Do you feel that the Pre-tribulation view is the prevalent view of those who believe in a Rapture?
From your Rapture commentary, and other studies, including scrutinizing the Bible for myself, I have come to the conclusion that the idea of the Pre-tribulation Rapture is erroneous, if not blatantly deceptive. It also seems to me that "Pre-tribbers" have failed to do their homework, listening instead to what they have wanted to hear for decades, pertaining to the Rapture. I feel that they are guilty of slovenly scholarship and are focused upon a pleasant route to heaven.
Generally, they seem to possess almost a "holier-than-thou" attitude, in the sense of believing that they are exemplary enough in their Christian walk to be worthy of being excluded from all of the tribulation and unpleasantries of the 70th Week. Furthermore, this Rapture view seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, in Christians whom I know personally, as well as in those I have seen and heard on Christian TV and radio. Do you feel that the Pre-tribulation view is the prevalent view of those who believe in a Rapture, or is this just my faulty observation?
From what I have observed, those who embrace the idea of a Pre-tribulation Rapture are a preponderance of Protestant Christendom. For decades, they have bought all the books, tapes, and DVDs of all the leading Pre-tribbers. It seems that they were complacent or negligent in studying the Word for themselves to see what it really says about the Rapture, as well as to familiarize themselves with other Rapture views. When one pays money to learn something, one tends to believe what he/she has learned. The alternative is to consider that one has wasted a lot of his/her money on a deception, and nobody wants to believe that he/she has been deceived.
Frankly, I believe that the best investment one can make is purchasing a Bible and then studying it from cover to cover. I think that those who sell their own interpretations of God's word should be aware that they might be in violation of Proverbs 23:23 and 2 Corinthians 2:17. I have a big problem with "peddling the Word of God for profit," because some of the information that one is selling could be in error. I do not believe that this pleases God. (Contributions and donations to a ministry is a different issue, and I think it is fine as long as the ministry is biblically-based.)
The majority of Pre-tribbers with whom I have spoken about the Rapture, in person, have been completely unaware of the clear parallel between Matthew 24:29 and Revelation 6:12,13. Furthermore, they all have assumed that Matthew 24:30,31 is a depiction of Jesus' second advent (bodily descent) back to earth—even though, in reality, it is a picture of the Pre-wrath Rapture. Also, none of them ever had noticed that Revelation 7:9,10 shows the believers in heaven immediately after the Rapture event, following the opening of the Sixth Seal, but prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal, which begins God's wrath.
I think that your term "slovenly scholarship" is appropriate, on the part of both leaders and followers in that category, including those who teach in theological seminaries and who stress the certainty of a Pre-tribulation Rapture. And, of course, I agree that a great deal of this stems from the mindset of a "pleasant route to heaven." I feel that, potentially, this leads to a very perilous complacency which, for many, seems to be grounded in self-righteousness, even haughtiness.
I fear that it may lead to the apostasy or falling-away that Paul described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, which very well could take place when these believers no longer can deny that the worst of times (Matthew 24:21) will have come upon the world, and upon them; yet they will not have been whisked away, via a Pre-tribulation Rapture event. Perhaps it even will be people in this "big boat" who will remain behind after a Mid-tribulation Rapture, should there be one—although I would be the last to assume that, somehow, I would be worthy enough to be caught away in such an event. (See Is it possible that Jesus' parable about the ten virgins could indicate that there will be a Mid-tribulation Rapture?)
I really do see a parallel between today's Christians, as a whole, and the ancient Israelites. By and large, the latter failed to understand the timing of Jesus' first coming to them (riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday—Luke 19:41,42,44). Most likely, the majority of them had not even read the Word of God, in particular Daniel's prophecy explaining when their Messiah/Christ, the Anointed One, would come to them (Daniel 9:25). They simply accepted the teachings of their religious leaders, whose smug sense of self-importance and conceit caused even them not to acknowledge and worship Jesus, who clearly and unmistakably walked among them as the Messiah/Christ and the Son of God.
Today, although many understand that the 70th Week will commence with a seven-year agreement, involving Israel and others, they have been blinded—willingly, I believe—by the prospect of a Pre-tribulation Rapture which, in their narrow minds, "must" take place before the final seven years can begin. I think it is much like how people spend money that they do not have, because they cannot overcome their incessant cravings for happiness and self-gratification, having no regard for what will happen once their creditors demand payment.
Many Pre-tribbers do not want to explore or consider any other realm of possibility, because they do not want to risk "crashing" down from their exhilarating, and too often sanctimonious, "high"—and a very addictive one, at that. Also, many of them seem to be very weak emotionally and psychologically, unable to cope with the prospect of having to deal with real hardship and adversity in their lives. It is difficult for me to deem that feeling as excusable.
The Pre-tribulation leaders, of course, cannot admit that the notion of a Pre-tribulation Rapture is a sham, even if they were to acknowledge the possibility that there is no such thing (which I suspect that some of them do, in secret). To do so would force them into the uncomfortable, if not embarrassing, position of admitting their long-standing error, as well as acknowledging that the abundant monetary fortunes many of them have received, from promoting a bogus view, have been a result of ill-gotten and dishonest gain.
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