“…and so that day come upon you unawares. For like a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Lk. 21:34-36)
When it comes to reconciling the end-times worldwide task of evangelism, the necessity of experiencing the cross of Christ in our lives, and the all-important timing of the rapture…each Christian must make up their own mind.
The scriptures are not definitive in this regard.
This is why the Left Behind books and movies inserts fictional conjecture into the storylines to fill-in missing details…in the biblical end-times prophesies.
Does the rapture absolutely have to occur a few years prior to, or right at the beginning of the seven-year tribulation?
Is there something biblically unacceptable about the rapture occurring one, two, three, four, or even five years into the seven-year tribulation period described in Daniel?
Is the basis of Christian hope, that is an integral part of the doctrine of imminence, completely nullified by a mid-tribulation rapture?
Does this possible prophetic interpretation completely upset everyone’s preferred theology?
Do we all have to uniformly fall into lock-step conformity with the currently popular pretribulation rapture viewpoint as presented in books and movies?
Is it a form of minor heresy to entertain a rapture that falls somewhere mid-stream during the tribulation, giving the main Christian church an opportunity to participate in the final end-times harvest of souls, and at the same time experience first-century quality faith and trust in Jesus Christ through service under intense enemy fire?
Have Christians, who politely and gracefully dissent from the currently popular pretribulation rapture teaching…somehow fallen into the reduced status of becoming second-rate Christians?
Does a precisely timed rapture, placed amidst the occurring natural disasters and judgment plagues of Revelation…to provide maximum evangelical impact in concert with all of God’s last-ditch outreach efforts…make more sense than a pretribulation rapture fixed rigidly in place as a foreknown milestone in the sequence of events?
Does a mid-tribulation rapture placed after tens or even hundreds of millions of Christians have commendably sealed their testimony of faith in Jesus Christ with their lives as martyrs, before everyone alive on earth has made their irrevocable decision to receive the mark of the beast, make more sense in terms of Joel 2:28-29, Matthew 24:7-14, and Revelation 7:9-17?
Does Revelation 3:10 still maintain its full force and effect, if Christians are in actuality experiencing the early symptoms of the tribulation around the world right now? Can Revelation 3:10, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:10, Matthew 24:21-22, 1 Peter 1:5-8, and Hebrews 11… all be reconciled like James 2:14-26 is correctly balanced and reconciled with Romans 3:28?
As I survey the contemporary Christian scene, I get the impression that many Christians think that the extremely popular Left Behind books and movies (I have read and enjoyed all twelve volumes, and watched all three movies), have adequately addressed the end-times debate, and that there is no more to be said on the matter.
But if an alternate reading of the pattern of God crafting and channeling spiritual opposition for His purposes throughout the Bible is correct, then this alternate view of the overcoming actions of God recorded in the Bible is in contrast to the notion of a sparing of the church from the intense end-times challenges through a pretribulation rapture.
If the uniform and consistent biblical record of God’s participation in the affairs of mankind since the fall in the Garden of Eden…is based in part upon God’s opportunistic mastery over every manifestation of spiritual opposition in the natural realm of situations and circumstances…then removing the Christian church from the earth pretribulation is out of character for God.
Daniel’s seven-year tribulation period would be the penultimate demonstration of God’s ability to take the evil designs of the Antichrist, take the last great worldwide evangelical outreach, and take the unconditionally committed service of the faithful Christian church in the face of enormous spiritual and political opposition, and weave all of this into a glorious tapestry that would reveal the loving character and righteous judgment of God.
The end-times tribulation would provide the opportunity for the last Christian church on earth to become seasoned and battle-tested spiritual warriors.