Monday, May 14, 2007

posttrib, pretrib, midtrib, pantrib?

The following series of post will be an examination of the timing of the rapture. It started out as an e-mail response to a friend that was inquiring about why I was convinced of a posttribulational rapture at Jesus’ second coming and I have continued to add to it.

It is my hope that this paper will be helpful in understanding the timing of the rapture and the Scriptural proof that the rapture is a posttribulational event—at the literal, visible, glorious coming of the Lord Jesus. I came to a posttribulational view after preaching through 1 Thessalonians. At that time I was confronted with the question of why I had always believed in the pretribulational rapture view. My goal in writing this response is to show the evidence for the posttributional view of the rapture so that friends and acquaintances will be better prepared for the possibility of having to live through the tribulation. Another reason for this paper is to foster more light and less heat when persons disagree with one another over the timing of the rapture.

What are the practical implications of holding to pretribulationalism (pre-trib) or postribulationalism (post-trib)? Is there any harm being done if there are those in a single church who believe differently about the timing of the rapture and have decided to disagree in a brotherly kind of way? If one believes that the Bible teaches that Christ will return at the end of the tribulation, and in reality it happens at the beginning of the tribulation, what harm has been done? Some might say that the harm being done is that they are teaching an untruth, but all sides could claim this.

On the other hand, what if the pre-trib view is wrong? What if the tribulation starts and we are all still here? Picture millions of believers who had been taught only one view all of their life only to find out that it was wrong. Would many of these people be spiritually prepared and alert, or would they be dismayed because they realize they are now living in the tribulation time? Hopefully if the pre-trib view is wrong, many believers will just acknowledge that they were wrong and continue to put their hope in the glorious appearing of Jesus who will give them relief and will deal out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel (2 Thess 1:7-8). Hopefully they will be excited about the fact that he will come to be glorified in his saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed ( 2 Thess. 1:10).