Response to Tim LaHaye

Review of Mr. Tim LaHaye's  "The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy" 2004 pgs 289-294
By Brian O'Connell

I will identify the words of Tim LaHaye with a T.L.  
I will respond with this color!

T.L. PRETRIBULATIONAIL VIEW of the rapture teaches that Christ will rapture His church to His Father's house prior to the seven-year Tribulation (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4-5). The timing of the rapture is not a cardinal doctrine that should divide God's people, but those who interpret the Bible literally find many strong reasons to believe that the rapture will be pretribulational.

I fully agree that the timing of the rapture should not divide God's people. It is good that we should discuss this topic and work it through to come to the truth of God's word. Yet, as Tim LaHaye declares that the literal interpretation gives a pre-trib rapture view, I believe that the literal interpretation of the scriptures points to post-trib, rather than a pre-trib rapture i.e.

Matthew 24:29-31
    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: [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.

While this scripture in Matt 24:29 clearly shows a Post-trib rapture, I have yet to find a single text of scripture anywhere that clearly shows a pre-trib rapture! (I have an Amendment at the bottom of this page that deals with "the elect!")

T.L. 1. The pretribulational view offers the most logical interpretation of second-coming scriptures when they are taken for their plain, literal meaning. Indeed, Walvoord says, “The only view that interprets prophecy literally and consistently is that of the pretribulational, premillennial position” (Walvoord, Prophecy, p. 122). The pretribulational position has a logical explanation of every second-coming passage. Other views do not unless they jettison literal interpretation at one or more points.

I trust that the above quote by Tim is opinionated to favor the doctrine that has made him millions of dollars!

T.L. 2. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul promised believers they would be saved from the “wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 NKJV) and kept from “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10). Such a “trial” has not yet occurred.

In reference to Rev. 3:10, Mr. LaHayes book (pg 52) says that the church age to whom those words were written (the Philadelphian church) lasted from 1648-1900! Therefore, that church age to whom those words were written is no longer here and the hour of temptation of which this church was kept from must have been completed by the year 1900 (if Mr. LaHaye wishes to remain consistent with the rest of his teaching). The last church age, the Laodecian church (1900-present), which he claims is the church age of our current day, does not have that admonition of protection! I will cover more on Rev. 3:10 later!

T.L. Paul gave the same promise in Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9. All the other viewpoints contradict these scriptures by stating that at least a portion of the church will experience all or some of the Tribulation period.

The Tribulation is NOT the Wrath! When the Tribulation ends, the saints are raptured. Then, the wrath of God is poured out on the earth. Please note that in every scripture that Tim refers to, the word “wrath” is used - not the word “Tribulation”!  Since the Tribulation ends before the wrath begins (the point of rapture), then not a one of these verses say the church will be spared the Tribulation, but that they will be spared the wrath!

Matthew 3:7      But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Luke 3:7      Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

1 Thes. 1:10      And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Romans 5:9      Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

1 Thes. 5:9      For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
The seven plagues of the wrath of God (Rev. 14:17 through chapter 16) begin AFTER the seals and seven trumpets of the Tribulation (Rev. chapters 6-13)! After the Tribulation ends, the scriptures say the saints are raptured (Rev. 14:14-16) and then the 7 plagues of God's wrath begins (Rev. 14:17 to chapter 16)!

Matthew 24:29-31      Immediately after the tribulation of those days ………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.

T.L. 3. The pretribulational position clearly and logically untangles the details of Christ's second coming. The Scriptures say that Jesus will come in the air to rapture (snatch away) His church, yet He will also come to the earth publicly to judge the earth. The coming of Christ in blessing for His church and His return to the earth in judgment are two distinct events separated by time. As Walvoord puts it, “The Rapture is a movement of the church from earth to heaven and is in sharp contrast to the church's return with Christ at the Second Coming, which occurs more than seven years later as a movement from heaven to earth” (Walvoord, Prophecy, p. 38). The book of Revelation and 2 Thessalonians 2 clarify what takes place between those two events.

This is TRUE! I agree that the first coming of Jesus in in the air, gathering his saints unto himself. The second coming is when He stands upon the earth. A Post-Tribulation - Pre-Wrath View of the rapture fits these criteria of two separate comings of Christ! But to Mr. LaHayes error, the first coming of Christ on the clouds in the air is shown by scripture to take place after the tribulation (Matt. 24:29-30, Mark 13:24-26, 1 Thess. 4:17 & Rev. 14:14-16)  

After the tribulation, the church is Raptured in Rev. 14:14-16 while Jesus is on the clouds of the air! Then begins the 7 plagues of the Wrath of God Rev. 14:17 through chapter 19! The saints are in heaven enjoying the wedding supper of the Lamb while the wrath of God is being poured out on the earth. The second return of Christ is in Chapter 19 as he then stands upon the earth and destroys the wicked and begins the millennial reign of Christ! So the pre-trib. doctrine is not the ONLY teaching that untangles the details of Christ's second coming, but rather it has weaved its own tangled mess of conflicting with other scriptures!

T.L. 4. The pretribulational rapture position is the only view that makes a clear distinction between Israel and the church. The lack of a proper understanding of the relationship between Israel and the church in prophecy is one of the major causes of confusion in the teachings of amillennialism and posttribulationism.
The church was born in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. We know this because the church is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18), believers become part of the body of Christ through baptism with the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), and Spirit baptism commenced when the Holy Spirit came upon believers in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4);

The church was a “mystery” (it was not revealed) in the Old Testament (Ephesians 3:3-5,9; Colossians 1:26-27). Furthermore, the church could not have come into existence until Christ died (to provide atonement- Matthew 16:18-21), rose again (Ephesians 1:20-23), and ascended to heaven (Ephesians 4:7-11). In fact, the Holy Spirit was not provided for believers until after Christ's ascension (John 16:7-13).

Although the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has certainly opened the door for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, you would have a difficult time convincing me that Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah (and many other Old Testament saints) are not part of the church, nor can you convince me that they too, did not have the Holy Spirit. David  begged the Lord not to remove the Holy Spirit from him after he was caught in his sin of adultary! (Ps. 51:11) Since the word "church" is properly defined as the assembly, or gathering together, of the saints, the only way Mr. LaHaye can prove his point, is to prove that there are NO Old Testament Saints! Would you agree that there are NO Old Testament Saints? If so, what will you do with Hebrews chapter 11?

The New Testament covenant, simply breaks down the barrier of laws and commandments that prevented the Gentiles from being included in the assembly of the Saints. While Mr. LaHaye would seem to imply that the people of Israel are not part of the church, and that the church is a NEW thing for the New Testament alone, I argue that this is completely false and that the New Testament simply makes a way for all people, Jew and Gentile, to be included in the church which had already existed in the people of Israel and that the Holy Spirit, which had already been a gift received by the people of Israel, was now freely poured out upon ALL flesh who place their trust in Jesus Christ!

Ephes. 2:12-15      That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Mr. LaHaye may appear to have some Biblical knowledge, but he denies proper Greek definitions, as well as a passage of scripture that confirms that the church existed in Old Testament Israel as Stephen spoke to the pharisees!

 Acts 7:38      This is he, that was in the church (ekkle¯sia) in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

The word “Church” is defined by Theyer's Greek Definitions as G1577
Thayer Definition:
1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
1b) the assembly of the Israelites
1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
1d) in a Christian sense
1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
1d2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

T.L. The apostle Paul calls the church “one man” composed of Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:15)-a completely new entity. It distinguished from both Israel and the Gentiles, composed of members from both groups, and identified as the “church” and “one body" (Ephesians 2:16; 3:6). First Corinthians distinguishes the church from both Israel and the Gentiles.

A proper reading of the book of Ephesians clearly shows that the Gentiles were added TO the Jewish church! It is not a different entity, but rather an inclusion of the Gentiles into the commonwealth of Israel! Notice the words of Ephesians, how it is addressed to the Gentiles and their being added to the blessings of Israel!

Ephes. 2:11-19       Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. [19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Being included as fellowcitizens with the saints and the household of God  is clearly telling the Gentiles that they are being added TO the church of Israel, which Paul called “saints” in this verse above! Very simply put, the cross of Christ removed the barrier that separated the Gentiles from the God of Israel. Now the Gentiles have the same access to know and worship the God of Israel without laws and commandments, which was a barrier! Mr. LaHayes attempt to divide the Christian church from Israel is nonsensical and is completely opposite from what this scripture above is saying!

T.L. Also, the name Israel is never used of church. In the New Testament, it refers either to Jews in general or Jewish believers in particular. The reference to the “Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16, so often taken by amillenalialists as a synonym for the church, it refers only to Jewish believers in Christ.
In summary, there is no evidence that the church began before Acts 2, and much evidence that it began at that time as a new entity in the program of God. Therefore must be kept distinct from Israel, and a tribulational understanding of the rapture the only means of doing this.

This was covered above! Tim is not telling the truth! Israel is called “the Church” by Stephen the myrter in the following verse!

Acts 7:37-38       This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. [38] This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

The saints of Israel and the Christians together, are the CHURCH! They are one (Eph. 2:14)

It is vital to the life of the Pre-tribulational view to seperate Israel from the church so that they can define the "elect" In Matthew 24 and Mark 13 to be the rapture of Israel and not the Christian church! While there is NOT a single scripture that shows the rapture of the Christian church "before" the Tribulation, there are 3 that cleary shows the rapture "after" the tribulation. (Matt. 24:29-30, Mark 13:24-26 & Rev. 14:14-16). This stumbling block has caused those of the pre-tribulatinal view, to attempt to deny that Israel is part of the church, so that they can create 2 seperate entities and thus claim that the "elect" means Israel, not the Christain church! This false teaching is in total conflict with the scripture Tim has referred to as he tries to create 2 seperate entities in Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

 T.L. 5. Pretribulationism is the only view that makes “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) truly a blessed hope. Few doctrines have brought more hope to grieving and persecuted souls during the past 2000 years than the doctrine of this blessed hope, which is the teaching that Christ will return for His church, resurrect the dead, and transport living believers to be with Himself while the world endures the Tribulation.
The midtribulational position destroys that hope by forcing Christians to anticipate the trauma of at least part of the Tribulation. Posttribulationism further destroys the hope by propelling Christians through the entire Tribulation period.

Titus 2:13
   Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

The blessed hope has nothing to do with believers escaping the tribulation and there is no promise that they will not be persecuted! If Mr. LaHayes' opinion above was true, you would have to apologize to the millions of Christians that have been tortured and persecuted the last 2,000 years as they too hoped in the blessed appearing of Christ but did not escape the horrors of wicked men! The fact is, that Titus 2:13, and the surrounding verses say nothing about escaping the tribulation as part of the blessed hope! Contrary to Mr. LaHayes' "Christ without the cross" doctrine, Paul promised the Christians that they would be persecuted!

2 Tim. 3:12     Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Acts 14:22     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.

When the Christians begin to be persecuted during the tribulation, what words of comfort will Mr. LaHaye and the pre-trib teachers give to encourage the weak Christians who begin to fall away on account of the word of God?

Matthew 13:21     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.

T.L. No proper reading of Bible prophecy gives credence to the idea that the church will be on earth during that seven-year period. The judgment pictured in Revelation is clearly intended for Israel and the unbelieving world.

The ONLY way you can come to this conclusion, is to teach that the "saints" are NOT the Church! I trust that the saints shown in Rev. 13:7, during the tribulation, are still the "church!"

Rev. 13:7      And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

The scripture in Rev. 13:7 is in direct conflict with Tim LaHayes words. The ONLY way he can pass his idea, would be to deny that the saints ARE the church. If there are any saints on the earth during the tribulation, as we see in Rev. 13:7, then the church is STILL here!

I must ask a question to all of you Pastors and Bible scholars who preach Pre-Tribulation rapture: "How is it that you don't believe that the saints in Rev. 13:7 are part of the Church? Are you teaching your congregation that these saints are not part of the church?"

A proper interpretation of the word “church” is defined as follows:
ekklesia, ek-klay-see'-ah; Strongs 1577 a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community (assembly) of members on earth or saints in heaven or both) :- assembly, church.

The “saints” ARE the “church” and they are here in Rev. 13:7!

T.L. 6. Pretribulationism allows sufficient time for important end-time events to occur. Christ will take Christians to His Father's house and reward them at the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:12). The marriage of the bride of Christ in heaven occurs before He comes “with power and great glory” to the earth (Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27). Other viewpoints are all too brief to allow time for the important events listed in Revelation.

This theory is completely subjective and opinionated! Tim does not know when the rewards are given! The rewards can clearly be given to the saints the days or months after Jesus begins his millennial reign on earth! True? Secondly, how long does it take to have a wedding supper? 7 years?

I will cover the return of Christ in "power and great glory" in #8 below!

T.L. 7. Only the pretribulational view preserves the motivating power of the imminent return of Christ. In John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:4; and many other passages, the apostles taught that Christ could come at any moment. When the church loses this anticipation, it tends to become carnal and spiritually dead. (See the article titled “Imminence.”)

John 14 does not show any hint of an imminent return of Christ, nor does Acts 1:11, 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:20 nor Col. 3:4. Although each of these scriptures speak about the return of Christ, not one of them speaks of an “imminent” return! Tim's comment about the church who does not agree with his teaching becomes "carnal and spiritually dead" is his opinion which cannot be proven. The fact is, that the Thessalonian church had been deceived by someone who told them that the rapture had already taken place. Paul was made aware of this deception and responded in his second letter to the Thessalonians to quiet their fears and inform them to look for several events that must take place before Christ comes!

2 Thes. 2:1-4      Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (rapture), [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. [3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Paul told the church not to be deceived, the rapture will NOT come until the great apostasy (falling away) and the antichrist is revealed sitting in the Temple of God. Until these two events take place, there is NO imminent return of Christ!

It would appear, that Paul was prophetically warning us of the false Pre-trib. doctrine right here! Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, …..”

T.L. 8. Pretribulational Christians are looking for the coming of the Lord. In other views, Christians are awaiting the Tribulation, the Antichrist, and great suffering. In fact, only the rapture could occur as soon as today. The glorious appearing of Christ cannot occur for at least seven or more years (see Walvoord, Prophecy in the New Millennium, pp. 38-39).

I believe that Tim is stuck with his theory that the first coming of Christ is invisible, silent and secretive by which no one knows that he came and no one knows what happened to the Christians (similar to the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses who claim Jesus came secretly and invisibly in 1914), and that the second coming of Christ is with Glory at His "glorious appearing". I cannot find a single scripture that declares that Jesus is coming invisibly, secretly and silently with an invisible rapture where no one knows what happened, can you? The entire pre-trib. theory rests upon this secret coming of Christ and secret rapture which has no scriptural foundation!

Even the scripture that Pre-tribbers lean on as a pre-trib rapture, clearly depicts a very public and loud announcement of the coming of Christ to rapture the saints....

1 Thes. 4:16     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:

I trust that the trumpet blast and the shout of the archangel, are not going to be silent and secretive! If you are teaching others that the "trumpet" and "shout" are silent, and that the "last trumpet" comes before the "first trumpet," could you show me which scripture you use to base this teaching?

1 Cor. 15:52     In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Furthermore, this "public" coming of Christ, will be seen by every person on earth!

Rev. 1:7     Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, ....    

When he comes on the clouds (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26, 1 Thess. 4:17, Rev. 1:7 and 14:14-16),  every eye will see him (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 17:30, Rev. 1:7)!

The only way Tim can pass his theory, is to delete Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, 2 Thess. 2:1-4 and Rev. 14:14-16 from the Bible! He may even have to throw away the "shout" of the archangel, and the "sound of the trumpet" which I imagine will not be very silent, as well as the word "last" trumpet from 1 Cor. 15:52! When pre-tribbers quote this verse in 1 Cor. 15:52, please note how they avoid finishing the verse where it says "at the last trumpet!" Why do you suppose they willfully avoid finishing the passage?

Tim's doctrine is not very "literal" if you wish to be honest and fair with God and His word! And if your teaching it, I believe you are convicted by the Holy Spirit every time you quote 1 Cor. 15:52 and leave out the words "last trumpet" avoiding the full word of truth! I also pray, that every time you preach this invisible, secret, silent rapture, knowing there is NO scriptural support, that the Spirit of God will convict you!

T.L. 9. Pre-tribulationism emphasizes the magnitude of the rapture. At least four passages of Scripture describe the rapture, so it must be a significant event. The post-tribulational view trivializes the rapture, treating it as a quick trip up and right back down. The pre-tribulational view treats it as a dignified, blessed event commensurate with a heavenly bridegroom who comes to take His bride to His Father's house for their wedding.

I must confess that I have to shake my head at this one! It appears to be Mr. LaHaye and his pre-trib. rapture theory that trivializes the rapture, turning it into a secret, silent event by which no one even knows that Jesus has come until the rebellious, unbelieving grandson finds his Christian grandmothers' clothes neatly folded up lying on the kitchen floor after she "vanished" along with thousands of other Christians. Contrarywise, I contend that the coming of Christ is going to be a great and glorious event by which the trumpet blast is heard by every ear on earth, the shout of the archangel will echo throughout the land, and the appearing of Christ upon the clouds will be the most awesome sight any eye has ever seen, as the living and dead in Christ will rise into the air to meet Jesus on the clouds! Every eye will see this glorious event ... it will NOT be secret, no one will wonder what happened to the Christians! The five foolish virgins will quickly run out to try and refill their vessels but the door will have been closed! Which event sounds more glorious to you? It is Mr. LaHaye's Pre-trib. teaching that turns this glorious event into a secret, silent event by which the world doesn't even know anything happened, except that the Christians have "vanished!"

As for the "quick trip up and right back down" comment, Mr. LaHaye fails to understand that there is still a time frame remaining after the post-tribulation rapture whereby God begins to pour out his wrath upon the earth. The raptured Christians will return with Christ to heaven enjoying the wedding feast while the 7 plagues of God's Wrath are being poured out upon the earth. The whole earth saw the glorious appearing of Jesus when he came for the saints to take them to the wedding supper in heaven, and these wicked, rebellious souls who now go through the wrath of God will then gather together at Armageddon to make war against Jesus when he returns with the saints after the wedding supper is completed in Rev. 19! Mr. LaHaye, as well as most pre-tribbers, think that a Post-trib rapture is a "quick ride up and right back down"  as the resurrected saints meet Jesus in the air only to continue down with Jesus as he descends to the mount of Olives to stand upon the earth. This is not true! This error in their understanding is the focus of their joke "quick ride up and right back down!"

Mr. LaHaye comments that he sees at least 4 passages of scripture discribing the rapture while I count at least 8. All 8 of these passages are the "first coming" where Jesus is "in the clouds!" It's pretty clear that, somewhere along the line, at least 4 "rapture" passages of scripture have "disappeared" in the pre-trib. teaching!

Matthew 24:27-31, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 17:24-30,  1 Cor. 15:52-53, 1 Thess. 4:15-17,  2 Thess. 2:1-4,   Rev. 1:7 and 14:14-16  

At least 3, and maybe 4 of these 8 passages clearly shows the rapture to take place "after" the tribulation which explains why Mr. LaHaye cannot see them and has made them "disappear." You might note that the passages that show a rapture after the tribulation, also discribe a very glorious and visable appearing of Christ in the fullness of his glory!  ie. and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26)

Not a single passage discribes a pre-tribulation, secret, silent, non-glorious rapture as taught by pre-trib doctrine!

T.L. 10. Pretribulationism most clearly fits the flow of the book of Revelation (see Revelation 4:1-2). Further, this view explains why the church is so central in the first three chapters of Revelation but then disappears and is not mentioned again until 18:24. Pretribulationists insist that the church has already been raptured before the events of Revelation 4-18. Other views try to find the church in the Tribulation even though she is not mentioned in these chapters.

There is absolutely NO mention of a rapture anywhere in the book of Revelation until we get to chapter 14! Rev. 4:1-2 never says a word about the rapture of the church. The church is still mentioned in Rev. 6:9-11, and they haven't been resurrected from the dead yet. This passage continues to declare that more saints are going to be myrtered. In Rev. 13:7, the church is still here, being persecuted by the anti-christ. Not until Rev. chapter 14:14-16, do we see the rapture of the church and in Rev. 15:2-3, we finally see the "tribulation saints" who overcame the anti-christ and the tribulation, in heaven singing the song of Moses! These 3 scriptures all show "saints" who are rightly recognized as "the church" before chapter 18!

Mr. LaHaye implies that the "saints" of these verses, are not the "church" because the word "church" does not appear! To imply that the "saints" mentioned in these passages are not "the church" is heretical and false! Since when, does the church exist except as the assembly of the "saints!"   As long as their are two or more saints on the earth during the tribulation, the church is still here!

It is the view of the pre-trib school to deny that these saints are still the church!

Rev. 4:1-2 does not say a single word about the church, or the rapture of the church, and if taken literally, as the pre-tribbers claim they do with scripture, this passage is only a view of John and his temporary visit to heaven! The ONLY literal interpretation of a rapture that can be found in the entire book of Revelation is 14:14-16, which is immediately after the tribulation, and immediately before the wrath of God! This scripture in Rev. 14, which is the only rapture sequence in the book, becomes a phantom in most pre-trib studies! Yet it is in complete harmony with Matt. 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27 and 1 Thess. 4:16-17 which all show Jesus on the clouds at his first coming. 2 of these 3 texts declare the rapture as “AFTER the Tribulation! Even in Mr. LaHayes' Encyclopedia, of which I used for this study, the rapture sequence of Rev. 14:14-16 is never discussed nor is it ever mentioned, it disappears!

All of the following scholars are in agreement that Rev. 14:14-16 and Matthew 24:31 is the rapture of the church!

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible    1798-1870
Dr. John Gill's Exposition of the entire Bible      1690-1771
Jamieson, Faussett and Brown Commentary
The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible

T.L. 11.Pretribulationism preserves the credibility of Christ's word that Christians will be kept from the Tribulation, It is the only view that resolves the contrasting difficulties of Revelation 3:10 and 7:14.

Rev. 3:10
    Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

1. The first problem is that Mr. LaHayes' book (pg 52) says that this church age (the Philadelphian church) lasted from 1648-1900! That means that this church age to whom this was written is no longer here and that the hour of temptation of which this church was kept from must have been completed by the year 1900. The current church age is the Laodecian church (1900-present), which he claims is the church age of our current day and does not have that admonition!

2.   It is a fulfilled prophecy!

I personally don't agree with the "church ages" teaching where each of these church's are symbolic of a "church age" or period of time until the current "Laodicean" church age! I believe that each of these words that were addressed to that specific church at that time in which they were given! Rev. 3:10 was a word given to the saints of Philadelphia at the time when St. John wrote it! Although much of its truths still holds true for todays church's, the trials spoken of was for that specific church for that specific time, which is now, a fulfilled prophecy! I will support my theory with the following scholars' notes on this passage of scripture:

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible  1798-1870
I also will keep thee - That is, I will so keep you that you shall not sink under the trials which will prove a severe temptation to many. This does not mean that they would be actually kept from calamity of all kinds, but that they would be kept from the temptation of apostasy in calamity. He would give them grace to bear up under trials with a Christian spirit, and in such a manner that their salvation should not be endangered.
From the hour of temptation - The season; the time; the period of temptation. You shall be no kept that what will prove to be a time of temptation to so many, shall not endanger your salvation. Though others fall, you shall not; though you may be afflicted with others, yet you shall have grace to sustain you.
Which shall come upon all the world - The phrase used here - "all the world" - may either denote the whole world; or the whole Roman empire; or a large district of country; or the land of Judaea....Tacitus (see Wetstein, in loco) mentions an earthquake that sank twelve cities in Asia Minor, in one night, by which, among others, Philadelphia was deeply affected; and `it is possible that there may have been reference here to that overwhelming calamity.

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible  Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A.,
The hour of temptation - A time of sore and peculiar trial which might have proved too much for their strength. He who is faithful to the grace of God is often hidden from trials and difficulties which fall without mitigation on those who have been unfaithful in his covenant. Many understand by the hour of temptation the persecution under Trajan, which was greater and more extensive than the preceding ones under Nero and Domitian.
To try them - That is, such persecutions will be the means of trying and proving those who profess Christianity, and showing who were sound and thorough Christians and who were not.

Vincent's Word Studies   Marvin R. Vincent, D.D. Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature in Union Theological Seminary New York
From the hour (ek)
The preposition implies, not a keeping from temptation, but a keeping in temptation, as the result of which they shall be delivered out of its power. Compare Joh_17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Tim also references Rev. 7:14      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.

If you read Rev. 6:9-11 and 20:4, you will note that these are the saints that were killed during the great tribulation .

In Rev. 7:14, the question arises, "does the phrase 'came out of' mean that they were IN the tribulation and then 'came out of it?' Or does it mean that they were preserved from ever going through the Tribulation in the first place!" I think that Rev. 20:4 shows that these saints went into the tribulation and were beheaded for their refusal to take the mark of the beast, and the following scholars prove the tense of the greek words implicate this to be true!

Robertson's Word Pictures
They which come out of the great tribulation (hoi erchomenoi ek tes thlipseos tes megales). Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. "The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation" (Charles). Apparently some great crisis is contemplated (Mat_13:19.; Mat_24:21; Mar_13:10), though the whole series may be in mind and so may anticipate final judgment.

Vincent's Word Studies   
Marvin R. Vincent, D.D.
Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature in Union Theological Seminary New York.
Which came (hoi erchomenoi )
The present participle. Hence, as Rev., which come.

The Greek scholars above show that the tense of the word clearly shows that it is a continual process of Christians who are going "through" the tribulation and coming out of it as martyrs, thereby nullify Tim's argument!

T.L. 12. The purpose of the Tribulation is not to prepare the church for glory but rather to prepare Israel for restoration in God's program (see Deuteronomy 4:29-30; Jeremiah 30:4-11).

Wrong, Mr. LaHaye! The purpose of the Tribulation is to get people saved  -- Jew and Gentile! Neither scripture mentioned declares that the Christian church will be removed from the earth so that God can deal with the Jews! God has always dealt with the Jewish people throughout history! The tribulation is clearly to bring all things to an end and more importantly to bring in a harvest of souls! True? There is no doubt that God has been, and will continue to deal with Israel until the end! But there is no clue in the scriptures noted above, that the Christians will be removed from the earth first!  If the Christians have the Gospel of truth, why would the Lord want to pull them off from the earth, forcing the lost, and the unsaved people of Israel, to fend for themselves to find the gospel, instead of leaving the Christians here to preach the truth to these souls? Was God as concerned about Jonah's comfort and pleasures as much as he was for the salvation of the people of Ninevah? Was Jonah raptured out and Ninevah left to find the gospel on her own?

T.L. 13.The rapture of the church is not mentioned in any passage describing the coming of Christ following the Tribulation.

This has to be one of Mr. LaHayes' most interesting claims! Two scriptures declare EXACTLY, to the letter, what Mr. LaHaye denies! Mark 13 and Matthew 24 are complete textual passages that describe the "coming of Christ following the Tribulation!" And yet, Mr. LaHaye makes his statement above!

Mark 13:24-27      But in those days, After that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, [25] And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. [26] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. [27] 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.

Matthew 24:29-31      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: [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.

I would like to counter Mr. LaHayes' comment with this question, "Can you show me one clear textual passage of scripture that describes the coming of Christ "BEFORE" the tribulation?" Where does any scripture say "Before the tribulation of those days, the Son of Man will secretly come on the clouds and secretly gather the church in an invisible rapture?"

T.L. 14. None of the Bible passages describing the Tribulation mention the church (see Jeremiah 30:4-11; Daniel 9:24-27; 12:1-2; Matthew 24:15-31; Revelation 4-19).

Mr. LaHaye is aware that the word “church” does not appear in ANY Old Testament scripture. I might throw the burden back onto his shoulder to show any Old Testament scripture where the Christian "church" is mentioned, reguardless of the time periods prior, during or after the tribulation!  

Matthew 24:15-31 (& Mark 13:27) clearly includes the "church" as those whom are raptured, using the term "elect!"

Between Rev. chapter 4 - 19, the "church" which are the "saints" are described as being in the tribulation, and can be found in Rev. 6:11 as those who are still going to be killed, while the church that had already been killed in centuries past, are still dead and have not yet been resurrected! In Rev. 13:7, the church are those whom the antichrist makes war with, in Rev. 14:16, they are those whom are raptured, and in Rev. 15:2-3 as those who now are in heaven singing the song of Moses!

As illustrated in his book, Mr. LaHaye has a problem identifying the church. If the church does not consist of the saints, and the saints are not the elect, then can you tell me what the church IS? He is looking for the word “church” in these passages, but cannot recognize that the “elect”, the “saints” and the “church” are one and the same entity! The word church is defined as the gathering together of the elect which is also defined as the saints! I challenge them to prove that there will never be a gathering together of 2 or more of the saints after Rev. chapter 4 during the tribulation!

The word “elect”, is a stumbling block to the pre-trib. school so I will take a moment to define it here:

Col. 1:2 - 3:12 - 4:15       To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  
    Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

As Paul wrote this letter to the church of Colosse, he called them saints, and the elect of God!    

Thayer's Greek Definitions    
elect” G1588    eklektos
1) picked out, chosen
1a) chosen by God
1a1) to obtain salvation through Christ
1a1a) Christians are called “chosen or elect” of God

Thayer Definition of “church” G1577     ekklesia
1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
1b) the assembly of the Israelites
1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
1d) in a Christian sense
1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
1d2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

The key error in Mr. LaHayes doctrine is that he fails to identify that the "church", the "saints" and the "elect," by definition of scripture and Greek scholars, are all one and the same entity!

If 2 or more Christians exist during the tribulation, then the church is still here!

T.L. 15.     The church has not been appointed to wrath (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9; see Revelation 6:17).

I covered this in the beginning of this letter (see #2). The wrath is NOT the Tribulation!

 T.L. 16. When the church is raptured, believers will go to the Father's house in heaven (John 14:3). They will not immediately return to the earth, as posttribulationism teaches.

Where do you suppose the saints that have died in the past 2,000 years went to? So then what is the difference between spending 7 years in the Fathers house, or one day, when they return to reign with Christ 1,000 years. The time value is not of importance nor does the scripture indicate an importance of time for those who arrive in heaven at the last day!

T.L. 17.     The exhortation in Titus 2:13 to look for Christ's return as a blessed hope is misleading if the Tribulation must come first. Believers would need to look for signs instead. On the contrary; the church is always exhorted to look for the Lord's coming. In the Tribulation, however, believers are told to look for signs (Matthew 24).

Mr. LaHaye is the one who is misleading, not the scripture! There is nothing in Titus 2:13 that tells the saints that they will not endure the tribulation or that the saints should not look for signs as shown in Matthew 24.  Mr. LaHaye completely ignores Pauls warning to the Thessalonian church in 2 Thess. 2:1-4 that they should not expect the return of Christ nor the rapture until 2 signs occur first which I noted earlier!

T.L. I8. According to Old Testament texts, living Tribulation saints are not translated and glorified at Christ's second coming. They continue earthly human lives and occupations, including having children and raising crops (Isaiah 65:20-25). If all saints are translated and glorified (as described by the rapture) at Christ's second coming to the earth, this would be impossible. In addition, the separation of the “sheep” and “goats” described by Jesus in Matthew 25:32 would be unnecessary because it would already have occurred at the rapture before He even set up His throne of judgment (25:31).

The "sheep" (which includes the Tribulation saints i.e: Rev. 20:4-6) reign with Christ for 1,000 years. The "goats" are the wicked who are judged at the White Throne judgment of Rev. 20:11-15. Is Mr. LaHaye trying to tell us that the "goats" are the "tribulation saints?" How is it possible for the "tribulation saints" to be the "goats" who will be cast into hell?
    And these (the goats) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:46

Mr. LaHaye has failed to find, in the scriptures, who the people are that will still live upon the earth and be subject to the reign of the saints. So he takes a "leap" into heresy and suggests that the "tribulation saints" are the only ones who are left on the earth for the saints to rule over. His suggestion is easily nullified by Rev. 20:4-6, which shows these "tribulation saints" as being included with those who will reign over the earth with Christ:

Rev. 20:4-6
    And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Tim's confussion arises when you ask "If the people of Isa. 65 are not the 'tribulation saints,' then who are they?" The answer is found in Zech 14!

        Zech. chapter 14 has a complete description of the second return of Christ, when he stands upon the Mount of Olives and destroys the wicked. Zech. 14:16-17 identifies the people whom the saints will reign over. They are the remnent of the wicked who came to fight against Jerusalem, not the tribulation saints!

    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. Zech. 14:16-17

These are NOT the tribulation saints! They are the remnant of the wicked! The "pre-tribulation saints" are not going to rule over the "tribulation saints" as Tim teaches, but rather, they will reign "with" the "tribulation saints!" (Rev. 20:4-6) Every saint, including the tribulation saints will be raptured at the same time. When God pours out his wrath upon the earth and destroys the wicked, not everyone dies, a remnant remains! These possibly might be the innocent young children of the wicked at the coming of Christ, but since they are not accountable for sin yet, at their young age, remain alive to father the nations that will live and die during the millennial reign of Christ!


     T.L. 19.      God has often delivered believers (including, for example, Noah, Lot, and Rahab) before punishing the world for sin (see 2 Peter 2:6-9).

The Post-Tribulation view does show God delivering the saints before the Wrath of God! The tribulation is NOT the Wrath! They are seperate events and clearly shown to be seperate by anyone who will read the context of the book of Revelation. Rev. 14:17 begins the Wrath of God. Prior to Rev. chapter 14, we see the Tribulation!

Please note that the SAME day that Noah entered the ark, the flood came. The same day Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone. And the same day that Jesus raptures the saints, God will bring wrath upon the earth!

Luke 17:26-30  “and as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank...until the DAY that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank... but the same DAY that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone... Even so will it be in the DAY when the Son of Man is revealed.”

The same day that the Son of Man is revealed, he raptures the church, and begins the wrath of God (Matt. 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27 and Rev. 14:14-20)

T.L. 20. Jesus mentions the possibility of believers escaping the Tribulation in Luke 21:36.

Luke 21:36     Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

One does not have to be raptured, to "escape all these things!" Furthermore, not every Christian is praying to escape all these things, so this is an individual exclusion, not the entire church!

I believe this verse is subjective and could have more explanations than to say that the church will be raptured before the tribulation! A second theory of thought on this verse is a fulfilled prophecy concerning the Jews! Part of this chapter deals with the persecution of Israel in 70 AD when the Roman conqueror, Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. (verses 5-7; 12-24). Historical writings about the event shows that the Christians, knowing this prophecy,  fled from Jerusalem before the invasion and were spared the horror! Anyone who will read about this event, will agree, with the exception of Hitler, that it was one of the most horrific slaughters of Jewish people in history.

Here are some scholars who feel that this is what this verse was directed towards:

Dr. John Gill's Exposition of the entire Bible
to escape all these things that shall come to pass; the dreadful miseries and distress, that shall come upon the Jews:

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible  Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A.,
That shall come to pass - That is, the tribulations which are on their way to overwhelm and destroy the Jewish people. These are sufficiently stated in the preceding verses.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible  1798-1870
To stand before the Son of man - These approaching calamities are represented as the "coming of the Son of man" to judge Jerusalem for its crimes.

     T.L. 21.     Almost all scholars acknowledge that the early church believed in the imminence of Christ's return, which logically leads to pretribulationism.
(See article titled “Rapture.”)

I find this comment very questionable, opinionated and conflicting to the Second letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians chapter 2! Yes, they were expecting Jesus to come in their lifetime, shown by the evidence of the Thessalonian church who feared that the rapture had already taken place and they were "left behind".  Paul corrected this error by warning the Thessalonian church as to what signs they should look for before the rapture and the coming of Christ! Believing the return to take place in ones lifetime, certainly does not nullify expecting certain signs first! Unless you have failed to notice, their “imminent” return theory is now 2,000 years old! So if 2,000 years have passed, where is the conflict of looking for the signs of Paul's warnings in 2 Thess. Chapter 2?


The following is Tim's argument against the Pre-Wrath theory! Please make special note, that my study is not completely in agreement with the Pre-wrath view that Mr. LaHaye wishes to contend. You will have to read my study on the Rapture to understand!

T.L. THE PRE-WRATH RAPTURE theory teaches that the day of the Lord, the time of divine wrath upon the earth, will begin sometime during the second half of Daniels seventieth week and that the rapture of the church will immediately precede it (Rosenthal, p. 35).

I disagree with the seventieth week of Daniel theory. You will note in my link, that many scholars confirm that it is a fulfilled prophecy! Those who hold to this theory, in effect, feel that God had mistakenly failed to account for a "gap" between the 69th week and 70th week, which is now 2,000 years old (285+ weeks)! (a similar error of false prophets is noted in my study against the 7th Day Adventists who play a similar game with prophetic years to prove their false teachings) The tribulation, however, can last any amount of time, including 3 1/2 years noted in Rev. 11:3!

The plagues of God upon the earth, is a ONE DAY event (explaned in my study on the rapture)!

Rev. 18:8
    Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

T.L.   According to this view, the day of the Lord will be introduced by the cosmic disturbances associated with the sixth seal judgment and will begin with the opening of the seventh seal. The church will suffer persecution by Antichrist during the first 63 months of Daniel's seventieth week, yet proponents of this view assert that the presence of this persecution does not negate the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). In fact, the seals are the assurance of eternal security for believers who suffer martyrdom during this 63-month period. The Antichrist can harm their bodies but not their souls in much the same way as Satan treated Job (Rosenthal pp. 144-45). This 63-month period is a time of man's wrath, which is to be distinguished from the final 21 months of the Tribulation, in which the world will experience God's wrath, or the day of the Lord.
According to this view's original proponents, the term pre-wrath rapture distinguishes this view from other rapture positions by affirming that the church will be rescued from the hands of the Antichrist before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth. It diverges from other rapture views in the timing of the rapture event and the definitions of events leading up to the second coming of Christ.
The pre-wrath perspective had its beginning in a series of discussions between Marvin Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen beginning in 1986. In 1990, Rosenthal introduced his book, The Pre- Wrath Rapture of the Church. as a new understanding of the rapture, the Tribulation, and the second coming of Christ. In 1992, Van Kampen published The Sign, in which he attempted to harmonize end-time passages in both Testaments (Van Kampen. p. 13), and in 1997 he released The Rapture Question Answered as further argument for the pre-wrath position.

Pre-wrath rapturism teaches that the church will enter the seven-year period that precedes Christ's physical return to earth (the seventieth week of Daniel) and will encounter the tribulation of that period and the Antichrist himself. This seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) contains three major features: the beginning of sorrows, the Great Tribulation, and the day of the Lord.

The first half of Daniel's seventieth week (3½ years) is initiated when Antichrist signs a covenant to protect Israel (Daniel 9:27). During this 3½-year period, the opening of the first four seals (Revelation 6:1-8) and the apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) take place.


During this time period there will be wars and rumors of wars, nations will rise against nations, false messiahs will appear, and famines, earthquakes, and pestilence will occur in various places (Matthew 24:4-8).

At the midpoint of Daniel's seventieth week, the Antichrist will use Jerusalem as his command post in his ruse to protect Israel (Daniel 11:42-45). He will erect a statue to himself in the Temple (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and the Jews will realize his true character and identity. This event is known as the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; Matthew 24:15) and will initiate a period of such severe persecution that Christ Himself said, “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, but for the elect's sake hose days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 KJV). This is a time of man's wrath against man when Satan energizes the Antichrist to attempt to extinguish the elect of God (Revelation 12:12-17). The opening of the fifth seal initiates the Great Tribulation, and the sixth seal brings it to a close (Revelation 6:9-17).

This is the final expression of God's wrath, resulting in divine judgment. During the sixth seal, men flee to escape this wrath. The day of the Lord begins with the seventh seal, angels blowing trumpets heralding God's wrath or pouring out bowls of wrath upon the earth initiate the resulting trumpet judgments. Pre-wrath rapturists see in this angelic activity distinction between man's wrath against man in the opening of the seals and God's wrath against unrighteousness in the trumpet and bowl judgments. As the seventh seal is opened, the trumpet and bowl judgments are progressively carried forth and comprise a comprehensive outpouring of God's wrath.
According to the pre-wrath rapture advocates, the rapture occurs at the opening of the seventh seal in conjunction with the sound of he last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Thus, the seventh seal initiates both the rapture of the church and the day of the Lord. This coming of Christ is a singular event and occurs 21 months after the abomination of desolation (which occurs at the midpoint of Daniel's seventieth week). During the next 21 months the trumpet and bowl judgments are carried out and Christ is continuously on earth.

My study differs from this opinion! I show that Jesus will return twice, with a one day interval as the saints are at the wedding super of the Lamb before returning to the earth and the distruction of the wicked! You will find some other details of Tim's argument against this "selected" view of the pre-wrath doctrine that differ from my rapture study as well!

T.L. Both Rosenthal and Van Kampen argue that the restrainer Paul mentions in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is Michael the archangel. The argument hinges on the Hebrew verb amad in Daniel 12:1. Rosenthal cites a French Jewish rabbi named Rashi who lived between 1040 and 1105 as his authority on the usage of the Hebrew word, which literally means “stand still.” He contends that Michael in Daniel 12:1 will stand aside or be inactive in his special guardian relationship with Israel. Michael's inactivity constitutes the removal of the restraint currently limiting Satan's lawlessness (Rosenthal, pp. 256-57).

The doctrine of imminence holds that Christ can come to rapture His church at any moment. Believers in the early church, including the apostle Paul, believed that Christ could come in their lifetime (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-15 Titus 2:13).

First of all, the scriptures Mr. LaHaye references, do not say anything about an "imminent - any moment" rapture! However, in the day Paul wrote his letters, the Temple had not yet been destroyed, so this gave better possibilities of the antichrist appearing in the Temple in the times the letter was written. Today, the Temple, which was torn down, does not exist, which adds the necessary time needed for the Jews to gain control of the Temple site, and to rebuild the Temple before the coming of Christ as Paul wrote in 2 Thess. 2!

There is a difference between an “Imminent - any moment” return of Christ and the possibility that Christ could come in ones lifetime! Obviously, the people who read these letters thought Christ would return in their lifetime! A lifetime covers a number of years, averaging some 60 years which, currently, gives the time needed for a great apostasy, and the appearing of the antichrist in a newly built temple as prophesied by Paul (2 Thess. 2:1-4). Of course, Mr. LaHayes inclusion of Paul as an "imminent return - any moment"  preacher is quickly nullified by 2 Thess. 2:1-4 which places these two conditions as prerequisite to the coming of Christ!

T.L. The church sees this doctrine as an incentive for ministry and godly living. Does this mean that Christ's return for His church will be at any moment, without any sign, and with no yet-to-be-fulfilled prophesied event to precede it? Pre-wrath rapturists argue that Christ could come in any generation but that signs will herald the general time. Those signs include (1) the emergence of Antichrist, (2) wars and rumors of war, (3) famine, (4) pestilence, and (5) cosmic disturbance. Pre-wrath rapturists emphasize Christians' expectancy of Christ's return rather than its imminence. This expectancy of Christ's return is the catalyst for holy living.

I find it interesting that Mr. LaHaye would suggest that the timing of the rapture would influence ministry and godly living. Knowing that any one of us could die in the next 10 seconds, is a very good incentive for godly living. Secondly, most street evangelists that I know, including myself, are very determined to save souls and lead them to Christ, and yet very few of us are persuaded by the illusive, unbiblical Pre-Trib rapture doctrine. The timing of the rapture does not deter a minister of the gospel, to save as many souls as possible each day. Lastly, many of the signs he lists, such as wars and rumors of wars, famine, pestilence and earthquakes of Mat. 24:7 are already here! If the fulfillment of these prophecies have already come, and the "imminent return" of Christ has been delayed until their fulfillment, why does Mr. LaHaye question the fulfillment of the rest of the prophecies before the return of Christ is realized?

I would like to know what Mr. LaHaye, with the "immenent return" of Christ doctrine, thinks about the following scripture, which you and I know, with our modern technology, is nearing fulfillment after 2,000 years since it was spoken. Could Christ have come before this prophecy was fulfilled?

Mat 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Because the pre-wrath theory is often described by some as pretribulational, it is important to note that the theory actually diverges from the pretribulational rapture view. Four areas are worthy of note:


The Wrath of Man and the Wrath of God
Pre-wrath's division of the seventieth week of Daniel into three sections is an arbitrary effort. It distorts the truth that the entire seventieth week of Daniel is a time of God's wrath.

I don't know how Mr. LaHaye is able to identify Daniel 9:27 as God's wrath. Gods wrath is not even mentioned in this scripture text! furthermore, many scholars identify the 70th week in Dan. 9:27 as being a fulfilled prophecy!
(Adam Clarke's Commentary John Gill's Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge and John Wesley).
The 70th week theory is of recent origin and was used to help Pre-trib. teachers build their modern doctrine! You will note in the disputed text below, that there is NOT ANY mention of “God's Wrath” as suggested by Mr. LaHaye!

Daniel 9:25-27
    Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. [26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. [27] And he (scholars claim this person to be either the Messiah as mentioned in verses 25-26, or Titus, the Roman prince who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

T.L.Pretribulationists consider the entire seven years as a time of God's wrath. Revelation 6:16-17 is a summary statement that the first six seals contain the wrath of the Lamb, under which the people ask, “Who is able to stand?” It does not say that the outpouring of God's wrath is yet to come, as pre-wrath adherents contend, but that the wrath is already being poured out. As a fulfillment of the promise of Revelation 3:10, the church has been removed from the “hour of trial,” not subject to it as a time of lesser tribulation.

Mr. LaHaye fails to note that Rev. 6:9-11 shows these saints are still dead and have not yet been resurrected in the supposed pre-trib. rapture. Although pre-tribbers may deny that these are all the saints from history past, I must place the burden of proof on their shoulders to show undeniable proof that they are not! I must further contend that the church is again, still shown to be on the earth in Rev. 13:7 which continues to show the saints on earth, whom pre-tribbers refuse to collectively include as being part of the church! Furthermore, Rev. 14:14 to 16:21 clearly shows the rapture of the saints, and the details of the beginning and consummation of the 7 plagues of God's wrath which is climaxed by the second coming of Christ in Rev. 19!

T.L. The Second Coming and the Rapture
Pre-wrath rapturists find the rapture in Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:20-37. These passages are similar to recognized rapture passages (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), but they do not describe the same event. At the rapture, believers meet Christ in the air; at the second coming, Christ's feet touch the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). At the rapture, the saints in heaven do not come to earth; at the second coming, Christ leads armies of heaven to earth (Revelation 19:11-16). At the rapture, believers are removed from the earth, leaving only unbelievers to enter the Tribulation; at the second coming, unbelievers are removed from the earth, leaving only believers to enter the millennial kingdom.

I find Mr. Lahayes comments to be very conflicting. He identifies Matt. 24:40-41 "one is taken, the other is left" suggesting that Matthew 24 has no link to the rapture. Then he makes some very interesting statements! He makes note that, at the rapture, 1. Jesus is in the air.  2. He gathers the saints!  

Yet, both Matthew 24:29-31 and  Mark 13:24-27 say EXACTLY THAT:

Matthew 24:29-31     Immediately after the tribulation .... coming in the clouds .... gather together his elect ....    
Mark 13:24-27    after that tribulation, ....coming in the clouds ........gather together his elect ......

Jesus appears on the clouds and he gathers the elect! Isn't that EXACTLY what 1 Thes. 4:17  says?      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.

Have I missed something here? I don't see anything in these scripture texts (including Luke 17) that shows Jesus standing on the Mount of Olives, or Jesus returning WITH the saints as he begins his millennial reign, do YOU?

Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:20-37 is often quoted by Pre-tribulation preachers also when they speak of the rapture of the Church. Yet now they want to deny that these verses have anything to do with the rapture? I don't see ANY ground on which Mr. LaHaye can stand upon in using these texts noted as neither supports his argument!

If you wish to compare a harmony of the scripture texts, I will list them here!

Visible as lighting, (Matthew 24:27, Luke 17:24)
AFTER the tribulation  (Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24, 2 Thess. 2:1-4)
Jesus appears on the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26, 1 Thess. 4:17, Rev. 1:7 and 14:14-16)  
At the sound of a Trumpet (Matt. 24:31, 1 Cor. 15:52, 1 Thess. 4:16)
With the voice of an angel (1 Thess. 4:16,  Rev. 14:15)
Every eye will see Him (Matt. 24:30,  Mark 13:26, Luke 17:30, Rev. 1:7)
To gather His elect  (Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27,   1 Thess. 4:17, 2 Thess. 2:1,   Rev. 14:16)
Then comes the wrath of God (Rev. 14:17-15:1)

T.L. The Restrainer
The pre-wrath view holds to the rather inventive idea that Michael the archangel is the restrainer. This concept fails to take into consideration Michael's special protective ministry toward Israel. Pretribulationalists usually see the Holy Spirit as the restrainer and understand that He remains on earth but allows Satan to cause the evil that prevails during the Tribulation period.

I do not hold to the view that Michael is the restrainer! This argument is a mute one of little value in proving a pre-trib. or post-trib. rapture. I deal with this issue in my study!

T.L. Imminence
Pretribulationalists hold that the rapture of the church is the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) to
which believers look. It is an “any moment” event that need not be preceded by any other prophetic event. As a result, it is a catalyst for holy living and further expectation. Pre-wrath rapturists see at least five signs that must occur first, and they disparage the idea of an any moment” rapture, referring to expectancy rather than imminence.
Clearly the pre-wrath rapture position and pretribulational rapture position are difference and distinct, and Scripture favors pretribulationism.

The Pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is of recent origin. Mr. LaHayes comments are obviously a biased view! He has made millions of dollars selling his doctrine, which HE and Hal Lindsay made popular and almost universal, but in order to do so, he must redefine scripture in order to sell it! A literal interpretation of scripture does NOT favor his school of thought!  I have never met Mr. LaHaye, but I trust that he is my brother in Christ until proved otherwise! But it is clear that money or pride has blinded his eyes and heart from seeing the obvious truth of scripture! To acknowledge his error, would destroy an entire lifetime of prosperity and fame! His movies and books have formulated the majority of today's Pre-tribulation doctrine in the American church's today, which was completely unheard of just 200 years ago!

Why so many pastors and denominations have fallen into this error without any scriptural proof of a "pre-trib" rapture baffles me! Why are so many determined to twist God's truth and create a fictional doctrine? What does it profit? Who gains from it? The pre-trib rapture is a fairy-tale!


The Elect

On Page 254, Mr. LaHaye deals with the topic of the “Elect” of Matthew 24 and Mark chapter 13. He agrees that the “Elect” can refer to the church! But then he writes  “Since the church has been raptured, the term “the elect” cannot refer to her, Rather, it refers to the Jewish remnant

To the unlearned, this makes perfect sense! If the church is already raptured, then this can not mean “the church!” But then, where is his proof that the church has already been raptured? This is the whole argument! This is like looking at a red pencil and saying “Since the pencil cannot be red, it must be yellow!”  The fact is that this scripture IS speaking about the rapture of the church! But since Mr. LaHaye refuses to believe that it is the church, he reasons that it MUST be someone else!

This is the ONLY rapture verse noted in the chapter! First, Mr. LaHaye must show us which verse clearly shows the rapture of the Church so that he can disqualify “the elect” from being “the church!” Since Mr. LaHaye agrees that “the elect” CAN be the church, and if he can not show where the church has already, without question, been raptured, then he is taking great liberty to make such a profound statement! Additionally, as I covered in the study earlier, Mr. LaHaye must convince his reader that the “church” and the Jewish remnant, are separate entities. Yet, every Jew that turns to Christ Jesus, is as much a part of the church as every Gentile that turns to Christ. You cannot separate the church and the Jews as being separate entities. A Christian is a Christian, whether Jew or Gentile!

Galatians 3:28      There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Col. 3:11      Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Furthermore, the appearing of Jesus on the clouds when he raptures the church in Matthew 24 is in perfect harmony with the picture of meeting Jesus in the clouds at the rapture of the church in 1 Thess. 4:17.  Mr. LaHaye agrees that Jesus is coming twice, the first time on the clouds, the second time, he stands on the earth as he writes on page 294 “At the rapture, believers meet Christ in the air; at the second coming, Christ's feet touch the Mount of Olives
If this is the first coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30      “…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven ….” then how could it be taught by Mr. LaHaye as being the second coming of Christ?

In my review of Mr. LaHayes book, I could find NO explanation for the ONLY clear rapture scripture in the book of Revelation. It silently disappears!

Rev. 14:14-16
    And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. [15] And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. [16] And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.