Will We Go Through the Tribulation? (Pt. 5)

For me, belief in the Rapture played right into my prosperity theology.  It made for a perfect package: people could get saved by saying a few words, they could live in luxury and excess throughout this lifetime, and then Jesus would return to take them out of the tough times that others were to experience during end-time tribulation.  It was pure escapism.  My favorite prophetic passage was, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the son of Man” (Luke 21:36 NKJV).

I liked that verse because it gave me an out.  Christians did not really have to suffer.  They would be taken home to glory before all the bad stuff started happening on earth.  I felt it went against God’s very nature to allow His family to go through the horrors of the Tribulation.  Surely He loves us too much to allow that.  “Just keep praying, brother and sister, that you may be counted worthy to escape.”

Not only that, but it was easier to raise money if one believed in a pretribulational Rapture.  Many sincere Christians who want their lives to count for Christ are easily stimulated to give to ministries when they believe that Jesus Christ could come back at any moment.  After all, who wants to send money to a ministry that tells them tough times are coming and you will have to go through them?

In the preface to his book The Rapture Plot, author David MacPherson hints at a link between pretrib theology and money.  MacPherson describes belief in the Rapture as “Protestant evangelicalism’s most popular and most lucrative view of the future.”  Not surprisingly, most popular prosperity teachers – with a few rare exceptions – hold strongly to a pretribulational view, including belief in a Rapture that will allow believers to escape the calamities to come.

My own thinking on the matter began to change when, in prison, I began a daily, concentrated study of the Scriptures, especially those relating to Jesus Christ.  Naturally, I wanted to learn about Christ’s return, so I began searching for those passages that described a rapture that preceds the Tribulation.

To my amazement, I couldn’t find any.  Oh, sure, I found Scriptures that I and other preachers had twisted or had imbued with our own interpretations, but when I allowed the Bible to speak for itself, I came face to face with the fact that my preconceived notions of a pretribulational Rapture were baseless.  About that same time, God began to impress upon me that I myust warn people concerning the dark days to come.

Over the years since then, I have discovered that I am not alone in my opinion that there is no biblical basis to believe in a pretribulational Rapture.  For instance, Dr. George Eldon Ladd, the esteemed former Professor of Exegesis and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, wrote, “The Scripture nowhere asserts that there is a Rapture which will take place before the Revelation.”

Dr. Ladd studied the prophetic Scriptures carefully and wrote numerous books on the Second Coming, including The Blessed Hope and A Commentary on the Book of Revelation.  In his book The Last Things, Ladd contends:

The only coming of Christ that is spoken of in Matthew 24 is the coming of the glorious Son of Man after the tribulation and the only thing that resembles the Rapture is the gathering of the elect from the four winds (Matt. 24:31).  There is not a hint of a pretribulational return of Christ and Rapture of the church before the Great Tribulation.

(To Be Continued)

Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 1
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 2
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 3
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 4
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 6
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 7
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 8
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 9
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 10
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 11

Excerpt from Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse

Published in 1998

20 thoughts on “Will We Go Through the Tribulation? (Pt. 5)

  1. barry,
    I disagree apostasia does mean departure but not from the world but from the TRUTH of Gods word. and lets read 1 thess 4:16 for the Lord himself will descended from heaven with a shout with a voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God (shout and Trumpet go together as a important event is about to take place)and the dead in christ will rise first!v 17 then we who are alive and remain SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER (RAPTURE GREEK HARPAZO)WITH THEM TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR AND THUS WE SHALL ALWAYS BE WITH THE LORD. what takes place 1st the descending of Christ with the shout and with a trumpet of God then the gathering then we move into Christ kingdom for the 1000yr reign rev 20.Barry really think about what your trying to say first the rapture takes place then the world goes into tribulation then Christ rapture the ones who were beheaded that came out of the great tribulation but then they are apart of the first resurrection. Pre trib theory MAKES NO SENSE AND IS NOT BIBLICALLY CORRECT AND DOES NOT ALIGN WITH JESUS’S WORD OR THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS.
    GOD BLESS

  2. Is it possible that there would be both a pre and post tribulation rapture? Revelation 3:14.in the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:12 leaves that as an interpretation to me, especially considering that the pre-abyssiadic Greek translation (ie non-literal inference) of the word capture is considered by scholars as a rendered depiction, not used in this context. That Greek ” ἁρπαγησόμεθα ” leaves premillennial dispensationalists with a choice of either tacitly identifying as Amillennialists or blatant Dispensationalists. How then can they espouse premillennialism, as the pre-tribulation position is the predominant view that distinguishes between the rapture and second coming as two events. There are also two minor positions within premillennialism that differ with regard to the timing of the rapture, the mid-tribulation view and the partial rapture view – I don’t know … I’d like to have cleared insight of course.

  3. Thank you for all of your determination and hard work that you go through to warn us..I have read another book, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by Perkins that will confirm more reasons just why God has lifted his protective hand off of this nation. He even discusses the same information about the IMF and World Bank. My hope is that you and Lori will have some time to read through it too. I did find it at our local library. This book is very disturbing and “jawdropping”. I will keep praying and reading the Bible along with you and Lori! God has blessed you all and your ministry.
    God’s Blessings to all of you…Kathryn Schneider

  4. I have to kindly disagree with Barry Seal. Historian Dave MacPherson has some articles on the web (Google etc.) that Barry may not know about. “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” and “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy” reveal that the rapture aspect of the Second Coming was stretched forward in 1830 and turned into a separate (pretrib) coming of Christ. Almost all evangelicals in both Britain and American rejected this novel idea. Later on, aware that the rapture is tied to the “day of the Lord,” the same pretrib rapturists stretched forward the (hitherto posttrib) “day of the Lord” and said it would begin when the tribulation begins. But many scholars still rejected the pretrib view and said that the pretribbers were stretching things because they were desperate to still be able to cling to their view. In recent times, more desperate and diehardish than ever, pretribbers have been claiming that the “falling away” in II Thess. 2 is really a pretrib rapture! Evidently Barry Seal has been influenced by some of them. Google “Pretrib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Famous Rapture Watchers” to see how the greatest Greek NT scholars have interpreted Rev. 3:10 etc., and (if you have enough tranquilizers on hand) “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.” I’m not angry at pretrib folks – just disappointed. Judith

    • Historian who? What is disappointing is that we need to do 2 Timothy 2:15 instead of worring what mans opinion is. I didn’t write the Latin Vulgate I’m just telling everyone what it say’s. I do a lot of Bible Study whith the Hebrew and Greek in front of me, and no other position fits the end times better then a pre-tribulation rapture,when the Word of God is rightly divided. I’m a student of the Bible and find it kinda hard to follow man, even if it is a Greek NT scholar on how to interpret Scripture. The Bible is not hard to understand, It’s when we start letting man cloud our thinking with their opinions instead of digging through the Bible our selfs. Just because men are dishonest, that doesn’t change the pre-tribulation doctrine taught in the Bible. All my references are Biblical and not pointing to man. Please don’t be disappointed with pretrip folks. Be disappointed that 90% of Christains don’t study their Bibles. God Bless You!

  5. Dear Brother Jim, God Bless You and Your Family. I hope that my words here do not offend anyone. I will try and be careful. First I would like to direct those that don’t believe in a pretribulation rapture to 1&2 Thessalonians. We all know that the word “caught up” means “raptured” (Greek harpazo). The English word “rapture” comes from the Latin word rapiemur or raptus, meaning “seized” or “carried away” taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:17. No one has a problem with this verse as being the classic defining passage on the great doctrine of the “rapture of the church” caught out of this world to be forever with the Lord. Now look at 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. Before I go any further I would like to point out that men put the chapters and verses in the Bible, so when you read Pauls writing, it is a letter to the church at Thessalonica to Christians. Study this passage closely and look at the order of Pauls letter, the rapture first and then the day of the Lord. Throughout scripture the Tribulation is referred to by, “the day of the Lord”(Isaiah 2:12;13:6-9; Joel 1:15;2:1-31;3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2). Notice in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 Paul says “For when they shall say peace and safty; then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape”. Look how Paul uses the words “they” and “them”. Verse 4 “But ye,brethern, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” Verse 9 “For God hath not appointed us(the Church) to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Salvation” can refer to any “deliverance” (same Greek word).In this case it refers to the deliverance from the world before the wrath of God is visited on it. If any should object that the last generation of Christians does not really deserved to be delivered out of the Tribulation, they should remember that this salvation, like that of individual soul salvation, is a matter of grace through faith, not works. Previouse generations of Christians also were delivered from the coming day of wrath, so that “whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (5:10) when he comes again. Look at verse 9, Paul uses the words us(the Church) not “they” and “them.” Now let’s look at 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and look at what this passage of scripture is saying. The Thessalonians were scared that they were in the Tribulation. The day of Christ means the same as the day of the Lord(the Tribulation). Here is what Paul say’s. “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.” In the Greek the words “falling away” is “apostasia.” Now remember the same Latin where we get the word rapiemur for rapture, we find the Latin word for “apostasia” which is “discessio” and the English word for “discessio” is non other then the word “departure”. I didn’t make this up or did a play on words or twisted any scripture to come up with all of this. According to the context this is not a deprture from the faith as some teach, but a departure from this world before the day of the Lord. If the Church is supposed to go through the Tribulation then why isn’t the Greek word “diapheugo” used instead of the Greek word “ekpheugo” in Luke 21:36. The Greek word “dia” means “through”. In Luke the Greek word for escape is “ekpheugo” which means out of. Also these are words that our Lord and Saviour spoke. The word “from” in Revelation 3:10 has the same “out of” meaning and not “through”. Remember It’s the blood of JESUS that cleanses us from all our sins. Not going through the Tribulation Period.We don’t have to do anything but believe, for it is by faith not works. I don’t believe in Mickey Mouse Christiananity. Being a true Christian is a battle field. God Bless You Jim

  6. Oh, and the other thing is one that Jim alluded to in the previous message – the Rapture only makes sense from a self-centered perspective.

    How arrogant are us ‘Western Christians’ to assume God would not be willing for us to suffer difficulties, when we consider the persectued church. Christians in Iran, China and a multitude of other countries are already in tribulation – how dare I suggest to my suffering brothers and sisters that God will not only give us Westerners all of the material blessings, but will then remove us before anything bad happens too…?

  7. I too have studied these events at great length over the years, and I am fairly strongly convinced that the Scriptures actually suggest a Rapture either late in the events of Revelation, or at the very end.

    There is no Scripture that can be used without huge levels of interpretation to justify a pre-trib rapture at all.

    I often argie with pre-tribbers using the following points, which to me are very important and revealing:

    1. The parable of the wheat and the tares. This is an end-times contents, and the ‘gardener’ specifically says to leave the wheat and the tares together until the time of harvest. The only ‘harvest’ described in Revelation is found in rev 14, and it takes place after all of the judgements and warnings.

    2. If there is a pre-trib rapture, why does EVERY letter to the 7 churches in Revelation end with “to he who endures to the end…” before offering a variety of promises. this makes no sense if they are about to be removed from the world.

    3. If the events of Revelation are ‘warnings’ instead of mere ‘punishments’, why would God remove his witnesses from the earth during the greatest battle of good vs evil in history? This is inconsistent with his ways.

    4. Those who endure the tribulation period and are martyred by the antichrist are given special promises that none who have gone before will receive. If the only ones left in the tribulation period are those who rejected Jesus in this life and only turned after the Rapture, why would God see to reward them more than the people who had faithfully served God in their lives? (God certainly COULD do so, but it would seem inconsistent with his nature).

    Ultimately, I would rather be prepared to endure to the end, and then be taken early, than to expect to go early and have to endure to the end!

    Fantastic stuff Jim – I was inspired by your autobigraphy some years ago too mate!! The Lord bless you richly.

    Dave

    • Hi Dave, I’m hoping not to offend, so forgive me if I do. As you probably can tell I’m a believer in the Pretribulation Rapture of Church. Dave the word endure is not found nowhere in the book of Revelation, and It only mentions unto the end in Revelations 2:26 and nowhere else. The parables in the Bible are Jewish in nature and only refers to the Kingdom of Heaven in relation with the second coming. The Kingdom of Heaven is Christ ruling in Jerusalem during the Millennium (Matthew 8:11). No parable refers to the church or the rapture of the church. A parable is simply an illustration of some truth and the details are not to be stressed unduly. They are necessary only to make a complete story so that the truth can be illustrated. Thus it is important that no hidden meanings are given to details of a parable. The events in Revelation are not warnings, they are Judgments, 21 of them. The Church doesn’t need Judged. Not this kind. The Tribulation Period is for unbelieving Israel(Daniel 9:24), and the lost world. Believe me there will be plenty of witnesses during this seven year period. Number four, because God is sovereign. It doesn’t matter what time it is 9:00, 12:00, or 3:00 they all got a penny:) Also the Tribulation Period is not a battle of good and evil, that happens at the end and we will all be their(Revelation 19:11-21) God Bless

  8. The Lord never leaves his Servants and Prophets unaware if they truly will hear His voice. Many of The Remnant have come to the conclusion about no Pre-trib Rapture years ago, but literally had people treating us- as usual- like heretics…so we’ve kept quiet and just started preparing. As a result, many have begun buying and building what we call “End Time Farms” in the U.S… are have begun traveling overseas if the Lord wants us to travel for Him rather than stay in one place in the U.S. We’ve also been learning about homes, neighborhoods, regions and even countries which God has designated as “places of safety.” We can’t give out a prepared list, though some try… however we can recommend two things… there are “Preparation Disaster Kits” one can begin building. You can find the list on the internet… things like “water purification tablets” cost less than 5 dollars and you can start buying these things as you can afford them. The other thing is to pray what God wants for your individual family in the last days… and be prepared to be suprised… like us… He may show you that you will “travel the world” for Him, but have a specific region of safety to call home, when you need one. For others, He may want you to buy land in the U.S. and begin planting fruit trees, raising goats, etc… for everyone it is different- but if you want to play denial and hide your hand in the sand… don’t blame God when the disasters continue to get worse and you are unprepared…

    blessings,

    Zanne Smith
    ORA Entertainment
    orafilms@yahoo.com

  9. Can you explain the scripture in the Old Testament that says
    the Gathering shall not come. I have often wondered what it means.
    The Lord spoke to me many years ago. Just words in my sleep.
    Many people are living for tomorrow, but their tomorrows are
    running out. I also wondered about another scripture. The day
    of great calamity, the day the towers fall.

  10. Amen Jim, Finally bring it home now. The bible is clear we will have to endure, that we will be refined like gold in the fire, and that we must endure these things to the very end. God has always provided for His people in the way of Deliverence. All through the bible. But because so many country club christians, that never died to self, that never gave up everything and found them selves saying What would you have me do now Lord? The ones who tried to fit Christ into their lives, between the round of golf, happy hour, apprintice, NFL, work, the new boat, the new girlfriend, the new BMW, but found an hour to Get Um Some Jesus, as long as they wern’t exhusted from boot scootin at the cotton eyed joe and 8 budweisers on sat nite. Not even luke warm. Jesus is that treasure, that pearl of great price that you want with everything that you possess. willing to give it all up to have Him in your life. Thats what it takes to get to heaven, and nothing less. What did it cost for Salvation? EVERYTHING! It cost God His Son.
    Read your bible folks. Renew your mind with a washing of the Water of the Word. The Word is God. The Word became flesh. The Word is alive. Let them with ears hear and eyes see. God has poured out His spirit on all Born Again men! Our children will prophecy, our old men will have visions and dreams, walk in agreement with your brother, and dwell in the Secret place. God will reveal His Truth to you. God Let Your Church Arise and Your Enemies be scattered! michael@operationhungrycity.com http://www.operationhungrycity.com

  11. Dear Jim,

    I too, did an in depth study of the Tribulation Days. I found, just like you did, that the last few verses in Matthew Chapter 24 was the timing of Jesus Christ meeting us in the air. I finally settled on the Truth we need to be ready no matter when He meets us in the air. For the sake of arguing with know it all Pastors. I might add, most of who would not dare lift a finger to help the needy!
    Before I was a seasoned Believer. I still kept questioning to Pastors show me where the Word of God says we will be “raptured” before the Tribulation? All any of those Pastors could come up with was in Theselonians. Where Jesus will take us in a blink of an eye. However, those Theselonian Verses are not in RED, like the Jesus Christ spoken words are in God’s Word. And another point. The Theselonian verses don’t mention the Tribulation.
    I would love to believe we will be meeting Jesus in the air before all the bad stuff/Tribulation happens. However, I have always had a hard time believing it the way Pastors on TV preached it, because there was not much to base their line of thinking on.
    God woke me up the night before the Twin Towers were terriorised. Jesus told me not to be afraid, for these things must come to pass. I woke up the next morning, and knew exactly what Jesus was telling me in my Dream. The Beginning of sorrows and Tribulation has begun. The twin towers being destroyed was the sign of it has begun.
    Sincerely,
    Jeannie

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