Working, While Waiting & Watching

September 4, 2013 at 11:39 AM 3 comments

Noah built the ark, then went into safety. Then God poured out His wrath onto the earth...

Noah built the ark, then went into safety. Then God poured out His wrath onto the earth…

I’ve long been a believer in the PreTrib Rapture (the belief that the Rapture of the Church will occur prior to the official beginning of the coming 7-year Tribulation). I know that of course, not all agree that this is what the Bible teaches. I’ve heard all the arguments that are opposed to this position. To me though, the PreTrib Rapture position makes the most sense, logically, from a biblical standpoint. That doesn’t mean I am right without a doubt. I could be wrong. I could also be right. Some though, take it much further and have actually told me I am going to hell because I believe in the PreTrib Rapture. Routinely, these same people also hold that salvation can be lost.

I base my belief on the PreTrib Rapture on numerous passages of Scripture, just as those who believe in a MidTrib or PostTrib Rapture base their opinions/beliefs on Scripture. Even though I’m going to talk about the PreTrib Rapture position in this blog, I really want to emphasize something else. Christians can spend a good portion of their time arguing over this issue or that one. Eschatology in general is not one of those areas that Christians need to “fight to the death” about, as it were. The Deity of Christ, His incarnation through the virgin Mary, the fact that He lived a sinless life and gave Himself as a propitiation for our sin, died on a cross, and rose three days later are the things we should go to the death for and by that, I don’t mean killing other people who disagree with us. I’m talking about never renouncing those basic facts.

There are several places in Scripture that – to me – teach a PreTrib Rapture. While I realize that not everyone views these Scriptural passages as doing that, to me, they appear obvious.

One of those situations is during the time of Noah. In Genesis 6, we read that the world had become fully corrupted, except for Noah and his family. In fact, the world had gotten so bad that God decided He had no choice but to destroy all flesh. He told Noah to build an Ark and when the time came (God’s time), God told Noah to enter the Ark with his family and after he did so, God sealed the door from the outside. By Genesis 9, the flood has taken place, done its work, and God was ready to start over with Noah and his family.

Notice something though. Life during Noah’s time was terrible. I do not believe we can adequately understand just how bad life was then due to the fact that “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (Genesis 6:5). I don’t think those words do the condition justice. If God saw people as being so bad – bad enough to kill them – then it must have been bad.

Do you think Noah experienced trials and tribulations? Do you think he might have dealt with terrible injustices by the people with whom he shared this globe? I think it’s safe to say that he did. Yet, he never suffered from God’s wrath, did he?

It was not until God sealed Noah and his family inside the Ark that God’s wrath began pouring out on the earth. Genesis 7:17-24 tells us that the rains came, the waters came up from the deep and destroyed all living creatures that walked on the earth. That was God’s wrath. Prior to the Flood, it was man’s hatred for man that prevailed. Noah and his family were safely inside the Ark, which rose above the earth, on top of the Flood. There, they were kept safe from God’s wrath.

Lot was removed from the city of Sodom and then God poured out His wrath...

Lot was removed from the city of Sodom and then God poured out His wrath…

Look at Lot. In Genesis 19, we learn of Sodom. Not a nice place. Apparently, the city was filled with militant homosexuals who essentially had one thing on their mind: having sexual relations with other men and boys. Again, God decides that it is better to destroy Sodom (and Gomorrah) than to allow that evil to persist and destroy all of civilization.

As we read through this chapter of Genesis, we learn that after two angels arrived to Sodom (to get Lot and his family out to safety), the men of the town demanded that Lot send the two visiting angels out to them so that they might “know” them. There can be no doubt that the term “know” has distinct sexual connotations, yet some deny it. The fact that Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the men proves that they were interested in sex.

Lot’s offer was not only refused, but the men of the town castigated Lot saying “This one came in [g]as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them,” (Genesis 19:9). Today, Lot would be called a “hater” for deigning to dissuade homosexuals from doing what they choose to do. We do not know what the text means when it says that the men were going to do worse things to Lot.

The angels protected Lot and in the end, took him, his wife, and their daughters out of the city into the hills, in safety. It was then that the Lord rained down destruction from heaven. His wrath literally poured out on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In both cases, we see that Noah and Lot were in the world. They had to deal with the trials and tribulations of dealing with evil people. Because of it, both Noah’s and Lot’s worlds were difficult. However, in neither case, was what they experienced representative of God’s wrath. In both cases, when God’s wrath poured out onto the earth, both Noah and Lot (along with their families) were kept safe, away from the destructive forces poured out by God.

I believe that these events simulate the PreTrib Rapture. I’m in the world and will suffer trials and tribulations created by men and allowed by God. Yet, what man does to me is not God’s wrath. The Tribulation is said to be the “day of the Lord” because it is when He pours out His wrath onto the nations and Israel; the nations for how they treated Israel and Israel for how they have rejected God.

Let’s say I’ve convinced you that my view is correct. Let’s say that the PreTrib Rapture is the correct view. What does that mean for Christians today? Too many have taught that God will take the Church (Christ’s Bride) out of the world before it gets rough. The Bible doesn’t teach that. Many teach that God will not allow us to experience difficulties. The Bible does not teach that. In fact, Jesus said that in this world we will have tribulations. What we will never experience is God’s wrath, a big difference.

If the PreTrib Rapture is the correct view, then what do we do? Simple. We continue working while we are waiting and watching. We are always ready to tell people about salvation that is only available through Christ. We also do not sit back and say “I don’t need to take precautions” or “God will provide so I don’t need to worry about storing up food.” Too many Christians are going blindly through life thinking they don’t have to make intelligent, logical decisions, but we only need to trust God.

Paul says that if we do not provide for our families, we are worse than infidels, (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8). Sounds like Paul is saying that I should do what I can to provide for my family. Next time, we will take the time to look at practical things Christians should be doing as we move closer and closer to the time of God’s wrath. Even if the PreTrib Rapture is the correct position, believing it does not absolve us of the responsibility of taking care of our families. We’ll go over some basics next time so I hope you’ll join me then.

Entry filed under: dispensationalism, Pretribulational Rapture, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: , , .

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  • 1. brotherdan  |  September 6, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    I appreciate the grace with which you presented the pre-trib rapture.

    However, your arguments support the post-trib rapture better. The fact that God poured out His wrath, and yet protected His chosen from His wrath, argues for the Church going through the tribulation. God did not remove His chosen from the Earth. Noah and Family were still here. Lot was still here. They were protected. Just like Jesus promises to protect us in Revelation 3:10. If you study the Greek in that verse, you will see that the idea is that Jesus will protect us from, not out of. It is the same Greek construction that Jesus used in the prayer in John 17:15.

    Let’s say you’re wrong. What good will the belief of an escape do in preparing the Chosen for the tribulation? As you say, we won’t experience God’s wrath, but we will be exposed to the wrath of man. At the very least, this can devastate the faith of many that were assured of an escape. (I personally believe that this is the lie that will cause many to “fall away”.)

    I know that the persecuted Church in places like China call the pre-trib rapture teaching an abomination, a false hope that does NOTHING to prepare the Church. Corrie-Ten Boon was appalled by it, as was Ruth Gram.

    One last thing, I was raised in the Church to believe in the pre-trib rapture. You talk about being rejected, having one’s faith questioned, or one’s ability to even understand scripture. I was subjected to all this and more when my own personal research convinced me of the errors of pre-trib. People talk tongue in cheek about how it’s not a salvation issue, but then why is it part of a church’s statement of faith? Why are there Christian Colleges like Dallas Theological Seminary that require one to sign a confession of faith affirming it? You cannot be on the teaching faculty otherwise. Some non-essential that!

    I will begin to name names soon. When I hear Pastors basically calling people idiots on the radio (Calvary Chapel Pastors) for not seeing and believing in the “great escape”, I have wonder at their audacity. At least you showed grace. The Christian History Scholar will affirm that the pre-trib rapture teaching has the least amount of proponents throughout Church history. That’s calling a lot of devoted, Holy Spirit filled believers “idiots”.

    Thanks for your article. May the Lord bless you.

    Dan Smith

    • 2. modres  |  September 6, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      Hi Dan,

      While I disagree with your opinion, I appreciate your taking the time to share it. If you are convinced in the so-called errors of PreTrib thinking, that’s fine. Salvation does not rest on any aspect of Eschatology. I’m sure there is nothing I could say that would convince you otherwise.

      Regarding Noah and Lot, these are both TYPES. They are not actual Rapture events. Types are just that – examples of something greater and they usually fall a bit short. Melchizedek was a type of Christ. Was he Christ? No, but he was a type. Antiochus Epiphanes of Daniel was a TYPE of Antichrist. Was he the Antichrist? No, but he represented a type.

      Such is the case with both Noah and Lot. In both cases, the individuals were fully removed from the situation and could NOT be touched by God’s wrath at all. There was no place that God could have placed Noah and his family on the earth because the entire earth was affected. He would have had to kill Noah to take him to heaven because our earthly bodies cannot handle that realm.

      Yes, Noah was still “on” the earth, but in fact, he was raised ABOVE the earth because of the flood waters. Lot was completely REMOVED from the area that was impacted by God’s wrath. He was actually ushered out of that area into the safety of the hills. It was the distance from the event that saved Lot. Yes, Lot’s wife turned and looked and was turned to a pillar of salt. She was not destroyed like those in Sodom, but was judged because her heart was still back in Sodom.

      In order for your view to be accurate, both Noah and Lot would have had to remain in the situation. Noah would have had to remain OUTSIDE the Ark. Lot would have had to remain IN Sodom and survived unscathed. This is not the case. They were both removed from the situation.

      Christ said we WILL have trials and tribulations in this life. That is a given. However, I see the entirety of the Tribulation as God’s WRATH. The other stuff I experience in this life is due to Satan or humanity or my own sin nature. God allows those things, but this is different from the upcoming Tribulation where God takes 7 years to pour out His wrath on the earth. ALL judgments emanate from the throne of God in heaven. God fully directs all the action. The entire earth suffers because of it. Let’s say I’m wrong. There is NO guarantee that He will protect me through the Tribulation. None. I could be killed during the Tribulation, right? Many are and if so, how then am I “protected”?

      Persecution is occurring now, as you mentioned. But that is NOT God’s wrath. It is Satan’s wrath as he uses people to destroy other people and to bring about his one-world kingdom (as seen in Daniel 2 & 7 and Revelation 13 & 17). The Tribulation is a time when God literally pours out His wrath in the form of 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, and 7 Bowls.

      You mention that you spent much of your life being PreTrib and now you are PostTrib. You mention that while it is stated that it has nothing to do with salvation, certain schools make you sign agreements. When I went to Philadelphia College of Bible, I had to sign an agreement that I would not go to movies and would not allow my hair to grow past my collar, along with signing a doctrinal statement. Doctrinal statements are just that. It means you agree with the particular beliefs or standards of that school. That’s all. It doesn’t mean that I have to keep my hair short or I will lose my salvation.

      Ironically, people from the PostTrib side of things are the ones who are most vocal in condemning me. I have lost count how many times I have been told I am deceived and therefore a deceiver. As such, I am going to hell and the blood of those I deceive will be on my hands. That’s from PostTribbers.

      I hope and pray that you are not one who also believes (as many PostTribbers do) that salvation can be lost. I do not see that the Bible teaches that.

      If I am wrong and I am here after the Tribulation begins, what will happen? I will continue trusting the Lord, looking for that great day of His return. My faith does not rest on the Rapture. It rests solely on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He is Victor and by His grace, I share in that victory. Amen!

      PostTribbers have told me that I will wake up one day to realize the Tribulation has begun and the Rapture didn’t happen. Because of it, the bottom will apparently fall out of my faith and I will become so disillusioned that I will wind up taking the Mark of the Beast. I will therefore, lose my salvation. That’s tripe and it’s a man-made argument that pushes God completely out of the picture.

      I’m sorry, but this is their fantasy! Have I been sealed with the Holy Spirit? Yes. Am I already seated with Christ in the heavenlies? Yes. Do I trust Christ to save me DAILY? Yes. If I am wrong and the Tribulation happens without the Rapture, so WHAT? Who CARES?

      It could just as easily be said that if PreTribbers are wrong, then waking up to find that the Tribulation has begun will cause MANY to fall on their faces and BEGIN to trust Him! The pontificating of arrogant PostTribbers (not you) is enough to sicken me. The idea that God in Christ is not powerful enough to SAVE me from myself is the worst kind of demagoguery and ridicule of God’s grace, His love, His patience, His holiness, AND His strength. Can God not save me from myself? Is my “free will” so strong that God’s hands are tied? What absolute mistrust in God.

      My salvation does NOT rest on the Rapture. It rests on Jesus Christ.

      I also believe in eternal security and in election. If I am incorrect about those things, am I also lost?

      It gets a bit ridiculous. This is exactly why when I teach on the End Times (and I do frequently) I ALWAYS emphasize the FACT that we must be WORKING while we wait and watch. We cannot count on the Rapture to save us. We have no idea what will befall us in this life. We must be prepared for whatever happens.

      The other thing I always emphasize is even IF the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation, that does not answer this question: how bad will things get BEFORE the Tribulation begins? I have no idea which is why I have taken precautions to care for my family now.

      This is exactly why I am taking precautions now and tell others to do the same. Read this article I wrote at Freedom Outpost on it:

      We have stored up food. We have a huge checklist of things that we have gone over. This is simply common sense. I do not want to put the Lord to the test.

      The most important thing is this: my death could happen long before the Rapture OR Tribulation. The goal of EVERY Christian is to live their life as if this day was the last day. We argue about the Rapture, but not ONE of us knows when the Lord will take us in death, do we? I could die today and so could you. Are we glorifying God NOW?

      Forget the Rapture. Forget the Tribulation. Think about today and the fact that this day may be my last. Based on that, how am I living?

      The Rapture is an interesting topic to discuss and I believe people need to be aware of end times scenarios. Jesus is coming back one day. We cannot live our lives based on a belief in the Rapture. We can only live our lives based on the knowledge that our names are written in the book of Life and that one day, we will DIE. I’m looking forward to it. If I wake up tomorrow still alive, will the bottom fall out of my faith because I’m still here? Absurd.

      One other thing: I respectfully believe you are completely wrong in thinking that the PreTrib Rapture is “the lie” that will cause many to fall away. That’s an old PostTribber belief, which is contextually absent from Scripture. It is a form of eisigesis, not exegesis.

      I believe the lie that the Bible speaks about is political correctness and how it is devastating society today. My latest book “Falling Away” deals with this and my follow up book, “Caught in the Grip of Political Correctness” details this. PC thinking is causing the world to say that good is bad and bad is good. It is pushing God out of the public arena (and has been since the 1960s). It’s not people who believe in the PreTrib Rapture though I’ve heard that from many PostTribbers. Believing in a PreTrib Rapture does NOT cause people to fall away. Political Correctness pushes God out of society and out of the minds of people.

      Politically correct thinking is bringing about the great falling away or rebellion and it’s what Paul discusses when he tells Timothy how bad things will be in the end times where men will be lovers of themselves, proud, boastful, etc. A belief in the PreTrib Rapture does not cause this. Political Correctness does because it is simply satanic Cultural Marxism in disguise. I don’t know any PreTribbers who fit the description of Paul in 2 Timothy 3. I know plenty of people in society who live by politically correct rules who fit that description though.

      It’s funny, but you speak of grace. When I read PostTribbers and people like Dave McPherson, Gary North and others, I see NO grace at all. I respect the fact that you were probably holding yourself back from what you really wanted to say. It’s the PreTribbers like Ryrie, Walvoord, and others, who, in my opinion, show tremendous grace and restraint. Have you read them? Too many opposed to the PreTrib Rapture position act like Alinski in the way they rebut the PreTrib Rapture view. McPherson only knows how to ridicule and deride. He’s no scholar and he doesn’t even follow his own father’s advice, who was far more gentle and respectful in his writings. I respect his father, but not Dave.

      We could debate this forever Dan, and solve nothing. I think you have made some sweeping generalizations that are untrue and I respectfully suggest that you do more research.

      Sorry this is long, but I’m just really tired of the whole debate. It’s pointless. Most of the arguments offered by those opposed to the PreTrib Rapture position are completely man-made.

      By the way Dan, you or anyone else is welcome to download all of my books (as FREE PDFs) and you can find them here:

      I have written several books specifically on the end times, including the PreTrib Rapture position. If you want to know more about how I have arrived at my position, then I would encourage you to read the books.

      Again, thanks for writing, Dan. Have a blessed day in the Lord. I hope I did not offend in my response 🙂

  • […] The more I fix myself on His return, the more focused and purified in thought I become. For more on the Rapture, what it means, and what I’m to do because of it, check out an article I wrote at my own blog. […]

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