I love Jimmy DeYoung and Brannon Howse. I visit the Worldview Weekend website often. It’s on my “Favorites” tab. I like to hear the latest news and analysis, and I love to hear Brannon’s views, but Brannon recently did a broadcast entitled The Biblical Evidence for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church which I have to take issue with. I honor Jimmy, but I honor the Word more.
First of all, Jimmy claims that the rapture is secret and occurs in the scriptures in Revelation 4:1.
“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
In this scripture, John is referring to a voice he heard speaking only to himself, which is about to show him the future. It isn’t referring to the entire church. In Revelation 11:12 the words “come up hither” also appear, but they are referring to the two witnesses being taken up after being dead in the street for three days. In one case John is being called up, in the other, the two witnesses are called up, yet the church is never mentioned in either one of them.
Who gave DeYoung the authority to determine that the church, rather than John, is being referred to in Revelation 4:1? Jimmy claims to take a “literal” interpretation of the book of Revelation, yet he takes liberty with this verse and just declares it to be a reference to the rapture! How does Jimmy give scriptural support for his claim that the words “come up hither” are indications of the rapture of the church?
Secondly, Jimmy says the word “church” doesn’t appear between Revelation 4 and Revelation 19. This, he says, is “strong evidence that the church is going to have to leave before the tribulation, making us pre-trib.” Yet, while the word “church” may not appear in these sixteen chapters, the church is pictured several times after Revelation 4. Don’t the following scriptures, found after chapter 4 all reveal pictures of the church?
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held . . .” (Revelation 6:9)
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)
Jimmy says the words “rapture,” “trinity,” and “Bible” aren’t found in the Bible, yet the concepts are still there. I say the word “church” may not appear in Revelation 4-19, but the concept still appears over and over again in those chapters, therefore his allegation that the church is raptured away and gone during the entire tribulation and judgment period, simply because the word “church” doesn’t appear, is a weak argument for the pre-trib rapture.
Finally, Jimmy says that Jesus opens the seals of “judgment.” The Bible never says the seals are “seals of judgment.” This is a man-made term. It just says there are seals that can only be opened by the Lamb (Rev. 5:5). In fact, if the first seals are judgments, or wrath, on the earth, why do the martyrs cry out in Revelation 6:9-10:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
The martyrs recognized that Jesus hadn’t begun his judgment yet. They were still waiting for it to come, even after the four horsemen of the apocalypse had been revealed. Therefore, the tribulation period for the saints isn’t a time of judgment for the world; it’s a time of tribulation for the church. There will be a time of judgment and wrath that only Jesus, who is the judge (John 5:22, Romans 2:16, 2 Timothy 4:1), and the Lamb, who took the wrath of God upon himself, is worthy to open.
Even the world recognizes its day of judgment is coming in Revelation 6:15-17.
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
The time of judgment and wrath upon the earth doesn’t actually start until Revelation 8 after the opening of the seventh seal and a half hour of silence in heaven, after which the trumpets of judgment begin.
There is a time of tribulation for the saints, and a time of judgment or wrath upon the world. They aren’t the same thing. God has not appointed the church to wrath (1 Thes. 5:9), therefore how can the church be suffering under the wrath of God during the time of the tribulation in Revelation 6? Even if you argue that they’re the “tribulation saints,” they’re still part of the church that’s not appointed to wrath!
This leads to the next part of my argument. When does Jesus come for his church? As I hope to show in my next post, He comes for us at the sixth seal, right before the wrath of God is poured out, not secretly “at any moment” as Jimmy claims.