Mike Pearl: Hi. I am Michael Pearl. And I'm back here to answer your Bible questions. We are in the art studio today. I have cleared all my paints off and as you can see I've got a little cast on here. I broke my wrist. I became a Calvinist. I lost my free will, and gravity took over and drove me into the ground at a high rate of speed from off of scaffolding where I was working on my house. So I am all bandaged up here in one arm today. But, I can still turn the Bible pages with one hand. We are going to be having a series on answering questions that you have been asking about the Book of Revelations, about the Second Coming, about the Rapture, Tribulations, and some of those issues.
So we are going to go into some of the Scripture and see if we can't give you some answers. If you're not satisfied with what we are saying, then please notify us and we will be glad to try and answer any additional issues that you have.
Now Jared is here in the studio, and he is going to read the first question that we got, and we're going to try and give you an answer.
Jared: Is the Rapture of the church before, during, or at the end of the Tribulation Period?
Michael: No question about it. The Rapture is before the Tribulation. Now I was looking online at what some of the different writers have to say about the Rapture and the Tribulation. And of course there are a lot of different positions that are held today. You have the pre‑wrath Rapture, which Rosenthal came up with a while back. Then you have the post‑Tribulational, then you have the Mid‑Tribulational, then you have the Split Rapture. Then you have no Rapture at all. You have just the Second Coming where Christ comes back, and the saints and sinners are separated and divided, and all go to their proper places.
You have the Pre‑Millennial, and then you have the Post‑Millennial, All Millennial or No Millennial. Then you have the‑‑there are any number of different positions that are held on that subject.
I have been challenged; give me one verse that teaches that the church will be Raptured before the Tribulation. Let me put it another way. Give me one verse that teaches the Church will be Raptured in the middle of the Tribulation, pre‑wrath, after the Tribulation. Give me one verse that teaches there will be a Pre‑Millennial return of Christ or a Post‑Millennial return of Christ.
As you well know, all of these different positions are supported by various verses of Scripture. That's why there is confusion. That's why the Body of Christ is divided on the subject, and always has been divided, and probably always will be divided. It is because the Bible is not extremely clear.
Now I think with sufficient study that it is clear. But again, there are others who think that with sufficient study it is clear and come up with a different interpretation.
What you have to do is decide for yourself. Now I want to be clear, too. I don't divide the Body of Christ on these issues. In other words, if you take a different position on the Rapture than what I do, I don't exclude you from the Body of Christ nor say that you are uninformed.
I accept the fact that there are various views and that is fine. Now why are there various views like that? Why isn't the Bible more clear? If you think back, when Jesus came the first time, the disciples themselves described in the Pharisees, who were well taught in the word of God, were not clear that when Messiah came, he would suffer and die.
Now there are passages of Scripture that we can go back to that clearly teach that Messiah would suffer. Like Isaiah chapter 53, Psalms 22, Zachary 12:13. Many, many passages that speak of Messiah suffering. Even to the point that "his hands and his feet would be pierced." That he would "go down to the dust of death," Psalms 22.
But even after the disciples spent three years walking with Christ and hearing him teach when he said he was going to be crucified. They said, "What does that mean?" When he said he was going to be raised from the dead, they said, "What is he talking about?"
The Scriptures were explicit, but the problem was that in the Bible itself there were two different lines of Scripture. One line of Scripture spoke of Messiah coming and reigning gloriously. Spoke of him triumphing over the nation. Spoke of him setting up a kingdom that would last forever. And another past group of Scriptures spoke of him suffering.
So those two different lines of Scriptures seemed not to be reconcilable. The problem was there was not a single passage of Scripture that attempted to reconcile those two different lines of thought. So therefore, it lent itself to two different extreme interpretations.
And continued to do so until Christ was actually raised from the dead and then the disciples on the day of Pentecost had to continue to teach and explain that the Old Testament Scripture had presented Christ as both a suffering Messiah and as a reigning Messiah.
Now this is borne out in the Dead Sea Scrolls, where they dug up some of the commentaries and writings of the ancients. There was a group there that actually thought there would be three different Messiahs.
They thought that there would be one Messiah who would be a prophet, likened to Moses as the Scripture predicted. There would be another Messiah who would be a priest, like Christ was in his suffering and his dying. And then, a Messiah who would be king‑‑a prophet, a priest, and a king. Because in fact, the Scriptures represent Christ, the coming Christ in the Old Testament, in all three of those aspects‑‑prophet, priest, and king.
Now that we have the full Revelation of The New Testament, we can look back and see that Christ will, in the processes of time, fulfill all of that.
Now another thing that the Jews were confused about, and it seemed to be a difficulty with them, is if you remember when Jesus went back into heaven, the disciples said to him, "Will thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Because the Bible had predicted that God would bless the Jewish people, and that he would raise them up, and setup a kingdom through them.
And here Christ had suffered, died, was about to ascend into heaven, and no kingdom was setup yet. John the Baptist had been preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Jesus came preaching for "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And yet they saw no kingdom. They saw the King crucified. They saw the King buried, and now He was leaving to go back to heaven, so their question naturally was, "Are you going to setup your kingdom right now?" He said, "It is not for you to know the times of the seasons that the father has in his will."
We find that there is a pattern throughout Scripture that God is not as concerned about providing us with the details of the sequence of events, prophetically, as we are.
See we would like to know exactly how to recognize anti‑Christ, that is one of the questions that we received, when he comes. We would like to know exactly when the Second Coming is going to occur. We would like to know exactly about the Tribulation and the 144,000, and the Millennial Reign and the judgment seat in the great white throne and the judgment of the angels.
There are so many things there that the Bible talks about, and has quite a bit of testimony about, but there is no attempt to chronologically lay those events out carefully and answer all our questions about it.
So I must admit no matter what our position is, when we begin to speak on these things, the chances are none of us are going to be perfectly right on it. The chances are none of us are going to have everything in its proper order and proper place and understand it in detail.
That is not to say I am not dogmatic about what I believe. That I am not clear on it. I've studied it; I'm clear on it. But, I have enough forced humility to admit that I could be wrong.
So we are going to look at some Scripture on the subject to show you why we believe in a pre‑Tribulational, pre‑Millennial Rapture of the Church. We are going to look at what the Bible has to say about it. That way we can be thorough. Now let me say this, too. The best argument for the pre‑Tribulational Rapture of the Church is not found in a single verse, but found in the overall program of God, as regards Jews and Gentiles. As regards to the Jewish kingdom and the Church.
And so there is a broad perspective that takes us all the way back to the book of Deuteronomy. Takes us through the book of Daniel. Through the prophets and up through the preaching of Christ and John the Baptist on the kingdom.
Announcer: If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.