“The Babushka Doll Principle” by Tricia Booth

Tricia Booth (formerly Tricia Tillin) wrote this exhaustive study on Daniel’s seventy weeks (see Daniel 9:24-27) and its interpretation regarding eschatological (end times) events.  I trust you’ll find it enlightening.  Comments are welcome.

Following is the first few paragraphs of her article with a link to her site in order to view the remainder.  You will note that Tricia is not of the typical dispensational pre-tribulation Rapture persuasion so prevalent in Evangelicalism.  I agree with Tricia on this.  However, we are both pre-millennial (the belief that Jesus will return prior to a literal 1000 years as per Revelation 20). 

While I don’t necessarily agree with all the points of this article, I must admit that I haven’t yet digested it in full (it IS a VERY EXHAUSTIVE ARTICLE!).  Further, I must say that I’m still searching out my eschatological views. 

Principles of Biblical Prophecy

babushka dolls

I would like to offer an understanding of the way biblical prophecy works which is on the Babushka Doll principle.

Let me explain…

A set of Babushka dolls looks complete in itself, but contains a set of perfectly-formed but different items all contained in one. Between each doll is a gap, a gap in time in this metaphor.

Anyone looking at the largest doll would imagine it is complete, not knowing there are several other dolls inside. So it is with the fulfillment of prophecy. Some bible prophecy has only ONE meaning, but often TWO or more, complete in themselves and for different times and peoples.

(Click here for the rest of this article.)

8 Responses to “The Babushka Doll Principle” by Tricia Booth

  1. Craig says:

    In part four, after explaining the difference between “tribulation” and “wrath” Tricia writes:

    One bible verse tells us that we ARE “appointed to tribulation” of various kinds, and another verse tells us that we are NOT “appointed to wrath”. It could not be much plainer.

    EXACTLY! However, my tentative view is that the Rapture occurs AFTER the antichrist is revealed which I see as explained in II Thess 2:3-4 which I construe as a correlation to II Thess 2:8, Rev 13:5-6 and Daniel 9:27 (“abomination that causes desolation” – NIV )

    Matthew Henry (1662-1714) writes regarding II Thess 2:3b-4: For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. [KJV]

    “In these words the apostle confutes the error against which he had cautioned them, and gives
    the reasons why they should not expect the coming of Christ as just at hand. There were several
    events previous to the second coming of Christ; in particular, he tells them there would be,

    “I. A general apostasy, there would come a falling away first, v. 3. By this apostasy we are not
    to understand a defection in the state, or from civil government, but in spiritual or religious matters,
    from sound doctrine, instituted worship and church government, and a holy life. The apostle speaks
    of some very great apostasy, not only of some converted Jews or Gentiles, but such as should be
    very general, though gradual, and should give occasion to the revelation of rise of antichrist, that
    man of sin…And let us observe that no sooner was Christianity planted and rooted in the world than there began to be a defection in the Christian church…

    “II. A revelation of that man of sin, that is (v. 3), antichrist would take his rise from this general apostasy. The apostle afterwards speaks of the revelation of that wicked one (v. 8), intimating the discovery which should be made of his wickedness, in order to his ruin: here he seems to speak of his rise, which should be occasioned by the general apostasy he had mentioned, and to intimate that all sorts of false doctrines and corruptions should centre in him.

    Henry goes on to speak of the RCC as part of the apostasy which, while I don’t disagree with this, it’s not my central point. II Thess 2 is giving a chronology. The “gathering together” (Rapture) of verse 1 would not happen until the apostasia [Greek] (“rebellion,” “falling away”) occurs first “and the man of lawlessness is revealed” [verse 3b NIV]. Verse 4 I see as being equated with verse 8 — it’s the antichrist who is revealed.

    So, to restate, in my view, the Rapture will not occur until the antichrist is revealed which occurs when he “proclaims himself to be God” (II Thess 2:4) and thereby “blasphemes God and His dwelling place” (Rev 13:6) which is the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 9:27).

  2. Craig says:

    J. Vernon McGee has a teaching on this subject titled Who is Antichrist? which is downloadable from the ttb.org site (I cannot find the link presently; but, I did print a copy a while back). He adheres to the pre-trib Rapture view of Scofield. Here’s a snippet of McGee’s teaching regarding II Thess 2:3 and the Greek word apostasia:

    …The primary meaning is “a departure.” Paul says that day shall not come until the “falling away” or “departure.” What departure is he talking about? Well, the same departure he talked about in his first epistle to the Thessalonians. That’s the Rapture of the church…. [This message is also included in hardback book J. Vernon McGee On Prophecy copyright 1993 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.]

    First of all by the context of II Thess 2:3 this just doesn’t make sense. Second, the verse McGee is speaking of in I Thess is obviously verse 4:17 — “caught up” or harpazo in the Greek which is in a completely different context. While I agree that I Thess 4:17 is speaking of the Rapture, I vehemently disagree that II Thess 2:3 is speaking of same.

    The Greek word (transliterated) apostasia is only used one other time in the NT in Acts 21:21 in which it is rendered as “to turn away from Moses” (NIV) or “to forsake Moses” (RSV; KJV). In Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2nd ed revised and augmented by Gingrich and Danker from Bauer’s 5th ed [known as “BAGD”] p 98) it is defined as “rebellion, abandonment in religious sense, apostasy…” Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament states that the Acts 21:21 passage is literally “apostasy from Moses.” [Vol I; p 566]

    BAGD also states this word is used in the Septuagint (LXX — OT in Greek) in Joshua 22:22 (rendered “rebellion” in NIV, RSV and KJV); II Chron 29:19 (rendered “unfaithfulness,” “faithless,” & “transgression” in NIV, RSV and KJV respectively); and, in the Apocrypha in I Maccabees 2:15 (“apostasy” & “to revolt” RSV; KJV). Clearly, this word is always used in a negative sense rather than a positive one; so, with all due respect to McGee — he is incorrect. This is what happens in eisegesis rather than proper exegesis — when one has a preconception as to what they believe Scripture should say as opposed to what it really says when doing a proper interpretation.

  3. Craig says:

    Last year while catching the tail end of John MacArthur’s series on the book of Revelation on local Christian radio, there was an offer to receive a free booklet titled “A Jet Tour Through Revelation” for those who’ve not yet ordered from the ministry. I sent a query to the Grace To You site (gty.org) and I was ecstatic to receive not just a booklet; but, a nice hardback book titled “Truth Endures: Commemorating Forty Years of Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time 1969-2009.” An explanatory card was enclosed informing me that “…with the death of a member of the editorial staff, production of the booklet was delayed…” Hence, the reason I was sent a nice book rather than a booklet. Kudos to Grace To You for going above and beyond their word! That’s quite refreshing in this day and age.

    While I respect MacArthur’s views most of the time, it is apparent he adhere’s to the prevailing Evangelical pre-trib view. I’ve not really looked at this aspect of his theology; however, I was quite disappointed not just to learn that he adhered to this particular view but that his explanation of the Rapture in Revelation is, well, the best I can say is… lame. That sounds harsh I know; but, certainly there must be a better explanation than:

    Now we come to chapter 4 and leave the church age. People often ask, “Where does the Rapture come in?” It’s in the white spaces between chapters 3 and 4. You have the church on earth in chapters 2 and 3; all of a sudden we appear in heaven in chapter 4. [Johnson, Phil & Mike Taylor, eds.; copyright 2009 by Grace to You; p 132]

    Certainly Scripture must be more explicit than THAT!

  4. Tricia says:

    Thanks for your comments Craig! Actually I didn’t know where you stood on the pre-trib rapture so it was lovely to see you pick up on two of the most common teachings that seem to “twist the scriptures”. The Thessalonians passage states in very plain language that the gathering together will NOT come until at least two things happen: the apostasy, and the rising up of the Man of Sin – who ultimately will do the deeds listed there, not necessarily ALL before the rapture – but even so it’s tough to read it in any other way. I have seen numerous attempts to get around it but none of them use correct biblical rules of interpretation.

    Second, yes, of all the books in the bible, how can it be the rapture isn’t mentioned in Revelation? Of course, it is, right in the same place Jesus told us to look!

    I think another bitter pill to swallow for Christians today is the fact that so much of Revelation deals with the apostasy and judgement of FALLEN JUDAISM. We love and support God’s true people, that goes without saying, but how clear are we on the judgement that will befall those who continue to despise and reject Jesus? Almost all the events of Revelation involve the land of Israel. If we read Revelation in that light, so much becomes clear.

  5. Craig says:

    You’re welcome, Tricia! Great article. Lots to digest.

    Of course, the remnant of Israel will be spared as per Romans 11:25-32.

    25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
    “The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
    27 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

    28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. [NIV 2010; bolding mine]

    When does this occur? I posit that it happens at the seventh trumpet as per Revelation 10:6-7:

    6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” [NIV 1984/2010; bolding mine]

    In taking this position, I submit that the Rapture occurs with the Two Witnesses of Rev 11 at verse 12. This “mystery” then would refer to both I Corinthians 15:51-52 and I Thessalonians 4:16-17.

  6. IWTT says:


    At this forum there has been a pretty interesting set of posts on this topic as well. Thought you might be interested in them

  7. Pat says:

    Unexpected but not unanticipated
    Speculation on the endtimes and prophecy has kept the Church busy for centuries but never has the final exact date of the rapture or the Lord’s return been exactly calculated. There are very good reasons for that!
    • The devil is to be kept in the dark about God’s plans for rescuing his people, just as when Jesus was born.
    • Believers are commanded to be “always ready” and not complacent.
    • People need to exercise faith about the Lord’s coming which would be pointless if the date were known.
    • Mankind could make plans to sabotage God’s plan or to use propaganda against it in advance.
    • Judgement needs to be swift, unexpected and therefore unavoidable.

    Great article, will have to read probably more than twice and then go through it again with Mike; but I would like to add a thought to the statement above. In not knowing the exact time, one is obviously:
    Matt. 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man , no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
    But what struck me was:
    Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
    So “those days are shortened” and we don’t know by how much and also I have no idea if this has any parallel significance in prophecies fulfilled in the past as this isn’t a strong suit of mine and I am not that knowledgeable on endtimes, but I have progressed over the past few years (baby steps) by way of my husband who has a real passion for it. Thanks for posting this it’s much needed, especially today.

  8. Craig says:



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