More Objections to a Pre-Trib Rapture
Vol: 23 Issue: 5 Friday, May 5, 2017
I had optimistically (and incorrectly) hoped that in a recent column entitled, “Misunderstanding the Great Escape”, I had addressed the single most common objection to the doctrine of a pre-trib Rapture, since the most sneering comments from critics generally revolve around the misconception that the only reason for a pre-tribulation Rapture is to grant the Church an ‘escape’ not afforded to any other believers in Biblical history.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received an avalanche of new questions/criticisms that scrupulously avoided the ‘Great Escape’ line when taking me to task for being a ‘false teacher’ this time around.
To be fair, some of the queries were clearly from those who honestly had questions that suggested they were open-minded, but wanted a clearer understanding of how that doctrine fit into what they saw as contradictory Scripture.
The rest were of the “you’re deliberately teaching error” variety, but some of the questions and objections posed seemed sincere enough to warrant a response.
One such question was a challenge to provide Scripture that says the Tribulation is precisely seven years long. The answer is complicated, but the challenge is interesting enough to warrant explanation.
The prophet Daniel outlined the future history of Israel, dividing it into a period of ‘weeks’ (Heb. ‘shabua’ or ‘heptad’).
A Jewish ‘week’ is used in the same way that a Greek ‘decade’ is; a ‘decade’ is a period of ten years, whereas a ‘heptad’ is a period of seven lunar years, based on a calendar of 30 day months. 30×12=360 day years x 7=2,520 days.
Speaking of the reign of antichrist, Daniel writes, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. .” (Daniel 9:27)
‘In the midst of that week’ is where Daniel divides the Tribulation into two component parts, with the second being termed ‘the Great Tribulation’.
Daniel 7:25 shows the antichrists’ power over the nations will last three and one-half Biblical years.
(42 months x 30 days = 1,260 days. Twice that time, 2520 days, is exactly seven lunar years)
Daniel says the length of the abomination of desolation is 1,290 days, and that it will commence from exactly the mid-point of the 7 years. After 7 years and 30 days from the signing of the covenant, the desolation ends.
So that has to be the point from which 2,300 days are counted backwards. If the desolation period 1,290 days is subtracted from the combined length of the sacrifice and the desolation, 2,300 days, there are 1,010 days from start of sacrifice to its interruption.
The period of temple sacrifice lasts 1,010 days until the day when the Antichrist stops the daily sacrifice and sets up the abomination, at the mid-point of the 7 year treaty, day 1,260.
According to the time line of Daniel, this leaves 250 days from the start of the treaty of seven years, to the actual beginning of the daily sacrifice performed by the Levite priests.
That is to say, once the treaty which allows the sacrifice to start again in Jerusalem is signed, there will be almost a year — 250 days — before the public will see the sacrifice actually performed.
Why would there be 250 days between the treaty allowing for the temple sacrifice, and the actual beginning of the regular sacrifice?
There are exactly 250 days between the feast of Passover, Nisan 14th, and the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah), Chisleu 25th, in a 360 day year.
Feast day typology points to Passover, Nisan 14, in the first month of the religious year, as the likely date of a treaty reestablishing temple sacrifice.
After the abomination of desolation is set up at the mid-point of the treaty, the prophecy of Daniel says that the vindication of the temple does not occur until 1290 days later by Jesus Himself.
Then Daniel is told to wait to be blessed on a day 1335 days after the mid-point of the treaty. This adds an additional 45 days onto the end of the 7 years + 30 days.
If the religious year and the civil year are superimposed so that Passover in April, and the Day of Atonement start together, there are 75 days counted from the actual end of the 7 year treaty.
Significantly, 75 days is the same amount of time between the Day of Atonement, when Jesus, as High Priest, goes into the Holy of Holies, and the Feast of Dedication, or Chanukah.
If the covenant of the Antichrist begins on Passover in the first month of the Jewish religious year, then 1,260 days later in the “midst” of the treaty, it would be broken on the eve of the Feast of Tabernacles (Tishri 14th), in the first month of the Jewish civil year.
Seven years after the covenant of the Antichrist begins, 2520 days after the signing, it is once again Passover. Prophecy tells us Jesus will return on that day, at the end of the battle of Armageddon (Zech 14:4), at the Mount of Olives.
As the High Priest, it is Jesus Who rededicates the Temple following His triumphant return at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period, ‘the anointing of the Most Holy’ of Daniel 9:24.
Another question revolves around who the Tribulation saints are, if the Holy Spirit’s ministry is no longer active during the Tribulation Period.
Revelation Chapter 7 reveals that 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel are ‘sealed’ with the ‘seal of God’ (the Holy Spirit) (see Ephesians 4:30) which gives them the power to preach and to convert.
Insofar as the Tribulation saints, Revelation 13:7 says that, conversion notwithstanding;
“And it was given unto him [antichrist] to make war with the saints, and to OVERCOME them” — something not possible during the Church Age when ALL believers are ‘sealed’; “because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
The Mark of the Beast is both an economic symbol and a symbol of worship. There will be some who seemingly accept Christ during the Tribulation, but later renounce Him and accept the Mark of the Beast in order to survive and avoid being beheaded.
These are those ‘saints’ who are ‘overcome’ — because at this point, the Holy Spirit does not physically indwell them, just as He did NOT physically indwell Old Testament believers.
This ‘overcoming’ does NOT refer to martyring the saints, since saints have been martyred in every generation since Jesus walked the earth. It is a reference to overcoming some of them SPIRITUALLY, causing them to renounce their faith in Jesus.
Jesus sent the ‘Comforter’ to the CHURCH, an event which took place at Pentecost, AFTER He ascended into heaven, and promised the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) would remain with us until He returned for His Church at the Rapture. .
During the Tribulation, those who do NOT renounce Jesus under the threat of death, Revelation 20:4 says, are;
“the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousa
May God bless us all — until He comes to dry away our tears.
Featured Commentary: Apologize for Israel and Balfour? ~Alf Cengia