Why A Pretribulational Rapture? -- By: Richard L. Mayhue

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 13:2 (Fall 2002)
Article: Why A Pretribulational Rapture?
Author: Richard L. Mayhue

Why A Pretribulational Rapture?

Richard L. Mayhue

Senior Vice President and Dean
Professor of Pastoral Ministries and Theology

This article raises four key questions: (1) What does “rapture” mean?; (2) Will there be an eschatological “rapture”?; (3) Will the “rapture” be partial or full?; and (4) Will the “rapture” bepre, mid, or post in a time relationship to Daniel’s seventieth week? In answering the fourth question concerning the time of the rapture, seven major lines of reasoning produce the conclusion that a pretribulational rapture best fits the biblical evidence and raises the fewesst difficulties. By way of conclusion, the article answers thirteen of the toughest objections to pretribulationism.

For over thirty years I have studied the Scriptures in a sincere attempt to formulate a satisfying biblical answer to the question, “Why should I believe in a pretribulational rapture?” In the process of research, reflection, and finally writing, I have attempted to eliminate the kinds of simplistic or twisted approaches and illogical thought patterns that might bring serious doubts on a conclusion, if not even directly invalidate the results.

Every rapture position has its overzealous defenders who have employed unacceptable reasoning or flawed methodology to prove the point. Some of the less-than-satisfactory approaches that I have observed in the rapture debate include:

  1. Putting non-biblical, historical documents on an equal par with Scripture to gain a greater sense of authority for one’s conclusion or even to refute a biblical presentation.
  2. Reading current events into the Scripture to prove one’s point.
  3. Inserting one’s predetermined position, without first proving it, into a Scripture passage to gain apparent biblical support.
  4. Attacking the character of one who holds a particular view in order to discredit the view.
  5. Accusing an advocate of an opposing view of holding certain unacceptable

interpretations or beliefs, when in fact he does not, in order to demonstrate falsely his apparent poor scholarship.

  1. Employing selective data to make one’s point, when full disclosure would have actually weakened the conclusion.
  2. Drawing unwarranted and erroneous implications from the Greek NT text that are used to override the more obvious and determinative conclusions derived from the passage’s context.

The following four questions will be raised and answered in this attempt to present a convincing response to the ultimate question at hand, “Why a pretribulational rapture?”

  1. What does “rapture” me...
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