Pre-Tribulation Rapture

 

Rapture

 

A good friend of mine asked me why I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture as opposed to the mid-trib, or pre-wrath rapture, or the post-tribulation rapture. He also believes in the pre-trib rapture but asked why I, personally, believed that. I have to admit that this question wasn’t easily answered until I started studying Bible prophecy. I grew up in an Assembly of God church and they just always taught the pre-trib stance (although I never actually remember the pastor preaching about it). It’s just been one of those things that I always believed but could never explain to someone if I was asked. Well now that I have finally been asked, and I’ve been spending more time in the Word, I’d like to share why I believe the Bible teaches a pre-tribulation rapture, with scriptural evidence of course.

 

First, the Bible actually never mentions the word rapture. That certainly doesn’t mean that there is no such thing. Did you know that the word “Bible” is not in the Bible? If you want to get really deep, you could say that there are no English words in the Bible because it was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. One of the most popular verses related to the rapture is:

 

1 Thessalonians 4:17 – Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

 

Still no word rapture. If you look at the original version of the verse is it there either?

 

4:17 epeita hmeis oi zwntes oi perileipomenoi ama sun autois arpaghsomeqa en nefelais eis apanthsin tou kuriou eis aera kai outws pantote sun kuriw esomeqa

 

Nope. Looks like gibberish to me. The word rapture can be translated from the Greek word rapturo, which means caught up. This is why we say that we believe in “a” rapture. We could just say we believe in being caught up but that doesn’t sound as nice does it?

 

 

Another common misconception, I think, is that the 7th, or last, trumpet of Revelation 11:15 is the same trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52:

 

1 Corinthians 15:52 – …in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

 

Shofar

 

This would place the rapture at the middle point of the tribulation and I think this is what most mid-trib believers dwell on. The trumpet that Paul was talking about in Corinthians was the trumpet sound that ends the church age, the age that we are currently living in. The Jewish holiday, Feast of Trumpets, includes the blowing of the shofar 100 times. The last trumpet sound is a long, resounding blast and is probably the same type of sound John heard:

 

Revelation 4:1 – After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

 

So putting these together, we know that John was caught up, or “raptured” to heaven and we know we are awaiting the same promise.

 

 

 

 

When I think of a setting in the Bible that relates to the rapture, I think of Noah. We all know the story where God told him to build and ark to prepare for the coming flood. Then the flood came and only Noah and his family were saved while the rest of the earth was destroyed.

 

Noah's Ark

 

Matthew 24:37-39 – But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Yes I realize this says nothing about the actual rapture, but if you think about the situation, it correlates directly to the pre-trib rapture. Noah and his family who followed God were saved from the destruction that ensued upon the rest of the world. So although not a direct scriptural reference that the rapture will be before the tribulation, it still paints a good picture of the same saving grace that we are provided.

 

 

Going back to the rapture verse:

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

 

Great trib

 

Verse 18 here is really the clincher. Should we be comforted if we were going to have to endure God’s wrath, starvation, beheadings, the temptation of taking the mark of the beast to save our own lives? Being faced with these things scares the junk out of me. I’m certainly more comforted in the fact that Jesus will remove us from the earth to be with him in heaven before the tribulation begins. We were not created to endure God’s wrath:

 

1 Thessalonians 5:9 – For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

The seals, trumpets and vials that will be broken, sounded and poured out are not meant for those who have accepted Jesus as our Savior.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 – For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

 

Again here, we are not appointed to the wrath that will be poured out on the non-believers during the 7 year tribulation.

 

Luke 21:36 – Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

 

“These things” refer to the events that will take place during the 7 year tribulation. If we have escaped via the rapture we will be standing before Jesus as His bride.

 

Revelation 3:10 – Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

 

Hour glass

 

The tribulation period is also known as the hour of trial or hour of temptation. According to this verse, those who are left on earth after the rapture will be tested. Do believers that make it to the rapture need to be tested? No. Do those who remain here have 1 final test to turn from their evil ways, take up their cross and finally decide to follow Jesus. Yes. The big test will be the mark of the beast. You take it, you have sealed your fate of eternal damnation. You refuse it, you are beheaded as a martyr for Jesus. What greater test of faith could one be given?

 

 

Zephaniah 2:1-3 – Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together,
O undesirable nation,

Before the decree is issued,
Or the day passes like chaff,
Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you,
Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you!
Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth,
Who have upheld His justice.
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
It may be that you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger.

 

skyfire

 

The day of the Lord’s anger is the tribulation. Zephaniah tells us that if we gather together and seek the Lord before His day of anger then we will be hidden, or raptured, beforehand.

 

 

Isaiah, in just 3 consecutive verses, shows a perfect picture of the rapture and that even correlates to the Jewish wedding ceremony as I have talked about before.

 

Isaiah 26:19 – Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.

 

rapture up

 

The Groom (Jesus) and His bride (the church) will be united.

 

Isaiah 26:20 – Come, my people, enter your chambers,
And shut your doors behind you;
Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment,
Until the indignation is past.

 

gates

 

The Jewish bride and groom would then enter their wedding chamber for 7 days (equivalent to the 7 year tribulation) until the marriage is consummated and then they would come out and celebrate. If you look at this verse with the post-tribulation rapture in mind, it doesn’t make sense. If we were raptured and then came right back down in verse 21, where is the “little moment?” Where is the “indignation?”

 

Isaiah 26:21 – For behold, the Lord comes out of His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
The earth will also disclose her blood,
And will no more cover her slain.

 

second coming

 

Upon the Lord’s return, the Millennial Reign (or honeymoon) will begin.

 

The Book of Psalms also reiterates this point:

 

Psalm 27:5 – For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

 

Jesus hides His bride in heaven with him for the Marriage Supper while the time of tribulation is happening.

 

We all know the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25. The wedding to our Groom is also mentioned here:

 

knocking

 

Matthew 25: 10-12 – And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Those who are saved at the time of the rapture, before the tribulation, will be taken away. Those who were not, but quickly realize their mistake, will be begging and pleading for Jesus but he will not open the door for them. They must go through the 7 year tribulation.

 

 

 

Finishing up with the timeline of the Book of Revelation, it should be blatantly clear that we, as believers, are not appointed to the wrath of God during the tribulation and that Jesus will return and catch us up in the air to be with him forever.

 

timeline

 

Between chapters 1-3 of Revelation, the church is mentioned 19 times. Starting in chapter 4 when John is called up to heaven, the church is not mentioned again until chapter 19 when we return with Jesus as saints in white. If we were not raptured beforehand, how could we return with him here?

 

Revelation 4-5 is John is heaven.

 

Revelation 5:9 – 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,

The key part of this verse is the fact that those who are singing the new song are those who were redeemed by Jesus’ blood. Angels were not redeemed by His blood. We were. The church. The church, the saved, the raptured are singing the song to Jesus. Yet another piece of evidence that we are in heaven before the tribulation starts.

 

Revelation 6 starts the 7 seals.

 

Revelation 8-11 is the 7 trumpets.

 

Revelation 14 is the mark of the beast and the martyrs.

 

Revelation 16 contains the 7 vials or bowls.

 

Revelation 19 Jesus returns with us, his saints.

 

Revelation 20 Satan is bound for a short time and the Millennial Reign begins.

 

Revelation 21-22 is the new heaven and new earth.

 

The 7 year tribulation lasts from Revelation 6-18, of which those who are saved will not experience.

 

 

Revelation 1:3 – Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

 

Finally, we are told right out of the box in Revelation that those who read the words of the prophecy are blessed. There is a special blessing for those who read Revelation and try to decipher the prophecies and learn from it. I hope to receive that blessing soon! Paul also confirms that those who are watching will receive a crown of righteousness:

 

2 Timothy 4:6-8 – For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

 

Folks, we need to look forward to His coming. We need to be excited about it, especially since it is SO close! You’ve heard the saying have “faith like a child.” We need the excitement of a child when it comes to Jesus’ return. I talk to my kids all the time about how close we are to going to heaven and meeting Jesus. Of course my son is at that age where he doesn’t really get overwhelmed with excitement about much of anything but my girls’ faces light up when I talk about it. They are so excited, as am I, to make it to heaven and see Jesus. Keeping looking up and looking for His coming because it is knocking at the door.

2 Comments

  1. Melissa H
    March 3, 2014 @ 1:12 PM

    Fantastic job! Eloquent, real, comforting, thorough, and exciting. Thanks for your hard work and research. Many “blessings” on you and all who read this. BTW – nice shoes.

    Reply

  2. Cory Clark
    March 6, 2014 @ 3:08 PM

    Well said. You always have a ludicrous amount of info and research to support what you say. Cant wait to be “caught up”!

    Reply

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