There exist some objections, including the accusation that the pre-tribulation view is not preparing people for time of trouble that is coming. These critics say that those who believe the pre-trib sequence of events will find themselves in the time of trouble instead of being raptured away to paradise. As a result, they will lose their faith, deny the Lord, and even take the Mark of the Beast. Therefore, they continue, this is a dangerous doctrine which will lead people to hell and, as a consequence, those who teach it are heretics. The main point is, according to this interpretation of end times prophecy, that the pre-trib view will leave you vulnerable and likely to lose your faith when you find yourself up against the Antichrist in the Great Tribulation, being persecuted for your faith.
Is this the case? I agree that there are dangers involved in some pre-trib teaching, if this implies that we will be whisked out of the way before anything bad happens, spared all suffering, and taken to be with the Lord before anything bad happens. Especially, in the light of the fact that people all over the world are already suffering terribly now in wars, famines, natural disasters, persecutions, etc.
In my view, we should be ready for both – a sudden end to our life on earth (either by death or the rapture), and the possibility of suffering for our faith in the Lord. In either case, the one preparation that matters beyond any doubt is that we repent of our sins and believe the Gospel, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day, and that we commit our lives to following Jesus no matter what other people think of us or what happens to us in this life.
Having Christ in us, the hope of glory, we trust Him to help us through our present troubles and we look forward to the eternal state in which we will be with Him for ever. We are assured of salvation from eternal death, and from suffering in hell.
In which case we can know the peace of God in all circumstances as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4.8-13
If we learn how to do this now we will be well prepared for whatever it is that comes in our lives, for good and for evil.
Let’s have a look at a few of the issues relating to the rapture and the tribulation.
The blessed hope
One of the problems today, especially with young people, is that they see no hope. We hear of young people committing suicide because they are afraid of global warming and all the stuff they are told at school and in the media, news that make them think we are about to fry and that everything will be destroyed.
There is too an accusation that the older generation is responsible for the mess the world is in and have left them with no hope.
The coming of the Lord is the supreme motivator to give us hope. The hope of the Lord’s return should motivate us to live soberly in this present age as far as we are able making an honest living and providing for ourselves and our families. We should contribute to the welfare of society and resist the evil in this present age. But also to have hope in the good outcome for our faith.
Obviously, the pre-tribulation rapture teaching gives more reason for a hopeful outcome of our lives than that proposed by the post-tribulation view. It also gives more meaning to the Lord’s admonition to be ready at all times for His return.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.Matthew 24.44
But the post-tribulation view also offers us the hope of the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ in the battle with evil, and the assurance of our future redemption as we trust in Him.
Both views actually prevent us from being deceived by the false hopes offered by the world, and by parts of the church. These state that world hope is based on human cleverness and goodness, and that we will solve the problems without the help of God. This is the humanist / Marxist idea of human perfectibility without repentance and faith in Jesus.
It is also the basis for the programmes setup by false religions and false prophets promoting another way of salvation. These are even backed by counterfeit signs and wonders. We can see these things happening now, and shaping up for the great deception of Antichrist’s time.
Now, we need to exercise discernment by the Holy Spirit.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1.9-11
There is too, the triumphalist / revivalist view that the church will dominate the world through a great end time revival. A post-millennial view which came through ‘Signs and Wonders Movement‘, New Apostolic Reformation leading people to disillusion and disappointment as they see true Christianity in decline, persecuted, and in confusion under the doctrine of false teaching and people looking to serve antichrist forces.