In my earlier response to the debate as to whether the Church will face the Antichrist(AC), I reacted to only two positions of the Pretribs(PT) as championed by Dr. Tomas Ice. Link: https://mtzionheritage.com/reaction-to-the-debate-between-dr-tommy-Ice-and-alan-kurschner-titled-the-church-will-face-the-antichrist-before-the-rapture/.
Our brother Dr. Avraham Shallom has on many occasions discussed many PT assertions on this blogsite. I will give a number of interpretations of scriptures that emanate from Dr. Tommy Ice’s nonscriptural interpretations but classical dispensational construct as seen in the debate.
(1) Keeping Us From The Hour Of Testing(Rev.3:10)
Dr. Tommy Ice and other PTs have taken non-eschatological scriptures and used them to position the rapture before the AC appears on the world stage. An example is the letter to the Philadelphian Church in Rev.3:10 which says believers shall be kept from the hour of testing that will come upon all earth-dwellers. But Jesus our Lord specifically said in John 17:15 that He is not going to take belivers out of the world in order for them to escape Satan’s persecution, but that He will keep us from the evil one while we remain in the world. This promise is reiterated in Rev.3:10. Their insistence on their position that “keep from” infers rapture leads to a contradiction of scriptures.
Also in saying that the Olivet Discourse is for the left behind Jews, they negate Jesus’ saying to Peter(cephas), “….upon this revelation to Peter- the Rock, will I build My Church.” The Olivet Discourse is revelation for the Church as much as observing the Last Supper is for the Church. No dichotomy in audience as introduced by Pretribbers’ dispensational interpretation.
(2) A 3-Stage Return Of Jesus
Again, the return of Christ as narrated by the scriptures is one continuous event. But the Pretribs say there are two stages. If we follow their line of argument, there will be indeed three stages.
The first is their unreported rapture of the saints somewhere before Matt.24:31. Then, in Matt.24:31, He is coming for the Jews and gathering them from the four winds in the sky. This is their second coming.
Then touch down as narrated in Matt.25:31. So, we have a 3-stage return of Christ, a consequence of the Pretrib position for rejecting Matt.24:31 as the rapture of the Church.
(3) The Elect
Another interesting misinterpretation of the scripture concerns the word elect used by our Lord in Matt.24:22. Here our Lord promised the abortion of the Great Tribulation for the sake and survival of the elect facing persecution by the AC. This scripture from the Master Himself answers the debate question- will the Church face the Antichrist before the rapture? Need we say anymore? Dr. Tommy Ice says by “elect” Jesus was referring to the Jews and not the Church. To defend this interesting view, he deploys Rom.11:7. Unfortunately for his position this verse confirms that the “elect” are those saved by grace, the very Church itself.
True, the word elect was used for Israel in Isa.45:4, but on Israel’s national rejection of Jesus, the word is now used to describe those who accept Jesus as there Lord and Saviour, both Jews and gentiles. The word now stands for those chosen by grace-that is the Church.
Dr. Tommy Ice wants us to change the meaning of the word apostasy as used in 2 Thess.2 so as to fit into the PT positioning of the rapture. It now means departure into heaven-a spatial departure, not a departure from the faith, the great falling away. With this new interpretation the whole of 2 Thess.2:3-10 reads something like this “…… our gathering together(rapture) will not happen until two events take place; “The spatial departure(rapture), and the appearing of the son of perdition in the temple….” Thus saying “The rapture will not take place until the rapture takes place…” What incoherence! All to prop up a lie and deception.
(5) Tribulation saints (TS)
This is a phrase coined and introduced by Pretribs to address Rev.7:11, a description not used by the Apostles including John the revelator. The consequence of using this new appellation is that there are now two sets of saints.
(1) The raptured saints(1st class);
(2) The Tribulation saints(2nd class), who did not make the PT perceived rapture being unworthy believers, and had to overcome the Great Tribulation.
Unfortunately, the answer to the question the angel posed to John Rev.7: is NOT “these are Tribulation Saints,” but “… these are the ONES who came out of the Great Tribulation.
A word of advice for the Pretribs. Please read Rev.22. It says we are not to add to or deduct words from what was revealed to John. The phrase Tribulation saints does not appear in the Book of Revelation nor anywhere else in the Bible for that matter. Stop using it.
(6) Sea Of Glass As Raptured Saints
These absurdities continue. A new one, not from Dr. Tommy Ice, in response to why the raptured Church is not seen in the heavenly Throne Room in the heavenly scene in Rev.4,5 when Apostle John the revelator was called up to heaven where he saw the 24 elders(some say they represent the Church), and the 4 winged creatures, if the rapture took place in Rev.4:1. Some pretribs say the sea of glass before the throne in heaven is the raptured Church. From these assumptions, we see the inconsistency of the proponents of the Pretrib rapture position having to borrow scriptures and twists their meaning to suit their Pretrib rapture position. Note, we all agree there is going to be rapture, but the question is WHEN? Before or after the Great Tribulation, meaning also, before or after the appearance of the Antichrist on the world stage.
This is unlike the Prewrath rapture position espoused by Alan E. Kurschner which rests on the sayings of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in Matt.24:29, and 2 Thess.2:1-3 respectively. In support of these two scriptures, we are able to draw from the following scriptures in the Book of Revelation that says the Antichrist and his false prophet tortured and martyred the saints who were alive during the Great Tribulation(Rev.6:9, 7:14, 13:7, 15:2, 17:6). They were never described as “Tribulation saints”to distinguish them from the “Raptured Saints” of the Pretribs.
Prewrathers never go out of the scriptures to say the Church will still be very much around to face the Antichrist and endure to the end, be it death or rapture, the final onslaught of Satan against the Church of God. This is unlike Pretribs who have to allegorize scripture verses and use both dispensational theology and convoluted reasoning to support their submission that the Church would have been raptured before the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation.
We see that believers are largely entrenched in their Pretrib position. This is foretold by our Lord Jesus the Christ that at the end of times, a spirit of deception will be in the air. Four times in the Olivet Discourse, He warned, “…. do not be deceived….” so also did the Holy Spirit warn us in 2 Thessalonians that we should not be deceived. The apostasia confirms that some believers will depart from the faith in Christ Jesus. This means that there is hardly room for sitting on the fence for the last generation of the saints.
How do confused believers or all believers deal with this? Interestingly, the Lord Jesus our God anticipated this scenario and gave us the parable of the ten virgins- Matt.25, placed right between Matt.24:31 and 25:31. Which of the two positions represent wise virgins? This I leave to each one of us to meditate through and determine how they prepare with the help of the Holy Spirit for our Lord’s return.