When is Christ coming for His Church? Part 3 PRE-TRIB

PRE-MID-POST When is Christ coming for His Church? (Pre-trib) Part 3

POSITION PRE-TRIBULATION
AUTHOR Allen Beechick
e-mail beechick@jps.net
MAIN VERSE

Revelation 3:10 says, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from [out] the hour of temptation [testing], which shall come upon all the world, to try [test] them that dwell upon the earth.”

What could be clearer than that? It doesn’t say “take out.” No, “take out” and “keep out” have entirely different meanings. It doesn’t say “keep in.” No, “keep in” and “keep out” have entirely different meanings. It doesn’t say “keep in and take out.” No, it takes twice as many words to express those two distinct ideas. God chose this simple word combination to communicate as clearly as possible.

Some say this means believers are protected during testing instead of from testing. But I answer, protected from what? Believers during that time are killed, not kept. (Revelation 6:9, 13:7)

Let’s think deeper. The reason for the promise illuminates the purpose of the promise. The reason (“because you have already demonstrated patience in testing”) prompts the purpose (“I will keep you from further testing”). Is God saying, “Since you have shown patience, I will now give you a bigger test?” No, He is saying, “You have already passed the test. Congratulations!” You have shown patience, haven’t you? You have leaned on God’s Word during testing, haven’t you? Then this promise is for you.

SUPPORTING VERSES

First, the known day and the unknown day cannot be the same day.

“But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 25:36).

“In such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Matthew 25:44). In contrast to the unknown day, we also read about a known day. The 1260 days of Revelation 12:6 coincides with the 42 months of Revelation 13:5 and the three and one-half years of Revelation 12:14. The same time span is stated in three ways, days, months, and years. There’s no mistaking it. This clearly stated time span begins at the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15-16), and it ends at the return of Christ (Revelation 19:20).

The known day and the unknown day must be different days. The rapture cannot occur on the known day.It’s not just the day that’s unknown. The general time period is unknown. Matthew 24:44 says, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”Also Mark 13:33 says, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” The word “time” there means “season.” That’s why Jesus urged His disciples to be ready continually, not wait to get ready.

Second, at the end of the age the unbelievers are taken first. Matthew 13 reads:

“In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares…. the harvest is the end of the world…. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity…. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.” Does it say, “Separate the wheat from the tares?” No, it says, “Separate the tares from the wheat.” The order of gatherings at this time is opposite to the rapture.

Third, those taken on that day end up as corpses for vultures to feed on. Luke 17 reads: “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And He said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” “Eagles” is better translated “vultures.” “Body” means “corpse” according to the parallel passage Matthew 24:28. So those taken on that day end up as corpses for vultures to feed on. Is that the rapture? No, believers have a different destiny.

Fourth, if all unbelievers are destroyed, then who will populate the millennium? Many passages teach that no unbelievers survive the tribulation. Luke 17 reads: “[Noah] entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. … the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Matthew 13 reads: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.” First Thessalonians five reads: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” [strong dual negative in the Greek] Second Thessalonians one reads: “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ … That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Malachi 4 reads: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Now consider this. If believers receive glorified bodies at the rapture, and if all unbelievers are destroyed after the tribulation, then who will populate the millennium in natural bodies? A rapture at the end of the tribulation doesn’t fit.

Fifth, by Revelation 19, the wife is already ready. Revelation 19 says: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [literally righteousnesses, plural] of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called [invited] unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Who is the wife of the Lamb? The church, all true believers in the Lamb of God. (2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:31-32) How do we know she is ready? Well, just look at her. She’s arrayed in fine linen. What is she ready for? The marriage supper. The invitations are about to go out. The wife is ready by Revelation 19 before Christ descends to earth. If you are a true believer, then you are in that picture. You are in heaven. You are arrayed in fine linen. Your wedding gown is complete.

Sixth, by Revelation 4, the crowns are already awarded. “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats [thrones]: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads [victory] crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4). Who are the elders? Some may think that the elders are angels. But God doesn’t award victory crowns to angels. These crowns are reserved for sinners who overcome by faith. You can say the elders are the church, or Israel, or a combination of both, or the New York Yankees, minus one player. I don’t care. But definitely human. Crowns come when Christ comes according to 2 Timothy 4:8, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 22:12. Therefore, Christ must have come prior to Revelation 4:4, but after Revelation 3 when the church is still on earth. Somewhere in between there. Do you want to prepare for the tribulation? Then study the 24 elders. That’s our role. That’s the part we’ll play when the time comes.

WHY DO I BELIEVE THIS WAY

I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture for different reasons than the typical pre-tribulationist. Although we share the same principles of interpretation, understanding the words of the Bible in their normal sense, and letting the context explain the meaning, I think taking these basic principles of interpretation to their full and logical conclusion, letting go of pre-conceived notions, letting Scripture speak for itself, we discover a harmony beyond expectation.

WHERE ARE WE NOW IN THE TIMEFRAME

We are in the church age, before the tribulation, before the 70th week of Daniel. Jesus places the tribulation immediately before His coming (Matthew 24:29). That puts it future, not past.

Paul places the revealing of the man of sin in the future. Since the man of sin will be destroyed by Christ at His coming, those events are future (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8).

PRE-MID-POST When is Christ coming for His Church? (Pre-trib) Part 3