The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Advancing the Gospel Through Social Media: Rapture Insights Video

Bill Salus


What is the Rapture?

On the April 16th edition of the radio program Prophecy Update, I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing how social media has made a huge shift in how we do online evangelism. We also touched on how we’re teaching the Rapture to today’s Internet savvy generation.

Bible Prophecy Insight 3 — “The Rapture”

The Bible tells us that Jesus will return one day soon to catch up — to Rapture — those who have accepted Him as Savior. Two people will be walking along and then — in the time it takes to snap your fingers — one will be left standing. In the blink of an eye, millions will be… gone. We will be taken off this earth to meet Jesus up in the clouds to live with the Lord forever. Those left behind will face the worst period in history — the Tribulation.

Have you given your life to Jesus today? Will you be part of the Rapture?

Rapture Beyond Belief

Bill Salus: The third Bible Prophecy Insights Web video you produced was on the Rapture.

First Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and other verses tell us that Jesus is going to return as fast as in the twinkling of an eye and He’s going to whisk believers in Christ away, catching us up into the clouds to live in Heaven with Him forever.

The dead in Christ will rise first in this resurrection. They are those who died believing in Jesus but as the Bible says, “have fallen asleep presently.” There will be a generation that will not die but live to be caught up in the clouds to dwell with Jesus forever. We will be reunited and escape the terrible wrath of God that will come upon the world.

Now, if I wasn’t a believer and someone came to me and told me that Jesus is going to come at any moment and take all the Christians out of here — poof! — up to the clouds, well that sounds like an episode out of the Twilight Zone. It does sound crazy, and yet, so does Jesus rising from the grave and ascending to Heaven. Nevertheless, God has the ability to do those things and says He will again, unbelievable to the human mind or not.

If we wish to be part of the Rapture, Romans 10:9-10 assures us that we can be saved from our sins and the coming judgment if we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead. His is the power that takes away the sting of death.

Nathan, I understand proclaiming the Rapture is one of Lamb & Lion’s most passionate parts of your evangelism efforts. That passion even motivated you to make that excellent Insights video.

So, tell us, can the Rapture be believed, and if so, how soon do you think it will be until it happens?

Nathan Jones: Bill, not only non-Christians, but even a lot of Christians just don’t believe in the Rapture. It sound too weird to them, too supernatural. Sure, they can read the Bible and read that Jesus did this miracle and that miracle, but an actual miracle happening in our lifetime, well that’s beyond our experience and so write it off as if it couldn’t possibly happen. People blow off the Rapture or claim the word can’t be found in the Bible.

As unbelievable as the Rapture may seem, though, it’s a biblically sound and taught event.

Rapture Located

Nathan Jones: So, where do we get the word “Rapture” from. All you have to do to find the word “Rapture” is go to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 which reads, “After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

You don’t see the exact word “Rapture” in that verse, but the phrase “caught up” is. We have to go back to the original Greek that 1 Thessalonians was written in, and there you’ll learn that “caught up” in Greek is harpazo. The Greek word harpazo when the Bible was translated into Latin became rapio, and the English version of rapio is rapture. So, instead of saying “caught up,” which 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, or the “great snatching away” or the “great beam me up” or something, it’s just easier to say Rapture. So, quite simply, that’s where you find the word Rapture in the Bible.

Rapture Attested

Nathan Jones: The concept of the Rapture is a very well attested subject in the Bible. You can find it in John 14:1-4, Luke 21:36; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, and like I said 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. There are even hints of it in the Old Testament like Isaiah 26:19-21 and Malachi 3:17.

Rapture passages in the Bible emphasize that we need to be ready because Jesus could come at any moment. If we knew when Jesus was coming there’d be no need to watch anticipating an unexpected visit. For those people who will have endured the Tribulation, at the end of the seven years of tribulation they will know exactly when Jesus is returning because the Bible tells us that the duration lasts seven years, broken down into 30 day months.

Over and over in the Scriptures the Lord says to “be ready” (Mat. 24:44, “be on the alert” (Mat. 24:42), “be dressed in readiness” (Lk. 12:35), and to keep your lights alight. It is all the idea that we have to anticipate that Jesus could come at any moment. So, if we don’t know when Jesus will be showing up, then we aren’t talking about the Second Coming which is when Jesus will return to earth and defeat His enemies.

Rapture Removes

Nathan Jones: Jesus teaches that the Church by the Rapture will be taken out of this earth to meet Him up in the clouds and so will not have to endure the Tribulation.

There are a lot of verses that prove the Church will not have to endure the Tribulation. For example, Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” The Church is obedient, so God’s wrath will not come on the Church.

Then there is Romans 5:9, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

There are lots of other verses, but particularly the best is Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” So, the Church is promised by the Lord to be removed from this world before His Tribulation, meaning before He pours out His 21 judgments on the planet.

Rapture Hope

Nathan Jones: The Rapture is for the Church our great hope. Titus 2:13 calls it “blessed,” that “while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Or 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” When Jesus appears our hope will be fulfilled. That is the heart of the Rapture of the Church.

Bill Salus: Yes, that reminds me of the last verse in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, a primary Scripture about the Rapture. Verse 18 instructs, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” When talking about the end times signs that are happening across the world, about the natural disasters, about the wars and rumors of war in the Middle East, and all these threatening events that are coming upon the world like with the world’s economy ready to collapse, how comforting it is to tell one another that Jesus is going to come at any moment for those who believe in Christ and so are born again. Having faith in Christ allows us to escape the wrath that is to come.

What more comforting a promise could there be than the Rapture?

In the next part of this interview on advancing the Gospel through social media, Bill and I will discuss if there are any prerequisites to being included in the Rapture.

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. Nathan E. Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He also co-hosts the ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy and podcast The Truth Will Set You Free.

32 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • It is a certainty that we are commanded as believers to watch observing all things, warning those who are in rebellion to repent and receive the precious gift of salvation! If then we are to be Watchman on the Wall, are we then anticipating the coming of the enemy? Are we to observe the signs of the approaching Time of Wrath?

    The scriptures identify believers as children of light and of the day, not of darkness nor of the night. This designation clearly provides an example of wrath to come and the children of wrath! It is also recorded that we (believers) will not be caught unaware as this time approaches, the Lord will come as a thief to those in darkness not those who embrace the light!

    The Apostle Paul seems to indicate the expected time of our gathering in the clouds of heaven will be known, not unexpected as it will be for those left behind! Noah and his family were placed on the Ark in safety having the door sealed by the hand of the Lord God!
    Lot and his family was brought out of the city before the wrath of God was poured out upon Sodom being warned in advance!

    The period of wrath to come is known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble aka Tribulation, clearly identifying with a time when the focus of the Lord God is again upon his people Israel and the subsequent judgement of the Gentile nations! So then, what is the key that unlocks the mystery of our anticipated time of gathering? Here is a clue, Ezekiel 39:29!!

  • REVELATION 3:10 IS NOT REFERRING TO THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH; rather, it is referring to the church being kept by the Lord, starting at The Tribultion, and thru it, until being brought out of it before The Day of the Lord (God’s wrath) on the unrepentant:

    For reference: 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.

    While this verse if sometimes used by supporters of a pre-tribulation rapture of the church, this is an error commonly called, eisegesis (reading meaning into the text), instead of exegesis (read meaning out of/from the text). Very often, the errors of eisegesis are partly based upon poor hermeneutics (grammatical-historical method of word interpretation). When we apply good rules of hermeneutics, we arrive at a proper exegesis (understanding read out of/from ) Revelation 3:10. In that regard, let’s look at the words of our verse in question:

    1. ”kept” and “keep”: The Greek word used here is tereo. Per Strong’s concordance:
    “From τηρός teros (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon;”
    2. “from” (the hour): The Greek used here is ἐκ, ἐξ ek/ex. Again, per Strong’s:
    “A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote): – after,”

    3. Another important Greek word, not used in this verse, but that has a bearing on our use of “from,” is the word, Apo ἀπό “A primary particle; “off”, that is, away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation;”

    In other words, TEREO means to "watch over protectively, guard" and with the preposition EK it carries the idea of being guarded or protected and rescued OUT FROM the midst of danger. If the idea of KEEPING one FROM ENTERING were intended the preposition APO would have been used.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, I am not alone in this analysis. In point of fact, some of the world’s most renknowned Biblical Greek scholars and theologians fully concur, including Goodspeed, Moffatt, Fausett, Swete, Zahn, Beckwith, Trench, Alexander Reese, and Robert Gundry.

    It should be noted that THE ONLY OTHER PASSAGE in the New Testament that combines these two terms (TEREO EK) appears in John 17:15. There, the night before his crucifixion, Jesus clarifies his petition to his heavenly Father: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” This text could hardly be more explicit in what it requests: protection from something harmful while Jesus’s disciples remain on earth, in the same fasion that Tereo Ek reads in Rev 3:10.

    Thus, applying good hermeneutics to achieve a proper exegesis of Revelation 3:10 clearly shows that it does not refer to a pre-tribulation rapture of the church.

    Lastly, thank you, my Brother, for a life dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ. Please seek the Lord further in this matter and repent from a well-intentioned and hopeful pre-trib rapture belief, which is simply just not true.

    In His love and Truth


    Of course, the danger, a very real spiritual danger, of false pre-trib rapture belief, is that those who are saved already (Christians) will not be prepared for the tribulation of antichrist, which is clearly separate from God’s wrath that will be displayed in His glory on the Day of the Lord. Even worse, those who are not yet saved and see the antichrist will believe that he is Jesus coming to rapture believers, and will end up following antichrist in their false belief. As our Lord tells us, “My children perish for lack of knowledge.”

    Lastly, please note that my request to you to repent, is in all humility and love, as well as fear, first for your readers and the dangers noted above in this false belief, and secondly fear for you. The book of Revelation carries a curse upon those who would add to or take away from it, in this case, adding or taking away words and meaning through eisegesis, as opposed to using good hermeneutics to arrive at good exegesis and what is actually said:

    Rev 22:18-19: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    Truly, in love, truth and humility,


  • Thank you for giving us an example of the Post-Trib Rapture view, Mick! Arguments for the Pre-Trib view are posted here in this series Why I Believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and pretty much everything under the Rapture label.

    BTW, nobody can be "prepared" for the Tribulation. Those who will be saved during that time will be saved according to God's plans, and not even the Antichrist's wiles will keep them from Jesus (Rev. 7:9-17).

  • Thank you, my Brother! Of course what I mean by prepared for tribulation pertains to our growth in the Lord (progressive sanctification) up until that time, and the strength, etc. derived from a walk of growing maturity.

    May God continue to bless you and your ministry to proclaim the Good News!

  • Gundry popularized the argument against Rev 3:10 in “The Church and the Tribulation”. However, his argument has been responded to by Walvoord, Mayhue, Townsend and others. A close examination of John 17:15 does not support Gundry’s claim. The tereo in 15b refers to the “evil one” and not the world.

    Townsend writes: First John 5:18-19 also stands against Gundry's premise. In 1 John 5:18, the evil one does not touch (apto) the one who has been born of God, because the One who was born of God (Jesus Christ) keeps (tired, cf. John 17:11) him. In 1 John 5:19 the apostle wrote, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." Gundry's interpretation of John 17:15b, as preservation in the moral sphere of Satan, does not square with the Johannine emphasis on the separation of believers from the spiritual realm of the evil one.

    As Mayhue points out, there were other Greek expressions that John could have used if he had meant that the church would be protected within the hour of trial. John 1715a would seem a redundant request if there was no intention to remove the church to begin with. There is nothing in Rev 3:10 regarding the day of the Lord only. It simply says the hour of trial or testing. The seal judgments would logically be in view considering what we read following the letters to the churches.

    See See also Mayhue:


  • Mick wants to be a martry. Mick wants the glory instead of giving it to Jesus.

    This is an argument that can be made for all non pre-tribbers.

  • I don't know whether he wants to be a martyr but I would suggest that he be more careful when using the word "eisegesis".


  • To AMC responder, I will consider your words, study them and the references you give, covering all in prayer. Thank you, my Brother, as we search out the truth of matters in the Lord's word–may He be praised forever!

    To Brother Rodney, if I left you with the impression that I do not believe in the rapture, nothing could be further from the truth, and I certainly agree with you that such an heretical belief would be gross error of huge magnitude.

    To first anonymous below, shame on you. You make judgments against me, even surmising some self-vain motive, even more to the point of saying, "I want the glory." Really? Such a shallow uninformed AND UNLOVING stone to cast at another believer. And then to apply that same broad brush on "all non pre-tribbers!" I will pray for you for your fruit falls far from the true vine.

    To amc again, thank you for mentioning that I might "be more careful when using the word "eisegesis." I'm certainly open to any true truth and love based suggestion–do you have any? BTW, my eisegesis is not only standard in Christian texts on the tereo ek phrase, it's also the example given in standard Greek language books and courses. Blessings, Brother!

  • Brother AMC, I cannot thank you enough for your references in regard to Rev 3:10–what a great study adventure!

    Having finished Townsend, Mayhue, and a whole host of pre-trib, pre-wrath, and post-trib scholars, it is evident that the various interpretations of tereo ek cannot be used definitely by anyone regarding the timing of the rapture, nor that "the hour of testing" definitely refers to the rapture itself, as well.

    However, this merely bring me back to my point of rebuttal to Brother Nathan's statement, "There are lots of other verses, but particularly the best is Revelation 3:10, "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth." So, the Church is promised by the Lord to be removed from this world before His Tribulation, meaning before He pours out His 21 judgments on the planet."

    Brother Nathan not only asserts Rev 3:10 as proof text, he further seems to add meaning to "hour of testing" as "Tribulation" and "21 judgments on the planet." Hence my earlier comment on esiegesis being in play.

    As a side note, Brother Nathan in the same section above does reference Eph 5:6 and Rom 5:9; and I agree completely we are not going to experience God's wrath; however, he fails to distinguish between Satan's wrath of the first 5 seals and God's wrath starting with the 6th seal. For example and prima facie proof for this is that God would certainly not martyr his own saints during this time, but Satan does. Hence, the necessary distinction between Satan's wrath and God's wrath are clearly in order and the use of both the Ephesians and Romans verses are equally invalid proof texts for a pre-trib rapture. Just a side note my, Brother, maybe for discussion at another time?

    At any rate, thank you for your challenge–you have helped me to do further study and to eliminate an incorrect use of Rev 3:10 by me in rebuttal.

    May God continue to bless you! Until we meet in the air,


  • Mick, I see all 21 judments being the wrath of God because it is Jesus Himself who opens every seal judgment and sends out the angels for the trumpet and bowl judgments. Whether the instrument of wrath is by Satan or by man in delivery, the wrath originates by God's hand. Therefore, then, the entire Tribulation period is the wrath of God, a time the Church is not destined to endure (1 Thes. 4:13-18 and 1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3:10).

  • Even though I stop short of proclaiming Rev 3:10 as being definitive, I think the best evidence is for the pretribulational keeping-out-of position. If you have it, Robert L Thomas explores the Greek grammar of the verse in Revelation 1-7 of his Exegetical Commentary Volume 1 (pages 283-290). He is a pretribber but that fact that he disagrees that the 24 elders represent the church demonstrates his objectivity at some level.

    Rev 3:10 cannot be preservation within because there are great tribulation has martyrs – unless you want to make it a “spiritual” preservation. But then isn’t that the case throughout the church era? The non-pretribber has the option to argue that the hour of trial is the day of the Lord only and to assert that the day of the Lord is the only time God’s wrath occurs – which is what some do. But as I pointed out above, Rev 3:10 says nothing about the day of the Lord wrath only and I don’t see any text affirming that God’s wrath is only contained within a day of the Lord. Mayhue sees the day of the Lord occurring late in the week but he acknowledges that God’s wrath occurs earlier.

    Nathan is right about the seals. The OT is full of examples where God uses man as an instrument of His wrath. The 4 judgments in the 4th seal were also used by God as wrath in the OT (see Ezek 5 and 14). Rom 2:5-9 links wrath with tribulation and check out Rom 13:3-4. We can certainly distinguish between the wrath of God and Satan but in what way does one preclude the other? They are interconnected as far as the 70th week is concerned.

    Perhaps there is no explicit evidence for a pretrib rapture yet when I line up the arguments I find prewrath and posttrib falling short of the mark. That’s just my opinion.


  • PS

    Please excuse the typos earlier. Another thing to consider is the ministry of the two witnesses (Rev 11:5-10). We must remember that God empowers them and this ministry lasts 1260 days. So, even if they appear mid week, I would suggest God’s wrath as administered by them begins then.


  • Dear Brothers Nathan & AMC,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, Scripture verses, and exploring the Word together–PTL!

    I will consider and pray about what you have said, and, God willing, will share with you what I find in my further study.

    On a related side note, while I certainly use Scripture to prove Scripture as my goal, I do consider other sources such as the commentaries and writings of many of the Biblical scholars we've already mentioned, as well as and even more importantly the early church fathers. Personally, I'm much more interested in reading what someone taught by St. John himself (or in that line of teachers) has to say moreso than what a Gundry, Cooper, Darby or MacArthur. All are considered, of course, but the words of a writer taught by an apostle directly or next in line just carry more weight with me.

    May God continue His blessings upon all of us as we search His Word and share the Good News with all.


  • Mick, I know where you’re coming from. One of the first articles on the rapture I read was by a non-ptretribber pretty much saying that the church fathers weren’t pretrib and this is a very common tactic. The problem is that when you dig deep into their beliefs you find an assortment of eschatological beliefs like supersessionism and a tendency to allegorize prophecy.

    George Ladd says: “Let it be at once emphasized that we are not turning to the church fathers to find authority for either pre- or posttribulationism. The one authority is the word of God, and we are not confined in the strait-jacket of tradition… While tradition does not provide authority, it would nevertheless be difficult to suppose that God had left his people in ignorance of an essential truth for nineteen centuries”

    But I’d also point out that the church was in ignorance for centuries regarding Soteriology until Luther came along. Many taught that the church replaced Israel and the OT promises to them were fulfilled in Christ until the 19th century when the literal hermeneutic caught on.

    Non-pretribbers insist that all the fathers taught that the church would suffer under the Antichrist therefore it is so. How is it that non-pretribbers can come up with innovations to their systems that the fathers weren’t aware of?

    I’m not ultimately swayed by what the early church fathers believed. It’s all about Scripture. When I read that God used plagues, sword, famine and wild beasts as instruments of His wrath in the OT and I also see it at the 4th seal where ¼ of the population lose their lives, then I connect the dots. Until someone can provide a convincing explanation as to how the world can be saying “peace & safety” during the worst time on earth (Matt 24:21-22) and after the 2nd and 4th seals and the two witnesses- yet this isn’t God’s wrath God’s wrath even though He releases the seals – for now I’ll stick to the pretrib view.

    In Christ.


  • Sorry about the stuttering 😉

    That's what happens when you get called away in the middle of writing and don't proof.


  • Well said, AMC! Still, there were glimmers of Pre-Tribulationalism throughout Church history.

    The Early Church fathers' such as Barnabas (ca.100-105), Papias (ca. 60-130), Justin Martyr (110-195), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (ca. 185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) wrote on the imminent return of Jesus Christ, the central argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.

    Biblical truth is determined by Scripture, and not how that teaching has been perceived at different times during history. When Augustine began spiritualizing the Bible, his view of a non-literal interpretation took hold of the church until the Renaissance, obliterating the Premillennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture views in favor of Amillennialism. But, some Medieval writers such as Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373), Abbot Ceolfrid's Latin Codex Amiatinus (ca. 690-716), and Brother Dolcino wrote statements that distinguish the Rapture from the Second Coming.

    When the chains of allegorical interpretation began to fall off beginning with the Reformation in the 1400 and 1500s, writers such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1687), Philip Doddridge (1738), John Gill (1748), James Macknight (1763), Thomas Scott (1792) and Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) all wrote concerning the Rapture occurring separate from the Second Coming. Even in the more modern church, those like William Witherby (1818) were precursors to John Darby in support of the view. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is indeed then not only biblical, but supported throughout Church history.

  • That’s right, Nathan. Some of the the early fathers believed they were already in what Stitzinger calls an “imminent intratribulation”.

    As Larry Crutchfield notes, “If anyone searches the fathers for a fully detailed,
    systematic presentation about the doctrine of last things, he searches in vain. . . .”

    When Pseudo-Ephraem was discovered, Gundry tried to knock it on the head and non-pretribbers constantly referred to him. Gundry’s arguments just didn’t gel with me and neither did they with Dr Ice. Ironically, they simply ignore the Ice response, which I think thoroughly answers Gundry:

    I don’t know what Mick’s rapture view is but an objective analysis of the prewrath view shows that they’d be hard-pressed to convince that that view doesn’t distinguish between the rapture and 2nd coming.


  • Noahs flood was not to be repeated and the only other *world wide* trial mentioned in prophecy is the Tribulation so the hour of trial coming upon the whole earth in Rev 3:10 can only refer to the 7 year Tribulation in my opinion.

  • Hello, my Brothers,

    Sorry for being away and not continuing in our dialogue. I was invited to a group on Facebook who said they were Berean in their search of truth in Scripture, and were watchmen on the wall . . . at any rate, one of them brought up a famous Bible teacher and said she'd heard negative watchman reports on him and to test his teachings.

    "Coincidentally," I had just finished a review of that teacher's teaching on the rapture, and told them that he lied in his support of that teaching (which was on Rev 3:10 by the way), and provided links to his teaching, as well as links to show what he said wasn't true.

    Well, in fairly short order, two of the main talkers on that private FB page, (knowingly or unknowingly) employed (Alinsky-styled) tactics against what I had exposed and ultimate again me. They not only defended the teacher, but minimized the lies because "they weren't lies about the Gospel," but apparently only against other less important parts of the Bible–eghad! Needless to say, I left the group.

    So, I'm back on my prayerful studies on what you've offered above, and ask your patience with me?

    Your brother in Christ,


  • p.s.
    And I wholeheartedly agree with you that it's the Scripture and the Holy Spirit's revelation of truth to us that's the ultimate test of truth; however, as I consider the thoughts and assertions of each of you, I also more strongly consider the teachings of the first generation of teachers taught by the Apostles, i.e., ante-Nicene fathers. So, in that regard and in regard to Brother Nathan's discussion of the church fathers, please consider these quotes:

    Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho [150-165] " . . . but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians . . ."

    Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh [190-210], "… and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; … Since, then, the Scriptures both indicate the stages of the last times, and concentrate the harvest of the Christian hope in the very end of the world,…"

    Hyppolytus, On Daniel [220], "And when he has conquered all, he will prove himself a terrible and savage tyrant, and will cause tribulation and persecution to the saints, exalting himself against them…

    When the times are fulfilled, and the ten horns spring from the beast in the last (times), then Antichrist will appear among them. When he makes war against the saints, and persecutes them, then may we expect the manifestation of the Lord from heaven."

    Hyppolytus, On Christ and Antichrist [220], "in order that when those things come to pass, we may be prepared for them, and not deceived. For when the times advance, he too, of whom these thing are said, will be manifested…Now, concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the Church from the adversary … That refers to the one thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church…"

    These teachings of the first generation of church fathers certainly seems to indicate that we will suffer persecution and martyrdom at the hands of antichrist.

    Further, in regard to Jurieu and Gill, please consider:

    Pierre (Peter) Jurieu: "We are agreed that a time, times, and half a time, the 42 Months, the 1260 days do denote the time of the duration of the Antichristian Empire; and that all that while the church must be afflicted, beaten down, obscured, as it were hidden and swallowed up by persecution." The Accomplishment of the Scripture Prophecies or The Approaching Deliverance of the Church, London, 1687

    Here's what Gill had to say in his, John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible:

    "In this chapter the apostle guards against a notion, as if the second coming of Christ was at hand; declares that, previous to it, there must be a great apostasy, and a revelation of antichrist; comforts the saints against fears of being included in this defection; exhorts them to stand fast in the faith, and closes this chapter with petitions for them. He entreats them in a most tender and solemn manner not to imagine that the day of Christ was at hand, and that they would not be disturbed and moved at it; and points unto the several ways, and cautions against them, they might be imposed upon and deceived by men with respect to it . . ."

  • p.p.s

    Here's what Gill had to say in his, John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible:

    "In this chapter the apostle guards against a notion, as if the second coming of Christ was at hand; declares that, previous to it, there must be a great apostasy, and a revelation of antichrist; comforts the saints against fears of being included in this defection; exhorts them to stand fast in the faith, and closes this chapter with petitions for them. He entreats them in a most tender and solemn manner not to imagine that the day of Christ was at hand, and that they would not be disturbed and moved at it; and points unto the several ways, and cautions against them, they might be imposed upon and deceived by men with respect to it . . ."

    In addition to the above, here's Gills commentary on 1 Thess 4:

    " . . . and whereas some of them had lost some of their dear friends and relations by death, and were ready to exceed due bounds in their sorrow for them, he dehorts from such immoderate sorrow, as being like that of those that had no hope of a resurrection from the dead; whereas, seeing it was an article of their faith, that Christ was risen from the dead, they might assure themselves that those that sleep in him shall be brought along with him when he shall appear a second time, which will not be prevented by those that are alive when Christ comes; for as they will be changed, the dead in Christ will be raised at his coming; which coming of his will be in person, from heaven, with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and trump of God; and then both shall be caught up together to meet him in the air, and be for ever with him; and therefore they had no need to sorrow as others, since they should meet again, and never part more, and with which words they should comfort one another under their present loss . . ."
    Just food for thought, Brother!

    Blessings to you in humility and love,


  • Interesting discussion. What I see missing in the opening post is a failure to demonstrate how the time of Jacob's trouble is God's wrath. If the time of Jacob's trouble is the same time as the great tribulation, then there is a serious issue. That issue being that the Day of the LORD is when the wrath of God comes, see Zephaniah 1:14-15.

    There is a clear distinction between the great tribulation and the Day of the LORD and His wrath because of the cosmic signs which happen at the sixth seal. The cosmic signs happen occur AFTER the great tribulation, Matthew 24:29, but BEFORE the Day of the LORD, Joel 2:31. So they act as sort of a divider between the two events which occur in tandem but not during the same time period.

    Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

    -The Orange Mailman

  • Hippolytus believed the “woman clothed with the sun” was the church; that the church “brought forth a man-child who is to rule all nations” and the church flees into the wilderness for the 1260 days. He also taught that the Antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan, raise the kingdom of the Jews, and a bunch of other issues we might disagree with today. He even thought the world would end circa 500 AD. Some of the fathers didn’t want Revelation in the canon because of its Jewish content and millenarianism until Augustine allegorized it.

    Relying on the church fathers to strengthen one’s view is problematic whether you’re a pretribber or not.

    Zeph 1:14-15 declares the DOL is a day of wrath. What it doesn’t do is preclude God’s wrath from having begun earlier. There is no biblical basis to assume that God’s wrath, Satan’s wrath and tribulation aren’t concurrent or that God’s wrath can only occur during the DOL.

    As mentioned above, there are parallels with God’s wrath as described in the OT and the 4th seal, which is also inaugurated by divine decree. Matt 24:21-22 describes the GT as the worst time there ever was or will be. If that period must be terminated otherwise no flesh would be saved then what about the severity of the DOL? Note that this period is never said to be shortened by the rapture and is consistently said to last three-and-a-half years (Dan 7:25; Dan 12:1-7; Rev 12:4 and Rev 13:5, 7)


  • My apologies again for a tardy reply in our discussions–lots of heavy demands upon me of a higher priority than my doctrinal conversations.

    At any rate, I have been prayerfully engaged in studies and have considered your thoughts and comments, and you've made numerous good points, to be sure.

    However, my brothers, all rhetoric about early church fathers, theologians, etc., aside, at the end of the day in the plain reading of Scripture, one cannot get a pre-trib rapture theory by just reading Scripture. Parallel comparisons of Rev, Mat, etc., the Lord makes it perfectly clear that Christian will suffer persecution and martrydom at the hands of antichrist and the rapture won't happen until the 6th seal.

    So, I take my leave of our conversation, which I've enjoyed greatly, and will keep you both lifted in prayer, along with your ministry, Brother Nathan.

    As a final thought, a part of me hopes you're both right that we don't have to suffer Satan's wrath, at which point I'll be greatly relieved, to say the least. Conversely, if you and the millions (wide path?) who believe in a pre-trib rapture are wrong, what will be the fate of so many millions who will not be spiritually trained and prepared for such a battle?

    In His love, my Brothers!


  • Thanks for the prayers, Mick. I can always use them and I pray for you as well.

    A question on your final thought about those who take the “wide path” – how do you prepare for possible martyrdom other than faith in Christ? I am a former posttribber and I’m more prepared now than I was back then. Is there some sort of deficiency or difference in preparing to meet the Lord at any moment via rapture to that of sudden death or pre-seventieth week martyrdom? Are pretribbers only pretribbers because they lack the intestinal fortitude to exegete Scripture? Think about it.

    The Lord makes it clear that believers on the earth at that time will suffer persecution via the Antichrist. Nothing is said regarding the rapture.

    Non-pretribbers insist on reminding us that we aren’t spared tribulation. How many times do pretribbers have to remind NPs that we, in fact, agree with that? Again, we remind you to look at Ezekiel 5 and 14:21 and compare that with the 4th seal and demonstrate why that isn’t God’s wrath. We ask NPs to show biblically how Satan’s wrath cannot be concurrent with and/or a result of God’s wrath which leads to tribulation. Where is the text proof that these concepts are mutually exclusive? Why does a leading prewrather insist that the 4th seal doesn’t actually teach that ¼ of the earth’s population dies at that point? If he’s wrong, would he then be guilty of underestimating the severity of the 4th seal and causing people to “not be spiritually trained and prepared?”

    I challenge the idea that Matthew, Mark and Luke teach the rapture after the 6th seal. No rapture is mentioned at the Olivet Discourse or in Revelation. Matt 24:31 lines up with OT promises re the gathering of Israel. The moon signs don’t match the 6th seal. The great tribulation isn’t cut short the way prewrath argues (see above). The logical consequence of the rapture occurring between the 6th and 7th seals, Rev 7 and Rev 19 is more than one second coming. Rhetoric and early church fathers aside, one cannot get a prewrath rapture from a plain reading of Scripture either, Mick.

    In Him


  • Just one more thought in case you come back here, Mick.

    I spotted you comments at Discerning the world blog. It's one thing to act humble, talk about love and call us brothers -but there's some sort of hypocrisy at work when you talk about the "many wolves and liars of the pre-trib rapture".

    Mate, get your eschatology right and answer the criticisms leveled at your system before you go attacking pretribulationists.

    In Him


  • …whither he will descend, and will then clear the regions of the air of Satan, and his posse of devils, which now rove about there, watching all opportunities, and taking all advantages to do mischief on earth; these shall then fall like lightning from heaven, and be bound and shut up in the bottomless pit, till the thousand years are ended: here Christ will stop, and will be visible to all, and as easily discerned by all, good and bad, as the body of the sun at noonday; as yet he will not descend on earth, because it is not fit to receive him; but when that and its works are burnt up, and it is purged and purified by fire, and become a new earth, he will descend upon it, and dwell with his saints in it: and this suggests another reason why he will stay in the air, and his saints shall meet him there, and whom he will take up with him into the third heaven, till the general conflagration and burning of the world is over, and to preserve them from it; and then shall all the elect of God descend from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband, and he with them, and the tabernacle of God shall be with men… ~ John Gill

    Gill may not have been your classic pretribber but he was no prwrather either, Mick. In fact, prior to Van Kampen I do believe there were none.


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