The Key PreTribulational Rapture Passage?
By Ed. F. Sanders
According to one pretrib pastor and teacher "The most important single passage dealing with the timing of the Rapture is Revelation 3:10!"(2).
Key PreTribulational Rapture Passage?
is used by almost all pretrib
proponents as a key 'proof text' for their position.
Their interpretation is that this passage ‘proves’ that the
be raptured before the tribulation. A careful analysis of the verse
will dispel this view.
that the verse, or its context, does not mention the Rapture, a 7 year
nor does it explicitily define any time relationship to the 2
Secondly, the verse is addressed to the Church at Philadelphia, a local assembly in Asia Minor at the time Revelation was written. It is important to note that pretribs assign this to "the things which are" (Rev 1:19 KJV) section of the book, yet they overlook its primary interpretation and project it to a 2000+ year future tribulation period. While the we may legitimately make a secondary interpretation of the verse, i.e. that God will protect us during trials and testing in the world, to use it as a primary text for proving a pretrib rapture is untenable.
Thirdly, the pretrib interpretation is derived
their interpretation of the two
from” and “the
hour of trial”.
Pretribs use the verse to 'bash' those
who do not agree with them by saying that if you don't believe their
'left behind' theory then you must believe that the Church will
experience God's wrath. This is a 'straw man' argument with no basis
except to distract from their baseless arguments. I have read works by
and known many posttrib premillennial and amillennialists, and even
some preterists and postmillennialists, and I have never heard anyone
say they believed Christians will experience God's wrath!
Another "Key Verse" In Revelation
Rev. 4:1 is another key "proof-text" verse for the pretrib Rapture theory:
Most pretrib commentators argue that since John
is a representative or 'type' of the
and is sent up to heaven, this means that the Church will be caught up
heaven, before the tribulation! But the verse says nothing
Rapture or the Tribulation, nor does it refer to any time-frame for
either. There is no basis for a pretrib rapture here!
Making an honest exegesis of these passages in Revelation, leaving behind the dispensational pretrib ‘filter’, it is obvious that these verses are not ‘proof-texts’ of a pretrib rapture. The interpretation of the two passages in Revelation by dispensational pretribs results from their reading into the verse what they want it to say rather that what it actually says. There is no clear statement of a pretrib rapture in Revelation (which pretribs should find quite curious since it is the most comprehensive treatment of the end times in the Bible!).
(1) All quotations from the ESV unless otherwise
(2) Quote from article on the Rapture at www.middletownbiblechurch.org
(3) Vincent’s New Testament Word Studies (4 Volumes) by Marvin Vincent
(4) Article on Tribulation, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia