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Archive for April 8th, 2014

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The Reasons Why the Church Will not go through the Tribulation

The Reasons Why the Church Will not go through the Tribulation.- By Dr. John MacArthur.

Now among Christians there are two views. Some say the church will be there. That’s a post-tribulational view. In other words, we will be taken out of the world after the Tribulation. So we’ll see all this stuff. We’ll go through it. Some of us will get slaughtered in the process. We’ll still go to heaven but we’ll get slaughtered. Some of us will survive, but we’ll go through it and be post-tribulation raptured and we’ll go up and meet the Lord in the air and come back down for the Kingdom. It’s sort of like just a loop is all. Sort of like a ride at Magic Mountain, just go up and down. Okay.

Others believe…others believe that in a pre-tribulational rapture. That is, before any of this, we are taken out and we spend the time with the Lord and come back at the end of the seven years. Now some years ago I did a series on “Will the church go through the Tribulation?” And you can listen to the fuller explanation, but let me just give you for this moment a reason or two why I believe that we will not be there. We will not be that generation, that is the redeemed church. Some of you may who don’t know the Savior because you’ll not go in the Rapture, you will be that generation who will see those things. And depending on whether you’re saved or not, and how much you know about the Bible, you’ll either know what’s going on or you won’t know what’s going on.

But the church, I believe, will not be here. I believe we will be taken out. And I’ll give you some reasons.  I’m just going to fire them at you rather rapidly, that’s not my intent to get into great detail on them.

Reason number one, the church in the book of Revelation appears in chapter 2 and chapter 3. In fact, it is the theme of chapter 2 and the theme of chapter 3. And our Lord speaks to the church and purifies the church and writes letters to the church and messages to the church and then ends that whole section at the end of chapter 3 with the idea that He stands at the door and knocks ready to come. You move right into chapter 4 and the church is in heaven.

The church is in heaven in chapter 4. And the church is in heaven in chapter 5. Chapter 6, the Tribulation breaks out on earth and from chapter 6 through 18, the whole story of the Tribulation, there’s never one mention of the church…never one mention of any local church or of how the church ought to act. The word church isn’t there. So, the absence of the church from Revelation 6 to 18 seems, to me, rather significant, especially when they’ve been on earth in 2 and 3 and they’re in heaven in 4 and 5.

Another point. There is an absolute absence of literature in the New Testament to instruct the church about how to endure the Tribulation, about how to conduct itself in the Tribulation. The church is not mentioned in Matthew chapter 24 as such and it is a unique group of people, from Pentecost to the Rapture that I’m speaking of. In a sense, in a larger sense, we’re all part of God’s redeemed people. But the unique church is not mentioned here in Matthew 24 and there’s no warnings given to us about the Tribulation and how to deal with it and how to live through it and how to handle the antichrist kind of thing as a church and so forth and so on. In fact, the only church that I can find during that period is called the mystery harlot, Babylon, the prostitute, the false church which is to be destroyed.

Thirdly, the Rapture seemed to me to be absolutely pointless. The Rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4 where we’re caught up to be with the Lord in the air and ever are we with the Lord. That seems pointless to me if it happens at the Second Coming. Why bother to go up and come right back down again? I mean, if He’s coming to earth with His saints to reign and rule, why doesn’t He just come down and we’ll meet Him right here when He gets here? How long does it take Him to get from up there to down here? What’s the point? It eliminates the point of the Rapture. Why does Paul make such a great point about the Rapture if that’s all there is to it? Phist-phist and that’s it.

Now let me ask you another question. If all the believers are raptured up at the Second Coming and come back with Him, who’s left on earth alive to populate the Kingdom? In other words, when the Lord comes the Bible says He will destroy all the wicked. And if He comes down and raptures all the redeemed, all the redeemed are raptured, all the unredeemed are destroyed, there’s nobody left on earth to populate the Kingdom except spiritually glorified beings and the Bible says there will be children born during the Kingdom. Who’s going to have those kids? You know, there’s got to be people there. There have to be people going in because they’ll produce a whole generation. They’ll produce a whole population, many of whom will not even believe and will start a rebellion at the end. Remember that in Revelation? So somebody’s got to be alive. But if the Rapture occurs at the same time as the Second Coming, then all the redeemed are out and all the unredeemed are destroyed, there’s nobody left to populate the Kingdom.

And then a couple of passages of Scripture that I think are important. Revelation is one, chapter 3 verse 10, I think maybe the most important one. In Revelation 3:10 it says of those who are the redeemed, “Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience,” that is obeyed the Word of the gospel, the Word of God, “I also will keep thee outside–I think is the best way to translate tereo ek(?)–to keep the outside the hour of temptation.” And He’s not talking about some little trial that comes upon the church at Philadelphia, or some local deal, but I’ll keep you outside the hour of temptation which will come upon all the world to try them that dwell on the earth. I believe that’s a promise to those who have kept the Word of God by faith in Christ that they will be rescued from out of that period of time and literally what tereo ek means is a state of continued existence outside. It isn’t that we’ll be taken out of the middle of it as a mid-trib view might say, it isn’t that we will be kept in it, but kept from it, it is that we will be maintained in a condition outside of it. That is the opposite of tereo en(?) which means to exist within, this means to exist without, to be kept out. So I believe we will be kept out of that.

In John 14:3 it says that when Jesus went away, He prepared a place for us that I may come again and receive you unto Myself that you may be with Me, right? That where I am, you may be also. So the point He says there is I am preparing a place for you. It can’t be down here, true? It’s not here. He’s preparing a place in the Father’s house which is up there in glory and I’m coming again to receive you unto Myself that where I am there ye may be also. Now what that tells me is that He’s not going to come down here to be where we are, He’s going to take us to be where He is. So if you have a post-trib Rapture, we…He’s simply taken us up half-way, put us right back and come to be where we are. You understand what I’m saying? So the whole point of John 14 is He’s preparing a place for us to be where He is. And that’s where we go in the Rapture and remain for those years until we return for the glory of the Kingdom and all that it promises.

Now there are many other reasons. I believe the nature of the church is unique. I believe it was born at Pentecost. It didn’t exist before that. And at the Rapture there’s a sense in which that part of God’s redeemed community is self-contained and taken out of the earth and that the Tribulation time is called the time of Jacob’s trouble. It is particularly for Israel that God goes back to dealing with them. It’s like Romans 11 where Israel was cut off and the church was grafted in but He says don’t be too proud because the time will come when you’re cut off and Israel is regrafted. I believe God’s going to go back to dealing with Israel. It’s the seventieth week of Daniel. We weren’t in the first 69, why should we be in the seventieth? So it’s a time for God to deal with Israel. The distinction of Israel, the nature of the church, I believe, sets them apart and so they’ll not be in that period of time, we’ll not be in it.

Now also, have you ever thought about the fact that Paul wrote the Thessalonians and they were all upset because some Christians died and they thought they had missed the Rapture. They thought they’d missed the Second Coming. They’ve died and so he writes them and says, “Don’t sorrow about the people that sleep.” Don’t be sad about them. “Because when the Rapture comes, you will not precede them,” right? The dead in Christ shall what? Rise first.

See, they were worried. “Oh, those dear folks have died, they’re going to miss it.” He says no, no, no, no. But look, if the Christian church is looking for the Tribulation and not the Rapture, then they would have been sad that they were alive. They would have reversed their problem and said, “Oh, those dear lucky saints that have died, I mean, they’re already with the Lord, we have to go through the Tribulation,” see. But they were looking for something which is joyous and felt bad that people might die and miss it, which proves to me they were not looking for the antichrist, they were looking for Christ. They were not looking for the Tribulation, they were looking for glory. And that’s consistent with the Christian hope. The blessed hope is not looking for antichrist, is it? Yes, we wait the glorious appearing of antichrist….no, no, no. We are waiting for Christ.

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Well, those are a few reasons.

At the Rapture, the church meets Christ in the air.

At the Second Coming, Christ returns to the earth with the church.

At the Rapture, Olive is untouched.

At the Second Coming, it’s split in half.

At the Rapture, living saints are translated.

At the Second Coming, no saints are translated.

At the Rapture, the world is not judged and sin gets worse.

At the Second Coming, sin is judged and the world gets better.

At the Rapture, the body goes to heaven.

At the Second Coming, it comes to earth.

The Rapture is imminent, it could happen at any moment.

The Second Coming has very distinct signs, doesn’t it?

And the Rapture concerns only the saved

The Second Coming concerns the saved and the unsaved.

All that to say the Rapture and the Second Coming are two different things with a time period in between.

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