"And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
When I talk with post-tribs, I like to ask them another question. The question is: Who will populate the millennium?
Why is this question so difficult for post-tribs to answer? Let me explain the situation. When Christ returns to earth after the tribulation He will rule with a rod of iron. He will bring peace and prosperity at last. Every wrong will be righted. The curse will be partially lifted so that crops will grow more abundantly. Because this time lasts for 1000 years we call this the millennium (Revelation 20:17).
Some do not believe in the millennium. If you are one of these, then I suggest that you read carefully the closing sections of the Old Testament prophetic books. There you will encounter numerous details, specific details, which can be fulfilled in no other way than in a literal millennium. Also read Jeremiah 32:42 and Amos 9:11 to find out how literally the promises will be fulfilled.
Who will populate the millennium? Watch closely. Isaiah 65 describes this time of better conditions. Verse 20 says,
There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
From this verse we see that people live longer, of course. But some still die. Death is not yet erased. This is important to notice. During the millennium people will be walking around on the face of this planet with natural bodies, subject to decay and death which we all inherited from Adam. Where do these people come from?
Are they present-day Christians? No, these people cannot be present-day Christians. The split-second that Christ returns we Christians will lose our natural bodies and gain immortal bodies.
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:5153).
This transformation occurs at the rapture. The rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:1617:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Our term "rapture" comes from the Latin translation of "caught up" in this passage. At the rapture we Christians are caught up into the clouds to meet Christ and at the same moment He transforms our bodies. So if people are still walking around on earth with natural bodies after the return of Christ, where do they come from?
Are they present-day non-Christians? Absolutely not, they cannot be present-day non-Christians! Here is a long list of verses which prove that no unbeliever will enter the millennium.
Psalm 2:12: Kiss the Son, let he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Zephaniah 3:9: For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
Malachi 4:1: For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Matthew 13:41: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.
Matthew 24:51: [The Lord of the evil servant] shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:12: [To the foolish virgins] He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Matthew 25:30: And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 17:29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Luke 17:27b: [Noah] entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Luke 17:3233: Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
1 Thessalonians 5:3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape [strong dual negative in the Greek].
2 Thessalonians 1:7b8; 2:12: When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ... That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Others could be added to this list. The Bible is full of it. For example, many of the Psalms open up with new light when viewed with this rooting out of the wicked in mind. But these listed are sufficient to prove that no unbeliever stands a chance of entering the millennium.
All will be destroyed. The little word "all" is too wide to get around. Some might wish that "all" doesn't mean "all," that it is only a figure of speech. This is only wishful thinking, though, without support from the contexts. The contexts of these verses support a literal and full meaning for "all." Check it out and see for yourself.
In the above list of verses I included a few about Noah and Lot. There is a reason for that. Jesus expressly made Noah and Lot types of the end times. Jesus compared the destruction by the flood to the destruction at the end. He also compared the destruction of Sodom to the end-time destruction. Is anyone still wondering if "all" means "all"? All unbelievers were destroyed by the flood literally. All unbelievers in Sodom were destroyed by fire and brimstone literally. If this is true in the antetypes, then how much more true it is of the day of the Lord, which is "very dark, and no brightness in it" (Amos 5:20).
Of course, I don't rely on types alone to prove my doctrine. But taken together with the other passages which clearly and explicitly say that all unbelievers will be destroyed, the examples of Noah and Lot powerfully illustrate the meaning. The contexts of the other verses in the above list also support a literal and full meaning for "all," but these examples of Noah and Lot are an extra bonus.
The parables also in the above list illustrate the meaning. Suppose one of the five foolish virgins continued pounding on the door even though it was too late. And suppose the bridegroom answered that one, "All right. Come in, come in. I'll make an exception for you. But don't let it happen again." Can you imagine that? You see, if there were only one exception, it would make Jesus' parable untrue.
"Oh, but you can't make a parable teach anything you want to," some say. "The purpose of a parable is to teach only one central truth." Fine, fine, I agree. Is not the central trust of the parable of the virgins to teach advance preparation? Those unprepared do not enter. It's that simple. If this is not the central thrust of the parable, then what is?
The same is true of the other parables in Matthew. Whether it be tares, bad fish, evil servant, foolish virgins, or unprofitable servant, all of that class suffer the same fate. There are only two classes of people; none of one class can cross over to receive the fate of the other class. Without exception each person receives the fate of his own class.
We cannot get around it by moving the destiny of the wicked to the end of the millennium, for this separation takes place when the Lord returns and specifically "in the time of harvest" (Matthew 13:30) which is at the end of the tribulation (Revelation 14:15).
We are surrounded by many passages. Explicit passages, illustrations, and parables all agree that no unbeliever can enter the millennium. Couple this with the fact that all present-day believers will receive new bodies at the rapture, and this leaves us with the question, "Who will populate the millennium with natural bodies?" A puzzling dilemma.
The above diagram is oversimplified because after believers go up into the air they will come back down again to rule and reign with Christ on the earth. But it illustrates my point: where do the natural-bodied people come from? Or, to put it another way, if we are the rulers during the millennium, then who are the subjects?
Could they be people saved after the rapture? Pre-tribulationists have a simple solution for the problem. By putting the rapture before the tribulation, this allows a new group of believers to spring up who will populate the millennium. After the rapture and during the tribulation many people will believe and be saved. These tribulation saints will be saved by the same means that people today are saved. The identical gospel and the identical salvation will apply during that time. The only difference is that they will be saved after the rapture, too late to gain a new body. If they survive the tribulation they will enter the millennium in their natural bodies.
What about tribulation saints who do not survive the tribulation? What happens to them? They will join the resurrection after the tribulation and they will gain new immortal bodies at that time (Revelation 20:4). If you are reading this after the rapture, this fact will encourage you. Don't be afraid to die at the hands of the antichrist. If he kills you, you will have a new body very shortly. If he doesn't kill you, you will be stuck with your natural body for another 1000 years. At the end of the 1000 years all will receive immortal bodies, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
How do post-tribs respond to this question of who will populate the millennium? Many ignore this question altogether as if it didn't exist. I don't blame them. A few make an honest attempt to answer it. We will examine some of the attempts to answer this question.
Attempt Number 1: Unbelievers Enter the Millennium. One attempt to answer the question says that some unbelievers will survive the tribulation and enter the millennium. This would not be according to God's previous pattern. God destroyed the wicked old world with the flood and began afresh with righteous Noah. A fresh beginning in the millennium would follow the pattern. What proof is offered to offset this pattern? Only one passage as far as I can tell. We gave a long list of passages proving that no unbeliever can enter the millennium. If one passage appears to say the opposite, we ought to examine it very closely. The passage is Zechariah 14:1619:
16. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
17. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
18. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
19. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
It is true that this passage speaks of unbelievers during the millennium. Where do they come from? If only believers enter the millennium, how do unbelievers slip into the picture? During the millennium, of course, people will have children. And since these children inherit the sin nature from Adam, some of them will turn out to be unbelievers. In fact, at the end of the millennium these unbelievers will stage a rebellion, a last-ditch attempt to overthrow Christ.
The point is this: unbelievers come later in the millennium, not at the beginning. Yes, this passage in Zechariah talks about unbelievers in the millennium, but it proves nothing about unbelievers entering the millennium at the beginning. That is the crucial point.
Now, this very same passage in Zechariah gives hints that all will believe at the beginning. Look at verse 16. It says "every one" worships. These who worship are those left over after the destruction of the armies who come against Jerusalem. These did not participate in the attack against Jerusalem. (All those who do participate in this attack are slain according to Revelation 19:21.) These left over ones, these believing worshipers, encompass "every one" at the beginning.
The next verse, verse 17, fits unbelievers who are born later in the 1000-year period. This passage does not say that these unbelievers are present at the beginning. You can make it say that if you want to, but then what will you do with the long list of passages above which say the opposite?
Now look at verses 18 and 19 which give the example of Egypt. Egypt is a seal of confirmation upon our interpretation of this passage. True, this passage indicates that Egypt might not believe at some point during the millennium. But at the beginning, at the beginning, I say, Egypt will undoubtedly believe. We know from Isaiah 19 that they, speaking of Egypt, "shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice ..." (Isaiah 19:21).
This use of Zechariah 14 is an honest attempt to solve the problem, but does it really prove that unbelievers enter the millennium? What is the clear teaching of the Bible? Set this lone passage alongside the long list of passages above and then decide for yourself what the clear teaching really is.
Attempt Number 2: A Remnant of Israel Is Saved After the Tribulation. A second attempt by post-tribulationists to answer the question of who will populate the millennium goes as follows: "A remnant of Israel, such as the 144,000, will believe when they see Christ descending in the clouds at the end of the tribulation. Since they are converted the instant He returns to earth, it will be too late for them to be raptured. Therefore, this believing remnant of Israel will remain on earth in natural bodies to populate the millennium."
If this were true, what would happen to the long list of passages above? Will the Lord say, "You foolish virgins should have made advance preparation; it's too late to let you in unless you are one of the 144,000"? Will He say, "Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness unless he is an Israelite"? Is Israel any exception? Do they have a deferred chance to believe which no one else has? The long list of passages above allow no room for that. No matter who you are; no matter where you're from; no matter what color, race, creed, you must believe before Christ returns or else you can throw away the long list of passages above.
But do not Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 say that all tribes of the earth mourn when they see Christ coming? Yes, it's true. All mourn. But do they mourn in repentance? Or do they mourn because they missed salvation? Or might there be a third reason for mourning?
For the sake of argument, let's suppose that all tribes mourn in repentance. And we'll suppose that Israel gets saved just after a post-trib rapture and just as Christ descends. We'll forget that this supposition is impossible according to our long list of verses at the beginning of this chapter. For now we'll just suppose it could happen this way. But in order for it to happen this way the timing would have to be precise. Repentance could not come before the rapture (otherwise they would be raptured), and repentance cannot come after Christ returns (otherwise they would be destroyed with the rest of the wicked). Repentance has to come precisely after the rapture and before the destruction in order for them to squeak by.
Let's test this timing in Matthew 24:3031 (assuming that Revelation 1:7 refers to the same event):
30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Now post-tribs see the rapture in verse 31. But the mourning already happened in verse 30. Therefore, the timing doesn't work out. Anyone who supposedly repents in verse 30 would be raptured in verse 31, and if raptured they would not have natural bodies for the millennium. (More about the order of events here in chapter eight.)
If the timing doesn't work out in Matthew 24:30, then what about Zechariah 12:10? Does not Zechariah 12:10 show that Israel gets saved the moment Christ descends?
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Is this verse talking about the moment Christ descends? Well, it doesn't say so. Is this verse talking about repentance and salvation? Well, it doesn't say so. Taking the verse alone we can make it mean anything we want to. But to find out what it really means we need to check other Scriptures as well as the immediate context.
A STORY ABOUT ISRAEL
As I tell you this story about Israel it will explain why a remnant of Israel repents and turns to Christ before His return, and it will explain why she mourns and sorrows after His return. Several scattered passages harmonize to tell one beautiful story.
Israel Repents Before Christ Returns
To introduce our story we have two verses showing the time of Israel's repentance: "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face; in their affliction they will seek me early" (Hosea 5:15). "For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). From these verses we know that Christ will not leave heaven, Israel will not see Him descend, until they first repent.
How does God bring about her repentance? Let us go back to Zechariah 12, not verse 10 this time, but back to the beginning of the chapter. This part of the chapter describes the end of the tribulation period when "all the people [nations] of the earth be gathered together" against Jerusalem and "when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem" (verses 3 and 2). At that critical moment extermination seems certain. Then "the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God" (verse 5). That cry to God at that critical moment, as they recognize that their strength is in the Lord instead of in themselves, is the salvation prayer for Israel. You see, Israel's spiritual conversion occurs in verse 5, not verse 10, of Zechariah 12.
Think of all the events that will lead up to her conversion. These days the nation Israel is victorious and proud. They feel no need to return to God; their pride will continue through the beginning of the tribulation period when they will be riding high on the coattails of antichrist. But when antichrist betrays them at the middle of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27), when he abolishes their precious religious system, and when their beloved city Jerusalem is overrun (Zechariah 14:2; Revelation 11:2), this begins their travail which ends in the spiritual birth of the nation (Jeremiah 30:67; Isaiah 66:8). During this travail they will undergo intense tribulation in which God will sift them as wheat (Amos 9:9), and two-thirds of the Israelites will be killed (Zechariah 13:89). The climax comes at the end of the tribulation, when God gathers the nations of the world against Jerusalem. By this time Jerusalem is already overrun and desolate; only half of the population remains (Zechariah 14:2). So for them to see all the nations gathered against her to exterminate her completely is a hopeless sight. And when Israel finally realizes that her national ambition is beyond recovery, when her last hope in this world is dashed to the ground, it is then that she turns her eyes upward.
Through these events God brings about the repentance of Israel. Her time of trouble is her spiritual travail (Jeremiah 30:67; Isaiah 26:1617). Her spiritual birth comes as a result of her travail, not as a result of seeing Christ when He returns.
It is amazing to find a prophecy of Israel's repentance way back in Moses' time, but we read in Deuteronomy 4:3031: "When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord they God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice ... he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee ..." This is the very first prophecy in the Bible of the tribulation, and it shows Israel repenting during the tribulation.
The actual prayer of repentance is prophesied by Isaiah. Part of the prayer reads as follows:
Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down ... We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:1,6).
We quote and apply these verses to other situations, which is fine. But the primary meaning, according to the context, refers to Israel during the tribulation. The context of Isaiah 6066 gives the general time setting for Isaiah 64. Notice the prayer that God "would rend the heavens." This phrase shows that God did not yet rend the heavens, and so it pinpoints the time of the prayer to before Christ's return from heaven.
Therefore, we discover a blend of several passages that tell one harmonious story about the time of Israel's conversion.
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense....
Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say....
When thou art in tribulation....
Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens....
When they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem....
These verses show that Israel is converted not as she sees Him return in the clouds. It has to be before.
We now continue our story. In direct answer to Israel's prayer that God would "rend the heavens," He does exactly that. He has been waiting for precisely this moment, for His chosen people to return to Him. They have turned to Him in hopeless moments before and He has miraculously saved them before. Now He saves them again. He saves them spiritually, and He also rescues them from their enemies. In response to their prayer of repentance He rends the heavens as He breaks through the clouds and "in that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem ... and it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zechariah 12:89).
Does the return of Christ occasion the repentance of Israel? No, it is the other way around. The repentance of Israel occasions the return of Christ.
Israel Mourns After Christ Returns
The story I have been telling you so far has been about the repentance of Israel before the return of Christ. But I still haven't explained Zechariah 12:10 which happens after the return of Christ. If this verse is not talking about Israel's initial post-salvation experience, then what is it talking about?
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
In the context of Zechariah 12, verse 10 comes after the return of Christ. We have seen that Israel's cry of repentance occurs in verse 5. We have seen that Christ returns to rescue Jerusalem from her enemies in verses 89. Verse 10 follows. Verse 10 happens after Christ defeats the enemies, not while He is still in the clouds. Verse 11 confirms the time:
In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem.
Where does this mourning take place? In Jerusalem. Why not the world over? Why only in Jerusalem? This tells me that Christ has already gathered His people from the four corners of the earth, and by this time He has brought them to Jerusalem. The time is after His coming and after His gathering.
When do they look upon Him whom they have pierced? While He is in the clouds? The text does not say so. The text says "in Jerusalem." After Christ has gathered the Israelites from the four corners of the world, after they arrive in Jerusalem, then they see Him there in Jerusalem. They see the One whom they as a nation have crucified, and they mourn over what they have done.
They may also see Him as He descends with clouds. But that's not what this verse is talking about. They may also mourn earlier. But that's not what this verse is talking about. Not this verse, nor any other verse, teaches that Israel gets saved when Christ descends.
Why Do They Mourn?
Why does Israel mourn? Are they mourning in repentance in order to be saved?
The words "mourning" and "supplication" both are used in cases where the person is already a believer (Genesis 23:2; I Kings 8:30; 13:29; Psalm 130:2; 143:1; Ecclesiastes 3:4). The use of these words, therefore, in Zechariah 12:10 in no way proves that Israel becomes saved at this point. (A concordance will be helpful here.)
If not for salvation, then why does Israel mourn? Remorse and regret. Perhaps you have had this experience. When you get especially close to God you feel an acute awareness of your sinfulness. You feel a deep remorse for your past, more so than when you were first saved. This is what many Israelites will experience as they look back on their long rejection of their Messiah. Ezekiel indicates this reason for mourning (Ezekiel 20:3843; 36:2431).
Jeremiah indicates their supplications may be in view of a new covenant to be made in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 50:45).
My point is this: Scripture gives good solid reasons for the mourning mentioned in Zechariah 12:10. In light of this no one can positively claim that Zechariah 12:10 is talking about last-minute repentance as Christ descends with the clouds. That moment is too late for salvation.
Cleansing Is Not Repentance
In addition to Zechariah 12:10, other passages have been used to "prove" that Israel is saved at the return of Christ (such as Zephaniah 3:813; Zechariah 3:89; Malachi 3:15). But just like Zechariah 12:10, these passages properly fall into place after the return of Christ. And like Zechariah 12:10 they refer not to Israel's salvation experience, but to a post-salvation experience.
What kind of post-salvation experience is this? Joel 2:2832 speaks of those who call upon the name of the Lord for salvation before the day of the Lord, and these receive a pouring out of the Spirit afterward (similar to the apostles in Acts 2 who received a pouring out of the Spirit after they were saved). You see, these tribulation saints will receive a special cleansing, a special purifying, that is distinct from the divine forgiveness they receive at salvation.
I believe this special cleansing is the prophetic fulfillment of the ancient Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:2930). The Day of Atonement was one of seven feasts which Israel observed. On this day Israel afflicted their souls in memory of their past sins, and on this day the entire nation was officially cleansed. It is generally agreed that the feasts of Israel have prophetic significance. In a later chapter we will show how all seven feasts find fulfillment in prophecy in order, according to the dates on the calendar. But for now we will just mention that the Day of Atonement is prophetically fulfilled after Christ returns and after He gathers His people. On this future day Israel will once again afflict their souls as they remember their past sins. And on this future day God will once and for all remove the iniquity of the nation.
This is why I say that repentance is not the same as cleansing. These are two different events. They happen at two different times. Israel repents and is saved and is forgiven before Christ returns. But she receives a special cleansing after Christ returns.
In other words, the verses used to prove the salvation of Israel at the return of Christ are referring instead to her post-salvation experience of official cleansing. Once Christ returns, it's too late to be saved.
What if I'm wrong about the time of Israel's salvation? What if the Lord will say to the foolish virgins, "All right, I'll let you in if you are an Israelite"? What if the Lord will say to the unprofitable servant, "I'll make a special case for you if you are one of the 144,000"? What if I'm wrong and Israel does sneak into the millennium in this way?
Post-tribs would still have the problem of Gentile nations in the millennium. Zechariah 14:1619 and Revelation 20:8 show that many nations, not just one nation, will populate the millennium. Furthermore, these passages show that the offspring of these nations are natural-bodied people (because they sin).
So post-tribs have to put both Israel and Gentiles into the millennium in order to save their case. Where will they get them from?
We come back to the main question of this chapter: "Who will populate the millennium in natural bodies?" It cannot be the church because it will be raptured and gain new bodies. It cannot be unbelievers because they will all be destroyed when Christ returns to earth. We cannot make an exception for Israel, because any Israelite, just like any Gentile, must be saved before Christ returns to earth or else they will be destroyed with the rest of the unbelievers. Who will enter the millennium with natural bodies? Only one answer remains. It has to be tribulation saints. Tribulation saints are saved during the tribulation after the rapture. Since they miss the rapture they remain in their natural bodies to enter the millennium.
Attempt Number 3: Ignore the Problem. Another way that I have seen post-tribs try to answer the problem of who will populate the millennium goes something like this: We don't have to answer all the problems. Some questions we can leave hanging in the air. To derive a pre-trib rapture from the question of who will populate the millennium is only an implication anyway. It is only an argument that is far from clear teaching, and so we don't have to answer it.
I agree that we don't have to answer every problem in the Bible. Since God is so far above us and since man is so puny, we cannot expect to understand everything. In this case, however, there is a difference. I'll show you what it is.
There are two kinds of implications. Some implications you can get around and some you can't get around. One day the telephone rang at our house and when I answered it I heard a voice on the other end say, "Your cat is up our tree."
I said, "What?"
"Your cat is up our tree."
For a second I was speechless. (How often does this happen to you?) But as I glanced around it hit me. I responded with assurance, "I see our cat right here in the kitchen."
My neighbor on the phone simply said, "Oh," and hung up. That was the end of that.
Do you see my point? I answered my neighbor with an implication she couldn't get around. I never once came right out and plainly said, "Our cat is not up your tree." I didn't have to. I didn't go outside and look up the tree. I didn't have to. I didn't have to find out whose cat was up the tree. All I had to do was see our own cat in the kitchen and that was answer enough. I didn't even tell my neighbor that our cat's front leg was broken and that it was in a cast and that it was not able to climb a tree. All this was true, but one simple answer was sufficient. One little implication settled the matter because it was an implication she couldn't get around.
It doesn't impress me when someone comes along and says, "Aw, that's just an implication." It doesn't impress me a bit, because there are two types of implications, implications you can get around and implications you can't get around.
Some questions regarding the Bible you can leave hanging in the air. You recognize that there are possible ways to get around those problems even though you might not happen to know what they are. But this matter of who will populate the millennium has no other possible way to get around it. This type of implication you cannot ignore.
I know that pre-tribs in years past have used some implications you can get around. To say that Christ comes to the air one time and to the earth the next time is a weak implication. You can get around that by saying that both may happen on the same day. To say that Christ comes for His saints one time and with His saints the next is no proof. You can get around that by supposing that both happen on the same day. But pre-tribulationists have also used this question of who will populate the millennium. I like this question because you can't get around it. You can't ignore it.
The previous chapter also presented an implication. The known day and the unknown day cannot be the same day. They must be different days. This type of implication you can't get around.
If anyone says to you that these two chapters are only implications, simply smile and ask them: How do you get around these implications?
The next chapter will present a third implication of this type.