Critics of the pre-Trib Rapture continue to send email. Every week I get a number of messages telling me we are teaching error. Well…some accuse of much more damage done than simply teaching error. We are sometimes charged with leading people to accept the lie of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. This, of course, is the great delusion Antichrist will foist upon mankind when the Tribulation is in effect.
By teaching that Rapture will occur before the seven years of Tribulation begins, we are, these in opposition to the pre-Trib Rapture accuse, likely causing people to not recognize Antichrist when he one day soon comes on the scene. These who are so duped, the critics say, might well take the “666” mark of the beast of Revelation 13:16-18 because they will be thinking the Rapture must occur first and not realize that they must endure all or at least part of the Tribulation era.
If they take the mark, they will be doomed forever, according to Revelation chapter 14.
I must say that I have to believe that anyone who views the Rapture as mid-Trib or post-Trib cannot believe in eternal security of the believer. They cannot believe in “once saved, always saved.”
Those who enter the seven years of Tribulation will have to make the choice of whether to take Antichrist’s mark of worship. If they take the mark in order to receive sustenance so as to not starve, or to avoid beheading, they are, God’s Word says, lost forever, with no chance for redemption. So, they will have lost their salvation.
In such case, the Age of Grace–in which one can be saved for all eternity–can’t be a dispensational fact. There is no separation of the Church Age from the Tribulation era within this view.
This is a double-jeopardy belief system. There is no comfort to be found within it. And yet, God’s Word says the following:
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Accompanying the charge that we are leading people to not recognize Antichrist, thus endangering them of taking the mark of the beast, is the accusation that we are practicing the false teaching of escapism.
This is the accusation, often charged in anger, that we are telling Christians they can escape the coming time of God’s judgment and wrath. These who charge such most often teach that Christians must go through the time of Tribulation to prove their worthiness to inherit the eternal kingdom. They don’t explain why millions of believers who have lived and died since the Church was born won’t have to do the same.
I remember well the words of Thru the Bible Radio teacher and famous pastor of the Church of the Open Door, Dr. J. Vernon McGee . He once said that people accused him of being an escapist theologian–of teaching falsely the escaping from that horrendous time of God’s judgment and wrath. Ol’ Dr. McGee said that he wholeheartedly agreed. He was a believer in the escapist theology. He said something like: “If the building is on fire and I’m about to be burned up, I will go out the door, the window, up the chimney–I’ll go through any opening to escape the horror of that threat.”
And the Tribulation will certainly be seven years of unspeakable horror. It will make the Holocaust of Hitler’s day look like a Sunday school picnic, McGee went on to say.
Jesus said of that time: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
So, I, like Dr. McGee, will gladly take that open door into Heaven that the Lord will provide when this dispensation, the Church Age or Age of Grace ends and that time of horror, the Tribulation, begins. Short of death, it is my only way out of the most terrible time of all human history, according to the lord Jesus’ own words.
It is also your only way, other than death, to get out of the horrors of that time–a time that the signs proliferating all around this generation tells the observer of God’s prophetic Word must surely be near.
This is not a forewarning of gloom and doom for the believer in Jesus Christ for salvation. The glory that awaits the believer who is alive at this exciting yet troubling hour in human history is stupendous–spectacular beyond our wildest imagination!
Don’t fear things to come. Just believe and take comfort. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)!
Even beyond that, whether through death or the Rapture before this era of horror begins, you and I will instantaneously be in the presence of our Lord and Savior. We will inherit the entirety of Heaven’s unfathomable splendor!