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Post Trib Defense

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    Dear ,

    At age 16, when I found myself embraced by the love of God, I abandonedmy agnostic/atheistic world view and began to read and study the scripturesfrom a totally virgin point of reference never having been taught anyChristian doctrines at all.

    As I read the gospels and then the epistles, my first strong impression wasthat the Church would have to endure the Great Tribulation. As I began tofellowship with other vibrant Christians, I discovered that they held a verydifferent view.

    Not wishing to be contrary to sound thinking, or at variance with theaccepted doctrines of my new friends or the Church, I listened intently totheir pre-tribulation rapture doctrines and even bought a copy of HalLindseys Late Great Planet Earth when it first came out. But try as I might,none of the arguments I heard or read were very convincing. All I could becertain of was that we were living in the last days/years. I decided to put thedebate on a shelf until I was at a place where I could study the matter moreearnestly.

    During my years at O.R.U., I was very fortunate (blessed) to have wonderfulmature scholars that helped me: learn Greek (4 years) and Hebrew (1.5years), hone my critical thinking skills, and master the art of research. With aBachelors and Masters degree in Biblical Literature under my belt, and areputation for being an independent thinker, I had many of the basic skillsneeded to begin my own study of a variety of topics.

    In all of my studies since that time my two-part goal has been this:1) To accurately understand the teachings of Christ and the Apostles in

    the New Testament being true to the Greek grammar, and to soundhermeneutical principles (without regard to modern day doctrinalstances seeking only the truth in as much as it can be known).

    2) To make sure my ideas aligned with the predominant teachings andexperience of the Early Church Fathers (i.e., have an orthodoxtheology).

    I have studied the fascinating topic of the end times for many years now and I continue to go back over my findings from time to time to make sure Ihave not missed anything, or gotten it wrong. I truly believe that the factsIve uncovered along the way militate strongly for a post-tribulation raptureof the Church. This is based on 5 lines of defense:

    5 Reasons Why I believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture of the Church:1) The doctrine of a post-tribulation rapture has been the sole teaching

    of the Church up until the early 1800's. On the other hand, themodern-day widespread notion of a pre-tribulation rapture can only betraced back as far as the early 1800's. The two very minor exceptionsto this (Pseudo Ephraim c. 450 AD, and a seminary students novel

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    research paper from the late 1700s) can easily be dismissed as noveland spurious and without any support from the Church at large.

    2) Proponents of the pre-tribulation rapture believe in a secret secondcoming of Christ to rapture the Church before He publicly returns atthe end of the tribulation., BUT the writers of the Greek New

    Testament never once used vocabulary that would suggest that

    Christ's coming to rapture the Church would be secret or hidden fromthe general public. Instead, ALL of the New Testament Greek wordsused to refer to the rapture and Christ's coming are words that signifya very open, public, and visible event.

    3) The grammatical constructs used in the Greek New Testament make itquite clear that the rapture of the Church is tightly linked toChrist's public and very visible second coming. These events arenot separated by a seven-year tribulation period, nor by a three andone half-year period. So, when Christ returns upon the clouds of Glory,He sends the angels to gather the faithful (the dead and the living) toHimself (to meet him in the air and escort him back to earth), and thenChrist journeys on to His destination (the earth) with the saints and Hisangelic host.

    4) The simple and clear teachings New Testament text and the history ofthe Apostolic Church make it quite clear that the Church must beprepared to recognize and resist the great end-time apostasy, avoidthe deceptions of the many false teachers and prophets and messiahsthat would arise (including the Antichrist himself), and endure thepersecutions and hardships of Great Tribulation. These are not thekinds of warnings that Christ and the New Testament writers wouldmake to a Church that would never have to face such opposition byvirtue of a pre-trib rapture. A Church prepared to avoid the Great

    Tribulation will certainly not be prepared to endure it.5) Lastly, the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture necessitates many an

    artificial distinction and forces the reader to reinterpret the scripturesin a rather convoluted manner (distinctly different from the way theChurch has always understood them) so as to make their novel theorywork. This does an injustice not only to the scriptures, but also does agrave disservice to those so trained in this tradition.

    In the Near Future

    While we are just about to enter into one of the darkest periods of humanhistory, it is not all doom and gloom ahead. I firmly believe this severe timeof testing will produce a Church without spot or wrinkle, and will purify us as

    gold is tested and purified in the fiery crucible of the furnace.From all of my studies I believe we will see a global economic collapse and/orinflationary period that will bring threats of global chaos (more civil unrest,wars, famines, plagues, etc). This, in turn, will embolden the globalists toinitiate their New World Order something that the Antichrist will capitalizeon when he arises.

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    Just as the early church experienced Pentecost at a time when every actionwas overseen by an ungodly foreign force in a police state, I believe that theChurch of the last days too will begin to see a revival of the gifts that firstlaunched us into being. Already, many are experiencing significant dreamsand visions and God is preparing prophetic voices to help: guide, reveal,warn, encourage and correct us in the days ahead.

    I believe that we will be forced to lean upon each other in ways that wouldotherwise make us cringe, for we will need one another in ways we neverhave before. It will be a time when we enter the valley of decision, anddifficult choices will have to be made. Gone will be the froth of the bless mehedonism of recent days. Instead, we will each need to seek how we mightbecome a blessing to others and give up the self-centered materialisticpursuits of yesteryear.

    It will be a time when we see God do things in us and through us and in spiteof us as never before all the while sheltering his faithful citizens from theoutpouring of his wrath. As Noah was in the storms and the flood and yetprotected, as the people Israel were warned and sheltered from theoutpouring of Gods wrath against the Egyptians, as Daniel was in the lionsden, as the three Hebrew children were kept in the midst of the fieryfurnace, so we too will be watched over and protected in the midst of what iscoming upon the whole earth to try and prove what is in mens hearts.

    Even now we are entering a time of great shaking:Heb 12:25-27 ESV See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. Forif they did not escape when they refused him who warned them onearth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns fromheaven. (26) At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he haspromised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also theheavens." (27) This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal ofthings that are shaken--that is, things that have been made--in orderthat the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

    As Jesus notes (in Matthew 24:8): All these are the beginning of sorrows.

    This is a faithful and true saying: What God has been unable to accomplish inhis Church through good times, he will accomplish through hard times.

    And at the end, for those that continue and endure in the faith, there willcome that glorious day when Christ returns upon the clouds of Glory for Hiselect, and puts an end to all the madness, inequity, and injustice. He will drythe tears from our eyes, clothe us with heavenly imperishable bodies, remakethe earth, and will reign over us in perfect peace.

    Even so, Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

    Scholarly Evidence:

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    The Early Church on the Tribulation

    I could provide you with a long list of quotes from the 1st century onwards toillustrate what the Church has always taught, but Ill resist and will only give

    you a few to consider:The Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles c. 70-80/100)

    16:3 For in the last days the false prophets and corrupters shall bemultiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall beturned into hate. 4 For as lawlessness increases, they shall hate oneanother and shall persecute and betray. And then the world- deceivershall appear as a son of God; and shall work signs and wonders, andthe earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unholythings, which have never been since the world began. 5 Then allcreated mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall beoffended and perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved

    by the Curse Himself. 6 And then shall the signs of the truth appear;first a sign of a rift in the heaven, then a sign of a voice of a trumpet,and thirdly a resurrection of the dead;

    The Epistle of Barnabas (40-100)We take earnest heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time ofyour faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time wealso withstand coming sources of danger, as becometh the sons ofGod. That the Black One [Antichrist] may find no means of entrance,let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way ofwickedness. Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who arethe called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked

    prince [Antichrist], acquiring power over us, should thrust us awayfrom the kingdom of the Lord.

    The Pastor/Shepherd of Hermes (40-140)2[6]: 1 Now after fifteen days, when I had fasted and entreated theLord earnestly, the knowledge of the writing was revealed to me. 2"Thy seed, Hermas, have sinned against God 3 make these wordsknown to all thy children, and to thy wife 4 and to all the saintsthat have sinned unto this day repent with their whole heart, andremove double-mindedness from their heart. 7 Ye therefore that workrighteousness be steadfast, and be not double-minded, that ye mayhave admission with the holy angels. Blessed are YE, as many as

    endure patiently the great tribulation that cometh, and as many asshall not deny their life.

    Justin Martyr(100-168) - Dialogue of Justin - Philosopher and Martyr - withTrypho, a Jew

    Chapter 110: O unreasoning men! understanding not what has beenproved by all these passages, that two advents of Christ have beenannounced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious,dishonored, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from

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    heaven with glory, WHEN the man of apostasy, who speaks strangethings against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on theearth AGAINST US the Christians,

    Irenaeus (130-202 A.D.) -Against HeresiesChapter 35, 1. For all these and other words were unquestionably

    spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes placeafter the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations underhis rule; the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger bythe sight of the Lord awaiting Him from heaven, and who havesuffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one.

    Tertullian (150-220/240 A.D.)- On the Resurrection of the FleshChapter 25: The souls of the martyrs are taught to wait [in Rev. 6]...that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on theChurch of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into thebottomless pit ...

    Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop of Portus (160-240) - The interpretation byHippolytus, (bishop) of Rome, of the visions of Daniel andNebuchadnezzar, taken in conjunction.

    7: When the times are fulfilled, and the ten horns spring from thebeast in the last (times), then Antichrist will appear among them.When he makes war against the saints, and persecutes them, thenmay we expect the manifestation of the Lord from heaven.

    Dogmatical and Historical Treatise on Christ and Antichrist:Section 61: And the dragon," he [John the Revelator] says [Rev. 12:14],"saw and persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child.And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that shemight fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, andtimes, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." That refers to theone thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week)during which the tyrant [Antichrist] is to reign and persecute theChurch, which flees from city to city, and seeks concealment in thewilderness among the mountains, possessed of no other defense thanthe two wings of the great eagle, that is to say, the faith of JesusChrist, who, in stretching forth His holy hands on the holy tree,unfolded two wings, the right and the left, and called to Him all whobelieved upon Him, and covered them as a hen her chickens.

    Cyprian (200 to 258) - Epistle 55 - To the People of Thibaris, Exhorting toMartyrdom

    Section 7: Nor let any one of you, beloved brethren, be so terrified bythe fear of future persecution, or the coming of the threateningAntichrist, as not to be found armed for all things by the evangelicalexhortations and precepts, and by the heavenly warnings. Antichrist iscoming, but above him comes Christ also. The enemy goeth about andrageth, but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings andour wounds.

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    Victorinus (240-303) - Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed JohnChapter 7 of Revelation, and verse 2."And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal ofthe living God" He speaks of Elias the prophet, who is the precursor ofthe times of Antichrist, for the restoration and establishment of the

    churches from the great and intolerable persecution. We read thatthese things are predicted in the opening of the Old and New

    Testament;

    I could easily continue this list right up unto the present time, but thissampling illustrates what others have also discovered: that the Church hasunswervingly taught that the Christians will have to experience thepersecutions of the Antichrist.

    Key Words Used

    The words we will look at are as follows: Parousia, Apantesis, Epiphania,Phaino, Phaneroo, Optanomai, Erchomai, Apokalupsis/Apokalupto

    These key words are used to describe Christ's coming back to the earth. Theyhelp us understand how and when Christ comes to: resurrect the dead,destroy the Antichrist, bring judgment upon the ungodly, issue rewards to hisfollowers, and reign over his redeemed people in a redeemed world.

    When we couple an understanding of these key words with the constraints ofGreek syntax and grammar then we will begin to see more clearly why theChurch has historically believed in a post-tribulation rapture and return ofChrist.

    Parousia:The word parousia "means arrival, someone's coming in order to bepresent. Technically the noun is used for the arrival of a ruler a king,emperor, ruler, or even troops from the Ptolemaic period to the 2ndcentury A.D." (G. Braumann, in The New International Dictionary of New

    Testament Theology, vol. 2, article: "Present", p. 898, editor: Colin Brown,Zondervan Publishing House, 1975)When the word parousia is used concerning Christ, it is also used as aspecialized or "technical term," since it speaks "nearly always of hisMessianic advent in glory to judge the world at the end of the age"(Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, p.635);

    Apantesis:"When a dignitary paid an official visit or parousia to a city in Hellenistictimes, the action of the leading citizens in going out to meet him andescorting him on the final stage of his journey was called the apantesis ..."(F.F.Bruce, in New Bible Commentary, 1970, p.1159)."The use of apantesis in 1 Thess. 4:17 is noteworthy. The ancientexpression for the civic welcome of an important visitor or the triumphalentry of a new ruler into the capital city and thus to his reign is applied to

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    Christ. 'Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up togetherwith them in the clouds to meet the Lord ( ) in theair; and so we shall always be with the Lord.' The same thoughts occurin the parable of the ten virgins. The virgins leave to meet the bridegroom( ) i.e. the Lord, to whom they wish to give afestive reception (Matt. 25:1)." (W. Mundle, in The New International

    Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 1, article: "Come", p. 325,editor: Colin Brown, Zondervan Publishing House, 1975)

    Epiphania:The root of this word is from the primary particle epi: upon; and from theverb phaino: to shine or to make manifest, to illuminate, to shine, to beseen, to appear.

    In Greek texts " at the time of Jesus, the word had almost become atechnical term for the succouring appearance of an otherwise hiddendeity" (B. Gartner, in The New International Dictionary of New Testament

    Theology, vol. 3, article: "Revelation", p. 317, editor: Colin Brown,Zondervan Publishing House, 1975). It is "used to describe the powerfulintervention of the gods" (Ibid, p.318).

    In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint, LXX), theword is always used of "Yahweh's marvelous rescuing and redemptivevindication of his people in the sense of the OT theophany " (Ibid). Whenused in an eschatological sense it refers to his end-time intervention intohistory that is at once terrible for Gods enemies who will be punished andglorious for his faithful followers who will be redeemed and rewarded(Ibid).

    This same concept is carried over into the New Testament, and alwaysrefers to "the visible appearance of Jesus Christ on earth" (Ibid). Apartfrom speaking of Christ's redemptive intervention into human history athis first coming (ex. 1 Tim 1:10), it is also used in the eschatological sensefor his redemptive intervention at his second coming "the appearance ofthe Lord on earth at the end of history" (ex. 2 Thess. 2:8, Ibid, p.319).

    The word "epiphany" means "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity,"and in the literature of NT times, the word speaks "only of Christ'sappearing on earth." (Greek- English Lexicon of the New Testament, byBauer, Arndt & Gingrich, 1957, p.304)

    Phaino:

    The root of the word phaino is derived from a prolongation of the baseword phos: to shine or make manifest, especially by rays of light as from afire, torch, lamp, star, or God as as a source of light and illumination(spiritual or physical). Accordingly, phaino means shine, appear, becomemanifest, come into view (as in a visible outward appearance).

    "It is used of the 'appearance' of Christ to the disciples, Mark 16:9; of Hisfuture 'appearing' in glory as the Son of Man, spoken of as a sign to the

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    B.C. onwards, and then predominantly in a religious sense." Even thoughit is sometimes used as a synonym for phaneroo, apokalypto "refers to theremoval of a covering" while phaneroo implies bringing something into thelight (W. Mundle, in The New International Dictionary of New Testament

    Theology, vol. 3, article: "Revelation", pp. 310, 312, editor: Colin Brown,Zondervan Publishing House, 1975). Both describe a means of revealing

    something so that it can be known.

    All of the above words are used by the New Testament to describe Christ'ssecond coming, which includes (as we shall shortly discover) the rapture ofthe Church. Far from being a secret event, the above words demonstrate thatthe second coming of Christ and the resurrection and rapture of theChurch will be a very public and open event visible to all and by all.

    The connotation of these words argues heavily against the baseless opinionthat the rapture will be a secret event whereby non-believers will suddenlyand inexplicably be found alone in unmanned cars and planes and buses thatsuddenly careen out of control when their Christian operators mysteriouslyvanish at the rapture. This fairly recent and popular notion has absolutely nofoundation in the scriptures themselves but is instead a theological constructthat has been injuriously imposed upon God's holy word.

    Key Words NOT Used:

    If, on the other hand, the writers of the New Testament has wanted todescribe any aspect of Christ's second coming (including the resurrection andthe rapture of the Church) as something secret or hidden, then they wouldmost certainly would have used one or more of the following words:

    1. Aoratos - invisible2. Apokrupto - to hide, conceal, keep secret3. Kalupto - to hide, veil, to hinder the knowledge of a thing4. Kruptos (English derivative: cryptic) - hidden, concealed, secret5. Krypto - to hide, conceal, to be hid, escape notice, to conceal (that it

    may not become known)6. Lathra - secretly7. Musterion (English derivative: mystery) - hidden thing, secret,

    mystery, generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to theinitiated and not to ordinary mortals; or a hidden or secret thing, notobvious to the understanding; or a hidden purpose or counsel of eithermen or God to keep something hidden from enemies while disclosing it

    to allies.8. Parakalupto - to cover over, cover up, hide, conceal9. Perikrupto - to conceal on all sides or entirely, to hide, seclude

    but the fact is that the New Testament writers did NOT use ANY of thesewords to describe the coming of Christ to resurrect and rapture his church.Why? Because there is nothing secret or hidden about the coming ofChrist to rapture the Church! Instead, Christ's coming to rapture the Churchwill be a very visible and public event.

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    Below are 2 Important Words that Need to beUnderstood

    ParousiaThe word parousia "means arrival, someone's coming in order to be present.Technically the noun is used for the arrival of a ruler a king, emperor, ruler, oreven troops from the Ptolemaic period to the 2nd century A.D."(G. Braumann, in The New International Dictionary of New Testament

    Theology, vol. 2, article: "Present", p. 898, editor: Colin Brown, ZondervanPublishing House, 1975)

    When the word parousia is used concerning Christ, it is also used as aspecialized or "technical term," since it speaks "nearly always of his Messianicadvent in glory to judge the world at the end of the age"(Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, p.635);

    Greek (NA26) English (HCSB) Events

    (Matthew 24:3) ' , ,

    .

    (Matthew 24:3) WhileHe was sitting on theMount of Olives, thedisciples approachedHim privately and said,"Tell us, when will thesethings happen? Andwhat is the sign of Yourcoming and of the end

    of the age?"

    Jesus explains in thefollowing verses thatprevious to his comingthere will be: wars,earthquakes, famines,plagues, betrayals,false messiahs, falseprophets, deceptions,persecutions,

    tribulation.

    (Matthew 24:27) , .

    (Matthew 24:27) For asthe lightning comesfrom the east andflashes as far as thewest, so will be thecoming of the Son ofMan.

    Christs coming[parousia - so as to bepresent on the earthwith his saints] will beas quick as lightning

    (Matthew 24:37)

    , .

    (Matthew 24:37) As the

    days of Noah were, sothe coming of the Sonof Man will be.

    The days before hiscoming/parousia will

    be like Noah's day the ungodly ignoringall warnings to do asthey please

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    (Matthew 24:39) ,

    .

    (Matthew 24:39) Theydidn't know until theflood came and sweptthem all away. So this isthe way the coming of

    the Son of Man will be:

    Christs 2nd coming willcatch the ungodlyunprepared. [See 1st

    Thess. 5:4-5]

    (1 Corinthians 15:23) ,

    (1 Corinthians 15:23)But each in his ownorder: Christ, thefirstfruits; afterward, atHis coming, the peopleof Christ.

    Theresurrection/raptureoccurs at theparousia.

    (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

    ;

    (1 Thessalonians 2:19)For who is our hope, or

    joy, or crown of boasting

    in the presence of ourLord Jesus at Hiscoming? Is it not you?

    The parousia is thejoyous hoped for time

    when Paul can boastof those saved by hisministry

    (1 Thessalonians 3:13)

    . .

    (1 Thessalonians 3:13)May He make yourhearts blameless inholiness before our God

    and Father at thecoming of our LordJesus with all His saints.Amen.

    Paul prays that hisreaders hearts aremade blameless(which implies it willbe a time of

    judgment) in holinessby the time of Christsparousia, whichincludes Christ'scoming with all hisholy ones (cf. Mt25:31; and 2nd Thess1:7) which includeshis angelic army andhis faithful believers.

    (1 Thessalonians 4:15) ,

    (1 Thessalonians 4:15)For we say this to youby a revelation from theLord: We who are still

    alive at the Lord'scoming will certainlyhave no advantage overthose who have fallenasleep.

    Verses 16 and 17 saythat the parousiaincludes theresurrection and

    rapture of the deadand then the raptureof the faithful whoremain alive.

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    (1 Thessalonians 5:23) ,

    .

    (1 Thessalonians 5:23)Now may the God ofpeace Himself sanctifyyou completely. And

    may your spirit, soul,and body be kept soundand blameless for thecoming of our Lord

    Jesus Christ.

    Again Paul prays mayyour spirit, soul, andbody be kept sound

    and blameless for thecoming/parousia ofour Lord. Comparewith verse 3:13 above.

    (2 Thessalonians 2:1) ,,

    ',

    (2 Thessalonians 2:1)Now concerning thecoming of our Lord

    Jesus Christ and ourbeing gathered to Him:we ask you, brothers,

    The parousia includesour being gathered toChrist (i.e., therapture).

    (2 Thessalonians 2:8) , ,

    (2 Thessalonians 2:8)and then the lawlessone will be revealed.

    The Lord Jesus willdestroy him with thebreath of His mouth andwill bring him to nothingwith the brightness ofHis coming.

    The Lord Jesus willdestroy the LawlessOne with the breath ofHis mouth and willbring him to nothingwith the brightness ofhis coming

    (James 5:7) ,, . , ' .

    (James 5:7) Therefore,brothers, be patientuntil the Lord's coming.See how the farmerwaits for the preciousfruit of the earth and ispatient with it until itreceives the early andthe late rains.

    patience will beneeded to be able tosuccessfully endureuntil Christ return

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    (2 Peter 1:16)

    , ' .

    (2 Peter 1:16) For wedid not follow cleverlycontrived myths whenwe made known to you

    the power and comingof our Lord Jesus Christ;instead, we wereeyewitnesses of Hismajesty.

    His coming/return will

    be full of power

    (2 Peter 3:4) , ; ' , ' .

    (2 Peter 3:4) saying,"Where is the promise ofHis coming? For eversince the fathers fellasleep, all thingscontinue as they havebeen since thebeginning of creation."

    Many people will bemockers of Christ's2nd coming prior tohis return

    (2 Peter 3:12) , ' .

    (2 Peter 3:12) as youwait for and earnestlydesire the coming ofthe day of God, becauseof which the heavenswill be on fire and bedissolved, and theelements will melt withthe heat.

    the heavens will be onfire and be dissolved,and the elements willmelt with the heat

    (1 John 2:28) ,, ,

    ' .

    (1 John 2:28) So now,little children, remain inHim, so that when Heappears we may haveboldness and not beashamed before Him atHis coming.

    If we remain in Himthen we can be bold(rather than fearful)when he returns (for

    judgment)

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    Apantesis"When a dignitary paid an official visit or parousia to a city in Hellenistictimes, the action of the leading citizens in going out to meet him andescorting him on the final stage of his journey was called the apantesis ..."

    (F.F. Bruce, in New Bible Commentary, 1970, p.1159)."The use of apantesis in 1 Thess. 4:17 is noteworthy. The ancient expressionfor the civic welcome of an important visitor or the triumphal entry of a newruler into the capital city and thus to his reign is applied to Christ. 'Then wewho are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in theclouds to meet the Lord ( ) in the air; and so we shallalways be with the Lord.' The same thoughts occur in the parable of theten virgins. The virgins leave to meet the bridegroom (

    ) i.e. the Lord, to whom they wish to give a festive reception (Matt.25:1)."(W. Mundle, in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology,vol. 1, article: "Come", p. 325, editor: Colin Brown, Zondervan Publishing

    House, 1975)Greek (NA26) English (HCSB) Events

    (Matthew 25:1) , .

    (Matthew 25:1) "Thenthe kingdom of heavenwill be like 10 virginswho took their lampsand went out to meetthe groom.

    The virgins went outto meet and escort thegroom to the bridalfestivities.

    (Matthew 25:6) , , .

    (Matthew 25:6) "In themiddle of the nightthere was a shout:'Here's the groom!Come out to meet him.'

    (see the above)

    (Acts 28:15)

    , .

    (Acts 28:15) Now thebelievers from there[Rome] had heard thenews about us and hadcome to meet us as far

    as Forum of Appius andThree Taverns. WhenPaul saw them, hethanked God and tookcourage.

    Paul had left Puteoli togo to Rome, Thebelievers in Romewent out of Rome tomeet Paul so as toaccompany him to his

    destination. The nextverse makes thisclear:(Acts 28:16) Andwhen we enteredRome

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    (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

    .

    (1 Thessalonians 4:17)Then we who are stillalive will be caught uptogether with them in

    the clouds to meet theLord in the air; and sowe will always be withthe Lord.

    Believers meet theLord in the air. This isnot the destination ofthe Lord, nor dobelievers stay with theLord "in the air" for a

    prolonged time. No,they go out to meethim and accompanyhim as he prepares tocome to the earth.

    Factoids:

    Fact: The idea of a pre-tribulation rapture was 1st mentioned around the year500-600 AD in a sermon entitled "On the Last Times, the Anti-Christ, and the

    End of the World" written by a person claiming to be Ephraim the Syrian (agood preacher and poet who lived around 350 AD). The Church was notdeceived by this new doctrine, and very few people (if any) accepted thisstrange teaching.

    Fact: The next mention of a pre-tribulation rapture came from a theologystudent (Morgan Edwards) somewhere between the years 1742 and 1744while he was a student at Bristol Baptist Seminary in England. It was part of atheological paper he was writing. Letters exchanged between MorganEdwards and his theology instructor show that Morgan never believed in apre-tribulation rapture and Morgans preaching (after his graduation) showsno trace of a pre-tribulation rapture idea.

    Fact:The modern day widespread notion of a pre-tribulation rapture can onlybe traced back as far as the early 1800's. The idea began around 1820 AD, inboth Scotland and Ireland. A group of very influential preachers from thePlymouth Brethren developed the doctrine and began to teach it. Not all ofthe Plymouth Brethren accepted this strange new teaching many of themdenouncing it openly.

    Fact: John Darby and C.I. Schofield were two of the biggest promoters of thisnew doctrine. It was included in C.I. Scofields Study Bible and was quicklyadopted by many preachers in the U.S.A.

    Fact: Proponents of the pre-tribulation rapture believe in a secret secondcoming of Christ to rapture the Church some seven years or so before Hepublicly returns at the end of the tribulation.

    Fact:The writers of the Greek New Testament never once used vocabularythat would suggest that Christ's coming to rapture the Church would besecret or hidden from the general public. Instead, all of the New TestamentGreek words used to refer to Christ's coming are words that signify a veryopen, public, and visible event.

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    without an article of its own. Both nouns are genitive, singular,feminine.

    This construction links together the very public "coming of the Lord"with "our being gathered to Him" This construction made it clear thatthe two events were connected and most likely overlapping in

    time. The order of the words are important as well: Christ's visible 2ndcoming (returning to the earth) and then the rapture of the saints ashe descends (riding upon the clouds of glory, surrounded by theangelic host and accompanied by the saints).

    This is definitely NOT speaking of some secret pre-tribulation rapturethat is hidden from public view. To say that these events are separatedby a seven year gap is to read something into the text of 2nd

    Thessalonians 2:1that is not there. Doing so is an injustice to the wordof God and is something that Paul did not intend and would notcondone.

    This is nearly the same grammatical contruction as he used in Titus2:13 where Paul writes about "the blessed hope" ( [accusative, singular, feminine]) which he joins by the word "and" ()to the word "shining appearance" ( [accusative, singular,feminine]) of Christ. This means that the "blessed hope" is linked tothe very visible and illuminated appearing of Christ. They standtogether, and they describe the same event.

    While modern readers, who rely on English translations, or beginningstudents of Greek might miss this point, Paul's readers would mostdefinitely have recognized these connections without any difficulty.

    (Verse 2) not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit orby a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lordis at hand.

    Apparently, from what Paul states, someone had begun to spread therumor that the "Day of the Lord" was just about to take place or hadsomehow already taken place - furthermore, it was being said that thismessage came from Paul (or some equally prestigious source).

    The "Day of the Lord" is a very Jewish concept from the Old Testament.It was a time when the Lord would come in judgment to punish thewicked and reward the righteous (see Joel, Obadiah, Zephaniah, etc).With the advent of Jesus, believers now knew who the Lord was and sobegan referring to "that Day" as the Day of Christ - the Day of theMessiah (see Acts 2:16-36).

    There is NO difference between the various phrases used to describethis "Day": the Day of the Lord, that Day, the Day of Christ, the Day ofthe Lord Jesus, and the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any attempt by

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    modern readers to make a distinction between these phrases is whollymisguided - they are reading something into the text that was entirelyforeign to Paul and his readers.

    For those who interpreted this false message/rumor to mean that the"Day of the Lord" was immediately about to take place, we can see

    how it would encourage people to quit their jobs and just wait on thecoming of the Lord and the rapture, and the ensuing day of judgmentwhere the wicked would be punished and the righteous rewarded. Wesee Paul address this subject in 2nd Thessalonians 3:6-11.

    For those who might have understood this message to mean that the"Day of the Lord" had already occurred, then they would be disturbedto think that somehow the Lord had already come and the rapture hadtaken place, but that they had somehow been "left behind" andremained in the midst of tribulation and persecution.

    Either way (or both together), the rumor had greatly upset andtroubled the church.

    As we saw in verse 1, Paul had already begun to ease their mind andcorrect the false rumor by declaring that Christ's 2nd coming to theearth would include the rapture -our gathering together unto Him.Since Paul was still here to write them this letter, the rapture had notyet taken place - so the people in the church in Thessalonica had notbeen "left behind".

    In verse 2 Paul continues to calm their troubled hearts and minds byflatly telling them that the Day of Christ was NOT yet upon them ...something that he goes on to clarify in verses 3-5 and following.

    A basic timeline of coming events:

    Mt. 24:5-8 Wars, Famines, Earthquakes, and False Messiahs are but thebeginning

    (4) Then Jesus replied to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you.(5) For many will come [] in My name, saying, 'I am theMessiah,' and they will deceive many.(6)You are going to hear ofwars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because thesethings must take place, but the end is not yet.(7) For nation will riseup against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be faminesand earthquakes in various places.(8) All these events are thebeginning of birth pains.

    Mt. 24:9 Then the persecution/betrayal of Christians and the rise of falseprophets and lawlessness.

    (9) "Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will killyou. You will be hated by all nations because of My name.(10)Thenmany will take offense, betray one another and hate one another.(11)Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.(12) Because

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    lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.(13) But theone who endures to the end [] will be delivered.

    Mt 24:14 The gospel has to be proclaimed the throughout the world 1stand then the end comes

    (14)This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world

    as a testimony to all nations. And then the end [] will come [= be present/arrive].

    Mt. 24:15-20 The Abomination of Desolation takes place(15) "So when you see the abomination that causes desolation,spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place" (let thereader understand),(16) "then those in Judea must flee to themountains!(17) A man on the housetop must not come down to getthings out of his house.(18) And a man in the field must not go backto get his clothes.(19) Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothersin those days!(20) Pray that your escape may not be in winter or on aSabbath.

    Mt. 24:21-22 The great tribulation begins at that time(22) For at that time there will be great tribulation [], the kindthat hasn't taken place from the beginning of the world until now andnever will again!(22) Unless those days were limited, no one wouldsurvive. But those days will be limited because of the elect.

    Mt 24:27 The 2nd Coming of Christ(27) For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as

    the west, so will be the coming [] of the Son of Man.

    Mt. 24:29 AFTER the Tribulation Jesus comes with the angels andresurrects/raptures us

    (31) "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days: The sunwill be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fallfrom the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken.(30) "Then thesign of the Son of Man will appear [] in the sky, and then all thepeoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see [] the Sonof Man coming [] on the clouds of heaven with power and greatglory.(31) He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and theywill gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to theother.

    2nd Thess. 2:1, 3 The second coming of Christ and the rapture come afterAntichrist is revealed

    (1) Now concerning the coming []of our Lord Jesus Christand our being gathered to Him: we ask you, brothers, (3) Don't letanyone deceive you in any way. For that daywill not come unless theapostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the sonof destruction.

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    Jn 6:39, 40, 44, 54Jesus will raise us at the last [ = last, final,uttermost] day

    (39)This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none ofthose He has given Me but should raise them up on the last []day.

    (40) For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Sonand believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up onthe last [] day."

    (44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me drawshim, and I will raise him up on the last [] day.

    (54) Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life,and I will raise him up on the last [] day,

    1st Thess. 3:13 - Christians still alive will be made holy when Christ comes

    back with his saints/holy ones(13) May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our Godand Father at the coming []of our Lord Jesus with all His saints[lit: holy ones]. Amen.

    1st Thess. 4:14-17 This happens at the sounding of the trumpet(14) Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way

    God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.(15) For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who arestill alive at the Lord's coming []will certainly have noadvantage over those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the LordHimself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel'svoice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will risefirst. (17) Then we who are still alive will be caught up together withthem in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always bewith the Lord.

    Rapture, Resurrection, Last Trumpet - See:Mt. 24:31

    (31) He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and theywill gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the skyto the other.

    1st Cor. 15:51-52

    (51) Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fallasleep, but we will all be changed, (52) in a moment, in thetwinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet willsound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will bechanged.

    1st Thess. 4:16-17

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    (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with ashout, with the archangel's voice, and with the trumpet of God ,and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are stillalive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meetthe Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord.

    Rev. 8:2, 11:158:2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence ofGod; seven trumpets were given to them.

    11:15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there wereloud voices in heaven saying: The kingdom of the world hasbecome the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He willreign forever and ever!

    Revelation 16:12-17 When? Between the 6th & 7th bowl ofjudgment, Jesus announces he is coming.

    (12) The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, andits water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east.(13) Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming from thedragon's mouth, from the beast's mouth, and from the mouth of thefalse prophet. (14) For they are spirits of demons performing signs,who travel to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for thebattle of the great day of God, the Almighty. (15) "Look, I amcoming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remainsclothed so that he may not go naked, and they see his shame."(16)So they assembled them at the place called in Hebrew Armagedon.(17) Then the seventh poured out his bowl into the air, and a loudvoice came out of the sanctuary, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

    1st Thess. 5:4(4) But you, brothers, are not in the dark, so that this daywould overtake you like a thief.

    [Compare with Matthew 24:43 and 1stThessalonians 5:2]

    Mt. 25:31-34, 41, 46Then there is the judgment(31) "When the Son of Man comes [] in His glory, and all theangels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.(32) Allthe nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them onefrom another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.(33) He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.(34)

    Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who areblessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from thefoundation of the world.

    (41)Then He will also say to those on the left, 'Depart from Me, youwho are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and hisangels!

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    (46) "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteousinto eternal life."

    2nd Thess. 1:6-10(6) it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,(7) and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take

    place at the revelation [] of the Lord Jesus from heaven with Hispowerful angels, (8) taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don'tknow God and on those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9)

    These will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction, away from the Lord'spresence and from His glorious strength, (10) in that day when He comes[]to be glorified by His saints and to be admired by all those who havebelieved, because our testimony among you was believed.

    1st Thess. 5:4(4) But you, brothers, are not in the dark, so that this day wouldovertake you like a thief.

    NOTE: Faithful followers of God/Christ are always shielded from Gods wrath Noah was preserved while he and his family were in the midst of the

    rains and flood The Children of Israel were protected from the plagues of Egypt just

    before the Exodus Daniel was protected while in the lions den Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we shielded from the flames while

    in the fiery furnace. Jesus told the early Church to flee Jerusalem when it is surrounded by

    hostile troops Believers (in Revelation) will be warned to leave Rome before its

    destruction

    Overcoming Pre-Trib Arguments:

    The following is from a Baptist Newsletter published in January of the year2000. It is interesting because Baptists are known for believing in a pre-tribulation rapture. The author of this article does not appear to believe in thepre-trib rapture and gives us some good arguments against it. The 3 basicpre-trib arguments that the author refutes are in bold print below:

    The Rapture of the SaintsbyHerbert W. Butthttp://www.pbministries.org/Newsletter/2000/Jan/butt01_01.htm

    Revelation 3:10 is often appealed to as undoubted support for thepre-tribulation rapture theory. But the language, I will keep thee

    http://www.pbministries.org/Newsletter/2000/Jan/butt01_01.htmhttp://www.pbministries.org/Newsletter/2000/Jan/butt01_01.htm
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    from the hour of temptation does not demand such aninterpretation. The same verb and preposition are used in John 17:15where there is no idea of bodily removal of the disciples from the worldbut preservation from the power of evil in its very presence. The samepreposition is found in Galatians 1:4 where no physical removal fromthis age is in view but deliverance from its influence. Moreover, the

    promise of Revelation 3:10 applies primarily to the church ofPhiladelphia of Johns day. It was fulfilled not in its physical removalfrom the world but by way of sustaining grace through the trial thatcame upon it.

    Some pre-tribulationists insist the 24 elders of the Revelation are thetranslated church in heaven. They may represent the church and yetwithout involving the idea of a previous rapture. There is no conclusiveproof they do represent the church, however. In fact, they could beangels. In Revelation 7:14 John addresses one of the elders as hissuperior; and in 11:18 the elders distinguish themselves from theprophets, the saints and those who fear Gods name. In 14:3 the eldersare differentiated from the purchased from the earth who sing a songthe elders cannot learn. Whoever the elders are, the inference madethat they are the pre-tribulation raptured church is without biblicalwarrant.

    It is argued that after Revelation 3:22 there is no mention of thechurch, on earth, therefore it must be raptured before theevents described thereafter. But there is no mention of the churchas the corporate body of the redeemed before 3:22, nor thereafter ischurch used even of the saints in heaven. Is there no church inheaven? After 3:22 believers are called saints, brethren and othersuch titles befitting members of Christs mystical body. If they are notmembers of the universal church of Christ who are they? Christ hasonly one flock (John 10: 16). All the saints of all the ages have thesame inheritance in Christ (John 11:52; Eph. 2:11-22; Heb. 11:13-16,32-40; Rev. 21:12 and 14) and ultimately are in union with theascended Christ whether in their days on earth they were citizens oftheocratic Israel, of a congregation of believers among Gentiles, orearthly participants in the millennial kingdom. Moreover, the wordchurch does not occur in 1 Timothy, Titus, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1 and 2

    John. Does this prove the absence of the church?

    The stock argument of pre-tribulationists is that the churchcannot be on earth during the Great Tribulation because Godswrath will then be poured out. But as we have seen, saints are onthe earth then. Are only some saints exempted from Gods wrath?Surely not. All are. However, Scripture makes clear that whateverDivine wrath falls upon men in the Tribulation it will not strike thesaints (Rev. 7:3; 9:4; 16:2, 6, 10) any more than the plagues in Egyptbefell the Israelites.

    The Purpose of the Rapture and Application

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    The purpose of the rapture, then, is not to remove the saints from theworld prior to the final infidel persecution under the antichrist, but togather them to Christ at His coming to execute judgment in the earththat He might be glorified in them and marveled at by them (2 Thess.1:10). He will be glorified in their being manifested in glory with Him

    and acting as co-adjudicators and co-regents with Him (Col. 3:4; 1 Cor.6:2, 3; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 3:21; 5:10; 20:4; 22:5). It behooves us whoprofess His Name to seek grace to prove ourselves worthy of suchincomprehensible honor at His appearing and kingdom (2 Thess. 1:11,12).

    At another website (http://poweredbychrist.com/files/articles/Questions.htm)there are these thoughts:

    For those that believe that Revelation 3:10 describes a promise of apre-tribulation rapture, please compare it with 1Corinthians 10:13:

    Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, Ialso will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come uponall the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

    1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such asis common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to betempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also makea way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

    The argument is presented by dispensationalists that the church willbe raptured because we are not appointed unto wrath (1Thess.5:9). Iagree that God has not appointed us to wrath and a carefulexamination of the book of Revelation will divulge the fact that thewrath of God does not begin until the sixth seal (Rev.6:12-17), whichhappens concurrently with the seventh (last) trumpet (Rev.11:15-19)and the seventh vial (Rev.16:17-21). This is evidenced by the fact thatseveral of the same events are described in the 6th seal, the 7th

    trumpet and the 7th vial, which happen at the end of the tribulation(Matthew 24:29-31).

    ----------

    Authors you might wish to read for a more in depthanalysis:

    The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and theRapture by George Eldon Ladd (Mar 20, 1990)Paperback: 167 pagesPublisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; PF edition (March 20, 1990)ISBN-10: 0802811116ISBN-13: 978-0802811110

    http://poweredbychrist.com/files/articles/Questions.htmhttp://poweredbychrist.com/files/articles/Questions.htm
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    was chairman of the department of Biblical and SystematicTheology[1].

    Grudem served on the committee overseeing the English StandardVersion translation of the Bible, and from 2005 to 2008 he served asGeneral Editor for the 2.1 million-word ESV Study Bible (which was

    named "2009 Christian Book of the Year" by the Evangelical ChristianPublishers Association. Wayne Grudem holds to noncessationistCharismatic beliefs and was at one time a qualified supporter of theVineyard Movement and one of the main apologists and spokesmen forreuniting Charismatic, Reformed, and Evangelical churches.

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