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Be Like Unto Men That Wait for Their Lord

This article was used as a supplement to Left Behind: A Study in Matthew Chapter 24  formerly called Imminence. This study Luke 12 looks further into imminence. Pre-tribbers insist on an "imminent" or "any moment" pre-trib rapture of the church because Jesus said:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Matthew 24:36

In scripture, Jesus said His coming is after the tribulation. But since Jesus doesn't know the hour or day of His coming, but the Father alone, pre-tribbers insist  this is His "pre-trib" coming. In Matthew chapter 24,  Jesus never said His coming "for His own" was before or during the tribulation. He warned His disciples to flee when the Abomination of Desolation takes place (when the Great Tribulation starts). And He told them after the tribulation, a sign will appear in the sky of His coming:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven...

Matthew 24:30-31a

In previous articles on this website, various scriptures are used to examine and refute the pre-trib position. Pre-tribbers persistently ignore key scripture and come up with the same spin to support their view. One of their key arguments is imminence, an any-moment rapture for the church. Even though there is nowhere in scripture that says Jesus will come before the tribulation. 

Most of what Jesus said to His disciples about His coming was on  the Mount of Olives just a few days before He died on the cross. The focus of this article is what Jesus said to His disciples earlier in in the Gospel of Luke.

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

Luke 12:35-36

Jesus instructed His disciples to be "let their loins girded about" and be "like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding, so that they immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks." In Revelation, John describes the wedding which occurs after the tribulation at Jesus' coming: 

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready...

...Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb...

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God...

Revelation 19:7,9b,17

This parable is in direct contradiction to the pre-trib view that:

  • His coming will be before the tribulation;

  • and the church must be raptured into heaven in order to be prepared for the wedding that occurs after the tribulation.

But before we close this article, we must look at the remaining verses in order to come to an overall conclusion.

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Luke 12:37-38

In this parable, Jesus calls the servants who are on the alert when the master comes blessed because they will be able to receive their master. But since they are ready to receive their master, the master will then serve his slaves. 

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Luke 12:39-40

Another part of the imminence view is "the thief in the night." Pre-tribbers insist that this relates to His alleged pre-trib coming. Again in the context of this parable, Jesus describes the masters coming after the wedding feast. Jesus instructed His disciples that if the goodman of the house would have known when the thief was coming, then he wouldn't have allowed the thief to break into his house. He instructed them to be ready because Jesus will come at an hour they do not expect (think not). This is not in an indication of an any moment "pre-trib" rapture. (For more thief references, look at the articles, "Day of the Lord" and "Like a Thief)."

Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

Luke 12:41

Another part of the pre-trib maze is they insist that some parts of scripture are for the "tribulation saints" or the "unsaved Jews" when Jesus is clearly speaking directly to His disciples, especially in verses 39-40.  In the above verse, Peter asks the precise question: "Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all" Peter did not ask the Lord if He was addressing this parable to the "tribulation saints." (And Jesus repeats this parable in Luke further in Matthew 24 verses 42 through 51 while speaking to his disciples privately!)

Jesus answered Peter:

...Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Luke 12:42b-48

Jesus referred these verses  to the faithful and sensible stewards whom the master puts in charge of his servants. At the time when the Lord comes, if the steward is properly in charge and care for the servants, the steward will be blessed and the Lord will put the steward in charge in all his possessions. But if the slaves says in his heart the master won't come for a long time and beats the other slaves, and eats and gets drunk, then the master will come on the day the slave doesn't expect him. THEN the slave will be cut into pieces and be assigned a place with the unbelievers!  This happens after the tribulation! As we've seen, the master will come unexpectedly to kill the unfaithful slave.  He will not come to rapture the faithful servants into heaven as pre-tribbers  believe. 

To continue further, Jesus gave this discription of a thief:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:

John 10;10a

Jesus gave a job description of thief. The thief comes not but for to steal, kill and to destroy. So the thief's description is narrowed down by Jesus' own words. You won't find anything in scripture that says a thief comes to "take Christians out of the earth before the tribulation." And you won't find this in Jesus' job description of a thief either. And Jesus said in His parable in Luke that the master will come on a day when the master does not expect him and will "cut him into pieces"...(i.e. kill and destroy him)! This is the same thing that will happen when Jesus comes: 

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

Luke 17:26-30

As we examined the above scriptures to test imminence, Jesus doesn't come "at any moment" to rapture the church into heaven as pre-tribbers allege. Jesus said these things must happen before He comes:

  • wars and rumors of wars, but the end is still to come (Matthew 24:6);

  • believers will be persecuted and put to death (24:9);

  • the arrival of false prophets and teachers (24:11, 23-25);

  • the Gospel must be preached to the whole world (24:14);

  • a falling away from the faith (rebellion, not rapture!) (24:10, See also 2 Thessalonians 2:3);

  • The abomination of desolation must occur (Matthew 24:15, See also 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Since it is fact the church will see the abomination that causes desolation, Jesus will not come "at any moment" to rapture His church into heaven. To believe otherwise, as pre-tribbers insists, contradicts what Jesus said in Matthew 24:15:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place

As Jesus' coming is put into context, He specifically said His coming is "after the tribulation of those days." And even though He doesn't know the day or hour and only the father knows, one thing we do know, the church is going through the tribulation. And Jesus gives us the signs that lead up to His coming. We must be on the alert and sober to see these signs, or else we will be like unbelievers who will be unaware and that day of His coming will overtake us "like a thief." As Jesus says:

"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is the man who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and shamefully exposed."

Revelation 16:15

Given these facts, imminence, as defined by pre-tribbers, fails the test of scripture and it must be entirely rejected along with the pre-trib rapture.

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Left Behind-A Study in Matthew 24