A Response to "Summary of Problems With Posttribulationalism"
By Jerry Giese
Prerequisites: The Doctrine of the Tribulation in Relation to the Rapture
A Response to "The Doctrine of the Tribulation in Relation to the Rapture"
Ron Rhodes gives "problems" why post-tribulationalism cannot be true. The following is my response to his opinion.
The Problem of Imminency.
Rhodes: The problem for posttribulationists is that all the Rapture passages seem to indicate an imminent Rapture, while the Second Coming is preceded by specific events. The difficulty is in reconciling these two distinct events into one single event.
Giese: The difficulty that Rhodes alleges is no difficulty at all. Jesus said:
The gathering of the elect is the rapture which happens after the tribulation. As we see these two distinct events happen at one single event, which is no difficulty at all because Jesus said it will happen that way. The difficulty for pre-tribbers is they keep ignoring the words of Christ. Rhodes says the "Rapture seems to indicate an imminate rapture." This is completely false considering the words of Christ in Matthew 24:29, 31. Let's look at the further references of "imminency:"
Another problem in the alleged rapture verses in Matthew 24: 36-42, is where one is taken and one is left. Jesus compared His coming to a non-imminent event, the days of Noah. The flood didn't come "at any time." It could only come after the ark was completed and after Noah entered the ark. The ones who were taken during the flood died. And Noah was left (Genesis 7:23).
Like a Thief:
The day of the Lord is after the Tribulation and will come as a thief in the night.
In the "thief references," we are instructed to be on the alert or else Jesus will come unto us as a thief. He will come as a thief not to rapture, but to destroy at a time when we will not know when He comes.
As we continue further into imminence, Paul said the day of Christ (which is synonymous with the day of the Lord) can not come until two things happen beforehand. First, a falling away which is Apostasy or a falling away of the faith. The second, the man of sin needs to be revealed. This isn't imminancy. Again Rhodes' assertion is incorrect.
Another problem with pre-tribbers concerning imminency is that Peter and Paul didn't expect imminency. They expected their death was imminent, instead. In the Book of John, Jesus instructed Peter how he would die:
Peter and Paul knew their death was imminent. They wrote in their epistles:
Therefore since they knew their death was imminent, They were not expecting an imminent return of Christ.
Rhodes: Posttribs try to solve this problem by redefining imminence as merely indicating that Christ will return soon, and argue against the idea that the Rapture could occur at any moment.
Giese: Rhodes' comment "Posttribs try to solve this problem by redefining imminence as merely indicating that Christ will return soon, and argue against the idea that the Rapture could occur at any moment," is entirely false. Could it be that he is referring again to George Formov? This is not what most pre-tribbers believe. As I have written before, Christ cannot return until after the tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Matthew 24-15). And he cannot return until after the Anti-christ is revealed, who demands to be worshiped as God at the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15; Luke 21:20, Revelation 11:1-2). Approximately three and one half years later, Christ will come to destroy the Antichrist and those who follow him (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
The doctrine of imminacy is simply a man-made conception by pre-tribbers. They merely take verses out of context and ignore the whole content of Scripture. Rhodes would have you to believe that pretribs redefine imminancy. Other pre-tribbers would have you believe post-tribbers are out to destroy immanacy. If pre-tribbers need someone to destroy immanacy, pre-tribbers themselves have destroyed it. In his book Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey, for example, alleges that a generation is 40 years. And Israel became a nation in 1948. He thought Jesus would return 40 years after Israel re-appeared. Therefore, the "rapture" was to happen 7 years before in 1981 (which didn't happen!). Another example is the book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Happen in 1988." This is another 88 examples why imminency is destroyed!
Rhodes: It should be noted that in several instances, Paul exhorted believers on the basis of the imminency of the Lord's return without even the slightest warning of an impending great tribulation (cf. 1 Cor. 15:51-58).
Giese: Statements like this is entirely false. Jesus told his disciples they would see the abomination of desolation. And during that time of Great Tribulation, He told them do not believe those reports of Christ being here or there. But told them "after the tribulation..." (Matthew 24: 15, 23-24, 29). In Scripture, Paul never exhorted believers they would escape the Great Tribulation, either. If he did (in or out of Scripture), he would have contradicted the words of Christ. Let's examine 1 Cor 15;51-58 to see if there is any indication of an "imminent rapture":
First of all, Paul said we will not all sleep, that is to die physically, but at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound. And the last trumpet must be interpreted literally. Nowhere is it indicated the last trumpet will sound before the tribulation. If this is the last trumpet, then there are no trumpets that follow. In Revelation, 7 trumpets sound during the Great Tribulation. And after the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15) the voices in heaven say:
This coincides with Paul's writing:
Referring back to First Corinthians 15:52, the dead will be raised incorruptible. Looking back at what Jesus Said, "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day..." (John 6:44). If we are to take Jesus' words literally, then it must be known that there are those who die in Jesus during the tribulation. They cannot be raised before the tribulation because they haven't died yet. Therefore, they can only be raised after the tribulation along with those who died before the tribulation.. Therefore, Paul couldn't have taught an "imminent rapture." And to further comment, Jesus said of those who rejected Him , "hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:48 ). Since these dead aren't judged before the tribulation, they are judged after the tribulation at the last day.
Rhodes: Every passage that clearly refers to the Rapture has this unusual feature of exhortation which is based on the imminency of the rapture and the absence of any warning of an intervening great tribulation.
Giese: Based on what we examined above, Rhodes statement is false. Especially When Jesus' words in Matthew 24 refutes this. And as we literally examined above, Rhodes' assertion that pre-tribbers use a "literal interpretation", is also false.
The Problem of the Comforting Hope
Rhodes: The problem here is in harmonizing the comforting hope of 1 Thessalonians 4 with a literal great tribulation. The hope of the Rapture was extended to the Thessalonian Christians as a comfort. Paul did not warn them of a coming great tribulation.
Giese: If Rhodes would examine 1 Thessalonians Chaprer 4, he couldn't harmonize the comforting hope with a pre-trib rapture as he claims. As we examine carefully:
In relation with the "comforting hope" Paul begins with concerning for those who have fallen asleep. These Thessalonians were told not to be ignorant and sorrow not as those who have no hope as in no hope of seeing the departed again. The important part of this passage is that if we believe Jesus died and rose again so will those who have fallen asleep. And God will bring with Him (Jesus) those who departed by death at the Lord's coming. This is the comforting hope--the hope that the departed will return with Jesus at His coming (Matthew 24:29-31). Nowhere in this passage does Paul say we are escaping the tribulation.
It is Rhodes with his presuppositions and his pre-conceived mind who takes verses entirely out of context and insert his thoughts that Paul didn't imply in order to distort the true meaning of this passage of Scripture.
Rhodes: Obviously, the Thessalonians would not have experienced much 'comfort' or 'hope' if they had to go through the great tribulation before being translated.
Giese: This is a totally false assumption. Paul wrote a second letter to the Thessalonian church concerning their troubles and tribulation in general And assured them rest when Jesus is revealed in Heaven "in flaming fire," (2 Thessalonians 1:1-8) which happens after the tribulation. If they rest after the tribulation, then they must be here during the Great Tribulation!
Rhodes: Posttribulationists generally try to get around this by minimizing the sufferings of the saints, and somehow insulating them from the judgments of the great tribulation.
Giese: Rhodes again confuses wrath and the judgments that come on the day of the Lord which happens after the Great Tribulation. During the Great Tribulation, the saints will suffer extreme persecution at the hands of the Anti-christ. The parts of Scripture that Rhodes avoids is the verses that Jesus instructed His Disciples privately in Matthew chapter 24. He avoids verses in John 6:44 and John 12:48, when Jesus says he will raise all those who believe in him on the last day and He will judge those who rejected Him on the Last Day.
The Problem of the Restrainer
Rhodes: Posttribs have not adequately dealt with the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2. They usually argue from silence by stating that Paul surely would have asserted pretribulationism if it were an established truth. Their logic seems to be: 'Since Paul didn't come right out and say that there would be a pretribulational Rapture, posttribulationism (by the process of elimination) must be correct.' However, if the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, as pretribs believe, then Paul in fact did argue for a pretrib Rapture.
Giese: Ron Rhodes asserts that post-tribbers have hot adequately dealt with the restrainer. However, has he adequately examined scripture concerning the restrainer? And the second part of his argument is especially absurd by saying "They usually argue from silence..."
Please read the following articles in order to see if post-tribbers argue from silence:
The Great Delusion by Ed Tarkowski from The Second Coming of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
The Restrainer by Tim Warner of Last Trumpet-Post-Trib Research Center
He Who Restrains by Jerry Giese of Tribulation Central
As we continue with Rhode's comment "They usually argue from silence by stating that Paul surely would have asserted pretribulationism if it were an established truth." It is Rhodes who gives the arguments that he supports pre-tribulationism because the word church doesn't appear in the tribulation passages. On the other hand, He criticizes post-tribbers by saying "Paul surely would have asserted pretribulationism if it were an established truth." Well, yes. Of coarse, this is what we have been saying all along: where does Paul say that the church is raptured out before the tribulation? Because he doesn't. If Rhodes takes a pre-trib position, then he should use scripture that specifically says the church will be raptured in order to back his position up.
Going back to the restrainer, are there any references in Scripture the restrainer is the Holy Spirit? Does Mr. Rhodes gives any references? Of course not! He simply says "if the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, as pretribs believe, then Paul in fact did argue for a pretrib rapture" This isn't assertive at all especially when "if" comes into play. Rhodes wants us to accept this line of circular reasoning and take him at his word.
If the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit, and he takes out Himself and the church, then there are serious problems. There are the "tribulation saints" and the 144,000 "evangelists." How do they get saved without the Holy Spirit? No one who goes through the tribulation will be saved. Another problem is the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, which means He is everywhere, Just like God the Father and God the Son. So, He can't leave the earth. Another problem with Rhodes' argument is that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Him:
Jesus promised those who believed in him shall flow rivers of living water, which is the Holy Spirit. And this is the promise of all believers whether they become believers before or during the tribulation!
There are other problems which comes out of Rhodes' argument that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit. First of all, in the first chapter of Second Thessalonians Paul writes to this church concerning their persecutions and sufferings. And wrote to these Thessalonians that they will rest from their troubles "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire.." (verses 7-8; see also Revelation 19:11-12). This happens after the Great Tribulation. If they are given rest after the tribulation, then they would have to remain on earth through the Tribulation. Given his argument that the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer, Rhodes clearly contradicts what Paul wrote in chapter one. It is 2nd Thessalonians Chapter one verses 1-8 that virtually all Pre-tribbers completely ignore and don't give an answer to.
Another Problem is in chapter 2 itself:
Paul writes about the coming of the Lord and and by our gathering unto Him, which is the rapture of the church. We are gathered unto the Lord Jesus and not the Holy Spirit as Rhodes claims. Paul puts the Coming of the Lord and the gathering of the church together with the Day of the Lord ,which is after the tribulation. Paul therefore cannot say that we are raptured after the tribulation and on the other hand imply the Holy Spirit raptures the church before the tribulation. By doing so, Paul would be contradicting himself big time! Looking further at verse 7b, "only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." Paul only indicated the restrainer would be taken out of the way. He didn't say how the restrainer would be taken out of the way. He also didn't say the church would be taken out of the way with the restrainer. Therefore we can not conclude the restrainer leaves the earth in order for the Anti-christ to be revealed. As we examine further, Paul didn't say when Jesus would come until verse 8: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming..." This happens after the tribulation.
In Summary, Rhode's argument the Holy Spirit is the restrainer completely contradicts the content and context of chapters 1 & 2 in 2 Thessalonians.
The Problem of the Wheat and the Tares
Rhodes: Posttribulationists support their view by citing Matthew 13:30, where the tares are taken up first before the wheat. However, this contradicts the posttrib sequence of events. In their view, the wicked are not dealt with finally before the rapture. Subsequently, Matthew 13:30 does not support posttribulationism.
Giese: Before I respond, let's examine the context of Matthew 13:24--30:
The problem with pre-tribulationalism is that this passage doesn't support a pre-trib point of view. The wheat and the tares grow and are gathered at the same time-- the harvest (verse 29 &30). The wheat is not removed seven years before the harvest, as Rhodes would have you to believe. This parable has nothing to do with the rapture. At the rapture, believers are caught up to meet Jesus in the air. And then Jesus returns to earth with the raptured believers. It is after the rapture, the tares, or the unbelievers are gathered to be burned, and the wheat is gathered into the barn. Before Rhodes makes excuses for his pre-tribulational view, he should examine verses like Matthew 14:30 more carefully.
The Problem of Intervening Events on Earth
Rhodes: The tribulation is a period of preparation for the Millennium. Since all believers are translated at the Rapture, this period of time is necessary to make possible a new generation of believers who will populate the Millennium in their mortal bodies.
Giese: This is Rhodes' assertion which has no backing in scripture. He asserts the tribulation period is necessary for new generation of believers to populate the millennium. However, Rhodes overlooks verses in the Old Testament.
The Lord told Zechariah He will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And in that day, He will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. This of coarse, comes after the tribulation when Jesus returns. At the rapture, true believers in Jesus will be changed from mortal to immortal. At this time, the Lord will pour a spirit of grace and of supplication to the inhabitants. And they will look upon Him who they pierced. And they will mourn for Him. Now at this time they realize that this is the Messiah and they cry for grief. These are some of the remnant who survive and go into the Millennium as mortals and they become believers after the post-trib rapture... As we continue in Zechariah:
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.
Zechariah 13:1-3 KJV
In the day Jesus returns, there will be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness. And the Lord will cut off all the idols and all the prophets, and no more they should be remembered.
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Zechariah 13:8-9 KJV
In the above verse, two-thirds of all the land will be cut off and the remaining third will be left. And the remaining third will be refined as silver through fire and they will be tried as gold. Then they will call on his name, and then the Lord will hear them and call them "My people." and the people will say "my God." This is the refinement that happens after the rapture. And they will be the mortals who enter the millennium.
BEHOLD, THE day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Zechariah 14:1-3 KJV
When the day of the Lord comes, He gathers the nations to battle against Jerusalem. The city is taken, and half of the city goes into captivity. And then the Lord will go forth and fight against the nations.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
Zechariah 14:4-11 KJV
And on that day Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives...after the post-trib rapture and the Mount splits and creates a valley. Then the inhabitants flee into the valley. And the Lord comes with the saints and the inhabitants. And the Lord will be King over all the earth.
The Lord Jesus will smite all the nations with a plague who came up and fought against Jerusalem. And Judah will also fight at Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zechariah 14:16-19 KJV
This is another part of scripture, that needs to be recognized. Everyone who is left among the nations who fought against Jerusalem will go up year to year to worship the King Jesus and keep the feast of tabernacles. These are the survivors among the nations who are mortals who enter the millennium. And among the families who do not go the feast of tabernacles, the Lord will smite with a plague. Notice, Zechariah calls them the heathens. So there will also be unbelievers who enter the millennium
The preceding is an excerpt from my article, Millennennium Reproduction. Please read for further details. As seen from the above verses, There will be a Jewish remnant who are delivered after the post-trib rapture and heathens who will enter the Millennial Kingdom. Therefore, Rhode's objection proves invalid.
The Problem of the Judgment of the Nations
Rhodes: The unbelievers (goats) are cast into everlasting
fire by means of physical death whereas believers (sheep) enter the kingdom
prepared for them - the Millennial Kingdom. The judgment of the nations is an
individual judgment. It results in the purging of unbelievers out from among
believers and leaves believers untouched. (Note that no one is translated or
Giese: Again, Rhodes' reasoning is false. Rhodes should study the entirety of Matthew chapters 24 and 25. Again, my main argument is why would Jesus meet with His Disciples privately and tell them "when you see the abomination of desolation. and then tell them they will be raptured before the tribulation? This doesn't make any sense at all. Especially, if you claim that you believe "Pretribulationism is the only view that uses a literal interpretation of all N.T. and O.T. passages on the Great Tribulation.."? Jesus, however literally laid down the idea of a post tribulational rapture in Matthew 24 verses 29-31. It is at the second coming after the tribulation Jesus will appear and the elect will be gathered, i.e. raptured and the elect, i.e. the church, will return with Jesus. They still will be the believers, i.e. the sheep, and the unbelievers, i.e. the goats will will be purged out from among them.
The Problem of the "First Resurrection"
Rhodes: Posttribulationists call attention to the expression "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:4-6 in support of their argument. The answer is that the resurrection mentioned in Rev. 20:4-6 actually occurs after the second coming of Christ and therefore contradicts the idea that the Rapture (in the posttribulational view) is a part of the second coming of Christ from heaven to earth. Even a posttribulationist would have to recognize that in his order of events, the resurrection of Rev. 20:4-6 is not 'first.'
Giese: The first resurrection in Revelation 20 is a very good argument. And what Rhodes says "They ask how a posttribulational resurrection could be 'first' if a Rapture had actually taken place before the tribulation?" is precisely a good question. Especially when Rhodes holds to "Pretribulationism is the only view that uses a literal interpretation of all N.T. and O.T. passages on the Great Tribulation." Therefore I reiterate the question in Rhode's own words "how a posttribulational resurrection could be 'first' if a Rapture had actually taken place before the tribulation?" The answer is: You can't have a resurrection before the tribulation since John, with guidance from the Holy Spirit said the resurrection after the tribulation is the first resurrection. You notice I did not insert quotation marks between first resurrection. By doing so, I would disagree with the holy scriptures. The problem with Rhodes is that he uses no verses to support his idea there is a resurrection before the tribulation, especially in Revelation. You would think he would show a verse where there is a resurrection before the tribulation. After all, he clings to his "literal interpretation" of scriptures.
As I have written before there are other verses such as John 6:44 and John 12:48 that support that the dead in Christ would rise first after the Tribulation. And support that everyone who believes in Christ will be risen on the last day (Please review my response under The Problem With Imminancy).
Rhodes further states "the resurrection mentioned in Rev. 20:4-6 actually occurs after the second coming of Christ and therefore contradicts the idea that the Rapture (in the posttribulational view) is a part of the second coming of Christ from heaven to earth." Rev 20 4-6 does indeed support that the first resurrection happens after the tribulation. A further study of Revelation reveals that events do not happen sequentially when compared to New Testament and Old Testament scripture. The seals, trumpets and bowls at some point happen about the same time. For example, the sixth seal happens about the same time as the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl (after the tribulation). The description of the first resurrection does happen after the tribulation, as post-tribs confirm. John merely described the first resurrection after he described the second coming. First Thessalonians chapter 4 and First Corinthians chapter 15 describes the exact order.
The Problem of Terminology
Rhodes: Similar terminology is used for the Rapture and the Second Coming. Posttribs thus conclude that these two events must be one. They use nontechnical terms like coming, appearing, and revelation in a technical way.
Giese: Post-tribbers conclude the rapture happens at the second coming simply because it is written scripture:
...And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven...And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
But in those days, after that tribulation...then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Mark 13:24, 26-27
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4 15-17
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.
2 Thessalonians 2:1
Rhodes' assumption that post-tribbers use non-technical terms in a technical way just another empty argument when applied to the text of scriptures. When scriptures are used to back up a post-tribber claim, Rhodes assumes the opposite: "The problem similarly arises when coming, appearing, and revelation are applied in 'a technical way.' "
Rhodes: The answer to this is simply that the context must always be taken unto consideration in determining how these words are to be interpreted. It is faulty logic to assume that a word must always be used in exactly the same way whenever it is used.
Giese: What Rhodes here is doing is an example of double speak. In my article, The Blessed Hope, I have compared the word appearing revelation and coming and compared them to other verses of scripture. And they were taken into consideration in determining how these words are to be interpreted. More will be commented on his other arguments below. In the last sentence, many in hermeneutic interpretations would deem Mr. Rhodes' statement as false, and the opposite is true. In other words, substitute "faulty logic" with "very logical." My response is and has been that you must have scripture to back up a claim showing there are two-separate comings, which neither Rhodes nor his counterparts do. Otherwise appearing revelation and coming must be used the same way.
The Problem of the Book of Revelation
Rhodes: Posttribulationists have no uniform interpretation of this book. Most posttribs spiritualize the great judgments in Revelation 6-19. The widely conflicting and contradictory interpretations that Posttribs hold to in regard to this book is ample testimony to their inadequate hermeneutics.
Giese: Rhodes uses this argument in order to detour the facts laid out in 1 Thessalonians chapter four and 1 Corinthians 15. In these verses, Paul said the dead will rise first. And then those who are alive at the time of the Lord's coming will be changed and raptured. As I pointed out out, All believers will be raised on the last day, which is after the tribulation. Period.
Just because there is no uniform interpretation of Revelation does not nullify the facts when the dead will rise. Let it be pointed out, pre-tribbers have no uniform interpretation of the book of Revelation as well. For example:
Do the seven churches in chapters two and three represent the church in seven epochs of church history? Many pre-tribbers do not believe this.
When John is told to "come up here" in chapter 4, is this an illustration of the pre-trib rapture of the church? Many pre-tribbers do not believe this.
Are the 24 elders the raptured church? Many pre-tribbers do not believe this.
When the man child is taken up into heaven, is the rapture of the church? Many pre-tribbers do not believe this.
These are just some of the examples where pre-tribbers do not have a uniform agreement. However, Rhodes still clings to his pre-trib rapture beliefs, thus applying a double standard while presenting his point of view. And speaking of "spiritualize," aren't the above examples of spiritualizing scripture by Rhodes instead of using a literal interpretation of Scripture?
The Problem of Transition from the Tribulation to the Millennium
Rhodes: This problem has been touched on earlier. The basic problem is, How can saints go into the Millennium in their natural bodies if, in fact, they were raptured while Christ was coming from heaven to earth? Their bodies would have already been glorified.
Giese: Rhodes has a very correct assertion. The saints will not enter the millennium in their natural bodies. At the last trumpet, their bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible. As I presented before, there will be a remnant of unbelievers who will enter the millennium. And there will be those who will receive Christ just after the post-tribulation Rapture, including a Jewish remnant. This seems to be no problem with Ron Rhodes. A viewer of my website and correspondent asked Mr. Rhodes the following question:
Does Zech. 12:8-10 Teach that the remnant of Israel will be saved at the second coming of Christ thus missing the rapture and entering the millennium in their mortal bodies?
Rhodes: Yes. They will recognize Jesus as Messiah at the Second Coming, and hence they will miss the rapture. They will enter into the Millennium in earthly, mortal bodies. They will eventually resurrected, probably at the end of the millennium.
Giese:As just seen, Rhodes merely confirms what I've presented. Therefore, his statement is false: "this period of time is necessary to make possible a new generation of believers who will populate the Millennium in their mortal bodies."
Additional Problems which are the Result of an Incorrect and Inconsistent Hermeneutic:
Disagreement on the Millennium
Rhodes: Posttribs do not agree as to whether premillennialism, postmillennialism, or amillennialism is the correct view. Thus posttribulationism does not lend itself to a single eschatological system of interpretation.
Giese: As with Rhode's other argument, "posttribulationists nevertheless often confuse the Great Tribulation with tribulation in general," he uses these examples and the following arguments below to further cloud the issue. Just because some post-tribbers often confuse the Great Tribulation with tribulation in general doesn't nullify the facts given in scripture. And it doesn't give support for a pre-trib rapture. The same is true with the argument given above. As illustrated earlier, the Rapture can't happen until the dead in Christ are raised. Most post-tribbers hold on to a pre-millennial view: Jesus will come after the tribulation and before the millennium.
Disagreement on the Nature of the Judgments at the Second Coming of Christ
Rhodes: The main disagreement among posttribs is in regard to the time and the order of these judgments. Gundry holds that the judgment of the nations and the judgment seat of Christ take place at the end of the Millennium. However, posttribs usually lump the various judgments together at the Second Coming. If they are premil, they place the judgments before the Millennium.
Giese: As I said earlier: "the Rapture can't happen until the dead in Christ are raised." Just because post-tribbers have a "main" disagreement about the time and the order of these judgments, doesn't cancel out when the dead are raised.
Disagreement as to a Specific Order of Events at the Time of the Second Coming
Rhodes: Posttribulationists rarely offer a specific sequence of events in connection with the Second Coming of Christ. What little order they do give, they disagree with one another (e.g., compare classic, semiclassic, futurist, and dispensational posttribulational interpretations).
Giese: As I said earlier: "the Rapture can't happen until the dead in Christ are raised." Just because post-tribbers "rarely" offer a specific sequence in connection with Christ's second coming doesn't cancel out when the dead are raised. This is just another straw man that Rhodes uses to avoid when the dead are raised.
The Problem of Classic Posttribulationism
Rhodes: The problem here is the impossibility of explaining all the predicted events leading up to the Second Coming of Christ as either past or contemporaneous.
Giese: As I said earlier: "the Rapture can't happen until the dead in Christ are raised."
Again, Rhodes uses these examples above to avoid answering what Jesus said in John 6:39-40, 44, 54, 12:48.
The Problems of Semiclassic Posttribulationism
Rhodes: Those who hold to this view are not agreed as to how far to interpret prophecy literally.
Giese: Has Rhodes shown how pre-tribbers interpret prophecy literally? I don't think so.
Rhodes: Those who hold to this view have failed in attempting to affirm any reasonable sequence of events relating to the Second Coming.
Giese: If I said it once, I've said it dozens of times: "the Rapture can't happen until the dead in Christ are raised." What Rhodes has done is to give the above illustrations to try to avoid the facts that scripture has laid out.
The Problems of Dispensational Posttribulationism
Rhodes: Gundry regards the tribulation as a time of satanic wrath but not a time of divine wrath. However, Rev. 6:16 says it is a time of the "wrath of the lamb."
Giese: What Rhodes doesn't notice at the time of the sixth seal:
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake(1); and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood(2); And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
And the prophet Joel:
At the sixth seal, the day of the Lord occurs, which is after the Tribulation. God's wrath occurs on that day. Which is separate from the Great Tribulation.
Rhodes: Gundry places the judgments at the end of the Millennium. The motivation for this seems to be that it is impossible to have a judgment of the sheep and the goats following the Second Coming of Christ if, as a matter of fact, the Rapture has taken place shortly before at the Second Advent itself.
Giese: The judgment of the sheep and the goats does happen at the Lord's Coming. And the Rapture happens at the Second Coming. For further review, please read my comment under The With the Wheat and the Tares. The same comment applies here.
The Problem of the Distinction between the Church and Israel
Rhodes: Most posttribs include in the church the saints of all ages. They must spiritualize scripture to accomplish this. They argue that since "saints" are in the great tribulation, the church must apparently go through it.
Gundry is the exception to this in that he attempts to distinguish between the church and Israel. (Cf. separate handout on Gundry).
Giese: Let us set aside for the moment the argument that the church is separate from Israel, which Rhodes and his pre-trib counterparts adhere to. If the church and Israel are separate as Rhodes asserts, does this necessarily mean the Church must be absent during the tribulation?
As we pointed out in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and 1 Corinthians 15, the dead will be raised before rapture and the ones who remain will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible. This is what hangs in the balance. And Jesus said that all that believed in Him will be raised at the last day. In 2 Thessalonians Chapter 1, Paul addressed the Thessalonian church concerning their various trials, tribulations, and afflictions. And he assured them they will rest from their troubles when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in flaming fire, i.e., after the tribulation. Peter and Paul addressed the churches that they are to look forward to the coming day of the Lord, which is after the tribulation. With the above references, the church must remain on earth until the resurrection, and when the Lord Jesus is revealed. Therefore, Rhodes' assertion is false. The Church will be on earth through the tribulation along with Israel. And Rhodes has a complete misunderstanding concerning the church.
This is the second point. Are the Church and Israel separate? Looking into Ephesians Chapter 2:
Paul addressed the Gentiles reminding them they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenant of the promise before they were saved. Now that they are saved, they are no longer strangers and foreigners (i.e. aliens) but fellow citizens with the saints and God's household. This is clear that Israel and the Church are not separate, which is contrary to Rhodes' assertion.
Many post-tribbers believe in the replacement theology. They believe the church has replaced Israel, which is unbiblical. Based on scripture, only the true Jews who have received Jesus Christ are members of true Israel. Jews who continue to reject Christ are destined to spend eternity in Hell (John 3:36; Romans 1:38) and they are not part of true Israel. Gentiles who received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior are also members of true Israel. This was made possible when at the cross, Jesus broke the barrier between Jew and Gentile.
The Problem of Daniel
Rhodes: Posttribulationism destroys the unity of Daniel's seventieth week, and also confuses Israel's program with that of the church.
Giese: As illustrated above and through this article, Rhodes' assertion is false. It is Rhodes again who confuses the Church's role in the Tribulation. Believers in the church are also members of Israel, which doesn't destroy the unity of Daniel's seventieth week at all.
The Problem of Titus 2:13
Rhodes: Posttribulationists have not adequately dealt with this passage where believers are exhorted to look for "the glorious appearing" of Christ to His own.
Giese: Rhodes has not shown in this passage that Jesus will gloriously appear to only His Own. Rhodes again contradicts himself "...context must always be taken unto consideration in determining how these words are to be interpreted." In fact, there is nowhere in scripture where Jesus will only be seen by the church. If it doesn't, then there is in no way Rhodes can come to this conclusion. Rhodes fails to notice the glorious appearing to the post-tribulation coming:
Conclusion, based on the two verses above, the glorious appearing of Christ is after the tribulation.
Rhodes: If the Rapture follows the Tribulation, believers would then look for signs instead of His coming.
Giese:This is what the disciples asked at Olivette: "what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"(Matt 24:3c). And Jesus answered them: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days... And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven...(Matt 24:29a, 30a.)" The disciples were asking for the sign and Jesus gave them the sign along with other signs. For example, the Abomination of desolation, false prophets and false christs. Therefore, What Mr. Rhodes is saying is entirely true. We are to look for these signs along with others.
The Problem of Purification
Rhodes: Believers are exhorted to purify themselves (1 Jn. 3:2, 3) in light of the fact that the Lord could appear at "any moment." It would not make sense for a believer to purify himself for the tribulation (which would be the case if posttribulationism were correct).
Giese: The Lord could occur at "any moment" has been responded to in the above argument The Problem of Imminency. And the scriptural facts that the Lord's appearing occurs after the tribulation has also been presented throughout this article. The problem with Rhodes' argument is that he doesn't examine the contents of scripture. As we examine 1 John chapter 3:
In the above verse John wrote " every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." It is the hope in Jesus, the believer purifies himself. It is not a hope that Jesus allegedly comes before the tribulation, a believer purifies himself.
Another verse Rhodes does not address is in the book of Daniel:
It is during the seventieth week, a.k.a., the tribulation, that many will be purified and made white, including the saints albeit the church or Israel.
The Problem of John 14:1-3
Rhodes: At the Rapture, the church goes to the Father's house, and not back to earth again as posttribulationists hold.
Giese: Given what is presented in scripture, the rapture happens after the tribulation. Rhodes uses the above verse to "support" his view of a pre-tribulation rapture.
It was a few days earlier at the Mount of Olives, Jesus instructed His disciples privately concerning the days of His coming. Jesus did instruct them "when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation..." which contradicts Rhodes' view that they will be gone before the tribulation. To resolve this, pre-tribbers want us to believe that Jesus was talking to the "Tribulation Saints" at the Mount of Olives and the church in John chapter 14. This is a double standard of interpretation, especially in both cases, Jesus addressed His Disciples (who will later become leaders of the church). Another contradiction arises later on in John prays to the Father "I pray not that thou shoudest take them out of the world, but thou shouldest keep them from the evil..."(John 17:15).
It is at the rapture, True followers of Christ are caught up in the air to meet Jesus and they return with Him back to earth again where Jesus will rule for about 1,000 years. What needs to be examined is the context of John chapter 14:
The critical point of the above verse is " I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Jesus will come again but what pre-tribbers overlook is the last part of the previous sentence "where I am, there ye may be also." Since Jesus is coming again, He will receive the believer unto himself. And where Jesus is the believer may be also. Jesus is not returning back to heaven after the tribulation. He will reign on earth throughout the millennium. Since Jesus will be on earth, believers will also be on earth with Him. One thing must be pointed out, it is assumed that the Father's house is in heaven. But no where in the Gospels is the Father's house is specified as being in Heaven. Rather the temple is referred to the Father's house (Luke 2:48-49, John 2: 16). Jesus also referred himself as the temple (John 2:19-21). Throughout The Old Testament, The Tabernacle and the Temple were called the House of the Lord (Ezra 1:3). Mansions used in King James is translated from the Greek word mone which is interchanged with the word abode. Later in the chapter Jesus said:
Again. Abode is translated from the greek word mone. In the context of John Chapter 14 above, Jesus is His Father's House. And when he returns, he will come again and receive the disciples unto himself. He will not bring them back to heaven as pre-tribbers hold.
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