You wouldn't know it to listen to a debate on the subject, but all three parties in the Rapture Debate believe that they are the ones who have the right position and have the Scriptures to back them up.
Whenever I write on the subject of the Rapture, I get email from those holding a different view and it never ceases to amaze me how nasty some of them are.
I've been called a false prophet (for the record, I'm not any kind of prophet, false or otherwise), a false teacher, a liar, a purveyor of the doctrines of demons and more.
More than one has accused me outright of knowing the truth (their position, naturally) and deliberately spreading deception to some nefarious end that never quite gets explained to me.
But the fact is that those who believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture are no more sincere than those who believe the Rapture comes at the midpoint in the Tribulation.
The mid-tribulational view divides the Tribulation into two periods of 1260 days each, according to Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:7 and sees the Rapture of the Church occurring at that mid-point.
There are plenty of Scripture verses that can be used to support a mid-Trib Rapture. "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Matthew 24:9-13
It would seem to indicate here that Jesus is exhorting us to "endure to the end' tying our endurance to being saved from the Great Tribulation.
Similarly, Jesus' reference to the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15) is followed by a warning to flee, (21)"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
(40-41)"Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
The mid-tribulationist equates the beginning of the Great Tribulation when the antichrist abolishes Temple worship and begins his persecution of Israel with Rapture.
The problem with the mid-Tribulation view is it fails to explain WHY the Church endures the first half of the Rapture. The final week of Daniel is clearly set aside for the national redemption of Israel. (Daniel 9:24)
In order to make the mid tribulational view work, Jesus must be speaking to the Church when He is answering the question posed Him in Matthew 24:3 "What will be the sign of Thy Coming and of the end of the world?"
If Jesus were addressing the Church in the last days, why would He say, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:" (20).
Jesus makes plain the perspective from which He was speaking and to Whom, saying, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in JUDAEA flee into the mountains: (15-16)
Jesus warning of being delivered up to be afflicted, and killed, and to be hated of all nations for His Name's sake isn't a reference to the Church. He is addressing Israel, who has been delivered to affliction for 2000 years as 'Christ-killers'.
He is NOT addressing the Church. The Church is not here at that time.
But Jesus WAS addressing the Church when He said, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)
In Rev. 2 and 3 we have Jesus talking to the Seven Churches, but what I want you to notice is where Jesus is in relation to these churches. "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;"
Now, from Chapter 4 to 19, Jesus is no longer on earth, but in heaven. So, if Jesus is no longer on the earth during the Tribulation period and He promised us we would always be with him, it would seem to indicate that we are going to be in Heaven with Jesus during the Tribulation period.
No matter how many ways I look at it, I just can't overcome a few problems reconciling Scripture with the mid-tribulation view.
What purpose is served by having the Church participate in the first half of the Tribulation but not the second if the whole 'week' is set aside for Israel? Why have a Rapture at all?
Why would Jesus be positionally in the midst of the 7 Churches for the entire Church Age, but positionally in heaven from Revelation 4:1 forward if the seven golden candlesticks remain on earth during Daniel's 70th Week?
Why is there no reference to the Church from Revelation 4:1 and forward?
These are serious problems from my perspective.
But again, that is not to say that those who hold to a mid-tribulational Rapture haven't searched the Scriptures and found answers that satisfy those questions in their minds. They are as sincere as I. We simply disagree.
In the next issue, we'll look at the post-tribulational view and how it lines up with Scripture.