Thursday, January 14, 2010

Differing Views of the Rapture: Part 3 Post-Tribulation


Posttribulationists believe that Christ will come for his church after the Tribulation. They avoid using the term Rapture because they believe it to be unbiblical and that it suggest that the church will escape from the Tribulation which is contrary to their beliefs.[1] However it is referred to, posttribulationism teaches that the Rapture and the Parousia will occur at the same time. The church will, therefore, go through the Tribulation though will be protected from God’s wrath and judgment (1 Thess. 5:9).

Scripture verses concerning the end times are interpreted less literally in this view compared to pretribulationism. Where pretribulationism teaches that the Tribulation will be seven years, posttribulationism believes this period will last a substantial amount of time.[2] Additionally, Revelation 3:10 has a different meaning for posttribulationism. In their interpretation, the verb τηρέω (tereo /tay·reh·o) means to attend to carefully; to keep on in the state in which he is.[3] Posttribulationism points out that the verb αἴρω (airo /ah·ee·ro), which means to raise up or take up[4], could have been used in Revelation 3:10 as it was in John 17:15 had John intended to teach that Jesus would “rapture” the church. It would seem that John had in mind in Revelation 3:10 the same idea he expressed in John 17:15 that this would be a guarding of believers rather than removing them from the presence of danger.[5]

There is further biblical evidence to support the belief that the church will go through the Tribulation. In the Old Testament book of Daniel, there is mention in 11:36 of divine wrath during a period of intense persecution but nothing is said about the extent of this wrath and is does not indicate that this wrath falls on the saints.[6] Daniel does not make mention of the objects of the Tribulation wrath but a related text, Isaiah 26:20-21 does describe the selective nature of God’s wrath. If this passage of Scripture refers to the Tribulation then it is a clear indication that the saints on earth will be protected from God’s wrath. If this passage does not refer to the Tribulation, as some may argue, then there is a principle of a selective wrath of God that remains and may apply.[7]

Posttribulationism is certainly a less complex approach to eschatology. Since the Rapture and the Parousia occur at the same time in their view, there is no need for what they see as two second comings. There is also no need for more than two resurrections as pretribulationism teaches. They see only the resurrection of believers at the end of the Tribulation and the resurrection of the ungodly at the end of the millennium.[8]

Being less complex does not leave posttribulationism without problems of its own. Strong evidence of a two-phase Parousia are seemingly ignored rather than addressed head on. Additionally, rather than addressing ρπάζω (harpazo), posttribulationism seeks instead to focus on τηρέω (tereo /tay·reh·o) in Revelation 3:10. While the argument for the use of αἴρω (airo /ah·ee·ro) in place of τηρέω (tereo /tay·reh·o) seems compelling, the fact remains that ρπάζω (harpazo) means what it means and this is to be caught up.

The timing of the Rapture in this view necessarily means that the church will experience the wrath of God contrary to Scripture. This is an obvious problem. Yet another issue is that since the church merely meets Christ in the air and then returns to earth with Christ in this view, how then is the church to be in heaven for the marriage of the Lamb to His bride (Rev. 19:7-9)? There are other issues but the point seems clear: posttribulationism does not harmonize the conflicting passages of Scripture any better than pretribulationism.

[1] Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 1226.

[2] Ibid, 1227.

[3] Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order (electronic ed.). (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996), G5083.

[4] Ibid, G142.

[5] Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 1228.

[6] Archer Jr., Gleason L., Paul D. Feinberg, Douglas J. Moo, and Richard R. Reiter. Three Views on the Rapture. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984, 1996), 173-74.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid, 1229.


Anonymous said...


How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He is now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. Since Jesus must personally participate in the rapture, and since He can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends, the rapture therefore cannot take place before the end of the trib! Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who would be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel's posttrib resurrection!) If anyone wonders how long pretrib rapturism has been taught, he or she can Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 it was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Other Google articles throwing light on long-covered-up facts about the 180-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “X-Raying Margaret,” "Edward Irving is Unnerving," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," and “Deceiving and Being Deceived” – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” which is available at Armageddon Books online. Just my two cents’ worth.

[saw above on the net - Richard]

Chris Sanchez said...

I would enjoy a dialog with you but it is "challenging" as you have chosen to post anonymously.