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Convention backs Blair's plan for EU presidency 'TONY BLAIR's plans for a powerful new full-time president of Europe look set to become reality after the man charged with drafting a European Union constitution backed the project yesterday.The prophetic tide rolls toward an unsuspecting world. Breaking news, however, should not surprise Christians. We are told to watch for the nearness of Christ's return in many places throughout the Bible. Additionally, this website contains a number of articles that warn the Christian to be watchful.
Val'ry Giscard d'Estaing, the former French President who chairs the convention on Europe's future, supported the EU's biggest member states who argue that the Union needs a president if it is to punch its weight on the international stage'
' [d'Estaing] noted that two smaller states, Denmark and Sweden, had just swung behind the idea, which originated in London but was first publicly proposed by President Chirac of France. A new president would be elected by heads of government of EU members and would hold office for five years. The creation of such a post would help to settle the decades-old question posed by Henry Kissinger of whom to call in Europe in an emergency. It could also help to prevent a repetition of the bitter arguments that erupted over Iraq'
'Mr. Blair has been linked to the new post, which, conveniently, is likely to come into being in 2006, a year or so after the next general election. Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister, and Jos' Mar'a Aznar, the Spanish Prime Minister, have also been suggested as prospective candidates''. (http://www.truthtv.org/newstext.asp?newsid=1300)
The Bible predicts that someday a period of unparalleled calamity will sweep over this planet. During the time commonly known as the tribulation, the loss of life will be so great, nearly all the inhabitants of the earth will perish. You would think the bleak nature of these future events would cause people to be forever mindful of them. Sadly, only a small percentage of the population is focused on the end times.
Ignorance of Bible prophecy is not the root cause of the problem. The vast majority of Americans are very familiar with many of the key components of the tribulation hour. According to Barna Research, 70 percent of the U.S. population believes that someday Jesus is coming back to earth. The same number of people are familiar with terms like tribulation, Antichrist, 666, or Armageddon and they realize their negative connotations.
The understanding of prophecy may be very broad, but it is also extremely shallow. Everyone knows that 666 is a demonic number linked to the devil, but few people could tell you why it has a sinister association with evil.
The lack of fundamental end-time knowledge is not due to a shortage of resource material. Throughout the Church Age, scholars have produced a mountain of books exploring every conceivable angle of prophecy. In recent years, many of these titles have sold millions of copies.
Warnings that Judgment Day is coming have been sounded repeatedly, but few people are listening to them. In most minds, the cares of this world have largely overwhelmed any concerns over predictions of doom. The best evidence of this reality is the rampant growth in sin - the very thing that will invoke God's wrath.
Mankind has a natural tendency to become desensitized to things that don't involve the current environment. Even issues that deal with matters of life and death fade from people's memories without something to renew their importance.
During prolonged warfare, frontline soldiers can get so accustomed to the thundering sound of incoming artillery shells that they become able to sleep through the heaviest bombardments. It doesn't matter to them that a shell directly aimed at their location would end their life. That danger is muted by the fact that the experienced soldier has heard the sound of artillery thousands of times. In contrast, a GI who has just arrived on the battlefield would be very alert to even the most distant enemy fire.
In my many years of observing the signs of the times, I have never seen so much activity that points to the nearness of Christ's return. So many prophecy-related events are in the late stages of development that I strongly believe we are the generation that will soon see the dawn of the Kingdom Age.
The proximity of end times has failed to cause an upswing in interest on the part of most Christians. Quite frankly, the advancement of prophecy has had the opposite effect on the Church. Most believers are totally apathetic about how close we get to the tribulation hour.
Overfamiliarity appears to be one of the many reasons for the lack of vigilance. Many key prophetic indicators are reported so frequently by the media that they've lost their luster. When they were breaking news years ago, everyone was excited about their connection to prophecy. As time dragged on, people's interest in them faded, even as they continue to edge closer to the point of reaching fulfillment.
The formation and activity of the European Union is a good example of how major prophetic events can become overlooked. When Europe's leaders first came up with the idea of integrating their economies in the 1950s, prophecy watchers were ecstatic about the move towards realization of the Revived Roman Empire. Half a century later, we have a union that is fully evolved and constantly in the news.
History is full of people who have attempted to predict a date for the end of the world. The Date Setters Diary was one of the original pages added to Rapture Ready. The hands of time have proven most of these soothsayers to be false prophets.
Because of the explosion in communication, the last 200 years have been the zenith for date settings. So many predictions were made during the 20th century, I only bothered to list the major ones. Every time I turned around, someone was listing a new reason a forthcoming date was going to herald the advent of Christ.
Starting right after the arrival of the year 2000, I noticed a steady decline in the frequency of date settings. Lately, the numbers have almost completely dried up.
There doesn't seem to be any logical explanation for this drought in date settings. The same math that worked in the 20th century should work equally well in the 21st century. The internet's ability to disseminate vast quantities of information at a low cost only deepens the mystery.
Because Satan is the father of lies, all false end-time predictions bear his signature. It would appear that the collapse of the trend of date settings has a strong connection a change in the devil's strategy. Before, Satan used forecasts of the Lord's return to create confusion. Now that we are approaching the end of the age, he is trying to prevent people from being mindful that time is running out.
The pre-tribulation rapture is the key to unlocking the timing of Bible prophecy. Once the Lord Jesus comes for the Church, the way will be cleared for the devil to set up his final rebellion. Unfortunately, the Bible says is it not possible for us to know exactly when the rapture will take place.
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus told His disciples again and again that they would not know the hour of His return. The Lord was so insistent about getting this point across, He repeated himself four times in the space of a few verses. He also included a story about the 10 virgins to illustrate the point of the surprise rapture.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Mat. 24:36).
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Mat. 24:42).
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Mat. 24:44).
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Mat. 25:13).
I think it is very significant that Jesus frequently pointed to the "think not" hour as being the time of His return. The slumbering state that we find the Church in today is a strong indication that this prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled. I would rank it far above the more general prophecies like "knowledge shall increase" (Dan 12:4) or "earthquakes in divers places" (Mark 13:8).
Jesus said He would intentionally choose a timeframe when Christians are not expecting His return. As a result, the most unlikely time for His return becomes, actually, the most likely time for the rapture. Because we have an assurance from the Lord that this event will take place during a time when the faithful are least expecting Him, we have a contrary way to judge the rapture's nearness.
We are clearly living in the "Think-Not" generation. If the Lord were to come today, He would find a Church very cozy with a sinful world. Because we have no moral watchdogs anymore, it is difficult to measure the depravity of our society. Whenever I try to gauge levels of morality, I have to think how people from other generations would react to situations.
In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul indicates that the act of being caught off guard by the rapture is purely optional. He wrote, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thes. 5:4). By remaining forever alert, we can escape being found asleep when our Master finally returns.
I once read a good illustration about how we need to set priorities. A college professor set a large jar on his desk in front his class. He took handfuls of big rocks and began filling the jar. When they reached the very top, he asked the class if the jar was full. The class responded “yes.” The professor then took some smaller pebbles and started pouring the pebbles into the jar. The pebbles fell in between the much larger rocks. When the jar was filled to the top with the pebbles, he again asked the class if the jar was full. The class caught on quickly. “No,” they said. And the professor then began to take some sand and pour it into the jar, filling the jar to the top.
He then asked the class, “What do you think I was teaching you by this demonstration?” The class replied, “That there is always room for more.” “No,” the professor responded. “What I am trying to teach you is that you have to put your biggest things in first or there won't be room for them later on. You can squeeze your smaller things around your bigger things, but you can't squeeze your bigger things around your smaller things. There's always room for the smaller things in life, but not always room for the bigger things if you've already put the smaller things in first.”
Because we have a limited amount of time to accomplish things in this life, we need to make sure we have our priorities set on doing what we can for the Kingdom of God. Instead of being focused on the rock of Jesus Christ, most people are concerned with the sand of earthly desires.
Over the years, I've met dozens of men and women who specialize in end-time commentary. It always amazes me that many of these folks, who have made prophecy their vocation, are so often motivated by carnal values. In their writings they claim to be focused on heaven, but in practice their priorities tend to center only on things that offer personal gain.
I've always been a big advocate of getting information onto the web. Several times I've gotten "Are you crazy?" looks from well-known authors after I have told them that they should freely post some of their unpublished or out-of-print materials on a website. Many of my colleagues in the field of prophecy are not shy about indicating that money is their primary motive.
The average Christian also has difficulty when it comes to maintaining a focus on Kingdom of God. A believer may say "Amen" to a statement affirming the soon return of Christ, but in his daily life, he'll make long-term plans and think nothing of the possibility that the return of Christ might suddenly interrupt his life.
A big obstacle preventing Christians from being productive in their spiritual lives is the idea that Jesus only offers praise to saints who are ushered into His presence. The Bible indicates that judgment is just as much for the believer as they are the for the lost. Of course, the saved person will be in a far better situation than someone who rejected Christ's gift of salvation, but still, every saint will have to give an account of his life.
”But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).
“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 3:18).
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” ( I John 2:28-29).
Because the rapture is a one-time event, it is critical that people be ready for it ahead of time. If you miss an elevator in a building or a flight at an airport, there is always another one you can catch. We have all the signs and warnings to help us decide to be ready. In the end, is up to us to make that important choice.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness" (2 Pet. 3:10-11).
Modern-day society has witnessed some rather distressing events over the past century. We've seen the assassination of world leaders, national and international wars, and disasters of every sort. All of these events have left deep scars on the psyche of humanity. However, I think these events will pale in comparison to the panic that will be caused by the pre-trib Rapture.
The rapture will someday give a new meaning to the word "shock." For the U.S., the attack on Pearl Harbor and the September 11 terrorist attacks currently rank as the most startling events in our nation's history. When the rapture takes place, I am convinced it will be 100 times more shocking than Pearl Harbor and September 11 combined.
In the past, no single event has managed to touch each individual on a personal level. For example, very few people in 1941 had even heard about Pearl Harbor, let alone knew someone involved in the incident. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon fall into the same category. Everyone saw the calamity on television, but it's unlikely that more than 1% of the US population knew any of the victims who worked in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon, or who were aboard the commercial airliners hijacked by the terrorists.
On the other hand, after the Rapture takes place, everyone left behind will know someone who was mysteriously taken away. It could be a neighbor, a distant cousin, or a person's entire immediate family.
Some prophetic commentators have tried to predict that there will only be a few halfhearted questions like, "Where did everybody go?" Simple logic dictates that the people who find themselves left behind will be absolutely terrified by what has taken place.
I can only guess at the level of interest the press, government, and public will pay to the rapture, but I'm sure it will be immense. As a result of the catching away of the Bride, I believe many individuals will turn to Christ and become numbered with the tribulation saints.
If it looked like the pre-tribulation rapture was going to transpire 100 years from now, there probably wouldn't be a pressing need for me to quickly assemble a website devoted to the subject. However, I believe we are getting very near to the end of what is called the Church Age, so I have been rushing to put together a comprehensive site on Bible prophecy.
Because the rapture is an event that will take priority over all other aspects of our life, it is very important for us to be mindful of its nearness. Death is the only other comparison one could use to describe the type of impact the rapture implies.
The rapture has always been an imminent event, but we now have the luxury of being able to look at history and realize there were a number of key end time prophesies that required several years to evolve into where we see them today. Before May 15, 1948, we only had hope that Israel would once again become a nation. It wasn't until the late 1990s that China gained the ability to field a 200-million-man army. Jan 1, 2002 stands as the date the Revived Roman Empire reestablished the practice of having a common currency.
I keep a close watch on dozens of prophecy-related categories and in the last few years I've noticed an exponential increase in the rate of prophetic progression. In many cases, I can clearly see we have already arrived at the point of fulfillment--no waiting or further development is really required. The final implementation of those end time factors is the only thing lacking.
When describing the rapture, most prophetic writers like to focus on the negative consequences of the event. Yes, if the driver of a car were to suddenly vanish, the vehicle would spin out of control. The tribulation is said to be a time of unparalleled distress, so I doubt a few traffic accidents will amount to any lasting significance.
As believers, we will have more important things with which to concern ourselves. Our main focus should be on the heavenly realm. Once we get to glory, we will be confronted with a world of absolute splendor.
Jesus said each believer will receive his own heavenly mansion. If we each have a spacious estate waiting for us, I see no reason for a Christian to strive to build an earthly mansion. I find it rather odd that so many well-known preachers spend large sums of money on ritzy housing and fancy cars. If they had a true understanding of eternal value, you would think they would buy modestly so that they could reinvest their financial gains into the spreading of the Gospel.
"But as it is written, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him'" (1 Cor 2:9).
"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" (John 14:2).
I once took a tour of the United States Air Force's Strategic Command Post at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The center is charged with tracking the movements of anything that could deploy nuclear weapons: missiles, aircraft, or ships. It's the first layer of command that would order a nuclear counterattack. The command center would obviously be the prime target of any potential enemy.
While I was in the control room, I asked the sergeant giving us the tour, "What would you folks do if you knew a missile was headed in your direction?" His reply was, "I guess we'd open the snack bar up to all takers." I was struck by how true it would be in that situation in which money would have no value. A standard 10-megaton nuclear device exploding over the base would leave nothing but a giant hole in the ground.
For Christians, the rapture will bring devastation similar to that wrought by a nuclear war. When the trumpet sounds, all followers of Christ will instantly lose all of their worldly belongings. As a believer, you might have $20 million in the bank, a fancy home, a yacht, or your own prosperous business, but come the rapture, you can wave all that stuff goodbye as you soar skyward.
The Christian community holds wealth that is easily valued in the $1 to $2 trillion-dollar range. Knowing the total funding for global evangelization efforts amounts to a few hundred million dollars each year, our priorities are certainly in need of reevaluation.
I can testify that I have personally put my own money where my mouth is. During the most recent one-year period, I estimate I've spent $4,000 on this Rapture Ready site. Because I know the money I allocate to the site is being deposited in my eternal bank account, I view the funds as going to a blind trust fund.
I don't expect to be around to see Social Security, so it doesn't trouble me whether or not predictions of its distant future insolvency turn out to be true. Whenever oil prices zoom up, many people worry that we're going to either run out of gasoline or that it will become prohibitively expensive. At the end of each episode, however, the supply and the price always manage to return to more reasonable levels.
Because we don't know exactly when Jesus is coming for the Church, I believe it is wise to make long-term plans. The key, I believe, is not to allow ourselves to be distracted by trivial issues. We should concern ourselves mostly with today, and let tomorrow take care of itself.
When the catching up takes place, I expect to be flooded with a number of regrets over things I should have accomplished. It's the realization that our good deeds are the only possessions we will take with us that motivates me to keep pressing ahead.
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Mat 6:19-20).
One of the most obvious benefits of being ready for the rapture is not having to suffer through the tribulation. Here are four passages that indicate that believers will not be left to suffer the outpouring of God's wrath:
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36).
"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth " (Revelation 3:10).
If you're included in the rapture, you will be taken to heaven--the place that is a synonym for happiness. The Bible tells us that in heaven there are no health problems, moral failures, economic hardships, or marital difficulties.
The most important benefit of being included in the rapture is the chance to finally meet the Lord of Lords face to face. It's hard to envision what that experience will be like, but seeing one';s Creator certainly has to be the ultimate fulfillment of a person's existence.
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Tim 4:8).
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:2-3).
Whenever an unbeliever sends me an email message that attacks or mocks the pre-trib rapture, I always think of the irony they are imposing upon themselves. Someday, the rapture will take place, and these folks will be dumbfounded.
Even when I get some rather nasty letters that condemn me to the fires of hell or that label me as a raving lunatic, it doesn't bother me because I know it would be punishment enough for anyone to miss the rapture. I see no need to take the attacks personally. I think after the event, these folks will be blaming me for not trying hard enough to convince them of their folly.
Once the big event takes place, there will be no more arguments over the rapture's validity. I try to set people up to be reachable after the Church is taken home to glory. Because I believe most of my detractors are still searching for truth, I don't return fire by saying things like, "Say hello to the Antichrist for me" or, "Save me one of those 100 lb. hailstones in your freezer. When I get back, I'd love to see what one looks like."
End time scoffers are actually doing me a valuable favor. The Bible says doubters will be one of the signs of the last days. Their strong opposition is what helps drive my fascination with the rapture.
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts. And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Pet 3:3-4).
You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. In the Book of Luke, Jesus used a weather analogy to highlight how people failed to use simple logic to recognize the time in which they were living.
The folks who lived in the early part of the first century failed to realize that they were about to witness the revelation of the Messiah. Their error resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Today, people are making an even bigger mistake by not comprehending that this is the generation that will see the fulfillment of the end times.
I've always found it interesting how the salvation issue, both before and after the rapture, is so well balanced. Before the rapture, people need to use faith to overcome the lack of physical evidence for that event. After the rapture, there will be plenty of physical evidence of the event, but then a person will need faith to overcome the trials of the tribulation.
"And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" (Luke 12:54-56).
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:34-35).
If you would like to know more about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or if you want to know for sure that you belong to Him, you can go to my page, How one becomes a follower of Jesus.
Defending The Pre-trib Rapture After reading countless messages and articles that attack the pre-trib rapture, I've noticed a certain number of arguments that are repeatedly sent to me.
Instead of trying to answer every individual e-mail I receive, I thought it would be a good idea to create a web page that addresses the most commonly mentioned points of debate. This way, I can avoid repeating myself so many times; thereby, maintain my sanity.
It amazes me that some folks write to me, questioning the validity of the rapture, simply because the word "rapture" doesn't appear in the Bible.
With 1 Thes 4:16-18 giving us such a clear description of the rapture, you would have to conclude that some people are just playing games with the Word of God. I could change the name of my site to "Catching Up Ready" to satisfy these folks, but I hardly think that would improve things.
Their logic fails because there are a huge number of words that don't appear in the Bible, including the word "Bible." Because God's Word was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, one could truthfully say that no English words are in the Bible. Let's take a look at 1 Thes 4:16-18 in the original Greek:
4:16 oti autos o kurios en keleusmati en fwnh arcaggelou kai en salpiggi qeou katabhsetai ap ouranou kai oi nekroi en cristw anasthsontai prwton 4:17 epeita hmeis oi zwntes oi perileipomenoi ama sun autois arpaghsomeqa en nefelais eis apanthsin tou kuriou eis aera kai outws pantote sun kuriw esomeqa 4:18 wste parakaleite allhlous en tois logois toutoisI don't see the dead in Christ rising, Jesus descending from heaven, and us meeting Him in the air. So the cynics are right: the word "rapture" is nowhere to be found. All I see is gobbledygook.
For the record, the word "rapture" comes from the Latin word "rapturo," which in turn was a translation of the Greek verb "caught up" found in 1 Thes 4:17. You can call it the pre-trib rapture, the pre-trib rapturo, or the pre-trib caught up--it's all the same thing.
Jesus did say, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44). The only time frame I can think of when we believers would not be expecting Jesus to return would have to be before the tribulation.
One of the most widely circulated attacks against the pre-trib rapture is the notion that a girl named Margaret MacDonald started this theological view back in 1830. The claim is typically made that MacDonald received a demonic vision, passed it on to John Darby, who in turn popularized it. Disproving this assertion proves rather easy. Pre-trib scholars have discovered a host of rapture writings that predate Margaret MacDonald.
Epharaem the Syrian said, in 373 AD, "For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins."
One post-trib author offered a reward to anyone who could find a quote that predated MacDonald. He had to quickly cough up the money when someone identified a scholar who wrote about the pre-trib rapture several years before MacDonald. As of late, dozens of examples have been found, and the literary surface has hardly been scratched.
With the revealing of all these pre-MacDonald writings, you would think that this argument has been debunked. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We seem to be involved in a tug-of-war with the truth. Apparently, due to their lack of research, pre-trib opponents continue to pump out publications that cite MacDonald as the originator of the pre-trib rapture.
Because Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thes 4:16, said believers would be raptured at the sounding of a trump, many folks have tried to make it appear that the rapture trumps are the same trumpets found in Revelation 11:15-18, Joel 2:1, and Mat 24:31--which all occur during the tribulation.
When you have trumpets commonly used throughout the Bible, I think it's foolish to just assume any two of the 62 trumps or trumpets are prophetically related. To be able to make the claim that the tribulation trumpet soundings are the same as the rapture trumps, you would need a direct statement saying this is the case.
In the movies Ben-Hur and The Wizard of Oz, I recall hearing the sounding of trumpets. Are both these trumpets somehow prophetically related?
If your friend John said he went to his favorite restaurant last night, and another friend Larry said he also went to his favorite restaurant last night, is it logical for you to assume they both went to the same restaurant? Obviously not, because even though John and Larry went to their favorite restaurants, they may have had two different eating establishments in mind. The same logic should apply with the word trumpet.
With such a blind devotion to this one similarity, I have to wonder if these last-tumpeters are able to distinguish the difference between Tylenol and Exlax. They're both over-the-counter drugs, they come in pill form, and they can also be found in a medicine cabinet. Of course, one will make your headache disappear and the other will make your toilet paper disappear.
Pre-wrath proponents say that the Seventh Trumpet blown in Rev 11:15-18 is the same last trump Paul spoke of in 1 Cor 15:52. However, they fail to take into account the fact that John wrote Revelation 40 years after Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians. How could Paul refer to something that was not yet revealed?
Post-tribbers use a trumpet sounding in Joel 2:1 as evidence for a post-trib rapture on the Day of the Lord. I have three problems with Joel 2:1:
1. Joel clearly says that the purpose for blowing the trumpet is to "sound an alarm."
2. According to 1 Cor 15:52, the rapture is something that occurs in the twinkling of an eye. Joel 2:1 says the Day of the Lord is nigh at hand. In order for Joel's trumpet to be the same one in 1 Cor. there would have to be a time delay between the sounding of the trumpet and the rapture of the Church.
3. The fact that there is another trumpet being sounded in Joel 2:15 further clouds the possibility that these trumpets could have anything to do with the rapture.
When Paul was writing to the Corinthians, he specifically said "the" last trump. During the Feast of Trumpets, the Jews blow short trumpet blasts. They end the feast with a long blast from what is called the last trump, which is blown the longest. Judaism has traditionally connected this last trump with the resurrection of the dead. Paul also made the connection. For many Christians, the association between the rapture and the Feast of Trumpets is so strong, they look for the rapture to someday occur on this feast.
A number people have attempted to refute the pre-trib rapture by trying to associate the "Day of the Lord" with a catching-up of believers at the end of the tribulation. They base their rapture views solely on the idea that the "Day of the Lord" and the rapture are either synonymous or somehow linked together.
The Achilles heel of their argument has to be the notion that the "Day of the Lord" and various other "days" of an end-time context refers to a 24 hour period that occurs at or near the end of the tribulation. Probably the most commonly cited verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:2 where Paul tells us the "Day of the Lord" will come "as a thief in the night."
I've read countless articles that describe the "Day of the Lord" as Christ's advent at Armageddon. These articles go on to say that, because Paul also tells us the Lord will come "as a thief," we have a direct link to the same description that is applied to noted rapture verses.
It's rather obvious that those trying to rely on the "Day of the Lord" never bothered to validate the meaning of this particular day. I've checked a number of commentaries on the "Day of the Lord" and many of them define this as being an all-encompassing period that begins with the Great Tribulation. Let's examine some verses that clearly indicate that the term "day" is used to represent a broader time period.
II Peter 3:10-13
The "Day of the Lord" Peter spoke of in second Peter, cannot be a one day event because it mentions the destruction of the earth by fire and its renovation. Rev 21:11 tells us the earth will not be renewed until after Christ's 1000 year reign.
The "Day of the Lord" Joel describes, includes the defeat of the northern army. Ezk. 38 and 39 is parallel passage. Most scholars would time the destruction of the Gog army as occurring before in the first half of the tribulation.
In the book of John, Jesus uses the term "last day" to indicate when the lost would be judged. Rev 20 makes it clear that the unsaved will not be judged until after the millennium--yet another 1000 year gap.
One of the best indications that most of the various "day" references are citing a general time period can be found in Hebrews 10:25: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Surely, Paul would not be warning us to watch for a day that would be coming at the end of the tribulation. That type of logic would be like warning children, as they cross the road, to watch out for tail lights.
I've heard some folks say, "There cannot be a pre-trib rapture because to have one would require a second resurrection at Christ's return to earth." This conclusion is drawn from Revelation 20:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev 20:5-6).
One pre-trib writer, explaining this passage, said, "The first did not mean first in time, but rather first in kind." The first resurrection was for God's people the second will be for the unsaved.
A quick way to shoot down the notion that the first resurrection is tied to a specific date, as opposed to a more general time frame, is to take note of the tribulation rapture of the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. At the mid-point of the tribulation, the two witnesses are killed by the Antichrist, resurrected by God, and then caught up into heaven (Rev 11:3-12).
Revelation chapter 7 describes the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists just before the Beast issues his mark. Sometime during the latter half of the tribulation, Revelation chapter 14 indicates they will be "redeemed from the earth," standing before the throne of God.
Confusion over Confusion: 2 Thes 2:1-6
Because Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, said the Antichrist would be revealed before the Day of the Christ, post and pre-wrath adherents frequently try to cite this passage as one that refutes the pre-trib rapture.
To quell the Thessalonian's misunderstanding that they had somehow entered the tribulation, Paul told them the Antichrist must first be revealed. By telling them they had no reason to panic, Paul is clearly disputing the idea that the Thessalonians could someday find themselves facing the tribulation hour.
I'm constantly being irked by Post-trib and pre-wrath folks' consistent, or better yet deliberate, failure to accept the simple fact that the pre-trib doctrine calls for a rapture and a second coming. Because they only glean the prophetic word for one event--the second coming--they're unable to recognize pre-trib rapture passages.
Of course, when you fuse the two advents together, you end up with verses that appear to contradict each other: 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ," and Revelation 13:7, "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."
Many people are against the pre-trib rapture simply because they see it as being the dominant view on the timing of Christ's return for the Church. The anti-pretribulationists often think they are the last remaining true believers. I'm simply dumbfounded over why some people choose rebellion against the majority view as their guide for finding truth.
The measurement of popularity alone is a terrible way to determine something's validity. It is particularly strange when people solely rely on the contrarian view to judge truth from fiction. I utilize contrarian views all the time to help determine what is truthful; however, it would be a terrible mistake on my part if I made Contrarianism the core foundation of any of my beliefs.
If you're using reverse logic, you need to support your conclusions. The vast majority of the population would agree that apples grow on apple trees and cherries grow on cheery trees. The pure novelty of the opposite being true does not in any way help make it so. Unless you see farmers gluing apples onto cherry trees or picking cherries from apple trees, you have no basis to think that these two fruits do not grow on anything but the trees that share the same name.
Some people are clearly more in love with the idea of a conspiracy than they are the truth. Every time an airplane crashes to the earth there's someone who will proclaim it was caused by anything from an act of terrorism to a bizarre government plot. It's just not exciting enough to say it was a mechanical problem that led to the crash.
The idea that the pre-trib rapture is the dominant view is not correct in the first place. Most evangelicals would say they look for a pre-trib rapture, but if you include all Christians, pretribulationists would rank third behind post-trib and preterist adherents.
You would think the desire to go through the tribulation would be as popular as the desire to jump into a pit filled with vipers and broken glass. As illogical as it may seem, there appears to be a large number of Christians that fully expect to get roughed up before Christ returns.
Many Christians argue strongly for the right to suffer persecution at the hands of the Antichrist and the one world government. These tribulation saint wannabees constantly harp, "Because Jesus and His disciples suffered persecution, we should expect no better." It's been my experience that people with the weakest faith are generally the ones that talk the boldest. When the slightest difficulty comes their way, they cry to high heaven.
I hate to be the bearer of good news, but the word of God clearly states that believers will escape the tribulation bloodbath. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes 5:9). "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev 3:10).
In one regard, people who think the Church will go through the tribulation are somewhat correct. I believe there will be a huge number of "carnal Christians" that will find themselves left behind. By having the rapture before the tribulation, all those who find themselves facing the wrath of God will be without an excuse.
"There is no secret rapture" is the beginning declaration of a large percentage of messages that attack the rapture. Rarely is this statement backed by supporting scriptural evidence. A few people will cite Rev 1:17, "every eye shall see him," as proof that the rapture will not be a secret event. Of course, I would immediately note that "every eye shall see him" is the second coming.
I have a hard time understanding how these folks could think pretribulationists preach a secret rapture. We seem to be doing our very best to popularize the rapture before it takes place. I doubt that, afterwards, with all the car wrecks, plane crashes, and missing persons reports, the rapture will remain a secret occurrence.
The only people I know who are attempting to keep the pre-trib rapture a secret are its critics. Pre-wrath and post-trib folks have the national media and the liberal churches as their allies in their ongoing effort to silence all knowledge of the "blessed hope."
Because an imminent or any moment rapture is one of the major teachings of pre-tribulationists, opponents of this view attempt to dismantle the imminency of the rapture.
Although Jesus said, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Mat 24:42), advocates for knowing the "day" will claim this only applies to the unsaved. I hear arguments like, "Surely a loving father would tell his own children when he's coming for them."
To try to get around "no man know the hour," a popular scripture often cited is: "But yea brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thes 5:4).
Despite all their monkeying with scripture, pre-trib detractors just cannot escape Jesus' restriction against knowing the timing of the rapture. In fact, our Lord was so restrictive about the rapture, He said its occurrence would come as a total surprise. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).
Now as far as the second coming goes, the Bible couldn't be plainer. It clearly states that Jesus will return 1260 days from the moment the Antichrist sits in the Temple of God and declares himself to be God. Because there exists both a known and an unknown date, many scholars have logically concluded that there must be two different events occurring--the rapture and the second coming.
In 2 Thessalonians the Apostle Paul speaks of a "he" that will restrain the advent of the Antichrist. The restrainer's removal is required before the Antichrist can be revealed.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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 debate has erupted over the identity of the Restrainer because if this "he" is the Holy Ghost, the only real explanation for his removal would be the rapture of the Church, which is indwelled by him. The strongest argument offered against the Holy Spirit being the Restrainer is the belief that if God's Spirit was ever removed from the earth, no one could then be saved. The removal of the Holy Ghost does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. I believe his being "taken out of the way" will only be a degree of removal.
Before the Church Age, people were able to find salvation, which obviously meant the Holy Spirit was at work on earth. When the outpouring of the Holy Ghost occurred at Pentecost, we didn't have a second Holy Spirit come to earth. His removal at the rapture will only be a reversal or ending of the Pentecostal outpouring.
Because Revelation places a strong emphasis on Israel during the tribulation, and not on the church, most post-tribulationists have adopted a replacement theology view in order to maintain the focus on them.
Replacementism is the view that Israel, having failed God, has been replaced by the Church. The Church is now seen as spiritual Israel and spiritual Jerusalem. This teaching claims that all the promises and blessings, in fact Israel's entire inheritance, now belongs to the Church. However, all is not lost for Israel; it gets to keep all the curses.
Dispensational theology, taught by nearly all pre-tribulationists, teaches that God has separate strategies for dealing with the Church and the Jews. When you consider the change in focus, during the tribulation, from the Church to Israel, the pre-trib rapture provides a good explanation for this transfer of attention.
To say that Israel is no longer God's chosen people is really playing with fire because the Antichrist will likely be saying the same thing when he tries to destroy the Jews during the tribulation. I look for people that hold to replacementism to be in the cheering section when the Beast goes on his Jew-killing campaign. "The Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance" (Psalm 94:14).
"This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - the Lord Almighty is his name: 'Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,' declares the Lord, 'will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me'" (Jeremiah 31:35-36).
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