The Rapture? Or Judgment?

Defending The PreTrib Rapture

Will It Be The Rapture?
Or Judgment?

What does the evidence of the revealed Nature
and Mind of the Lord say?

The Rapture? Or Judgment?

         In the ongoing scholarly debate pertaining to end times things and the timing of the “rapture” within the framework of God’s final judgment and as massive amounts of text and scripture quotes are brought forth in this discussion forum, usually I have found one critical piece missing in the deliberations. As prophetic verses and chapters from the Bible are cast back and forth in the intellectual quest for the high ground and superiority in the debate, many completely disregard a particular piece of the puzzle that must surely prevail. Not to diminish the importance of the whole counsel of God when dealing with eschatological things, but we must remember to consider this. . . the revealed nature of God and His protocols, the way He does things, which are evident throughout the Word of God.

       In Genesis chapter 18, when Abraham was living on the plains of Mamre, the Bible gives the account of God’s Judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham’s conversation with the Lord; in physical form; one of the “three men” who appeared unto him (Gen. 18:2). As we read the text, we find Abraham interceding, not on behalf of the wicked in the cities, but the righteous.

       “And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18: 23-25

       Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Six times he queried Him, asking Him if there were any righteous found within the cities, would He judge the cities? And each time, the Lord answered that, no, if fifty, or forty-five, or forty, or thirty, or twenty, or even ten, where found, He would not judge the city. Yet we find that not even ten were found within the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, except Lot, his wife, and their two daughters.

       As the morning dawned, Lot, his wife and daughters were forcibly removed from the city, as they strangely dawdled, with the Angel saying, “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither.” Genesis 19:22 Again, we see the Lord could not judge these wicked cities until the few righteous which remained were removed. Once they were removed, the Judgment of God fell and wiped these cities off the face of the earth.

       What’s the point of this particular portion of scripture? To show Abraham’s great diplomatic skills as he contests with God and queries His intentions? No. Clearly this text is here to show us the Gracious and Just nature of God’s Heart, to reveal His protocols--how He does things--as He enters into judgment against the sin of man. And as the debate over “when” the rapture takes place in God’s timetable for the tribulation, this area of scripture cannot but color that debate and the perceptions of our Heavenly father as we grapple with and interpret the issue of Born Again Christians and the Judgment of the Seven Year Tribulation.

       Shall God judge the righteous with the wicked? Shall not "the Judge of all the earth do right"? Has God changed since this conversation with Abraham? No. “For I am the LORD, I change not....” Malachi 3:6 and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8  Clearly, in light of these undeniable and visible proofs of God’s Character and personal protocols, the Church in the world has to be removed from the scene before God’s Judgment comes upon the earth, no matter when it starts. It is His Judgment against a sinful and rebellious world which has denied the purpose and finished work of Calvary, while the Judgment against our sins was executed on the Cross of Jesus Christ, we, believing that by simple faith. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” I Peter 2:24 and “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” John 2:2

       Even the reality of the rapture itself has been questioned and debated by many. Yet we read, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I. Thessalonians 4:16-18

       At some point in time before the Judgment of God falls on a wicked and rebellious world, a trumpet will sound and the rapture (a “catching away”) will take place, removing the Church from a sinful world, the Church, a visible Ambassador Corps representing the Kingdom of Heaven recalled from a world of evil nations that an invisible God has declared war against, their outreach to that world finally finished.

       To think, to say, that we will be here during that time shows a lack of understanding concerning the nature, the love, the heart of God as well as His protocols and ways of doing things and robs, not only that individual, but any listeners, of that “comfort” mentioned in I Thessalonians 4:18, a comfort that strengthens our hearts and minds against the pressures of these difficult and confusing times.

       A lot of the people I have run into out on the Internet which hold to a post-Tribulational theology (Preterist) in the timing of the rapture also possess a “judgment” mentality that they direct against the visibly deployed, true Church in the world. Dissatisfied with the “status quo” in the world and the wickedness of the times, they feel God simply “has” to judge His Church (most can't seem to grasp the concept that all our sins were judged on the Cross of Calvary) in the Great Tribulation for their perceived wickedness and rebellion which has brought all this about. If the Church’s influence is so weak in the world, surely it is because the Church is in rebellious sin against her Lord.  The true Church is washed in the Blood of the Lamb.  "Christendom" is a whole other story!

       Yet, I have met quite a few Spirit filled Christians of a caliber unparalleled in the recorded history of the Church. These same Christians which are baselessly condemned by the “prophets” around them, see, as I do, that the Church in America and the world is quite lively and healthy, yet still clings to worldly and secular means to impact the world for the Gospel, instead of trusting wholly in Him and the things He has provided in the spiritual realm just like the early Church did.

       But this is changing.  Faith is quickly becoming once again a dynamic, Biblically based way of life for the Christian Church and not just a theology we sit around and talk about.

      A quote once stated said this, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” Hopefully we can refrain from becoming preoccupied with when the rapture will take place; saddled with a “siege mentality” in light of current world events.  Fatalism, defeatism, and despair is the "Achilles heel" of Dispensationalist theology. Most certainly maintain a preoccupation with a loving and gracious Lord and Father whose intentions toward His Church are nothing but grace and peace, even in the most perilous of times, and maintain an aggressive, pro-active witness to a lost and dying world as we seek to preach the eternal Gospel faithfully to the very end.

In Defense of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture
David Reagan [PDF File]
Nine Proofs of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture
The rapture before John Darby? Say it isn't so!
11 reasons why Jesus will come back before the Tribulation
Nathan E. Jones
Rapture-resistance Reasoning -Terry James Prophecy Line
The Pre-Post Tribulation Rapture
Pete Garcia
There Can Only Be One - Why the Pre-Tribulation Understanding is the Only Correct View
Pete Garcia
Where is the Promise of His Coming? - In Defense of the Faith
Pete Garcia
Paul Proctor

The Rapture Answering the Critics
There Can Only Be One - Why the Pre-Tribulation Understanding is the Only Correct View
What the Ancient Church Fathers Believed
The Rapture Ready Homepage

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