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With the new Left Behind movie trailer now online (starring Nicholas Cage), this might be a helpful time to explain why many of us do not believe the idea of Christians be “raptured” to heaven while others are “left behind” is a biblical teaching.

Here is a summary of the arguments from John Piper:

1. The word for “meeting” the Lord in the air in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (apantesin) is used in two other places in the New Testament: Matthew 25:6 and Acts 28:15. In both places it refers to a meeting in which people go out to meet a dignitary and then accompany him in to the place from which they came out. One of these,Matthew 25:6, is even a parable of the second coming and so a strong argument that this is the sense of the meeting here in 1 Thess. 4:17—that we rise to meet the Lord in the air and then welcome him to earth as king.

2. The wording of 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7, when read carefully, shows that Paul expects to attain rest from suffering at the same time and in the same event that he expects the unbelievers to receive punishment, namely, at the revelation of Jesus with mighty angels in flaming fire. This revelation is not the pre-tribulational rapture but the glorious second coming. Which means that Paul did not expect an event at which he and the other believers would be given rest seven years before the glorious appearing of Christ in flaming fire. Vengeance on unbelievers and rest for the persecuted church come on the same day in the same event.

3. The wording of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 suggests that the “assembling to meet him” is the same as “the day of the Lord” about which they are confused. But the assembling is the “rapture” and “the day of the Lord” is the glorious second coming. They appear to be one event.

Supporting this is the reference to “gathering” the elect in Matthew 24:31. Here there is a gathering (same word) but it is clearly a post-tribulational context. So there is no need to see the gathering and the day of the Lord in 2 Thessalonians as separate events.

4. If Paul were a pre-tribulationist why did he not simply say in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that the Christians don’t need to worry that the day of the Lord is here because all the Christians are still here? Instead he talks just the way you would expect a post-tribulational person to do. He tells them that they should not think that the day of the Lord is here because the apostasy and the man of lawlessness have not appeared. . . .

5. When you read Matthew 24 or Mark 13 or Luke 21, which are Jesus’ descriptions of the end times, there is no mention of a rapture removing believers from the events of the end. A normal reading gives no impression of a departure. On the contrary, he talks as if the believing listeners and then the readers would or could experience the things he mentions. See Mt. 24:49152325f33, etc.

6. Going through tribulation, even when it is appointed by God, is not contrary to Biblical teaching. See especially 1 Peter 4:172 Thessalonians 1:3-10Hebrews 12:3-11. But even so, Revelation 9:4 suggests that the saints will be in some measure protected in the time of distress by the seal of God.

7. The commands to “watch” do not lose their meaning if the second coming is not an any-moment one. See Matt. 25:1-13 where all ten maidens are asleep when the Lord returns. Yet the lesson at the end of the parable is, “Watch!” The point is that watching is not gazing up for an any-moment-return of the Lord; it is the moral vigilance that keeps you ready at all times doing your duty—the wise maidens had full lanterns! They were watchful!

Nor does the teaching that the second coming will be unexpected lose its force if post-tribulationism is true. See Luke 12:46 where the point is that if a servant gets drunk thinking that his master is delayed and will not catch him-that very servant will be surprised and taken off guard. But as 1 Thess. 5:1-5 says, “You (believers) are not in darkness for that day to surprise you like a thief.” We still teach that great moral vigilance and watchfulness is necessary lest we be lulled asleep and fall prey to the deceits of the last days and be overtaken in the judgment.

8. The strongest pre-tribulational text, Rev. 3:10, is open to another interpretation without any twisting. It says, “Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.” But to “be kept for the hour of testing” is not necessarily to be taken out of the world during this hour, and thus spared suffering. Compare Gal. 1:4 and Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in John 17:15where to “keep from” does not mean physical removal. And notice the inevitability of martyrdom in Rev. 6:9-11. The promise is to be guarded from the hour in the sense of being guarded from the demoralizing forces of that hour.

9. The second coming does not lose its moral power in post-tribulationism. New Testament moral incentive is not that we should fear being caught doing evil, but that we should so love the appearing of the Lord that we want to be pure as the Lord is pure, for whom we hope, as 1 John 3:1-3 says.

With regard to the language of being “left behind,” see Benjamin L. Merkle’s article, “Who Will Be Left Behind? Rethinking the Meaning of Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-35,” WTJ 72 (2010): 169-79. He argues, “Although many assume that those taken in Matt 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-35 are taken to be with Jesus and those left behind are left for judgment, this interpretation should be rejected.”

His conclusion summarizes his arguments:

[1] Throughout the context of these passages Jesus uses judgment language reminiscent of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of its inhabitants. Those who were taken away were the ones judged by God whereas those left behind were the remnant who received grace.

[2] Furthermore, the teaching of Jesus confirms this thesis. In the Parable of the Weeds the Son of Man sends his angels to gather out the children of the devil and throw them in the fiery furnace whereas the wheat is left behind (Matt 13:36-43).

[3] The context of Matt 24 and Luke 17 also suggests Jesus is intentionally using judgment and remnant language. Such language naturally brings up images of the former destruction of Jerusalem where the enemy came and “took away” (i.e., killed) those in the city.

[4] Finally, the parallel with Noah and the flood in the preceding verses strongly confirms our thesis. Just as in the days of Noah the people were taken away by the great flood, so those who are not prepared will be taken away when the Son of Man returns.

You can read his arguments in more detail here.


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Comments:


21 thoughts on “9 Reasons We Can Be Confident Christians Won’t Be Raptured Before the Tribulation”

  1. Eugene says:

    Justin,

    Thank you for this helpful summary. I would refer readers to a recent definitive work on this subject.

    http://www.alankurschner.com/antichrist-before-the-day-of-the-lord/

    It is worth the read and will challenge many from the pretribulational tradition.

    Eugene

  2. Michael Snow says:

    May we help others return to faithful study of God’s word as we leave Hollywood behind. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/second-coming-rapture-vs-scripture-christian/

  3. Michial says:

    Regardless of where we fall on this secondary issue we need to exercise grace. As long as one holds to a future, literal return of Christ,general resurrection, judgement, heaven and hell all the various details we disagree over should be done with brotherly love.

  4. Bill Itzel says:

    Refutation:

    1. My problem with the first point is that when you use historical context of a word OVER Biblical context, you may run into problems. Yes, people went out to meet the dignitary and accompanied them back home, but this world isn’t our home. In fact, our home is being prepared by Jesus right now and He promised us that after “going to prepare a place for us, he would come again and receive us to Himself.” If God is preparing a place for us and much of the church never get to see it because we spend eternity on earth, it kind of defeats the purpose of preparing that place.

    2. I think Piper is reading his theology into this passage, which we all tend to do. This passage does not speak specifically one way or another. It does not prove, nor disprove either pre-trib or post-trib. We need to be careful not to use arguments for either side that have a valid interpretation for the other side as well. That is not a proof, a proof is an argument that can only be interpreted without serious twisting by your side. First, in 2 Thessalonians, it is speaking of the perusia, the glorious appearing of Christ. No one is disputing that. Neither is anyone disputing that the church will go through suffering and persecution. These verses simply state that those who are causing our suffering will ultimately “get theirs” when Jesus returns. All Christians, whether church or tribulation saints are persecuted, and often the judgment will be delayed until the King comes to set all to right.

    3. Again, Piper makes a point that post trib believers like to hang their hat on. If you believe the rapture and second coming to be the same event, you will read this passage to say they are speaking of the same event. If you believe them to be different, then you will read it to say that the topic of Paul’s dissertation will be both the coming and the gathering. He uses as support a correlation of Matthew, but again, that is human correlation. Cross references are not inspired. They could just as easily be two different events. It is very possible that Jesus could “gather” at both events. Note, Jesus gathers the church only at the rapture. At the second coming he gathers not only the elect from the 4 corners of the earth (tribulation saints) but first he gathers everyone else to judgment and leaves the believers Matt. 24 39-42. The ones taken are taken to judgment as in the days of Noah.

    4. I don’t know why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to say what he did, but you can’t make an argument on what you would have said to clear up the issue in your mind. The order of events from a pre-trib point of view is:

    rapture – restraining ministry of Holy Spirit taken out – apostasy (probably because restraining ministry is taken away and no Christians are left on the planet – man of lawlessness revealed – the Day of the Lord (Judgment on the earth – tribulation)

    That fits perfectly with this passage.

    5. Again, an argument based on what is NOT in the Bible. There will be many believers who will live through the tribulation. Many will be saved from the witness of the 144,000 and the two witnesses. One could make the same argument that the church is no longer mentioned after the meta tauta (Rev. 4:1) in the book of revelation.

    6. Yes, believers of all ages should expect tribulation and persecution. No one disputes this. However, there will be specific hour of trial and testing that is about to come upon the whole earth to test those on the earth. A test infers that some will pass and some will fail. However this verse says the church will not even see the time frame or the hour of that testing but will be kept from or out of (ek – out of) the very hour of testing. If we are kept through the testing then we will still be tested in hopes that we will pass: “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” So we will all have persecution, just not THE GREAT persecution.

    7. I don’t see Piper’s point here. Yes, this is teaching for all believers, but the context is second coming (24:3). The Lord will return to judge and believers who are on earth at that time had better be ready. I don’t disagree. No one knows the day or hour. Most people on the earth will believe a deluding lie and not even be looking for it. This would be true in a post-trib or pre-trib view so it is a non-argument.

    8. I don’t know where Piper comes up with “kept FOR”. He quotes the verse that says “kept FROM” then makes an argument based on “Kept FOR”. I don’t pretend to know as much greek as Piper…or MacArthur for that matter (Who is a pre-tribulationist), but in my studies, “ek” had the idea of “out of”. I even remember in class easily remembering this one because of the verse “Spew you out of my mouth” thinking…”Ek” as in disgusting :) I also know different prepositions in the greek can take different meanings based on what case is used with it, so I’m not an expert here. The Bible translators have translated it as from which fits more with “out of” than with “for” or “through”. But I made this argument in number 6. Either way, both sides like to claim this verse which makes the argument at best a wash since it does not disprove either point depending on that little word “ek”.

    9. This is not really a proof argument but a defense against something I would not argue, so I’ll just leave it.

    1. Wayne Wilson says:

      You make good points, Bill. I agree that Piper’s response in point 8 is very weak indeed, He also does not tell us why the church is nowhere to be found on earth (or even mentioned) in chapters 4-18.

    2. Todd Wilkinson says:

      Couple of points for you brother. By the way I’m glad you love the Lord’s appearing!!!! So 3rd John 2 to you and your family!!!

      Now sit still and take your medicine!! (JK! by the way, literally Just Kidding)

      Explain how Great Persecution or Great Tribulation is a technical term. It is also used in Acts 7:11 and Rev. 2:22. Is that also the supposed “Great Tribulation”? If not, why not?

      I bet you thought I was going to attack your position. I’m not. But I do want to understand it better. How would you explain those verses.

      Thanks

      1. Bill Itzel says:

        Todd, The Great tribulation or persecution (philipsis – not sure how to spell greek into english) Matthew 24:20-22 uses the term “Great Persecution (I like that term better because of the context of this verse) to refer to when the antichrist turns on Israel, breaks the pact with them and sets up the abomination of desolation. He sets out to exterminate the Jews. (Those in jerusalem flee…) This is the great persecution of the jewish nation. he will succeed in killing two thirds of them. Zech 13:7-9, Rev 13:7. So you could say the tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel and the “great” tribulation could be the last 3.5 years. Either way, it’s going to be terrible, but the tribulation seems to be focussed from destruction to persecution in the second half.

        I hope that answered your question.

  5. Bill Itzel says:

    I take issue with many dispensationalists for bad theology, and relying on really weak arguments, but I do believe a pre-trib rapture for several reasons. These are the ones I can’t seem to get to fit without twisting and why I believe pre-trib is the only one that makes the whole Bible fit without contraction.

    1. Both sides agree that the Lord will return at the end of the 7 year tribulation in judgment. This is the Battle of Armageddon. Much detail has been given in the Bible regarding Jesus’ coming to set up His Kingdom. It will be a time of wrath on the enemies of God and no one will be spared who has marched against the King of Kings. Both sides also agree that following His return, Jesus Christ will set up His Kingdom on earth. Matthew 24:1-29 tells of the signs of His coming. Matthew 24:30-51 tells of the coming itself. In Matthew 25:1-30, Jesus tells Israel 2 parables about being ready for His return, and then in Matthew 25:31-46, he tells of the judgment that will take place at His coming. This whole passage must be taken in context. At the time of His return, Jesus will gather and judge all the peoples of the earth not killed in the initial battle. The saved will enter into the Kingdom (vs. 34), all unsaved will be cast into eternal fire (vs. 41).  The time frame of this judgment is clear – “When He comes” (25:31-32). At the rapture, we know that those caught up will receive their new bodies and be immortal. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). This means that all saved people will receive incorruptible bodies. We also have established that all of the unsaved left when the Lord returns will be separated as goats and will be sent to the lake of fire. A pre-trib view puts these two events 7 years apart (The rapture at the beginning of the tribulation and the sheep and goats judgment at the return of Christ at the end). The Post-trib view makes them happen concurrently. We also know that there will be flesh and blood people in the Kingdom. The problem with the post-trib view is that if all of the saved are raptured and are immortal, and all of the unsaved are in the lake of fire when the Kingdom begins (goats), where do the people who repopulate the earth during the millennium come from? This becomes a major problem to those holding to a belief that the rapture and the second coming happen at the same time.

    2. As stated above in John 14, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also”. If the post trib view is correct, the church (to whom this was promised) at the time of the second coming will never see this place. They will go up in the air to meet Jesus and come back with Him (contradicting Matthew 24:39-40 which says the unsaved will be taken first and the others left), then reign in the Kingdom for 1000 years. Then God will come to dwell with man on the earth as the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. In the pre-trib view, every member of the church, the bride of Christ will see heaven. Will go to that place prepared for them. The tribulation saints won’t, but they are not the church.

    3. What is the View of The Church in the Book of Revelation? In Revelation 1:19, John is told to write “What Was”, “What Is”, and “What Is After These Things”.  This verse gives an outline for the whole book – (Was: glorified Christ – chapter 1, Is: letters to Church – chapters 2-3, After these things: Wrath of God – Tribulational period or 70th Week of Daniel).  The Church is never mentioned again after 4:1 until it is seen coming with Christ in Glory in Chapter 19.  Conclusion: The meta tauta or “after these things” begins in chapter 4 verse 1. The question is “after what things”? The answer is after chapters 1-3 which are letters to the Church. The rest of the Book of Revelation (tribulation judgments) is after this.  The fact that the body, bride, or church is not mentioned after this point is not proof positive, but must be addressed by anyone holding to a mid or post-trib view. Who is the Tribulation for, and why? If the Tribulation period (70th week of Daniel) is for purification, then it is not for the church which is already pure (1 Corinthians 1:2 – saints, 2 Corinthians 5:21 – become righteousness, Hebrews 10:10 – sanctified), yet Israel will need to go through a purifying fire (Daniel 9:24-27 – end of transgression, sin, iniquity, Zechariah 13:8-9 – refining fire, will call on my name).  This time will also be a time when God punishes the world – (Isaiah 26:20-21 – punish, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – Judged).  Conclusion: This 7 year judgment is to purify the Jews as a nation and to pour out wrath on a Godless world. Why would the church, being pure already and delivered from wrath, need to have any part in this? 

    4. What is the “Day of the Lord”, the “Great Tribulation”, the “70th Week of Daniel”? The 70 Weeks of Daniel are spoken of in Daniel 9:24-27. They are 70 – 7 year periods. They are a time when God is working through the Jewish people (for “Your people” – Jews, and “Your City” – Jerusalem). During this time 6 things will be accomplished: 

1. finish the transgression 
2. make an end to sin 
3. make atonement for iniquity 
4. bring in everlasting righteousness 
5. seal up the prophecy 
6. anoint the most holy place 

69 weeks brought us up to the point that the Messiah was cut off (crucified). Then God’s program with Israel was halted, and God focused on the Gentiles. The 70th week will be the future “Tribulation period” or the “Day of the Lord”.  In Acts 15:14-16 God says that, “After this (taking out from the Gentiles a people for my name – Church Age), I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it.” In other words, God will not begin the restoring and rebuilding process with Israel until He is finished taking out from among the Gentiles a people for His name. Romans 11:25-29 says that there will be a hardening of Israel until the Gentile time is completed, then Israel nationally will come back to Jesus. The church and Israel are 2 distinct groups with 2 distinct programs (Romans 11:11). If the church age lasts through the 70th week of Daniel or the Tribulation, there would be no time for the Jews to return to Christ. We know, however, that the Tribulation period or the Day of the Lord will be a time when Israel comes back to God and God rebuilds and restores His people. Conclusion: The church age or Gentile program must be completed FIRST before God resumes His program with Israel (Tribulation). Therefore the Rapture or completion of the “Church/Gentile Age” must come before the Tribulation when God begins His work of restoration of Israel.


  6. David Alves says:

    I have only these things to say to Piper and the rest of my post-Trib brethren:

    (1) If Christians will go through the Day of the Lord, why were the Thessalonians so shocked at being told they were in it (2 Thess 2:1-5)? They should have been happy what Paul told them (v. 5) was coming true, not devastated and shocked…almost as though they misunderstood his teaching, and had thought they’d be evacuated before the DOL.

    (2) If the Rapture happens at the end of the Tribulation, resulting in every believer being glorified, where will the unbelievers come from who rebel with Satan at the close of the millennium? (Interestingly, Piper uses the babies-of-believers argument, given that he is premillennial. Of course, this argument is inconsistent with a post-Trib Rapture.)

    (3) 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is explicit that believers are not destined for wrath. The context of 5:1-11 indicates this is not merely eternal but eschatological wrath. All of the Tribulation judgments are at the hands of God. So if Christians are not destined for these judgments, why are we supposed to be there?

    (4) As for God allegedly protectong believers during the Tribulation: Given that most of us will be tortured and executed, and given there is NO genuine indication that Tribulation saints will be spared any of the judgments (e.g., Rev 7:15-17), how exactly is God “protecting” us, again? And if He is protecting us…then why are we there?

    (5) The post-trib usage of tribulation-is-to-be-expected passages betrays a misunderstanding: The Tribulation period will hardly be a time of average or even extreme difficulty and persecution, but a horrendous, hellish seven years of unprecedented cataclysmic Divine wrath and judgment. This is not some isolated persecution in closed countries. This is a time of utterly Satanically- controlled government, hedonism, and supernatural wrath from Heaven. Or, as Jesus put it, “a great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matt 24:21 ESV). Christians must go through THIS time of tribulation why, exactly? Especially given that whole “not destined for wrath” thing?

    I’m sorry, but this just goes back to forms of covenant theology and its denial that the Church is distinct from Israel. I know TGC is hardly fond of even mild dispensationalism, but as a five-point Calvinist and a dispensationalist, I would humbly submit that the same hermeneutic leads to both.

    1. Bruce Haynes says:

      Excellent argumentation! For the life of me I can’t understand why learned, godly men who will accept the intricate details of the first Advent ( which lasted approximately 33 years ) want to cram everything about the second Advent ( of which the details are described in numerous O.T and N.T passages) into one instantaneous mass. Also, I believe replacement theology has blinded many to see the truth clearly presented in Scripture. Let Israel be Israel, the church be the church, and tribulation saints be tribulation saints, the same Christ is Lord and Savior of all of them. And let the rapture be the rapture, pre-mill and pre-trib.

  7. Nathan Nemmers says:

    It seems as if TGC’s Confessional Statement #13 allows for amil, premil, postmil, oatmeal (etc)…I am wondering if Colin Smith would be willing to either reply or write his own blog that could be posted here at TGC being that he is on the council and many readers/proponents of TGC would not hold the same view as Justin Taylor – Thank you.

  8. Todd Wilkinson says:

    Justin,

    Thank you for adding some clarity to this subject. Just last year I was a dispensationalist until listening to D.A. Carson classes on Revelation on this site. He made a statement concerning 1st Thess. 4 “that’s a pretty loud secret trumpet”. Hit me like a ton of bricks!!!! Then I noticed that the majority of my commentators from Macarthur to Philips were all dispensationalist and each had a different theory on why the Church had been raptured before John’s vision in Revelation. Long story short, I no longer subscribe to that theory and I appreciate this post.

    I understand that secondary truths are secondary but they are still “truths”. Since its still truths we have an obligation to teach and learn it. I am glad that you have provided a quick reference that I can point my college students too.

    Thank you

  9. Great points. I’m not entirely settled on whether the millennium is literal or not. But if it is, which seems more likely to me at this time, these reasons are precisely why I would fall somewhere in the pre-wrath/post-trib camp.

  10. Pre-tribulation Rapture says:

    This is an interesting title: “9 Reasons We Can Be Confident Christians Won’t Be Raptured Before the Tribulation.” Why not just call it” “9 Reasons I am Confident Christians Won’t Be Raptured Before the Tribulation”? Surely you know there are good arguments for a pre-tribulation rapture.

  11. Chuck Bean says:

    The truth of the post-trib position prepares the church for the time of tribulation. The TenBoom family was a type of what the church is called to be, laying down their lives to be salt and light at a time of tribulation. Paul’s 2nd letter to Thessalonians screams have a right view of these times, be prepared, be aware, be those who understand the times.

  12. Kevin says:

    Will there be a 9 reasons of another rapture point of view?? Would love to see that!

  13. Rapture Whipping Boy says:

    I’m wondering why TGC amills and post-tribbers feel the necessity to whip up on pre-tribbers when that whole “it isn’t really a millennial kingdom” disagreement often goes unmentioned. I realize some from our camp make bad movies, but it isn’t like we produced and directed Glitter.

    In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (but doggy piles on dispies is OK).

    1. These are simple objections put forth as food for thought. Simply because they don’t take every aspect of the debate in mind doesn’t mean they are unkind and I think it’s unfair to mischaracterize them as a “whip up” and a “doggie pile”. I realize that many people are as emotionally attached to their eschatology as they are to a close family member, but we should all welcome reasonable theological observations in the interest of pursuing truth.

  14. Greg says:

    I have never cracked the cover of a “Left Behind” book or movie, but the series is evidently the best thing to happen for many who want to disavow pretribulationalism and dispensationalism without dealing with the most sound arguments for either. All you have to do is throw around the “secret rapture” and “secret trumpet” terminology that no serious dispensationalists actually use or believe and dismiss the position out of hand.

    As one commenter mentioned, there are good arguments for the pre-trib position as well, and those haven’t been addressed at all in this post.

    In response to the arguments set forth in this post, here are some thoughts corresponding to each of the 9 points:

    1. This sample size is far, far too limited. The word “apantesin” is used over 20x in the LXX and has a much more general usage simply to “meet” someone, and on most of these occasions they definitely did not accompany that person or group back to where they came from.

    2. The timing of rest, relief, and the revealing of the Lord are tied together too rigidly in this argument. The word “when” is not in the Greek in 2 Thess 1:7 – the phrase is “en the apokalupsei” – “in”, “at”, or “by means of” the revelation of the Lord Jesus. It is not the timing Paul has in mind but rather the means by which affliction and relief would be given. This all still works just fine if the ones afflicted are first removed, then look on as Jesus deals out retribution afterward.

    3. The wording actually does not suggest at all that the “assembling” and the “day of the Lord” are the same thing. It suggests that they are *tied together* – just as they are tied together in 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11. Paul has taught them that the assembling to be with the Lord is concurrent with the arrival of the judgment of the “day of the Lord.” When they are told that they day of the Lord is here, they’re worried that they’ve missed the assembling. Paul is telling them how they can know that 1) they day of the Lord is not yet here and therefore 2) they have not missed the assembling together with the Lord.

    4. This misses the point and assumes too much. It wasn’t Paul, but the Thessalonians, whose eschatology was mistaken. *They* believed the day of the Lord could have arrived, so Paul gave them a sound reason to know that they were not. It doesn’t mean that they should have thought this, or that he had taught them this.

    5. Of course there is no mention of the rapture in these chapters, because they are meant to directly answer the specific questions asked of Jesus by his disciples (Mt. 24:3; Mk. 13:3-4; Lk 21:7). The rapture is not in view. These chapters do not directly speak of the rapture – they do, however, speak of the horrific nature of the tribulation that Christians are promised to be spared from (1 Thess. 5:9).

    —-
    The last four arguments are not against a pre-trib view at all, just a defense of the possibility of other views.

    6. This is, of course, not really an argument for any view, but a defense of the possibility of a non-pre-trib view.

    7. The same thing holds true if the pre-trib rapture alerts people that something is going on. It’s really hard to claim that the coming of Christ to reign on earth will not be preceded by some kind of indicators, whether the tribulation or a rapture that kicks it off.

    8. Revelation 3:10 adds weight to the pre-trib argument of removal out of tribulation (tereo ek) but is, of course, not decisive. It simply complements the view if it is true.

    9. True of any rapture system.

    This is an important discussion, and it matters that we have it, and have it exegetically. There is a right position and we must be open to what the Scriptures say.

  15. Bryan says:

    Wow, I was shocked to see this article on the TGC. Post-Trib rapture belief makes the most sense when you have an amill view of eschatology, I believe. I think the American church is so wrong on the book of Revelation and that it has caused so much damage and confusion to the body of Christ, including the series “left behind.” To say that Revelation chapters 4-22 only apply to those Christians living directly before the return of Christ, has been a victory for Satan, I believe. “All scripture is profitable” and applicable for our lives. Study Revelation 4-22 through an amill point of view and the “light” will start clicking on.

    Check out Art Azurdia’s preaching through the book of Revelation, it will rock you!
    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/azurdia_revelation.html

    1. barry passmore says:

      Thanks for the link, Brian.
      Having read ‘Kingdom Come’, am now anxious to hear these sermon messages.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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