Pre-Trib Rapture vs Post-Trib Rapture
LEFT BEHIND OR LED ASTRAY: PRE-TRIB RAPTURE vs POST-TRIB RAPTURE
FACTIONS AND DIVISIONS
Pre-Trib Rapture vs Post-Trib Rapture: Factions and divisions have always been commonplace among Christians. How do we know this? Paul himself wrote:
“For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)
Paul sincerely sought to foster a harmonious unity among the members of the church but knew that the perpetual presence of sin made it virtually impossible to unify the church under every single doctrine given to the church.
One of the doctrines that came under constant attack by false teachers was the imminent return of Jesus Christ at the Pre-Trib Rapture. Hence his serious warning against false teachers in 2 Thessalonians 2.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
The white-hot disagreement on when (pre-, mid-, or post-) and not if the Rapture will take place, has reached new levels of intensity between two groups of Christians who respectively represent the Pre- and Post-Trib Rapture.
In the one corner we have Paul Wilkinson, Tom MacMahon and Dave Hunt (The Berean Call) and in the other corner, Joe Schimmel, the Pastor of the Blessed Hope Chapel, Simi Valley in California, Jacob Prasch, Joel Richardson and Scott Pruitt, an ardent enemy of the Pre-Trib Rapture who runs a blog called NoPreTrib.
It all started when Joe Schimmel and his partners released a DVD called “Left Behind or Led Astray: Examining the Origins of the Secret Pre-Tribulation Rapture.” Paul Wilkinson, the Associate Minister at Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church in Stockport, England, described the DVD as follows in a YouTube video.
This DVD is damaging, it’s destructive, it’s dangerous, and it is thoroughly dishonest, and it is one of the most abominable Christian DVD’s I’ve ever sat through.
In response to Paul Wilkinson, Joe Schimmel and his friends, Jacob Prasch and John Haller, made a video they call, “An Eye Opening Rebuttal to The Berean Call’s Critique of Left Behind or Led Astray.”
Let’s begin with Scott Pruitt, a blogist who has given himself a VIP seat in the Schimmel-Prasch-Richardson-Haller-vanguard to fight the doctrine of an imminent Pre-Trib Rapture with, and I may add, a completely blunt double edged sword.
His website, Facebook and Tweet pages are all pointedly and unashamedly called “No PreTrib.” His tirades against a Pre-Trib Rapture reminds one of the incident recorded in 2 Kings 7.
Subsequent to Israel’s miraculous deliverance from the Aramean army under Ben-Haddad II, King Joram and his people did not learn their lesson and failed to turn back to God.
Consequently, God sent a more severe situation to draw them back to Himself. Instead of sending small raids of soldiers who had been humiliated with blindness when they tried to capture the prophet Elisha, he sent his entire army to besiege Samaria.
A severe famine ensued which caused food prices to reach unprecedented heights. A donkey’s head, one of the most repulsive parts of an unclean animal to the Israelite was sold for 80 shekels.
Horrific scenes of mother’s cooking and eating their own sons prompted King Joram to tear his clothes and wear sackcloth to express his repentance and self-affliction.
However, his repentance was merely skin deep because he blamed Elisha for all their suffering and sent men to behead the prophet. It was then that the following scene played out:
Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. . . .
So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.
And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.
And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria:
And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died. (2 Kings 7:1-2; 16-20)
The man who disbelieved was granted the privilege to see the blessing but was not allowed to be part of it. Although this has nothing to do with the Pre-Trib Rapture or any other interpretation of a rapture, it at least proves that it is very dangerous to call God a liar, and to judge the things He promised to the Bride of Christ as idolatry, occultic, demonic, sordid, scandalous and inspired by the spirit of Antichrist. What does the Bible say about those who call good evil and evil good?
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
They seem to be so overly concerned about Paul Wilkinson’s alleged ad hominem attacks that they inadvertently (or is it deliberately?) fail to see their own ad Deum attacks. It makes you think of Matthew 7:3-4, doesn’t it? What is more dangerous – an ad hominem or ad Deum attack?
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-3 – APOSTASIA
A major bone of contention between the two factions is the meaning of the word “apostasia” in 2 Thessalonians 2 and verses 1 to 3.
Scott Pruitt says: –
This challenge initiated an informal debate between Pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel and himself concerning the subject of Dr Ice’s contention that the apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refers not to a departure from the faith, but a spatial departure into Heaven, namely the Rapture.
Having compared the various translations in some of the most popular Bibles, one can understand why the average Bible student is so easily confused. Here is a list of some of the translations
“a falling away first”
|21st Century King James Version; Blue Red and Gold Letter Edition;|
|“the falling away come first”||American Standard Version|
|“the apostasy comes first [that is, the great rebellion, the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians]”; “the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come]”||Amplified Bible; Amplified Bible Classic Edition|
|“the rebellion comes first”||Common English Bible;|
|“the Apostasy has come”||Complete Jewish Bible;|
|“the rebellion comes first”||English Standard Version (ESV)|
|“a departing”||1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)|
|“the rebellion”||International Standard Version (ISV)|
|“a falling away”||King James Version (KJV)|
|“the apostasy”||New American Standard Bible (NASB)|
|“the rebellion”||New International Version (NIV)|
As you can see, the main difference between the diverse translations is the choice between “a” and “the” and between “rebellion” and “falling away.” It is very important to clarify whether they are referring to a/the falling away before the Antichrist is revealed or a/the falling away when Antichrist actually manages to deceive the whole world into worshipping him?
That the “Christian” world is experiencing a falling away at the moment is certain. However, is it “a” or “the” falling away (rebellion)? If the present day falling away is “a” falling away, then the falling away under Antichrist will just be another falling away in the wake of “a” falling away the church is experiencing right now. Therefore, it would be wrong to call the seven-year tribulation “a” falling away.
In fact, nowhere in the Bible is the seven-year tribulation called “a” or “the” falling away, despite the fact that it is going to be far more intense and greater than the current falling away throughout the entire world. It is either called the seven-year Tribulation or Jacob’s Trouble.
Paul very distinctly says
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thesslonians 2:7).
What does it mean? It simply means that something or someone is restraining the mystery of iniquity in the world so that the man of sin – the ultimate and final effort Satan will orchestrate to be worshipped as God in the person of Antichrist – is taken out of the way (removed).
There is only One Person able to restrain Satan and his iniquitous and diabolical plan to deceive the entire world into worshipping him, and that is the HOLY SPIRIT. Only when His restraining office (and not He Himself) is taken away, will all hell break loose on the earth.
It is therefore more acceptable to see the “apostasia” as a spatial departure “from and to” than a falling away from the faith, because the real and mother of all falling aways from the faith will only take place when Antichrist appears on the scene, and he will only be allowed to appear on the scene when the restraining office of the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way.
Scott Pruitt, like most of his co-Pre-Tribber colleagues, are masters of the art of character assassination. His modus operandi are to accuse those who do not agree with him of character assassination whilst he summarily axes and deletes your comments, simply because he cannot answer them.
I posted several comments on Scott Pruitt’s blog which he summarily deleted. The very first thing they resort to when they disagree with you on certain Christian doctrines, is to accuse you of character assassination. Here’s a good example. Scott Pruitt wrote:
Mary, if you don’t want to debate, then why did you leave your comment? I will not engage in the pre vs post arguments here with you as this article is not about that. It is about how we should air our differences without resorting to character assassination. (Tom says: The irony is that he calls his blog “No Pretrib” but refuses to answer questions just because he dicided that a single post is not about that. How silly can you get?).
The irony is that Mary merely wrote:
I don’t see a reason to debate. We just have to wait and see. I however believe in pretrib. Post trib is pointless. Why would we be raptured after going through everything? What would be the point? God loves us his followers. He rescued Noah and his family as well as Lot and his family rather than destroy those who truly loved Him. I refuse to believe a loving God would make us suffer through all that just as the evil people. That would not be just and fair and God is just.
Anyone who regards a personal opinion like “Post Trib is pointless” as character assassination is not only a very nervous kind of person who sees the opinions of others who are not in agreement with his own views as a threat, but also does not know what the difference is between the truth and a lie (John 8:44).
Some of the definitions given for character assassination are the following:
The malicious denunciation or slandering of another person, especially as part of an effort to ruin the reputation of a public figure.
the act of deliberately attempting to destroy a person’s reputation by defamatory remarks.
Scott Pruitt’s highly imaginative mindset must have gone into top gear when he mentioned character assassination to Mary whilst she never once referred to any person or persons, which, by the way, is necessary to define character assassination.
The only persons she referred to were God, Noah and his family and what she said about them can hardly be described as character assassination.
You only need to disagree with them marginally to give them the leeway to accuse you of character assassination. In fact, their accusations of character assassination are in itself a form of character assassination.
It is the oldest trick in the book. No matter what you say, if you disagree with them they immediately accuse you of character assassination or ad hominem attacks because their ultimate goal is to paint you with broad brush strokes so deeply tainted with bad innuendos that no one will ever again want to touch you with a ten-foot pole.
That’s precisely what Jacob Prasch, one of Scott Pruitt’s no Pre-Trib Rapture buddies had done when he called Deborah du Rand a thug, pathological liar, a religious fruit cake, a minister of Satan, a demonized liar, a stupid woman, a slandering witch, a daughter of darkness etc., etc., etc.
Has Scott Pruitt ever taken Jacob Prasch to task for his character assassination of Deborah Du Rand? I don’t think so and why, may we ask? Because they would never dare resort to any in-fighting amongst themselves, especially when they agree on a doctrine such as a no Pre-Trib Rapture, which in itself is a form of character assassination of the very worst kind.
Indeed, to lambaste one of Jesus Christ’s most important doctrines – the Pre-Trib Rapture – amounts to character assassination because it paints Jesus as a liar and a cheat.
They are more concerned about their own lily-white characters than that of Jesus and easily whimper, whine and complain when their characters are allegedly assassinated. Hence Scott Pruitt’s querulous statement:
I watched with great dismay the Livestream from the August 2015 Berean Call Conference where Paul Wilkinson “critiqued” the newly released video by Joe Schimmel, “Left Behind or Led Astray: Examining The Origins of the Secret Pretrib Rapture.”
I put the word critiqued in quotes because it was anything but a critique of the video itself. Instead it was a personal attack on the character of Joe Schimmel and the others that contributed to the production of the video.
I know that you and Joe Schimmel have known each other for a very long time and have even collaborated together. Joe and I have been good friends for nearly 30 years and I remember yours and Dave Hunt’s association with him going back that entire time.
In all that time he has never been subjected to public character assassination by the Berean Call. This despite the fact that you have always known that Joe subscribes to a post-tribulational position just like the late Dr. Walter Martin who to my knowledge was never disparaged by the Berean Call.
While post-tribulationism is not the majority view among evangelicals, it is certainly not a heretical position as Paul Wilkinson claims, and it had never become an occasion to question Joe’s character until now. Why now? Because he had the audacity to defend what he believes about the end-times?
They are up in arms because Paul Wilkinson dared to call them a bunch of heretics. Miriam-Webster defines heresy as –
an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.
According to this definition “heresy,” in plain language, is to simply tell lies. You cannot have two diametrically opposing ideas and call them both a truth. Either the one is the truth and the other a lie (a heresy), unless you want to wade into the muddy waters of paradoxes.
The Blessed Hope propounded in Titus 2:13 is not a warning to look out for the appearance of the Antichrist and to prepare the saints for the Tribulation. It is an admonishment to look out for the Blessed appearance of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to prepare ourselves for his return.
The so-called preparation for the Antichrist, as the No-Pretribbers have it, is not an incentive for holy living. The imminent return of Jesus Christ at the Pre-Trib Rapture is the only true incentive for holy living.
For whom do they want to prepare themselves – Jesus Christ or the Antichrist? If the Rapture occurred at the end of the seven-year Tribulation it would have been subject to signs which in turn robs the Rapture of its imminency. There are no signs for the Rapture. J Dwight Pentecost writes in his book “Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology” on page 203: –
The doctrine of imminence, or “at any moment coming,” is not a new doctrine of Darby, as is sometimes charged, although he did clarify, systematize and popularize it. Such a belief in imminency marked the premillennialism of the early church fathers as well as the writers of the New Testament. In this connection Thiessen writes:
. . . they held not only to the premillennial view of Christ’s coming, but also regarded that coming as imminent. The Lord had taught them to expect his return at any moment, and so they looked for Him [and not the Tribulation] in their day. Not only so, but they also taught His personal return as being immediately. Only the Alexandrians opposed this truth; but these Fathers also rejected other fundamental doctrines. We may say, therefore, that the early Church lived in the constant expectation of their Lord, and hence was not interested in the possibility of a Tribulation period in the future.
Since when is the command to contend for the faith a personal attack on the characters of well-known preachers, scholars and theologians equal to character assassination?
Brother Peter never once blamed brother Paul of character assassination when he rebuked him in public, “When [Paul] saw that they were not walking a straight path in line with the truth of the gospel.” (Galatians 2:11-15).
A MUSTERION (MYSTERY)
It is of the utmost importance to determine whether 2 Thessalonians 2:3 can be associated with the mystery (“musterion) Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:51. And, the only way to do that is to establish whether Paul refers to a Rapture or spatial departure (whether pre or post) in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
Voila! Verse 1 distinctly speaks about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the gathering of his Bride together unto Him in the air, and verse 2 very distinctly specifies that this gathering unto the Lord and the “day of the Lord” (the seven-year tribulation) are two unique and immediate consecutive events.
The No-Pretibbers cannot deny that a spatial departure is a focal theme in both 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 1 Corinthians 15 and consequently, there is no reason to doubt that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 like 1 Corinthians 15:51, refers to a mystery (“musterion”).
The word literally means “a sacred secret, oath, or doctrine given to a chosen vessel and no one else, until the chosen vessel, by divine decree, reveals it to the saints.”
Apart from Jesus’ own allusion to a spatial Rapture in John 14:1-3, no one else other than Paul new of a spatial Rapture until he revealed it to the saints in 1 Corinthians 15:1. Henceforth, his magnanimous declaration “Behold, I shew you a mystery; . . .”
Another very important passage that alludes to a Pre-Trib Rapture is John 14:1-3. Contrary to what Scripture teaches Scott Pruitt says the following of John 14:1-3
In context, this passage is not dealing with the rapture at all. Instead Jesus is telling Peter that he will deny knowing Jesus, and after telling him that assures him that he will have a place in Heaven and will get to be with Jesus. Jesus here is about to die and Peter is about to deny Him, yet Jesus is telling Peter that He will return and receive him following his denial. This verse is not speaking of the rapture and even if it could be argued that it were, you still lack anything here that would make it pretribulational.
Pruitt says with unwavering certainty that Jesus’ words, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” “is not dealing with the rapture at all.”
If, as Pruitt believes the Rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation in tandem with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and if his words in John 14:1-3 refer to his Second Advent, then He most certainly dealt with a Rapture.
Unless, of course, Jesus is going to come for Peter who had denied Him thrice, not at the Rapture or his Second Coming, but at another extraordinary distinct time which seems to be a real mystery up to this point. Jesus may as well have said to Peter:
“Don’t be too concerned about your heinous denial of Me and don’t let it trouble your heart. I am going to my Father to prepare a place for you in heaven and will come again to take you with Me so that you may be with Me for evermore.
Nonetheless, my return to come and get you personally has absolutely nothing to do with the Rapture or my Second Coming to the earth as my humble apostle, Scott Pruitt, explained.
I am going to come for you at a time other than the Rapture and my Second Coming which my humble super-duper apostle, Scott Pruitt says, is one and the same thing.
The fact, Mr. Pruitt, is that all his disciples – not just Peter whose denial of Jesus allegedly motivated Him to speak these magnanimous words – were bewildered and discouraged and needed to be emboldened and encouraged by Him.
Why were they discouraged and disheartened? Well, He told them that He was going away (7:34; 8:21; 12:8, 35; 13:33), that He was going to be put to death (12:32-33), that one of the Twelve was a traitor (13:21), that Peter would disown Him three times (13:38), that Satan was waging a war against all of them, not just Peter (Luke 22:31-32), and that they were all going to desert Him and fall away (Matthew 26:31).
Wouldn’t you have been greatly depressed if you’d been there, Mr. the humble super-duper apostle? No, of course not, because to you his encouraging words in John 14:1-3 have absolutely nothing to do with the Rapture or his Second Coming which you, ironically enough, believe is the same event.
Furthermore, it has nothing to do with either yourself and all the other Christians who are still alive today because Jesus only wanted to encourage Peter who had been cast down in the doldrums by his denial of Jesus.
I see that you accuse others of bad eisegeses and rotten hermeneutics on your blog time and time again. Don’t you think it is about time for you to remove the beam of rotten hermeneutics and eisegeses from your own eyes so that you may see and understand more clearly?
Having determined beyond any shadow of a doubt that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 – like 1 Corinthians 15:51 – describes a spatial departure and henceforth a “mystery” which Paul by divine authority revealed to the church, the word “apostasia” there cannot possibly be used to describe a revolt, spiritual rebellion, or a doctrinal falling away, simply because spiritual deception and apostasy (felling away from the faith) have never been a mystery (“musterion” – an unknown phenomenon in the past only to be revealed in God’s time by a person He chooses to reveal it to the saints).
In fact, the phenomenon called “falling from the faith” has been going on since the beginning of time. Anyone who tries to describe this as a “musterion” (mystery) is not applying sound hermeneutics.
Scott Pruitt and his No Pre-Trib friends seem to suggest that the phenomenon of a departure from the faith is unique, that there never was a departure from the faith in the past and that the only departure (apostasia) will occur at the very end of mankind’s history.
If so, we would have to exclude the departure from the faith during the Babylonian Empire under Nimrod and Semiramis, Aaron’s and Israel’s departure from the faith when they erected a golden calf in the wilderness, and the many repeated departures from the faith of the Jewish people in the book of Judges, not to mention the huge number of departures from the faith that took place after that.
Paul himself wrote that of their “own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:30).
If the word “apostasia” specifically and only refers to spiritual rebellion and a falling away from God and his doctrines and not a spatial departure of the Bride of Christ, why would Paul have gone to such lengths to make a fuss about it, especially when there had been so many falling aways in the past?
As a matter of fact, the departure from the faith we are experiencing in most Christian churches today will not be the ultimate and final departure. The mother of all departures from the faith will only take place prior to Jesus Christ’s Second Advent when Satan, after he had been released from the abyss where he had been bound for a thousand years, deceives the nations to make war with Jesus Christ and his saints in Jerusalem (Revelation 20:7-10).
Obviously, this, to the no Pre-Tribbers, is the cherry on the cake because it allegedly proves that the Rapture and the Second Coming are one and the same event.
Nevertheless, let us look at 2 Thessalonians 2:3 more closely once more to determine whether the word “apostasia” used there is something unique, so unique that it never happened before in the history of mankind or whether it will just be another departure from the faith as there had been so many times in the past.
The Greek text reads as follows:
2 Thessalonians 2:3
|1818 [e]||should deceive||V-ASA-3S|
|3367 [e]||not one||Adj-AMS|
|3754 [e]||because [it will not be]||Conj|
|2064 [e]||shall have come||V-ASA-3S|
|601 [e]||shall have been revealed||V-ASP-3S|
|458 [e]||of lawlessness,||N-GFS|
|684 [e]||of destruction;||N-GFS|
Had it been a common departure from the faith as in so many instances in the past, Paul would not have used the definite article “the” (the – 3588 [e]). Please note the the words (the – 3588 [e] and apostasy 646 [e]) (“the apostasia” or “the departure”). The definite article “the” (the 3588 [e]) indicates that there is something unique about this “apostasy 646 [e]” (departure) and indeed there is.
The No-Pretribber camp would immediately counter this with a reminder that there was no indefinite article in ancient Greek. Therefore, the spiel about the definite article is a non-sequitur.
Indeed, in Ancient Greek there was no indefinite article. Instead, the indefinite adjective (“a certain”) could well have been used in some cases where we use “a/an” in English, with its corresponding plural form (some). However, it is not used here which indicates that it is not merely “a departure” as so many Bibles have translated it.
SOME OF THE NO PRE-TRIB RAPTURISTS MOST CHERISHED ARGUMENTS
PREPARING THE CHURCH FOR ANTICHRIST
One of the no-Pretribbers sing-song arguments is that pastors should prepare their flocks for the Antichrist and the seven-year Tribulation, and that the Pre-Trib Rapturists are doing the church a great disservice by telling her that she is going to escape the seven-year Tribulation at the Pretrib Rapture.
The Pretrib teaching leaves saints unprepared For (sic) what is coming and disarms them In the face of the enemy.
The Lord Jesus and the Apostles warned in the most explicit manner of the distress that would come upon the world, particularly during the latter half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel, and what the ramifications of these things would be for His Church.
However, on the basis of a recent teaching, (that even their foremost scholars acknowledge of their own selves they are not able to find clearly taught anywhere in Scripture) pretribulational teachers seem willing to cast the unambiguous and explicit words of Jesus and the Apostles behind their back and instead proclaim that we should “. . . be at peace in the knowledge that the Lord has not destined us to endure any part of the Tribulation.”ii
As concerned believers in the Lord Jesus, in concert with the earliest historical witnesses in direct line from the Apostles, we recognise that these warnings were given as part of the Apostolic deposit of faith to the Church and intended for our instruction, and as a most necessary warning from the Lord Himself to prepare His saints for what is to come. Now, especially in light of the ever darkening prophetic scenario, we must state above all our other concerns, that we believe the Pretribulational Rapture Teaching embodies a clear and present danger to the saints, for it sets aside these warnings as irrelevant for the Church and ultimately it will leave believers completely unprepared to face unprecedented spiritual deception, and a level of persecution not previously encountered in the history of the Church.
There is not a single command in the New Testament advising pastors to prepare the church for the seven-year Tribulation. In fact, Jesus emphatically stated that He was the One who would do the preparing and not the pastors.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; [and NOT unto Antichrist and the seven-year Tribulation] that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)
His magnanimous preparatory work involves his Bride and her being with Him in heaven and not on earth to be beaten to a pulp during the seven-year Tribulation.
The consummation of the marriage and the honeymoon will be in heaven, not on earth during the seven-year Tribulation when God’s wrath and righteous judgements are poured out on the nations. By the way, two major events will take place subsequent to the Rapture – i.e. the Bema Throne Judgement and the Wedding of the Lamb and his Bride. (Both these events are discussed at the end of the article).
The no Pre-tribbers love to make a big spiel about the need to prepare the church so that she may be able to face the unprecedented spiritual deception and persecution that allegedly is coming upon her during the seven-year tribulation.
To give you an idea of how concerned the No-Pretribbers really are, here is a quote from a comment made by Elizabeth Watson on Pruitt’s blog and Pastor Joel Richardson’s rebuke of pastors who fail to warn and prepare their flocks for the impending tribulation in the seven-year tribulation.
Scott Pruitt, I agree with every single point you made. I don’t recall anyone jumping in front of the saints who were beheaded the past few months saying, “Hey wait ISIS, this is the bride of Christ and if you behead her you will cause fear and militancy and she’ll be worried about her children, and she won’t have any joy and expectancy and longing and she won’t have the blessed hope if she goes through this persecution and tribulation, so knock it off ISIS, cause this isn’t what I want the bible to say, this doesn’t go along with my belief.” If I was one of those thousands of saints who got their heads cut off or got thrown in prison this summer, I wouldn’t want to be told that I would never suffer tribulation, I would want to be prepared to suffer persecution, and have my lamp full of oil and be prayed up and studied up in the word, and ready when the tribulation that the Lord promises will come, comes. [Thomas says: The command to gird the loins and have the lamps full of oil has absolutely nothing to do with preparing for persecution. It relates to preparing for the magnanimous Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth]. A sermon like Paul Wilkinson just preached wouldn’t do me a hill of beans bit of good, but hearing about getting oil in my lamp and being ready because the faithful church will go through the tribulation; well when I’m bowed down with my knees in the sand and a knife at my throat, having been prepared beforehand by faithful men of God who preach the truth, that would actually help me and I would be saying, “And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto death, and …Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer, I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you and you will suffer persecution for 10 days, be faithful unto death and I’ll give you your life as a victors crown”….. Where is the blessed hope for those thousands who have gotten their heads cut off by ISIS in the Middle East and Africa? What would the pretribbers tell these precious saints about how they need not fear, that they have the blessed hope and so they won’t suffer tribulation? (Emphasis added)
Pastor Joel Richardson says:
If your Pastor is not preparing your people to face potentially the Antichrist in the Great Tribulation, in this hour, simply because your denomination teaches that or whatever: personally I think you are failing in your role as a shepherd and a pastor.
The anti-Pre-Trib Rapture stance basis its entire rebuttal of the Pre-Trinunational stance on the need for pastors to prepare their flocks to face the Antichrist. I am sure they will agree that the best way to prepare the Body of Christ for her alleged persecution during the Great Tribulation [assuming that she will go through it], is to tell her with no strings attached exactly what is going to happen to her.
Not a single No-Pretribber will disagree that the Bible is absolutely spot-on when it describes – sometimes in great detail – how saints have always and will to the very end be persecuted, martyred and killed for their faith.
Death is inevitable. Whether you die of a terminal disease like cancer, in a plane crash or car accident, or of natural causes like old age, or as a martyr by decapitation in the Middle East – you are going to die.
Similarly, Christians, whether they like it or not, will be persecuted in their own homes, on the missionary fields and elsewhere in this day and age. Isn’t that what the Bible teaches in 2 Timothy 3:12?
“Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Persecution and violent deaths among Christians are the most common occurrences since the beginning of time. It all began when Cain slew his brother, Abel.
And yet, the No-Pretibbers regard the preparation of the church for the deception and persecution that is going to escalate exponentially during the seven-year tribulation as something very special and one of their most sacred duties.
I have never heard a single No-Pretribber encouraging or preparing present-day saints for their death and possible persecution in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. So, why are they making such a fuss about their sanctimonious duty to prepare the church for the seven-year Tribulation?
And, how do they aim to prepare the church? By telling them they are going to be hacked to death, beheaded, martyred, vilified, hated, and pilloried to exhaustion by Antichrist? Why should they do that when the Bible already warns them of all those horrible things, and every saint can read for himself the passages that deal with persecution in order to be prepared? Consider just one such passage from the book of Hebrews.
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:36-40).
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The No-Pretribbers’ waffling to prepare the church for the seven-year Tribulation is making a mockery of every Bible believing Christian’s intelligence and competency to read for him or herself how God is preparing his saints for persecution, martyrdom and possible death.
And by the way, a Christian who is not yet prepared for persecution and death will probably NEVER be prepared. In fact, a Christian’s preparation for persecution and death begins at his/her salvation. Indeed, the salvation of a sinner IS his or her preparation per se because it is the Holy Spirit living in the quickened spirit of the repentant sinner who emboldens and strengthens the saint for persecution and a possible martyr’s death.
Brother Peter is a perfect example of this. When he was not yet filled with the Holy Spirit he cowered before men and denied his Lord. However, subsequent to him having been filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, he could say to his enemies when they commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus: “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20).
When Jesus told Peter that he would be martyred for his faith, no one else needed to prepare him for it. He was already prepared when Jesus told him “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” (John 21:18).
Did anyone else prepare Paul for his martyrdom and death when the prophet Agabus bound his hands and his feet with his own girdle and said: “Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” (Acts 21:11).
The only way Paul prepared the saints in his time was to tell them “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). What words? The previous verse tells us: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
It is evident that the No-Pretribbers rallying cry to prepare the church for the seven-years Tribulation is a farce and just another ploy to discourage saints with their lie that the church or the Body of Christ will go through the seven-year Tribulation.
Had they been serious about their preparation ministry to the Church, Scott Pruitt or any of the other no-Pretribbers would have lovingly corrected Elizabeth Watson in her assumption that she needs her lamp to be full of oil when Jesus returns.
Why didn’t they warn her that the lack of oil in one’s life refers to the spiritual destitution of an un-regenerated heart. Someone who lacks oil is not saved.
In fact, the phrase “and took no oil with them” (Matthew 25:3) refers to the Jews in the Tribulation, awaiting the return of the Lord at his Second Advent, who will profess to be saved but are spiritually destitute of the quickening work of the Holy Spirit.
How do they propose to prepare the Bride of Christ who is allegedly going to experience the wrath of God first-hand during the tribulation? Here are some of the things they may consider telling the members of the body of Christ so that they may be ready to meet the Antichrist head-on.
Now, listen up you guys, we have some bad news and some good news for you. The good news is that there is no such thing as a Pre-Trib Rapture. In fact, the best news you could ever hope for is that, although the church or Bride of Christ will go through the tribulation, God is going to protect her against the satanic persecution and wrath of the Antichrist in much the same way He protected Israel in Goshen when He judged Pharaoh and Egypt.
While Pharaoh and Egypt suffered the scourge of God’s wrath, Israel remained unscathed. Not a single Israelite or their livestock suffered under God’s wrath.
However, you will have to get used to the fact that it is God’s sovereign will that you suffer a great deal under his wrath during the tribulation. And just in case you do not know, He is going to allow his Bride to suffer in the tribulation to purify her which we may compare to something like the RCC’s Purgatory.
The bad news is that God Himself is going to give the Antichrist the proverbial green light to slaughter his Bride (Revelation 13:7).
Pardon, what was that you asked? How do we reconcile these two diametrically opposing scenarios, i.e. that God is going to protect his Bride in the same way He protected Israel in the land of Goshen so that not a single Israelite suffered and remained unscathed throughout the duration of the ten plagues, and the fact that God is going to permit the Antichrist to slaughter his Bride so that just about none of them are going remain alive during the tribulation?
Well, that is something we don’t need to be too concerned about. We can only respond in more or less the same way John MacArthur responded when he was asked the difficult question “How do we tell people God loves them and that Jesus Christ did not die for them?”
He answered as follows, “Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells you to tell them. And the Bible tells you to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to every creature. And that’s what you do because that’s what the Scripture says. Any tension you have between that and the nature of the atonement; any tension you have between that and the doctrine of divine election and predestination; any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension.
I ask the same question. I don’t know whether there is some kind of quick answer to the question. . . . I am, however happy to concede that God can resolve thing that I can’t. . . . I don’t expect of you and you shouldn’t expect of me to be able to unscrew the inscrutable.
You really don’t think that I am going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned. . . . The best answer to this question is ‘my brother, I feel your pain.'” (2010 Shepherd’s Conference).
So, the best answer to the dilemma between God’s protection of his Bride during the tribulation in the same way He protected Israel in the land of Goshen and the permission He will give Antichrist to just about annihilate his Bride, is “brother, I feel your pain.”
Here are a few verses that have prepared the saints for persecution and suffering throughout the centuries. Perhaps the no-Pretribbers would like to tell us how they will go about improving on this, so that the saints may be prepared for the horrendous seven-year Tribulation.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. (Luke 6:22).
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20). (Thomas says: Only the One who was persecuted to the uttermost and crucified for the sins of the world, is eligible and able to prepare his saints for suffering and persecution. Those who claim to be able to do the same are arrogant, conceited and big-headed).
THE PERSECUTION DURING THE TRIBULATION IS NOT THE WRATH OF GOD BUT THE WRATH OF SATAN’S ANTICHRIST
Like the Calvinists, the No-Pretribbers must always wangle the meaning of words so that Scripture may fit into their eisegetical agendas. The word in question in this instance is “wrath.” It is evident from the very outset that Pruitt and his cohorts are the only ones who can decisively conclude which things are true, and then solidly cement their truths in unbreakable blocks of concrete.
According to Pruitt God’s wrath is always mentioned in comparison with or in contrast to salvation. In other words, God’s wrath must always be seen against the backdrop of salvation and never in connection with anything else. In reference to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, he writes:
This is one of few passages in scripture that at first glance seems to support the pre-tribulation position, and pre-tribulationists appeal to it often. However when you read it without a pre-tribulational presupposition the meaning of wrath is fairly clear.
The context of the passage begins by affirming that Christians should understand how Christ will return, and does so by contrasting how the day of the Lord will come to those who believe and those who don’t. The unbeliever does not see it coming because they are in darkness. Christians on the other hand are in the light and should not be taken by surprise at His coming.
Then there is a warning for Christians not to fall asleep and and to become like those in the world. Next is a command to walk soberly, in faith and love, and hope of salvation. It is after mentioning the hope of salvation that Paul says, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” again salvation is mentioned.
The contrast and comparison should be obvious; salvation-wrath-salvation. Salvation is mentioned twice and in both instances are contrasted with wrath. However the salvation mentioned is the salvation of the soul, not salvation from the tribulation. The context definitely bears this out.
So what does wrath mean, is it synonymous with the tribulation? The answer is no for two reasons. The first is simply the context of the passage. The second is that the contrast between the wrath of God and the salvation of Christians is repeated throughout the New Testament. Below are just a few examples:
Voila! And there my dear friends, the final and irrefutable argument against a Pre-Trib Rapture has effectively been solidified and settled. Who can argue against that?
In another article on his blog Pruitt says the following:
The definition of wrath is subject to the context. Throughout the Bible God and man have both demonstrated wrath. The question is what wrath is being spoken of here? In this verse you have the answer, it is the wrath that is contrasted by salvation. It is the same contrast that Jesus made in John 3:36. The prior context of 1 Thess 5 does deal with the second coming, but in that context Jesus comes as a thief to those who are sleeping when they should be watching and are drunk when they should be sober. Clearly the salvation being spoken of is the salvation of the soul. Consider Job, he was suffering greatly through no fault of his own and did not understand what was happening from God’s perspective. He was not suffering the wrath of God, but he did suffer terribly. Don’t you think that God is saying to Satan even now “Have you considered my Church?” Just like Job when our tribulation comes, let us not curse God but rather say “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Emphasis added)
Has Pruitt never read Joel 2:2 and 3:2?
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
The Amplified Bible translates 3:2 thus:
I will gather together all the [Gentile] nations [that were hostile to My people]
And bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the Lord has judged).
And there I will deal with them and enter into judgment with them there
For [their treatment of] My people, My inheritance, Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations,
And [because] they have encroached on My land and divided it up.
Here God’s wrath is used, not in comparison with or in contrast to salvation but in connection with God’s righteous judgements. The purpose here is not suffering on behalf of one’s faith but simple and pure judgement. The suffering for one’s faith and divine judgement for the mistreatment of his people, the Jews, and the parting of his land, are two totally different things.
Here now are a few passages from Scripture and their various purposes to prove that wrath is not always used in tandem with salvation.
|Isaiah 24:1-4, 19-21||To . . . “maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.”|
So that . . . “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
|Isaiah 24:20-21||To “. . . punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.”|
|Amos 5:18; Zephaniah 1:14-18||To turn light into darkness. “|
Scott Pruitt seems to like it when he deliberately wades into muddy waters of uncertainty, vagueness and just plain bad hermeneutics. He says that “the salvation mentioned is the salvation of the soul, not salvation from the tribulation.”
I’m pretty sure he will also argue that the resurrection is the salvation of the soul and not of the body. Has he never read the magnanimous verse in Hebrews 7:25
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
There is obviously a salvation of the soul and a salvation to the uttermost. Pruitt will agree that the salvation of the soul cannot be a salvation to the uttermost because, as he himself admits, the saint is exposed to rigorous persecution, suffering and hardship throughout his earthly sojourn. The soul is saved but not the body because the latter still suffers and is still subjected to persecution, suffering and hardship. That is why Jesus says:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:28)
If saving to the uttermost refers to the resurrection of the body (the ultimate unification of spirit, soul and body unto the one like that of Jesus) and if the Post-Trib Rapture at the Second Coming of the Lord is true then we need to ask: “From what is the saints saved to the uttermost.”
It can’t be the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth which will be completely devoid of persecution, suffering and hardship and instead be characterized by peace, tranquillity, liberty, serenity and war-less-ness. In fact, the people born during the Millennial age of peace on earth are going to reach an old age very similar to the patriarchs in the Old Testament – up to 900 years and even beyond. Even sinners, called the accursed of God, are going to reach the ripe old age of 100 years.
And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. (Isaiah 65:19-20)
A Post-Trib Rapture and its attendant resurrection (saving to the uttermost) just prior to the Second Advent of Christ Jesus and the inauguration of his Millennial reign of peace on earth, is a complete farce and those who promulgate it are completely clueless.
The only feasible solution for the concept of being saved to the uttermost (the resurrection of spirit, soul and body) is a Pre-Trib Rapture because it alone can be seen as a salvation to the uttermost (resurrection and a compete exit from the world). From what? From the wrath of God during the seven-year Tribulation, from persecution, suffering and death during the seven-year Tribulation and from the horrendous deceptions during the seven-year Tribulation.
That, my dear friends, is what it means to be saved to the uttermost. Only a complete exit or divinely orchestrated departure will be able to save the Bride of Christ from all these horrific things in order to be saved TO THE UTTERMOST.
The No Pre-Trib Rapture crowd would immediately hit back and say that the seven-year tribulation is not a time of God’s wrath but that of Satan and his Antichrist. Had the tribulation been a time of Satan’s and his Antichrist’s wrath, John would never have written:
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Rev 5:1-5).
First of all, had it been Satan’s and his Antichrist’s wrath poured out on the entire world during the seven-year tribulation, they would have been the ones worthy to open the seven seals. Only Jesus Christ is worthy to open the seven seals and to set the seven-year tribulation into motion. Anyone who dares to proclaim that it is not God’s wrath but Satan’s and his Antichrist’s wrath, is dangerously close to blaspheming because they are wilfully attributing a worthiness to Satan which is attributable to Jesus Christ alone.
Could it be that the No-Pretribbers, in their zeal to prove there is no Pre-Trib Rapture, deliberately overlook the words, “And NO MAN in heaven, nor on earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.”
Listen up, our friendly No Pre-Trib Rapture enemies, there won’t and can never be a seven-year Tribulation if Jesus Himself does not open the seven seals – zilch, nada, nothing. And just a friendly reminder – JESUS IS GOD. To suggest that Satan is worthy to open the seven seals and set the seven-year Tribulation in motion is akin to making Satan equal to God, because God alone is worthy to open the seven seals, no one else. No one else was, is and shall ever be able to even look thereon, and that includes Antichrist. Hence the seven-year Tribulation is essentially a time of GODS’ WRATH and never a time of Satan’s or the Antichrist’s wrath.
Therefore, the notion that the tribulation constitutes Satan’s and his Antichrist’s wrath on earth, and not the wrath of God, is not only completely wrong but borders dangerously close on blasphemy. The No-Pretribbers are attributing to Satan and his Antichrist that which is clearly and uniquely from God, i.e. His holy wrath during the seven-year Tribulation.
Moreover, the number seven in “seven seals,” “seven trumpets” and “seven vials” cannot possibly be attributed to Satan and his Antichrist. The number seven is the number of God and the number 666 the number of the Antichrist.
Therefore, the number seven clearly indicates that the tribulation will be a time of God’s wrath and not of Satan and his Antichrist. Imagine having to write six (the number of man) seals,” six trumpets and six vials instead of “seven seals,” “seven trumpets” and “seven vials.”
The number seven in each case indicates perfection, completeness and flawless accomplishment. It is the number of God and not of Satan which makes the seven-year tribulation a unique time of an outpouring of God’s wrath, and not the so-called wrath of Satan or his Antichrist.
The No-Pre-Tribbers seem to have a much better idea and solution with regards to the preparation of the Bride of Christ for the seven-year tribulation.
Let us turn to Revelation 12:11 to remind ourselves how God is going to encourage and prepare the saints for the tribulation.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
What is He saying? He is saying, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (1 Peter 4:12). You are the overcomers and victors, not the ones who persecute and kill you. In fact, they are the losers who have no hope whatsoever.
How does Scott Pruitt and his fellow non-pre-tribber friends propose to align God’s magnanimous preparation of the saints in Revelation 12:11 with his own statement “The Pretrib teaching leaves Saints unprepared for what is coming and disarms them in the face of the enemy.” Are they suggesting that God’s preparation of the saints for the tribulation in Revelation 12:11 lacks divine potency and therefore they, who are but dust and ashes, have a much better way to prepare the church?
Scott Pruitt says:
“The 70th Week is also described as a period where the Dragon will make his war on the saints. No soldier would wish to be sent into a combat zone without any training and with no idea of what to expect, yet this is the position in which the Pretrib Rapture teaching will place untold multitudes of God’s people.”
Not so, Mr. Pruitt. The truth is that the saints who are going to be saved after the Pre-Trib Rapture will know that God Himself shall permit Antichrist to slaughter them (Revelation 13:7).
Nonetheless, this won’t have a negative effect on their combat readiness whatsoever because they will rejoice in their magnanimous victory described in Revelation 12:11. Do the No-Pretribbers really think they can improve on God’s way of encouragement and preparation?
Let’s assume there is no Pre-Trib Rapture and that the Bride of Christ is going to suffer the horrendous pangs of the tribulation. Wouldn’t revelation 12:11 be the final and ultimate way to prepare the Bride of Christ for Antichrist’s vicious onslaught or is there something better the No-Pretribbers can offer?
The only heraldic preparation they can offer is “There is no Pre-Trib Rapture. It’s a myth that was invented in the 1830/40s.” Do they call their lies and deceit a form of preparation and encouragement?
Scott Pruitt makes some kind of reference to Revelation 12:11 when he says:
“The Tribulation is still coming, ready or not. We believe that the only solution for the fear about the days that are coming upon us is not the hallucinogenic of an escapist teaching, but to preach trust in our wonderful Almighty God whose grace is entirely sufficient, whose strength is made perfect in our weakness, to preach a discipleship that counts everything loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and that exhorts us to seek God for grace not to love our own lives unto the death, but to forsake all for Him.”
The truth is that Revelation 12:11 is not an exhortation but an emphatic statement underscoring an already accomplished act, and therefore there is no need to exhort those who are truly saved in the tribulation to remain faithful to Jesus Christ.
The verse does not say “if you stand firm in your faith you will overcome Satan and his Antichrist with the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony, and if you do not love your lives unto death.” It simply says: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Why is it so important to note that Revelation 12:11 is not an exhortation but an emphatic statement that it would be an already accomplished act at the time of its occurrence?
Because the verse firmly asserts that there is no possibility whatsoever that those who will be saved during the tribulation are going to apostatize from the faith, and hence there is no need for any preparatory exhortations.
A person who is genuinely saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10) will endure to the end and will experience the consummation of his salvation (Hebrews 7:25). God is so certain they will remain faithful to the very end of their lives that He states with unequivocal conviction “and they overcame him [Satan].”
But, what about Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold”? Doesn’t it prove that many Christians are going to fall away when persecution and iniquity increase during the tribulation, making it incumbent upon the pastors to exhort the feeble hearted to remain steadfast and faithful, and if they are not warned they will be lost eternally?
Here again, it must be emphasized that Jesus made an emphatic statement when He said ” . . . the love of many shall wax cold.” He did not say the love of some may wax cold; He said their love shall wax cold.
The question is this: How do the No-Pretribbers propose to prepare those whom Jesus knows beforehand shall wax cold during the horrific persecution which is to come upon the Jews during the seven-year tribulation?
They may as well say to Jesus: “You shouldn’t be too concerned about those whom you say their love shall wax cold during the seven-year Tribulation. We have the golden key to prepare them for their persecution. Rest assured, they shall in no wise turn their backs on you because we are preparing them for persecution and deception during the seven-year Tribulation. Your warning is unfounded.
In summary: The no-Pretribbers argument that the Bride of Christ needs to be prepared for the persecution under Antichrist and the deception during the seven-year tribulation, lest she be deceived and apostatize from the faith, is nothing more than an arrogant boast that they can do much better than Jesus who prepared the saints for persecution and suffering in his magnanimous and emphatic statement in Revelation 12:11.
THE INEVITABILITY OF PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING
On his blog under the title “3 Reasons Why Their Cannot be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture” Scott Pruitt wrote:
One of the main arguments that I have heard to support the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is that a loving God would not allow His children to suffer through such a difficult time.
This argument is foolish. There are numerous examples in both the Old and New Testaments of people that suffered to the glory of God as testimony to those who have gone before and those who will come after us.
First of all, and to remind our No-Pretrib friends for the umpteenth time, there is a vast difference between the persecution and suffering of the saints and the wrath of God, which He (and neither Satan nor Antichrist) is going to pour out on the entire world during the hour of temptation (seven-year Tribulation – Revelation 3:10).
He is going to sit like a refiner to purify the faith of the Jews which is more precious than gold (Malachi 3:3-4). The purpose of the seven-year tribulation is to return the heart of the children of Israel who had gone astray into all kinds of idolatrous ways to the heart of the fathers (i.e. the faith of Israel’s patriarchs, Abraham Isaac and Jacob), and consequently to restore them to Himself. (cf. Isaiah 26:9).
Scott Pruitt is way off track in his assessment that Pre-Tribulational saints usually argue “that a loving God would not allow His children to suffer through such a difficult time.”
The fact is, like Paul of Tarsus, the Pretribbers fully understand the necessity of persecution and suffering in behalf of Christ “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10).
However, they do actually make a distinction between the persecution of the saints and the wrath of God. As may be seen from this verse, the purpose of persecution and suffering throughout history, is to be conformed into the image of Christ, including the fellowship of his sufferings.
Consequently, the purpose of persecution and suffering throughout history relates to the saint’s sanctification. Although the Jews and Gentiles who are going to be saved during the seven-year tribulation will also suffer very severely, the primary purpose of the seven-year tribulation is to prepare the nation Israel for her Messiah at his Second Advent, and not to purify the Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ’s purification will occur in heaven during the Bema Throne Judgement and not hear on earth during the seven-year Tribulation.
There is a stunning passage in Scripture that aptly describes why the Jews in particular must go through the Tribulation.
With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9).
I firmly believe that this verse refers to the seven year-Tribulation when God’s righteous judgements are going to be poured out on the entire world.
Throughout Israel’s history it was always in times of affliction (such as the exile into Babylon) that provoked Israel as a nation to return to God for their restoration.
Whenever their riches increased and they started to live in luxury, Israel had a tendency to forget God and to follow and worship false gods.
The only way to bring them back was to send affliction and hardship. Hence the warning in Deuteronomy 8:11-14.
Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
It is therefore reasonable to say that God’s primary purpose with the Tribulation is to bring the Jewish nation back to Him. This is precisely why the seven-year Tribulation is called Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) and not The Bride’s Trouble.
The “gathering” of Israel will occur just prior to the Second Advent of Christ when the angels are going to gather them (the elect) from the four corners of the earth and bring them back to their Promised Land in preparation for Jesus’ Second Coming to the earth (not the Rapture).
The Bride of Christ, on the other hand, will not be subjected to God’s wrath during the tribulation because He promised to keep [her] from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10) and because He promised that she is not appointed unto wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). What wrath? I give you three guesses.
Once again, this keeping from the hour of temptation cannot be a kind of protection similar to that of Israel in Goshen. If that were so, the No-Pretribbers must explain why most of the saints are going to be slaughtered by Antichrist.
Scott Pruitt and his fellow No-Pretribbers interpret the keeping “from the hour of temptation” in terms of the miraculous preservation of Israel in Goshen while God vented his wrath and anger on Pharaoh and Egypt. This is how Pruitt interprets Revelation 3:10:
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Three observations: The context is letters to the seven Churches. If this was promising a pretribulation rapture it would not be addressed to one Church and not the others. Also He is talking about holding fast and persevering and overcoming Satan’s followers. This has its culmination during the tribulation. Greek: The operative phrase is “keep thee from” in Greek “tereo ek”. Tereo means to “watch over, guard or protect”. Ek is a preposition that usually means “of”, there is another Greek preposition that means “from”, that word is “apo”. Apo is the word that would have been used had the meaning been intended to convey the idea of not entering the tribulation. The word ek more properly implies protection through. Other translations of the Bible bear that out. The Message: …I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon.
Pruitt’s arguments against a Pre-Trib Rapture is replete with fallacious reasoning. He says:
“If this was promising a pretribulation rapture it would not be addressed to one Church and not the others.”
Duhhh! Doesn’t Pruitt know that the Body (Bride) of Christ is ONE single unit and not a bunch of separate churches which have nothing whatsoever to do with each other?
Whatever John wrote to one church was also a stern warning to the Christian members of the other churches. If Pruitt is correct, the members of today’s churches could argue “Those warnings were written for the church in Pennsylvania and not the one in Colorado, or Washington, or New York, or Johannesburg, or Pretoria, etc.
Pruitt’s argument is just plain silly. Not even a child will make such a puerile statement. The very fact that Pruitt is warning Christians against a Pre-Trib Rapture proves beyond any doubt that his caveat is not limited to one or two churches but the entire Body of Christ, unless it is his goal to warn only a single church in some remote part of the world only he knows about.
He continues his fallacious reasoning by saying,
“Greek: The operative phrase is “keep thee from” in Greek “tereo ek”. Tereo means to “watch over, guard or protect”. Ek is a preposition that usually means “of”, there is another Greek preposition that means “from”, that word is “apo”. Apo is the word that would have been used had the meaning been intended to convey the idea of not entering the tribulation.”
The fact is that both “apo” and “ek” have the same meaning. However, “ek” has a more forceful and stronger meaning with regards to a movement FROM or OUT OF one place or situation TO another altogether different place or situation. Here is how HELPS Word Studies defines it:
1537 ek (a preposition, written eks before a vowel) – properly, “out from and to” (the outcome); out from within. 1537 /ek (“out of”) is one of the most under-translated (and therefore mis-translated) Greek propositions – often being confined to the meaning “by.” 1537 (ek) has a two-layered meaning (“out from and to”) which makes it out-come oriented (out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object).
The pre-fix “apo,” on the other hand conveys the very opposite to what Pruitt suggests when he says “Apo is the word that would have been used had the meaning been intended to convey the idea of not entering the tribulation. The word “ek” more properly implies protection through.”
The very opposite of this is true. “Apo” is actually the word that describes separation “out of” or “from” within and not without a spatial setting or situation. Hence the words “apostle.” “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, [not in heaven but on earth], (Romans 1:1).
The Free Dictionary defines “apo” as follows:
a prefix occurring orig. in loanwords from Greek, with the sense “away, off, apart” (apogee; apocope); in English and New Latin, marking things that are detached, separate, or derivative (apoenzyme).
So, as you can see, “tereo ek ” (to be moved or taken out of one place to another) and not “tereo apo” (to be separated from within the same spatial environment) fits perfectly in with a Pre-Trib Rapture., and not a Post Trib Rapture.
Whereas the former is a departure “from” (the earth) “to” Christ (in the air), the latter is a merely a separation from something within the very same spatial environment (as in “apostle”). In his attempt to validate his sense of “tereo ek” Pruitt continues his tirade against a Pre-Trib Rapture by saying:
Exodus: A parallel to the coming of God’s Judgement and Deliverance. Moses himself said that God was going to send someone after him that was like him, speaking of Jesus. Pharaoh held God’s people in slavery for generations but the time came when God said enough, I will judge those who oppressed My People. He sent Moses to stand before Pharaoh telling him to repent, and each time Pharaoh ultimately refused. So God sent terrible plagues on the land of Egypt, very similar to the plagues mentioned in the book of Revelation. In Exodus God made a distinction between His people and the people of Egypt when it came to how the plagues affected them, but still they remained in Egypt as God’s judgement rained down.
It was after the plagues and judgments that God caught up His people and took them out of Egypt, but only those who were covered by the blood of the Passover lamb.
The plagues in Egypt may well be similar to the plagues in Revelation but the protection and deliverance of Israel during those plagues in Goshen cannot possibly be compared to any form of protection and deliverance of the tribulation saints.
Israel remained completely unscathed (even their livestock remained unharmed; Exodus 9:6-7) during the entire ten plagues whilst God is going to permit Antichrist to slaughter the saints like flies during the tribulation (Revelation 13:7). Revelation 6:10 confirms the random slaughter and genocide of the saints during the tribulation. What kind of protection is that, Mr. Pruittt?
To be consistent in their assumption that the plagues and subsequent deliverance of Israel in Exodus is a parallel to a Post-Trib Rapture, they will have to make both the plagues and the protection of Israel in Goshen fit into the plagues and assumed protection of the saints during the seven-year Tribulation. Guess what? They can’t do that since Revelation 13:7 teaches the exact opposite.
THE LAST TRUMP: THE NO PRE-TRIB RAPTURE TRUMP CARD
Scott Pruitt wrote on his blog:
The Bible explicitly states that the dead in Christ will be resurrected. After this resurrection we are told that we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, what we refer to as the rapture. But when does the resurrection take place? The scripture clearly answers this question. At the last trumpet. In other words, after the plagues.
Whenever No-Pretribbers attend an NBA basketball match or a gridiron football match and the final whistle blows, they cannot wait to announce to the fans, “Folks, that was the final whistle for all NBA basketball and all football matches in America. That’s it. No more matches because the FINAL whistle has blown.”
Even the staunchest No-Pretrib cronies admit that “last” can either refer to a sequential or a final time-out occurrence. It would be naive to say that the final whistle in a football match is the very last whistle for all football matches put together, just because it is called the final whistle.
For instance, is the trumpet call which Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24: 31 the same as the last trump mentioned in Revelation 11: 15? Hardly, because the trumpet call in Matthew 24:31 will be sounded after His Second Coming when His angels are sent out to gather his elect (remnant of Israel) from the four corners of the earth, whilst the trumpets in Revelation are sounded immediately prior to his Second Advent. Therefore, the trumpet in Revelation 11: 15 cannot be the very last trumpet because another one will be blown after His Second Advent.
In their zeal to prove that the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11: 15 is the very same as the last trump in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the critics of the Pre-Trib Rapture fail to acknowledge the obvious differences between the trumpets mentioned in the above portions of Scripture.
The most significant difference between 1 Thessalonians 4; 16 (1 Corinthians 15: 52) and Revelation 11: 15 is that the latter is an angel’s trumpet whilst the other is called the trump of God. God alone can call the dead to life as we’ve seen in John 11 where Jesus called Lazarus to come forth form amongst the dead.
Some may argue that a resurrection is also mentioned in Revelation 11:12. However, the trumpet of the angel does not sound until after the resurrection whereas the trump of God in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 is the very power that brings them to life.
- Dwight Pentecost makes the following comparison between the trumpets.
|The Trumpet for the church is singular. No trumpets have preceded it so that it cannot be said to be last of a series.||The trumpet that closes the tribulation period is clearly the last of a series of seven.|
|In 1 Thessalonians 4 the voice associated with the sounding of the trumpet summons the dead and the living and consequently is heard before the resurrection||In Revelation, while the resurrection is mentioned (11:12), the trumpet does not sound until after the resurrection, showing that two different events must be in view.|
|The trumpet in 1 Thessalonians issues in blessing, in life, in glory||The trumpet in Revelation issues in judgment on the enemies of God.|
TWO PIVOTAL PASSAGES IN SCRIPTURE TO CORRECTLY UNDERSTAND A PRE-TRIB RAPTURE
There are two very important passages in Scripture that are absolutely essential for a correct understanding of the Rapture. They are Luke 12:35-36 and Revelation 19:7-9
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. (Luke 12:35-36).
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:7-9)
To make it easier we need to break it down to its basic essentials.
LET YOUR LOINS BE GIRDED ABOUT
Hebraic men girded about their tunics whenever they prepared themselves for battle, doing manual work and eating, or the host would gird himself when serving and eating with his guests.
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? (Luke 17:7-8).
“Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37).
The girding in Luke 12 and 17 speaks of two personages -the Jews during the tribulation who shall know that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming is at the door and consequently need to prepare themselves, and Jesus Christ Himself who is going to be the host at the marriage supper of the Lamb and his wife here on earth.
Incidentally, there are only two places in Scripture where believers are called Jesus’ wife and no longer his Bride to be, i.e. Revelation 19:7 and 21:9. In each case the word “guneÌ„” is used for “wife” which is the very same word used for a married woman in a consummated marriage throughout the New Testament.
This plainly tells us that when Jesus returns to earth at his Second Advent the believers will come WITH Him as his wife to the earth, and not TO his Bride who allegedly will have been persecuted and killed during the seven-year Tribulation so that just about none of them remain alive (Revelation 17:14).
If Jesus were to return from the wedding to come for his wife or Bride at the end of the Tribulation, it would mean that his Bride won’t be at his side at the wedding in heaven, making it a marriage something similar to a marriage by proxy.
The Jews, represented by the five wise and five foolish virgins will be the ones who must ready themselves for his return and not his Bride.
He is going to serve all the redeemed Jews who were ready to meet Him at his Second Advent. They are presented by the five wise virgins in Matthew 25.
Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ as the suffering Messiah and as such his revelation of himself to his brothers represents Jesus’ Second Advent when He is going to reveal Himself to his brethren, the remnant of saved Jews at the end of the Great Tribulation and prior to his Millennial Kingdom on earth.
Note that Joseph first sent out all the Egyptians (non-Jews) of his household before he revealed himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1). In like manner, Jesus is going to take his Bride out of the world at the Pre-Trib Rapture before He reveals Himself to his brethren, the remnant of the Jews at his Second Coming.
John the Baptist alludes to Matthew 25 when he said:
“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” (John 3:29).
In Near Eastern weddings, the friend of the Bridegroom was only an assistant (the best man, if you like) and not the main participant in the marriage. It was his task to make preliminary arrangements for the Bridegroom’s wedding and marriage banquet.
His joy came when he heard the Bridegroom coming with his wife to the marriage supper. It follows that the wedding itself will take place in heaven and the marriage banquet here on earth during the Millennial age of peace on earth.
A parable that proves that the wedding banquet will be on earth, is the one in Matthew 22. Nothing whatsoever in this parable suggests that the scene is going to transpire in heaven.
It is inconceivable that anyone will be able slip into heaven unnoticed without a garment of salvation or a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; Matthew 22:11-13). However, such a thing can certainly happen here on earth.
A question we need to ask, is: How will a person without a garment of salvation or a robe of righteousness gain entrance into the Lamb’s marriage banquet? Bear in mind that only the King was able to identify the person without a garment of salvation (verse 11). It suggests that the people who are going to guard the entrance to the banquet to check whether the guests are appropriately dressed in a garment of righteousness, will be unable to see through his faÃ§ade.
He will look like a saved Christian, speak like one, and even make them think that he believes like a Christian. Only the King will be able to see through his faÃ§ade and promptly order that he be cast into outer darkness.
The parable describes how John the Baptist’s statement “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12) is going to play itself out at the end of the Tribulation just before the inauguration of Christ Jesus’ Millennial age on earth.
The chaff refers to Jews who will think they may enter into the Millennial age of peace (the wedding banquet) by virtue of their elect status above all the other nations. Not so, says the King, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
It is imperative to realize that the Millennial age of Peace (the wedding banquet) is distinctively Jewish. Jesus’ disciples knew this and so did the Jews in general. (Matthew 19:28; Luke 19:11-27; 22:28-30).
Throughout their history God called them unto Himself (chose them – Romans 11:28; Isaiah 45:4; 659, 22; Matthew 24:31) with a specific intent to save them all (clothe them with the garment of righteousness).
Yet, most of them chose to follow idols, and refused to repent and to be redeemed. Only those who will respond in faith to God’s call to receive his garment of righteousness and salvation are the real chosen ones to enter into the Millennial Kingdom (the wedding banquet). His words, “Many are called, but few are chosen” has nothing to do with Calvinism and its reformed doctrines of election and predestination. The “election” here, if you will, is based on faith and not a monergistic, sovereign choice unto salvation.
LET YOUR LIGHTS BE BURNING
Like “Let your loins be girded about,” the command “let your lights be burning” in Luke 12:35-37 also alludes to the five wise and five foolish virgins (the believing and unbelieving Jews) in Matthew 25. Note the two elements in verse 1 that makes it impossible for the Rapture to take place at the Second advent of Jesus Christ.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Had it been the Bride of Christ waiting for her Bridegroom at his Second Advent toward the end of the seven-year tribulation and prior to the inauguration of his Millennial Kingdom here on earth, it would mean that the splitting up in two groups – the one called wise and the other foolish virgins – must be applied to the Bride.
Consequently, it would also mean that one group within the ranks of the Bride won’t have enough oil in their lamps. That alone is absolutely ludicrous because not a single member of the Bride of Christ can be suspect of not having enough oil, i.e. of not being redeemed.
She couldn’t possibly be called the Bride of Christ whilst some of them do not have enough oil, and thus unredeemed. God’s salvation is 100% perfect. If salvation is the quickening of a sinner’s dead spirit by the Holy Spirit, which indeed it is, then the fullness of God’s Spirit is given, which means that the newly born is saturated with God’s oil.
There is no such thing as not having enough oil with the Bride of Christ. The question we need to ask is: Could this be possible within the ranks of God’s elect (the Jews)? Indeed, it can when we take into account what they are going to experience during the Tribulation, called the time of Jacob’s trouble.
- They are going to make a covenant (peace treaty) with the Antichrist (John 5:43)
- Mid-way into the seven-year tribulation they will be forced to flee when the Antichrist sets up an idol of himself in the most holy in the newly built temple. (Matthew 24:15-21).
- The elect (remaining Jews) will be regathered from the four corners of the earth to meet Jesus Christ in Jerusalem prior to the Millennial Kingdom (Mark 13:27). Some will be ready to meet Him (having enough oil and their lamps burning, i.e. saved) while others won’t (not having enough oil resulting in lamps going out, i.e. not saved).
WHEN IS THE RAPTURE GOING TO TAKE PLACE?
A mistake most Christians make, when dealing with the Rapture, is to disregard two major events that follow the Rapture and that is the Bema Throne Judgement seat of Christ and the marriage of the Lamb itself.
These events must of necessity follow each other chronologically, as we shall see as we go along. But first, we need to examine the meaning of the phrase “is come” in Revelation 19:7.
Most Christians interpret this as being at the end of the seven-year tribulation and just prior to the Millennial Kingdom on earth when Jesus allegedly comes for his Bride who will have been battered, bruised, maimed and killed by Antichrist during the Tribulation, because the No-Trib bunch have done and accomplished their sacred duty to prepare them for the tribulation.
If this were true, from whence are the Post-Tribbers going to conjure up enough time for the Bema Throne Judgment and the marriage of the Lamb here on earth in an environment dictated by time and space?
The aorist tense “Ä“lthen” (“is come”) denotes an already completed event which, in simple language, means that the marriage of the Lamb will already have been consummated in heaven when Christ returns with his wife to the earth at his Second advent (Jude 14-15).
It means that the marriage of the Lamb will have to come after the Bema Throne Judgement (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and prior to his Second Advent to the earth (Zechariah 14:4).
The reason why the marriage of the Lamb cannot be placed anywhere else other than after the Bema Throne Judgment in heavenly places, is that Christ’s wife “was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: “for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8). When and where will this take place? The only acceptable answer is – at the Beman Throne Judgement Seat of Christ Jesus.
The purpose of the Bema Throne Judgement will be to finally settle, with fire, the question whether every individual saint’s works which he had done in his body have any spiritual value, and thus glorifying God or not. Why is this event so necessary? It is vitally important because many performed good works in behalf of their own braggadocios and must of necessity be judged by fire.
Their carnal works which had been done for self- aggrandizement and to be seen and heard by others will not be rewarded because the praise and public approvals they received on earth for their good works (righteous deeds), will be their reward (Matthew 6:1-3).
These are the works described as wood, hay and stubble in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Once these saints’ works have been tested by fire and have purged their braggadocio kind of works, will it be granted that they be arrayed in fine, clean and white linen, together with the other saints whose works will have withstood the fire (gold, silver and precious stones).
Then and then only will the Bride, fully arrayed with fine, clean and white linen, become Christ’s wife. This proves that the Rapture will and can only take place before the seven-year tribulation which means that the vitally important event, the Bema Throne Judgement of Christ, will take place first, followed by the marriage of the Lamb IN HEAVEN.
 Although Dave Hunt is already with the Lord and awaiting the Pre-Trib Rapture in heaven with greater joy than we can imagine, I included him in this debate because Joe Schimmel mentions him in their DVD.
 Henry C Thiessen, Will the Church Pass Through the Tribulation? P. 15