Georgetown Prophecy Conference, 2002
Studies in Prophecy
by Darrel Cline
The Pre-Seventieth Week Rapture
Question: What are the biblical arguments for a pre-seventieth week Rapture?
Thesis: The biblical arguments for a pre-seventieth week Rapture consist of both a generalized sense of imminency and specific biblical revelation.
Introductory Remarks: Regardless of which view of the timing of the Rapture we embrace, we need to have a sufficiently thoughtful grasp of the biblical revelation in respect our view to be at ease in our souls and spirits. This allows us to interact with those who disagree with us without rancor or hostility or defensiveness. [Illustration: Ronnie B's anger with my cousin when she asked "who needs Jesus?" His anger wasn't going to help her any at all and it only revealed the absence of the Spirit in his own life--which compounds her question! Who needs Jesus if those that claim to have Him are no different than those who do not?] So, in this session, I am going to lay out the arguments of the Scripture that give me the comfort-zone I need to live peaceably with those that disagree with me.
- I. First, Everyone Who Takes a Position on the Rapture That Involves Church-Participation in the Events of the Seventieth Week of Daniel Should Understand That If Imminency is True, Their View is Impossible to Sustain.
- A. This is a topic of sufficient gravity to require that we give it some detailed thought.
- B. However, in summary, let me just say this: if the New Testament taught its original recipients to expect the Rapture at any time, there can be no accurate view of the timing of the Rapture except the pre-seventieth week view.
- II. Second, No One Should Take a View That Does Not Have Legitimate Biblical Moorings. [Traditional understanding, Pride, Consequences, Etc. are illegitimate foundations for belief.]
- III. Biblical Arguments for a Pre-Seventieth Week Rapture.
- A. 2 Thessalonians 2.
- 1. The issue: believers being shaken from their composure by the teaching that the Day of the Lord has already begun in view of the doctrine of the Rapture.
- a. What scenario best explains a crisis of faith about the timing of the Rapture?
- b. How do we answer?
- 2. The translation of apostasia in 2:3.
- a. The problem: the term is ambiguous by itself. [O.H. and the prejudice that a translation brings to the text -- what if the term had been translated disappearance?
- b. The solution: bringing textual analysis to bear.
- 1) As long as we stand off from the text and import other texts, we will have no argument for our case.
- 2) If we recognize the structure of the text, our argument has to be addressed.
- 3)The textual reality in terms of structure...
- c. Conclusions...
- 1) The issue, combined with the structure, argues pretty strongly that Paul taught a pre-manifestation-of-the-man-of-sin-unto-the-Day-of-the-Lord Rapture.
- 2) This fits perfectly with a pre-seventieth week view as well as a mid-seventieth week view, but it does not fit any view that moves the timing beyond the point of the manifestation of the man of sin.
- B. Revelation 3:10.
- 1. Our grasp of this text rests heavily upon how we understand the phrase "the hour of testing about to come upon the whole world..."
- 2. The promise is of a reward for being willing to endure makes absolutely no sense at all if even more endurance is demanded during the time of the fulfillment of the promise.