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Pre-Tribulation vs. Post-Tribulation Rapture

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This debate is now over. Thank you all who participated in this civil and informative debate. -BroMatt

Greetings to you, my friends in Jesus.

Welcome to a discussion about Pre- vs. Post-Tribulation Rapture.

I want everyone to remember that concerning the "rapture" (Christians being "caught up" in 1 Thess.4:15-17), intelligent and godly Bible students disagree whether it will occur before (pre-) or after (post-) the tribulation period. --But regardless, the rapture issue is not a matter of "heresy" vs. "orthodoxy" --(as holding to the fundamentals of the faith is)-- but it's more on the level of discussing head-coverings in church. I hold to the biblical fundamentals. -- The teaching of the rapture's timing is not worth disrupting fellowship between Christians. The chief task given to us, the Church, is to evangelize the lost world --who couldn't care less about the placement or timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation (unless it is to mock us because it hasn't happened). --And you all mean more to me than this discussion. I'm not in this to "win" ...but mainly to help everybody learn and understand the scriptural viewpoints. - - - So, on to first issues:

Hermeneutics (how to understand & interpret the Bible):

1. A reader should initially take everything in the Bible in its normal ("literal") sense, like any piece of explanatory informative literature. We should try to understand the writing in the very same way in which we honestly think the writer intended his original audience to take it.

2. Every verse should be taken in its immediate context. -- The nearby verses are usually more relevant to each other than verses further-away; also, verses (or word-usage) on a topic by the same human writer are often more closely related than verses (or word-usage) by a different human writer.

3. Clear, direct and explicit statements of scripture take precedence over unclear and implied ideas (e.g. theological "systems") which a reader might impose on the text. -- This basic perspective on how to properly interpret the Bible, is very much in accord with the statement: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense."

-- I completely accept the Textus Receptus/KJV in all discussions about the 2nd Coming, --and I also feel free to clarify what the Greek wording means in any verses I use.

Opening Statement:

I am personally convinced that the Bible teaches that the Rapture (the 1Thess.4:16-17 catching-up of believers to meet Christ in the air) occurs immediately after the great tribulation (whether 7 or 3 1/2 years long), at the start of the 1000-year millennium, as Jesus comes at his glorious 2nd Coming. I feel this is the most clear and direct teaching of the Bible.

The Post-trib rapture position is the oldest, and the "classical" position of Christianity (1950 years old) --held by the "fathers" of the early church, ...and all of them who wrote about it said we Christians would face Antichrist. -- But the Pre-trib position is a new-comer in Church-history, and did not exist before about 170 years ago.

Now, concerning the Rapture, the following scriptural facts should be realized:

No passage ANYwhere in the entire Bible explicitly (directly and clearly) puts right before (or at the start of) the tribulation a single one of the constituent parts (events) that make up the rapture --namely:

1. a "coming" of Christ (or him descending from heaven),
2. a resurrection of the saints (...or church or believers resurrected)
3. a translation of the saints ("translation" means: bodies are changed & glorified)
4. a "gathering" up of believers (gathered up, for example, by angels)
5. a catching-up (or rapture) of the saints (believers)
6. or, a reception of the just-raptured saints (...specifically in heaven)

As exemplified in the above list, the teaching of a pre-tribulational rapture is built virtually entirely on implication (reading "between the lines"), but not on direct and explicit statements in the Bible.

---On the other hand, the New Testament does tell us explicitly and directly that :

1. Christ will come again just after the great tribulation ( Mat.24:29-30)
2. saints will be raised from the dead just before the millennium (Rev.20:4)
3. and, the elect will be gathered up right after the tribulation. (...see Mat.24:29-31).
4. Everybody agrees that the rapture occurs at the Lord's "coming," (1Thes.4:15-17) --but when is the Lord's "coming" in relation to the tribulation? ...The New Testament only explicitly states that the Lord will "come" back to earth right after the tribulation (see Mat.24), but never that he will come just before it.

These are some raw, basic scriptural facts.

The whole pre-trib view rests virtually entirely on ideas which imply that view (such as the difference between Israel and Church) -- but never on verses which directly state it by putting its parts together (esp. - Christ's coming, believer's resurrection, rapture, then tribulation).

Because of being more explicit and direct, the post-trib position is the "strong" scriptural position --the "classic" position.

--Still, I respect in the Lord those who hold the pre-trib view. ---And with developments in the Middle-East and elsewhere around the world, I suspect that many of us shall find out in our life-times who is right in this regard.

Blessings in Christ, - Pastor Totten

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Calvary and I will be representing the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position, which is also the official position of the Online Baptist Forum. There are a number of things that we agree with Pastor Totten on. We agree that there are good men who hold to both positions and that it is not necessary to separate over this issue. We also agree that the chief task given to us is to evangelize the lost world. Calvary, Pastor Totten, and I have agreed to keep this debate in a civilized manner. We have also agreed that when we get to a position where we must agree to disagree, the debate will be over. We agree that this is not about winning or losing, but about showing a clear presentation of when the rapture will occur.

As to Hermeneutics, We agree completely on the issue of Hermeneutics and therefore there is no need to debate in this area.

Opening Statement: (Rebuttal of Pastor Totten

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Hello, dear saints.

Some answers to questions raised about specific verses:

Rev. 20:4-6 ---

You are right, these verses do specifically refer to the resurrection of tribulational martyred saints.
-- The reason I brought up these verses, is because they explicitly place the resurrection of some blood-bought saints at the beginning of the millennium, which is what the post-trib view requires.

--And there are verses which explicitly place belivers' resurrection just after the tribulation:
-- Daniel 12:1-3,13 puts resurrection of saints just after tribulation, right where post-tribbers need it.
--- And Jesus said that the raising of "all that the Father has given me" --which obviously includes the Church-- will take place "on the last day" (John 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24) ...where the "last day" refers to the last day of this present age ...the "day" when the 2nd Coming of Christ occurs (Luke 17:24; 2Thess.2:2).
--- All of this supports the view of post-trib resurrection & rapture. Resurrection and rapture occur together.

What Pre-Trib Needs:

What the pre-trib view needs is any verse(s) which explicitly puts the resurrection of any group of blood-bought saints immediately before (or at the start of) the tribulation.
--- This is because the resurrection of the dead in Christ will immediately precede the rapture (according to 1Thess.4:16-17). A resurrection of saints occurs with the rapture, and pre-trib needs some verse(s) to place believers' resurrection at the pre-trib time.

Up to this point, the pre-trib resurrection of believers is only stated to be so, but not shown from scripture.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ---

In this passage, vs.15 specifically names "the coming of the Lord" as the occasion on which believers will be resurrected and raptured. --- So, whoever might hypothetically disagree that the rapture occurs at the same time as "the coming of the Lord," either does not know this scripture, or is able to mentally rationalize a way to deny direct statements of the Word of God.

Mattew 24:21,29-31 ---

I sympathize that this is one of the "most difficult" passages to deal with for the pre-trib position, ---however, it is one of the best passages for the post-trib position, because Christ's "coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" is mentioned right along with "the great sound of a trumpet" (see 1Cor.15:51-52) and the angels "gather together" Christ's elect "from the four winds", which is an excellent description of the rapture (see 1Thess.4:15-17).
-- These verses are exactly what the post-trib position requires: Christ's glorious coming, along with the gathering (rapture) of the saints.

What Pre-Trib Needs:

--- What the pre-trib position needs, is any verse(s) which explicitly puts
(1) a coming of Christ just before the tribulation, and
(2) the sound of the heavenly trumpet just before the tribulation, and
(3) a resurrection of saints just before the tribulation, and
(4) a "gathering together" --a rapture-- just before the tribulation.
-- We understand that the pre-trib view posits a "preliminary aspect" of Christ's 2nd Coming just prior to the tribulation, but as a result, the pre-trib view needs a verse to mention Christ's "coming" at that pre-trib point. To merely imply --or to keep insisting-- that it must be there, falls short of actual evidence from scripture.

Reasons for the Tribulation --
I see your "reasons" for the Tribulation, and the Post-tribulationist basically would agree with those reasons.

Revelation 4:1 ---

With this verse, the pre-trib position would like to imply that this "Come up hither" is speaking of the rapture of the Church --but is this a good handling of scripture?
-- Let's deal with some questions about this:
1 - Who is speaking here in 4:1, when he says "After this I looked" ?
2 - Who is called up to heaven?
3 - When does this event occur?
4 - So, what is this speaking of?

Answers:
1 - John the apostle is speaking.
2 - John is called up to heaven.
3 - This occurred 2000 years ago.
4 - This speaks of John being caught up

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1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ---

So, whoever might hypothetically disagree that the rapture occurs at the same time as "the coming of the Lord," either does not know this scripture, or is able to mentally rationalize a way to deny direct statements of the Word of God.


I will not accept this type of characterization in a debate. As stated privately, this debate will stick to Scripture or it will be over. We will not characterize people with different views in this fashion.


Reasons for the Tribulation --
I see your "reasons" for the Tribulation, and the Post-tribulationist basically would agree with those reasons.


I am glad that you agree with the reasons for the tribulation. If you will notice that none of the reasons had to do with the church because the church is no longer there.

Revelation 4:1 ---

I agree with your analysis of who is speaking, but it is most certainly a picture of what is to come.


I see your "distinctions between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming" --however, some of these things are precisely what has not been directly and clearly shown from scripture (as I've explained). Other issues will take separate sections, so perhaps we should take them up more individually.


We will give you specific references for these shortly.



Let

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My friend, PastorJ,

Hey, my apologies. --I didn't mean that personally at all (as we agreed). --I just meant that all the pre- and post-tribbers (and even mid-tribbers) that I've talked to (or that I have read their books on the subject) agree that the rapture is directly linked to the Lord's 2nd coming, even if the rapture is part of a "preliminary phase" of the 2nd Coming.

-- When you said the following:


1 Thes. 4:15-17

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Not a problem. I do believe that the Rapture and 2nd coming are two aspects of the return of Christ. It is phrases like "if you don't agree on this, then you must be...." that I don't care for. Whether it is dealing with me or anyone else.

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My worthy brothers, the pre-trib defenders, have been asked for (but have not provided) verses which explicitly and specifically put the rapture just before the tribulation --or put there any of its parts (namely, a "coming" of Christ, a resurrection of saints, a catching up of saints, a transforming of saints, or a reception of just-raptured saints in heaven).

Lacking this, we now move on to scriptures which are thought to clearly imply that a pre-trib rapture must be the case.

Revelation 3:10 --

--The first scripture offered is Revelation 3:10, which says, "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 question is: To whom does this apply?

In the Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, seven local churches located in seven cities are addressed by the Lord. --This scripture is spoken to "the Church in Philadelphia" (Rev. 3:7), and might conceivably indicate a pre-trib removal of the church if the Church in Philadelphia stood for the generation right before the beginning of the tribulation.

--However, if you take this portion of Scripture in its most straight-forward and normal (literal) way, then the Lord Jesus is talking to a specific local church in Philadelphia (Asia Minor --in today's Turkey) in 96 A.D. --not speaking specifically to some future generation of the church.

In commenting about this passage, Dr. Wilbur M. Smith writes that the interpretation which says these seven churches represent seven successive periods of church history "will reveal confusion upon confusion." (Wycliffe Bible Commentary "Revelation", W.Smith, Moody Press). This is because those seven churches do not match the periods of the history of the Church very well.

--And the most damaging part of this "historical periods" interpretation to the pre-trib view is the fact that since there are some spiritually victorious "overcomers" in the seventh church --the Laodicean "church" (Rev.3:21)-- this would be proof that the Church will be present on earth in the tribulation (since the sixth church --the Philadelphian church-- was presumably the raptured church).

Also, if the Philadelphian church is the raptured generation, then the "lukewarm" church of Laodicea would be the "great multitude" of tribulation saints (Rev.7:9,14)... a conflicting thought. --And, again, this scenario fits quite poorly, because the tribulational saints are fervent, "faithful" witnesses who have "faith in Jesus" (Rev. 14:12), who are "washed in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14), and many of them lay down their lives for Christ and "die in the Lord" (14:13). So, the tribulation saints can't be reasonably described as "lukewarm." --I would rather say, that those seven churches are primarily ancient history in 96 A.D., and that they are then secondarily, perhaps, representative of different kinds of churches (& individual Christians) during any given year down through all the centuries leading up to the end.

Concerning the words "keep from" in Rev.3:10, the word "from" is a translation of the Greek word "ek", which actually means "out from within" a place. In the Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer Arndt & Gingrich, they say that "ek" is used "of situations and circumstances out of which someone is brought" ...and they even cite Rev.3:10 as an example. Because of this, we should recognize that (if this verse did speak about the tribulation) the church must be "within" the tribulation, in order to be brought out at a later time. ---A.T. Robertson, in his Greek Grammar, agrees that the meaning of the Greek word "ek" is "out from within", ---as do Dana & Mantey in their Greek Grammar (p.102).

Concerning the word "keep," ...it is a translation of the Greek word "tere'o", which means "to guard" or "protect". This word conveys the idea of guarding and protecting from danger that is surrounding or nearby in the area. If the church is in heaven, then such "guarding" or "protecting" of the church makes little sense, because there is no nearby danger in heaven. ---If we consider putting the two words, together, then we have the meaning conveyed that the Lord will "guard" and "protect" these believers from nearby danger until they are "out from having been within" the tribulation.

There's only one other verse in the N.T. that uses the above two Greek words ("tere'o" and "ek") together, and it is John 17:15. --In that verse, Jesus praying, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep ("tere'o") them from ("ek") the evil". ---So, in the only other place where these two words occur together in the N.T., Jesus considers the guarding and keeping work of God to be sufficient without removing believers from the world ...and he specifically says so!

All of this makes clear that though Christians will suffer, they will be guarded spiritually if not physically.

The Distinction Between Israel and the Church:

Post-tribbers agree that there is a clear distinction here, and it is seen mainly in the fact that every single individual who is truly part of the body of Christ (the Church in Eph. 1:22-23) is saved and destined for heaven. In contradistinction to that, in the case of Israel, we must see

The Distinction Between Israel and Israel:

In the people of Israel, some are saved and some are not. This is what the apostle Paul refers to when he says: "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6), that is, "They which are children of the flesh, these are not the children of God. The apostle Paul (who is saved) writes that he has "continual sorrow of heart" about his "kinsmen according to the flesh" --which is the Israelites" (Rom. 9:2-4). He has this sorrow because many of them are not saved, due to the rejection of their Messiah, Jesus... and Paul desires and prays "that they might be saved" (Ro. 10:1).
-- However, this dire picture is not the case for all of Israel. Paul asks, "Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite..." (Ro. 11:1). --Paul, who is part of the Church, is clearly part of Israel. So, part of Israel is saved, and God reserves for himself a saved "remnant" (Ro. 11:5).
-- The place where Israel and the Church overlap is with the saved Jews only. The rest of Israel will be lost.

Jacob's Trouble: -- Yes, we read in Jer. 30:7 about "Jacob's trouble," which will come on unbelieving Israel, in order to turn them to God. This particular "trouble" does not focus on anyone else.

The Church: -- I agree, of course, that it is the body and the bride of Christ.

Blessings to you all, - R. Totten

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My worthy brothers, the pre-trib defenders, have been asked for (but have not provided) verses which explicitly and specifically put the rapture just before the tribulation --or put there any of its parts (namely, a "coming" of Christ, a resurrection of saints, a catching up of saints, a transforming of saints, or a reception of just-raptured saints in heaven).


I have given you 3 references dealing with the rapture of saints prior to the tribulation. I will discuss them further in my next post.


Revelation 3:10 --

In the Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, seven local churches located in seven cities are addressed by the Lord. --This scripture is spoken to "the Church in Philadelphia" (Rev. 3:7), and might conceivably indicate a pre-trib removal of the church if the Church in Philadelphia stood for the generation right before the beginning of the tribulation.

--However, if you take this portion of Scripture in its most straight-forward and normal (literal) way, then the Lord Jesus is talking to a specific local church in Philadelphia (Asia Minor --in today's Turkey) in 96 A.D. --not speaking specifically to some future generation of the church. I would rather say, that those seven churches are primarily ancient history in 96 A.D., and that they are then secondarily, perhaps, representative of different kinds of churches (& individual Christians) during any given year down through all the centuries leading up to the end.


In the church age calendar, the Philadelphia and the Laodicean church are both present through to the Rapture (Pre-Tribulation). Which describes the current age we are in. An age of lukewarm Christianity with a remnant of Philadelphian churches proclaiming the Gospel fervently. Let

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Neither is there any specific verse that has the word cat, trinity, chalkboard, bus, car, etc

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Greetings to you, PastorJ, and to you "Cavalier" ... (just a joke, Calvary, from "Trotter").

PastorJ, ...yes, you did give 3 scriptures. --Thank you. They were Rev.3:10, Jer. 30:7, and Malachi 4:5-6.

--- However, those verses were not at all explicit, --because they did not have any terms to depict the rapture in even semi-specific or clear terms (eg, "catching up" of the saints, "gathering," or any such terms), nor to a resurrection (or "came to life"), nor to a "coming" of the Lord (or "descent") before the tribulation. ---Calvary basically admits this lack of explicitness is the case in what you provide, when he says, "Neither is there any specific verse that has the word cat..." etc.

--- Ahhh, but there are quite explicit and specific verses for the post-trib position!

But it is revealing when Calvary says, "We need the doctrine, not a verse." -- And such thinking is the source of problems: To start with a doctrinal system, and to then comb through the Bible for supporting proof-texts to fit and maybe force them into that pre-conceived viewpoint.

--I think pre-millennialism flows most naturally and straight-forward out of scripture, with no interpretive fancy-footwork on the text (Rev.20:2-5). ---And post-trib is the same way. ---The same with the trinity, because it is just a convenient term to describe the fact that the deity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all clearly and explicitly spelled out in Scripture.

--But I think the pre-trib position does not flow naturally out of the text of scripture. . . .For example: If you took a middle-mature, intelligent young Christian who has read through the Bible several times and understands well the fundamentals of salvation and how to properly understand scripture in context and in history, --and if you then gave them on paper all of the relevant passages on the 2nd Coming, resurrection and rapture (but did not coach them about its placement pre- or post-trib), -- I think there is virtually no way that they would come up with a pre-trib rapture. (I wish somebody would try this.) -- Pre-trib must be indoctrinated into people, because it is not from direct scriptural statements, but is only an inferrence from several passages, which are all disputed as to how to properly understand them.
--- "Moreover, even if one believes this doctrine to be in Scripture, it is taught with such little clarity that it was not discovered until the nineteenth century. This does not make it seem likely" (from Systematic Theology, 1994, Dr. Wayne Grudem).

-- On Rev. 3:10, fundamentally, the "church age" idea of the seven churches (as seven ages in church history) is a very iffy interpretive scheme with which many don't agree because it doesn't fit history very well, --and we only know for sure that Rev.3:10 specifically applies to the local Philadelphia church of 96 A.D. in Asia Minor. Period. That's the bottom line of Rev. 3:10. --The "hour of trial" need not refer to the great tribulation, but is fairly clearly the Roman persecution of that local church around 100 A.D.

(Regarding the phrase "kept from" (Grk. "tereo ek") in Rev.3:10 ...the verses you supply (Jn. 17:6 & 2Ptr.2:9) do have the two words but they are separated by so many other words, that they do not appoximate that phrase "kept from", because they're not tied closely together grammatically. --Thus, I was correct in saying that Jn. 17:15 is the only other verse which uses the two words "tereo" and "ek" together ---connected in a phrase.)

-- Jeremiah 30:7 concerns the time of "Jacob's Trouble," which would be a time to humble Israel --granted--, but it says and proves nothing about the rapture, or who else may be present on earth at the time. There will be undeniably many "saints" on earth during the tribulation (Rev. 7:9,14; 17:6) who will be serving, trusting, and witnessing about Jesus. They are blood-bought saints, and the burden of proof is on the pre-tribber to show that it is possible for them to be saved without being "in Christ" which is the same as being "in" Christ's body (the Church)... when John says tribulation saints who die are "in the Lord" (Rev. 14:12-13).

By the way --An analogy to the "Jacob's Trouble" issue: --- Let's say I am part of a class of students, but one student named Jacob has gotten in big trouble, so Jacob (and a couple of accomplices) will now get very negative consequences from the teacher --this will be a time of "Jacob's Trouble." But during that time the rest of the class may have to suffer to some degree by missing out on some nice things that would have happened to the whole class but will be canceled --and at the same time, the "star" student of the class --a guy named "Christian"-- will still have some special privileges and rewards from the teacher. But Christian will be scorned and resented by some bad students and maybe attacked by the school bully. -- This excellent teacher is smart enough to sort these different purposes out: discipline to one; and reward to another.

In the same way, God is able to accomplish many things at the same time during the tribulation: He can humble and discipline Israel with "Jacob's Trouble," while at the same time bringing hard times on various peoples of the world and preparing some others for the gospel, and (as Revelation 9:4 etc. indicates) focusing his wrath on the people of the beast (but not on the saints), and also at the same time using his saints in reaching the various peoples of world with the gospel. But while the saints are protected totally from God's wrath, they will be hit by the resentment and hatred of the bully (Antichrist). Christians are not promised exemption from Antichrist's persecution, ...in fact, Paul writes to Christians and says that we are to expect Antichrist's coming before the "day of the Lord" can occur (2Thess. 2:1-4).
--Jacob's trouble focused on Israel does not limit God from accomplishing many things around the rest of the world. --God is highly capable of multi-tasking.

As for Mal. 4:5-6 about the sending of Elijah before the "day of the Lord," . . . there is no problem here for the post-trib position, since it fits right in with 2 Thess. 2:1-4 given just above.

*

*

*
Next, Member "wpm" next has a few thoughts (mainly to Calvary, whose quotes are in blue):

I would like to thank the board and Pastor Totten for allowing me the opportunity to engage in this debate, and I trust that I can at very least lay out the Posttrib in a simple, fair, and understandable manner. I appreciate the efforts of the other participants and can see that they all sincerely hold their views.

Calvary: First, let me say that the rebuttal on Rev 3 is weak beloved. If we argue that way, one would have no business citing passages from Ephesians, Colossians, or any other book addressed to a

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Part 1 of a two part post. Part 2 will accept the challenge of Pastor Trotter. Please give me the night to put it together, I almost have it, but this post is long enough for now.


Greetings to you, PastorJ, and to you "Cavalier" ... (just a joke, Calvary, from "Trotter").

PastorJ, ...yes, you did give 3 scriptures. --Thank you. They were Rev.3:10, Jer. 30:7, and Malachi 4:5-6.

--- However, those verses were not at all explicit, --because they did not have any terms to depict the rapture in even semi-specific or clear terms (eg, "catching up" of the saints, "gathering," or any such terms), nor to a resurrection (or "came to life"), nor to a "coming" of the Lord (or "descent") before the tribulation. ---Calvary basically admits this lack of explicitness is the case in what you provide, when he says, "Neither is there any specific verse that has the word cat..." etc.


No sir, there was no such admission. What there was however was a statement that said for lack of a explicit statement, I do not lack for the doctrine itself. In as much as I lack for the word Trinity in the Bible, I do however lack nothing in the way of proving said teaching from the scriptures. I hope that clarifies that for you.


--- Ahhh, but there are quite explicit and specific verses for the post-trib position!


Again, what you have are clear and explicit verses that according to you are clear and explicit. In fact I could just as easily say, you have no

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Part 2 - responding to Pastor Trotter's challenge.


Let

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Hello to PastorJ, and Cavalier (hah), ...and all my dear friends in Christ!

Before we start looking at scripture, let's all remember a couple of principles of how to understand and interpret the Bible:

--- 1. Every verse should be taken in its immediate context. -- The nearby verses are usually more relevant to each other than verses further-away; also, verses (or word-usage) on a topic by the same human writer are more closely related than verses (or word-usage) by a different human writer. And N.T. Greek verses are more closely related and relevant to each other than to verses in the O.T.

--- 2. Clear, direct and explicit statements of scripture take precedence over unclear and implied ideas (e.g. theological "systems") which a reader might impose on the text. -- This basic perspective on how to properly interpret the Bible, is very much in accord with the statement: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense."

--- OK, I'm going start with the clearest and most direct things first, and work out from there (trying to answer questions that have been raised).

POINT ONE, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

The chief and the clearest rapture passage in the Bible is 1 Thess. 4:15-17 : "15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming (Gk = parousia) 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."

--- Note: The Greek word "parousia" (pronounced pah-roo-SEE-ah), means "coming" and "arrival." Parousia is called a "technical term," ...meaning that when it talks about Christ it basically only refers to "his Messianic advent in glory to judge the world at the end of the age" -- in fact, 16 of the 17 usages carry this meaning. (ref.: "Greek-English Lexicon," of Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich, p.635 ).
-- The "parousia" is Christ's glorious 2nd Coming.
-- (A Suggestion: Write "parousia" in your Bible by the verses wherever it occurs).

-- Because of this direct and clear scriptural statement, it must be beyond dispute that at the same time as the coming (parousia) of the Lord there will also be the resurrection of "the dead in Christ," as well as the "catching up" (rapture) of those resurrected believers, along with other believers who had not died up until the coming of the Lord. (There will also be angels, a shout, a voice, and a trumpet.)
-- So, Resurrection and Rapture are linked closely together, and they are both linked to the Parousia of Christ. --All three happen on the same day (...maybe separated by some minutes, or so).
--To link this passage to other relevant passages, we seek 3 main elements: the Parousia, resurrection & rapture. (The other elements would be very good to find as well). :mrgreen:

POINT TWO, Matthew 24:21,27-31

This second passage, involves several of the key elements from 1Thess.4.

(Please see your Bible).
-- Vs. 21 tells us that this passage is the time of the "great tribulation," so we know the time-frame.
-- Vs. 27 = "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming (Gk = parousia) of the Son of man be." -- So, we know this is the parousia of Christ ...his glorious coming.
-- Vs. 29 = "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" -- So, we know that the parousia of Christ happens just after the tribulation. -- (The darkening of the sun and moon, etc., is a quote from Joel 2:30-31.)
-- Vs. 30b = "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." -- This will be Christ's coming in power & glory.
-- Vs. 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."
--- So, we have the "gathering" of the "elect" as part of the parousia of Christ, which comes just after the tribulation. As we see that the angels "gather" the "elect" at this time, it is a very good description of the rapture. (As a bonus, we also have the "trumpet" and angel involvement.)

POINT THREE, 1 Corinthians 15:21-24, 51-52

This passage also involves several of the key elements from 1Thess.4.

(Please read these verses in your Bible)
-- Vs.21-22 - Informs us that this passage refers to the resurrection of the dead in Christ.
-- Vs. 23 = "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ

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Hello brother,

I was still waiting for the rebuttal to our last three posts before we respond to this post. As it stands, this post has answered nothing in the way of our previous posts, all this post has done is to state and clarify your already stated position.
Your position is in fact quite clear to all of us following this thread brother, what we would like is an answer to the previously made statements in order to continue this debate.

If you are going to use this thread only as a platform to propagate your position, I will humbly and respectively withdraw myself from any further posting.

God bless,

Calvary

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I am going to deal with Pastor Totten

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Brethren

Thanks for your response.

Could I remind you? You have yet to address my crucial question. Can you show me a clear passage in Scripture that you consider indicates (1) a rapture of the Church, (2) immediately followed by a literal seven-year tribulation, (3) immediately followed by a Coming of Christ?


The problems come in the interpretation of Chapter 2&3. Pastor Totten believes that chapters 2&3 are only for the 7 literal churches in John

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My friends, PastorJ and Calvary,

Since wpm has covered most other things, I will further address a couple issues (Calvary).

God's Purposes in the Tribulation:

I agree with you, that one of the purposes of the tribulation is to deal with rebellious Israel and purge out the rebels, and to turn Israel to seek the Lord accept the Messiah, which is a major reason why it is called the time of "Jacob's Trouble." I also agree that another purpose is to allow for the enemies of Israel (especially the Antichrist and his people) to be destroyed.

---But then, there are other people on earth during the tribulation besides Israel ...and the most notable group among the other people is the "saints" who believe in Jesus. It is beyond dispute that there is a huge multitude of these believers in Jesus who come from every nation in the world (Rev. 7:9-14). Since they are from "every tongue" and "every nation," many --if not most-- of these saints are not Jews.

God has purposes for these Gentile tribulation saints. ---What are some of these purposes?

1. - To Patiently Endure - (Rev. 13:10; 14:12). - This will be a very tough time to endure, so it will require spiritual strength and power, which is only possible through the Holy Spirit.

2. - To Obey and keep their faith in Jesus. - (Rev. 14:12). These saints have saving "faith" in Jesus. Such faith means they are justified because they trust and rely on Christ. Through their faith in Christ alone --by grace-- they are saved, and their "robes" are washed in "the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14)

3. - To be tremendously victorious and successful witnesses (Rev. 14:6,13; 7:9)

4. - To Die "in" Christ - (Rev. 17:6). - Not only do they die, but it is very important in what state and position they die: they die "in" Christ.
--- What is the significance of being "in" Christ? . . . the scriptures say:

-- In Christ the trib saints have redemption and forgiveness (Eph. 1:7).
-- In Christ the trib saints are "new creatures," meaning they are born again (2 Cor. 5:17).
-- In Christ the trib saints are "sealed with the Holy Spirit" (Eph. 1:13).
-- In Christ the trib saints have "all spiritual blessings" (Eph. 1:3).
-- In Christ their blessings include being part of Christ's body, the Church (Eph. 1:22,23)
-- In Christ they, "being many, are one body in Christ" (Romans 12:5), which is the Church.
-- In Christ they are part of the "same body" of Christ, which is the Church (Eph. 3:6).
-- In Christ they share "one faith, ..."one Spirit," ... and "one body," the Church (Eph. 4:4-5).

Because of what Revelation 17:6 says, it is beyond dispute that multitudes of Gentile saints are "in" Christ on earth during the tribulation. --In addition, the overwhelming teaching of the apostle Paul demonstrates that people who are "in Christ" are part of the "body of Christ," which is the Church. --Therefore, it is unavoidable, that a part of the Church must be on earth during the tribulation, and this fact deletes the main reason for needing a pre-tribulation rapture.

IF someone thinks that these tribulation believers who are "in Christ" will not be part of Christ's body, what is the adequate scriptural reason to say that this particular provision is withheld from them? ...and what other "spiritual blessings" (Eph. 1:3) in Christ are also withheld from them, and for what scriptural reason?

--Whatsmore, any Jew who is saved during the tribulation (or at the time of the 2nd Coming) must become part of the body of Christ (the Church), because being "in Christ" is the only provision God has for a person to be saved.
--- If there could be any other way, I would like someone to specifically spell out the "tribulation gospel" message to be preached during the tribulation ---including: how it is that a person will be justified, redeemed and have their sins paid for during the tribulation (if not in Christ), and how will they take part in the death, burial and resurrection from the dead (if it is not by being part of the body of Christ)? --- Please see Romans 6:1-10.


It is for such reasons that I am a "progressive dispensationalist," which means that once God's provision for salvation has progressed to the point it is at, there is no going back to the old inadequate ways of an earlier dispensation. They are gone permanently. --- Please read the book of Hebrews, chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10.

-- So, God's purposes for physical Israel will continue during the tribulation alongside God's purposes for the Church --just as they continue right now, with the Lord gathering Israel back into their land, and with the ungodly nations gathering their anger and power against Israel.

About God's Tribulation Wrath . . .

... It is true that no believer will ever be subject to God's wrath (1 Thess. 5:9), even during the tribulation. This is true because wherever God's wrath (particularly the vials of wrath) is poured out in the tribulation, it affects either non-human objects such as trees and grass (Rev. 8:7), sea-creatures (Rev. 8:9), the sun, moon and stars (Rev. 8:12), the sea and rivers turned to blood (Rev. 8:8; + 16:3,4), the river Euphrates (Rev. 16:12) ---OR, God's wrath is targeted to affect only "earth-dwellers" (8:13) (as opposed to saints), and it will target Antichrist and his evil followers (16:2,6,10), and non-believers who refuse to repent and also "blaspheme God" (16:9,11), and who gather to fight the Lord (Rev. 16:14).

--- Though non-believers will persecute tribulation saints, it should be evident that God's wrath affects only unrepentant non-believers and never God's saints.

Blessings, my friends in Christ. - Pastor Totten

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I am going to post a short rebuttal of Pastor Totten's last post.

We agree that there will be tribulation saints and therefore your post is irrelevant to the conversation. These tribulation saints however, are not the church and they are saved after the rapture. All of the verses you gave are after Rev. 4:1 which I have already demonstrated as the Rapture.

Calvary will be posting a rebuttal of wpm.

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Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.


Just a quick question to pastor Totten.

Where does it say these folks are "in" Christ? Furthermore ewvery reason you stated for a child of God being in the Time of Jacob's trouble is the same reasoning that can apply to me today as a memeber of the Body of Christ. All of the reasons that God wants me to be more like Christ are evident today in several countries around the world this moment as Christians are persecuted. Your answer is lacking in my opinion.



I will let pastorj respond to this post. My response is to wpm's post.


___________________________________________________

Our brother has asked twice for a single passage that has a rapture of the church, a 7 year tribulation period after said rapture and a Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.
Sadly we have yet to agree on the fact that there really is no such need for a single verse. I have the whole Bible. Fact is, there is no single verse that says there will be a rapture of the church which is his body at the end of a 7 year period called the tribulation, however that hasn

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Calvary

Thanks for taking the time to respond.


Our brother has asked twice for a single passage that has a rapture of the church, a 7 year tribulation period after said rapture and a Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. Sadly we have yet to agree on the fact that there really is no such need for a single verse. I have the whole Bible. Fact is, there is no single verse that says there will be a rapture of the church which is his body at the end of a 7 year period called the tribulation, however that hasn

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wpm,

I am going to keep this short also. I am commenting on the fact of the length of the Tribulation. The length of the tribulation is clearly defined by the 70th week of Daniel. Each week equalling 7 years. It is also seen in the book of Revelation as two 3 1/2 year segments.

I would like to clarify one thing that Calvary said that I don't agree with. We have given you 1 verse that shows a rapture which is followed by a 7 year tribulation and then the 2nd coming.

Rev. 4:1 - Rapture
Rev. 4:2- 19:10 - Tribulation
Rev. 19:11 - 2nd Coming

You have already stated you do not agree with this interpretation. I will never be able to make this any clearer. It is obvious that we are at an impasse on this.

As to the Post Trib. Position. We have shown that Matt. 24 is specifically written to the Jews, following the principle of Hermeneutics that we agreed on. We have shown that the Epistles were specifically written to the Church.

We have shown you clear teachings from Revelation Ch. 3. You have chosen to go against your own Hermeneutics of taking the clear common sense meaning and seeking other definitions that match up with your beliefs. Definitions that do not match up with other uses of the Word in Scripture. Again another Hermeneutical principle you violate. Instead of looking at how each word is translated, you choose to redefine words to match your predisposition of Scripture.

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Pastorj

Thanks for your reply.


I am going to keep this short also. I am commenting on the fact of the length of the Tribulation. The length of the tribulation is clearly defined by the 70th week of Daniel. Each week equalling 7 years. It is also seen in the book of Revelation as two 3 1/2 year segments.


Where is (1) the rapture, (2) your further Coming and (3) tribulation in Daniel 9? It would be helpful if you quoted and highlighted the same.


I would like to clarify one thing that Calvary said that I don't agree with. We have given you 1 verse that shows a rapture which is followed by a 7 year tribulation and then the 2nd coming.

Rev. 4:1 - Rapture
Rev. 4:2- 19:10 - Tribulation
Rev. 19:11 - 2nd Coming


We have shown you that Rev 4:1 makes no mention of the Church or a rapture. Please quote it if I am wrong. I find it difficult to understand how you can insist on that until you have proved the same. Also, the Church is not mentioned in Rev 19, so it mustn't be present. I am using Pretrib reasoning here, because of the absence of the word eclessia. I do believe that Rev 19 refers to the Church. The absence of the word eclessia means nothing as there are many names that describe the Church throughout Rev 4-19.

When we examine the time-periods embodied within Revelation 4-19 we significantly find that they add up to a period of 19 years, 4 ½ days and 3 hours.

5 months

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Look back through the discussion and you will see that I spent almost an entire post explaining the rapture in Rev. 4:1. You have "tried" to explain it away, but just because you can't see it, doesn't make it true.

As to the length of the Tribulation. Daniel is clear that the 70th week is the Week of Tribulation. Revelation matches this by splitting the Tribulation into two segments of 3 1/2 years.

The book of revelation has a pattern of taking a couple chapters of detail and then a chapter to review. I won't take the time to go through this and explain it further.

I find it interesting that your position on the length of the tribulation does not match up with typical Post-Trib positions, but rather the amil position which you were defending on the other thread.

I will close this thread with this final statement.

It is the position of this board as shown clearly in Scripture that the Rapture is to occur prior to the Tribulation. It is clear that the Post-Tribulation side will never accept the clear teachings as given. As to our agreement prior to the debate, I am closing this debate since we are at a point where we must simply agree to disagree. Bro. Matt may re-open this debate if he feels that it is necessary to do so.

We kindly thank WPM and Pastor Totten for participating, but it is obvious that we will never come to an agreement.

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First I want to say, thank you all for participation in this debate. The time has now come to give closing thoughts on the subject.

pastortotten/wpm, please post your final thoughts followed then by Calvary/PastorJ.


Thank you all for keeping this civil.

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I will have to agree. I would rather keep on in brotherly love, as I do not consider Pastor Totten an enemy of the gospel. That does not mean I esteem this topic lightly. All doctrine is important, all positions or stances need to be based upon the sole and final authority, the word of God.

The most curious item to note was wpm's time reckoning of the book of Revelation. I have never tallied the number of hours, days, months or years (or times) and I found that his conclusion betrayed his inability to see parallell passages in their true light. Now I can understand why he could come to some of the conclusions he has, not that I agree with them, I just better understand his one dimensional approach now.

For the record, the book of Revelation covers the same time period 4 times. Each time it presents different truths or emphasizes a different viewpoint that is being discussed. Much like Matthew, Luke, Mark and John all speak of the same time period, yet by no means would one conclude that there are 4 Jesus's!

The 1260 days are the 3 1/2 years and are the Time, Times and a half and the 42 months. All are speaking of the same time period, yet are giving us an emphasis the Holy Spirit would have us look at.

I am satisfied that the exegesis of pastorj on Revelation 4 was concise and in harmony with Biblical hermenuetics.
I am also confident that my comparison of the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ would suffice as a demostration to anyone that they are in fact dealing with two distinct and different events. That alone is sufficent reason to honestly say that the rapture of the church which is his body is possible before the time of God's wrath begins.

Thank you Pastor Totten, thank you wpm and thank you all at Online Baptist for your fellowship in the gospel.

And a special thanks to brother Matt who allows us all a chance to get to know one another and exchange Bible truths.

God bless,

Calvary

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