What About Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching?
Do you have an article on the subject of pre-tribulation rapture? I find many TV evangelists are preaching this.
UK Apologetics Reply:
You have to understand that I am not concerned at what "TV evangelists" are preaching since, in my opinion, most of these people are committed to preaching heresy! It seems as though as long as these people get wealthy, they are not too fussy on being biblical.
You mention the word 'rapture' even though that is not even a biblical word so I am going to ignore that. The "tribulation" mentioned in Matthew 24 has, in our view, already come to pass. We're not waiting for some "tribulation" to come; for what was referred to by Christ came about in the period from AD66-73 but primarily in AD70 when the Romans besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. That does not mean that there won't be another time of trouble just before the parousia (the return of Christ to this earth in power and glory), there are indications that there will be, but the 'tribulation' which Jesus mentioned is now a most dreadful fact of past history.
Christ spoke of these events happening in the first part of Matthew 24. At that time, He promised, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (v. 34). What was written in the book of Revelation was stated as events which must "shortly come to pass" or "shortly be done" (Rev. 1:1, 22:6). That word "shortly" means something like "very soon" or "speedily!" Indeed, within about 40 years of Jesus uttering those words, and within around 7-15 years of Revelation being penned, Jerusalem was destroyed in AD70 (that is the 'generation' of Matthew 24:34), the church having fled to Pella just one year earlier. Regarding the Book of Revelation, one might wonder how a book which was once dated to the 90s AD could be concerned with warning of events to occur in AD70, however, the once very late dating for Revelation has now been revised. Most serious Bible commentators now realise that the writing of Revelation probably dates to a period around the late 50s-mid 60s AD. This being so, it is only logical that a warning would be issued of the horrendous events soon to come.
So we must face the fact that either Christ was speaking of things which were to happen in the lifetime of those who saw Him on earth, or, otherwise, He lied! The "Left Behind" series of books which teach a "rapture" to come (the rapture not even being a biblical word nor a biblical teaching), and a "great tribulation" to come are confusing and deceiving thousands of sincere people. So the tribulation which Christ spoke of happened in AD70. All we await now is the conclusion of the church age, the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection of the dead. Christians should be looking forward to the resurrection of the dead not to the rather silly concept of a "rapture." See I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Frankly, it may not be considered too 'politically-correct' these days but we should also be looking forward to our Lord taking revenge on those evil people who deny His very existence. See 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.
Robin A. Brace, February 5th, 2011.