Thy Kingdom Come– The Pretribulation Rapture (Part 5)
I. Article Title. The Church (A. The chronology of the book of Revelation. B. The object of satanic attack. C. The apostasy of the period. D. The promises of the true church. E. The agreement of typology).
A. The chronology of the book of Revelation. In dealing with both the
mid-tribulation and post-tribulation rapture positions the chronology of the Revelation has been examined. It is mentioned in this place only as further evidence. Chapters 1—3 present the development of the church in this present age. Chapters 4—11 cover the events of the entire seventieth week period and conclude with the return of Christ to-the earth to reign in 11:15-18. Thus the seals are the events of the first three and one-half years and the trumpets events of the last three and one-half years. According to the instructions given John in 10:11, chapters 12—19 survey the seventieth week a second time, this time with a view to revealing the actors on the stage of the drama. This chronology makes a mid-tribulation view of the rapture impossible, for the so-called mid-tribulation rapture of 11:15-18 is seen to be the post-tribulation return to the earth, not the rapture at all. This gives further supporting evidence for the pretribulation rapture position.
B. The great object of satanic attack. According to Revelation 12, the object of
satanic attack during the tribulation period is “the woman” who produced the child. Since this child is born “to rule all nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5), it can only refer to Christ, the one whose right it is to rule. The Psalmist confirms this interpretation in Psalm 2:9, which is admittedly Messianic. The one from whom Christ came can only be Israel. At the time Satan is cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:9) he goes forth with “great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). The church must not be here, for, since it is the “body of Christ” and the “bride of Christ” and consequently precious to Christ, it would be the object of satanic attack then as it has been all through the age (Eph. 6:12) if it were present. The reason Satan turns against Israel can only be explained by the absence of the church from that scene.
C. The apostasy of the period. The complete apostasy of the period on the part of the professing church prevents the church from being in the world. The only organized church ever mentioned in the tribulation period is the Jezebel system (Rev. 2:22) and the harlot system (Rev. 17 and 18). If the true church were on earth, since it is not mentioned as separate from the apostate system, it must be a part of that apostasy. Such a conclusion is impossible. The believing witnesses, converted during the period, are specifically said to have kept themselves from defilement by this apostate system (Rev. 14: 4). Since the church is not mentioned as also having kept herself from this system it must be concluded that the church is not there.
D. The promises to the true church. There are certain passages of Scripture which definitely promise the church a removal before the seventieth week.
1.Revelation 3:10. “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation.” John uses the
word tēreō. Thayer says that when this verb is used with en it means “to cause one to persevere or stand firm in a thing”; while when used with ek it means “by guarding to cause one to escape in safety out of.” Since ek is used here it would indicate that John is promising a removal from the sphere of testing, not a preservation through it. This is further substantiated by the use of the words “the hour.” God is not only guarding from the trials but from the very hour itself when these trials will come on those earth dwellers. Thiessen comments on this passage:
…we want to know what is the meaning of the verb “will keep” (tereso) and of
the preposition “from” (ek). Alford says on the preposition ek, that it means “out of the midst of: but whether by immunity from, or by being brought safe through, the preposition does not clearly define.”… Thus he points out that grammatically the two terms can have the same meaning, so that Rev. 3:10 may mean, not “passing unscathed through the evil,” but “perfect immunity from it.”…the grammar permits the interpretation of absolute immunity from the period. Other scholars say the same thing as to the preposition ek (out of, from). Buttmann-Thayer says that ek and apo “often serve to denote one and the same relation,” referring to John 17:15; Acts 15:29; Rev. 3:10 as examples of this usage. Abbott doubts “if in the LXX and John, ek always implies previous existence in the evils from which one is delivered when used with sozo and tereso” (i.e. with the verbs to save and to keep). Westcott says regarding ek sozo (to save from) that it “does not necessarily imply that that is actually realized out of which deliverance is granted (cf. 2 Cor. 1:10), though it does so commonly (John 12:27). Similarly we read in 1 Thess. 1:10 that Jesus delivers us “from (ek) the wrath to come.” This can hardly mean protection in it; it must mean exemption from it. It would seem, then, to be perfectly clear that the preposition “from” may be taken to mean complete exemption from that which is predicted. It is clear that the context and other statements in Scriptures require that this be the interpretation. As for the context, note that the promise is not merely to be kept from the temptation, but from the hour of temptation, i.e. from the period of trial as such, not only from the trial during the period. And, again, why should the Apostle write ek tes horas (from the hour), as he did, when he might easily have written en te hora (in the hour), if that is what he meant to say? Surely the Spirit of God guided him in the very language he employed.
2. 1 Thessalonians 5:9. “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain
salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” The contrast in this passage is between light and darkness, between wrath and salvation from that wrath. 1 Thes 5:2 indicates that this wrath and darkness is that of the Day of the Lord. A comparison of this passage with Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Amos 5:18 will describe the darkness mentioned here as the darkness of the seventieth week. A comparison with Revelation 6:17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19 will describe the wrath of the Day of the Lord. Paul clearly teaches in verse 9 that our expectation and appointment is not to wrath and darkness, but rather to salvation, and verse 10 indicates the method of that salvation, namely, to “live together with him.”
3. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10. Again Paul clearly indicates that our expectation is not wrath, but the revelation of “his son from heaven.” This could not be unless the Son were revealed before the wrath of the seventieth week falls on the earth.
E. The agreement of typology.
1. While argument from analogy is a weak argument in itself, yet if a teaching is contrary to all typology it can not be a true interpretation. Scripture abounds in types which teach that those who walked by faith were delivered from the visitations of judgment which overtook the unbelieving. Such types are seen in the experience of Noah and Rahab, but perhaps the clearest illustration is that of Lot. In 2 Peter 2:6-9 Lot is called a righteous man. This divine commentary will shed light on Genesis 19:22, where the angel sought to hasten the departure of Lot with the words “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither.” If the presence of one righteous man prevented the outpouring of deserved judgment on the city of Sodom, how much more will the presence of the church on earth prevent the outpouring of divine wrath until after her removal.
2. A number of reasons for belief in the pretribulation rapture position have been presented. Some of them are particularly applicable to the mid-tribulation rapture position and others applicable to the post-tribulation rapture position. It should be borne in mind that it is not claimed that all the arguments have the same importance or weight. The pretribulation doctrine is not based on these arguments singly, but rather they are considered as cumulative evidence that the church will be delivered by rapture before the inception of Daniel’s seventieth week.
II. About This Series Of Articles.
This study is one of Bible Exposition, which extends from the first verse of Genesis through the last verse of Revelation. The key focus of the study relates to Matthew 6:10, where Jesus tells the Jews to pray for the Kingdom to Come; there was never such a prayer that was addressed to Gentiles. The kingdom did not come during the time that Jesus was on this earth, and has not come since He ascended to Heaven. The Kingdom does enter people; people will enter the Kingdom, and will be physically here on earth, which will be a prophecy that fulfills 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16-17. The Kingdom is unconditional, and applies only to Israel; Gentiles will benefit from God’s unconditional gift of the Davidic Kingdom to Israel (Genesis 12:1-3).
III. 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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain
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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Theological_Seminary
2. Doctrinal Statement. https://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/
a. Mark Yarbrough. Th. M., Ph. D.
b. Professor of Bible Exposition. Author. Church Pastor/Elder.