The reason I've been challenging Hal Lindsey in this book is because he's a typical pre-tribulationist expressing typical views in his book, "The Rapture." Many like-minded writers have copied his methods so that a rebuttal of his arguments is a rebuttal of the writings of the others as well. I'm just sorry that these arguments must be made at all, for it creates division and, in the eyes of outsiders, must appear as if we are violating the golden rule. I have come to terms with my approach, however, as I feel there is a point where wrong doctrine threatens God's people to an extent that warrants open opposition, and I'm certainly not the first to feel this way about pre-tribulationism.
In the following quote, Hal shows us that he speaks for many others in his free use of the word, "we," and this was as early as "The Late Great Planet Earth" in 1970:
"Here is the chief reason why we believe the rapture occurs before the tribulation: the prophets have said that God will set up a Kingdom on earth over which the Messiah will rule. There will be mortal people in that kingdom. If the rapture took place at the same time as the second coming [a post-trib' scenario], there would be no mortals left who would be believers; therefore, there would be no one to go into the Kingdom and repopulate the earth" (page 143).[Italics mine]
If this argument is truly the "chief" reason that Hal and his colleagues believe in the pre-trib' rapture, then it proves what I and other post-tribbers have been saying, that there is no single, face-value scripture in all of the Bible which reveals a pre-tribulation rapture or pre-tribulation coming of Christ. If there were, he would have given us that scripture as the chief reason for the theory.
In this case, the new doctrine created to stand as "Biblical" proof for a pre-trib' rapture is that the Jewish remnant is saved during the tribulation period. The word "desperation" comes to mind, for there isn't one scripture to back that doctrine up against all the scriptures that clearly show otherwise. Someone please tell Hal that the Jewish remnant will not be raptured at the post-trib' Return, for there are an abundance of scriptures showing that these Jews are not saved until after Armageddon, weeks after the rapture. These Elect Jews enter the Millennium, therefore, in their mortal bodies. Following is an incomplete list of scriptures from Isaiah alone showing that the Jews who populate the Millennium are not saved until after the wrath of God has been poured out on them. And we also know that His wrath will be on the Jews for the 42 months just previous to the Lord's Armageddon appearance.
- Isaiah 4:2-6
- Isaiah 5:5-30
- Isaiah 28:1-6
- Isaiah 29:1-24
- Isaiah 30:19-30
- Isaiah 49:19-26
- Isaiah 51:11-52:2
- Isaiah 54:8-15
- Isaiah 60:15-22
Hal makes yet another blunder. In his preoccupation to create any argument possible, he wrongly leads himself to believe that "only believers who survive the Tribulation will enter the Millennial Kingdom" (The Rapture, Bantam Books, pg. 147).
How shocking, Hal, your nonsense! I wasn't a Christian for a year when I came across scriptures openly exposing the transfer of non-believers into the Millennium, and you, having studied prophecy for decades, speak as if those scriptures don't exist.
Some end-time Jews delivered to the anti-Christ, without anyone to rescue them, will be Rescued from Armageddon by means of the great chasm created when the Mount of Olives splits...when "half the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south" (Zechariah 14:4). This escape channel leading away from Jerusalem is going to be Formed to allow their very escape to occur (v 5), for it will be a necessary protection against the military fire and heat of Armageddon all around. And above and beyond the Jews saved through this crevice, there will be Protected ones in other nations. Indeed, although they may not realize it at the time of their deportation during the great tribulation, that very mistreatment at the hands of the anti-Christ will save many from Armageddon's varied calamities. Some of those spared in this way will come back to Israel, of course, but Isaiah 49:22 tells us that they will be carried back by Gentiles...mortal Gentiles, that is.
Isaiah goes on to say that these Gentiles "will bow down to you [the Jews], faces to the ground, and lick the dust of your feet" (v 23). Hal, you're not going to tell us that these Gentiles licking the feet of the Jews represent the Church, are you, or your so-called "Tribulation Saints"? And when Isaiah then says, "All flesh will know that I, YHWH, am your Savior" (v 26), who does "all flesh" include besides Israel herself, if not those non-Christians who previously did not recognize that Israel has a Living Savior?
Now, because the Mount of Olives will split when Christ sets foot on it, it means that the post-tribulation rapture will have already occurred by then. For the rapture occurs as Christ descends from Heaven, while he is still in the air, and only after that spectacular event does Christ reach the surface of the earth to save the Elect Jews from the anti-Christ. Therefore, the Jewish remnant escaping through the chasm will not partake in the rapture, and, therefore, is easily identified as one group of people who go on to populate the Millennial Kingdom in mortal bodies.
In Zechariah 12:10, where it tells us that certain Jews...at Jesus' return...will look on the One they have pierced, it also tells us that "the land shall mourn, each tribe apart" (Zechariah 12:12). Of course, they will weep bitterly in regrets when finally recognizing that they had sorely maligned their own Messiah for 20 centuries and counting. But how can these Jews be saved during the tribulation period if they mourn at the Appearance of the Messiah? Anyone saved spiritually in the tribulation rejoices when the Lord returns. But just as the world of unbelievers is said, in Matthew 24:30, to mourn at that post-trib' coming, so here the Jews mourn because they, too, had been unbelievers in the tribulation.
As absolute proof that these Jews do not partake in the rapture, a reading of Zechariah 13:1-6 itself (not to mention many other scriptures) will reveal their entry into the Millennium in their mortal bodies. While these Jews deserve the same fate as the unbelieving Gentiles given unto Armageddon, yet the Lord opens the floodgates of his Mercy--and not on the Jews alone--that His Millennial Throne might be established upon a bedRock of Mercy.
The repentance of the Gentile remnant/survivors of Armageddon will lead naturally to their salvation, and God will be good to His promise by pouring out His Spirit upon them as well. Thus the pre-tribbers should not assume that Millennial inhabitants must be Christian prior to the Millennium, for God will make Christians in an instant in numbers like never before. This is the only future revival! If pre-tribbers think that a pre-trib' rapture may cause the instant conversion of many, how much more would Armageddon do so?
Because pre-tribbers believe that the Church will not be on earth during the final years, the Woman of Revelation 12 is said to be the Jewish remnant, and too many post-tribbers have swallowed this idea whole without realizing that the Bible never reveals the Remnant as being saved prior to Armageddon. May we ask why some post-tribbers don't realize it? Because they have not been told...for most of the marketplace books on prophecy have been written by pre-tribbers. And the more the pre-tribulation rapture theory is denounced by post-tribbers, the more books the pre-tribbers write. In fact, the pre-tribbers are now gathering worldwide in pre-trib' seminars, wherefore pastors are going to be encouraged to preach pre-tribulationism with more passion.
Zechariah 13:8 tells us that only 2/3 of Israel will be killed in the tribulation period. But does the prophet tell us that the remaining 1/3--the Remnant--is to be spared tribulation? No, but it tells us that they will be put through the fire prior to their salvation. And verse 1 tells us when they will be saved: "On that day..." What day? On the day that they see the One they have pierced (12:10).
Hal then goes into a treatment of the sheep-and-goats parable wherein he interprets them all as Armageddon survivors but excludes the sheep as depicting the Church. Not only is this a self-interested misrepresentation of the parable, but he claims that the sheep are exclusively the 144,000 Jews of Revelation. Is that how the parable struck you when you first read it, or did you, like me, view the sheep generally as the entire Body of God?
The sheep-and-goats parable is not to be viewed as a Judgment-Seat event just after Armageddon, but as the harvesting of the wheat and the tares which occurs at Armageddon. As in all parables, there is a special message being conveyed with allegory...meaning that not all pictures in the parable are literal events or statements. That message in this case is the vital importance of adding good works to our Faith. But it also touches upon the same fearful message as the wheat-and-tare parable. As weeds grow with wheat, so goats feed with sheep. But in the end, there will be a drastic separation between the sons and Light and the sons of Darkness. And we know that this separation will, in literal events, involve a rapture of the exhilarated sheep/wheat into the freedom of the skies, and a burning up of the gasping goats/tares upon the quaking dirt.
Thus, as the separation of the parable is undeniably at the post-trib' Coming...so undeniable that even the pre-tribbers don't buck against it...the parable teaches a post-trib' rapture. But the pre-tribbers will portray the separation as something altogether different than the rapture. They suggest that it's an official Judgment Seat convened after Armageddon. But the judgment in the parable is prior to the gathering of the sheep to Christ, is it not? Surely the Lord is not going to say, "Come, you who are blessed...," and afterward convene the judgment? That's donkey-rear backwards! Rather, first comes the judgment, then the gathering to Christ occurs as a reward to all who pass the judgment.
The "hour of trial" in Revelation 3:10 is in the end time, and so why wouldn't Hal associate it with the judgment of the sheep-and-goats parable? Revelation 3:10 is, after all, well known by him in that it's a favorite pre-trib' scripture. Judgment starts with the house of God, says 1 Peter 4:17. That would translate into the period in which the Jews are punished...the 42 months of desolation. And wouldn't that also be the appropriate time for Him to judge the believers in Christ? Yes, even as we see the separation of the foolish virgins from the wise...during the same 42 months...where the foolish go out from among the wise to buy their needs (i.e. take the mark of the beast). I'm not necessarily suggesting that the "hour of trial" is the 42-month period itself, but that the 42 months represents God's judgment on His own people, and that the "hour of trial" follows as the short post-trib period.
The "hour of trial" appears to be Armageddon because "hour" elsewhere in Revelation is exposed as such. Armageddon is also a period of judgment, but this comes last, upon those not of the House of God. By that time, the Elect sheep are no longer inhabitants upon the earth, but better than the birds are experiencing anti-gravity to their great fulfillment.
"In one hour your judgment has come," the Lord says of Mystery Babylon, where's it's obvious from Revelation 16:19--the 7th Bowl--that Babylon is destroyed at Armageddon. The ten horns of the beast have authority "for one hour," and because the ten horns are said to fight Christ in that hour, we know that it's referring to Armageddon. Again, in 14:7 we read, "the hour of his judgment has come."
The tares are not only gathered "in piles" on Israeli soil to be burned, but are also sent to the Lake of Fire via a thousand-year "sleep," till the Judgment Seat is convened. All who die in Armageddon have their fate sealed in the Lake of Fire. As for the ultimate fate of those who survive Armageddon and enter the Millennium with the skincode upon their hands or foreheads, the Bible does not say categorically. Zechariah 14:16-17 only begins to speak of their fate, telling us that they will be permitted to worship Jesus:
"And it shall be, everyone who is left [alive] from all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King...whoever will not go up from the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, YHWH of hosts, there shall even be no rain on them."
It is impossible to equate the Armageddon survivors here with Christians in the tribulation since God describes the survivors as the peoples of nations which had taken part in attacking Jerusalem during the tribulation. Thereby identified as enemies of God during the tribulation, we conclude that at least some of them did receive the skincode. But if not, then at least some of them worshipped the image of the beast. Will some of the Jews outside of Israel receive the skincode? I can't see why not. But if some don't, they are yet opposed to Jesus during those years:
I will take you from the nations, and gather you out of all the lands, and bring you into your land. Then I will sprinkle clean waters on you, and you shall be clean. And I will also give you a new heart...and I will put My Spirit within you..." (Ezekiel 36:24-27).This is precisely the theme of Zechariah 13:1. Cleansing. Why are they cleansed at the renewal of all things...i.e. after Armageddon...if they are saved with the Spirit during the great-tribulation period? The fact is, Jews who survive Armageddon are shown everywhere in prophecy to be as filthy as the goats and as thorny as the tares during the tribulation:
"In that day, the Branch of YHWH will be beautiful and glorious...and it shall be, whoever remains [alive], and he who is left [alive] in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, everyone who is written among the living in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and the blood of Jerusalem shall have been rinsed away from its midst by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning" (Isaiah 22:2-5).
Are you still here, Hal? Come, now, the audience wants to hear from you. Is it not obvious that the Jewish remnant is made holy only after the wrath of God is poured out on them? And if the Bible proclaims that the wrath must last for 1260 days, do we dare suggest that salvation will come to the remnant during those days?
Surely, we realize that the Jews cannot be gathered back to their own land during the tribulation period because the Jews are being exported at that time. Unbelievably, there are some expert Biblical scholars who do not acknowledge that Jews are exiled during the tribulation period, eve though the following texts say just that: Zech.14:2; Joel 3:6, Eze. 39:28. If there is no doubt, judging from the words in the Ezekiel quote above, that these Jews are not Spirit-filled, and therefore not Christians, prior to their being brought back to their own land, what prophetic scholar would be so short-sighted as to place the salvation of Jews during the tribulation period? Even the prophet Joel reveals the pouring out of His Spirit after the end-time "locusts" are destroyed:
"And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh...for it shall be, all who call on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For salvation shall be in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, as the LORD has said, and among the saved whom the LORD shall call" (2:28-32).
While this Outpouring, in keeping with God's eternal promise to Abraham, is specially-designed for the Jewish Remnant, I take it that "all flesh" includes, not necessarily every last living person, but Gentile survivors of Armageddon as well as Jewish. I can't see any problem with its being Offered to all persons, and yet some may reject it. In any case, we can deduce, thanks be to a fearful Armageddon and a glorious Appearance of Jesus, that the Spirit will be upon the bulk of the world's people and cannot therefore occur during the great tribulation, at which time most of the world is reserved for the spirit of Satan and well-deserved destruction. Clearly, the only time that the bulk of the world can receive the Holy Spirit is after Armageddon. This broad Salvation is the special Grace supplying the Millennial Kingdom with an abundance of holy mortals. But anyone who asks for and receives an outpouring of the Spirit before Armageddon, and does His will to the end of the tribulation, even he/she is given sheep-status and therefore goes up in the rapture...where cell-less life will for the first time ever be enjoyed.
Consider an Armageddon-related text from Psalm 18 in which Christ is speaking:
"You have made me head of the nations; a people I have not known shall serve me...the sons of foreigners shall bow down to me. The sons of foreigners shall faint, and come trembling out of their strongholds" (18:43-45).
It is very, very clear above that those who, in trembling, bow down to Christ after his awesome return, will be a people who had previously not been known by Him.
As for the 144,000 Jews of Revelation, here are the most dedicated and spotless people in all the world, and yet they are said to miss the pre-tribulation rapture, to go on living in mortal bodies throughout the tribulation, and to remain in those same bodies to the end of the Millennium!!! In the meantime, we are to believe that the worst of saved sinners are raptured before the tribulation, that they feast with Christ somewhere in the blue-blue skies for seven wonderful years, next to their "mansions," of course, and then continue to live in immortal bodies for the 1,000 years.
First off, in being the "unblemished" and "undefiled" Jews that they are, the 144,000 are hardly to be equated with the stained and wayward Jews that well describes the Elect Jewish remnant. Never is that Remnant described in worthy terms! In fact, God goes so far as to say that their salvation is not on account of their works, but on account of saving His good Name (Isa. 43:25; 48:11) which they trampled in the mud. Because God adds that those Jews are shameful and disgraced (Eze. 36:32), it doesn't sound like the 144,000 to me.
The 144,000 are "first fruits" (Rev.14:4), meaning that they are better than the Jewish Remnant. There is just no way that they can possess the righteousness that we are shown unless they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. They are sealed before the great-tribulation period (Rev. 7:3) because they are Christians already; they are not sealed in order to make them Christians at that time. The Jewish Remnant does not choose God, but willfully rejects Him until it sees Jesus in the skies. The 144,000 are Christians because they "follow the Lamb wherever he goes" (Rev. 14:4). The 144,000 are "purchased from the earth" (Rev. 14:4), and we know that the "purchase" can only be made by the Blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are Christians.
Because the Lord will command that the seven Trumpets be not unleashed until the 144,000 are sealed, it means that these saints are given express Protection from the Trumpet plagues. Their being sealed refers loosely to their successful escape from Judah. Thus, the reason that the 144,000 are shown being sealed in this way while all other believers are not shown is that Special Protection is required in and around Israel only. Therefore, God has raised, and will continue to raise, righteous Jews in and around Israel, to be his best 144,000 friends. Speak with any Jewish Christian living in Israel today, and you could very well be speaking with one of the 144,000. But as there are not nearly that many Jewish converts in all of Israel today, I am expecting the conversion of many more between now and Then.
Chief among them are the Two Witnesses. Let no one say that the Two Witnesses are of the sinful Jewish Remnant. Just as these Two Messianic Jews go up to the skies at a post-trib' time...after their 1260 days of prophesying (see Revelation 12)...the 143,998 others likewise partake in a post-trib' rapture (or resurrection-rapture).
Surely, the glory of the 144,000 must be greater than all other Christians who partake in the resurrection-rapture, and so we must contend for their honor--they are seen standing with Christ on Zion in their glorified bodies!!
The Two Witnesses are not necessarily Moses and Elijah, as is so often claimed. I cannot find any scripture to prove that all believers worldwide, in the 1260 days, will wield the powers and faith that these Two will wield. I certainly hope that it's true, but, alas, this picture just isn't in prophecy. The epistles reveal the end-time Church as people waiting patiently for the distress to pass tortured in their spirits like Lot in Sodom.
Questions, comments, dialogue,