10 Things Wrong w/ the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (from the world's perspective)
1. It’s ridiculous- when we try to reason with our human minds, the concept of instantly being converted from flesh and blood to immortality is ridiculous. Yet, when we look back through Scripture, we see equally ridiculous events like the Noahic Flood, the parting of the Red Sea during the Exodus, Joshua’s battle against the five Amorite kings when the sun and moon stood still for a day, David killing Goliath the giant with a stone, Shadrach, Meshack, Abednego’s miraculous experience in the fiery furnace. So far as we can see, God specializes in using the ridiculous to make mankind look foolish. As Chuck Missler once put it,
Clearly, the idea of the Rapture can be considered the most preposterous belief in Biblical Christianity. The situation regarding the doctrine of the Rapture is painfully similar to the famous quote by Michio Kaku, speaking of quantum physics:
I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... In fact, it is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it… is that it is unquestionably correct.
2. It’s anti-climactic- we can’t know when it’s going to specifically happen, but as soon as it happens, it’s over within the blink of an eye. Here is what we can know about it:
a. It is going to happen
b. It is going to happen before the 70th Week of Daniel
c. It is going to be signless event (meaning it doesn’t require a sign to happen)
So while we don’t have signs for the rapture, we are seeing signs for the 70th Week, which tells us it’s near
d. As soon as it happens, it’s over
3. It removes the Church from the equation- We have been conditioned by the world to think that every good story and every hero, requires a struggle. We see this same theme in every popular book, movie, and television show ever created. However, the Rapture flips that narrative on its head because it is something we can neither speed up, nor slow down. Nor can we (as believers) affect how it happens or what happens afterward. IOW, we have zero say in it.
a. We have been conditioned by numerous denominations to think we are responsible for bringing in and building the kingdom
b. We have been conditioned to believe that the Rapture is a distraction and a fringe topic that keeps us from doing the real work here
c. We have been conditioned to believe the rapture is an escape, and that anyone who wants it to happen before the Tribulation, is a coward
d. The Church wasn’t in the first 69 Weeks, and neither shall we be in the 70th Week
However, the Rapture is not man’s plans for deliverance, but God’s. This whole thing comes from the mind of God, and those who criticize it, are criticizing God’s plan of deliverance.
4. It has to happen- Mankind cannot go and live where Christ lives, because our mortal, finite frames were only designed to live in this atmosphere and on this earth (i.e., which is why flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does perishable inherit imperishable). While Jesus was the first to mention this concept of bringing us to be where He is (John 14:1-3), it was given to the Apostle Paul as to the “Why” it has to happen (Romans 8:22-30, 2 Cor 5:17-21, Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30) See also Got Questions
a. Justification- a one-time past event
b. Sanctification- a lifelong event
c. Glorification- a one-time future event
5. It simplifies wrath- according to critics of the pre-tribulation rapture, this rapture position ignores the complex nuances of the various forms of wrath and tribulation present in the world. For the past two thousand years, the Church Christ is building (Matt 16:18-19) has endured the wrath of man and Satan. In fact, John 15:15-24 and 16:33 state that the world would hate the church and would put her through trials and tribulations because it hated Christ first. But is suffering the world’s wrath the same thing as enduring the 70th Week of Daniel? No.
a. According to the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9, the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks was specifically for the Jews and for Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah stated in Jer. 30:7-11, that this second half was meant both as a form of disciplining Israel, as well as destroying all the nations in the world IOT reconcile the nation of Israel (or its remnant) back to Himself. Ergo, since the Church wasn’t in the first 69 Weeks, neither will it be in the 70th Week
b. Jesus says in Matthew 24:21-22 that the 70th Week of Daniel (aka…the Tribulation) would be the most horrific time in human history-eclipsing even the days of Noah which He destroyed the world with water, for which, we should pray that we counted worthy to escape it (Luke 21:36)
c. We see in Revelation 5:3-5 who initiates the wrath that is poured out on the earth. In fact, Jesus is the only being in the entire universe worthy to initiate the seal judgments, which triggers the trumpets and bowl judgments. So, if anyone is to claim ownership for what happens, it’s Jesus. Seems pretty simple to me.
6. It adds a second resurrection and another coming- but does it?
a. According to Col 1:18, Christ is the head of the Church, and we are His body. Since Christ was resurrected first, and He is the head of the church, is it a second resurrection to also raise His body seeing as they are one in the same?
b. What about those “many” who were resurrected at Christ’s death? Do they count in this number of resurrections? (Matt 27:51-53)
c. The Jews of Jesus’ day only believed God would come once as a great conqueror overthrowing the shackles of Gentile rule. They believed, according to Malachi 4:5-6, that Elijah would precede the Messiah’s coming. Had they accepted Him and His message of the Kingdom, John the Baptist would have fulfilled that role (Matt 11:11-15). But since they didn’t, they put John the Baptist to death and Jesus likewise. However, they fulfilled prophecy and the Old Testament by doing so (rejecting the Cornerstone), as well as triggering the foreordained plan of Messiah saving the world (not just Israel) by becoming the perfect lamb who takes away the sins of the world. (Read John 1:29, 35, 36)
d. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and many others in Jesus' day missed it because they did not read their Bibles closely but rather, put their trust in their own lineage, piety, and religious leaders who led them astray through errant interpretations and man-centric teachings. Fair to say the modern church is doing much the same thing.
7. It’s Unfair Part 1- what I mean by this is that it differentiates between believers of this dispensation, with believers from every other dispensation
a. According to Col 4:3, the ‘mystery of Christ’ (musterion- not previously revealed) was something that had been hidden from the ages and generations past (Col 1:25-26), but was now being revealed; that God would come down in the flesh, and through His death, burial, and resurrection, become our Kinsman Redeemer (Rev 5:3-5) and would bring both Jew and Gentile together in one body and that He would dwell IN His believers (Christ in you- the hope of glory) via the Holy Spirit. Since the Rapture (harpazo) is the culmination of this mystery (i.e., the glorification part of the process) that was also a mystery.
b. Church couldn’t exist before Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Christ said He would build His church (Matt 16:18-19) and has been doing that ever since during this dispensation.
8. It’s Unfair part 2- What differentiates this generation, from any other generation before us? Why are Western Churches getting a pass when so many have and are suffering for the sake of Christ?
a. If the Rapture was JUST to rescue Western Christians, this argument would have a point. Turns out, ALL Christians are going to be Raptured, not just American Christians.
b. Ours is the first generation with Israel restored back as a nation in 1,878 years
c. Ours is the first generation with the technology necessary for the Beast Kingdom to take over the entire world
d. Ours is the first generation since Christ to arrive at the appointed time (2000th year since Christ's death and resurrection, Hosea 5:15-6:3, Ezekiel 37’s Valley of Dry bones, Ezekiel 38’s Gog-Magog, Seven Letters to Seven Churches, etc.)
e. Again, this is about God’s timing, not ours. Would they still complain if our generation was the one to go through the Tribulation if there was no such concept as a Rapture?
9. It’s Too God-Centric: Every other variation of Christian eschatology, aside from premillennial- pre-tribulationalism, is man-centric. Clearly, the Pre-Trib Position must be wrong.
a. Amillennialism gives the kingdom of God for men to rule
b. Post-millennialism puts the onus on the church to build and prepare the kingdom for Christ to return
c. Pre-Wrath puts the church inside the 70th Week, which requires the church to endure and fight to survive
d. Post-Trib puts the church inside the 70th week, again, requiring the church to endure and fight to survive
e. Partial Rapture puts the onus on the individual to make him or herself worthy to be raptured
It is true, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the only eschatological position that puts the onus solely on God to deliver His bride before His wrath
10. It’s a distraction: According to many within the Church, the doctrine of the Rapture isn’t important. They also say Christians shouldn’t be stuck looking up in the sky when there is so much work to do here on earth. However…
a. A well-balanced study of Bible prophecy sparks a fire within the believer like nothing else can.
b. False dichotomy. Christians can walk and chew gum at the same time. Jesus taught about it. Paul taught both the fledgling church at Thessalonica and the carnal church at Corinth. Peter taught about it. John wrote about it and experienced it firsthand. Clearly, it is important.
c. Bible prophecy makes up 1/3 of the Bible. If you do not study one-third of your bible, you create a vacuum in your theology that WILL get filled with something that is NOT theologically healthy
d. Quote: The Church of Christ in the Last Days (Link)
In closing, let me refer to a quote from an article I wrote many years ago called “The Church of Christ in the Last Days”. In it, I quote from an article that speaks close to home about the Churches of Christ (the non-instrumental denomination) that I have been attending for the past fifteen years. This article was published by Pepperdine University (in the January 2000 edition of Leaven magazine) by Dr. Lynn Mitchell titled Eschatology: Essential, Yet Essentially Ignored. The author belongs to the Church of Christ and was writing essentially to ask the same issue I am addressing here years later.
“Eschatology died as a living concern among our churches because of at least four related developments: (1) The acceptance of the church-kingdom identity fostered by Tolbert Fanning and like-minded sectarians; (2) The powerful and brutal assault on millennial modes of thought and millennial thinkers, particularly premillennial, by the Foy E. Wallace Jr. cadre of de-eschatologizers; (3) The subsequent ruthlessly enforced triumph of Amillennialism and the dogma of church-kingdom identity; and (4) The filling of the vacuum in eschatological thinking with inane, hybridized life-after-death language uninformed by biblical or systematic theology. All we have left is ah-millennialism.
We are neither passionately radical nor invigoratingly hopeful.
From the 1940s onward, not only millenarianism but serious study of eschatology, in general, became "an excellent subject to let alone." I do not believe it is an exaggeration to suggest that the Churches of Christ, since the middle part of our century, have been living in a theological wasteland left by the systematic destruction of premillennial piety among us and the heartbreaking oppression of our premillennial brothers and sisters by the self-appointed suppressors of error and developers of nothing.”
Bonus: It's too new. Well, since Jesus spoke on it, and gave it to Paul to teach, so really, it is the oldest eschatological rapture position falling under biblical Premillennialism. Historic Premillennialism (post-Trib) was developed in the 3rd century and Amillennialism in the 4th and 5th centuries. Post-Millennialism (its modern variation) in the 17th century. Premillennialism is rediscovered (writ large) in the 18th century.
Lee Brainard's Mystery Babylon (Source)