Dear Mr. Rawles:
I have been reading articles on your blog about the pretribulational rapture not being mentioned prior to 1800. I realize the writer is just ignorant of the facts. Someone needs to tell this guy the truth about the facts.
The pretribulational rapture was mentioned in Pseudo-Ephraem) in AD 373. There are many other ancient writings dating back prior to 1800. These are mentioned in the easy to read book, "The Popular Handbook on the Rapture". By Dr. Tim LaHaye, Dr. Thomas Ice, and Dr. Ed Hindson.
I am a Christian and I believe in the pretribulational rapture because it is biblical. The first verse is when the Lord Jesus was offering the Kingdom to the Jewish people. The second verse is for Christian during the church age. I prepare not because I am afraid of the great tribulation. I prepare to follow 1 Tim 5:8 and being a good Christian.
Matthew 6:19-22 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Sincerely, - Bill A.
JWR Replies: The text by Pseudo-Ephraem, "The Syrian", (actually written after 700 A.D.) is often cited by Tim LaHaye, et al. But if you read the literal translation of the text, you will see that it is NOT referring to the so-called rapture. (Being "caught up in the clouds...") Rather, it talks about how people will escape the Tribulation by dying in advance of it! I concur that pre-Tribulation rapture is a post-1800 contrivance. And from my own reading I must say that it has little Biblical support.
By the way, I don't even like using the term rapture. (Which doesn't occur in the Bible.) Although it is convenient shorthand, the term is a Darbyist invention, used to describe this prophetic event:
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." - 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV)
FWIW, I believe that "...alive and remain..." refers to those of us who have survived the Tribulation period.
Regardless of our eschatological views, the bottom line is that all of Christ's Elect need to stay in full fellowship and be ready, regardless of what occurs, and regardless of the sequence of events.
Here is some suggested reading:
Post-Trib View: Post Tribulation Rapture Belief
I pray for correct discernment and that this issue is not unnecessarily divisive. I allowed it to be raised in my blog because I believe that all Christians should be thorough and articulate Bible scholars. Only by diligently studying scripture can we be ready to defend out faith! Studying complex issues like this is a good way to sharpen your Bible study skills. Iron sharpens iron.
Minor points of doctrine aside, the important thing is that people repent and get right with God!