[Although pre-tribulation proponents find fault with post-tribbers because they insist that the tribulation must occur before Christ's return, the Jewish presence (or control) of Jerusalem was also a logical prerequisite within the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine.
These pre-trib doctrinal assumptions being:
1. The end-time events contained in Revelation occur after the rapture, and,
2. The end-time events described in Revelation occur within a seven-year time span, and,
3. The Antichrist will enter the Temple 3 1/2 years after the rapture.
Ø Therefore, the Jews must have either taken control of the Temple Mount or be so close to gaining control of Jerusalem that the rapture might commence at any moment.
According to this typical pre-tribulation interpretation of Revelation, the rapture was not imminent between the years 70 AD and 1800 AD. The rapture could not have happened during that time because the Jews did not control the land of Israel. Thus, a Temple could not have been built during that time. Furthermore, the procurement of the Temple real estate, planning, and construction of the Temple, are still unlikely to be accomplished within a 3 1/2 year period - making an imminent rapture unrealistic until such time as the Temple project is nearly or actually under construction.
But finally, in the early 1800's, at the hope of the formation of a Jewish nation, some Christians began to expect an imminent return of the Lord prior to the time of tribulation. This may sound strange, but up until that point in time, the Church strongly rejected the idea that Jesus would return before the tribulation. Consider the following quote from John Calvin's Commentary of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
"On the other hand, those false prophets whom Paul expenses, while they ought to have kept men's minds in suspense, bid them feel assured of his speedy advent, that they might not be wearied out with the irksomeness of delay. "Let no man deceive you." That they may not groundlessly promise themselves the arrival in so short a time of the joyful day of redemption, he presents to them a melancholy prediction as to the future scattering of the Church. This discourse entirely corresponds with that which Christ held in the presence of his disciples, when they had asked him respecting the end of the world. For he exhorts them to prepare themselves for enduring hard conflicts, (Matt. 24:6) and after he has discoursed of the most grievous and previously unheard of calamities, by which the earth was to be reduced almost to a desert, he adds, that the "end is not yet", but that "these things are the beginnings of sorrows". In the same way, Paul declares that believers must exercise warfare for a long period, before gaining a triumph."
Few references occur in the writings of the Church Fathers to a pre-tribulation rapture. In fact, the idea was always quickly dropped. And a pre-tribulation rapture never became a source of debate among church leaders, never surfaced in any of the great councils, nor did it make its way into any creed or statement of faith - prior to the late 20th century. The reason why these infrequent references to a pre-trib rapture were often quickly contradicted by the Fathers themselves is that the imminence of the tribulation was recognized as an essential element of the Second Coming.
The birth pangs of the tribulation that the world is beginning to witness will quickly accelerate from occasional groanings into full-fledged contractions. These trials should drive more and more people to research the Bible's end-time prophecies. The last few decades have spawned increasing numbers of end-time prophecy websites, books, and movies. Indeed, the internet has changed, forever, the common person’s access to knowledge.
In previous generations, people were trapped in a fairly small learning environment, and primarily within their own generation, unless they had access to an extensive library. The situation is different today. As people do their research on the internet, they are finding out what people believed 100 years ago, in just a few seconds. They’re finding out what people believed 1,000 years ago. And they are able to compare and digest this information in an attempt to make sense of it all. In fact, the reader would be wise to research the information presented in this book as well.
"Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight." - Proverbs 18:17 (TLB) ] - end excerpt.
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