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The Rapture: Fact or Fiction? February 10, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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As a young person growing up in church circles I used to hear much talk of “the rapture”. At that time I did not give much thought to it except that I generally accepted that this cataclysmic event would precede the end of the age and all I hoped was that I too would be ready when the rapture comes. In more recent times there is a lot of talk of “the rapture” on Christian TV and the online forums and blogosphere are awash with talk of being “rapture ready”. This furore has no doubt been fuelled with the help of the “Left Behind” series of books written by Tim LaHaye. It should be noted here that the idea of “the rapture” generally refers to a pre-tribulation rapture. What this implies is that those who are in Christ will escape the wrath of the Great Tribulation that Jesus said would come upon the world in the last days. How wonderful to think therefore that the Lord would return and secretly whisk those that are saved away to some safe haven, leaving the remainder of the sinners to suffer the tribulation? This sounds all idealistic for after all why would Jesus allow His saints, the church, to go through such a horrific event as the tribulation? But what is the real deal about the rapture and can it be supported by scripture?

 Since the 1800s, John Nelson Darby, although he didn’t invent the idea, has popularised the idea of the pre-tribulation rapture. However, the term rapture doesn’t even appear anywhere in the Bible. Moreover when Jesus outlined His coming in Matthew 24 there is not even so much as a hint that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture. In looking at the key verses we read:

 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Emphasis added)

 One of the first things we note is that Jesus does not come in secret but all eyes shall behold Him coming in the clouds. The idea of a secret rapture therefore poses a dilemma in that Jesus would have to return two times instead of once. This reasoning however is not supported by scriptures as Jesus will return only once. In any event Jesus clearly says that after the tribulation of those days, then shall His sign appear in the heavens and then He shall send His angels to gather the elect. Verse 22 also makes it clear that the days of the tribulation period would be shortened for the elect’s sake. There is no such promise of a rapture and 1 Thess 1:17 can hardly be used to support a pre-tribulation rapture as some bible scholars like to do.

 What if the tribulation should come and those who were expected to be raptured were still here to face it? What would they think, that they perhaps weren’t saved after all or that the Lord had abandoned them? These questions highlight why this is such a very dangerous doctrine and I would that people read their Bibles before being carried away with every wind of doctrine.

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Comments»

1. JD Collier - February 10, 2010

Henry, What a blessing to see you writing on this subject. It appears that most evangelicals have bought into the pre-trib position. The Scriptures teach that we (believers in Christ) will not experience the “wrath of God” but this in no way suggests that we will not experience a great deal of wrath from Satan in the last days (or that we will not experience all sorts of difficulties in this present day; as discipline for the development of our character). Thanks for the blog!

Henry - February 10, 2010

JD Collier,
Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your comments. Indeed the evangelicals seems to have lost their heads on this particular subject without applying proper exegesis. They seem to have forgotten that Christianity isn’t about having an easy life as scripture tells us that through much tribulation must we enter into the Kingdom of God.
God Bless you

2. wabd - February 10, 2010

I’m confused, if the term rapture does not exist, then what happens at the end of the ages?

You said that a pre-trib rapture is not supported by scriptures, then where are these advocates of a pre-trib rapture (which does not exist to begin with) get their scriptures from to support their doctrine?

Last question, you highlighted the ‘elect’ being gathered from the four winds, who is the elect?

3. Phil Jellerson - February 10, 2010

I am happy to see that God is illuminating the minds of some preachers in these last days as to the pre-tribulation rapture LIE!

I have studied Bible prophecy, especially the Rapture, for over 25 years. THERE IS NO PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE IN THE BIBLE!

I have written an 80-page eBook titled: “The Church Rapture.” If any of your readers would like to learn more about it the can go to:

Thanks and GOD BLESS….. Phil Jellerson, Preacher

4. Trudy - February 11, 2010

[This was recently seen on the web. Enjoy. Trudy]

Pretrib Rapture Trivia

Who’s the “Protector of the Principality of Pretribulatia”?
Edward Irving? John Darby? C. I. Scofield? Tim LaHaye? Someone else?
Media figure Joe Ortiz knows the answer. It’s in his “End Times Passover” blog. The one dated Dec. 29, 2009.
If you’re Calvinist, you’re predestined to see his blog. If you’re Arminian, you can choose to see it.
It will be too late to find out the answer to the above trivia question if the rapture happens!

Henry - February 11, 2010

Hi Wabd,
Welcome. I have noted your questions and will try to clear up any confusion you have. The first thing to note is although some ministers speak sincerely they can also be sincerely wrong. The second thing to note is that often times people can and do make scriptures appear to say things that it doesn’t actually say. Now going on to your first question of what happens at the end of the ages, I beleive Jesus gave a clear outline in Matt 24 as I previously outlined in the main article. However Matt 24 can be read in conjunction with other scriptures such as Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 which also give a vision of the future. These passages outline the rise of the “anti-christ” or the “man of sin” and I think this is synonymous with the tribulation period also. Verse 25 of Daniel 7 for example tells us that the anti-christ will wear out the saints. To support this Rev 13:7 says that power will be given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. In verse 15 we see again that he will kill many people who refuses to worship the image of the beast. Now, the question is if the saints were going to be raptured prior to the tribulation which saints are these scriptures speaking of? Paul in 2 Thess 2:1-4 also writes that the day of Christ’s return shall not come until there is a “falling away” first and that the man of sin, the son of perdition, is revealed. Some interpreters will say that the “falling away” is a “catching away” which is the actual rapture but this is not true. The “falling away” here refers to religious apostasy or a falling away from the true faith and this is evident if you look at parallel translations of the Bible. It should be clear then that it is after these things come to pass that Jesus will put in His appearance to gather the church to Himself.

In response to your second question I believe what I have said so far covers this. Now to your last question of who are the elect? I pointed out in another article that the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that they are the elect and that the elect represents 144,000 people who would stand with Christ on judgement day. Again this is not true. Although under the Old Covenant the elect was Israel, under the new the elect are the church, the body of Christ. Paul writing to the Colossian church for example, says this:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye (Col 3:11-13).

Henry - February 11, 2010

Hi Phill Jellerson,
Thanks for dropping by and providing the link to eBook. I will check it out when I have a chance but I hope it will help to clear up some of the confusion on this subject. God Bless

Henry

After my previous response I have tried to review the website that Phil Jellerson provided but it appears that on clicking on the link to the ebook on his website the page is defaulting to another page which appears to contain malware as I have received a warning to that effect. I have therefore removed the links from Phil’s post and apologise for not been quicker to pick up on this, in case anyone has been affected. He also seems to be running some kind of lottery with his ebooks which personal I don’t think should be marketed on this blog as it may very well be a scam.

Henry - February 11, 2010

Hi Trudy,
Welcome to the blog. First let me say that I am neither Calvinist nor Arminian nor do I subscribe to any such delineation when it comes to Christian doctrine. Here is what Paul says in I Cor 3:
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase

I believe I have clearly showed from scripture that there is no such thing as a pre-trib rapture irrespective of what strain anyone follows.

5. wabd - February 11, 2010

Hi Henry,

Thank you very much for your prompt and insightful responses I especially like your opening statement, “The first thing to note is although some ministers speak sincerely they can also be sincerely wrong. The second thing to note is that often times people can and do make scriptures appear to say things that it doesn’t actually say.”

I trust that this also applies to you as well. You see I’ve done extensive studies in the ‘rapture doctrines’ and have so far found the entire thing to be quite confusing. In fact the person that I studied the pre-trib rapture doctrine from said something similar to what you said in your opening statement which I quoted.

All sides have, in my opinion, provided compelling evidence to support their respective beliefs and therefore it is difficult to ascertain who has got it right. Sometimes its as little as what a particular word or phrase means that describes a different point of view. While I have favored the pre-trib rapture doctrine for some time as being the one with the most compelling scriptural evidence, I however have adopted the line, wherever Jesus is where I want to be in the last days.

Even amongst pre-tribbers there are differences like the interpretation of ‘falling away’ as you have pointed out as being believed as the rapture itself and others saying it is the great apostasy. I’ve heard mid-tribbers say that the pre-tribbers are setting up believers for the mark of beast just to win people over to their side. It is very confusing.

I’ve started a blog recently to examine the rapture phenomenon and I hope you’ll drop by when you get a chance. http://wabd.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/why-the-pre-trib-rapture-doctrine-is-opposed/. I may have some more questions for you so I’ll be stopping by from time to time as you seem to have the temperament for scriptures not opinions. Again ty and God’s blessings

In His Grace I exist.

Henry - February 11, 2010

Hi Wabd,
In response to your point that I myself is also guilty of making scriptures appear to say what they don’t, I will say that I will encourage readers to be like the Bereans and examine everything I say in light of scriptures. If they can show me where I have deviated away from scriptures then I will appreciate any corrections. With that said, I can appreciate why you are confused with this issue having studied it from two perspectives. But since I have presented a scriptural position that the pre-trib rapture is false, please do provide any scriptures you have which supports the pre-trib rapture position and we can perhaps look at them here. In the meantime can you please read Revelations chapter 6 and chapter 7. After reading it can you tell me who the scriptures refer to in verse 14 of chapter seven when it says, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”?
God Bless

6. wabd - February 12, 2010

Hi Henry,

Peace and God’s blessings be upon you. As you requested I read both chapters 6 and 7 of Revelations and paid attention to vv14 of chapter 7. There are three possible answers as to ‘who’ they are:

1. If one is to look at the time period (great tribulation) then the appropriate references would be:
Dan 12:1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
The angel is speaking to Daniel about the nation of Israel thus the ‘who’ becomes the Jews. The bible also refers the great tribulation as the time of Jacob’s trouble.

2. But there is some incongruity to this interpretation since vv 14 of 7 Rev details the ‘who’ being identified by one of the 24 elders as well the 144,000 as we were told are from JEWISH lineage thus making the ‘who’ gentile believers.

3. Although the Jews (144,000) were specifically distinguished from the saints, there is no scriptural evidence to suggest that the ‘who’ cannot be from both Jew and gentile as we can deduce from the phrase:
Dan 7:25’……wear down the saints of the Highest One.’ All being God’s people.

I will have to conclude that the ‘who’ is a combination of Jew and Gentile tribulation saints.

Henry - February 12, 2010

Hi Wabd,
Let us agree that the “rapture” is the gathering together of the saints unto Christ when He shall return. The central question we have been trying to answer is whether this gathering of the saints, be they Jew, Greek, Africans etc will occur prior to the tribulation (pre-trib) so they can escape it OR after the tribulation (post-trib) so they can experience it? I therefore referred you to Rev 7:14 in particular to support the point that the saints will be in the world during the reign of the antichrist and hence the tribulation period. In this regard I did not make any distinctions as to whether those who went through the tribulation (the “who” in my earlier question) did NOT include both Jew and Gentiles. Of course the saints comprise of people of both Jewish and Gentile descent. The 144,000 are not just descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel but more specifically they are men (no woman among them), virgins who did not defile themselves with women (See Rev 14:1-6)! These are referred to as the first fruits unto God hence why they are distinct from the great multitude from every nation, kindred and tongues.

The question again therefore is this, will the saints (the church) that are alive at the time of the great tribulation (or distress) be in the world or will they be miraculously taken out? Check out the Mark 13 account also. It says: 24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

By the way I did visit your blog and posted a comment.

Stay blessed!

7. wabd - February 12, 2010

Hi Henry,

I cannot agree with your opening request, ‘Let us agree that the “rapture” is the gathering together of the saints unto Christ when He shall return.’ For two main reasons:

1. There is a distinction between the ‘Church’ saints and the ‘Tribulation’ saints that is borne out of the pre-trib rapture doctrine. The Church Saints according to the this doctrine spans an arc of time from the Pentecost to the revealing of the man of lawlessness and the great apostasy.

2. The tribulation saints are those who come to faith during the tribulation period and they are amongst the invited to witness the wedding ceremony of the Bridegroom (Christ) to the Bride (Raptured Church).

3. The pre-trib rapture doctrine specifies that those who are dead in Christ and those who are alive in that day shall go up in the clouds to meet Christ in the air where we are resurrected or given new bodies. It does not say anything about Christ’s return.

1 Thess 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 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.

1 Cor 15:50-53
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Although both groups are saints their sainthood comes at different times thereby distinguishing both parties as Bride (Church Saints) and Invited Guests (Tribulation Saints {in part}), the two witnesses as well as the 144,000 sealed servants can be qualified as tribulation saints but not church saints.

Rev 19:7-9
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 And he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

Having read your cited verses in Mark 13, I submit that this is a description of Christ coming to earth and His angels collecting the remnant of His elect. Again this is different from the rapture which is the Church Saints ascending to meet Christ.

In His Grace

Wes

Henry - February 12, 2010

Wabd
Fine, you don’t have to agree with my opening statement. However, the truth is that I have seen those scriptures you presented used to support the pre-trib rapture position in just the way you have presented them but I fail to see how they support this position.

Question? Is it not true that the pre-tribbers believe that the rapture will be secret? If this is so how on earth can you use 2 Thess 4:16 to support this?

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God;

Does it not say that the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout and with the trumpet of God? Does this sound like a secret rapture to you?

Question? If all the saints are taken out of the way before the tribulation, who is it that will preach the Gospel so that those sinners left to face the wrath of the tribulation will be saved? How can people become saints in the tribulation if all the righteous were taken out of the way?

8. wabd - February 12, 2010

Hello Henry,

Okay you fail to see how the vv quoted support the pre-trib rapture but does that make it less correct or incorrect?

The pre-trib rapture will be in keeping with the traditions of the Jewish Wedding Ceremony in which the groom will come without prior notice to collect his bride giving only one sign of his arrival which is blowing of the shofar (trumpet) when he approaches. As you can see this is different from the return of Christ, the wedding ceremony would have been completed by then.

‘Does it not say that the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout and with the trumpet of God? Does this sound like a secret rapture to you?’ Are you expecting to hear the shout and the trumpet? If so, then can you tell what the songs of praise being sung by the four living creatures, the elders and the tribulation saints sound like? These are heavenly signs or occurrences that will have its outcomes realized in our realm. The book of revelations is teeming with such acts, just look at the opening of the seals as an example.

If all the saints are taken out of the way before the tribulation, who is it that will preach the Gospel so that those sinners left to face the wrath of the tribulation will be saved? How can people become saints in the tribulation if all the righteous were taken out of the way?

A Church Saint or Christian is defined as someone who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, this started when the Church age began at the Pentecost. Paul also gives us more details of this in: Rom 8:9-11, However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

As I said before the Church Age has a beginning {Pentecost} and would have an end [Rapture]. Yes the Holy Spirit would be absent from the world at this point as we see in Rev 4, but that does not mean that it is the end to all righteousness. Prior to Christ work on the cross, how did men receive righteousness? God has always been working with men, just look at the Patriarchs, they were saved but did not know Christ as we do! They did not ascend into heaven because Christ had to be the first fruit. Look at Enoch and Elijah who, as we are told, never died a physical death but was found to be righteous. What about the Two Witnesses, the 144,000 ‘Bond Servants’, are they going to be standing idly by twiddling their thumbs? They are bond servants just as Paul was!

You put limitations on God when you ask questions like that my friend, God throughout history has chosen to work with and through men. If men won’t answer the call He will find a way despite our leanings. Rev 7:14 says,…”These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation…., people are being saved through grace that was made possible by Christ. Why did God remove physical death for 5 months during the 2nd woe? It was unspeakable grace for He knows that if men were to kill themselves there would be no opportunity for salvation.

I am not trying to convince you or anyone to believe or not to believe in a pre, mid or post trib rapture. God has to put it on your heart. I am examining scriptures along with Jewish traditions, the early Greek translation – Septuagint and finding the common thread that exist from Genesis to Revelations.

In His Grace,

Wes

9. Henry - February 13, 2010

Hi Wabd,

What I have gleaned from your responses is that you are not “confused” at all but you have already made up your mind on the issue of the pre-tribulation rapture. Like I said before the scriptures you produced does not in anyway indicate that the events outlined therein will occur before, during or after the tribulation. The tribulation is not even mentioned in those scriptures. Now for you to say that the rapture will be in keeping with “the the traditions of the Jewish Wedding Ceremony in which the groom will come without prior notice to collect his bride” is pure conjecture and supposition on your part. There is no biblical evidence in support of this.

In Matt 24:3 the Disciples asked Jesus what shall be the sign of His coming and of the end of the world.

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

The disciples asked the question because they could not know whether the Lord would return in their life time or not. The Lord therefore proceeded to give them the signs. Now according to you the rapture isn’t the coming of Christ as the coming occurs after the rapture. So why pray tell does Jesus proceed to give them the sign of His coming if He knew that they would be raptured before His coming and wouldn’t need the signs anyway? Here was the perfect opportunity to tell the disciples that they need not worry as the signs are for others who will be ‘left behind’ to face the tribulation after He raptures them. Why would the Lord leave such vital information out? For clearly there is nothing in the Mark 13 or Matt 24 accounts that remotely implies that the church would be raptured before the tribulation.

But since we both know that you have already drawn your conclusions on the pre-trib position and I have made my position clear, there is no use pursuing this issue any further. I would respectfully suggest therefore that you hold your peace and propagate your pre-trib position on your own blog.

God bless

10. wabd - February 13, 2010

Thanks all the same for allowing me the opportunity to answer your questions as scripturally best as possible. You did assert your position but failed to provide conclusive evidence. What I saw was quote mining with clever twists but easily discerned by anyone who reads the word with a view to understanding.

The irony is both mid and post trib advocates went so far as to claim that the rapture does not exist but yet they promote a mid or post trib rapture. Such hypocrisy! BTW the term ‘caught up’ as described in 1Thess 4 comes from the Latin Vulgate – raptuos where the term rapture was derived.

FYI while I provided answers to suit your questions, had you asked for answers regarding mid or post trib doctrines I would have obliged you. You however chose to label me as a pre-tribber. If you asked me questions about pie and cake and I answered would that make me a baker?

God bless and keep searching, what if the pre-trib doctrine is right, where would your charges be when they are left behind?

11. JD Collier - February 14, 2010

Wow! I have followed your discussion. Let me suggest a book that I think you both may find useful. The title is: “The Pre-wrath Rapture of the Church” by Marvin Rosenthal. You can order it from his website. http://www.zionshope.org/index.aspx Also the Zion’s fire magazine articles are very good. Check them out in the archives on the bottom of the page. In Christ. Jerry

12. Henry - February 14, 2010

For all those that have been following this discourse I think it is right and proper that I should sum up the arguments herein and put forward a conclusion based on what the scriptures say, especially after Wabd’s last response to me. After I have put forward my conclusions you be the judge as to whether I have misled anyone on this issue or not.

From my initial post I contended that Jesus would return after the tribulation, which He speaks of and then gather all the saints, the Church, unto Himself. This is what He said in Matthew 24 and also in Mark 13. In these two passages Jesus did not say or hint that He would gather the saints before the tribulation in an event that “pre-tribbers” call “the rapture” so where does this idea of the “pre-tribulation rapture” comes from? Let me state categorically here that I do not believe in a “rapture” be it pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib as the word doesn’t even appear in scripture. However if one should examine the pre-tribber’s arguments one will soon find out exactly why they believe what they do. They surmise that since the church represents the bride of Christ, they ask which bridegroom would put their bride through such a terrible event as the great tribulation. But this kind of rational thinking is purely carnal in nature. We know from scripture that the 1st Century church went through their own tribulation, whereby even some of the apostles were put to death by the sword. Weren’t these a part of the bride also? In Acts 14 after Paul was stoned by the Jews he said that through much tribulation must we (the bride of Christ, the church) enter into the kingdom of God.

22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

What kind of bible are the pre-tribbers reading then when they ask which bridegroom would put their bride through tribulations? Here is what Jesus said in Matt 24:8-9

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Note that the word affliction which is related to ‘afflicted’ is synonymous with tribulation. Although Jesus said “you” He wasn’t speaking to the disciples only but to the corporate church since He is outlining the signs of the end. We have therefore now established beyond the shadow of a doubt that the church must necessarily go through tribulation. But will the church go to the great tribulation?

The next point of contention therefore is whether the “elect” which Jesus sends His angels to gather from the four winds constitute the church or not (noting that there are also elect angels as well). According to Wabd, the elect spoken of in Matt 24:31 aren’t the church but they are those who became saints during the tribulation. Thus they are not a part of the bride as such but invited guests to the marriage ceremony of the Lamb. But in looking at Col 3:11-13 we see Paul addressing the elect of God. Now if the elect in Matt 24:31 are “tribulation saints” who are distinct from the church (which will be raptured) as Wabd claims, how is it that Paul here is addressing the Colossian church in the 1st Century as the elect? This obviously does not make any sense at all.

A further point of contention is a matter of semantics. I referred to “Christ’s return” prior to the tribulation as the idea behind the rapture but Wadb says the pre-tribulation rapture argument does not mention Christ’s “return”. Yet Wabd presents 1 Thess 4:13-18 and 1 Cor 15:50-53 as the conclusive evidence for the pre-tribulation rapture. Now looking at 1 Thess 4:15 it says:

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep

What does it say here which I have highlighted in bold? There is the answer right there in black and white. Bless God! The coming of the Lord and His return to earth are synonymous phrases and that much should be clear although Wabd seems to imply differently. So then, we know from Matt 24:29-31 (and also Mark 13) that Jesus’ coming is after the tribulation BUT the events that Wabd points to as the pre-trib rapture in 1 Thess 4 occurs at “the coming of the Lord”. Lets also look briefly at 1 Cor 15 which was also provided as evidence of the pre-trib argument but I want to look at verse 23:

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

Does it not state clearly here that it is when Christ comes that all those who belong to him will be made alive? I think if we should apply proper exegesis of scriptures we can come to the truth and realise that the pre-tribulation argument is false. I rest my case.

Henry - February 14, 2010

Jerry,
Thanks for the link. Will check it out but I doubt I will buy the book though.

One of the problem is that Wabd freely posts his arguments opposing what I have presented yet I commented on his own blog and yet he refuses to publish my comment as it is not in line with his own views. Not that I am rendering an eye for an eye or anything (as he is free to post here whenever he likes) but if one cannot provide biblical evidence in support of their arguments then their is no point going down a dead end road. See my last response on the issue.

13. Henry - February 16, 2010

@ JD Collier,
I have read the cover article on “The Rapture of the Church” by Marvin Rosenthal on the Zionshope website you provided. Thanks again for providing the link but I must say it does make a good read not merely because it is in agreement with what I have presented. It is however scripturally sound and it is interesting to note that the author, Marvin Rosenthal, was a “pre-tribulation rapture” proponent until he finally saw the light. I guess the only point where we differed is on the issue of calling the event of “being caught up” when Christ comes as the Rapture whereas I don’t call it that. But that is not that significant a point as the main point is the timing of the event of being “caught up” and on that point we are both in agreement that it occurs “after the tribulation of those days”. I would certainly recommend this article to anyone who is having difficulty grappling with this issue.

dmcal52 - February 23, 2010

Greetings!

If you are claiming that there is no pre-tribulation resurrection and catching away, I would have to direct you to Paul’s outline of the “Day of the Lord.”

1. 1 Thes.4:13-18 – Paul describes the resurrection and catching away.

2. 1 Thes.5:1-2 – Paul designates the resurrection and catching away as “the day of the Lord.”

3. 1 Thes.5:3 – Paul describes the wrath of God, which follows the resurrection and catching away, also designated as the day of the Lord.

The resurrection and catching away of the church is not a “secret” coming, it’s a seperate event from Christ’s return to the earth. At the resurrection and catching away, the Lord is returning to meet the resurrected and those caught up in the air to take them back to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3).

In regards to Rev.19, the Lord is returning to the earth to set up his millennial kingdom and to cast the beast and the false prophet into the Lake of fire and will have Satan bound in the Abyss during that thousand years.

The resurrection and catching away of the church takes place prior to the first seal being opened and the church will never see the antichrist. There is a nice little clue after the end of Chapter 3 and that is the absence of the word “Ekklesia” translated “church.” From chapter 1 though 3 the word “church” is used over and over again, but after Rev. 3:22 the church is never mentioned again within the narrative. The word that is used after that to describe a beliver in Christ is “Hagios” translated “saint.” The reason that the word church is missing is because it is a clue that the church is missing.

Further more, one of the errors that people make is confusing common trial and tribulation meted out by men and the powers of darknes with the wrath of God. The wrath of God is comprised of the seven seals, trumpets and bowls and concluding with the return of the Lord and therefore, since we are not appointed unto God’s wrath, we will not go through it. In fact Jesus said the following to the church in Philadelphia:

“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 ont he earth.”

The “hour of trial” is another designation for the “day of the Lord” and also the “wrath of God,” which again is comprised of the seals, trumpets and bowl judgments with the conclusion of God’s wrath at the return of Christ.

Yours in Christ

Henry - February 23, 2010

Dmcal52,

Greetings! Thanks for joining into the debate. Personally what I have gleaned from scripture is that whilst the church will escape God’s wrath we shall not escape the tribulation. There is indeed a difference between satan’s wrath and God’s wrath. My point therefore is that Jesus will reconcile the church unto Himself after the tribulation which is satan’s wrath. This is what Matt 24 and Mark 13 states. There is no room in those passages for a pre-trib rapture. Some of those scriptures you presented though, I have already dealt with them here: https://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/the-rapture-fact-or-fiction/#comment-42

God bless

Don McAllister - February 24, 2010

Greetings Henry,

Thank you , it is good to be here.

You say that the church is going to go through Satan’s wrath, which we know begins in the middle of the seven and continues until the return of the Lord to set up his earthly kingdom, but the problem that we have here is that this puts the church through the wrath of God as well. We know that the judgments of God will continue right up until Christ returns and then completes the tribulation by killing all those kings, generals, horses and the mighty men with the double-edged sword. Therefore, since the wrath of God, which begins 3 1/2 years prior to Satan’s wrath, the church will not be on the earth for any of God’s wrath, as it is stated that we are not appointed unto wrath and therefore, the church cannot be here. The only way that you can make that fit is by making the day of the Lord restricted to an actual day, which it is not, but is comprised of the seals, trumpets and bowls. Another designation for the “day of the Lord” is “The hour of trial,” but again, it is certainly not an hour in length. It will be interesting to see how prophecy plays out though with all of the different interpretations. I look foreward your next post.

Yours in Christ

14. The Pre-tribulation Rapture Revisited: The Seven Seals « Spirit of Discernment - March 1, 2010

[…] because a number of posters have raised certain points which I did not touch on in my previous post here. In order to avoid confusion therefore I have decided to revisit this […]

Jeff - March 4, 2010

If you start with the assumption that John was speaking about 2000+ years in the future then your theory would make sense. But I think there is a stronger possibility that most of John’s Revelation was in regards to the time leading up to AD70, the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Roman empire. At most the last couple of chapters point to the future.

Jeff

Don McAllister - March 4, 2010

Hi Jeff and welcome to the debate,

Regarding your post, it is exactly the opposite of what you said. Daniel established the time period as being seven years in duration. The beginning of that seven is initiated by the ruler (antichrist) making his peace covenant with many. Daniel also mentioned that, in the middle of the seven, the ruler would cause the daily sacrifice to cease and he would set up the abomination (image) in the holy place within the temple. The question that the disciples asked was three fold:

“Tell us” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

The first part of the question “When will this happen” was in response to Jesus statement regarding the temple where there would “not be one stone be left upon another.” This was fulfilled at AD 70 by Titus Vaspasian and his legions.

The second and third part of the question have yet to be fulfilled, since history has yet to see the antichrist make his seven year covenant with Israel and therefore , neither have we seen the setting up of the abmomination of desolation spoken of by Jesus in Mt.24:15.

We know that from the time that the abomination is set up in the middle of the seven and that 3 1/2 years after that, Jesus will return to set up his millennial kingdom. There are other markers that will show when we are in the middle of the seven year period besides the abomination being set up and that is the mark of the beast becoming manditory, the killing of the two witnesses in Jerusalem and Satan and angels being cast out of heaven and restricted to the earth. Not only that, but if one was caught in that time period, one could literally follow along one by one through the seals, trumpets and bowls. None of those prophecies have yet taken place. The result of the first four seals is a fourth of the earth’s population being killed within the first part of that seven years, then there is a third of the earth’s population killed at the 6th trumpet, which combined would add up to 50% of the earth’s population being killed and that is not even including the fatalities caused from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trumpets or the bowl judgments, which complete God’s wrath.

This will fulfill God’s prophecy regarding those last days spoken of in Isaiah 13:12 when he said:

“I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.”

Jesus, in reference to what Isaiah said above, said the following:

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”

By the time the Lord returns to set up his earthly millennial kingdom, the population of the earth will have been decimated and this all taking place within that seven year period. We cannot have the majority of those things mentioned as having happened yet, because the coming of the antichrist, followed by the return of Jesus to bring in the end of age at the end of the age are all linked together by that seven years.

So you see, you cannot have the majority of those things having already taken place, for once the antichrist makes his covenant, we would only have seven years before Christ’s return.

That abomination of desolation and the mark of the beast will signal the middle of the seven, with Jesus returning 3 1/2 years after that.

Yours in Christ

15. paul bortolazzo - April 20, 2010

Many people say rapture is not in the Bible. Sure it is; its in the Latin Bible. Raptuos or rapture is “caught up” in 1 Thes. 4:17. In the Greek “caught up” is Harpezo. Advent is Latin for coming. Is advent in the Bible?
When one denies the rapture (resurrection of the dead in Christ and believers alive on earth) they are denying the promise of His coming (2 Pet 3:3-4) Let us not throw out the baby with the bath water. The resurrection of the elect (believers before and after the cross) does not come before the 70th week of Daniel in a secret mystery rapture; granted. But let us not be deceived into totally rejecting the rapture of the church (elect) from the wrath to come.

16. paul bortolazzo - April 20, 2010

Henry,

Wabd uses such manipulation whenever he makes posts on a pre tribulation rapture. Anyone who disagrees with him is simply “quote mining with clever twists.” This so called teacher will slander anyone opposing him. I have no respect for him or his false teaching


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