Date line May 19, 2015
A senior House of Representatives Democrat said Tuesday [May 2015] that the White House’s description of supposed progress in the war against the Islamic State should ring “alarm bells,” and called the fall of the city of Ramadi to the extremists “a very serious and significant setback.” [emphasis mine]
“I don’t think we’re losing the war, but I don’t think we’re making tremendous progress either,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters.
It is common knowledge to those who search for it, the world troubles have centered around the Middle East for centuries if not a couple of millennia. I like how T.O.W. editor Chris? put it; when John noted the “end is near, he didn’t mean he would see end time but that the Kingdom of God is ‘in your face’”. One better be prepared. I remember as a Boy Scout, the motto “Be Prepared.” What has changed? Nothing has so being prepared is always in our face.
The late John Walvoord of author and research fame at Dallas Theological Seminary, in one of his books on Revelation, he notes the following chapter by chapter identities:
Brief on Revelation:
- The Thing That You Have Seen
- The Letters to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira
- The Letters to Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea
- The Church in Heaven
- The Lamb and the Seven-Sealed Book
- The Beginning of the Great Day of God’s Wrath
- The Saints of the Great Tribulation
- The Seventh Seal and the Beginning of the Trumpets
- The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets: The First and Second Woes
- The Mighty Angel with the Little Scroll
- The Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet
- The Conflict in Heaven and on Earth
- The Two Beasts
- The Victory of the Lamb and His Followers
- The Vision of the Seven Last Plagues
- The Bowls of God’s Wrath
- The Destruction of Ecclesiastical Babylon
- The Fall of Babylon
- The Second Coming of Christ
- The Reign of Christ
- The New Heaven and the New Earth
- Concluding Revelations and Exhortations
Note that the late John Walvoord, as do I (this site’s author), believe the church is GONE in chapter 4. I suggested in my previous Revelation posting that the church rapture happens between the end of chapter 3 and 4:2 of Revelation.
Chapter 4 is a description of Heaven itself. This is what the redeemed will see upon his or her arrival at the “pearly Gates”. If Walvoord describes chapter 4 as “the church in heaven” and chapter 4 is a detailed description of heaven, the supposition that a chapter 4 church rapture is near if not ON the bull’s eye.
Today I wish to challenge each reader with the some of the arguments against a pre-tribulation point of view. Revelation Commentary.org is a good example. Their research and articles are well written, reasonably sensible, but dead set against pre-tribulation. Here is their scriptural argument against a pre-tribulation view point. …and I quote:
“There are at least nine different references to the church in Revelation 4-19:
- Every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 5:9c
- A kingdom and priest, 5:10
- Fifth seal martyrs, 6:9
- A multitude, 7:9; 19:5-6
- Bond-servants, 11:18; 19:2, 5
- Our brethren, 12:10
- The rest of her children, 12:17
- Saints, 13:7, 10; 14:12; 18:20, 24
- Wife, 19:7” (end quote)
(We will discuss the first 7 as all are self-evident to be out of context when examined)
Let’s look at seven of their supposed points used to contest pre-tribulation views.
First, recall that the restrainer, often referred to as the Holy Spirit, is part of the God-head. That means he is omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time and cannot be denied existence. II Thessalonians 2:5-8 is as good of a reference to this part of study as any. It says:
“2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (study note: what v6; he v7)
“…until he is taken out of the way.” Without getting too theologically steeped in Greek, there are a few things to consider per the Greek. As always, when something of fact is stated in the Bible or life itself, look for the context. In scripture study, read and study the pre and post verses. In life events, be more than simply aware of something; include understanding and find convincing evidence that one has the facts within and around the issue of concern or study.
In II Thessalonians 2 Paul is warning those in Thessalonica, and alerting us who are currently alive. To be “taken out of the way” in no way suggests that the restrainer is removed from the scene. Many times in watching football, a defensive back is “taken out of the way” by a blocker. This doesn’t mean he was no longer in the game. The same is true here. The restrainer withholding the wicked one is no longer doing so. He is omnipresent so he is still present. But, and this is a significant BUT, the wicked one (Satan) is given opportunity for 42 months to fulfill scripture and prophecy without the imposing of restraints.
I point out that there are many interpretations or views as to who is or what might be the restrainer. The Greek for restrainer is ka-te’-kho. It simply means “to hold back.”
Regardless of any who or what, God’s will or word is good enough to withhold the evil one. As is the warning by the Apostle Paul, the restraints on Satan, the lawless one and/or the anti-Christ or dragon are withdrawn for but a season. This in NO WAY means the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God is gone. People will recognize Christ as Savior during the tribulation, but that will mean they become the focus for elimination by the evil one.
Here we discuss one-by-one, published arguments against pre-tribulationism:
Argument #1 against pre-tribulation: Every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 5:9c
To simplify the challenge of this argument against pre-tribulation, read the next verse. It is a continuation of verse 9 so should be read as one statement or sentence.. 10 “…and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” This is not a reference to saints during the Tribulation time, but during the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth; His earthly millennial kingdom reign. This argument is taken out of context. Go back to my warning above; “…until he is taken out of the way.” Where the restrainer was taken out of the way for a season, Satan is now taken out of the way for the 1,000 year reign of Christ from Jerusalem.
Argument #2 against pre-tribulation: A kingdom and priest, v10 of chapter 5
The same counter for argument #1 also addresses #2 in any doctrinal stance against pre-trib. This passage is not a reference to the church at all. It is post Tribulation era scripture; Christ’s kingdom on earth in Jerusalem. The end of this verse states… “and they shall reign ON EARTH.” Is there even a shred of evidence prior to or during the Great Tribulation “priests to our God” are reigning on earth? NONE! Therefore either the church (believers in Jesus Christ) have been redeemed and have returned to earth with Christ, or there is no meeting Christ in the clouds; i.e. a rapture.
Argument #3 against pre-tribulation: Fifth seal martyrs, 6:9
“When he opened the 5th seal, I saw under the alter souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.”
This passage is post-rapture and mid-tribulation. The evil one, Satan, anti-Christ or the dragon will target any new Christians who accept Christ as savior during the Great Tribulation. Those identified in this passage are those who accept Christ during the tribulation. The supposed ‘wonder of peace and understanding,’ Satan himself is initially disguised as a redeemer and peacemaker; somewhat tolerant until the mid-point of 3 ½ years into the Tribulation. It is these Christians John sees “…under the alter.” If this is not so, then those who believed and trusted in Jesus Christ but were not “slain for the word of God” they are not and never were/are souls under the alter. This of itself highly suggests these poor souls not under the alter never had a relationship with Jesus Christ as his or her savior. They are as lost as the heathen who openly rejects such a plan of salvation.
The Holy Spirit is still present, but the restraining of Satan is temporarily set aside. Yes, the souls under the alter, slain during the tribulation cry out “…how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on earth?” These souls are those slain during the tribulation. Since the church has already been raptured, the souls of the tribulation Christians remain (under the alter) until the 2nd advent and millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Look at the obvious in the words found in 6:9 themselves… under the alter? There is no new alter or Tabernacle in presently in Jerusalem, not until the first half of the Tribulation. This reference can’t be the souls since the beginning of time or the church age; i.e. the rapture has occurred. It is a reference to those who actually suffered death under the rule of the evil-one and during the Great Tribulation when the restrainer is temporarily set aside. It is their souls who cry out to the Lord for vengeance (Greek: dispotace); 2nd advent and their redemption.
Again my apology for the Greek lesson but it is noteworthy here. The words “on them” in the Greek is apo. It means a separation from the whole; whole what? Answer: Man-kind! It is the TIME when the restraining power imposed on Satan, anti-Christ, dragon or whatever, is separated from mankind as a whole. Why this distinction? John is pointing out that the whole is no longer on earth. It is Satan against the Christians who accept Christ during the Tribulation but not yet redeemed as is the Christian church at the rapture. They are waiting for the 2nd advent and their release from the grave.. under the alter.. Another point is a promise made in Old Testament times and New Testament times: Deuteronomy 31:8 (O.T.) and Hebrews 13:5 (N.T.). “I will never leave nor forsake you.” If the church is redeemed/raptured before the tribulation, God keeps his promise since he has raptured the church.
JIV NOTE: The Hebrew for forsake is ‛âzab meaning ‘depart from or leave behind.’ In the Greek, forsake is egkataleipō meaning ‘to leave in straits or helpless.’
Argument #4a & b against pre-tribulation: A multitude, 7:9; 19:5-6
Talk about taking something out of context… WOW!!! Pure deception; the truth but not the whole truth is being stated as an argument against a pre-tribulation rapture of the Christian body of Christ sometimes poorly understood when called the church. This is gross evidence of out of context. Reading the passage content to grasp the context we see that this is a gathering around the Throne of Christ. This has nothing to do with refuting or challenging a pre-tribulation point of view. It is an event yet to happen in the timeline of God. Verse 14 says: “These (the multitude) coming out of the great tribulation…” Out of the great tribulation means those who were in the tribulation plus those who are redeemed before the tribulation. There is no way to consider this being the church alone. It specifically identifies the multitude as those who have accepted Christ as messiah (Hebrew children) and savior (Gentiles) DURING the tribulation. These are the people Left Behind and who now understand the facts of redemption.
7:9 This multitude in verse 9 is standing before the Throne of Christ. Whether one holds a pre, mid, or post Tribulation rapture point of view, all agree the “standing before the Throne” is AFTER the Great Tribulation. This verse is not evidence that pre-tribulation is either right or wrong. It also does nothing to support a mid or post-tribulation point of view.
JIV CAUTION: Don’t be party to those who listen and do not bother to double check the presented information or even turn to the reference in Bible. This includes my statements.
19:5-6 (multitude argument)
V5… And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”
V6… Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Verse 4 states that it is the 24 elders and the four ‘living creatures’ who now bow down in worship and it is to them that the voice gives the command to shout out. This may, but I do not know, include the angels of heaven who continuously support the God-head. Angels are often referred to as a multitude or great multitude. (One example: Luke 2:13; ESV. The NIV uses the term ‘company’)
Back up to verse 1…” After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven” [ESV]. Quickly ask ones’ self, after what? Answer: After the judgment of the harlot and from those souls under the alter asking for vengeance. What connection can anyone who is anti-pre-tribulation suggest to glean evidence that this somehow disproves a pre-tribulation point of view? In both verse 1 and verse 5, John identifies this sound “as what seemed to be the voice (NOT VOICES) of a great multitude.
This voice shouting out is IN HEAVEN. If it is the church shouting out, it is obvious the church is IN HEAVEN. It could also mean the all of the heavenly host is shouting in ONE accord.
Argument #5 against pre-tribulation: Bond-servants, 11:18; 19:2, 5
Who are the bond-servants and when is this era during God’s *time-table? Go back in this passage to better understand this scriptural context and what it reveals:
*JIV NOTE: time is a creation of God (Genesis 1:4). In God’s plan for His creation(s) we must speak of events, not time-tables.
Rev 11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the (1) temple of God and the (2) altar and (3) those who worship there,
Rev 11:2 (a continuation from v1) but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.
This era in bible history, now known as prophecy is yet to be played out. 11:3 specifies this prophecy is while the two witnesses from heaven are on the scene in Jerusalem witnessing. It is during the first half of the Tribulation period of seven years (Daniel’s 70th week). Verse 19 states that the Temple in heaven is opened.
A great personal side study can be found at: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-11/revelation-11-2.html
Chapter 20, another review of God’s divine plan, explains that this is the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the beginning of open war between the power of darkness and Jesus Christ. There is additional symbolism where Revelation 12:6 states that she fled to the wilderness after her son was “caught up to God and to HIS throne.” Again, the simple question is… what has this to do with a pre-tribulation rapture of the church be it a correct or incorrect view when the scripture used to support an anti-pre-tribulation view isn’t even discussing the church?
Verse 7 of chapter 12 is quite plain. “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back…, “
A quick review before plowing forward: this passage takes us back to when Satan and his rebelling angels (followers) were cast from heaven to earth. This explains Satan’s domain on earth. But, verse 10 of chapter 12 adds a summation of then and the soon-to-be New NOW!
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, (Lord’s Prayer: thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is [after Satan was cast out] as it is in heaven) emphasis mine. When Christ returns to earth his will is done on earth. He is of the Tribe of Judah, the line of King David, and from whom the scepter will never be removed; Genesis 49:10. Geological fact: When Christ returns to earth he will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) and it will divide to the north and the south. Geologists have determined that there is a natural fault line precisely as Zechariah describes a split in the mount; i.e. Valley of Megiddo.
JIV NOTE: Armageddon??? The geological institute in Tel Aviv discovered a major fault line running right through the Mount of Olives. It takes a line from the Mount Olives over to the Kidron valley all the way into the valley of Hinnom . The fault line follows the Kidron Brook which empties into the Dead Sea.
Read http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-s-largest-underground-water-source-discovered-near-jerusalem-convention-center-1.365216 for additional secular facts to back up other prophecies of the New Jerusalem.
Conclusion? The casting from heaven and the roaming to and fro of Satan on earth is viewed by John. He will later have additional insights per the continuation of events during the Tribulation We will discuss them later in our study. One might easily put Revelation 11:18 in a predestination category. Remember that John is viewing multiple future events: past, present, and future while getting a lesson and review of how it all began. This helps John see the whole picture and probably why he had to “SEAL UP” some of these predestined events until they are revealed on God’s sequence of events. Perhaps since tears are not wiped from our eyes until chapter 21, we too will get a heaven-side view as did John of *events during the tribulation. *Events are all played out prior to “the wiping of all tears from our eyes.
19:2 & 5 “ …for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his *servants.”
*The bond-servant argument against pre-tribulation views; i.e. “servants” in the above are those souls under the throne; those who follow Christ during the 7 year tribulation.
The judgment of the great prostitute is a foregone conclusion; again, a judgment yet to happen but unavoidable by Satan’s team of deceivers. This is what predestination actually means. Just as Christians are predestined or appointed of God that once we accept Christ as our Lord and savior, we are predestined to be(come) sons and daughters of God the Father. The avenging on her the blood of his servants is a post judgment that has already been determined by God the Father. This is a historical event that is to come. This is another example of trying to disprove pre-tribulation by not understanding or deliberately avoid the context of the passage.
Argument #6 against pre-tribulation: Our brethren, 12:10
…for the accuser of our *brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. *accusing since the Book of job to the present.
How this is an argument against pre-tribulation is a mystery to me. Adam, Methuselah, Noah, Seth and Shem, Abraham, and John himself are “our brethren.” So is the Christian reader of this document. Satan began accusing God’s human creation at the Garden of Eden with the deception of Eve. So what’s new? This doesn’t even qualify as a receptacle capable of holding any argument against pre-tribulation beliefs. This isn’t a stretch of the truth, whole truth and nothing but the facts; it is total bible revision in an attempt too make it fit some ones doctrinal platform or plank in his or her denominational platform. I am almost embarrassed to assess their shallow claim as evidence presented to refute pre-tribulation. Context, context, context. Did I mention context?
Argument #7 against pre-tribulation: the rest of her children; 12:17 (our final review for this blog)
“Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the *commandments of God and hold to the **testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.”
*The commandments of God (Old Testament)
**Testimony of Jesus (New Testament)
Once again we need to understand the history that is here being played out. This is all about the Nation of Israel. The “woman” gave birth to a son. Then she fled to the desert just as Joseph and Marry fled to Egypt to avoid the death order of King Herod on all children under the age of 2. This is paralleled in the Old Testament when the Pharaoh gave orders to kill all children under the age of two when hearing about the birth of Moses. This woman in Revelation is symbolic of Mary who gave birth to the future Messiah of Israel and the one who provided the plan for salvation. Jesus was taken to heaven until the fruition of end time is ordained of God the Father. Mary and Joseph are from the Tribe of Judah. Her offspring are the Jews as they are identified today.
This covenant between God and Israel is exclusive to them. The church does not fit into this passage even with a stretched but well intending imagination. The Judeo-Christians of end time see the errors of their ways. They become followers of the real Messiah. Satan, who is not then restrained, will try to destroy them. This takes us to the great war against Israel when the nations of this world align themselves against her; the *200,000,000 man army outside the walls of Jerusalem. We can see this happening on the news of today as world opinions are turning against Israel. The pieces are falling into place, but this argument of making war against her offspring as proof the church still on earth is shallow at best. There has been “offspring” since Adam and Eve yet God flooded the world on “some of her offspring.”
*Revelation 9: 14-16… This passage alone is a huge challenge to those who want to suggest that the church is referenced in Revelation chapters 4-19 and there is no pre-tribulation church rapture. This huge army does not align itself against the church for one good reason; it is no longer here. Only Israel remains as part of God’s elect and chosen.
Conclusion: I do the research and report. YOU decide. Maybe you should also do some research and not take anyone’s opinion for an eternal yet very personal decision. The Tribulation and God’s judgment is not a laughing or “for discussion” only issue or possibility. It is not a matter of IF, but of WHEN. When ‘when’ becomes “the when,” it becomes a then and no longer a choice.
Keep up with this study and learn.