Posttribulationism Today Part X: Is The Tribulation Before the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians? -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 134:534 (Apr 1977)
Article: Posttribulationism Today Part X: Is The Tribulation Before the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians?
Author: John F. Walvoord


Posttribulationism Today
Part X:
Is The Tribulation Before the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians?

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President and Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This series, begun in Bibliotheca Sacra with the January-March, 1975 issue, is now published in book form under the title The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976). This article is adapted from chapter 10 in the book. The series will continue through the January March 1978 issue.]

Posttribulationists often cite two passages in 2 Thessalonians in support of their viewpoint. The first concerns the comfort extended to the Thessalonians in their persecution in 1:5–10; the second is the word of correction concerning Paul’s teaching which had reached the Thessalonians, as stated in 2:1–12. A third reference—2 Thessalonians 3:5, where the believers are exhorted to “patient waiting for Christ”—is indecisive, for it is similar to many other references to their hope of the Lord’s return.

Posttribulationism and 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

It is apparent from both Thessalonian epistles that the Christians in that city had undergone much persecution. This arose from the same causes that had forced Paul, Silas, and Timothy to flee Thessalonica for their lives. This suffering is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 3:3–5; and 2 Thessalonians 1:4–5. Paul exhorted the Christians to bear in mind that in due time God would punish their persecutors. He wrote:

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will

punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out in the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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