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Does it matter whether you believe
Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib?
Will the Rapture (and First Resurrection) take place
BEFORE, DURING, or AFTER the Great Tribulation?
What we believe about the timing of the Rapture of the Church
has everything to do with how we prepare physically and spiritually.
By Ken Raggio
Christianity is at a critical juncture pertaining to its teachings about Bible prophecies about the last days.
I have been teaching Bible prophecy since 1974, and have found that the vast majority of Christians have a very limited knowledge of Bible prophecies about the last days.
The typical Christian has little or no knowledge at all, for instance, of the major prophecies of Daniel, or the book of the Revelation to John, much less the smaller signs that also beg to be considered.
I regularly encounter full-time ministers of the Gospel who have no working knowledge concerning such important prophetic topics as the Four Horsemen, the Seven Seals, the Seven Trumpets, the Confirmation of the Covenant, the Third Temple, the Beast and the False Prophet, the Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation, the Mark of the Beast, the Great Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the Day of Wrath, the Second Coming of Christ, the Rapture, the First Resurrection, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and so much more.
In addition to the almost universal ignorance of Bible prophecy, is the pathetic confusion that is caused by so-called "prophecy preachers" who have NOT done their homework, and frankly do not know what they are talking about. Whenever they treat the subject of Bible prophecy with obvious incompetence, these people only contribute further to the apathy among the laity.
I have found that the vast majority of ministers and professing Christians have little or no desire to study for proficiency in their understanding of Bible prophecy. I wish I had a dollar for every person who has ever told me that they just don't study Bible prophecy because it is either too complicated, or too controversial, or (in their view) "it is just not that important."
Bible prophecy is not too complicated to understand, it is not too controversial to consider, and it IS important and we SHOULD study it thoroughly.
Bible prophecy tells us our future! So if we do not have an accurate understanding of Bible prophecy, we do NOT have the right information about our future!
Most Christians believe that Jesus is coming again imminently and unexpectedly, and that there are no more important prophecies to be fulfilled.
But that is simply not the truth.
While I do believe that Jesus is probably going to return in my lifetime (I am 59 at this writing), I do not see very many people who are significantly effected by that inevitability.
Among those who DO expect Jesus to return in their lifetimes, almost none of them can explain by the scriptures exactly what prophetic signs we should be looking for RIGHT NOW.
Worst of all, is the downright unwillingness of most people to even DISCUSS this subject in-depth. Many pastors consider prophecy preachers to be delusional whackos who are not to be taken seriously. (Unfortunately, some prophecy preachers are delusional whackos, but that does not eliminate the need to know and understand Bible prophecies.)
You may think that I am a whacko, or that I am delusional, but I do know with great and absolute certainty that there are many, many verses in the Bible that speak very directly to our current events, and they beg to be considered as modern prophetic signs and warnings of the soon coming of Jesus Christ.
None of the prophecy issues have more potential impact on our personal lives than the question, "Will the Saints go through the Great Tribulation?"
The most popular view is that the Rapture of the Church will take place at any moment, without warning, and that there are no more prophecies that must be fulfilled before that occurs.
I can list MANY prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled, which prevent the "imminent" return of Jesus Christ.
And THAT draws fire. Some people harshly criticize anyone who dares to declare the post-tribulation view.
I am weary of hearing the joke which says, "I'm PAN-trib! I believe it is all going to PAN OUT!!" I personally view that statement as an excuse for one's unwillingness to study the subject.
We are pressured NOT to make any truly definitive statements about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In some places it is taboo for a preacher to state unequivocally that Jesus will come AFTER the tribulation. In most cases, the pre-trib position dominates, even though no scriptural case is presented with it.
The assertion is that nobody knows for sure, nor CAN anybody know for sure. We are forced to take a noncommittal stance in the presence of brethren.
Behind this trap is the false assumption that IT DOESN’T MATTER what you believe about Bible prophecy for the last days. All that most folks seem to care is that we keep the peace, and let nobody rock the boat.
Ask yourself an honest question. Does it truly matter what we believe about the Rapture and the Tribulation?
If it DOESN’T MATTER, why on earth are we so fascinated with the book of Revelation? Are we merely looking for apocalyptic jargon to fill in crossword puzzles?
If we are going to be raptured BEFORE any of these events, why do we need this information?
Why did God Almighty give prophets and preachers down through the centuries these vividly explicit visions and dreams and revelations, if they, in the final analysis are MOOT and IMPERTINENT to last days saints?
Most preachers and Christians treat prophecy as if it is completely unknowable or that it simply doesn't matter what you believe. That position is entirely inconsistent with all the many other issues we are faced with in scripture.
How can we justify our lackadaisical treatment of prophecy, when Jesus said, "…the scripture cannot be broken," John 10:35? The scripture is concrete on everything it teaches.
Judas Iscariot dipped the sop with Jesus, and was lost, "that the scripture might be fulfilled." John 13:18 and 17:12. The Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garment, "that the scriptures might be fulfilled," John 19:24. His piercing, His wounds, nearly everything He suffered was a fulfillment of scripture.
If the scholars had not IGNORED the original prophecies, they might not have murdered the Lord. If only they had made the CONNECTION between ancient prophecy and contemporary fulfillment!
Again and again, the old scriptures revealed things to come that would have had a profound effect if ONLY SOMEONE HAD NOTICED THEM!
ALL SCRIPTURE is profoundly important to us.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works," 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
How can we get by, as long as we keep insisting that Bible prophecies MUST NOT BE CAREFULLY DEFINED?
Would you have me to believe that it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether I am PRE-TRIB or POST-TRIB?
Then WHY is it in the Bible?
2 Peter 1:20 says, "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." Why do we think we can get by with interpreting prophecy erroneously? Why do we believe it doesn’t matter?
We must realize that ALL SCRIPTURE is profitable, but... All MIS-INTERPRETED scripture is UNPROFITABLE!
Did it ever occur to you that ONE or the OTHER HAS TO BE RIGHT, and ONE or the OTHER HAS TO BE WRONG?
Do you realize that WRONG DOCTRINE CORRUPTS UNDERSTANDING?
If it is correct, it is TRUTH. If it is wrong, it is HERESY.
If one man preaches PRE-TRIB and the other preaches POST-TRIB, one of them is preaching heresy.
The Church is no better than its doctrinal integrity. If its doctrine is wrong, it is misrepresenting God, and that is a punishable offense.
"Whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD," Ezekiel 13:7-8.
"...there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, ...and bring upon themselves swift destruction," 2 Peter 2:1-2.
Suppose your auto mechanic insisted that it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether you put the lug nuts on the wheel! Your wheels would fall off!
Suppose your airline pilot insisted that it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether the plane has a gyroscope in working order! In foggy weather, he would certainly crash.
Suppose your home electrician insists it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether your wiring is done correctly! Someone is likely to be electrocuted.
Why can we not SEE that every single prophetic event has a profound ripple effect on our understanding?
If we place prophetic events in the WRONG ORDER, we deprive ourselves of UNDERSTANDING.
But, you say, it is NOT CRITICAL to understand these things!!
That is EXACTLY what many argue against water baptism, and EXACTLY what the ecumenical crowd says about the one true God.
How can you say for sure that IT IS NOT CRITICAL to know whether the Church will be raptured BEFORE or AFTER the TRIBULATION?
One may argue that if we have to go through the tribulation, we will just have to trust God like we ALWAYS HAVE!
NO - MY FRIEND – if you go through the Great Tribulation, and are faced with the Mark of the Beast, and the threat of death simply because you were NOT PRUDENT enough to take precautions and stay out of view, then you will certainly realize in that hour that you were FOOLISH for not taking note of these epic prophecies.
You may not think that statement is persuasive. Let me pose it to you another way.
The wise man said, "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 27:12.
If the Bible WARNS us of an evil tribulation, and we DO NOT HIDE OURSELVES, we "pass on, and are punished."
Consider the real possibilities. Can it be that GOD is giving us FAIR WARNING of the most difficult time that any saints of any age ever faced, and He wants us to PREPARE for it? Once the Confirmation of the Covenant takes place, we will have at least three and a half years to make preparation for the last three and a half years of hardship. In Joseph's day, God gave them seven years to prepare for seven bad years. Even the pagan Egyptian Pharaoh had enough sense to listen to Joseph's warning, and empowered him to act accordingly!
Is that a sound Biblical principle? Indeed it is!
God warned Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; therefore Abraham interceded for Lot and his family. What if Abraham had IGNORED the prophecy?
God warned Joseph that there would be seven years of famine in Egypt. Joseph stored up, and SAVED both Egypt and his FAMILY. What if Joseph had IGNORED the prophetic warning?
In II Kings 6, the prophet Elisha warned the king of Israel of a Syrian attack, and "the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice." What if the king had IGNORED the prophetic warning?
When Jesus was born, the angel WARNED Joseph to flee with them to Egypt. What if Joseph had IGNORED the warning?
Jesus personally fled the scene of potential trouble numerous times.
One of the ancient principles from the book of Proverbs directed the "sluggard" to "go to the ant," and learn the principle of preparing for hard times.
Yet many insist that preaching a warning of hard times is unscriptural and shows a lack of faith in God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How many examples do I have to give to prove to you that the ENTIRE BIBLE is filled with prophets and preachers and watchmen on walls and on towers, blowing trumpets and sounding alarms to SAVE THE PEOPLE from impending dangers?
The Bible WARNS the Church that the Saints will go through the tribulation.
Please refer to my article "When is the Rapture?"
You will plainly see that there will be NO RAPTURE before the Mark of the Beast. Revelation 20:4-5 clearly shows that the FIRST resurrection will INCLUDE last days saints who RESISTED or OVERCAME the Mark of the Beast. That is certainly not a pre-trib scenario. If there will be people in the FIRST RESURRECTION who overcame the Mark of the Beast, then there will not be a rapture or resurrection before the Mark of the Beast! Get that into your heart!
Does that not strike dread in your soul to consider that you might have to endure a fight against the Mark of the Beast? If it doesn’t, you must be oblivious to the realities of it.
Friend, Jesus Christ so dreaded going to Calvary that he sweat as it were great drops of blood. Where is your so-called courage?
I submit to you that it is NOT courage, but rather IGNORANCE of the facts, that causes you to treat the subject of SAINTS IN THE TRIBULATION with so much complacency.
The French philosopher, deTocqueville, in Democracy in America, said, "The prospect really does frighten me that men may finally become so engrossed in a cowardly love of immediate pleasure that their interest in their own future and in that of their descendants may vanish, and that they may prefer tamely to follow the course of their destiny rather than make a sudden energetic effort to set things right."
Warnings are a call to action.
I believe the biggest reasons that these warnings are in the Bible is so that believers can take protective actions!
Israel needed water, so Elisha said, "Dig ditches - God will fill them."
When the collapse of civilization comes, when Babylon falls, when the lights go out, and martial law is enacted, YOU ARE GOING TO NEED WATER, FOOD, and SURVIVAL SUPPLIES.
I am telling you that the Bible gives us AMPLE WARNING, so that we can "DIG DITCHES!"
Have you never asked yourself, "What will I do for food and water if I refuse to take the Mark of the Beast?" If God warns you ALL YOUR LIFE, and then you run out of water, who is to blame - you or God?
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When is the Rapture? It may not be when you think! The Bible is very plain. What does it say?
The Day of the Lord The Rapture precipitates the Day of the Wrath of God!
Saints In Tribulation So you say that God will not allow His children to suffer? You should take another look in the Bible!
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