by Terry James
As showed in Part I, the Christian sister makes a number of statements of misconception that are dealt with through hundreds of the thousands of articles on the RR website. This is my problem. Many criticisms of us who hold to the pre-trib rapture are issued forth by those who obviously have never mined the rich resources available to them, before making their criticisms/argumentations.
She writes that she is sure that she will be going through the tribulation, in order to stand for Christ and help God save people out of that horrendous time. She charges that she has disdain for those who twist Scripture out of context, with those (like us, I presume) using scattered and sporadic Scripture passages to make our points.
She, at the same time, provides no Scripture for any of her criticisms of the rapture “theory,” as she puts it. However, most who make this charge do so, using Scripture from Revelation that they declare shows saints in the middle of that time of tribulation. Thus, they conclude, the Church is right there, taking the brunt of Antichrist’s rage and God’s wrath.
Dispensational Discernment Required
Indeed, believers will populate that era by the millions. It will, many who study that period believe, be a time of the greatest coming to Christ in the history of man. What the writer of this letter-and others-fail to recognize, or even consider, is that God deals with man, including His children, in dispensations. There are saints of the Church Age at present, and there will be saints during the tribulation. Neither will be together in the same dispensation.
Jesus told us that He would build His church upon the gospel message the apostle Peter had just given, telling Jesus that he believed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:17-18).
Do you see that? The gates of hell -Satan-will not prevail against the church. That’s all about the Church Age saints.
The Revelation tells quite another story for God’s saints. The following Scripture is speaking, of course, about Satan’s great tyrant, Antichrist, during the tribulation era:
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7).
The church will not be “overcome” by Satan, because it won’t be here. The tribulation saints (those who accept Christ after the rapture) will be overcome to a large extent -lose their physical lives for the cause of Christ.
Myth-Making Against Rapture
Our Christian critic-friend proves that she has at least done some study, but not from God’s Word. She has read the books and literature of those who incessantly and speciously claim that we who believe in the pre-trib rapture have learned our “false” doctrine from a 19th-century witch, who somehow influenced John Darby to later perpetrate the hated rapture theory.
The most ludicrous of the criticisms is that we base our view that there will be a rapture upon Margaret MacDonald’s vision in the 1800s. It makes me almost nauseous to have to even address this -for the thousandth time, when, if the critics would just read what is already written on the subject on the site, it should quell their proclivity to make such ridiculous claims. But, I will briefly answer again, those who are so intellectually and spiritually lazy.
The rapture, the “catching up” (harpazo) was revealed by Paul the apostle. It is a mystery he gave us through Holy Spirit inspiration, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18. The rapture was not the concoction of John Darby, who picked up this teaching, and gave it improved order of presentation centuries after the doctrine was believed and taught by the early church fathers (first two centuries AD).
The rapture isn’t built on one or two verses, but on the entire body of Scripture. When viewed in totality, and in context, the doctrine flows with prophetic signals we observe occurring in the world today-i.e., the world isn’t getting better and better as the “kingdom-now” people believe (that the Church will make the world better until Christ can return to set up His throne). The pre-trib rapture view puts forward that the world will grow worse and worse. The church will be removed from earth, then God’s judgment will begin to fall on rebellious earth-dwellers.
Which do we see happening today? The world getting better and better -or- are things looking worse and worse for Planet Earth? Read the daily headlines, or watch the hourly news, and you will have your answer.
Two Phases of Second Coming
Again, Paul shows us the mystery -i.e., he reveals the mystery of the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55. The mystery he is expanding upon is the wonderful promise Jesus made as shown in John 14: 1-3. Jesus is coming for us -before God’s wrath must fall.
A foreshadowing of that principle is seen in Genesis, chapter 19, when God said that He could do nothing in the way of sending judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot was first removed. Lot represented the only righteousness God recognized. It was Lot `s faith -as puny as it was- that kept him and the other few believers of his family from the time of God’s wrath-again, Revelation 3:10.
Our critic asks how all eyes can see Christ return, if He comes secretly in some rapture. She declares she just doesn’t believe anyone is going to be raptured away, and she states Christ will be coming down to earth, not Christians going up to Him. Again, she, and those who fill her head with anti-rapture rhetoric fail to, or willfully refuse to, see God’s dispensations in dealing with man. In the case of the return of Christ, Scripture makes it clear there are two separate returns. These are at least seven years apart, one from the other.
Jesus will return at some unknown time in the rapture. Jesus, himself, likens that coming to a thief-in-the-night experience for those on earth. They won’t know what has happened, and certainly won’t see Christ. Paul says it is a moment in time when all believers (the Church) will meet Jesus in the air:
“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” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Jesus will come the second time, following at least seven earth years, at the close of the tribulation era, known also as “Daniel’s seventieth week.” This time He will come all the way to the planet, and every eye will behold Him. There will be absolutely no doubt about this re-entry and landing:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:11-15).
Scriptural Proof Required
As stated before, each of these things intended to deny the validity and credence of pre-trib rapture are dealt with at great length, and in tremendous depth throughout the RR website. All opposing views are carefully dissected, and with Scripture given at every point along the way in addressing any and every question. But, it DOES take determined research to seek out truth found in the articles -truth that is God’s Word, not merely ours.
And, here is the main crux of this dear lady’s problem in not discerning truth about Christ’s coming for the Church -for her. She presents not one Scripture to back up any of her assertions, declarations, or suppositions/postulations. She simply parrots things critical of the rapture doctrine she has read or heard from those who mock, without anything of spiritual substance to back her/their criticisms.
My intention is not to pick on her. I want only to used her method of criticism -a method used in almost every instance by those who listen to the anti-rapture crowd- as an example to show there is no foundation to her/their argument/denial that the rapture is a doctrine taught in God’s Word. This is our answer to such critics. Study the Word of God. Make your criticisms from His Word -as the dear woman says-not from just a Scripture here or there, but from the whole context of the matter, whatever the matter happens to be.
I have studied most all of the positions and variations thereof involved in these arguments for decades -which gives away my age, I guess. The pre-trib view of prophecy yet future is absolutely the only one that makes sense in the totality of scriptural context, and in terms of what we see unfolding today in things of geopolitics, global socio-economics, and religion.
Salvation – Rapture Inseparable
The Rapture is an issue incontrovertibly linked to salvation -something Jesus did on the cross, which puts us in God’s family when we truly believe. That faith keeps us from the time of God’s wrath -both in the coming tribulation, and in eternity. Wrath and judgment must fall upon rebellious mankind, because of sin. Jesus paid the price for that sin. He said on the cross “It is finished.” Sin was forever paid for at that moment, for those who would accept his sacrifice -the only sacrifice that God will accept -the precious blood of His Blessed Son.
We are told we as Christians, while in the flesh, will have tribulations (troubles). Certainly Christians have had troubles down through the years. Persecutions-genocide, martyrdom, etc. These horrors are still happening in some places around the world. But, this was not, and is not, God’s wrath and judgment, but was, and is, satanic rage against God’s people. The tribulation will include satanic rage, but it will be within the horrific storm of God’s wrath and judgment.
Christians (those who have been -as our critic says- saved following the rapture- will certainly suffer satanic rage, but not God’s wrath. Many will be martyred, as in the times of the early persecutions -like Christians are being martyred in some nations today. But, we are told that we (Paul denotes the difference between Christians of the Church Age and those who aren’t in God’s family by the use of pronouns) we aren’t appointed to wrath, but to salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told by Paul to “comfort one another with these words”-not look to fear, but to comfort (read 1 Thess. 4:18, and 5:9-11). We will be kept out of “the time of testing (the apocalypse or tribulation), John was told by Jesus (Rev. 3:10).
Rapture Ready or Not…
Now, you might not agree, and that’s fine. If you know Christ you are going instantly to Him anyway, when Jesus says “Come up hither,” as He did to John in Revelation 4:1-2. You will have no other choice, if you are in God’s family. But, please don’t ever think -or claim-that there is only scattered verses here and there, or that there is no tremendously deep body of Scriptural evidence and proofs beneath the truth of the pre-trib rapture.
Again, you can disagree, but, please don’t accuse us of not knowing about the other views, and, don’t just blindly accept what opponents falsely say when they lie, proclaiming that we just believe in something a 19th-century Englishman said, or that we follow some woman who dabbled in the occult. That isn’t true, and you should look more deeply into the evidence upon which we base these understandings, than just to take the word of those who make such shallow and deceptive accusations.
Put this Scripture in a place you can memorize it -and make it your model truth for avoiding the pitfalls of intellectual and scriptural laziness:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Part 1 can be found here: