Home > End Times, Prophecy, Prophecy and Mystery, Rapture, Tribulation > Conundrums Concerning Israel’s Tribulation

Conundrums Concerning Israel’s Tribulation

Dr. Mike Johnston

The following statements either apply to one specific anti-PreTrib position or to all of them.

If the Body of Christ is supposed to be here during Israel’s Tribulation – an epoch event to punish sin and prepare Israel for the Jewish Kingdom – what is the purpose for it?

Since the Tribulation is an evil worldwide event, wouldn’t it have been incumbent upon Paul our apostle to provide the Body of Christ will preparation instructions? The fact is, there are none in any of his epistles.

Two men in Paul’s time were teaching a faith destroying doctrine that the rapture Paul taught – which is the resurrection of the Body of Christ – had happened and those who remained on earth had missed out on it: “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:17-18)

How can the saints of the 2nd coming meet[1] the Lord in the air to be taken directly to the Father’s House (John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:17) while at the same time returning with Christ to the earth (Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13)?

How can you place the church here during the tribulation, which is a time of wrath of God from beginning to end: wrath of God through the Lamb (6:16-17; 14:); wrath of God through the devil (Rev. 12:12) and through God (Rev. 14-19), when we have been delivered from wrath (Rom 5:9) and have not been appointed to wrath (1 Thess. 5:9)?

If every living saint is to be raptured up at the 2nd coming, why would the Lord Jesus need to have a sheep and goat judgment to divide His people (Matt 25:31-33)?

PreTrib rapture antagonists point to 2 Thess. 2 as a proof text for their position. However, there are several problems, such as: (1) We know Paul appealed to things he had previous taught them 1 Thess. 2:5). If those instructions included battling the antichrist, why weren’t those teachings part of the canon of Scripture for the entire Body of Christ? (2) If the Thessalonians had learned from Paul anything but deliverance from this time of wrath, why were they scared they were in it? (3) If they were supposed to endure the tribulation, why didn’t Paul tell them what to do during it since this would have been the perfect time to do so?

If the church is to be here battling the forces of evil during the tribulation, where are the Scripture(s) that teach that?[2]

If the Body of Christ is here during Israel’s tribulation, why are there no verses specifically identifying us on earth without redefining terms like “saints” and “elect” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and the book of Revelation refer to Israel?

Why do the writings of Paul focus upon the obedient walk of the Christian on earth, yet not one word is provided for their behavior during the trials and horrors of tribulation? He never even mentioned refusing the mark of the beast (Rev 13:18) which meant missing eternal life (14:9-12). Is this an egregious oversight on Holy Spirit’s part?

If the rapture and the revelation are the same, how does the church get to Heaven prior to returning with Christ at His revelation (1 Thess. 2:19; Jude 14; Rev 19:11)?

If the church [3] must be here for the tribulation in order to prove ourselves worthy, then it stands to reason that our salvation wasn’t completed at Calvary.

Why do the judgments of Revelation, which anti-PreTrib advocates maintain are intended to purify the church, appear to do just the opposite to people (Rev 16:8-9)?

If Paul had taught the Thessalonian Church that they were to go through the tribulation, why did they become so frantic when they had been told they were in it (2 Thess. 2:2)?[4]

Why is the Greek word ekklesia [5] mentioned 19 times in the first three chapters of Revelation, and never again until the 22nd Chapter?

If the church were to be here during the tribulation, what was the purpose of Paul changing the use of pronouns from we in (1 Thess. 4:13-17) [6],  to  they, them, and others (1 Thess. 5:3-7)?

Posttribbers agree that Rev 3:10 is intended for the tribulation church, meaning He would protect us through it. If the tribulation is intended to perfect us as they tell us, then why would the Lord even attempt to shield us from it (Rev 3:10)? This is inconsistent.

Anti-PreTrib rapturists tell us that since the blessed hope is after the tribulation, we are to be looking forward with great hope, for Antichrist and the horrors of the tribulation. Then, if we survive martyrdom, we’ll experience the rapture. Therefore comfort one another with these words!

If the church is to be here for the tribulation, why does God only select and seal 144,000 Jews [7] for protection (Rev 7:1-8; 9:4 [8]; 14:1)?

Anti-PreTrib rapturists agree that the rapture raises both sleeping and living Christians in new immortal bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). How did the Elders get their bodies when they appeared in Heaven prior to the tribulation (Rev 4:1-5)?

The crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8) is a special reward given to all who long for His appearing. If the rapture is not PreTrib, wouldn’t the persecution make virtually everyone eager for His appearing?

If the church is here, why is Israel protected in the tribulation, but not the Body of Christ (Rev 12:13-17)?

If the church is here during Israel’s tribulation, why are only 144,000 Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel alone doing the evangelism work (Rev. 7; 14)?

If we are here during the tribulation and receive our transformed, immortal bodies at a posttrib rapture with everybody else who has survived the holocaust, who will populate the millennial earth?[9]

Why is the term “mystery” used to describe the rapture resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51), when the 2nd coming and the future resurrection were clearly taught in prophetic Scripture?

Post-trib rapturists stand alone in their belief of just one coming.

While attempting to place the last trump of the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51) with the seventh trumpet in Revelation (Rev 11:15), PreTrib rapture antagonists  fail to explain that the 7th trumpet is blown before the end of the tribulation, before the seven bowl judgments (Rev 16), and way before the revelation of Christ that they claim they’re part of (Rev 19:11). All other positions would agree that while posttribbers are zealous in their attempt to use this trumpet in their favor, it actually stands as a bold witness against their erroneous interpretations.

If the rapture is at the end of the tribulation, what is the purpose of the saints leaving the earth at all to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17)?

If the rapture is posttrib, why did Paul encourage the Thessalonians to comfort one another rather than insisting they begin stockpiling food, clothing, and water, in preparation for possible martyrdom like MacPherson and other post-tribbers do? Does MacPherson and company know something Paul and the Holy Spirit didn’t?

If there is only one coming of Christ, how can 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; and Jude 1:14 be harmonized with 1 Cor. 15:51-53 and 1 Thess. 4:13-18? How can we come with Him when He comes for us?

If the posttrib rapture position is scriptural, why then do the passages that should have included it remain silent (Mt 24; Rev 19)? Not one word about a transformation of saints, catching up in the air, going to be with Christ at the Father’s home. Not one word!

How can the church which is said to be permanently seated in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph 2:6; Phil 3:20; Col. 3:1-3) possibly be on earth experiencing the wrath of God’s judgment?

[1] The Greek word is ap-an’tay-sis, which means a friendly encounter. Stanton says the cognate verb, ap-an’tah-o is used seven times, none of which continued on with Christ or the person, but were sent elsewhere. Posttribbers tell us that it’s use in the NT describes those meeting someone returning with them in the direction they were originally headed, thereby proving that we indeed meet Christ in the air, but immediately return with Him to earth (like a yo-yo). In Matt 25, the bridegroom returned for his bride and she went with him back in the opposite direction to his father’s house. Acts 28:15 the brothers met Paul’s party and traveled with them to Rome. Again the study of the evidence proves that a sand foundation is most difficult to build on.

[2] There aren’t any. Dr. Gerald Stanton says even Ladd can’t produce any such verses. p. 310

[3] It is a mutually agreed upon fact that there will be a church present during the tribulation, but it will be the professing, idolatrous whore who rides the beast, not the spotless, blood bought bride of Christ!

[4] Actually they should have been rejoicing that Christ would be coming in seven years for them!

[5] English Bible translation is church.

[6] If posttribbers would only let the Bible speak for itself the debate would end. This was no coincidence that the Holy Spirit placed the rapture before the Day of the Lord in this passage.

[7] Those who refuse to allow the Bible to speak for itself have spiritualized these Jews and making them the church. However great care is given by the Holy Spirit to tell us the very tribes these men came from. Further, there are no more distinction between Jews and Gentiles in the church (1 Cor 12:12-13; Eph 2:11-18). Note earlier in our study regarding the difference between Israel and the Church

[8] This is undeniably the wrath of God and the Lamb (Rev 6:16-17).

[9]Children will be born during this prosperous time (Isa 65:22-23; Zech 8:5).

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