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Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Rapture

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. - 1 Corinthians 15:51-52a

Nothing can be more frightening than the fear of losing a loved one. 

In an article in Newsday titled, Shirley Tot Found After Missing 2 Hours[1] it says,

“Suffolk police launched a massive search yesterday for a 5-year-old Shirley girl who had been missing for more than two hours but was found safe at a neighbor’s house.

Authorities, including canine units and a police helicopter, searched the area near North Floyd Road in Shirley form about 1:45 p.m. to about 4:15 p.m., when the child was found by a patrol officer, said Officer Robert Harris, Suffolk police spokesman.

What happened was the little girl was playing with two of her friends,” Harris said. “They were being baby sat by a 15-year-old girl. She [the 5 -year-old] was playing with two other children, and then the girl just walks out of the house and decided to go out.”

When the girl went out of the house, she was noticed by officers who had been searching the neighborhood for her. Police believe she was at the friend’s house the whole time, and they declined to release her name.

Police and the child’s family scoured the neighborhood for the missing child. Jeff Amador, 34, who lives on North Floyd Road, said yesterday that officers came by his house and asked him to check around. He looked under his shed and in his yard.

He then noticed helicopters scanning the neighborhood.

 “Then the little girl came running across the lawn, shoes in hand, screaming ‘Mommy, Mommy,’” he said.

The child’s family declined to comment.”

All this effort and commotion for one 5-year-old child, what would happen if an entire body of people went missing? What would happen if in an instant, thousands, perhaps millions, were found to be missing?

What would happen if in conjunction with the missing there were countless car wrecks, plane crashes, train wrecks, confusion in the economy, government and in society as a whole because people were just, well, MISSING? Think of the effect on the world if all of a sudden, millions were simply, GONE!

If something like that happened you’d want to know “why?” You’d probably want to apply as many resources as possible to finding the answer to the missing persons. The Bible speaks of an event in the future that will have a very similar effect only on a (hopefully) much broader range. This event is called The Rapture.

The Rapture is an event that could happen at any time where Jesus comes in the clouds for His church of the genuinely saved to take them from the earth to be with Himself. That sounds pretty incredible doesn’t it? Is this just cannon fodder for skeptics and atheists to mock Christians? Interestingly the Bible states that that is exactly what will happen in the latter days leading up to this Rapture event (2 Peter 3:1-9).

There are many miraculous supernatural God-events in the Bible that those who don’t know God or who actively defy God mock and disbelieve. A miracle is something God does that defies nature and natural law. A miracle is God’s intervention in His creation. For instance the Bible says God created the world by merely speaking it into existence (Gen. 1 and John 1). There are incidents recorded in the Bible where God parted seas making a way for His people to escape their pursuers, parted rivers to allow His people to pass through on dry ground, and provided for His people with manna from heaven, squadrons of quail and water from a rock. There are incidents of miraculous healings in the Old Testament where the dead were raised back to life. In the New Testament Jesus and His followers healed people of many assorted ailments. Jesus walked on water, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and promised to return. All of these incidents and events defy human logic. They were God-incidents. So the bottom line is not merely did they actually happen but do you believe they could happen. If you believe God is who He says He is, then the miraculous is not only possible but logical. Jesus said He would return to take up physically to Himself born again believers of His church. Preposterous? Illogical? Maybe to an atheist; but not to a believer and follower of God in Jesus Christ who knows nothing is impossible with God. If God is Who He says He is, He can do whatever He purposes to do.


Let’s ask and answer some questions regarding the Rapture. These questions are:


  1. What is the Rapture Physically?
  2. Why is a Rapture Necessary?
  3. What Scriptural evidence is there for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?
Let’s proceed.


What is the Rapture Physically?


In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 the phrase “caught up” is used. “Caught up” is the translation of the Greek term harpadzo (ἁρπάζω harpazō, har-pad´-zo). The Latin Vulgate translation of the New Testament translates harpadzo as raptus, from which we get the English word rapture. While the term “rapture” does not occur in Scripture, neither do the terms “trinity” or “millennium” and therefore this should not discount its validity.


Harpadzo means “to snatch or catch away.” An example of the use of this word which illustrates well is found in the book of Acts when the Spirit “caught Philip away.”

·         Acts 8:39 - “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.”

This account in Acts is interesting because it speaks to the Spirit’s ability to transport a human miraculously from one area to another area some twenty miles away. As it relates to the rapture we might say, the Spirit raptured Philip away, but not all the way!

When Paul was relating how he had been “caught up” to the third heaven the same word harpazo is used:

·         2 Corinthians 12:2 - “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.” 

In this instance of being “caught up” it might be said, Paul was raptured away, but not allowed to stay!

Another place where harpadzo is used is in reference to the ascension of Jesus found in Revelation:

·         Revelation 12:5 - “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.” 

With regard to Jesus it can be said, He went away but He won’t stay, He’s coming back for His bride the church!

The term harpadzo often conveys the idea of being taken by force, a sudden exercise of force. [2] The following verses demonstrate this: 

·         Matthew 11:12 - “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”  

·         Matthew 13:19 -  “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.” 

·         John 6:15 - “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” 

·         John 10:12 - “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.” 

·         John 10:28-29 - “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” 

·         Acts 23:10 - “Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.”

·         Jude 22-23 - “And on some have compassion, making a distinction;23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” 

A time is coming when the born again believer will be taken away by Jesus. What will this be like?

Change “in the twinkling of an eye”


In 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 we find additional information on how Christians will be raptured.


·         1 Corinthians 15:51-53 - “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”  

In this verse we are told that when Jesus returns for His true believers there will be an instantaneous transformation that will occur instantaneously. The term translated “changed” is from the Greek allasso, which literally means “to make other than it is, or  “to transform, change.” In other areas of the Bible the term allasso is used regarding the effect of the gospel on traditions (Acts 6:14).  Allasso is also used in reference to the change or transformation that the material creation will undergo at the consummation of the God’s prophetic plan (Hebrews 1:12). Allasso is used by the apostle Paul in stating his desire to be present with the Galatians in person so that he could “change my tone” of speech with them (Galatians 4:20). Lastly, Paul  uses the term allasso in Romans 1:23 in reference to in a way that implies an “exchange”  of God’s glory for manmade images or idols.  [3]

In reference to the rapture, a change will take place physically for those raptured which entails an exchange of bodies. Evidently our material physical bodies are not suited for the environment or dimension we will be transported to at the rapture. Therefore we will be given a body suited to our knew address in the dimension of heaven. 


Chuck Smith states the following in regards to the “rapture”:


“The Rapture refers to that event where Jesus Christ snatches His Church out of this world. It shall happen suddenly without any notice. The Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are completely different. At the Rapture, Jesus is coming for His saints.” [4]


Why is the Rapture Necessary?


The Rapture is necessary to deliver the church from a period in history referred to as The Tribulation. This is a time of God’s righteous outpoured wrath on a Christ-rejecting evil world. This Tribulation period is described in great detail in the book of Revelation (Rev. 6-19). It is a time of God’s just judgment on the earth.


The reason why the church needs to be removed from the earth during this Tribulation period is that it would unjust for God to punish the church that is righteous in Christ and forgiven her sins along with the sinful world that is unrighteous. As we will see those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior are saved from the wrath to come. The Rapture is Jesus’ means to save His bride the church from this outpoured wrath.


Meta Tauta and the Book of Revelation


The Book of Revelation is not some esoteric undecipherable piece of literature. The name “Revelation” means unveiling. A little bit of spade work and the revelation is unveiled for us. And it is in Revelation that we can glean a great deal of contextual evidence about the Rapture.


The Book of Revelation has a built in outline. In Revelation 1:19 it states:


  • Revelation 1:19 - Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.


This verse is an outline of Revelation. “The things which you have seen,” refers to John’s vision of the glorified risen Christ in Revelation chapter one. “The things which are” refers to church history found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Lastly, “the things which will take place after this” refers to events that take place after the church age in the future.


We are presently living in the church age. God’s dealings in and through Israel are on hold. God is in part provoking Israel to jealousy with His relationship with the church in Christ (cf. Rom. 11). But an examination of Revelation 2-3 provides letters from Jesus to seven particular local churches as well as prophetic letters from Jesus to the church in seven epochs of church history. What Jesus says to these churches should be taken to heart by those in all segments of the church throughout history as well.


But there is an important phrase at the end of Revelation 1:19 that is important to our study of the Rapture. That phrase is meta tauta. Meta tauta means after these things. In Revelatoin 1:19 the phrase is used to point to those things that will take place after the church age referred to with the words “the things which are.” Now what is interesting is that after Revelation 2-3 and the segment on the church age we see a transitional verse that has a double occurrence of meta tauta. See if you can identify it in Revelation 4:1:


  • Revelation 4:1 - “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.” 


As we reach chapter four verse one we come to the phrase “After these things” at the beginning of the verse and then, “. . . after this” at the end of it. The logical question to ask is, after what things? The logical answer to that question is, the things which preceed  i.e.  the vision of the glorified Christ AND church history. And this is important to see, what follows doesn’t involve the church. What follows? The segment that details the Tribulation!


What Scriptural evidence is there for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?


That the book of Revelation intentionally separates the church from involvement in the section on the Tribulation. The phrase meta tauta is a literary device to mark this separation. But there is further evidence that the church will not go through the Tribulation but instead will be saved rom the wrath to come. Why should we be interested in escaping the Tribulation? Shouldn’t we be willing, even eager to suffer what some believe is our just deserts? Not when you consider salvation is by God’s grace and not based on penance or personal suffering. And not when you consider what exactly the Tribulation period will be like.


The Tribulation is an unprecedented time of hardship, turmoil, and judgment from God on the earth (Mat. 24:21; Rev. 6-19). All nature will be impacted. Plagues will proliferate.  Wars will rage. Government will oppress. And all hell will be unleashed on earth with Satan leading his hoards. This seven year period in the future is not something you want to live in if you can avoid it. And that is the blessed hope for the believer. We can escape the wrath to come by the Rapture of Jesus Christ. What evidence is there that the rapture will take place before this Tribulation period? What evidence is there for a pre-Tribulation Rapture?


“Church” and “Churches”


The terms “church” (2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14) and  “churches” ( 1:4 [2x],11,20 [2x]; 2:7,11,17,23,29; 3:6,13,22; 22:16) occur a combined total of 22 times in the book of Revelation. None of these occurrences are found in the section of Revelation which describes the Tribulation (Rev. 6-19). Of the 22 occurrences of these two terms in the book of Revelation, 21 occur in the first three chapters and one occurs in the last chapter of the book. Therefore, when we leave the first and second sections of the book of Revelation which refer to the church frequently and in detail, we find the “church” conspicuously absent from mention in the third section of the book


Regarding the church, there is a distinctive and noticeable change when we pass from the second to third sections of this book, the church is gone! Why is this important? Since the church is not mentioned in chapters 6 thru 19, (the section which gives a detailed account of the Tribulation; the time of God’s outpoured wrath on a Christ-rejecting world) we can conclude that, THE CHURCH WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION.


Is that fair?


Now at this point some might be asking, “Why would Christians be spared going through the Great Tribulation? Christians go through trials. Why would the Great Tribulation be any different?” And indeed there are some who believe the church will go through the Great Tribulation, i.e.  Post-Tribulationists; or those who believe the church will go through the Tribulation along with everyone else.


It is true that Christians go through trials. Jesus said Christians would go through trials:


·         John 16:33 - “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

God allows believers to experience trials because trials serve the purpose of maturing our faith (cf. James 1:2-5; 1 Peter 1:6-9). In the book of Job we see that Satan incited God to allow trials to come Job’s way by saying that Job’s faith in God was based on God’s blessing him. In other words, that Job’s faith was based on a cheap payoff (Job 1-2). But the trials that came Job’s way and the steadfastness of his faith illustrated to generations that followed the true nature of faith as well as the sustaining grace of God.

Trials should not be thought of as strange to the Christian. Throughout the world and throughout history Christians have experienced severe trials (e.g. 1 Peter 4:12-19). The important thing to understand is that while God allows trials and persecution, the real culprit of difficulty in life is Satan (cf. 1 Peter 5:8-11). Christians do experience trials. Any Christian can confirm this.

The Tribulation

The Tribulation is a future period of seven years whereby God will pour out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. The details of this unprecedented time of judgment are described in Revelation 6-19. It is a time where God will shake up a Christ-rejecting world, wake up Israel, and make up the world like a house made makes the bed or even fumigates in readying it for the next hotel patron.


Christians do experience trials, but the trials experienced are distinctively different than that referred to in the Tribulation. The reference to a time of “Tribulation” is based on the following references:


·         Matthew 24:21 -  “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” 

·         Mark 13:19 - “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” 

·         Revelation 7:14 - “And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

The period referred to as The Tribulation is a distinctive time of trials because it is a day of the wrath of God.  The following verses state this:

·         Revelation 6:17 - “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” 

·         Revelation 11:18 - “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” 

·         Revelation 16:1 - “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”  

It is extremely important for us to see the difference between trials experienced by the Christian now and what will take place during the Tribulation.

The source of trials experienced by Christians is for the most part Satan. But the Source of trials during the  Tribulation is God as He pours out His wrath on a Christ rejecting world.

The Christian does not Experience God’s Wrath

Nowhere in the Bible do Christians experience the wrath of God. Indeed we see that God makes a distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. The earliest example of this is found in the book of Genesis. Abraham is informed by the Lord that He intends to judge the city of Sodom. Abraham intercedes on behalf of the people of this city and during the course of his conversation with the Lord we see clearly that the righteous nature of God will not permit lopping together the righteous and unrighteous into one big pile to be judged:


·         Genesis 18:23-33 - “And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?24 “Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it?25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”27 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord:28 “Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.”29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.”30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.”32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.”33 So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.” 

When we come to the New Testament and see the full revelation of the salvation of God we see that the good news of salvation is that WE ARE SAVED FROM GOD’S WRATH!  This is clearly stated in the following verses:


·         Romans 5:8-9 - “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” 

·         1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 - “For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 

·         1 Thessalonians 5:9 - “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 

Therefore, if the Tribulation is a time of God’s “wrath” and Christians are saved from God’s wrath. Christians will not go through the Tribulation.

The Tribulation Pertains to Israel Not the Church


You might be thinking, “Why is there a period of Tribulation at all?” One of the primary reasons for the Great Tribulation is to wake up the nation of Israel.  During the Tribulation God deals with Israel, His adulterating wife (cf. Hosea) and draws her back to Himself as well as back into the prophetic equation during the time of the Tribulation.


Israel is inextricably connected to the period of  Tribulation. In Jeremiah when the prophet refers to the future Tribulation period he refers to it as “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). The Tribulation prophetically is the seventieth week of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy. This prophecy of Daniel does not pertain to the church, but to Israel (Dan. 9:24-27). 


When Jesus described the Tribulation in His Olivet Discourse He directly connected the events of that period with the prophecy of Daniel:


·         Matthew 24:15 -  “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),” 

·         Mark 13:14 -  “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” 

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans he makes a clear distinction between the church and Israel. The message he delivers to the church is that God is not finished with Israel but will use them again in the future (Romans 11).


The Re-birth of Israel


It’s interesting that while the Rapture can occur at any time we do see the unprecedented rebirth of Israel which took place on May 18th, 1948 as an important prophetic event in regards to the Rapture. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that the rapture should not take them by surprise or that they should be shocked when it occurs. He stated that generally, “times and season” or the world environment leading up to the rapture would show that the time is ripe for such an event (cf. 1 Thess. 5:1-2).


One of the most significant events in prophetic history is the rebirth of Israel. The Bible points to this event as related to the return of the Lord:

·         Psalm 102:16  -“When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.”  

·         Matthew 24:32-34 -  “Now learn this parable from the fig tree [ symbol of Israel] : When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.33 “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it [the 2nd coming of Jesus]is near—at the doors!34 “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” 

So the state of Israel is very important to the Christian. The rebirth of Israel in our times is very important because it indicates the “season” in which we are living. We don’t know when particularly or exactly the Rapture will occur. We can know the “times and the seasons”  generally when the Rapture may occur (see later our discussion of 1 Thessalonians 5).


Jesus instructed us to pray that we would be worthy to escape the Tribulation


Further evidence that the church will not go through the Tribulation is found in  the gospel of Luke during Jesus Olivet discourse. Toward the end of His description of the Great Tribulation He exhorts His listeners with the following words:


·         Luke 21:36 - “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  

For Jesus to instruct us to pray that we might escape the Tribulation would be cruel and heartless if it were not possible. Jesus is anything but cruel and heartless.

In Jesus’ words to the church at Philadelphia He promises to spare Christians, (who are indeed true born again of the Spirit believers) from the Tribulation:

·         Revelation 3:10 - “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.’ 

If Jesus says it is possible to “escape” the Tribulation, then it must be so.


Rapture – The Blessed Hope of the Church



The Bible refers to the Rapture as the “blessed hope” of the believer. It refers to the Second Coming as the "glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ":


·         Titus 2:13 - “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” 



Is the Rapture and Second Coming the Same?


The Bible also mentions a Second Coming of Jesus. There are some who make no distinction between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ. Those who do not make such a distinction usually come to the conclusion that the church will go through the Tribulation. They make this conclusion because it is clear that the 2nd Coming of Jesus occurs at the end of the Tribulation. But when we look at scriptural references describing the Rapture and the Second Coming we find that they are separate and distinct. What are some of the differences that indicate the Rapture is separate and distinct from the 2nd Coming?


1.) Timing


There is a distinctive difference between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ. The Rapture removes believers before the Tribulation to deliver them from the wrath to come. The 2nd Coming occurs after the Tribulation. That the 2nd Coming comes after the Tribulation is shown in the following verses:


·         Matthew 24:29-31 - Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” 

·         Mark 13:24-27 -  “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;25 “the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.26 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.27 “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” 


2.) Location and Direction


When we look at the Biblical description of the Rapture we see that at the Rapture Jesus comes for His Church  in the clouds. The Rapture is a movement from the earth to heaven. We see this in the following scriptures: 


·         John 14:1-3 - “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

·         1 Thessalonians 4:17 - “ Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”    

On the other hand, passages describing the 2nd Coming of Jesus indicate the 2nd Coming Jesus comes with His Church to the earth. The 2ND Coming is a movement from heaven to earth. We see this in the following passages:

·         Zechariah 14:1-7 - “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, 1 And your spoil will be divided in your midst.2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.3 Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.6 It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish.7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord—Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light.”

·         Jude 14 - “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,” 

·         Revelation 19:11-16 - “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

3.) Imminence and Visibility


When we look at passages referring to the Rapture we see that nothing has to occur before the Rapture occurs. The Rapture is imminent; it can happen at any time. Furthermore, the Rapture is cloaked in mystery; it is likened to a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:1-11). 


Logically, if the Rapture and the 2nd Coming are the same and occur after the  Tribulation, then there are many signs that occur BEFORE the 2nd Coming, e.g. The rise of antichrist. If these signs have to occur before the coming of Jesus His coming is no longer imminent until the signs take place.

Also, when Jesus comes at the 2nd Coming, He does not come like a thief in secret but for all the world to see!  Jesus described the events preceding His 2n Coming in the following passage:

·         Matthew 24:15-31 -  “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.17 “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.18 “And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.19 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!20 “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.21 “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.22 “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 “See, I have told you beforehand.26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.28 “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” 


Objections to the Rapture


Those who hold a Mid or Post Tribulation Rapture view say, “Wait a minute, God doesn’t always spare His people from His wrath but on occasion brings them THROUGH it. They point to the Biblical accounts of Noah in Genesis 6 and that of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego in Daniel 3 as evidences.


In  Genesis 6 and 7 we do see that God instructed Noah to build an ark and that He covered the earth with a flood in judgment of the world. However, Noah here is not a type of the church. Noah is a type of Israel who will go through the Tribulation.


Furthermore, if we look earlier in Genesis to chapter 5 we see the first incident in the Bible of a person who was “raptured” or removed from this world by God.


·         Genesis 5:24 - “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” 

It is more likely, (not to mention more in sync with the testimony of the rest of God’s revealed prophetic Pre-Rapture plan) that God here in Genesis is laying the preparatory groundwork in typological form of the church being removed from Tribulation in the type of Enoch and Israel going through the Tribulation in the type of Noah.

In the case of the three Israelites in Daniel, we have the story of three Jews in exile in Babylon who refuse to bow and worship King Nebuchadnezzer.  As a result of their loyalty to God, Nebuchadnezzer orders that they be thrown into a fiery furnace. While this incident is typical of the Tribulation, we need to ask, “Who are the three Israelites typical of? The three Israelites are typical of Israel going through the Tribulation.  

Interestingly, the three Israelites meet a Christ figure in the fiery furnace and in the book of Revelation we see that in the midst of the Tribulation there will be a great conversion of  Jews who will recognize that Jesus is their Messiah (Revelation 7). 

But the context of Daniel 3 has an element that is typical of the rapture too. Just as the church is conspicuous by its absence in Revelation 6-19, Daniel (the central figure of the book of Daniel) is conspicuous by his absence in Daniel 3 where this incident is recorded.

Therefore, in light of the above explanations of the two frequently cited Old Testament types purported to support a Mid or Post Tribulation Rapture view, it is seen that in fact these types support a Pre Tribulation Rapture view instead.

Who will be Raptured?

A final question remains to be asked. We’ve been saying that “the church” will be raptured. By saying “the church” will be raptured we don’t mean a building or a denomination or certain segment of people who claim to be “the one true church.” What people call themselves is not as important as who they actually are. Jesus said there were those who have a false belief in who they are:


·         Matthew 7:21 -  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” 

Jesus said the prime qualification for entering His Kingdom was the second birth; spiritual birth; "you must be born again" (John 3). Without the Holy Spirit indwelling a person, there is no spiritual life (Romans 8:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Authentic Christians bear the seal of the Holy Spirit on them; the stamp of belonging to God (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13). Without such spiritual life a person can do all kinds of churchy things but they still aren't known by Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who bears witness within us that we are children of God (e.g. Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:24). Those who have not been born again will be left behind at the Rapture.

In His letter to the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) an apostate “Jezebel” was allowed to function within the confines of the church. This corrupt church is seen as descriptive of the church from the years 500 AD to the present. Jesus has choice words for those who teach things contrary to His word such as the Jezebels as well as those who follow after false teaching:

·         Revelation 2:21-22 - “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.22 “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.”  (Emphasis added.) [5]

It's possible Jesus was alluding to some local trouble He would allow on the church of Thayatira due to her spiritual negligence. It is also possible, when we apply the words of Jesus prophetically and historically (and I believe more pertinent to our study) that He is speaking of throwing the Thyatiren type of church and church goers into the Seventieth Week of Daniel seven year Tribulation of the Latter Days. It's possible such wayward church people will be left behind at the rapture.

Jesus assessed the church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) to be alive on the outside but dead within. This church represents not only an actual local church, but the church of the Reformation ranging from the 1500s AD to the present. This became a Spirit-less church; a church populated by those who had not been born again or who had gotten away from living in the Spirit. Without the Spirit's regeneration the people of this church live a "defiled" life with little concern for holiness or Spirit filled living. Today many mainline denominations have compromised with immorality and degenerated from a dependence on scripture and the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus to one where relying on those beliefs in the Spirit is quite foreign. The Book of Acts is the true model of what a church should be like. In Sardis the church had grown proud and presumptuous. This church had become more of a social service shop than one led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Therefore to this church Jesus said:

·         Revelation 3:3 - Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

Elsewhere Jesus is described as coming in the Rapture "as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). While Jesus does not specifically say He will leave the Sardis church people behind, it would not be hard to draw that conclusion from what He has said.

To the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) Jesus wrote:

·         Revelation 3:10 -  Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

To this church Jesus gives no correction. They aren't the strongest church, but they are faithful and have kept Jesus word and not denied His name. Their perseverance and purity result in Jesus promise to "I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world." This speaks of rescue. And it speaks of rescue from more than a local tribulation. It speaks of a trial that "shall come upon the whole world." That is the Tribulation of seven years described in Revelation 6-19. By mentioning this to the church people of Philadelphia Jesus is setting them up as a contrast to those who He said would be left behind. Not everyone in the church will be rescued by His rapture. Some in the church will be left behind.

The words of Jesus to the church in Thyatira and Sardis are examples of prophetically relevant material where certain people in His church's are warned that they are in danger of being left behind at the Rapture and therefore going through the Tribulation. Based on His letters the church people who allow immoral Jezebels to coexist within the walls of the church and the church that is Spirit-less with defiled spiritually will not be rescued in the Rapture. Such "church" people will go through the Tribulation likely as a means to purify them into spiritual shape (e.g. 1 Peter 1:6-9).  

Those in the church who in reality refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior may respond during the Tribulation. The Scripture seeds planted in them by faithful witnesses who have since departed in the Rapture may bear fruit unto salvation. But you don’t want to procrastinate! Those saved during the Tribulation will most likely be martyred for their faith! If you are procrastinating and think, I’ll just go through the Tribulation. I’m having too much fun now. The problem with such thinking is – If you can’t live for Jesus now, what makes you think you will be able to die for Him later?

So who will be raptured? The Thessalonians were people that were in a position to be raptured. What were these people like? An overview of this letter reveals:

  1. They worked by faith, labored in love and waited patiently hoping in the Lord  - 1:3
  2. They served the Lord where He elected them to serve – 1:4
  3. They were born again of the Spirit – 1:5-6
  4. They bore fruit of the Spirit 1:7-10
  5. They were looking for Jesus return – 1:10; 5:1-5
  6. They had high regard for God’s word and lived it out in life – 2:13-14
  7. They were standing fast in the Lord – 3:6-8, 11-13


So What?

Maybe you’ve tuned out of this study long ago and don’t feel the Rapture is such a big deal. Maybe you don’t think the distinction between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming is that important. Jesus thought the distinction between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming was important. Why is it important for us to understand about the Rapture and the 2nd Coming? There are five reason why you should care about the Rapture.



First, the pre-Tribulation Rapture view is important because it coincides with the nature of God. God’s nature is holy love. His does not want or desire  anyone to go through the Great Tribulation or even go to hell, quite to the contrary the Bible tells us He wishes none to perish:


·         2 Peter 3:9 - “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

That God’s loving nature has made a way for the saved to avoid the outpouring of God’s wrath on a Christ rejecting sinful world is evidenced by Paul when he writes:

·         Romans 5:8-9 - “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” 

God’s desire for us is to protect us and spare us from the Great Tribulation. He provides a way of escape, will we take it?

Second, the pre-Tribulation Rapture view is important because it is a source of comfort. The Bible tells us that the Rapture of the church something that should give us comfort. As we proceed through the hard times of life we can be comforted by the fact that soon and very soon Jesus is coming for us to take us to Himself. We saw this stated in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians (4:16-18).

Life as we see it now is not going to go on indefinitely. In  a moment, (in the near future I believe) everything as we know it is going to be changed. The change will introduce a period of final last days events that will forever change the world and the people in it as far as their eternal destiny is concerned. God is for us (Romans 8:31). Will we be for Him?

Third, the pre-Tribulation view is important because it is possible to be left behind. Jesus said:


·         Matthew 24:36-41  - “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.37 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.38 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,39 “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.40 “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.” 

The above passage deals with the reality of the Rapture. Some will be “taken,” some will not. The term “taken” is a translation of the Greek term paralambaino literally means “to take to oneself, receive.” Examples of the use of this word are:

  • Matthew 1:20 - Joseph was instructed by the Holy Spirit to not be afraid to “take” Mary as his wife.
  • Matthew 17:1 - Jesus “took” Peter, James and John with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration.
  • John 14:3 - Jesus said, “I will come again and RECEIVE you to Myself.” This verse is a reference to the Rapture.


This is REAL! The Rapture is a real event that will take place. What would happen if you woke up one morning and the spot next to you in bed where your spouse usually slept was vacant? What if when you searched them out you discovered the Rapture is true! And you were left behind? Think of the regret you would feel to realize it didn’t have to happen that way.

Fourth, the pre-Tribulation rapture view is important because only Spirit filled born again true believers will be taken. Jesus gave the following parable:

  • Matthew 25:1-13 - “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.2 “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.3 “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,4 “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’7 “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’9 “But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’12 “But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” 


Jesus is able to separate the true from the false Christians.

Here are ten “virgins,” five wise, five foolish. What distinguished the wise from the foolish? The oil.

Oil is a symbol or type of the Holy Spirit. Evidence for this is based on Zechariah 4 where oil is used to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit in  God’s anointed workers. What determined the readiness of the virgins? It was whether or not the Spirit was in them. You must repent of your sins  (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 1 John 1:9),  receive Jesus as Savior and Lord (John 1:12; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:8-13), and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 20:31; Romans 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:1,6).

Not everyone in church is a Christian; a “born again” of the Spirit Christian.  Jesus describes this situation in Matthew:

·         Matthew 13:24-30 - “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;25 “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.26 “But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.27 “So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’28 “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’29 “But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.30 ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

That wheat and tares will grow together indicates that not all that seems good is good. Tares look like wheat but upon closer inspection they are worthless imitations. This will be the case in the church leading up to His coming at the rapture.

Fifth, the pre-Tribulation Rapture view is important because it affects the way we live. Jesus said:


·         Matthew 24:42-51 -  “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.43 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.44 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?46 “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.47 “Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.48 “But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’49 “and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,50 “the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,51 “and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

Jesus likens those who watch and wait expectantly for His return as a “faithful and wise servant.” The faithful servant will be delegated authority in Jesus’ millennial reign  and will be used by Jesus to feed to minister to those they are put in charge of. He describes those who say, “My master is delaying his coming,” as an “evil servant.”  The evil servant will receive a quite different reward. Which group would you rather be in? I’d rather be a “good” than “evil” servant in the view of Jesus, wouldn’t you?!


The term “evil” is a translation of the Greek kakos.  Kakos occurs approximately 50 times in the New Testament and refers to  “whatever is evil in character, or base.” Kakos  is the opposite of the Greek term kalos  which means, “fair, advisable, good in character,” and also opposite to  agathos which means, “beneficial, useful, good in act.” Therefore kakos is a word that refers to that which is useless, incapable, and bad. Kakos can be used in regards to a persons qualities, emotions, passions, and deeds that are evil, injurious, destructive, pernicious. ( See  evil persons - Matthew 21:41; 24:48; Philippians 3:2; Revelation 2:2; See evil attitudes -   Mark 7:21; John 18:23, 30; Romans 1:30; 3:8; 7:19, 21; 13:4; 14:20; 16:19; 1 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Corinthians. 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 4:14; 1 Peter 3:9).  [6] 


Jon Courson, pastor of Applegate Christian Fellowship in Oregon comments that:


“Kakos means that which was once good, but has become rotten.  The idea is used of an apple . . . that was once good, crisp and juicy, but now is rotten. Or it’s the idea of a musical instrument that was once in tune but is now gone out of tune.”


Why does Jesus say that the person who sees His coming as being “delayed” is “evil”?  Because if certain things need to take place BEFORE Jesus can return, then the incentive to live a life prepared for His coming is removed for a time and it is likely that such a person will lapse into lovelessness - “and begins to beat his fellow servants”; as well as carnality or catering to fleshly sinful desires - “to eat and drink with drunkards.” Those who have a view that holds that Jesus coming is delayed are in danger of falling into two evil  self-centered temptations:


1.) BRUTALITY - Such  a person will tend to treat people harshly because the master is away and they have no fear of correction. Such a person will be inclined to put their desires and wants over and above the needs of others.


2.) CARNALITY - Such a person will tend to live a loose spiritual existence. The attitude will be one of indulgence and focusing on the temporal rather than the eternal. A lack of urgency results in letting our spiritual guard down.


·         Matthew 24:50-51 - “the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,51 “and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


As we further study this section in Matthew 24 we see that when the master of the evil servant does return that the master will “cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (24:51).  What does that mean? I don’t believe this means this “evil” servant is necessarily sent to hell. Rather, I believe this refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all believers will pass (cf. 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10).


At this judgment those carnal works a person spent their lives on will be chopped off .  There will be a dividing and separating that takes place there. As Jesus looks at us with eyes like a flame of fire (Revelation 1:14) all that we did in life that was  outside of the Spirit whether before or after salvation, will be burned off. Some of us will discover that much of our lives were lived for the temporal rather than the eternal at that point.  Much of what is removed, we’ll be glad to see removed. But there may also be regret, disappointment and shame to see how little of lasting value is left to be presented to the Lord. Many will look and see what’s left after the judgment and say, “This is all that’s left?”  That day will be sobering and in some cases sad, so much so that it could be described as a time of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

We will all be happy and full in heaven. But the capacity and fullness of that happiness will vary. When I was a young boy my family lived in upstate New York with my grandmother for a few years. My grandmother had a large portion of property and in one section she had my favorite spot, THE DIRT PILE! I had trucks and army men and I’d play in the dirt for hours on end. That was a great time for me. I made roads and forts and caves and just had a great time playing, getting dirty without a care in the world. But I’ve grown up now and playing in the dirt is not on the top of my list of things to do. Instead of playing with toy cars I drive real ones. I don’t play with men now, I interact with them and teach them the word of God. In life there are those who never grow up, who never stop seeing life as “playing in the dirt” so to speak.  These people will be full and happy in heaven and totally satisfied with their level of reward or capacity.  But there will be a subtle sadness to see a grown person playing in the dirt, settling for dirt, as their end of happiness when God had offered them so much more? It’s sad to see a person fail to mature and grow up to God’s fullest capacity. 



Therefore, by Jesus using the term kakŏs to describe the person who says, “my master is delaying his coming,” He implies that such an attitude leads to spiritual rotting, unfruitfulness, uselessness, a hindering of capability, capacity, destructiveness and evil.


If certain events need to take place before Jesus can return, then we can bide our time, sit back and only have to kick into watchful overdrive when certain events occur, e.g. antichrist comes on the scene. This lack of spiritual alertness is what leads to the “evil” in a person’s life.


But if Jesus could return for us at any time, then we wouldn’t want to be embarrassed when He returns would we? I don’t know about you, but I want to be found by Him active in loving devotion to Him when He returns. That attitude spurred on by the expectation of Jesus’ return at any time has a purifying effect on us according to the apostle John who wrote:


·         1 John 3:1-3 - “ Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”  [7]



So let’s review:


1.) The terms “church” or “churches” which occur 22 times in the book of Revelation are found only once after chapter three and not at all in chapter 6 thru 19 which describes the Great Tribulation. The church is MISSING during this description of the Great Tribulation.


2.) The trials we face now find their source in Satan. The trials and tribulations that occur in the Great Tribulation are the result of God pouring out His wrath on  a Christ rejecting world.


3.) Christians are saved from  the wrath of God.


4.) Therefore, Christians will not go through the Great Tribulation.


5.) Jesus instructed us to pray that we might be found worthy to escape the Great Tribulation. he would not instruct us to pray for something that was not possible.


6.) The means by which God will remove the church from the Great Tribulation is the Rapture.


7.) The Rapture is the imminent, instantaneous catching up of true believers to meet Christ in the clouds.


8.) The Rapture is the blessed hope  of the church since it will save us from the wrath of God on earth.


9.) The Rapture and the 2nd Coming of Christ are separate and distinct. They occur at different times, have a different direction, and a different presentation (imminent v. following signs; invisible v. visible.)




11.) The Pre Tribulation Rapture is the only view that is comforting.


12.) If you don’t care about the Rapture, you may be left behind.


13.) Only Spirit filled true believing Christians, those who are born again (John 3) will be raptured. 1 Thessalonians gives us a picture of the type of people who will be raptured.


14.) Understanding the Rapture is important because it affects the way we live.


15.) Understanding the Rapture is important because Jesus said we should be aware and watchful for it.


So get ready, look up, Jesus is coming back! This is a case where you want to be among the MISSING!





[1] Newsday 8/22/99 by Marisa Katz and Joie Tyrrell
[2]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
[3]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
[4] Chuck Smith - The Rapture,  published in "The Answer for Today," issue 7,  published by The Word For  Today, Costa Mesa, CA.
[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[6]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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