Sunday, August 16, 2009

Don't Forget the Pre in Pre-Tribulation

a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “before” (preclude; prevent); applied freely as a prefix, with the meanings “prior to,” “in advance of,” “early,” “beforehand,” “before,” “in front of,” and with other figurative meanings (preschool; prewar; prepay: preoral; prefrontal).

"For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think {He will.} Matthew 24:44 NKJV

As I have had the opportunity to teach about what the Bible has to say on the subject of the end of this age, I often hear the same questions which in turn tells me many are confused about the same things. One of these concerns the timing of the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.

I am one of many who hold the position that the Church is taken away to be with the Lord prior to the beginning of the Tribulation. Those who believe this are called Pre-Tribulationists, as they believe the Church is raptured Pre-Tribulation. The questions I most often hear regarding this position reflect an interest in knowing how far in advance of the beginning of the Tribulation the rapture may occur.

The answer to that question is simply there is no way to know because God chose not to reveal the specific time He would send His Son to take us home. This resulted in what is called the Doctrine of Imminence, or the belief that Jesus could return for His Church at any time as there are no biblical requirements or preconditions to be met before the Rapture. Jesus did, however, go into great detail about what the world would be like, and events that would take place, immediately preceding the start of the Tribulation.

What I have found lately is that because so much time has passed between the teaching by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, and the obvious occurrence of many of the signs Jesus told us to watch for, a school of thought has begun that the Rapture of the Church will occur on the same day the Tribulation begins. This then, allows for the possibility we may know when it will occur because there is plenty of evidence to suggest the Tribulation will begin on one of the Feast Days appointed by God for the nation of Israel. Obviously, because the Fall Feast Days are quickly approaching, speculation is rampant that the Rapture is going to occur on one of these days.

Now let me quickly add that it is entirely possible this may happen, and personally, as a result of my studies of the geopolitical relationships and events in the Middle East right now, I can see the Tribulation beginning very very soon indeed. If the Tribulation were to begin in September on one of the Feast Days, it would not surprise me in the least. But this leads me to the point I want to make as reflected in the title of this post. Let's not forget the "pre" in "pretribulational".

so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, {right} at the door. Matthew 24:33 NASB

We obviously are seeing many of the signs that Jesus told us to watch for, and this means, as He said, He is right at the door. All He has to do is get the ok from the Father, and He can open that door and take us away to be with Him. "Pre" means before, and considering the events that Daniel tells us occur at the beginning of the Tribulation, it seems logical that the Rapture of the Church could well be the event which puts in motion others resulting in the enforcement of the covenant which starts the Tribulation period. The Rapture may not precede the Tribulation by much, but I think it reasonable to believe it does not occur on the same day the Tribulation begins.

God, in His great mercy, has delayed the rapture so as to offer the gift of eternal life to as many as He could. Our responsibility while we watch is to tell as many as we can about the future of this world, and the salvation available to all who believe. Even more so as we see the signs of His coming before us, and the knowledge that our time here on earth is rapidly coming to an end.

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Matthew 24:42 KJV

Join me in being "on the alert" and "watching". Today could be the Day!