|Pre, mid or post tribulationist?|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Sunday, 05 August 2007 16:47|
Many of you may know that I hold to the view that the Church will be caught up to heaven before Daniel's seventieth week begins. Not all Christians agree with this interpretation of Scripture. I have had long discussions with Christians who believe that we will be caught up in the middle of the seven year period. And some friends on the site have said they believe the Lord will come for His Church at the end of the tribulation period. Personally, I try not to make a big issue out of this. While I may use the site to proclaim my own views on the rapture, and that won't change, I will never criticize anyone who holds to a different perspective on this subject. You are all welcome here, whether you hold to a pre, mid or post-tribulationist view.
What I do want to say is, I find it difficult to understand why Christians argue over this subject. I received an email from a Christian today about the rapture. He seemed very irrate and denounced the pretribulationist view as an "escapist theology", concocted by money-making televangelists. He did quote what he thought to be good reasons why he believed in a post-tribulationist view, namely that the Lord shall come for His Church at the "last trump", and that this was the seventh trumpet blast in the book of Revelation. I have since updated my Rapture page with information that was sent to me by two good friends on this subject, pointing out that the "last trump" is a Jewish term linked with the Rosh Hashanah - the Feast of Trumpets.
But what annoyed me most is why believers who hold to a pre-tribulationist view are being almost demonized by other Christians. I don't go around telling everyone who believes in a mid or post tribulation rapture that they are wrong. A good Berean explains his reasons for believing what he does by backing it up with Scripture, and leaving others to decide for themselves. And that is what I have tried to do. Some Christians say we are deceiving people, and when the Church enters the tribulation period, we are all in for a big shock. But the Bible states that God has not appointed us to eschatalogical wrath, but to obtain salvation (1st Thessalonians 5:9).
We must not see the rapture as an escape chute from persecution. Christians in every generation have been persecuted for their faith. Nearly all of the early disciples were martyred, the early Christians were persecuted by Rome, and Christians in many countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, etc face persecution on a daily basis. So don't think that the Church is not presently suffering for its faith. In the West we have enjoyed a time of peace, but persecution may still come here too. The Lord said in John 16:33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation". Paul said in Philippeans 1:29, "unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;". But the Rapture of the Church is an escape chute from the wrath of God, and it is important to keep that in mind.
We all agree that Christ is coming back for His Church, and we even all agree that the Church is not destined to experience God's wrath. We are arguing over the timing of an event, which can only be seven years in error at best for any one of us. So why is the Church so hung up on this issue? I believe Satan is using division among believers for his own aims. The Lord said a house that is divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25). If Satan can divide the Church on this issue, he can effectively annul the urgency of salvation for unbelievers. If the world sees that Christians can't even agree on end time prophecy, they will not bother listening to anything else the Bible says about the last days. If believers are focusing their energy on arguing about the timing of the Rapture, they will have less time to spend witnessing to others that these events are coming to pass and that they need to be saved if they intend to be in heaven. For example, I have spent the last two hours updating this Rapture page, which could have been more profitably spent by reading my Bible or praying for others who need salvation. Instead I'm trying to get other Christians to understand why we shouldn't argue with one another. What a waste of my time, and a what a waste of your time reading all this (I hope it wasn't, but you know what I mean). So let's not argue with one another, but let's be effective witnesses for Christ, for as the Lord said, "the night cometh, when no man can work", John 9:4.