Disccusion of whether or not the rapture comes before the tribulation or after it is ultimately the discussion of another matter altogether; and that matter is the imminency of the return of the Lord.
One can pick through prophecies, sort out scriptures, diagram doctrines and carve out convictions from one end of their leather bound edition to the other, and present on some surface level a coheseive sounding argument for whatever position he prefers to take. Now don’t get the idea that I think sorting out into proper order and rightly dividing the prophetic instructions is irrelevent because it is not. We are always to be faithfully studying, analyzing, and properly sorting the scriptures, but always without agenda, and merely looking for the end result not building one.
Now that being said, I believe the scriptures clearly give us an outline of the order of events on God’s timeline of the endtime, and that all by itself is enough. I would believe the pretribulation rapture if the prescribed order of events were enough. (But I will save that for the next post.)
There is another reason that I believe that the Rapture is Pre-Tribulation aside and apart from the “prophetic timeline;” that reason is simply because of something else that the scriptures teach. The scriptures teach us repeatedly over and over and over and over again of the imminent return of Jesus; or in other words, the ever present possibility.
Time and time again we are told that the possible time of our judgment as Christians is ever present. James 5:8-9, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus wrote, “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”
1 Peter 4:7 – “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
(I am about to run out of time, things are pressing on me, I’ll do more later, but for now . . .)
Now the fact is that if the tribulation comes before the rapture, then the coming of the Lord is not “at hand” and the “end of all things” is not near, and Judge Jesus is going to have to wait a while. Post trib theology cannot coincide with the “imminency” that is taught within the scriptures.
Jesus said, “ye know now what hour your Lord doth come.” Post-Trib preachers say they do. Post tribulation theology says He will show up for us 7 years after the start of the tribulation period, or at the close of Daniel’s 70th week which begins with a peace treaty between Israel and the Antichrist.
When I post again I will have more time to write, as well as more substance. The bottom line is that Post-Trib Rapture preaching violates a great many other themes within the scriptures. That being said, leaving that bad theology behind would be a wonderful change worth making.