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In the topic of eschatology, few things are debated with more passion than the timing of the rapture with respect to the great tribulation. In online forums there are many opinions expressed. Some of them in my opinion are so far out there that few people if any take them very seriously.
 
Some people read these topics and will express their opinion that the topics are not important. Somehow though, they seem to think it important to express their opinion that it isn't important. I have not quite figured that one out yet.
 
One of the opinions often expressed is the tongue-in-cheek position:" I am pan tribulation". At the risk of possibly offending those people who say they are pan tribulation, I say this:
"The pan-trib position is supposed to be cute or humorous, and I suppose it is the first time one hears it. By now though I am sure that I have heard it over 100 times, and to me it has become a worn-out old joke. I have been hearing it since the 1970s, so pardon me if I don't laugh too hard.

Still there are those who are reading this post who have no doubt not heard of the pan-trib position even now. For their sakes I will explain the pan-trib position. "I do not care if the rapture is before, during, or after the tribulation, as long as it all pans out".
 
I have very little respect for the pan-trib position. I suspect that people who hold that position fall into one of several categories:
  • Perhaps they are too lazy to study the Bible.
  • Perhaps they feel they are underqualified to have a real opinion.
  • Perhaps they detest debate.
  • Perhaps they are afraid to express their opinion.

 

Sometimes they will make the point that eschatology is not a salvational issue and therefore is not worth having a strong opinion about. It often seems to escape their notice though, that almost all of the Bible is not about salvational issues, so I would have to guess that most of the Bible is also not important to them.

 

Considering how much space (in the New Testament especially) is devoted to eschatology by the apostles and even by Jesus Himself I find it extremely difficult and even disrespectful to imply that the things that Jesus said and that the apostles (who were inspired by God to write) expressed, are of little importance.

Coming up with flippant, worn-out remarks does not in my mind, justify what seems to be an aire of superiority in being wishy-washy about Scripture.
 

I know I am on my high horse. I know I am often on my high horse. I know that I am on my high horse frequently lately. You can reply to this post and inform me of that if you wish, but don't think you're telling me anything that I do not already know and freely admit.
 
As I have already stated there are many opinions and many positions in the field of eschatology. The different positions contradict each other of course and most of them (if not all of them) contradict Scripture at at least one point. No more than one position can be 100% accurate and perhaps none of them are.
In spite of the fact that I have used a lot of words so far in this post, I really only want to invite comments on the following proposition:
 
There are many reasons that people may use to explain why they believe what they believe about eschatology. With respect to the issue of whether or not the rapture is before, during, or after the great tribulation, I believe the following reasons should be discounted.
 
The character of God argument.
 
Some people believe that the church will not go through the great tribulation because it is not within the character of God to allow his church to suffer. This reasoning is invalid because God's people have always been allowed to suffer historically. This is true whether we are talking about the Jews or the Christians, prophets or apostles, martyrs since the time of Christ and even today, and of course Jesus himself who said a servant is not above his master.
 
If God has allowed his people to suffer for thousands of years, how can we think that it is not in God's character to allow such suffering?
 
Wishful thinking.
 
It is so easy for us in the West to find the idea of suffering distasteful. Many of us have never missed a meal even one time in our entire life nor slept without a roof over our head unless it was by choice. We live in a time and in cultures where most people have access to transportation which requires no physical work, access to nearly continual entertainment and access to vast amounts of knowledge that we never had to study to obtain.
 
I read just today that Google claims that the average Android user checks his or her Android 150 times each day. In these days of comfort and convenience, fast food and instant gratification, it is no wonder that some of us cannot conceive of going through a time of suffering and persecution lasting from 3-1/2 to 7 years. However, just because we have had it so easy does not mean there won't be a time when we will have it so hard.
 
I have gone on long enough. I intended to list a lot of reasons which are not valid reasons for believing some of the things that we do believe. It seems to me that in the area of eschatology the only reason to believe anything is because the Bible tells us so.
 
I am sure that many of us believe we believe what the Bible says about these things. It is my observation however that many of us if not most of us believe what we believe by taking preconceived ideas to the Scripture and then interpreting the Scripture in a way that agrees with what we already believe about it, rather than taking Scripture at its word and adjusting our thinking to align with what the Bible itself says.
 
Do we really want to be a people who gather to themselves teachers who will tell us what our itching ears want to hear? Or do we think that the better idea is to be like the Bereans, and search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things be so?

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Hi Omegaman,

 

Eschatology, mmm the study of things to come. Well we all would like to know that in detail but we all know for sure that the Lord is coming to rule. Now why some people don`t want to get involved is that they are nurturers. They are more concerned with the everyday life of helping others. Also others see the conflicting views & bad attitudes of some discussing & thus keep well away.

 

Now my thoughts from scripture are that the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit is growing up into maturity of knowing Christ`s character & His purposes. We are not there yet but are in the stage of `tossed to & fro & carried about with every wind of doctrine...` working towards `speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head - Christ.`  (Eph. 4: 14 & 15)

 

We also know that the Holy Spirit is guiding us into all truth. (John 16: 13) Now this is a process & thus we are still coming from different positions yet obviously as time goes on then it will become very clear what the details are that God`s word tells us.

 

So let us be patient with each other & let the Holy Spirit adjust our attitudes so we can `speak the truth in love.`  with the right attitude.

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In the topic of eschatology, few things are debated with more passion than the timing of the rapture with respect to the great tribulation. In online forums there are many opinions expressed. Some of them in my opinion are so far out there that few people if any take them very seriously.

 

Some people read these topics and will express their opinion that the topics are not important. Somehow though, they seem to think it important to express their opinion that it isn't important. I have not quite figured that one out yet.

 

One of the opinions often expressed is the tongue-in-cheek position:" I am pan tribulation". At the risk of possibly offending those people who say they are pan tribulation, I say this:
"The pan-trib position is supposed to be cute or humorous, and I suppose it is the first time one hears it. By now though I am sure that I have heard it over 100 times, and to me it has become a worn-out old joke. I have been hearing it since the 1970s, so pardon me if I don't laugh too hard.
 
 

I hear you, it is a little frustrating. But the way I see it, some temperament types are just not suited to deep analytical study of the scriptures and the order of events. They may prefer the Psalms and the gospels to prophecies and the more doctrinal epistles. They may prefer preaching the gospel to getting their doctrine correct on the rapture, knowing that as long as we abide in Jesus and remain in the faith our souls are safe. They may not fully understand the order of events during the tribulation but their heavenly reward will be no less. Each to their own, I love eschatology, but I don't bore those who love other biblical subjects more than I do. For example I don't know much about the feasts, yet to some it is another whole fascinating biblical study.

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      Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel's words.
      “you will be like a cloud covering the land.” - Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.
      “you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” - These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.
      Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB "Adonai Elohim says: 'When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder." You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.
      “ When that day comes,” - Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.
      Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God's hands, and, a part of God's plan.
      Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God's wrath upon the earth.
      Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.
      “thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” - 
      The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.
      Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God's understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.
      Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.
      “You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”
      The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel's conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og's fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.
      Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.
      Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.
      I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world's attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.
      And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.
      Ezekiel 38:16 ERV...I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.
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