If there is a single doctrine that both excites and divides Christians, it’s the ‘rapture.’ The doctrine of the ‘rapture’ deals with a future event where the church is said to be taken off the earth in one of five different times related to a seven-year period described as the Great Tribulation: before (pre-trib), at the mid-point (mid-trib), partial, just prior to God pours out His wrath (pre-wrath), or at the end of a seven-year period (post-trib) (66-79). The ‘rapture’ is said to be distinct from the Second Coming.
The doctrine has been defended in many ways over the years. For example, Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series, wrote No Fear of the Storm: Why Christians Will Escape All the Tribulation (1992) that was later republished and given a new title, Rapture Under Attack (1998). The latest defense comes from two popular prophecy writers—Ed Hindson and Mark Hitchcock. The title of their book is Can We Still Believe in the Rapture? (2018).
Prior to collaborating with Hindson on their new book, Mark Hitchcock wrote a free eBook for Dallas Theological Seminary with the title The Truth and Timing of the Rapture that has been promoted on Facebook. I wrote Truth About the Rapture as a response. What follows is a brief critique of the pre-trib rapture position. If you would like to read a more comprehensive review, see Truth About the Rapture.
The five rapture positions are dependent on the belief that the 70th week (7 years) of Daniel’s 70 weeks of years (490 years) prophecy is separated from the other 69 weeks (483 years). This claim is the key to the rapture doctrine. While Hindson and Hitchcock spend 220 pages defending their version of the rapture (pre-trib), they devote one paragraph to the key passage that’s needed to make their view biblically sound:
Pretribulationalism teaches that the rapture of the church will occur before the commencement of the seven-year tribulation period, also known as the seventieth week of Daniel. The church will not be on earth during any part of the outpouring of God’s wrath. At some point after the rapture, the antichrist enters into a seven-year treaty or covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27)—and that will mark the beginning of the tribulation. This position was popularized in The Scofield Reference Bible by C.I. Scofield, The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, and the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. (66)
If the Bible does not teach what Hindson and Hitchcock claim it teaches about the seventieth week of Daniel, then the answer to their question—Can We Still Believe in the Rapture?—is no.
I’m surprised that an entire chapter is not devoted to the key factor that makes any of the rapture positions work. If the 70th week (7 years) of Daniel follows the other 69 weeks (483) without a gap in time that has now stretched to nearly 2000 years, then there is no reason to believe their understanding of the ‘rapture’ is biblical.
They also must demonstrate from Scripture that “the antichrist enters into a seven-year treaty or covenant with Israel” and so much more. You don’t need to be a biblical scholar to see that there is no mention of a gap in the prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27) or an antichrist who makes a covenant with the Jews. Read the passage for yourself….