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Preaching a Pre-Tribulation Rapture Weakens the Church
ArriveNet ^ | July 7, 2007 | J. Grant Swank, Jr.

Posted on 07/07/2007 7:48:37 PM PDT by tnarg

Mark it down as biblical truth: There is no pre-tribulation rapture.

However, untold thousands believe in the "secret rapture of the church" prior to the tribulation period. This is because untold thousands don't want to have to think of suffering through a tribulation time frame. The late Corrie ten Boom called this pre-trib rapture teaching the "American doctrine." Go figure.

The belief in a secret rapture of believers before the tribulation is also because of a best-seller, "The Late, Great Planet Earth," by Hal Lindsey which was set loose in the l960s. It has been a paperback aggressively pushed by practically every evangelical / fundamentalist engine going.

Theologians, videos, films and preachers bolster up this myth with their earnest preachings and teachings.

Yet this is nothing but a myth, accented as much by certain theologically conservative Protestant segments similar unto the Roman Catholic underlining of the immaculate conception of Mary. Nevertheless, if there is no biblical support for such a Mariology teaching, it is bogus. Likewise, the pre-tribulation rapture teaching is bogus.

The pre-trib rapture concept was manufactured in the 1800s in an 18 year old Plymouth Brethren girl's dream, told to her Pastor, John Darby, and then relayed to C. I. Scofield who bought into the dream as revealed truth. Scofield placed this pre-tribulation rapture notion as a footnote in his popular Bible, hence the spread of the myth.

However, just the opposite is biblical truth. In Matthew 24:29-3l, for instance, the rapture ("gathering together") is placed in the same time frame as the open second coming of Jesus Christ. And all of this is "after the tribulation" (verse 29). That is it in a nutshell!

Yet pre-tribulation rapturists sidestep this clear passage for more oblique passages. The latter are twisted and turned in order to fit into the "American doctrine." Yet such twisting is not sound exegesis. And for biblically-riveted evangelicals and fundamentalists to commit this drastic error is bordering on the horrific.

All other passages in Scripture relating to the "gathering together unto Him" must refer back to the literal time line provided by Jesus in Matthew 24.

One must not use a symbolic passage in the Book of Revelation or any other symbolically-based section of the Bible by which to draw a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine.

Further, one must not take words of the apostle Paul so as to insert them opportunistically into a conjured pre-tribulation string of Scripture references. Yet this has been done ad infinitum.

Instead, Jesus' literalism of Matthew 24 must be used as the benchmark for all other "gathering together" themes of Scripture.

One starts with literalism and moves into symbolism when seeking to understand Scripture; it is not the other way around.

During the 1970s and 1980s there was much written and preached about a pre-tribulation rapture. This has wound down some in the last decade or so. Why?

Today, with the world situation being what it is, there is not that much risk-taking in preaching dogmatically the pre-tribulation rapture. Why?

Is it because there are many who are beginning to question its validity? Is it because the world state is so uncertain that to go out on a limb with a false hope may ricochet?

One wonders, with world events progressively becoming more and more anti-Christian, why the pre-tribulation rapture persons are not celebrating each dawn as the day when Jesus may return to earth.

Such is not the phenomenon on a large scale. Furthermore, it may be because the next generation has not bought into this notion.

In any case, it is a myth, a legend of conservative Protestantism's own conjuring and has no base in the Holy Scriptures.

Yet these very Protestants are the ones who ardently point out the myths of Catholicism while holding to some of their own myths. Both segments of Christendom need to do some serious housecleaning of manufactured legends in order to return to the simple Bible truths; otherwise, the church suffers from severe lack of knowledge.

What is so frightening about holding to a pre-tribulation rapture? It is more than mere academic quibbling. Holding to such a notion is drastically weakening the church worldwide.

The church should be preparing for spiritual battle against the most evil forces arrayed by hell.

Instead, the church is languishing with a false hope. This is all orchestrated by the demonic powers in order to eventuate in a limp army of believers. And to see that through in this age of laxity in religion does not take much on the part of the dark powers. In addition, the apostate segment of religion is doing its fair share of blackening truth.

Does it take much intelligence to realize that there are awesomely wretched days yet ahead for the righteous remnant?

Those who are not strong will drop--fall away, as biblically predicted. They will be too numerous to contemplate. But for those who are truly into carrying the daily cross there will be nothing able to thwart their zeal for Christ.

Already the remnant is being strengthened by the Spirit of light. He is gathering His own together in the power of the resurrection and the might of the revealed Word. There numbers are few; but their ardor before the Father is lovingly honored.

Set your vision upon the difficulties yet to be. They are but the trials permitted by the coming Christ.

At the close of the tribulation period, then there will be the gathering together of the believers from the four corners of the earth. They will greet Jesus in the clouds as He descends through space, having left the right hand of the Father in heaven.

The gathering together ("rapture") and the second advent then will be realized as one and the same event occurring at the end of the tribulation time frame. Jesus' declaration in Matthew 24:29-3l states it clearly.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: endtimes; rapture; secondcoming; swankwatch
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To: tnarg
it would be nice if you did read the article.

I just did. It is an excellent article. But it ignores the Old Testament references to the rapture, which is quite common. Together they paint a powerful case for a pre-tribulation rapture.

41 posted on 07/08/2007 10:37:38 AM PDT by D Rider
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To: D Rider

jesus’ words in mt 24, mk 13 and lk 21 are THE KEY WORDS.

no use to go further if one does not want to.

jesus, deity incarnate, responded to the disciples’ questions regarding his return.

that info is primary.

that info points to a POST-TRIB rapture coinciding with the second coming. this IS the key passage from jesus’ lips: matthew 24:29-31.

all other second coming prophetic passages should be read in light of jesus’ words.

42 posted on 07/08/2007 10:50:48 AM PDT by tnarg
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To: D Rider


there is no powerful case for a pre-trib rapture in the old testament for the ot passages would not contradict jesus’ clear statement in mt 24:29-31.

jesus’ data come first, above all else. all else must be read through jesus’ clear data. not the other way around.

jesus’ detail is PRIMARY.

43 posted on 07/08/2007 10:52:44 AM PDT by tnarg
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To: The_Reader_David

you stated: “I haven’t a clue what a ‘modified dispensationlist’ is”.

nor do i.

44 posted on 07/08/2007 11:03:52 AM PDT by tnarg
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To: tnarg; CA Conservative
believers suffer through the tribulation for believers are specifically mentioned in the tribulation time frame. i’ll leave that to your homework to find them. they are there. they are the ones beheaded, etc. so go to it. have fun. enjoy the study.

We are mentioned and we will be there but we won't be beheaded. Christ certainly wouldn't behead us and neither can Satan.

1Chronicles 16:22 Saying, "Touch not Mine anointed, And do My prophets no harm."

The only way he can harm us is with deception and if we are sealed with God's Word and know the truth then he can't touch us.

Rev.9:4 (Satan's tribulation) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5.And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man

It is my belief that the reference to those that were beheaded are to those that have died before us, as in the Roman times and of course to any who are murdered for their Christian beliefs today. They come to earth with Christ and join those that didn't take the "mark of the beast" during his tribulation.

Ca Conservative wrote: But the Tribulation is directly described as the wrath of God on the world. If the Church (His Bride) will be here during that time, then it will receive His wrath as well, since many of the plagues and judgments are world-wide in their scope...

His bride and wife will be here (we have work to do) and the earth is in for a big shaking but remember the tribulation we must worry about is Satan's, not the one of Jesus Christ - He loves us. Think about how He protected his own during the flood, during the Exodus, how Daniel wasn't hurt when he was in the lion's den, how the 3 Hebrew children weren't harmed in the fire. Those are our examples so we know He would never harm us but the condition is that we do not follow Satan. If we do, even unknowingly, then we are no longer a child of God but of Satan.

Another point to consider is that when Jesus arrives at His 2nd Advent, 7th trump (after Satan's), then:

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1Corinthians 15:52)

So...How much will we experience?

45 posted on 07/08/2007 11:22:01 AM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: P-Marlowe

Yes, rather like papal infallibility. Another bit of Western heresy.


(That’s an Orthodox monastic smiley, just in case you haven’t seen it before.)

46 posted on 07/08/2007 11:32:51 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: tnarg
the entire trib time frame is NOT referred to as the wrath of deity. only the bowls of wrath are related specifically to divine wrath.

You are, of course, makng a distinction between the first 3-1/2 years of the tribulation and the last 3-1/2 years, often referred to as the Great Tribulation. Does that mean you believe in a mid-tribulation rapture? If you are post-trib, or don't believe in a rapture at all, then you must believe that He will allow His Bride to suffer his Wrath... I'm just interested in how you support that scripturally.

believers suffer through the tribulation for believers are specifically mentioned in the tribulation time frame. i’ll leave that to your homework to find them. they are there. they are the ones beheaded, etc. so go to it. have fun. enjoy the study.

Ah, yes, but are those who were believers prior to the Tribulation, or do they become believers during the Tribulation?

By the way, I've done quite a bit of study on the subject, so please try not to come across as condescending. We may come to different conclusions, and neither of us will know for sure who is right until Christ returns, but we still need to treat each other with Christian love and respect.

47 posted on 07/08/2007 11:45:57 AM PDT by CA Conservative
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To: The_Reader_David
Don't you reject the Book of Revelation.

One man's heresy is another man's orthodoxy, eh? <[;-)======

48 posted on 07/08/2007 11:55:02 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: tnarg
that info points to a POST-TRIB rapture coinciding with the second coming. this IS the key passage from jesus’ lips: matthew 24:29-31.

all other second coming prophetic passages should be read in light of jesus’ words.

Not so...None of the Jews in Mat. 24 knew anything about a born again, Gentile church...It hadn't been revealed yet...They knew nothing about the adoption of Gentiles into the church...Why would Jesus reveal to them the rapture of the Gentile church??? Answer, He wouldn't...

In the book of Revelation, the Wedding takes place 'after' the Rapture, yet, before the end of the Tribulation, before the 2nd coming of Jesus...

49 posted on 07/08/2007 12:32:44 PM PDT by Iscool (OK, I'm Back...Now what were your other two wishes???)
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To: caseinpoint

“would be pretty inconsiderate of the Lord to zap people out of vehicles barreling down city streets.’

Grandpa was sent straight to heaven, not like his screaming passengers.

50 posted on 07/08/2007 12:45:46 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: tnarg
jesus’ words in mt 24, mk 13 and lk 21 are THE KEY WORDS.

I see you managed to get your SHIFT KEY to work.

Or was that the CAPS LOCK key?

51 posted on 07/08/2007 12:56:25 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Iscool
Why would Jesus reveal to them the rapture of the Gentile church??? Answer, He wouldn't...

But Iscool, the disciples asked Him about how it would be at the end. Also He said, "I have foretold you all things". Wouldn't He have mentioned such a huge event?

52 posted on 07/08/2007 1:13:26 PM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: tnarg

There is also 1 Cor. 15:51-52

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (NKJV)

I used to believe in a pre-trib rapture, but after reading the passage above, especially with regard to the “last trumpet”, and seeing that in Revelation there are several trumpets sounding, and after the last one sounds there will be a “harvest” on earth, I am strongly inclined to a post-trib, pre-millenial rapture.

53 posted on 07/08/2007 1:44:43 PM PDT by kiriath_jearim
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To: gcruse

good one

54 posted on 07/08/2007 2:10:11 PM PDT by tnarg
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To: kiriath_jearim

good for you.

55 posted on 07/08/2007 2:11:09 PM PDT by tnarg
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To: Ping-Pong; Iscool; CA Conservative; labette
From Lambert Dolphin:

Rapture (from Lat. Rapio "seize, carry away") The Rapture is an event where every believer is instantly taken up to meet Jesus in heaven without experiencing death. This event is similar to what Enoch experienced when he walked with God and he was not, for God took him (Gen 5:24). Another similar example is when Elijah: was taken up by the Lord to heaven without seeing death (2 Kings 2:1-15).

The Rapture is to be the eschatological event in which Christians still living on the earth will be "caught up together with them (deceased Christians who have already been resurrected absent from the body present with the Lord 2 Cor.5:8) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1Thess. 4:13-18). The rapture contains within it several aspects of eschatological expectation, including the hope for the gathering together of God's people, who have been separated by death, geography or circumstances, and their being united with their Lord (1 Thess. 3:13; 4:16-17; 2 Thess. 2:1); the hope for God's vindication of his people and judgment of their enemies (Luke 18:7-8; 2 Thess. 1:6-10); the hope for unending life (1Cor. 15:51-56); unless those days are shortened the expectation of sudden judgment (Matt. 24:36-44); God did not appoint us to wrath (1Thess. 5:9); His eminent return (1 Cor.1:7; Phil 3:20; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28) and the hope of the release of the righteous from a troubled world (Rev. 3:10).

Some people reject the idea of the Rapture because they say it's not in the Bible but that would depend on what Bible you had because if it where the Latin Vulgate you would have the word Rapiemur from which we get the English word Rapture. As far as words go the word Bible cannot be found but we believe in the Bible, we do not see the word Trinity but the Bible teaches the concept of the Trinity.

The teaching of the rapture is presented clearly in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 in this passage Paul informs his readers that those living Christians at the time of the rapture will be united with those who have died in Christ before them. In verse 17 the English phrase "caught up" is translated from the Greek word harpazo which means to snatch up; seize by force; lead away forcibly; to steal; carry or drag away. In Acts 8:39 Philip upon completing a baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch is "caught up" and divinely transported from the desert to the coastal town of Azotus. Similarly, the church will in a moment of time be taken from earth to heaven when Christ comes for His church.

It is very likely that the rapture is referenced in 2 Thessalonias 2:3. The first three verses of 2 Thessalonians 2 read as follows: 1. Now, brethren, concerning the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2. not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away [Greek apostasia] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Thomas Ice discusses in detail why the apostasia is probably a reference to the rapture. I agree with this interpretation as did my mentor the late Ray C. Stedman. See

Christ coming for His church (Rapture) is not to be confused with His second coming (Judgment) these are two separate events:

 Rapture Passages  Second Coming Passages
John 14:1-3
Romans 8:19
1 Corinthians 1:7-8
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
1 Corinthians 16:22
Philippians 3:20
Philippians 4:5
Colossians 3:4
1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1 Thessalonians 5:19
2 Thessalonians 2:1
1 Timothy 6:14
2 Timothy 4:1, 8
Titus 2:13
Hebrews 9:28
1 Peter 1:7, 13; 5:4
Revelation 2:25; 3:10
Daniel 2:44-45
Daniel 7:9-14
Daniel 12:1-3
Zechariah 12:10
Zechariah 14:1-15
Matthew 13:41
Matthew 24:15-31
Matthew 26:64
Mark 13: 14-27
Mark 14:62 , 23
Luke 21:25-28
Acts 1:9-11
Acts 3:19-21
1 Thessalonians 3:13
Jude 14, 15
Revelation 1:7
Revelation 19:11-20:6
Revelation 22:7, 12, 20

Rapture and Second Coming Contrasted

Could return at any moment
Don't know the time
Earth not judged
Translated saints go to heaven
Rapture is a mystery
Before the day of wrath
No reference to Satan
He comes for His own (bride)
He comes in the air
Comes for believers only
Only His own will see Him
Tribulation begins
Before the day of wrath

 Following timed events
31/2 years after Abomination of Desolation
Earthed judged
Translated saints return to earth
Predicted often in Old Testament
Concluding the day of wrath
Satan bound
He comes with His own (bride)
He comes to the earth
His return will impact all people
Every eye will see Him
Millennial kingdom begins
Concluding the day of wrath

Prophetic outline of Revelation explained in Revelation 1:19

John is told by Jesus to write down the things which he has seen, the things that are, and the things which will take place after this.

Revelation 1:9-18 the things which John has seen
Revelation 2:1-3:22 the things that are: letters to the seven churches (church age)
Revelation 4:1-22:21 the things which will take place after the church age.
In Revelation 4:1 it says after these things, which are, is when the rapture occurs: The Greek word here is meta tauta "after these things" referring to the church being received in heaven. After this event the church is not mentioned on earth but in heaven.
Revelation 4:1-5:14 the church worshipping in heaven
Revelation 6:1-18:24 the tribulation period
Revelation 19:1-21 the second coming of Christ, coming with His church
Revelation 20:1-5 millennium kingdom
Revelation 21:1-22:21 new earth

The premillennialism view sees Christ's return as preceded by a definite seven-year period of tribulation and followed by the millennium. Premillennialism (prior to great tribulation) and midtribulation (midpoint) views of the rapture tend to think of that event mainly as the escape provided for believers from the troubled world of the end times. Pretribulationism positions, in effect, two second comings of Christ, the first an invisible "secret rapture" (of Christians) before the tribulation, the second a return with the previously raptured saints to judge the wicked and inaugurate the millennium.

Partial rapturism, another variant of pretribulationism, warns that only those in a sanctified state will be caught up before the tribulation; backsliders must endure the tribulation until the final coming of Christ (1Pet. 1:6-7; cf. Matt. 6:13; Luke 21:34-36; Rev. 3:10).

What does the New Testament say about the time of Jesus' Coming? Christ said, "No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matt. 24:36). Since we cannot place Christ's return in any given century or decade, Christians are told to "keep watch." Jesus taught, "You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him" (Matt. 24:42-44).

56 posted on 07/08/2007 2:38:59 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Iscool

it all comes down to matthew 24:29-31 as the rapture and second coming being the one same event at the close of the tribulation period.

jesus said it.

it’s plainly accounted for via the holy spirit’s efficiency.

57 posted on 07/08/2007 2:41:52 PM PDT by tnarg
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To: P-Marlowe

jesus never stated rapture and second coming being two separate events.

those who have been brainwashed in that direction say that.

jesus never stated that.

he stated matthew 24:29-31.

58 posted on 07/08/2007 2:43:06 PM PDT by tnarg
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To: tnarg
those who have been brainwashed in that direction say that.

My that is a snide remark. Wouldn't you agree.

I guess you just don't think that people of good will can disagree on this issue, eh? You have to attribute evil intentions to those who disagree with YOU, eh?

The bottom line for Grant Swank is that if you don't agree with Grant Swank, then you must be brainwashed.

Well, tnarg, the fact of the matter is that smarter and better people than Grant Swank believe in a pre-trib rapture of the Church. They may be right. They may be wrong. But they are men of good will who honestly believe what they preach. But I guess you think they all "brainwashed", huh?

Well, maybe it's Grant Swank who is brainwashed into thinking that everyone that disagrees with Grant Swank is brainwashed? What do you think?

59 posted on 07/08/2007 3:01:03 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe
It is very likely that the rapture is referenced in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

That was one of the many mistakes the article from Lambert Dolphin makes. That scripture clearly shows us that Paul is warning everyone that his first letter to the Thessalonians (4:17)confused folks, as it does today. We will all experience Satan's tribulation before Christ arrives.

for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

How does he interpret that to mean anyone will be raptured out of here and miss it?

If people, Christians, are not prepared for what will happen there will be a great falling away, as they will all rush to Satan, believing he is Christ coming to fly them away. The sad thing is they won't even realize what they are doing.

60 posted on 07/08/2007 3:08:43 PM PDT by Ping-Pong
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