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Pre, Post or Mid Tribulation?
A friend of mine on Face book asked the following Question.
"I've heard Christians speaking of the rapture.. and some say they are pre-trib, some say mid-trib and some say post-trib. Can you please explain what these are,,,and why you believe what you do??? Have been in the cult most of my adult life, and finding out it was all a lie, I hesitate to have my mind made up as to what to believe, don't want to be stubborn and Wrong Again! So I've not examined this. Thank you"
I believe it is unwise to be dogmatic about things the bible doesn't specifically define or answer. With somethings we must have a "We'll See" attitude. The rapture is definitely one of those topics. Even so I thought I would take a stab at answering this non-essential doctrinal question.
Having said that, I believe scripture makes some things clear. We know that the tribulation period will be a time of global trail and Judgment for mankind.
According to GotQuestions.org, article called What Are The Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, and Seven Bowls in The Book of Revelation? The seven seals (Revelation 6:1-17,8:1-5), seven trumpets (Revelation 8:6-13;11:15-19), and seven bowls/vials (Revelation 16:1-21) are three succeeding series of end-times judgments from God. In light of this, I believe we can rule out the "Post Trib" view with one scripture. 1st Thessalonians 5:9 says "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Also consider the story of Noah and Sodom and Gomorra, they teach us that God makes a way of escape for his people before He acts against the society in which they live. I believe the bible is clear that God will not make his people go through the tribulation because it will be His wrath and judgment that is pored out on mankind.
This leaves us with only two possibilities, a Pre or Mid-tribulation rapture.
One of the key verses that Mid-tribers look at is Denial’s 70th week
Daniel 9:27 Then he (The Anti Christ) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
Mid-tribers believe that the rapture will happen at the halfway point of this 70th week when the anti Christ brings and end to sacrifice and offering. The idea is that the real tribulation will begin here, marking the beginning of God’s wrath.
There are several problems with this view. One problem is that it gives the believer a way to predict the rapture, contradicting scriptures that clearly explain that we should always be ready and watching. Ever vigilant for Christ’s return. If I believed that the tribulation will not start until the Anti Christ brings an end to sacrifice and offering, I will not be on guard until I see that specific event take place. Remember, we are told clearly that no one know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36)
This view also assumes more then it should. In truth, Daniel’s 70th week gives us a way to recognize the Anti Christ and a deliberate act of defilement. (Mathew 24:15 refers to this act as an abomination that causes desolation) The timetable given, 3.5 years, is given specifically so we will know the man and the event. The passage is prophetic and is indeed a marker. However, it is not necessarily the beginning of the tribulation period.
Pre-tribers take a broader approach. They basically see the tribulation period (as described by the book of Daniel and Revelations) as encompassing the whole 70th week or 7 year period. A period that is a clear time of trial for the whole world. Pre-tribers believe scriptures such as Revelation 3:10 promises God will spare us from that time of global trial.
Rev 3:10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
All things being considered, I believe that the 70th week will be both a time of trail and judgment making both 1 Thessalonians 5:9 and Rev 3:10 applicable to the Rapture question. Given that we are told to be vigilant, always watching for his return, it seems unwise to subscribe to a view that will allow me to drop my guard and ignore God's promise to spare us from the end time trail. I believe that the rapture will take place before the 70th week starts, that is, in the time before the tribulation period.
Opinions are like noses, we all have one.