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darksunmoon3.jpg (19403 bytes)  The Post-Trib, Pre-Wrath Rapture
Will the Church face the Anti-Christ?

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.                                                                  Joel 2:31


The Post-Trib Pre-Wrath Rapture


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Level 2. In Depth Study
    Step 7. When did the Church begin?

When did the Church begin?

    So when did the church begin? This may seem like an insignificant question to ask, but pretribulationalist have made the answer to this question the basis of one of their arguments for a pretribulational rapture. In Matthew 24 and in Mark chapter 13, Jesus gives his Olivet discourse; pretribulationalists claim that Christ is talking solely to the Jews in this passage and not to the Church. So why is it important when the Church started? Because they say, that the church was not even in existence at the time of the Olivet discourse; therefore, Christ could not possibly be speaking to the Church. Jesus was speaking only to Jews. Pretribulationalist further claim that Christ did not initiate the Church until Pentecost. Where do they get this idea from? Let's look at Acts chapter two.

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."   Acts 2:1

    Nothing in Acts chapter 2 states that the Church is started at this time, only that the Holy Spirit filled all that were in the house. Pretribulationalsists take this thinking a step further; their reasoning is that if the Holy Spirit indwelling believers marks the beginning of the Church, then when the Church is raptured, the Holy Spirit is also removed from the world at the same time. More on this later.

    Pretribulationalsists have no evidence to support the claim that the Church started at Pentecost .

Did the Church start at Pentecost?

    If the Church was started prior to Pentecos as Post-trib claimst, then where is the Church mentioned earlier in the Bible?  In Matthew chapter 18 we see Christ teaching the apostles about "Church Discipline".

Matthew 18:15-17  "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."

    Here you have Jesus speaking to his his disciples, and making a direct reference to the Church prior to Pentecost.

The Lord's Supper

    Another example of the Church's existenece prior to Pentecost, is the starting of the tradition of the Lord's Supper. This tradition started prior to Pentecost, and prior to Jesus' death on the cross. The Lord's supper is a practice of the Church, not of the Jews. This is found in Luke chapter 22and again in I Corinthians chapter 11.

"For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."

Who are the first Church members?

    In Matthew chapter 16 we see that Jesus is referring to Peter as a rock upon which he will build his Church; therefore, we can assume that Peter along with the other disciples are the first members of the first Church.

Matthew 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

When did the Holy Spirit come into the world?

   Pretribulationalsists equate the Holy spirit coming into the world with the start of the Church. Is the Holy Spirit in the world prior to Penetecost? Absolutely! All throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament, prior to Pentecost, you have the Holy Spirit coming upon believers.

A few Old Testament examples

I Samuel 16:13 "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward."

II Chronicles 15:1 "And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:"

II Chronicles 24:20 "And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper?"

New Testament examples

Luke 2:25 "And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law."

John 20:22 "And when he had said this, he {Jesus) breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:"

The Holy Spirit was in the world prior to Pentecost and after Pentecost. Pentecost has nothing to do with when the Church began. Pre-trib, and dispensationalism, developed this idea in order to dismiss Matthew 24 and Mark 13.

Is dispensationalism correct?

    Is dispensationalism right? Did the Church start at Pentecost as Clarence Larkin and others teach, or did the Church start much earlier than that? There is only one reason why they want the Church to start at Pentecost, so that they don't have to deal with Jesus' Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Why? Because they don't have a satisfactory answer for who the "elect" are, or why the "elect" are being raptured after the tribulation and to where. Larkin and others just dismiss theses two key Chapters and pretend they are not there and say it wasn't written for the Church; therefore, we don't need to worry about it.

    If something in Scripture doesn't agree with their system of thought, which is dispensationalism, then they just ignore it. What they should do is change, or throw away, there system of thought. Instead, they rip Matthew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13 out of the Bible by saying its not relevant. A system of thought is good, so long as it agrees with Scripture. Dispensationalism, as a whole, doesn't agree with Scripture.


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Last modified: February 07, 2004