THE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH!
I ask that you read all the views of the the different theories and if you can add or prove any one that you do so with the Scripture basic behind them. But read it slow and check it our carefully before you just go to your favorite theory.
An exciting event that is going to take place in the future is the RAPTURE. The Bible says:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17)
There has been constant debate and controversy about when the Rapture takes place. There are many theories - Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Post-Tribulation, Partial Rapture, and Pre-Wrath Raptures of the Church. There are probably many more which stem from these theories but these five are the basic views. I hold the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view and I do so without reservation. Before I defend my convictions, let us define and examine all five views concisely.
Pre Tribulation Rapture = The Rapture will occur before the seven year tribulation
Mid Tribulation Rapture = The Rapture will occur midway into the seven year tribulation (after 3½ years) before the GREAT TRIBULATION
Pre Wrath Rapture = The Rapture will occur midway into the GREAT TRIBULATION and before the Day of God's Wrath and the Battle of Armageddon
Post Tribulation Rapture = The Rapture will occur after the seven year tribulation
Partial Rapture = The Rapture will occur before the seven year tribulation for those that are ready. Others will be tested to verify their faith and there will be multiple raptures throughout the Tribulation
The Bible says:
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH. (2 Timothy 2:15)
The Bible calls for us to RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD meaning to put all the events dealing with the second coming of Christ and put them in the best order as presented by the scriptures (Biblical Analysis) and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. Some people say that the RAPTURE and the GLORIOUS APPEARING are the same event or occur at around the same time. Their logic is how can there be a second coming of Christ with two phases. They say one coming with two phases separated by seven years is more like two comings (Rapture and Glorious Appearing) but that is wrong. There is ONE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST with TWO PHASES. Other people find that contradictory. But there are several problems with these two events (or phases) being the same event occurring at the same time since there are many differences with these two events. Here is a chart contrasting the RAPTURE with the GLORIOUS APPEARING:
THE RAPTURE THE GLORIOUS APPEARING
1. Christ comes in air for His own 1. Christ comes to earth with His own
2. Rapture of all Christians 2. No one raptured
3. Christians taken to Father's House 3. Resurrected saints don't see Father's House
4. No Judgment on earth at Rapture 4. Christ judges earth's inhabitants
5. Church taken to Heaven at Rapture 5. Christ sets up His kingdom on earth
6. Rapture imminent (any moment without knowledge of its time) 6. Glorious Appearing cannot occur for at least seven years
7. No signs for Rapture 7. Many signs for Christ's physical coming
8. For believers only 8. Affects all humanity
9. Time of joy 9. Time of sorrow
10. Before the 7 year Tribulation 10. Immediately after the Tribulation
11. No mention of Satan 11. Satan bound in Abyss for 1000 years
12. Only His own will see Him 12. Every eye will see Him
13. The Judgment Seat of Christ 13. No time or place for Judgment Seat
14. Tribulation begins 14. Millennial kingdom of Christ begins
15. Marriage of Lamb 15. His bride descends with Him
We can see that these are two separate events under one SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. In Christ's first coming it was the reverse. He came down to be conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb and then thirty-three years later he ascended (or Raptured/Translated) to Heaven. Here are two events under one FIRST COMING OF CHRIST. Scripture confirms scripture. Here are some proofs for a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE:
EVIDENCE #1 - IMMINENCE OF THE RAPTURE
The timing of the Rapture is unknown. Paul writes in his letter to the Thessalonian church:
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-6)
In the previous chapter, Paul was comforting those in the Thessalonian church who feared that those who are dead in Christ will not get raptured (I THESSALONIANS 4:13-15). But Paul said that they will be resurrected (1 THESSALONIANS 4:16) and will precede those who are alive in Christ. Finally those who are alive in Christ will be "CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 THESSALONIANS 4:17)" So we can deduce from 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-2 that Paul is talking about the Rapture. So the Rapture CAN HAPPEN AT ANY MOMENT. Jesus WILL COME LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. Jesus himself said, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (MATTHEW 24:42)" Jesus also said that no one knows the day or the hour of the Lord's coming. No man, no angel and not even the Son, Jesus Christ knows but only the Father (MARK 13:32). Paul in 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1 didn't need to tell about date-setting for it is pointless because the Lord will come like a thief in the night at an hour unexpected just like in the days of Noah when they were eating, drinking, partying, and SINNING (MATTHEW 24:37-38). Those people LIVED FOR TODAY but for the wrong reasons. Instead of living for God they lived for themselves and it was until the rain started that they realized THEY WERE WRONG. Paul says that we have the light which is Jesus Christ and we should always be watchful, alert, and of self-control lest we be caught unaware when that day comes. Since the Rapture is PRE-TRIBULATION, it causes Christians to lead holy lives in expectation and preparation that the Lord will COME AT ANY MOMENT! When the church loses focus of this then it becomes carnal and spiritually dead. Other rapture views say that the Pre-Trib Rapture gives believers a false security BUT on the contrary it makes believers lead right lives before God or else they will be LEFT BEHIND! Live for God NOW not when you realize it is too late and you have to live during the dreadful seven year Tribulation. John 3:2-3 says, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." THIS IS THE BLESSED HOPE, THE RAPTURE WHICH PURIFIES THE BELIEVER BY HAVING HIM/HER LIVING FOR JESUS NOW INSTEAD OF IN THE TRIBULATION WHEN FACING PLAGUES, THE MARK, AND MARTYRDOM.
EVIDENCE #2 - 70 WEEKS PROPHECY
Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. (DANIEL 9:24)
Gabriel spoke the 70 weeks prophecy to Daniel. Daniel was praying to God (DANIEL 9:1-19) asking him what is his future plan for Israel because the 70 years of captivity of Israel by Babylon (JEREMIAH 25:11-12) were drawing to an end. God sent Gabriel to reveal his plans for Israel. Daniel 9:24 reveals that the 70 WEEKS were for ISRAEL ONLY. Look at the scripture - SEVENTY SEVENS ARE DECREED FOR YOUR PEOPLE (Daniel's people - Israel) AND YOUR HOLY CITY (Jerusalem). Seventy sevens are 490 years on Israel's prophetic timeline. After this Israel's transgression will be finished, Israel's sin will be put to an end, everlasting righteousness will be brought in, vision and prophecy will be sealed, and the most holy (Millennial Temple) will be anointed. All this will happen after Jesus Christ comes back and the Jews will look on the one "whom they pierced. (ZECHARIAH 12:10)"
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. (DANIEL 9:25)
The decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem is none other than the one given to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:1-10 by Artaxerxes. Here Nehemiah asks the Persian king if he can go to Jerusalem and rebuild it. Sir Robert Anderson in his book THE COMING PRINCE said, "The Persian edict which restored the autonomy of Judah was issued in the Jewish month of Nisan. It may in fact have been dated the 1st of Nisan, but no other day being named, the prophetic period must be reckoned, according to a practice common with the Jews, from the Jewish New Year's Day. The seventy weeks are therefore to be computed from the 1st of Nisan B.C. 445." Later Sir Robert Anderson computed the date to be March 14, 445 B.C. FROM THE ISSUING OF THE DECREE TO RESTORE AND REBUILD JERUSALEM UNTIL THE ANOINTED ONE, THE RULER, COMES, THERE WILL BE SEVEN 'SEVENS,' AND SIXTY-TWO 'SEVENS.' So exactly 483 prophetic years (7 X 7 = 49 years; 62 X 7 = 434 years; 49 + 434 = 483 years) the Anointed One will come. The Messiah was of course JESUS CHRIST and the only time in his three year ministry that he was publicly proclaimed as Messiah or King was when he rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey (colt or foal of a donkey) riding alongside his mother not knowing that the one that her son is carrying is the KINGS OF KINGS AND LORDS OF LORDS. When Jesus came into Jerusalem and people were putting palms on the floor, it fulfilled Zechariah 9:9 and Daniel 9:25 to the date (April 6, A.D. 32). Later Jesus wept because the Jews didn't recognize the time of the Messiah's visitation (70 weeks prophecy) and because of this Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 according to Jesus' prophecy in Luke 19:41-44.
After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler that is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. (DANIEL 9:26)
After Christ rides into Jerusalem, he is cut off or killed. He is crucified to fulfill the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. AND WILL HAVE NOTHING also reads BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF meaning that Jesus Christ will not die for himself but for the sins of the world. So after, 69 weeks or 483 years, the Messiah will ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and shortly after he will die for the sins of mankind. THE RULER THAT IS TO COME is none other than the Antichrist and since the PEOPLE OF THE RULER destroyed the city (Jerusalem) and sanctuary (Herod's temple) in A.D. 70 are ROMAN so the Antichrist will probably be ROMAN! Verse 26 notes a gap between the 69 weeks and the 70th week. This is the church age even though Daniel didn't foresee it; he only saw a gap - THE END WILL COME LIKE A FLOOD: WAR WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE END, AND DESOLATIONS HAVE BEEN DECREED.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (DANIEL 9:27)
The Antichrist (HE) will come and CONFIRM a covenant with Israel which guarantees their protection for seven years even though he will break it in the middle of the Tribulation. Since the 70 weeks prophecy is for Israel (DANIEL 9:24) then the final week (7 year Tribulation) is for ISRAEL. God obviously deals with one dispensation at a time. First it was Israel, then the Church. The focus of the Tribulation will be ISRAEL. Jeremiah 30:7 says its the TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE. This obviously is proof that the 7 year Tribulation is for ISRAEL only not the CHURCH for it isn't the TIME OF THE CHURCH'S TROUBLE but JACOB'S TROUBLE referring to Israel.
EVIDENCE #3 - REVELATION 4:1
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (REVELATION 4:1)
This is probably the best evidence for the Rapture since John is the best example of the Church. The Tribulation starts in Revelation 6 with the first seal. So John's rapture is probably symbolic and prophetic of the Church's rapture. Notice how in Revelation 2 and 3 focus on the Church. The seven churches in Asia were in fact symbolic of the church age; each church were symbolic of actual church phases throughout the CHURCH AGE. Tim La Haye in his book REVELATION UNVEILED tells about these phases:
Church Nickname Period
Ephesus Apostolic Church A.D. 30 - 100
Smyrna Persecuted Church A.D. 100 - 313
Pergamos State Church A.D. 313 - 590
Thyatira Papal Church A.D. 590 - 1517
Sardis Reformed Church A.D. 1517 - 1790
Philadelphia Missionary Church A.D. 1730 - 1900
Laodicea Apostate Church A.D. 1900 - ?
Immediately after the final letter to the Laodicea church, the scene shifts from the earth to heaven so this implies that John represented the rapture of the Church Why? Because Laodicea is the final phase of the church age and after the CHURCH DISPENSATION is finished the Rapture occurs. Earth to Heaven. The Church is on earth then IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE (1 CORINTHIANS 15:52), we are with the Lord Jesus Christ in the air (1 THESSALONIANS 4:17).
EVIDENCE #4 - WHO ARE THE 24 ELDERS?
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. (REVELATION 4:4)
Who are these 24 elders? Surely in scripture no one has ever seen them before in the Old Testament when prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel had visions of God's Throne and the Cherubim and Seraphim, those 4 angelic creatures (LIVING CREATURES as John calls them). I don't think Isaiah or Ezekiel saw them. John was the first one to see them. It is important to note that Revelation 1 took place in John's time - A.D. 95 and Revelation 2 - 3 takes pllace NOW because we are living in the CHURCH AGE. Revelation 4 - 22 are future. So in summary (Look at REVELATION 1:19):
Revelation 1 ---> PAST ---> "What you have seen"
Revelation 2 - 3 ---> PRESENT ---> "What is now"
Revelation 4 - 22 ---> FUTURE ---> "What will take place later"
So the 24 elders are future when taken in context to the flow of Revelation. If I was to see a vision of heaven, I probably wouldn't see the 24 elders. The 24 elders are literal 24 elders in heaven that are representing a larger body up in heaven. In 1 CHRONICLES 24, twenty-four priests were appointed by King David to represent the entire Levitical priesthood. So when the 24 priests met together in the temple of the Lord, the entire priestly house was represented. That was in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, elders were appointed "overseers" of churches started by the apostles and were "shepherds of the church of God. (ACTS 20:28)" So the 24 elders have a nice CHRISTIAN ring to it since an elder was a position in the church. Therefore the 24 elders are representing the glorified Raptured church. Now the term - elder though is a word affiliated with the church - is not significant enough evidence to prove a PRE-TRIB RAPTURE, the next few points will. Now we know that the 24 elders is the church but lets look at how John describes them. THEY WERE DRESSED IN WHITE AND HAD CROWNS OF GOLD ON THEIR HEADS. Look at REVELATION 3:5, those in the Church at Sardis (Reformers church) will be dressed in white. The Bible talks about the JUDGMENT SEAT (BEMA SEAT) OF CHRIST (2 CORINTHIANS 5:10; 1 CORINTHIANS 3:11-15). This JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST is when Christ opens the books (DANIEL 7:9-10) and judges Christians by the works they did for the Lord. Each deed and motive for them will be judged and tested by fire. If their deeds and motives survive by the fire then they will be rewarded but if it isn't then the believer will be as one SAVED BUT ESCAPING THROUGH THE FLAMES (1 CORINTHIANS 3:15). Believers will receive crowns in heaven as evident in 1 CORINTHIANS 9:25-27, REVELATION 2:10, 1 PETER 5:2-4, 2 TIMOTHY 4:8, 1 THESSALONIANS 2:19-20. Since the 24 elders are dressed in white and have crowns of gold, which were the result of promises made by Christ to the Church for their rewards for their deeds for him, then the 24 elders are a literal 24 elders that represent the larger body of Raptured believers. Since the 24 elders are seen with their awards in Revelation 4:4, we can conclude that the church as a whole received their award and that the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST is after the Rapture. Since the 24 elders arrive on the scene before the Tribulation starts (Revelation 6), we can conclude that the Rapture is before the Tribulation and therefore is PRE-TRIBULATION!
IF YOU ARE STILL NOT CONVINCED, HERE ARE SOME MORE EVIDENCES!!!
EVIDENCE #5 - TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS REDEEMED
And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (REVELATION 5:9-10)
THEY SANG A NEW SONG refers to the 24 elders who in verse 8 each had a harp and were holding golden bowls full of incense which were the prayers of the saints. As I look at this I can't help but remember a song I usually sing at church. Here it goes:
There's a song in my heart that the angels can't sing
I was washed with the blood of the Lamb
I was washed with the blood of the Lamb
Only human beings can ever have a praise of redemption in the vicarious death of our Lord and Savior, JESUS CHRIST. As you see further, the 24 elders were redeemed men. In another translation NKJV reads Revelation 5:9-10 as:
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
The scripture says FOR YOU WERE SLAIN, AND HAVE REDEEMED US TO GOD BY YOUR BLOOD. Clearly these are redeemed men who are going to reign on the earth with Christ. Paul says that we will judge angels (1 CORINTHIANS 6:2-3) and that we will shine like the Sun in the kingdom of the Father (MATTHEW 13:43). From we see of this, the 24 elders are representative of the Church, the Judgment Seat of Christ passed because the 24 elders already have crowns, and that they are REDEEMED MEN. Since all this (Revelation 4 - 5) occurs before the Tribulation (Revelation 6) then the PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE is possible.
EVIDENCE #6 - KEPT FROM THE HOUR OF TESTING
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (REVELATION 3:10)
This is my favorite one of all because Jesus promises to keep his Church from the HOUR OF TESTING. As I mentioned earlier, the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION is for ISRAEL (Daniel 9:24-27). But scripture says TO TEST THOSE WHO LIVE ON THE EARTH so that includes GENTILES as well. The promise to keep believers from the hour of trial was to the Philadelphia which served as a type to the true Church which will be raptured before the Tribulation. The HOUR OF TRIAL is the seven-year Tribulation and it is usually referred to DAY OF GOD'S VENGEANCE (Isaiah 34:8), DAY OF WRATH (Zephaniah 1:15), and THE DAY OF THE LORD (1 Thessalonians 5:2) as well as numerous other names and descriptions. In 1 THESSALONIANS 1:10 its called THE COMING WRATH. Paul said, "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." This is another proof that the Church will be KEPT FROM THE HOUR. Jesus will rescue the Church from the coming wrath. This is evident by the events in Revelation 4 - 5 preceding the beginning of the Tribulation which occurs in Revelation 6. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, "For God did not appoint us to wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." God never appointed the Church to wrath. It is true that God has ordained suffering to befall on the common believer to purify him and purge him of his dealings with the world and lusts of the flesh and to rely on God for security (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12; Philippians 1:29). BUT THE WRATH OF GOD IS RESERVED FOR UNBELIEVERS. NOT TO HIS BRIDE - THE CHURCH! Romans 5:9 says, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" The provision for believers to be saved from God's wrath which is the 7 year Tribulation is the RAPTURE which is before the Tribulation which makes it a guaranteed BLESSED HOPE!
EVIDENCE #7 - THE BLESSED HOPE
The Rapture is called THE BLESSED HOPE. Paul calls it this in Titus 2:13. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:18, "Therefore encourage each other with these words." THE BLESSED HOPE should be a comfort to us and to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The Rapture can only be a blessed hope if it is before the Tribulation. If we expect the Rapture during or after the Tribulation then it would be a BLASTED HOPE as Tim La Haye in his book NO FEAR OF THE STORM calls it. We would expect to die from martyrdom not being translated in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE! Only the PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE has the rapture as a BLESSED HOPE. Other theories have the Church waiting for death, the 21 judgments (or some of them), and the Antichrist. The Church is waiting for JESUS CHRIST when he descends from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God and the dead and then the living are CAUGHT UP to be with JESUS in the clouds and then be with him forever and forevermore (1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17).
EVIDENCE #8 - RESTRAINER IS REMOVED
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (2 THESSALONIANS 2:3)
And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth by the splendor of his coming. (2 THESSALONIANS 2:6 - 8)
The SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION begins with the signing of a peace treaty by the Antichrist and Israel (DANIEL 9:27). According to the above verses that there is a restrainer and until he is taken out of the way, the identity of the Antichrist will not be revealed. Right now, NO ONE KNOWS WHO THE ANTICHRIST IS. He could be a teenager right now or even be conceived by his father and mother right now as they are consummating their marriage or he could not be even a thought in his mother's mind. Only God knows who the Antichrist is, where he is, or even when he'll even show up to deceive the world. I could only imagine how it will pain God to form this child in his mother's womb and know that when he is somewhere in his adult age that he will lead the whole world astray, proclaim himself to be God, and persecute God's chosen people, Israel and Christians (Jew and Gentile) who convert after they are Left Behind. But the Antichrist cannot be revealed until the restrainer is removed. That restrainer in verse 7 is the Holy Spirit and the restrainer in verse 6 is the Church. It is very logical that if the Holy Spirit is removed then so does the church because the Holy Spirit indwells the Church. The Church was founded with the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the Church will leave with the departure of the Holy Spirit. After the Rapture of the Church, the Antichrist will sign a treaty for seven years with Israel and then it would not cast any doubt on any person who studies the scripture or has been a Christian Left Behind that that man is indeed the Antichrist.
EVIDENCE #9 - ESCAPE ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (LUKE 21:36)
Jesus told the people to always be on the watch. We as Christians should always be on the watch for Jesus will come like a THIEF IN THE NIGHT. Jesus also warns us WATCH AND PRAY LEST YOU ENTER INTO TEMPTATION. We as Christians should not let our guard down for when Jesus comes, we will be LEFT BEHIND. I believe that any believer can lose his/her salvation if they backslide and continue in their sin. As Christians we have to repent and turn away from our sins so that we can be ready and blameless at the time and hour of his coming - the Rapture. As I said earlier, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture lets Christians live for God NOW in expectancy of his coming. It is not a false security but allows Christians to live Holy lives.
Luke 21:36 tells us the same thing. ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN is obviously the Seven-year Tribulation so if Christians watch and pray and continue to live holy lives then we will be able to ESCAPE ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. This is a great evidence for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture because the verse doesn't say ESCAPE FROM SOME OF WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN (Mid-Trib) OR EVEN NO ESCAPE FROM WHAT ABOUT TO HAPPEN (Post-Trib) BUT ALL OF THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN (Pre-Trib).
THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN means that after the Rapture you will be with Christ forever. This goes according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 where we will Christ with Christ (the Lord) in the air and be with him forever. This verse also suggests the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST. After the Rapture we will stand before the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) and will be judged according to our works. Since the 24 literal human elders are wearing crowns in Revelation 4 and singing a song of redemption in Revelation 5 and the Tribulation starts in Revelation 6 then the Rapture is Pre-Tribulation. I love Luke 21:36!
EVIDENCE #10 - WHERE IS THE CHURCH FROM REVELATION 6 -18?
The Church is so prevalent in Revelation 2 -3. Earlier I said that the seven churches of Asia represented the seven ages of church history (Look at the chart above). The Church is mentioned 20 times from Revelation 1 - 3 but when you look at the rest of the book of Revelation, the Church is not specifically mentioned BY NAME until Revelation 22:16 but Revelation 22:7-21 occurs during Revelation 2 - 3 meaning that the warning that Jesus is Coming is TODAY for the Church and the unbeliever that is reading the Book of Revelation. You see no trace of the Church in Revelation 6 - 18. The fact that in Revelation 4 - 5 you don't see the "word" because the 24 elders are representative of Church because they already received their crowns (Revelation 4:4) which indicates that the Judgment Seat of Christ is occurring (believers who did more works probably got their crowns first) or it occurred since Revelation 4:1. The fact that the 24 elders are singing a song of their redemption in Revelation 5:9-10 proves that the Church is in heaven. As you read the Book of Revelation, you see traces of the 24 elders from chapters 6 - 18 but ULTIMATELY THE WORD CHURCH IS NOT IN REVELATION 6 - 18 AT ALL! Why? Because the Church is in heaven because it was raptured before the Tribulation. Some people say that the word SAINT in Revelation 6 - 18 proves that the Church is in the Tribulation. The word SAINT occurs 13 times in the whole book and 10 times from Revelation 6 - 18. The fact is that the word SAINT can refer to anyone - Israel or the Church. The word SAINT used in Revelation 6 - 18 refers to Tribulation Saints - Jewish or Gentile believers who are saved during the Tribulation who got Left Behind. The word SAINT doesn't always refer to the Church. Mid and Post Tribbers like to think so but they are not. The absence of the Church can only suggest that they were raptured before the Tribulation started.
EVIDENCE #11 - ENOCH, NOAH, AND THE FLOOD
Jesus said in Luke 17:26-27:
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
Jesus said that the coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah. I believe that the story of the Flood is a perfect "type" of the Rapture. Enoch wasn't mentioned by Jesus; he only mentioned Noah. Lets look at the story of Noah. Genesis 6:1-8 talks about the lawlessness of the Pre-Flood human population on the earth. God gave a command for humans to populate this earth and as men were increasing in number, daughters (as well as sons but we are focusing on the daughters) were born unto them. The sons of God (angels) saw that the daughters of men were beautiful they married any of them they chose (the beautiful daughters had no choice in the matter) and giants were born unto them. God saw this sinful union of angels leaving their first estate and mingling with strange flesh and said that his Spirit cannot be with man forever and so he decreed that man should not live more than 120 years. Man continued to be wicked and so God decided to destroy mankind but then he saw Noah. Noah found favor in the eyes of God and he decided to have Noah build an ark big enough for him, his family, two of every unclean animal, and seven of every clean animal, and supplies.
You ask where does this fit in with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture? The flood is obviously the Tribulation (God's wrath). God judged the world and destroyed all the humans because they thought of evil constantly and God's Spirit couldn't contend with man. Enoch in Genesis 5:24 was translated or raptured so that served as a type of the rapture while Noah and the ark going through the flood and at the same time being protected typified Israel when they hide in the wilderness for 1260 days.
EVIDENCE #12 - LOT
Jesus said in Luke 17:28-29:
It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building . But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
The coming of the Son of Man is the same as Lot which is the same as the days of Noah. Sodom and Gomorrah (look at the story in Genesis 19) were wicked cities in the fertile plains of Jordan which Lot chose when Abraham in Genesis 13 gave him any choice of the land to go separate (both of their herdsmen were disputing with each other). Then Abraham rescued Lot in Revelation 14 when five wicked king formed an alliance and took captive everything in Sodom and Gomorrah including Lot. After Abraham rescued them, the two cities went on their wicked ways until God and two angels paid a visit to Abraham in Genesis 18. God decided to destroy those two cities yet Abraham interceded and bargained with God that if he found ten righteous people in Sodom then he would spare the city. The two angels only found four righteous - Lot, his wife, and his two daughters. The righteous were then taken out of the city away from the destruction that God would rain on Sodom and Gomorrah. This typifies the Pre-Tribulation Rapture because the righteous were taken out and put in a place away from the destruction and judgment of the wicked cities. In the same way, God will rapture his Church where they will be in heaven while the earth and those left behind will have to face the Tribulation.
EVIDENCE #13 - DANIEL
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar set up an image at Dura which was ninety feet high and nine feet wide. It was an image of gold and everyone had to worship the image. When the music sounded everyone fell down to worship the image of gold. Everyone did except for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three Jewish friends were brought before the king and they told him they refused to bow down before the image of gold. For this they were thrown into the fiery furnace yet they weren't harmed because of the fourth person in the fire - Jesus Christ. The three Jewish friends represented the faithful Jewish remnant when the image of the beast is set up. The question is - Where is Daniel? He was probably attending some political governmental business throughout the empire so he was away from the plains of Dura when they set up the image. He couldn't have been accused because of this. He was obviously traveling when the king ordered to have the image set up. Daniel served as a type of the rapture when the God will remove his Church from the scene of the earth before the Tribulation and mid-way through the Tribulation, an image of the Antichrist will be set up and the faithful Jewish remnant will be protected from the Antichrist. So the Church like Daniel will already be far removed from the scene of the Tribulation where the Antichrist will set up an image and command all to worship and wear his mark.
EVIDENCE #14 - INTERVAL BETWEEN EVENTS
In the chart above, I contrasted the RAPTURE from the GLORIOUS APPEARING. Many people can't see why there is a seven year interval between the Rapture and the Glorious Appearing. To them, it is contradictory and doesn't make sense. However many Jews saw only one coming of the Messiah despite the fact that there were two portraits painted in the Old Testament of the Messiah. This time in the New Testament, there are two portraits of events painted about the SECOND COMING. The differences between these two events are identifiable and thus suggest that there are two phases in ONE SECOND COMING - Rapture and Revelation (Glorious Appearing). Just look at the chart above.
EVIDENCE #15 - WHO ARE THE HOLY ONES?
You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (ZECHARIAH 14:5)
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against them. (JUDE 14-15)
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (REVELATION 19:14)
Who are the holy ones? They come down with Christ at his Glorious Appearing. Zechariah 14:5 talks about people fleeing to the mountains. This is when the Antichrist performs the Abomination of Desolation and Jesus Christ instructs Jews to not get their cloak if they are in the field or if someone is on the roof not to go inside and get something (Matthew 24:15-18) for they are to flee to the mountains where God will protect Israel for 1260 days (Revelation 12:14). That's what Zechariah meant by YOU WILL FLEE BY MY MOUNTAIN VALLEY. After this the Lord will come with his holy ones. The holy ones in each of these three verses refer to the Church which will be raptured before the Tribulation. When I first read Revelation I thought that the armies of heaven were the angels but in Revelation 19:8 it says that the fine linen represents the righteousness of the saints (not Tribulation saints but Church saints). Righteousness suggests to me works which suggests the Judgment Seat of Christ which the Church would have already gone through by the time of the Glorious Appearing. Since the holy ones are coming down with Jesus then this suggests that they were already in heaven with him. So the presence of the holy ones at the Glorious Appearing indicates a previous rapture - the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
EVIDENCE #16 - WHO IS TAKEN FIRST - RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED?
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. (MATTHEW 13:30)
Jesus sometimes taught in the form of parables to teach about many things like his second coming. He taught about the parable of the weeds. A man (Jesus Christ) sowed good seed in his field but while everyone was sleeping, his enemy sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the wheat sprouted, the weeds also appeared. The man who sowed the wheat decided to let the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest where the weeds will be taken first and the wheat is left behind to be gathered into the barn. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the righteous is taken first in the rapture in the church while the wicked are left behind. Obviously with Jesus' parable and Paul's teaching that these two events aren't the same for in one event the righteous are taken to meet Christ in the air while the other event the unrighteous are taken first while the righteous are left behind. It is worthwhile to note that Jesus' Parable of the Weeds is describing the events in Matthew 24:21 when Jesus will send his angels to gather his elect from the four winds after he comes in the clouds with power and glory (Matthew 24:30). These are two separate events - Rapture of the Church and the gathering of the Tribulation Saints after the Glorious Appearing.
EVIDENCE #17 - ANGELS DON'T RESURRECT PEOPLE
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (MATTHEW 13:41)
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (MATTHEW 24:31)
Many people wrongfully assume that when the angels gather the elect from the four winds of the earth, that this is the rapture. Now we know from 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that there is a resurrection associated with the translation of the living that will never see death. The gathering of the elect is not the rapture but as we seen in Evidence 16 that the rapture and the gathering are two separate events. This is because in Evidence 15 the holy ones are descending with Christ and after the Glorious Appearing (Matthew 24:30) then the angels will gather the elect (Matthew 24:31). We also see in Evidence 16 that the wicked are taken first while the righteous are left behind. So how can the rapture occur with the gathering of the elect if the holy ones already came down with Jesus in the Glorious Appearing (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 19:14). The elect is then the Tribulation Saints that survived the Tribulation and the Faithful Remnant of Israel in hiding in the mountains. Finally here is the focal point of the argument of Evidence 17 - How can the angels who are gathering the elect resurrect the dead if this is the rapture when only God can do this? The angels are only gathering Tribulation Saints and the Jewish Remnant not resurrecting the dead.
EVIDENCE #18 - JESUS OR ANGELS GATHERING THE RIGHTEOUS?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (JOHN 14:3)
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous. (MATTHEW 13:49)
This is another proof that the GATHERING OF THE ELECT isn't the RAPTURE. It lies in the fact that - Who is doing the gathering and what is the location? In the rapture of the Church, Christ takes his Church with him while after the Glorious Appearing, the angels gather the elect. This cannot be the same event because in one event Jesus is taking the righteous to be with him in heaven while in another event the angels are gathering the wicked while the righteous are left behind until gathered after the wicked. This isn't the same event for if it was it leaves the identity of the holy ones who come down with Christ at the Glorious Appearing unresolved. Christ made a promise - He said I WILL TAKE YOU TO BE WITH ME! If he said that he will do it then he will live by his word for he never lies. The fact that he sends angels to gather his elect if it was the rapture, it would be breaking the promise he made. Besides chronologically placing the rapture with the gathering wouldn't fit because it leaves several issues unanswered:
Who are the HOLY ONES who come down with Christ at the Glorious Appearing?
Angels can't resurrect the dead only Christ can
How did the 24 elders receive their crowns which came as the result of the Judgment Seat of Christ?
Why are the angels doing the gathering when Jesus said he would take the Church to him?
Why are the wicked taken first and then the righteous are left behind when in the rapture the righteous are taken?
I HAVE A GOOD ANSWER TO CLEAR THIS MESS! THE CHURCH WAS RAPTURED BEFORE THE TRIBULATION. It would solve the identity of the holy ones and the reason why the 24 elders got their crowns. It would also make Jesus' words true when he said he would take us to be with him to be with him in heaven. ARE YOU CONVINCED? Maybe not BUT HERE ARE SOME MORE EVIDENCES.
EVIDENCE #19 - JESUS RETURNS FROM A WEDDING
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. (LUKE 12:35-36)
Jesus said that when he returns that he will return from a wedding. Now we all now that the Church is Christ's bride. Now if the Church is the Bride and when Jesus Christ comes back at the Glorious Appearing, he'll be returning from a wedding then it is only logical that the Church was with him before then. So this is another hint that the rapture is not Post-Tribulation. After the wedding, Jesus will return to earth with his bride - the Church.
EVIDENCE #20 - NO RESURRECTION IN REVELATION 19:11-21
Revelation 19:11-21 talks about the Glorious Appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people think that the rapture will occur at this event. However there is no resurrection at this event. Read it for yourself. But it is worthwhile to note that when Jesus came down to earth, he was accompanied by the HOLY ONES which is the Church (See EVIDENCE #15 - WHO ARE THE HOLY ONES?). To summarize, the passage in Revelation 19:11-21 is the clearest picture of the Lord's Second Coming and if the Rapture which includes the Resurrection then how come it isn't mentioned. The fact is that the Church was raptured before the Tribulation.
EVIDENCE #21 - NO RESURRECTION IN ZECHARIAH 14
God, through Zechariah, spoke about the coming of the Lord and his reign. When you read the whole chapter, you'll see that it is talking about the Glorious Appearing of the LORD (Jesus Christ). This passage of scripture is descriptive of the Lord landing on the Mount of Olives and dividing into two and the battle between the nations against the Lord. But there is no mention of the resurrection in this Old Testament passage. Why you might ask? Well scripture confirms scripture. Zechariah 14 confirms Revelation 19:11-21. The coming of the Messiah to usher in a utopia of peace was expected when the Jews studied the scriptures. However they expected ONE COMING OF THE MESSIAH not two despite the fact that they overlooked that the Messiah had two portraits painted of him. Other Jews noticed this and theorized that there are two different Messiahs - one from Joseph (who suffered unfairly at the hands of his brothers) and one from David (who was the greatest king in Jewish history). The fact is that the MESSIAH is one person who will come in TWO COMINGS. Jesus Christ came down to earth and died for the sins of the world. He then declared the foundation of the Church which Jesus brought into being (he founded the Church) but wasn't officially started until Pentecost. When Jesus in Luke 4 read from the Book of Isaiah (61) he read TO PROCLAIM THE YEAR OF THE LORD'S FAVOR and stopped there. He didn't read AND THE DAY OF THE VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD. Why? Because that was still future. The time of salvation was NOW. The rapture was a mystery explained by Paul. Jesus promised it in John 14 but Paul explained it in more detail in his writings to Corinth and Thessalonica. It was a mystery because the Old Testament never gave any hint about the rapture and was very obscure about the Church. That's why the Jews never saw the Church and only expected ONE COMING of the Messiah. That is why the Jews were expecting Jesus to set up God's Kingdom but it wasn't to be because God had plans to save the world and to redeem it through Christ's death. Given the fact that there is sufficient evidence for the Glorious Appearing in the Old and New Testament but that the rapture is a mystery and there is no resurrection in Zechariah 14 or Revelation 19:11-21 is enough to say that the RAPTURE and THE GLORIOUS APPEARING are two separate events (one of which is a mystery and the other is expected) can lead one to believe under the study of scripture that there is going to be a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
EVIDENCE #22 - THE SEPARATION OF THE SHEEP AND GOATS
Matthew 25:31-46 talks about an event called SEPARATING THE SHEEP FROM THE GOATS. Matthew 25:31 places this event "when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory." This event is better known as the JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS. Many people believe (Post-Tribs) that the rapture is going to be at the Second Coming or the Glorious Appearing. There are some problems with this. If the Rapture occurred just before the Glorious Appearing then why would a separation of the sheep and goats be necessary if the rapture took the sheep and the goats were left behind. Verse 32 says that the nations will be gathered before him and the people will be separated. Notice how all the people will be gathered to Christ while at the rapture only the Church will be caught up and meet Christ in the air. This is a separate event which calls for a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE. If the rapture occurred before the Tribulation then the people saved after the rapture (and who survive the Tribulation) will need to be separated after the second coming.
EVIDENCE #23 - WHO WILL POPULATE THE MILLENNIUM?
This is a favorite argument for people who believe in a PRE-TRIB RAPTURE of the Church. Isaiah 65:20 says, "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed." This passage obviously states that the millennium will be populated by humans with natural bodies who are able to procreate and there will be sinners later in the millennium. Death is not erased and people still need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved (for those who have natural bodies). Those who reign with Christ (raptured Church and Tribulation Saints martyred) will have glorified bodies and therefore can't procreate and will be like the angels (Jesus himself said this when asked by the priests about marriage after the resurrection). Therefore the millennium needs to be populated. BUT HOW? How can the millennium be populated if the rapture is at the end of the Tribulation? If this were so then the believers would be raptured and the unbelievers carried off to the winepress and there would be no one to populate the 1000 years of Christ's reign. A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE would rapture the Church before the Tribulation, a whole new set of believers would spring up by the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists, many will be martyred and many will survive the Tribulation. When the gathering of the unbelievers by the angels come the believers still alive are left behind to enter in the millennium.
EVIDENCE #24 - WHO IS SUPPOSED TO HEAR?
In Revelation 2 and 3 there is a phrase that is familiar to Christians. It is HE WHO HAS AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS TO THE CHURCHES. This phrase occurs seven times in these two chapters of Revelation (one for each church). However in Revelation 13:9 the phrase is there but instead of the whole phrase, its HE WHO HAS AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR. You can see that WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS TO THE CHURCHES is omitted in Revelation 13:9. Why is CHURCH omitted? This inconsistency can only be accounted for if the Church isn't there in the Tribulation itself. This follows the entire pattern of Revelation. The pattern is Revelation 2 and 3 represent the Church age while Revelation 6 - 18 represent the Tribulation which is only for Israel and Gentile Nations. Why did John omit CHURCHES from this "lend me your ears" phrase? Because the Church is obviously not in those events - the Tribulation.
EVIDENCE #25 - NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK
The Bible says in Galatians 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." When a person gives his life to Christ, he is automatically part of the Church of Jesus Christ. Since we are all one in Christ, there is no distinction of race because we are all CHRISTIAN. But when you get to the Tribulation it is a different story altogether. In Revelation 7, you see the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists sealed. So you see that God is dealing with the Israelites in a SPECIAL WAY! The interpretation of the 144,000 has to be literal because why would the Spirit move John to name each Tribe and 12,000 (12,000 X 12 = 144,000) unless it is a literal 144,000 Israelites, 12,000 from each tribe. If John went through the pain of listing all the tribes and the number of each then they have to be literal instead of some people believing that they are the Church. They are just spiritualizing scripture. Scripture says there are no distinctions within the Church and if God is distinguishing Israel in the Tribulation, this means that the Church isn't there. The Church must be raptured before the Tribulation before such a distinction can take place.
EVIDENCE #26 - WHAT ARE THE FIRSTFRUITS OF REVELATION 14:4?
Revelation 14:4 says, "These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as FIRSTFRUITS to God and the Lamb (Emphasis Mine)." The passage is saying that the 144,000 were offered as firstfruits meaning first converts. How can these people be firstfruits despite the fact that countless people throughout the Church age has been harvested into the Church? They could only be firstfruits if the Church was raptured then God was starting over with a new class of believers during the Tribulation - 144,000 and Tribulation Saints (144,000 being the firstfruits).
EVIDENCE #27 - FIRST RESURRECTION IN REVELATION 20:4?
Revelation 20:4 says, "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Verse 5 states, "This is the first resurrection." Many people state this as proof that the rapture is in Revelation 20:4-5 but when looked at closely it backfires on the very people that believe in this. Revelation 20:4 looks at two groups - one already have thrones of authority and the other martyrs who were resurrected. The fact is the ones seated on the thrones is the Church who will rule with Christ. This alludes back to Revelation 4 and 5 with the LITERAL 24 elders seated on literal thrones with literal crowns on their heads. I said earlier that they represent the glorified Church already raptured and passed through the Judgment Seat of Christ. The other group of people are TRIBULATION SAINTS who got their new bodies after the Tribulation, 7 years after the entire Church got theirs. The FIRST RESURRECTION shouldn't throw anyone off because in this sense, verse 5 talks about the culmination of the FIRST RESURRECTION. The resurrection of the Tribulation Saints is the ending of the FIRST RESURRECTION. The firstfruits of the FIRST RESURRECTION was Jesus Christ and other believers (Matthew 27:52-53). The Two Witnesses were resurrected during the Tribulation. Revelation 20:4 does not prove a Post-Trib Rapture because of the distinction of those two groups, the timing (if the rapture is Post-Trib and before the Glorious Appearing then the Post-Trib has problems because the lastfruits of the FIRST RESURRECTION is after the Glorious Appearing. Also if the rapture is seen in Revelation 20:4-5 there is conflicts with the winepress, gathering first of unbelievers, believers left behind, the identity of the persons on thrones and the holy ones who come down with Christ are in dispute. The rapture is before the Tribulation in order to make everything MAKE SENSE!
EVIDENCE #28 - AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST
2 Corinthians 5:20 says, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as through God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." Paul says that the Church is CHRIST'S AMBASSADORS. Christ himself said that, "We are the Light of the World." The Church is responsible for proclaiming the GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL to this unbelieving world. We are in truth Christ's ambassadors. An ambassador is often one who represents a dignitary. In ancient and present times, an ambassador is often recalled by the king or the head or state of that country (President or Prime Minister) before declaring war on a country. Using this analogy, if the Church is Christ's ambassadors then God will recall us or TAKE US TO HIM (John 14) before declaring war or instituting his judgment on the unbelieving war (Starting the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION). Turn to Jesus now while you have the chance to be raptured before the Tribulation. If you are LEFT BEHIND then you will be in the picket lines of a battle raging between God and Satan. Will you chose God and possibly be martyred or will you chose to follow the Antichrist trying to save your life when in reality you'll be losing it when you are taken to the winepress and your eventual destination - HELL! Turn to Christ NOW not later. If you don't, making the right CHOICE WILL BE HARDER IN THE FUTURE!
EVIDENCE #29 - MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
Jesus Christ is the bridegroom while the Church is the Bride. Jesus always likened his relationship with the Church as with a Jewish wedding. First there is the BETROTHAL where the groom and his father approach the bride and her father with a proposal. The betrothal is sealed with a cup of wine. When the bride drinks the cup of wine, she shows that she accepts the proposal. This can be likened by the Communion Cup where we drink it we accept that we are the Bride (Christians) and show his death until he comes. Then the groom goes away to prepare his house for his bride. He usually adds new rooms which is what Jesus promised when he said, "I go prepare a place for you." This is the PREPARATION. The bride prepares her gown so that she'll be ready when the groom comes for her. The Church's gown is the righteous acts that she does on the earth. Believers - are you busy preparing your gown so that you will be ready when Jesus comes for you. The groom usually comes for her more or less in a year. The groom comes back, usually unexpected, and announced only by a trumpet, and the shout of his guard (or attendant). This symbolizes the rapture. The groom only meets the bride and her attendants in the street not at her home. This has significance since we meet Christ in the air not on the earth. He then takes her back with him at his father's house where the bride is HIDDEN AWAY FOR ONE WEEK (7 days) from the view of the wedding guests to be purified from uncleanness. This reminds me of Daniel 9:27 about the seventieth week (one week = seven years) and the duration of the Tribulation. The Church will be raptured and KEPT AWAY FROM VIEW for seven years until we are presented as his bride when we descend from heaven with Christ in the Glorious Appearing. Isn't that interesting? A Jewish Wedding Custom provides proof for a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE. Interesting!
EVIDENCE #30 - NO INSTRUCTION NECESSARY
The Bible talks about and advises Christians how to face ordinary, everyday trials and tribulations but it submits no instruction for the believer for enduring the Tribulation. The fact is that the reason for this is that WE WILL NOT BE THERE!
Here are thirty proofs for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Next I'm going to do is disprove all the other theories about the Rapture. I'm going to focus on MID-TRIB and POST-TRIB!
They say that the Rapture occurs at the LAST TRUMPET according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-56. This puts the rapture at the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15-16). This is strange in light of the fact that the last trumpet is not the SEVENTH TRUMPET but the trumpet which is sounded when the angels gather his elect from the four corners of the earth (Matthew 24:31). But this will probably prove a POST-TRIB RAPTURE you may ask. Not necessarily. There are three distinct events - rapture, seventh trumpet, and the gathering of the elect. These are all events associated with trumpets but are distinct. Look at my POST-TRIB arguments for my rebuttal of Matthew 24:31 being the rapture. The seventh trumpet is also a trumpet of judgment not of the blessing promised in the BLESSED HOPE (rapture). The trumpet sounding at the rapture is that of blessing not of judgment. Trumpets were blown for different purposes and this argument made by MID-TRIBS to distort scripture and link the last trumpet with the seventh trumpet JUDGMENT. It is not like that!
MID-TRIBS also try to prove the rapture is at the mid-point of the Tribulation by linking the resurrection of the TWO WITNESSES with the rapture of the church. Look at Revelation 11:1-14 and you will see the ministry of the two witnesses. They link the resurrection of these two powerful men of God (possibly Moses and Elijah) with the rapture of the church on the basis that Moses represents the dead in Christ while Elijah represents the living. The problem is yes they serves as types of those two kinds of believers at the rapture but MID-TRIBS neglect that both witnesses are KILLED, BODIES LYING IN JERUSALEM FOR THREE DAYS, EVERYONE IN THE EARTH WILL SEE THEIR BODIES, AND THEN RESURRECTED. Both of them resurrect and then are caught up to God. If Elijah typifies the living believers at the time of the rapture then why is he resurrected. Surely this must be a literal event because now at their resurrection Elijah is on the same page as Moses since they both died and then was resurrected. There is no translation of the living (these believers NEVER DIE while the two witnesses do in fact DIE then resurrect). The TWO WITNESSES are two literal beings who are empowered by God to do his work for 1260 after which the Antichrist will kill them, the world will stare and mock them (Television is the only way this prophecy comes true), and then resurrect and ascend to heaven striking fear in those who don't believe. MID-TRIBS base the voice from heaven COME UP HERE is the same as the rapture but the question I ask is WHERE IS THE TRUMPET? It is only logical to put the rapture at Revelation 4:1 because a trumpet is mentioned and John is a better representative of the Church than the TWO WITNESSES. The fact is the two witnesses cannot represent a larger body of believers because if so then countless people have to die at once (killed by the Antichrist) and then have the whole world stare at the dead bodies in Jerusalem (another thing Tribulation Saints are all scattered throughout the world - they can't all be at Jerusalem) and then in three days resurrect and there is NO TRANSLATION OF THE LIVING (those that never die). There is no RAPTURE WITH THE RESURRECTION OF THE TWO WITNESSES. They are literal beings. Don't spiritualize scripture!
How can the resurrection of the two witnesses be the rapture when the rapture is supposedly at the last trumpet (seventh trumpet judgment)? The resurrection of the two witnesses come at the SIXTH TRUMPET JUDGMENT not the SEVENTH. Proof of this comes in the fact that the sixth trumpet judgment is sounded in Revelation 9:13-21 and the two witnesses are in Revelation 11:1-14 and the SEVENTH TRUMPET is sounded in Revelation 11:15-19. Also in Revelation 11:14 it says, "The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon." The FIRST WOE is the 5th Trumpet Judgment; The SECOND WOE is the 6th Trumpet Judgment; The THIRD WOE is the 7th Trumpet Judgment. If the second woe has passed after the two witnesses' resurrection and the third woe is coming then the resurrection of the two witnesses take place at the SIXTH TRUMPET. This is in direct contradiction to the rapture occurring at the last trumpet - the seventh trumpet. This is almost as bad as holding that the seventh trumpet is the last trumpet when the trumpet sounded after the Glorious Appearing gathering the elect by the angels (Matthew 24:31).
Revelation 10:5-7 tells about the MYSTERY OF GOD. Since Paul said that the rapture is a mystery, then MID-TRIBS hold that the mystery of God is the rapture. This is not so. Before we examine the MYSTERY OF GOD lets examine the MYSTERY OF INIQUITY. The mystery of iniquity is to reveal Satan's real purpose when he is thrown down from heaven and then indwells the Antichrist and proclaims that he is God in the event many are familiar with - the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. Satan's real purpose is to be GOD but he in reality will never be GOD but he will deceive many into thinking that the Antichrist who is indwelled by Satan is GOD. The mystery of God is not the rapture but the fact that why did God allow Satan to do what he did and corrupt the human race? If the mystery of iniquity is Satan posing as a counterfeit god then the mystery of God may be the revealing of the TRUE GOD - God in human flesh, the Son of God, JESUS CHRIST THE MESSIAH at the Glorious Appearing! Yes the rapture is a mystery but not to be confused with these mysteries.
MID-TRIBS say that the harvest in Revelation 14:14-20 is the rapture. Since scripture confirms scripture, let us look at the Bible. The Son of Man (Jesus Christ) is with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. He us followed by three angels who are harvesters. The fact that angels are harvesters is supported by scripture in the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:41). The next three angels are ANNOUNCERS. The fourth angel announces and mentions the harvest of the earth. The fifth angel has a sickle but doesn't say anything. The sixth angel comes from the alter. He mentions the vintage and gathers the vine from the earth. This is the vintage to be gathered and cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God in the Battle of Armageddon. This is a premature announcement of the Battle of Armageddon where the land will be drunk with blood (Isaiah 34:7-8). The slaughter will be so great that the blood will be up to the horses bridles in the valleys of Israel for about 180 miles. MID-TRIBS mention Revelation 14:12-16 but don't look at verse 17-20. The harvest in Revelation 14 is not the rapture but an outpouring of Gods wrath as he gathers the nations for Armageddon. Finally Joel 3:9-17 describes this harvest. It isn't the rapture but the Harvest of the Gentile Nations.
What is the LAST TRUMPET referring to? I believe that it represents two things. First it represents God's final call to the Church. It is not improbable that there will be two trumpet blasts sounding in quick succession at the rapture. There are two distinct trumpets in the rapture - one in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 which will awaken the dead in Christ and the second and LAST TRUMP in 1 Corinthians 15:52 will summon those who are alive and believe in Christ into the Lord's presence!
Here are a few questions for the MID-TRIB person:
Why is the Church in Revelation 1 - 3 and then not found in Revelation 21?
Who are the 24 elders in Revelation 4 who are wearing crowns, seating on thrones, and singing a redeemed song in Revelation 5?
Explain the inconsistency of timing of events of the rapture with two witnesses rising from the dead during the 6th trumpet and holding that the rapture occurs at the LAST TRUMP (7th trumpet)?
Explain the harvest in Revelation as the rapture in light of Joel 3:9-17 and Isaiah 34:7-8 as well as the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13?
How come the Tribulation is called the TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE (Israel) and that Daniel said that the 70th week is for Israel?
Explain the significance that John when he had a rapture experience saw the 24 elders where Isaiah and Ezekiel had visions of the throne of God and saw the 4 LIVING CREATURES but never saw the 24 elders?
Other people hold that the rapture will occur after the Tribulation - that is the Church will go through all of the Tribulation. The rapture will occur before the Glorious Appearing and then the Church will come down with Jesus Christ. There are a few problems in terms of scriptural promises and timing of events. Post-Tribs will find that their beliefs backfire on them. The Bible says in Revelation 3:10 that the Church will escape the hour of trial that is going to come upon the earth to test those who live on the earth. The scriptures says that God has not appointed us to wrath but salvation through Jesus Christ. The Tribulation will be a time of wrath of judgment on those left behind. Look at Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, and 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Even Jesus gave us the option of watching and praying that we may be able to escape all that is about to happen (SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION) in Luke 21:36. If we are remain in the Tribulation then that will destroy the BLESSED HOPE. If that is the scenario and the Church did remain in the Tribulation then my blessed hope would be martyrdom because I would die and then be in heaven. All that awaits believers if going through the Tribulation is death while Bible promises that THE CHURCH WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE HOUR OF TRIAL. The Bible promises life and expectation of the calling of Jesus Christ for his bride at the rapture. POST-TRIB has the Church waiting for the Antichrist and DEATH! No rapture at the end of the tribulation would be called a blessed hope but a BLASTED HOPE!
Another point that POST-TRIBS obviously miss is the distinction between Israel and the Church. Paul said in Galatians 3:28 that we Jew or Gentile are all ONE in Christ. There is no distinction within the body of Christ. For God to start treating Israelites in a special way (example - 144,000 Jewish Evangelists [12,000 from each tribe]) can only mean that the Church has been taken out. It is necessary for the Church to be removed before that distinction is made in the Tribulation. Daniel 9:24 proclaims that the 70 weeks are for Daniel's people (Israel) so the last week which is the 70th week or the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION is also for Israel to purge her and purify her and cause her to come to repentance. Notice the Antichrist signs a treaty with Israel signaling the beginning of the Tribulation. The distinction is there in the Book of Revelation. The Church is mentioned in Revelation 2 - 3 but during the Tribulation which is in Revelation 6 - 18, the Church isn't mentioned. All you see is Jewish symbols (seals, trumpets, vials) and 144,000 Jewish Evangelists. Also in Revelation 12 the woman who gave birth to the man-child (Jesus Christ) is Israel because she will flee into the wilderness for 1260 hidden from the Antichrist. This is the holy remnant of Israel that turned to Christ. But you don't see the church at all until the holy ones come down with Jesus at the Glorious Appearing.
The POST-TRIB theory doesn't allow Jesus to fulfill his promise to take up his believers to heaven to be with him. While in heaven, Jesus will show off the new home of the Bride and they will spend quality time there. When Jesus said the believers will be with him that probably means to spend a long period of time in fellowship with Christ. A Post-Trib theory wouldn't have the raptured believer spend quality time in heaven for what sense will a bride be taken up by the groom who is in a rush for battle. He won't even have time to show the bride their home and no time for a honeymoon. Does that make sense at all? Luke 21:36 says that the believer who escapes all that is about to happen will stand in the presence of the Son of Man. This probably means that we will be with Christ. How can we be with Christ in a POST-TRIB rapture when the groom has no time because he is preparing for battle. It is like a elevator trip to heaven, five minutes of ohs and ahs at the sight of heaven, and then being mounted on a white horse and then descending toward the earth. I'm sorry if I'm sarcastic but that is JUST RETARDED!
The Bible talks about the imminence of Jesus' coming and that no one knows the day nor the hour. The POST-TRIB rapture destroys this because we will know from the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION that there will be 1260 days until the Glorious Appearing. If I have even time to mark my calendar when I'm running from the Antichrist.
Now to the most important part - THE TIMING OF POST-TRIB EVENTS. This can lead a Post-Tribber to bite their own words. Let me explain. They believe that the rapture is after the Tribulation but before the Glorious Appearing. But then how come they place the rapture at Revelation 20:4-5 when it is clearly after the Glorious Appearing? They do this because there is the FIRST RESURRECTION so they liken this event with the rapture. In order to get an understanding of this, let us turn to the words of Jesus in Matthew 13. In the parable of the weeds there is good seed and the weeds. In this parable Jesus said that the angels will be sent to gather and weed out the unbelievers FIRST. All this is referring to the end of the age when Christ comes back in the Glorious Appearing and then sends his angels to gather the unbelievers for Judgment in the JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS. Matthew 24 says that two women will be in a field - one taken and one left behind. The one taken is the unbeliever while the believer is left behind to enter into the millennium. They say that the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 is the rapture but fail to see that the gathering is done by angels. At the rapture, Jesus Christ is meeting the believers in the air. Jesus said in John 14:3 that he will take believers to be with him. Now if Christ promised to be the one who would take his Church to him then why would he send his angels to do it. That would be breaking his promise. There are obviously two events intended not one. The first is the rapture before the Tribulation and then after the Glorious Appearing, a gathering of the LIVING Tribulation Saints and the Faithful Remnant of Israel will be gathered to enter into the millennial reign of Christ. How can POST-TRIB people account for the fact that this gathering in Matthew 24 and the FIRST RESURRECTION in Rev 20:4-5 when this is after the Glorious Appearing while before the POST-TRIB view that the rapture is before Jesus comes with his holy ones. It is contradictory. HOW WILL THE MILLENNIUM BE POPULATED IF THERE IS A POST-TRIB RAPTURE? Scripture obviously states that the millennium will be populated. If there is a POST-TRIB RAPTURE then all the believers will be raptured and there would be no one to populate the millennium. Surely sinners will not enter the 1000 year reign of Christ. A Pre-Trib rapture would rapture all the believers then allow there to be a new set of believers (Note the 144,000 were firstfruits) which if they survived the Tribulation would enter the millennium with their natural bodies and able to procreate. The Church who will reign with Christ will have glorified bodies and cannot procreate and will be like the angels. What about the FIRST RESURRECTION? This has to be the rapture. Not necessarily! The FIRST RESURRECTION is the culmination of something - the FIRST RESURRECTION. Christ as well as other believers who were resurrected were firstfruits of the FIRST RESURRECTION. After the Tribulation Saints are resurrected then the FIRST RESURRECTION is finished. This can't be the rapture because then who are the men sitting on thrones in Revelation 20:4. These are raptured believers who already gone through the Judgment Seat of Christ. A POST-TRIB rapture allows no time for the Judgment Seat of Christ. A PRE-TRIB rapture will explain and differentiate between raptured believers who already have their crowns and sitting on thrones just like the 24 ELDERS and the TRIBULATION SAINTS (the dead are resurrected and the living are able to repopulate the earth during the 1000 year reign of Christ! Finally Luke 21:36 says Jesus will return from a wedding proving that the rapture is WAY BEFORE THE GLORIOUS APPEARING.
A pre-trib rapture explains the problem of populating the millennium
A pre-trib rapture why the 24 elders have crowns and thrones and are singing a song of redemption
A pre-trib rapture maintains the distinction of Israel, Gentiles, and the Church
A pre-trib rapture explains the identity of the HOLY ONES
A pre-trib rapture explains imminence of Christ's return
A pre-trib rapture explains why we will be KEPT FROM THE HOUR OF TRIAL
A pre-trib rapture explains why events after the Glorious Appearing fall perfectly into place
A pre-trib rapture allows time for the Judgment Seat of Christ, a tour of heaven, and fellowship with Jesus Christ
If there is anymore, then e-mail me and I'll add it!
TIMELINE OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Rapture = before the Tribulation
Tribulation starts = Signing of a treaty between Antichrist & Israel
Middle of Tribulation = ABOMINATION