Biblical Audio Commentary – When You Have Doubts, Who Will You Believe?
We all have doubts at one time or another – right? We who believe fervently in the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church – just because God hasn’t pulled the trigger yet and made it happen – don’t we sometimes despair a little in our weariness and wonder if we’re riding a dead horse? It’s not an overwhelming doubt; just a trickle that threatens our anticipation. But then, we pull ourselves together and realize that we’re either idiots for jumping into this mirey pit or that Satan is trying his best to discourage us.
To that end in this Commentary, I want to ask and answer the question: When You Have Doubts About the pre-Trib Rapture, Who Will You Believe? I got thinking about this, and in so doing, realized that those who dismiss this sound Biblical doctrine are all highly suspect in their own beliefs.
In other words, for us to listen to these folks who mock or scoff in one form or another because they think the pre-Trib Rapture isn’t valid, then that means we’re listening to people who have serious gaps in their Biblical understanding. Why would we do that?
This is really hit home with me in the immediate wake of a dispiriting, argumentative discussion that I just had. Without getting into the details at this point, the other person and I have such profound eschatological differences that I can’t even wrap my head around them. He is absolutely sincere, yet what he has come to believe is radically different than what I do regarding the end times, the book of Revelation, and related issues. I’m not sure how he felt other than disgusted as we parted, but I was exhausted. He did point out to me some areas in how I come across to him and possibly to others that I think may be quite valid, and for that I asked his forgiveness. Following that I came before the Lord in a repentant, humble manner asking for His help in my demeanor.
What I won’t do is apologize for fervently believing in the pre-Tribulation Rapture, but if I have a log in my eye when analyzing and/or criticizing the positions of others, then I need to fix that with the Lord’s assistance.
The sad part about this little misadventure is that as Christians and believers, we’re supposed to be evangelizing and discipling, yet what are we doing? Shamefully, we’re arguing – in this case about eschatological beliefs. They are very important, but we’re far from what Jesus commanded His church by contesting with each other in this manner. I don’t know the solution to this dilemma with us so far apart, so all I can do is to lay it at the Lord’s feet for His resolution.
This little self-analysis – or navel-gazing, if you will – was a late addition to this Commentary, so I hope it pertains – maybe it does more than ever given the topic at hand, and how some of us differ dramatically in what we believe Jesus will soon do versus what others think. The whole affair has just left me weary.
Given all this and focusing in on the title of this Commentary, I came up with four general groups of Christians with their own problematic beliefs who we should definitely ignore what they say about the Rapture because they have absolutely missed the boat elsewhere. Hopefully this will encourage you to trust that when we read Scripture – and interpret it with Holy Spirit discernment – to say that we’ll be Raptured pre-Trib, we are definitely in line with what God intends.
Here are our four problematic groups to disregard:
Those who profess Christ as Savior and yet fall into this category have risen to the top of my lists lately as ones who will have some serious answering to Jesus when they see Him. A believer simply cannot read the Bible – whether Old or New Testament – and come away thinking that God has abandoned Israel. His promises to the Jews must remain valid, just as they are to believers in Christ. Woe to us if God deserts Israel because of their stiff-necks and roller-coaster journey believing in and obeying the Lord – or not. As if we’re any better than them and don’t sin like they did, regardless of the fact of the Holy Spirit indwelling us!
It’s astounding, but sadly a reality, that such a large proportion of the church thinks Israel is an occupier or genocidal power unjustly defending herself against terrorism in its worst form. To believe that Hamas are freedom-fighters or that the so-called Palestinians are innocent bystanders is to be thoroughly blinded and deceived.
Let’s consider this rationally. Most of those who fall into this grouping don’t believe in the pre-Trib Rapture. They totally misread – or don’t read at all – the Bible, and what it actually says about Israel and God’s love for her. How often does Scripture say that He will redeem Israel, and that after much difficulty, she’ll have a glorious future? If you can’t answer this question, I can’t help you. If you can, then you know the truth of this. (The answer BTW is that God makes this same promise many, many times throughout His Word.)
Israel haters are far afield in their understanding of God’s truth concerning Israel. Why would we believe them concerning their denial of the Rapture?
Trib Severity Deniers
Actually, these folks may deny the severity of the Tribulation or are blinded to what the text describes. Either way, they have a problem. When we read Revelation and interpret it literally as a future event – as we must – except where it’s clear that symbolism is being used, then we can clearly see the plagues that will come through the Seal, Trumpet, and Bowl Judgments are dreadful in scope. Those who think they can prep their way through it or isolate from its horrors in sustainable communities are – to put it mildly – absolutely deceived. When Jesus says that He has to limit the period of the Tribulation or all mankind would die, that gives us an idea how bad it will be.
With that in mind, it’s not likely that their interpretation regarding the timing of the Rapture is correct. If they miss the severity of what Jesus Himself said the Tribulation would be like, and think they’re going to go through it and survive, how can we trust their dismissal of the pre-Trib Rapture?
Better and Better Believers
Those falling into this category would largely be the NAR crowd. There’s a general belief among the “prophets” and “apostles” in the New Apostolic Reformation movement that they will lead the way to a Christianized world in order to usher in the return of Jesus. Many believe in the Seven Mountain Mandate, which says the church will retake the Seven Mountains of culture, which include:
One could ask the relevant question: How’s that doctrine working out? I guess for those who adhere to it, their perspective must be something along the lines of: “Just wait; it’s all coming together. You’ll see.” Maybe they’re waiting for the UFO invasion that will turn things around. If not that, I’m not really sure how the Christian superstars will come to dominate those Mountain peaks.
Since there’s little likelihood of this fantasy succeeding, especially since there’s nothing Biblical about it, once more we come to the issue at hand. Why believe these guys that there won’t be a pre-Trib Rapture since they sure aren’t getting Scripture correct in what they proclaim?
Decades More Crowd
Among the many who are in this camp, I’ve come across quite a number who are solid Bible believers. It’s just in some way they have missed the import of the book of Revelation, along with the prophetic warnings of Jesus, Paul, and John. That’s a lot to miss and still be someone who I might admire for all their other reliable Bible beliefs. Still, the very fact that they think there are years, decades, or generations to come before Jesus returns is highly problematic. These folks completely miss the idea that the signs of the final days are upon us and there’s little time left. In a sense, they’re like the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized for seeing the red sky at night or morning and knowing the weather from that, but couldn’t tell the signs of His appearing, especially as He stood in the flesh right before them.
These teachers and others falling into this group speak and plan as though there’s significant time remaining until Jesus returns. They never appear to have any prophetic sense, despite some having an association or friendship with those who do. It’s puzzling, but they just ignore the obvious that we’re so close to the end.
Once more we simply can’t trust that those like this who are planning for and looking far down the tracks and not seeing the train that’s upon them can give us reliable information about the Rapture. They’re not oriented in that way, and as such, aren’t people we can trust in this important area of Bible prophecy.
The bottom line in this is that the only truly reliable source is what Scripture says about the pre-Tribulation Rapture. And it is very clear. There are some small number of Bible teachers who adhere to the literal Word of God in this regard, and if we’re going to listen to anybody, those are the people.
Better yet is being self-sufficient in understanding the Bible because we read it regularly and thoroughly with Holy Spirit discernment. By knowing the real thing, we can spot the counterfeit.
Everything Biblically and in the world as seen through the lens of Bible prophecy tells us that the Tribulation is very close. That being the case, the Rapture is even closer. What is the Rapture? Ultimately, it is God’s mercy upon those of us who are faithful to Him. Hold to that.
This verse in 1 Timothy 6:14-16 reminds us of how we should live while we wait:
to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
That proper time is coming at which our Lord Jesus Christ will appear in the clouds to snatch us up and take us home.