Presuming and presupposition are very close to the same words and sometimes convey the same concepts, but not they can be used in different ways with different implications. Take Proverbs 7:14-15 that demonstrates the attitude of a prostitute who is presuming upon God’s grace to continue in her sin. She has made her vows and has the sacrificial food from making those vows to be used for a party. She presumes she is in a right standing with God and can therefore go and indulge in her sin without consequences. Then she does it all over again. She presumes that God will continue to accept her sacrifices and spare her. She is like the Roman Catholic who goes to confession, does his penance then lives the week just as before without any repentance. She is like the Protestant who worships on Sunday but lives like the devil during the week. They all presume upon God’s grace because they believe that outward religiosity is all that God requires of them.
Presupposition is related to presuming because you have to have some preconceived idea of what God expects in order to presume upon him. We all have presuppositions when we come to the Bible. When we look at Matthew 24 with different preconceived ideas of theology, we will read the passage and draw conclusions based more on those presumptions than on what the Bible actually says. What others have told you about the end times will influence how you view this chapter.
Pre-tribulation Rapture – Most evangelicals have this presupposition. Verses 3-14 describe the current world and the end (vs 14) is when the rapture comes and the “great” tribulation starts. Verses 15-28 describe the great tribulation and mostly pertains to people who become Christians during the tribulation. Verses 29-31 describe Jesus’ return at the end of the tribulation in agreement with the two harvests of Revelation 14:14-20. Verses 36-44 is more description of Jesus returning for the Church – the rapture. Verses 45-51 is a summary of the final judgment and detailed in Matthew 25:31-46.
Mid-tribulation Rapture – A minority of Christians agree with this presupposition. The primary difference in this and the pre-tribulation rapture theory is in verse 15. Since Jesus is speaking to Christians, the presupposition is that the rapture hasn’t occurred yet, so we will see the abomination set up in the temple and will flee. The rapture will occur at about this time but before the end of the tribulation in agreement with the two harvests of Revelation 14:14-20.
Post-tribulation Rapture – A minority of Christians consider this as the correct presupposition. The difference in this is that there is no rapture of the Church until verse 29. Everything described in verses 3-28 will happen to the Church before Jesus comes back. Verses 29-31 and 36-44 are not a description of the rapture before the great tribulation, but the reading should be sequential, all referring to the two harvests of Revelation 14:14-20. There is only one return of Jesus at the end of the tribulation and it is visible to all the world.
If we get rid of our presuppositions and read these chapters as well as other verses about Jesus’ return and look for clues from the Bible instead of making them fit our predetermined theology, we may find that we come away with a different view. One things is certain, if we take the time (years) to do the study, we certainly won’t come away with the prostitute’s presumptive attitude. We will be serous about being a faithful and wise servant (Matt 24:45).