“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” 1 Corinthians 15:51.
The tribulation is rapidly approaching to ensnare the entire earth. The tribulation is a seven year period when God allows man to rule this earth his way, by violence and oppression. I say, rule by violence and oppression because that is all mankind is capable of.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.
The people say, “No that is ridiculous, there is a spark of good in all men!” and so they trust them with their lives and give up their freedom, just as they are doing today everywhere.
“As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.’” Romans 3:10-12.
Take off the rose colored glasses and see how evil is rising around us and thank the Lord God for giving us a glimpse of the coming horrors of the tribulation so that we might escape it.
“…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 1:10.
“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved…” Romans 10:9 NASB.
The rapture then is the means by which the Lord Jesus Christ rescues us from the wrath to come. It is the worldwide removal of every true Christian from the coming terrors of the tribulation a period of seven years.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 1:20-23.
There are three theories as to when the rapture will occur, before the tribulation, in the middle of the tribulation, and after the tribulation.
There are those who support the after tribulation theory but their evidence is so weak as to be untenable, as is that of a fourth group who say there is no rapture, Scripture has to be butchered to give evidence of this theory.
When people come along with these postulations ask for chapter and verse in the Bible, then read it like you would a normal book, not like the book of the dead, or some mystical book of incantations, or Hindu writings; God is not a babbling idiot. He not only knows how to talk to regular people, He prefers it.
Jesus mixed with common folk and He taught them in their language, not with incomprehensible mind games such as the sound of one hand clapping, or exploring the third eye. God wants you to understand Him, not impress you with how He can talk over your head.
Having said this, it must be added that Bible study is a lot like searching for gold, you can find a little quite easily, sometimes lying on the ground, but if you want to get rich, you are going to have to dig for it.
The rapture before the tribulation doctrine is the most defensible and may make it easier to explain the middle tribulation rapture better. When you read the phrase, the day of the Lord (or day of Christ), understand that it refers exclusively to the tribulation.
Scripture teaches that Christians are not appointed to wrath, which is what the tribulation period is, a day (7 years) of wrath.
“…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 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 1:9b-10.
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11.
In these two passages, Jesus delivers Christians from the coming wrath, and God did not appoint us to wrath, which is coming, but we are appointed to live with Jesus.
In a letter to the representatives of the church on earth, Jesus said this:
“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.” Revelation 3:10.
Here it states that the wrath will be worldwide, so in order to escape the wrath to come, Christians would have to be removed, raptured, or snatched away from the earth because, “God did not appoint us to wrath”.
This hour of trial is also to come upon “those who dwell upon the earth”; in the Greek, this means earth-dwellers. An earth-dweller is someone who has put down roots in this earth as their home, completely identifying themselves with the world’s commerce and false religion.
This would indicate that they are not interested in the things of God. Christians however are pilgrims.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13.
A Christian is, a stranger and a pilgrim, this earth is not our home. This being true we will not have to endure, “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world”.
“Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2.
Someone had come along and told the Thessalonians that the rapture had already come, “our gathering together to Him”; their fear now would be that they would have to endure the “day of Christ”. As Christ Himself had said:
“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.” Matthew 24:21.
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Luke 21:34-35.
You can see how the Christians would have been shaken and troubled, but Paul tells them, and us, to pay attention to nothing but the word of God.
Scripture is always the measure; no matter what, even what is written in this post, if it does not rightly divide the word of truth, the Bible, it is wrong, see 2 Timothy 2:14-16 below.
“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:14-16.
This is a very crude outline of things, but an in depth study of a pre-tribulation rapture would be a book; however this should help you get on your way if you are studying the subject.
Now consider the middle tribulation rapture to round this out. Please bear in mind the things we have learned, we are not appointed to wrath, and the day of wrath will come upon the whole earth.
The whole earth is literally the whole earth, not some sort of reference to the Middle East, Europe, or the Roman Empire; this is important.
Part of the confusion concerning the timing of the rapture has to do with trumpets, you have already read of two trumpets in the last post.
“…at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we [the living] shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
In the book of Revelation there are seven trumpets sounded during the tribulation period and people have said that “the last trumpet” above is the seventh trumpet in the tribulation.
But look what happens to the whole earth during those trumpets.
Shown here in order: a third of the trees and all green grass burned up, a third of the sea becomes blood and a third of the creatures in it die, a third of the springs of water and rivers become poisonous and kill many, a third of the sun, moon and stars are darkened by a third, a demon army of locust-like creatures is set loose to sting men and keep them in agony for five months, on the sixth trumpet a demon army of two hundred million is set loose to kill a third of mankind.
The seventh and last trumpet sounds in the middle of the tribulation and releases the seven bowl judgments of the wrath of God. According to some, this is when the church is raptured.
The trumpets are covered in Revelation chapters 8, 9 and 11.
The church, which consists only of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior is referred to as the bride of Christ.
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2.
“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ and he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’” Revelation 19:6-9.
With this in mind, why would Christ allow His bride to suffer through the seven trumpets which are obviously the result of God’s wrath?
Do not be deceived, just because the bowl judgments which follow are called the bowls of the wrath of God, it does not mean that wrath was not being visited upon the earth up to that point.
Though it is likely that much of the misery during this period is man- made, see the four horsemen, Revelation 6:1-8. The bowls of God’s wrath means that things that happen in the second half of the tribulation become horrific beyond description.
The trumpets are also different; one is the trumpet of God which signals the rapture and the beginning of sorrows. The seven are held by angels and the trumpet blast sounds throughout the judgment until the next one sounds.
After the church is addressed in Revelation chapters 1-3 it is not mentioned in any of the chapters covering the tribulation, chapters 6-18. It would seem that there should be quite a few references to the church when she is going through such anguish.
There is more not covered here, but this should give you a starting point for your own investigation on the rapture.
One last thought; prophecy became popular in the early seventies, but folks started to lose interest when the Russian Empire disintegrated.
This threw a lot of prophetic speculation out of whack; not to mention that since then we have been anticipating the rapture for fifty years now. No fireworks and the crowds disperse.
But as they say, it ain’t over till it’s over; Russia is once again in the news with Vladimir Putin as the man pulling the strings. Remember though, things can change, and they often do, so do not be disappointed if nothing happens overnight.
Let us also not forget that the world has been anticipating this event for nearly two thousand years. Patience is not modern man’s virtue, nonetheless, if you are not watching, what might you be doing if it happened today?
“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13:37.
On the Rapture, Part 2 taken from godisrevealed.com updated on 9-13-18, reposted on 12-23-21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.