Christians are becoming more and more vehemently divided over what has been traditionally referred to within the Church sub-culture, as the Rapture. This is the premier event, climax, icing on the cake if you will, for Dispensationalists. The school of thought who takes its lead from Futurism, an approach to the interpretation of end-time prophecies found in the apocalyptic writings of scripture. Those who hold to this position place the onus of God’s judgment on the world, condemnation and eradication of evil forces, Christ’s victorious return and the redemption of believers on an end-time scheme or calendar of events which will occur at the very close of history, culminating in the establishment of Christ’s Millennial reign on earth for a thousand years. This broader view is termed Pre-Millennialism.
Proponents of the rapture doctrine (theory) refer to themselves as Pre-Tribbers, which simply means that they espouse an invisible, undetectable to the general populace upon earth, partial return of Christ in the clouds to receive His prepared believers unto Himself and transport them back to Heaven with Him. This precedes what they term the Great Tribulation (taken from Christ’s words in the gospels of Matthew and Luke), a seven year period of final judgment from God upon the earth and a concurrent reign of Antichrist (Satan incarnate) over the planet’s inhabitants. The “Blessed Hope”, to which they ascribe this event, miraculously delivers them from “the hour of tribulation and the wrath of God” which comes mercilessly, upon an unbelieving world. For, as they proclaim so emphatically, “God has not appointed the believer to wrath.” We will examine these views and their problems in our study.