So, how can we tell if "the tribulation"
(or, "The Tribulation")
(The very short version)
The most popular and widely accepted doctrine on the tribulation is that all Christians will be 'Raptured' off the earth and into heaven, BEFORE the tribulation starts. Once the Rapture has occurred, the tribulation will then begin.
I accepted the pre-tribulation-rapture-view without much thought. It was what I was told would happen and as a new Christian, I never questioned it.
Many years later, a friend and co-teacher, asked me to join him in teaching a Church class on a book about the Rapture and the Tribulation. My assignment was PRE-tribulation Rapture and he would present and discuss the mid-tribulation rapture view.
It took me almost a year to prepare, and that study and preparation raised questions I could not ignore. For example:
1. Why was Jesus warning His disciples (and subsequent disciples or anyone who would eventually read His Words in the Bible) about coming events it they would not experience those events, if they would be Raptured before the tribulation?
2. How can we tell WHICH 'wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes' were the result of breaking of the first Seal of the tribulation, because there have been thousands of them since Jesus said these words.
3. Was Jesus wanting to 'scare' listeners into Believing by warning them ahead of time? (I think not. Trickery just doesn't fit Jesus Character and He tells us "do not be frightened" by these things.)
4. Jesus tells His disciples (and subsequent disciples or anyone who would eventually read His Word in the bible), in Matthew 24:6 that "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs."
And a few verses later, Matthew 24:13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."
Why is Jesus telling us that we should not be frightened by the WARS, RUMORS OF WARS, NATIONS RISING AGAINST NATIONS, FAMINES, EARTHQUAKES, and that we must ENDURE TO THE END TO BE SAVED if we have been "Raptured" and out of harms way?
5. When you compare Jesus' Words in the book of Matthew with John the Revelator's account of the 'End of Days' in Revelation why do you get the very real sense that something about pre-tribulation evangelical or reformed doctrines of the end times don't line up with or doesn't fit with what you read IN THE BIBLE.
(There are other daunting questions I had, but this is enough for this article)
I'm no scholar. But, that year of study changed my views, slowly at first, then after about ten years of study and review, my mind is changed, permanently.
WARNING: Proceed with Caution...
If you are interested in joining in on a short 5-part online conference Bible Study after the first of the year, on this subject, please send me a note below and I will send you more details. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.