The contention made by pretribulation proponents today that because the Bible is rich in prophetic content we should therefore be readily capable of accurately interpreting end-times prophecy ahead of time is in my opinion an over-reach of horizontally conventional thinking. The notion that we can piece together all of end-times prophesies in a highly detailed sequential chain of events, fundamental to the pretribulation program, should at the very least be approached with some amount of healthy questioning based upon the brief arguments made above.
The best current projection of upcoming events can only be partially accurate because all of the end-times information is not in yet. Human intellect combined with an assessment of current events can only take us so far at this point in time. As frustrating as this may be to human intellectual pride and hubris, we still need to exercise faith regarding our full understanding of upcoming biblical end-times prophecies. We will need Holy Spirit revelation according to the Joel 2:28-29 verses to illuminate more fully the whole end-times picture. We will need Spirit-filled Christians having the gift of prophecy to contribute additional details according to God’s will and timing, with a “thus sayeth the Lord” quality of authority to back up their pronouncements, over and above mere human intellectual, scholarly opinion.
In Revelation 10:4, God actually instructs John to “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.” This clearly indicates that God is not telling us absolutely everything through the current biblical end-times prophetic revelation.
During the preceding decades 10 A.D. and 20 A.D. leading up to the start of the ministry of Jesus Christ, there were many Jews living in Israel who had difficulty reconciling the two prevalent views of the coming Messiah as presented in the Old Testament. Some verses portrayed a political king who would free the nation of Israel from its enemies (Isaiah 11:10-12; Jeremiah 23:5-8; Ezekiel 37:21-28), and some prophetic verses portrayed the Messiah as someone who would suffer (Isaiah 53). Combined within a single advent, these two views seemed on the surface to be in contradiction. They needed the actual events to occur to clarify their meaning.
Some Jews, as they listened to John the Baptist preach by the river Jordan, said to themselves that something momentous was in the making, and that they would wait and see how events would unfold. Yet no one anticipated that God Himself, through His Son Jesus Christ, would sacrifice His human body through Roman crucifixion as atonement for our sins. This took everyone by surprise. This is why Jesus lightly criticized the two disciples on the road to Emmaus by saying “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26).
In hindsight, all of the Old Testament “types” and prophecies made perfect sense in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even the brutally honest and pride humbling thought of God having to sacrifice Himself on our account, through His crucifixion for our sins, only made clear sense looking back in hindsight. The sheer blindness of self-inflated pride would have prevented mankind from seeing beforehand our great need for God’s help.
If those Jews, pondering these events as they unfolded, kept an open mind and open heart, God eventually revealed the full truth about the nature and person of the Messiah. Not only did people like the apostles and disciples come to finally understand the events of the cross and the resurrection (in hindsight), but people like Nicodemus the Pharisee and Joseph of Arimathaea also were probably rewarded with full salvation faith (although not recorded in scripture) after the resurrection of Jesus. These two men, like many in Israel, partially grasped the importance of the life of Jesus of Nazareth in-the-moment, as evidenced by their timely and inspired procurement of His body from the cross and the subsequent preparation of an honorable burial for Jesus. Thousands of people were converted to faith in Jesus at Pentecost (Acts 2:41), after the crucifixion and resurrection.