The end-times revelation of God is not that the church will be raptured pretribulation, but that the mystery of iniquity will be exposed through the latter-rain preaching of Spirit-empowered Joel 2:28-29 Christians and Holy Spirit engineered events. It is the added push of the Spirit poured out upon all flesh in the world that is the element that takes our understanding and our facility with the pin-point accurate truth of the gospel, to a level of power and boldness equal to or beyond that experienced in the early church.
A critical point in this discussion is that only God could engineer salvation out of the negative rejection, incomprehension, and unbelief of mankind in first-century Israel and the contemporary Greco-Roman world. Redemption from sin through the atonement of the cross of Calvary is counter-intuitive to conventional thinking at the extreme limits of reality of any type or kind whatsoever…divine or humanistic (Isaiah 53). The sheer originality of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus are beyond the reach of human creative literary imagination, composed within the puzzling, humanly unimaginable context of deadly rejection and ignorant unbelief.
The scenario of the cross and resurrection is validated as true because it passes the stringent test of containing the very real risk of falsification. During that last fateful week in Jerusalem the religious authorities might not have been offended enough to condemn Jesus at all. That God could imagine, compose, and orchestrate all of the remarkable events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God, having it all make both profoundly inspired sense and having eternally beneficial practical application for untold millions of people, is a testament to the creative genius of God far above our own human literary skill-sets.
The fact that no one at the time understood the direction and purpose of the cross and the resurrection (Luke 22:62; John 19:40; Matthew 27:63; Luke 24:1; and Luke 24:21), raises the entire redemption scenario above humanistic creative invention, validating God as its divine author. This concept has huge apologetic value. And this concept is critical to reaching a balanced understanding of the extent of God’s revelation regarding end-times prophecy today.
No mere human writer could or would invent the Roman crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the instigation of the Jerusalem religious leaders, producing a divine atonement for the shortcomings of the human race funneled through the inconceivably tight circumstances of the messianic expectations in first-century Israel. When the upcoming end-times are over, God may look back in hindsight and say to last-days Christians: “good effort trying to figure it all out-ahead-of-time, but none of you were entirely right.”
In my opinion, the issues to divide at the end of redemptive history are too subtle and too important for anyone other than God to sort out. To thoroughly expose the “man of sin…the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) along with the underlying ill-effects of sin will take the creative skills of God Almighty, to match the brilliant life-script of Jesus of Nazareth in the first century. In the uniquely singular case of the redemptive atonement of Jesus Christ in first-century Israel, the magnitude of the event required that it be seen in hindsight as the complete and total workmanship of God, outside of full human understanding in-the-moment.