Rapture-Tribulation Revelation Conundrums

Dr. Mike Johnston

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7).

Rightly dividing the word begins with God overseeing from creation (Gen. 1:1) [1] two overarching programs of “prophecy” and “mystery” both existing since the world began. The former concerns Earth, the latter heaven (Gen. 1:1). God’s program for Earth was well known in PROPHECY for ISRAEL – God’s preeminent nation on Earth – and a coming Earthly kingdom and Temple in Jerusalem (Ezek. 40-48; see Rev. 11:1-2) progressively unfolded to her “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70). His program for Heaven was unknown to the prophets. It is the MYSTERY of the BODY OF CHRIST and our inheritance in Heaven with Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6), “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).

When considering God’s program for Earth, we must follow the trail beginning in Genesis and continuing through the first half of Acts [2] – where a prophetic pattern is progressively dispensed[3] regarding the Jewish kingdom and Israel’s Messiah King outlined in the following facts:

FACT: God plans for an earthly Kingdom. (Gen. 1-2; Jer. 23:5-6; Matt. 25:34).

FACT: God chose and covenanted with Abraham as the progenitor of the Kingdom nation of Israel bequeathing him the land of the Canaanites (Gen. 15:18; 17:1-14). He then commissioned him as prophet (Gen. 20:7) and the father of Israel (Gen. 17:5; Deut. 9:5; Matt. 3:9; Luke 1:55; etc) whereby blessing would flow through his family – Jesus is the ultimate blessing – from His calling to her Kingdom (Gen. 12:1-8; 13:14-18; 15; 17; see Ex. 19:5; etc) and on throughout the earth.

FACT: God expanded the Abrahamic Covenant four times to include Kingdom laws (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18);  land (Deut. 30:1-10); and a Jewish born King with a New Covenant Kingdom Constitution (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Matt. 5-7; Jer. 31:31-40; Heb. 8:8, 13; 12:24).

FACT: God specified Israel’s Kingdom timeline of 70 weeks of 7 years (490 years) to be fulfilled by Israel (Dan. 9:24-27). “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4) who offered Israel her Kingdom, and was rejected precisely at the end of the 69th week just as Daniel prophesied (Luke 1:32-33; Matt. 4:17; Dan. 9:244-26). Just as the first 483 years had to be fulfilled by Israel, so must the final 7 years.

FACT: The rejection of the King and His kingdom temporarily blinded and diminished Israel (Rom. 11:12, 25). During this interim, the mystery Body that had been hidden from the prophets (Col. 1:26) was manifest and Daniel’s seventieth week for Israel was placed on hold until “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and “he who now letteth … be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7). [4] At that point, “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph 1:15) aka Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30-31; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14) will be ready to begin.

FACT: The Revelation of Jesus Christ occurs in Israel “immediately after Israel’s Tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29) to consummate the Covenant’s by inaugurating the thousand years Millennial Kingdom of Israel’s Messiah in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Ezek. 34:11-31; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-20:7).

FACT: With Israel’s Covenants fulfilled concerning the Kingdom – and bear in mind they MUST BE – eternity will begin.

Prophecy and Mystery transitional confusion

The Rapture-Tribulation-Revelation debate continues to reveal the blindness of our opponents to what really happened in the first century AD is on a par with Israel (Rom. 11:25). In that state, they all refuse to accept that the PreTrib rapture is a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-52) within a mystery (Rom. 16:25) having no connection to the revelation, and will present unsolvable riddles to all who insist on conflating the two.

God moved from prophecy to mystery some two thousand years ago after the wholesale rejection of the Messiah. Israel diminished (Rom. 11:12) as witnessed in the ministry of Peter, apostle to the circumcision,[5] which gave way for the Body of Christ – aka the uncircumcision – to manifest as the mystery under the ministry of Paul our apostle (study carefully Rom. 11:11-25).

This was not a fluid transition and many Jews didn’t understand it and were not supportive of it. In fact, Paul’s mystery dogma triggered confusion so intense it called for a church council in Acts 15 to assess the validity of OT Law and issue rulings on the new teachings which are no more accepted today than when Peter issued the following admonition in his Second Epistle to Jewish[6] believers:

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:15-17 – bold added). [7]

Before we begin

The drama in the first century Peter explained exists today among certain Bible believers caught in a time warp, confused by conventional OT/NT division, [8] and thus blind to the mystery. What follows pulls back the curtain on many problems created by rejecting right division between prophecy and mystery with one probing question: “What rapture, tribulation, and revelation conundrums are created by Bible students rejecting Pauline doctrine?”

Please let me clarify what I’m suggesting by explaining what I am not.

I’m NOT naïve enough to think any single conundrum among the five dozen or so I’ve listed will prove a thing to a cynic. In truth, nothing short of a trip to Heaven can do that.

What I am suggesting, however, is the inconceivability that the following enigmas could exist together in any eschatological framework without presenting a formidable body of evidence refuting anti-PreTrib speculations while rendering them about as plausible as the universe accidentally belching forth from nowhere and out of nothing but time, chance, and an imaginative mind.

Conundrums: Compelling or Coincidental?

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ – by providence, purpose, or prophecy. There are no Scripture references to the church Body of Christ on earth for a single moment during Israel’s Tribulation.[9] All such references are the reveries of rapture haters desperate to put us here. Consider that the Body of Christ was not known and is never mentioned by any of the prophets; we are NEVER seen in any Tribulation passages. As inconvenient as this is to our opponents, here’s their conundrum. Israel and the Gentile nations involved with her are indisputably identifiable on earth from Scripture. There isn’t a single verse indisputably placing the church Body here for a single moment during this time without pulling from context the words “saints”, “elect”, and “disciple(s)” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation reference Israel.

CONUNDRUM: There is no Scriptural purpose for the church Body to be here during Israel’s Tribulation. Israel is blind, living in rebellion, and her kingdom has not yet been inaugurated. But it will. The Tribulation judgment prepares her for that. Since Scripture tells us God has a purpose for everything He does (Ecc. 3:1, 17; Isa. 14:26; Jer. 26:3; Rom. 8:28; 9:11; Eph. 1:9, 11; 3:11; 2 Tim. 1:9), and since redemption – available to all by faith (John 1:12; Eph. 2:8-10) – was fully completed as announced on the cross by Christ (John 19:30), what purpose would Israel’s Tribulation which is Earth centered and targets Israel primarily for judgment preparatory for the Kingdom – serve in the life of the church Body which is said to be saved, sealed, and seated in the heavenlies in Christ at this very moment (Eph. 1:13-14; 2:6)? [10]

CONUNDRUM: Regarding PostTrib speculators, how can the saints of the 2nd coming meet [11] 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)?

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is a time of wrath and Christians are not appointed to wrath, but salvation or deliverance. [12] Advocates of PreWrath hasten to step in to claim a victory but do so at their hermeneutic peril. Revelation teaches us that Israel’s Tribulation is a time of the wrath of God [13] from beginning to end (Zeph. 1:15, 18; Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15). First the wrath of God through the Lamb (6:16-17); then the wrath of God through the devil (Rev. 12:12), and finally the wrath of God through the Father (Rev. 14-19). Nahum revealed that “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies” (Nahum 1:2).  Christians are not His enemy. We are His Body and His Bride. As such, we are to wait for Christ “which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10) because “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thess 5:9).

CONUNDRUM: The first mention of the Tribulation is a prophecy by Moses to Israel for the latter days and concerns the restoration of the Abrahamic Covenant (Deut. 4:30-31). There are no prophecies in the Bible repeating this to the church Body. NONE!

CONUNDRUM: 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)?

CONUNDRUM: We have provided a plethora of Scripture proving Israel’s Tribulation is a time of severe judgment on Israel and the world. Since Israel’s Tribulation begins with the wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6:16-17) if the Body/Bride of Christ is here, wouldn’t this equate to Christ pouring out his wrath upon Himself, and upon His Bride?

CONUNDRUM: 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? [HINT: We’re not here]

CONUNDRUM: If the rapture and the revelation are the same, how does the church get to Heaven as Jesus promised (John 14:2-3) prior to returning with Christ at His Revelation (1 Thess. 2:19; Jude 14; Rev 19:11)?

CONUNDRUM: If the church Body [14] must be here for Israel’s Tribulation in order to prove ourselves worthy, then would it not stand to reason that our salvation wasn’t completed at Calvary and we are in fact saved by works?

CONUNDRUM: 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)?

CONUNDRUM: In a court of law, cases are generally won when witnesses are able to identify the defendant at the scene of the crime. If the Body of Christ were here during Israel’s Tribulation, it wouldn’t be necessary for false witnesses to skew the testimony by redefining terms like “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and the book of Revelation refer to Israel. The Holy Spirit would have provided clear, indisputable prophetic witnesses to help identify us on Earth during that time as He did with Israel and the Gentile nations would He not?

CONUNDRUM: If Paul had taught the Thessalonian Church that they were to go through Israel’s Tribulation, why did they become so frantic when they had been told by a letter claiming to be from Paul that they were in it (2 Thess. 2:2)?[15]

CONUNDRUM: Every word of God is flawlessly set in the context of Scripture as God eternally decreed. Why when addressing the activities involving the church in the final Book which leads to the Revelation of Christ to Israel to set up the Davidic Kingdom, did He use the Greek word ekklesia [16] (church) 19 times in the first three chapters of Revelation, and yet never again until the 22nd Chapter? 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 Israel’s Tribulation horrors of wrath of God (Rev. 6-19) which is equally absurd. Third, the Holy Spirit was confirming to us that 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! In all honesty, this is the only choice an impartial eye can see through the factual, exegetical, objective lens.

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

CONUNDRUM: Posttribbers generally teach the Tribulation is a purifying epoch. Moreover, they teach that according to Rev. 3:10, God will protect us through it rather than deliver us from it via the rapture. But wait! If Israel’s Tribulation is intended to perfect and purify us as they allege, then why would the Lord even attempt to shield us from it (Rev 3:10)? This is inconsistent. Dr. David Reagan writes this: “But God’s promise to the Church during Israel’s Tribulation is not one of protection, but one of deliverance. Jesus said that when the signs pointing to Israel’s Tribulation “begin to take place,” believers are to look up because their “redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). He also urged believers to pray that they might “escape all these things” (Luke 21:36). [18]

CONUNDRUM: PreTrib rapture antagonists tell us that since the blessed hope is after Israel’s Tribulation, we are to be looking forward with great hope, for Antichrist and the horrors of Israel’s Tribulation which will include taking the mark in order to eat. Then, if we survive martyrdom, we’ll experience the rapture. Therefore, comfort one another with these words? (1 Thess. 4:18)!

CONUNDRUM: Paul obviously taught the resurrection of the church Body of Christ – aka the rapture – would occur before Israel’s Tribulation. Teachers appeared not to deny the rapture, with false claims it had already occurred: “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:18). Be honest here. If the rapture is anything but PreTrib, this makes no sense whatsoever.

CONUNDRUM: Since prophecy warns that Israel’s Tribulation will be the most frightening and unparalleled event in history, wouldn’t it have been incumbent upon the Holy Spirit to mention the Body of Christ in the Old Testament or upon Paul our apostle to provide the Body of Christ with clear preparation information?

CONUNDRUM: Since the rapture is the event that transforms our earthly mortal bodies into immortal heavenly bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18), how did the Elders which are in Heaven BEFORE Israel’s Tribulation get their bodies prior to Israel’s Tribulation if there is no PreTrib rapture (Rev 4:1-5)?

CONUNDRUM: The crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8) stands out as a special reward given only to those who long for His appearing. Now think about this. If Christians have to be here during the entire 7 year Tribulation, wouldn’t every Christian receive this crown since everyone would be eager for His appearing?

CONUNDRUM: If the church is here during Israel’s Tribulation, why is Israel singled out for protection and not the Body of Christ (Rev 12:13-17)?

CONUNDRUM: If we are here during Israel’s 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?[19]

CONUNDRUM: If the church is to be here for Israel’s Tribulation, why does God only select and seal 144,000 Jews[20] for protection (Rev 7:1-8; 9:4 [21]; 14:1)?

CONUNDRUM: Why is the term “mystery” which means something not previously known used to describe the rapture resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51), when the 2nd coming and the future resurrection were clearly taught in prophetic Scripture?

CONUNDRUM: Why is it Post-trib rapturists stand alone in their belief of just one coming?

CONUNDRUM: 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 Israel’s 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. Can you explain this if this is your position?

CONUNDRUM: If the rapture is at the end of Israel’s Tribulation, what is the purpose of the saints leaving the Earth at all to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17)?

CONUNDRUM: 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 Dave MacPherson (more on him later) and other post-tribbers do? Do our adversaries know something Paul and the Holy Spirit didn’t?

CONUNDRUM: If the church Body of Christ 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)?

CONUNDRUM: 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?

CONUNDRUM: The rapture is when Christ returns in the air and saints’ are caught up to meet the Lord with transformed bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18), then are escorted to Heaven with Him (John 14:2-3). If the posttrib rapture position is scriptural, why then do the passages that should have included these events seem to teach something completely different (Mt 24; Rev 19)?

CONUNDRUM: How can the church which is said to be permanently sealed and seated in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph 1:13-14; 2:6; Phil 3:20; Col. 3:1-3) possibly be on Earth experiencing the wrath of God’s judgment?

CONUNDRUM: There are at least four opinions of when the Lord will return relative to Israel’s tribulation. Knowing truth is the enemy of Satan, why would all the other rapture positions forego their differences and join in such acerbic attacks against the PreTrib rapture if it is not the true position?

CONUNDRUM: In the 4th Century AD, the heretick Origen, Alexandrian manuscript [22] editor, and his Romanist progeny Augustine led eschatology from the literal to allegorical interpretation of the Bible.[23] Up to that time, PreTrib was a commonly held view.

CONUNDRUM: Anti PreTrib rapturists salivating over placing the church Body on Earth during Israel’s Tribulation holocaust for “purification” purposes are in fact teaching a form of the Romanist heresy known as purgatory.

CONUNDRUM: How do you explain the phrase, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” which occurs seven times in the first three chapters (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22) being edited in Revelation 13:9, by removing the church: “If any man have an ear, let him hear”?

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is Jacob’s trouble and Jacob is Israel (Jeremiah 30:3-7). Where does this designation change to include the mystery body of Christ? (chapters and verses, please)

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is an OT prophecy where all prophecy originated. From the very first mention (Deut. 4:30-31) it has been a prediction of a future period of punitive and preparatory judgment upon Israel and the world [24] preceding the Revelation of Jesus Christ to set up the Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem foretold by Daniel the prophet, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostle John in the Revelation. Where is the first prophetic OT mention for the Body of Christ? [HINT: there isn’t one]

CONUNDRUM: Why is Israel, not the church, given a place of refuge in the wilderness- (Rev 12:1-6)?

CONUNDRUM: This is the dispensation of grace. Grace is mentioned in Revelation two times only (Rev. 1:4; 22:21). Why is it never mentioned during the period of Israel’s Tribulation?

CONUNDRUM: The Body of Christ suffering punishment of God’s wrath during Israel’s Tribulation completely negates the work of Christ on the cross depicted in Isaiah 53!

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is Jewish, purposed to being Israel back into conformity with God plan for the Earthly Kingdom.  [25]

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is severe punishment of sin and the ungodly beginning with Jews- (Deut. 30:7; 32:43; Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13; 24; 34;  Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15; Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19). The church Body is never mentioned and can’t be found for a single moment without redefining a few terms which refer to Israel.

CONUNDRUM: If the Body of Christ is supposed to be here during Israel’s Tribulation – an epoch event to punish sin   and prepare Israel (Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13, see v13; Isa. 13; 24; 26; 34; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15); Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19) for the Jewish Kingdom – what is the purpose for it since Christ purified and sanctified the Body of Christ once and for all, seating us in the heavenlies permanently in the Beloved?

CONUNDRUM: Israel isn’t saved yet: (Rom 10:1; 11:26-27); the church has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Eph 1:7; Rom 10:9-10,13) delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). Israel’s Tribulation will lead Israel to accepting the Lord at the conclusion (Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11). There is NO reason the church Body would need to be here except in the minds of our opponents.

CONUNDRUM: Israel’s Tribulation is centralized around Jerusalem- (Dan. 7:23; Zech. 12-14; Matt. 24:21-22; Luke 21:20, 24; Rev 13:3,8,14-18). It will re-establish God’s covenant with Israel- (Deut 4:30-31). The church Body can’t be seen because we aren’t here.

CONUNDRUM: The origin of Israel’s Tribulation is Old Testament prophetic and Jewish (Deut. 4:30-31). It’s focus is Earth culminating in a Jewish Kingdom (Rev. 19:11) and renewal of the Jewish Covenant (Deut. 4:31). The church Body wasn’t known, isn’t mentioned, and can’t be clearly identified anywhere on Earth during this time.

CONUNDRUM: Christ promised to keep believers from (ek) “the hour of temptation” not in it (Revelation 3:10). Anti-PreTrib rapture advocates, desperate to protect a speculative dogma have made another baleful blunder by insinuating the Lord’s promise here in Rev. 3:10 was simply to protect us during Jacob’s trouble not remove us from it. However, several problems surface in connection to this: First, the Greek word translated “from” is ek. Used 917 times in NT, only once (Gal 3:8) is it translated through. Interestingly, this is the same word the Holy Spirit chose for Second Thessalonians where Paul discusses the Antichrist and the restraining force holding him at bay: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out (ek) of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). This seems to coincide- much to the dismay of Anti-PreTrib rapturists- with our being taken away in the mystery rapture. Second, our adversaries claiming God’s protection during Israel’s holocaust aren’t reading a King James Bible. During Israel’s Tribulation – which is God’s wrath from beginning to end [26] two-thirds (2/3) of those alive will die (Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9-10; Rev. 20:4). Third, if Israel’s Tribulation were supposed to purify us, why would God protect us from it? Finally, since there is no reason to place us here in the midst of Israel’s Tribulation, and no Scripture to support it, why join forces with agenda driven men who in the name of “fairness” twist the Bible in a hundred different ways simply to place us in Israel’s Tribulation where we can’t be seen and we don’t belong?

CONUNDRUM: The fact that the prophets that predicted Israel’s Tribulation NEVER KNEW about the Body of Christ and NEVER ONCE mentioned us here on Earth during that time.

CONUNDRUM: The Word of God correlates marriage and the church beautifully (Eph 5:22-33). If the Church is the Bride of Christ, anything but a PreTrib rapture presents a horrible scenario. Picture if you will a man marrying his sweetheart, and just before the wedding night where they consummate their vows, he drops her off in the midst of a bloody, throatslitting jihad with this ominous send off, “Prove your love for me, honey, and I’ll be back for you in seven years.” Although indefensible and extremely inconvenient, PreTrib rapture antagonists force this unnatural act of sadism on the part of the Saviour.

CONUNDRUM: The Restrainer (Holy Spirit) will be “taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7; same Greek ek in Rev. 3:10 “from”). This means only that one aspect of His ministry will cease, that of restraint of sin in the world.[27] Since the church Body of Christ is currently God’s representative entity today, our removal is necessary for the prophecy clock to resume with Israel once again as His messenger.

CONUNDRUM: We are commanded to look for Christ, which is imminent and could happen at any moment, not Tribulation, signs, Antichrist, or anything else- (Titus 2:13). Every rapture position except PreTrib provides a possible timetable to Christ’s return. God’s Word PROMISES Christ will rescue us from the coming wrath (1 Thess. 1:10). This deliverance constitutes our present, imminent, blessed hope (Titus 2:13). The imminent, pre-Tribulation rapture was taught[28] by the early church [29]. Paul never said the church would be part of Israel’s Tribulation or else he would have taught them how to prepare for it and how to recognize Antichrist and reject his mark. Never a word! In light of the fact Paul is our apostle, this doesn’t begin to make any sense to anyone except an anti-PreTrib rapture promoter.

CONUNDRUM: Glorified bodies cannot reproduce, or die as evidenced in the Millennium (Rev 20:1-7). The rapture will transform mortal bodies into immortal bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-56). Children will be born and they will die (Isa 65:20-25). Glorified saints will rule with Christ (1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 5:10; 20:4).

CONUNDRUM: The Holy Spirit’s designation as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; see Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) is purposeful. Jacob is Israel, not the Body of Christ (Gen. 32:28). Moreover, Daniel prophesied the tribulation to Israel as “thy people” (Dan. 9:24-27) (Jews) and called it the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1). Zephaniah called it a “day of trouble” (Zeph. 1:15). Without redefining the word “saints” in Daniel and Revelation, which refer to Israel, where did the Holy Spirit mention the church Body of Christ? [HINT: He didn’t]

CONUNDRUM: The rules of hermeneutics such as the First Mention Principle prove God assigned Israel’s Tribulation to Israel (Deut. 4:30) then through progressive revelation reinforced it. It has NEVER been assigned to the Body of Christ.

CONUNDRUM: The fact that Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations are clearly visible on Earth during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) there are no Scriptures picturing the Body of Christ without manipulating the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which is Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation care clearly associated with Israel.

CONUNDRUM: The distinction between the Rapture for the Body of Christ and the Revelation of Christ to Israel prove Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ. Prophecy is for the nation Israel, NOT the Body of Christ.

CONUNDRUM: Our opponents often have such an emotional investment in their theory they become calloused to any idea but their own. Since they must force every passage about the coming of Christ into a Revelation meaning, they leave no room for passages that seem to contradict that thinking. Remember, things that are different are not the same. For instance: Compare 1 Thess. 1:10 with 1 Thess. 2:19; 1 Thess. 1:10 with Rev. 6:16-17. Either there are two separate comings or the Bible contradicts itself.

With all due respect, may I challenge you to begin an experiment – as I did several decades ago – using the prophecy mystery division you’ve learned in this book. As you begin being honest with the context of the passage including any similarities and or dissimilarities remember, things that are different are NOT the same.

CONUNDRUM: The Scriptural promises that the heavenly Body of Christ would escape this divine punishment for Israel (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – because it is NOT FOR US.

CONUNDRUM: “Some who believe that the Church will go through Israel’s Tribulation often point to the example of Noah and his family. They were left on the Earth as God poured out His wrath, but they were protected by the Lord. But this example ignores the fact that Enoch was raptured out of the world before the flood began (Genesis 5:24). I believe Enoch is a symbolic type of the Church and Noah and his family are a type of the Jewish remnant that will be protected through the Tribulation until the day that the Messiah returns.” –Dr David Reagan[30]

CONUNDRUM: Right division alone makes sense of the enigmatic considerations listed in this section. If you are still struggling with the rapture question, it’s because you are fighting against rightly dividing the Bible between what the prophets gave to Israel concerning the Kingdom on Earth (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21), and what Christ gave to Paul concerning the mystery Body of Christ and our inheritance in Heaven consummated at the rapture (Rom. 16:25).

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2).

[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1)

[2] Bear in mind Acts is a transitional book, from prophecy to mystery about midway through.

[3] God dispensing His truth over time in a variety of ways to a variety of people is known as dispensationalism. As the truth was given, individuals were held accountable for obeying it. Example, Adam was told not to eat from a particular tree. Noah was told to build an ark. Abraham was told to go to Canaan, and so on.

[4] The Body of Christ that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will likewise disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51-52) called the rapture.

[5] The Lord Jesus was minister of the circumcision, too: Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: (Romans 15:8)

[6] Peter was the apostle to the Jews as Paul was to the Gentiles. Study carefully Gal. 1:12 which explains the source of Paul’s mysterious doctrine and Gal. 2:6-9 which explained the important distinction between the ministries and messages of James, Cephas (Peter), John, and himself.

[7] Peter’s warnings to those rejecting Pauline theology are stern. He begins by affirming Paul’s conversion (brother) and authority calling his writings scriptures although admitting Paul’s doctrines were hard to be understood (a mystery) and thus opposed by the unlearned and unstable (alluding to Jews under the Old Covenant prophecy program) who wrested against moving from prophecy to mystery causing their own spiritual destruction. Beware, he warns, of being led away from Paul is the implication, by the error of the wicked which apparently was already causing men to fall from doctrinal stedfastness (see Eph. 4:13-14).

[8] They teach the NT began with Matt. 1, when in fact it did not begin until the death of Christ. This means all 4 gospels are part of the OT narrative.

[9] There aren’t any. Dr. Gerald Stanton states that even anti-PreTrib antagonist kingpin Dr. George Ladd can’t produce any such verses. Kept from the Hour (p. 310

[10] Dr. David Reagan offers this for your consideration: “There really is no purpose for the Church to be present during the Tribulation. It is a time of the pouring out of God’s wrath upon those who have rejected His grace, love and mercy. There are some who argue that the Church must be “purged” during the Tribulation to purify it. But to me, this idea is absurd. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all our sins. That is an accomplished fact for those who have put their faith in Jesus (Ephesians 5:26-27). Furthermore, the concept of purging the Church during the Tribulation converts the whole period into a Protestant version of purgatory. It also violates the wedding imagery that the Bible uses to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church. Jesus is not going to beat up His Bride for seven years and then marry her!” http://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-mystery-of-the-rapture/

[11] 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.

[12] The Greek word here is sōtēria. The KJV translators also rendered it “deliver” as in Acts 7:25 and then in Luke 1:71 revealed how Christ “saved” Israel from her earthly enemies to come. I believe this further reveals how the heavenly mystery church has been “saved” from the wrath to come upon the earth to try all the earth dwellers featuring Israel (see Rev. 3:10).

[13] “…for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us” (2 Kings 22:13).

[14] 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!

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

[16] English Bible translation is church.

[17] 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.

[18] http://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-mystery-of-the-rapture/

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

[20] 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

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

[22] The family of manuscripts from which all modernist translations originate. Only the KJV is solely from the Antiochan family.

[23] In Origen’s system of interpretation, he often denied the ordinary sense of the text, and replaced it with allegories which he made up. These allegories then became the real meaning of the text. There was no way to challenge the allegories on the basis of the text, since what the text actually said was no longer what it meant. It was, therefore, no longer necessary that the allegory actually come from the text, because it was the allegory that was authoritative. The theology which the allegory illustrated was imposed upon the text. In this allegorical system, when the text said, “Israel,” it meant “the Church” and not the Jews, so long as the promise or comment in the text was good. If the promise or comment in the text was not good, then “Israel” still meant “the Jews,” and not “the Church.” His theology determined how the text was to be understood, rather than the text determining what should be understood and believed (copied from Elijah.net).

[24] Christ took our judgment upon Himself. The church does not need the judgment of the tribulation which is proven from the Pentateuch to the Apocalypse to be for unsaved Israel and the Gentile nations of the world.

[25] Study the book of Judges and the cycle of rebellion, retribution, and repentance; see also Jer. 30-31; Matthew 24-25; Rev. 6-19; etc.

[26] The tribulation from beginning to end is God’s wrath. The wrath of God through the Lamb (Rev. 6-11); the wrath of God through Satan (Rev. 12-13); the wrath of God through angels and the Lamb (Rev. 14-19). “…for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us” (2 Kings 22:13).

[27] The Bible & Future Events, Leon Wood, Zondervan, p.71-72

[28] From JR Church’s Prophecy in the News, April 1995, p.27-28: Two ancient sources, the Shepherd of Hermes (AD 110) and two books by Ephraim the Syrian (AD 376) which were recently translated into English) prove the apostolic authority of the pretrib rapture. Although it could be argued that these sources aren’t to be regarded as Scripture, it also could be argued that neither are the authorities freely quoted by the mid, pre-wrath, partial and post-trib camp (Gundry, Ladd, MacPherson, etc).

[29] Posttribulationists like J. Barton Payne also admit that the early fathers held to an imminency viewpoint.  He surmises: It must therefore be concluded that the denial of the imminence of the Lord’s coming on the part of post-tribulationists who have reacted against dispensationalism is not legitimate. . . . Belief in the imminency of the return of Jesus was the uniform hope of the early church; and it was only with the rise of a detailed application of Bible prophecy, at the close of the second century, to yet future history that its truth was questioned. J. Barton Payne, The Imminent Appearing of Christ (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), 102. Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/a-history-of-pre-darby-rapture-advocates#_ftn13

[30] http://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-mystery-of-the-rapture/

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