The Day of the Lord will not come until (1) there is an apostasy and ( 2) the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) is revealed. At the beginning of the Tribulation, he will sign a treaty to protect Israel; during the first part of the Tribulation, he will consolidate his power; and in the middle, he will per- form the ultimate blasphemy, setting himself up in the Temple of God and saying, “Worship me.” That’s human- ism at its peak: the worship of a man. The Antichrist must be revealed before the Day of the Lord, and then the other things will begin to happen. So we have to have apostasy and the revelation of the man of sin. Then the Day of the Lord begins. Apostasy, of course, is present today; but the great apostasy occurs before the Tribulation. The minute the Antichrist signs the treaty, many people will know ho he is. They will probably guess who he is beforehand. But he will certainly be revealed when he signs the treaty with
Israel. These things must occur before
the Day of the Lord begins, indicating a
Furthermore, the pretrib position
allows for populating the Millennium.
If the Rapture were to take place at the
end of the Tribulation, Christians
would go to heaven in earthly bodies
and return immediately in glorified
ones. The wicked are condemned to
hell. So where are the mortals who will
populate the Millennium? Spiritual
bodies do not procreate. Scripture
teaches that, in the resurrection, we
will be like the angels (Mt. 22: 30). No
baby angels are born, and no baby spiritual bodies are born. The postrib position has no one left on Earth, in mortal
bodies, who can produce offspring.
However, if the Rapture occurs
before the Tribulation, the situation
changes. Although many people will
be martyred for their faith, some will
survive the Tribulation and enter the
Millennium in mortal bodies. People
also will be born during the Tribulation
and enter as children.
Revelation 3: 10 says, “I also will
keep you from the hour of trial [test-ing] which shall come upon the whole
world.” This promise was written to
the church in Philadelphia. The apostle
John wrote to each of the seven churches in Asia (Rev. 1: 4), ending each letter
with, “Hear what the Spirit says to the
churches”—churches, plural. So what
the Spirit told the Ephesus and
Philadelphia churches for example,
was intended for all seven churches—
and for us.
People with different prophetic
views do not debate that verse 10
refers to the Tribulation: The suffering
(1) is worldwide (“which shall come
upon the whole world)” and ( 2) affects
people in all walks of life, causing
them to prefer death over life:
Some people object to studying prophecy because they claim it is “too deep” and difficult to understand. Nonsense. For example, in Revelation 6: 2, the apostle John wrote, “And I looked, and
behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was
given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” Which
words are difficult to understand?
If you don’t know where to begin in Revelation, start with chapters 6,
8,— 9, and 16 because these are the places where three series of judgments are described. No one should dismiss prophecy because he thinks
it is too difficult to understand.
Others make the excuse that prophecy is something new Christians
do not need to know. Why not? You tell them they need a Savior who died
for them, who is God. Can you explain the God-Man? That is a difficult
thing to do. We should encourage new Christians to read and understand
as much as they can. As the years go by, they’ll understand more.
Two of Paul’s earliest epistles are 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Both
are loaded with prophecy. Paul was in Thessalonica little more than
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four weeks (Acts 17: 2), yet he taught the people there about future
And when the Thessalonians sent questions to him, Paul reminded
them, “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you
these things?” ( 2 Th. 2: 5). So don’t use the excuse that prophecy is too difficult or suitable only for mature Christians. Neither is true.
by Charles C. Ryrie