Timing of the Rapture

When does the rapture of the Church happen?

For many years, Christians who take the Bible seriously have believed that Jesus will remove true Christians from earth before the Great Tribulation. There are many arguments for what is called the pre-tribulation rapture. However, throughout Church history there have always been people who believed that Christians would go through all or part of the Great Tribulation.

Some believe in a mid-tribulation rapture, which would take place halfway through the 70th week which Israel needs to finish their transgression and making an end of sins. (See Daniel 9:24-27.) Others believe in a post-tribulation rapture, which would take place at the same time Jesus returns at the end of the seven year period. Still others believe in a pre-wrath rapture, which would take place after the last trump / 7th trump (1 Cor. 15:51,52, not prior to the Great Tribulation. The idea is that in 1 & 2 Thessalonians Paul was merely explaining Jesus' teaching from Mt. 24 / Mk. 13 / Lk. 21, and Rev. 6-10 provides further parallel details. The entire Church Age was a mystery until the time when the Gentiles were included in the Church. The Apostle Paul spoke of this mystery in Eph. 3:8,9, and the pre-wrath rapture view states that the Apostle John also spoke of this mystery being finished in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 10:7). After the Christians are raptured out, the Gospel is preached mainly by Jews.

Since most Christians who take the Bible seriously were taught the pre-tribulation view, many web sites cover this view, and this web site will not go into detail about it. Similarly, the post-tribulation rapture view has much written to support it on other web sites, so it will not be discussed here. The mid-tribulation rapture view is not very common, so it will not be discussed here either. However, with the world around us becoming more and more chaotic, the pre-wrath rapture view is becoming more and more accepted, so a few comments about this are presented here.

First, it's important to note what the Apostle Paul warned in 2 Th. 2:1-10:

1 Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we urge you 2 not to be quickly shaken from your conviction or disturbed, whether by a spirit or a word or a letter as from us, as though the day of Christ has come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you by any means; because that day cannot come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of sin is revealed, the son of ruin, 4 who opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called a god or an object of worship, to the point of taking his seat as God in God’s sanctuary, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 (Don’t you remember that I used to tell you these things while still with you?) 6 So now you know what is restraining, to the end that he may be revealed at his own time. 7 For the mystery of the lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He removes Himself. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and abolish by the splendor of His coming; 9 that one’s coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception among those who are wasting themselves, because they did not receive the love of the truth so that they might be saved.

Dr. Wilbur Pickering, a Greek scholar,  in the notes about this English translation of his wrote:

Some 15% of the Greek manuscripts have ‘Lord’ (as in NIV, NASB, LB, TEV, etc.); the 85% that have ‘Christ’ (including the best line of transmission) are doubtless correct. I remember one day in a Greek exegesis class, the professor stated that one reason he preferred the ‘critical’ text (that reads ‘Lord’ here) is that it fit better with his view of eschatology—the ‘Day of Christ’ is usually associated with the Rapture and blessing of the saints, while the ‘Day of the Lord’ is usually associated with heavy judgment upon the world and unrepentant Israel, including the outpouring of wrath just before and after the Second Coming of Christ, when He returns in glory to establish His Millennial Reign. The perceived difficulty here would appear to be that while verses 1, 6 and 7 evidently relate to the Rapture, verses 3-4 and 8-10 evidently relate to the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming. What to do? Look carefully at the Text. In verse 2, why would the Thessalonian believers be “disturbed”? Someone was teaching that the Rapture had already happened and they had been left behind—I would be disturbed too! So ‘day of Christ’ is precisely correct with reference to the content of verses 1 and 2. The trouble comes in verse 3 because a clause is elided; as an aid to the reader translations usually supply a clause, preferably in italics to show that it is an addition, as in NKJV—“that Day will not come”. But that would put the Rapture after the revelation of the man of sin and the ‘abomination of desolation’—definitely not congenial to certain eschatological systems. An easy ‘solution’ would be to change ‘Christ’ to ‘Lord’ in verse 2, but that would put the Rapture within the ‘day of the Lord’—also not congenial. I submit that fine-tuning our view of eschatology is preferable to tampering with the Text.

Pre-tribulation capture
Historically, a hope for a pre-tribulation rapture proved to be fatal for millions of Christians, because it gave believers a false hope and prevented them from preparing for persecution. This is exactly what communists and Lucifereans wanted. In Russia and China, after the communists took over, Christians did NOT get "raptured out." Instead, they were arrested, sent them to "re-education" and detention camps or prisons. They were beaten and tortured for their faith, and many were murdered. Women were raped. Parents watched their children being brutally killed. Eventually tens of millions were eliminated. Some chose to avoid torture and death by giving up their faith. Today, the US shadow government is making massive preparations to eliminate Americans who do not support their globalist cause, yet many US pastors and Bible teachers are either ignoring the fact or telling their flocks to not worry and just wait for a rapture to save them. This helps them keep the tithes and offerings coming in, but it does little to help them prepare to endure to the end.

Will you simply go with the flow, follow the man of sin and become part of the rebellion [in the original Greek: apostasy - 'great falling away'] Will you become angry or disillusioned that you are "left behind"? Some Christians claim that disappointment of not being raptured will actually be one of the main causes of the great falling away [apostasy] described in 2 Th. 2:3. 

What do we do? PREPARE!
We must diligently prepare. Remember that our Lord Jesus prayed, 

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, 
but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
(John 17:15)

Certain things must happen BEFORE Jesus returns. (See 2 Th. 2, which was written to both Jews and Gentiles.) That’s why we must prepare both spiritually and physically. The Church must go through a refining fire before it’s ready to be Christ’s bride, yet most of the Church is asleep and blind in Laodicea.

We are now in the time of birth pains (Mt. 24:4-8). The next thing to look for is persecution (Mt. 24:9) Before a woman gives birth, she suffers labor pains that increase in intensity and frequency until the baby is born. Thus, we should not expect an early departure or a c-section birth. Instead, we should calmly and prayerfully prepare. Only by the power of Jesus will we survive. The Apostle Paul said:

“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” 
(Acts 14:22)

Therefore, the most prudent approach to the rapture is to forget about a pre-tribulation rapture. There's little practical value, and it could lead to a false hope and much grief. Instead, get close to Jesus, pray for strength and wisdom to face whatever He wants, learn spiritual warfare and look forward to one day seeing His face after all the suffering is over. Also, prepare for physical needs during the coming persecution. Every man is responsible to consider in advance the physical needs of his household (1 Tim. 5:8). Also, it is good to warn others and share the good news of Jesus before time runs out. 

Important Questions About the Rapture

  1. If Jesus desires a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27), do you really think this describes the Church today? How else will this come to fruition besides persecution (prior to the rapture)?

  2. Since Rev. 1:4 clearly states that the entire letter is for the seven churches in Asia, which were predominantly Gentile, why should anyone think that Rev. 6-18 describes a time period totally void of Gentile believers?

  3. If Rev. 3:10 is talking to a group of believers in Philadelphia and we live in an age that looks much more like the church of Laodicea, why would the Laodiceans be raptured out because the Philadelphians kept the word of Jesus' patience? This is not logical. Instead, would it not be more reasonable for the Lord to simply take godly men and women like the Philadelphians home via natural death before the 3.5 year period which is mentioned 4 times in Daniel and 5 times in Revelation? This would be consistent with what He did in the days of Noah: "And all the sons of men who knew the LORD, died in that year before the LORD willed them to die, so as not to behold the evil that God would bring upon their brothers and relatives, as he had so declared to do." (Jasher 5:21) After all, Jesus also said that "as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Mt. 24:37)

  4. If our Lord Jesus said in John 17:15, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil", why would the Father make an exception and take Christians out of the world before the tribulation?

  5. If the simplest simplest approach to reading 2 Thessalonians is merely to take it as a continuation of 1 Thessalonians, i.e., both are talking about the rapture followed immediately by an intense period of judgment called "the Day of the Lord", then why do some people to try so hard to manage the text to make it fit a pre-trib theory?

  6. If you saw events in Rev. 6-18 happening before your very eyes, would you abandon the pre-trib rapture theory? 

  7. Is your God big enough to protect you through the Tribulation?

  8. Do you think it requires more eternal hope to desire an escape from this world via a pre-tribulation rapture or rather desire to endure hardship and resist evil until a pre-wrath rapture (at the last trump - 1 Cor. 15:51,52, Rev. 10:7) or death so as to receive a better resurrection (Heb. 11:35)?

  9. If the Illuminati is quietly funding organizations that teach a pre-trib rapture, why would they be doing this?

  10. If there is "nothing new under the sun" (Ecc. 1:9), and most religious people who were anticipating a Messiah were caught by surprise when Jesus first came, is it too much to expect that most religious people who are anticipating a Messiah will be caught by surprise the second time?

  11. How does your view of the timing of the rapture affect your willingness to make physical preparations to survive difficult times in which many people starve and/or die?

  12. Do you think that a pre-trib rapture view is of any practical value to the Christians who are being persecuted or killed in the Middle East? Or is it possibly a hindrance to good survival tactics?

More information for further study


This information is public domain.

English scripture taken from a translation by Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD and from the KJV

  This web page was last updated on 13 December 2014 .

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