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Neither the word, 'rapture' or the phrase ‘second coming,’ appear in the Bible. One industrious reader pointed out, the 'second coming' is alluded to in Isaiah 11:11 'second time' (thank you for that!) but 'second time' is not the phrase used today and most people would not recognize it as the event I'm about to define using the Bible's description. The phrase ‘Second Coming’ has been assigned to the earthly return of Christ to vanquish His enemies, collect those who perished for Him during the Tribulation, and to establish His earthly kingdom. The many scriptures which speak of this event are listed at the end of this paper.
The word ‘rapture’ has been assigned to an event, a 'catching up/catching away' (to seize, to pluck 726 in Strong's from the Greek word 'harpazo') of people which is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-5:11. The Bible teaches that those who trust Jesus will be removed from the earth and spared the wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 and 5:9) God has for rebellious Israel AND those who have NO faith in Jesus to save them (Jeremiah 30:4-7, Daniel 9:24, Matthew 24:48-51, Luke 12:45-46, John 3:362 Thessalonians 2:8-12, and Revelation 3:10) AND to save them from the wrath Satan has planned for Christians during this period of time (Revelation 13:7,20:4).
While the word 'church' is not used in any of the scriptures given and explained in this article, it is possible to arrive at the truth that it is the church which will be raptured and that Jesus was referencing the church in the scriptures I use as evidence for my position. First, many Christians hold to the long held belief that Matthew 24 is intended for ONLY the Jews. What follows are the reasons why this belief is misplaced; while Jesus was speaking as a Jew to His Jewish disciples in Matthew 24, Jesus had already spoken to His disciples regarding the church (ekklesia, the 'called out' ones 1577 in Strongs) in both Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:17, where He actually taught of discipline within the church. So, I want it noted that the disciples had already been told about the church which would follow Jesus' ascension into heaven. The aforementioned church is also important because Jesus speaks about the rapture of the church in Matthew 24:36-25:30. Also, I want to remind you that the same scriptures about the tribulation/second coming and rapture are used in Mark and Luke, two gospels which were written to Christians, NOT to Jews. The Bible is constructed this way because BOTH Jews and Gentiles throughout the millennia would need its information. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul makes the distinction between those who have hope and those who do not. He uses the pronoun 'we' to distinguish those with hope, the church. This is in the same passage of scripture which speaks of the 'catching up/catching away' which takes place in verse 17. John 6:39 says, “It is the will of My Father” that those He has given me will be raised on the last day. Who did God give to Jesus? The church, of course, as stated in John 10:27-29 and 17:2. The rapture is the ‘last’ day for the church. Finally, we can use what the entire Bible says about God's faithfulness to His people and the end result for those who do not align themselves with Him. Malachi 3:16-18. Without doubt, it is the church which will be raptured, leaving with Jesus when He comes to collect those who trust Him.
In Hebrews 11:5 we learn that Enoch was translated (transferred to heaven, changed 3331) without seeing death. Right here, in scripture, we have precedent for the rapture of the church. Why was Enoch changed without death? Verse 5 tells us that Enoch bore witness to God and God was pleased with him. Does this dynamic sound like any contemporary bride with which you might be familiar? Doesn’t the church bear witness of God without ceasing? It is not false, heretical or incorrect, especially in light of these dozens of compelling SCRIPTURAL references, to believe that God will transfer to heaven those who currently bear witness to Him, catching them up to Himself without seeing death!
Before I get into the meat of this paper I want to quickly discuss 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, a short passage of scripture which profoundly effects the understanding of anyone who believes in a rapture of any timing. It's important because Pre-tribbers use this passage as a linchpin for the timing of the rapture. Mid and Post-tribbers use this passage to declare pre-tribbers false teachers and heretics. I explain this passage to correct a misunderstanding of scripture and bridge the chasm between Believers which, hopefully will result in peace between the two and renewed hope for both. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 is nearly always understood to mean that the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer who keeps the man of lawlessness at bay. For such a long time I believed this myself because modern translations lead us to believe as much by inserting/implying another entity into the verse ('what is holding him back' as opposed to the 'thing holding back'). However, when I got an Interlinear Bible, which takes the original languages and puts them directly into English, nearly word for word, I discovered a truth which is hidden by modern translations. Here is the Interlinear Bible wording for this scripture and it makes so obvious what I'm about to tell you. "And now you know the thing restraining (holding back 2722), for him (the idea of a baffling wind (backward); the reflexive pronoun, self)) to be revealed (to take the cover off 601) in the time of him (reflexive pronoun, self 1438). For the mystery(through the idea of silence imposed by initiation of religious rites 3466)of lawlessness already is working, only he restraining (holding back 2722) now, until it comes out of the midst (middle 3319); and then the Lawless One will be revealed (to take the cover off 601) ...." The word 'restraining' is NOT a noun. This scripture does NOT say the 'Restrainer.' This passage uses 'restraining' as a verb, an action word and as the definitions show, the restraining is done by 'self' the baffling backward wind (Is Satan not a spirit in opposition, backward, to God?). The only 'self' mentioned in this short passage of scripture is the mystery of lawlessness. He is restraining himself until the proper time is revealed, to come out of the middle of mankind and take the place of prominence which scripture describes. Logically, it makes sense that the Lawless One will step out of the midst of mankind and take center stage after the rapture removes the church from the earth and his visible/identifiable opposition is removed. With the church absent, this man will have no moral opposition to his plan. I simply want to make sure that anyone who hinges their belief in a pre-trib rapture on the this passage has their thinking squared with scripture. The Lawless One comes to power because he deems the removal of the church as the proper time to be revealed. He does NOT reveal himself because the 'Restrainer,' the Holy Spirit is no longer here. The word 'Restrainer' is NOT used in the ENTIRE Bible. It is a concept passed down as tradition through the ages. This verse does NOT identify the Holy Spirit as a Restrainer who will be removed from the earth. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this verse. God's Spirit stays on the earth to work in the lives of those who will submit to His conviction even after the church is raptured! If God's Spirit were completely removed from the earth it would be impossible for mere people to overcome the influence of Satan and ever come to Christ. You and I know how difficult it is to resist sin and temptation with the Spirit's help in a time NOTHING like what the Tribulation will be. Do you think any mere person, as a result of their own strength is a match for Satan? If people can overcome Satan without God's help, why did Jesus need to die in the first place? If we could overcome Satan on our own we could have kept the law! So, this scripture does speak to a pre-tribulation rapture, but the truth of it needs to be understood as God intends. When the church is raptured, the time for the man of lawlessness to come forward and confirm a covenant with Israel will be right, but this scripture has NOTHING to do with God's Spirit being removed from the world.
Rapture Preface: Please note that what Jesus says in Matthew, Mark and Luke was spoken to His disciples, so all of them were aware of everything He taught about the rapture and the second coming. Also, please note that Jesus says in John 14:1-4 that we are to 'believe in God, believe also in Me." This is a heads up that the things He teaches about the rapture are to be heeded because Jesus, Himself, teaches the bulk of rapture doctrine. Also, I want to mention Paul's exhortation in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Earnestly study to show yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." The words 'rightly divided' are defined by the Greek as 'to dissect correctly (the divine message) (3718 in Strongs). This dissection of scripture becomes very important because, as we read the second coming and rapture passages, we can divide the scriptures by the descriptions they give of themselves. In other words, we put the scriptures which describe the second coming in one category and those which describe rapture in another category. This is how we come to understand that the rapture is an event separate from the second coming. In Matthew 13:11-17, Jesus explained why He taught in parables. In summation of this passage, Jesus stated that the heart of people had grown fat, they heard sluggishly, and they'd closed their eyes so that they did not hear, see, or understand with their hearts that they could be converted and He could heal them. Then He told His disciples that blessed were their eyes because they saw and blessed were their ears because they heard; for there are many prophets and RIGHTEOUS ones who did NOT see or hear. Surely, 2,000 years later, because we have God's infallible word, we can do a better job of hearing, seeing and understanding.
In Luke 17:22 we learn that the second 'coming' of Christ is divided into parts because it clearly states that there are DAYS of the Son of Man, as in more than one day. The plural of this word is used in the Interlinear Bible (original languages straight to English), the King James Bible, the NIV, NLT and NASB. I say what I do about the translations only to demonstrate the plurality is NOT a typo, nor is it anything added by me. Throughout this paper we’ll learn that one 'coming' is the event known as the ‘rapture’ and another is the ‘second coming’ or return of Christ to earth for the second time.
The Book of Luke creates a pattern which is repeated in both Matthew and Mark. It spends time talking about both the second coming and the rapture of the church. We can tell from what Jesus says that there are two different events involved, not only because He overtly stated there are multiple days, but also by the way He describes them. So, right now, there are two reasons to believe in two events. Additional reasons will follow. I also want to mention that in Matthew and Mark, Jesus describes the tribulation and the second coming first because He answered His disciples question about the 'signs' of His coming. Since the rapture has no 'signs which precede it, it is only logical that Jesus spoke first of the tribulation/second coming and THEN of the rapture.
The Rapture and Second Coming as Two Different Events:
As stated a few paragraphs earlier, Jesus had already taught His disciples about the church in Matthew 16:18 and 18:17. He'd even discussed the church to the length of covering disciplinary procedures within it. This is why what I'm about to explain includes Jesus' message to the church. Matthew 24 was not written to ONLY the Jews. Remember, it would be His disciples who would, in a very short time, establish the church (the book of Acts), so it is logical and reasonable, given the scriptures just listed, that Jesus included information the church would also need. In Matthew 24:36-25:30, Jesus gives numerous warnings about being watchful and prepared for His return. Does that make any sense in the context of the tribulation? Once the tribulation begins everyone knows it will be 7 years before He returns again, so what's the point in being watchful?
Some people believe they have debunked the pre-tribulation rapture, ‘proving’ the rapture is the same event as the second coming. They come to their conclusion in a variety of ways. One, they choose an individual verse or two and build a ‘doctrine’ while excluding all other scriptures which speak to end time events. This is dangerous because pulling verses at random removes them from their context. Context is very important when understanding what the Bible has to say. Two, they get most of their ‘doctrine’ from extra Biblical sources. I must admit this method completely baffles me because it largely omits the Bible. Three, they combine all the end time scriptures, failing to rightly divide as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs. This results in a muddled understanding of what will take place at any point in time on the eschatological calendar.
There are dozens of scriptures from across both testaments which speak to the pre-tribulation rapture. Here, however, I present the succinct argument for belief in the rapture as a separate event from the second coming.
In Luke 17:22, Jesus tells us there are ‘days’ of the Son of Man. ‘Days’ is plural. There is more than one ‘day’ of the Son of man. Jesus says that we will ‘long to see ONE of them and will not see.’ What days of Jesus have each of us longed for but failed to see? How often in our human frailty have we longed for a day of the Son of Man so the struggles of this life would be behind us and we could hear, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant?”
These days must be either the rapture or the second coming for on what other days has mankind ever expected the arrival of Jesus? These days referenced by Jesus are specific days because they are the only two days of which the Bible speaks which are yet to be fulfilled.
Point One: Jesus gives different descriptions of end time events to two different groups of people. The first description of a Day of the Son of Man is given in Matthew 24:3-31, Mark 13:3-27 and Luke 21:5-28. In these verses, the Disciples ask Jesus for the sign of His coming, and Jesus answers them with a list of signs which are included in the book of Revelation and comprise what is widely accepted as the Tribulation. Jesus ends each of these passages with a pictorial description of His second coming, that those on earth will watch Him arrive in the clouds with much power and glory. In Revelation 19:11-21, John gives us even more detail right down to describing Jesus’ eyes as He approaches earth. This coming of Christ to earth will be witnessed by everyone. It is the one by which people will know their redemption draws near. Luke 21:27-28.
However, in Luke 17:20, the Pharisees ask Jesus about the coming of God’s kingdom. Jesus tells them ‘the kingdom of God comes without observation’ (ocular evidence 3907). Kingdom is defined by the Greek as ‘royalty, rule or realm,’ (932). So, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the royalty of God comes without visible signs. Jesus says, “nor will they say, Lo here, Lo there!” For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Here, Jesus states that no one will see Him ahead of time, that He will appear suddenly in the midst of people.
Jesus just described one of the days of the Son of Man as having nothing but signs, and one day as having no signs at all. The day with signs is the second coming because it follows the tribulation. The remaining day, the one without signs, must be the rapture of the church.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describes an event which offers none of the signs Jesus said would precede His second coming. The only thing which happens in this passage is the event itself; a shout and a trumpet call which raise the dead in Christ and those alive who belong to Jesus. Both groups leave the earth and are ‘caught up’ (harpazo) to meet Jesus in the clouds.
The rapture cannot be the same day as the second coming because it would contradict what Jesus said about one day having no signs, and that two days are involved. Additionally, if two events are not in place Jesus would not have had two different answers, one for His disciples and a different one for the Pharisees?
Point Two: Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 tell us that no one will know the day or hour of Christ’s appearance. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 is the perfect example of this sudden appearance as it gives no warnings or signs whatsoever.
Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:26-27, and Luke 21:27-28 all tell us that everyone will see Jesus coming in a cloud with power and much glory.
If people are watching the approach of Jesus, how can the day and hour of His coming be unknown? So, two different days and two different events are in play because a single day and hour cannot be known and unknown at the same time. Jesus cannot come in power and glory and not come in power and glory at the same time.
Point Three: Zechariah 14:5 tells us that Jesus is accompanied by the saints at His second coming to earth. If the church is not raptured at an earlier time, how can these saints be with Him when He arrives? There is no scripture in the entire Bible which states that it is only Old Testament saints who return with Jesus.
Also, Revelation 19:8 tells us that the bride (wife 1135) of Christ is dressed in fine white linens for the marriage of the Lamb. Revelation 19:14 tells us it is those in fine white linens who return with Jesus. Obviously, it is the raptured church who returns with Jesus at the second coming.
Jude, verses 14-15 also tells us that Jesus returns at the second coming with the saints in tow.
Without a separate, preceding rapture, there are no saints in heaven who are married to the Lamb and return to earth with Jesus.
Point Four: John 6:39 says, “It is the will of My Father” that those He has given me will be raised on the last day. Who did God give to Jesus? The church, of course, as stated in John 10:27-29 and 17:2. The rapture is the ‘last’ day for the church. The church age ends at the rapture. The church, the ekklesia or ‘called out ones’ is not mentioned in Revelation after chapter three. The “saints, the wife, and the bride” are referred to, but the church as the ‘called out ones’ is not mentioned during the plagues of John’s vision. This scripture agrees with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 in that the church ceases to exist when Jesus calls it to meet Him in the clouds because it is no longer on earth as the ‘called out ones.’
However, John 6:40 says, “It is the will of the One who sent Me” that EVERYONE seeing the Son and believing into Him should have everlasting life and will be raised up at the ‘last’ day. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:29-30, Mark 13:26, and Luke 21:27-28, that everyone will see Him coming, so this verse clearly speaks to the second coming of Christ, for it is at the second coming that everyone can see Him and those who trust Him for salvation will be raised up at the last day of tribulation.
If two different events are not in play, why did Jesus separate them, and describe them differently right down to differentiating between the will of ‘My Father’ and ‘the One who sent Me?’
Revelation 19:11-21, Zechariah 14, Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, and Luke 21:22-26 describe Jesus’ return to earth as public and violent, with the armies of heaven beside Him in a very bloody encounter. See also Revelation 14:17-20.
When you rightly divide end time scriptures it is obvious two different events are in place. The differences in the descriptions of the rapture and the second coming are simply impossible to ignore. The same day and event cannot be both peaceful and violent.
Point Six: Here again, Revelation 14:14-16; Luke 17:34-36; 24:50-53/Acts 1:9 & 11, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 all teach that Jesus comes quietly in the clouds at the rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4 goes on to say that the dead in Christ, and we who remain alive, will be caught up into the air to meet Jesus in the clouds. These verses say nothing about Jesus ever setting foot on earth.
People who do not hold to a pre-tribulation rapture position love to say that scripture does not state that Jesus comes to earth at the second coming. However, this is what scripture says: Zechariah 14:4 clearly tells us that, at the second coming, Jesus fights on the earth, ‘His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives.” Ezekiel 38:21 says, “I shall call a sword against him on all my mountains.” Ezekiel 39:2 says, “…I will bring you on the mountains of Israel.…” Ezekiel 39:4 says, “You shall fall on the mountains of Israel…” Zephaniah 1:18 tells us, ‘all the earth will be consumed….for He shall make a speedy end of the all the dwellers in the land.”
The second coming doesn’t really sound like a cloud thing, does it?
Additionally, after Jesus battles Satan, He establishes His millennial kingdom. Does He do that in the clouds? If so, where is it stated in scripture? Psalm 37:9, 11, 29, 34; Zechariah 14:9; Matthew 25:31-34; Revelation 5:9-10 all clearly teach that the millennial kingdom happens on earth, not in the clouds.
The sum total of these scriptures clearly teach that Jesus comes to earth and battles Satan, then sets up His millennial kingdom on earth.
Point Seven: At the rapture Jesus gathers Believers Himself: 1Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 14:14-16; Luke 17:34-36; 24:50-53/Acts 1:9 & 11.
At the second coming angels gather the elect: Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27. Revelation 14:17-20 tells us that an angel harvests the wicked from the earth.
The rapture and second coming are two separate events because Jesus can’t collect Believers Himself and simultaneously have angels collect them.
Point Eight: Titus 2:12-13 instructs us to look for an event which has become known as the blessed hope, the “appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Greek defines ‘blessed hope’ as ‘fortunate expectation.’ (3107/1680, respectively). These two scriptures call us to live ‘discreetly, and righteously, and godly in the present age (‘now, immediate.’ 3568).
In Matthew 24:37-41 and Luke 17:26-30, Jesus teaches the rapture will happen as in the days of Noah and Lot when people are busy going about their daily lives, doing normal everyday things. These normal everyday things occur in the ‘now, immediate’ present age. Titus 2:12-13 just told us, this blessed hope, the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, will happen in the present age.
In Matthew 24:7-31, Mark 13:8-27, and Luke 21:10-26, Jesus describes his second coming which is preceded by the events of the tribulation. Every person who has read the book of Revelation will honestly agree that the plagues described there are anything but normal everyday life. Jesus, Himself, describes the tribulation as ‘great affliction, such as has not happened from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be.” Matthew 24:21.
So, if the blessed hope takes place in the ‘present age’ (immediate/now) it cannot occur during the time of greatest affliction the world has ever known, the tribulation. Two separate events are obviously in play because the ‘present age’ and the ‘time of greatest affliction’ are mutually exclusive.
I’ve listed 8 sets of scriptures which contrast the rapture and the second coming, clearly describing them as two separate events. If you do not understand this simple truth, proven with scripture, it is because you willfully refuse to see it. 2 Peter 3:5.
Back to Luke: In Luke 17:22-24, Jesus states that ‘days will come when you long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and will not see’ and that one of them will be obvious from one part of the heavens to the other. This obvious day of the Son of Man is the ‘second coming.’ We’ll learn more about it in a minute. In verses 20-21 and 26-37 Jesus talks about the rapture. He says that it will not come with observations (ocular events 3907 Strong’s) and that, as happened on a two previous occasions, everyone will be eating, drinking, working, and living as usual until the day Jesus is revealed (to take off the cover, disclose 601). Verses 35 and 36 describe how some will be taken (to receive near 3880) and some will be left (to send forth, forsake, lay aside, leave, omit 863). The disciples asked Jesus where this would happen, and He said “Where the body is (the body as a sound whole (from the root word soma; to save, deliver or protect 4983)), there the eagles will be gathered (convene 4863)." Sounds like Jesus will call us up to meet Him in the lower heavens where the birds fly. These scriptures describe Jesus as NEVER setting foot on the earth. He calls His followers to meet Him in the air. I suppose that's the reason for the phrase 'caught UP’ (to seize, to pluck 726 in Strong's) which we find in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Luke 21:3-26 describes the horrors of the Tribulation. Verses 27-28 tells us we will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with power and much glory. But when these (visible) things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your head, because your redemption draws near!" The day and hour of His return are observable! In verse 29, Jesus teaches the parable of the fig tree as a marker of seasons, so that we can be watchful for His return. In 21:36, Jesus briefly mentions the rapture, that we should ‘beg (as in binding oneself 1189) so that we might escape (flee out 5023) ALL (any, every, the whole, whatsoever 3956) the things that are about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man.”
In Matthew 24:3-31, Jesus describes the seven-year period known as the Tribulation and some of the horrors it will contain. Verses 29-31 specifically speak of the ‘second coming.’ It also describes how obvious Christ’s return will be to those living on the earth. In verse 31, we learn that a trumpet blast will accompany His return to earth. We know from Revelation 11:15-18 that it is the Last trumpet which signals Christ’s ‘second coming’ because events described in these verses are associated with His battle on earth. In Matthew 24:32-35, Jesus shifts his teaching to a parable which marks a season by which one can gauge the passage of time. He says that when you SEE the things He just described happen, you will know that His second coming is near. Then in verse 36 He begins to speak of an event of which no one knows the day or hour. There are NO signs involved with this event so it can't be the tribulation and second coming which are preceded by numerous signs. This separate event will take place as in the days of Noah when the Son of Man comes when two will working, one will be taken (to receive near 3880) and one is left (to send forth, forsake, lay aside, leave, omit 863). Two will be grinding, one will be taken (to receive near 3880) and one is left (to send forth, forsake, lay aside, leave, omit 863). Jesus gives a lengthy warning regarding watchfulness and how blessed the watchful servant will be. Any unwatchful person will not be blessed. The definitions of the original Greek make clear the reason for being blessed and the agony of not being blessed. Isn’t it interesting that the words used in this Matthew passage are the same words used in the Luke 17 passage? God’s word is so cohesive.
In Mark 13 the pattern is repeated for the third time. In verses 3-27 Jesus describes the tribulation and His second coming along with all the events which must occur prior to His arrival. In 13:29-30, again, Jesus teaches the parable about of the fig tree to show that a season is a marker for the observable events of the tribulation and second coming. In 13:32, Jesus returns to His description of an event about which no one knows the day or hour and an exhortation for watchfulness and preparedness. He mentions no observable signs for this event in agreement with Luke 17:20.
The book of John doesn’t say much about either event. What little is said is spoken by Jesus in John 14:1-3. Jesus, Himself, tells Believers not to be troubled, but to trust in God and "also believe in Me." This was Jesus' assurance that HIS words are trustworthy. Jesus tells us that He has gone to prepare a place for us, and He will receive (to take near, to associate with in an intimate act, to take unto 3880) us unto Himself. This sounds an awful lot like the rapture as it is described in 1 Thessalonians 4, Matthew 24 and Luke 17, doesn't it?
It is clear from both Jesus’ statement about plural days of the Son of Man, and from the text of the three synoptic gospels, that there are clearly two separate events being described. While attending Bible College I learned that if the Bible includes something three separate times, it does so because it’s important. So, both these events are important within the scope of scripture because each of three gospels teach about them and Thessalonians has huge chunks of scripture designated to each event. That’s a minimum of four times each. God does not want His children to miss this information.
Having now established that there is a rapture event in play, my position, as I understand scripture, is that the rapture will happen prior to the start of the Tribulation. Here’s a list of the reasons why I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture and the contextually applied scriptures to support them:
First, if the rapture were to happen at either the mid-point or end of the Tribulation it would be simple to calculate the day of its occurrence. A mid-tribulation rapture date could be calculated by taking the date on which the covenant is confirmed between the man of lawlessness and the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:27), and adding 1,260 days (3.5 years by Jewish calendar). That total would tell us the day AND the hour of the rapture. God is giving us a tremendous road map as to the timing of the rapture by eliminating the days on which it cannot occur! A mid-trib rapture can also be eliminated in this way: In 1 Thessalonians 5:3 we learn that after 'destruction' comes, there is no escape (flee out 1628). Seal #4 kills (to destroy 615) 1/4 of EVERYTHING on the ENTIRE planet. Jesus opens the seven seals Himself. The seventh seal is silence in heaven for 'about half an hour' which is the first half of the tribulation. So, if destruction comes in the first 3.5 years this means there is no ability to flee the damage. There is no mid-trib rapture coming to save anyone once the damage starts! A pre-wrath rapture can be eliminated three ways as well. First, there is no scripture which states that God's wrath is limited to the second half of the tribulation. Nowhere in the Bible is such a scripture found. There are several scriptures which state that God's wrath is the entire 7 year period: Luke 21:36, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and Revelation 3:10. Second, as with mid-trib, we know that Seals 4 and 6 are opened before Seal 7 which is the first half of the tribulation because it lasts 'about half an hour' and Jesus says in Rev. 3:10 He will keep us from the hour of trial, and the 10 kings reign with the man of sin for one hour which is the entire 7 year period. So, this 'about half an hour' must be the first half of the tribulation. Third, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 we learn that after 'destruction' comes, there is no escape (flee out 1628). A post-tribulation rapture can be eliminated in many ways. First, Revelation 19:14 (and verse 8), as well as, Zechariah 14:5 and Jude 14-15 tell us that the saints return to earth with Jesus when He comes to battle Satan. How could the saints return to earth without having already left it? There is NO scripture which states that the saints who return with Jesus are ONLY the Old Testament saints. This is merely an assumption which is read into these verses by those who wish to maintain credibility for their post-trib position. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1, we learn of the 'gathering' we will have with Jesus at the second coming. "Gathering" is defined by the Greek as 'a complete collection 1997." Since there is NO verse which states that ONLY OT saints are the ones who return with Jesus, the 'complete gathering' clears up the 'old testament saints' myth as there would be no complete collection if Jesus didn't return with the raptured saints alongside Him. In other words, if OT 'only' saints are eliminated there are no saints to return with Jesus unless they are the saints raptured from earth. The saints can't return with Jesus if they are still on the earth when He gets here. Second, the date of a post-tribulation rapture could be calculated two ways; from the confirming of the covenant plus 2,520 days OR from the date of the abomination which occurs when the Antichrist sits on the throne in the Temple, plus 1,260 days (Daniel 12:11). Ten times, in Matthew 24:36,42,44,50 and 25:13, 1-12, and 14-30, and Mark 13:32,33, 35, scripture clearly teaches us that NO ONE knows the day OR hour of the rapture. Since we can calculate the dates of either a mid or post rapture, they are basically unworthy of consideration (Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32). Remember, contextually, Jesus' statement that "no one knows the day or hour' was stated in passages of scripture which speak of the rapture, NOT the second coming. Third, Luke 17:22 says there are multiple dayS of the Son of Man. If the rapture happens at the second coming, then there will only be One day of the Son of Man. Fourth, Luke 17:20-21 tells us the "Kingdom of God does not come with observation (defined by the Greek as 'ocular evidence' 3907 in Strongs); nor will they say, Lo, here! Or , Lo, there! For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst." Every single passage in scripture which speaks of the tribulation/second coming does so by describing nothing but ocular events. If the rapture is of a post-trib date, it will be preceded by all the ocular events described in scripture, voiding Luke 17:20. Fifth,Luke 12:39-40 and Matthew 24:44 begin contain warnings from Jesus about being watchful and prepared for the return of the housemaster. In verse 40, He states that 'then, be ready; for in the hour you think not, the Son of man comes." For those of you who hold to mid or post-trib doctrines, this is a warning from Jesus intended for you! If you are convinced that Jesus will rapture the church at midpoint or at His second coming, He is telling you, right here, right now, that He will come at a time that 'you think not.' You will not be expecting Him and you will NOT be prepared. It is obvious that any position, other than pretrib can be eliminated in a number of ways.
Second, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 "God has NOT appointed (defined as ‘to place, purpose, set forth 5087) us to endure the wrath (defined as ‘violent passion (ire, or [justifiable] abhorrence; by implication punishment: vengeance 3709) of the Tribulation. He has appointed us for obtaining salvation through Jesus ." Because we are saved, we avoid punishment! This is the reason we are baptized; so that we can approach God as innocent; to come before Him acquitted, pardoned from our sins with a clean conscience; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21. There are 31 New Testament scriptures which declare Believers justified before God. Each of them defines ‘justified’ as ‘to render (show or regard as) just or innocent 1344 in Strongs).’ God will NOT punish His innocent children! Jesus has already received unto Himself the punishment due the redeemed of God. The punishment of the Tribulation is for those who do NOT belong to God (Jeremiah 30:4-7, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, and Revelation 3:10), those who are NOT covered by the blood of Jesus, not for those who are! We know also Believers will be spared the horrors of the Tribulation because this statement about NOT being appointed to wrath is placed in the context of scripture which speaks about the rapture of the church. It does not speak to avoiding the wrath of the second coming of Christ because it isn’t placed in the scriptures which speak to His second coming and the wrath it brings (Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19:11-21). There are Christians who make a distinction between the wrath of God (God's anger at Israel and unbelievers) and the suffering of the Tribulation. They believe in a post-trib rapture, against ALL scriptural evidence to the contrary, during which they will be persecuted and hunted by Satan while protected from the wrath God has for Israel and unbelievers. They believe they will suffer at the hand of Satan while remaining exempt from the horrors God has for those who rebel against Him, even though both events occur simultaneously. Could God supernaturally protect His children from Satan, who doggedly hunt them down to kill them? Of course, He could, but that isn't the plan God has for those who trust Him. These Christians use 1 Thessalonians 5:9 as proof that they will be present for the tribulation, the opposite of what God intends. How do I know it's an opposite understanding? In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, we learn that Jesus is 'the ONE delivering (to rush or draw FOR oneself, i.e. to rescue 4506) us from the wrath (violent passion (ire, or [justifiable] abhorrence; by implication punishment: vengeance 3709) to come.' The language used in this verse perfectly agrees with the language used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where we will be 'caught up' (seize, pluck, take by force 726). If Jesus rescues us by drawing us unto Himself won't He be seizing/plucking us from the earth, rescuing us from the wrath God has planned for this world? What's so great about 1 Thessalonians 1:10 is that the 'wrath' Jesus will deliver us from is the same 'wrath' that God pours out on Israel and unbelievers! The same word for 'wrath' is used in both verses and they are defined identically. How totally cool is that?! If Jesus draws or rushes us unto Himself, protecting us from God's wrath then the rapture must be placed before God's wrath begins! There are other scriptures which will prove this timing. Keep reading!
Third, in both 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11, Paul exhorts Believers to be comforted by the rapture and to use it to build up one another, keeping each other focused, alert and prepared. If the passages relating to the rapture do not teach that Believers will be absent for God or Satan's wrath during the Tribulation, how could they possibly comfort anyone? How could the knowledge that we are going into a war where we will be hunted, tortured and beheaded NOT be troubling? Jesus, Himself, said in John 14:1, "Do NOT be troubled" right before He told us to believe in Him, as well, as in God, right before He tells us that He has a 'room' (residence 3438) prepared for us and He will come to receive (to receive near, to associate with oneself in a familiar or intimate act 3880) us unto Himself so that we will be with Him as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 describes! Because these scriptures mean that God’s faithful will not endure the Tribulation, those of us who BELIEVE/TRUST Jesus to receive us unto Himself can live calmly, with faith and hope, as Paul calls us to (1 Thessalonians 5:8), busy about the work of God’s kingdom (1 Thessalonians 4:11, Hebrews 10:24-25) so that more people will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and also be spared the wrath of the Tribulation. I make mention here that John 14:1 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 agree beautifully with Isaiah 26:19-21, an Old Testament passage which speaks of the resurrection of the dead, and being hidden while God pours out His wrath.
Fourth, Romans 5:9: "Much more, then, being justified now by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath." The definition of 'wrath' in this verse is the same definition as wrath in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 and is defined by the Greek as "violent passion (ire, or [justifiable] abhorrence; by implication PUNISHMENT; VENGEANCE 3709). I want to make mention here that Revelation 16:1 refers to the bowls judgments as the 'bowls of the anger of God...' The word anger in this verse is NOT the same word as 'wrath in the scriptures mentioned above. This word anger is defined by the Greek as "passion as if breathing hard, fierceness, indignation, or wrath. 2372." So, the bowl judgments are NOT proof that God's wrath is confined to the second half of the tribulation. To be saved from God's wrath is to be saved from all seven years of tribulation.
Fifth, in Luke 21 Jesus describes the events which precede His SECOND COMING, but in verse 36 He tells His disciples to 'be watchful at every time, begging(as binding oneself, petition 1189)that they be counted worthy(to deem entirely deserving 2661) to escape(flee out 1628)ALL(any, every, the whole, all manner of, whatsoever 3956) these things which are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man." If the rapture isn’t placed prior to the Tribulation, what possible escape could any person ever have? 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 tells us there is no escape once destruction begins. We know Jesus isn't referencing death as an escape because He tells us to be watchful and beg. Dead people don't watch. Dead people don't beg. Being watchful references being ready to go in the rapture so that we might escape the Tribulation. In this verse, Jesus, HIMSELF, offers both warning and hope.
Sixth, 2 Peter 2:9 tells us the Lord knows “how to deliver (draw for oneself 4506)the godly out of temptation(putting to proof or discipline 3986)and to keep(detain in custody 5083)the unjust (wicked, treacherous, heathen 94) for a day of judgment, being punished…” Contextually, this scripture is placed in a passage in which Peter differentiates between the unrighteousness of the angels, and their destruction, and the righteousness of Noah and his preservation. The Godly people of the church will not have to prove themselves to God, like the unrighteous because we’ve been living for Him since we were saved! Our trust in Jesus is our proof! Believers do not have to 'prove' themselves in battle for Jesus because this is Jesus' fight! Our part of the story is to trust Him to deliver us! If this verse isn’t talking about a pre-tribulation rapture, so that the redeemed will be delivered from the punishment coming for the unjust, then you aren’t paying attention. Additionally, the language used in this verse, ‘draw for oneself’ is extremely similar to the language used in 1 Thessalonians 4, being caught up (to seize, to pluck 726) and in Matthew/Luke being taken (to receive near 3880). Also note that the unjust being detained in this verse fits very well with those who are forsaken or set aside as Luke 17:35-36 describes.
Seventh, Malachi 3:16-18, along the same lines as 2 Peter 2:9, is a short passage which speaks of deliverance. Here God makes a clear statement about His willingness to show pity (to spare 2250) those who serve Him, so that we will see, yet again, the difference between the righteous and the wicked. Yes, I know these verses are at the end of an Old Testament passage about giving, but in these verses God is writing in a book of remembrance the names of those who serve Him, so these three scriptures transcend the limits of OT law because God will ALWAYS make a distinction between those who serve Him and those who don’t. Doesn’t the knowledge that God will spare those who serve Him apply in this instance? Isn’t a pre-tribulation rapture an occurrence of God sparing those who serve Him? Of course, it is!
Eighth, Isaiah 2:12-17, Jeremiah 30:4-7, 30:11-15, Ezekiel 20:33-38, 22:21-22, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, and Revelation 3:10 clearly teach that the Tribulation is a time intended for the nation of Israel (Jacob’s trouble) and those who do NOT know God. The church today is NOT part of Israel, nor is the church, by definition, those who do not know God. If the Tribulation is set as an event to test and punish those who reject God, why would the church be present? God has given us the ability to think critically, to think rationally, to rightly divide scripture for a reason (2 Timothy 2:15). The teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture is only one of those reasons.
Ninth, In Revelation 3:10 Jesus, Himself, teaches that He "will keep(to guard from loss or injury 5083)those who kept the word of My patience (endurance 5281. Romans 5/Hebrews 12:1-3, 10:36, James 5:10-11 are scriptures which call the church to endure), I also will keep you out of the hour (day, hour, instant, season,X short, [even-] tide, (high) time 5610) of trial (a putting to proof by experiment of good, experience of evil, solicitation, discipline; by implication adversity;-temptation) which is going to come on all the habitable world in order to try those dwelling on the earth'.Contextually, Jesus' statement of His protection is placed next to His statement about ‘the hour of trial (putting to proof of the experience of evil, discipline, adversity 3986), which is the event from which we will be guarded. This lone scripture also clearly states that those who fail to trust Jesus, those who fail to endure will be left on the earth after rapture. These people are the ones who will be 'tried.' Why would Jesus make the distinction of 'those dwelling on the EARTH if it was understood that everyone would be on the earth? He wouldn't.
Tenth, the context of Hebrews 10:24-25 is that of Paul reminding us to ‘hold fast the confession of hope without yielding, for He who has promised is faithful (verse 23). Verses 24-25 tell us to exhort (to invite, beseech, invoke (cite or appeal to someone in support of an argument) 3870) and incite (provoke unto 3948) each other to love, good works and to fellowshipping together as we see the Day approaching. Per the definition of the original Greek, Paul is telling us that, as we see the Day of the rapture approaching, we are to appeal to each other in support of an argument. That’s exactly what I’m doing with this paper! The capital ‘D’ in the word Day is from the original Greek. It is NOT an emphasis from me. We know from the parable of the fig tree, told of in Matthew, Mark and Luke, that the Day is near. This Day is the one of which no one knows the day or hour because there is not a list of prerequisite events assigned to it like there is with the second coming of Christ. If the ‘Day’ references the second coming, when the heavens light up with lightning, and the final trumpet sounds with the call announcing Christ’s arrival, it will be too late to do good works. It will be too late to encourage one another in any regard. At that time, all chances at salvation and encouragement among ourselves will have been spent. Inversely, if the Day is the rapture then it makes perfect sense to provoke and inspire each other into good works (sharing Jesus so that others might be saved), and fellowshipping together so that we comfort one another as 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11 tells us. Verse 23 does not remind us of Jesus’ faithfulness for no reason. His promise to protect the Redeemed will be kept.
Eleventh, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 teaches we will be ‘caught up’ or raptured at the shout of the archangel AND God’s trumpet, but it does NOT designate it as any one of the trumpets described in Revelation 8-11. This makes sense because if it could be connected to any of those seven trumpets there would be a timing element involved which would negate Jesus' words of 'no one knows the day or hour." This trumpet stands alone, its only tether is the rapture of the church as is proven by the fact that it is God's trump because He is the ONLY One who does know the day and hour!
Twelfth, Titus 2:11-15 once again differentiates between the godly and ungodly. The godly, living discreetly and righteously in the present age, looking for the blessed hope (fortunate expectation 3107/1680 respectively) AND appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are to speak these things to exhort(to invite, beseech, invoke (cite or appeal to someone in support of an argument) 3870)and convict(admonish, rebuke 1651)with all authority. We are to let NO ONE despise (disparage, to make of little worth 4065)us. 1 John 3:2-3 and Galatians 5:5 speak of this same 'hope!' God's word is so cohesive! What can this fortunate expectation be? As believers, we have many expectations; the presence of God’s Spirit within us, the power of prayer, eternity in heaven and the list goes on, but what about THIS expectation makes it so fortunate? Does it have anything to do with the differentiation God makes between the godly and ungodly in this short passage? Of course, it does. This expectation is fortunate because those who live Godly lives in this age will be spared the pain and suffering of the Tribulation. Paul even goes so far as to say that we are to call near other people and admonish and rebuke them with all authority. Personally, I think this is intended in two ways. First, we are to continue to reach others with the gospel because of the ‘good works’ spoken of in verse 14. I think it ALSO means we are to comfort and encourage others with the news that we will be participants in the blessed hope/fortunate expectation as 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11 commands. Paul tells us to let no one despise (disparage, to make of little worth 4065) us. So, we are to soldier on and not give up so that the lost might be part of the blessed hope and the saved will be reminded of and comforted by it.
Titus 2:12-13, specifically, describes the rapture as the blessed hope (fortunate expectation 3107/1680 respectively) because it happens in the ‘present age.’ “Present” is defined by the Greek as ‘now, immediate.’ (3568). Since the judgments of Revelation have not yet begun, and can’t until the man of sin is revealed, those plagues are not part of the ‘present age.’ They can’t be and agree with the rest of scripture. Jesus teaches the rapture will happen as in the days of Noah and Lot when people are busy going about their daily lives. Will ‘normal daily life’ be in play once the Seal judgments are opened? Of course, not. So, how can the ‘blessed hope’ possibly be the second coming? The second coming does NOT take place in the ‘present age,’ it takes place AFTER the tribulation. Jesus, Himself, sets it apart as ‘great affliction, such as has not happened from the beginning of the world until now, nor, nor ever will be.” Matthew 24:21. The blessed hope cannot take place in the ‘present age’ (immediate/now) and also during the time of greatest affliction the world has ever known. They are mutually exclusive! The RAPTURE does take place in the ‘present age’ because it happens while normal everyday life is in play. It has no signs which precede it. It has no warnings whatsoever.
Thirteenth, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 is also relevant to the rapture of the church (Please also see Romans 5:9). "... and how you had turned to God from the idols, to serve the true and living God, and eagerly to await His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, the One delivering ( to rush or draw for oneself i.e. rescue 4506) us from the wrath (a reaching forth or excitement of the mind, violent passion (ire, or justifiable abhorrence) by implication punishment: vengeance 3709) to come." The wrath described in this verse is the wrath of God. Jesus is telling us that He will deliver us from God's wrath by rushing or drawing us unto Himself. Well, if Jesus isn't on the earth, because He doesn't come to earth until the conclusion of the Tribulation, then we are drawn to Him where He is. If He isn't on earth He must be somewhere else. If we are drawn to His position then we can't be here on earth. The two situations cannot exist simultaneously. The 'rushing or drawing to oneself' sounds a great deal like the 'catching up' described in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and the receiving of us unto Himself in John 14:3, doesn't it? Pre-trib rapture! To those who hold on to a post-trib position, why would Jesus need to protect Believers from God's wrath if it weren't going to have any effect on those who remain on earth during the tribulation? Something to think about.
Fourteenth, I hope I've made clear the obvious distinction between the Rapture and the Second Coming using the descriptions provided by the scriptures themselves. Over and over we are told that Christ's second coming to execute wrath upon Israel and to battle Satan are preceded by a whole list of events. However, the rapture is marked by NO preceding event. As I stated earlier, Matthew and Mark give us 10 separate warnings that NO ONE knows the day or the hour of this 'catching up' to meet Jesus where the eagles convene. As part of this point, I want to mention two parables which speak at length about being watchful and prepared. Both of these parables speak to the rapture because they are contained within a passage which speaks of the rapture, NOT the second coming. The Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Five virgins were watchful and prepared and were allowed to enter into the Bridegroom's presence. Five virgins were lazy and apathetic which resulted in them being locked out of the event for which they'd been waiting, the wedding of the Bridegroom. The other is the Parable of the Talents. In all my years as a Believer I don't think I've ever heard this parable taught in this regard, in the context of the rapture. Yet, here it is and I'll show you in just a moment how it works, but this story, Matthew 25:14-46, is about 3 men who were entrusted with the Master's wealth, but only two of them were watchful and prepared for the Master to return and collect what was His. These two were rewarded for their watchfulness. The third guy got scared and lazy and was NOT prepared for the Master's return to collect what was His. The unprepared servant was thrown into 'outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.' The very next verse, v. 31, speaks, a second time, of the second coming of Christ and the remainder of the chapter speaks of Judgement Day. So, the breakdown of Matthew 24 is Tribulation/Second Coming (v. 3-31), Rapture (v. 32-25:30), Second Coming (25:31a) and Judgment (25:31b-46). Jesus brings His description full circle within two chapters. The MORAL of the story is to be WATCHFUL and PREPARED for the hour of the Rapture is known to NO ONE!
Fifteeth, Isaiah 26:19-21 (NIV for ease of understanding), says this: "But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you: hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by. See, the Lord is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer." The context of this short passage is that of God delivering justice (26:1-7), a brief description of the righteous (26:8-9), and a lengthier description of the wicked (26:10-21). It is during this segment about the wicked's punishment that Isaiah inserts God's words of protection for those who are not wicked. Verses 26:19-21 clearly agree with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, that the dead in Christ will rise, then those who remain alive will join Jesus in the air. This verse adds a little more information, however. It tells us that we will hide in a room where we will wait for 'little moment (Greek defined as 'a very short space of time, instant 7281) until His wrath (fury in the Greek, defined as God's displeasure with sin 2195) passes by. This agrees with Jesus' statement in John 14:2 where He tells us that His Father's house has many rooms and He is coming to receive us to Him. This passage makes an overt distinction between those who leave the earth and those who do NOT! It also clearly states that those who leave the earth do so PRIOR to God's wrath. I'll leave it at that.
Sixteenth, Seven different times in scripture we find the phrase 'weeping and gnashing of teeth.' The definitions of these words from the original Greek are 'wailing and the grating of teeth in pain and rage (2805 and 1030 respectively). These seven passages are divided into two different categories: those which speak of a furnace of fire (Matthew 13:42 and 13:50) and those which do not (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28). These scriptures tell an amazing story and make very obvious the difference, not only between heaven and hell, but also the difference between those who trust Jesus for the pre-trib rapture and those who don't. An in depth look at these scriptures is supplied on this site at this link: http://www.madisonwilloughby.com/rapture-additional-scriptures.html Seventeenth,Hebrews 10:36-39 and 1 John 2:28 are placed together under one reason for the simple fact that they both reference 'drawing back' or feeling 'shamed' at the coming of Jesus. 1 John 2:28 tells us that anyone who feels shame when Jesus reveals Himself will immediately understand they failed to live in righteousness. Those who have confidence at Jesus' appearance are those who have abided in Him and lived righteously, so they have no reason to feel shame at His coming (being near 3952, NOT second coming). Part of that 'abiding' and 'righteousness' is to trust Jesus' promise to deliver us from the tribulation Luke 21:36 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10. In Hebrews 10:36-39 we learn that God is NOT pleased with anyone who 'draws back' from Him at His coming. Why would anyone 'draw back' from God? Verse 38 tells us; the just (innocent 1342) live by faith (reliance upon Christ for salvation 4102). So, it stands to reason that the unjust are NOT relying upon Christ for salvation. Please hear me: either you believe/trust Jesus to keep His promises or you don't. Salvation can be had when the church is raptured IF you trust Jesus to save you. If you do not trust Jesus to save you, and you are caught unwatchful and unprepared for His return your lack of faith will be made very evident very quickly and you will 'draw back' in shame at His appearance. One other very interesting thing about Hebrews 10:36-39 is this; people who trust Jesus to save them will NOT draw back to destruction (loss or ruin 684), but to the preservation of the soul (animal sentient principle only 5590). The Greek language has two words which are translated 'soul.' The 'animal sentient principle only' used in this verse is our 'body.' It is NOT the immortal soul which lives forever! This passage is saying that people who trust Jesus to save them will NOT suffer loss or ruin at the rapture, but their body will be preserved. This agrees with what Jesus says in Luke 17:37 where the word 'body' is defined as 'the body (as a sound whole 4983) is raptured. It also agrees with what we learn of the martyred souls in Revelation 6, Seal #5. The word 'souls' in this verse is the same word, with the same definition as the word 'soul' in Hebrews 10:36-39. This tells us that the 'souls' who have waited millennia for justice are still waiting in their 'animal sentient principles' NOT their 'immortal, eternal souls.' 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 tells us that our bodies will be changed from corruptible (perishable 5349) to incorruptible (unending existence/immortality 861) at the LAST (farthest/final 2078) trumpet. The seventh of seven trumpets (last trumpet) is described in Revelation 11:15 and it signals the second coming of Christ to earth to battle Satan and his armies. If we do NOT receive our new heavenly bodies until the second coming of Christ, and the preservation in this verse is for the animal sentient body, then this places the rapture pre-tribulation because our bodies have not yet been changed. We've already excluded the possibility of a mid and post-trib raptures in the First Reason at the top of this section. With mid and post-raptures eliminated, the only time remaining for the rapture is prior to the start of the tribulation.
Eighteenth, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 clearly states that the thief comes in the night, THEN destruction comes and the birth pains begin. In other words, the rapture takes place, destruction which is probably Seal Judgments #4 and #6, described in Revelation 6, then the birth pains of the tribulation begin. Birth pains start out slow and easy and get increasingly stronger and harder to ignore as time goes on. Doesn't this sound like the plagues described in Revelation, in the seal, bowl and trumpet judgments? The great thing is, Jesus comes to get the church BEFORE the birth pains begin, EVEN before the first destruction hits earth!
Nineteenth, Revelation 3:3 says, "...if, then, you do NOT watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not at all know what hour I come upon you." Those of you who hold to mid or post-tribulation doctrines are NOT watching for an imminent, unexpected return of Jesus. You are convinced you know when He's going to rapture the church. This verse, along with Luke 12:39-40 tells you that you do NOT know! Jesus says to be watchful and you are busy making excuses for NOT being watchful.
Twentieth, 1 Peter 4:17-19 is one short passage which proves a pre-trib rapture even without the solidarity of numerous other scriptures. It clearly states that God's judgment of mankind begins with the church which is separated, and the ungodly and sinners experience suffering according to God's will who is the author of salvation. The Interlinear Bible presents this verse quite differently than modern translations, and when you sub in the definitions from the original Greek, you learn there is much more to this verse than is seen with a cursory glance. You can read a detailed look at this amazing passage here at this link, after the analysis of the Weeping and Gnashing scriptures, toward the bottom of the page: http://www.madisonwilloughby.com/rapture-additional-scriptures.html
Twenty-first,Luke 24:50-51: “And He led them out as far as to Bethany. And lifting up His hands, He blessed them. And it happened as He BLESSED them, He withdrew from them, and was carried into heaven.” Acts 1:9 “And saying these things, as they looked on, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him from their eyes.” So, Jesus blessed His disciples and left peacefully into the clouds. Acts 1:11 “...This Jesus, the One being taken from you into Heaven, will COME in the way you saw Him going into Heaven.” So, Jesus will arrive PEACEFULLY in the clouds and there will be a BLESSING involved because that's what happened when He left at His ascension. At Christ's second coming, when He comes to make war with Satan and establish His kingdom, He will arrive in battle mode with the armies of heaven behind Him. He comes to wage war and levy judgment against the wicked. There will be nothing peaceful about His arrival, nothing peaceful about a river of blood 200 miles long, and there will be NO blessing to be found for those outside His will. Revelation 3:3 "Then remember how you received and heard, and keep, and repent. If, then, you do NOT watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will NOT at all know what hour I come upon you. (reference 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, Matthew 24:50/Luke 12:40). Revelation 3:10 "Because you kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you OUT of the hour of TRIAL which is going to come on all the habitable world in order to try those dwelling on the earth. This is Jesus, not only saying, one more time, that He will protect us from the tribulation, but that He will come peacefully on the clouds with a blessing for us. What could be a bigger blessing than the rapture of the church PRIOR to the start of the tribulation? This is the reason the rapture is called the “Blessed Hope.” Titus 2:13 In the interest of full disclosure, I want to state that reason #21 is the only thing on this website which did not originate out of my own personal study time.I obtained this twenty-first reason from a sermon I watched about the rapture. I wanted to post it, not only because it contextually relevant, because it is a perfect example of ‘rightly dividing’ scripture, defined by the Greek as “correctly dissecting the message of truth” 3718. The sermon was given by Dr. Bennett. I found the video on youtube.
Twenty-second, John 6:39: “And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me, I shall not lose any of it, but shall raise it up in the last day.” What has been given to Christ? It is the church! John 10:29 and 17:2 tell us that God has given the church to Christ. The LAST day for the church is the rapture and that it will be RAISED UP is the RAPTURE!
John 6:40: “And this is the will of the One who sent Me, that everyone seeing the Son, and believing into Him should have everlasting life; and I will raise Him up at the last day.” When will EVERYONE see the Son? Luke 21:27: “And they will see the Son of Man coming on the cloud with power and much glory.” Those believing in Jesus will be RAISED UP on the last day when they see Him arriving in the clouds at the SECOND COMING!
In these two verses it is obvious that Jesus is referencing two different events, back to back, next to each other for clarity, one for the church and one for those left alive at the second coming. Each of these events has a last day.
Twenty-third, I came across another rapture passage in the book of Revelation. It's located in Rev. 14:14-16, and it describes Jesus' coming to earth as solitary, peaceful and on a cloud, like Luke 24:50-53/Acts 1:9 &11 describes it. This stands in direct opposition to the description given of His second coming in Revelation 19:11-21 and Zechariah 14 where Jesus is accompanied by ALL the saints and the armies of heaven, with a giant sword swinging from His mouth with which to smite the nations. There are clearly two events in play. To dismiss either of them, or to bundle them into one event is to twist scripture, leading one away from the truth Jesus has for us.
Twenty-fourth, Zephaniah 2:3 "Seek Jehovah, all the meek of the earth who have done His justice; seek righteousness; seek meekness. It may be you shall be hidden in the day of the anger of Jehovah." This Old Testament scripture meshes seamlessly with Jesus' warning in Luke 21:36 'begging that you be counted worthy to escape ALL these things which are about to happen," and it agrees with Jesus' statement in John 14:2 where He tells us that His Father's house has many rooms and He is coming to receive us to Him, that we will have a place in which to hide.
Twenty-fifth, I want to mention here that the book of Revelation deals with the events of the Tribulation and the Second Coming. The first three chapters of Revelation are the warnings to the seven churches with which Jesus finds fault. Chapters four and five are full of praise for God and Jesus. In chapter six, the description of the events of the tribulation begin. At no point from chapter six on, is the church (the called out ones, ekklesia 1577) mentioned except in Revelation 22:16 where Jesus speaks briefly to the churches, spoken of in chapters one through three, in a reminder of His second coming. Nowhere in Revelation is the church mentioned during any of the events describing the tribulation. The word 'saint' is used 13 times in Revelation, and it is defined as '(an awful thing); sacred, physically pure, morally blameless or religiously consecrated: most holy one 40." Why is being a saint an awful thing? Because it's preventable! It's an awful thing, God's words, not mine, that people become saints during this horrific time. The saints who are martyred during the tribulation are talked about, but these souls aren't part of the church because the 'called out ones' left in the rapture. These saints are martyrs because they didn't leave with the church when the church age ended. The Bride, as the wife of the Lamb, is mentioned but it refers to the New Jerusalem, NOT the 'called out ones.' So, why is the church, as we know it today, not mentioned in the events which unfold as part of the tribulation and second coming? Because the church, as we know it, will have ended. Those who leave in the rapture, those protected by their trust in Jesus to save them, are now known as the Bride of Christ because they are wed to Him at the wedding supper in Revelation 19:9. The church no longer exists and this is the reason it is NOT mentioned in any of the events which unfolds in Revelation 4 through 22. If the church were present during the events described in these eighteen chapters, how is it that it isn't mentioned? These events of the tribulation are described in great detail, and any description of Satan's vengeance against the saved of God would certainly include the church, so there's no way that the church is present for these atrocities. That the church is NOT mentioned is additional evidence that the rapture happens pre-tribulation, the 'called out ones' being removed, at the start of the seven years as described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and Daniel 9:27 indicate.
Twenty-sixth, This is just a bit of common sense, but why do you suppose that Jesus tells us over and over to be watchful and prepared for an event of which no one knows the day or hour, when He could have just given us the date of rapture? A date given by Jesus would have solved so many problems. It would have spared much of the division which exists within the body over this very issue. Believes would have had one less thing to fight about. That makes sense for a Savior who said He wants His body unified, right? This is one of neat things which ties the Old Testament with the New Testament. There are some 350 prophecies in the Old Testament which told the Israelites that their Messiah was coming, but they got caught up in the rules they had for everyday living, the Mosaic Law, and they missed their Messiah. They weren't watchful, nor were they prepared. They were complacent, busy, content, apathetic, lazy, rebellious, legalistic and negligent toward understanding the spirit of the law (2 Corinthians 3:1-18), understanding what God wanted from them. Here we are today, thousands of years later, and we are complacent, busy, content, apathetic, lazy, rebellious, legalistic and negligent toward understanding what it is that God wants from us. If we fail to do better than the Israelites, we too will miss the coming of our Messiah! With ALL these incredible warnings and reasons to trust Jesus, it is truly 'an awful thing' if we miss Him and remain on earth for the tribulation! BELIEVE EXPECTANTLY and get 'caught up' with Jesus when He comes for the church! Tell others about this blessed hope that we have so that they, too, can leave with Jesus and be spared the tribulation! The current political, social, and economic climates are ripe with witnessing opportunities! If we neglect the much we've been given, refusing to share it with others, it will cost them as well as ourselves! Knowing when the rapture would take place would only add to our apathy and neglect. If we are aware of only the season of the rapture, then we know to be on our toes, working as Jesus tells. The secrecy of the date does far more to protect our participation in the rapture than the knowledge of it ever could. Think about it, the mid and post-tribbers are not watchful. They've become convinced that they will enter the tribulation and there's nothing to be done about it. Enough said.
Warnings: Among the many warnings given in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, I want to make note of one of them and two others in additional passages of scripture. First, in Matthew 24:48-51 and Luke 12:45-46 (from a larger passage which speaks to watchfulness for the return of the Master), Jesus warns that the "wicked servant/slave who says in His heart that the Lord delays to come, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with drunkards that the Lord of that wicked servant/slave will come in a day in which He is NOT expected and will cut the wicked servant/slave into pieces and will appoint his portion with the hypocrites/unbelievers and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. only). This brutal warning is to Christian people who fail to prepare for the unknown hour in which Jesus will return! This is NOT talking to people who never professed faith in Jesus! Luke says the servant who fails to prepare will "be beaten with many stripes! He also states that to "whom much is given, much will be demanded and to whom much was deposited, more exceedingly will they ask." As explained in this paper, Jesus is clearly coming in a day and hour unknown to anyone on the earth. He wants us watchful and prepared, doing the good works of His kingdom. I believe, among other things certainly, that the good works includes EVANGELISM! God has given us, deposited much within us, and He's commanding us to be busy looking out for the lost, telling them of Jesus' love and sacrifice! If we fail to do so, telling ourselves that He's not in any hurry, we become the wicked servants/slaves who will be treated as unbelievers! Second, here's another passage I take as a warning: In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 we learn that the Day of the Lord will not come unless there is first a "falling away and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." We know from Daniel 9:26-27 that this man of sin is the one who confirms the covenant with Israel which lasts 7 years, the period of time known as the Tribulation. This verse clearly teaches that a 'falling away' of believers will happen PRIOR to the identity of this man being revealed. So, for some reason, many many people of faith will 'fall away' from Jesus, then this man of sin will step forth to confirm a covenant with Israel. What could possibly make many many people of faith walk away from Jesus all at one time in an event known as 'the falling away'? What will become of those Believers who were unprepared for the rapture, the wicked servants/slaves who told themselves the Master was delaying His return. If, when the rapture happens, these Believers don't get to leave with Jesus because of their rebellious stubborn hearts, won't many of them turn their backs on Jesus because they will feel betrayed? Of course they will. This is the 'falling away' of which this scripture speaks. Matthew 24:12 states that the 'love of many will grow cold.' Make note, that it happens PRIOR to the man of sin revealing his identity, before the 7 year Tribulation begins, which means the rapture happens PRE-Trib! Third, please also consider this: John 3:36 "The one believing (to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ 4100) into the Son has everlasting life; but the one disobeying (disbelieve (willfully and perversely) 544) the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on Him." The definition of the word 'perverse' is a deliberate or obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often in spite of the consequences (online dictionary). John 3:36 is from a short passage of scripture which speaks to the authority and supremacy of Christ. This passage tells us what Jesus has seen and heard He testifies because God sent Him to speak the words of God. When Jesus says that the wrath of God remains upon the disobedient, His words are in present tense. Do they reference the second coming? You bet they do. Do His words about remaining in God’s wrath reference the tribulation? Of course, they do. Revelation 6:16 refers to the tribulation as the wrath of God. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 also designate the tribulation as the ‘wrath of God.’ This is the very reason this scripture is placed within a passage which speaks of Jesus’ supremacy and authority, as opposed to being placed within a passage which speaks to one end time event or the other. There is no reason this scripture can’t speak to both hell and the tribulation because the word ‘wrath’ in all of these tribulation verses is the same word. If you handle the word of God with integrity, you don’t get to pick and choose which verses you like. I am NOT saying that believing in a pre-trib rapture is necessary for salvation. I am NOT saying that failure to believe in a pre-trib rapture means you go to hell. I AM saying, through the sum total of this section about Warnings, that WILLFULLY disbelieving Jesus' words regarding the rapture will leave you on earth to face God's wrath along with Israel. Please take note that one's salvation will be much harder to cling to during this horrific period of time. To willfully disbelieve Jesus’ promise to deliver the church from the tribulation means one will remain behind for God’s wrath. This is a CHOICE made by each Believer who doubts Jesus’ words (John 14:1) to deliver (rescue 4506 1 Thess. 1:10) us. If you choose to doubt Jesus’ authority and His promise, fine. You’ve worked out your own salvation (Philippians 2:12) so that you will be present for the tribulation, and if you are okay with that, then Great! What is NOT fine is that you get others to doubt Jesus as you do. What is NOT fine is that you attack their faith, robbing them of their blessed hope by teaching a false doctrine. It is NOT fine that you encourage them to willfully disbelieve EVERYTHING the Bible teaches about the rapture, to limit themselves to the same verses you prefer. What is NOT fine is that you encourage them to dismiss scriptures you don’t like and to muddle together the verses of which you approve, piling them into one giant heap of scripture from which truth cannot be gleaned because they are NOT rightly divided. 2 Timothy 2:15.
I will stand in the gap, doing my best to mitigate the damage done by people who have their heart set on being present for the tribulation, those who lack the faith to trust Jesus to save them. If my efforts allow only one additional person to secure their salvation at the rapture, thereby avoiding the horrors of the tribulation, then I’ve done my best for Jesus. That is all He asks.
When is it ever wrong to trust Jesus? When is it ever right to doubt Him?
Final Note on Pre-Trib Rapture:If you can't trust Jesus' promise to deliver Believers from the wrath intended for Israel, how can you trust Jesus to deliver you from the eternal wrath God has planned for unbelievers? The rapture is a trial run, people! Either you believe or you don't. As for me, I will err on the side of trusting too much and obeying too earnestly before I will be found among the unprepared, the unwatchful wicked servants Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24:48-51 and Luke 12:45-46. Best to heed Jesus' warnings, be watchful and prepared, or you will be left to experience the tribulation during which your faith could fall away or allow your love of Jesus to grow cold.
I've gone to great trouble to do the leg work for all Believers. I've scoured the ENTIRE Bible, both old and new testaments, letting scripture interpret scripture, using these scriptures in proper context, rightly dividing them according to the descriptions they give of themselves. A Pre-Tribulation rapture is the blessed hope we are called to be excited about! There is NO reason for division among the followers of Jesus. He calls us to love each other, comfort each other and reach the lost for the kingdom. There's no reason this study can't be, or shouldn't be, used when speaking to others about Jesus so that they, too, might be spared the horrors 'to come. WE are running out of time, people!! We can use this study as a witnessing tool to reach others, saving them for the kingdom! If we are disobedient with regards to this blessed hope, how does that disobedience differ from any other disobedience to scripture?We can’t be slack about this because we consider it non-essential to salvation! It could very well mean salvation to someone else!1 Thessalonians 1:10 defined those who are delivered from the 'wrath to come' as those who serve the true and living God! Serving God is the very reason Enoch was changed without death. Let's be about serving the true and living God, so we can be drawn unto Christ and rescued from the punishment which will befall those who serve idols!
Common Refutations of Rapture:
1. Many people believe that the rapture doctrine is new. The rapture doctrine has been in the Bible the entire time. It's scriptures are inspired by God just the same as all the scriptures you like. In fact, not only does the Bible teach the imminence of the rapture (Matthew 24:36,42,44,50 and 25:13, 1-12, and 14-30, and Mark 13:32,33, 35, scripture clearly teaches us that NO ONE knows the day OR hour of the rapture, hence the imminence, as well as, James 5:7-8 and Luke 21:36), but those who studied under the Apostles, men like Ignatius, Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Ephraim of Syria, Cyprian and Victorinus, all believed, taught and wrote what they'd learned from the Apostles regarding the imminency of the rapture. Two notable literary efforts, the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas, both taught the imminency of the rapture and that it would allow those of faith to escape the tribulation. The pre-trib rapture was taught for the first several hundred years of church history. It did not fall out of favor until Tyconius and Augustine introduced their heresies and passed them off as truth to those who wanted their itching ears tickled. After all, if all these signs were going to happen before the rapture, then we don't need to walk around in such a state of frenzied expectancy, do we? Remember what I said about being lazy, complacent and neglectful of God's truth? Well, here you go. Unfortunately, the pre-trib rapture was kept on the back burner for centuries. That fact does not negate its origin in the heart of God or the truth of scripture. The pre-trib rapture doctrine is as old as the Bible itself. You needn't take my word for it. All of this can be googled and researched. Go for it.
2. Many people believe that we must suffer horrific deaths because the disciples/Apostles incurred horrific deaths. The disciples were chosen by God for a specific purpose at a specific time. Jesus Himself told them they would suffer for His names sake (some thirty scriptures in the NT.). Jesus told His disciples that during the tribulation the Jews would be hated and killed because of His name. And we know that anyone who refuses the mark of the beast will be killed. That being said, the suffering of the Jews and the martyrs of the tribulation are those about whom the tribulation scriptures speak, NOT the church or the rapture scriptures. The CHURCH is CALLED to trust Jesus' promise to deliver and protect it from this time in history. To equate that we must die horrific deaths because the Apostles did is to handle scripture in an egregiously dishonest manner. It speaks of a works based salvation (like that's even possible), AND it also robs you of the comfort, hope and building up that the rapture is intended to provide. 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5. Additionally, Jesus said this in Revelation 3:10: He "will keep(to guard from loss or injury 5083)those who kept the word of My patience (endurance 5281. Romans 5/Hebrews 12:1-3, 10:36, James 5:10-11 are scriptures which call the church to endure), I also will keep you out of the hour (day, hour, instant, season,X short, [even-] tide, (high) time 5610) of trial (a putting to PROOF by experiment of good, experience of evil, discipline; by implication adversity;-temptation) which is going to come on all the habitable world in order to try those dwelling on the earth'. What Jesus is saying here is that those who trust Him to protect them, those who endure as the church has endured, have NOTHING to PROVE! There is NO reason for the church to endure the trial of discipline which is coming upon the earth. Because the church has endured, it has already shown itself unashamed before God (2 Timothy 2:15).
3. I constantly get told that the tribulation is not the same thing as God's wrath, as if I'm unaware of this fact. They, indeed are not the same thing. God's wrath is His fury poured out on apostate Israel and non-believers. Satan's wrath is poured out on Christians during the tribulation. Here are three reasons why the difference doesn't matter: FIRST, 1 Thessalonians 5:9: “because God has NOT appointed us to wrath (desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind, violent passion; by implication PUNISHMENT 3709), but for obtaining salvation (rescue or safety, DELIVER 4991) through our Lord Jesus Christ.” AND1 Thessalonians 1:10: “… and eagerly to await His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, the One DELIVERING (to rush or draw for oneself; rescue 4506) us from the wrath (desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind, violent passion; by implication PUNISHMENT 3709) to come. The word 'wrath' is the same in both verses. It is not a matter of one of them referencing God's wrath while the other speaks of Satan's wrath. BOTH verses speak of God's wrath. If Believers are exempt from God's wrath, as post-tribbers believe, then why does Jesus make the promise to deliver Believers from something which can't harm them? It's ridiculous for Jesus to say that He'll rescue someone who doesn't need rescuing, isn't it? SECOND, Jesus promises to deliver those who trust Him from both the Tribulation and the wrath of God. In Luke 21 Jesus describes the events which precede His SECOND COMING, the events of the TRIBULATION, of Satan's WRATH against Believers. In verse 36, He tells His disciples to 'be watchful at every time, begging (as binding oneself, petition 1189) that they be counted worthy(to deem entirely deserving 2661) to escape (flee out 1628) ALL (any, every, the whole, all manner of, whatsoever 3956) THESE THINGS which are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man." This is Jesus, Himself, telling us that those who trust Him have an escape for the wrath of Satan which will be unleashed on Believers during the Tribulation! If Jesus made the same distinction between God's wrath and Satan's wrath that post-tribbers do, then why did He say ALL things? He'd have said 'some things' wouldn't He? The answer is obvious. Jesus didn't make that distinction. He said "ALL these things" because He meant "ALL these things." Let's not forget, however, that Jesus ALSO promises to deliver us from God's wrath in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 is also relevant to the rapture of the church "... and how you had turned to God from the idols, to serve the true and living God, and eagerly to await His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, the One DELIVERING ( to rush or draw for oneself i.e. rescue 4506) us from the WRATH (a reaching forth or excitement of the mind, violent passion (ire, or justifiable abhorrence) by implication punishment: vengeance 3709) to come." I'm aware this verse is a repeat from point number two, but post-tribbers are stubborn and require much convincing. Applying the verse from this perspective, that Jesus has both the tribulation AND the wrath of God covered, might convince some of them where point number two failed to do so. Third, of ALL the plagues described in the book of Revelation, there are ONLY two from which the saints will be exempt. The loathsome stinking sores infecting those who take the mark of the Beast, and the plague of locusts. This means that every Believer alive at any point during the tribulation will be subject to the wrath God pours out on Israel and the wicked. Trust Jesus to keep His promise to deliver you from the horrors of this time!
4. I get told all the time that there is nothing in scripture which speaks to the 'imminence' of the rapture, that nothing speaks of it as a soon anticipated event. I simply shake my head and marvel at such people. First, Jesus, Himself taught of the imminence of the rapture. In Luke 17:20, He tells us it will happen without any visible signs (ocular evidence (3907)). He wanted us to know it would happen without warning. That there are NO visible signs, that it can happen at any moment, is the reason we must be ever watchful and prepared, never letting down our guard. This is the literal definition of imminence (likely to occur at any moment). Second, In Matthew 24:36-25:30, Jesus gives parable after parable which teaches about being watchful and prepared for the event of which 'NO man knows the day or hour.' Mark 13:33-37 gives three separate warnings for watchfulness. Luke 12:25-59 also gives examples of SERVANTS who are watchful and those who aren't. At one point, Jesus fusses at the crowds for being able to discern impending weather, but unable to discern the imminence of His coming. These are massive passages which speak to the imminence of the rapture, that it is NOT some distant event whose date can be calculated or foreseen. This is Jesus talking, telling people, ANYONE who will LISTEN, that His arrival for the church is imminent! People who hold to a mid or post trib rapture doctrine dismiss Jesus' warnings, counting upon the occurrence of tribulation events to mark the passage of time which will bring the rapture AFTER visible signs. When Jesus says there will be no signs, and it will happen at any moment, He means that there are NO signs and it will happen at any moment! His words don't mean watch for the signs of the tribulation, so you'll know when He's ready to show up. Third, James 5:8 tells us that the 'coming of the Lord has drawn near.' "Drawn near' is one word in the Greek and it is defined as 'approach, to be at hand.' If something is 'at hand' it is imminent, isn't it? Verse 9: 'Behold the Judge stands at the door.' 1 Peter 4:17-19 tells us that God's judgment of mankind begins with the church. So, if the Judge is standing at the door, He's ready to make His arrival known, and begin His judgment. Fourth, in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, Paul uses the pronoun 'we' two different times when referencing the rapture. Paul included HIMSELF in those who were expecting Jesus' imminent return! What's more, this use of 'we' happens in the very passage in which Paul speaks of the rapture of the church! Paul was convinced the rapture would happen at any moment and he instructed those in his letter to comfort and build up one another with reminders about this wonderful event (1 Th. 4:18 and 5:11). If Paul included himself, how much closer is the rapture to those of us who live 2,000 years later? Who are we to discount or dismiss such warnings for watchfulness or exhortation for comfort? Fifth, in Luke 21:36, Jesus, after having given a lengthy list of tribulation atrocities in verses 7-26, tells us to 'be WATCHFUL at EVERY time, begging to be counted worthy to escape all these things which are ABOUT TO HAPPEN, and to stand before the Son of man." This is Jesus stating that the events of the tribulation are 'about to happen.' Jesus has the inside scoop, doesn't He? If He says these things are 'about to happen,' then they are imminent! Imminence saturates the rapture doctrine presented in the Bible. Anyone who ignores it does so at their own peril because to dismiss it is to be UNwatchful and UNprepared like the wicked servants of which Jesus warned. It means you trust your knowledge of its timing instead of trusting Jesus' promise to deliver you! Sixth, Jesus promises the imminence of the rapture personally in Revelation 22: 7, 10, 12, and 20. This is Jesus, the One with inside knowledge, telling us that He is coming at any time! Seventh, Jesus speaks of the imminence of His arrival in Luke 12:35-59. It's all He talks about and this gospel was written to GENTILES!! This is Jesus' promise to us: “the Lord of that slave will come in a day in which he does not expect, and in an hour which he does not know.” Matthew 24:50/Luke 12:40. ANYONE who denies the imminence of the rapture truly misrepresents the word of God, not only to themselves, but everyone they teach.
5. Why do Americans get off so easy? I get so tired of being asked the question of 'will I lay down my life for Jesus?" It's as if I would fail to do so simply because post tribbers label me an escapist or coward. They don't seem to grasp how ridiculous that sounds. I've been sold out for Jesus longer than most of them have been alive. Trust me when I tell you than nothing is more important to me than Jesus Jesus has promised to deliver anyone alive at the time of the rapture, those who trusts Him to keep His word. Pre tribbers don't hedge their bets, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. How exactly do you prepare for the tribulation, anyway? How does one prepare for solar flares that sear the skin, one ton hail stones and wild beasts who help kill one fourth of everything on earth? Believers are NOT exempt to these events! It takes far more faith to trust Jesus to keep His promise, made time and again in scripture, than it does to resign one's self to hunker down and try to get through the tribulation, proving yourself to Jesus.
I had a person ask me: "We have brothers and sisters in Christ (in other countries) who are being severely persecuted right now. Why weren’t they promised an escape? Do you think that because we’re in America (one of the most sinful countries), that we will be spared? Aren’t our brothers and sisters in other countries part of the same church too?" First, that we live in America which was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, is the very reason that we have avoided persecution/execution for our faith as long as we have. Is America wicked? Absolutely, but it has not always been so and we are the beneficiaries of that Godly legacy. America is not nearly as wicked as the countries who have executed its citizens for their faith for centuries, even millennia, now is it? If it were as wicked, persecution/execution would have hit America's shores long long ago. Second, this question completely devalues the faith of hundreds of millions of people who have died and gone home to be with Jesus without persecution or death on behalf of Christ. What? Their lives of faith, the faith they had in Jesus to save them from hell doesn't count because they had it easy as you see it? That's nonsense. Third, there is no point in time at which there will NOT be Believers who remain alive. This is true even of the post trib position. How do I know? Daniel 12:12-13: "Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1,335 days. 13. But you go on to the end; for you shall rest and stand in your lot at the end of days." AND Matthew 24:22: "And except those days are shortened, not any flesh would be saved-but on account of the elect, those days will be shortened." As you can clearly see, there will be Christian people who survive the atrocities that God has planned for Israel (Jeremiah 30:7) and UNbelievers (Rev 3:10). Now, according to her doctrine, those who survive the rapture don't deserve heaven because they didn't DIE for Jesus. I mean, if they didn't give their life for the Gospel, then their faith is insufficient, correct? Do you see how ridiculous that argument is? God does not have the rapture placed in such a way that His people must 'prove' themselves. 2 Peter 2:9 tells us the Lord knows “how to deliver (draw for oneself 4506) the godly out of temptation (putting to proof or discipline 3986) and to keep (detain in custody 5083) the unjust (wicked, treacherous, heathen 94) for a day of judgment, being punished…” See, the definitions of the Greek clearly state that the Godly are removed out of temptation 'putting to proof or discipline.' What is the temptation during the tribulation? The temptation is to give up on one's faith. Jesus promises to protect us from that temptation. It's right here in this scripture and dozens of others. Fourth, that there are currently people dying around the world for their faith in Jesus means that this generation did NOT skate with regards to persecution/execution for Jesus! What, that the number of this generation who has already sacrificed their lives is a number insufficient, so more believer must die? That's nuts! I find no scripture in the entire Bible which states that the church will be present for the tribulation or that ALL Believers must die for Christ. Why is that? For such scriptures to exist means that the Bible contradicts itself. Such scriptures would stand in direct opposition to every other scripture/passage on this page and those spoken of on the page titled Rapture: Additional Scriptures. The Bible cannot contradict itself because God is truth. He cannot violate His intrinsic nature!
I told this person they need to stop allowing current events, and an incomplete understanding of scripture, to determine their doctrine. God will not act in a way that necessarily makes sense to people, especially when they aren't using ALL the scriptures He's provided. God WILL act according to His word, His inherent truth and honesty. Jesus WILL act according to His Word, (John 14:1). Jesus personally teaches the bulk of the rapture doctrine. Post tribbers dismiss huge amounts of scripture, OR blend them all together with the second coming scriptures, making no distinction between the two events. Instead, they place their faith in their ability put the rapture where they think it should be. Proverbs 14:12. This is the very kind of fruit Jesus warns against in Matthew 24:36-25:30. Luke 21:40 and Matthew 24:44 both tell us that Jesus says He will come at a time when the wicked servants tell themselves He won't come. You are convinced Jesus will come at the end of the tribulation. These two scriptures overtly state that will not happen! Finally, I asked this person the doctrinally specific question they asked me: when you watch Jesus leave with the church and come to realize that you aren't being permitted to leave, will you humble yourself before God and ask for forgiveness, begging Him to get you through the horrors ahead, OR will you blame Him for your unwillingness to believe His promises, wailing and gritting your teeth in pain and rage, walking away from your faith and your salvation? Something to think about.
Please listen to Jesus' words!
The Second Coming of Christ:
Jesus' first coming as a child/Redeemer certainly involved His walking upon the earth. His second coming, as described in Zechariah 14, Ezekiel 38 and 39 and Revelation 19:11-21, also involves His walking upon the earth. Jesus returns to earth with the saved (morally sacred 6918 in Strong's) (Jude 14-15), His feet LITERALLY touch the Mount of Olives, and He battles Satan, the false prophet and the beast, along with the earthly kings and armies they have amassed. Jesus annihilates everyone who does not belong to Him. The birds feed on the flesh of dead people and horses. The false prophet and the beast are thrown into the Lake of Fire, and Satan is bound for the length of the millennial kingdom (Rev 20:2), in which the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:17/Revelation 19:14) and those beheaded during the Tribulation (Rev 20:4) will reign with Jesus. Jesus brings the Redeemed back with Him to the final battle (Revelation 19:14) for two reasons. One, once the church is raptured, we are promised that we will be with Jesus forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17), so for this to be accurate, when Jesus returns, we must come with Him. Two, and this is my opinion only because I have no scripture to support it, I think we come with Him so we can witness His validation of the faith we placed in Him as Savior. We will see for ourselves the horror we were spared when we trusted Jesus to save us. The scriptures which speak of the Second Coming are: Matthew 24:3-33; Mark 13:3-29; Luke 17:22-24 and 21:5-33; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24, 15:51-52 (second coming and NOT rapture because of the 'last trumpet' which Rev. 11:15 speaks of. We will get our new bodies in the twinkling of an eye at the ‘gathering’ (complete collection 1997) of believers as described in 2 Thessalonians 2:1), 2 Thessalonians 1:6-2:12; Ezekiel 38 and 39, Zephaniah 1:14-18; Zechariah 12-14:1-15; 1 John 3:2-3 AND Colossians 3:4 (revealed in these scriptures means 'manifestly declared,' not to take the cover off/disclose as used in scriptures which speak of the rapture), Jude 14-15, Revelation 1:7-8, 11:15-18 and 19:11-21, and 2 Peter 3:10-13. Honestly, there may be others I have yet to find. Nowhere in scripture are we told that no one knows the day or hour of the second coming, only that it will come as a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10). With regards to Christ’s return to earth, to battle the forces of evil, we are always given a lengthy list of events which clearly mark the passage of time, and when these events happen ‘they will see the Son of Man coming... stand up and lift up our heads because our redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28) The sections of scripture cited in this paper clearly describe two different events. The scriptures regarding the rapture tell us the Son of Man will be revealed or disclosed in Luke 17:30. Since this is stated within the context of Jesus bringing His believers alongside Him where the birds convene, it’s understood that Jesus is revealed to ONLY the redeemed. The rest of the world will only know that something catastrophic has happened, but most will not know it was Jesus who took the church to be with Him. Only those “Believers” who gave lip service to a life of faith will understand what’s happened. Since it is God’s desire that none perish (2 Peter 3:9), it will be His will that those who failed to make the rapture will go and witness to others who remain upon the earth. These will be the saints who must endure until the end if they want salvation (Matthew 24:13). When we are caught up to be with Jesus, He will reveal Himself to us so that we will understand what's happening. There will be no confusion, no fear, no misunderstanding. Instantly, the peace we all long for will be upon us, a permanent fixture in our eternal lives. Additionally, the rapture can happen at any time as there are no stated events which must come to pass prior to its occurrence (Titus 2:13/1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 5:1-3/Revelation 3:3 ). No man knows the day or hour and Jesus will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). This is the reason Jesus taught the parable of the fig tree, that the only warning we’ll have is the season during which the rapture will take place. We are in the season, and this is the reason I wrote this paper, to behave in accordance with God’s directive in Titus 2:15.
Scriptural grounds for belief in a pre-tribulation rapture should have Christians jumping for joy, chomping at the bit to tell others about Jesus so that they can also leave with the church in the rapture. We should be encouraging each other, saturating each other’s hearts with the truth of the blessed hope/fortunate expectation!
At the second coming, Jesus is revealed to the ENTIRE earth. This will be an event missed by NO ONE on the planet (Matthew 24:27, 30-31/Luke 17:24/Jude 14-15/Revelation 1:7), but it will not happen until certain prophesied events come to pass (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12/Matthew 24:15-30/Mark 13:3-27/Luke 17:24-25 and Luke 21:7-33).
Why do I Believe My Position is Correct? Of all the people I've talked with who are so sure of the accuracy of their position, they all have one thing in common: they base their entire rapture doctrine on a verse or two OR they largely skip the Bible altogether and find their doctrine in extra-Biblical writings and the opinions of other people. I'm convinced my position is accurate for two simple reasons. First, my rapture doctrine is based upon, literally, dozens of scriptures from BOTH testaments which are contextually applied. When a prosecuting attorney tries someone for murder and has 20 different pieces of evidence to present, does he go into court against the defense attorney, in front of a jury, and present only two or three pieces of evidence? No. Why not? He knows the more evidence he presents, supporting the guilt of the defendant, the tighter his case is, and the less likelihood a mistake has been made. When you count the scriptures on the Additional pages, as well as those presented here, I have many dozen scriptures which all say the same thing. The likelihood that I, and other pre-tribbers, are incorrect is very very unlikely. That being said, many will hold to their own positions, refusing to yield to scripture. Second, the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine encourages, yea, even calls for one to trust in Jesus, just as the scriptures themselves do. When does one EVER go wrong while trusting Jesus? As explained in this paper, it is when one FAILS to trust Jesus that one inevitably misses the mark. This mark is far too important to risk missing.
You should get an interlinear Bible and study for yourself. You could very possibly come to a different understanding than what I've presented here. There are many many Christians who agree with me, but there also many who don't.
Thanks, Dennis Gries, for the pic! God used you in a mighty way!