The recent blogs and Facebook posts I’ve done concerning the pre-Trib Rapture has stirred up no shortage of responses (as I knew they would). One person sent me a link to a website, with an article titled, “50 Reasons Why the Rapture Must Happen Before the Tribulation.” I thought, “Oh goodie, goodie! This should be entertaining” and went to check it out. I didn’t have to read very far to see some very gross errors in this person’s thinking. But to his credit, he did start off with a few clarifications, the first of which being:
The Rapture refers to when Christ appears in the clouds and calls His children (those who have trusted in Him) up to heaven.
He is quite correct. I’ll elaborate a bit more though:
The primary verse everyone uses to describe the Rapture is in 1 Thessalonians:
1 Thess. 4:
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
The phrase “caught up” comes from the word “harpazó” in Greek [Strong’s 726]. It literally means, to “seize or snatch up, suddenly and decisively.” That is where we get the whole idea of a Rapture. And there is a companion passage of Scripture to this one, again written by Paul that we must also take into consideration.
2 Thess. 2:
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
These two passages of Scripture tell us how and when this “catching up” event takes place. Paul gives us a great deal of detail to know exactly what to expect. Thus, all of the following points must be present in order for us to consider the Rapture to be taking place:
- The Lord’s coming and His gathering together of the Saints happens on the “Day of Christ” (Who we know is “the Lord”).
- The Day of the Lord will not happen until there first come a great falling away (apostasy), and the Anti-Christ man of sin is revealed, exalting himself above all by going into the Temple showing himself to be God.
- When the Rapture (catching up/gathering) happens, it will be heralded by the Lord’s appearing in the clouds (see Matt. 24:29-31 for Yeshua’s own words concerning the timing of when He will be there) accompanied by a shout from the archangel and the sounding of the trumpet of God (refer also to 1 Cor. 15:51-54).
- The dead in Christ will rise first (refer also to: John 6:39-44 and Rev. 20:4-6) then we who are alive and remain will be “caught up” (Raptured) to meet the Lord in the air in bodily form. That means, our physical bodies will literally rise up off the ground and go up into the clouds exactly the way all others in the Bible who were “Raptured” did; Enoch, Elijah and Yeshua all went up in physical form, lifted up from the ground to disappear in the clouds above.
In order for the Rapture to occur, it must happen in the above described way and in no other fashion, for this is how the Holy Spirit revealed the order of events to us in the Scriptures. With this expanded “clarification” in mind, let’s look at what the author of the alleged 50 Reasons Why the Rapture Must Happen Before the Tribulation has to say in his second paragraph:
A key to understanding prophecy (and the Scriptures in general) is this: That which is most important and needful for our knowledge and practice in Scripture will be the most simplest and easiest to understand. As an example, Salvation is one of the simplest concepts in Scripture to grasp (John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31). When we grasp these simple truths and are assured of them, a lot falls in line; what we do not understand must always be weighed with what we do know, and should not overwrite it.
So, what I get from that is Scripture means what it says, says what it means and does so in an easy to understand way that we should not complicate with our own ideas and opinions. With this in mind, let’s just look at the first few of the “50 Reasons”…
Jesus Christ told His disciples that His coming will be as the days of Noah – and then Jesus Christ, Himself, proceeded to describe the chronology of those days by explicitly stating that Noah “entered into the ark” before the flood came (Matthew 24:37-39). “so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” – Matthew 24:39.
To emphasize this point, Jesus Christ repeated this detailed account in Luke 17:26, recording the detail that Noah “entered into the ark” before the flood, and then “the flood came” (Luke 17:26-27). “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” – Luke 17:30
Jesus Christ also told His disciples that His coming will be as the days of Lot – and then Jesus Christ, Himself, proceeded to describe the chronology of that event by explicitly stating that Lot “went out of Sodom” before God’s judgment rained down (Luke 17:28-29). “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” – Luke 17:30
God reminds us of these individuals again, and tells us that it is God’s nature to deliver believers before divine judgment: Noah, Lot, Rahab, etc. (II Pet. 2:5-9). Note that Peter (who penned the book of Peter) was present when Christ told it to His disciples the first time.
OK. Just looking at these first 4 bullet points, reminding ourselves of the “clarifications” above concerning what a Rapture really is, the first thing we need to ask ourselves is, are these really good examples for a pre-Trib Rapture – or even a Rapture at all? No. They are not!
Did Noah, his family and animals fly up into the sky? No! Noah entered a terrestrial-based place of safety and rode the storm out on the Earth. So while Jesus did indeed compare His coming with the days of Noah, we should do as the author of that article stated at the beginning and stick with the simple to understand, straight reading of the story and not “overwrite it.” We should simply choose to believe Yeshua’s analogy precisely as it was given and not twist it into something it wasn’t even remotely insinuating. Noah is a terrible example to support the pre-Trib view!
In none of the above listed cases did anyone ever fly up into the sky, leaving the Earth behind. Rather, in all of the cited cases, YHWH preserved His people here on Earth, while wiping out the bad guys.
The earliest example of a Rapture-like scenario we have in Scripture is Enoch. But Enoch was Raptured 700 years before the Flood in the time of peace, which followed the 500 year “clash of the Titans” (according to the book of Enoch). So, if anything he’s a prime example of a post-Trib Rapture and a horrible example to be used for any justification of the pre-Trib view. As stated above, Noah remained on the Earth during the worst judgment of YHWH this world has ever seen to date. Lot and his family were preserved on the Earth while YHWH poured out His wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah.The Israelites remained preserved on the Earth in Goshen during YHWH’s wrath being poured out on Egypt. Rehab was protected in the city walls while the rest of Jericho was destroyed all around her. In every example we have of YHWH’s wrath being poured out, we see His people being preserved on the Earth and the bad guys being taken away/wiped out. The End Times will be no different – until the final judgement on the Last Day. At that time, we will indeed be Raptured (as defined by the “clarification” terms above) in accordance with all the Scriptures stated in my recent blog, Why the Pre-Trib Rapture is a False Doctrine.
After a few more examples, the author of the alleged 50 Reasons Why the Rapture Must Happen Before the Tribulation pauses to say:
“Any teaching that ignores, contradicts, or reverses this clearly spelled-out pattern will end up ignoring and contradicting other Scripture as well, “
I cannot agree more. Sadly, he doesn’t realize he is doing just that. The “clearly spelled out pattern” of Scripture is bad guys get wiped out, while the good guys stay on the Earth, preserved here! As we’ve seen, this was true for Noah. This was true for Lot. This was true with Rehab. This was true with the Isrealites during YHWH’s judgment on Egypt. This was true for the 3 Hebrew slaves in the furnace, for Daniel in the lion’s den and on and on and on. The “simple truth” of the matter there are NO examples in Scripture of people being Raptured out prior to nor during times of tribulation. None.
From what I could see of the rest of the “50 Reasons,” it is more than obvious that the author is fully entrenched in Dispensation Theology, wrapped up in its accompanying, flawed eschatology, all of which denies the true identity of the Church, which has indeed led him into the trap of “ignoring and contradicting other Scripture as well.” Thus, I’d have to say pretty much all of his 50 Reasons” fall apart under careful investigation, bearing in mind the “clarifications” for what a Rapture is and who the Church is. For more information on my position concerning the Church (according to the Scriptures), I will leave you with the following links:
- Pick a Stick
- Who is the Church Anyway?
- Leviticus 26, Ezekiel 4 and the Fullness of the Gentiles
- Redeeming the Bride (Part 1)
- Redeeming the Bride (Part 2): Drinking the Cup
- Church in the Wilderness and the Fullness of the Gentiles
- A “Cult” or a Massive Move of YHWH?
You may also benefit from watching the following videos:
And the following notes from my Quest4Truth commentaries on Episodes 17 & 18:
- Rob Skiba