This article is the fourth in the series of refuting the Pre-Tribulational doctrine which is also taught in TPM with a selective twist. You can click on the below links to go to the earlier articles of the series
These articles are for refuting each point in a document published by Richard L Mayhue. Click here to read the document. Below is a portion from the document which we have extracted from Page 5 (245).
First Thess 4:13-18 Demands a Pretribulational Rapture
For discussion’s sake, suppose hypothetically that some other rapture timing besides pre-tribulational is true. What would one expect to find in 1 Thessalonians 4? How does this compare with what is actually observed?
First, one would expect the Thessalonians to be joyous over the fact that loved ones are home with the Lord and will not have to endure the horrors of the tribulation. But the Thessalonians are actually grieving because they fear their loved ones have missed the rapture. Only a pre-tribulational rapture accounts for this grief 246 The Master’s Seminary Journal
Second, one would expect the Thessaand remalonians to be grieving over their own impending trial rather than grieving over loved ones. Furthermore, they would be inquisitive about their own future doom. But the Thessalonians have no fears or questions about the coming tribulation.
Third, one would expect Paul, even in the absence of interest or questions by the Thessalonians, to have provided instructions and exhortation for such a supreme test, which would make their present tribulation seem microscopic in comparison. But not one indication of any impending tribulation of this kind appears in the text.
First Thessalonians 4 fits only the model of a pre-tribulational rapture. It is incompatible with any other time for the rapture
Does the First Thess 4:13-18 Demands a Pretribulational Rapture?
If somebody is reading statements like this without bothering to open the scriptures, they will believe it because it is being said by someone who has a Theology degree appended to his name. However, we need to be cautious of such people who are trying to blind the people of God from a reality which will hit them very soon.
Now let us bring the scripture portion which is being quoted by this “scholar“, even without looking at the context.
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thess 4:13-18
Do you see anything in this portion about “Horrors of Tribulation” as mentioned by the Author? The very first verse (13th verse) makes it amply clear that this portion is addressed to people who have their near ones departed by physical death(possibly by the tribulation of those days).
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 1 Thess 4:13
I would like to ask my readers if I am missing something while reading this portion? After explaining their resurrection and rapture, Paul is saying that we need to be comforted by these words (vs 18). Why does the author Richard L. Mayhue assume that they were grieving because the dead ones missed the rapture? Were they taught about a Rapture without being taught about the Resurrection that happens before the rapture? You must be really blind to believe these kinds of spun up stories.
Ironically TPM also quoted from the same scripture(in their statement of belief) to prove their secret pre-tribulation rapture.
Were the Thessalonians afraid of Tribulation?
Reading the portion from the author, it seems that he has decided that the Thessalonians are afraid of the Tribulation just like him. Should we not verify the same thing from the Thessalonians themselves?
3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 1 Thess 3:3
For the Author’s information, the Church at Thessalonica was already Suffering Tribulation during those days and Paul was Strengthening them through this epistle. They were not paranoid about Tribulation. They had accepted the fact that Tribulation is ordained for them as is with other Christians.
Look at what Paul is saying to them again in 2 Thessalonians 1 :3-5
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
Do you get even an iota of feeling that the above statements were penned by Paul, to a terrified and discouraged Church? I see a Thessalonian church who are boldly going through tribulations so that they be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God (Notice the underlined portions).
I understand that modern Christians are so far away from the truth that even the thought of tribulation is repulsive to them. Do you think such people are even saved?
The Contextual Approach
When we read a portion of the scripture and try to understand it, we need to read a few verses above and below those focussed scriptures to find the context. Remember that chapters and verses were added centuries later, for convenience of reference. It was never part of the book or the epistle when it was originally written.
Let me take you to a few verses that follow 1 Thess 4:13-18 .
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thess 5:1-6
Paul had taught them the complete eschatology regarding the Day of the Lord. They know that it will be a snare for the wicked but will be a blessed day for the Children of Light.
The Day of the Lord is what we see in Matthew 24:29-31. If The Rapture would indeed happen before the Day of the Lord, then why are these people waiting for the Day of the Lord? Shouldn’t they be waiting for a Rapture that will happen before the Day of the Lord? Let us see when will this Day of the Lord happen as per Matthew
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matt 24:29-31
If the Day of the Lord is AFTER the Tribulation, should not we also be expecting the Tribulation (The Great Tribulation in our Case)?
Following are some additional verses which prove that the DAY OF THE LORD will be preceded by the same cosmic signs as mentioned by Matthew.
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable “DAY OF THE LORD“ come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:19-
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. Joel 2:30-31
Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? Amos 5:20
Click here for other references for the Day of the Lord.
This same Day (The Day of the Lord) will bring Punishment (to the wicked) and Reward(to the righteous). This is explained by Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians.
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them, that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 2 Thess 1:6-10
Note the wordings of Paul. He says that the very same day in which Thessalonians are rewarded will be the day when the wicked are punished. But as per Pre-Tribulation rapture doctrine, The wicked will be punished SEVEN years after the Righteous are Rewarded by the rapture. Do you see the big goof-up by Pre-Trib authors like Richard L. Mayhue? Now you decide for yourself if you want to believe the lie of the Pre-tribulation rapture doctrine as also preached by TPM.