Topic - The Harsh Reality - The Rapture
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10 - KJV)
For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:17 - KJV)
For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14 - KJV)
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14 - ESV)
The righteousness of God (has been manifest) through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His Grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24 - ESV)
Is there a Rapture, and if so, when will it take place?
by Robert Wells
Satan loves the pre-tribulation rapture theory for a number of reasons, the main one being that it allows believers not to think about certain critical decisions that they will have to make during the terrible persecutions that will take place during the end times. Primarily whether the believer is going to renounce Jesus Christ and pledge allegiance to satan, for if the believer does not do this he will probably experience great pain and death.
Definition of the rapture:
The rapture is that moment in time when God's elect are finally joined with Jesus Christ. It begins by Jesus appearing in the clouds above the earth and the dead in Christ rising from their graves and being brought up to a waiting Jesus. Next those saved believers who are still alive are transported right off this earth and are also taken up to Jesus. This leaves only the unsaved as the only ones left on earth
The three main verses that tells us that this is going to happen is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 .
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. 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: 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 we shall be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 - KJV)
Now the problem is this: When is this rapture going to happen?
Christians are separated by three different beliefs regarding when the rapture will occur:
- 1) Most believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. (rapture before the tribulation)
- 2) A few believe in the mid-tribulation rapture. (rapture during the tribulation)
- 3) And some believe in the post-tribulation rapture. (rapture after the tribulation)
The tribulation is the final seven years of human history and the tribulation will be a period of horrible and terrible events. Events like no other in the history of the world. In fact the very definition of the word tribulation which is, distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution, indicates great suffering. (Also most of the Book of Revelation talks about this tribulation period and the horrible events that the saved children of God will have to endure). The point of this paper is to show that the rapture that people refer to is actually a post-tribulation rapture and it occurs at the same time as The Second Coming of Christ. And both of these events occur at the very end of the tribulation period. Thus, no one is being whisked away early. If you are alive at the start of the end times or the final days, then you are going to have to suffer through the horrible tribulation.
The pre-tribulation rapture is basically a belief held by many that before the tribulation, the saved believers on the earth who are alive, will be suddenly whisked off the surface of the earth and propelled into the heavens to be with our Lord. Those that believe in the pre-tribulation rapture hope to escape the horrors of the tribulation during the end times. They believe that they will not have to suffer during the tribulation if they aren't here.
The pre-tribulation rapture theory is very popular and many people put a great deal of hope in it. How many times have you watched and listened to preachers who read scriptures that described the terrible conditions that are going to be taking place during the tribulation. With a voice that is shaking and quivering they will describe what a truly horrible time it will be, and with great emphasis they declare, " folks, these things will be just absolutely horrendous." Then with a smile they say, "but don't worry, we won't be here".
"Rapture" comes from a Latin word that is the equivalent for the Greek word "harpazo" which is translated, "shall be caught up, to seize, carry off, snatch away.
Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory
The pre-tribulation rapture theory is not something that God has revealed to us in these last days. Nor can this belief be found any where in the Bible. Indeed it is a false doctrine that has been perpetuated through well-meaning men for the past few generations.
There is no known writing, or any kind of reference by any writer about the pre-tribulation rapture prior to 1830. None of the early Church fathers or anyone else throughout Church history wrote about the saints being raptured before Jesus Christ comes back. This does not conclusively mean that the theory is false, only that it is a historical fact that this teaching did not exist among the early Christians or the Church fathers or any Christians throughout history until 1830.
The origin of the pre-tribulation rapture theory began with a fifteen-year-old girl named Margaret MacDonald in the town of Port Glasgow, Scotland. Supposedly in 1830 she had a dream or vision that Christians were raptured just prior to the Great Tribulation. In 1831 or 1832 a Presbyterian pastor in London, England named Edward Irving heard about this dream or vision that Miss MacDonald had and started teaching it to his congregation. These are well-known reports among scholars of eschatology.
Something else that is well-documented is the fact that John Nelson Darby, the founder of a group known as the Plymouth Brethren, who after visiting Miss MacDonald also began teaching this new theory.
Later, by 1917, C. I. Scofield had published his improved edition of the Scofield Reference Bible which contained the dispensational pre-tribulation teachings of Darby and others. Soon many Bible Colleges such as Moody Bible Institute and seminaries such as Dallas Theological Seminary became staunch promoters of theology that included the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture.
In 1970 Hal Lindsey, who attended Dallas Theological Seminary, popularized this teaching with his book entitled The Late Great Planet Earth. Millions of copies have been sold and a movie by the same title was made.
The widespread acceptance of a doctrine does not make it true. What really matters is not whether some Bible colleges and seminaries teach the pre-tribulation rapture theory, or whether many pastors teach it, or whether many Christians accept it as true; what really matters is what does the Word of God say?
Most Christians in this country are not spiritually ready to go through what is on the horizon if it is as late as many believer think it is. The days of the Great Tribulation will be the worst time that this world has ever seen. And this earth has seen some very bad times. Probably not many Christians will be ready to go through the Great Tribulation, but believing that you are going to be raptured out before it begins is certainly not conducive to spiritual preparation for it. And unfortunately, a great many Christians think they are going to view the coming tribulation from a safe perch up in heaven where they feel they will be nice and safe.
When did the Lord tell us that He was coming back for us?
4:16-18 says, "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. Then we who are alive
and remain shall be caught up (here's where the rapture occurs)
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
air, and so we shall forever be with the Lord."
Notice that the dead in Christ are all being resurrected and brought up to the Lord first. This is going to be very important in just a few minutes when we get to the section below entitled, "Who is going to be raised up at the second coming of Christ."
These things are all happening as the second coming of Jesus Christ is occurring, because this verse is telling us that the Lord Himself is descending down from heaven. These three verses tell you exactly when the saved believer is going to be raptured up to the Lord who is waiting for him in the clouds.
Jesus Christ himself promised that he would return to the earth for his saints immediately after the tribulation was over. He told us this in Matthew 24:29-30, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory".
Another belief that the believers of the pre-tribulation theory hold is that this rapture is all going to be done in secret. The people not raptured, those who are left here on earth, are going to be mystified as to where so many people disappeared to. There are many verses in the Bible that describe exactly what those on earth are going to be seeing and thinking when the Lord comes back. Revelation 1:7 is a good example. "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced Him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him".
When Jesus comes back to get His saved believers He is going to want the whole world to know that He is back. And the whole world will know.
† Two main areas of the Bible that people say prove that there is a
The first area revolves around two verses in the Book of Matthew. Matthew 24:40-41 are two verses that most people who believe in the pre-tribulation rapture say, proves, that believers will be raptured right off the face of the earth before the tribulation begins.
Verse 40 - Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
Verse 41 - Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.
But to truly understand the meaning of verses 40 and 41 you first have to
24:37-39 and you will see that Jesus is talking about how the people during
the flood of Noah were swept away and destroyed and how he is comparing that
time with the end times. The world in Noah's time was a sinful and ungodly
place, and the people living on the earth at that time followed satan and his
sinful ways. The population of the earth was completely lead astray by satan,
and they wanted absolutely nothing to do with God. This is why the people were
destroyed with the flood.
Verse 37 - For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Verse 38 - For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark,
Verse 39 - and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.
When Jesus talks about the two men who are in the field and one is taken and the other isn't, he isn't talking about a rapture here. The one taken isn't raptured up to God, he is deceived by satan and goes with satan willingly to be lost forever just like those men who were lost in the flood during Noah's time were. Like wise, the two women who are grinding at the hand mill, the one taken isn't raptured, she is deceived by satan and she also goes with satan willingly. The two that were taken, were taken by satan. The two that were taken were fooled by satan and became followers of satan, all because they failed to stay alert in the Word of God and thus were easily lead astray. Also keep in mind that the Bible tells us that the antichrist rises up and takes power before Jesus ever comes back, in fact, in Revelation the antichrist declares that he is indeed God right before Jesus comes back.
So the people mentioned above, completely abandoned God and God's laws and commandments. These people are examples of all those who will go over to satan's side. God no longer had any importance or meaning in their lives and they wanted nothing to do with him or with Jesus Christ. Now all they wanted was to follow the ways of the world. They became followers of satan. And you can become followers of satan not only by believing in the twisted and ungodly teachings of men, but also by leading an ungodly and sinful lifestyle. You may never even think of satan but if you are not following God, then you are indeed following satan. Because they are complete opposites, if you are not following one, then you are following the other. So verses 40 and 41 (Matthew 24:40-41) can only be interpreted by first reading verse 37 through 39 (Matthew 24:37-39). Verse 39 says that the men of Noah's time took no note until the flood came and then they were swept away and so they were lost. They were deceived, fooled, tricked, and of course lost. And Jesus is simply warning people to watch out in the last days because he knows that many of them are also going to be mislead by satan and wind up lost. This is the reason why Jesus spends so much time in Matthew 24 talking about false prophets, false teachers, and false doctrines such as in verses Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 23-26, and why verses 37,38,39 (Matthew 24:37-39) concerning similar times that took place in Noah's days, becomes so extremely important in understanding verses 40 and 41 (Matthew 24:40-41).
And in verse 42 (Matthew 24:42) Jesus gives
another warning to the people of the end times to please stay alert in the Word
of God right up till the time that Jesus comes back so you are not deceived by
satan and wind up being eternally lost.
Verse 42 - "Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming".
Don't you think that if the believers were going to be raptured before the tribulation, then there would be absolutely no reason for Jesus to tell us verse 42 (Matthew 24:42). Why? Because the believers wouldn't even be here when Jesus comes. They would have been raptured and off the earth before Jesus came back for them.
Then if you go down to verse 43 (Matthew 24:43) Jesus is
telling us one last time that if we are not going to be on our guard against
satan then we are going to be like the householder who fell asleep and allowed
his house to be broken into. In other words if we don't keep alert we are going
to let satan mislead and trick us and steal our eternal salvation right
out from under us.
Verse 43 - "But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into".
It is just incredible how much time and effort Jesus took to warn us of being mislead by false teachers. Of their ability to take the truth and twist it and reshape it, so it is no longer the words of God but is now the words of men. But unfortunately, unless a believer reads, spends time in, and studies the Bible, he will never have a clue to what is true or what is untrue.
Then, from verse 45 to the very end of Chapter 24 (Matthew 24:45-51), Jesus is warning all believers not to be mislead or fooled by anyone or anything. That we should be on guard and stay alert in the Word of God and not let up or slack off till we know for sure that Jesus has come back for us.
Chapter 24 in Matthew (Matthew 24) is about being mislead by false teachers spreading false doctrine, and it just isn't reasonable that Jesus in his own words would be warning us against being mislead by satan in three consecutive verses (Matthew 24:37-39), and then suddenly stop and switch to an entirely different subject like the rapture (a subject that he has never talked about before) in verses 40 & 41 (Matthew 24:40-41), and then go back and talk once again about being mislead by false teachers in the next two verses 42 & 43 (Matthew 24:42-43).
† The second area of the Bible that many preachers say proves the pre-tribulation rapture, is Revelation 4:1. This verse says "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."
Many preachers point out that since John's spirit is actually taken up to Heaven, and since his being taken up to heaven occurs before the tribulation, then this means that all believers are going to be raptured up to heaven before the tribulation ever begins. These preachers say that John is symbolic of all believers. These preachers say that John being taken up to heaven is actually the rapture in the end times, and that it occurs before the tribulation.
But Revelation 4:1 is God talking directly to the Apostle John, and no one else. God isn't talking to you or me or to any other believers or to the church. God is talking only to John and telling him to "come up here". God is talking only to John, because he wants John to write in the Book of Revelation what both believers and non-believers can expect during the tribulation of the end times. Revelation 4:1 is a conversation between God and John and no one else, and to read into this verse a pre-tribulation rapture theory is totally wrong and extremely misleading.
Then look at the very next verse and see what that says:
Revelation 4:2 - "Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne."
So satan loves the pre-tribulation rapture theory and may be the one who originated it and the one who keeps it going. The great deceiver loves to see people in a state of false assurance and false security. And this is for a number of reasons, the main one being that it allows believers not to think about certain critical decisions that they will have to make during the terrible persecutions that take place during the end times. Primarily whether the believer is going to renounce Jesus Christ and pledge allegiance to satan, for if the believer does not do this he will probably experience great pain and death.
People are terrified of this possible situation. They don't want to even think about the eternal consequences of giving in and allowing satan's 666 to be placed on them, because if they accept the number of the beast, then they are going to lose God for all of eternity. Likewise, if they refuse Satan's number then they know that they will be in for some very horrible pain and death. The pre-tribulation rapture theory simply allows people to believe; "It doesn't matter, I won't be here anyway". Belief in the pre-tribulation rapture theory is an extremely good example of living in a state of false security.
So if they can just convince themselves and believe in the pre-tribulation rapture theory, then they feel that they will not have to make those decisions because they would have already been raptured. These will be the same people expecting to be raptured right up to the time satan says "Accept my number or die". With absolutely no preparation, what do you think most of those people will do?
So the next time you see a minister talking about the pre-tribulation rapture, watch as he describes the horrors that are going to fall upon the people of the world. He will describe the terror and the hardships that they will have to go through, the billions that will suffer and die, the plagues that will descend upon them. He will go on like this for quite a while, all the time describing truly horrible conditions. And then suddenly a light bulb will go on, and he will say something like, Oh, but don't worry, We won't have to worry about all that because we would have been raptured out of here before all that starts. Can you just see the millions that look their pastors in the face and ask, "Why didn't you tell us? Why have you lied to us? Why have we been so deceived about the tribulation that we now find ourselves in? Why have you let us become so vulnerable? Why didn't you prepare us to have the faith that we would need? Why haven't you told us the truth?" A great many people will be asking a lot of questions of their religious leaders.
I expect that many sincere people will be overwhelmed when the great tribulation begins and they discover they are still on earth. Many will bitterly lament their unprepared state because they were erroneously led to believe they would escape this horrible tribulation. I am afraid that millions will abandon their faith in God because they will be highly disappointed with their church, their leaders, and their prophetic faith. Most will blame God for the unbelievable problems that they suddenly find themselves in, and of course, this will make satan very, very happy.
Who is going to be raised up at the second coming of Christ?
You will be amazed at the four times in the Bible that Jesus tells us when, and just who is going to be raised up from the dead when he comes back. You have probably read them many times but never really noticed a phrase of three particular words. Please keep in mind that all those who died in Christ throughout all of history are going to be raised up from the dead and be raptured up to the Lord before any of those who are still alive are. Here are those 4 passages:
Jesus himself is speaking:
- "And this is the Father's will who has sent Me, that of all whom He has given Me I should lose none, but should raise him up again on the last day." (John 6:39)
- "And this is the will of Him who sent Me…that every one who sees the Son and believes on Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day". (John 6:40)
- "No man can come to Me, except the Father who has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44)
- "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:54)
As you can see the last day is going to be very, very busy with a great many things happening. Jesus tells us 4 times, "I will raise him up on the last day", but precedes that statement by telling us who he will raise, and most Christians would have to say those 4 preceding descriptions include them! Now here is a very critical point. 1 Thessalonians 4:15 says, "That we the living, who survive to the presence of the Lord, shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death". So, the saved Christians that are still alive when the Lord comes back, will just have to wait and watch, as those who were just raised from the dead are raptured up to Jesus first. Only then will those that are alive be raptured up to the Lord waiting for them in the heavens.
Also notice these verses all say the "Last day", not days. This is very important because now please ask yourself, when are all the dead going to be raised up? You guessed it. On the last day! So if the dead in Christ are raised up and go to the Lord before those believers that are still alive do, and if the dead in Christ are not raptured up till the very last day of mortal human history, then logic should tell us that there can be no early rapture for anyone before the very last day of human history. It is as simple as that.
In John 11:24, Martha, even with the limited teaching from Jesus, understood this simple truth of when Jesus would "raise All believers". Martha says to Him, "I know that he, Lazarus, shall rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
Matthew Chapter 24
Matthew 24 is extremely relevant to what is going to happen in the very last days of human history, because it deals solely with those last days. In verses like Matthew 24:21, Jesus tells the disciples that these times will be the very worst times for the world in all of human history. The destruction that took place in 70 AD was indeed very bad for the Jews but certainly not the worst thing to happen to them or to the world. Many things like the Holocaust and the World Wars were far more devastating.
Matthew 24 is Jesus's answer to the disciples 3 questions in Matthew 24:3, "When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Your coming, and what is the sign of the end of the age?" And this is why this one particular chapter is so vitally important to every single Christian. Jesus answers them in verses 4 through 31 (Matthew 24:4-31). Here is the order of events.
Matthew 24:3 - "And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? (The apostles asked Jesus a question but Jesus, instead of answering their question, talks about something entirely different in verses 4 and 5 (Matthew 24:4-5). And the response that Jesus gave is of utmost importance because Jesus is trying to stress the extreme importance of being mislead by false doctrine).
Matthew 24:4 - And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you."
Matthew 24:5 - "For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many." (Notice that in verses 4 and 5 our Lord is describing ungodly human men and not devils. When he uses words like "no one" and "many will come" he is talking about false human teachers, teaching false beliefs.)
Now Jesus begins to answer their original three questions.
Matthew 24:6 - "And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
Matthew 24:7 - For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
Matthew 24:8 - But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs".
This period is the "beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8). It is the time of escalating political unrest, wars, famines, disease, and geological disturbance, with rising deceptive messianic claims. Jesus is warning us about what we can expect to experience as we enter into the tribulation period. You have to ask yourself the question, If we were not going to be here during the tribulation, then why would Jesus even have to warn us about this coming tribulation period.
Matthew 24:9 - "Then they will deliver YOU up to tribulation, and will kill YOU, and YOU will be hated by all nations on account of My name. (Please keep in mind that this is all in answer to the apostles question to Jesus in verse 3 (Matthew 24:3) about what the end times are going to be like).
Matthew 24:10 - And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.
Matthew 24:11 - And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.
Matthew 24:12 - And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.
Matthew 24:13 - But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.
Matthew 24:14 - And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come".
This period is the "sorrows" that Jesus alluded to in verse 8 (Matthew 24:8). It is the period of "tribulation". In verse 9 (Matthew 24:9) Jesus tells the apostles, "and they will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name". The people being killed are not the followers of satan. The ones being killed are not the Christ haters and the Christ rejectors. The non-believers are going to gladly take up the 666 and follow satan.
The people that are going to be killed are those believers in Christ who don't accept the number of the beast and who don't bow down and worship and pledge allegiance to satan and to the beast. They are the same ones, who the "pre-tribulation rapture" believers say are going to be raptured off the earth early so they are not harmed. But here Jesus is saying that many of the believers will be hunted down and killed. So the question is how in the world can they kill you if you were already raptured and not even here?
So if they are right, and all the saved believers are whisked away before the tribulation ever starts, then who is satan going to be killing for not accepting his mark? Do you think that satan is going to hunt down, persecute, and kill the liars, thieves, and murderers of this world? Do you think for a moment that the child molesters, the drunkards, or the wife beaters are going to be worried about satan hurting them? So if the saved believers are all raptured before the tribulation begins, then the only ones left are the unsaved, and the unsaved will be more than happy to accept the mark of the beast. Why not? They don't care about God or Godly things. They are not about to suffer if they can help it. These are the same people who all through their lives, have accepted the evils of the world and have done everything in their power to take God out of society and out of the lives of all others. In fact the ones that are left are the same people who have spent a lifetime saturated in evil. So they will gladly accept the mark of the beast. And if that is the case, then tell me, who is satan going to persecute and kill during the tribulation?
And then ask yourself this question. Why is this generation so special to God? Why should this final generation be the only one to escape persecution and death when all past generations of believers have had to deal with those things? Why should God look so favorably upon this last generation who seems to be only interested in themselves and who always seem to put their own personal pleasure and their own well being, far ahead of God? Why should this generation, who for the most part completely ignores God and his Word, be given special treatment and be spared from the coming tribulation?
For it is this present generation that embraces such things as abortion, materialism, pornography, homosexuality, violence, divorce, and the resulting family destruction. And of course this is the generation that in most cases not only doesn't love their neighbor, they actually hate their neighbor.
Do you think that God cannot wait to save a people that mocks Him in public? That drags His holy name through the dirt and filth? That He is not going to let any discomfort happen to a people that allows the destruction of Godly organizations like the Boy Scouts, all because they won't eagerly embrace the filth of homosexuality? Do you think God is going to smile favorably on a people filled with rage and hate? A rage and hate that shows itself from the roads we drive on, to the places we work, to the schools we send out children to, to the sidewalks we walk down, to our own homes? This final generation might be more civilized, but it is still very, very ungodly.
Then in verse 10 (Matthew 24:10), Jesus sadly tells us that many believers will simply turn away from God's Word in the last days. Believers who simply and totally abandon God. These will be the believers who have not been prepared for the terrible tribulation and who would rather join satan than go through a lot of pain and suffering. And verse 13 (Matthew 24:13) tells us just how long the saints will have to endure. And the answer to that question of how long they will have to endure is, "to the very end." Not 7 years before the end when the tribulation starts, but to the very end.
Matthew 24:15 - "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place;
Matthew 24:16 - Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;
Matthew 24:17 - Let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house;
Matthew 24:18 - And let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak.
Matthew 24:19 - But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days!
Matthew 24:20 - But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath;
Matthew 24:21 - For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.
Matthew 24:22 - And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.
Matthew 24:23 - Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ, or There He is,'do not believe him.
Matthew 24:24 - For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:25 - Behold, I have told you in advance.
Matthew 24:26 - If therefore they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go forth, or, Behold, He is in the inner rooms, do not believe them.
Matthew 24:27 - For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
Matthew 24:28 - Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather".
This period is the "great tribulation" and starts in verse 15 (Matthew 24:15)
when Jesus says, "Therefore when you see the Abomination
of Desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy
place...". Something absolutely despicable is going to happen in the
Jewish Temple that really shocks Godly Christians all over the world. And this
thing is going to be satan standing in the Jewish temple demanding that all
people the world over, bow down and worship him as god.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 tells us who this Abomination of Desolation is. "Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God".
Satan will have power that knows no bounds, and be virtually unstoppable. Daniel 11:36 - "The king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god there is, even blaspheming the God of gods. He will succeed – until the time of wrath is completed. For what has been determined will surely take place."
Can you imagaine the utter horror in the heart of the believer when he is told that he must kneel down and worship satan and renounce Jesus Christ? That from now on all allegiance is to be to satan! And further more, anyone refusing to do this will suffer and be put to death. It will be testing time for Christians all over the world. And for those believing in the pre-tribulation rapture theory, they are really going to be unprepared because they would have been led to believe that they won't even be here when this is happening.
Also notice verse 22 (Matthew 24:22) because it talks about a time when the tribulation is raging on, but "because of the elect", the days of the tribulation are cut short. Ask yourself this question. Who are days of the tribulation going to be cut short for? For the elect! And that simply means that the elect are involved in, and going through, and experiencing, the tribulation, because if the elect are not even here for the tribulation (beacause of a pre-tribulation rapture), then the tribulation could hardly threaten the elects existence.
Do you realize the importance of this incredible verse, and what it really means? It means that there is no pre-tribulation rapture. It also means that if the days of the tribulation were not cut short, then all the elect would be killed off and certain extremely critical verses of the Bible would be wrong. Why? Because first of all it shows that the saved believers are alive but dying during the tribulation, and if all the elect were dead then verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:15 that say, "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall forever be with the Lord", would never happen because none of the elect would be alive to be raptured.
So the days of the tribulation are being shortened to save the lives of some of the remaining elect so there will be some saved believers still alive when the Lord comes. This way verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:15 will come to pass.
Matthew 24:29 - "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall in the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken,
Matthew 24:30 - And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:31 - And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
This period is the "coming of the Son of Man". The last day has finally arrived. Now is the time that you can get ready to be raptured because when the Son of God comes back, that is the moment when we will be changed and propelled into the clouds to be with the Lord. First the dead and then the living elect. This is the rapture, and it occurs right after the tribulation is over. Notice that the only ones left on the earth are the Christ haters and the Christ rejectors, and notice too that all this occurs before the Wrath of God begins.
Also notice that verse 29 (Matthew 24:29) says, "But immediately after the tribulation". Jesus is not going to come back, nor are the dead going to be raised, nor is anyone going to be raptured up into the clouds until the tribulation is over. People can twist and turn the truth all they want but the term, "immediately after the tribulation" means immediately after the tribulation.
Please read Matthew 24, verses 29, 30, and 31 (Matthew 24:29-31) and ask your self, when will Christ come back? When will every single eye on earth see him coming back? When will the dead in Christ all be raised from their graves and changed in the twinkling of an eye and brought up to a waiting Christ? When will all those living saved believers in Christ be propelled up to the waiting Son of God.? An the answer is, on the last day, and the last day is, "immediately after the tribulation".
Again this shows that there will be no "early rapture". His entire saved elect, both living and dead, will still be waiting to be gathered up by the angels. And the whole world is going to know because "every eye is going to see", and all the tribes of the earth will mourn.
"Behold, he comes with clouds, and every eye will see him"..... (Revelation 1:7). What a truly glorious moment. When Christ comes, it will be as obvious as lightning starting at one end of the sky and streaking and flashing across to the opposite side. He is going to fill the entire sky the world over (Matthew 24:27). Every single person who is alive and all those believers who were just resurrected, will look up and know beyond a doubt that this is truly the Son of God.
This will be 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 coming alive! No more words on a page. The Incredible will have taken place..."the Lord, himself, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead shall 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..." The archangels and the other angels will be involved in this at the Lord's command collecting the saints from the "four corners of the heavens", " together to meet the Lord to be with him forever." It is only at this point that the saved believers in God leave this earth and join the Son of God.
Those that believe in the pre-tribulation rapture also want you to believe that this event is all going to be done in secret. That after the rapture the unsaved are all going to be asking, "Where did they all go." Automobiles will be without drives, airplanes suddenly without pilots, doctors vanishing right in the middle of surgeries. What absolute nonsense.
Do you honestly believe that this most incredible period of God's greatest glory is going to be suppressed and hidden from view? That Our Lord is going to be sneaking around while all this is going on. That the coming of the Son of God, that the end of human history, that the most anticipated moment in all of human history, is all going to take place as if it were being done by a thief in the night? This is that one single moment in time that the entire Word of God is based upon. This is the unbelievable instant in all of creation when God is going to show all believers that their trust and faith in Him will now be rewarded. This is the moment why the Son of God came to earth and died. This is that moment that all believers have looked forward to. This moment is the reason that believers all down through the ages have put their faith and trust in God. This is the moment for our hope. This is the moment why everything was done. This is the moment why you and I do what we do, the way we do it. And therefore, to think that Our Heavenly Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are going to be content to do all this in secret, during the dead of night, without a sound, is complete and utter nonsense.
In a related side note, it is very interesting to see that in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, God gives us sort of a hidden clue as to how we can discover just who satan is in the last days. Satan is going to claim that he is God and he will perform tremendous miracles and signs in the last days and thus fool a great many people into believing that he is indeed God. Notice however that in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, both the dead brought back to life as well as the living saved believers, join Christ in the clouds. At no time does Jesus step foot on the surface of the earth, at least not yet. Therefore anyone in the last days who is claiming to be God and who is walking around on the earth is a liar and is probably satan.
This is why Jesus spoke the following verses in Matthew 24.
Matthew 24:23 - Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ, or There He is,'do not believe him.
Matthew 24:24 - For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:25 - Behold, I have told you in advance.
Matthew 24:26 - If therefore they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness, do not go forth, or, Behold, He is in the inner rooms, do not believe them.
Here is a crystal clear warning to those believers in the last days straight from the Son Of God. He is telling us that during the tribulation period, the person who is performing great miracles and telling the world that he is indeed Christ, is actually satan.
Before I close there are 11 other very interesting verses that help explain why there is no pre-tribulation rapture. Please look at these verses and ask yourself after reading them whether or not the saints of God will still be on earth and involved in the tribulation.
1 - Revelation 13:7 tells us
that satan and his followers are going to have tremendous control over everyone
on earth including the saints. "And it was given to him to
make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe
and people and tongue and nation was given to him".
(Are you a saint? A saint is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, but the Word of God says the antichrist will make war with the saints and overcome them. How do you make war on someone that is already raptured? Who else is there for him to make war on? You certainly wouldn't think that satan would make war on those that are already blindly following him. So if you are a saint, or if you want to be a saint, then you are going to be involved in the tribulation).
2 - Revelation 13:15 - "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast,
that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not
worship the image of the beast to be killed".
This death decree will occur because:
1) God's people will refuse to worship the image of the beast,
2) they will refuse the mark of the beast,
3) and they will refuse to submit to the laws of satan who will be masquerading as God.
Again the only ones that the anti-christ is going to kill are those who refuse to worship the image of the beast. A person is usually persecuted because they believe and follow something different from those doing the persecuting. In other words, the saints are going to be the ones who are going to be persecuted and killed. The Christ haters and the Christ rejecters are not only going to be to very happy to worship the beast, but they will also gleefully help murder every believer that they can find.
3 - Revelation 15:2 - "And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and
those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark
and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass".
(Remember that the beast, the false prophet, and satan all show up during the tribulation, and the above verse refers to the saints of the tribulation who rejected the Antichrist and who refused to accept the mark of the beast. The whole purpose of the mark of the beast is to distinguish between those who have put their faith in satan and those who have put there faith in Jesus Christ. Whether a person has the mark will determine where their allegiance lies).
4 - Revelation 14:13 - "Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: "Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that
they may rest from their labors, and their works go with them".
(Here a eulogy is given that is right out of heaven, and it is for the future dead saints that are going to be killed during the horrible tribulation. Yet the pre-tribulation rapture theory says that at this point in the tribulation, there should not be any of the elect left on earth because they would have all been raptured away. If that is the case then why does it say, "who die in the Lord from now on?"
5 - Revelation 7:14 - "And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the
great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in
the blood of the Lamb."
(In this passage John is speaking about the victorious Christians, who do not compromise or abandon their Lord in the persecution that over takes them during the tribulation period, and who remain faithful to the Lord. Notice to that it says, and "they" have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This is telling us that Christ did not wash their robes, but rather the saints themselves washed them in the blood of Jesus Christ. And they did that by staying faithful in their belief in Jesus Christ, and thus, came out of the tribulation victoriously).
6 - Mark
13:9 - "For they will deliver you up to councils, and
you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before
rulers and kings, for My sake."
This verse simply tells us that the persecution of the children of God will be severe and be occurring over the entire world.
7 - Matthew 10:22-23 - "And you will be hated by all, for My name's sake. But he who
endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee
to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns
of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Here our Lord is telling us that we are to endure all that happens to the very end. He doesn't say endure it until he magically whisks us away. What he is telling us is we are to endure all that happens until that point in time when the Son of Man comes back. And ask yourself this question. If the generation of believers that He is talking about does not have to go through the difficulties of the tribulation, what then is there for that generation to "endure"? And does not "the end" most simply and naturally refer to either the end of the whole period of tribulation leading up the Lord's return, or to the end of the believer's life during the tribulation period?
8 - Revelation3:11 - "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast to what you have, that no
one may take your crown."
Here our Lord is talking to the Church of Philadelphia and this Church is found to be in great favor with Jesus on account of the love and kindness which the citizens show to each other and because this church constantly lives and follows the word of God. Many Bible scholars say that the Church of Philadelphia is God's church, that he is very proud of this church and that its people are what Christians should be like. But the Lord is telling these people of the Church of Philadelphia that he will soon be coming back to earth and that they should continue to endure till he gets there.
So why would the Lord have to remind the Church of Philadelphia to endure and not give up till he comes back, especially if the Church of Philadelphia, which is made up of faithful Christians, is going to be raptured before he even comes back? The truth is, the Church of Philadelphia is going to have to endure the entire tribulation because the Lord is not going to come back till the tribulation is over.
Also the crown that is being referred to is the Crown of Righteousness and it is for those who look forward to, and wait patiently for Christ's return. 2 Timothy 4:8 - "In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing".
9 - Luke 21:36, Speaking about the tribulation events, Jesus said to pray, "In order that you may have strength to escape all these things". If by "escape" he had in mind a pre-tribulation rapture, why would we need "strength" at all? We wouldn't need any strength if we are going to be suddenly raptured right before all the trouble starts. No, we will escape all these things in the same way God's people "escaped" the Egyptian plagues and the armies of Pharaoh and all the many other times that believers in the Bible were faced with devastation and destruction and came out victorious. By going through it under the Lord's protection and the Lord's guidance.
10 - Revelation 6:9-11 - "When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls
of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which
they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy
and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those WHO DWELL ON THE
EARTH? Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them
that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their
fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed, was
By the time the fifth seal is opened the tribulation period is well on its way. And the opening of this fifth seal has Jesus telling the souls in heaven that the end will not come until many more saved believers are murdered down on earth. This verse also is telling us that those who murdered those souls are still alive and still down on earth carrying out the great persecution. And keep in mind this is all occurring during the opening of the seals, which is part of the tribulation.
11 - Matthew 24:21-22 - "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not been
since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And
unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the
elect's sake those days will be shortened."
There are two very interesting points about these two verses:
1) The elect that is being talked about in these two verses are the saved believers of God
2) And this is the tribulation period that is being discussed in these two verses and it is going to be the worse period in all of human history, in fact, the Bible tells us that the earth itself has never ever seen a more horrible period of time. These verses are talking about the very last 7 years of human rule here on earth. Now do me a favor and read those two verses again, and then ask yourself, what did Jesus mean when he spoke those two verses?
So Matthew 24:22 places the elect or the saved believers directly in the tribulation period, in fact God Himself has to shorten this period otherwise not a single saved believer would be left alive.
So in conclusion, in answering the question of, What is the
The Rapture is the last phase of Jesus Christ's second coming. It occurs after the terrible tribulation is all over. It is that moment when, as the apostle Paul said, "The Lord himself shall descend with a shout....And the dead in Christ will rise first then we, who are alive and remain, will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air--and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
1 Corinthians 15:52-55 will be occuring at the exact same time. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (the seventh and last trumpet); for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory".
Why do they do it?
You have to wonder why so many preachers who preach the pre-tribulation rapture theory spend so much time, and give such great importance to something that will have absolutely no effect on the saved believers, because if they are right, then those saved believers are all raptured away before the tribulation ever starts. But if that is the case, then why do they spend so much of their time and effort even worrying about what happens to the sinners left behind? If they are right, the saved believers aren't even here on earth, so why do they concentrate so much on those lost sinners who are the ones who will have to go through the tribulation? Those unrepentant sinners are the people who have been preached to, been given the truth, been prayed for, and have been given every opportunity to come to Jesus Christ, and they have simply refused. Gleefully maintaining their harden hearts they will wind up being lost, and anyway, I don't think God would want to live with such people in heaven for all of eternity. Would you want unrepentant thieves, adulterers, and murderers living with you for all of eternity? So if that is the case then why are so many preachers so worried about those that are left behind and are lost and who have absolutely no remorse in their hearts? Why do so many preachers concern themselves about Christ haters and Christ rejectors that are supposedly left after the rapture.
You first have to keep in mind that the pre-tribulation rapture theory is very soothing and comforting to the mind, and so it is not surprising that so many people grab on to it. It makes people feel so much better when they feel that they will not have to live through the terrible tribulation period. Many people try to avoid even thinking about the horrific things that are going to be taking place during the tribulation. So the pre-tribulation rapture gives them a way out. I don't have to worry about all that stuff because I won't even be here.
Also keep in mind that most of us have a deep inner feeling that God is not pleased with us or pleased with the world. We sense that the end times are very near, and that the wrath of God has to be boiling. So any hope, any hope at all that we can possibly be spared from this coming wrath will be welcomed with open arms. So feelings like these simply opens the door for the pre-tribulation rapture theory to spread and grow.
As a believer, you must admit that there is so much to preach about regarding God and about what God expects from us, and what we can expect from God, that we have to ask why do so many preachers spend so much time and energy on an event that will not have any effect on saved believers if they have already been raptured. Is it possible that the preachers who preach this pre-tribulation rapture theory realize that the single most intriguing thing to many believers, is the end times, and how it is all going to end and what is going to happen to them? Since no one wants to suffer through persecution, what better way for those preachers to slyly draw people in, than to mislead them with a false belief that they will not have to go through any of those horrible end times. People love to hear preachers tell them that they are going to be spared all that pain and suffering and will be long gone when satan comes to power and all the real trouble starts.
It is the tribulation period that stirs peoples emotions and draws them to the preachers. It is the end times that intrigues people. Do these preachers see the tremendous drawing power that the pre-tribulation rapture has? Is that the reason why so many preachers use the end times to deceptively draw people into their folds? For it is the subject of the tribulation period that allows so many books to be written, so many movies to be made, so many tapes to be recorded, and a great deal of money to be made. Have many of these preachers who preach the pre-tribulation rapture theory allowed other things to cloud their eyes and blind them to the truth?
It is the constant preaching of the pre-tribulation rapture theory that seems to propel ordinary men to the top of the religious ladder. The subject of the tribulation is the one thing that can allow these men to build their own personal empires. For many of today's preachers, the truth takes a back seat to prestige, power, and money.
There is another reason why the false pre-tribulation rapture theory is as popular as it is. Many of the preachers today are doing exactly what Jesus warned us about. The Bible tells us over and over to be on guard for false teachers, teaching false doctrine. Many of the preachers today are simply following other preachers and in the process are misleading their own followers. They have voluntarily turned away from the Word of God and are preaching their own personal views and the views of others. They don't care what Jesus said. To them, what is important is what they think. And in the process they are leading a great many believers completely away from the one and only thing we have from God - The Bible.
And this is understandable since all organized religions today are full of false doctrine, full of downright lies, full of truth that has been greatly distorted, full of men who teach and preach what they want to. The organized religions of today are religions of tolerance - tolerance to anything and everything ungodly. Men preach what they want to preach and could care less whether or not it is false doctrine. But in the process, they are taking a great many Christians down that path with them.
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