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When is the Rapture?

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Question #1:

Bob do you believe in the Rapture? Although the word is not in scripture, Paul taught the Rapture and refers to it as the blessed hope. Give me your opinion and answer please. Thank you from S. Africa

Response #1:

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your question, it's not a matter of terminology but rather one of timing. All Bible-believing Christians believe in the resurrection of the Church. The question is, when does that happen? The word "rapture" is generally accepted by those who believe in a literal "snatching up" of believers from the earth in a living resurrection, and I certainly do teach that – because that is clearly what the Bible teaches. However, I avoid using the word "rapture" because that particular word for the living resurrection has come to be associated with the (false) teaching of the pre-Tribulation resurrection or "pre-Trib rapture". In fact, the resurrection of the Church occurs not before the Tribulation nor any time within it, but at the Tribulation's end when our Lord returns (i.e., the second advent). So I am definitely "pre-Mill" but not "pre-Trib" or "mid-Trib" (to use the standard terminology).

Throughout the New Testament, the Greek word parousia is used to describe Christ's second advent return to rule the world for a thousand years – and there is only one parousia, at least in scripture. In those places where some have claimed scripture describes a prior, intermediate return, this is the word used as well, and to anyone reading the Greek (or the English, without presuppositions), even in these places the Bible is always describing that one and that same return, the only return of Christ, His second advent return (i.e., there are not three advents). The "rapture" (or, better, living resurrection) of believers still alive on earth will take place at the second advent, and our Lord remains seated at the Father's right hand until that time (there is no interim temporary return just before the Tribulation, and absolutely no scriptural evidence of any such thing).

I have written a good deal about this subject, so have only given you a very brief and peripheral explanation above. For more please see the following links (and do feel free to write back about this important subject):

Parousia

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, for whose return we eagerly wait,

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:

Thank you for your reply, I will read the information that you have supplied me with, study it carefully and give you my opinion in the matter, thank you, I read and studied you Satan fall lesson of 5 sections and I fully agree with your writing, I am busy witting a book for my friends and community, by the title of Turn or Burn, God through Jesus Christ is so loving, caring and patient, He is Awesome, I need the correct information to put in the book before I give my friends and community false information, you can go to the site of Bob Trescott, this man has made an effort to show and explain the point ,with Biblical facts, please go to his site, go through it and give me your opinion, I also have the Jack Van Impe Prophecy Bible, but as I said I need the truth to share with my friends, family and community, please read the Trescot view and give me your opinion and reason why u differ, according to Bob this was hidden by God, the Rapture as given to Jesus, by the Father ,which on His turn revealed it to Paul, some years later, after the assertion to heaven ,to be at Gods right hand, not Jesus or the other taught the Rapture teaching, but only the Kingdom teaching, just read the Bob Trescot writings please and you will find why I am confused ,to me the Rapture is not a matter of salvation, but hey, if my family and friends do not have to endure the Tribulation, so much better, we are living on borrowed time, my friend, by Gods Grace, thank you for the wonderful teaching on the Satan fall article, God bless your effort and services.

Response #2:

You are very welcome – and thank you for your good words of encouragement.

I have had a look at Mr. Trescott's information. For obvious reasons I am unable to devote the time to read and digest it all. My overall impression is that his approach is similar to what one finds in many evangelical apologies for this false teaching, namely, one starts with the assumption that the pre-Trib rapture is true, then one finds some sort of justification (usually logically deductive and/or based on derived theology), finishing up with reasoning as to why the post-Trib resurrection position cannot be correct (so that by default the pre-Trib rapture has to be true). There are many problems with this hermeneutic. First, the Bible should be the starting point, not a preconceived position. Secondly, if a doctrine is not precisely stated by scripture, then it is incumbent upon those who believe that the teaching is biblical to demonstrate it from scripture and not as logically deduced from other supposedly correct theological positions (far less so if those positions are themselves derivative). Thirdly, objections to alternative views do not constitute evidence for any other view, inasmuch as both positions might be incorrect; objections which are in reality based upon the assumption that one's own position is correct and using parts of that teaching as logical or rhetorical leverage are particular flawed.

Several problems with the approach I read stand out:

1) "Jewish versus Christian": If we were to try to distinguish doctrines on this basis we could alternatively include anything in scripture we wish or exclude everything. In fact, the Church is comprised of all who believe from Eden to the second advent. While it is true that Israel is distinct in some important ways, those distinctions are largely misunderstood and over-emphasized by evangelicals, and that is what we find here. Drawing a large, artificial barrier between Israel and the Church based on a flawed understanding of what scripture actually has to say about "dispensations" (see the link, and also Dispensations I and Dispensations II), and then using that faulty theory as evidence in and of itself to prove theological points is bound to lead to interpretive problems. Such is the case here when Mr. T. explains the second advent as "a Jewish event" (?!). This is quite a statement, never proven nor defended, taken for granted and used as a launching pad for this apology for a pre-Trib rapture. The second advent is the return of Christ, and the entire Church will return with Him – under almost everyone's understanding of this event – and will reign with Him for 1,000 years thereafter (whether the believers were Jewish or not). So while Israel will indeed return to prominence in the Millennium (with her renewed supremacy actually being phased back in before that during the Tribulation), this is no argument in favor of the resurrection occurring before Christ's second advent return (which is the only return or parousia), a blessed event in which all believers will take part.

2) "sheep and goats": Mr. T seems to think that Matthew 25:31 takes place at the moment of Christ's return, whereas in fact it happens at the end of the Millennium (see the link). But again, this is not proof of anything even falsely interpreted – where is the pre-Trib rapture here?

3) "the difference between in the air and His feet touching down" (Matt.24:30-31): There is no contradiction here: For someone coming from heaven to earth, being "in the air" obviously has to proceed "touching down on the earth" (Zech.14:4). More to the point, this is a perfect example of the faulty hermeneutic at work: few people reading these passages individually or together would see any particular problem or inconsistency (armies marshal before they attack – and the Lord marshals His Church "in the air" before the battle of Armageddon: Matt.24:30-31; 1Thes.4:17); and no one reading them would come up with the pre-Trib rapture – unless they already believed it and were seeking support for it.

4) "The one taken at Christ's second coming is taken in judgement" (Matt.24:40ff.): This is not possible. The Greek (and the context read in English) puts the one "left behind" at the disadvantage – just as at Sodom those left behind were destroyed by fire; just as during the great flood those left behind were destroyed: the ones who are "taken out" are the believers. Again, this is not positive evidence of a pre-Trib rapture even if the false reading is accepted – after all, doesn't this all happen just before Christ's return (e.g., Matt.24:21; 24:60)?

5) "God's requirements changed twice": Perhaps one of the most disturbing things I read. God's standard has always been the same. As Paul, this person's favorite apostle, makes very clear in Romans chapter four, as it was for Abraham, so it is for us and everyone who has ever lived: salvation comes by grace through faith, because true justification can only be achieved through faith, not by works.

6) "none of the other apostles or prophets ever spoke of the rapture. Paul is the only one!": In my reading of scripture, while there is such a thing as progressive revelation, there is no distinction in truth between the Old Testament, the gospels, and the epistles (by whichever writer). If there were a pre-Tribulation rapture, moreover, it is odd that it would not be mentioned in the book of Revelation, the very book which is doorway given to us by the Lord to understanding eschatology in a systematic way. By conceding that in his view "only Paul teaches this doctrine", Mr. T. makes it that much more difficult for any believer well-versed in scripture to swallow this false position: if it were true, it would be found elsewhere as well (of course, it is in truth not "taught by Paul").

7) Mr. T. quotes two passages (finally we have some scripture) to defend the pre-Tribulation rapture: 1st Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17. I hope that everyone will take a moment to actually read these two passages (in any version). It will be quite clear to any impartial person that there is nothing in either passage which either 1) is not consistent with the events taking place at the second advent, or 2) which even so much as hints at any "pre-Tribulation rapture". This is a critical point. To see a pre-Trib rapture in either of these two "proof texts", one absolutely has to begin with the proposition that there is a pre-Trib rapture (which there is not). Otherwise, the reader well-versed in scripture (if he/she has never heard of a pre-Trib rapture) will naturally take these passages as referring to the second advent. If there were any definitive and positive biblical evidence for a "pre-Tribulation rapture", surely it would be here in these two passages. But there is nothing of that sort. Only by making use of special pleading on behalf of this favorite interpretation can the idea be introduced as possible. Let me be clear. The only way to find a "pre-Tribulation rapture" in either one of these passages is 1) to assume that it is here, and 2) to bring it out by "exegesis". If these two passages are twisted severely enough, they can at the very best be made – and only in the absence of any rebuttal – to seem to be "not inconsistent with the theory of a pre-Tribulation rapture". That is hardly proof! As I have often remarked, it was in the process of trying to do this very thing, namely, to develop legitimate scriptural support for this false doctrine, that I become convicted of its falseness many years ago. The fact is that there is not a single statement in the Bible which teaches a "pre-Tribulation rapture" – and there is no passage in the New Testament, pace Mr. T, which is "mysterious" or otherwise incapable of satisfactory interpretation without recourse to that false teaching.

8) All of the above perhaps explains why Mr. T. does not do much at all to try to prove the rightness of the "pre-Tribulation rapture" in a positive way. Instead, he spends most of his time trying to draw false distinctions or exaggerated distinctions between Jesus' words and Paul's words (whereas these are all words of truth), between Israel and the Church (whereas we are all the Body of Christ), and between the second advent and the "rapture" (whereas they actually take place at the same time as part and parcel one of another). Rather than establishing the plausibility of this "doctrine", all we really have here is an apology for those who already believe it not to throw it overboard (that is, if they do not read too closely).

There is nothing secret or mysterious about the resurrection's timing: it occurs precisely when our Lord said it would, and when Paul (rightly understood) said it would: at our Lord's one and only return at the second advent. Here is also a passage from Paul, taken from the same chapter wherein we find one of Mr. T's putative proof-texts:

But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming (parousia). Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
1st Corinthians 15:23-24 NKJV

Christ has been resurrected, "the end" will not occur until the Millennium is over, this means that "those who are Christ's at His coming" has to be the Church, the Body of Christ, all believers from Eden to the second advent – these are the only three "orders" of the resurrection: Jesus Himself, complemented by His Bride and the Friends of the Bride. The word "coming" here is the Greek parousia, a word which is used almost exclusively in scripture for the second advent (when speaking of Christ). E.g.:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming (parousia), and of the end of the age?"
Matthew 24:3 NKJV

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia).
2nd Thessalonians 2:8 NKJV

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
2nd Peter 1:16 NKJV

In the case of all three passages above, it is very difficult to explain them away, inasmuch as the time of our Lord's "coming" (parousia) so clearly has to be the second advent in each case. I would be curious to know what Mr. T. would do with this passage:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:29-31 NKJV

The elect are said to be "gathered up" . . . "immediately after the tribulation of those days": if a "gathering up" or rapture happens after the Tribulation, how can there be a pre-Tribulation rapture? We have already established that there is only one resurrection between that of Christ and the end of the Millennium – according to Paul (1Cor.15:22-23).

The one thing I will have to give Mr. T. is that his piece on the "pre-Tribulation rapture" is highly defensive and relies on this teaching being mysterious, secret and only lately revealed. That is not a good thing in and of itself (it is certainly untrue because the doctrine is false), but it does demonstrate a measure of honesty that one does not find in most defenses of this dangerous false teaching: Mr. T. realizes on some level that he has a problem. May God grant him to figure it out before it is too late (and before his work leads anyone astray). As you rightly remark, it is not an issue of salvation – and it would be wonderful if none of us had to experience the Tribulation – but how utterly unprepared this current era of Laodicea is going to be for all of the unique pressures of that coming time (see the link)! Fat, lazy and ignorant, spiritually speaking, is not the best way to enter the most challenging period of world history – but that is exactly what is going to happen to most Christians alive today (thanks in part to their wishful-thinking in regard to the "pre-Tribulation rapture"; see the link: "Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith").

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Robert,

I'm currently reading your C. Tribulation section, which interests me because I feel we are so close to walking in that terrible day. From your writing, I gather that you feel we will go through the Tribulation which I'm happy to hear, since I feel this way! I believe, according to God's Word, which you have narrated perfectly that we must be prepared to walk through it and won't be raptured out of it. I feel alone in this belief lately, because SO many Christians are being taught or feel that we will be raptured out of here before that happens. But I feel we will only meet Jesus in the air when He returns at the end. Also, I would think this time of Tribulation is a way for God to really sift through the hearts of this lukewarm church era. I know that no one knows the time or exactly how this will happen, but I'm just curious, what do you believe? And do you feel we are on the verge of it all?

I can hardly wait to see Jesus face to face in ALL HIS GLORY! What a celebration it will be at the Marriage Supper! What an odd dynamic to be in as I'm wanting Jesus to return as soon as possible, yet I don't necessarily want to suffer through any worse tribulation than has already occurred. It's heartbreaking to watch this world fall apart, but I know it must happen before He arrives. It's a bitter sweet feeling. Ultimately, HIS will be done, I'm ready for the next life!

Thanks,

Response #3:

Thanks for the email. I find it very encouraging when (as happens with some regularity) believers who have been indoctrinated with the pre-Trib rapture realize on their own from studying scripture that it can't be correct. Here are some links you may find helpful in explaining how and why it's a false doctrine:

Parousia

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

As far as the time of the Tribulation, yes I have weighed in on that. As far as I can see it is a fairly simple calculation to make. Here it is in a nutshell (see the links below for the details): If we take the seven days of the earth's re-construction as a model, and parallel the seventh day with the seventh thousand year period, namely, the Millennium (precisely the comparison scripture invites us to make: Ps.90:4; 2Pet.3:8), then the Tribulation should follow at the end of the present two millennia which constitute the Church Age (the gentile and Jewish ages already having consumed 4,000 years according to the chronologies in scripture). This makes figuring out the start of the Tribulation as easy figuring out the time of the second advent: adding two thousand years to the date of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection and subtracting seven years. To me the two thousand years should bring us to the time of the second advent (ca. 2033 adding 2,000 years to 33 A.D.); then by considering the seven year Tribulation as the final period of the Church Age in common with the last remaining "week" of the Jewish Age, we subtract 7 years and arrive at 2026. That is the "short story", and there is much more about all this (including the assumptions this calculation makes) at the following links:

The Tribulational Overlap and the Date of the Tribulation's Commencement (in SR 5).

When will the Tribulation Begin?

The date 2026.

As the angel tells John, these teachings are sweet to the taste but will be bitter in the stomach for all who have to experience them first hand (Rev.10:9). Sticking our heads in the sand, however, is certainly no way to prepare for what is at present probably not very far away (even if individual calculations vary to some small degree). I thank the Lord for believers like yourself and your family who want to get to the truth of these important matters, even if they are a bit disconcerting and uncomfortable. The truth is our ultimate weapon for dealing with the troubles of this life, after all, for it is the very Word of God and the "sword of the Spirit" (Eph.6:17).

Feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Bob,

I am trying to understand the rapture and this is the result I got from a friend of mine:

The bible teaches that 3 1/2 years of time will follow the blasphemous act by the Antichrist, which means that everyone who understood the bible would know EXACTLY when Jesus Christ would return (to set up His kingdom).This goes 100% contrary to the plain statement of Jesus in Mark 13:33, "take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is." This is strong evidence in support of a Pretribulation Rapture. The events prophesied to occur in the 7-year Tribulation period are extremely SPECIFIC, yet the bible plainly states repeatedly that the Lord will return as a "thief in the night" (1st Thessalonians 5:2). The end of the Tribulation will be clearly seen by the people who know the bible so there will be no surprise at the end of the 7 year Tribulation determined by the 3 1/2 years from the time of the Antichrists blasphemous act in the temple. Since we are told many times Christ's return for His church (rapture) will be at a time no one knows it cannot be post tribulation.

You mentioned Mark 13:32: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

How does it all fit in?

Thank you for your help.

Response #4:

Good to hear back from you. Before I deal with what your friend wrote you here, let me give you some links where this issue is treated in great detail, both from the positive point of view in demonstrating what the Bible actually has to say, but also in debunking the false teaching of a pre-Trib rapture:

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride (in CT 5)

Parousia

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Tribulational Security (i.e., why belief in a pre-trib rapture gives a false sense of security; in Peter #27)

The Resurrection (explains the timing of all of the echelons of the resurrection; in Peter #20)

Pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation rapture?

Faith and the Pre-Tribulational "Rapture"

Pre- or Post-Tribulation "rapture"?

What is your view of the rapture?

More on the Rapture

What is the evidence for the "rapture"?

Partial rapture theory

'Genesis rapture'

The argument adduced by your friend is a very odd one, isn't it? The logic is quite poor. Essentially it says, "because the precise date of the second advent is clearly known, and because the date of the resurrection is completely unknown, therefore the resurrection cannot be at the second advent".

There are multiple problems with this. Let's start with the most obvious: scripture teaches things positively; the Bible does not reduce us to making logical assumptions so as to have to make further logical deductions from those assumptions in order to find out important biblical truths. Put more simply, if something is an important teaching, the Bible teaches it. Where is the teaching of the pre-Trib rapture? It does not exist. That is why proponents of that false teaching are always reduced to this sort of interpretive gymnastics to "prove" their point – I know I did so because that was the system in which I was spiritually weaned (and in trying to do so I realized that the "doctrine" was not scriptural). Rather than being a concern, therefore, whenever a person is reduced to making such a convoluted and purely deductive argument in order to "prove" that some teaching is biblical and true, we may conclude immediately that he is wrong. That is because if there were scriptures which taught the point he wishes to prove, he would cite the scriptures which prove the point. Arguments such as this merely demonstrate for us in advance that there are no such positive scriptures to quote.

The premises are also incorrect. Is the precise date of the second advent known?

"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."
Matthew 24:22 NKJV (cf. Mk.13:20)

As our Lord Himself tells us, the precise timing of the day and hour of the second advent is unknown; that tally – about which there is indeed much information in scripture – will be "shortened" by some unknown amount (as per the verse above). Therefore it will never be safe to believe anyone who says, "Look! The Lord has returned!" – until we see Him with our own eyes (and then we shall be resurrected).

Is the date of the resurrection is completely unknown?

"As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."
Daniel 12:13 NIV

Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
John 11:24 NIV

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
1st Thessalonians 4:18 NIV

But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
1st Corinthians 15:23 NKJV

All these (and many more) scriptures clearly peg the resurrection to "the end" and to the parousia or "coming back" of Christ (see the link: "parousia = the 2nd advent, not the first"). This is very specific, especially when we bring in other scriptural information that makes the timing of the second advent very clear, within, as stated above, the few days of "shortening for the sake of the elect".

The day will come "like a thief", that is to say, rapidly and unexpectedly . . . upon unbelievers who are not anticipating our Lord's return at all. But this is far from saying that we believers who are even now waiting for that blessed hope (Tit.2:13) will be "surprised" just because we do not know the precise day or the precise hour (which no one knows).

While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
1st Thessalonians 5:3-4 NIV

Q.E.D.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, for whose blessed return – and our concomitant resurrection at the second advent – we breathlessly wait.

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I'm currently researching the topic of the timing of the rapture and, in particular, what the Scriptures have to say about this topic. Anyway, thankfully, I ran across your site which has been a confirmation to the things I've found in regard to this topic. So, thank you!

Even so, in reading your work, I wondered if you might consider being a guest on a Christian talk show with host Doug Hamp? The following is a link to his show:

http://www.douglashamp.com/radio

Doug graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with an M.A. in the Hebrew Bible. He is a specialist in ancient languages including Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek.. He is also the author of several books and dozens of articles. Furthermore, he's lectured on biblical languages, creationism, and prophecy in the U.S. and internationally for over eight years in both English and Spanish.

Anyway, I told him about you and your website and asked him if he would consider having you as a guest on his show. He answered yes, and that he's read your book The Satanic Rebellion (I believe this is the one to which he's referring).

So, I hope the two of you will get together soon. I know you will both have so much to talk about, and I (as well as many other listeners) would love to listen in to your conversation(s).

By the way, do you believe we are witnessing the birth pains that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24? I don't believe we are into the 70th week of Daniel, yet – but it does seem like we are feeling the birth pains. There are so many confusing "teachers" out there on the internet claiming this or that in regard to eschatology and too many "teachers" in the churches who do not want to address this issue at all. It's so frustrating!

Anyway, this is why I like to listen in to what Doug has to teach as he goes through the Word verse by verse. His talk shows are also quite fascinating, but he keeps it real and down to earth.

I hope you will consider being a guest on his show.

God bless,

Response #5:

Good to make your acquaintance – and thanks for your encouraging emails.

As to the website link et al., I'm afraid I have my hands quite full with this ministry, my full time job, and personal life, so I really couldn't consider anything like this at present (one never knows what the future holds, however, so I thank you for your interest). It's also the case that apologetics is not my forte. In my view, the Bible is quite clear about the fact that the Church is resurrected when our Lord returns – not seven years earlier. My job, as I see it, is to teach the truth from scripture to all who are interested. And while that does include fending off challenges from those who see things differently and want to take this ministry and its teaching to task, it doesn't include going off a tangent in order to "straighten other people out", especially in the case of a pastor with deeply set positions (and I see that pastor Hamp is pre-Trib).

As to your birth-pangs in Matthew 24 question, our Lord is referring there to the events of the first half of the Tribulation, and making the point that as horrific as those first three and a half years will be, they are of minor consequence in comparison to the Great Tribulation which follows in the second three and a half years. You are certainly right that it is "all the rage" among "Bible teachers" these days to find signs of the Tribulation in contemporary events. That is unbiblical. On the one hand, there are no specific events prophesied by scripture in the Church Age at all (the the age of the Church was a mystery, after all, until being revealed after the first Pentecost). There are the trends of the seven church eras (Rev.2:1ff.), but these do not include particular political or military happenings that can be pointed to. See the links:

Strange signs

No unfulfilled prophecy

Eschatology Issues VIII: Revelation, Tribulation and Judgment (see Q/A #7)

Christians Beware (see Q/A #6)

Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology (see Q/A #2)

Signs of the Coming Tribulation (in CT 2B)

On the other hand, when the Tribulation does begin, it will be unmistakable:

(1) And when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel with a golden censer came and stood by the altar, and much incense was given to him so that he might offer it for the prayers of the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (4) And smoke from the incense went up from the hand of the angel before God for the prayers of the saints. (5) Then the angel took the incense holder and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. And there occurred thunderous voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5

The opening of the seventh seal begins the Tribulation, and this will occasion the celestial phenomena described above – these will be perceptible throughout the world. Anyone who has paid any attention to scripture will not fail to recognize the importance of this event – although those who are firmly died-in-the-wool pre-Trib rapture folks may hesitate to believe their own eyes and ears. Once the Tribulation does begin, then all of the many events and portents described in scripture will begin to occur just as the Bible says they will. At some point, I am confident, even pre-Trib rapture adherents must realize that their timing was incorrect. The danger in not doing so will be that of being swept into antichrist's religion, destined to claim the faith of a full third of the true Church which falls away in the Great Apostasy (see the link and also: "The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory" and "Signs of the Coming Tribulation").

There is also the question of timing. Human history is divided into seven millennia – the "seven days of human history" (see the link). Since the gentile age had 2,000 years and the Jewish Age likewise had 2,000 years (as the genealogies of the Old Testament show clearly enough), and since the Millennium is 1,000 years (by definition), the Church Age likewise must last for 2,000 years (as the divisions in the Jewish calendar suggest; see the link). Calculating 2,000 from the death and resurrection of our Lord, puts the Tribulation close – since it must begin seven years earlier than Christ's return – so it cannot have started yet (see the link: "The Date of the Tribulation").

Thanks again for your interest in Ichthys! Do feel free to write back about any of the above.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #6:

Hi again Dr. Luginbill,

Please forgive me – I didn't mean that Doug would want to talk necessarily about eschatology. In fact, he does not hold those kinds of shows (i.e., debating). He even has another show called Quest for Truth on which he studies and discusses Scripture with Rob Skiba (who has completely opposing viewpoints). As they always explain in their opening, they don't claim to hold the truth, but are on a quest to finding it through the Scriptures. When Rob makes statements with which I know Doug disagrees, he is always congenial and says, "Hmm, I never looked at it that way before. I'll have to give it some thought." Or something to that effect. Yes, Doug is pretrib, but Rob is not and listening to them discussing this topic is what caused me to begin searching for myself. (I originally came out of a Reformed church which adhered to Amillenialism. So, Dispensationalism is still quite new to me -- although, it makes more sense to me: taking Scripture at face value instead of spiritualizing everything.)

Anyway, I completely understand your having a busy schedule. I'm pleased just the same to have gotten to know you through your website. As I mentioned, I agree with your perspective on eschatology and was surprised to find that I'm not alone in what I'm seeing in my studies of the Scriptures. This is mind relieving (No, I'm not crazy! Someone else sees what I see, too! Yay!!).

Speaking of which, do you think we'll know for certain when the first 6 seals have been opened? I wonder if we'll actually see the four horsemen or if we will just see the effects that they bring. It's all very fascinating and frightening at the same time.

God bless and thank you for writing back,

Response #6:

Thanks for the clarification – and for understanding.

The first six seals describe the trends of the Tribulation (see the link); the first four give the four major trends of the first half, while five and six give the two major trends of the second half (the Great Persecution and the judgments associated with the second advent respectively). Just as today we can sometimes glean something about books from their cover illustrations, in an analogous way this Book has information in its external seals which tell us something about what is in the book – in fact, the seals give us a panorama of the entire Tribulation. The signs and wonders accompanying the opening of the seventh seal are just that, actual signs and wonders that will follow the divine commencement of the Tribulation. This is all covered in part 2B of Coming Tribulation: "The Heavenly Prelude" (please see the link).

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Good day sir,

I need clarification on this verses if it is related to rapture, either post or pre.

Luke 17:34-37
I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left.35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left. And they said to him, Where Lord? He said to them, Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

Thank in advance.

Response #7:

Good to hear from you, my friend. I hope you and your family are doing well and keeping safe. I continue to keep you and yours in my prayers.

As to your question, yes, these verses refer to the resurrection that takes place at the second advent. Those "left behind" are unbelievers (and specifically, since our Lord was ministering to Israel, unbelieving Jews as opposed to those who have believed during the Tribulation through the ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000). Those "taken" are "caught up in clouds to be with the Lord" (1Thes.4:17). That explains the "gathering of eagles" in verse 37 since we will be circling or gathering in the sky around out beloved Lord on that glorious day of days. This and the other pertinent passages are discussed at the link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride".

In anticipation of that wonderful day to come, in Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Good day Sir,

I was reading from Mat.24 and I was thinking that what evidence do we have to say verses 40-42 is talking about post-trib rapture? Any help on this will be appreciated.

In Christ our soon coming King.

Response #8:

From this passage alone, I think the fact of the resurrection following the second advent is obvious. Here is what the immediately preceding two verses say:

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 24:37-39 NIV

So the context then of verse 40 is, "the coming of the Son of Man" – which is the second advent. That is also clear from the situation described in vv.37-39: when the flood occurred, it was the wicked who were destroyed while the righteous were "lifted to safety"; at Luke 17:28-29 which is the companion passage in that gospel, Sodom is destroyed and the wicked along with it, but righteous are delivered out in safety. That is what happens at the second advent: the believers are resurrected, but the wicked are "left behind" to face the wrath of the returning Son of God. In both examples then, the context is that of 1) the second advent (the "coming" is the parousia which always refers to the second advent; see the links: "The word parousia" and "The meaning of Parousia"); and that of 2) the immediate destruction of the wicked which occurs at the second advent (not seven years earlier):

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
2nd Thessalonians 1:6-10 NIV

I am keeping you and your wife in my prayers. I hope all is going better for you day by day my friend.

In the confidence that comes from walking the straight way of truth in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #9:

I have another question. This one has to do with the tribulation. Will all believers be taken up in rapture before the tribulation? Or we here to withstand it then we go in rapture on the great tribulation? I've always been told believers won't be here for the tribulation. Now I'm studying the bible on your website and I don't want to be confused. I see there is the tribulation and the great tribulation. Just trying to get it in better words for me to understand. I have started a couple months ago reading the bible from beginning to end. I just came across the passage about tribulation so wanted to ask. I don't want to study the end if times yet because I want to understand the bible more. Just wanted to ask about the tribulation. Thank you for your help!

Response #9:

It's good to hear from you, and I am encouraged to see that you are persevering in your march forward with Jesus Christ in spite of your tears. On that great day to come, our Lord will wipe them all away forevermore. I want you to know that I am keeping you in my prayers day by day.

As to your question, I am happy to answer. There are numerous misconceptions about these issues out there in "evangelical-dom". The resurrection occurs in three phases, just as described in 1st Corinthians 15:23-24: 1) "Christ the first-fruits"; 2) "Next those belonging to Christ at His coming"; and 3) "Then the end". The first is clear: Jesus has already been resurrected in His humanity; #3 is the resurrection of all those saved after the second advent (millennial believers), which occurs at "the end" of human history; #2 concerns the Church, "those who are Christ's at His coming", and that phrase indicates the time. The highlighted phrase refers, as anyone who is a believer should plainly be able to see, to our Lord's second advent. This is even more clear in the Greek where the word for "coming" is parousia, a word used in the New Testament for the second advent (whenever the end times are in view; cf. Matt.24:3: "what will be the sign of Your coming (parousia), and of the end of the age?").

The Tribulation lasts seven years. It's second half is called "the Great Tribulation", since that is when believers will be subject to what I call "The Great Persecution" (see the link). Much of modern-day "evangelical-dom" believes (wrongly, and tragically so), that the Church will be resurrected before the Tribulation even begins (for this dangerous false view there is absolutely no biblical evidence; see the links: "No Rapture" and "The Danger of Pre-Trib Rapture Theory"). There are also variations on this theme, and a few groups believe that there will be a "rapture" in the middle of the Tribulation, not, that is, before the Tribulation as a whole begins, but before the commencement of its second half, the Great Tribulation (there is even less reason to believe this false theory).

All of this is written up in great detail in the Coming Tribulation series, to which the Satanic Rebellion series is an important introduction (please see the links).

Feel free to write back any time – and keep fighting the good fight of faith for Jesus Christ.

Yours in Him,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for taking the time to provide me with your answers. I have read through your email and the links and am in deep thought over what I have read. A little bit about me: Raised in the Protestant church (and later in the Christian Alliance Church) I never received any instruction on the end times. Although I became a Christian as a youngster, it wasn't until later that I was brought into a full relationship with Christ. The man that was my mentor was a post-tribulationist, however, he brought me to a movie "The Late Great Planet Earth", even though he didn't believe what Hal Lindsey was stating about a pre-trib rapture of the church. The movie scared the bejeebers out of me but the whole idea of a bunch of people just vanishing off the face of the earth sounded like something out of Jules Verne.

At that time I was young with a young family. I actually didn't want that to happen to us at that point in my life. Now, being older and full of aches and pains, I can honestly state that I'm looking forward to a new spiritual body. When my friend and I would discuss the pre-trib versus the post-trib we would say, pray for pre, prepare for post." He provided me with all of the information found in the nine different end times theories and then let me decide for myself. I read many books on the subject during the decades that followed and the one thing that began to stand out the most was how the same scriptures were often used to 'prove' one theory over another. While I am very familiar with all the scriptures used, there are only two that stand out for me and cause me to doubt the notion of a pre-trip rapture. The first:

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
1st Corinthians 15:51-54

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel 12:1-2

In Daniel, if read absolutely literally, I see a time of terrible tribulation and then the resurrection of the dead. And according to Paul, soon followed by immortality given to the living saints. Again, according to Paul, the change occurs at the sound of the last trumpet.

Bob, I've heard many pastors declare that this last trumpet is not the same last trumpet as found in Revelations. I just can't buy their explanation. If I had no church to attend and only had the Bible to read without any type of linguistic assistance, I would see the last trumpet in both places and believe the references were regarding the same trumpet. I would read Daniel and see that after a terrible tribulation on earth, the dead and the living saints are given immortality and go to be with the Lord. The only issue that confuses me here is that I thought Jesus lead captivity captive (the dead righteous) and that Paradise ceased to exist once Jesus ascended. Bil Galligan of Calvary Chapel of the Fingerlakes once told us that because God's realm has no time factor, all things in the spiritual realm happen simultaneously even though they are spread out across our human time line. Interesting concept. I could have a ball with that one. No more saying 'I will get it done'; only need to say, hey, 'it was already done before it even needed to be done'.

I've been the spiritual leader of our extended family for over 3 decades. I taught them about pre-trib and post-trib but took them to non-denominational churches (Calvary Chapel mostly) where pre-trib was taught. ( I actually don't know of any Christian churches that don't teach it.) However, one of my children somehow never believed it and another never paid attention. For my family and my born-again friends, it is important to me that I speak the truth and if there will be a post-trib rapture then those who are waiting for a pre-trib one could be in very serious trouble.

My position at this time is that I want to know the truth as far as it can be proven from the Bible alone without spiritualizing, making conclusions based upon what one wishes could be true, and without using symbolism when it seems clear that a literal interpretation is evident. The Lord provided His word to us without volumes of handbooks to explain it all. I truly believe that the Bible was meant to be read by any individual, educated or uneducated and that it was meant to be understood by as it is. I can tell you from first hand experience that God will instruct any person who will receive His instruction. I have had Him open the scriptures up in my mind so that I clearly understood what I was reading. It was amazing.

I've been told that all of the book of Revelations can be interpreted from the rest of the Bible. I have seen evidence of this several times. For example (and I'm sure you know this too) Chapter 12 of Rev is discussing Israel and cannot be discussing anything else. Joseph's dream as told to his father truly demonstrate what nation this chapter is about. I can't believe that there are people who think that this is the Roman Catholic church or that Israel has been replaced by the church.

I read your information twice because at first reading I questioned why God needed 144,000 people to witness to the Jewish people if the church was still on the earth. Also, I am aware of a great Christian movement taking place in both the Holy Land and among the Muslims. However, at second reading I saw your explanation regarding how Jewish people might react to Gentiles trying to teach them about Jesus Christ. I do understand that it would be better if these people received such a teaching from their own peoples. After my own mother died, my guardian, who was a Jewess, raised me, but ensured that my religious training be of my mother's religion. Thus, I am very acquainted with the Jewish mindset. Orthodox Jews still believe that they are the chosen people (and they are, of course) and do not trust the motivations behind anything that Gentile people might try to share with them. Can't say that I blame them.

There is one question that pre-tribs do use to convey how wrong the post-rapture theory is. I hope you can discuss this one with me. Jesus states that no man knows the day or the hour when He will gather His bride to Himself. This is not true from a post-trib standpoint. We can count out the exact time based upon Daniel's discussion of the weeks of years. Your article uses the title No Rapture. Caught up to be with the Lord, changed from mortality to immortality, translated – we are going to go with Jesus instantly – what do you prefer to call this wonderful event? I usually use the word translated because I've seen this occurrence biblically. Lot and family translated from Sodom to the hills, the disciple who was translated to the Ethiopian eunuch, Jesus appeared and disappeared at will after His resurrection. Going from one location to another in a twinkling of an eye, and for us that translation will bring us right to Him and 'We shall behold Him' What a day that will be!

Well, I've taken up a lot of your time. I will continue to read the articles on your website. I enjoy your logical thinking. I also like how the scriptures pop up right where you have referenced them. This saves so much time.

I do hope I will hear from you again.

In Christ;

Response #10:

Good to hear from you again. You are most welcome, and thank you in turn for actually looking into the links provided (it's not something I have come to take for granted by any means).

To take the last question first, since the Bible doesn't give the resurrection a name other than "the resurrection", that is a fine name, as far as I am concerned. Scripture often looks at things differently than we might expect – especially if we have been conditioned by the traditional or standard approaches abroad today. The New Testament looks forward to Christ's return, His parousia, taking it for granted that all Christians understand that we will be resurrected at that time of His return (please see the link). One of the "tells" that should alert believers to the erroneous nature of the pre-Trib "rapture" theory is that it is "all about us", whereas in fact in truth it's "all about Jesus Christ" and our "blessed hope" of being re-united with Him when He returns. The fact that this involves a resurrection of those who have passed on and a "living resurrection" of those who have survived the Tribulation is a wonderful thing as well, but it's not the proper focus: our Lord is the proper focus.

Secondly, if I may, I think one of the problems here may be becoming too well-informed – not about the Bible (no can know the Bible too well), but about extra-biblical theories of interpretation. Christians need the truth; not theories. And until they have the truth . . . and believe the truth, they are not benefited in the least (in fact they are harmed by having their spiritual growth stunted). Only actual truth believed is capable of being used by the Spirit (the Greek NT calls this epignosis, though it's not obvious in most English versions as being any different from ordinary "knowledge"; see the link). Solid Bible teaching presents the truth of scripture in an unambiguous and accurate way; people who write books designed to scare up an audience and boost sales often have mixed motives. But whatever the motivation, no secondary work which is concerned with supporting a "theory" in an apologetic way (as all such works must do), can have as its primary concern the spiritual growth of those reading it. Such works may be of use to budding theologians, but they often are stumbling blocks for Christians who really need spiritual food, not controversy. And obviously so. If we have a dozen theories of anything, clearly, they can't all be right. And even more obviously, I can't believe all twelve. But what is not generally appreciated (although it should be obvious, even without consulting the scriptural referents), I won't make any progress whatsoever until I come to a conclusion about which of the twelve is right, and do so with conviction. But if I am not a theologian, if I don't know the original languages of scripture so as to be able to check out what the critical passages actually say (as opposed to what someone has translated them to mean – often a big difference), and if, more to the point, I am not gifted by the Spirit to engage in such activities as my daily service to the Lord, then how can I come to such conviction? This may be possible on big issues (sometimes and for some); this may be possible on small issues (sometimes and for some); but what is not possible is for the average Christian without the academic preparation, necessary spiritual gifts, and theological "battle scars" to do this "choosing" day in and day out, to come up with right answers every time (or nearly so), and to be able to have faith that these right answers are right – not, at least, in sufficient volume to have enough to "eat" so as to become spiritually mature.

In other words, there is a reason why the Holy Spirit does not give all Christians the gift of pastor/teacher. Of course He does not give everyone the gift of administration, or helps, or giving either (etc., etc.). We are one Body; but we are not all "a foot" or "a hand" or whatever. The dilemma for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ is that there is such a dearth of solid, reliable, truly "orthodox" and substantive Bible teaching in the church-visible today, that many have been driven to this extreme "do it yourself" approach. That brave souls like yourself have done so is commendable and laudable, and it is even necessary and useful . . . up to a point. In my opinion, this exercise that you (and so many others I hear from, albeit not always on this one issue) have gone through, is the Spirit's way of demonstrating the obvious points made above, so that seriously motivated Christians like yourself may be prompted to take the next step and find a real teaching ministry where genuine spiritual growth past a rudimentary level is possible. This requires learning and believing the whole realm of doctrine in the scriptures, that is, more than any one Christian can uncover for him/herself in a normal life without the requisite gifts, preparation and life's work application. The Spirit gives every Christian enough ability to discern good from bad trees/fruit in this regard. What has been generally lacking in our Laodicean age (please see the link), is the will to do so. The result has been that the Church today has a supply problem in large part because of a demand problem; that complicates things somewhat for Christians who finally do decide they need and want the truth – but where there is a desire, God always provides. This is not, by the way, a "plug" for Ichthys (which is offered freely and does not accept donations). Everyone has different sensibilities, different backgrounds; as I often say, the important thing is to find the right teaching ministry for you – but not to use the fact that they are few and far between and therefore very hard to find in the first place as an excuse not to keep searching.

The other subjects you broach here are covered at Ichthys in some detail. I'll give you the gist here and the appropriate links; please do feel free to write back with further questions:

1) The "Rapture". As an overview, I would ask anyone who believes in this false teaching to read the New Testament one time straight through with an eye towards finding this idea. At the very least, such an exercise will make clear that while our Lord's return is a constant theme, one must work very hard indeed to find the idea of an escape on our part from the events of the end times. Moreover, the immense gap between the amount of emotion and "teaching" expended on this "rapture" in modern-day evangelicaldom compared with what we find in scripture (even with what we may think we find in scripture) is so massive that the discrepancy ought to at least ring a few warning bells. As mentioned above, scripture actually speaks of our Lords "return" (parousia) of which there is ever only one mentioned. And if He only comes back "once" (as indeed Jesus only comes back once), then that "once" absolutely has to be the second advent, as we call it often, and that is true even in places where this key word parousia is not used:

"In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again (i.e., once) and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
John 14:2-3 NKJV

In addition to the link I sent you previously on this ("No Rapture"), and the one mentioned above (parousia), please also see:

Parousia

*The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Dispensations, the Church, the Rapture, and the Destruction of the Universe

The Resurrection (explains the timing of all of the echelons of the resurrection; in Peter #20)

Pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation rapture?

Faith and the Pre-Tribulational "Rapture"

Pre- or Post-Tribulation "rapture"?

What is your view of the rapture?

More on the Rapture

What is the evidence for the "rapture"?

Partial rapture theory

'Genesis rapture'

2) The Unknown Day and Hour: This passage should be taken literally. We are told very specifically at Matthew 24:22 (cf. Mk.13:20) that the final count of the days during the Tribulation will be "shortened" for the sake of the elect – which means there is a definite tally of days (see the link: in CT 3A: "The 42 Months"). So while it is possible to pin things down with great specificity (in my view), the precise "day and hour" themselves, literally, will only be realized once that final unique day dawns and the Lord actually returns. Please see the link: "The Unknown Day and Hour".

3) The Trumpets: Trumpets are God's way of, among other things, providing divine punctuation, so to speak, for important events (see the link). We find this, for example, in the regulations for the Jewish festivals (with the divinely inspired Jewish ceremonial calendar providing a master-plan for the ages; see the link, including the end times). While I would agree that the resurrection takes place after the trumpet judgments in Revelation (well after, in fact), I would not agree that that seventh trumpet is the "last trumpet" of 1st Corinthians. First, they do have different names ("seventh", as in "of a series"; versus "last", as in "the final one" [of the Church Age referred to by Paul); secondly, angels blow the seven trumpets, but in 1st Corinthians 15:52 it says that "He" will sound the trumpet (even if we take this as an impersonal use, the "trumpet" being the subject, we should note the difference: no angel is mentioned); but thirdly and most importantly, the trumpet judgments all take place during the first half of the Tribulation, but the trumpet of 1st Corinthians 15:52 (and 1Thess.4:16) comes at the very "end", that is, just prior to Armageddon. The seventh trumpet begins the Great Tribulation, the last three and a half years (see the link). The bowl judgments are the ones which precede the second advent and for that reason come much later in the book of Revelation, a book written in more or less chronological order (e.g., it ends, after all, with the second advent, the Millennium, the last judgment, and the coming of the eternal state and New Jerusalem).

Much of the above makes more sense when Revelation is considered as a whole with an interpretation which, taking most of it literally (as is the case: only the parts said to be symbolic in the book itself are), brings in all information in the Bible having to do with eschatology – as certainly ought to be done as this book assumes that the reader/teacher already knows what the Spirit has said elsewhere. That is the purpose of the Coming Tribulation series, whose important introductory series, the Satanic Rebellion series, also helps to clarify many of the problems (see the links).

4) Daniel: This passage, Daniel 12:1-2, does speak of the Tribulation (verse 1), but also of the entire end times thereafter (verse 2). In verse two, Daniel combines both phases of the resurrection of the living and sets that "first resurrection" against the resurrection of the dead (the last judgment). Everything he says is literally true, but it doesn't give us all the details which the Spirit later revealed. With the benefit of what is theologically called "progressive revelation", we now know (thanks to the Spirit's provision of the New Testament), that there are phases to the resurrection. As Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:23-24, "But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming (the Church, n.b., "coming" is parousia). Then comes the end . . . (i.e., the final phase of millennial believers)" (NKJV). This is not "free for all" interpretation. As any Bible reader should be aware, the Old Testament does not make the distinction between the first and second advents crystal clear, and deliberately so. This was a "mystery" which confounded Jesus' contemporaries and acted as a powerful sieve to separate those who really did have faith from those who were merely tradition-bound: the latter wanted the crown without the cross; the former trusted that the Lord was God and Christ, even though His "coming" was not what they had expected (since there were, unexpectedly, two advents). There are definite hermeneutic rules, and learning them – and learning how to apply them properly – is especially important in the area of eschatology for just the reason set out above (please see the link in CT 1: "Hermeneutic Issues").

If the above does not address all of your question set out here, I hope that it will at least make a good start. I invite you to have a look at the links above and also to write back if/when you have further questions. We live on the cusp of the end times. It is obviously important for Christians to understand all of the teachings of the Bible (e.g., 2Tim.3:16), and to this end I labor and strive; but it is also true that getting things wrong in the area of eschatology, while perhaps of less moment a hundred years ago, is likely to be hugely consequential in just a few short years.

Keep fighting this good fight.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob, looks like I have a lot of reading to do. I showed my son and grandson the things you have written and the links. We had a fantastic discussion regarding all this yesterday. Truly there is nothing I enjoy more than discussing scripture and Christ with my family and friends. I am so blessed that they never bought into the promise of a pre-trib rapture. We discussed the possibility of this theory being a part of the lie some are caused to believe. But that's a whole other subject.

As I told you, I know of no church here that teaches the post-tribulation 'resurrection' of the saints. I'm so glad I found your site because you are a living breathing person that I can question as opposed to an author of a book on the subject.

I never really saw the pre-trib as an 'all about me' idea until I realized that many people simply do not want to believe that God would allow them to be subjected to any type of persecution. I like to point out to these people that there are Christians all over the world that are being persecuted and murdered because of their faith in Jesus Christ. We Americans are an arrogant lot thinking that we are above such an experience. I think we are also a wimpy bunch of people having had everything we want always within reach. We are flabby in our faith and many of us are looking for a Joel Osteen type of 'Your Best Life Now'. Apparently this young man does not realize that our best life will be when we are with the Lord in eternity.

Well, I will take some time to read through your links and re-read your email. I do want you to know that I trust the Lord explicitly when it comes to teaching us His doctrine. I believe that His Spirit has provided me with a 'nudge' in that I've never been completely comfortable with the pre-trib doctrine. I wouldn't be surprised if I began to encounter other Christians who are having the same nudge. Bob, if we are close to the time ... meaning in our lifetime ... I believe the Lord will give many people a nudge that causes them to take a second look. For those who have gone before us this nudge wasn't necessary. However, He will call His children to the truth, especially if the truth is right around the corner because, like any good parent, the Lord would warn His children regarding impending danger.

Are you hearing from a lot of individuals who have begun to doubt the notion a 'the rapture of the church'? Perhaps it is time for a good ole fashioned revival! Thank you for you insights and explanations. I'll will definitely be touch with you again.

Through Christ;

Response #11:

You are most welcome, and thanks for your good words and wonderful observations. I think your "nudge theory" is right-on. I was "nudged" myself, many years ago now, but I grew up spiritually in the evangelical milieu, where "of course there is a [pre-trib] rapture!". It was in the process of trying to defend it from scripture that I learned how wrong the theory was. Some of my dearest friends from seminary have likewise moved on from this mistaken view, even though it has become, I think it is safe to say, very much a tenet of what it means to be a "true Christian", in the misguided view of the majority who have embraced the view. And the reason for that embrace, in nearly every case, is no more than a love of tradition: churches/pastors teach this because this is what they were taught. This would be understandable (and godly) if the "doctrine" were one that was genuinely present in scripture. But since there is not a single passage where this false view is incontrovertibly taught on the one hand, and since even where it is "found" it can only be seen to be there through clever gymnastics in the interpretation of scripture, one would think that there would be more out there in evangelical-dom responding to the "nudging". If it is any solace, I do find more and more Christians who are becoming concerned about the issue, more and more who are being "nudged" away from falsity to the truth, and more and more who are at least willing to be open-minded about something not clearly found in the Bible. I know I was not willing to be swayed in my day . . . until I started reading the Bible in depth. I do think the Spirit is in the process of forming a cadre of believers who are genuinely willing to put Jesus Christ and the truth of His Word before any other considerations – this, and the spiritual growth and progress it brings, is going to be necessary for successful negotiation of the coming Tribulation.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob, I still remember the scare tactic used in The Late Great Planet Earth. Then, at the end of the movie, Hal Lindsey told the audience "but you can have hope and you can escape this terrible tribulation. All you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, repent and be born again. Then, just before the great persecution all of those in Christ will be raptured."

Emotional arguments are often very successful. That movie scared me but when Lindsey went on to how I and my family could escape the horror. For a time I bought into it, line, hook and sinker. My mentor gave me books discussing the last days and the post-trib resurrection. I think he regretted taking me to that movie but he wanted my Christian education to be 'well-rounded'. It would have been better if my education had been straight, narrow and based only on the truth.

You might find this a bit strange and I certainly cannot explain this, but besides the 'nudge' when the Left Behind book series came out, I really started stepping away from the notion of a pre-trib rapture. (The tribulation takes 7 years but the Left Behind Series took 10 years to complete the story of the seven years! And the authors made a fortune on the books and the two movies that followed.) Again, I cannot explain why this series impacted me as it did. Everything about it 'felt' wrong.

Bob, something is changing. My pastor, who broke away from Calvary Chapel several years ago, has been silent on the subject of the rapture for a long time. It use to be a common theme in his teachings. But, now he never brings it up. In fact, I've noticed this with a lot of Calvary Chapel pastors that teach on the airways. This subject is not being discussed as it use to be. Of course, if these pastors desire to remain with Calvary Chapel they cannot deviate openly away from the pre-trib doctrine. That doesn't mean they have to teach it though. Our Lord will not allow us to remain blind and in error. If we are truly His, He will begin to prepare us for the times to come. He will open our eyes to the truth. I believe that He is doing that right now. I helped a friend come to the Lord and when I told her the doctrine of the pre-trib rapture, without even knowing the scriptures, her response was 'that's hogwash.'

I keep thinking about the scripture that says that some people will be caused to believe a lie. I always thought that meant that folks would be caused to believe that the son of perdition is the messiah, or that they believed some stupid idea that would explain away the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of people, like aliens taking away old fashioned Christians so that they could be reprogrammed. The scriptures states that those who knew the truth and refused to accept it will be caused to believe a lie. One pastor tried to explain this passage by saying that if someone knew the truth of the gospel and refused to receive Jesus Christ, then that person would be unable to receive Jesus after the pre-trib rapture of the church. God in not willing that any should perish.

How about the idea of a partial rapture where only the good Christians get to leave but carnal Christians are punished by having to endure the tribulation? That defies the scripture that says there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

These kinds of teachings make our Lord out to be vindictive, punitive and unforgiving. That sounds more like Allah than Yahweh.

Response #12:

Thanks for these great words and observations. They make it clear to me that you have some wonderful "spiritual common sense" – which is nothing less than the Holy Spirit interacting with a willing believer who has learned and believed a good deal of biblical truth.

Hal Lindsey, if I'm not mistaken, was for many years a student of my late mentor, Col. Robert B. Thieme, Jr. The latter was a pre-Trib person too, having matriculated at Dallas Theological and having come up in the era when all evangelicals who were in any way interested in the Bible ascribed to that (false) position. Lindsey left to go his own way (I don't think the Col. was pleased with the monetizing by someone else of material he felt to be mostly his own), but he's with the Lord now, and many of us who came up under that tutelage have learned to hold onto the good (Thieme's systematic approach based on scripture first and tradition only if verified to be scriptural), and leave behind what was less so (in this case, the mistaken belief in a pre-Trib "rapture"). And at least Col. Thieme never ever "charged money" for anything. His ministry, including tapes and publications which were particularly popular in their day among active duty servicemen (of which I was one when I became interested in scripture), was supported entirely by contributions.

Keep standing strong for the truth – and do feel free to write me back any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi man of God! I have a few questions for which I need clarification: (1) when I study the End Time lessons I don't find anyone teaching the position for Amos 8:11-14. (2) if your explanation according to the scriptures is right that during millennium no one is living on earth because they died when Jesus came, then I don't see where to apply Isaiah 65:17-25 and the saying that He will rule over the nations and that satan will organize such nations when he is released. (2b) If what some men of God teach is true that this slaughter of the lord will then be resurrected to be deceived by satan, this then implies another resurrection before the second biblical one for judgment of the rest dead. (3) If the Last trump prompts the resurrection of believers and changing of those who are living to be caught up ,can that mean the rapture is before the seven bowl Judgments?---Zambia

Response #13:

Good to hear from you again, my friend. Apologies for the delay. I was away from my office and out of town visiting family for Christmas.

There is much written at Ichthys which explains all these matters in great detail. From your question it seems, at least, that you misunderstand what I believe the Bible teaches on these issues. The resurrection of the Church occurs at the second advent (see the link). Only believers are resurrected at that time. The third phase of the resurrection (cf. 1Cor.15:24: "then the end") occurs at the end of the Millennium with believers resurrected and rewarded prior to the last judgment of unbelievers. So the Millennium will commence with a small population: only those who were 1) not believers before Christ's return and 2) who did not have the mark of the beast (as these are dispatched in the "baptism of fire"; see the link).

Here are some good places to get deeper into these matters:

The Timing of the Resurrection.

The Judgment and Reward of the Church (in CT 6)

The Last Judgment: Revelation: 20:11-15 (in CT 6)

Eschatology and the Old Testament

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

 Hi Dr Bob! May God bless you in your endeavors of His word with which you are busy and increase the uncommon gentleness which you exercise in answering all email exchanges including critiques. (1) As for my previous questions, I found your details except for the specifics of Amos8:11-14 ,if you can send a short answer in your email, I'll take it. (2) From your CT6 I have the following; (a) you suggest the resurrection of those believers who die during millennium to take place at its end ,which I think contradicts Rev 20:6 because I see the second death having power over those in the second resurrection as contrary to the "blessed and holly" in the first. (b) you create a picture that those reigning with christ on earth run through to the new Jerusalem, but I don't see when they are taken up to heaven for them to come down from t here as a holy city which I understand to be a 'body' of saints, not an 'empty' city coming to be occupied. (C) Are the books literal? Thanks!

Response #14:

Good to hear from you. As to your questions:

1) I didn't give you a specific answer for Amos 8:11-14, because I was not sure what you meant by "I don't find anyone teaching the position for Amos 8:11-14". Could you please clarify your question? What "position" are you referring to, and who should / should not be teaching it and why?

2a) It only seems as you suggest because you are reading verse 5 with the non-scriptural interpolation included. The sentence "(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended)" is not part of scripture but was added later and should not be allowed to be printed in any Bible (except perhaps as a note). The "gloss" is incorrect in its understanding of the passage in any case. The "first resurrection", seen without this false gloss, precedes the thousand year reign:

(4) And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) [ . . . . ] This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:4b-5 [minus the false interpolation]

2b) The thousand year reign takes place on earth in the Millennial Jerusalem; the New Jerusalem (see the link) will not come down to this earth but only to the "new earth" in the "new heavens" after this present cosmos has been destroyed by fire (cf. 2nd Peter chapter 3).

The book of Revelation is indeed "literal"; the only things that are symbolic are the things it says are symbolic (as in the dragon representing the devil). Please see the link: "Interpreting Revelation".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hey dr luginbill.

You may have already looked into this, but I was reading your website recently and notice you're not afraid of tackling eschatology questions. I've also noticed you were a pre-tribber but then switched to what looks like a post trib position. I always admire brothers who are willing to change their opinions on things, concerning the word of God, if they can be shown a better way. Have you every looked at the pre-wrath rapture?

best.

Response #15:

Good to make your acquaintance.

My understanding of the "pre-wrath rapture" is that the term covers a good deal of ground when it comes to the precise timing of the resurrection of the Church. It is certainly correct inasmuch as it recognizes that there is no resurrection preceding the Tribulation. But to the extent that any view sees the resurrection as preceding Christ's return, it would not be correct. Scripture is very clear about our Lord's return being the time of our resurrection. That return is the second advent.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
1st Thessalonians 4:16 NIV

I have posited at several places in the Coming Tribulation series (see the link) that believers will receive divine protection through all of the horrors of the Tribulation (analogous to the distinction made by the Lord between Israel and the Egyptians during the plagues of the Exodus), but an early departure before the Tribulation runs its course will only happen through martyrdom in the Great Persecution – for those who remain faithful to Christ (half of those who do so being martyred, half remaining "until the coming of the Lord": 1Thes.4:15; Jas.5:7).

I spent a good deal of time on these issues when preparing to write the Coming Tribulation series many years ago (along with its prologue: the Satanic Rebellion series). These two series between them (equivalent in size to over a dozen full-length books) lay out most of what scripture has to say about eschatology, so I believe that for most of your questions about this issue you will find an answer there, at least from the positive point of view of what scripture actually teaches. I do also have an even greater volume of responses to email questions posted at Ichthys, and a healthy proportion of these questions are about the end times and related issues (for the most recent one on this particular issue see the link: "No Rapture"). As Ichthys is a Bible-teaching ministry, which means (to me) that it is not in the business of exploring alternative possibilities but of teaching the truth, my consideration of other views on any topic is therefore generally confined to answering readers' questions about scripture. That is to say, I am always happy to set the record straight, but this is not primarily an apologetic ministry.

In any case, I do wish success in coming to the truth of all of the Bible's teachings – that is of course one of the primary things all believers should be doing with the limited time we have here on earth.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior – for whose return we breathlessly wait.

Bob Luginbill

Question #16:

I was just doing some research for a Sunday School lesson when I found your page http://ichthys.com/Pet27.htm . It is wonderful to see that thing so rare as someone supporting the correct understanding of the rapture. The pre-trib false doctrine is taught almost everywhere and for the most part it is taught only because that is what the teacher was taught at his Theological Seminary. I have a few notes on this false doctrine that might be of interest.

1. Though it came into existence recently the pastors and theological elite grabbed onto the pre-trib rapture very quickly and with both hands. I think this was because it provides a teaching that they believe helps them keep the flock in the fold. The threat that ‘Jesus could return at any moment’ is often used to motivate people to come to church. But this is not the motivation of God nor the purpose of the rapture.

2. You make part of this point yourself. By eliminating the belief that Christians will go through the tribulation, the church stopped teaching the tribulation or even the rapture in many cases. But when we look at Paul’s epistles we see that these were big parts of his message. And they were especially important messages for those churches that were undergoing persecution. And here we sit, a Western arm of the church that is largely unprepared for persecution of any kind and especially not for the persecution of the tribulation.

3. I also think the Anti-Christ / False Prophet have a plan to use this false belief of a pre-trib rapture to damage the church. I can imagine the Anti-Christ saying "You say I am not the real Christ but that I am the Anti-Christ. But if I am the Anti-Christ shouldn’t you have been raptured away by now? You are liars and your teachings are false." This is a danger of false teaching in the church

May God bless you and your work

Response #16:

Very good to make your acquaintance. I certainly appreciate your kind and supportive words, and also your helpful observations listed here. For those who say "it doesn't make any difference", I think these comments prove the point of what I often say, namely, that every single bit of truth contained in scripture is of the utmost importance. Even if some point or principle is not obviously "important" at the moment, it will form a part of the spiritual edifice in the believer's heart the sum total of which contributes to the integrity of the whole; conversely, how many bricks does one need to take out of a building before it becomes structurally unsound? Better not to have to find out the answer to that question.

This study you refer to was done fairly early in the course of this ministry, and I have written quite a bit more on the topic in the years since. Here are some key links I think you may also find helpful:

Parousia is the 2nd Advent (not the pre-Trib rapture)

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

in CT 5, "The [post-Tribulation] Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride"

Do feel free to write back about any of this.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for responding. You mention "how many bricks does one need to take out of a building". I’ve been thinking along the same lines a lot recently but in a different way. Rather than seeing a building missing bricks, which I would equate with lack of knowledge, I’ve been seeing it as a building where different bricks or even blocks of wood were used in the construction of the building. These I equate with false teachings. In order to get these bricks of a different kind or blocks of wood to be part of the wall, the builder must use bricks and mortar in unusual way that make the wall weak and make it hard to continue building upward. So it is with false knowledge. To incorporate that false knowledge into one’s understanding it becomes necessary to twist around the true knowledge you have and it becomes harder to add new deeper knowledge.

It was very good to hear from you and I will definitely look at the pages you have suggested

Thank you

Response #17:

Well said!

Do feel free to write me back about anything you read at the links.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello,

I have another question. The Bible emphatically states nobody knows the day or hour of the Lord's return. What about the year? I read your "Seven Days of History" and the millennium should being in 2033 A.D. immediately after the Tribulation which is seven years. Is the Rapture going to be 2026 A.D.? This seems rather logical. I also read this:

50 Reasons Why We Are Living In The End Times by Dr. David R. Reagan

The Bible says we cannot know the time of the Lord's return (Matthew 25:13). But the Scriptures make it equally clear that we can know the season of the Lord's return (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6):

"You yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." But you brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night or darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober."

This passage asserts that Jesus is coming like "A thief in the night." But then it proceeds to make it clear that this will be true only for the pagan world and not for believers. His return should be no surprise to those who know Him and His Word, for they have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to give them understanding of the nature of the times.

What are your thoughts?

Response #18:

Good to hear from you again.

I emphatically believe that "no one knows the day or the hour" because "the days have been shortened for the sake of the elect" (Matt.24:22) – but shortened by a matter of days, not years, nor months, nor even weeks: the second advent will occur in the fall at about the time of the Day of Atonement (as the festival that prefigures it; see the link). The "unknown day and hour" of Matthew 24:36 is meant to indicate imminency at the time; it is not meant to discourage investigation of the great volume of eschatological material included in the Bible by the Holy Spirit for our benefit. Here is what I have written about that elsewhere:

The "unknown day and hour" of Matt.24:36 and Mark 13:32 merely indicates that we may know an event is imminent without knowing the precise day of the year and hour of the day in which it will occur. After all, this comment occurs immediately following the parable of the fig tree where we are told by our Lord in no uncertain terms precisely to pay attention to scripturally significant events and not to ignore what the Bible has to say on these matters (cf. Matt.24:32-35; Mk.13:28-31). Acts 1:7 is often mistranslated "It is not for you to know", but should be rendered "It is not for you to decide the times and the seasons". The Greek verb gignosko commonly has this meaning of "decide" especially when it is in the aorist as it is here. The context strongly supports this revised translation since our Lord immediately adds "which the Father has ordained by His authority". That is to say, Jesus' point is that it is the Father who has decided these matters; they are not to be decided by your wishes. For our Lord's disciples had just very clearly expressed the wish through their question in the preceding verse six for Him to establish the Kingdom immediately. Therefore our Lord's reproof in verse seven is not a commendation of complete ignorance about the Father's timetable, but rather a reminder to them that it is His will in these matters that counts, not theirs; they would have to remain patient, even though from their perspective the time seemed ripe for the commencement of the Messiah's kingdom. We must also take into consideration the fact that this statement was given to the apostles prior to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit is the agent of inspiration, chronology included, who, as Jesus had already made clear, would be the One to relate to them "the things to come" (Jn.16:13; cf. 2Pet.1:16-21). Since they will later come to understand the "things to come", verse seven must also be understood in conjunction with verse eight: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you . . .", a statement that clearly includes the previously promised further revelation of the Spirit (not excluding information about the end times). This is why, a few short years later, Paul can tell the Thessalonians the exact opposite of Acts 1:7 (that is, as it is generally misconstrued): "concerning the times and the seasons, you have no need that anyone write you, for you know very well . . ." (1Thes.5:1-2).

See also the link: Eschatology Issues V: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons".

As to the "rapture", I prefer to use the term "resurrection", since "rapture" is usually understood to be an event taking place before the Tribulation. In fact of course, there will be no resurrection of the Church until our Lord's parousia, that is, His second advent return. That is what the Bible teaches in each and every place where this doctrine is discussed; it is only in the imagination of men (since the 19th century) that it is sometimes wrongly placed seven years earlier than its actual occurrence. Please see the links:

Parousia

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

So yes, we surely ought to make it our business to know what may be known from scripture in the power of the Spirit. The Spirit works with us in teaching us when we give ourselves over to the study of scripture personally and through the teachers He has placed in the Church (but He doesn't put it into our heads "magically" without the former).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello from Australia,

As a newcomer, saved & Baptized only a matter of some years ago. Since then I have become fascinated with the Jewish Nation and End-Times.

Question: I hear of so many learned Pastors that believe in a Rapture, some of these say pre-trib .... some say post trib. Why do they have conflicting views? What are your views?

Thank you. Could I ask :where are you? Brisbane

Response #19:

Very good to make your acquaintance. I grew up in a Presbyterian church (amillennial), and, after deciding to spend my life pursuing the truth while in the service, cut my teeth in a evangelical ministry (pre-Trib), and attending thereafter a like-minded seminary (Talbot: also pre-Trib). In the course of attempting to defend the pre-Trib position many years ago (well before the start of Ichthys), I discovered that not only there was no biblical support for the pre-Trib position, but that the Bible is very clear about teaching only one return of our Lord Jesus – at the second advent. That is when "we who are yet alive and remain until the coming (parousia – it always refers to the 2nd advent) of the Lord" will be resurrected while still in this body assuming, that is, we make it to that point – some will, some won't: apostasy and martyrdom will claim two thirds of the Church during those dark days ahead.

The reason so many are fervently pre-Trib is to be explained by two things: 1) blind loyalty to tradition; and 2) unwillingness to pursue the truth of scripture in a consistent and disciplined way. That is not to say that all who are post-Trib are right about everything (or even anything) else. This particular false doctrine (i.e., of the pre-Tribulation "rapture"), only goes back to the late 19th century. As I often say when discussing this matter, I don't fault those who came up with it so much as those who presently defend it. The Reformers were amillennial because that is what the Roman Catholic church is, and they had "other fish to fry", so to speak, that were at the time more important that fixing the R.C. church's mishmash of eschatology (as in the doctrine of salvation). Things began to loosen up in the 19th century and there were many "prophecy movements" towards the end of it. The realization that the Millennium was literal and that end times events described in Revelation and elsewhere in scripture were not allegorical but real made for many exciting discoveries (actually, re-discoveries, inasmuch as these things were known by the first generation of the Church and some of them were handed down correctly for a few centuries at least; cf. Irenaeus), but also for many confused and incorrect doctrinal formulations. That is not at all surprising when one sees all of the nonsense that is out there even today. The Coming Tribulation series is a comprehensive attempt to put all that right (see the link). For the details on the rapture et al. (the above is merely a brief synopsis), please see these links:

Parousia

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

p.s., bio and C.V. available at the links

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for the reply, I was brought up R/Catholic, then completely strayed off the track. In my late sixties, I find it hard to read, not having had much to do with the Bible, but what interests me is like I said "End Times" and Mid East Prophecy, where I can relate back to the Bible, especially at this moment of time .... Isaiah 17 comes to mind and with Syria and the problems all around the countries that border Israel. Whether there is a rapture before Tribulations or towards the end, I am not that concerned. Will read your reply now further. Interesting times just ahead.

You have an interesting web-site.

Response #20:

You're very welcome.

Current events do seem to be trending in the direction of the biblical scenario (although it is always important to note that there is no more prophecy of any specific future events in the Bible before the Tribulation actually begins).

I'm glad you are not concerned about a rapture! Many of our brothers and sisters are not concerned about eschatology – precisely because they believe in a pre-Trib rapture. This is going to put many of them in a very bad way when they find themselves in the midst of the Tribulation contrary to their expectations. Inasmuch as one third of the true Church is prophesied to fall away in the Great Apostasy (see the link), that is a very real concern.

Keep fighting the good fight of faith!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello Bob,

From Australia again, I trust you and family had a wonderful Christmas. Could I ask of you what 1 Thessalonians 5:9 actually means " For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through Our Lord Jesus Christ". I am reading 1 Thessalonians at present, and looking into the commentary of a study Bible, but I was hoping the "wrath" refers to the period of time during the second half of the 7yrs Tribulation period. As I said in a past email, "I'm not concerned when the rapture actually is". But the commentary hasn't anything like this. (I'm using the Life Application Study Bible NIV). I am a retiree and somehow feel because of age, reading and the ability to store "up top" is not easy. I hope you do not mind the odd question sent to you.

Thanks. From a hot and dry Victoria Point Queensland. The picture is of the front lawn.

Response #21:

Very good to hear from you again. To answer your question, on the one hand we should understand the "wrath" in 1st Thessalonians 5:9 in the eternal sense (i.e., of impending divine judgment upon all unbelievers) along the lines of what Paul also says in Ephesians:

And you [He made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV

However, on the other hand, the "wrath" in 1st Thessalonians 5:9 is specifically referring to the destruction of the wicked (those who have followed the beast) when our Lord returns. The contrast in this context is between those who will be unpleasantly surprised by the coming of the Day of the Lord, a term which, while it may include the Tribulation as the twilight before that Day, means here the return of Christ. At the second advent, God's wrath will be poured out upon those who oppose the Lord at Armageddon and upon all unbelievers who supported antichrist. As Paul says in his next letter to this same church:

[S]ince [it is] a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to [give] you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
2nd Thessalonians 1:6-10 NIV

The point Paul is making at 1st Thessalonians 5:9, picking up on what he had just said in verse eight, is that as believers in Jesus Christ we have no worries about our own eternal status and therefore no expectation of angry judgment whatsoever. That confidence is "the [confident] hope of salvation which is our helmet", guarding us against many a false doctrine that might otherwise cast us down in hard times, even if those hard times may include enduring the Tribulation. Having explained the timing and the nature of the resurrection in the previous chapter, this section of the epistle's final chapter contrasts the hopelessness of the unbelievers (upon whom that Day will fall) with the courage it is right for all believers to have, we who have taken refuge in the Lord, confident that He will return to save us (Heb.6:18). This is a very important perspective for all believers who may find themselves in the middle of the Tribulation to embrace: whatever horrible things happen during those seven years, the judgments from the Lord are meant for our enemies, not for us. And in the final judgments of Armageddon we have endured to the end will be spared from all wrath – since we will be resurrected at the point, when our Lord returns.

If it is any consolation, I have gotten very little help from commentaries over the years. Do feel free to write back about any of the above.

Stay safe my friend!

In joyous anticipation of that glorious day of Christ's return.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #22:

I noticed the only two religions that push their views on the rapture and the eternal security are people lost in sin. A friend I knew up in PA believed in the Jewish Laws and feasts and Sabbath odd days for salvation. I think he was delusional in some of his thinking. Had the right idea about the churches being lost and other concerns. It seems these days are like the days of Noah. The Pagans try to trick us and many are now speaking at pulpits, signing books, etc. There is so much to do for Jesus but so little time.

In His ministry

Response #22:

Thanks for the comment, friend.

It's always better to go with the truth, whether it is popular or not.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob Luginbill
 

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