I used to teach that the Church had to be removed in a pre-trib Rapture so that God could continue His program with Israel in Daniel’s 70th Week, a.k.a. the time of Jacob’s trouble.
But I don't any more because this position is based upon TWO false assumptions:
- The Lord can't deal with the nation of Israel while the Church is on the earth
- The Tribulation period ONLY involves the nation of Israel
Jerusalem 70 AD
Must the church be removed before the Lord can fulfill prophecies pertaining to the nation of Israel? No, not at all.
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus occurred in 70AD. This was clearly a fulfillment of both Old and New Testament prophecy. In fact, this event was prophesied in the 70 Weeks prophecy of Daniel 9. It was very specific to Israel, and yet it was fulfilled after the death of Christ and after the Spirit was given at Pentecost!
“… and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood,…”
This destruction was accomplished almost 40 years into the so-called ‘Church Age!’
The Luke 21 Prophecy
In Luke 21: 8-33, the Lord Jesus is teaching his followers (believing Jews) about future things.
In this passage, Christ indicates a clear distinction between his disciples (Christians) and Israel, while both are present in the land of Israel at the same time!
Verse 20, spoken to believers, says, “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”
The believers are told to “flee.” (v. 21)
Verse 23, concerning the nation of Israel, says, “for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath upon this people.”
The unbelieving Jews would suffer greatly.
The Lord is very capable of dealing with the nation of Israel while Christians are in the very midst.
By the way...
We know from Eusebius’ Church History that Christian Jews (members of the Church) who were living in the city of Jerusalem in 70AD followed Jesus’ warnings and escaped to the mountains.
The entire Jerusalem Church fled when the Romans came. But the unbelieving Jews, who did not believe Jesus or the warnings of the early Christians, stayed within the walls of the city and were destroyed.
With such an historical precedent for God’s dealing with the nation of Israel in judgment while the Church remained on earth, it is hard to imagine why the Church must be removed before Daniel’s 70th Week.
If the removal of the Church is necessary for the Lord to once again deal with the nation of Israel, then we must conclude that the return to the land, the re-establishment of the nation in 1948, and all the subsequent events among the Jews, have nothing to do with God’s working with Israel on a national basis!
Does the Tribulation Only Involve the Jews?
Another argument that is used as proof of a pre-Tribulation Rapture is based upon circular reasoning.
First, it is taught that the Church is removed before the Tribulation, thus excluding the Tribulation saints from being part the Church.
Then, it is taught that since the Church isn't present, the Tribulation “saints” mentioned between Rev. 4 and 19 must not be the Church.
And if the Church is not present, then obviously the Tribulation does not deal with the Church. (We disproved this argument in the previous section.)
This is a logical fallacy and mishandling of the word of God.
(To be continued.)