What's wrong with a Pre-Tribulation Rapture?


The word 'rapture' is used to describe the great gathering of God's people at the end of the age from all over the world: first to the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air ... And then to Israel to conquer the armies that will be gathered for the battle of Armageddon.  Then there will be a wedding celebration like none there has ever been.  This will include both Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua, or Yahshua, or more commonly known as Jesus.  Jesus said it coincides with His return to take possession of what the Father and He made (Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:1-2) and those who responded to God's gift / offer of forgiveness, love, and eternal life (John 6:37-40; 14:1-6; Rom. 10:13) -- as opposed to those who refused to honor their own Maker and Creator of heaven and earth (Luke 19:11-27; Rev. 13:12-17; 14:9-11; 16:10-11).  This calling up, or snatching away of believers is mentioned in Matt. 24:29-31, John 14:1-3, I Cor. 15:51-55, I Thes. 4:13-18, 2 Thes. 2:1-8, Dan. 12:1-7 and various other places.

In regard to when the rapture takes place, there are three primary views: 

1) a pre-Tribulation rapture that occurs before the Tribulation,
2) a mid-Tribulation rapture, that occurs near the middle, and 
3) a post, or end of Tribulation rapture.


Problems with a Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Aside from not encouraging God's people to give their all for the Lord and the gospel, and to "endure to the end" (Matt. 10:22; Mark 8:34-38), a pre-tribulation rapture forces one to make a distinction between different groups of believers.  For example, Old Testament era believers who believed in God and Jesus (Ps. 2:1-12; 16:10; Isa. 53:1-10; Luke 2:8-20, 25-38; John 3:25-36) before the day of Pentecost, those who believed between Pentecost and the (seven-year) Great Tribulation, and those who believed during the Tribulation.  The main point being that those who adhere to a Pre-tribulation rapture almost always make a distinction between the "Holy Nation" / "Royal Priesthood" / "God's own possession"  / Church (of I Pet. 2:9-10) and the "God's own possession" (future nation called) Israel -- that God will also prepare for Himself (Mal. 3:16-18) and be with -- and among (Rev. 21:3).  Such a belief (that the Church is not Israel, nor Israel the Church) is largely a result of the belief in a pre-tribulation rapture.  It also results from the belief that most Israelis are not of mixed descent, that the New Nation of Israel consists almost entirely of Jews, and that God would not let His church people (in the West) suffer persecution or death -- as happened with the apostles and many millions of others.1


One + One = Two ... things that MUST occur FIRST

Many teachers today, including those on TV and radio, teach a Pre-Tribulation Rapture (only) view of the end times.  And they do so as if it were engraved in stone, or the word of God, and thus stands on its own without any fancy (between the lines) interpretation.  They also put such views in their church doctrinal statements and say such things as:  

"We know the church will be (removed by) Rapture before the Antichrist is revealed." 2 

The Rapture ... "is the next event on God's prophetic ... clock." 3

“To suggest that part of the body (of Christ) must remain on earth while the other part is in heaven is contrary to Scripture.”

"Ephraem the Syrian" (said that) "all the saints and Elect of God ... (will be) "gathered, prior to the Tribulation that is to come ... 5

However, according to the apostle Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, the  Lord's coming (or rapture) cannot occur until two things occur first: meaning that the rapture can't be the "next thing" on God's prophetic clock.  And in this regard, the apostle Paul warned us (in advance) to NOT be deceived about.   

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it shall not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed; who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship ...."   2 Thes. 2:3

Note that the "it" in the above verse refers to "the coming of the Lord, and our gathering together to Him."  This "day of the Lord" (vs. 2) and "our gathering together to Him" (from verse 1) refers to the Rapture of the church or gathering believers from all over the world: both those who have gone before us and those who are "alive and remain" on the earth -- first to "meet the Lord" in the air (I Thes. 4:17), then to Israel to conquer His enemies (at the battle of Armageddon), and then for wedding feast in the city of God: His holy mountain: Ps. 48:1-2; Isa. 25:6-9; Joel 2:16-17.  

This means that those who say the Rapture can happen at any moment are deceived and deceiving many of their followers; however, that doesn't mean you should be.  In this regard our Lord warned us that there would be "many" "false teachers" during the last days before His return, and that "many" would also "fall away from" their (professed) faith in Jesus (Matt. 24:9-14) and even turn against their former brothers and sisters in Christ: which is NOT the same as leaving the 'Sunday-Go-to-Meetin,' church (sermon / attendance  game) that many are caught up in and hindered by: as opposed to "losing one's life" (in Christ) and finding and doing God's will for his or her life -- Mark 3:31-35; 8:34-38.  See also Luke 14:16-23, 18:28-30 and Ps. 34:3-5.  

In this regard, we are told that at least 144,000 of  God's "bond servants" (during this period) know the difference between following the Lord vs an apostate church: since we are told that they "follow the Lamb" wherever He goes: Rev. 7:3 and 14:4.  

Note that true Church members are said to also "always be with the Lord" and when He comes, they will also "be with" Him where He is: I Thes. 4:17; John 14:1-3; 17:24.

Note also that the Bible issues STERN Warnings for those who teach things that are false. Especially when doing so in a "Thus saith the Lord" manner.  See Jer. 23:13-22 and Ezek. 13:1-23.

If I had my way, I would choose to be Raptured; however, we must be willing to allow the Scriptures to speak to us, and not declare what we want them to say or what the people want to hear: and especially when such views may lead those whom we care about to place their faith in something that isn't (or may not be) true.  It's also our responsibility to do OUR OWN HOMEWORK, and NOT simply take the word of others as if it were the gospel truth: Acts 17:11.

I used to believe that when the Holy Spirit, or restrainer, is taken out of the way (2 Thes. 2:5-8), then we also must go up and away with Him (to heaven); however, I have since come to realize that the restrainer who is keeping the antichrist from being revealed does not need to take believers to heaven when he moves "out of the way,"  but rather simply to step aside and allow the lawless one (who deceives the world) to take his place and do what he wants: i.e. to proclaim himself as God.  In this regard, it is significant that the restrainer is spoken of as "he," suggesting that it is not the church -- or bride of Christ: otherwise it would say when "she" ...  is taken away.

Another problem with a Pre-Tribulation rapture view is found in Daniel chapters 7, 8, and 12 -- where we are told that the forces of evil will "shatter" or break the "power of the holy people."  But if the holy people are not on the earth during this time (due to Rapture), then how could their power be broken?  In fact, Dan. 12:1 and 7 tell us that the Lord returns just after this takes place.  See also  Rom. 12:1; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:22; and I Pet. 1:15-16.

Reasons used to support a Pre-Tribulation Rapture include:
God has not destined us to wrath: I Thes. 5:9
The apostle John was called up to get a message: Rev. 4:1
The 'church' word isn't mentioned beyond Revelation 3
Believers don't need to be 'purged' or sanctified through suffering
Romans 11, Israel, and the Church
The Church is separate from Israel: Rom. 11 and Rev. 1-22
Noah and Lot were divinely Protected  

The following are also discussed: 
When Does the Rapture occur
The Rapture and Death's End: Are-Linked-Together in I Cor. 15:51-55
Who will be Protected 
Two + Two = Four ... Two other things that must also take place
Does Rev. 3:10 apply to All churches  



I Thessalonians 5:9  says that "God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."   Pre-Tribulation Rapture advocates claim that since the Tribulation is a time of God's wrath (toward evil and evildoers), that we therefore will not go through it. However, going through the tribulation or coming out of it (even by death) is NOT the same as being condemned for all eternity (2 Thes. 1:9; Rev. 14:9-11; 21:8).  In fact, the two can scarcely be compared: since one is tens of thousands of degrees worse, and the other leads to eternal life: Dan 11:35; 12:3; Rev. 6:9-11; 12:11; 19:7-9.  This is especially true when viewed from an eternal perspective and when one realizes that the God who made us and gave us our life, also has power over both physical and spiritual death (Ps. 9:13; 16:10; 34:22; Isa. 25:8; 55:3; Ezek. 37:13-14; John 11:25-26, 43-44), that He knows those who are His: John: 6:37; 10:14, 27.

Other authors point out that the Tribulation is the Time of Satan's wrath toward God's people (Rev.  12:12);.  In this regard, author Steven Amy points out that: 

"The saints are not the target of God’s wrath during this time, but are persecuted by the beast (Rev. 13:7). When God comes, his wrath is directed toward those who are persecuting the saints, and He provides relief for the suffering saints (2 Thes. 1:6-10)."

Another reason why God pours out His wrath toward the ungodly at this time is because they would not repent of their evil deeds, and because they took the mark of the devil (or "beast") to try and save their own (temporary) lives (Rev. 9:1-12, 20-21; Mark 8:34-38) and thus they chose to believe lies (such as nobody made us, there is no right or wrong, and that an imposter is God) rather than the truth: 2  Thes. 2:12; Rev. 13:3-4, 7-18.  


Revelation 4:1 says that the apostle John was called up to heaven to see (and record) what was even taking place then ... and to also warn the Church about the things that would take place just before Christ's return.  This verse does not mention a great gathering of believers being taken up when John was taken up for this peek of heaven; however, it does mention a "loud voice that sounded like a trumpet." 

It could be that the rapture happens just before the great Tribulation; however, this verse does not mention it, but rather gives the apostle a front-row view of heaven, and what was even then taking place.  It also shows us that the words Jesus spoke while hanging on the cross -- to the thief next to Him -- were true: for He said that, "today you will be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).  This vision is also a confirmation of what the apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:8: that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."   In other words, when one is "absent from the body," he or she, is carried up to God's throne and allowed to see what John, the apostle, saw in this vision: i.e. many people gathered around God's throne.  And while it is possible to claim that this verse is talking about the rapture, such an event is not said to have occurred at this time.  In fact, if it did, then it would have happened about 1900 years ago: meaning that this verse is not something to build a doctrine on, nor to divide over, nor dogmatically assert: especially when considering that there are other Scriptures that clearly do speak of a Rapture -- and that tell us when it takes place. 


Rev. 1-22 and the word "church"  
The word "church" simply means gathering together of believers.  The place where they meet has nothing to do with it: meaning that it can be an outdoor park, a home, or a building.  Those who hold to a Pre-Tribulation rapture emphasize the fact that the word 'church' is not mentioned after chapter three of Revelation until near the end of the book (in Ch. 22).  This is then used to declare that, "The Lord has said" ... "that the church will be Raptured before the Tribulation begins,"  when that is NOT what the Lord actually said: nor His apostles.  Those who claim this make light of the fact that various other words are used (from Chapters 4-22) that refer to the church and/or its members: such as, "bride" (Rev. 19:7-8; 21:2), "bond-servants" (Rev. 7:3; 19:5; 22:3, 6, Mal. 3:16-18; John 12:26), "saints' (Rev. 13:7, 14:13, 16:6, 18:24, 19:8), "prophets" (Rev. 16:6, 18:24)  "souls ... slain because of the  ... testimony they maintained" (Rev. 6:9; 12:11), "fellow servants," and "brethren" (Rev. 6:11, 12:10-11),  "a great multitude ... in white robes ... who come out of the great tribulation"  (Rev. 7:9-14), "the dead who die in the Lord" (Rev. 14:13), "armies ... in fine linen" (Rev. 19:14), and "those who wash their robes," (Rev. 22:14).  

In this regard, author Stephen Amy points out that the book of Revelation was written "to the churches" (Rev. 22:16). 4  This is also seen from chapters 1, 2, and 3.  For example, Rev. 1:4-6 tells us that the book (of Revelation) was written to the "churches: as does each and every letter to the seven churches -- which is why the phrase "to the churches" appears seven times, or at the end of each letter to every "church": thus telling us that this book applies not just to all "churches" at that time, but to all believers who have lived from the time of Christ's first appearance until He comes again.   

Those who assert that the reason the word "church" isn't used after chapter three is because of a (pre-tribulation) rapture, must make light of, or ignore, the above verses: along with the fact that the "saints" are mentioned throughout the book, and that saints comprise the church -- even as do  "brethren," "fellow servants," "bond servants," "bride," etc. : Rom. 1:5-7, I Cor. 1:2,  Eph. 1:1, Phil. 1:1.

Another reason the (word) "church" isn't mentioned beyond chapter three (of Revelation) is because the antichrist wants to be worshipped as if he actually made us, or as if he were God.  Therefore he won't want competition from dissenting voices: meaning he will seek to shut down all opposition -- including "churches" and other "organized religions" -- 2 Thes. 2:3-12; Dan. 8:22-25; 11:31-35; Jer. 25:30-38; Matt. 5:13; Psalm 9:15-17 and Rev. 12-18.  So  IF the churches are shut down, then there are no more (public) "churches" (or gatherings of believers), but there will still be individual saints.  Note also that during this time, we are told that many churches will be 'apostate,' or more interested in (attending) "church" than in winning their neighborhoods and cities for Christ.  

In his book Prayer that Brings Revival (p. 64), David Yonggi Cho makes the following observation about the responsibility of the Church and its members:

"If we don't catch the vision of our role as the salt of the earth, and we lazily allow evil to gain control of ... our respective countries, then the salt (will) have lost its savor.  At that time, Jesus said ... it is "good for nothing ..."  Matt. 5:13.

Note in this regard, that seven different churches are mentioned and addressed in Revelation 2-3: and that they are warned to repent, remain faithful, "overcome," and not be afraid of death but to trust in the Lord: who Himself also overcame and now rules over it: Rev. 1:15-18.

Another reason why the word "Church" is not used during this time is because its (individual) members are being "grafted" into (the new nation of) Israel: Rom. 11:17-27.  This is discussed in more detail below, and in an article titled: Who is the Remnant?


Believers  Don't Need to be Tested or Purged through Suffering:
Pre-tribulation proponents assert that since we are made clean by the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7), by His name, His Spirit (I Cor. 6:11) and by confessing our sins (I John 1:9), that we therefore don't need to be "tested" or "purged" of any fleshly habits and/or worldly addictions that are defiling us (by suffering, persecution, or death).  Some would also say that we don't even need to make a serious effort to Stop sinning ... since doing so is said to be (next to) impossible.  However, the Scriptures tell us that we are to be holy even as He is holy (I Pet. 1:15-16), to "keep His commandments," (John 14:21-24)  and love one another as He loves us: John 13:34-35; I John 2:3-11.  The following Scriptures also tells us that we are to strive to become blameless in our daily walk with God.

For example, Jude 24 tells us that God "is able to keep (us) from stumbling ..." (in sin).  This is brought out quite clearly by the apostle Paul in the following verses.

"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts; and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God ... and your members as instruments of righteousness to God ...  and ... "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!  Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone ... (for obedience) ... you are slaves of the one ... you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or ... obedience resulting in righteousness."  Rom. 6:12-16

"Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame."  I Cor. 15:34

Jesus was more direct with a woman caught in adultery: "Neither do I condemn you; go your way.  From now on, sin no more"  John 8:11.  We can be certain He would have said something similar to the man as well if her accusers had brought him.  And with regard to being "purged," both the Old and New Testaments tell us that Christians (who live godly lives) do, in fact, suffer for their faith, and that it is evidence of who they are.  For example, 

"For unto you it is given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake ..." Philippians 1:29

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"  I Peter 4:12-17

Daniel also mentions God's people who suffer after the abomination of desolation is set up (Dan. 11:31; 2 Thes. 2:4-9).  For example: 

"the people who know their God will display strength and take action (and will) give understanding to (many) ... yet some will fall ...  to refine, purge, and make them pure."  Dan 11:32-35  

According to Rev. 3:10, Jesus said that one reason why other "churches" were going through the Tribulation was to "test" them: even as many of their fellow brethren (who went before them) were tested. Note also that the other churches were not living as clean and pure lives as the Philadelphians: nor taking a stand for the gospel the way that they were.  In other words, the Philadelphians were not only living pure lives and caring for one another, but being persecuted for their stand for the truth, while most of the other churches were compromising the truth in some way, shape, or form.  See  Rev. 6:9-11, 13:15 and 14:9-13.  See also Rev. 1:15-18; 3:10; Ps. 9:13; 34:4; 125; Isa. 25:6-9; 26:19; 41:10; 43:1; John 6:37-40; 11:25-26; 34-44; Acts 2:31-32; Heb. 2:14; 10:35 and 10:38-39.

Another reason the Lord wants us to live holy (or sinless) lives is because He, Himself, is holy (I Pet. 1:15-16), and so that we won't "shrink away from Him in shame at His coming."  I John 2:27-29, Eph. 1:4, 5:27, Col. 1:2.  In other words, He wants us to be 'blameless' ... so that we may have confidence when we see Him. 

In this regard, I myself forsook many of my old (sinful) habits not long after being "saved;" while others have been more difficult to overcome, and thus I have confessed my failure (to God and others) many times.  And although I am much more "sanctified" and "set apart" than when I was first saved, I still struggle with the old nature, and that for me to have victory I must literally avoid anything and everything that pollutes my mind or causes me to stumble: whether TV, Radio, Movies, Books, Magazines, Entertainment, Money, saying too much, and/or those who cause me to stumble: James 3:2; Matt. 18:9, 15, Heb. 12:1; Psalm 11:5; 101:3; Isa. 33:15, Ezek. 35:6. 


Romans 11, Israel, and the Church: 
Romans 11 tells us that a partial hardening has happened to many people of Jewish and Israelite descent and that many gentiles have been "grafted in" to the "olive tree" (nation and priesthood) of Israel.  Note that it is the church that is grafted in to Zion or the New and revived nation: as opposed to present Israel being grafted into the (non-political and local) "Church."  This came as a discovery to me as I read and re-read Romans 11, Rom. 3:28-31, Isa. 11:11-12, 49:13-18, 56:3-8, Micah 4:6-8, Zeph. 3:8-20, and Matt. 21:42-44: that talk about God tearing down the old (religious and political structure that forsook Him) and reassembling a new nation of believers when Christ returns. 

In regard to this time of 're-structuring' the 'church' from a local body of believers to an Israelite nation and Priesthood, Gentile believers are warned not to be arrogant toward  Jews and/or Israelites, nor to abandon our faith in the Lord and His goodness -- which has 'great reward.'   Rom. 11:18-22; Heb. 10:35-39; Isa. 25:6-9; 35:3-5. 

Stephen Amy says the following in this regard: 

"Pretribulation authors typically acknowledge that there will be saints on the earth during the tribulation, but they deny that such saints are members of the church. This assertion grows from dispensationalism, a method of interpreting Scripture that distinguishes Israel from the church in the last days. Thus they explain that although saints can be on the earth, the church is not. But there can be no doubt that believing Jews are portrayed as members of the church (from Pentecost to the coming of the Lord) in such passages as Eph. 2:14; Rev. 2:8-11, and Rev. 3:7-13. The dispensationalist’s assertion that believing Israel is not to be confused with the church ... fails to consider that: 

(1) believing Jews and gentiles go through the tribulation (Rev. 7:4-8, 9-14); 
(2) the church, since ... Pentecost, has been composed of Jews and gentiles; and 
(3) the book of Revelation is written “to the churches
(Rev. 22:16)." 6


Is the Church separate from Israel
? 
If the Church is separate from the nation of Israel, or Zion, then why would the apostle Paul say that there  is "no distinction" between Jewish and Gentile believers  (Col. 3:11, Rom. 10:12) and that we are all one in Christ: Eph. 2:14?  

See also Ephesians 3:1-21 (especially verse 6), where we are told that the Gentiles are now included in God's program -- which will be a "holy nation" of "priests" -- which the New Nation of Israel will also, itself, eventually become.  In this regard, note what the Lord said to His 12 disciples -- who were definitely part of His Church: i.e. that after the resurrection they would sit on 12 thrones: judging the 12 tribes of Israel: Matt. 19:28. Therefore, since the 12 apostles were (and are) part of the church, and will also be part of Israel, then it appears that Israel and the Church are closely tied together: if not one and the same. 

The Scriptures also say that when the Lord returns He will gather the 'outcasts' and 'afflicted' and make them a 'remnant' and a 'strong nation' and 'reign over them from Mount Zion' (Micah 4:5-6) -- suggesting quite strongly that the new nation of Israel will be comprised of both Jews, Israelites, and Gentiles.  This event will happen from all over the earth (Isa. 11:10-12; Matt. 24:29-31), and will involve 'many nations' ... who ... join themselves to  the Lord ... to become His people (Zech. 2:11): including 'foreigners" who once were not His people.  See also Hos. 2:23; Isa. 56:3-8 and Zeph. 3:19-20

For the rapture to occur before the tribulation is to assert that believers (who comprise the church) are separate and distinct from Israel or Zion; however, in Romans 11:25-31, we learn that Israel is the crown -- or completion -- of the church, and that the church is grafted into the New (Israelite) Nation that the Lord will put together when He comes back -- and will also save the whole Jewish and Israeli nation that presently exists: which will become believers in the Messiah all at once: and who together say when He comes:

"This is our God, for whom we have waited, that He might save us." And "Let  us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." ... The One who will wipe tears away from all faces."   Isa. 25:8-9

 For more on this see Who is the Remnant of Israel?


What about Noah and Lot?
Pre-Tribulation proponents use the example of Noah to assert that Christians won't go through the Tribulation: since God protected Noah from the Flood; however, they often fail to point out that Noah and his family actually went through the Flood, yet were "saved" from it because they obeyed God and built an ark of safety. See Genesis 6-9 and I Pet. 3:20.  

Lot and his immediate family were also rescued from Sodom by angels who took them into the wilderness, as opposed to off of the planet: Gen. 18:20-19:30. 


When Does the Rapture occur?
In Matthew 24:29-31 we learn that the rapture -- or gathering of believers -- occurs just "after the tribulation of those days."  And in I Cor. 15:52 we are told that the rapture takes place "at the last trumpet."  This is likely the seventh or last trumpet mentioned in Revelation 11:15-17 that takes place after the two great witnesses are called up to heaven.  It also occurs at the same time the Lord begins to reign and to reward His bond servants.  Note that a "great trumpet" is also blown at the gathering talked about in Matt. 24:29 that takes place at the end of this age.

In regard to the timing of this 'Last Trumpet,' Rabbi Monte Judah says:

"There is no question about the timing of the resurrection as being in the days immediately AFTER the Great Tribulation.  It also says that a great trumpet is sounded.  This could well be the LAST Trumpet.  Logic would say that any trumpet sounded before this would not be the LAST ... since this one is sounded after the Tribulation." 7

In an article titled "The Runaway Bride," Gavin Finley points out that the Rapture and the "First Resurrection" must be one and the same: and that it occurs "on the last day" of this age.  Below is a quote from the article: 

The Resurrection-Rapture must come at the end of the 70th Week … Because the First Resurrection … in Revelation 20 is a late event.  This final epic Resurrection of the righteous ... clearly includes, and even showcases, the Tribulation saints. (Rev. 20:4-6) Four times in … John 6 ... (verses 39, 40, 44, and 54), Jesus said that He would "raise up" His covenant people at the last day.  ...

... Paul ... said that these precious dead in Christ would rise first. (1 Thes. 4:15-17) So at the "last day" the dead will be raised. And this ... "First Resurrection" spoken of by John in Revelation 20:4-6. ... includes martyrs of the ... Tribulation who refused to take the mark of the Beast.

... Again, Jesus tells us four times in John 6  (that) ... He will raise His people up ... at the last day of this age. "Only then will we who are alive and remain be caught up" (or Raptured).  ... How much clearer can it get ...? 8

In other words, according to Revelation: 20:4-6, the First Resurrection happens at the end of the Tribulation: meaning that IF THERE WAS A PREVIOUS RESURRECTION that TOOK PLACE (seven years prior) at a "Pre-Tribulation"  Rapture, then the "resurrection"  of Revelation 20:4-6 WOULD have been the SECOND RESURRECTION.  But since it is the FIRST, then a Pre-Tribulation Rapture cannot be correct -- unless, we (read between the lines and) assume that the "First Resurrection" takes place in TWO stages that are separated by seven years: something that John chapter 6 tells us is not the case.   

Dr. Finley's point from John 6 is equally valid.  For verse 39 tells us that the resurrection takes place on the "last day" and applies to "ALL that He has given (to Jesus)  and verse  40 tells us that it applies to "everyone who ... believes ..."  The only way this could apply to "EVERYONE," is if it includes all those who came to believe in Christ: both before and after His death: including those who came to believe during the Tribulation.

We also know there were Old Testament believers in Christ before His birth (Ps. 16:10; Mic. 5:2; Dan. 7:13-14) and at His birth (Luke 2:8-38) and that many (especially Jews and Israeli's) will get saved during the Tribulation: Daniel 11:32-12:3, Hos. 3:5, 11:10-11, Rom. 11:25, Rev. 7:9-17, 12:11, and 14:12-13.  Therefore, the "all" and "everyone" who are raised up on the last day (in John 6) must apply to them as well as us: meaning that the rapture takes place at the end of the Tribulation, or on the "last day" of this age. 


The Rapture Linked to the End of Death
In the Comment section of an article on the Rapture, Lou makes the following observation with regard to the timing of the Rapture: 

"Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the ...  end of “death” (15:54) ... Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is ... tied to Isa. 25:8 ... Israel’s posttrib resurrection!" 9

In other words, the rapture of the church coincides with the end of death: which occurs at a 'lavish banquet' or wedding feast that takes place on a mountain in Israel for "all peoples."  See Isa. 25:6-9, I Cor. 15:51-55, Matt. 8:5-12, and Isa. 35:3-10.


Who will be Protected? 
In Isaiah 26:20-21 God tells His people to:

"Enter into your rooms, and close the doors behind you; (and) Hide for a little while, until indignation runs its course.  For ... the LORD is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity ..."

However, if God's people are raptured beforehand, then why would they have to hide out?  This would not apply to Jews or Messianic Jews in Israel, since those who 'in Judea' are told to 'Flee into the mountains' (Matt. 24:16).

Revelation 3:10 tells us that the church of Philadelphia will be protected from the "hour of testing" (or Tribulation) that is about to come upon the whole earth.  This tells us that at least one whole church would be spared from the Tribulation: which was the case with this church -- since it doesn't exist on earth anymore: or at least not in that city

Zephaniah 2:3 also strongly suggests that some, if not many, of God's people will survive the Tribulation.  It says: 

"Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility.  Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger." 

Joel also tells God's people to pray and fast when armies invade Israel (Joel 1:5-11):

"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting and weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments." ... and ... say, 'Spare Thy people, O LORD, and do not make Thine inheritance a reproach, ... among the nations. ..."  Joel 2:12-13, 15-17

After the deliverance from the northern invaders and their allies (Joel 2:18-20, Ezek. 38-39), a great revival takes place (Joel 2:28-29), and not long after that the sun will be covered by a cloud (Joel 2:30-31; Amos 8:9, Exek. 32:7) ... and then we are told that:

"And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered;  For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape ..."  Joel 2:32.   See also Romans 9:33-10:13

The above verse could refer to a Rapture of believers and new believers, or to their rescue and protection from what is still to come (Rev. 12:14). The following verses also say something similar, about God's protection during times of trouble: Psalm 27:1-2, 13-14; 28:6-9; 29:1--11; 31:4-8, 19-24; 32:7-10; 33:18-22; 91:1-14; Ps. 112:7; Proverbs 3:25-26; Luke 21:13-19, 36, Rev. 12:14; Daniel 11:32-12:1; Jer. 51:45-50, and Mal. 3:17.

On an internet article and blog on the Rapture, several authors comment that not all who say they are Christians will be taken in a (Pre-tribulation) Rapture ... IF there is one (?).  Some of the verses they use to support this are Rev. 3:1-5 about the Church of Sardis: where we are told that there were a few there who had NOT "soiled" their garments (by sinning after they got saved), and thus (it is said) they would be spared from the Tribulation.  In this regard, pastor J. W. White makes the following comment:

"If escape-the-tribulation insurance does exist, it’s only for those who are right with God and their neighbors anyway ... (and) Escaping the horrors of the … Tribulation … is tied directly to overcoming" 10

This observation can also be made from what Jesus said of the Church of Philippi in Rev. 3:10: i.e. that they would be spared from the Tribulation because of their godly lifestyle and the bold stand that they took for the cause of the gospel.

In the final analysis, "those who know their God" will "put their trust in Him" and realize that He is faithful, and that the battle between good and evil is why we are here  (Ps. 21:8) -- and that many of our parents and grandparents have already went before us (to the kingdom above).  This is also why Jesus came to earth: i.e. to conquer death (Rev. 1:15-18), destroy the works of the devil (I John. 3:8) and offer those who believe in Him eternal life (I John. 2:25): meaning that those who belong to God have nothing to fear: including death: Psalm 9:9-10, 13; 23:4; 34:4, 22; Daniel 11:32-35; Luke 12:4-5; John 11:25-26; 14:1, 23, 27; Heb. 2:14-15; 10:38-39; Rev. 12:11, 17; 14:9-13.


Two + Two = Four  Two other things that we are told will occur before the "day of the LORD"  are from Joel 2:28-32 and Matt. 24:14.  They are:  

  1. The sun will be darkened -- to the point that the day will become like night (with no clouds or overcast) to block what takes place: according to Amos 8:9.  The "columns of smoke" (from Joel 2:30) are actual columns or plumes that will shoot out (from the sun) 180 degrees apart.  In this regard, the author of this article knows someone who had a (very clear) dream about this very thing.  Joel 2:31 also tells us that this even will take place "before the great and awesome day of the LORD ..."  This event above is  different from the smoke that comes up out of the earth from a great pit that will be opened: and also darken the sky: according to Rev. 9:2.

  2. According to Matthew 24:14, the gospel shall be preached "in the whole world" before the Lord comes.   This also has not yet been fulfilled.

In addition to the above, it seems likely that TWO more things will also take place (before the Rapture) as well as those previously discussed.  These are:

  1. The Russian and Arab invasion of Israel that is discussed in Ezekiel 32, 38, 39 and Psalm 83 -- along with a change in attitude toward Christians and Jews (Isa. 18:1-7; 19:18-25; 28:17; 30:30; 31:5-9) and a change in attitude of many 'secular'  /non-believing Jews and Israelis: Isa 8:14-15; Jer. 16:14-21; Hos. 3:5; 5:14-6:3; 11:10-11; Micah 7:16-17.  
  2. Number one above, and a subsequent peace treaty, will pave the way for Israelis to rebuild their temple: Dan. 8:11-14; 9:27; 2 Thes. 2:1-9; Rev. 13-14.

Roy Reinhold has said that the Rapture takes place  on the same day that the sun  goes dark: or  at the time of the 6th seal. See also: Will the Sun Really be Darkened?


Does Revelation 3:10 apply to All Churches? 
Rev. 3:10 says that the church of Philadelphia will be protected from the hour of testing that is about to come upon the whole earth: meaning that this church will not go through the Great Tribulation; however, to assert that this applies to ALL present day churches is highly questionable.  This is because the (AD 95) church of Philadelphia no longer exists.  So even if we spiritualize this verse, we are still left with six other churches that appear to go through the tribulation -- while one that no longer exists on earth is protected from it.

The message for us today is to be prepared for whatever awaits us: including the possibility of remaining in our houses (elsewhere) for an extended period of time, and/or of dying for the cause of the gospel.  See Zeph. 2:3; Psalm 27:1-2; 32:7-10; 33:18-22; 91:1-14; Ps. 112:7; Proverbs 3:25-26; Luke 21:36, Rev. 12:14; Daniel 11:32-12:1 and Jer. 51:45-50.

Ultimately those who "know their God" will "put their trust in" Him and realize that the battle between good and evil is only temporary, and that this is why Jesus came to earth: i.e. to conquer both evil and death itself (Heb. 2:14; Rev. 1:15-18) and to offer us eternal life: meaning that those who know God (Dan. 11:32-35) also belong to Him (Mal. 3:16-18), and thus have nothing to fear simply because He is faithful and has promised to never leave us: Isa. 41:10; Deut. 31:8; Luke 12:4-5; Ps. 9:9-10, 13; 23:4; Matt. 28:20; Jn 11:25-26; 14:1, 23, 27; Heb. 10:38-39; Rev. 1:15-18; 12:11, and 14:9-13.


Concluding thoughts:
Some say that since we are the "bride of Christ" that we won't go through the tribulation, because no groom would "spank" his bride before He marries her.  However, the city of New Jerusalem is also called the "bride," or "wife of the Lamb," and the whole land of Israel is said to be "Married" to the Lord (Isa. 62:4).  In regard to the status of the church in the last days, Jeremiah 25:30-31tells us that when the LORD comes out of His hiding place, He will not be happy with at least some, if not much, of His 'fold.'  2 Thes. 2:3 also tells us plainly that there will be many lukewarm, or apostate churches during the Tribulation: some of whom will fall away -- perhaps because they placed too much hope on a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, rather than on the Lord and spending eternity with Him?   Or perhaps because they were an unfaithful / "Runaway Bride." 

2 Tim. 4:3 says that "the time will come when they will not endure (or pay attention to) sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."  (KJV).  The NASB says that they would rather have their "ears tickled" (with nice words -- such as a Pre-Tribulation Rapture)  rather than the truth, or the "sound doctrine" of what the Scriptures actually say. 

The book of Revelation also makes it clear that there will be many saints who are killed for their faith in Jesus: because they refuse to receive a computer ID / mark of the beast: which is likely some type of computer-readable microchip or mark that can be scanned.  Nowhere are we told that these believers are all Jewish or Israelites, but rather simply people who have put their trust in Jesus and realize that a computer ID chip is NOT the same thing as God's gift of eternal Life: that only comes from knowing and calling upon the Lord of Creation: John 6:37; 17:3;  Rom.  10:13.

And as for the end times church, Jeremiah 23:13-32, 25:4-38 and Ezekiel 34 suggest that the Lord will not be happy with many shepherds just before His return.  Ezekiel 34:10  tells us that the LORD will seek out His own and demand His sheep from them and make them stop feeding sheep.  See also: Isa. 35:3-10 and Micah 4:6-7, where we are told that:

"In that day," declares the LORD, "I will assemble the lame,  and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted.  (and) "I will make (them) a remnant, and the outcasts a strong nation, and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever."   

  1. From 35--1650 AD in Europe, an estimated 50 million Christians lost their lives because of their faith in Christ, and from 1958 to 1974 an estimated 60 million Chinese Christians and (many) Buddhists also. 

  2. From Daniel to Doomsday,  by John Hagee, 1999, p. 118  *

  3. From Daniel to Doomsday,  by John Hagee, 1999, p. 88  *

  4. From Daniel to Doomsday,  by John Hagee, 1999, p. 95  *

  5. From Daniel to Doomsday,  by John Hagee, 1999, p. 101  **

  6. Why the Pretribulation Rapture is Wrong, Stephen Amy, 2008, at the link below:
    www.endoftheworldtruth.com/2011/12/26/why-the-pre-tribulation-rapture-is-wrong

  7. Monte Judah, Pre-Trib Rapture: Out of Order, p. 6, at http://lionlamb.net 

  8. Gavin Finley MD, 2006, http://endtimepilgrim.org/runaway.htm  

  9. Blog Post by Lou, on 6/12/11, comment section of: 12 Reasons NOT To Expect a PRE-Trib Rapture, 
    http://onecanhappen.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/12-reasons-not-to-expect-a-pre-trib-rapture/

  10. Blog Post by Rev. J. W. White, Jr., author of The Partial Rapture Theory Explained
    / Escaping The Coming Storm: posted on Comment section of reference 9 above.  

    * Numerous other authors and teachers take a similar viewpoint.
    ** Hagee credits Grant Jeffrey's research on when pre-trib teaching first began: or in 373 AD.

See also: 
Rapture Video 
The Runaway Bride 
The Beginning of the End 
Who is the Remnant of Israel? 
Pre-Trib Rapture: Out of Order 
Is Something Wrong with Church

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