Rapture Mindset Getting Out of Hand

21

When I packed up my bags as a young man and went to Bible college, I was ready to begin studying my newfound faith.   But as a young Padawan, the Jedi council informed me very early on that Pre-Tribulationism was just the best scenario out there.  I was totally cool with that as I had no reason not to be.  Beam me up? Why not…where do I sign?

But as I grew in my studies, the supposed scriptural support for pre-trib theology wasn’t materializing.

To compensate for this lack of proof, Pre-tribulationism has resorted to an all-out Christian advertisement campaign that is getting, in my opinion, totally out of hand.  Video’s “left behind” for your family explaining the sudden appearance of empty laundry and my personal favorite…pet services to pick up little fluffy after the rapture event.  Yeah, like anyone is going to honestly care about your stupid cat or dog AFTER you’re gone!

After much study in the area of eschatology, I am convinced that the scriptural support for pre-tribulationism is at best, creative interpretation.

Here’s a logical way of looking at it.  Jesus told us to look at the signs in the sun, moon and stars.  Revelation shows these as the six seals.  Yet we’re supposed to be gone by then.  Yet we’re supposed to look for them.  That only works if we’re still here.

Most pre-tribber’s will admit Christ describes the “rapture-event” in Matthew 24:31Revelation 14:15-16 places this event almost verbatim significantly into the pre-tribulation timeframe.

Then we have the destination problem.  Pre-Tribulationism states we will meet the Lord in the air and reside forever in heaven.  Problem is, he’s not on his way to heaven…he’s on his way to Jerusalem.  And it would seem we are too.  That is of course, unless we just plan on waving at each other as we pass by.

These are only the tip of the iceberg for arguments against this popular theory.  So why the rabid adherence to this escapist theology

Probably 90% of the reason is that we give 90% of our eschatological Bible study thinking over to big names like Tim LaHaye and the like.  Now let’s be clear…these are good men and this is not a salvation issue.  They have good things to say and I do not question their hearts or motives.

Well, unless you’re Jack Van Impe, in which case you’re a garden variety false prophet….but I digress. :)

vanimpe

We need to step back and realize that although Pre-Trib may be the most popular view…it is also the most unlikely to happen based on the scriptural evidence.   It’s a snowball effect.  And now we have most of North American Christians making rapture preparations. ie: doing nothing. This in my opinion, is leaving us totally unprepared for whatever comes down the road.

Now I’m not endorsing stocking up on beans and ammo.  Not unless you like shooting guns all the time while having explosive flatulence.  In that case load up.  But neither do I advocate doing nothing but playing “Left Behind-The Video Game”.

Sure, I hold a pre-wrath”ish” view, but I’m also open to the idea that I’m completely full of crap when it comes to my particular views on this subject.  I’m not going to tell you that this is CORE doctrine because it shouldn’t be.  It’s a mystery that we all are doing our best to solve to the best of our ability.  This is not salvation, and should NEVER be put on the same level.

Yet we need to open ourselves to the idea that pre-tribulationism, despite it’s Christian pop-culture popularity, is almost certainly not even close to the real deal.


© 2009 – 2014, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • About a decade ago I was involved in a Presbyterian church in Guelph. The midweek study was doing Revelation. The pastor decided to do a formal debate on the Rapture. He did Mid Trib, an elder did pre and I did post trib. We were each given 5 minutes to present and then 1 minute to rebuke the other debaters. Both the Pastor and I migrated our personal views during preparation to Post.

  • Well no good Presbyterian would hold to ANY "rapture" view because we only believe in one second coming of Christ! This is another problem w/ the pre-trib rapture. It actually splits the second coming into like, 2 second comings! So in reality Christ returns like, two more times (once during the Rapture and once again in the end). I don't buy into that. Its like Second Coming 2.0 or something.

    Another problem I see w/ the pre-trib Rapture stuff (or rather, Dispensationalism) is their view on the millenium. They would teach a literal 1000 year Jewish kingdom where temple worship is restored and all that. This is an issue. Temple worship was only a type and shadow. It pointed to the Cross of Christ and the New Testament era. Why would Christ encourage a return to that type and shadow? Those rituals pointed to the Messiah and what was accomplished at the Cross. I would especially challenge the idea of the importance of a return to temple worship AFTER Christ's second advent! That would make even less sense.
    Kind of off the rapture subject but it goes hand in hand with it.

    • DysfunctionalParrot

      A fascinating topic with a wide range of views to be sure! I feel quite alone in my little camp…not pre/post/mid, and also not convinced of a rapture in the currently popular understood sense. Yet at the same time I believe in a literal millenial reign with some form of "harvesting" of the righteous prior to that ( hence my pre-wrath"ish" position ). As I study the festivals and Torah they seem to allude to that quite strongly. ( return on Rosh Hashanah, final judgement on Yom Kippur, and nations going to the New Jerusalem on Sukkot )

      But like I said, I may be in a minority camp because I am simply completely wrong!

  • biblepoetry

    Cool! I like your assessment. However, when you mentioned Jack, you failed to mention the real power behind his show, i.e., Rexella. I am also of the pre-wrath persuasion. I write poetry and present this view in poetry form in a poem called "The Scroll". Check it out on my website. biblepoetry.wordpress.com

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    Rexella looks like she's just happy to be there! I haven't seen the show in a number of years, but I always remember the awkward panning of the camera to Chuck Onman ( is that his name? ) who would introduce whatever pre-trib prophecy video they had on sale that week.

    …"that's right Rexella!" ( pan to Chuck )

    Sort of a "holy crap!!…where did HE come from?" moment. Had a good voice though…like he should be doing trailers for science fiction movies!

  • Andrew Logue

    You know what dude? You should check out historic premillenialism (don't let the name fool you!) I think you'll find a home for a lot of your views.

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    From what I'm reading about it, historic pre-mill has a far better argument than modern pre-mill by a long shot.

    I'll look into it more, but it certainly has my attention at this point and seems worthy of further investigation.

  • Yeah dude because they totally didn't believe in a rapture = 7 year trib. Its not bogged down by dispensationalism at all…but ironically when dispensationalists get put on the hotplate about the lack of historical support for their view, they totally turn to classical (historical) premillenialism. Of course the classical guys are like, "pshhh yeah right!"

    Its probably the oldest line of thought concerning "end times" stuff too (amillenialism coming in a close second). A lot of respected American Presbyterians were classical pre mill as well such as J. Gresham Machen, B.B. Warfield and even James Montgomery Boice. Its pretty much amillenialism but you get to keep your literal 1000 year millenium haha!

  • I highly recommend this book, if you want a cogent, biblical study of this topic: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080106435X/ref=o

  • Haha I recommended that book in another thread. One of the best books ever on this topic, that's for sure. His other book on the anti-christ is equally amazing.

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    I promise I will get to reading that book! Right now I'm finishing up "The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church" by Marvin Rosenthal. An exceptional read as well.

    Yours is on deck!

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    Just placed the order with Amazon, so it'll get here when it gets here. I also ordered "Just Do Something" by Kevin DeYoung after being extremely impressed with his book "Why We're Not Emergent".
    http://dysfunctionalparrot.wordpress.com/2009/04/

    Reviews will be forthcoming I'm sure!

  • Awesome! You're probably the first person I know who has said, "I'll read that book" and actually is going to.

  • hyde

    "Most pre-tribber’s will admit Christ describes the “rapture-event” in Matthew 24:31."

    You may want to research (and qualify?) that statement. Maybe check it out with Dr Rennie Showers rather than Van Impe. Also maybe read John 14:2-3 re the destination.

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    Rennie Showers…never heard of him. I primarily use VanImpe and LaHaye because of their outspoken positions on the subject.

    And John 14 has nothing to do with rapture theology.

    As for Matthew 24:31, I've yet to encounter a pre-tribber who didn't interpret that as rapture. That's just one small reason why the position has a serious timeline malfunction in that it insists that a rapture happens before the cosmic signs, when clearly it does not.

  • hyde

    Renald Showers wrote Maranatha – Our Lord, Come, which is a definitive study of the pre-trib rapture. If you want to seriously critique pre-trib thought on the Olivet Discourse, you should interact with the likes of Showers, Paul Benware, Richard Mayhue, Gerald Stanton, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Thomas Ice etc. Some pre-trib scholars believe the rapture is indirectly referred to in the OD (Noah etc) but NOT in verse 31. Others don’t see the rapture in the OD at all (R L Thomas, Showers etc). I’d like to see a quote by LaHaye suggesting v31 is the rapture. If it exists, he’s wrong.

    Matt 24:31 relates to several Old Testament promises for Israel’s final re-gathering into the land. See Deu 30:4, Isa 11:12, 27:12-13 (note the trumpet), Jer 16:14-15, Eze 11:14-18, 36:24, Zep 3:18-20, Zech 10:8-12 to mention a few. The cosmic events are signs – not of the rapture – but of Christ’s final re-gathering of Israel. Currently, most Jews are still scattered throughout the world in unbelief.

    T. Francis Glasson wrote: In the OT and also in later Jewish writings two things are associated with the gathering of the dispersed: the trumpet and the ensign (or standard). The following prayer still appears in the Jewish Daily Prayer Book: Sound the great trumpet for our freedom: lift up the ensign to gather our exiles and gather us from the four corners of the earth. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who gatherest the banished ones of thy people Israel. (Quoted from Authorized Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire. S Singer p 48)

    Even non pre-mil posttribbers understand John 14:2-3 as a promise by the Lord to come back for His own and take them to heaven. However, pe-mil posttribbers have a vested interest in keeping the church out of heaven by virtue of their rapture and millennial position, and argue against John 14 accordingly (e.g. Tim Warner), though hardly persuasively.

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    ANOTHER book? I just got finished one on Amilleniallism by Kim Riddglebarger…
    http://dysfunctionalparrot.wordpress.com/2009/11/

    and a Pre-Wrath one by Marvin Rosenthal…
    http://dysfunctionalparrot.wordpress.com/2009/10/

    …and I'm a little pooped for eschatology! I can't promise you anything right now.

    Again with Matt 24…well, there's a whole other issue involved in that. It's the whole "grafted into the tree of Israel" thing. That's sort of my camp. It's complicated. I don't read two ingatherings…I read one. That might be a bit of my "Hebraic roots" showing too.

    I would also say the cosmic signs are the six seals. Laid out, in order by Jesus himself in the Olivet discourse. Unless there's two sets of them? Yet contemporary Pre-Trib thought puts the rapture before them.

    Which brings me to LaHaye: the best I can give you is his chronology as pointed out in the Left Behind series. True, it's not a very academic argument on my part, but it is expedient!

    Here's the problem, we have many people who say one thing, but there are others who say another. All I'm saying is that the Pre-Tribulationist position is without a doubt the weakest eschatological position from MY point of view. Others will disagree with me no doubt. Other may agree.

    As long as we're all listening, I'm okey-dokey with any differing opinion!

  • hyde

    I know it’s a complex and divisive subject. It’s taken me a long time to get my head around a lot of this and there’s still much I’m trying to grasp. I came across your site by accident as I was researching something else.

    I was actually post-trib in the past; probably because I never really looked into it. I spent most of my time researching at the pros and cons of premillennialism and preterism. I began studying and comparing rapture views and came to the opinion that pre-trib has fewer problems. However, I don’t think anyone should dogmatically state that their view is 100% correct.

    As far as LaHaye is concerned, I dusted off two of my old books to check. His position is that Matt 24:31 is The Glorious Appearing as distinct to the rapture – “Revelation Unveiled” p 102 and “The Rapture” p 92.

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    That makes you my official "Pre-Trib" Go-To guy!

    Trust me, my view is so singular I highly doubt I am right at all! Pre-Wrath, yet possibly not literal rapturist, yet any rapture would have a destination of Jerusalem…yadda yadda…

    As for LaHaye's interpretation of Matt 24…that's kind of news to me. Every other pre-tribber I've talked to seems to nod their head and say, "yup…rapture". Guess I need to either broaden my scope, or people need to stop listening to LaHaye. Or both.

    I would recommend not limiting eschatological study to pre/post or preterist. Those are only around due to high profile advertising more than anything, and not historical biblical support.

    Right now the best argument I have come across was shockingly enough the Amillennial argument. None was more surprised that I.
    http://www.amazon.com/Case-Amillennialism-Underst

    You don't need to agree with it, but everyone serious about end-times study should at least be aware of it.

  • hyde

    I’d hate to think I’m anyone’s pre-trib guy. I may well be wrong on so many levels.

    My familiarity with Amillennialism is only basic although I have books that address it at a fairly high level. Unfortunately I’m limited by my inability to comprehend complex issues quickly.

    You've mentioned pre-wrath and Rosenthal. I read his book. It was actually a prewrather that ignited my interest in the rapture.

    One thing I have learned is that we must look at the best arguments on both sides of any issue and how well someone answers criticisms of their own view. A clever debater can be persuasive and wrong at the same time.

    There are very few things I’m certain of aside from the fundamentals of the faith. Eschatologically speaking, there may be some curve balls thrown at us by the Lord before the End. Until then we keep busy serving Him.

  • Danny Milligan

    All I can say is Revelations 7, 9-17… the Rapture, if I have read that right, CANNOT occur before the Great Tribulation. It can occur at any point after that, although I think the idea of some pre-wrathers (the ones who say all the judgments will occur in the final week of the Tribulation) is a bit much to swallow, as well.

    Aside from when it happens, who has an opinion of HOW it happens? Will we vacate our bvd's instantly, or will we all flop over dead at the same moment, ala James Beauseigneur???

    -Danny Milligan