Does the Pretribulation Rapture Favor the “Lucky Few?”

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A common objection to the pretribulation rapture states that this position must be wrong because it provides a way for believers in the United States to escape persecution. If Jesus returns before the rapture, then Christians in America will be the “lucky few” in church history to escape violent opposition because of their faith.

I first heard this argument while attending seminary and dismissed it because it used human reasoning rather than the words of Scripture.

However, given the continued popularity of this sentiment, as voiced by the blogger I recently read, I decided to address this matter.

The intent of this post is not to prove the pretribulation rapture position, but rather to show why the need of Americans to suffer persecution is an invalid argument against it.

What is the Argument All About?

The blogger I mentioned previously makes the following point against the pretribulation rapture:

Third, with the Pre-Trib scenario, there is little or no reason to think the “last” generation of Christians will undergo anything resembling what all the preceding generations of Christians had to face in the way of persecution and trials. Does this point to a fair and impartial God? I believe this is inconsistent with Scripture and history, and it thereby allows for the immediate translation to heaven of a “lucky” few who will arrive on the shores of Glory with empty hands and perhaps relatively unchanged hearts.[i]

In other words, the pretribulation rapture cannot be true because it allows a “lucky few” number of Christians to escape persecution while all other generations of believers have had to endure it.

It’s Never Been Equal

In response, I would say that the violent persecution against the church, to which this blogger refers, has never been equal among churches in the same era or even across generations for that matter.

In Revelation 2-3 we see a wide variety of experiences regarding persecution. The church at Smyrna suffered greatly (2:8-11) while other churches experienced significantly lesser amounts of oppression. Jesus promised the church at Philadelphia that they would escape “the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth” (3:10). Presumably, other churches would experience this time of testing or persecution while they would not.

Does the fate of previous generations of the church in America imply God’s unfairness because they did not suffer open persecution for their faith? Absolutely not!

Many generations of believers in America have faithfully walked with Christ and died without experiencing the intense persecution to which the blogger refers. Does this imply God’s unfairness because they did not suffer such open persecution for their faith? Absolutely not!

As I said in my previous post, a huge difference exists between wrath and persecution. The same Jesus who said His followers would experience persecution for their faith in this life also promises to take His church out of the world before the wrath of the day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:1-9).

What About Christians in the Middle East?

The blogger’s argument only applies if the church exists just in the United States. If the biblical truths of the rapture apply to the church worldwide, then how are we to make sense of this line of reasoning?

Christians throughout the Middle East face torture and death for their faith. Muslim Jihadists routinely crucify and behead children as well as adults because of their love for Jesus.

Just this past week, Muslim extremists ignited an explosion at a Coptic church in Egypt; the bomb killed dozens of Christians. in Nigerian, Boko Haram has murdered thousands of believers and burned down countless churches. Never before in history has the church experienced such severe persecution as we see today.

Many in America also face opposition for their faith. Christian bakers have lost everything as a result of standing up for what they believe. The shooter in Oregon last year singled out Christians to be killed while sparing Muslims from death.

When applied beyond the orders of our nation, this argument against the pretribulation rapture falls apart. God’s Word must be the source for our theology, not the experience of a limited section of the church.

What Does it all Mean?

The Lord tests the faith of every believer. Regardless of our experience on earth, no believer will arrive in heaven “with empty hands and perhaps relatively unchanged hearts” as this blogger asserts. This is a hurtful assertion that contributes nothing to the argument for or against the pretribulation rapture.

Our hope for eternity, regardless of what we experience, is Jesus and Him alone. And, He is returning for us just as He promised He would do.

The Lord tests the faith of those who follow Him. I have yet to see an exception to this.

Our hope for eternity, regardless of what we experience, is Jesus and Him alone. And, He is returning for us just as He promised He would do.

Throughout eternity, Christians from a multitude of nations, with as many stories as people, will sing praises to God for how He delivered them through their times of suffering. Many will be martyrs for Jesus while others will have experienced lighter persecution by comparison.

Regardless, we will have one great theme in common. We will all ascribe glory to Jesus alone for His safe deliverance through all we experienced in this life. In that sense, we will all equally stand before the Lord empty-handed as regardless of what endure on earth. He will be the only One worthy of all our praise and adoration for bringing us safely home.

Or salvation comes solely by grace through faith; it’s never a matter of what we do or even experience that makes us any more or less worthy of eternal life or for God’s deliverance from His wrath.

His righteousness is all that matters now and forevermore!

Maranatha!!!

[i] John Miltenberge, Rapture

Trump Versus Our Witness

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This post will be quite controversial to some of you, but as I have listened to several Christian leaders over the past week voice contempt for Trump while remaining totally silent regarding the evil Hillary represents, something stirred deep inside me. I cannot keep silent. This may be a Bonhoeffer moment for our nation (I’ll explain later).

Like many people, I felt grief at hearing the latest revelation of what Donald Trump said eleven years ago. I did not listen to the statement, but heard enough about it to know it was shameful.

Later, I listened to his apology a couple times and believed he was sincere. I felt relief as I listened to his expression of regret for his words.

My relief, however, turned to sadness as I read the reaction of many Christian leaders to Trump’s apology, many of whom refused to accept his apology as genuine or forgive Trump for what he said.

Some even say a Trump victory will kill the church. That’s absurd at best!

The reason most give for not supporting Trump is that such backing would compromise our witness as believers to our neighbors and keep them away from the Savior. Some even say a Trump victory will kill the church. That’s absurd at best!

I believe these often repeated assertions are based on several misleading assumptions.

They Assume Hillary Supporters will be Most Open to the Gospel

The reasoning that supporting Trump will cause many to reject Christ has at its heart the assumption Hillary supporters will be more open to the Gospel than those voting for Trump. Why else would they fear such a negative response toward the Gospel from those around them?

Those voting for Trump are not likely to reject the Savior because we as believers support him. Why would they?

If those who do not vote had strong anti-Trump feelings, they would vote for Hillary.

As for Hillary supporters, why would those voting for someone who proclaims that we as believers are deplorable and phobia-ridden for holding to biblical values be more open to our faith than Trump supporters? That does not make sense to me.

They Assume We Need a Perfect Candidate

Many Christians scrutinize Trump as though he was in the running to head up the women’s ministry at their local church. If that were the case then yes, Trump might not be the most ideal candidate.

He is running to be President; he does not need to perfect or have a spotless way of life. Who does? The condemning audio happened eleven years ago and he has apologized. Does God still hold us accountable for our words eleven years ago? No! He forgives our sins! Why do so many deny Trump the forgiveness they themselves enjoy for sins just as bad (if not worse) as that of Trump?

Our presidents do not have to be perfect to accomplish great things.

Some of the world’s greatest leaders have not been perfect; below are James Dobson’s words regarding Winston Churchill:

I have always admired Winston Churchill. He is seen as one of the greatest national leaders in the 20th century. . . . He was not always celebrated as a great leader. He was a bombastic, cigar smoking, at times crude, even misogynistic leader.

It is alleged that he told off color stories to his children before bedtime! A woman once told him he was disgustingly drunk. His response was “My dear, you are disgustingly ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly!”

Along that same theme, Dobson said this about Trump,

So…is Donald Trump good for America? I honestly believe that he has been already. He has shaken the political system. Do his comments offend me? At times! Do I agree with all he says? Not at all! But could he be a “Cyrus” being raised up by God to preserve America?

Our presidents do not have to be perfect to accomplish great things.

They Assume Only Believers will Suffer if Hillary Become President

Many Christian leaders assert it would be good for the church to suffer the consequences of a Hillary presidency. They believe such suffering may spark revival. While this may certainly be the case if God in His sovereignty allows Hillary to win, it overlooks one key reality.

Christians will not be the only ones to suffer under a Hillary presidency!

The union of border patrollers recently voted overwhelmingly to support Trump. In their statement of support, they asserted that the immigration policies of Hillary would result in the deaths of thousands of Americans in the coming years.

She promises to raise taxes on everyone who pays them, has no answers to skyrocketing healthcare costs, and thinks food stamps are the answer to our economic ills.

In light of all this, do we really think our neighbors will be thrilled to discover we stayed home rather than vote for a flawed candidate? Do we really think our unwillingness to vote will make others more open to the Gospel once they experience the dire consequences of a Clinton victory? I don’t think so!

They Assume Our Unwillingness to Forgive Trump Will Make Others More Receptive to the Gospel

Somewhere buried in the thinking of these Christian leaders is the assumption that our unwillingness to forgive Trump will make others more receptive to the Gospel.

Have we gotten so far away from the message of grace that we think our unwillingness to forgive Trump will make us more winsome to others?

How does our adoption of the world’s unforgiving attitude make others more open to the Gospel? Hasn’t our message of forgiveness and mercy always been much more appealing?

Have we gotten so far away from the message of grace that we think our unwillingness to forgive Trump will make us more winsome to others? Did not Jesus condemn the Pharisees for this exact attitude?

Since When Does Our Allowing Evil to Prosper Further God’s Purposes?

Perhaps you may think it extreme that I consider a Clinton presidency to be evil, but when you look at all we know about her a compelling case can be made in this regard. Consider the evidence:

  • The e-mails just released show her to be vile, foulmouthed, and disgustingly antagonistic of blacks, Muslims, Catholics, and even voters in her own party.
  • She supports abortion up until birth and publically proclaims that Christianity must be changed to accept abortion as well.
  • She destroyed 33,000 e-mails after Congress had subpoenaed them as evidence; she also physically destroyed cell phones with a hammer to hide the same evidence.
  • She lied to the families of the Benghazi survivors and then later accused them of lying.
  • She believes in a one world government and if elected will continue the push for a socialistic world order that will as Obama clearly stated at the UN, mean that we will need to surrender “some of our rights and freedoms.”

My question is this: since when does allowing evil to succeed further God’s purposes? Yes, I totally recognize God’s sovereignty; He may allow Hillary to become president and use that for His purposes. Perhaps her election would trigger events leading to the rapture and Great Tribulation.

But at this point all we know is that we have an opportunity to stop the evil Hillary represents. Why step aside and let evil prevail by allowing her to claim the presidency?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous Lutheran pastor put to death by the Nazis said this, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I believe this may very well be the Dietrich Bonhoeffer moment for our country

We will not have another opportunity to turn back the growing tide of evil spreading across our nation. If elected, Hillary will hasten the setting up of the coming satanic and demonic world order.

Not to vote, or voting third party, equals a vote for Hillary. Not to speak up against the evil she represents through our voting is to speak in favor of that evil. There is no third option in this election!

This election most certainly is not a matter of refusing to vote for the lessor of two evils. That old and worn out analysis does not match the reality of this election!

Hillary, based on the sample of items I listed above, is evil. In fact, I do not know of any Christian leader who denies that she is desperately evil.

Trump, while not the most perfect of candidates, is certainly not evil. If that were the case, do you think godly men who know him such as James Dobson, Ben Carson, Mike Pence, and Mike Huckabee would all so highly endorse him? There is no way on earth these highly respected men of God would endorse someone who is evil.

This is NOT a matter of voting for the lessor of two evils! It’s matter of taking stand against the evil that Hillary represents by voting for Trump.

There is no third option in this election!

We either vote for Trump, who I believe is becoming a better candidate with each passing day, or we allow evil to gain an even greater foothold in our nation.

Not to vote, or voting third party, equals a vote for Hillary. Not to speak up against the evil she represents through our voting is to speak in favor of that evil. There is no third option in this election! It’s either Hillary or Trump!