The Timing of the Rapture
Part One - The 3 Pre-Psalm 83 Rapture views
By Bill Salus
Like Harold Camping found out the hard way on May 22, 2011, the bible doesn't predict the specific timing of the Rapture. Mr. Camping, the widely listened to broadcaster, president, and general manager of "Family Radio," had previously predicted the Christian disappearance would occur the day prior on May 21, 2011. However, when he and his followers woke up in their same beds the next morning, they all realized that his prediction was dead wrong.
The five primary views about the timing of the Rapture are: Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, Pan-Trib, Post-Trib, and Pre-Wrath. Mid-Trib and Post-Trib views are self-explanatory. A Mid-Tribber believes the rapture occurs in the middle of the Tribulation period (trib-period). Post-Tribbers believe the Rapture occurs after the trib-period has concluded. The Pan-Tribber is not dogmatic about any view but believes it all pans out in the end.
I'm a Pre-Tribber, which means I don't eat Post-Toasties, buy green bananas, or drive in convertible cars unless the top is down. I believe the Rapture could occur at any moment between now and the commencement of the trib-period.
The Pre-Wrather tends to favor the timing of the Mid-Trib view, because they believe the wrath Christians are promised to escape begins about midway through the trib-period. They connect the wrathful events contained in the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12-17 to the relevant wrath Christians avoid via the means of the Rapture. Because Pre-Wrathers tend to teach all the Seal Judgments occur within the trib-period, they caution that the Rapture could occur at the Mid-Trib point.
As I demonstrate in my upcoming book series, Revelation Road, Apocalypse Road, and Tribulation Road, the Pre-Wrather is a Pre-Tribber for the most part because it appears at least the first five of the seven Seal Judgments occur before the trib-period even commences.*
I am often asked whether the Rapture could occur before Psalm 83, or Ezekiel 38 find fulfillment. Absolutely! It could occur before, during, or after either event. This is possible because, like the Rapture, these events appear to conclude before the trib-period commences. To discover why I order Psalm 83 before Ezekiel 38, read the article entitled, "Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38, Which is the Next Mideast News Headline."
The above article lists a flurry of reasons that Psalm 83 appears to precede Ezekiel 38. Since Ezekiel 38 appears to be a pre-trib event, Psalm 83 should certainly be also. A few reasons illustrating why Ezekiel 38 is probably a pre-trib event are included in part two of this article series.
Operating under the reasonable presumption that all three events, the Rapture, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38, occur prior to the trib-period, below are some views regarding a Pre-Psalm 83 Rapture.
The Pre-Psalm 83 Rapture
Explained below are three differing perspectives addressing the timing of Psalm 83 in relationship to the Rapture. They are, "Psalm 83 is now imminent,""The Church could be part of Psalm 83," and "Israel, not the Church, is called "my people" when Psalm 83 occurs.
Psalm 83 is now imminent – Some suggest Mideast signs of the times signal that Psalm 83 has become an imminent event. They don't see any further preconditions prohibiting its modern day fulfillment. For instance, the Psalm calls for the destruction of Israel so that "the name of Israel may be remembered no more." In order for the Jewish State to be destroyed, and the name of Israel banished forever, the nation had to first exist. On May 14, 1948 Israel regained its nationhood fulfilling that precondition.
The Psalm also predicts that an Arab confederacy or league forms in order to destroy Israel. In Cairo, Egypt on March 22, 1945 the Arab League was formed. Presently it comprises 22-members, and includes the prominent members of Psalm 83, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Palestinian Authority, Iraq, and Lebanon. Originally it was established to unite the newly forming Arab States by developing their fledgling economies, resolving their regional disputes, and coordinating their collective political aims.
At the time there was no Palestinian Refugee crisis competing for the league's agenda or resources. However as a result of the Arab – Israeli conflict, some suggest the Arab League has become pre-occupied with the plight of the Palestinians. The Palestinian Refugee crisis appears to be what motivates the prominent members of the league to confederate militarily against Israel according to Psalm 83.
The first member listed in the confederacy is the "tents of Edom," which in large part, appears to identify today's Palestinian Authority. Thus it can be presumed that this League, which vehemently opposes Israel's existence, is also in place. Apart from fragile peace-pacts Israel has with Egypt and Jordan, the entire region is extremely volatile and war could break out between the Arabs and the Jews at any time.
Because the Psalm 83 Arab – Israeli war could occur without further preconditions, and the Church still occupies the earth, advocates of this argument believe the Church could experience the fulfillment of Psalm 83. Although this is entirely possible, this assumption is primarily based upon logic and newspaper exegesis rather than scripture.
The Church could be part of Psalm 83 –Another reason some think the Rapture can't occur until after Psalm 83, is because they believe the Church is identified within Psalm 83. Subscribers to this reasoning point to Psalm 83:3 as their evidence.
"They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones." (Psalm 83, KJV)
They identify "thy hidden ones" as the Church. To better understand their arguments and why I disagree with this possibility, read the articles called, "Is the Church Identified in Psalm 83," and "The Treasured ones of Psalm 83." Interestingly, this camp is split on whether or not the Rapture is a Pre or Post Psalm 83 event. Some suggest the church goes through Psalm 83, but are "hidden" or isolated from the event somehow. Whereas others believe the Church is previously Raptured and therefore "hidden" in heaven from the earthly events of Psalm 83. As pointed out in the two articles linked above, I believe the "hidden ones" probably represent the faithful remnant inside national Israel.
Israel, not the Church, is called my people when Psalm 83 occurs – This argument is primarily based upon the description of Israel in Ezekiel 25:14, and secondarily supported by Obadiah 1:18. These passages seem to illustrate that the I.D.F. becomes the instrument used by the Lord to defeat the Psalm 83 confederacy. Ezekiel 25:14 identifies the Jews as "my People Israel," during Psalm 83.
This chosen people classification suggests that Israel has been reinstated as God's client nation by the time Psalm 83 occurs. If this is the case, then the whereabouts of the Church legitimately comes into question. Presently, believers in Jesus are considered to be God's chosen people. If the Church is still present on the earth during Psalm 83, why is God calling the Jews "my People Israel?" This theme is developed thoroughly in the chapter called "My People Israel" in my book Isralestine, The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East.
I will lay My vengeance on Edom (the tents of Edom in Psalm 83) by the hand of My people Israel, (the I.D.F.) that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance," says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 25:14, NKJV; emphasis added.)
Obadiah's secondary passage below correlates with Ezekiel's passage and pictures the houses of Jacob and Joseph as today's I.D.F. (my People Israel.)
The house of Jacob (I.D.F.) shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph (I.D.F.) a flame; But the house of Esau (tents of Edom) shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau," For the LORD has spoken. (Obadiah 1:18, NKJV; emphasis added.)
The startling comment made by Obadiah is that "no survivor" remains in Esau's posterity. The I.D.F. destroys them! Today's Palestinians have a remnant of Esau's Edomite descendents inside their ranks. Not all Palestinians are Edomites, but as pointed out in the "Whodomite" chapter inside Isralestine, Obadiah appears to be alluding in large part to today's Palestinians.
Connecting passages in Jeremiah read,
But I have made Esau bare; I have uncovered his secret places, And he shall not be able to hide himself. His (Palestinian) descendants are plundered, His brethren and his (Psalm 83 Arab) neighbors, And he (Esau's posterity) is no more. Leave your fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; And let your widows trust in Me." (Jeremiah 49:10-11, NKJV; emphasis added)
In the end analysis, it doesn't appear that any of these arguments provide conclusive evidence that the Church experiences a Pre-Psalm 83 Rapture. The important thing for Christians to grasp is that if we are here to experience the Arab-Israeli war of Psalm 83, it becomes our fantastic witnessing tool. Unbelievers can be directed to the content of Psalm 83 and align it up to the Arab-Israeli war it describes. By then they will have witnessed the fulfillment of the prophecy and should appreciate the fact that the bible predicted it accurately over 3000-years prior.