I attend a Church of God, which in it’s statement of “Beliefs” listed on line, takes no position on the Rapture’s timing. So this leaves a liberty to teach what one believes the Bible to teach on the subject. This week our pastor’s message was an appeal to the pre-Trib Rapture, I was anxious to learn why since our pastor can chose his own view — has he decided to take this stand? Most Denominational pastors have to stick to church doctrine as dictated, but not so our pastor on the Rapture issue.
His sermon was pretty typical appealing to dispensational arguments as he revealed what he believes to be the pre-Trib Rapture of the church. That puzzled me because our church runs contrary to dispensational beliefs. His intro was made up of 7 things which will happen during the end times. He and I have been communicating since his message, and I will be including his comments as he presents them. The Rapture was the first event on his list of those seven events.
Then following his introduction of these events, his sermon was short as he had promised, and it was based on three sections of scripture, not necessarily in this order.
First, the message to the church of Philadelphia (Rev.3:10), was simply stated to be “the promise to keep us from the Tribulation”. My concern which I have communicated to him is that the hour, which we are really kept from is not identified in this text as being the Tribulation — it’s not defined in that passage nor is it defined elsewhere as such in scripture. So — *I have previously posted concerning this Revelation 3:10 passage in a lengthy post, so I have suggested that pastor take a look at this post and correct my thinking should he decide that I need correcting.(*see below for that post should you wish to enquire further into the hour we are kept from).
The second passage was Paul’s 1 Thess. 4th chapter’s teaching, with which I’m sure we are all familiar. It is the Second coming teaching introducing the Rapture following the resurrection. Again I have written previously and extensively concerning Paul’s description of the Rapture in this passage. (**you may review these two posts listed below, along with pastor to gain insight should you wish)
Finally there was one passage in Matthew 24, on the days of Noah. Jesus had said: for as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at His coming.
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (KJV)
Here is Luke’s version. Luke gives a bit more detail:
Luke 17:23 “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after [them.]
Luke 17:24 “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.
Luke 17:25 “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Luke 17:26 “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
Luke 17:27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Pastor then stated that just as the flood was something never seen before, the Rapture is something never seen before, and the Tribulation is something never seen before.
So aside from those possibilities, the scripture should inform us since Jesus relates it for that purpose, but what might it tell us about the Rapture’s timing? Noah entered the ark, God closed the ramp, and then all evil men were destroyed. So was it a mistake for Jesus to use Noah as His example? Or does the fact that Jesus also includes eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage somehow make the following events unimportant? Is it possible that one of Jesus’ points concerning Noah was that no one was saved following his entering the ark, which lends itself to a post-Trib Rapture? Why did Jesus say three verses later:
Luke 17:30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. (NASB)
Pastor gave an illustration relating to the Ark: he and his wife were on a cruise. The rule was: be back from your tour on time. If the gang plank has been raised you have missed the ship. At one port he watched as two people were running down the concrete pier, but the ship was already untethered, the plank was already raised, they had missed the time to board. This is the picture that Noah presents.
He then stated two I believes.
“I believe that all who are in Christ will be caught up at the Pre-Trib Rapture.”
“I believe that there will be men saved during the Tribulation.”
Based on the Noah account, it is my belief that this may present a contradiction, when one really examines these two statements of pastor’s against this scripture. This last I believe was perhaps supported with Pastor’s statement concerning the couple who missed the ship, they, he said must then provide their own way to the next port. I know that this illustration did not mean that those saved in the Tribulation must save themselves, what I don’t know is just how this ties into Jesus example provided us in the example of Noah, and it’s tie to the Rapture, because he didn’t say, and if all who are in Christ are taken at the rapture then technically there is no pre-Trib rapture, but rather a post-Trib Rapture with no more chance for salvation, for no one can be saved, who does not enter through the door to the Ark, to which, Jesus compares His coming. One must be in Christ to be saved. So really if people keep getting saved during the Tribulation; then the Rapture hasn’t happened yet. For all who are in Christ cannot go in a pre-Trib Rapture ark if there are salvations later during Tribulation.
In fact, scripture does agree with pastor, that men are saved during the Tribulation. Aren’t they then also in Christ (in the ark using the Noah example)? But they can’t be if the ark has already sailed. So how do these scriptures teach a pre-Trib Rapture? Not all who must be in Christ in order to be saved are caught up in this version of Rapture, and not all evil is destroyed as the ship sails in this version of Rapture; for once the gang plank is closed — it’s closed. This example of Noah only makes clear that there is no further chance to enter into Christ beyond the Rapture (the ark), and no further chance to be saved beyond the Rapture. So this version of the Rapture does not meet the type and shadow used in Jesus’ teaching, in my opinion.
There must be an understanding of the scripture used by Jesus to make His point, and our “I believes” must comport with His example.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
There is no salvation outside of being in Christ (in the ark). So if there is a pre-Trib Rapture all who are in Christ are not Raptured as the pastor believes.
1 Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (KJV)
“His coming” is not plural here or elsewhere. Not anywhere in New Testament scriptures. If there were presented here two comings beyond Jesus’ own assent, why does this not state “comings” rather than coming.
This is why Dispensationalists invented at one time in the distant past the term “secret rapture”. They have now dropped the term “secret”, but they have not shown us where there is revealed to be a pre-Trib. rapture in scripture. They simply lay claim to its teaching. The phrase “I believe”, is not a teaching without scriptural support stating clearly why.
Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe it, and tremble.
James 2:19 GNV
Saying “I believe” is not our proof. It is not even faith producing. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Truth today is a nebulous term in our society. Unfortunately it has also become similar in our pulpits. Just look at what is taking place around us. Truth is different for each political party in America. Truth is different in each denomination in the church. We even allow for different truths to compete within our brand of Christianity. Words are powerful, use them well. Not mine, not yours, but only God’s truth matters.
My purpose in this and any dialogue is getting at the truth. We all who are in Christ are to be in the process of changing our minds to comport with the mind of Christ. His mind is truth, and we must find it on this subject in these last days in order to understand and be prepared for what these days may bring. As long as we are truly seeking the mind of Christ we cannot be deceived.
As pastor says:
“We are all learning and growing in our understanding, and neither view prohibits someone from a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.” Quote from pastor Jeter.
There is one other point that I want to make concerning Noah’s example as used by the Lord, and I will do that in my next blog post.
*this link will take you to the teaching relative to wrath and Revelation 3:10’s hour.
** these links will examine Paul’s Rapture teaching examining the day of the Lord and the Thief in the night.
*** this link will take you to the pastors messages: this one was preached on the last Sunday of Aug 2020.
Anyone wishing to join in this discussion please provide your comments, and I will post them.
Lord bless you as you grow in Him.