Updated: Jun 15
The Rapture Gap
As of late, I have noticed some within our Pre-Trib community who have begun to shift their thinking regarding the timing of the Seal Judgments and where those align within the 70th Week of Daniel-proper (i.e., the literal seven years). Some have even suggested that the Seal Judgments do not even begin to open until the mid-point of the Tribulation (or 3.5 years into the 70th Week).
I believe that part of their reasoning for departing from the traditional view (i.e., the simple chronological understanding of Revelation), is that their previous assumptions about the Rapture have not yet come to pass. If we think back to all the high-watch, rapture years (1993, 2000, 2011, 2017, and 2018), it seems these teachers relied on a faulty timing-based scenario that aligned the Rapture at either 40 or 70 years. Since we are now in 2019, many have begun to rethink their understanding, which is why they are moving into a hybrid, mid-tribulation Rapture scenario.
I do not subscribe to a mid-trib (for lack of a better term) scenario.
Although I will tie up my thoughts in the summary of his volume, I want to give some context as to the why our Rapture is at the beginning of the 70th week, rather than the middle. Furthermore, if we understand that Scripture never ties the Rapture with the start of the 70th Week of Daniel, we can see how and why a gap must be necessary.
Why the Gap?
The reasons I do not support a mid-trib Rapture (or even a 3.5-year Tribulation) are many, but many theologians ignore one of the more practical reasons I can think of. There is a military truism I have oft heard repeated throughout my career, which is amateur’s talk of strategy, while professionals study logistics. In other words, you can be the best tactically trained force on the planet, and have the best strategic plan ever devised, but if you cannot resource it, it is never going to work. Logistics is truly how the US beat the Japanese and the Germans in WWII. It is not that we had better weapons, tanks, ships, or aircraft; it was that we out-produced them while simultaneously decimating their ability to replenish theirs.
A logical assumption (based on second and third-order effects) then is that immediately after the Rapture of the Church, the world is cast headlong into a temporary state of chaos. That is somewhat hard for us to wrap our minds around, given we have largely benefited from a stable world over the last 70-plus years. Despite the issues we have had since the last period of global chaos (World War II), life on terra firma has largely held steady and provided a period of relative normalcy.
The nation-states (for the most part) have operated in a functional manner. Wars were largely confined to individual nations (ex. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan) rather than across the globe. International trade and currencies proliferated amongst the nations. Aside from the occasional weather phenomenon, global travel has greatly expanded and remained unimpeded. IOW, things have remained relatively stable and peaceful. That has all been a result of a stable and somewhat benevolent super-state like the United States. Given the state of the world as it is currently, the United States is still the largest economy, still has the most powerful military, and is still the single greatest roadblock to global governance. [For the purposes of this article, we will simply use 10% of the American population as a mark on the wall.] If the Rapture happened tomorrow and ten percent of the US population simply disappeared in an instant that would equal around 31 million Americans who are no longer contributing to our economy and society. Since the early 1980s, the Greatest Generation has begun being replaced with the Baby Boomers. Each subsequent generation has continued to deteriorate in terms of national identity and unanimity. Our society today is more akin to America 1860 than we are America 1960. If the Rapture happened in 1945, the US may have recovered. But we are far too divided and weakened today to survive a major natural disaster, much less something like the Rapture.
1. The US is highly polarized today, with about half the nation ideologically/politically pitted against the other. Whether it is liberal versus conservative, capitalist versus socialist, black vs. white, gay vs. straight, or simply Democrat versus Republican, we are a much-divided nation ideologically. The elections of Barack Hussein Obama and Donald Trump have only further heightened that division.
2. The US recently crossed the $22T threshold regarding our national debt. If we included all the future promised expenditures, i.e., the unfunded liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, etc.), we are well over the $100T mark in debt. This means that even without a Rapture-event scenario, the United States as we knew them, will not survive into the near future without some kind of radical governmental overhaul.
3. The rest of the industrialized/modernized world is in equally similar (or worse) shape economically speaking. Most of the industrialized world either has a huge debt to GDP ratio, have failing economies, or does not have the adequate infrastructure to sustain their economic growth. Therefore, if the Rapture took place tomorrow, and 31 million Americans were instantaneously removed, the sudden loss of income, wages, rents, taxes, and the loss of the societal contributions would absolutely destabilize an already fragile political and economic system. That destabilization would trigger a domino effect across a world that is equally fragile and unstable.
The best example we can come to see what this looks like was the 1929 Stock Market crash. That crash triggered a series of economic collapses around the world and crushed nations that were already struggling financially.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 also provided the perfect opportunity for a man like Adolph Hitler to rise to power in Germany. A future scenario similar to that of 1929 would create the prime opportunity for a man like the Antichrist to emerge from the shadows.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
From somewhere within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire, will come one, who will confirm (or increase) some covenant with the many (many nations), for one week of years (or seven years). We can be certain that this has not happened historically, so we know that this is still a future event.
How it happens
European leaders such as Winston Churchill, Nicolas Sarkozy, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Tusk, Jean Claude Juncker, and others have long had on their minds a vision to revive the greatness of Europe. As of 2019, they have not yet had the means to do so. Going back to 1947, Europe has undergone a process of piece-meal unification via treatise to make that happen. So far, this has resulted in a fractured and somewhat dysfunctional economic and political alliance. They barely have an Army, and practically no Air Force or Navy.
NATO (the current military force for the EU) is truly only functional because it is being led by the United States. Once the US is no longer taking the lead in NATO, it will fall apart and NATO will be drafted into the European Defence Force. The EU has many serious issues (both foreign and domestic), which they really cannot get a handle on, let alone, take on the mantel of replacing the US as the world’s next superpower if we were to collapse. Since there are presumably far fewer born-again Christians in the EU than in the US, it would be another logical assumption that internally, the EU would take far less of a hit than the US would when the Rapture does occur. That is to say, the EU would be in better shape after the Rapture than it is before. The same could be said for much of the Middle East, Russia, and Asia.
Presupposing a US collapse (breakdown of all normal societal and governmental functions), what remains in the US is a hodge-podge of secure zones, surrounded by large swaths of lawless areas. At this point, the world has about three choices for who can/will take the mantle of becoming the new top dog: Russia, China, or the European Union. Given that, the world has seen what Russia and China are capable of (Stalin, Iron Curtain, Great Leap Forward, etc.); the world will likely favor a European-led confederacy. Add into this, the demise of the Gog-Magog coalition (Russia, Turkey, Libya, Sudan, and Iran), and the choices are now largely the Kings of the East (a China-led coalition), or the European confederacy, comprised of ten regions.
In order for the EU to propose any sort of challenge to China or Russia, it would need to capitalize on the things it has excelled at, which are technology and economics. The EU still wants its great military forces (as treaties and stability are meaningless without the threat of power). Logistically speaking, it would take time to transfer the wealth, power, and people of those who were left behind in the US to the newly ascending European Union (and/or Union of the Mediterranean). This is also assuming that people would want to leave the New World for the Old World, but if the US were to return to its wild and ungovernable roots, many would flee the Americas to get back to some sense of normalcy.
So how does the Antichrist take power and revive the old Roman Empire (the EU and UfM) to take over the entire earth in the last days? The same way Hitler did. He took advantage of chaos and uncertainty.
This is why I believe there is a gap in time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week of Daniel (aka…the Tribulation). Note that Adolph Hitler did not rise to power at a time when Germany was prospering and politically stable; he rose to power when things were in utter shambles. Back then in 1929, the US Stock Market crashed, triggering numerous economic crashes around the world. Germany was still suffering under the auspices of the financial penalties from the post-WWI Versailles Treaty.
When the stock market crashed, they literally hit rock bottom. Using Hitler, as an example as an antichrist, the one thing we take note of, is that it took time for him to do what he did.
Hitler’s political climb to power started in 1929 and continued through his ascension to the Chancellorship in 1933= four years.
Hitler’s domestic consolidation of power began in 1933 and continued through 1938 when he annexed Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland=five years.
Therefore, it took nine years from 1929 to 1938 before Hitler’s true ambitions came to the forefront. If the Rapture of the Church triggers a similar economic shockwave around the world such as the 1929 Stock Market Crash, then conservatively speaking, we could see the Antichrist rise to power in half that time, or about 4.5 years.
The timing would have to be right for a leader to step in and fill the vacuum that the absent US would present. However, this man would still need the logistical means to resource and finance his ambitions. This is where advancements in technology and the Mark of the Beast system come into view.
This man (the Antichrist) would first have to contend with a number of systemic and emerging issues and problem sets that would prevent him from completely taking over IF the Rapture happened tomorrow:
1. The sudden removal of 31M US citizens would destabilize the US Dollar causing it to collapse. When it does, it will drag every other fiat currency down with it. This means not only economic instability ensues, but also political, military, and societal chaos. The only solution to this problem is to convert the world’s economies over to a new form of currency. This means that the world would already have to be close to such technology for that to be feasible. In 2019, we are already there.
2. The war on truth (fake news, information leaks, disinformation, etc.) has become every bit as real as any other military conflict. IF the economies of the world collapse, and societal chaos ensues, no one will know whom to trust to a far greater degree than even today. The Antichrist would need to use this new financial system as a forcing function to create absolute, political loyalty.
3. THE world is currently divided between nationalists and globalists. The happy medium between these two polarized viewpoints is regionalization. Divide nations amongst regions, so that the nation-states can still keep some semblance of autonomy (the EU is largely like this today), but are grouped into regions so that they can be more manageable.
4. While the political world of today refuses to acknowledge the spiritual domain, the Antichrist will absolutely embrace it. He will do so through infusing technology (some form of quantum-based artificial intelligence) into his body. His super-power as it were, will be the most superior intellect the world has ever seen. He will have the perfect ability to recall any bit of information ever conceived of by man and use it for his advantage. Through the help of another person called the False Prophet (who really does have supernatural powers), the Antichrist will begin to consolidate his power amongst the other regional leaders (Dan. 7:7-8, 19-25). Lastly and most importantly, Satan will give him all the kingdoms of the earth (Luke 4:5-7).
According to 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8, the Antichrist cannot be revealed until AFTER the Rapture of the Church.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed…
According to Revelation 4:1-2 and 5:8-10, Christ begins to open the Seals after the church has already been caught up to heaven.
After these things (after the church age) I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this (after the church age).” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. (Emphasis mine)
The Antichrist cannot begin his conquest until Christ opens the first Seal.
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. Revelation 6:1-2
Therefore, the Antichrist will not be in a position to confirm any covenant with anyone, until he is politically/militarily/economically in a position to do so and…
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; Daniel 9:26-27
One cannot negotiate from a position of weakness. Antichrist must be in a position of power to set the terms, and enforce the regulations or laws of the treaty, in order for anyone to abide by it.
So many things have to happen between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation (Gog and Magog War, rebuilding of the Third Jewish Temple, power transfer to the EU) that it becomes logistically impossible to do it all within the seven-year period of the 70th Week proper. With that said, if you understand the gap required, you need not manipulate your Pre-Tribulation Rapture position to fit current events.
Next Week, Volume II: The Mark of the Beast