I currently lean toward a belief in a "pre-wrath" gathering of Christ's bride (the Church). There are several reasons for this belief...and I approach it only after much study (with prayer, of course). However, this inclination is by no means final. I am certainly aware that the coming of the Lord might happen after the period of "great tribulation" in which God's wrath is poured out upon the entire Earth. Tribulation has always been around -- but there is a huge difference between the unspeakable torture experienced by believers through the ages (as illustrated in Hebrews 11:35-40) and the wrath of God that will be poured down upon the entire Earth (killing and destroying entire portions in an instant).
I just believe that "God hath not appointed us to wrath" (I Thessalonians 5:9). I believe that He can certainly keep us FROM the "hour of temptation, that will come upon all the world, to try them that live upon the Earth" (Revelation 3:10). This is illustrated via anecdotes throughout the Bible. God spared his people often by removing them from (or protecting them through) the dispersion of His wrath. Noah and his family were rescued from God's wrath, angels helped Lot escape God's judgment of fire and brimstone upon Sodom, and the Israelites escaped the plagues God poured out upon the Egyptians. In fact, I can't find a single instance in Scripture in which an undeniably righteous person received the wrath of God. While every believer in the pages of God's Word endured periods of earthly (and even satanic) tribulation, there seems to be a vast distinction between God's wrath and mere tribulation or persecution.
I've always viewed the coming of the Lord to be much like the traditional wedding customs of the people of God. After the betrothal, the groom departs to "prepare a place" for his bride. The bride waits for her groom -- where she must remain prepared for his arrival at all times. Once the groom's father approves of that place, he permits the groom to go and gather his bride. This is reflective of the Parable of the Virgins in Matthew chapter 25 (uttered by the Christ within the same context as Matthew chapter 24).
The Scriptures tell us many things about the coming of the Lord. In some passages, we seemingly read about the days preceding His coming as being like "the days of Noah." Why? It wasn't because all of the people were destroying one another in violent, terrifying ways. Rather, Jesus said in Matthew 24:36-44 that the people were marrying, divorcing, eating and drinking -- all until the day of the flood (God's wrath).
The Word of God says that only the Father knows the day or hour of the Son's coming (Matthew 24:36). I also find it interesting that the "Great Tribulation" (I prefer to call it the time of "God's Wrath") is generally accepted as 7 years (although some argue for a 3 1/2 period). If the Son of God -- who knows all things -- can count the days of this "hour of trial" as spelled out in the Word of God as He sees it from Heaven, doesn't it seem odd that Christ would not know the timing of His arrival?
Anyway, I don't pretend to have all of the answers for these things. This is merely a perspective that I hold. I am acutely aware that the Lord could come before, during or after the time of His wrath. However, I do have a problem with rebukes and warnings from the brethren who almost "fear for my soul" (as one brother put it) simply because I lean toward a gathering by the Son before God pours His wrath upon the Earth. When it all comes down to it, I think that the important thing is that we remain close to Jesus. We can be aware of the various interpretations about the timing and manner in which the Lord will come. We should be prepared for ANYTHING -- including the most terrible tribulation imaginable. As long as we truly know and fellowship with Christ Jesus, we should be secure.
I know that some people argue that those who believe in a "pre-trib rapture" could fall prey to the deception of the Anti-Christ. But if we truly know and walk with the Lord, wouldn't it be easy to spot a counterfeit? The argument goes that those who are waiting for the "rapture" during the "great tribulation" might be prone to believe the lies of the Anti-Christ simply because they are still waiting around for a "rapture." Since the "rapture" hasn't happened yet, these believers might think that they are okay. However, the same argument about the dangers of believing in a "rapture" that may never happen could be said of those who don't believe in a "rapture" that does. What if a "rapture" (or "gathering") does happen? Those who are "left" might be those who were assuming that they would "get right" when things got bad. I've actually spoken with a backslider who uses such rationale. He argues that he will rededicate his life to Christ once he sees evidence of the "great tribulation."
I like Keith Green's take on the "rapture" (pray for "pre" but prepare for "post"). I also like David Wilkerson's idea in "pan-trib" (everything will "pan" out in the end). I just don't like it when believers on either side of the end-times aisle begin to point the finger of heresy at those with whom they simply have a doctrinal disagreement. I have had people point their fingers at me and tell me that I believe a lie" simply because I can't say that I believe in a "post-trib rapture." And, of course, there are quite a few "visionaries" who receive supernatural visions, dreams and prophecies of a mandate that we shall live through the period of God's wrath. I suppose that it is hard to argue against someone who receives such "indisputable" evidence from God (*cough cough).
In the end, I think that we should be aware of all of the possible scenarios regarding the Lord's return. We should refrain from casting judgment upon those who might not see "eye to eye" with where we might currently lean. And it may be advisable to NOT come to a final or ultimate conclusion about a matter that is certainly open to further analysis or debate. Until we are certain -- beyond any hint of doubt -- it might be helpful to remain open to further review. Meanwhile, we should keep our eyes upon Jesus. We should focus upon intimate prayer, worship, service and a love for God's Word. One day, this mystery will be revealed (ready or not). We should remain ready for the Lord's return -- no matter how or when it will happen.
| 2008/7/31 0:33||Profile|
| Re: Post-Trib Rapture|
I believe in post-trib rapture.
Endtimepilgrim.org has some very good articles on all these. (there's some mistakes but overall the articles there are very good).
| 2008/7/31 5:29||Profile|
If the church is taken, who will be left provoke Israel unto jealousy as Paul describes in Romans 11?
| 2008/7/31 7:12||Profile|
| Re: Post-Trib Rapture|
Reply to Mattie
Mattie you said (but not a topic to divide over) I respectfully believe this topic can only be understood by rightly dividing The Word of God.
God sent His Son to take Gods harlot bride off the auction block and to purchase Her with His blood on the cross and raise Her and all of them and Her children that had been dead until His coming. All those that were children of Abraham according to the flesh that were alive at the coming of Christ passed through the great tribulation and have gone. The law and the prophets were until John The Baptist.
Since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it. The Bread Of Live lives in us that are the spiritual children of Abraham. He will never leave me nor forsake me, thus, the filling of the promised blessing God promised to the world of faith through our faith in His Son..
Jesus along has The Words of Life that gives life eternal, not life after the Messiah the Anointed One comes or after the judgment, but eternal life today. Not life that the manna from heaven gave. Not the show bread, but The Daily Bread, The Anointed One, The Savior of all that believe by faith, not just The Liberator of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.
God judged the world, we are all gentiles, guilty until we accept our Savior. I live by the words of our Savior to the gentile nations, we that have been judged to be sinners, not Saints..
| 2008/7/31 7:52||Profile|
I agree with the brother who mentioned Romans 11. The church has a calling to Israel. This is a big part of the very purpose of the church's existence and the sovereign purposes of God.
The pre-trib theory negates the fact that it is the Gentile nations that will provoke the Jewish people to their Messiah, and much of that will occur during "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30) and the great tribulation.
Also, when Daniel spoke of the coming Antichrist system, he didn't use language that talks of saints leaving the earth during this time. The language he uses tends to be more in the direction of remaining and enduring the persecutions to come for the glory of God.
| 2008/7/31 8:58||Profile|
I can't say for certain that this particular passage found in Romans 11:11 is referring to a jealousy that will be aroused DURING the time of trial that will come upon the entire world. In fact, verses 7-10 of this same chapter refers to a set of passages from Deuteronomy, Isaiah and Psalms. This could be speaking of a jealousy that already exists -- and existed from the first days in which Gentile believers were "engrafted into the vine" (Romans 11:11-24). In fact, this entire chapter doesn't seem to reference an event-prophetic view until verse 25.
Quote: If the Bride of Christ is gathered away before God pours down His wrath, who will be left provoke Israel unto jealousy as Paul describes in Romans 11:11? If this passage referred to in verse 11 does describe the events during the time of God's wrath, is it possible that it could refer to other Gentile believers who are saved during that time?
If the church is taken, who will be left provoke Israel unto jealousy as Paul describes in Romans 11?
Is it possible that this could refer to those who believe DURING the period of God's wrath? There will certainly be multitudes of people -- mostly Gentile -- who will come to the Lord during that terrible time. Is it possible that the "fullness of Gentiles" will not take place until during the time of God's wrath? Could it be this that provokes Israel unto jealousy?
Anyway, this is just something to consider. Like I said, I certainly don't have all of the answers in this matter. In fact, I can't speak with any certainty regarding the exact nature, manner and timing of Christ's return. However, I also shy away from those who claim that they have "rightly divided the Word of Truth" in such matters as these. I have been rejected as a believer at times simply because I did not adhere to a particular doctrinal view (at least, with enough certainty to say "I believe") regarding certain matters (with even some matters that are almost trivial).
I hesitate to believe that there is a person alive who has "rightly divided" the Word of God well enough for which there are no mysteries left. That is one reason that there are so many differences amongst the brethren. Once we are convinced and think that we are right, we set our views as rulers and primers by which to judge the beliefs of others regarding such matters (forgetting the grace by which we were afforded before we arrived to some of our conclusions). Some people can be so adamant that their "rightly dividing" is the only acceptable "rightly dividing" that they are willing to separate themselves and create their own local congregations based upon their own faith in their own "rightly dividing." It makes me wonder just how "rightly" they are "dividing." This is done in views about the "rapture," the gifts of the Spirit, and any number of other things by which men create denominations.
Of course, I know that most of the brethren here at SermonIndex are NOT like that. It always amazes me that this web fellowship attracts believers from many nations, regions and doctrinal backgrounds. I suppose that we are united in the sense that we all realize that something is greatly amiss in the organized "Church." Our hearts are incited by the words of men like Leonard Ravenhill, Paris Reidhead, and others. They spur us toward a closer relationship and reverence for the Lord while challenging us to test everything that we may have held as "truth" for so long.
How will the Lord return? Will it happen before, during or after the "hour of trial" that will come upon the entire Earth? I just don't know. That is so secondary compared with my task at hand: Know Christ and introduce Him to others. I'm just excited that Christ is coming -- regardless if this happens before that hour of wrath or after it. I don't care what type of tribulation or persecution that I will face. I don't care if it happens at the hands of men or from the wrath of God. I just long to see His face.
| 2008/7/31 11:57||Profile|
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 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: 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.
The scripture says here that the believers (living and the dead in Christ will rise) will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.
It says and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Has anyone found out concerning the meeting in the air? How far above the earth will the meeting be? How long will we be in the air? What timeline have you figured this to be? What will we be doing in the air?
Just a few questions someone may have studied and could be of interest to this thread.
| 2008/7/31 14:17||Profile|
| Re: Post-Trib Rapture|
Zac Poonen has recorded the best Revelation series I have ever heard. I listen to it every day, and never fail to glean something. [ I don't agree 100%...but maybe 95%..] It is brilliant, and addresses this very issue. I always noticed that the unbelievers cried; "hide us from the face of the Lamb,,,that sits upon the throne!"[paraphrase from memory.]
The coming of the lord is instant for the believer, but there is a time that lapses for the unbeliever. Time enough for them to hide...in terror...at least, until the dreaded end. Wow. They would rather commit suicide than face Him...but wait they must. Where is their pride now? Poonen proposes that this is the time of wrath, when the Lord Jesus treads upon the Earth destroying the wicked, as Captain of the Lord of Armies.
There is a justice to this terror that must come upon the rebels. The Lord Jesus could collapse the Universe, or gather them all in a moment...but because they caused so much destruction on Earth, He feeds them the same; right here upon the Earth.
Also, Poonen points out that the saints who feared and honor God are not appointed to Wrath, but salvation. Lot was removed before Sodom burned, as was Noah before the Earth was flooded. This occurs after the return of Jesus, but before the marriage supper of the Lamb.
For 37 years, I believed in a Post tribulation Parousia [rapture], yet something did not quite settle with me; and it was this issue. I now see how these time line issues are resolved. There is a period of time when Wrath is poured out. No one could survive this...a time of inestimable devastation. Oceans dead , filled with real blood...rivers and streams the same..men drinking blood to quench their thirst....nothing left that is green...An earthquake that levels every mountain...the Himalayas flattened, and the Hawaii's disappear into the sea foam along with all Islands......every city destroyed with 100 lb. hailstones...real odd and mean demon spirits morphed into tangible wasp like creatures that sting with pain as was never felt.
Would God allow his beloved and spotless bride to be so tortured? It is preposterous to think so. This view makes sense, and I am 95% convinced. One more exquisite point that Poonen declares. Revelation is given for obedience' sake; not curiosity or speculation to be right.
| 2008/7/31 15:05|
| 2008/7/31 15:35||Profile|
| 2008/8/1 0:01||Profile|