As one might suspect, I often have discussion concerning the Raptures timing. This is my reply to a friend brought about by such a discussion.
It is up to us to continue to follow what we believe to be true. We agreed that we both want to be on the side of truth. I will continue to share with you and with the class why I believe as I do. You have often raised the point that the things I bring up in class need more explanation. So, the only way that further explanation can be given is in writing, since I am not in charge of the class. You spoke of your large number of scriptures that support the pre-Trib rapture. So:
1. If I give you my 15-20?scriptures supporting the timing of the rapture will you give me yours? Because only with those scriptures in hand can we (you and I) adequately discuss their relevance to the timing issue.
2. It has been my experience that pre-Trib supporters argue more from types and shadows, which you have also often mentioned. Plus they insert negative arguments. My experience is that these are used more than clear scriptural statements for their proof. They also, often base their argument on a change in the meaning of a word in a verse rather than in the meaning of the verse before they attempt to reinterpret it. I’ll give an example of each of these (their methods of argument):
A. TYPES AND SHADOWS:
Take Noah as a type and shadow, where he represents the entire church (both dead and alive) saints. But, If this is the case then the flood victims represent the left behind. But only (Noah) the church survives for a supposed wedding, or is this “type” actually placing him into the coming millennial age? I ask this because what of everyone else who are supposed to be the left behind in the tribulation at the time of the rapture. Because if this is a true type and shadow then everyone else goes to hell. This creates a real problem because this typing of the world leaves not one alive over which we must rule in the Millennium. It leaves no Israel behind to be saved. It creates more problems for the Dispensationalists than it creates for others, and unless Israel is made part of the church or in this case part of Noah, then Israel is lost with the rest of the world. Noah and his family are the only ones saved if this is a true type and shadow then everyone else is destroyed. So, this type and shadow (reason why, I doubt that it truly is meant to be one by God) only serves to confuse the endtime events. This teaching does a disservice to endtime prophecy unless Scripture does not teach Israel’s future salvation, and we know that it does; and unless there is no one saved during Tribulation, (and we know that there are salvations). This type and shadow if it is to be taken as representing truth would support only the post-Millennial or Amil – post-Tribulation positions, which you and I have both rejected. It would cause contradictions with much of the remainder of literal scripture about the millennium.
B. NEGATIVE ARGUMENT:
Negative Argument is used in the Revelation by Dispensationalists — the argument: the church is not mentioned in Chapter 4-19, so she can’t be present. The problem with that argument is that the word “Antichrist” is also nowhere mentioned (not at all) in the book of The Revelation. Neither is there a mention of the “man of lawlessness” which Paul calls him in 2 Thessalonians 2. So the argument based upon the absence of a word is also an invalid argument. The church is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles in Jesus Christ, (read Ephesians 2), and both are present in the Tribulation.
C. ARGUMENT OVER WORD MEANING:
Finally there is the Argument over a words meaning (eg. Take The word we discussed Sunday) —Apostasia
Aphistemi the verb is used in this argument over word meaning, but Aphistemi was not found one time in the Biblical time frame when scripture was penned. I will include a quote later by a pre-Trib scholar which should cause one to take pause and question why is this argument even happening.
So here is what should give you pause, because even pretribulationist scholar Paul Feinberg admits, “If one searches for the uses of the noun “apostasy” in the 355 occurrences over the 300-year period between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D., one will not find a single instance where this word refers to a physical departure.”
Even the most noted pretibulational scholar John F. Walvoord did not take this “physical departure” interpretation:
In the first edition of his popular book The Rapture Question (1957) he defended the “Physical Departure” argument. But after considering some of these arguments put forth by Robert H. Gundry, Walvoord rejected this common pretrib argument which he notes in his second edition of The Rapture Question (1979).
Also, again pretrib scholar Paul Feinberg writes, “there is no reason to understand Paul’s use of apostasia as a reference to the rapture” (When the Trumpet Sounds, 311).
There is no question that this word can be used as departure, in later history because things change; but even when used as departure during the literary period when the scriptures were written, it “implies desertion”, as those giving us a biblical definition state within their definition of the word. It does not ever imply being caught up, which requires an outside force acting upon the one being evacuated. You will not find it to mean being caught up even one time in the Greek period writings of scripture. The emphasis of this word in biblical times is on the subject doing the leaving, and that is not rapture, because we do not rapture ourselves as I stated in class.
Unless you can show me where I am wrong with this understanding, then I must conclude that the meaning of this word must be TWISTED in order to attempt to make one believe that it is the Rapture. Twisting a word is a form of deception according to scripture.
Paul tells us that the Rapture occurs on the day of the Lord in 1 Thess. 5, where he says that this day will come as a thief. Then in 2 Thess. 2, he says that that day (speaking of the day of the Lord) will not come unless… the departure occurs. If he has already told us that the rapture occurs on this day, and you are correct (that this departure is the Rapture); then he is telling us in effect that the Rapture taking place on the day of the Lord will not occur until the Rapture takes place, and that makes no sense. His sole purpose for addressing this is to let them know that the Day of the Lord has not come, because these things have not yet occurred.
When I was in the pre-Trib camp I found myself grasping at any hint of proof for the pre-Trib doctrine, because I could find no clear verse describing it. When “departure” was used in the Geneva Bible it communicated exactly what I did when I departed from my belief in the pre-Trib position and took up belief in the post Trib position. Some considered me an apostate. My departure was slow, but it was of my own doing based on a study of eschatology and God’s word.
So it is not that I have not studied from the Scholars, for I have. I have read the take of each of the following on passages that are often found to be controversial:
Darby, Alford, Lang, Olshausen, Riggenbach, Morgan, Torrey, C.H.Mackintosh, and many others. I give a complete bibliography of works that I studied for my first book. You have that book.
My position is that Dispensationalists are wrong on much of what they teach.
They do not believe in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit; they say that they are done away with. You tell me you don’t buy into their 7 church age theory, but they still teach it non the less in order to disavow the gifts of the Spirit. And they teach it to support their pre Trib theory. By doing this they can make the argument that the Philadelphia church age to them the last or 6th age of the bride church age, before we get to the Laodicean left behind church. The Philadelphia church is promised to be kept from the hour of testing or in their understanding the tribulation. They believe this is the promise to the church to be raptured before Tribulation. I speak at length to this as being problematic for them in my second book that you also have.