*BEST OF DTB #3* Will there be a pre-tribulation rapture?

Posted by John Benko - May 30th, 2009

No. There most certainly will not be. I believed in this doctrine about 20 years ago but have seen the evidence to the contrary. I decided, until recently to keep an open mind and read and listen to the arguments supporting this doctrine. All the arguments that I have seen supporting this doctrine are half-baked suppositions that do not hold any water.

In short, to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, you must ignore large parts of the very scriptures you use to support it! You must also ignore Church history and reason and the very nature of God and prophecy.

First, let’s talk about what the Rapture is.

The word Rapture comes from the Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible’s use of the word Rapiemur, meaning to be ‘caught up’. This citation is in 1 Thessalonians.

deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus

Isn’t it ironic that they quote from the Latin Vulgate, yet reject the Douai Rheems which is the only version that is a direct, word for word, translation from the Vulgate? One of the premiere Rapture sites calls the error riddled King James version the “King of Bible translations”- a laughable assertion, to be sure. This sets up a dilemma. Either the Vulgate and Douai are reliable and the KJV is not or the Vulgate and Douai are not reliable and, therefore, the Rapture is not. That is the box you put yourself in if you use the Latin Vulgate to support the Pre-trib Rapture notion. (For proponents of the KJV expressly reject the Vulgate and Douai versions. ) Of course, the Vulgate supports no such notion as a pre-trib (or even mid-trib) rapture, so I am trapped in no such box.
Not all proponents of the rapture doctrine support the pre-trib position. Some insist that the rapture will occur at the middle of the tribulation period while some claim that it will occur after the tribulation.
The problem with all 3 notions is they pre-suppose a pre-millennial view. That is, they pre-suppose that the ”calling up” of the believers will be followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth. We need to dispose of this notion first.
Scripture is very clear that the second coming of Christ will be followed by the destruction of the world.

2 Peter 10 But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up.

For Pre-millenialists, this separates the rapture from the second coming by between 1000-1007 years depending upon your position. This one fact blows the whole Pre-Millenialist view sky high. For pre-mils are unanimous in their interpretation of Matthew 23:36 and 24:34. “All these things”, they insist, include the second coming of Christ.

It is not hyperbolic to say that Peter blows this contention away, especially for the pre-tribs.

You simply cannot fit the pieces together of a pre-trib rapture. Look at the diagram below. It compares the pre-trib notion of events, with what will actually occur/has occurred.

To illustate this, let’s take the position of famed dispensationalist Hal Lindsey. Lindsey says



”Jesus promised us that the generation that witnessed the restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland would not pass until ‘all these things’ — including his return to Earth — would be done. The Jewish people declared the rebirth of their nation in 1948. They recaptured Jerusalem in 1967. A Biblical generation is somewhere between 40 and 100 years, depending on whether you take the example from Abraham’s day or from the discipline of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai. In either case, you do the arithmetic, folks. No matter how you cut it, there’s not much time left.”

{Planet Earth — 2000 A.D.: Will Mankind Survive?, introduction}

By “His return to earth”, Lindsey refers to the Second Coming. If Lindsey is correct, the Rapture and second coming, if they are separate events, must occur within the roughly 100 years following the 1948 reestablishment of Israel as a nation. Since he is a pre-trib, pre-millenialist, the second coming can be no later than about 2048. Subtracting 7 years for the tribulation, would take us to a pre-trib rapture no later than 2041, when those born when Israel was reestablished, would be 93 years old. At that point, according to the pre-millennial view, Jesus will reign on earth, from Jerusalem, for a thousand years.

This theology runs 180 degrees counter to scripture.

First, as the scripture from Peter indicates, the Second coming will not be followed by an earthly reign of Christ on earth. This dispensationalist view is also shared by cults like the Jehovah Witnesses.

The Bible is crystal clear that the second coming will be followed by the end of the world.

Matthew 13

39 And the enemy that sowed them, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels.3

Matthew 13 40 Even as cockle therefore is gathered up, and burnt with fire: so shall it be at the end of the world

Matthew 13
49 So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just.

Matthew 24

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. 31 And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. 32 And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. 33 So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors. 34 Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.

So, the doctrine of a millennial reign on earth after the second coming is utter nonsense. In the same way that the doctrine of a pre-millennium rapture is untenable, so too is the notion of a pre-tribulation rapture.

The scriptures are again, crystal clear;


Matthew 24:29 * “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24:30 And then the sign of the Son of Man * will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

This is where the real trap lies for pre-trib, pre-millenialists, who say that these verses refer to the second coming but not to the rapture. For the verses that follow are verses that they use to support the rapture!


24:39 They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man.24:40 * Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.24:41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.24:42 * Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

This pattern is true for every Biblical citation used to try and support this errant doctrine. Every time a citation is provided, the refutation is found exactly in the very chapter provided!
Take 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. Pre-trib Rapture buffs provide the following text that they insist proves a secret, pre-trib rapture;

4:16 For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven,and the dead in Christ will rise first.4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together * with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.4:18 therefore, console one another with these words.

Reading this at face value, one could be deceived into believing their doctrine. Until one reads the verse that immediatly precedes it;

4:15 Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, * will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.

This line refutes a pre-trib rapture explicitly! For the Bible is CRYSTAL clear that the dead in Christ will not be raised until the last day!

JN 6:39 And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it (on) the last day.

JN 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day.”
JN 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.
JN 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
JN 11:24 Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”

The Church has always maintained that the last days will follow a specific series of events. First, the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. This happens first, not last and it happens while the Apostles are still alive!

Mark 9:1 He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.”

After the reign of the Church on earth comes the great apostasy. This can only be interpreted as the Protestant Reformation. The seeds sown by this revolt have indeed borne the fruit of disunity and unbelief worldwide. Out of this will rise the grand deception that leads to anti-christ. Even now, large swaths of protestantism and the cults eagerly embrace the very seat of the coming anti-christ!

Next, comes the great chastisement which many will, mistakenly, interpret to be the great tribulation. They are two different periods, though both grievous.

First comes a great apostasy and then comes a short time of grace followed-then- by the Tribulation and, then, the second coming.

The proof of the time of Grace is in the gospels in many places. Here is but one;

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the
world
as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.

Can anyone seriously argue that the gospel is preached everywhere in the world today? No. Therefore, since we can say the second coming- or even the tribulation are close- they are not imminent.

Without an outpouring of Grace, the church has no chance of surviving the Tribulation. Just as the anti-christ will be the full pouring out of satan’s demonic malevolence, so will those who boldly stand up to him be able to do so by an extraordinary outpouring of God’s grace.

Unfortunately, protestants and especially dispensationalists have opened themselves up to the very deception that makes the rise of anti-christ possible. Dispensationalists have a fanatical devotion to contemporary Israel. This devotion is not Biblical. In fact, it is anti-Biblical.

This miscalculation has caused many of them to see Scripture upside down.

Many see the anti-christ coming out of a one world order, led by the Catholic Church while Christ’s kingdom is set up in Jerusalem. The fact is that just the reverse is true. The anti-christ will come out of contemporary Judaism. Every single church father from the time of the apostles forward agrees on this unanimously. Anti-christ comes from the apostate jews who are sworn enemies of Christ.

It is just astounding to me that dispensationalists are duped by this. The very same Pharisaic system that reviled, persecuted and killed Christ is adored by Dispensationalists even as the Bible calls them the anti-Christs!

1JN 2:22 Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.

2JN 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.

Isn’t it interesting that John says those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh are anti-christ. Yet, dispensationalists, in their rabid hatred of catholics, will apply the ”anti-christ” label to those who affirm Christ’s humanity and divinity, the Resurrection, the Incarnation and the Trinity?
They are the perfect marriage for anti-christ. For, just as the Jews denied the Messiah as being present in the Flesh, the Dispensationalists deny Him as present in the Church. Therefore, both are perfectly positioned for the great deception. This is why every Catholic has a responsibility to lead all he can to the true church. Those looking for a Rapture are going to be very sullen and depressed and frightened when it doesn’t happen. They will feel that God has abandoned them. It will be up to Catholics to bring them back into the fold and help them find their faith and hope.
Many will perish in the chastisement as the rightful wrath of God is unleashed. A Holy Pope and a Holy Monarch will be raised to lead the Church back to God. There is scarcely a church father or seer in the first 800 years of Christianity that disputes this chain of events.
I believe the Chastisement will begin in my life (if it hasn’t already). I doubt I will see the coming age of grace. I am certain I won’t see Christ return, nor will my children. I do think it is possible my grand children could in their very late years. My great- Grand Children just may. Then again, maybe not.
Anyone sitting around waiting for a Rapture today is wasting their time. It just isn’t going to happen.