Answers to Reader Questions
Q: Have you ever noticed that in the book of Daniel an angel speaks to Daniel and says this is what will happen to THY PEOPLE? Daniel 10:14: “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall THY PEOPLE in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.” And again in Daniel 12:1: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of THY PEOPLE: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time THY PEOPLE shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Who are these people that are of the people of Daniel??? Could they be the seed of Abraham living in Israel? This seven-year period is known as the Birthpangs of Messiah (Chevlai shel Machiach) or the time of Jacob's Trouble (Jacob's name was changed to Israel). The prophecies in the book of Daniel are about his people, the Jews in the last days. Look at Revelation 15:3: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Who is it that can sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb? The Jewish saints during the time of Jacobs (Israel's) trouble. Who are the 144,000 witnesses sealed during this time? Are they not Jews from the 12 tribes (excluding the tribe of Dan)? These are the saints that are persecuted. This is the remnant and whoever is converted because of them during this time.
If the rapture occurs after the seven years, how is it that the armies in heaven return with Christ at the end of the seven years to fight for Jerusalem? Revelation 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Who is this army and when did this army get to heaven? I thought we were to be in that army?
A: You say, "If the rapture occurs after the seven years how is it that the armies in heaven return with Christ at the end of the seven years to fight for Jerusalem?" I do not believe that the rapture occurs after the seven-year period that comprises the 70th Week, so you must have me confused with someone else. I teach a prewrath position, which is that the Church will be raptured prior to God's wrath, which scripture teaches clearly and repeatedly teaches will occur during the Day of the Lord, which begins after the sixth seal.
I respect your attempt to prove the relevance of the 70th Week only to Israel. Certainly, this is a position that many scholars have taken. However, the argument as you present it is called "arguing from absence" and is a fundamental mistake that many people make, whether discussing the rapture or anything else. Unless the scripture says "this will only happen to thy people" — which it does not — these scriptures cannot be used the way you describe. If the weatherman tells me that it will rain in my town tomorrow, this does not mean that it will not rain in the neighboring town unless he specifically says that the weather pattern will be restricted to my local area.
Arguing from absence is an error of logic that applies both to weather forecasts and to scripture. An "Israel-only" position also creates too many direct scriptural contradictions and other scriptural problems to be the
correct reading [see Talkin' Rapture, “Was Matthew 24 Fulfilled?”].
I respect your obvious passion for this subject and your desire to see the truth revealed. I humbly suggest, however, that you are considering only a sliver of scripture rather than the whole. I invite you to read my book, Before God's Wrath: the Bible's Answer to the Timing of the Rapture, which discusses the hundreds of scriptures, from the Old Testament to the New, that discuss the return of Christ and the timing of the rapture. When looked at as a whole, these hundreds of scriptures clearly, repeatedly, and consistently point to the same conclusion — and it cannot be pretribulational. I also discuss in-depth the pretrib position and the tremendous scriptural problems it creates. If, after reading it, you still feel that I am in error, I would love to hear back from you.
Q: I recently read the FAQ's on Jack Van Impe's website. They mentioned that the Day of the Lord begins one minute after the rapture. I know from Joel 2:31 that the sun will be darkened and the moon turned to blood before the Day of the Lord. It looks like this sun and moon sign happens in Rev. 6:12-13.
I emailed them with this information and asked, “How can this be if we are raptured before the seals begin? Are the first five seals only a minute long? Please help me understand this.” This is the response I got: “Thank you for contacting us. We believe that the Bible teaches that the Day of the Lord begins immediately after the Rapture and lasts until the end of the Millennium. The Bible tells us that the renovation of the world by fire happens during the Day of the Lord which we know will not happen until after the Millennium.”
I don't know whether to laugh, cry or scream. It almost seems as if the question is ignored because it can't be answered. I have to wonder what some pre-tribbers are thinking about the pre-wrath theory?
A: Nice try! Basically, from what I recall from Van Impe's book Revelation Explained, he believes that the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls occur simultaneously. Thus, the entire chapter of Matthew 24 takes seven years; the seals, which are the same as Matthew 24, take seven years; the trumpets, which run concurrently with the seals, take seven years; and the bowls, which run concurrently with the seals and the trumpets, take seven years.
This removes many of the scriptural conflicts, including the one you mention about the Day of the Lord, inherent in the pretrib position because it allows the Day of the Lord to start after the sixth seal and also be at the end of the 70th week. Clever! Except that it creates far more scriptural contradictions and problems than it solves. It is truly amazing to what lengths people will go — even very godly, intelligent people — to avoid the obvious.