Jesus Christ promised us that He was going away to prepare a place for us and would return. The events that lead up to that return have been in strong contention over time, though all based around the Great Tribulation. There are three main views of this. The first is a rapture that occurs before the Tribulation begins, and is known as pre-trib. Others believe it will happen after the first three and a half years of the Tribulation, and this is called mid-trib. Finally, the last viewpoint is of course that we live all the way through the Tribulation and Jesus comes to get us at the end of it, which is called post-trib. There are proof texts used in all three cases, and some use the same ones, but as with anything, there is harmony in Scripture, and what I will show you is proof of a pre-trib rapture. We do not live through the Tribulation.
First is the word rapture, and some people claiming it is untrue because that word is not in the Bible. True, it is not, but that does not mean it is not taught. The word atheism is not used in the Bible but the concept of it is spoken of in verse like Psalm 14:1. The word “dinosaur” is not in the Bible, yet, we see reference to dragons, Behemoth, and Leviathan in Job and Isaiah. Rapture is simply a word the means a “catching up” or a “gathering up”. So let’s get past the rapture word debate, it does not have to be in there to be true.
Post-trib people consistently, or deliberately, fail to accept the fact that Scripture calls for a rapture and a second coming. They lump everything into one event, the second coming, so they're unable to recognize pre-trib rapture passages. Of course, when you fuse the two advents together and say they are only one, you end up with verses that appear to contradict each other like these:
1 Thessalonians 5:9
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Well, if God didn’t appoint us to wrath, then why are we told we would be the ones the Anti-Christ makes war with? Because, it is two different people! God will hold the promise of not appointing us to wrath and get us out of the way. The saints, who are warred with, are those who come to know Jesus Christ during the Great Tribulation. No confusion and no contradiction when we understand this. Scripture comforts us in knowing we will not go through this. Why would Jesus have His bride endure such a thing? He wouldn’t!
1 Thessalonians 1:10
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Several verse point to a pre-trib rapture. One of the first couple verses that comes to mind of the rapture is:
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Now many post-tribulation people say this trump is the 7th trump in Revelation so we live through the Great Tribulation. They assume that the trump sounding is the 7th trump in Revelation, but you can’t just assume that. There is no support for it. To assume that any of the 62 trumps spoken of in the Bible are all prophetically related is an absurd presumption. To be able to make the claim that the Tribulation trumpet soundings are the same as the rapture trumps, you would need a direct statement saying this is the case. If your friend John said he went to his favorite restaurant last night, and another friend Larry said he also went to his favorite restaurant last night, we don’t assume they both went to the same restaurant. Why do that here? And the fact is, that statement is not found in the Bible.
John wrote Revelation 40 years after Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians as well as Thessalonians which is where that stance comes from of the trumps being the same as those in Revelation. How could Paul refer to something that was not yet revealed? When Paul was writing to the Corinthians, he specifically said "the" last trump. During the Feast of Trumpets, the Jews blow short trumpet blasts. They end the feast with a long blast which is known as the last trump. Judaism associates this last trump with the resurrection of the dead. Paul made this same connection. In fact, there are a lot of Christians that believe the rapture will happen during this feast.
Look at this verse from Revelation:
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
When you read Revelation Chapter 3, the Philadelphia Church is kept from the hour (time) of the tribulation. These seven churches represent actual churches, but prophetically, each one shows the Body of Christ in different stages. There’s more on that in my Revelation Study article. How can we possibly go through all or part of the Tribulation? We are also given crowns (1st Corinthians 3). The crowns are given at the judgment seat of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5), which is not the Great White Throne Judgment, in heaven after the rapture but before the second coming. In the end, those that teach a post-trib rapture have a huge issue they cannot get past no matter what verse they try to justify a post-trib rapture with. Read Revelation 19. Revelation 19:11-21 doesn't mention a resurrection. The rapture is a resurrection of those "in Christ" just as Paul speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. If we lived through the Tribulation and were here when Christ sets foot on Earth, it’s a bit strange that in the clearest picture of the second coming of Christ has no mention of a resurrection. It’s the biggest thing to happen to the Body of Christ since the resurrection of Jesus where millions of Christians will be resurrected and translated that are both alive and dead, yet there’s not a word of it there! The rapture isn't mentioned because it doesn't happen at the second coming. The marriage supper of the Lamb takes place. That’s the one Christ promised us in Luke 12:36 (Christians both dead and alive) to be at. AFTERWARDS is a clear picture of His 2nd Coming, with nobody being resurrected, and the millennial reign starts. There is no room to move on this one without setting oneself against Scripture. In Corinthians and Thessalonians Paul says we are gathered up TO Jesus. He is not setting foot on Earth then, which is crystal clear. That’s what people get tripped up on and think that would have Him returning to Earth a 3rd time for the 2nd Coming. Not so. We go TO Him in the clouds….not on the Earth. Then after the Marriage Supper, we go WITH Him to Earth as He destroys those at the Valley of Megiddo.
Post-trib proponents say that "keep" means to keep through, or protect through the Tribulation. Well, if you go to a high voltage area with a sign that says, "Keep Out." does that mean you can enter and be protected? No, it means you are forbidden from entering the area, because bad things can happen to you. This verse tells us He will keep us from the hour of testing. It’s not just the testing, but the time period. If a student is excused from a test, he still may have to sit in the class while others take the test. But if he is excused from the hour of testing, he can go home. The Church will be called home before the hour of testing.
Jesus will receive us to Himself, not us to receive Him (John 14:2-3). Jesus said He would prepare a place for the Church in heaven, then He would come again to receive us to Himself. Why would Jesus prepare a place for us in heaven and then not take us there? At the rapture, He will come to receive us to Himself, "that where I am (heaven), there you may be also." If the rapture occurred at the same time as the second coming, we would go up to the clouds and then immediately come back to earth. That would contradict John 14:2-3.
Even the verse some use in Joel 2:1 to support a post-trib position does not work out. He says that the purpose for blowing the trumpet is to "sound an alarm." According to 1 Corinthians 15:52, the rapture is something that occurs in the twinkling of an eye. Joel 2:1 says the Day of the Lord is nigh at hand. In order for Joel's trumpet to be the same one in 1 Corinthians, there would have to be a time delay between the sounding of the trumpet and the rapture of the Church. The fact that there is another trumpet being sounded in Joel 2:15 negates the possibility of them having anything to do with the rapture.
point of contention is 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-8. The
Thessalonian’s believed they had entered the Tribulation and
Paul was letting them know differently. Paul tells them the
Antichrist must first be revealed. Paul calms them down and by
doing so and telling them they have no need to worry, he is
disproves the thought that they might find themselves in the
Tribulation. And the last two verses show that the Holy Spirit
will be removed as the restrainer when the Anti-Christ comes to
fruition. Jesus promised us the Comforter, and never said He
would take Him away. As part of God, the Holy Spirit lives
within us, to remove the Holy Spirit, we need to be removed as
well. Post-trib makes Jesus out to be wrong on this!
You then have people like Arnold Murray that teach that a passage in Ezekiel teaches against a pre-trib rapture because we don’t “fly away” on pillows. In Ezekiel 13:18-20, the subject is fortune tellers, those who read tarot cards, gaze into crystal balls, palm reading and the like and are prophesying on their own whim, using a demon, or reading into people's desires for money. The kinds of prophecy these people engaged in was a personal type of prophecy, such as "you will be rich," or "you will get married soon," that has nothing whatsoever to do with Bible prophecy. These people then state the magic charms or pillows on the armholes or shirt sleeves are the thing that is used to deceive and hunt people. Nobody who holds to a pre-trib rapture is going around wearing such a thing trying to trick people! The subject is not a "fly away" doctrine, such as the rapture might be; it’s about trapping people, and the point of the use of the words "fly away" is that the Lord will help people to escape the clutches of these women. People who use this argument show off their complete lack of ability to understand scripture.
Lastly, many people like Murray lie to you that Margaret McDonald (circa 1830) was the one who brought about the pre-trib thought. They say that no-one ever thought such a thing before, and compound lies one upon another. Let’s look at a few:
1. Ephraim the Syrian said, in 373 AD, "For all the saints and the Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins."
2. Victorinus 240AD Commentary on the Apocalypse 6.14 - "'And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up.' For the heaven to be rolled way, that is, that the Church shall be taken away. "And the mountain and the islands were moved from their places." Mountains and islands removed from their places intimate that in the last persecution all men departed from their places; that is, that the good will be removed, seeking to avoid the persecution." Commentary on the Apocalypse 15.1 - "And I saw another great and wonderful sign, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is completed the indignation of God.' For the wrath of God always strikes the obstinate people with seven plagues, that is, perfectly, as it is said in Leviticus; and these shall be in the last time, when the Church shall have gone out of the midst."
3. Cyprian 250 AD Epistle 55 - The Antichrist is coming, but above him comes Christ also. The enemy goeth about and rageth, but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our suffering and our wounds. The adversary is enraged and threatens, but there is One who can deliver us from his hands." He did not write about enduring wrath and persecution of the Antichrist. He said that Christ "is One who can deliver us from his hands." Cyprian spoke of immanency of the rapture as he wrote, "Who would not crave to be changed and transformed into the likeness of Christ and to arrive more quickly to the dignity of heavenly glory." He says that the coming resurrection was the hope of the Christian, and that the Rapture should motivate us. Cyprian said "we who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible." He told his readers the following as to his hope of the approaching rapture: "Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent?" Cyprian then ends: "Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us hence, and sets us free from the snares of the world, and restores us to paradise and the kingdom" (Treatises of Cyprian - 21 to 26)
Finally comes the passages in Matthew 24:29-51 who confuse this. This is speaking of His 2nd Coming, which of course is after the Rapture. Now verse 41 is what many have applied to the Rapture, and no doubt, it will certainly be like that, but this is not what Jesus is speaking of. Notice He is talking about how this time will come. No-one knows, just as in the days of Noah. They will carry on doing their thing not caring about all the warnings that have been given. Jesus implies His sudden return and the seriousness of it. There will be those who come to know Christ during the Tribulation and have to endure it to the end. As Christ returns, they will be spared the wrath of God and would be swept away from the Judgment. Thus one stays and one disappears, one left standing, and how horrid it will be for them! In 42 it is kind of a gear switch again. Jesus is telling us, because we know these things, of what is to come, it is our duty to do His will, spread His word, and always be ready for His return, which for us, will be at the Rapture.
So, you can stay here if you want to, just know, you’ll be left behind, and miss the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
In His Grace,
Mike Harris Jr.
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