Is the Rapture Pre- or Post-Trib?
If you prayerfully and carefully study scripture on your own, without the influence of biased teaching or articles, the Lord will show you the timing of the rapture. I'm still studying this doctrine. I'll just use the scriptures that have been helpful to me. I started questioning the teaching I was hearing at churches that didn't line up what the Lord was teaching me from studying the Bible on my own. I'll emphasize the key words and phrases, link to scriptures, and make comments or pose questions. I'll use simple language. Keep checking back. I'll be adding to this from time to time, the Lord willing. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.
(See explanation below, if you need it).
Old Testament Verses Supporting a Post-Trib / Pre-Wrath Rapture/Resurrection:
New Testament Verses Supporting a Post-Trib Pre-Wrath Rapture/Resurrection:
See explanation below of why I believe these scriptures seem to support a Post-Trib Pre-Wrath Rapture/Resurrection of the Living and the Dead:
The Thief in the Night
Pre-tribbers sometimes use these words to tell us that there will be a pre-tribulation "secret" rapture. But, does the 'thief in the night' description mean a quiet, secret rapture? Read this verse and find out. (Bold added for emphasis). I think it means people won't be ready because they didn't believe the Lord's words and so they were going about their life as if nothing was about to take place:
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. NIV
That's why we're to keep watch over our souls, and be expecting Jesus to fulfill him, just like he told us in his word, living as his wise and faithful servants, not living like the ungodly or hypocrites. Read about it in Matthew 24:36-51.
Could it be that the Lord coming as a 'thief in the night' to those who are not saved, not to the Christians who have been awaiting his coming?
The Sequence of Events is Laid Out For Us
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 also describes the sequence. Keep in mind he's talking to believers way back in Bible Times. Who goes up first?
1. Jesus died and rose again. Jesus went first.
2. When Jesus comes back, the dead in Christ rise first. He comes back with a loud command, at the (last) trumpet call,
3. After that. Note the words after that. Those who are left living on the earth will be caught up with them. NOTE THAT PAUL SAYS "WE" - He's saying that if he [and his friends] are still living in the last days, THEY WOULD BE THE ONES GOING UP - TALKING ABOUT JESUS' VERY NEXT COMING. FOR THEM. AND FOR ALL WHO ARE "ASLEEP". The disciples, living back then, believed that the very next time Jesus would return it would be at the LOUD command. Since we know that Paul is a believer, if there was a "secret rapture" first, would he be left to the very end at Jesus 2nd Coming? No! We know he's talking about the 2nd coming and not a "secret rapture" because he says "WE" [the ones living back then] would not go before the ones who had died. its a LOUD command. In my opinion, the ones Jesus is bringing back with him is the souls, or spirits, of the ones who have died, not their bodies. Their bodies are still in the graves. He brings the souls back so their bodies can be joined to their souls; then their bodies are glorified. I think the confusion lies in what happens to us when we die. These verses explain:
Ecclesiastes 12:6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. NIV
(Notes in parentheses and bold added)
Daniel 12:1-3 1 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. (Sounds like the Great Tribulation to me.) But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. (AT THAT TIME, not before in some secret rapture, but at that time) IT COULDN'T BE AT THE START OF THE TRIBULATION BECAUSE IN VERSE 2 IT SAYS THIS HAPPENS WHEN THE UNSAVED DEAD RISE ALSO). 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (AT THAT TIME, THE BODIES ARE RISEN FROM THE GRAVES, WHETHER TO EVERLASTING LIFE OR CONTEMPT, not beforehand in some secret rapture. AT THAT TIME - AFTER THE GREAT TRIBULATION. THE SAVED AND UNSAVED ARISE AT THE SAME TIME! If there had been a "secret rapture", they would've already been raised. This says the time of the tribulation (such as never happened before) happens first, THEN the dead rise, both the saved and unsaved). 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. NIV
To me, this verse proves there is no secret rapture first. Read it carefully. WHETHER SAVED OR NOT, ALL THE DEAD RISE AT THE SAME TIME. Which would mean there is no secret rapture that happens first.
Nowhere in the Bible says Jesus comes to earth three times, only two. If Jesus were coming back again two more times, don't you think he would make it very clear that there is also a THIRD COMING?
Jesus Gives us the Whole Run Down of Events
Here's a quick outline of when Jesus told the disciples he would return:
1. False "Christs" and great deception. Matthew 24:4-5; Mark 13:5-6; Luke 21:8
2. Wars and rumors of wars. Matthew 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; Luke 21:9-10.
3. Famine, earthquakes, pestilences. (The beginning of the birth pangs). Matthew 24:7-8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11
4. Jesus' followers will be hated by all nations. There will be Christian persecution. Many will be killed or imprisoned. Many will turn away from the Christian faith and will betray their brothers and sisters. Matthew 24:10; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19
Hold on, Jesus doesn't come back yet. Let's keep going.
5. Many false prophets who deceive many. Matthew 24:11; Luke 21:
6. The love of most will grow cold because of the increase of sin. Matthew 24: ; Luke 21:
7. The gospel is preached in the whole world. Then the end comes. But hold on, there's more. Matthew 24:14
8. Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. and trampled on by the Gentiles. 'The abdomination that causes desolation' of Daniel. Those in Judea are to flee to the mountains. Matthew 24:15-20; Mark 13:14-18; Luke 21:20-24
9. , worse than has ever happened from the beginning of the world, until now, and would never be that bad again. Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19-20; (I dunno. Sounds like the Great Tribulation to me).
10. False messiahs and false prophets will be performing many miracles to deceive as many as possible. Don't be deceived and go after them if someone tells you 'Jesus isout there' or 'Jesus is in the other room'. We won't have to go anywherel He'll be visible to all, in the East and in the West. Matthew 24:22-26; Mark 13:21-23; Luke 21:
Hold on, its not quite yet.
11. The sun goes dark. The moon too. Stars fall. The "heavenly bodies" are shaken up. When? AFTER THE DISTRESS IN THOSE DAYS (that which was so bad that was unequal to any time prior or any time after: Refer back to Matthew 24:21). Again, when? After. Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-28. Luke describes it as signs in the sun, moon and stars, ocean waves are 'roaring and tossing'. People don't know what's going on. They're very very afraid and worried. That's the time when Jesus will appear in the clouds.
Then Jesus comes back (KEEP IN MIND HE'S TALKING TO THE DISCIPLES IN BIBLE TIMES, NOT JUST US, TELLING THEM WHEN HE'S COMING BACK FOR THEM! If there was a secret rapture first, he would've told them you'll go up long before that (whether dead or alive)
12. The Son of Man will appear on the clouds with great power and glory! (My understanding is that "all peoples of the earth will mourn when they see" can mean "some of every kind"). His angels gather his people from all over the earth. Matthew 24:30-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28.
There we have it, in Jesus' own words, told three different times in three slightly different ways.
More detailed commentary on Matthew 24:29-31, he tells us precisely when he will come back for the disciples (and us who are Christ's followers. Keep in mind he was talking to people who lived back in Bible Times. If there were a secret rapture first, would he say that it happens AFTER THE TRIBULATION. See Daniel 12 for further explanation.) in verse 29: Immediately after the tribulation (or distress) of those days, referring to the events he just talked about in verses 4-8 (Great deception, people pretending to be Jesus; wars and talk of wars; famines, pestilence, earthquakes in many places). Then he states these are the beginning of the sorrows, or distress.
He goes on in verses 9 to talk about Phase 2: Widespread Christian persecution in the form of handing us over to the authorities, killed, hated by all pepole because of our beliefs; false prophets deceiving many people. Because of so much corruption and wickedness the love of many will lose its warmth. Many shall be offended (perhaps mad at God because someone told them they would escape all this tribulation), betray one another, hate each other.
Then Jesus reassures us that he who endures to the end (spiritually, I believe he means here, since he has just told us many Christians wil be physically killed) to the End shall be saved. He goes on in verse 11 to talk about how the gospel will be preached all over the world, then the end will come.
Notice that's twice that he makes it very clear when he will come back:
1) After the tribulation of the End Times
2) Then... (After all the things he just talked about: the wars, pestilence, earthquakes, widespread Christians being killed, false prophets, great wickedness, many betraying each other, the gospel being preached everywhere, etc).
There will be widespread persecution of Christians before Jesus comes back, that's not it. Many Christians will be beheaded before Jesus comes back.
You might question why it says all the tribese of the earth will mourn when they see Jesus. Christians will be happy to see Jesus! The answer is in the translation. If you look at the original Greek, the word all can mean severally, every king, or some of each groups. Here's the link to the interlinear text of Strong's word 3956.
One more thing I want to point out that Jesus says, "the one who stands firm (in their faith, not in their physical body -- there will be many, many Christian martyrs) to the end is saved." How long? To the end. Not the beginning of the tribulation, not mid-way, but to the end. Then he talks about the gospel being told in all the world, then the end will come. Then he continues on, telling us other events that will happen before the end. This is repeated in Mark 13:13.
More detailed commentary on Luke 21:
Check out Jesus' run-down of the end-times events in Luke 21:5. It tells us a little more specifically about the timing of events. He talks about the great deceptions, wars, great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in many places, terrorizing events, and signs in the sky. Look at Luke 21:12. Before all that happens, Christians are taken and persecuted, put in prison, families and "friends" betraying each other because of our beliefs in Jesus, and some of us put to death. Again, sounds like the Great tribulation to me.
Then when Jerusalem is surounded by armies, we'll know that its desolation is near. Jesus says that's when the people living there should bug out. No doubt God will save some out of that. The people there will die or be taken to prison.
Then Jesus talks about the signs in the sun, moon and stars, the roaring seas, people being afraid. At that time, the heavenly bodies are shaken and Jesus will come back the same way he left the earth - in the clouds, with great power and great glory!
In verse 16-18 Jesus explains how we will be hated, but we won't perish. But he just said some of us will be killed. So how does that make sense? He's talking about our souls. He encourages us to stand firm and win life. I believe he's talking about eternal life, not life on the earth. He's talking about not abandoning us when we die physically.
Acts 2:25-28, as Jesus was raised to life after he died on the cross. Not all Christians will be killed in the tribulation, but we must not think we are immune from it either.
Revelation 13:5-10 explains this. Some of us are appointed to captivity or to be killed by he sword. God, in his wisdom, will carry out his perfect plan. Verse 10 says God's people need to be patient and endure faithfully to the end.
We must not be afraid to suffer or die for Christ. We must be willing to take up our cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus (Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-37; John 12:23-28), as a witness that we believe in him, so much so that we are willing to die if that's what will show people that we love him and believe who he says he is. There will be other ways, that might not include dying, that will show our allegience to Christ, such as NOT taking the Mark of the Beast or the number or his name, but instead trusting God. Again, Jesus explains that his followers must be willing to sacrifice and suffer for the gospel. The servant is not above the Master. Matthew 10:16-36. We must not be afraid of those who can kill the body.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 Those in Christ will get a new body and we'll be with the Lord forevermore! The pain only lasts for a short time (compared to eternity).
Read Philippians 3:1-14 Our earthly lives here on earth are only temporary, worth nothing compared to the eternal joy we will have in Jesus' presence!
Read Colossians 3:1-4 Set your hearts on things above!
As Peter is telling the Gospel, he also explains how long Jesus will be in heaven (when he will come back).
Acts 3:17-21 17 "Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. NIV
Daniel's sequence of events
And we see from Daniel 11 that Jesus' second comnig is:
1. After the 'abomination that causes desolation' told about in Daniel 11:31
2. After many will be killed, burned, captured or plundered. Daniel 11:32
3. After there is a king 'who exalts himself' above every god, and says 'unheard of things against the God of gods' , who will succeed until when? Until 'the time of wrath is completed'. Daniel 11:36. Hm-m--m-m. That sounds like the very end to me. This one also destroys many. Daniel 11:44.
Pre-tribbers might say, well, that's because there's two resurrections. Let's look at what the first resurrection is:
The First Resurrection
It says the first resurrection happens to those who don't take the mark of the beast or worship it or its image. Its when they are raised to life and reign with Christ for 1000 years. The mark of the beast happens during the 'Great Tribulation', right? So the first resurrection happens after the 'Great Tribulation'.
At the Last Trumpet
These verses speak of the time of the resurrection that happens "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye...When? at the last trumpet. Those who divide up the End Times verses into two events (a rapture and a 2nd coming/resurrection) use this verse to defend their view. But this verse clearly says the time when Jesus comes back is at the last trumpet. Revelation explains when the last trumpt occurs. Revelation 8 describes the sixth trumpet. Revelation 11:15 describes the angel sounding the last trumpet (Number 7). The loud voices talk about how his wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead and rewarding 'his servants 'and the ones 'who revere his name', and the lightening, thunder, earthquake and hailstorm. And we see Jesus' return is described in a different way in Revelation 14:16. That's a lot of chapters of tribulation ("The Great Tribulation").
The Time of Harvest
Matthew 13:24-30 Parable of the Good Seed and the Weeds
Notice Jesus explains that workers of his kingdom (the wheat) will be working at the same time as the "enemy's weeds". Jesus said let them both be until when? The time of the harvest. Hm-m-m-m. Let's see when the time of the harvest is:
Revelation 14:16 is the time of the harvest. Read all that happens before that. Jesus also explains that it happens at "the end of the age when Jesus sends out his angels to harvest the earth, first his people, then the ones who are thrown into the "blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Revelation 13:17-20; Matthew 13:36-43.
The End / When the Heavens Pass Away and the Earth is Burned Up / The Day of the Lord
Again. That says that the dead bodies who die will not rise until the heavens pass away. That doesn't happen until the end. It didn't say some rise before the tribulation at some "secret rapture", then some at the end.
This says Jesus comes as a surprise, as a 'thief in the night' [to those who aren't watching] and the heavens pass away, the elements melt and the earth is burned up. Poof! Gone! Some use the 'thief in the night' verses to defend their view of a pre-trib rapture. But this thief-in-the-night verse clearly states it will be at the very end when the earth will be no more. I don't see 'thief in the night' meaning a "secret snatching away". I see it as meaning many people will not be ready, as we're also warned in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. They will be going about their own agenda, continuing in their sin unrepentant, as if the Lord is never coming back, and they will be caught unaware. But it's a loud, glorious even (for true Christ-folowers) and a very dreadful day for those who don't follow Christ, which everyone will see. Pre-tribbers use verse 13 to defend their view. It says we don't know the day or the hour. But it doesn't say that we will never know the approximate time (after we see these events unfolding). To me, he's warning people to be ready with oil in their lamps (which of course has spiritual meaning).
The Day of the Lord - Comes After the Resurrection of the Firstfruits
Some from the church in Thessalonica were afraid that they had missed the rapture/resurrection. They are set straight when they are told that, no, it won't happen until after the "lawless one is revealed" and displays all sorts of miracles, sets himself up in the temple and declares himself to be God, etc.
1. The rebellion occurs. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (Is this the many falling away from the faith?)
2. The "restrainer" will be taken away. (2 Thessalonians 2:5-7)
3. Then, the lawless one will be revealed and do his miracles, and deceive many. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10)
Then they are referred to as the firstfruits (The firstfruits are the ones who die in the Lord and are raised at the resurrection, when Jesus comes back).
So how could there be a pre-trib rapture? Its my understanding that 1-3 above occur during the Great Tribulation, most definitely No. 3. Paul was talking to the very first Christians.
(Revelation 6 and Revelation 14). I believe God's ultimate wrath or 'Day of Wrath' comes on the earth on the Day of the Lord, when Jesus comes back, which will be great for true believers, but terrible for those not raptured on that day. Revelation 6:12-17.
1 Thessalonians 5 (Listen to the video of this pastor explain the Day of the Lord in this chapter). Chapter 5 refers to the previous text in 1 Thessalonians 4 (which is talking about the rapture). So, to me,that means the Day of the Lord and the Rapture happen around the same time.
The Time of Restitution of All Things
Notice it says, "The heavens must receive Jesus UNTIL the times of restitution of all things" -- sounds like the very close to the end to me...not pre-trib. The tribulation is not restitution. The wrath of God is restitution. The tribulation still gives people who have not taken the mark a chance to repent.
Hebrews 9:27-28. This passage is about Jesus being our "High Priest". You can read this passage to get the context. It's not about how many times Jesus comes back, but I want you notice the repetition of the word 'once'. These verses also tie in the judgment, and the salvation of God's people together. It keeps saying once: he appeared once at the beginning to sacrifice himself. (Verses 25-26). Then it says people die once, then face judgment, (verse 27) like Jesus died once. (verses 28) And he will appear a second time to bring salvation. (Verse 28) That second time is a "once more", right? Since the first time he came to die for sin. The second time he comes to what? Bring salvation. Notice there is no verse that says he'll come a second time to bring salvation and a third time for those who made it through the tribulation, then the judgment.
Revelation 4:1-2 Some say this passage is when the rapture happens. I'm not sure where they're getting that idea. Listen to this short video that explains the difference between a spiritual catching up, and a bodily catching up.
The Day of the Lord
2 Thessalonians 1
Could it be that the “Rapture” and the 2nd Coming are the same thing? [See explanation following]:
“6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” NIV [highlights, bold type added for emphasis]
Keep in mind, Paul is talking to the believers who lived back in Bible Times, trying to comfort them explaining that the Day of the Lord did not happen yet -- the Day when Christ comes back to punish those who don’t know him and be glorified by the believers, as stated a few verses before in 2 Thes 1], because someone was telling them that this day had already come. He states it won’t happen until the Man of Lawlessness has been revealed. So how could there be a secret first rapture before Jesus comes back??? They were afraid that THE DAY OF THE LORD HAD ALREADY HAPPENED – THE FINAL 2ND COMING OF CHRIST. If there was a rapture first, how could they be afraid of THE DAY of THE LORD – THE 2ND COMING – THE DAY OF PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD. It seems to me, from this text, that they are both the same thing! If there is a “secret rapture” first, they would’ve been afraid they missed that, not THE DAY when Jesus comes back to punish… refer back to 2 Thes. 1:8)
Again, in 2 Thes 2:1 Paul talks about “us” being “gathered to the Lord” [which pre-tribbers would say is the “secret rapture”, but Paul states something must happen first [which pre-tribbers state happens in the Great Tribulation – the Antichrist being revealed]. Huh??
2 Thessalonians 2 “1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for THAT DAY WILL NOT COME UNTIL the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God”. NIV [highlights, bold type added for emphasis]
This also disproves the “doctrine of imminency” of the “secret [nonexistent] rapture”. And if there’s not a “secret rapture” then it can’t happen at any time, since there are a few specific things that have to take place first; one of which is stated in these verses, Paul says it wouldn’t happen UNTIL the rebellion occurs AND Man of Lawlessness appears (which happens during the what we call the Great Tribulation).
So again, my questions to the pre-tribbers are:
1. How could there be a “secret rapture” if the Bible Times people were afraid that the 2nd Coming had already happened?
2. How could it be imminent when something has to happen first.
Then what are all the “Watch verses” about? I believe the warning to “watch” mostly refer to watching over our souls, that we not be weighed down with sin, to make ourselves ready for our King, and also watching for the signs of the times, so we would know the approximate time when his coming was very near, even though we might not know the specific day or hour. He never said we wouldn’t know the month or even the week! And he never said we would never know, just that no one knew at that time. He never said we would never know. In fact he gave us specific things so we would know when it was very near, so we would be encouraged that all this persecution would not last forever, that we would soon be with Jesus. That’s the comfort in it, even when we have to go through the tribulation.
To me, this sounds like the "Thief in the Night" coming and the Day of God or 'Day of the Lord' are the same thing. Read and see for yourself.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Also, think about it, he's talking to the people way back in Bible Times, and warning them how to look forward to the 'day of God' or 'Day of the Lord' and how to live godly lives, in the same verse telling them that the Lord coming like a thief. If there was a separate 'secret rapture' comes first, wouldn't he be telling them to look forward to that day, not the very end 'Day of the Lord' when the heavens disappear and elements destroyed by fire and everything done is laid bare.
Could it be that the 'secret rapture' teaching will set some up to make people believe that a false Jesus has come? Whatever or whoever is out there, just remember Jesus words: He warned us NOT TO GO OUT when they tell you that he is "here" or "out there":
Matthew 24:23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. NIV
Look up Project Bluebeam on YouTube or an internet search. Not sure if that will happen, but we can be sure of of what the Bible says is true. Jesus has warned us that some will be telling people that Jesus is here, so I'm warning you also. Matthew 24:23 ; Luke 17:22-25; Mark 13:21-23.
Is the Rapture Really Imminent?
The pre-tribbers use these verses to say the Jesus could come at any time. Let's take a look at these verses:
There is a time coming when people will be told that Jesus is here, when he's not. See above. Jesus describes in Luke 17:22 Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. NIV
Then notice he tells the Disciples (the people who lived way back then) he's telling them when they could expect to see him return, he did not speak of a secret rapture. No in fact, he said it would be the opposite, in the very next verse:
Luke 17:24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. NIV
Jesus talks about how it will be like the days of Noah, when people were clueless because they didn't believe God would send the flood, just like they don't believe in Jesus now, and so they won't be prepared, even after all the tribulation that comes on the earth. They'll be going about their lives, (verses 28) focusing on what is important to them at the moment, not having any clue that their eternity is at stake, just like in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. People will be attached to their iPhones and Google glasses or chip card, or whatever else they think they need to live in this world, then it will be too late. Verses 30-35. I don't see any imminency here. I see cluelessness because of lack of faith. Again he's talking to people back in Bible Times. If there was a secret rapture, wouldn't he have told them that is what they should be concerned about since that would happen first for them? Instead he only told them how people would be telling you Jesus is out there... Luke 12:22-23.
Luke 21:28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." NIV
Does this mean to look up in the sky for Jesus because he could come back at any time? How could it? He just got telling them all the stuff they would have to go through first, in verses 8-26. I believe he's saying rather to put our trust in him. Don't be sad. Instead, count it joy when you have to suffer many things (James 1:1-4) The things of this world are passing away (1 Corinthians 7:29-31), but a time will come (very soon) when he will put all things right (Psalm 58:10-11). The first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 20:16). Don't despair. Stand firm in your faith. (Luke 21:19) This world is not what you are living for, is it? If it is, know that it won't last.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4: Paul is talking to the disciples, telling them that the rebellion has to occur first, and the man of lawlessness has to come first before he comes back for THEM, not just us, but them, so if there was a "secret rapture" first, wouldn't he be telling them they would go up before all that happened?
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 Pre-tribbers use this to defend their view. Yes, all this will happen, and read again when it will happen. Then go through revelation and see for yourself when the last trumpet happens. (Hint: its not before the Great Tribulation, or even at the beginning or mid-trib).
1 Corinthians 15:52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. NIV
Again, we don't need to be afraid of all that is about to come on the earth. Focus on the truth of God's word and his promises:
1 Corinthians 15:54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. NIV
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Pre-tribbers use the fact that Paul is encouraging and comforting the believers with the words that Jesus is coming soon to mean that his return in imminent. Whenever Jesus returns, whether before or after the tribulation, whether many Christians will be martyred, sent to a FEMA camp prison or tortured, those who trust in Jesus for salvation can be comforted by the fact that he is coming soon. In this blessed country, we are used to our comfort and riches (some of us), but it will not always be that way. The servant is not above the master. (Matthew 10:24) We must suffer many things also. He is refining us for our spiritual good, but it won't feel good. Beware of false teachers' "feel good" messages. This doesn't sound like a feel-good message that Jesus was giving his very own beloved disciples:
Matthew 10:21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 "The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! NIV
But Jesus still gave them encouragement and comfort, telling them to basically trust in his love and salvation:
Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.b 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32 "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. NIV
Luke 17:33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. NIV
Whole chapters of John are words of comfort to Jesus' disciples and to us who love him now; and words to tell them to stay connected and depend on him, and how the world will hate us: John 14:1-21; John 15:1-27;
Then in John 16:1 he tells them (and us) why he told us all that:
John 16:1 "All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. NIV
Then he tells us about the coming severe persecution and great tribulation that is about to come on the world. These are not my words. They are Jesus' words:
John 16: 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. ... NIV
And Jesus tells them many more comforting things in that passage, such as the following. They're not scary if you're putting your trust in Jesus and you know you are his (See article How to Be Saved):
John 16:23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." NIV
If You See Any of These Things Happen, and Jesus Still Hasn't Returned, and You're (true, born-again Christians) Still Here, Guess What That Means? The 'Pre-Trib Rapture' is a false doctrine:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 tells us the Antichrist must be revealed before Jesus comes back.
Daniel 9:24-25 The third temple will rebuilt in times of trouble, before the Antichrist comes.
Daniel 9:27 The Antichrist confirms the 'covenant with many (most think this is a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians).
(Animal sacrifices will be resumed, and Antichrist stops sacrifices, The abomination that causes desolation occurs also Daniel 9:26-27 ).
Revelation 17:12-13 World Government will be put in place. (One hour can mean a time period. It doesn't have to mean a literal hour. See Strong's word study). Also Daniel 7, Revelation 12 and Revelation 13.
The Two Witnesses begin their ministry on earth. Revelation 11:1-14. How do we know its before Jesus returns? Its only the Sixth trumpet. Jesus comes back at the last trumpet.
The Mark of the Beast (Something that people will have to have in order to buy or sell).
Revelation 12:12-17 Satan gets mad and goes to declare war on the saints.
How Did the Christians overcome Satan? They were brave because of their faith. They did not deny Jesus. Many were martyred.
At the end of the Great Tribulation is when God's wrath poured out on those who receive the Mark of the Beast.
Revelation 15:7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. NIV
Revelation 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."
When Does Jesus Come Back in Revelation?
Revelation 14:14-16 14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of manb with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
What happens after that? God's wrath.
Christians Go Through Persecution, and are Sometimes Martyred for Their Faith
If the post-trib doctrine is true, then why do so many believe the pre-trib rapture doctrine? Because that is what is taught in 90% of the churches. Why do so many pastors teach the pre-trib doctrine? Because of Hollywood movies, books and the Scofield Bibles, commentaries push that doctrine. Everyone loves that doctrine for the obvious reason that no one wants to think they could be imprisoned or martyred for their faith.
More Post-Trib Websites/Article / Videos
Left Behind of Led Astray - This deals with a debate, but it also tells of how the pre-trib doctrine can lead many astray in the last days.
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