If believers will have to go through the time of Great Tribulation, will those who have held to a Pre-trib Rapture view be more likely to be deceived and follow the Antichrist?
At this point I have a pre-trib rapture view and am becoming more convinced of this over time/studies. In the past I've said to people "I'm willing to push the rapture to a mid-trib point, but no later," but the problem there is the rapture period loses its immanency.
I would disagree that a pre-trib view ever had anything to do with a "feel good" notion. A true believer does not rely on feelings for truth. False converts do. I think some well known people who hold a pre-trib view deserve more credit than that, nor would I assume they are afraid of enduring hard times.
Someone told me that that having a pre-trib view will cause a believer to follow the anti-christ during the great tribulation. However, I told the person he must believe in a different Spirit than I do. When you have the Spirit of truth dwelling inside of you, I find it hard to believe this would even be possible, In fact the Bible implies it isn't possible with the elect. His insinuation was that a born-again believer will be deceived by the anti-christ, probably taking the mark, and then lose his salvation. I don't believe that.
You probably are referring to another email reponse in which I wrote the following:
In my opinion, the "Pre-trib" view of the Rapture is little more than a "feel good" notion, embraced by many people who wish to believe that they will not have to endure any of the trials and tribulations of the 70th Week, the final 7 years of this age.You have not received the multitude of emails that I have received, over the years, from "pre-tribbers" who have asserted, emphatically, that they would be absolutely devastated if they became convinced that any view other than their view was true. Some of these even have admitted that they would rather die than go through any part of the tribulation.
Now, Jesus said this:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)Even resolute, steadfast Christians are deluded by the world every day. Only when we have been clothed with our incorruptible, immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:53) will we never be able to be deceived again.
Jesus' phrase "if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" certainly does not convince me that it will be impossible for the elect to be deceived. It sounds to me that Jesus was leaving room for that possibility and even hinting that it may be quite possible. The deception by the False Prophet, on behalf of the Antichrist, will be so great that, most likely, virtually everybody will be deceived to some extent. (See also What could cause the apostasy of 2 Thessalonians 2:3?)
Perhaps even some believers who refuse the mark, if coerced further and harder with affliction and even torture, would take the mark, hoping that God will have mercy on their souls for doing so. Maybe it will be many of these who will be killed (Revelation 6:9-11) or even being beheaded by the sword (13:10, 20:4), before they take the mark, which could be a merciful act by God to allow this, since it would seem that accepting the mark will result in torment "for ever and ever" (14:9-110).
Yet, for the sake of the elect, those days (of the Great Tribulation) will be shortened (Matthew 24:22). Perhaps this will be because many of the elect, under great pressure and duress, will be worn down to the point of not being able to stand firm against the intense amount of deception and persecution. If the distress of the Great Tribulation will not be equaled from the beginning of the world up until then (24:21), who can say how much anxiety and suffering any human being would be able to stand without the anticipation of being removed from it supernaturally?
The astounding event that will cause the elect to look up and know that their redemption is at hand will be the extraordinary, unprecedented changes in the sun, moon, and stars above (Matthew 24:29). These parallel those to occur immediately after the opening of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12,13).
At that time, the Son of man will appear in the clouds with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30), in a similar way that lightning flashes from the east to the west (24:27). Everyone will see Him in the sky on His throne, knowing that His wrath is imminent (Revelation 6:16,17). This is the first mention of "wrath" in the book of Revelation, since nothing before that point will be God's wrath.
It is then that the elect will be gathered up to be with the Lord in the clouds at the Pre-wrath Rapture (Matthew 24:30,31; 1 Thessalonians 4:17), and He will take them with Him to heaven. John even saw this huge mass of raptured believers in heaven as a great multitude (Revelation 7:9) who will have come out of the Great Tribulation (7:14). Thus, it is the opening of the Sixth Seal and the Pre-wrath Rapture that will cut short the Great Tribulation for them (Matthew 24:22).
This will be followed soon by the opening of the Seventh Seal and then the seven Trumpet Judgments (Revelation 8:1,2). These, along with the Bowl Judgments, will be the manifestation of God's wrath upon the earth from which true elect believers, who have made it alive to that point, will be caught away and protected via the Pre-wrath Rapture.
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