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PRE- OR POST-TRIB RAPTURE? (ORIGINAL)
The Berean Call ^ | Oct 1, 2003 | Dave Hunt

Posted on 05/14/2019 12:13:01 PM PDT by fwdude

The Rapture of the church involves all believers being caught up to heaven—those just resurrected, together with those alive at the time (1 Thes:4:13-18 ). If it occurs at the beginning of the tribulation period, then clearly Christ’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation to rescue Israel in the midst of Armageddon is a separate event. According to Zechariah:14:3-5 , “all the saints” must accompany Christ back to earth. But if the Rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation, it must be simultaneous with the Second Coming, making them one event. Which is it: two events separated by seven years, or one event with two diverse purposes?

This question, though it has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation, divides much of the evangelical church. Happily, it can be settled rather easily. The descriptions in Scripture of the Rapture and Second Coming respectively are so different in so many details that they could not possibly be describing the same occurrence. We can’t cover all of these distinctions, but here are a few:

1) At the Rapture, Christ does not return to earth but catches believers up to meet Him above the earth, taking them directly to heaven: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn:14:3 ); “caught up...to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thes:4:17 ).

In contrast, at the Second Coming Christ returns to this earth to rule Israel and the world from David’s throne in Jerusalem: “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem” (Zec:14:4 ); “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk 1:32, 33); “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him....The armies which are in heaven followed him....Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev:19:11-15 ).

2) At the Rapture there is a resurrection of all believers who have died up to that time: “the dead shall be raised incorruptible” (1 Cor:15:52 , 53); “the dead in Christ shall rise first...” (1 Thes:4:16 ).

In contrast, at the Second Coming there is no resurrection until Antichrist is defeated, he and the false prophet have been “cast alive into a lake of fire” (Rev:19:20 ) and Satan has been bound in the “bottomless pit [for] a thousand years” (20:1-3) —none of which is even remotely related to the rapture of believers to heaven. Then, to “the first resurrection” which occurred at the Rapture are added a unique group: “them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands...they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (4, 5).

3) At the Rapture, the bodies of living believers (like those who are resurrected) will be changed to become immortal: “We shall not all sleep [i.e., die], but we shall all be changed...the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [who are living] shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor:15:51-53 ); “we which are alive...shall be caught up together with them [the resurrected saints]...to meet the Lord in the air [clearly requiring immortal bodies]” (1 Thes:4:17 ).

In contrast, at the Second Coming all of the saints return with Christ from heaven and will therefore already have been changed into immortality: “the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zec:14:5 ); “I saw heaven opened [and one] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood...and the armies which were in heaven followed him [to] smite the nations” (Rev:19:11-15 ).

4) The Rapture occurs during relative peace and prosperity, when the world does not expect judgment from God: “And as it was in the days of Noah [the last thing they expected was God’s judgment]...they did eat, they drank...married wives...were given in marriage [and as in] the days of Lot...they bought, they sold...planted...builded....Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Lk 17:26-30).

Again in complete contrast, the Second Coming occurs in the midst of the worst war the world has ever seen and following the greatest devastation this planet has ever suffered or ever will: “then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world...nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Mat:24:21 , 22); “behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed...power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger....There was a great earthquake...every mountain and island were moved out of their places...[men] hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks...for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev:6:8-17 ); “and the four angels were loosed...to slay the third part of men” (9:15); “and the...sea...became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And...the rivers and fountains of waters...became blood...the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and...men were scorched with great heat...and...there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth....And every island fled away and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail [of large stones]...every stone about the weight of a talent” (16:3-21); “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True....And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen....And I saw the beast [Antichrist], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and...the false prophet [and they] were cast alive into a lake of fire...” (19:11-21).

5) The Rapture occurs when conditions in the world seem to indicate that all is well, when very few expect Christ to return and He catches even the church by surprise: “of that day and hour knoweth no man...in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Mat:24:36 , 44).

In contrast, when the Second Coming occurs, not even Antichrist is caught by surprise—the many visible signs alert everyone that Christ is right at the door: “when ye shall see all these things, know that it [Christ’s coming] is near, even at the doors” (Mat:24:33 ); “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse” (Rev:19:19 ).

6) The Rapture occurs when the church is sleeping, with little expectation of the Lord’s return: “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Mat:25:5 ); “Watch ye therefore...lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” (Mk 13:35, 36).

In contrast, the Second Coming occurs at the end of the Tribulation in the midst of worldwide devastation and hopeless distress; the Antichrist and his armies are attacking Israel, much of Jerusalem is already captured (Zec:14:1 , 2), and Israel is on the verge of annihilation. It is inconceivable that the church, if it were still here, would be slumbering in complacency and under the delusion that “surely Christ wouldn’t come now”!

7) Since the Rapture instantly takes us, without dying, out of this world of sin, pain and sorrow to be forever with Christ and like Him, never more to grieve Him, it is called the “blessed hope”: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus:2:13 ); “every man that hath this hope” (1 Jn:3:3 ).

In contrast, the Second Coming (or a post-trib rapture at that time) could hardly be called a “blessed hope,” inasmuch as very few Christians (if the church were still here) would survive to enjoy it. Having refused to receive the 666 mark of the beast “in their right hand, or in their forehead” and therefore being unable to “buy or sell,” and refusing to “worship the image of the beast [they would] be killed” (Rev:13:15-17 ). It makes no sense to suggest that if you can secretly eat out of enough garbage pails to avoid starvation and still keep one step ahead of Antichrist’s world police death squads, “Blessed hope! You’ll be raptured at Armageddon!”

8) As for the Rapture, unquestionably, the early church was taught to expect it at any moment and to eagerly watch, wait and look for Christ’s return, when He will catch all believers up into His Father’s house to be with Him eternally: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord...” (Lk 12:35, 36); “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians:3:20 ); “...ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven...even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thes:1:9 , 10); “looking for that blessed hope” (Titus:2:13 ); “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb:9:28 ). One does not watch, wait and look each day for something that cannot happen until Antichrist’s advent or the end of a seven-year tribulation. Thus, there must be a coming of Christ that could happen at any moment.

In contrast, the Second Coming, by very definition as described in Scripture, cannot be expected momentarily. Therefore, none of the scriptures just quoted concerning watching and waiting and looking for the Lord could refer to the Second Coming or to a post-trib rapture of the church. These scriptures could therefore refer only to a pre-trib rapture.

9) The pre-trib Rapture has a powerful, purifying effect upon those who have this hope in Him. The fact that it is to be expected at any moment can only mean that it must come before Antichrist is revealed and before the Tribulation. If Christ could come at any moment, there is no time to waste, no time to delay witnessing, no time to indulge in sin with the idea of repenting and changing one’s ways later: “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 Jn:2:28 ); “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (3:3).

In contrast, anticipation of the Second Coming (or a post-trib rapture at that time) could hardly have a purifying effect, because it can’t take place for at least seven years—plenty of time to delay witnessing, getting right with the Lord and holy living until later. In fact, the Lord said that believing he couldn’t come at any moment would have the opposite effect from purifying believers: “If that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants...and to eat and drink and to be drunken; the lord of that servant will come at an hour when he is not aware (Mat:24:48-49 ; Lk 12:45, 46).

10) The Rapture is not only an event that we are to expect momentarily and to eagerly anticipate, but we are to ask our Lord to come immediately. Here is how the Bible ends: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come....Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev:22:17 , 20).

In contrast, the Second Coming is not of such a nature and timing that we could ask Christ to effect it right now. Since Christ obviously cannot return to the earth in judgment to rescue Israel, stop the destruction at Armageddon and destroy the Antichrist along with his kingdom and his armies until the end of the Tribulation, for us to cry out to Christ, “Come, Lord Jesus!” would be like demanding payment on a debt that isn’t due for seven years. Yet, “the Spirit and the bride” do cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We can only conclude that there must be a coming of Christ that could occur at any moment. It cannot be the Second Coming or a post-trib rapture. It can only be a pre-trib rapture.

11) There are at least two events which occur in heaven for which the church must be present and which, therefore, cannot take place until the Rapture occurs: the judgment seat of Christ, and the marriage of the Lamb to His bride: “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom:14:10 ); “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor:5:10 ); “the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted [to] be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white [as a result of her cleansing at the judgment seat of Christ]” (Rev:19:7-8 ). Both these events occur prior to Christ’s return to earth and thus demand a prior rapture.

It is clear that the Second Coming cannot occur until these two vital events, which demand the presence of the church in heaven, have taken place. It is only after the Lamb has been married to His bride that she accompanies Him back to earth to rescue Israel and to destroy Antichrist and his armies: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him...clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev:19:14 ).

We know not why the Bridegroom tarries, but exactly as He foretold, the church is asleep. In that context, our Lord added: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Mat:25:6 ). May each of us be listening eagerly for that cry of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Indeed, we ought to be sounding it aloud, for the Lord could come at any moment to take us to Himself. So let us watch and wait and look for Him in eager anticipation—and encourage others to do the same. It will have a purifying and motivating effect in our lives. TBC


TOPICS: Apologetics; General Discusssion; Theology
KEYWORDS: lastdays
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A good defense of the pre-trib rapture position which is so much under attack today.
1 posted on 05/14/2019 12:13:01 PM PDT by fwdude
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To: fwdude

The way it also makes sense to me is if its post trib then the dead will rise to meet Jesus in the clouds to merely return to earth for the millennium reign.


2 posted on 05/14/2019 12:17:23 PM PDT by rebel25 (GOD, Family, guns, and duck hunting, everything else is just noise.)
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To: fwdude

Sounds like two Second Comings.


3 posted on 05/14/2019 12:21:53 PM PDT by SkyDancer ( ~ Just Consider Me A Random Fact Generator ~ Eat Sleep Fly Repeat ~)
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To: fwdude

Pre or post? Don’t care, my ticket is punched and I’ve read the book and know how it ends.


4 posted on 05/14/2019 12:26:26 PM PDT by john316 (JOSHUA 24:15 ...choose you this day whom ye will serve...)
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To: fwdude

I simply cannot understand how Satan can continue to blind the eyes of so many who openly profess to believe in Jesus.

“What” you say? Jesus himself said “he did no know many who used his name”

Why did Jesus say more than once, that some standing with him there would “SEE” him return in his glory? If he was lying or was a fool.

Even CJ Lewis wrote of this:

_________________
“It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created,their Delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’

And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.” It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. ”
________________

Jesus told us that his Kingdom was not of this world, so why do so many wait with bated breath for him to return to build his kingdom here on Earth?

So many do not understand:

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”

21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

So instead of being t=like CJ Lewis and reasoning that Jesus was WRONG ....”And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”

Perhaps one should read and discern what the Holy Scriptures actually say and QUESTION their own understanding before that of Christ’s.

Oh Jesus said when the could see the armies gathering the walls of Jerusalem to “Flee” and stop for nothing, not even to pick up a coat. Think on this a moment. You are at work, doing your job and you look up and 40 - 60% of the work force is gone. Hot coffee cups still on their desks, computer left on. What would you think, where did they go? Only those who listened to Jesus in those days knew what was happening nd they fled, just like he told them to.

Rapture, I suggest those that follow this belief listen to what Paul is saying. He said in an instant we will all be changed (in a twinkling of an eye)

Read some history; there were more than one historian recording history back in those days.

Why would a man think that “his” understanding has the power of veto over the words of Christ? The answer is simple: Satan, the Father of the lie. John 8:44


5 posted on 05/14/2019 12:35:01 PM PDT by BornToBeAmerican (Don't forget Love)
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To: SkyDancer

Sounds like two Second Comings.

__________________________________________

Good argument. Plenty of Bible scholars argue He came already. In 70 AD.


6 posted on 05/14/2019 12:35:20 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd ( Import the third world and you'll become the third world.)
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To: fwdude

At the latest it would be mid-trib. The Bible clearly teaches the Church is not appointed to wrath, and as the bowl judgements are clearly spelled out as God pouring out his wrath it would follow the Church would not be present at that time.


7 posted on 05/14/2019 12:35:56 PM PDT by LukeL
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To: fwdude

the answer is BOTH

I think the total number of “raptures” mentioned in the bible is either 7 or 9. Enoch and Elijah are 2.

The pre-tribulation rapture is of the bride of Christ... those who’s names are already written in the Lamb’s book of life... “for we are not appointed unto wrath”

The post-tribulation rapture occurs towards the end of the tribulation period just before the final battle when Jesus comes with all the saints to conclude the tribulation period.

Those left on earth during the tribulation must not only accept Jesus as Lord, they must also “endure to the end” and NOT take the mark of the beast to be saved.


8 posted on 05/14/2019 12:37:44 PM PDT by Safrguns
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To: SkyDancer

Exactly. Absolutely nobody believed this pre-trib nonsense until the last couple of centuries. There is one return of Christ and both Matthew 24 and Revelation teach that believers go through the tribulation. There is not a single verse that teaches that the rapture happens at any other time than the highly visible return of Christ. Believers are caught up in the air to meet the Lord and arrive back on earth with him as he continues his descent to judge the nations.


9 posted on 05/14/2019 12:38:29 PM PDT by winslow
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To: fwdude

It’s all confused and confusing because pick a premise and dogma camp... any and all = theories of men who reason amongst themselves, like the Pharisees and Sadducees. History is prophecy.

Contrast Rebecca, who inquired of the Lord.

It’s not like what people are feasting on from all the end-times merchandize.

Same for the Messiah... he’s been turned into a bizarre “trans” caracature not resembling a man, his visage has been so marred.

Anyone expecting a down-to-earth, anti-establishment man who can show people how to love others and live simply without all the “intellectual” confusion and endless debate masquerading as Biblical knowledge? Didn’t think so.

A guy like that would be run out of Dodge or worse because he’d put the experts out of business, to put it nicely.

The jig is up for the established order.

In getting back to basics, the Messiah will lead many to his barn, where he will assign them to cleaning the animal stalls, if they even make it into the Kingdom. And they’ll be grateful and motivated, or else be cast out.

Besides, there’s a red flag tell concerning those who are gunning for the exits. A good way to efficiently get rid of dead weight is to inspire them to self-deport. Work smart, not hard.


10 posted on 05/14/2019 12:49:27 PM PDT by Ezekiel (The pun is mightier than the s-word.)
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To: fwdude

Why would you want rapture before the coming? Miss out on all the fun during tribulation?


11 posted on 05/14/2019 12:49:51 PM PDT by IndispensableDestiny
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To: winslow

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

This short excerpt from Matthew 24 explicitly teaches that the rapture or gathering together of the elect is after the tribulation. It also shows that the return (singular) of Christ is not something hidden or secret but highly visible and impossible to miss. Tribulation is mentioned three times in the passage in reference to believers and not once does Jesus advise that there is a way to escape it.


12 posted on 05/14/2019 12:53:49 PM PDT by winslow
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To: fwdude

I have never understood why people think the tribulation is seven years.

I thought Jesus laid it out pretty clear - the tribulation starts with the destruction of the temple and city - and then ends with his coming. I’ve never heard anyone explain how this is not the case.


13 posted on 05/14/2019 12:55:46 PM PDT by lerker
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To: winslow

yes. That passage seems to say the tribulation starts with the destruction of the temple and ends with his coming. Not seven years. What am I missing?


14 posted on 05/14/2019 12:57:01 PM PDT by lerker
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To: fwdude

“But if the Rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation, it must be simultaneous with the Second Coming, making them one event. Which is it: two events separated by seven years, or one event with two diverse purposes?

... The descriptions in Scripture of the Rapture and Second Coming respectively are so different in so many details that they could not possibly be describing the same occurrence.”

This is where the author sets up a false premise that undermines his own argument. The Second Coming is one event, and the First Resurrection (which some call “the rapture”) is a separate event that happens to coincide with the Second Coming. The fact that two events are described differently does not preclude the fact that those two events happen in close succession, as Scripture clearly describes.


15 posted on 05/14/2019 1:05:15 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: fwdude

“In contrast, at the Second Coming there is no resurrection until Antichrist is defeated, he and the false prophet have been “cast alive into a lake of fire” (Rev:19:20 ) and Satan has been bound in the “bottomless pit [for] a thousand years” (20:1-3) —none of which is even remotely related to the rapture of believers to heaven.”

This is simply false. Revelation describes both a first and a second resurrection. The author is citing verses about the second resurrection and then falsely claiming that “there is no resurrection” before that, when the book he is citing explicitly talks about a prior resurrection and even names them the “first” and “second” resurrection so there can be no mistaking the proper chronological order.


16 posted on 05/14/2019 1:07:33 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: fwdude

“Then, to “the first resurrection” which occurred at the Rapture...”

... and here the author completely destroys his own premise by admitting that there WAS a prior resurrection, even though he just a couple sentences before claimed there was none. The author claims this resurrection “occurred at the Rapture” but of course cites nothing to demonstrate that, because if we read the relevant verses of Revelation, it clearly takes place at the end of the tribulation.


17 posted on 05/14/2019 1:10:05 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: rebel25

EXACTLY!


18 posted on 05/14/2019 1:12:54 PM PDT by fwdude (Think about it: Blacks were made slaves in Africa, but were made free men in America.)
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To: winslow
This short excerpt from Matthew 24 explicitly teaches that the rapture or gathering together of the elect is after the tribulation.

That point is explicitly addressed in the essay. There will be those who believe in Jesus and are killed after the Rapture of the Church. These are the ones who are gathered.

19 posted on 05/14/2019 1:16:49 PM PDT by fwdude (Think about it: Blacks were made slaves in Africa, but were made free men in America.)
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To: lerker

“I thought Jesus laid it out pretty clear - the tribulation starts with the destruction of the temple and city - and then ends with his coming.”

It has to do with attempts to link the chronology of Revelation with the chronology of Daniel’s 70th “week”. Since that passage in Daniel describes a 7 year period which is divided into two 3 1/2 year periods at the midpoint, and Revelation describes several periods of days that are roughly 3 1/2 years as well, some people want to try and interpret one prophecy in light of the other to construct a timeline, and that of course leads to having to account for the whole 7 year period that Daniel talks about.


20 posted on 05/14/2019 1:18:50 PM PDT by Boogieman
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