Was Jesus Always “Nice”?

by. John MacArthur

I never could believe in the Jesus Christ of some people, for the Christ in whom they believe is simply full of affectionateness and gentleness, whereas I believe there never was a more splendid specimen of manhood, even its sternness, than the Savior; and the very lips which declared that He would not break a bruised reed uttered the most terrible anathemas upon the Pharisees. –Charles Spurgeon

Modern writers, agnostic academics, and liberal theologians always stress the kindness and gentleness of Christ. Their Jesus—not the One found in Scripture, but the one concocted from their own imaginations and preferences—is effectively an ideological and theological pacifist. He preached only love and self-sacrifice, never judged or discriminated, and wasn’t dogmatic about the truth. In effect, the Jesus they’ve manufactured pleads “Can’t we all just get along?” with people of all faiths.

That perspective betrays a deep and dangerous ignorance of the truth about Christ, the exclusivity of the gospel He preached, and how He confronted religious error. Even the kindest, gentlest shepherd sometimes needs to throw rocks at the wolves who come in sheep’s clothing.

The Great Shepherd Himself was never far from open controversy with the most conspicuously religious inhabitants in all of Israel. Almost every chapter of the gospels makes some reference to His running battle with the chief hypocrites of His day, and He made no effort whatsoever to be winsome in His encounters with them. He did not invite them to dialogue or engage in a friendly exchange of ideas.

In fact, Jesus’ public ministry was barely underway when He invaded what they thought was their turf—the temple grounds in Jerusalem—and went on a righteous rampage against their mercenary control of Israel’s worship. He did the same thing again during the final week before His crucifixion, immediately after His triumphal entry into the city.

One of His last major public discourses was the solemn pronunciation of seven woes against the scribes and Pharisees. These were formal curses against them. That sermon was the furthest thing from a friendly dialogue. Matthew’s record of it fills an entire chapter (Matthew 23), and it is entirely devoid of any positive or encouraging word for the Pharisees and their followers.

Luke distills and summarizes the entire message in three short verses:

And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” (Luke 20:45-47)

That is a perfect summary of Jesus’ dealings with the Pharisees. It is a blistering denunciation—a candid diatribe about the seriousness of their error. There is no conversation, no collegiality, no dialogue, and no cooperation. Only confrontation, condemnation, and (as Matthew records) curses against them.

Jesus’ compassion is certainly evident in two facts that bracket this denunciation. First, Luke says that as He drew near the city and observed its full panorama for this final time, He paused and wept over it (Luke 19:41-44). And second, Matthew records a similar lament at the end of the seven woes (Matthew 23:37). So we can be absolutely certain that as Jesus delivered this diatribe, His heart was full of compassion.

Yet that compassion is directed at the victims of the false teaching, not the false teachers themselves. There is no hint of sympathy, no proposal of clemency, no trace of kindness, no effort on Jesus’ part to be “nice” toward the Pharisees. Indeed, with those words Jesus formally and resoundingly pronounced their doom and then held them up publicly as a warning to others.

This is the polar opposite of any invitation to dialogue. He doesn’t say: “They’re basically good guys. They have pious intentions. They have some valid spiritual insights. Let’s have a conversation with them.” Instead, He says: “Keep your distance. Be on guard against their lifestyle and their influence. Follow them, and you are headed for the same condemnation they are.”

Jesus’ approach would surely earn Him a resounding outpouring of disapproval from today’s postmodern culture. Exclusive truth, discriminating instruction, and confrontational teaching simply don’t fit the “good teacher” narrative the world promotes. In fact, by today’s standards, Jesus’ words about the Pharisees and His treatment of them are horrifyingly inappropriate.

Christ wasn’t an ideological pacifist. He knew which fights to fight, and He stood up for the truth with clarity and—when necessary—severity. But that kind of commitment to and love for the truth is totally foreign to modern society, so they either dismiss or ignore it.

More and more these days, people are talking about Jesus, but what they’re saying has no biblical basis. We need to do what we can to shatter the phony caricatures the world has developed, and bring people face to face with the Christ revealed in the pages of Scripture.

(Adapted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.)


About Jian Ming Zhong

In short, I am a five point calvinist, amillennial, post-trib rapture, paeudobaptistic (not for salvation), classical cessationism , and covenantal. I embrace Reformed Theology and subscribe to the WCF 1647. I do not break fellowship with anyone who holds to the essentials of the faith (i.e., the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Jesus' Physical Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, Monotheism, and the Gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) but does not affirm Calvinist Theology in the non-essentials. I strongly believe that God's grace and mercy are so extensive that within the Christian community there is a wide range of beliefs and as long as the essentials are not violated, then anyone who holds to those essentials but differs in the non-essentials is my brother or sister in Christ. Romans 11:36 "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To whom be Glory forever. Amen!"
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3 Responses to Was Jesus Always “Nice”?

  1. If you know for sure there is a post trib rapture then you know for sure the time he will catch you away…so you know you can postpone when you decide to repent and become totally The possession if Christ…this is very unscriptural belief and interpretation of God’s Word…off on one point off on all…

    • If you know for sure there is a post trib rapture then you know for sure the time he will catch you away…so you know you can postpone when you decide to repent and become totally The possession if Christ…this is very unscriptural belief and interpretation of God’s Word…off on one point off on all…

      A: When will Christ return? Will He return before or after the Great Tribulation? This is a question that has baffled many, and has been the source of much debate among Christian groups. Historically, there were as many, or more who believed in a post-tribulation return of Christ as believed in a pre-tribulation return of Christ. Today, with the tele-popularization of dispensational pre-millennialism by tele-evangelistic groups, including those of Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson and Jack Van Impe, by the growth of the charismatic movement, by the popularity of the Scofield, and the Ryrie reference Bibles, and of late with the popularity of the Left Behind series of novels, little more is heard of the historic teaching of a-millennialism. Many would give a strange look to a Christian who would say that he does not believe in a Pre-tribulation rapture, nor in the future re-establishment of Israel as the people of God. Yet such was the doctrine of most of the great reformers, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, and William Tyndale, is presented in the Westminster Confession, and is the position held by most Reformed, Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, and Lutheran churches.
      Very few people today question the teachings of their churches or of their educators. People on the most part have a blind-faith in what they have been taught. Yet the Bible forbids that we should trust in what we are taught, especially when it comes to the Bible. Rather we’re to be as the Bereans and search the scriptures to see if the doctrines are true (Acts 17:11). “Study to show thyself approved unto God”( 2 Timothy 2:15 ).

      Generally, when those who hold this position say that we are now in the “end days,” they mean that the period of Tribulation will come in the not too distant future. This view typically is incorporated into a larger theological system known as “Dispensational Premillennialism.” This doctrine includes such views as: we are not currently in the kingdom of God/heaven; there will be a seven-year Tribulation immediately prior to Christ’s return; Christ’s return will usher in the literal thousand-year reign of Christ; and after this thousand-year reign will come the final judgment of mankind. A debated issue in Dispensational Premillennialism is the timing of the Rapture. Some believe that the church will be taken out of the world at the beginning of the Tribulation (Pre-tribulation), some believe this will happen at the halfway point of the Tribulation (Mid-tribulation), and some believe it will not take place until the end of the Tribulation (Post-tribulation).

      The main difference between Pre-millennialist (whether Pre-trib, Mid-trib, or Post-trib) and a-millennialist is their interpretation of Revelation chapter twenty.

      Which view does the Bible teach? Both of these groups will say that the Bible clearly teaches its view. How can both of these groups be totally convinced that they are correct? Certainly we cannot say that one of these groups is not composed of diligent Bible students. Certainly both of these groups have those among them that do diligently study the scriptures. The main difference between these groups is how they go about interpreting the scriptures.
      The one group primarily interprets prophesy by looking at the New Testament as a parenthesis within the Old Testament prophesies, (hence the Old Testament prophesies are complete in themselves, and the New Testament is a separate plan of God that was not revealed in the Old Testament. [This is what they call the “mystery” of Ephesians 3:3-6 and Revelation 10:7] ). While the other group uses the New Testament in its interpretation of the Old Testament. This group believes that the key to interpreting Old Testament Prophesy is found in the New Testament. The first group is the Pre-tribulation Pre-millennialist, the second is the A-millennialist.

      In Revelation 20, there is a period of 1000 years (a millennium) in which Satan is bound, and in which the believers reign with Christ. The pre-millennialist believe that this era follows the return of Christ. Hence they believe Christ will return pre-millennially. We affirm a doctrine called “Amillennialism,” which differs from Dispensational Premillennialism in some very significant respects. Amillennialism affirms that Jesus is already reigning as king over the kingdom of God/heaven, that he inaugurated this kingdom during his earthly ministry, and that his current reign is the millennial reign described in Revelation 20. According to this view, the entire period of Jesus’ millennial reign, spanning the time between his first and second advents, is the “end days.” Amillennialism takes its name (it means “no millennium”) from its denial that the thousand years spoken of in Revelation 20 are to be interpreted literally. Rather, we believe that “thousand” is a symbolic number, especially given the highly metaphoric context of Revelation in general and of chapter 20 in particular. We cannot know when Jesus will return in the future, but we do know that he will return. When he does, the final judgment of all mankind will take place.

      Regarding the period of tribulation, Amillennialism does not see this as a future period. Amillennialism is not entirely united regarding the proper interpretation of the tribulation (just as Dispensational Premillennialism is not united on the timing of the Rapture relative to the Tribulation). Two interpretations worth considering are:

      1) the Tribulation was something that took place during the time this letter was written (compare Rev. 1:9; 2:9,10,22); and
      2) the Tribulation is characteristic of all life in the millennium. In both cases, Amillennialism agrees with the Post-Tribulational-Rapture Dispensational view that Christians must endure the Tribulation.

      We do not believe that any believer ever suffers the wrath of God. This wrath fell on Christ at the cross, and will never be poured out on us. We commonly distinguish between “judgment” (based on wrath) and “discipline” (based on love, cf. Heb. 12). Though the outward appearance of the two may be the same, they are in fact quite different. Within this framework, believers suffer God’s discipline, whereas unbelievers suffer his wrath. Since the church at large contains both believers and unbelievers, the church receives both judgment and discipline. Of course, both judgment and discipline may come through the agency of the systems of the world. If Christians expect to avoid suffering in this world, they are going to be sorely disappointed. Suffering is part of being a Christian (2 Tim. 3:12).

      One basic question that impacts how we read Revelation is “Why was Revelation written?” We believe that the prophecies of Revelation were written primarily to the seven churches that received the letters in Revelation 2-3 in order to motivate them to obey these letters (e.g. Rev. 22:6-7,11-12). We also believe that prophecy in general is not intended to predict what must necessarily happen in the future. Rather, it predicts what might happen (see for example Jer. 18:1-10) in order to motivate its readers to pursue blessings, avoid curses, and take heart in the midst of turmoil, all by being faithful to God’s covenant. The modern church must learn the meaning that the prophecies had for the original audience before trying to understand the meaning for modern Christians.

      Dispensational Premillennialism understands a very different purpose for Revelation, and for prophecy in general. It sees the prophecies primarily as predictions to tell us what will happen in the future in order that when they come to pass we might see that they were predicted long ago, and in order to prepare us for these things before they come to pass. We agree that there are some prophecies that are sure to come to pass as predicted, but insist that these are limited to prophecies which specifically claim to be unconditional, or which are included as part of a covenant or oath. All other prophecy is conditional

      Here are reasons why I believes in a Post-tribulation, a-millennial return of Christ:

      The Last Day Resurrection of all believers.

      Proof # 1 The last trump.
      In the first part of this essay, it is important to clearly see that there is no Biblical reasoning to believe that the “rapture” (i.e. “calling up” of the believers) will occur prior to the Great Tribulation. Rather we will see that the Bible teaches that the rapture will occur at the end of time.
      In the pre-tribulation view, Christ will return twice. The first time, prior to the Great Tribulation, Christ will return “secretly” to rapture the church. At this point only the church will see Him. This will be a “thief in the night” coming of Christ. The second time that Christ will return will be after the Great Tribulation, when “every eye shall see him”. This time He will return to the earth, with His Church to judge the world, and establish the “millennial kingdom.”

      Will there be a pre-tribulation rapture of the church?
      First Corinthians 15:51-53 clearly teach concerning the rapture. Verse 52 teaches that this will occur “at the last trump.” The dead in Christ will all be raised. If this is the Last Trumpet , then it must follow that there are other trumpets sounded before it, and that there are no more trumpets sounded after it. Here Paul is teaching that, prior to the rapture, there must be the sounding of multiple trumpets. Then at the sounding of the last of these multiple trumpets, the rapture will occur.

      We must interpret scripture with scripture. Here we have the sounding of multiple trumpets, after which will be the resurrection of the believers. Where else does the Bible speak of the sounding of multiple trumpets? Perhaps we can gain more insight of what the Bible is teaching here.
      The Bible speaks of the sounding of multiple trumpets prior to Israel’s battle with Jericho in Joshua 6. The nation was to circle the city daily for seven days. On each of these days they were to circle the camp, and the priest were to blow with the trumpets. Then on the seventh day, after circling the camp seven times in that day, the trumpets were blown (this the seventh blowing of the trumpets) and “the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city”. Here is a multiple blowing of trumpets. At the last blowing of the trumpets, the people took the city. This event occurred in the past, yet it can be seen as a picture of a future event. Jericho (the city of palm trees – Deuteronomy 34:3) is the first city that Israel overtook in the promised land, after crossing the Jordan River. Hence, it was the first city of their inheritance. The earthly inheritance of the Israelites of the land of Canaan, during Joshua’s day, is a picture of the eternal inheritance of the people of God of the New Jerusalem for all eternity. Upon the seventh (i.e.,the last) daily sounding of the trumpets, the people “went up into the city” (Joshua 6:20) Here is the picture of the rapture. They “went up into” the city of their inheritance. At the rapture, which will occur at the sound of the last trumpet, we, the believers, will go “up into” the city of our inheritance. Consider the following:

      Israel waited seven days to receive this inheritance. – The Believers must wait the completeness of time (7 is a number of completeness) to receive their inheritance.

      Israel awaited the last sounding of the trumpets to receive their inheritance. – The believers must await the sounding of the last trumpet to receive their inheritance.

      Upon the last sounding of the trumpets, Israel went “up into the city.” – Upon the sounding of the last trumpet the believers will go up into their inheritance.

      Israel did not build this city. – God prepared it for them. The believers inheritance is being prepared for them.

      Jericho was the city of Palm trees. – The New Jerusalem is the city of the righteous (Psalm 92:12).
      There is another event in the Bible where there will be multiple sounding of trumpets. This event occurs in Revelation chapters 8 through 11. The seventh and last of these trumpets is sounded in Revelation 11:15-19. Notice that this trumpet ushers in the following events in verse 18:

      1. The time of God’s wrath is come.
      2. The time that the dead are judged.
      3. The servants of God are rewarded.
      4. The destroyers are destroyed.

      We first note that this is the time at which God’s wrath has come. What is God’s wrath?
      According to pre-trib theology, the tribulation is God’s wrath. They believe that First Thessalonians 5:9 teaches that because “God hath not appointed us to wrath” means that the believers would not have to go through the Great Tribulation. Does this definition match what the Bible says is the wrath of God?
      Jesus warned the pharisees to flee from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7). How could Christ possibly mean for them to flee from the Great Tribulation? Romans 2:5 (speaking to man) says, “after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasureth upto thyself wrath against the day of wrath.” If this were speaking of the Great Tribulation, then every man would need to be resurrected to experience the Tribulation. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “And to wait for his Son..Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” The “us” in this verse included Paul, yet he lived at least 1950 years prior to the Great Tribulation. Clearly the Great Tribulation cannot be the definition of the wrath of God.

      The wrath of God is not the Great Tribulation. Rather the wrath of God is eternal punishment in the lake of fire. This is the wrath that the pharisees were to flee. This is the wrath that mankind treasures upto himself. This is the wrath from which Paul was delivered. First Thessalonians 5:9 does not teach that the church would not have to go through the Great Tribulation, but that they would not have to go to hell: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation” The salvation in view in this verse is not salvation from the Tribulation, rather it is salvation from the penalty of sin.
      The time of God’s wrath has come, i. e. mankind will now be judged, and will be sentenced to suffer the wrath of God forever. Hence the next phrase, “The time of the dead that they should be judged.”

      When are the dead to be judged? If we listen to the pre-millennial theologian, we would have to come up with two different instances. They believe that the nations that remain after the second coming of Christ will be judged at end of the tribulation. Then the rest of those who are without Christ will be judged 1000 years later.

      Yet there is a major problem with this interpretation. This passage of scripture does not say that only the nations alive at this point will be judged at this point. It says that this is the time that the dead are to be judged. It does not say that only part of the dead are to be judged. Let us not make the scripture say something that it does not say.

      Revelation 20:11-15 also speaks concerning the judgement of the dead. This passage appears immediately after the 1000 years in which Satan is bound, and the martyrs reign with Christ. Is this not the same judgement? Notice how 20:12 parallels with 11:18. This is the time that the dead are to be judged. This is the same event. The Bible does not give any reason to separate these passages into two different judgements. Certainly Revelation 20:11-15 teach that the judgement of the dead will occur after the 1000 year reign of the martyrs with Christ.

      “But wait..” one may say, “do you mean that the seventh trumpet will not sound until the end of the millennium?” To this the answer must be “Yes.”
      Immediately after the judgement of the dead in Revelation 20:11-15, heaven and earth pass away, and are replaced with a new heaven and a new earth, and the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, the eternal dwelling place of the redeemed . Is this not the reward for the servants of God? It most certainly is the reward that Jesus promised (Luke 18:29-30). Does not Revelation 11:18 say that the servants of God would be rewarded after the sounding of the last trumpet? Could it be that this New Earth is the reward of Revelation 11:18?

      These two passages are most certainly parallel in time. The judgement of the seventh trumpet is concurrent with the white throne judgement. But when is the millennium? That we will cover later in this study. First we are still showing that the Rapture will occur on the Last Day.

      The rapture will occur at the sounding of the last trumpet, which we have now seen is parallel to the Seventh trumpet of Revelation 11, which is parallel to the timing of the great white throne judgement of Revelation 20.

      Is there any other Biblical references to a trumpet rapture, and if so, do they also agree with the same timetable as the seventh and last trump?

      Proof # 2, Matthew 24.
      In Matthew 24, the disciples of Christ asked Him, “what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?” To this Jesus gives an answer of what was to happen in the Church Age, and in the Great Tribulation. Verses 4 through 14 are in reference to the entire Church Age. Verses 15 through 26 refer to the Great Tribulation. Verses 27 and following refer to the second coming of Christ.

      Verse 29 makes it clear that the return of Christ will be immediately after the Tribulation. Verse 31 says that “with a great sound of a trumpet,” He shall send his angels to “gather the elect from the four winds.” – Another reference to a trumpet rapture!! Verse 29 makes it clear that this “gathering together”, which occur with the sounding of a trumpet, will occur after the Tribulation. Can this be the “last trumpet” of First Corinthians 15:52? It most certainly cannot be after the “Last Trumpet.”

      Some theologians have thought that the “elect” of verse 31 refers to National Israel, and not the church. What is a Biblical interpretation of this word elect?

      The Greek word that is here translated elect is eklektos, which is also used in the following scriptures:
      Matthew 20:16 – So the last shall be first, and the first last: For many are called, but few chosen (eklektos)
      Colossians 3:12 – Put on therefore, as the elect (eklektos) of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy…
      Titus 1:1 – Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect (eklektos)
      1 Peter 2:9 – But ye are a chosen (eklektos) generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation..

      Certainly this word is used in reference to the Church, and not just to Israel. We cannot say that the use of this word in Matthew 24:31 must refer to National Israel. Rather, by the scriptural use of the word, we would be led to believe that its use is connected to the church, Jew and Gentile alike.
      Also, note to whom Jesus is speaking in this passage. He is speaking to His disciples (verse 4)…i.e., his church. Verses 15 through 26 clearly refer to the Great Tribulation, yet Jesus uses the second person “you/ye/your” (i.e., his disciples, the church) six times!! He gives second person commands three times. Certainly Jesus believed that His church would live through this Great Tribulation.

      In verse 42, after describing how His return will be, Jesus uses a second person command, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Then again in verse 44, He says “Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.” Jesus, here, is saying that His Disciples, i.e., the church, need to be ready for His coming. That is, His church will be present for his second coming. Lest we think that these verses are referring to a secret rapture prior to the tribulation, the context of these verses describe for us how the second coming will be, verse 30, “all the tribes of the earth…shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds.” If the church is present for the second coming, then they could not have been raptured seven years previous.

      Matthew 24:29-31 clearly speak concerning the second coming of Christ. Compare these verses with the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17:
      Matthew 24:29-31″the sun shall be darkened” Revelation 6:12-17″The sun became black as sackcloth of hair”
      Matthew 24:29-31″The moon shall not give its light” Revelation 6:12-17″The moon became like blood”
      Matthew 24:29-31″The stars shall fall from heaven” Revelation 6:12-17 “The stars of heaven fell unto the earth.”
      Matthew 24:29-31″The powers of heaven shall be shaken” Revelation 6:12-17 “…even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”
      Matthew 24:29-31″Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.” Revelation 6:12-17, All men say “hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne,”
      Matthew 24:29-31″Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn” Revelation 6:12-17 Men “said unto the mountains and rocks, Fall on us”
      Certainly by comparing these passages, we must see that they refer to the same event. We cannot conclude anything else. (How can the stars fall from heaven twice?)
      Matthew 24:29 says that this event will immediately follow the Tribulation. Hence the opening of the Sixth seal must be immediately after the tribulation. Not only that, but the rapture must occur at the opening of the sixth seal, because, while all of this is happening, the angels shall gather the elect with the sounding of a trumpet (Matthew 24:31).

      We are seeing that the Bible does not allow us to interpret the Book of Revelation chronologically. To do so, would cause problems when comparing scripture with scripture. Just because John saw all of the events in the order he did, does not mean that those events must fall in that order chronologically.
      The sixth seal must be concurrent with Judgement Day, because verse 17 says, “the great day of his wrath is come.” (Notice the word day is singular). We have already discerned what the wrath of God is, and what it is not earlier in this study. This is Judgement Day. Mankind will have to stand before God and give and account for sin, and be sentenced to spend eternity in Hell (the wrath of God). That “great day of His wrath is come.”

      Proof # 3, Noah, and Lot.
      In Matthew 24, verses 29-51 all speak of the return of Christ. We have learned above that his return will be after the tribulation. Verse 36 teaches that the timing of his return is unknown to all of mankind. ( Note that He did not say that his return could be at ANY time, but that when He will return would be unknown to man…Hence, He was NOT teaching that His return would always be imminent. [more about this later]). Verses 37 and following further develop what He states in verse 36. Verses 37 through 39 use the days of Noah as an illustration of verse 36.

      “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…they were eating and drinking, marrying…until the day Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came.” The emphasis of Christ in these verses is to show that the people of Noah’s day were not expecting the flood. Rather, they lived in unbelief, and made no preparation for the coming disaster. So shall it be when Christ returns: people will be living in unbelief, not preparing to meet God. It will be life as usual. Then Christ will come, and find them unprepared.

      But also note the parallel between Noah ( God’s witness to the antediluvian) and the church (God’s witness to today’s world). Notice Christ said “until the day that Noe entered into the ark.” Noah in this illustration is parallel with the church. God makes it clear in Genesis 7:13 that the flood came on the “selfsame day” that Noah entered the ark. Hence also, the church will be present up until the return of Christ, “as the days of Noe.”

      To further develop this point, Christ continues in verse 40, “then shall two be in the field; one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other left.”

      Certainly, we can come to no other conclusion here than that both the saved and the lost shall dwell together up until the return of Christ. The one shall be taken (i.e., as the antediluvian, taken away into condemnation) and the other left (i.e. the redeemed shall not come into condemnation.).
      Then he continues in verse 42 and says, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Paraphrasing, “Because of what I have just told you, be watchful, because you do not know when my coming will be.” We know that this coming in view here is not a secret return, because the context will not allow for it. (Verse 30). Why would Jesus command his disciples (the church) to watch for His second coming, if they were to be raptured seven years prior to that coming? Certainly Jesus was telling his disciples to watch because some of his disciples would be present when he returned.

      In Luke 17, Jesus compares his return not only with the days of Noah, but also with the days of Lot. Verses 28-30: “Likewise as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

      The same is true here as it was in the days of Noah. The people of Sodom conducted business as usual, giving no thought to what was about to happen. Then on the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, the city was destroyed. Just as was Noah, Lot is a parallel to the church. He dwelt among the Sodomites up until the same day that Sodom was destroyed.

      Notice the picture:
      Noah gets on the ark – The earth is destroyed – the “selfsame day”
      Lot leaves Sodom. – Sodom was destroyed – the same day.
      The Son of man.returns(and we are raptured). – the earth is destroyed – the same day
      This is all but conclusive. But just in case one is not yet convinced, the Bible has a lot more to say about the timing of the rapture.

      Proof # 4 The Last Day
      The phrase “Last Day” (singular) is only used eight times in the Bible. They are: John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; John 7:37; John 11:24; Nehemiah 8:18
      Nehemiah 8:18 and John 7:37 both refer to the last day of the feast of tabernacles. The other six occasions are as follows:
      John 6:39: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”- This includes all of God’s elect, both New and Old Testament believers.
      John 6:40: “And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” -New Testament believers.
      John 6:44: “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – Both Old and New Testament believers, yet more clearly realized by the New Testament believer.
      John 6:54: “whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” – Both Old and New Testament believers.
      John 11:24: “Martha saith unto him, I know that he [Lazarus] shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” – Old Testament Believers.
      John 12:48: “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath One that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken; the same shall judge him in the last day.” – The non-believers.

      Notice what is to happen in the last day (singular):
      The believers are raised ( both Old and New Testament believers.)
      The unbelievers are raised.
      Judgement to the unbelievers.
      The last day is the last day. There are no more days to follow.

      Proof # 5, This Age and the Age to come.
      The Greek word aion ( Strong’s number 165), which is commonly translated “world” in the King James Version, according to the Strong’s Concordance, Dictionary of the Greek Testament, means “an age” – This is agreed among both the pre- and a- millennial theologians. This is definitely not disputed by Pre-millennialist in passages like Matthew 24:3…there they are quick to say that the disciples meant, “the end of the age”, rather than the “end of the world”, as the King James translators said. Most other versions of the Bible do translate this word as “age”.

      The New Testament only speaks of two ages, or aion -s. This Age, and the Age to come:
      Matthew 12:32: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (aion), neither in the world (italicized*) to come.
      * Italicized words in the KJV are words that do not appear in the Greek, rather these are implied by the Greek. This verse would be better translated “neither in this age, nor in the one to come.”
      Luke 18:30: …who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world (aion) to come, life everlasting.
      Ephesians 1:21: …not only in this world (aion), but also in that which is to come.
      Luke 20:34: The children of this world (aion) marry, and are given in marriage.
      Luke 20:35: But they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (aion)…neither marry nor are given in marriage.
      In this age people marry, in the age to come people will not marry (Luke 20:34-35). In this age faithfulness is greatly rewarded; the faithful from this age are rewarded eternal life in the age to come. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age, nor in the age to come.
      There are but two ages, this age, and the age to come. The question, then is, when will this age end ?
      Matthew 24:3: …what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (aion)?

      To this Jesus answers with the remainder of the chapter, revealing signs of the end of the age, all culminating with his second coming in verses 29 and following. Hence the end of the age will be marked by the return of Christ. Matthew 13:39-43 reveals the great harvest which is to take place at the end of the age, in which the tares are thrown into a furnace of fire (i.e. the Lake of Fire).

      This Age The wheat and tares dwell together. The End of the Age The tares are taken from among the wheat and burned (Matt 13:30). The Age to come. The tares are burnt in the Lake of fire. (Matthew 13:42)

      This Age The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations The End of the Age Christ shall return and the elect shall be gathered. (Matthew 24:31) The Age to come The evil servant shall have his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:51)

      This Age Those who leave all to follow Christ shall receive manifold blessings (Luke 18:30) The Age to come Those who leave all to follow Christ receive life everlasting (Luke18:30)

      This Age People marry in this age (Luke 20:34) The Age to come People do not marry in this age (Luke 20:35).
      This Age This age is temporal, ending with the return of Christ. The Age to come This age is eternal.

      Certainly the age to come cannot be referring to a coming millennium. If this were true, people would have to procreate to sustain life on the earth. Marriage is the only Biblical form of procreation. In the age to come, there is no marriage. If the age to come were the millennium, then there would have to be two ages to come. Yet this is not what the Bible says.

      There is this present age; there is the age to come (eternity); there are no other ages.

      Proof #6 The resurrection of Daniel 12.
      Daniel 12:2: And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
      Daniel 12:13: But go thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

      The prophesy of Daniel 12 has to do with the end times. Even though many scholars disagree about the nature of the Great Tribulation, not many would disagree that Daniel 12:1, and Daniel 12:11 both speak concerning the Great Tribulation, especially since Jesus referred to these verses in Matthew 24, verses 15 and 21.

      Verse 2 of chapter 12 speaks of resurrection that will occur in this time. Then verse 13 also speaks of when the prophet, Daniel will be raised. Pre-tribulation scholars are right to believe that this resurrection will occur after the Great Tribulation, after all, verse 13 says that Daniel will be raise to stand in his lot (i.e., receive his inheritance) at the end of the days (the days of verses 11 and 12, i.e., after the tribulation of verse 11, when the Lord shall return in verse 12, on the 1335th day, Daniel shall be resurrected.)

      Hence, it is, that the pre-tribulation scholar teaches that there will be three separate resurrection occurrences. The first is that of the church, prior to the Tribulation; the second is that of Old Testament Israel at the end of the tribulation; the third is of all of the lost after the 1000 year kingdom age. The first resurrection is eminent, the second will not occur until, at minimum, seven years later, then the third will not occur until 1000 years after the second.
      There are two major problems with this interpretation of Daniel 12. The first is the 1000 years separating the resurrection of life from the resurrection to death. How can we look at verse 2 and say that this one event encompasses 1000 years?

      The second, and most major problem is with separating the resurrection of the Old Testament saints from the New Testament saints.
      Since, by definition, (pre-tribulation rapture) they must believe that the church is raptured before the tribulation, and since Daniel 12 does not allow for a pre-tribulation rapture of the prophet Daniel, then they must conclude that there are two resurrections of life, one before the tribulation, and one after.
      The problem arises with the interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Those verses teach that we, who are alive and remain till the coming of our Lord, shall not precede those who sleep. Rather, the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. This coming of Christ they teach is before the tribulation.

      Yet, all who are in Christ, that are dead, must be raised before those who are alive will be raptured. The problem: Is Daniel not “dead in Christ”? Are the Old Testament believers not among the “dead in Christ”? To say that the Old Testament believers will not be raised prior to those who are alive and remain, is to say that they are not in Christ.

      Hence the real problem, if they are not in Christ, then they cannot be saved!! (unless, per chance, there were some other means of salvation apart from Christ).

      If the Old Testament believers are in Christ, then they must be raised before those who are alive and remain are caught up with them. Since Daniel 12 teaches that the prophet Daniel, who is certainly in Christ, is not to be raised until after the tribulation, (and hence his people Israel also), then we who are alive and remain cannot be caught up together with them until they are raised after the tribulation.

      Proof # 7 Sudden Destruction
      1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 are verses that the Pre-tribulation rapture proponents try to use to prove their doctrine. However, these verse teach the exact opposite.

      First notice the context in chapter 4. In the previous section we saw that the dead in Christ must rise first. Daniel, and his people, (Daniel 12:13), who qualify as among the “dead in Christ”, will not be resurrected until after the tribulation. Also, notice that this resurrection of chapter 4 occurs with the “trump of God.” We discussed before the trumpet rapture in proof #1.

      Chapter 5 starts in the same context, “Of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” This is the times and seasons of the resurrection in chapter 4. Verse 2 teaches that the return of Christ will be as a thief in the night.

      This is a passage from which the Pre-tribulation proponents get their secret return of Christ doctrine. First, let us understand that this verse does not say anything about a secret return of Christ. The “thief in the night” does not mean that his return would be unseen, rather it means it would be unexpected. Verse four further explains this. “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.” That is, you will not be surprised, for you will be expecting it. You are not in darkness (unaware) of his expected return, as are they.
      Just in case we have any more doubt as to when this return will be, verse 3 makes it vey clear! “For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.”

      “Sudden destruction.” How can we interpret sudden destruction to be anything other than sudden? Yet that is what our pre-trib friends believe. They look for seven years of progressive destruction. This is not sudden. Rather the people in this passage, will be consumed in the wrath of God!! It will be sudden. They will stand before the white throne, and be cast into the lake of fire. This is the sudden destruction in view. Verse 9 further explains this. “For God has not appointed us unto wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” The wrath of God is the sudden destruction. Zephaniah 1:18 – “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.”

      Proof # 8 The Last Days
      If we look at the history of the world as a whole, we see that the earth is thousands of years old. We cannot know when the earth was created.
      Of this, however we can be certain, the cross is nearer to the end of the time line. The apostle made it clear that the church was living in the last days. If, according to the apostles, these are the last days, what more can follow this present age?

      Hebrews 1:1-2: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things…

      1 Peter 1:20: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, must was manifest in these last times for you.
      1 John 2:18: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that anti-christ shall come, even now are there many anti-christs; whereby we know that this is the last time.

      1 Corinthians 10:11: Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

      Acts 2:17: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh….
      The apostles understood this present age as being the last. Why do we not?

      Let us now review what has been learned:
      1. No where does the Bible say that there will be a pre-tribulation resurrection of the church.
      2. The rapture occurs at the sounding of the last trumpet.
      3. This last trumpet is the same as is sounded in Revelation 11:15, i.e. the seventh trumpet.
      4. When this seventh trumpet is sounded it is the time for the dead should be judged, and that they should experience the Wrath of God.
      5. The judgement of the dead after the seventh trumpet and the white throne judgement of Revelation 20 are the same event.
      5. The wrath of God is not the Great Tribulation, rather it is the penalty of sin.
      6. This last trumpet is the same trumpet sounded in Matthew 24:29, immediately after the tribulation, in the which the angels will gather the elect for the four winds.
      7. Jesus taught that his disciples (i.e., the church) would be present during the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:15-28.
      9. The events of Matthew 24:29-31, which occur after the Tribulation, are the same events that occur at the opening of the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17. Hence the sixth seal is a prophecy fulfilled after the Tribulation.
      10. The sounding of the last trump in 1 Corinthians, the opening of the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17, the return of Christ in Matthew 24:29-31, the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15-19, and the time of the white throne judgement of Revelation 20:11-15, all occur at the end.
      11. On the “selfsame day” that Noah entered the ark, the flood came, “as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.” Genesis 7:13; Matthew 24:38-39.
      12. “But the same day Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:29-30.
      13. The resurrection of the believers, both Old and New Testament, will be the Last Day. The resurrection and judgement of the unbelievers will also be the Last Day.
      14. There are only two ages discussed in the New Testament, this age and the age to come. The end of this age is marked by the return of Christ.
      15. The resurrection of Daniel and his people is after the Great Tribulation. Since they are among the “dead in Christ”, they will be raised before the church is raptured.
      16. The “thief in the night” return of Christ does not imply a secret return. Rather, “thief in the night” signals an unexpected return.
      17. The return of Christ is accompanied with the sudden destruction of the world.
      18. The apostles taught that the church was living in the last days. How can there be another coming age before the end?

  2. This was meant for the 5 point Calvinist jhong,not John Macarthur

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