Problems with a Pretrib Rapture, Part 3

If tribulation saints are not plausible candidates for consideration as the uncommitted people who will fall away to betray and hate one another during the end-times persecution, and since Matthew 24:10 specifically says that many shall be offended, then some of the pieces of the pretribulation rapture puzzle are not fitting together here.  Toss in a large group of fiercely loyal newly converted Jewish Christians into the mix, and the rapture cannot plausibly occur at the beginning of the great tribulation.

A mixed mass of people and a period of persecution must be a couplet linked together concurrently on one or the other side of both the rapture and the tribulation.  The rapture removes the Christian church, leaving only the future, newly converted die-hard tribulation saints. Persecution sifts out and divides the offended from the un-offended.  The events of both the rapture and some form of persecution divide the same identical large body of people into two distinct halves…those raptured and those not raptured…and those offended and those not offended.  Intense, sifting-out persecution cannot overtake a main Christian church raptured away into heaven, isolated forever from nominal churchgoers on earth.  It would therefore appear that a large disparate body of people and an intense period of persecution must be together, either before or after the rapture.

This means that either persecution shifts backwards in time, before the church is raptured, affecting both the genuine church and the apostate church together in time as one large group.  Or this requires the presence on earth of the genuine church combined with the apostate church, as one large group, shifting forward in time into persecution/tribulation.  The unique nature of the resiliency, steadfastness, and narrowly committed exclusivity of the group of people called tribulation saints, who are probably not susceptible to many betraying and hating each other, is an important key to our understanding of the timing of the rapture.

It appears then that the rapture cannot occur in isolation.  The rapture cannot occur outside of a close relationship to an intense level of end-times persecution and tribulation that would be so great as to noticeably split the “church” in two, as described in Matthew 24:9-10.  After the rapture…after the close of the church age, the only Christians remaining on earth to the end of time are newly converted post-tribulation saints, and they do not fit into the description of potentially offended people and the events of Matthew 24:9-10.  After the rapture, tribulation saints are not susceptible to becoming offended by persecution or adversity (Matthew 13:21).  To fulfill Matthew 24:9-10, an unprecedented level of intense persecution has to find and overtake the main Christian church for some period of time before the rapture occurs, and one solution to this riddle is for the rapture itself to shift forward in time into the tribulation.

If a satisfactory alternate explanation is to move some intense period of persecution into the time slot preceding the start of the tribulation, then why go to such dispensational premillennial efforts to sustain a pretribulation rapture interpretation?  The intensity of a sifting-out split of the “church” through worldwide persecution (Matthew 24:9-10) is equivalent to the magnitude of the actual great tribulation itself.  Sparing the Christian church from tribulation then loses its meaning, purpose, and appeal.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

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