Answering The Arguments Of Post-Tribulation Rapture Position -- By: Elmer L. Towns

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 06:19 (Dec 2002)
Article: Answering The Arguments Of Post-Tribulation Rapture Position
Author: Elmer L. Towns


Answering The Arguments Of Post-Tribulation Rapture Position

Elmer L. Towns

Dean of the School of Religion
Liberty University

Post-tribulationism is that view which anticipates the church will endure the Great Tribulation and be raptured at its conclusion. The Rapture and Second Coming of Christ are viewed as one and the same. According to Reese,

The Church of Christ will not be removed from the earth until the Advent of Christ at the very end of the present Age: The Rapture and the Appearing take place at the same crisis; hence Christians of that generation will be exposed to the final affliction under Antichrist.1

Post-tribulation writers suggest several “proofs” for their theory. It should be noted that not every writer holding this view would necessarily hold all the arguments listed below, but the following list identifies the major arguments by leading spokesmen in this theological camp.

1. The Historical Argument. One argument advanced by post-tribulation writers is that the early church held their view. For this reason they sometimes refer to themselves as historic premillennialists. This argument has both a positive and negative emphasis. The positive argument is stated by Gundry.

Until Augustine in the fourth century, the early Church generally held to the premillenarian understanding of Bible eschatology. The chiliasm entailed a futuristic interpretation of Daniel’s seventieth week, the abomination of desolation,

and the personal Antichrist. And it was post tribulational. Neither mentioned nor considered, the possibility of a pre tribulational rapture seems never to have occurred to anyone in the early Church.2

The above quotation implies that pre-tribulationism was conceived at a late date and was the idea of some individual, rather than that which the apostles handed the early church. MacPherson, an advocate of this position, attributes the pre-tribulation position to a young girl in Scotland.

What I’m about to say may come as a shock, but I have to say it. The common doctrine in certain church circles of a Pre-Trib Rapture is something that was never heard of or held by any group of Christians before the year 1830. In my earlier book The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin, I presented a lot of new evidence I found, while researching in Scotland and England in 1972, that Pre-Trib Rapture teaching began in a personal revelation of a young Scottish lassie in the spring of 1830.3

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