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
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 Christians live through parts of
Revelation 6-18 but not all. 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).
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, few
people talk about the pre-wrath rapture view, 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.
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
are either ignoring the fact or telling their flocks to not worry and just
wait for a rapture to save them.
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.”
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
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.”
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, 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.
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