Thy Kingdom Come – The Pretribulation Rapture (Part 4)

Thy Kingdom Come – The Pretribulation Rapture (Part 4)

I. Article Title. The Church (The relation of the church to governments. The silence concerning the tribulation in the epistles. The message of the two witnesses. The destiny of the church. The message to Laodicea. The times of the Gentiles. The waiting remnant at the second advent. The sealed 144,000 from Israel).

A. The relation of the church to governments.

1. In the New Testament the church is instructed to pray for governmental authorities, since they are appointed by God, so that those in authority may be saved and the saints live in peace as a result. Such is the instruction in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. The church is further instructed to be in subjection to such powers according to 1 Peter 2:13-16; Titus 3:1; Romans 13:1-7, because these governments are God’s representatives to carry out His will. According to Revelation 13:4 the government during the seventieth week is controlled by Satan and is carrying out his will and his purpose in the manifestation of lawlessness.

2. Because of the relationship of the church to governments in this age and because of the Satanic control of government in the seventieth week, the church must be delivered before this Satanic government manifests itself. The church could not subject herself to such a government. Israel during the seventieth week will rightly call down the judgment of God upon such godless men, and cry for God to vindicate Himself, as is seen in the imprecatory Psalms. Such is not the ministry nor the relationship of the church to governments in this age.

B. The silence concerning the tribulation in the Epistles.

1. The Epistles of James, 1 Peter and, in a measure, 2 Thessalonians were specifically written because of the impending persecution of the church. Many passages, such as John 15:18-25; 16:1-4; 1 Peter 2:19-25; 4:12; James 1:2-4; 5:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10; 2 Timothy 3:10-14; 4:5, were written to give a revelation concerning the persecution, give the reasons for it, and give help and assistance so the believer might endure it. Evidently the writers of the epistles had no knowledge that the church would endure the seventieth week, for they certainly would have given help and guidance to meet the most severe persecution men will ever have known, since they were concerned with giving help for the persecutions of a past day. They would not prepare for the persecutions common to all and neglect the outpouring of wrath in which the believer would need special help and assistance if he were to be in it. In this connection Scofield writes:

“Not only is there no syllable of Scripture which affirms that the church will
enter the great tribulation, but neither the upper chamber discourse, the new
promise, nor the Epistles which explain that promise, so much as mention the
great tribulation. Not once in that great body of inspired writing, written expressly for the church, is the expression found.”

2. Inasmuch as the persecutions of this age and the wrath of the seventieth week vary in kind and character, not just in intensity, it is not sufficient to say that if one is prepared for the lesser he will be also for the greater. The silence in the Epistles which would leave the church unprepared for the tribulation argues for her absence from that period altogether.

C. The message of the two witnesses.

1. In Revelation 11:3 two special emissaries are sent to Israel. Their ministry is accompanied by signs to substantiate the divine origin of their message according to the Old Testament prophetic use of signs. The substance of their preaching is not revealed, but its content may be seen as suggested by the clothing of those messengers. They are said to be clothed with sackcloth (sakkos), which is defined by Thayer as:

“a coarse cloth, a dark coarse stuff made especially of the hair of animals: a garment of the like material, and clinging to the person like a sack, which was wont to be worn by mourners, penitents, suppliants…and also by those, who, like the Hebrew prophets, led an austere life.”

2. When we compare the ministry of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8 and that of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:4, whose ministries were parallel in that they were sent to Israel in a time of apostasy to call the nation to repentance, with the ministry of the two witnesses, we see that the sign of their message in each case is the same, the garment of hair cloth, which was the sign of the national mourning and repentance. It may be concluded, from their distinctive dress, that the two witnesses are announcing the same message as John did, that of repentance because the King is coming. Their good news is “the gospel of the kingdom” of Matthew 24:14. They do not neglect the preaching of the cross, for Rev 7:14 and Zech 13:8-9 indicate that the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom in the seventieth week is accompanied by the preaching of the cross.

3. The message committed to the church is the message of grace. The church has no other message. The fact that the message announced is one of judgment, repentance, and preparation in view of the coming of the King indicates that the church must no longer be present, for no such message is committed to her.

D. The destiny of the church. No one will deny that the destiny of the church is a
heavenly destiny. All her promises and expectations are heavenly in character. When we study the destiny of the saved in the seventieth week we find that their expectation and promise is not heavenly but earthly. Matthew 25:34 makes this very plain. If the church is on earth during the seventieth week all who are saved during that period would be saved to a place in the body. If the rapture did not take place till the end of the seventieth week, and part of the saved went into an earthly blessing and part into a heavenly destiny, the body of Christ would be dismembered and the unity destroyed. Such dismemberment is impossible. This can only indicate that those saved during this seventieth week to go into the millennium must have been saved after the termination of the program for the church.

E. The message to Laodicea. In Revelation 3:14-22 John gives a message to the
church in Laodicea. This church represents the final form of the professing church, which is rejected by the Lord and vomited out of His mouth because of the unreality of its profession. If the church goes into the seventieth week in its entirety and not just the professing portion of it, it would have to be concluded that this Laodicean Church is the picture of the true church. Several things are obvious then. The true church could not go through the persecutions of the seventieth week and still be lukewarm to her Lord. The persecution would fan the fire and turn the lukewarmness into an intense heat, or else it would extinguish the fire altogether. Such has always been the ministry of persecutions in the past. What is even more obvious, if this represents the true
church, is that this church is vomited out from before the Lord, completely rejected of Him. This could only teach that one could be a part of the true church and then finally be cast out altogether; such is an impossibility. The only alternative is to see that the true church terminates with the Philadelphia church, which is removed from the earth according to the promise of Revelation 3:10 before the tribulation begins, and the false professing church, from which the true has been separated by rapture, is left behind, rejected by the Lord, and vomited out into the seventieth week to reveal the true nature of her profession so that such may be rejected justly by the Lord.

F. The times of the Gentiles. In Luke 21:24 the Lord indicates that Jerusalem will
continue in Gentile dominion “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Zechariah 12:2; 14:2-3 indicate that this will not be until the second advent, when the armies of the Beast are destroyed by the Lord, as He is seen to do in Revelation 19:17-19. In Revelation 11:2, in the parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpets, there is a reference to the times of the Gentiles. John indicates that Jerusalem is still in Gentile power and that from the beginning of the series of judgments, which this parenthesis interrupts, until the end of the Gentile dominion is three and one-half years. This is important to observe, for, according to the midtribulation view, the trumpets are events of the first three and one-half years of that seventieth week. If their view be correct the times of the Gentiles would have to end at the middle of the week, or at least before the termination of the seventieth week, and Jerusalem would then have to be
delivered by some other event or person than the returning Lord. This time element indicated in Revelation 11:2 makes that view untenable.

G. The waiting remnant at the second advent. Passages such as Malachi 3:16;
Ezekiel 20:33-38; 37:11-28; Zechariah 13:8-9; Revelation 7:1-8, and many others, indicate clearly that when the Lord returns to earth there will be a believing remnant in Israel awaiting His return. Along with these are passages such as Matthew 25:31-40 and such parables as Matthew 22:1-13 and Luke 14:16-24 that show that there will be a multitude of believers among the Gentiles who will believe and await His return. In order for the Lord to fulfill the promises made in the Abrahamic, Davidic, land, and new covenants at His second advent, it is necessary that there be a believing remnant over whom He can reign and to whom the covenants can be fulfilled. There must also be a group of believing Gentiles who can receive, through faith, the benefits of the covenants in His reign. These groups go into the millennium in their natural
bodies, saved, but not having experienced death and resurrection. If the church were on earth until the time of the second advent, these saved individuals would have been saved to a position in the church, would have been raptured at that time, and consequently there would not be one saved person left on the earth. Who then would be waiting to meet Christ at His return? With whom could Christ literally fulfill the covenants made with Israel? These considerations make necessary the pretribulation rapture of the church, so that God may call out and preserve a remnant during the tribulation in and through whom the promises may be fulfilled.

H. The sealed 144,000 from Israel. As long as the church is on the earth there are none saved to a special Jewish relationship. All who are saved are saved to a position in the body of Christ as indicated in Colossians 1:26-29; 3:11; Ephesians 2:14-22; 3:1-7. During the seventieth week the church must be absent, for out of the saved remnant in Israel God seals 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each tribe, according to Revelation 7:14. The fact that God is again dealing with Israel on this national relationship, setting them apart to national identities, and sending them as special representatives to the nations in place of the witness of the church, indicates that the church must no longer be on earth.

II. Article References. 

Lewis Sperry Chafer, Th. D. (1871-1952). J. Vernon McGee, Th. D. (1904-1988). Merrill F. Unger, Ph. D. (1909-1980). Charles L. Feinberg, Ph. D. (1909-1995). John F. Walvoord, Th. D. (1910-2002). J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D. (1915-2014). Charles C. Ryrie, Ph. D. (1925-2016). Robert L. Thomas, Th. D. (1928-2017). Stanley D. Toussaint, Th. D. (1928-2017). Robert P. Lightner, Th. D. (1931-2018). Harold W. Hoehner, Ph. D. (1935-2009). Thomas S. McCall, Th. D. (1936-2021). Edward E. Hindson, Ph. D. (1944-2022).

A. One of the most difficult and most important factors of writing an article is related to sources of information. A writer must ensure that such sources have a high degree of knowledge on the subjects that are being written, and also must have a high degree of respect from other writers. A second factor that must be considered relates to how to lawfully use material of other writers. In this web site, copyright statutes are not violated. Also, “public domain,” is to be considered.

B. In this article, I have chosen theologians whom have proven themselves to be highly respected by others in the Biblical doctrine of eschatology (the study of what Scripture teaches about the end times), and other doctrines of scripture. All of the references in this article have a connection with Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) as graduate or instructor. Other source of information in this article: Henry C. Thiessen.

C.  For education and other supporting data for each source of information in this article, please refer to my Page, “About My References.” The following links show information about Dallas Theological Seminary; I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Seminary. It is important to understand that DTS is not a denominational seminary, and is totally independent of such.

D. About Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).

1. General Info.

2. Doctrinal Statement.

3. President.

a. Mark Yarbrough. Th. M., Ph. D.

b. Professor of Bible Exposition. Author. Church Pastor/Elder.

Meet Mark Yarbrough, DTS’s Sixth President


Author: Equipping

You may contact me by emailing me on my site's email address, as follows: The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible..

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