Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No Pre-trib Return of Christ

Christianity Oasis writes, The Judgment Seat of Christ for the believer is not to be confused with the Great White Throne Judgement for unbelievers. There will be an accounting at the Great White Throne Judgment for those who have refused Christ. Rev. 20:11,12,15.  

Then, they quote, And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire. Rev. 20:11,12,15

Christianity Oasis seems to have missed a few important statements made by John.  First, all the dead, small and great, were there.  The text does not say that only non-Christians were at the Great White Throne for judgment.  That is a point that is only assumed by those who believe that the rapture will take place before the tribulation.  

If this Great White Throne Judgement is not for Christians, what is the book of life doing there?  Surely, the Judge would know that all Christians were already past their day of judgment if the rapture happened before the tribulation.  Therefore, if Christians are not at the Great White Throne Judgement the Book of Life would be out of place there.

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. John 5:28-29 

It is clearly stated, by Christ, that the good and the bad will be resurrected at the same time.  Christ makes no allowance for the Christians to be resurrected before the tribulation, at Christ’s first-second coming, and a resurrection of the evil to a separate judgement called the Great White Throne judgement.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 1 Thes. 4: 14-17 

Some teachers falsely teach that Christ is coming back three times.  It seems that they need that doctrine to add weight to the theory that The Church will not pass through the great tribulation.  They say that first Christ will come in the air for the Church, that is the rapture, then, after the seven year great tribulation Christ is coming to set up the Millennial kingdom and when that is finished Christ will return to judge the non-Christians and those people who made themselves Christians without the holy spirit’s help; because the spirit of God ascended with the Church at the rapture one thousand and seven years earlier.

In spite of Christ’s and Paul’s words, the argument continues.  A few people believe that Christ is coming back halfway through the great tribulation.   There is almost no evidence that lends weight to that theory at all, so it will be ignored here.  Many (Wikipedia says that about 95% of Evangelical Christians) believe that the return of Christ, in the air, will be before the great tribulation.  

Mr Thiessen is a proponent of this theory.  We will look at his arguments, from his book of theology, and using them, prove that his theory is hanging precariously, by slender threads. Those threads are fastened on hooks called “if, we can surmise, and probably”.

To no avail, Mr Thiessen quotes Moffat, It is impossible from the grammer and difficult from the sense to decide (if the text) means successful endurance or absolute immunity.  Here, Mr Thiessen has gained no strength for his argument. Even the person he is quoting says the argument is not definitive or conclusive.

Mr Thiessen uses Noah as an example of one who was taken out of “the great tribulation”, in the ark.  Actually, this is a story from history, and it has nothing to do with the Church.  

However, if for the sake of argument, we agree that Noah symbolizes the Church, it must be pointed out that Noah is a picture of a person who was “safe in Christ”, not a person who went to heaven.  After all, Noah had to come back to earth after the ordeal of the flood, but the Church will not come back to earth after the rapture.  Noah is a very poor example, with no argumentative value, to show that the rapture will happen before the great tribulation.

Lot’s deliverance from Sodom, also used by Mr Thiessen as an example of a pre-tribulation rapture, is also an historical event and has absolutely nothing to do with the Church or with the great tribulation and so that case cannot be used as an example.

Mr Thiessen and many other Bible teachers, attempt to make a case for a pre-tribulation rapture from the 69-70 weeks of Daniel chapter nine.  However, after having made his closing argument, he says if that week is still future.  What if it is not, then he has made no valid argument at all.  This is a good example of how weak the whole line of reasoning for a pre-tribulation rapture really is.

The next post will continue this theme.