On one site just sent me a while back by a follower we are given some foundational tenants to pre-Trib doctrine. We will look at them in brother Cloud’s own words, and then analyze them from a literal scriptural view. His article begins:
“In our estimation, the doctrine of the Pre-tribulation Rapture is a fundamental of the New Testament faith. While I can’t answer every question that can be asked on this issue (or any other major doctrine), I find more than enough clear Scripture to settle the timing of the Rapture and to be convinced that it is an essential doctrine.”
So, let me interrupt Cloud here for a moment: Let me interject, that I agree that the Rapture is real and it is definitely an essential part of God’s truth (for our doctrine) for the teachings put forth for the church. It must be taught to be, therefore, as God places it in time within His word. Brother Cloud continues:
“Among other things, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is necessitated by the clearly taught doctrine of the imminency of Christ’s return and by the doctrine of the distinction between the church and Israel and a proper interpretation of Daniel’s 70th Week, as we show in the following study. All of this is based on a consistent normal-literal interpretation of prophecy, which is a fundamental of Bible interpretation, as far as we are concerned.”
Here Brother Cloud has given us the foundation for Pre-Trib understanding.
So, now I would like to deal with two of his three issues as presented. The third, Daniel’s 70th Week, I will not deal with. There are entire books written on this subject. I would refer you to this book for understanding:
Of his remaining two, each one occupies a chapter in length in my book. So, in order to adequately deal with them here all that I can do is to give you the flavor of what is wrong in his and many others thinking with regard to a literal scriptural position concerning what he states here.
First imminence is only literal scripture if the rapture was truly meant to be imminent when scripture was completed. That would place imminence as a doctrine of the church following the canonization of scripture. So what does imminence mean to the Pre-Trib teacher? It means that Jesus could have returned at any time in the past or now in the present, without violating literal scripture. So, we need to understand why that could not have happened at the time of scriptures completion?
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (KJV)
This is the literal teaching of Paul concerning “that day” the day of the Lord’s coming. Coming to do what?
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (KJV)
His coming for us (His Body) is to resurrect and Rapture His bride. And we know much about this Day of the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (KJV)
So, was it imminent in 400 BC? No, there was no temple, there was no one world order, there was no one man of sin (the Antichrist). There was no complete body of Christ,as in all Jews and Gentiles saved making up “one new man” as scripture calls us. So when Cloud states:
“We agree with the following statement by Charles Ryrie: “If plain or normal interpretation is the only valid hermeneutical principle and if it is consistently applied, it will cause one to be a dispensationalist.” How can this be considered true?
What exactly do both Ryrie and Cloud mean? They mean that taking God’s word to mean what it says, leads one to Dispensationalism. So I should be able to find in scripture some important concepts literally stated. I’ll list them: church age; rapture before the Resurrection; and the future separation of God’s people.
Instead what do we find? No mention of any age distinguishing a Gentiles Church, which excludes Jews, instead we are literally called one new man in Christ. Then, we are unable to find a Rapture before the Resurrection, instead we find literally that Rapture will follow after The resurrection at His coming.
And then we will find no future separation of God’s people, who are in Christ; or better stated: no separation of Israel from Christ and His established New Covenant people. Instead we find literally, that Israel was promised the new covenant. We find a wild olive tree representing unsaved Gentiles, being cut from and grafted into the one olive tree representing the saved Remnant of both Jews and grafted in Gentiles. Those who have believed God for His Messiah’s offer of salvation. Those who have not been cut off from this tree for their unbelief. Those who are saved under Israel’s promised New Covenant. So how do Cloud an Ryire see this:
“First, Christ said that no man knows the day of His return (Mt. 24:36; Mark 13:32). If it is not possible to know the day of Christ’s return, then it is not possible to know the time of the Antichrist’s appearance, since Christ’s return can be prophetically dated from events in the Antichrist’s ministry.”
So we must ask them: when Jesus said that we can’t know the day or hour, is that literal? Yes, so then it does not contradict the fact that we can know the times and seasons (1 Thess 5:1-). And if we can know the times and seasons of His coming; then His coming was not imminent until His season for coming appeared with the signs thereof. What are they? — a Temple and The Antichrist, a new World order mostly devoid of nation state borders, except for Israel and possibly a few others. So we have seen literal scripture destroy completely their next point. Listen:
“Second, the Rapture is imminent, meaning that it is always at hand but its exact time cannot be known (Mt. 24:42, 44; 25:13; Mr. 13:32-37; Ro. 13:12; Php. 3:20; 4:5; 1 Th. 1:9-10; 5:4-9; Tit. 2:12-13; Jas. 5:8-9; 1 Pe. 4:7.). The apostle Paul instructed the church at Thessalonica that they did not need to heed signs and times, because the New Testament believer has been promised redemption from the “day of darkness” that shall overcome the whole world (1 Th. 5:1-9). The New Testament believer is not waiting for the Antichrist, but for Christ Himself. The imminency of Christ’s return for the church-age believer means that we will not and cannot know the day, the week, the year, or even the decade. If we could know any of that, Christ’s return would not be imminent.”
So, read his scriptures and determine if we really can’t know what to look for in the season of His coming. In fact the dispensationalists have for decades been looking for the building of the Temple, ever since Israel returned to her land. And Paul literally states, that we are not in darkness that the times and seasons of his subject (Christ’s coming) should overtake us as those who are in darkness.
Now to their third point:
“Third, the Bible says that “he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Th. 2:7). The context is the devil’s mystery of iniquity program to put the Antichrist on the throne of the world, and the One who restrains this program is God the Holy Spirit. Paul is saying that the Spirit of God will restrain the forces of evil until He is ready to allow the final events to proceed to fulfillment. The times are always in God’s hands (Da. 2:21).”
In fact, this is what it says, but that has to do with a coming persecution of God’s people at the hand of Satan. This is not God’s wrath that is coming (not yet at this point). It is literally Satan’s against God’s people (Rev 12). God’s wrath comes in the final Hour or hours of this age following Tribulation.
The above quotes are taken from the following site: