Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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bskeptic
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Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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The Rapture and the Second Coming: An Important Distinction
by Thomas Ice

http://www.raptureme.com/tt10.html


...A key factor in understanding the New Testament's teaching of the pretribulational rapture revolves around the fact that two future comings of Christ are presented. The first coming is the catching up into the clouds of the church before the seven-year tribulation and the second coming occurs at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns to the earth to begin His 1,000 year kingdom. Anyone desirous of insight into the biblical teaching of the rapture and second advent must study and decide whether Scripture speaks of one or two future events.

Posttribulationists usually contend that if the rapture and the second coming are two distinct events, separated by about seven years, then there ought to be at least one passage in Scripture which clearly teaches this. However, the Bible does not always teach God's truth in accordance with our preconceived notions or in such a way that answers directly all of our questions. For example, a Unitarian could design a similar kind of question regarding the Trinity. "Where is at least one passage in Scripture which clearly says that the Persons of the Godhead are distinct?" We who believe the Trinity reply that the Bible teaches the Trinity but in a different way.

Many important biblical doctrines are not given to us directly from a single verse, we often need to harmonize passages into systematic conclusions. Some truths are directly stated in the Bible, such as the deity of Christ (John 1:1, Titus 2:13). But doctrines like the Trinity and the incarnate nature of Christ are the product of biblical harmonization. Taking into account all biblical texts, orthodox theologians, over time, recognized that God is a Trinity and that Christ is the God-Man. Similarly, a systematic consideration of all biblical passages reveals that Scripture teaches two future comings....


The movement for the believer at the rapture is from earth to heaven, while it is from heaven to earth at the second advent. At the rapture, the Lord comes for his saints (1 Thess. 4:16), while at the second coming the Lord comes with His saints (1 Thess. 3:13). At the rapture, the Lord comes only for believers, but His return to the earth will impact all people. The rapture is a translation/resurrection event where the Lord takes believers "to the Father's house" in heaven (John 14:3), while at the second coming believers return from heaven to the earth (Matt. 24:30). Hindson says, "The different aspects of our Lord's return are clearly delineated in the scriptures themselves. The only real issue in the eschatological debate is the time interval between them."
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?
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DCHindley
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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I'm going to predict that there will be almost no responses to your question/request. The reality of a "rapture" is assumed by believing Christians, but most everyone on this board is at very best an agnostic, and doesn't believe in a literal rapture.

DCH
bskeptic wrote:Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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Arguments against Christian theism would then be the best arguments against the pre-trib rapture. :eh:
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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DCHindley wrote:I'm going to predict that there will be almost no responses to your question/request. The reality of a "rapture" is assumed by believing Christians, but most everyone on this board is at very best an agnostic, and doesn't believe in a literal rapture.

DCH
You misunderstand. (I guess my OP wasn't clear -- my fault) I'm just interested in the question of what the Bible teaches.

You don't have to believe that it will happen, to argue the Biblical teaching. I believe that a literal rapture is taught in the Bible; although it's not clear that the rapture is to heaven, and of course the timing is disputed. I doubt that anyone outside of conservative Christianity thinks that the Biblical teaching is a pre-trib rapture, (i.e. excluding people that have uncritically swallowed the idea from Christians), but in theory non-Christians could believe in it.
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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" The movement for the believer at the rapture is from earth to heaven, while it is from heaven to earth at the second advent. At the rapture, the Lord comes for his saints (1 Thess. 4:16), while at the second coming the Lord comes with His saints (1 Thess. 3:13). At the rapture, the Lord comes only for believers, but His return to the earth will impact all people. "

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Let's limit the discussion to the author of 1 Thessalonians for a bit... or the canonical form of the epistle.

http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Gromac ... vinRos.pdf

This seems to be fair enough. The "saints" in the text of Paul and other early Christian writings tend to be believers.

You might want to choose the participle and preposition as the point of weakness:

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lex ... 3952&t=KJV

In translation, saying that X is "coming with" Y really makes crystal clear the idea that both are making the movement together because it is an English idiom. The fact that it is an English idiom may be coloring our interpretation that is dependent on a translation.

I don't think you can prove the negative here, but you might be able to point out an ambiguity in the cited prooftexts.
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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bskeptic wrote:I'm just interested in the question of what the Bible teaches.

You don't have to believe that it will happen, to argue the Biblical teaching. I believe that a literal rapture is taught in the Bible; although it's not clear that the rapture is to heaven, and of course the timing is disputed. I doubt that anyone outside of conservative Christianity thinks that the Biblical teaching is a pre-trib rapture, (i.e. excluding people that have uncritically swallowed the idea from Christians), but in theory non-Christians could believe in it.
My apologies, then!

As the time when I could rattle these verses off the top of my head are long gone, here are some tables from a fundamentalist dispensationalist evangelical Christian viewpoint, that I hope will prove helpful:
Gary G Cohen, Understanding Revelation: A Chronology of the Apocalypse (1968)

[pp 31-34] TABLE 2 THE SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD IN THE SCRIPTURES (Not including the Book of Revelation)

KEY:
A-Antichrist
AR—Antichrist to be a Roman
A7—Antichrist’s 7 year covenant with Israel
AA—Antichrist’s Abomination of Desolation
AP—Antichrist persecutes Israel & saints
10K—10 kings of Revived Roman Empire
3K—3 kings of Revived Roman Empire
RR—Revived Roman Empire
TR—Temple to be rebuilt
MW—Middle of the week
IS—Israel saved
3.5—3.5 year time period
AX—Antichrist destroyed

DAN. 9:24, 26-27
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
[AR]26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for him- self: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
[A7; TR; AA; MW]27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

JN. 5:23

[A7]43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

DAN. 7:19-27

[RR]19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
[10K; AR; 3K]20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
[AP]21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
[AX]22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
[RR]23 Thus he said. The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
[10K; AR; 3K]24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
[AA; AP, 3.5]25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
[AX]26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

DAN. 8:23-25

[A]23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
[AP]24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
[AA; AP; AX]25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

MT. 24:15-23, 29-31

[AA; TR]15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by «Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
[AP]21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
[AP]23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo. here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
[AX]30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

2 THESS. 2:1-12

1 Now we beseech you, brethern, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
[A]3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
[AA; TR]4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
[A; AX]8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
[A]9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
[AX]12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

JER. 30:4-10

4 11 And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
5 For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?
[AP; IS]7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
9 But they shall serve the Lord their God, and Da'-vid their king, whom I will raise up unto them.
[IS]10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.

ROM. 11:25-26

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own concepts; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, unto the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
[IS]26 And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written. There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
There are many points of similarity between things described in the above verses and to verses in the book of Revelation (aka the Apocalypse), which Cohen then tries to reconcile with one another.
[p. 37] TABLE 3 "COMPARISON BETWEEN DANIEL’S FOURTH BEAST AND THE BEAST OF THE REVELATION
Daniel’s Fourth Beast:Revelation’s Beast:Commentary:
Comes up out of the sea (7:3)1Comes up out of the sea (13:1)
Seven heads (13:1)
Ten horns=ten kings (7:7,24)Ten horns=ten kings (13:1; 17:12)
Another horn (Antichrist) becomes dominant ruler (7:24-26)The beast as a person (cf. 19:20) becomes dominant ruler (17:12-13)
Like a leopard (13:2)This beast has characteristics from each of
Stamped with the feet (7:7)Feet of a bear (13-2)Daniel's first three beasts, viz., lion, bear
Great iron teeth (7:7)Mouth of a lion (13:2)& leopard (Dan. 7:4-6).
Scarlet color (17:3)
Blasphemous (7:25 )Blasphemous (13:5)
Dragon gives him power (13:2)
Persecutes saints (7:21)Persecutes saints (13:7; 11:7)
Power for a time, times, and a dividing of a time (1+2+.5 = 3.5 years) (7:25)Power for 42 months (3.5 years) (13:5)
Defeated by God who then sets up the Kingdom (7:21-22, 26-27)Defeated by God who then sets up the Kingdom (19:11-20:6)



1 The Scripture references found in parentheses after each entry, when on the left side of the chart, come from the Book of Daniel. Those on the right side, unless otherwise designated, come from the Apocalypse.
[p. 38-39] TABLE 4 A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD AND FIVE CHRONOLOGICAL SPECIFICATIONS FROM THE APOCALYPSE

The Tribulation:The Apocalypse:
Start—Antichrist makes a seven year covenant with Israel (Dan. 7:27).
1st. Half—3.5 years in length (Dan. 9:27).Rev. 11:3—The two witnesses of God prophecy 1 for 42 months (3.5 years) until the beast slays them.1
Middle—Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).Rev. 13:5—The Beast is given power to continue for 42 months (3.5 years).2
2nd. Half—Antichrist persecutes Israel and the saints (Matt. 24:15-22; Dan. 7:25; Jer. 30:4-7) 3.5 years in length (Dan. 9:27; 7:25).Rev. 12:6—The woman, Israel, flees from the I persecuting Dragon, Satan, for 1,260 days (3.5 years).3
Rev. 12:14—The woman, Israel, flees from the persecuting Dragon, Satan, for "a time, times, and a half time" (3.5 years).3
End—Antichrist is destroyed by God who shall set up His kingdom (Dan. 8:25; 7:22, 26-27; Matt. 24:29-31).Rev. 11:2—The Gentiles shall tread under foot the holy city for 42 months (3.5 years).4

1 If the time of the Beast’s power and persecution (Rev. 13:5-8) is placed in the second half of the week then this period must be in the first half. This is true because at the conclusion of the second half of the week all the foes of God are destroyed and the Kingdom inaugurated, while in contrast to this, here, three days after the end of the two witnesses’ half week testimony they are still lying dead in the street and God’s foes are rejoicing (Rev. 11:7-10). Infra, Chapter V.
2 The era of the Beast’s power must go through the persecution period as the ability to persecute inherently demands political power and authority. Revelation 13:5-8 shows that blasphemy against God and persecution against the saints will characterize his activities during this time.
3 The periods of intense persecution match perfectly.
4 The treading under foot of the holy city occurs in the second half of the week after the Abomination of Desolation. Until this time Antichrist is keeping his covenant with Israel and not "treading it under foot (Dan. 9:27).
Simple! :scratch:

Fundamentalist dispensationalists, while all agreeing that there is in all this a prophesy of a future tribulation period as well as a rapture of believers to meet Jesus in the air, are still divided about whether a rapture will occur before or after the tribulation period. To this one must also add an assumption that was not covered in this portion of Cohen's book, that at the end these events God will institute a Day of the Lord when he intervenes in earthly affairs with an army of angels commanded by Jesus himself.

I hope that at least some folks have noted how this stuff ties in with US evangelical Christian approach to world politics (i.e., hate all unions between nations such as the European Union or the former USSR, unilateral support for Israel as there can be no tribulation if nations are not fighting over it, etc.)

Have fun with this.

DCH :whistling:
Last edited by DCHindley on Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
beowulf
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

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bskeptic wrote: You misunderstand. (I guess my OP wasn't clear -- my fault) I'm just interested in the question of what the Bible teaches.

You don't have to believe that it will happen, to argue the Biblical teaching. I believe that a literal rapture is taught in the Bible; although it's not clear that the rapture is to heaven, and of course the timing is disputed. I doubt that anyone outside of conservative Christianity thinks that the Biblical teaching is a pre-trib rapture, (i.e. excluding people that have uncritically swallowed the idea from Christians), but in theory non-Christians could believe in it.

What does the Bible teach about anything? It teaches whatever is deemed to teach by the ones with the power to interpret the scriptures.
In the Catholic Church the teaching is contained in Catechism of the Catholic Church


“Endtimes, Millennium, Rapture


The term "endtimes" applies both to the era of Christ's first coming (Heb 1:2, 1 Cor 10:11, Heb 9:26) and to the events immediately before his return and the end of the ages (Mt 24:13, 2 Tim 2:1, 2 Peter 3:3). The definitive Catholic teaching on the endtimes is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the discussion of the article of the Creed, "From thence He will come again to judge the living and the dead." [CCC 668-682]

As the Creed infallibly teaches, the Second Coming is associated with the end of the world and the Last Judgment. Therefore, it is NOT associated with any earlier time - such as to establish a "Millennium." The Catholic Church specifically condemns "millenarianism," according to which Jesus will establish a throne in this world and reign here for a thousand years [CCC 676]. She teaches instead that Jesus already reigns in eternity (1 Cor. 15:24-27, Rev. 4 & 5) and that in this world His reign, established as a seed, is found already in the Church [CCC 668-669].


As for the Rapture, the meaning of 1 Thes 4:15-17 is that at the return of Christ (v.15) and the General Resurrection of the Dead (v.16), those who survive the persecution of the Antichrist will have no advantage in being resurrected over those who died before His Coming [CCC 1001]. All will go to meet Him and be with Him forever (v.17; cf. Rev 20:17-21:27)....”

http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/endtimes.htm

What do the scriptures say? The Orthodox Church denies the 1000 year reign and the rapture.
Catholic , Orthodox Church and mainstream Protestant teaching states that the Millennium exists from His resurrection to the Second Coming
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

Post by A_Nony_Mouse »

bskeptic wrote:
DCHindley wrote:I'm going to predict that there will be almost no responses to your question/request. The reality of a "rapture" is assumed by believing Christians, but most everyone on this board is at very best an agnostic, and doesn't believe in a literal rapture.

DCH
You misunderstand. (I guess my OP wasn't clear -- my fault) I'm just interested in the question of what the Bible teaches.

You don't have to believe that it will happen, to argue the Biblical teaching. I believe that a literal rapture is taught in the Bible; although it's not clear that the rapture is to heaven, and of course the timing is disputed. I doubt that anyone outside of conservative Christianity thinks that the Biblical teaching is a pre-trib rapture, (i.e. excluding people that have uncritically swallowed the idea from Christians), but in theory non-Christians could believe in it.
That makes it easy. The bible doesn't teach anything. Game over. If one chooses to assume it exists to teach things you are on your own with your assumption and under you provide at least a preponderance of the evidence that it is to teach there is no reason for anyone to address your chosen assumption. That it is a common assumption merely shifts the burden of evidence to others rather than removing it entirely.

As to the Revelation of John it is most likely a jewish text in the first place. The author obviously did not think like the rest of us. The message is no matter how much you are suffering now as long as you obey the rules and keep the collection plate full you will be rewarded in the end and your oppressors will suffer.
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Re: Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?

Post by Doug Shaver »

bskeptic wrote:Best arguments against the pre-trib rapture?
Exactly the same as all the arguments against a post-trib or mid-trib rapture.
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