This pre-trib rapture doctrine is the most selfish and arrogant doctrine since the inquisition.

Dear Sirs:

What makes you better than Paul or Peter, Or the first Christians.
This pre-trib rapture doctrine is the most selfish and arrogant doctrine since the inquisition.
You don't believe Jesus own words MATT 24: 29-31 and my friend that is close to Antichrist.

Wake-up

My response is in Green:

Letters like yours really tend to bother me. Not because you disagree with my view, but because of the lack of love they show. You make a lot of assumptions and then tell me I am close to having the spirit of the Anti-Christ. Where is the love of Christ is that? If you truly cared about me and truly believed that I was mistaken then you should try to show me my error, but that is not what you did, you chose instead to attack me. I am sorry you felt the need to do that.

I will address your point, not because I feel I need to, but because I know there are others out there who have these questions and might like to hear both sides. Of course they won't really hear your side, since you decided not to voice it.

First let me address your accusation that I don't believe Jesus' words. You make mention of Matthew 24:29-31 so let me quote it here:

(Matthew 24:29-31 NIV) [29] "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' [30] "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. [31] And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

You have made a pretty common mistake in this passage. You are looking at it as if Jesus were speaking to us, the church. Yet if you read it in context you will see that He was speaking to Jews. That is why He says this:

(Matthew 24:15-28 NIV) [15] "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel-let the reader understand-[16] then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. [17] Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. [18] Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. [19] How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! [20] Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. [21] For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again. [22] If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. [23] At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. [24] For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. [25] See, I have told you ahead of time.
[26] "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. [27] For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [28] Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather."

Notice a couple things here. He speaks of those in Judea. He tells them to pray that this won't happen on the Sabbath. Why? What difference would it make for us if this happened on Saturday, which is the Sabbath? It wouldn't, but if you are a Jew who lives in Israel it would matter, because the businesses are closed, and that would make your journey very difficult.

Does that prove the pre-trib rapture? No of course not, but neither does it disprove it when you add the verses you used. In those verses Jesus is speaking of His Second Coming, when He comes in power and the whole world sees Him. The Elect He is speaking of are the Jews who are left alive after the Tribulation. He will send out His angels to gather them all back to their land.

Now look at this:

(Revelation 7:2-4 NIV) [2] Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: [3] "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." [4] Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

This 144,000, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel are called the witnesses. They will be the Evangelist during the Tribulation. Have you ever wondered why they were Jews? Why not Christians? Maybe, because the true believers will not be present at this time.

(Jeremiah 32:37-41 NIV) [37] I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. [38] They will be my people, and I will be their God. [39] I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. [40] I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. [41] I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.

We see in this passage that God will one day bring all the Israelites back to their land and He will make an everlasting covenant with them. This is what Jesus is speaking about. Not as you claim, bringing all the Christians out of the world.

Now look at something else that Paul said:

(2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 NIV) Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (4) He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (5) Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? (6) And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. (7) For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (8) And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

Notice that Paul says that there is One who holds back the power of the lawless one. Most everyone agrees that the One referred to here is the Holy Spirit. Where does the Holy Spirit reside? Of course in the hearts of each and every true Christian. Now the Holy Spirit has the same attributes as the other two persons of the Godhead, so He is omnipresent also. But think about what the verse is saying; He is holding back the lawless one and will do so until He is taken out of the way. Now since God (including the Holy Spirit) is omnipresent, and will remain so forever, it must mean something different than that He leaves the world. Could it mean, that the people the Holy Spirit is using to restrain the lawless one right now are the Christians in whom He dwells? If God raptured every Christian out of the world today, would not the influence of the Holy Spirit depart also and thereby the restraining of the lawless one?

I think this passage clearly teaches that the church will be raptured out of the world before the lawless one comes to power. Jesus promised us that He would ask the Father to send us a Counselor, who would be with us forever:

(John 14:15-17 NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command. (16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- (17) the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

You can count on what Jesus said, He said the Counselor (Spirit of Truth - the Holy Spirit) would be with us forever. So that means that God will not take away the Holy Spirit from His people during the tribulation, yet the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way. What other explanation can there be other than we will be taken out of the world before the start of the tribulation? This promise that Jesus made was made to the church, so it would not necessarily apply to those who accept Christ during the tribulation. In fact I tend to believe that during the tribulation God will deal with people much like He did in the old testament, not indwelling every believer at the time of conversion, but coming on them in power when needed. That is not to say that I don't believe the Holy Spirit will help these converts persevere, because I do think He will, otherwise they would not make it.

(1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 NIV) [8] The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, [9] for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, [10] and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

(1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 NIV) [9] For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. [10] He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Look carefully at these two passages. Paul is exhorting believers and tells them and us that we are not going to suffer God's wrath. What is the Tribulation? It is God's wrath poured out on an evil, sinful world. Why would we have to live through that? God saved Lot, how? By allowing him to sit in his living room and still living through the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? No, by taking him out of the area. How was Noah and his family saved? By God keeping one small portion of the land dry for Noah and his family? No, by taking him out of the flood.

Many people mistakenly claim that people like me who believe in a pre-trib rapture of the church think that Christians won't suffer. They go so far as to claim we reject Christ's words when He says that we will be persecuted and have tribulations. To claim that is what I am saying is to be ignorant of the facts in this world. There are more Christians being martyred today for their faith then in all of the history of the church up to this date. Look at China, Sudan, Rwanda, India, etc... The issue is not whether Christians will suffer for their faith, or have tribulations and persecutions, of course we will. The issue is whether we, having been saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ will have to go through the outpouring of God's wrath on this earth.

There are many godly people on both sides of this issue. Some believe, as I do, that the church will be raptured out before the tribulation and some believe that we will stay through the tribulation. As I said there are godly, Christ loving people on both sides. So to claim that teaching a pre-trib rapture is close to having the spirit of the Anti-Christ is outragious and I think lacking love.

You are welcome to disagree with my view, and I will listen to your argument if you choose to give one, but please quit attacking without bothering to understand why I believe what I do. Why is it selfish and arrogant to believe that God will spare His people from the coming wrath?

Ralph

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