For decades, I have asked fellow believers who hold the Pretribulational Rapture view to direct me to unequivocal Scripture verses that buttress their Pretrib belief. They all fail to give give any direct and pointed verses. They defend their view quoting unconnected Scriptures like imputing that the twenty and four elders before the Throne Of God in Rev.4:4 are the raptured Church. They also claim that the invitation to Apostle John, the revelator, to come up hither is the Rapture Of The Church. Yet again they say that the fact that the word “Church” does not appear again after Rev.3 until Rev.22 indicates that the church had been raptured; not withstanding the numerous use of words and phrases such as saints, witnesses to Jesus, martyrs for Jesus, fellow brothers of John after the third chapter. There are other verses they reference to input rapture before the AntiChrist’s physical bebut and unveiling at the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Moriah in Jerusalem. So I was pleased when I got the link to the debate on the eschatological timeline between Dr.Tommy Ice and Alan E. kurschner.
Link: click here to watch:
Click here to listen: http://link.center.io/wf/click?upn=xKsd1EbAQRQf6eXyF5mLYOgt3Zr1yu4wARb-2FzHcz58VPPHngD86dpHdaeUxFf6y93o0sL6CixnhLabQdoqRThLxLpP-2FNeFEBwBog5pDKnohbiXkrmdli6zYzj9CtI3gbPWRVi-2FPwHTo-2BJuKdYjqF6P37Ix-2F80GH7dqPAoPmBuPJ-2FqB2Dj3TtgNztTOQMIlih_87QjDsvgfD68-2FLwG96R5lTmrmnPBomJlbRck1K-2BOdsDa2ymXGT0PnQaDnoen3BaO610HwRUWRVU5-2B6IO3DR-2BcrjhS0ZXe1X0ufxBOe-2FVO8KtdiM4H5lP1wI3DIyKEsqym8CHdQT8h-2BcyAF9juuQf2sGpHH7rxWKkIx3wyGJund8a-2BcQitUMIw45dhBydBajoQjUH0pUvEL4-2BQoGe9wvIwd-2B7IxNpAVIPT9yUixtkmqOSHCyOEpcTh4hAE0Wxt4bJTqVD9zLvv93CtbfFLBQeOffwOwDofKTXHCBDoBaTP0SW-2F0jBq7ZpTBlqu-2FoRQJ-2BA
Click here for transcript: https://www.alankurschner.com/2018/04/12/the-transcript-of-my-2015-debate-with-thomas-ice-is-now-available/
Dr. Tommy Ice did expatiate the Pretrib Position much more than hitherto, while Alan Kurschner espoused the Prewrath Rapture Position better called Pre-God’s-wrath Rapture Position. As stated earlier I was more interested in Dr. Tommy Ice view. I kept an open mind, hoping and wishing to understand and appreciate the Pretrib view. At the end of it all, Dr. Tommy Ice reinforced my prewrath(PW) Rapture Position because he too was unable to give unequivocal and direct Scriptures that I might have missed.
I came to the understanding that the Church would go through the Great Tribulation and be raptured thereafter by simple Bible reading, not even serious Bible study. At that time I had no knowledge of the Prewrath Rapture position expounded by Marvin J. Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen. And who am I in this regard? A simple believer with no fringes. Just a plain believer who read the Bible and came away with the understanding that a generation of believers would be around when the Antichrist debuts in the Temple.
I would now address and comment on Dr. Ice submissions. Let us refresh our minds on what the debate is on. It is whether the Church will face the AntiChrist before rapture or not. Alan E. Kurschner is for ( affirmative), whilst Dr. Ice is against(negative).
First, from the above, we see that the debate is about when the rapture occurs- an event in time relating to the AntiChrist. With no Scriptures to backup the absence of the Church during the short time of the AntiChrist on the world stage in bodily form, Dr. Ice chooses to tell us why the Church will be gone. He submits that the 70th week is appointed for Israel and not the Church. So, the Church cannot be on the scene in the 70th week. Jesus did not say that, neither did Peter, Paul or John the revelator, just a theological construct derived from Dispensationalism. My friend and brother Abraham Shallom has debunked this in his article, “The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church”: https://mtzionheritage.com/the-prewrath-rapture-of-the-church/.
To crown it all, Dr. Ice says “it makes sense.” Our view on the rapture should not depend on human sense but should rest on the validity of the Scriptures.
This mutual exclusivity of the Church and Israel in God’s scheme of things is strange. For most of the first century AD the Church was a sect within Judaism. From Jerusalem, it dispersed to the Gentile world(Act.8:4). Israel was reestablished as an independent state in 1948. For the past 70 years, it has co-existed with the Church. And God has worked with both at the same time. By the pretrib’s submission, the Church should be gone. Israel is back in its native homeland. Jerusalem is in Jewish hands since 1967, and soon, the Third Temple would be rebuilt. God has never stopped relating with Israel during the Church Age. He ensured their survival all over the world. So this mutual exclusivity in the gap between the 69th and the 70th week is a human construct to suit the Pretrib view. There are no Scriptures to support it.
Now note, in Rev.12:17, we see Satan go at both Israel, the woman and Christians- those who hold firm to the witness of Christ in the face of Satan’s wrath. The reason for the rapture has been given by Jesus Himself. It is to rescue believers from total annihilation during the Great Tribulation.
Dr. Ice and Pretribbers assert that the Rapture is sudden with no events or “sign” to warn believers. Some assert it is secret and not seen by all especially unbelievers. This is not so. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians says while the unbelievers outside of their fold will be caught by surprise, the Thesssalonians should not be caught unawares as he has shared with them these things(1 Thess.3:4). Paul went on to give two future events that must happen before the Rapture: The Apostasy and The appearance of the AntiChrist in the Temple. I am sure we are familiar with this in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians(2 Thess.2:3).
When the disciples confronted Jesus in Matt.24 and asked for a sign to herald his coming, Jesus did not respond and say, oh! oh! there would be no sign: it would be sudden. Rather Jesus gave us the Olivet Discourse, and He zeroed in on a specific sign- the Shekinah, “SIGN” Of His arrival(30). Of course before this time He has spoken of world events like the standing of the image of the Antichrist in the Temple(15), and the cosmic disturbances(29), culminating in His appearance in the sky, and gathering us to meet Him- definitely the Rapture as He does not step on Earth.
To defend their Pretribulational stance, Dr. Ice and other pretribbers say this gospel is only for the benefit of Israel and Jews. Tell me please, is the Gospel Of Matthew read in Jewish synagogues?
Both our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit through Paul use the symbolism of a pregnant woman to describe his second Coming which starts with the Rapture. Have the birth pains started? I don’t think so, but I believe I see a “pregnant woman” in our purview with recent events- Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel and moves to build the Third Temple.
I believe that as there is no joy of a new birth without birth pains, so also there is no joy of Rapture without the birth pangs of the Great Tribulation that follows the Antichrist’s debut in the Third Temple in Jerusalem. Yes, these are tumultuous times, but Jesus says we should “look up” as these terrible times unfold. Meanwhile, the unbelieving world who took the Mark Of The Beast, who worshipped Him, probably celebrated as Christians were being persecuted would run helter shelter as our Lord intervenes and cuts short the Great Tribulation by usual never seen before cosmic disturbances. Yes, there are clear events that show Christians will have to contend with the unveiled Antichrist for a short time. Remember these gospels are not read in the synagogues. So, they are not primarily for the unbelieving Jews. They are read in the churches.
Events in Rev.4 are well detailed, with the 24 elders, the 4 beasts, and the tens of thousands of worshipping angels. The raptured saints were not featured, not even in the worship scene. So, where is the Church? Definitely not in heaven. To be continued.