Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part VI: Posttribulationism -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 112:448 (Oct 1955)
Article: Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part VI: Posttribulationism
Author: John F. Walvoord

Premillennialism and the Tribulation
Part VI:

John F. Walvoord

Posttribulationism has long been a common doctrine held by the majority of the church. Most premillenarians today, however, hold to the pretribulational translation of the church. As ordinarily defined, posttribulationism is the teaching that the church will be translated after the predicted tribulation, and therefore its adherents believe that the church must pass through this prophesied time of trouble. Posttribulationism is the ordinary view of practically all amillenarians and postmillenarians. It is embraced by Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic; it is followed by many Protestants, conservative as well as modern liberals. Posttribulationism, as far as the church as a whole is concerned, is the majority view. Among premillenarians, however, the majority accept the pretribulational position, though at the present time there is a resurgence of posttribulationism. Generally speaking, pretribulationism is an outgrowth of premillennial interpretation of the Scriptures and is properly considered a teaching within this point of view. Very rarely is it encountered outside premillennialism. To a large extent, pretribulationism depends upon much the same arguments and principles of interpretation as characterize premillennialism, while posttribulationism fits other millennial views.

Variations of Posttribulationism

While posttribulationism in itself is a simple concept, so many variations are found within the general teaching that

it is difficult to affirm a norm. Two prevailing concepts account for most viewpoints within posttribulationism: (1) the teaching that the entire present age is the tribulation; (2) the teaching that the tribulation will occur at the end of the present age preceding the translation and second advent of Christ. These two concepts are seldom kept in strict distinction, but describe the two tendencies. The former requires more spiritualization of Scripture than the latter.

George L. Rose declares plainly in his defense of posttribulationism that the tribulation began with the early church: “The record left us in the book of The Acts of the Apostles leaves no room to doubt that, ‘tribulation’ began almost as soon as the Church was born…. At the time of Stephen’s death ‘there was a GREAT PERSECUTION against the church which was at Jerusalem…Saul made havock of the church, entering into every house, arresting men and women committed them to prison’ (Acts 8:1–3). Thisgreat persecution mentioned in Acts 8:1, is calledtrib...

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