“Come and See”
By Pete Garcia
Clearly, the idea of the Rapture can be considered the most preposterous belief in Biblical Christianity. The situation regarding the doctrine of the Rapture is painfully similar to the famous quote by Dr. Richard Feynman, speaking of quantum physics:
“I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics… in fact, it is often stated of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct.” ~Dr. Chuck Missler
Although Facebook and the internet have been useful tools in the spreading of the Gospel, they have become as of late, an increasingly hostile place for the Pre-Tribulation Christian. I wonder why so many who claim to be Christian (presumably loving Christ), have such hostility towards the idea that Christ will one day return for His Bride before the coming seven year period known as ‘The Day of the Lord’.
Some of the visceral comments you will find, come not from the atheist or the Christian skeptic crowd, but come from other Christians. Most unbelievers equate God to the ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ and reserve sarcasm for all eschatological views fairly equally. But it’s the ‘christian’, particularly those of the Reformed/Covenantal/Hebrew Roots/Amillennial/Preterist/Pre-Wrath/Post-Trib crowd who really, really hate the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Even more hated still, is the Dispensationalist…Gasp!
As one who has often been at the receiving end of the blistering criticism, I am very cognizant of the fact, that most other eschatological views are at least tolerant of each other, yet remain united in their resolute intolerance towards the Pre-Trib view…, which is telling. God does not give us complex, unknowable doctrine. (Eph. 3:3-5; Col. 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:7) God does not ‘muddy the waters’, but rather makes them clear. God does not give us confusing doctrine. (1 Cor. 14:33) He even gave us the Holy Spirit to make these things understandable for those who are in Christ. (John 16:12-15)
But Satan is still running this blue rock, (Luke 4:5; 1 John 5:19) and it means that the one view that has the most animosity towards it, receives the most derision, from the most diverse group of “believers” out there, can only mean that it is the one most under attack by our enemy for a reason.
So in order to prove why I know the Pre-Trib view, is the correct view…I drafted up a list of questions that other eschatological persuasions should attempt to answer to prove their side true. Now, I’m not offering a thousand dollars, this is simply for those who want to see if their view can withstand some simple reasoning.
1. If the Rapture is at the same time as the Second Coming, why would the Thessalonians mourn those who had already died, seeing as Jesus Himself warned, that the coming Tribulation, would be the worst time in mankind’s history? (Matt. 24:21-22) Wouldn’t those Thessalonians be happy for those who had already missed it by passing on beforehand? Didn’t Paul also teach that to die is gain, and to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord? (Phil. 1:21; 2 Cor. 5:8)
2. If Revelation 3:10, does not mean that Church is kept from the Tribulation, but rather is kept through it, then why does Jesus allow the Antichrist to overcome the Saints? (Rev. 13:7) And why then does Christ allow all those Tribulation believers to become Tribulation martyrs whose numbers can’t be counted from all the nations and tribes of the earth? (Rev. 7:9-17) What then does it mean to be ‘kept through’ (tereo ek) if that is the form of the definition the Post-Tribulation community want it to mean?
3. If Christian’s go into the Tribulation, why then do only the 144K of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, (Rev. 7:1-8) receive the Seal on the forehead? This can’t simply be symbolic, due to the exactness of the descriptions.
4. Revelation 9:4 also states that only those who have this Seal on their forehead are protected from the demonic locust…so where then is the protection for the “Christian” who is not sealed on their forehead?
5. Why mention the church/churches (ekklesia) 19 times in Rev. 1-3, but not again until chapter 22:19? Clearly, both Jesus (who gives John the message), and John himself (who sees all this) know how to use and write the word ekklesia…why then the lack of use…seeing that this is going to be the most trying time in man’s history?
6. Why are the wicked gathered in Matthew 13:47-50 and taken off earth, but the righteous are gathered in 1 Thess 4:13-18 and 1 Cor. 15:51-56 and taken off the earth if the Rapture and Second Coming are the same event?
7. Why do angels do the gathering in Matthew 24:31, but Christ Himself does the gathering in 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15?
8. Why does Jesus mention mansions (dwelling places) in His Fathers’ house, (in heaven) and that we would go live there, because we would go to live where He is, if we are only returning with Christ to the earth at His Second Coming?
1. If the Church is Raptured in mid-Trib, or Pre-Wrath; then why does Revelation only divide itself up into three parts? (Rev. 1:19) Why not four, or five, or more places to denote when the Church would actually be departing? The divisions themselves are pretty clearly defined.
a. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
b. Chapter 1: what John saw-the vision of the glorified Christ walking amongst the candle stands
c. Chapter 2-3: The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches
d. Chapter 4-22: After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” If the ‘Wrath of God’ is not being initiated until the Trumpet or Vial Judgments, then who opens the Seals in Revelation 5?
e. If the Seal’s aren’t included in God’s divine judgments on the earth, which kills a fourth of the world’s population, (or 1,750,000,000 out of 7 Billion), then what constitutes divine wrath?
f. Paul states that what was given to him was a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) which is something not previously revealed to man. If it is not something that had been previously revealed, and Jesus revealed His intentions (Matt. 24:29-31) of the Second Coming, then why do Pre-Wrather’s insist on using the Olivet Discourse as proof text for their view?
g. And are Christian’s now under the sabbatical travel restrictions? (Matt. 24:20)
1. If there is no Tribulation, if there is no literal return of Christ or literal Millennial Kingdom where Christ physically defeats Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, judges the wicked nations, and literally rules and reigns from David’s throne (this would be in Israel, not heaven), than is Christ’s victory at the Cross, only a spiritual victory?
2. If the idea of a Rapture is preposterous, than do you also not believe that Enoch was raptured? (Gen 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) Or Elijah being caught up to heaven alive? (2 Kings 2:11) Or that what the Angels told the disciples is not true, being that Jesus would return in like manner, if Christ was never going to return? (Acts 1:9-11)
3. Why did Jesus Himself say that the WHOLE earth (even the dead) would see Him return in Glory? (Matt. 24:30, 26:62-64; Rev. 1:7)
4. If Revelation was merely meant to be taken symbolically, then who determines what the symbolism actually means? Who has the ‘correct’ interpretation?
5. If there is no gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week, (Dan. 9:24-27) then what happened historically in AD36-37? Why was Jerusalem destroyed 40 years later, instead of right after Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection?
1. If there is no 2,000 year gap between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27, then why do you believe there is a 2,000 year gap between Revelation 1-17 and chapter 18-22?
2. Again, if Revelation 1-18 is merely apocalyptic symbolism, who determines what it means? Who has the correct interpretation?
1. If the Church is Israel, or either an extension or renovation thereof, why then did Christ say that He will build (future tense) His Church?
2. If the Church is Israel, than those in the OT must have been sealed by the Holy Spirit as those who are in this age correct? Where is the giving of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament? The only ones who are shown to have received the Holy Spirit, usually did so by God’s choosing either prior to birth, or through an event…such as David’s anointing. Where is the pre-birth, selective anointing by the Holy Spirit found in the New Testament? If Israel and the Church are the same, there should be some continuity in this regards. 3. Why does Jesus say that the Jews and their Kingdom, was from the foundation of the world, but Paul state that God’s plan for the Church, was from before the foundation of the world? (Matt. 25:34; Eph. 1:3-4)
Although many will attempt to refute the challenge I put forth here, they can’t do so in any intellectually honest effort. They either have to twist the meaning or redefine terms to fit their eschatological viewpoint. The real issue in the varying eschatologies, is not really eschatological in and of itself, but rather of one’s understanding of ecclesiology.
For both the student and the scholar, there should be a desire to understand God’s word, not simply for the sake of knowledge, but because growing in truth, promotes spiritual maturity. There are plenty of well-meaning, misguided believers out there that believe all kinds of things that probably aren’t all that biblical, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t saved. Salvation is through the belief in and receiving of Jesus’s atoning and redemptive work on the Cross. (1 Cor. 15:1-5; Romans 10:9-11)
Although we aren’t saved by which Rapture view we hold too, we are either stunted or growing in how we mature as believers by which view we allow to filter our biblical worldview through. And although all the proof in the world will not convince those who obstinately hold to errant, eschatological views (the listed above), they will find out soon enough.
Jesus warns in His Olivet Discourse, that a time is coming, that is worse than ANY that mankind had ever seen before, or ever will. (Matt. 24:21-22) How then can the Christian stand in that day? The truth is, they can’t, because they won’t be there. That is not to say, that we will not be persecuted leading up to Daniel’s 70th week, because we probably will. (Rev. 3:10) But persecution in and of itself, is not indicative of the Church’s need to enter into Daniel’s 70th week. There has always been some form of persecution against the Church of God.
But that time was not designed for us; it is for Israel, the Jews, and the Christ rejecting world. (Dan. 9:24; Jer. 30:7-11) Persecution just means that the world hates Christ, and we are Christ’s body here on the earth, therefore, we too are hated. (John 15:18-25; Romans 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:30; Col. 1:18). And if we are Christ’s body here on earth, don’t you think at some point, He’d want it back? (John 14:1-3) Would He (who conquered death and hell) then subject Himself to the same judgment He unleashes upon the earth?
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it…Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” Rev. 5:1-3, 6:1