Christian Apologetics Study

THE GENESIS CREATION WEEK MILLENNIAL DAY THEORY

Dec
27

The millennial day theory teaches that each of the seven creation days recorded in Genesis chapters one and two represents approximately one thousand years of human prophetic history on this Earth, then after the seventh day the final Judgment will come. The final judgment for unbelievers is mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15. We must understand that these days are approximately 1,000 years long and not exactly 1,000 years in duration. In other words, the Genesis creation week portends seven long periods of human history in which each period could be a few decades longer or shorter than 1000 years.  According to some eschatology experts, roughly six thousand years of history have already occurred since the creation of Adam.  The seventh millennium has begun in 21st century after the 20th century was beset with two world wars, widespread famine and disease, an increase in earthquake activity, and the revival of Israel in 1948. These events continue during the dawning of the seventh millennium or twenty-first century AD.

EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS

Today scholars debate and try to explain away the creation week. However, biblical chronology describes approximately 6,000 years from Adam and Eve to the year A.D. 2000. This means the six creation days of Genesis were prophetic because they forecast six long periods for human history where each day equaled approximately 1,000 years, followed by the seventh, or Sabbath, Millennium. According to 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4, one day with God is like 1000 years. God did not require seven days to complete creation. He could have done it in one day or less. The seven days were obviously prophetic a picture showing God’s planned 6,000-year history for humanity.

Early Christian writers held that at the end of 6,000 years of history, Messiah would return and reign for 1,000 years (commonly referred to as the Millennium). These included Barnabas and Irenaeus and many other Christian writers. For example, Barnabas wrote: “As there had been 2,000 years from Adam to Abraham, and 2,000 from Abraham to Christ; therefore, there will be 2,000 years for the Christian era and then would come the Millennium.”

Church father Irenaeus wrote concerning a belief of the early church: “For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed; it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand years.” Lactantius, tutor of the son of the Roman Emperor Constantine, stated in his Book of Divine Institutes, Chapter 14: “Let the philosophers know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed; and when this number is completed, the consummation must take place.” Therefore, if early Jewish and Christian theologians are correct in their prophetic interpretation of the Genesis creation week, we should be able to point out a prophetic parallel with each millennium of human history reflecting the Genesis creation week.

JEWISH TEACHERS

The Vilna Gaon (1720 – 1797 AD) also known as the Genius of Vilnius of Lithuania. Legend says he memorized the Old Testament Scriptures (Tanach) by age of three. He believed that each creation day in Genesis Chapter One represents one thousand years of human prophetic history, and all the details which occurred on these creation days preview corresponding future events.

CREATION DAY ONE

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (NKJV: Genesis 1:2-5).

On creation day one, darkness is separated from light. This creation event foretells Adam’s separation from God who is light (1-JOHN 1:5) at the beginning of the first thousand years (first Millennium). The first creation day also presage the proliferation of GOOD and EVIL during the first millennium of human history. When God said, “Let there be light,” He divided the light from the darkness. He called the light GOOD, implying that darkness sometimes symbolize EVIL. Light is a natural symbol for what is pleasant, good, or uplifting. Light is closely linked with God; in fact, God is described as light: “No longer will you need the sun or moon to give you light, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and he will be your glory. The sun will never set; the moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19-20). The psalmist wrote, “The LORD is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). God is said to be robed with light (Psalm 104:2), and that light dwells with him (Daniel 2:22). Darkness is no problem to God. Darkness and light are alike to him (Psalm 139:12). Micah saw God both as light and also as the force that brings people into the light (Micah 7:8-9). Both are ways of affirming that there is blessing and victory with God, so that a servant of God need never be dismayed.

Darkness on other hand sometime represents evil in the Scriptures. Darkness is mentioned in the story of the plagues God inflicted on Egypt; the ninth plague was an intense darkness that could be “felt” (Exodus 10:21-23). That darkness lasted three days; wherever Egyptians were, it was dark, but where the Israelites were, there was light. When the Israelites left Egypt, a cloud followed, separating them from their enemy, giving light to the Israelites but making darkness for the Egyptians (14:20). The Bible also tells us that thieves or adulterers are likely to do their evil deeds in the dark or at night (Job 24:16-17). However, several biblical passages speak of a darkness surrounding God. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai in a dense, black cloud (Exodus 20:21; Deuteronomy 4:11) or from the darkness (5:23). Darkness is pictured as a shelter or cloak around God (2 Samuel 22:12; Psalms 18:11; 97:2). God sets a boundary for light and darkness (Job 26:10), brings darkness (Psalms 104:20, 105:28), and creates light and darkness (Isaiah 45:7). God dwells in thick darkness (1 Kings 8:12; 2 Chronicles 6:1), and thick darkness is under his feet (2 Samuel 22:10; Psalm 18:9).

Therefore, God, who knows the future, could make the first day of Creation to represent the first millennium of human history. “Let there be light and it was good.” Likewise, during the beginning of the first millennium, God put man in the Garden of Eden, and gave him a choice between the TREE OF LIFE and the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. During the course of the first millennium, mankind grappled with the spread of good and evil. Because the first millennium was established with the creation of Adam, he and his immediate descendants were the first millennium men to choose between forces of good and evil.

CREATION DAY TWO

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. “And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. “And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day” (NKJV: Genesis 1:6-8).

The second creation day predicts the worldwide FLOOD of Noah’s violent generation during the second millennium of human history. The global flood caused worldwide destruction on planet Earth. When God divide the waters and made the firmament during the second day, He did not say that this formation of waters were good because He knew that someday in the future the waters above and the waters below would destroy pre-flood humanity. The firmament came as judgment upon an unbelieving human race. It is evident that the great Flood of Noah’s day was predicted by the events of second creation day. Noah was roughly 600 years old when the Flood came. Because the great Flood happened roughly 1,656 years after Adam, then Noah was probably born around 1056 years after the creation of Adam, he probably was born 126 years after Adam’s death. Therefore, Noah becomes the second millennium man after creation.

CREATION DAY THREE

“And God said, Let the water under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. “And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. “And the evening and the morning were the third day” (NKJV: Genesis 1:9-13).

On creation day three, dry land appears. This day previews Joshua leading Israel into the Promise land (eretz Yisrael) in the third millennium of human history.  The third creation day also forecasts the rebirth of plant life, human civilization, and call of Abraham during the third millennium of human history. He caused the land to be fruitful and multiply. When God caused the waters of the great flood to decrease and gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth,” His actions reflect the third day of Creation when the Earth brought forth vegetation following the creation of dry land. During the third millennium, the Earth again produced vegetation to replace that, which was destroyed by the Flood. Furthermore, at the beginning of the third millennium, God called Abraham, born roughly 2,008 years after Adam, to produce a chosen People who would love and serve God, and produce the Messiah Yeshua. Abraham was the third millennium man, after whom the millennium was established. He made a covenant, which sets up an organized system of religion and a way by which the human race can be spiritually fruitful. We can see it at Sinai when God established the Mosaic covenant with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

CREATION DAY FOUR

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: “And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. “And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, “And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. “And the evening and the morning were the fourth day” (NKJV: Genesis 1:14-19).

The fourth creation day foretells the Kingdom of David, Messiah Yeshua’s birth,  and the origins of Christianity during the fourth millennium of human history. On that day God created lights in the firmament of the heaven. He created stars and set them in the heavens for signs. This is a prophetic overview of those days that began with the kingdom of David. Born around the turn of the fourth millennium, David becomes the fourth millennium man, after whom the millennium was established. In the years that followed, most of the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures were written. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, Joel, Amos, Zechariah, and others were surely lights set in the firmament of human history to give us prophetic signs.

The fourth millennium concluded with the introduction of another great light. When the fullness of time was come, thus ending the fourth millennium, God sent His Son, “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:4,5). Yeshua said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The sun is a type of Messiah Yeshua. But then Yeshua turned to His disciples, who represented New Testament Christianity, and said, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, New Testament Christianity should reflect the glory of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Yeshua.

CREATION DAY FIVE

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the Earth in the open firmament of heaven. “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. “And the evening and the morning were the fifth day” (NKJV: Genesis 1:20-23).

On the fifth creation day, God made the birds. In the Holy Scriptures, birds are sometimes portrayed as evil demons, but at other times a bird represents God the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. This creation day previews the corruption of the Church in the fifth millennium.   The fifth creation day also presage the move of the Holy Spirit during the fifth millennium of human history. The water appears to be a type of the Holy Spirit and the term, “bring forth abundantly,” seems to be a picture of the great commission. On this fifth day God called forth the fish.  Messiah Yeshua was born at the beginning of the fifth millennium, making Him the fifth special person born around the turn of the millennium, and after whom the millennium was established. After Yeshua, there are no more millennium men. No one can compare to Him. The fifth day of Creation represents the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (typified by water) and the development of Christianity, as the early church be-came “fishers of men.” We may recall, Yeshua told His disciples that He would make them to be “fishers of men.” And the insignia of the early church was a fish. The phrase, “be fruitful and multiply” is a prophetic picture of our responsibility as New Testament Christians. We are to take the message of the Gospel to every creature.

CREATION DAY SIX

 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. “So God created man in his own image, in the im-age of God created he him; male and female created he them. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply … “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (NKJV: Genesis 1:24-31).

The six creation day portends the RAPTURE event and believers transformation into GOD’S IMAGE during the the sixth millennium of human history. Because this day is a picture of the rapture of Messiah’s Church and the IMAGE OF GOD, it reflects the sixth day when God made man in His own image. In like manner, many believers in Yeshua are looking for the resurrection and rapture around the end of the sixth millennium, to be made again like unto His image. The fall of Adam may be a prophetic type of the battle of Armageddon when an unbelieving human race will be judged of God. After the fall, God predicted that Eve would travail in childbirth. In like manner, the sixth millennium concluded with a series of the prophetic “birth-pangs of travail.” These birth pangs, however, will bring forth a new humanity recreated in the image of God. The Apostle Paul wrote: “This corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:53). That is what the rapture and the resurrection is all about.

CREATION DAY SEVEN

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.  And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (NKJV: Genesis 2:1-3).

When God ended His work and rested, He gave us a prophetic view of the great Sabbath rest — the seventh millennium of human history. Because of God’s own emphasis on the SABBATH, literally, spiritually, and prophetically, and since a thousand years to the Lord is as a day (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8), ancient and modern scholars see the seventh millennium as the Sabbath Millennium, with many prophetic implications; namely, the return of the Lord and His 1,000-year reign on the earth. God’s labor of creation took six days, followed by a day of rest. His SABBATH commandment to Israel was “to keep it holy.” His creative work with humanity, and humanity’s labor, likewise probably comprises six (thousand-year) days, with the seventh being one of divinely provided rest and holiness, with God present and exalted on the earth.

From the very dawning of human history, one can follow God’s plan of the ages through the Genesis account of the Creation week. This must be what is meant in Isaiah 46: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah. 46:9-10). God did not wait until the days of Yeshua, or David, or Moses, or even Noah to present His plan, He laid it out from the very beginning. God declared the end from the beginning.

CREATION WEEK PROPHETIC SUMMARY

Skeptics argue that since A.D. 2000 has come and gone, then this fact proves the six day millennial theory is wrong. However,  the prophetic millennial days  in the Holy Scriptures represent approximate time frames and not exact time frames. Some of the days representing each millennium were a few years or decades longer, while other days were a few years or decades shorter. While the Sacred Scriptures are very precise when using the prophetic calendar (360 days for one year) for dealing with the nation of Israel and Messiah Yeshua’s First Coming, the Holy Bible appears to employ a general time-frame for the six day millennial history for mankind and for Messiah Yeshua’s  Second Coming to Earth. The ancient Hebrew’s count time differently than people living today because the number 1,000 was sometimes used as the largest number prophetic writers could think of.  This means that each day of creation represents an approximate time frame of 1,000 years of human history rather than an exact period of 1,000 years.

Based on all the above, it can be concluded that sometime soon after the beginning of the 21st Century, we will see the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Messiah Yeshua following the global worldwide upheavals. He will first come for His Church at the rapture before revealing himself to the world at Armageddon. The brilliant Sir Isaac Newton, believe the Scriptures contain clues related to the season of Messiah Yeshua’s return.  There is evidence that the Bible reveals the approximate number for years of “the times of the Gentiles” and the exact span of time for Israel’s rebirth in 1948 and the recapture of

Jerusalem in 1967. Therefore, leaving believers completely clueless about the season of His return would violate God’s own established pattern as revealed in His Word.  We are not left clueless. There are many signs. Let us remain watchful and ready, and be found doing the work Messiah Yeshua wants us to do. The 21st Century will likely be the Messianic century, which begins the Sabbath Rest for humanity during the millennial era of Messiah Yeshua.

PRIMARY SOURCES

Millennial Day Concept by J.R. Church. Dictionary of Bible Prophecy by Ron Rhodes; The Last Days by Richard H. Perry; the Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy by Stephen Miller; Learn The Bible in 24 Hours by Dr. Chuck Missiler; and The Book of Revelations by Larry R. Helyer, PhD.; The Next World War by Dr. Grant Jeffrey; The Prince of Darkness by Grant Jeffrey;  Isralestine by Bill Salus; Revelation Road by Bill Salus; Unleashing the Beast by Perry Stone. God’s War on Terror by Walid Shoebat, 7000 Years Prophetic History by Steve Cioccolanti.

BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY, CREATION SCIENCE Comments Off on THE GENESIS CREATION WEEK MILLENNIAL DAY THEORY

FOUR VIEWS ON THE RAPTURE OF GOD’S CHURCH

Dec
01

When we study Biblical eschatology, we should remember that many believers in Messiah Yeshua concur on three major Scriptural revelations. First, there is coming a time of great apocalyptic tribulation worldwide. Second, after the Tribulation, Messiah Yeshua will return to establish His kingdom on planet Earth in Jerusalem Israel.  And third, there will be a Rapture event, when believers are supernaturally translated from mortality to immortality (John 14:13; 1 Corinthians 15:5152; 1 Thessalonians 4:1617).  However, prophecy teachers disagree about when the rapture of the Church will occur in relation to the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Messiah Yeshua.

RAPTURE THEORIES

Through the years four main theories have emerged concerning the timing of the Rapture. The first rapture theory is MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE view. This theory teaches the rapture of the Church will occur either during or shortly after the midpoint of the Tribulation. The second rapture theory is PRE-WRATH RAPTURE view. This theory teaches the rapture of the Church happens sometime before the Seven Vials of Wrath are released upon the world. The third rapture theory is POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE view. This theory teaches the rapture of the Church will occur at the end of the Seven Year Tribulation.  And the fourth rapture theory is PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE view. This theory teaches the rapture of the Church will occur before the Seven Year Tribulation begins. In other words, the rapture of the Church will occur sometime before all 21 Judgments begin on planet Earth.

MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE THEORY

The mid-tribulation rapture theory teaches that the rapture occurs at the midpoint of the tribulation.  During this period, the seventh trumpet sounds (Revelation 11:15), the Church will meet Messiah Yeshua in the air, and then the bowl judgments are poured upon the earth (Revelation 15 to 16) in a time known as the great tribulation. In other words, the rapture and Messiah’s Second Coming are separated by a period of three and a half years. According to this view, the Church goes through the first half of the tribulation but is spared the worst of the tribulation in the last three and a half years.

Believers in the mid-tribulation rapture theory point to the chronology given in 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3. The order of events is as follows: 1) apostasy, 2) the revelation of the Anti-Messiah, and 3) the day of Messiah. The mid-tribulation theory teaches that the Anti-Messiah will not be decisively revealed until “the abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15), which occurs at the midpoint of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27). Believers in the Mid-tribulation theory use Daniel 7:25, which says the Anti-Messiah will have power over the “saints” for three and a half years, to bolster their point—they assume this is the first half of the tribulation and that the saints spoken of are the church. Also, they interpret “the day of Messiah” as the rapture. Therefore, the Church will not be caught up to heaven until after the Anti-Messiah is revealed.

Another foundational teaching of mid-tribulation rapture theory is that the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is the same trumpet mentioned in Revelation 11:15. The trumpet of Revelation 11 is the final in a series of trumpets. Therefore, it makes sense that it would be “the last trumpet” of 1 Corinthians 15. This logic fails, however, in view of the trumpets’ objectives. The trumpet that sounds at the rapture is “the trumpet call of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), but the one in Revelation 11 is a harbinger of judgment. One trumpet is a call of grace to God’s elect, but the other is a pronouncement of doom on the wicked.

First Thessalonians 5:9 says that the church has not been appointed “to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.” This would seem to indicate that believers will not experience the tribulation. However, believers in the mid-tribulation theory interprets “wrath” as only referring to the second half of the tribulation—specifically, the bowl judgments. Limiting the word in such a way seems unwarranted, however. Surely the terrible judgments contained in the seals and trumpets—including famine, poisoned rivers, a darkened moon, bloodshed, earthquakes, and torment—could also be considered the wrath of God.

The mid-tribulation rapture theory places the rapture in Revelation 11, prior to the start of the great tribulation. There are two problems with this placement in the chronology of Revelation. First, the only occurrence of the term “great tribulation” in the entire book of Revelation is in 7:14, before the opening of the seventh seal. Second, the only reference to a “great day of wrath” is in Revelation 6:17, during the events of the sixth seal. Both of these references come too early for a mid-tribulation rapture event, which is timed according to the seventh trumpet.

PRE-WRATH RAPTURE THEORY

The pre-wrath rapture theory says that the rapture occurs before the “great day of wrath” (Revelation 6:17). According to the pre-wrath view, believers go through most of the tribulation but not the time of God’s wrath just before the end of the tribulation (Matthew 24:21). The church will endure Satan’s fury and man’s persecution, but will be spared God’s wrath. Before God pours out His final judgment on the world, the church will be caught up to heaven. Here is a brief summary of the pre-wrath rapture position. The pre-wrath rapture theory views the trumpet and the bowl judgments (Revelation 7–16) as the wrath of God, from which the church is exempted (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

However, the first six seal judgments (Revelation 6) are not considered the wrath of God; rather, they are viewed as “the wrath of Satan” or “the wrath of the anti-Messiah.” This is because there is no direct mention of God’s wrath until after the sixth seal is broken (Revelation 6:17). According to the pre-wrath rapture theory, the church will be present to experience the first six seals. Comparing Revelation 6 with Matthew 24, the pre-wrath rapture theorists identify the first seal judgments with Yeshua’ description of the end times in Matthew 24:47.

Yeshua then refers to these events as “the beginning of birth pains” (verse 8). In verses 29 and 30, “the sign of the Son of Man” appears in the sky, and it is at this time, according to the pre-wrath rapture theory, that the rapture of the church occurs. One weakness of the pre-wrath rapture position is its presumption that the “elect” mentioned in Matthew 24:22, 31 are church age saints. These saints could just as easily be individuals saved during the seven year tribulation and in fact, Yeshua tells those who flee the anti-Messiah’s persecution to pray that their flight does not occur “on the Sabbath” (verse 20). Since the church is not under the Mosaic law and does not keep the Sabbath, Yeshua’ words cannot be directed to the church. Another flaw in the pre-wrath rapture theory is its teaching that the first seal judgments are not the wrath of God. Scripture shows that it is the Lamb who opens the seals (Revelation 5:5; 6:1). No other man is found worthy to open them (5:34). It would seem, then, these are not man’s judgments, but God’s. The tribulation begins when Yeshua opens the first seal, and from that point on, the wrath of God is meted out on a sinful world.

 POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE THEORY

The post-tribulation rapture theory teaches that the Rapture occurs at the end, or near the end, of the Tribulation. When this time arrives, the church will meet Messiah in the air and then return to earth for the commencement of Messiah’s Kingdom on earth. In other words, the Rapture and Messiah’s Second Coming happen almost simultaneously. According to this view, the church goes through the entire seven year Tribulation. Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, and many Protestant denominations espouse a Post-tribulation rapture view of the Rapture. One strength of post-tribulation rapture theory is that Yeshua, in His extended discourse on the end times, says He will return after a “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21, 29). Also, the book of Revelation, with all its various prophecies, mentions only one coming of the Lord—and that occurs after the Tribulation (Revelation 19:20).

Passages such as Revelation 13:7 and 20:9 also lend support to post-tribulation rapture theory in that there will obviously be saints in the Tribulation. Also, the resurrection of the dead in Revelation 20:5 is called “the first resurrection.” Post-tribulation rapture believers assert that, since this “first” resurrection takes place after the Tribulation, the resurrection associated with the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 cannot occur until then. Post-tribulation rapture believers also point out that, historically, God’s people have experienced times of intense persecution and trial. Therefore, they say, it should not be surprising that the church also experiences the Great Tribulation of the end times. In relation to this, the post-tribulation rapture view distinguishes “Satan’s wrath” from “God’s wrath” in the book of Revelation. Satan’s wrath is directed against the saints, and God allows it as a means of purifying His faithful. On the other hand, God’s wrath is poured out on the Anti-Messiah and his godless kingdom, and God will protect His people from that punishment.

One weakness of post-tribulation theory is the clear teaching of Scripture that those who are in Messiah are not under condemnation and will never experience the wrath of God (Romans 8:1). While some judgments during the Tribulation specifically target the unsaved, many other judgments, such as the earthquakes, falling stars, and famines, will affect the saved and unsaved equally. Thus, if believers go through the Tribulation, they will experience the wrath of God, in contradiction of Romans 8:1. Post-tribulation rapture believers also face a difficulty in explaining the absence of the word church in all biblical passages related to the Tribulation. Even in Revelation 4–21, the lengthiest description of the Tribulation in all of Scripture, the word church never appears. Post-tribulation rapture believers must assume that the word saints in Revelation 4–21 means the church, although a different Greek word is used.

PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE THEORY

The pre-tribulation rapture theory teaches that the Rapture occurs before the Seven Year Tribulation begins. During this time, the Church will meet Messiah Yeshua in the air, and then sometime after that supernatural rapture event, the Anti-Messiah is revealed and the Tribulation begins. In other words, the Rapture and Messiah’s Second Coming are separated by at least seven years. Therefore, based on this perspective, the church does not experience God’s 21 Judgments during the Tribulation

For many Biblical eschatology experts, the pre-tribulation rapture perspective is more consistent with God’s Word and His merciful nature than all other competing rapture theories. For example, the church is not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:910, 5:9), and believers will not be overtaken by the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The church of Philadelphia was promised to be kept from “the hour of trial that will to come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10). Notice that the promise is not preservation through the trial, but deliverance from the hour, that is, from the time period of the trial.

Pre-tribulation rapture theory finds support in what is not found in Scripture. The word “church” appears 19 times in the first three chapters of Revelation, but, significantly, the word is not used again until chapter 22. In other words, in the entire lengthy description of the Tribulation in Revelation, the word church is noticeably absent. In fact, the Bible never uses the word “church” in a passage relating to the Tribulation. Pre-tribulation rapture is the only theory which clearly maintains the distinction between Israel and the church and God’s separate plans for each. The seventy “sevens” of Daniel 9:24 are decreed upon Daniel’s people (THE JEWISH COMMUNITY LIVING IN ISRAEL) and Daniel’s holy city (JERUSALEM). This prophecy makes it plain that the seventieth week (SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION) is a time when God returns to dealing and restoring the nation of Israel and Jerusalem, but not for the believers in Messiah Yeshua’s Church.

SUMMARY OF RAPTURE THEORIES

The primary weakness for all the competing rapture theories is the Holy Bible does not give an explicit time line concerning future events. The Holy Scriptures does not expressly teach one view over another, and that is why we have diversity of opinion concerning the end times and some variety on how the related prophecies should be harmonized.

Nevertheless, as we come closer to the final days of human history, many believers and non-believers will attack the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine for various reasons. Skeptics will say the pre-tribulation rapture theory is escapism, but Messiah Yeshua said “watch and pray always that you are counted worthy to escape all these things” (Luke 21:36).  Skeptic will say the pre-tribulation rapture theory only offers psychological comfort. However, St. Paul says comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

As we near Messiah Yeshua’s return, Christians will experience persecution in North America because the Church is not promised complete protection from Satan’s wrath and mankind’s attacks. Today, many Arab and African Christians are dying at the hands of Islamic militants, while Western Christians wonder how God will bless them tomorrow.  When Christianity began in the First Century AD, it was more dangerous to be Christian in Rome, than in North Africa or the Middles East.  Western Christians must understand that within the next few years, there will probably remain no real Christians living in the Muslim nations decorating the Middle East because the Church is living in the era of Satan’s wrath and not God’s wrath.

A growing number of believers think they will survive the tribulation days by stock piling food and military supplies. They do this because they fail to understand that all 21 judgments (the 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, and 7 Bowels) are all part of the wrath of the Most High God. Persecution should never be something a believer seeks, but we should be physically, mentally, and spiritually prepared for it when the enemy shows up to fight us. We can resist the Adversary with prayer and fasting and logical decision making, but we can never defeat the Most High God. Therefore,   it is impossible to escape the wrath of God unless we embrace Him as our Lord and Savior before the Tribulation begins.  This author believes that you should do this today while there is still time.

RELATED SOURCES

Bible Mysteries; Donald P. Ryan, PhD; 2000. The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy; Stephen M. Miller; 2010. The Last Days; Richard H. Perry; 2006. The Book of Revelation; Larry R. Helyer, PhD and Richard Wagner; 2008. Article by Dr. Thomas Ice. Bible Prophecy Revealed  by Dr. Grant Jeffrey. Article by Dr. David Reagan. Learn the by in 24 Hours by Dr. Chuck Missler. Comments by Dr. Gary Stearman. Got Questions? Org.

BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY Comments Off on FOUR VIEWS ON THE RAPTURE OF GOD’S CHURCH