The Rapture and Right Division

Dr. Mike Johnston

Rightly dividing the word of truth makes it clear that Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ. Right division encompasses two programs (prophecy and mystery) that have existed “since the world began” – designed by God to cover three periods: time past, but now, and ages to come. [1] Conflating the prophecy and mystery programs generally leads to disorder, disputations (as seen in the emergence of denominations), and ultimately deception. [2]

Prophecy (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) [3] came through the prophets featuring events primarily surrounding Israel’s coming King and His kingdom on earth; while the mystery (Rom. 16:25) [4] was unknown to the prophets and given initially to Paul concerning the church Body of Christ promised an inheritance in heaven where we are now spiritually seated there with Christ. [5] Before Israel’s Tribulation leading to her kingdom can begin, the church Body that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) must first disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).

Key to understanding eschatology is Israel, God’s preeminent earthly nation. God spoke her into existence through specially appointed and anointed messengers called prophets. These men collectively prophesied five unilateral covenants promising Israel perpetuity of lineage (Abrahamic Covenant), land (Land Covenant), Law (Mosaic Covenant), Lordship (Davidic covenant), and longevity (New Covenant). These messages were clarified over time through a means known as progressive revelation featuring the promise of a Messianic King who will inaugurate a universal kingdom that will flourish for a thousand years [6] of unprecedented peace (Micah 4:2-4; Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), prosperity, and health (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:28-29). Its location is Jerusalem, city of David (2 Kings 14:20), the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19).

About 2000 years ago, this Covenanted kingdom was offered by John the Baptist, Christ, and the twelve disciples who all preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and its requisite repentance (Matt. 3:2; 4:17, 23; 10:7; John 1:45; see Gal. 2:7-9). However, Israel’s rejection of the Kingdom summoned God’s judgment decreed in eternity past expressly to prepare and purify her, earth,[7] and collaterally the Gentile nations supporting Israel prior to the Kingdom in the latter days (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 23; 30-31; Dan. 10:14; etc). Scholars – using vernacular from Moses (Deut. 4:30), Christ (Matt. 24:21, 29), and John the Revelator (Rev. 7:14) – refer to this period of judgment on Israel and the inhabitants of earth as (the) Tribulation.

Beginning with Moses [8] the prophets progressively outlined and revealed Israel’s Tribulation (study Isaiah 24-26; Jer. 30-31; Ezekiel 34-48; Dan. 12; Revelation 6-20). They described it with names defining it, like the time of (Jacob’s) trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15); day of His wrath (Psa. 110:5; Isa. 13:9; Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:15; Rev. 6:17; 11:18; 14:10);  and a number of other euphemisms all connected to the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Joel 2:1; see Isa. 13:9, 13; Ezek. 7:19).

We see a foreshadowing of purpose for Israel’s Tribulation judgment in the Book of Judges, which tells the story of a loving God retrieving His rebellious nation. “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not” (Judges 2:20-22-bold added). The Tribulation will result in her final repentance with full restoration when Christ the Jewish Messiah returns full view at the Revelation followed by the Kingdom.

Context vs. pretext

Biblical truth in context is conclusive. You can accept it or reject it, but the fact is, it doesn’t lie and it won’t change. To be fair with it, I listed most every major passage of Scripture dealing with the time of Jacob’s trouble – aka Jacob’s (Israel’s) Tribulation “trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). You can verify what I’m telling you by studying each of the passages in full context as they appeared throughout this treatise. If you are willing to conduct the comprehensive research as I personally have, you will discover a grave dilemma experienced by all of our opponents. The church Body can’t be located on earth during Israel’s Tribulation.

Consider this with your King James Bible open to Tribulation passages. Israel and the Gentile nations associated with her are indisputably identified on earth during this time. Since they are, wouldn’t it stand to reason the church Body would be just as easy to spot? Let’s take a closer look.

Open an Exhaustive Concordance for the King James Bible (ie Strong’s) and search carefully the 117 times in the KJV that the singular or plural of the word church appears. Do the same with all variations of Paul’s designation, Body of Christ.

Here’s what we find.

If the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation, it is impossible to clearly identify. Wouldn’t the Lord want us to be able to recognize our dilemma so we could prepare? It would have been a simple thing for the Holy Spirit to inspire the use of the word church or Body of Christ in any of the scores of Tribulation passages IF we were actually here, wouldn’t it?

So why didn’t He? The inconvenient fact is, there isn’t a single mention in a single verse within context of Israel’s Tribulation that specifically mentions us being here. NOT ONE!

Was this an oversight? A mistake? Translator’s error? A deliberate deception? No! We aren’t here!

Notwithstanding, here’s the desperate solution from our narrative hawking adversaries.

Interpretation or lying

Interpretation is one thing, but lying is quite another. Since our adversaries have no indisputable Scriptural evidence, the only way they can put us on earth in Israel’s Tribulation is by employing unorthodox interpretation methods I call “Houdini hermeneutics”.

Any good illusion includes a good distraction. Rapture antagonists do this by impugning the longevity of the PreTrib doctrine, causing us to invest our time and resources in a non-essential issue. Dave MacPherson – more on his artifices later – is one of the most skilled at this. Then, with our attention diverted, they are free to complete the trick. One ploy is to remove from context and redefine three words fundamental to their fraud, “saints”, “elect”, and “disciples”.

Now again, I urge you to open your King James Bible and your concordance to study the setting and the definitions of all three words. In context from Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation, they all refer to Israel not to the Body of Christ as hotly pushed in anti-PreTrib claptrap.

So what’s wrong with giving one’s personal interpretation? Nothing if that’s what it is. My experience tells me this is something more.

Let’s suppose you witnessed a crime that a man you hated was charged with. Although you didn’t actually see his face, you could interpret that the defendant was the perpetrator because your friends said so, and the prosecutor wanted you to agree with them in a testimony against him.

So, in the final analysis, would you go along to get along by compromising your integrity to help convict a man you admittedly hated but had no indisputable evidence to condemn?

In all honesty, if you did, this wouldn’t merely be you offering your interpretation. This would be you bearing false witness.

It is definitely something to think about, is it not?

[1] Time past (Eph. 2:11-12; but now (Eph. 2:4); ages to come (Eph. 2:7).

[2] This is what the cults do, ie SDAs, JWs, Mormons, Romanists, etc.

[3] As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (Luke 1:70).

[4] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

(Romans 16:25)

[5] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:20). And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:6)

[6] John the Revelator revealed the Kingdom will last on Earth 1000 years (Rev. 20:2-7)

[7] Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. (Isaiah 13:13). But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. (Jeremiah 10:10)

[8] When thou [Israel] art in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days  (Deuteronomy 4:30- bracket comment added).

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