Home > Apologetics, Doctrine, End Times, Israel, Israel and the Church, Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Prophecy, Rapture, Tribulation > Thesis Overview: The Body of Christ will NOT go through Israel’s Tribulation

Thesis Overview: The Body of Christ will NOT go through Israel’s Tribulation

Dr. Mike Johnston

One highly disputed Bible doctrine is the tribulation. Retrospectively, over the past forty years I’ve found opinions surrounding it such as its name, length, participants, purpose, and timing of the Lord’s return, to be as vicious as they are varied and vacuous. This need not be. From the first mention in Deuteronomy 4:30-31 (we’ll examine more carefully later) through Revelation 19, it is pictured as a time of trouble for Jacob, and Jacob is Israel (Gen. 32:28; Deut. 31; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1). God designed it to ultimately lead His rebellious, stubborn hearted Jewish people into repentance preparatory to the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; Rev. 20) in Jerusalem. One can be sure, “in that day” (Isa. 2:11, 17, 20; 11:11; Jer. 30:8; etc); “the day of the Lord” (Isa. 2:12; 13:6; 13:9; Jer. 46:10; etc), “a day of darkness and of gloominess” (Joel 2:2), the wayward, blind, and slumbering Israel (Rom. 11:8) will awaken to find herself once again on center stage fulfilling Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27), (study Isaiah 2; 24; Joel; Zephaniah, Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; and Revelation 6-19), currently on hold. The tribulation week will be followed by the Revelation of Jesus Christ predicted for Israel “in time past” (Zech. 14:4; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Acts 14:16; Rev. 19:11-21) to occur in the “ages to come”.
As proven in this treatise, when studied in totality, the tribulation is for Israel, God’s foremost nation on earth (Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zeph; Rev. 3:10; 6-19). It is prophesied to Israel (Deut. 4:30); it is primarily punishment of Israel (Zeph. 1:14-18); and it is preparation for Israel’s Kingdom and King (Jer. 30:3-11). Every Bible reference to it speaks of one of these three things. By prescription – written from the pen of Providence – it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Body of Christ – provable by Scripture studied in context. Case in point: Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations of the world are mentioned often and thus highly visible during the horrors of this tribulation holocaust (Isa. 2; Dan. 7-12; Joel 2; Zeph. 1-2; Zech. 12-14; Rev. 6-19). However, the Body of Christ (church) is not. In fact, if the church is present on earth during a single moment of the time of “Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1-2), the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to keep us from knowing it. Consider this example (not necessarily offered as exclusively conclusive): The Holy Spirit lavishly used the word “church” 19 times in Revelation 1-3, and yet He never specifically mentions the church or Body of Christ once during the tribulation which occurs between Revelation six and nineteen. Why is this?
There are only three possible explanations: First, it was an oversight, which omniscience renders impossible. Second, it was intentional to keep us from knowing we’re destined for the tribulation horrors of the wrath of God (Rev. 6-19) which is equally absurd. Third, the heavenly Body of Christ, His church – promised deliverance “from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10), and “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10; see also 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 4:1) is NOT here! This is the only choice an impartial eye can see through the objective lens. There isn’t a verse anywhere in the King James Bible clearly placing the Body of Christ on earth for a single moment of Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27) without redefining the words “saints” and “elect”, which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation specifically refer to Israel in the tribulation (Deut. 4:30).

 

 

 

Time of Jacob’s Trouble

 

However, the tribulation – aka “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) – is a grossly misunderstood, gravely misapplied end-time’s doctrine. From my four decades of experience, I’ve discovered discussions about the purpose, participants, and the timing of the Lord’s return are often as vicious as they are varied. The reason – although the guilty will fall on the sword denying this – is a hermeneutic gaffe I employed early in my Christian life that patently ignores a right division God’s Word makes between Israel, the Body of Christ, and the two distinct programs separating and governing them.

 

The first program is for Israel and exists from prophecy “which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70).

 

The second is for the Body of Christ and exists as a mystery “which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25; see Eph. 3:1-9).

 

This right division between prophecy and mystery becomes an indispensable component for unlocking end time’s Scripture regarding Israel’s future, including the tribulation which originated and exists in the prophecy program – that agenda-driven PreTrib rapture antagonists brazenly misrepresent on several levels. I’ll discuss three:

 

First, trivializing the doctrine of Israel’s tribulation by equating it with common trials every Christian faces. In this manner they can include the Body of Christ without citing Scripture to punctuate their preposterous presumptions!

 

The tribulation that Moses, Jesus, and John warned Israel about (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14) is an epic future event progressively revealed in Scripture as “tribulation” (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14); “the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15); Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27); “a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zephaniah 1:15), and “the hour of temptation” to try earth dwellers (Rev. 3:10).

 

Do you see anything trivial here?

 

Second, twisting God’s primary purpose for Israel’s tribulation, in order to shoehorn the Body of Christ into the midst of it when there is no Scriptural basis for it. The Old Testament prophets – beginning with a prediction by Moses (Deut. 4:30) revealed the tribulation for Israel. In their words, [1] – the tribulation is part of God’s final pre-kingdom judgment where He will punish sin and sinners (Deut. 4:30-31; Jer. 30-31; Joel, Zeph; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19), while preparing earth and Israel for the Revelation of the Messiah (Matt. 24:29; Rev. 19:11; see Isa. 66:16), and the Jewish Davidic Kingdom immediately following (2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 11; 65; Matt. 24:29; 25:34; Rev. 20). To teach otherwise is condemnable!

 

Finally, touting “Houdini hermeneutics” whereby inconvenient facts disappear with the stroke of a pen as rapidly as shamefully indefensible opinions appear to replace them.

 

One glaring example serves as the inspiration for this book: the slapdash inclusion of the mystery Body of Christ which was completely hidden from the Old Testament prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26) who never saw us, never mentioned us [2], and therefore didn’t include us for a single moment on earth during Israel’s coming tribulation (see Deut. 4:30; Dan. 12:1).

 

Consider this.

 

The tribulation from the beginning was given in the prophecy program for Israel. While Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations can be clearly identified during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) the heavenly Body of Christ – which has incidentally been promised deliverance from it (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19).

 

Was this an oversight on the part of the Holy Spirit? Do PreTrib rapture antagonists possess information the Holy Spirit didn’t have? Or – even worse – did God purposely hide this from us in order to advance some secret conspiracy to deceive us?

 

God forbid!

 

The fact is, we aren’t mentioned because we aren’t here, and that by divine design.

 

There isn’t a verse or passage of prophecy anywhere in the Bible conclusively consigning or identifying on earth for a single moment of Israel’s tribulation the Body of Christ without pulling from context and redefining the words “saints” and “elect” – which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation specifically refer to Israel.

 

That being what it is, I will now explain briefly the process that brought me – a man once as anti-PreTrib as anyone on the planet – to this unabashed PreTrib rapture conclusion.

 

 

Truth about the
1830 PreTrib Rapture Hoax

 

The fact that I didn’t believe in the PreTrib rapture was inevitable. I didn’t understand the right division God placed in Scripture between prophecy for Israel and the mystery Body of Christ and as a result, I wandered around the wilderness of Bible studies gleaning axiomatic conclusions from prophecy teachers who were just as confused as I was.

 

My Bible journey began in 1975 when Jesus saved me. From the onset, I had a voracious appetite for God’s word and quickly found teachers everywhere. It wasn’t long before the subject of the end times caught my attention. I learned about the Antichrist, mark of the beast, the seven-year tribulation (which originated in the prophecy program for Israel), and the return of the Lord at the conclusion of it.

 

However, in my naïveté I wasn’t aware there were contrary opinions until about six months into my new life. That’s when the innocence all newborn Christians are born again with – evaporated.

 

During one of our extended discussions, a pastor friend warned me about an “evil” group of people teaching “a satanic hoax” he claimed didn’t exist until 1830. The inherent wickedness of this teaching – so he said – surrounded the preposterous notion of an imminent return of Jesus in the air to remove the Body of Christ from earth before the tribulation bloodbath begins.

 

They called it the “PreTrib rapture” and from the way this subject angered my friend, I figured this had to be the biggest threat to the church in its two-thousand year history.

 

In light of that, I dug in my heels and prepared myself for the aggressive assault I was about to encounter.

 

I listened to sermons condemning it, read books ostensibly disproving it, and fellowshipped with people who hated it; and all progressed virtually unimpeded until the unexpected appearance of contradictory inconsistencies that I couldn’t reconcile in my spirit or cleverly explain away.

 

That’s when I decided to conduct my own personal Bible study comparing information I’d been given with verses I would find, regulated by two immutable rules:

 

First, the basis of the study had to be Sola Scripture, and second, I would follow the evidence wherever it led.

 

Today I present you with my findings. They represent thousands of hours of research spanning over 40 years resulting in excess of 70,000 words incorporating scores of Bible verses filling several chapters – with annotations and appendices – explaining what lies ahead for Israel, the church Body, and the world according to Scripture — rightly divided, studiously catalogued, and concisely represented by a ten word synoptic title that fitly summarizes everything that follows:

 

The Body of Christ WILL NOT go through Israel’s Tribulation!

[1] The prophets represented God to Israel, often warning the nation about the evil in the world, and certain judgment if they didn’t remain separated to Him from it. The ultimate earthly judgment prior to the Kingdom will be the tribulation, which Moses first mentioned (Deut. 4:30) in the progressive revelation series.

[2] In order for the church Body to be included in Israel’s tribulation, the prophets would have to have included it. They did not! In fact, none of the OT prophets spoke about the Body of Christ anywhere at any time. Moreover, there isn’t a verse anywhere in Scripture CLEARLY placing the Body of Christ on earth during Israel’s tribulation without pulling from context and redefining the words “saints” and “elect” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation specifically refer to Israel.

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