcasm intended, but isn’t this an oxymoron? You say we can’t know the timing from this passage, but then you insist we can know the timing from this passage, or what the timing isn’t. If we can’t know the timing, then that’s the end of the statement. Yet we do NOT know that a post-trib rapture is not possible from this passage. Please read on.

> All the gentiles are saved first then Israel.  If there is a post-trib rapture then Israel would be saved after the 2nd Advent.

You are assuming that all Gentiles are saved before the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, which no scripture has been provided which states this.  Also, I would reword your statement to read, "If there is a post-trib rapture, then Israel would be saved AT the second advent." Which we know that Israel is saved at the second advent because of Zechariah 12:10.

10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Do you believe this verse is speaking of the second advent? If so, it is speaking of Israel’s mourning over their rejection of the Messiah. Israel is saved at this point in time, that is, at the time of the visible, bodily return of the LORD Jesus Christ. It is stated in the verse that it is at this time that they look upon Him whom they have pierced.

> Yes I think Zechariah 12:10 is a 2nd Advent passage.

There’s your passage right there. The passage in Zechariah speaks of Israel’s repentance at the Second Advent which you know is post-trib. Zechariah 12:2-3 puts the timing well into Daniel’s seventieth week. The LORD comes to fight for Israel (vs. 7-9), physically shows Himself to Israel, then they repent. This is the time when their blindness is lifted.

> You say that the blindness of Israel is not lifted at the beginning of Daniels 70th week.  But the Roman 11 Scripture says that it will happen after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  If this is at the first of the week or sometime during we don’t know from this passage alone, but we do know that it can’t be at the end.

How do we KNOW that it is not at the end? Just to throw this out, remember I’m not a classic Post-Tribber. I’m Pre-Wrath. There is a difference. So when we talk about the end of the tribulation, I’m not talking about the end of Daniel’s seventieth week, since the LORD stated that He would cut the days of the great tribulation short with His return, otherwise no believing flesh would be saved, Matthew 24:21-22. Also note that the great tribulation begins at the midpoint of Daniel’s seventieth week, not at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, Matthew 24:15-21, Daniel 9:27.

The timing of the resurrection and the return of Christ (events that we KNOW happen at the same time as the rapture) are NOT proved to precede Daniel’s seventieth week.

> Interesting that you should bring this up.  In fact in all the descriptions in the Bible of Jesus coming back in the 2nd Advent and there is not one mention of a rapture.  Now we would think that the most important event in all the Universe, the one that all of Creation moans for (the redemption of the body in the rapture) and it’s not even mentioned in the descriptions of the 2nd Advent.  Yet you claim that we KNOW the 2nd Advent and the rapture happen at the same time.

I know I will have a hard time convincing you, but the rapture is described in other places besides I Thessalonians 4. The reason I will have a hard time convincing you is because every other description of the rapture doesn’t fit the preconceived framework.  I will briefly outline the passages which describe the rapture, not necessarily by that name, but the translation, or gathering, or harvesting of living saints is described. Then I will outline the classic rapture passage that we all agree on.

Isaiah 26:16-27:1 ~ I already posted on this, but here it is again. During the time of Jacob’s trouble, Israel repents, there is a resurrection of the righteous dead, then an invitation from God for ALL HIS PEOPLE to come behind closed doors as He comes to pour out His wrath upon the earth and slay the dragon.

Daniel 12:1-3 ~ The resurrection of the righteous happens at this time. Also, those who are wise will shine as the brightness of the firmament. And those who turn many to righteousness will shine like the stars. The problem for Pre-Tribbers is that this is in the midst of the time of Jacob’s trouble.

Matthew 13:43 ~ The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The problem for Pre-Tribbers is that the wheat and tares grow together until the end of the age. There is no point in time where the wheat is removed first, followed by another age of just tares growing. The tares are marked for judgement, then the wheat is gathered into the barn. Both phases of the harvest happen at the same time, at the end of the age.

II Thessalonians 2:1 ~ The coming of Christ and our gathering together unto Him are described as happening together. The problem for Pre-Tribbers is that it happens after the revealing of the man of sin in the temple at the abomination of desolation. The solution is that Paul is expounding upon the coming and gathering that he described in his previous letter.

Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27 ~ Christ comes and gathers all His elect. The problem for Pre-Tribbers is that this is certainly after the great tribulation. The solution is that Christ was speaking to the foundational stones to the church.

Revelation 6:12-17 and 7:9-17 ~ Christ comes, raises the righteous dead, and raptures the church into His presence. The problem for Pre-Tribbers is that the church comes out of the great tribulation. Note that the promise made in the OT in Isaiah 25:8 to wipe away all tears is fulfilled in Revelation 7:17 proving that the resurrection has occurred in Revelation 7. The solution is to see that the LORD has fulfilled His promise to deliver them from His wrath by rapturing them before the trumpets and bowls which contain His wrath.

Revelation 14:14-16 ~ The Son of Man comes in the clouds as He promised in Acts 1:9-11 and Revelation 1:7. He reaps the earth to Himself. What is left is thrown into the winepress of His wrath. Tribulation, Rapture, Then Wrath. That’s always the order.

Philippians 3:20-21, Colossians 3:1-4, and I John 3:1-3 describe the event as well, but there is no timing factor. The timing must be proved in other passages independent of these two.

Since you have alluded that you believe I Corinthians 15 refers to the rapture, perhaps I will have some success with this one. They that are Christ’s will be resurrected AT HIS COMING according to verse 23. Since verses 51-55 are a description of the resurrection of those who are Christ’s, this event will happen AT HIS COMING.

Now for the passage that (hopefully) you agree is speaking of the rapture, that is, I Thessalonians 4:13-17.

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

This event happens at the COMING OF THE LORD according to verse 15. Note that this passage is describing how Christ comes WITH the saints according to verse 14. Paul is further describing the coming of Christ WITH the saints that he has already touched on in 1:10, 2:19, and 3:13 of the same letter. Pre-Tribbers try to separate between the coming of Christ WITH the saints and the coming of Christ FOR the saints, but I have never read any passage in the Bible that speaks of how Christ is coming FOR the saints. I only read about how He comes WITH the saints.  So according to I Thessalonians 4:15, this event happens at the coming of the LORD when He bring the saints WITH Him.

> I would like to tackle some of your objections to the pre-trib rapture;

At this point in the debate the poster listed objections to the above passages, or had questions concerning my use of them, so here are his questions or objections, followed by my responses.

> Daniel 12:1-3 > I read this passage a few times and failed to find where it says it is in the midst of Jacobs trouble, could you help me with this?

I can try. The passage states, "There shall be a time of trouble". The Hebrew word for trouble used here is the same word for trouble used in the classic passage in Jeremiah 30:7 describing the time of Jacob’s trouble. Previous to this in the verse, the passage states that Michael will stand up for "the children of thy people". Obviously, the phrase, "time of trouble" is describing a time period upon "the children of thy people". Further in the passage, it states that "at that time thy people shall be delivered" showing us that they are delivered from "the time of trouble". Daniel’s passage agrees completely with Jeremiah’s since Jeremiah states, "but he shall be saved out of it". So when we move into verse 2, we see that the time of the resurrection of the righteous dead is at the same time as the deliverance of Israel out of the time of Jacob’s trouble.

> Matthew 13:43 > Mat 13;39,40 says this is at the End of the World.  You have made this error in another post, are you skipping this point on purpose or are you just cut and pasting?

The King James Version states that it is the end of the world. Some of the newer versions translate it as the end of the age. It is important to understand some of the Greek words that are used, since they have different meanings. When Christ said, "The field is the world", He was using the word kosmos. We get our English word, cosmos, from this.

In verses 39 and 40, when Christ uses the phrase, "the end of the world", He uses the word aion. We get our English word, eon, from this. The two words mean different things. The word aion, really means a time period or an age. Christ was talking about the end of the age here, not the end of the kosmos, or universe. I hope that clears up the language that I’m employing here.

> II Thessalonians 2:1 > No it doesn’t describe them coming together, here is what it actually says;  1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  He beseechs them ("beg",AMP) by these two events.  And in fact if you read the chapter previous to this one you will see the description of the 2nd Advent in which there is no mention of the most important event; rapture. Or even a hint of it.

But there is a vivid description of our deliverance from tribulation as God comes to reward those who persecute us with a repayment of vengeance. Note that the "rest" promised to us happens when the LORD Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. The point still stands because the Apostle Paul subsequently referred to the day of the coming of the LORD Jesus and our gathering together unto Him as the day of Christ, or could I say, Messiah’s Day. The order of events is always the same, first anti-messiah, then the Messiah.

> Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27 > I read these verses and I failed to find any mention of a rapture.  I see where the elect are gathered out of "heaven" but nothing about from Earth to Heaven.  Did you make a typo on the Scripture references?

No typos on my end. Here’s how the phrase is worded in Mark 13:27 in KJV

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

and in NAS

"And then He will send forth the angels , and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven."

With the phrase "from the farthest end of the earth", it looks to me like all believers on the entire earth are being gathered to the LORD.

> The reason why we are able to separate the two events is because the two events have different descriptions. To say that these two events happen at the same time is to say that the Bible contradicts itself.  Lets compare the 2nd Advent event in Mat 24 with the description of the rapture in 1 Thes 4;  Mat says that the angels gather the elect: 1 Thes says that the Lord Himself does it.

EXACTLY where does it say that the LORD Himself does it in I Thess. 4?

> Mat uses the great trumpet call to gather the elect from the four winds; 1 Thes teaches that it announces the descent of our Lord.

Exactly where does it say that the trumpet in I Thess. 4 is only to announce the descent of our LORD.

> Mat makes no mention of a resurrection or translation of Saints; 1 Thes does.

But it does mention the gathering of the saints, or of the elect.

> In Mat the gathering appears to be on Earth; in 1 Thes it is in the air.

In I Thess. 4, it is in the air, as He descends. The air is the meeting place, but at Christ’s coming, He comes to the earth, not to heaven.

> Mat 24 prominently speaks of the effects on the Sun, Moon and the stars; no mention in 1 Thes.  Mat has no order of ascent; 1 Thes does.

Different details concerning Christ’s coming are mentioned in different passages of the Bible. Just because different details are mentioned in different passages does not mean that there are four or five different second comings, only that different details were revealed to different authors of scripture at different times. It is the same with the resurrection of the righteous. There are different details revealed at different points in the progressive revelation, but only one "first resurrection".

> I really love 1 Thes 4 and 5 because it is so encouraging that we don’t have to go into the Tribulation and have our heads cut off. In fact it says to encourage each other.

The passage does say to encourage each other. But I don’t read anything about not having to go through the great tribulation.

> But also pre-wrathers and post-tribbers avoid commenting about 1 Thess 5;3 which says that they will say "Peace and safety" and then comes the Day of the Lord.

I don’t avoid commenting on it, nor any other Pre-Wrathers that I know of. The passage strengthens the Pre-Wrath point of view, especially as we study the timing of the day of the LORD. The day of the LORD does not begin until after the sixth seal based on Joel 2:31. We know that the day of the LORD contains God’s wrath based on Zephaniah 1:14-15. We see that the world is commanded to "hold thy peace" (Zephaniah 1:7) at the time of the day of the LORD which coincides with the opening of the seventh seal, Revelation 8:1. Isaiah 2:12 gives a preface to a description of the day of the LORD. Isaiah 2:19-21 and Revelation 6:15-17 are parallel passages.

When we examine the cry of "peace and safety", we see that it is a false cry of peace and safety. Yes, the false peace is taken away at the second seal. The passage does not say that we are delivered from the sudden destruction, it only says that the day will not overtake us as a thief, vs. 4. Please show me in the passage where it says we will be delivered from the sudden destruction.

Why would we watch and be sober, looking for the false cry of "peace and safety", when it wouldn’t matter one way or the other? The Apostle Paul was teaching that the coming of the LORD would be subsequent to the false cry of "peace and safety" and subsequent to the sudden destruction. However, when the LORD comes to pour out His wrath, we will be delivered from this, since the rapture happens AT HIS COMING according to the passage.

> Seal #2 ( Rev 6 ) takes peace from the world. This is a direct statement and there is no statement that peace is restored before the 2nd Advent.

True. When the Prince of Peace comes, then there will be peace.

> Therefore the Day of the Lord (and the rapture) begins before Seal #2.

The false cry of peace and safety is most likely the false covenant by the anti-messiah at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week. The sudden destruction is the great tribulation which begins at the midpoint of Daniel’s seventieth week. The time that immediately follows the great tribulation is God’s wrath. This is what we are promised deliverance from based on 5:9-11.

This was the last of our conversation. I had hoped the debate would continue since there are a great many questions here that I have posed to various PreTribbers and have never received answers. This poster at first seemed like he could provide the answers, but the debate did not continue so I will never know. I appreciated the time that he took to answer the questions and points that he did. It was a good debate.  For those of you who are interested in the different strengths and weaknesses of the various positions, hopefully these posts are helping you out.  There is a book entitled Three Views on the Rapture in which three professors who are all friends lovingly debate their position while maintaining their friendship.  It’s a great book barring the fact that the PreWrath view is not represented in it.  These men have set a good example for us.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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