8. Supporting Arguments
John fellow partaker in THE tribulation · Behold he is coming (Rev. 1:7) · Donít take them out of the world (John 17:15) · Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom (Acts 14:22) · Signs of A Divine Visitation · Present or Imminent? · Israel in Egypt, Noah, etc.
First, I would like to make it clear that I would not push any of these points. I merely give them as possible supporting evidence to what has already been said.
John Fellow Partaker in THE Tribulation
In Revelation 1:9 John tells the churches to which he is writing that he is their "brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation1 and kingdom and perseverance2 which are in Jesus." Later in this book he goes on to describe the events of the Tribulation which are followed by the kingdom. John seems to link himself to both of these.
Behold He Is Coming (Rev. 1:7)
In Revelation 1:7 John tells the churches, "BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen." Why would John be telling them "Look, he is coming . . ." and then go on to describe the second coming if this was not something they expected to see? It seems that the second coming was an event they were "looking" for.
Donít Take Them Out of the World (John 17:15)
When Jesus prayed for his disciples, he specifically asked the Father, "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). The idea is that he didnít want them removed from danger or temptation but rather for God to protect them. Would he not want the same thing for us? pre-tribulationism, on the other hand, teaches that God will "take us out of the world" instead.
Through Many Tribulations we Must Enter the Kingdom (Acts 14:22)
Paul and Barnabas told the believers in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:21-22). It seems that they expected tribulation before they would enter the kingdom. It is also possible that their words may have been unintentionally prophetic, as those of Caiaphas were when he said "it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish" (John 11:50-51).
Signs of A Divine Visitation
I cannot help but notice that when the Lord came down upon Mt. Sinai the first time there was: the loud sound of a trumpet; lightnings; thunderings; an earthquake; a thick cloud; fire; smoke; thick darkness; and mankind trembling in the presence of God (Exodus 19:16-21; 20:18, 21). These same things are also found in many of the descriptions of the second coming, although pre-tribulationists do not recognize them as such.
Present or Imminent?
It appears that the word enistemi can not only mean "present" but also "imminent" or "at hand." BAGD gives a secondary meaning of "impend, be imminent, with the connotation of threatening"3 as does Friberg,4 USB,5 Louw-Nida, Liddell-Scott6 and Berry.7 Robertson and Lightfoot argue for the meaning "is imminent" in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 specifically.8 Thayer gives the meaning "to stand in sight, stand near, be upon, impend, threaten"9 for this verse, and it is translated "at hand" in the KJV, ASV, WEB, DRA, and NAB. If the meaning of "imminent" is meant in our passage, then it would read, "With regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed . . . to the effect that the day of the Lord is imminent. Let no one in any way deceive you" (2 Thess. 2:1-3, emphasis added).
Also, if the day of the Lord is the same as the second coming, as I have tried to demonstrate,10 then the strict meaning of "present" would be difficult. How could the Thessalonians have been tricked into believing that the second coming was then "present," since this will be an obvious event where "every eye shall see him" (Rev. 1:7)?
Israel in Egypt, Noah, etc.
It is not good practice to build our theology on types and shadows, but they can lend support to what is taught elsewhere. When we look at Israel in Egypt, we see that God did not remove them until after the plagues were over. Instead, he protected them from the worst of what took place. In the case of Noah, he went through the flood but was protected in the ark. Rahab went through the destruction of Jericho and was delivered afterwards. Daniel went through the lionís den, but God protected him. His friends went through the fire, but God sent an angel to be there with them. The same could be said for Joseph in the pit and in the dungeon, the disciples in the storm, and many others. It just seems that God is more likely to see his people through hard times than around them.
1. Some English translations lack the definite article here, but it is present in the Greek. <back>
2. Compare to the hupomone, "patience of the saints," which are in the Tribulation, where this same word is used (Rev. 13:10; 14:12). <back>
3. BAGD, 266. <back>
4. Timothy and Barbara Friberg, Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, from Bible Works CD-ROM. <back>
5. Barclay M. Newman, A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament for the USB Greek Text, from Bible Works CD-ROM. <back>
6. Louw-Nida, Liddell-Scott, CD-ROM. <back>
7. George Ricker Berry, Greek-English New Testament Lexicon in The Interlinear KJV (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 36. <back>
8. A. T. Robertson, Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures, from Bible Works CD-ROM. <back>
9. Thayer, 216. <back>
10. See chapter 4, Day of the Lord. <back>