Summary: Does the Bible teach that Jesus will rapture His people before the Tribulation? This is a series of Studies on the question, "Will the rapture be before the Tribulation or before the Wrath of God?
"PRE-TIRB. OR PRE WRATH?" Study Three
"THE DISPENSATIONAL METHOD"
Almost every person who has studied the Bible to any length is familiar to some
degree with the dispensational method of Bible interpretation. The Scofield Study Bible
gives the following definition for a dispensation: "A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God."
Three important concepts are implied in this definition: (1) There is a divine
revelation concerning the will of God that has to do with man’s conduct and actions. (2)
Man is held to be a steward of this revelation in which he is obligated to obey it; and (3)
There is a time period called an ’age’ which begins in glory and ends in the judgment of
God. " While this is not a study of dispensations, it is pertinent to understanding our
topic, so, let me name them as I understand them:
There are 7 or 8 depending on what book you read:
(1) INNOCENCE, from creation of man to the fall;
(2) CONSCIENCE (Moral responsibility) from the fall of Adam to after the flood;
(3) HUMAN GOVERNMENT; from Noah to Abraham;
(4) PROMISE; from Abraham to Mt. Sinai;
(5) LAW; from Mt. Sinai to the Cross;
(6) CHURCH; from the Cross to the kingdom;
(7) KINGDOM; the 1,000 years reign of Christ on earth.
(8) ETERNAL; (some do not consider this an age but the Bible does refer to this as
- "The eternal Ages" see Eph. 2:7 and 2:21).
In light of this, here is the reasoning of the dispensational teaching about the
pre-tribulation coming of Christ. In Daniel 9:20-27, there is the prophecy about the
seventy week (or weeks of years, or 490 years). It is the last week that has not been yet
fulfilled. In verse 24, Daniel says that these seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (the nation Israel). Therefore, since these 7 years are a part of the other 483 years and the other 483 years are under the law dispensation - then, God must revert back to the law dispensation for these last seven years. Therefore, since it is the law dispensation and not the church dispensation, the church will not be here. In other words, these last seven years pertain to the nation of Israel and not to the church.
In light of the fact that there is not one verse that teaches that the church will be taken out this is a pretty weak argument. Also, if you teach that the church did not have
its beginning before the day of Pentecost; then, you could say that all of the four gospels
are talking to the nation Israel and not to the church. So, dispensationally, Jesus was
do not have the time nor space in this little book to take up all the teaching of Scripture
that prove that the church did exist before the day of Pentecost and that our Lord did begin
His church during His personal ministry; so let the following points be considered: (1) The
disciples, before the day of Pentecost, performed every function of a New Testament
church. They preached the gospel, made converts, baptized those converts, observed the
Lord’s supper, and practiced church discipline. They had the offices set in the church. For
example, in I Corinthians 12:28 it says, "And God hath set some in the church: first
Apostles. second prophets. third teachers; after that miracles. then gifts of healing. helps.
governments. diversities of tongues. "
Now, it shouldn’t take someone long to figure this out; if you can find the place where
God set something in the church, then the church must have been there. What did God set
in the church first? He set apostles first (I Cor. 12:28). If we can go to the place where the
Apostles were set in the church, then, the church must have been in existence for it to be
set in it. If I set a gallon of milk in the refrigerator, it is certain that the refrigerator must
be there before I can set it on the shelf. Look at Luke 6:13, ’’And when it was
day. he called unto him his disciples (or the church); and of them he chose twelve. who
also he named apostles. " Now if Jesus set the apostles in the church here in Luke 6: 13
(and He did because the Scripture says He did) then, the church had to be there.
Another argument for the Pre-tribulation position is "The tribulation is a time of
punishment for the earth, and the Lord loves the church to much to let her suffer through