What About the Rapture

Scroll II of II

If the saints are raptured before the tribulation, there is no way he could “make war with the saints and overcome them.” This is reinforced in Daniel.

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know, their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. Daniel 11:32-35

II Thessalonians 2:3 says that there will be a falling away before our “gathering together to Him.” Could belief in a pre-tribulation rapture cause a falling away if it never occurred? It is understandable that anyone would want to avoid these circumstances. But to teach and believe a lie at the risk of being found a false prophet is foolishness.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. Jeremiah 23:16-21

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 tells the fate of the false prophet and how we can know if he is true or false,

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die . And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously : thou shalt not be afraid of him.

By telling us that God will not allow His children to go through the tribulation, they are falsely prophesying as in Jeremiah 23:17, “…No evil shall come upon you.” God did not promise us an easy passage into the kingdom of heaven. On the contrary,

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36 are often misunderstood as having to do with the “rapture.”

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Luke 17:34-36

In Luke 17:37, Jesusí disciples asked Him,, “Where, Lord?” They wanted to know where these people would be taken and Jesus answered,

…, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Matthew 24:28 recounts it this way,

For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

This is referring to an event found in Revelation and Ezekiel.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. Revelation 19:17-18
 

And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. Ezekiel 39:17-22

If you have any doubt as to what is meant by “taken,” read Matthew 24:36-41,

But that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Luke 17:27 leaves no doubt as the meaning of “took them all away,”

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and flood came, and destroyed them all.

It should be obvious by now that we are talking about death here. In this instance it would be better to be left, than to be taken.

It would be wonderful if we could escape the tribulation. There is a possibility that we may escape in a different way, that God will protect us through tribulation here on earth. Otherwise, there would be no Christians left alive at His return to be changed.

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the electís sake those days shall be shortened. Matthew 24:21-22

We do have hope in Luke 21:34-36.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. Psalms 91:1-16

The return of Christ and our gathering together to Him is not imminent, but it is very near. If we live long enough, we will see the return of Christ. We will put on immortality, but we will endure “much tribulation” before “that day.”

… In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
 

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5

The rapture doctrine says that Jesus will come down into the clouds, without coming all the way to earth. He will take the living believers out of the earth and back to heaven for three and a half, or seven, or possibly more years. Jesus will then return to earth with the changed believers.

It takes a great stretch of the imagination to create such a doctrine. When Jesus comes, He will come one time, and He will come all the way! “The dead in Christ shall rise,” we will be changed, and we will all “be caught up” to “meet the Lord in the air” as He returns to claim His kingdom! There is an indication of a forty-five day period, after the first resurrection, before we return to earth on the day of Armageddon.

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. Daniel 12:11-12

Subtract twelve hundred ninety from thirteen hundred thirty-five and you get forty-five. These last few days occur after the last trump. The seventh trumpet of Revelation sets off a series of “seven last plagues, aka the seven vials of the wrath of God”; a course of judgments that climax with the battle of Armageddon.

Matthew, Mark, and John tell of Jesusí return to Jerusalem after the resurrection of Lazarus. The triumphal entry, as it is called, sets a precedent.

On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried. Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an assís colt. These things understood not the disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. John 12:12-16
 

And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying. Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. Mark 11:8-10
 

And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying. Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. Matthew 21:8-11

This event was deliberately symbolic of the return of Christ at the end of time. The dead in Christ are resurrected and the living believers are changed to their immortal bodies. Just as the believers in Jerusalem went out to meet the Lord and escort Him into the city, we shall rise up to meet the Lord in the clouds and escort Him as He returns to claim His eternal kingdom. What is being called the rapture is really the first resurrection as written in Revelation 20:4-6.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

“This is the first resurrection.” If the dead in Christ rise first, what about the rapture? The word rapture has a dual meaning. In one sense it means to take away, but the best definition of rapture is ecstasy. Revelation 15:2-3 shows our ecstasy.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
 

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11
 

Scroll I