Gideon and the Pre-Tribulational Rapture
by Tom Stewart
October 25, 1999
In the early days of Israel's history, the people often rebelled
against the LORD and were subsequently punished with subjugation to foreign powers.
"And the children of Israel did evil in
the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven
years" (Judges 6:1). Just as the LORD delivered Israel
"out of the hand of the Egyptians" (6:9), He was again quite willing to deliver them again, if they would
only return to obedience. Thus, Gideon was chosen as Israel's fifth judge to deliver
Israel from its oppressors. "12 And the angel of
the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty
man of valour... 14
And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save
Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?"
After Gideon was thoroughly convinced of his calling, Gideon fielded a small army of 32,000 against the Midianites. "And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude" (Judges 7:12). The LORD God desired that the people would not confuse their deliverance as simply an act of their own hands, so He reduced the size of Gideon's army to 10,000 (7:3), and then to 300 (7:7). "And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me" (7:2).
Today, with the blood of Jesus shed to give us the New Covenant's reconciliation, and especially the Holy Spirit of Promise (Ephesians 1:13)-- "I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:27)-- our obedience is even more assured, and our disobedience all the more inexcusable. "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:14). Not only did the Gospel give us the assurance of the "forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7) past, but the prophecies give us the confidence of "things to come" (John 16:13). Our trust in being kept from the "hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth" (Revelation 3:10), is opportuned by the soon Judgment of this world. "Now is the Judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world [Satan] be cast out" (John 12:31). Our deliverance is founded upon the New Covenant's Spirit working in us, causing us to walk worthy of the promise of a Pre-Tribulational Rapture deliverance. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36).
As in the days of Gideon, the LORD is saying that the "people that are with thee are too many" (Judges 7:2), because the Professed Church has been given the impression that all that call Jesus Lord will be Pre-Tribulationally Raptured. "And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). The removal of the Restraining Influence occurs when the Spirit Indwelt Saints are Raptured. "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth [restrains sin and Satan] will let [continue to restrain], until He be taken out of the way [suddenly through the Pre-Tribulational Rapture]" (2Thessalonians 2:7). The LORD desires to make His point and His impact upon the Earth by the removal of only those who walk in obedience, i.e., "we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32). Salvation has always been for only those who obey Him. "And being made perfect, [Jesus] became the Author of Eternal Salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). For this reason, "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14) for the Pre-Tribulational Rapture.
If the Professed Body of Christ had learned the blessedness of the New Covenant's Spirit, the "obedience of faith" (Romans 16:26) would not have been stumbled over, and a "root of bitterness" (Hebrews 12:15) would not have sprung up, defiling many. "4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the Heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the Good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance [i.e., repentance is impossible while presently continuing in their sinning]; seeing they crucify [literally, are crucifying] to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [literally, are putting] Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6). Many-- calling themselves Christians-- who truly "received not the love of the Truth" (2Thessalonians 2:10), will be sent "strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2:11), after the Pre-Tribulational Rapture.
"1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the Word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so Great Salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the LORD, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him" (Hebrews 2:1-3).
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