SUMMARY It could be argued–in the United States at least–that the Pre-Tribulation view is the most popular. The Left Behind series capitalized on this. The Pre-Trib theory believes that before God brings seven years of punishment on the world, true, righteous and holy believers will be taken to heaven to be spared the horrors to come–God’s wrath poured out on an evil world.
There is a question about timing: What is the last trumpet and when does it sound–exactly? Trumpets are sounded all through the bible, so what makes the seventh and last trumpet in Revelation special? Is the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15-18 the last trumpet Paul speaks of in 1 Cor 15:52? In the Book of Revelation, the seven trumpets are sounded to bring wrath on an unbelieving world, not the Church. A special trumpet, not tied to or mentioned in Revelation, is blown to call believers in the rapture.
The trumpet of Joel 2:1 “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand.” And so Joel opens this chapter with what sounds like the Second Coming of Christ. So what? Is it a last trumpet or the same as Revelation 11? Either way, the believers are already in heaven, because they are taken at the sound of that trumpet, before the seven years of the Great Tribulation.
MATTHEW 24 – Part 1
The rapture and Second Coming are not tied together in any way: they are completely separate events. The rapture takes place in the air, while Jesus lands on the Mount of Olives in the Second Coming, which splits in two (Zechariah 14:4). In the rapture, people get new bodies, while at Second Coming, glorified believers come from heaven with Jesus and those on earth keep their bodies. The rapture takes place before the world is judged, while at the Second Coming, Jesus judges the world, establishing righteousness. In the rapture, the Church is delivered from wrath, while at the Second Coming, Jesus saves the world from wrath. Rapture comes without signs, while the Second Coming has many. The rapture is only in the New Testament, while the Second Coming is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Only the truest and holiest believers are raptured, while in the Second Coming, all people are saved from the end time horrors. In the rapture, the antichrist remains in power, while at the Second Coming, Jesus defeats him with a Word, then he is bound and thrown into the Abyss.
MATTHEW 24 – Part 2
How many times does Jesus come to earth? Three times: Birth, rapture, Second Coming. Three separate events.
NOT SUFFER WRATH
Believers will not suffer in the Tribulation, because the coming torment is worse than anything in history. 1 Thess 5:9 says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is important to understand that the true and most holy believers do not need to experience God’s wrath poured out on the earth; a pouring out that is more horrible than anything the world has ever experienced. Who would want to be here for that, if the rapture comes first? Do right thinking people want to experience God’s wrath? Here is a promise for true believers: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev 3:10). Just like during Noah’s flood on the earth, God spares his holiest people from wrath.
NOT SUFFER ANYTHING
Like Noah and his family, true believers will not suffer God’s wrath poured out on the earth, because evil doers are being punished, not God’s people. Any believers suffering during the Great Tribulation must be unworthy people left behind after the rapture.
In Rev 3:7-13 Jesus speaks to the Philadelphia Church. This is about the righteous believers who taken in the rapture. “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” After the rapture, the Great Tribulation begins and God’s judgement and wrath upon the world.
THE CHURCH AFTER REVELATION 3
The Church is not mentioned after the third chapter of Revelation. The only people mentioned after chapter 3 are the left behind believers, those fallen and hopefully repentant Christians, struggling through the horrors of the Great Tribulation. They can only be saved if they are martyred.
NOT KNOW DATE OF RAPTURE
If the Lord comes like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2) and no one knows the day or hour (Matt 24:36), then the rapture cannot happen with the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, because Daniel 12:11-13 says 1,290 days after the Abomination of Desolation appears “you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance”–a specific date on the calendar.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Mat 24:42). This means that we must always be ready–constantly, because we will not know when the rapture will take place or when Jesus will return.
HOLY SPIRIT REMOVED
2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.” When the Holy Spirit–the restrainer–is removed from the earth, no person will get saved or can be saved from that point on (see John 16:8-11; 1 John 5:7) . Since the Holy Spirit is removed at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the antichrist can wreck the earth, so the rapture takes place just before the Great Tribulation. But it also may mean that the Church is the restrainer, who when removed, allows the antichrist to rise to power.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:1-4 is a direct reference to the rapture.
WHERE WE MEET JESUS
Any reference to meeting Jesus in the air is about the rapture, because in the Second Coming, Jesus lands on the Mount of Olives, which then splits in two (Zechariah 14:4).
WHERE WE GET A NEW BODY
Believers get a new glorified body during the rapture, not the Second Coming. In the Second Coming, living believers remain in same body.
Only before the Tribulation would believers need to be fully ready (Matt 24:44). No true and righteous believers will go through the Great Tribulation. So after the Tribulation starts, the people in it must hang on and survive.
PEOPLE IN HEAVEN
If people are with Jesus in Rev 14 and the Second Coming happens in Rev 19, then the rapture must have already happened before.
The Pre-Tribulation rapture theory must be correct, because it is the most popular.
WHAT IF I AM WRONG?
Pre-Trib people teach that you may think you are going, but could be left behind, to face the horrors of God’s wrath and punishment on the earth. Some people have suggested that they would commit suicide if left behind. Others say they will fall apart. Still others say they will be angry but get it together eventually.
DAY OF THE LORD
First, the Day of the Lord may not be what we call a typical 24-hour period of time. Paul describes the Day of the Lord coming like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2). But does this automatically mean the Day of the Lord is linked to Armageddon and the end of the Great Tribulation? No. In fact, some scholars believe the Day of the Lord may encompass the whole Great Tribulation period. For example: Peter describes a Day of the Lord that seems to include the Lord coming like a thief, the heavens disappearing, fire destroying everything, and the earth laid bare (2 Peter 3:10-13). A lot going on for just one day.
In the first three chapters of Revelation, Jesus is speaking to the churches. Then he is done with them. He warns them, tells them how to get ready, and then he moves on to more important issues, and he does not mention the Church again until Revelation 19, where they are present during celebration. Why? Because the Church is gone in the rapture at the end of Revelation 3.
Another reason the Church is not here: The Great Tribulation is for the redemption of Israel, not the Church. Zechariah 13:8 says two-thirds will be struck down, and for the remaining one-third, God says: “will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call my Name and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God'” (vs 9). The antichrist and the world are against the woman in Revelation 12, who is Israel, fleeing persecution during the Great Tribulation.
CHURCH DURING GREAT TRIBULATION
During the Great Tribulation, the Church experiences three things. Firstly, the Church receives the judgment of God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10; Matt 25:26-30). This is not an eternal judgment (Rev 20:11), but a separate judgment based on the works of believers in the Church. Secondly, a marriage ceremony follows, as described in Revelation 19:6-9, “…For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” Thirdly, after the marriage ceremony, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb follows: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Rev 19:9). All of this happens while God’s judgement and wrath are poured out on the earth.