The Mid-Tribulation Rapture (MTR) view of the rapture of the Church (Body of Christ) holds that the Church will not be raptured, or “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) UNTIL AFTER the first half of the Tribulation begins. Without some prophetic background the average Christian will find it difficult to understand the issue. Some may even question, “What difference does it make?”
If the Rapture was an isolated event, separate from any influence to or from all other doctrines in the Bible, there would be no difference as to when the Rapture occurs or to whom it involves. But the doctrine, like all doctrines, is connected to the entire scope of Bible ecclesiastical (church) soteriological (salvation) and eschatological (last things) doctrines. An error in one corrupts all. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, in “the warp and woof” is of a vital and inseparable nature.
The root of the problem is whether or not a person believes the Bible in his hand says what it means, where it says it, and as it says it. If the Bible is just a collection of thoughts or concepts, we might as well put on a hamburger and hope for the best and forget about trying to learn anything certain about God. But if it is what it claims to be, the inspired word of God, we must study it, live by it, die by it, and be ready to spend all eternity with those results. There is no middle ground and no fence to straddle.
THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF REVELATION
The creation gives a GENERAL revelation of God. This shows every man the glory and power of God. The revelation demonstrates that there is a God and that He is all-powerful so that only “a fool” says “There is no God,” and he can only determine that in his heart, for his mind tells him otherwise. (Psalms 14).
“1 THE heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalms 19:1-3)
The Bible is the SPECIAL revelation of God. Only the Bible, the written word of God, can “convert the soul” “rejoice the heart” “make wise the simple” and “enlighten the eyes. The General Revelation (creation) makes a person know this is a powerful God but looking at a bug or star will not convert the soul or impart wisdom.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
“… It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
“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.” (John 14:2)
In order to understand the things of God, a person must believe that he has the word of God, the Bible, (Greek: biblos, book) in his hand. There must be a conviction or persuasion that God gave His word to man because He wanted man to know Him. This would mean that not only would He give it without any errors but in plain, understandable language and that He would also insure that it remained in an uncorrupted state for successive generations.
Like many others, after looking at the criticisms of the Bible, undertaking a thorough study of the languages, manuscripts, and its transmission down through the ages, I am convinced that the King James Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God in every part and whole, in the English language. My belief is based upon history of the Bible itself, the effectual work it has done in my life for 51 years, and upon the many blessings that have come to me by the grace of God. Personally, that conviction is so strong that I have trusted the word of God, the King James Bible, with the eternal welfare of my soul according to the riches of glory that are in my Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ.
This study is to provide some prophetic background, define the terms, and point out the major doctrinal inconsistencies of the MTR.
Those who teach a “Pre-wrath rapture” or Mid-Trib rapture” simply don’t follow sound interpretation. They take what they like out of the Gospels and ignore what gives their view a problem. Assuming the Body of Christ doctrine is taught by The Lord Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry, they appropriate scripture that belongs to Israel and the Millennial Kingdom and apply it to the Church, which is the Body of Christ, or to local churches during this present Age of Grace.
NONE, not one “Pre-wrath tribber” or MTR will be consistent in doctrine. He pretends that Jesus is teaching a general type of doctrine that applies to anybody, anywhere. He doesn’t know or chooses to ignore that Jesus did not come to start the Body of Christ or prepare the Church for a rapture, tribulation, or Sunday School. The Bible says that Christ “came to His own” (Israel) and that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (John1:11;Romans 5:8)
THE Apostle Paul is the messenger the Lord Jesus Christ chose to reveal the hidden mystery of the Church, the Body of Christ and the doctrines that pertain to the Body. The “rapture” of the Body of Christ was a mystery, unsearchable until Paul revealed it in 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 5, and 1 Thessalonians 4. There is absolutely no reference to a “rapture” of the Church in the Gospels.
THE “Tribulation Period” is a term that refers to a key time period of 7 years within the prophecy God gave to Daniel in Daniel 9. The prophecy is given to Daniel during the captivity of the nation of Israel and tells what is going to happen to that nation before they are finally settled in their land and blessed by God. The land and promises of national, universal blessings were made to Abraham (the father of Israel) in Genesis 12. God brought them into the land and gave them the Law of Moses for their civil and religious government but Israel ignored the Law and was judged for that disobedience.
GOD tells Daniel that 70 weeks of years out of the blessings was their judgment for the nation’s disobedience. The “70 X 7” was due to Israel’s failure to observe 70 of the land sabbaths. The “promised land” was holy and given in trust to Israel by God–the land sabbath was more binding than even the sabbath days! Therefore, 490 years (seventy sevens of years) had to be finished outside the blessings of God as punishment for their repetitious, deliberate, sins and iniquity.
THE period of 70 X 7 began with the decree to allow the Jews to “restore and to build Jerusalem” by Artaxerxes I in 457 B.C.asrecorded in the prophecy (Daniel 9:25-26.). There were three specific time marks and four historical events given so that the 70 weeks of years (490 years) are fully covered:
Command to build until finished: 7 x 7 or 49 years.
From the finished city “unto the Messiah the Prince”-62 X 7 or 434 years.
BUT AFTER THE FIRST 69 WEEKS, THE PROPHETIC CLOCK STOPS AND A GAP IN TIME RECORDS BEGINS!
THE prophecy said from the command to “build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks..” That is a total of 69 weeks, but there remains 1 week of years, seven years, in order to complete the judgment. What happens? “AFTER three score and two weeks (plus the initial seven weeks) shall Messiah be cut off..” (Daniel 9:26)
THE time record stops with “Messiah the Prince..” (Jesus) Does it stop with His virgin birth? Does it stop with His baptism? The answer is not given in a direct Bible verse but by careful calculation of the Jewish calendar, the date is ascertained to be 1st Nisan, this corresponds to the entry by Jesus into Jerusalem riding on a colt (emblematic of a King’s entry). The record is in Luke. It is noteworthy that this is just before the crucifixion of Christ and the last opportunity Israel has to receive Him as King.
“35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:35-44)
THIS date of 1st Nisan (commonly called “Palm Sunday”) is exactly 69 weeks of years from the command to build Jerusalem. Therefore, the date or event not given in Daniel 9 is ascertained. But there remain other events during the period between Messiah the Prince where the prophetic clock is stopped. If indeed, this “time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44) is accurate, it is an amazing and exact fulfillment.
THE prophecy continued with the next event: “AFTER (the completed building: 7 weeks) threescore and two weeks (62 + 7= 69 weeks) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…” (Daniel 9:26). The words “cut off” carry an implication of a violent, un-natural death. And, “but not for himself” indicates that it was not due to some fault of His own. This, of course, refers to the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross.
ANOTHER “timeless” event is given that occurs AFTER MESSIAH COMES- AFTER HE IS CUT OFF- and it is very important to the prophecy to get it right.
“The people of the prince that shall come…” We learn that there is another kind of “prince” in the prophecy. He has a “people” that do his bidding and they will “destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (temple).”(Daniel 9:26). Notice: this “prince” has not yet come–on earth, it is “his people” that are in existence and they destroy Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple. This is a historical fact: the Roman armies sacked and burnt the city and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. We do note that Rome’s army, although commanded by Gentile Roman leaders, was composed of a high percentage of the peoples conquered by Rome–mainly followers of Islam. (The small land of Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries today.)
What have we learned thus far?
1. Daniel’s prophecy of 490 years or 70 weeks, is a judgment from God upon the nation of Israel and it deals primarily with the land.
2. The prophetic “clock” stops after 483 years or 69 weeks.
3. There are four events that happen AFTER the appearance of “Messiah the Prince”:
a. MESSIAH IS CUT OFF (36 A.D.)
b. JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE ARE DESTROYED. (70 A.D.)
The answer to “c” question is found by following the antecedent “prince that shall come”. The “…prince that shall come…he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week..” This “prince” makes “the covenant” a specific type that involves “sacrifice and oblation”. This “prince” is mentioned in other Bible passages as sitting in a future rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, proclaiming that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2). This is the “antichrist” the devil’s imitation of Christ who will deceive the entire world. (Revelation 13).
The answer to “d” question is also found in Daniel 9:27: The antichrist breaks the covenant in the middle of the seventieth week (at the 31/2 year mark) and persecutes the nation of Israel as he continues his reign of terror. At the same time God begins to pour out His wrath upon Israel, in particular, and the world who (for the main part) has followed the antichrist.
At the end of the seven years, the final week of Daniel’s prophecy, The Lord Jesus Christ returns in Glory, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS to establish His Kingdom and give the faithful remnant of the nation of Israel the land long promised and fulfill His covenants, the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants.
We have not given the hundreds of scriptures that pertain to this prophecy but have simplified the doctrines as much as possible to give an overall view in relation to the 70 weeks, or 490 years, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, the crux of eschatology, the doctrine of things to come.
THE entire of Daniel 9 is below for reference. You will have noticed that the KEY Bible group, essential to a supposed Mid-tribulation rapture, is missing from the whole discussion. This is because the Body of Christ, the Church, where “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) AND HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE TRIBULATION PERIOD.
THE BODY OF CHRIST IS AN HEAVENLY PEOPLE WITH NO LAND PROMISES OR COVENANTS, SEATED WITH CHRIST IN HEAVENLY PLACES, AND AS MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM ALL AND ANY WRATH TO COME. (ROMANS 5:9; ROMANS 8:28-ff; EPHESIANS; I THESSALONIANS 4; 5:9, etc.)
“1 IN the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”