The well known statement used as the title of this article can be found in the Bible in Mark 3:25. It is an undeniable truth that has proven itself many times throughout history in many situations. And even now as we see Shia and Sunny Muslims fighting each other, we will see that also this house will not stand.
Also Christians themselves are the victim of this division. The multitude of denominations and doctrines are a sign on the wall. And sadly reborn Christians that are nondenominational argue and even condemn each other over issues that are not relevant for salvation.
Especially now as we see many of the Bible’s end time related prophecies coming to pass the details of how things will unfold seem to overshadow the eager anticipation of our returning Lord and us being with Him forever. It is more than sad since this strive is the worst testimony that Christians can give.
The rapture: “you yourselves know very well”
With these words the apostle Paul starts to explain events that lead up to the day of the Lord. He assumes that he doesn’t need to write these things. They should be clear. The scripture where we find this (1 Thess. 5:1-2) is often quoted in relation to the rapture.
This is one of the major issues for division nowadays. In particular the question when this rapture is to take place. Is it not so that if, in spite of what you believe, you act as if it could happen any moment, you will be ready. Any other position holds the risk of people NOT being ready. That should actually close the discussion among Christians and urge them to evangelize and testify with even more passion. It was exactly how Jesus started His ministry: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). And so did John the Baptist before Him (Matthew 3:2).
But now one Christian is condemning his brother for being deceived in believing in another timing for the rapture that he himself does. Recently I came across an article titled “The 11 Questions EVERY Pre-Tribber Must Answer”. Written by someone who used to be a ‘ pre-tribber’ (believing in the rapture to happen before the tribulation period), and has now become a post-tribber. Struggling with questions that seemed to contradict his belief, he posted these questions to six pastors. Lack of adequate answers changed his belief. However now, the article is being used to ‘prove’ that there is no pre-trib rapture.
The word of God is meant for everyone, but not everything can be digested by everyone at the same moment. As new believers we get it as milk and as we mature we switch to meat (1 Cor. 3:2). It is good to be eager for the meat but allow the Spirit to reveal it to you at the right time. Today, with platforms like YouTube, many drink milk and serve meat as if they prepared it themselves. And many people believe whatever they find on the internet. It is dangerous, not all of us are teachers…
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12).
Since the 11 questions are posted as open questions in the above referenced article, I will address them from my perspective, as they have been revealed to me. Not to press my belief but rather to show that we need to really study the Word carefully and not start teaching until God Himself has revealed His word to our heart. The purpose should be to edify and support the body of Christ, not to condemn brothers and sisters in Christ.
For the sake of the length of the article I will keep my answers as short as possible, although much more can be said.
1. Is the interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 in which Paul was talking about the two events preceding “our gathering together unto him” correct, or is there a much better interpretation that accurately fits the context?”
Yes, the interpretation is correct in so far that Paul refers to these two events to happen before the rapture: the falling away (άποστασία) and the antichrist being revealed. Verse 4 does not refer to a pre-rapture event but rather is a reference to who this man of sin is (showing he is the same spoken of in Daniel 11, Matthew 24 and Revelation 13). In other words Paul states that the rapture will take place after a falling away (from faith and sound doctrine) has started and after the antichrist is being revealed (in concord with Daniel 9:27).
2. If 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 is clearly referring to or implying the Rapture of the Church, then why would Paul contradict himself in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 by stating the exact opposite?
There is no contradiction, we see that the restrainer (the church or the body of Christ) has to be removed before the wicked one can be revealed. When the church is gone he will be revealed for what he is to the world. Before he can reach that point he will be revealed to the church. Those indwelled by the Spirit will know, like Noah knew ahead of time. The others will find out when the great tribulation starts. (Both Daniel and Revelation show that the antichrist will come as savior and prince of peace and from the second half of the tribulation he will show his true nature and is called the Beast).
3. How does the phase, “taken out of the way” in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 clearly mean off the earth and into heaven?
This is clearly applied in the original Greek, it says there έπ’ αύτόν, meaning to Him or in other words where He is. Since the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended to heaven and sits at right hand of God, it means heaven. Exactly as described in Revelation 4 and on.
4. If the Holy Spirit really is in Heaven during the Tribulation, how do people get saved without His convicting, sealing, and indwelling power in light of Romans 8:9?
It is NOT stated that the Holy Spirit will be in heaven during the tribulation. The rapture applies to the Church, the body of Christ, those indwelled by the Holy Spirit. From the scriptures in the book of Revelation we can clearly see that God is active on this earth in His fullness (Father, Son and Spirit). That’s why also in this period people will turn to God, testify of salvation through Jesus and be strengthened by the Spirit.
5. Why does 1 Corinthians 15:51 make a point to state that the Rapture will be at the “last” trumpet and not the 2nd to last trumpet or more? Does last really mean last?
This has everything to do with the Hebrew idiom of ‘the last trump’. It certainly does not mean that there will never be a trumpet sound ever after that (and we know there will be many, among which the 7 trumpets heralding judgments during the tribulation). It is more like the final signal before a certain event. Like the walls of Jericho fell at the last trump. Much more can be said about this with regards to the Hebrew meaning… So, no, last does not really mean last in an absolute way.
6. Why does Jesus say In John 6 repeatedly “at the last day” and not “in the last days”, making it seem like he was specifically talking about the very last day in our history?
The last day here refers to the last day of the so called church age. The day of the rapture. As written in 1 Cor. 15 and Isaiah 26:19, the ‘dead in Christ’ will rise first on that specific day.
7. Why does Revelation 20 make a point to tell us that these tribulation believers took part in the “first resurrection” and not the second resurrection?
The first resurrection takes place in three phases: 1. Jesus was the first fruit of the first resurrection; 2. ‘the dead in Christ’ being resurrected in the rapture (see above) are the second phase; 3. the resurrection of the martyrs of the tribulation mentioned in Revelation 20 is the third and last phase. Note that all these are part of the body of Christ or the church.
As stated in Rev. 20:5 the rest of the dead will be resurrected after the thousand years reign of Christ on earth, that is the second ressurection.
8. Why does Paul tell us that the timing of the Rapture will be fulfilled at the beginning of the Millennium in 1 Corinthians 15:54 fulfilling Isaiah 25:8?
Paul does not tell us that although you might interpret it that way because of the wording in Rev. 21:4; however in Rev. 20:6 it states that the second death has no power over those that are part of the first resurrection. So for them death is swallowed before the millennium.
9. Why does Matthew 13 state that both the wheat and the tares will grow together without any prior separation occurring between them before the end of the world? And why does it even say that the tares will be the first to be gathered before the wheat at that time, rather than the wheat being first?
It does not refer to the ‘end of the world’ but to the wrath to come. And as we see the church and the world ‘grow together’. The separation happens prior to the wrath because God is just and would not have people left behind that would be eligible for the rapture. Just as with real tares, when the late rain (latter rain) falls, they stand up straight whereas the wheat bows it’s head due to the weight of the ripening grains. Thus the tares can be easily removed from among them. Or in other words the wicked ones will be clearly separate from the righteous ones.
The parable however seems not to refer to the rapture but to the second coming at the end of the tribulation. That is the final harvest / gathering. Jesus had no intention of revealing the rapture yet (see question 11).
10. Why do we believe in a new doctrine that started in the early 19th century, while at the same time having no evidence of a pre-trib rapture view being believed or taught among the entire early church after the apostles?
It is not a new doctrine. From a Biblical perspective it was not revealed until after Jesus’ ascension although clearly evident in scripture in a concealed way ( a mystery as Paul wrote). But early Bible interpreters wrote about it, among whom:
It is certainly not so that John Darby was the first to teach this as is often claimed.
11. And lastly, if the Apostles believed and taught a pre-trib rapture, why would they have failed so miserably to preserve that doctrine through their students and through the next centuries? We don’t even have evidence of one early church leader who taught it, as far as I know.
The Bible clearly shows that the apostles had no idea about the rapture (pre-trib or otherwise). One of the last things Jesus taught them had to do with the end times and is the so called Olivet Discourse which we can read in Matthew 24. But even here Jesus is not fully clear about the rapture, second coming and tribulation and the exact course of events (although if read with the right mind His listing is very precise). The reason being that it was not yet the time. The doctrine did not become relevant until after He would have died, risen and ascended. And that is because it has everything to do with the imminence of His return (as He said to Mary: “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father;” – John 20:17). It was the apostle Paul who first started to reveal the mystery (1 Cor. 15:51), and it was made full through the revelation given to the apostle John.
It is exactly this doctrine of His imminent return that should keep us prepared (“I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” – John 14:3). As said before the danger of believing that certain events will first happen keeps some with a foot in the world thinking they can fully decide later when they will see things happen. It is a grave danger…
And yes there will be persecution before the tribulation, even Jesus Himself states so in Matthew 24. And Christians have faced persecution, already from Jesus’ time (and the Jews before that). And in our time it is only increasing as was foretold. There is however a big difference, the evil of persecution is satanic, the judgment spoken of in Revelation is, just as in Noah’s time, the wrath of God. Now would it make sense that God pours out His wrath upon His children that have been redeemed by the blood of His son??
With addressing the eleven questions above, we’ve started to nibble on the meat. So much more can be said. But more relevant than asking ourselves these questions, I would suggest the following two questions EVERY Christian should ask himself:
- If there is a pre-trib rapture: am I ready?
- In case of a pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib or no rapture at all: am I ready for the physical and psychological persecution that I might have to suffer?
Am I ready? should be the prevailing question at all times. And as Christians rather than being dogmatic about issues that are not relevant for salvation, we should we be ready and make sure that as many as possible are saved. In the very least we should not give anyone the impression they can sit back and delay their decision for the Lord until things will get really ugly – because by claiming there is no pre-trib rapture we make many believe they have that chance…this might turn out to be a grave error. Better be ready and there is more time than not be ready and run out of time.
EVERYTHING is leading SOMEWHERE and FAST. Making sense of the events on the world stage: /prophecy/2014/11/everything-is-leading-somewhere-and-fast-making-sense-of-the-events-on-the-world-stage-2465392.html
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