Response to Sandalfoot in Pre-Trib only forum

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Response to Sandalfoot in Pre-Trib only forum

Postby tharkun on Thu May 14, 2009 7:32 am

A thread was recently posted in the Pre-Trib only forum in which a member expressed concern over the pre-wrath leaning that their church was beginning to take. In order to validate their concerns, several arguments were given in attempt to show the weakness in the pre-wrath view. Since no counter-arguments are allowed, I wanted to address the issues brought up.

1) If Michael is indeed the restrainer pre-wrathers believe to be, why is he not mentioned by name? He is in plenty of other passages.


Many pre-wrathers would disagree that Michael is the Restrainer although, in my experience, he is the leading candidate from scripture. The fact that he is not mentioned by name is irrelevant; I could just as easily ask why the Hoy Spirit is not mentioned by name if He is the restrainer. The lack of a name is a weak argument against either position, IMO.
However, even if it could be shown that Michael is not the Restrainer, it would in no way affect the pre-wrath viewpoint, because pre-wrath is not dependant on the identity of the Restrainer to uphold it’s argument. At best it is a secondary issue. In contrast, the Pre-Trib view requires that the Holy Spirit be the Restrainer in the church and that the Holy Spirit be removed without really being removed so that people can still be saved.

2) Why would the Lord need 144,000 witnesses to evangelize the world if we are still here?

This question is inherently flawed because it assumes that the 144,000 are in fact “witnesses to evangelize the world”. Unfortunately, there is not a shred of scriptural evidence to support such a contention. They are never called witnesses in Rev, nor are they ever shown evangelizing anyone. In the same way that Pre-Trib requires that the Restrainer, it also requires the 144,000 to be evangelists. If we are gone, someone has to present the gospel to the world, right? But this is not an argument for Pre-Trib, rather it is a consequence of assuming that Pre-Trib is true. It is an assumption based on an assumption.

3) How can it be "comforting" to think you will spend 63 out of 84 months of the Tribulation on earth?


This is a common objection from the Pre-Trib camp and there are several answers available. First, it must be emphasized that this is an emotional argument and is a matter of perspective. How much comfort someone receives is dependant on the person themselves. Personally, the more I suffer, the more comforting the release from suffering becomes. However, this is irrelevant when actually reading what scripture says.
The poster offers I Thess 4:16-18 as support for the comfort of the Pre-Trib rapture. The argument offered is that the ‘comfort’ Paul was speaking of was the Rapture itself. This does not hold up in the context of the passage however. Verse 13 clearly shows that the source of their discomfort was that they did not know what would happen to their loved one’s who had already died. Paul then goes on to explain that Jesus will bring them back when he comes. The comfort has nothing whatsoever do to with the Rapture keeping us from God’s wrath.

Aside from these 3 questions, the poster then carries on into a long discourse on comparing Pre-wrath with a scheme of Satan in which he is deceiving many as he did in the garden in an attempt to rob us of our joy, hope and comfort in the ‘imminent’ return of Christ and to keep us in a ‘spirit of fear’. With all due respect to the poster and the emotional urgency felt in the post, none of these arguments was backed up with any hard scripture. Imminency itself is a hotly debated issue in prophecy and is in fact one of the foundational principles of Pre-Trib, but unfortunately lacks any scripture to back it up and, in fact, has much scripture contrary to it.

In the same way that ‘comfort’ was re-interpreted, the ‘blessed hope’ is also divorced from it’s scripture in order to support the view. The Titus passage says that His appearing is the ‘blessed hope’. It says nothing about when it will occur, whether before or during ‘tribulation’. As such it is not an argument for either view.

A final argument that is given is the idea that the 70th week is for Israel only and that the ‘church age’ will be over and all of the 70th week is God’s wrath. These points are not weaknesses in the Pre-Wrath view, they are merely a restatement of Pre-Trib and are again offered with no scriptural justification. It can and has been shown on many occasions that ‘tribulation’ and ‘wrath’ are not equivalent. The common belief in a ‘church age’ is not from scripture but is a from a man-made dispensational framework placed over the scripture through which certain interpretations are made. In the same way, there is no scripture that equates the entire 70th week with the wrath of God. All of these are the assumptions upon which pre-trib is based.

The poster is obviously sincere in their belief; but it is possible to be sincerely wrong however. None of the arguments given disprove or weaken the pre-wrath viewpoint. At best, all that has been done is argue about non-essential details, offer strawman arguments, or merely re-state what pre-trib believes. The lack of scriptural support and the poor exegesis is most troubling, though. My hope is that the poster will compare scripture with scripture and compare their belief with what scripture actually says in the proper context and not read into it what one already believes to be true.

tharkun
Get caught up in the pre-wrath rapture, when fiction will be Left Behind.

I brake for Balrogs.

"When I became a man, I put childish things behind me--including the desire to grow up!"
---C S Lewis
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Re: Response to Sandalfoot in Pre-Trib only forum

Postby revelation12eleven on Thu May 14, 2009 7:43 pm

The poster is obviously sincere in their belief; but it is possible to be sincerely wrong however. None of the arguments given disprove or weaken the pre-wrath viewpoint. At best, all that has been done is argue about non-essential details, offer strawman arguments, or merely re-state what pre-trib believes. The lack of scriptural support and the poor exegesis is most troubling, though. My hope is that the poster will compare scripture with scripture and compare their belief with what scripture actually says in the proper context and not read into it what one already believes to be true.


I agree Tharkun.
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Re: Response to Sandalfoot in Pre-Trib only forum

Postby smackbucket on Thu May 14, 2009 9:17 pm

Comfort

The “comfort” spoken of in Thess. has nothing to do with the timing of the rapture. We are to be comforted and not worry because of the fact that our departed brothers and sisters in Christ are not lost into oblivion. Their bodies will rise, as will ours, to meet Christ. And we will share eternity together!

But in reality the “doctrine of comfort” is really no argument at all. If we are told that good news will take place, but that bad news will take place first, does the good news vanish and become bad news? That's the logic pre-tribbers are using.

That’s what this pre-trib argument is telling us. If we apply the pre-trib comfort thought process evenly across the board, we can’t find comfort in going to heaven at all, because aside from the rapture I must die first in order to get to heaven. How is the thought of heaven a comfort if I know I must die, maybe even a horrible death, first? See the correlation and the clear contradiction?

If one cannot see comfort in Christ's return, no matter what may come first, one’s comfort rests on circumstances rather than on God and an eternal existence with Him. True spiritual comfort, along with faith, hope, love, peace, and joy have nothing to do with circumstances. Don't get suckered by feelings.

I think this should be in the debate forum. Our pre-trib friends may not even look at it because it's pre-wrath only. I know I rarely look at the pre-trib only stuff.
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Re: Response to Sandalfoot in Pre-Trib only forum

Postby rizen on Sat May 16, 2009 10:10 am

1) If Michael is indeed the restrainer pre-wrathers believe to be, why is he not mentioned by name? He is in plenty of other passages.


Instead of focusing on who the restrainer is, how about focus on when the restrainer is removed. While I personally disagree with the classic pre-wrath idea that Michael is the restrainer, I am in total agreement with the timing of the restrainer's removal. We are told in 2 Thess. 2:8 that after the restrainer is removed a "Wicked" is revealed.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way: 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: (2 Thess. 2:7-8)

Perform a lexical search for the words "consume" and "destroy". When you perform this search, you will notice that the only other time these two words appear together is in the text of Daniel 7:26.

Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. (Daniel 7:23-26)

The context of Daniel 7:26 is directly related to the fourth beast of Daniel 7, who we know from from the text of Daniel 7:25 reigns for 3.5 years. If the "Wicked" that is revealed after the restrainer is removed is identified in the fourth beast of Daniel 7 who reigns for 3.5 years, and we know the kingdom that proceeds this fourth kingdom in Daniel 7:23 is the Messianic Age, then it's only logical to conclude the time in which this restrainer is removed is around the midpoint of the 70th Week. In my opinion, the fact that the classic pre-wrath view promotes the idea that restrainer is removed at/around the midpoint of the 70th is more significant than their idea of who the restrainer is. In this regard, the classic pre-wrath position that the restrainer's removal takes place around the midpoint of the 70th is perfectly scriptural.

2) Why would the Lord need 144,000 witnesses to evangelize the world if we are still here?

The 144,000 "virgin" males (Rev. 14:4) find their typological parallel with the "virgin" Abishag in 1 Kings 1-2. In the same way that Abishag kept David "warm" prior to Solomon's (and Jesus's yet future) anointing, the 144,000 will keep the nation of Israel warm prior to Jesus appearing at the resurrection/rapture. In this sense, the idea that the 144,000 Jewish males evangelize the world is a massive exaggeration. It appears the 2 witnesses of Rev. 11 will have a much greater impact on world evangelism (read Zech. 4) than the 144,000. After all, the entire globe celebrates the death of the two witnesses in Rev. 11:10.

How can it be "comforting" to think you will spend 63 out of 84 months of the Tribulation on earth?


Tharkun and smackbucket answer this question much more succinctly than I could.

I don't know how you arrived at the 63 months figure, but it's probably even longer than that. Jesus appeared as a thief to his disciples "about the fourth watch" (Mark 6:48, Matt. 14:25).

As far as the idea of an "imminent rapture" goes, let's just say the rapture does not truly become imminent until God takes back the key that was given Satan in Rev. 9:1 and resurrects the two witnesses in Rev. 11:11-12. After the two witnesses are resurrected, God is in the imminent process of handing the keys of hell and death back to their rightful owner: Jesus. God Himself will do this very soon after the 2nd woe is completed.
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