• By John Hicks

The core problem with the teachings of today's dispensationalists: The Pre-Trib Rapture


The problem with dispensationalism is that there is nothing in the Bible that clearly gives us the interpreted divisions within scriptures and their claims as to what scriptures apply to whom in the manner that modern day dispensationalists popularly adhere to today.

The main concern in this is with the idea of the so-called “pretrib” rapture. John Nelson Darby conjured up the idea of dispensationalism with the focus around the so-called pre-trip rapture concept somewhere around 1830. Since then Scofield, the Dallas Theological Seminary, Bob Jones University, Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe, Harold Camping, Randy White, Paul Scharf and many others have pushed this idea within the modern Christian church. One will be hard pressed to find pre-trib teachings within the church prior to 1830...that in and of itself says a lot but the Bible has more to say against this idea... This component of so-called dispensationalism, the so-called pre-trib rapture, is a dangerous idea that gives believers a false hope and a selfish excitement that they will be pulled up and away when things get too bad. It causes a sense of complacency in that folks are tempted to just sit back waiting to be pulled out of this world without doing any real world for the Lord in the meantime.

Some time ago someone gave me a link to consider in light of this. At the very onset the writers of that blog/site deviates into dangerous and unbiblical territory involving specifically the dangerous heresy of the pre-trib rapture. http://dispensationalpublishing.com/about-us/what-is-dispensationalism/ “Dispensationalism...When applied consistently, such a literal interpretation yields a futurist, premillennial, pre-tribulational understanding of Bible prophecy that fully recognizes the important distinction between Israel and the church.” This cannot be further from the truth as I will demonstrate below. With the reboot and release of the “Left Behind” movie in 2014 I dug into this subject so that my dear friends and family would not continue to fall into the delusion that is so prevalent in our modern churches. This is the same delusion I was in for a better portion of my current life. I pulled out all the instances of tribulation and tribulations from the Bible and summarized the contextual message regarding their usage in every instance. It is amazing that not one single one of these verses can be used to prop up the pre-trib doctrine. I have also utilized other verses to emphasize the correct context of these verses and to show that the Bible cannot justify this line of thinking. God’s word actually gives a very strong warning in going astray from Biblical truths regarding prophecy. That will be discussed at the very end of this study. All in all this is a very serious matter per the Bible so it warrants our attention. I am also currently doing a study on some conservative church’s doctrines regarding their pre-trib position and am finding the same exact thing. One has to do much mental contortions in and around the scriptures in order to weakly prop up a pre-trib position. This is a sad thing when the Bible is very clear on this matter as will be noted below. Keep in mind as you are reading this progression of events that you will see over and over throughout scripture. The sun and moon will be darkened, there will be a trump(et) and a very visible appearing of Jesus to gather His elect, the believers. You see this in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (Revelation) and Paul’s writings. Right after that God’s wrath is unleased. As always, use Proverbs 18:13 as your guide in jumping to conclusions before hearing the entire matter. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. [27] And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. [28] And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. [29] But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him , if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. [30] When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; [31] (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. Deuteronomy 4:26-31 KJV The Jews are told that one day they will be scattered away from their land and would serve other gods. They are told that during times of tribulation even the end time tribulation that if they turn back to God then they would be spared His wrath. This does not say that God would spare them from tribulation that comes from man. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. Judges 10:14 KJV This is a challenge on nonbelievers to see if their god's can deliver them out of tribulation. This was not directed towards believers. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay , but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands. 1 Samuel 10:19 KJV This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord , and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. 1 Samuel 26:24 KJV This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.Matthew 13:21 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually includes the great end time tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. See the following verses for more details. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [29] 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: Matthew 24:21, 29 KJV After the great tribulation the sun and moon are darkened then Jesus comes again to be seen by all and gather the elect. This is the first and only gathering up of the saints (rapture) and it is after the great tribulation on the saints. This is also noted in Mark's report on this these coming events. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. [30] And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. [31] 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. Matthew 24:27, 30-31 KJV This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, Mark 13:24 KJV This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. In verse 27 some folks try to say the elect are the Jews. Keeping this in context the elect are not the Jews and Jesus did not intend for this to be only for the Jews. In Mark 13:37 Jesus states specifically this was not just for the Jews but it was for all to hear. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. Mark 13:37 KJV As far as who the elect are and are not Paul clearly identified this in Romans 11:7 and for certain the Jews without Jesus are not the elect. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Romans 11:7 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually includes the great end time tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. It actually lends support to the reality that believers would go through the great tribulation. It certainly does not exclude this reality. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually includes the great end time tribulation. This actually should be made clear to all. The New Testament church was told the entrance into God's kingdom must be through tribulation. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; Romans 2:9 KJV Read all of the verses before and after for the correct context. In Romans 2:11 Paul said "For there is no respect of persons with God". These verses are saying collectively that God's grace and judgement is not based on whether you are a Jew or not but on one's obedience to righteousness and their desire for eternal life (see vs. 7 and 8). This righteousness per the entire council of God's word is in Jesus alone. Eternal life is through Jesus alone. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. And not only so , but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; Romans 5:3 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually does include the great end time tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually includes the great end time tribulation. This does not however say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. It actually lends support to the reality that believers would go through the great tribulation. It certainly does not exclude this reality. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually includes the great end time tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. It actually lends support to the reality that believers would go through the great tribulation. It certainly does not exclude this reality. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Corinthians 1:4 KJV This refers to day to day tribulation and conceptually includes the great end time tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. It actually lends support to the reality that believers would go through the great tribulation. It certainly does not exclude this reality. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. 2 Corinthians 7:4 KJV Paul is specifically speaking of their current tribulations and not the coming great tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. Ephesians 3:13 KJV Paul is specifically speaking of his current tribulations and not the coming great tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 1 Thessalonians 3:4 KJV Paul is specifically speaking of their current tribulations and not the coming great tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 6 KJV Paul is specifically speaking of their current tribulations and not the coming great tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. This does mention God bringing tribulation back upon the men who cause tribulation to His Saints but in no way does this equate to the rapture occurring before the tribulation that will be brought upon the Saints in the last days by men under the power of the anti-Christ. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:9 KJV John is specifically speaking of his current tribulation on the island that he was exiled to and not the coming great tribulation. This does not say that believers would be taken out of the end time tribulation which is the anti-christ's war on the saints or as the Bible calls it, the great tribulation. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. [10] Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. [22] Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. Revelation 2:9-10, 22 KJV This is talking of future tribulation for this specific church and in no way supports a pre-trib rapture concept but does actually signify that saints will go through tribulation such as what Jesus said in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14 KJV The Great Tribulation as Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:21 was before the sun and moon being darkened. Jesus said in verse 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light”. In the next verses, verses 30 and 31 the next things that will happen will be that Jesus will come and the world will not be in any doubt as to who this is and He will gather his elect, the believers from all over the world and then God’s wrath will come next upon the world as we see at the end of Revelation 6. The fact is also seen in this passage that the sun and moon will be darkened prior to God’s wrath being released upon the earth. This is the disconnect that the pre-tribualation line of reasoning fails to explain. The believers will not just vanish with no sign of Jesus but instead this will be a highly visible event and there will be no doubt who is coming and who takes that saints and then they will be certain that it is the Lamb, see vs 16 below, who is bringing on the Wrath of God. The disconnect is that the tribulation brought upon the saints by the anit-christ and his armies is not at all the same as the wrath of God. The Wrath of God is the not the Great Tribulation that Jesus spoke of in Matthew and throughout the Gospels. Yes God will not pour out His wrath on His children but the anti-Christ will and teaching the pre-tribulation message is leaving many people out there with a selfish assurance that they will not have to suffer. It is sad that this mentality is so popular in our comfortable western world lifestyle while brothers and sisters in Christ are dying daily for their faith around the world (China, India, Middle East, etc). And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 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 kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:10-17 Another thing to weigh heavily when propping up a prophetic position with no clear scriptural evidence is what Moses told the people regarding how to judge a false prophet and how God feels about these as well in Deuteronomy 18 verses 20 through 22. If what the prophet says does not come to pass in then they are to be put to death. We really need to be careful and repent if we are not preparing the saints appropriately for daily and future tribulations. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 The following highlights the danger that dispensational ideas such as the pre-Trib Rapture brings to the modern church. More on the tribulation verses the wrath of God... Too many Christians today, especially in the USA, have two very important biblical concepts confused. They mistake tribulation (man on man such as the great tribulation) with the wrath of God which is God's wrath on the non-believers especially in the last days. For those who are giddy and excited about being raptured up before the great tribulation ought to go back and study the Bible more and understand that the great tribulation will be prior to God taking anyone out. Case in point is seen in what has happened last year in Kenya. This is a prime example of tribulation that occurs to those who refuse to deny Jesus, even when death is immanent. This is the wrath of man upon man and not the wrath of God upon non-believers. There is a huge difference and people need to get this straight so we can stop giving people the wrong expectations as to what is coming (I.e. Left Behind, etc). Tribulation on believers in the news today (see http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/04/02/garissa-attack-kenya.html) Exert from the news story: Collins Wetangula, the vice chairman of the student union, said when the gunmen arrived at his dormitory he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people who had hidden inside whether they were Muslims or Christians. "If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot," he said. "With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die." So, if you cannot live for Him today, then how will you die for Him tomorrow? Here is some more regarding the difference between the wrath of God and Tribulation... Tribulation does not equal God’s wrath as per the Bible. 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: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 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. Matthew 24:29-31 Note: After this the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And 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 13:24-27 Note: After this the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:25-28 Note: After this the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. Revelation 6:12 Note: After this the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. Do you see the trend yet, the context? Do you see that the things that take place before these passages are the Tribulation and that is the wrath of man and Satan upon the saints? After the sixth seal is opened God begins to pour out His wrath on the non-believers. Tribulation does not equal God’s wrath as per the Bible. People get ready, something big is about to come. When the antichrist and those opposed to God bring tribulation upon the true Christians, after that God’s wrath will be poured out upon the earth. The believers will be pulled out after the tribulation and before God’s wrath. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Revelation 6:9-11 Again, if you cannot live for Him today, then how do you expect to live for Him tomorrow? If you are living for Him today then your lamps are full and ready. Well done believer. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matthew 25:1-13 Please note on the above passage that not knowing when the Son of man cometh does not mean he will come before the tribulation. This was clearly explained previously. In conclusion we must be careful to not read into scriptures more than what we are given. Context is critical and going outside of what was intended is deviating from God’s word and there is much danger in doing so. If you are only waiting selfishly to be pulled out of this world before it gets too bad you will be greatly disappointed as times are already starting to turn hard against the true church and there is much tribulation upon believers across the world already...but the worse is yet to come....


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