"... Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand" (Revelation 22:10).
I never thought I would get wrapped up in it so soon. I had always heard about the controversy between "pre-tribulationists" and "post-tribulationists." I had learned that the difference between the two was only seven years. But what a seven years! The "tribulation" it is called, because this seven years unleashes that terrible time we read about in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. So great are the calamities as God bombards this planet with one global catastrophe after another to try to shake men to their senses, to give them one last chance to believe and be saved, that only one-half of the earth's population will survive.
I have learned that post-tribulationists believe that Christ will not return until after the tribulation; that is why we call them post-tribulationists. In other words, if I am part of the final generation, then I can expect to live on earth and endure the tribulation before I meet Christ. On the other hand, I learned that pre-tribulationists believe that Christ will come for all Christians, those who trust solely in the shed blood of Christ to save them from their sins, and He will evacuate them from the earth and take them to heaven before the tribulation. That is why we call them pre-tribulationists. For short we will call the two groups pre-tribs and post-tribs.
In the back of my mind I figured that someday I would look into the controversy and examine the Bible for myself so that I could decide which side was right. I wasn't satisfied to believe something just because my pastors and teachers said it was so. I wanted to make sure that I had solid Biblical reasons for what I believed. So this was a project that I had in mind for the far-off future. But I never expected to tackle it so soon.
It all began when my brother walked into the house one day and surprised me with this statement: "I've read this post-trib book by Gundry1 and it makes a lot of sense to me. I believe post-tribulationism is correct. I think we will go through the tribulation."
This surprised me, as I said, but it did not make me antagonistic. I asked him, "What are some of the strong points you learned from this book?" As he presented some of the points I interjected with statements like, "Wow! That's very interesting. That's a good point. Oh, I never thought of that before."
So I could delay it no longer. I had to make a study for myself from the Bible. I came to the study casting aside all preconceived notions as much as is humanly possible. I determined to let the Bible speak for itself.
I was in for another surprise. The more that I studied and prayed and meditated, the more the pieces began to fall into place. God's Word was not an obscure maze of unfathomable riddles. I discovered a beauty and a harmony that gets me so excited I want to shout.
Psalm 138:2 is true after all: "... Thou has magnified thy word above all thy name." I stand simply amazed before the Word of God.
1. Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973).