believe Jesus could rapture the Church at any moment.
Others say He won’t do so until the middle of the
others place the rapture at the very end of the tribulation
period. Are any of them right, or could the Bible teach a
different option altogether?
rapturism teaches that Christ will rapture the saved before a
seven year tribulation period or what is called the seventieth
week of Daniel,
thereby saving the church from
end-time persecution and martyrdom. Although not new,
this view gained wider acceptance in recent times by the Left
Behind book series, but what has been left behind is the real
“seven year” tribulation has become synonymous with
evangelical prophecy. Yet
one discovers this popular view
is not only contrary to the language of the vision itself…
“day-for-a-year” principle, transferred from the books of
Ezekiel (4:6) and Numbers (14:34) and forced upon the literal
periods of Daniel, was first considered an option during the Dark
Ages likely as an answer to the long delay in Messiah’s return.
The “time, times and half” (1,260 days) of Daniel 7:25
was turned into years (1,260 years) and so forth.
The historicist view of prophecy became the popular view of Christendom
for several centuries.
in more recent history, a novel concept was proposed—the seven year tribulation. I
was taught this prophetic view during my childhood, but upon
closer examination realized this interpretation was built upon
hypothesis and presented several contextual inconsistencies.
First, Gabriel’s straightforward and very explicit time
frame is overturned, and the last “seven days” of the 70 week
prophecy in Daniel 9 are declared to be “seven years.”
Second, an even greater theological liberty is taken: the
last week is chopped off from the other 69 weeks and applied
arbitrarily to the end of time.
innovative approach to Daniel 9:27 grew steadily in popularity
through widely published commentaries, being widely disseminated
from pulpits everywhere. Now
the seven year
tribulation has become synonymous with evangelical prophecy.
Yet one discovers this popular view is not only contrary to
the language of the vision itself, but to other clear-cut
statements in God’s prophetic visions. For instance, the Word of
God states that Antichrist is to rule three and one-half years,
and no longer.
However, he is arbitrarily granted an additional three and
one-half year reign to coincide with the seven year teaching.
considering century-old traditions or modern-day presumptions, we
should question the reliability of all teachings; we must get back
to the foundational tenants of God’s Word and let the Scriptures
speak for themselves.
are the facts. When we
study the “taking up of the believers” in the Biblical
prophecies without preconceived ideas, we discover both good news
and bad news. The good news is the last days will last just
over three and one-half years,
not seven years. However, the bad news is that followers of
Christ will be here to face this period of great trials and death
itself, until God’s wrath is about to be poured out
during the last 40 days of the Great Tribulation; then deliverance
this reason, for those who live near the close of this world’s
history, the prophecies relating to the last days especially
demand our attention. From
pulpits and classrooms, pastors and teachers should be warning of
extremely difficult trials which loom before us.
Leaders should be preparing those under their care for the
deceptions foretold to come from Lucifer’s schemes and his
modern-day false prophets, who will unleash “signs and lying
wonders,” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). However, most slumber on
and the church will enter the
appointed time of the end confused and unprepared for the
overwhelming calamities that will break upon mankind with mighty a
force and unspeakable devastation. The pretribulational view
breeds complacency through the idea of the great escape from
trial. It has fostered
spiritual laziness and lack of watching, and will lead to a crisis
of faith when the trials of the last days fall upon each person as
a crushing weight.
how should we search the Scriptures in order to understand what
they teach, so that we might teach others what we’ve learned?
We should come to the investigation of God’s Word with a
humble attitude, and a teachable and prayerful heart.
We should not think that our ideas and opinions are
perfect, or believe that professionals are the sole guardians of
truth and knowledge; and, that we have no obligation to search the
Scriptures to challenge common views. And, we should not study the
Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions or
doctrines, but with the simple object of learning what God has
said. We must
prayerfully allow God to speak to through His ancient prophets.
Let us have sufficient faith to believe He will do just
that, when we take the time to study His Word and pray, seeking
truth… no matter the cost.
of the Pretribulational View
pretribulational view had early advocates when it was first
introduced in the 1800’s, including Arno Gabelein, Harry
Ironside, James Gray, Ruben Tory and Lewis Sperry. The Scofield
Reference Bible of 1909 and the revised edition of 1917, which
included pretribulation rapturism as a major part of its prophetic
teaching, greatly popularized this modern view of the secret
rapture more than any other force. Most Bible conferences,
Bible colleges and seminaries under the influence of these
men adopted this view.
book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church
examines the weaknesses of pretribulation rapturism. The author
wrote concerning the historical starting point of this teaching,
noting that most evangelical Christians are unaware “this
position, widely held by conservative premillenarians, is
relatively new in origin. As an established view, it can be traced
back to John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren in the year 1830.
Some scholars, seeking to prove error by association, have
attempted (perhaps unfairly) to trace its origin back two years
earlier to a charismatic, visionary woman named Margaret
MacDonald. In any case, neither its recent origin nor its
source proves nor disproves its correctness. But if
pretribulationism is used as a badge for orthodoxy, one is faced
with the perplexing question of what to do with the millions of
godly believers who, for almost eighteen hundred years, did not
hold to pretribulation rapturism. Among them are men like
John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, John
Knox, John Hus, William Carey, John Calvin, Isaac Newton, George
Whitfield, A.B. Simpson, George Mueller, John Newton, Jonathan
Edwards, John Wycliffe, John Bunyan, and many others.”
the book, Rosenthal presents insights, although sparingly, into
how Jewish Holy Days may fit into the final events, which closely
parallel The Kingdom Calendar.
Rosenthal documents how God’s wrath is not only to be poured out
against the Gentile nations,
but also against Israel when she is brought into account for her
Weaknesses of the Pretribulational View
Bible teaches the taking up of believers occurs on the very day
the Day of the LORD begins;
and therefore, many pretribulation rapturists believe (such as
Scofield), out of necessity, the Day of the LORD must begin and
continue for seven years through Daniel’s seventieth week.
Nevertheless, several problems emerge from the teaching that the
Day of the LORD starts at the commencement of a seven year
tribulation, and at the secret rapture of the church.
the Bible teaches there will be cosmic
disturbances before the Day of the LORD,
not after it has started.
This would necessitate the darkening of the sun, moon and stars
before the secret rapture.
the Hebrew Bible teaches the Day of the LORD’s wrath will
commence immediately after the believers are taken. In other
words, there can be no delay between the beginning of the Day of
the LORD and God’s judgment. The Day of the LORD is always
associated with the immediate and decisive wrath of God against
However, pretribulation rapturists teach that Antichrist is given
control of Planet Earth during the Day of the LORD, and that
God’s wrath is delayed by several years.
the Word teaches Elijah must come before the Day of the LORD
not after it commences. So again, Elijah would need to arrive
in ministry before the secret rapture, but this is never taught in
Christ associates His “thief in
the night” return not to a secret rapture but to judgment,
division and destruction. In fact, His return is compared to
the annihilation of sinners in the global flood. __________________________________________________
the Scriptures teach the apostasy and revelation of the Man of Sin
will precede the Day of
The church cannot and will not be taken before the Lawless One is
revealed in the Temple of God. Antichrist would need to come
into power before the secret rapture.
the Scriptures teach the gospel is to go to the entire world, and
then (and only then) will the Day of the LORD come.
The great commission to go to the whole world was given to the
followers of Christ to fulfill. Furthermore, Jesus promised
He would be with the faithful even to the end of the world,
not just until a secret escape. Christ admonished the
believers to endure to the end,
to then be saved.
this truth: believers have never been exempt from trial and
persecution throughout the centuries. Even today, countless
Christians are persecuted and killed around the globe each and
every year for their faith, and hundreds of thousands, even
millions, have been martyred through the centuries. The idea
of a wholesale escape from trouble is an American-based theology
in a country where freedom to worship has been upheld and
Christianity is the prevailing religion. However, our relatively
peaceful lives and freedom to worship as our consciences lead us
will be taken away, as last-day tragedies increase and the
collective mind of the masses seek to implement a common religion
in an attempt to restore God’s favor to our war-torn and
freedom will soon turn to religious fury, as our nation and the
entire world “wonders after the Beast.” For those who do
not follow the popular “Christian” religion of that day, each
will be persecuted at the hand of the church-state governments
like that of the Dark Ages. This harassment will grow in time to
exceed our wildest imagination, even in the United States—the
land of the free.
Thief in the Night
think the Bible teaches a secret rapture because it says that
Christ comes “as a thief in the night.” However, ponder
the evidence in the Scriptures. In the Gospel accounts,
Yeshua admonished His servants to be prepared and watching for the
Son of Man’s coming.
Christ associates His “thief in the night” return not to a
secret rapture but to judgment, division and destruction. In
fact, His return is compared to the annihilation of sinners during
the global flood in Noah’s day. The people were going
about their day-to-day activities, but then the waters came and
destroyed all but a few; so it will be at the coming of the
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, Paul again takes up the “thief in the
night” theme. The message is not to promote a secret
rapture, but to forewarn once again of judgment, division and
destruction. Instead of sinners being confused by missing
friends and relatives in a secret church-wide getaway, the wicked
will know assuredly the Day of the LORD is upon them because of
unprecedented death and ruin all around them.
wrote, “The Day of the LORD will come like a thief in the night.
While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will
come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and
they will not escape.” Paul adds that indeed “God did
not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through
our LORD Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
However, this salvation will be simultaneous with the Day
of the LORD, followed by the overthrow of all sinners.
Himself associates the “thief” activities with an ill-equipped
church, just as the world will lack in watchfulness and
preparedness. Christ said in a direct warning, I “know
your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are
dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I
have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God.
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it,
and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief
and you will not know at what time I will come to you,”
(Revelation 3:2-3). Yeshua adds, “He who overcomes” the
end-time trials without denying Christ “will... be dressed in
white,” (Revelation 3:5).
Persecution: A Blessing in Disguise
considered persecution a blessing.
Believers are to suffer just as Jesus suffered.
This is a basic truth, and persecution is an essential part
of the Christian experience: “Remember the words I spoke to you:
‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they
persecuted Me, they will persecute you also,” (John 15:20).
Prophecy is very clear in its directive that the obedient
last-day faithful will face great trials.
only escape will come just before the Day of the LORD’s wrath is
unleashed; it is from Jehovah’s wrath we are to be saved, not
from the anger and resentment of strangers, or even former friends
and family members.
does God’s Word say about escape for the faithful? There are two
groups of believers. The
first group will be sealed for protection (the twelve tribes of
Revelation 7:1-4—those who are “alive and are left” behind;
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) to endure the final end.
The second are those overcomers, the great multitude of all
nations (Revelation 7:9-14) who will be resurrected—whether dead
for one minute, one day or for years—taken up at Yom Kippur to
“escape from the midst of great tribulation” because of their
patience during trial. Yeshua
promised the faithful last-day believers, “Since you have kept
My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour
of trial [Great Tribulation] that is going to come upon the whole
world to test those who live on the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one
will take your crown. Him
who overcomes I will make a pillar in the Temple of My God”
(Revelation 3:10-12)—a permanent Temple dweller (Revelation
7:15). This escape of the victorious saints transpires just before
the seven angels exit the Temple with God’s plagues of wrath.
After being taken to Heaven
for the short duration of the Great Tribulation, this “great
multitude” of all nations will return with the King of kings 40
days later at His visible climactic return, for the gathering of
His 144,000 sealed elect and the destruction of all remaining
Jesus taught the wheat and tares (weeds) will grow together.
At the end of the world in simultaneous fashion, the wheat
will be gathered into His barn, while the tares will be burned.
God’s people are in need of true holiness, that He may gather a
mature grain, ripe for harvest. As Daniel predicted, “many
will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will
continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand,
but those who are wise will understand,” (Daniel 12:10).
John adds, “Everyone who has this hope [of Christ’s return] in
him purifies himself, just as He is pure,” (1 John 3:2-3).
as believers will be called upon to stand before leaders and
rulers, and they must know the truth.
God can teach us more in moments of trial by His Holy
Spirit than we could learn from renowned men of the earth. At
great cost, God has provided us the opportunity to know the true
Savior, Christ Jesus the LORD.
Today is the day to follow Him all the way to His Kingdom,
no matter the cost.
Constructed from Daniel 9:24-27
Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5
Author, Marvin Rosenthal, published in 1990, Publisher Thomas
To my knowledge, Mr. Rosenthal has neither seen nor endorsed The Kingdom Calendar
Romans 2:3, 5-6, 8-9; Obadiah 15-16
Isaiah 40:2; cf. Isaiah 17:4-8; 33:10-14; Zechariah 13:8-9;
Malachi 3:2-5; 4:1
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-4; Revelation 11:15-19
Isaiah 13:9-11; Ezekiel 32:7-10; Joel 2:10-11; 30-31; Matthew
24:29-31; Mark 13:24-
26; Luke 21:25-28; Acts
2:17-20; Revelation 6:12-17
Joel 1:15; 2:1-2, 10-11, 30-31; 3:14-16; Amos 5:18-20; Isaiah
2:12-21; Isaiah 13:6-13;
Ezekiel 13:3-8; 30:2-3;
Zephaniah 1:14-2:3; Zechariah 14:1-4; 2 Peter 3:7-10
Matthew 24:36-44; Luke 12:35-48
Daniel 11:33-35; Revelation 12:17
1 Thessalonians 4:14; Jude 14-15