RAPTURE/TRIBULATION

In this lesson we will examine three different pre-millennial views of the Rapture including (1) post- tribulation rapture, (2) mid-tribulation rapture, and (3) pre-tribulation rapture.

Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-55 These verses tell us of the Rapture of the saints. The word rapture does not appear in scripture, but it is referred to as the rapture, the catching away, the snatching away, because of the translation of the words from Greek into English. These scriptures tell us that in some future time which only God knows, the trumpet will sound, all those that were saved before death will return to their bodies and be changed instantly into immortal, incorruptible, eternal bodies and come out of the graves or wherever the ended up when they died. Those saved people that are alive at the sound of the trumpet will be immediately changed also into immortal, eternal bodies and all will be raised up into the clouds to meet the Lord Jesus and be with Him forever after.

POST-TRIBULATIONISTS

Post-tribulationists believe that the rapture will not take place until after the seven year tribulation period, and just prior to the millennial kingdom. The following reasons show us why this is not true.

I Thessalonians 5:9

God has not appointed the church unto wrath. However, Rev. 12:12 ; Rev. 6:16-17 shows us that there is terrible wrath from the anti-Christ and from The Lamb coming to those inhabitants of the earth during tribulation time.

Matthew 16:18

Jesus promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. However, we are told in Rev. 13:7 that the saints in tribulation time are overcome.

Matthew 25:31-34

We are told that when Jesus comes back to set up His kingdom that He will take those that are left on earth after the tribulation period and separate the sheep (saved) from the goats (lost). If Jesus tells those that were saved to “enter into the kingdom prepared for you..”, how could that happen if all the saints were raptured at the end of the tribulation period?

There would not be anyone left to go into the kingdom if they were all gone in the rapture.

Revelation 20:4

John writes that there was a resurrection of those that were killed for their testimony while in the tribulation period. This resurrection came after the devil was cast into the pit and the nations had been judged after Jesus had returned to set up His kingdom. If the rapture had taken place before Jesus returned these people would already be resurrected.

MID-TRIBULATION

Mid-tribulationists believe that the rapture will occur three and one half years into the tribulation. There is one compelling reason why this theory is absolutely false and could never be true.

Daniel 9:27According to Daniel's prophecy about the anti-Christ, he will make a treaty with Israel for seven years but break the covenant after three and one half years by the desecration of the temple sacrifice.

Revelation 17-19:2 These chapters and verses indicate the religious whoredom of the beast and those that serve him during the tribulation period. Rev. 17:6; 18:21-24 indicates that much violence was put upon God’s people during and up to the time of Jesus return (Rev. 19:11-21). ** If in fact the rapture would have taken place at the half way point of the tribulation, upon whom did the anti-Christ wage war on for the last three and one half years? Who are the saints that are talked about in Rev. 18:24? The rapture is that event that takes the saints home isn’t it?

PRE-TRIBULATION

Pre-tribulationists believe that the rapture will occur prior to the seven year tribulation, but not necessarily immediately before the tribulation period. Why is this the right view of the rapture?

Daniel 9:24 When the last week of Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks commences, the focus of God’s attention is shown to be primarily on the nation of Israel. In Rev.7 we see that the 144,000 are chosen from the twelve tribes of Israel. In Rev. 11:7-8 the two witnesses are apparently Jewish and are martyred in the city of Jerusalem. In Rev. 12:6 the woman that flees into the wilderness and is protected by God represents Israel. All mention of the Church of Christ and its doctrines end in Rev. 3:22 and the rapture “type” is given in Rev. 4:1 where John is received up into heaven and told that he would see “things which must be hereafter”. The question is this, hereafter what?? The scriptures speak for themselves if we look at the context of what Jesus was talking to John about just prior to John being “caught up into heaven”. Jesus was talking to John about the seven churches.

Matthew 24:14 When Jesus was explaining to His disciples about the end times and what would transpire before His second coming He told them that the “gospel of the Kingdom” would be preached to the whole world. This is the same “Gospel of the Kingdom” that John the Baptist preached in Mat. 3:1-2 and Jesus preached in Mat. 4:17. That Gospel said “repent ye, for the kingdom of God is at hand”. This “Gospel of the kingdom” is what the 144,000 and the two witnesses will be preaching. The gospel that Paul preached in I Cor. 15:1-4 was the Gospel of grace for the church of Christ after Jesus had been crucified and risen. If the church is going through the tribulation, do the born again saints have to be saved again by the “Gospel of the kingdom”? Obviously the church saints are eternally saved by the gospel of grace which is by grace through faith and will not be in the Tribulation period.

Acts 15:14-16 By comparing scriptures we can see that Jesus was fulfilling the promise of the Church by saving the Gentiles from all different nations. The prophecy states that He is taking out a people for His name and “After this I will return and build again the tabernacle of David”.. It is telling us that the completion of the church must be done prior to the rebuilding of the temple, which is to take place prior to the midpoint of the tribulation.

II Thessalonians 2:6-7 Who did the church of Thessalonica know that was powerful enough to hold back Satan? This has to be the Holy Spirit. Some think that the “he” that witholdeth the enemy might be the church of Christ. Either way, the Church or the Holy Spirit, it is the same because the Church is sealed by and with the Holy Spirit, so if He goes we go, if the Church goes, He goes, regardless, the scripture says that before the wickedness and the man of sin is revealed the Church along with the Holy Spirit is removed.