This is part 3 of a 4 Part series about the Rapture. I do hope you have read the other 2 parts of this series. Here are the major views and beliefs of when the RAPTURE will occur. Very few Christians deny there will be a Rapture. The major problem TODAY is the “TIMING OF THE RAPTURE” WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN?
1. Post-tribulation – believers are raptured at the end of the tribulation period when Christ returns in judgment (cf. Revelation 19).
2. Pre-wrath – believers are caught up somewhere between the sixth and seventh seals described in Revelation.
3. Mid-tribulation – living believers are taken in the middle of the tribulation period.
4. Partial rapture – only faithful believers are taken to be with Christ at the beginning of the tribulation, with unfaithful Christians being left to endure it.
5. Pre-tribulation – believers are caught up to be with Christ before the tribulation begins. the pre-tribulation rapture position appears to have the most biblical evidence in its favor.
INTERPRETING PROPHECY AND THE BIBLE
How do you interpret the scripture of the Bible? Do you simply Spiritualize it? Do you consider it as Allegory? Do you see ALL Prophecy, as already fulfilled? Or do you see the scriptures as literal? (Scripture in context as meaning what it says). I am also a “futurist.” That means I also see a lot of the prophecy given in the Bible, to be LITERAL, and will be fulfilled in the Future. (End time Doctrine and prophecy). DIDN’T JESUS TEACH THIS WAY? DIDN’T JESUS TEACH ABOUT THE END TIMES AND TELL HIS APOSTLES TO TAKE IT LITERALLY AND WATCH FOR IT?
I want to say this about the interpretation of the Bible. The bible contains Gods message to us. If we cannot interpret what it says, then we will become confused and misapply the scripture. There are 66 separate books in the Bible. Each individual book makes up “THE WHOLE” of the Bible. Look for its immediate context, what does it say. What comes before it and what comes after it. Look at the immediate context then look at the broader context–What does the Bible says as a whole about the context.
There are 2 detailed descriptions of the Lords return. One written by Paul and the other written by John. How can these 2 different descriptions be reconciled? They can only be reconciled by understanding that they are 2 separate comings and 2 separate events. THEY ARE VERY DIFFERENT.. Look again and make a careful comparison. In Paul’s description Jesus comes as the Savior and bride groom for his bride. (Rapture). In Johns description, Jesus comes as a warrior and judge of the earth (2nd coming). In Paul’s account Jesus comes in the air. In Johns account Jesus comes and sets foot on the earth. THEY CANNOT BE TALKING ABOUT THE SAME EVENT. I will discuss day and night shortly.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture show the movement of the CHURCH at the rapture is, from earth to heaven; the movement of the CHURCH at the Second Coming is from heaven to earth. At the rapture, the Lord comes for His Saints (1 Thess 4:16), while at the Second Coming the Lord comes with His Saints (1 Thess 3:13, Jude 1:14, Rev 19:14). Again, the Saints can’t be raptured at the end of the tribulation period, if they are already with Him.
Debates may rage as to the timing, the subjects, or even the number of Raptures, but the Scripture is clear that the Rapture is not a machination (schemes) of modern Bible Eschatology. (End time doctrine of prophecy). Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians assures us that there will be a Rapture, and his first epistle to the Corinthians reiterates that thought.
The Lord’s return is in 2 separate events. One in LOVE one in WRATH. There are 2 separate detailed descriptions. The scene in 1 Thessalonians is one of love, mercy, and grace. The scene in Revelation is one of judgment, destruction, and Wrath. I will agree, Paul’s view of love is more appealing than Johns view of wrath. Yet they are both true and equal. I am thankful that God has not left us blind, regarding His plan and workings within the Church, Israel and Humanity.
IS MONDAY FRIDAY AND IS WEDNESDAY SUNDAY
I think we all understand there are different days of the week. Monday is not Friday and Wednesday is not Sunday. We also understand the difference in light and darkness/day and night. The Bible tells us about “THE DAY OF CHRIST” and “THE DAY OF THE LORD.” These are different days, they are not the same day.
The phrase “the day of Christ” or “the day of the Lord Jesus” is unique to the Apostle Paul. Paul also called the day of Christ “that day” in his last letter. The phrases are found in 1 Corinthians 1.8, 3.13, 5.5; 2 Corinthians 1.14; Philippians 1.6, 10, 2.16; 2 Timothy 1.18, 4.8. God revealed the Rapture and “the Day of Christ” to Paul. This was NOT known through the Old Testament. For the Church (the Body of Christ), It is a day of blessings and reward. It is a day of heavenly hope, it is a day of blessings and rewards, and it is eagerly anticipated. For REJECTERS of Christ “The day of the Lord is”, A day of judgment, A day of earthly despair, and is Feared and dreaded.
The Wrath of God to come is NOT shown in “The Day of Christ.” THE RAPTURE.
[Phil 1:6]: “Being confident of this, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. “[Phil 2:16]: “As you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. “[2 Tim 4:8]: “Now there is in store for me [Paul] the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day [the day of Christ] – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for [loved] His appearing.”
“The day of the Lord” (also called “that day”) is common throughout the Old Testament. The prophets referred constantly to it. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul, and Peter referred to “The Day of the Lord.” Some of the passages are the following: Isaiah 2.12, 13.6, 9; 34.8; Ezekiel 13.5; 30.3; Joel 1.15, 2.1, 11, 31, 3.14; Amos 5.18, 5.20; Obadiah 1.15; Zephaniah 1.7, 14; Zechariah 14.1; Malachi 4.5; Matthew 24.1-51; Acts 2.20; Romans 2.5; 1 Thessalonians 5.2; 2 Thessalonians 2.2; 2 Peter 3.10; Revelation 1.10 and “that day” Isaiah 2.11, 17, 20; 3.18. This “DAY” is a time of terror, darkness, and wrath. It is a “day of visitation” (Isaiah 10.3), a “day of the wrath of the Lord” (Ezekiel 7.19), the “great day of the Lord” (Zephaniah 1.14).
86 times in the Bible it is called the day of the Lord, the great and terrible day of the Lord, and also the times of Jacob’s troubles. This day is known as the time of the Tribulation and Gods Wrath and Judgement coming on the earth. Jesus said in Matthew 24:21-22 (KJV) 21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
Do you understand the difference in the words WE AND US and THEY AND THEM? 13 But WE do not want YOU to be uninformed, “brethren”, about those who are asleep, so that YOU will 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, will not proceed 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 will rise first. 17 Then WE who are alive and remain will be caught up together with THEM in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so WE shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4.13-18).
. . .
Now as to the times and the epochs, “brethren”, YOU have no need of anything to be written to YOU. 2 For YOU yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While THEY are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon THEM suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and THEY will not escape (1 Thessalonians 5.1-3).
. . .
4 But YOU, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake YOU like a thief; 5 for YOU are all sons of light and sons of day. WE are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let US not sleep as others do, but let US be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since WE are of the day, let US be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined US for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through OUR Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for US, so that whether WE are awake or asleep, WE will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as YOU also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5.4-11).
JOHN 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 The same was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV) “4 In whom the god of this world (satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” NOTICE THIS VERSE AND JOHN 1 VERSES. You have the contrast of Light and Darkness. Christ is the True God and Satan is the god of this world. We Christians are looking for the light-Jesus, the world is looking for the Anti-christ-Darkness.
John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” THE CHURCH AGE IS A PERIOD OF LIGHT AND LIFE. THE TRIBULATION IS A PERIOD OF DARKNESS AND WRATH. What did Paul say in I 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.” Paul states this in Chapter 1 before he describes the event, in Chapter 4 describing the RAPTURE. What did Paul say in Romans 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, WE shall be saved “FROM wrath through him. (SAVED FROM WRATH-NOT SAVED THROUGH WRATH).
Paul describes the Rapture in Chapter 4, but what does he say in Chapter 5? 1 Thessalonians 5 King James Version (KJV) 1. “But of the times and the seasons, “brethren”, YE have no need that I write unto YOU.
2 For YOURSELVES know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when THEY shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and THEY shall not escape.
4 But YOU, “brethren”, are not in darkness, that, that day should overtake YOU as a thief.
5 YOU are all the children of light, and the children of the day: WE are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let US not sleep, as do others; but let US watch and be sober.
7 For THEY that sleep sleep in the night; and THEY that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let US, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed US to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
What did Paul say in II Thessalonians 7 “6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to THEM that trouble YOU; 7 And to YOU who are troubled rest with US, “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed”- (THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST) from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on THEM that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. This is the 2nd coming of Christ. At the rapture Christ comes in the air for the church. At the second coming Christ comes to earth with “His Angels verse 7. Verse 8 “In flaming fire taking vengeance on THEM, THAT KNOW NOT GOD, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”:(UNBELIEVERS, A LOST AND DYING WORLD) This is not the Rapture, but second coming. THE RAPTURE AND THE REVELATION OF JESUS, ARE 2 SEPARATE EVENTS.
WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE DAY, WE ARE NOT CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT. WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT WE ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF DARKNESS. Jesus said in John 8:12 “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” The Bible has a lot to say about light and darkness. “The day of Christ” is a day of the LIGHT. “The day of the Lord” is a day of DARKNESS and TRIBULATION. The Rapture is one day, The second coming of Christ is another day. (2 different days). Here is a common sense question. ” WHAT SEPARATES 2 DIFFERENT DAYS.” The answer is “A NIGHT.” A day (RAPTURE) A night of Darkness (TRIBULATION) The second day (2ND RETURN OF THE LORD). The Rapture and the Second Coming are 2 separate days and 2 separate events, they CANNOT BE ONE AND THE SAME.
NOW PLEASE READ THIS, WHAT THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET WROTE TO THE JEWS AND TOLD THEM: The Day Of The Lord: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” Amos 5:18-20 (KJV) TRIBULATION
MAYBE YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE TERMS “PROPHETIC DAY AND PROPHETIC YEAR, THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE.” What did Jesus say to the CHURCH? Revelation 3:10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (TRIBULATION), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” I BELIEVE JESUS. The Church age will end. The Church will be removed before the Tribulation. RAPTURE
In II Thessalonians Paul says this Chapter 2:7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only HE who now letteth (RESTRAINS) will let, (HOLD BACK) “until HE be taken out of the way.” THE HOLY SPIRIT is the one who restrains evil and the devil. HE is the one who keeps Satan from taking over this world RIGHT NOW. Paul is saying when the Holy Spirit is taken out (AT OUR GATHERING TOGETHER WITH THE LORD-RAPTURE Verse 1) then the Tribulation will start. Maybe you forgot how the Holy Spirit came to indwell every believer starting at the day of Pentecost.
Maybe you forgot when the Holy Spirit came into your heart and life, the day you were saved. HE STILL LIVES IN US. DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TAKEN OUT THAT WE CHRISTIANS REMAIN HERE ON EARTH, FOR THE TRIBULATION? WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT LEAVES, WE LEAVE. What was the promise of Jesus in Hebrew 13:5 “Let your manner of living be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have. For He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”.WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT IS REMOVED THEN SATAN TAKES OVER COMPLETELY.
WHAT IS IMMINENCE
What does Imminence mean? It is the state or condition that something is about to happen. IT DOES MEAN THAT CHRIST CAN RETURN AT ANY TIME. IT MEANS THERE ARE NO FUTURE PROPHECIES KEEPING HIM FROM RETURNING AT ANY TIME. It is a method of reconciling these scriptural passages and solves a serious problem. This happens when you think of only ONE future coming of the Lord. That problem relates to the emphasis, that the Scriptures give to imminence.
What I am talking about is the constant warning of the Scriptures, that the Lord may appear any moment and, therefore, we are to always be ready for the Lord’s return (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44, 50 and 25:13).
If there is only one future coming of the Lord, then these warnings are a waste of time and there is no imminence, because there are many prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled before the Lord can return. If there is no imminence then “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13), is nothing more than a dread and fear of the wrath of God to come. So, is Christ return one of hope or one of terror? Let me give you a personal example of imminence. I have a relative that I study the Bible with. I tell him, “THERE ARE NO SIGNS IN THE BIBLE THAT HAS TO BE FULFILLED BEFORE THE LORD RETURNS. He tells me, “I do not believe that.” This means there are signs in the Bible that has to be fulfilled before Christ return. So, what signs would this be? It is ALWAYS the signs in the Bible that we know are for the Jewish Nation during the Tribulation. This alone is a “MAJOR PROBLEM” with Eschatology (end time prophecy).
In his book, “The Nature of the Lords Return, Dr. David Reagan says this: “If there is only one future coming of the Lord, then these warnings are a waste of time and there is no imminence because there are many prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled before the Lord can return. For example:
A peace treaty must be signed that will guarantee Israel’s peace with all of its Arab neighbors (Daniel 9:27).
The Jewish Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and Revelation 11:1-2).
The Great Tribulation must begin and run its seven-year course, resulting in the death of over half the world’s population (Revelation 6-18).
The Antichrist must reveal himself and begin an unprecedented persecution of the Jews — one that will result in the death of two-thirds of all the Jews (Revelation 12:13-17 & Zechariah 13:7-9).
The Gospel must be preached to every person on the earth (Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 14:6-7).
An unprecedented system of economic control must be established that will prevent persons from buying or selling anything unless they can display on their right hands or foreheads the mark or name of the Antichrist.
The worldwide kingdom of the Antichrist must be destroyed in “one hour of one day” (Revelation 17 & 18).
These are all events that are clearly prophesied in Scripture as occurring before Jesus returns to earth. None of them has yet been fulfilled in history.
If there is only one future coming of the Lord, and it must take place after these events, then why should we be looking for Jesus Christ? We should be looking instead for the Antichrist!” I AGREE WITH HIM 100% This would mean the Lord’s return is NOT imminent. Titus 2:13 says “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” This scripture could not be true of the Rapture. because we should be looking for the Antichrist-NOT CHRIST. You would have to place this scripture in the middle or end of the Tribulation.
Who wrote the book of Titus? Paul did, the same Paul who wrote the details of the Rapture of the church. I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15. We are in the “church age” which started on the day of Pentecost. The church age will end at the rapture. The church age will not extend through the Tribulation period. God will pour out His WRATH on the Jews and the wicked nations of the earth during the Tribulation. After the Rapture, The church will be judged in heaven (The Bema seat of Christ) during the Tribulation. The church cannot be on earth and in heaven at the same time.
We are told in I Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (compare scripture with scripture). Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Why did Paul tell Timothy this? The answer is in the preceding verse. “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” – 2 Tim 2:14 Paul told Timothy not to let others subvert the word, that he had preached and given to them. Paul saw this also, as other people, questioning his authority from God, and the message that came from God.
Did Paul teach an “IMMINENT FUTURE AND IMMINENT RETURN” Read his writings, YES HE DID. AND SO DID JESUS. I am posting this link here to Global Christian Center, I want you to see what Dr. Anton Bosch has to say about Imminence. He states the case better than I can but also saves me much more room in writing. PLEASE READ THIS FOR A FULL UNDERSTANDING OF IMMINENCE I BELIEVE THE BIBLE AND WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT IT. Jesus Teaching on Imminence.
If you have read and understand Jesus teaching on imminence than you can see the Post-Tribulation view, the Pre-wrath tribulation view, the mid-tribulation view, the Partial Rapture view are ALL INCORRECT.. Did the early CHURCH look for and believe in the “IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST?” YES THEY DID. Paul had written I Thessalonians to the church. Paul had been in that church in person. Paul had told them about the Lords coming and the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Paul is now in Corinth and cannot leave at that time. He received a letter from the church in Thessalonica. Apparently false teachers were teaching false doctrine. Someone had delivered a “fake letter” and forged Paul’s signature.
This was the reason why Paul answered and wrote II Thessalonians. This church had been shaken by the forged letter they had received. They were afraid they had missed the Rapture and were now in the Tribulation. Paul tells them in II Thessalonians Chapter 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” Paul tells them in verse 5, “5 Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” Paul assures them, they had not missed the Rapture, they had not entered the Tribulation, and his message was the same concerning our gathering to the Lord. I think you can see that the early church was looking for the IMMINENT Return of Jesus Christ, and thought they had missed it. AND THE CHURCH TODAY, LOOKS FOR THE IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST.
I know this post has been long and I do appreciate you reading it all. I have tried to show why the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the only correct view of the Lords return. I think I have shown that the Rapture, Tribulation and Second Coming are different days, for different groups, with different purposes. I want to say again, there are no signs that have to be fulfilled before the Rapture of the Church takes place. All the signs point to the TRIBULATION period. Then the second coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. But we know, THE RAPTURE TAKES PLACE BEFORE THE TRIBULATION.
I am going to conclude with a very important picture from the scriptures. Jesus was born a Jew. He lived as a Jew and knew all of the culture and customs. Jesus says we the CHURCH are the bride of Christ and members of his body. He is the bride groom, we are the bride of Christ. At the Rapture, Christ comes for his bride and we are taken to Heaven. During the tribulation period on earth, in heaven, the marriage of the Lamb takes place in Revelation 19:6 It is not surprising to find that the marriage of the Lamb is patterned after a Jewish wedding.
By becoming more familiar with Jewish wedding practices, we are in a better position to appreciate aspects of the marriage of the Lamb as taught in Scripture: THIS SHOWS THE RELATIONSHIP AND TIMING OF THE WEDDING BETWEEN THE BRIDE GROOM AND THE BRIDE.
In order to fully understand what is happening in Revelation Rev. 19:6-9+, it is first necessary to understand the Jewish wedding system, that was common in Jesus’ day and was still used among Jews until the beginning of the twentieth century. If you also recall, Jesus was at a Jewish wedding where he performed his first miracle, of changing the water into wine (John 2:1-11).
I will post a link that gives you the full description of the Jewish Pattern and progress of the wedding. this pattern is used in Revelation showing the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride. I ask you to PLEASE,
PLEASE, PLEASE, click on this link MARRIAGE OF THE BRIDE AND THE GROOM and see for yourself, if the Rapture of the Church takes place before the Tribulation. I think you will have to say YES.
Your thoughts, opinions and comments are welcome, so leave them in the comment section. RAY