This is a seven part series on the subject of Matthew 24, the Olivet Discourse, that Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives, shortly before Gethsemane.
To begin at the first post in this series, please click here.
Please either listen to the audio clip above or read the notes below or both at the same time!
The Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 has always stood as a challenging encouragement to all generations. As we enter the very end-times, these precious words of Jesus have become a blazing light-house, casting its vivid warnings and sage advice to those who are prepared to listen.
Many have sought to ‘turn off’ the fire-alarm warnings of Matthew 24 by various theological stances. This study briefly explores some of these stances.
We begin with the Pretribulation Rapture Theory
Jesus warns us, in Matthew 24, that there will be an end-time period of tribulation.
Matthew 24:21 ‘For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.’
This study argues that the Pretribulation rapture theory seriously undermines the warning that Jesus teaches in the verse above.
For many years, the Church has wrestled with the question of whether or not she will endure this period of intense persecution or be safely gathered up beforehand.
The Church will certainly be raptured, most are agreed on this. The debate lies in the timing of this rapture; whether it happens before, after or during this tribulation period.
Battle-lines have been drawn and theologians have developed and sharpened their arguments. This is certainly no time or place here for discussing the merits of opposing arguments.
The Pretribulation Rapture position holds that Jesus will not allow his Bride to endure this period of tribulation and He will gather his beloved beforehand. However, others will argue that the Church has never been immune from the ravages of persecution but that Christ Jesus walks faithfully by her side.
The argument rages on! I have great respect for all those who hold the Pretribulation view but I believe they are very much mistaken.
The point of this short study is to raise concerns regarding the Pretribulation Rapture viewpoint and I know that I am not alone in this.
If the Church is convinced that it will not face this period of intense tribulation then the grave danger is that it will be ill-prepared when this time comes.
Michael Snyder writes persuasively: ‘The hard times that are coming are going to cause millions of Christians to plunge into depression and despair – especially after they realize that the Pre-Tribulation rapture that they were promised is not coming.
The overwhelming danger here is that many Christians are living in a cocooned dream-land, wrongly believing they will be raptured up as soon as the tribulation begins.
The disappointment they will face when the tribulation comes, will cause many to doubt their faith and fall away.
Matthew 24:10 ‘At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.’
The Pretribulation Rapture position therefore tries to evade the warnings of the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 with disastrous consequences. We need to be sensibly and calmly prepared for the tribulation beforehand so that we may face these times, strengthened by the presence of Christ Jesus, confident that the Church will be the bright light shining in the darkness, reaching out to a falling world, and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus until the very last moment.
The hour is late, dear children, and we need to prepare our hearts for the golden storm that is fast approaching.
Tomorrow we explore Post-millennialism, to get there now please click here.
To begin at the first post in this series please click here.
Quote from Snyder, Michael. The Rapture Verdict (p. 15). Unknown. Kindle Edition.