Summary: It is very difficult to recognize that which we are convinced cannot exist in our life time. This then is the point; the rapture is real but pre-tribulation-rapture doctrine has a very high potential for supporting Satan’s deception, which masks the coming of the antichrist.
There has always been someone who was willing to sell worthless crap to those gullible enough to buy it, and this is also true for Christians. Christendom is over flowing with those who are simple enough to buy almost anything the snake-oil-doctrine purveyors are selling … just as long as it tickles their ears. Nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in Christians who are falling all over themselves to purchase “pre-tribulation-rapture” snake oil. In many cases, these purchasers of resurrection snake oil have also stocked up on health, wealth, and happiness magic beans. My heart goes out to these good people, but it would appear their understanding is limited because of the ignorance that is in them; ignorance that is due to Satan’s deception and his hardening their hearts. (Acts 26:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 4:18) Just remember, it is easy to sell a man a lie when that man first wants to buy the lie, and willfully ignores what is truth. Pre-tribulation-rapture snake oil contains such a lie; it is a lie that has its origin in the bowels of hell. It is a lie that tickles people’s ears and possesses the power of deceitful spirits and demons, thus luring people away from sound doctrines. (1Timothy 4:1) Pre-tribulation-rapture teachings have the potential to be such a doctrine.
In opposing pre-tribulation-rapture doctrine we in no way discredit rapture doctrine; although, the name is unscriptural. Regardless of what you call it, there will be a resurrection from death for all peoples: both the righteous and the wicked. (Acts 24:15) All who are dead will hear the voice of Jesus and they will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29) It is good therefore; that people believe in the resurrection of the dead, for it is truth. It is very important, however, that we know what to expect when this resurrection of the dead will take place.
It is very important to understand the events surrounding this rapture because this knowledge will have a major impact on our reaction to what is happening in the world. For example, if we were to believe the resurrection of the dead will take place before the coming of the man of lawlessness then we would have no reason to be looking for his coming. In other words, if we believe we are going to be raptured before the antichrist gets here then we have little reason to be looking for the signs of his coming. This means there is a significant portion of scripture that is irrelevant to us. In the same way, if we are confident that we will never encounter this beast from the sea then we will not believe it can happen in our lifetime and we have no reason to be concerned about his coming. Now think for a moment, if we are totally convinced that we will be raptured before the tribulation it will be impossible for us to recognize the beast from the sea. It is very difficult to recognize that which we are convinced cannot exist in our life time. This then is the point; the rapture is real but pre-tribulation-rapture doctrine has a very high potential for supporting Satan’s deception, which masks the coming of the antichrist.
Do not think for one moment that it is not Satan’s plan to deceive mankind in the last days. Deception is part of Satan’s plan and it is a fact that many people will be deceived because they have been taught they will not be living on earth in the end times. Thus, they will place their faith in half-truths and even in lies told to them from the pulpit by charlatans and simple minded preachers. (2 Timothy 2:18)
The success of any deceptions is made more certain through the ignorance of the beholder. We do not have to be ignorant; however, for scripture reveals the end times. The tribulation period is seven years in length, the middle of which is marked by the death of the Two Witnesses. The last three and one half years we suffer under the rule of the antichrist. The end of the tribulation is ushered in by the 7th trumpet sounding and the pouring out of seven bowls of God’s wrath. The antichrist is destroyed and Satan is bound … the tribulation is certainly over. After the 7th trumpet has sounded there are two resurrections. First is the tribulation martyrs and then the rest of the dead are resurrected. When we set human opinions and perceptions aside, and we ignore our desire for detailed explanations, we can focus on facts and escape Satan’s deception.
Of course, facts mean nothing to someone who is devoted to grandpa’s teaching or the opinion of a charismatic preacher. These folks will probably never entertain the possibility of having to go through the tribulation. What we must do is see to it that we do not let the dynamics of Satan’s deception turn us into a rapture-ignoring preacher who place their flock in danger. Yes, it is hard to preach end times events. Yes, it is hard to deal with people who demand to know exactly: when, where, why, and how things will transpire. It is made even more difficult to preach the truth because the pretrib lie is filled with all the warm and fuzzy answers itching ears want to hear. Yet, we were not called to preach what people want to hear. We were called to preach the truth and the truth is that scripture points to a post-tribulation rapture not a pre-tribulation rapture.