“The Rapture: Jesus, Coming For His Church,” is the result of 46 years of teaching through the Book of Revelation, and the Prophecies of the Last Days. The Following is the Preface for this new book:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
What is seldom discussed concerning the Rapture, is the question of why this event must happen at all? We know that Jesus will come again because He has made this clear by His words, above, recorded in the New Testament.
If Jesus is returning to earth to establish His kingdom, why does He need to come before this event and take the members of His church out of earth?
The answer is really very easy to understand. Jesus said that before He comes again physically to earth to rule as King, a time of Tribulation will come upon the whole world. During this time, two-thirds of the people on earth will died by twenty-one judgments that originate from Jesus Himself. Revelation chapter 6 calls these judgments, “the wrath of the Lamb.” When Jesus came to earth the first time, He was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” When He comes again the second time, Jesus will be the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” Jesus came the first time for salvation; the second time He is coming for judgment.
It is interesting that the people who are on earth during the Tribulation, call Jesus the Lamb as He brings His wrath to those who have rejected Him. These people will worship the new world leader who comes to earth in the last days, instead of Jesus who died and rose again. This man is the antichrist, who will claim to be God, but the New Testament describes Him as satan incarnate.
When the angel Gabriel came to Daniel in chapter 9 of his book, he began to tell him about the seventy weeks that have been determined for the nation of Israel and the Jews. Gabriel made it clear that this important prophecy of the last seven years, concerns only the nation of Israel and the Jews, not Jesus’ church.
These final seven years—called, the Tribulation and the seventieth week of Daniel—will be a singular moment when God will deal with the nation of Israel and the Jews, just prior to the return of Jesus to earth.
When Jesus arrived on earth the first time as the Messiah, He was rejected by Israel. Jesus told the Jews that because they did not recognize the time of their visitation by the Messiah, their house will be left to them desolate. Jesus spoke these words just before He was crucified in 32 A.D. Only 38 years later, in 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Israel’s denial of Jesus as their Messiah, began the “Time of the Gentiles,” described by Jesus in Luke chapter 21. Since then, and during this present time, God is offering salvation to the whole world. At the Rapture The Times of the Gentiles will end and God will turn His attention back to Israel once again. There will be a national repentance and a recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, by the Jews.
The seven year Tribulation is not for the church, and it does not concern the church. When we read the book of Revelation, Jesus dictates to John, seven letters to seven churches. Jesus promises the church at Philadelphia that they will not go through the Tribulation, the time that shall test the whole world. Philadelphia represents those who believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world, and that by trusting in Him, anyone can have salvation and eternal life.
The Great Tribulation, beginning at Revelation chapter 6, will literally be, “Hell on earth.” The opening of the seven seals will unleash unparalleled evil on earth, and events that are beyond imagination: A mountain burning with fire that is thrown into the sea; demon locusts that come out of hell, with power, like scorpions to torment men for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man; seventy pound hailstones that strike people on the earth. Nearly five billion people will perish during these twenty-one judgments from Jesus, the Lamb.
It would be inconsistent for Jesus to save us from the wrath of God, only to place us directly into the wrath of God, during the Great Tribulation.
What About a Mid-Tribulation Rapture?
Some people have reasoned that since the first three and one-half years of the seven year Tribulation are peaceful, perhaps Jesus’ church will be here during that time. The idea is that the Rapture will happen at the midway point of the seven years, just before the Great Tribulation begins.
The problem with this theory is that it is in direct conflict with other scriptures.
One: the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation is a time when the world will worship satan through his son, the antichrist. Although these first three years will be a time of relative peace, it would be inconsistent for God to keep those who love and worship Him, on earth during a time when there will be a global worship of the antichrist.
Two: the scriptures prove that Jesus will come for His church before the antichrist arrives. The beginning of the Tribulation is marked by the entrance of the antichrist. This is indicated by Revelation chapter 6, verse 1, where the antichrist is riding on a white horse with a bow but no arrows. This false christ looks like Jesus in Revelation 19 as He is returning to earth on a white horse, coming to rule and reign.
Revelation chapter 6 is the beginning of the Tribulation, indicated by the opening of the first seal. The church is already in heaven in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, wearing the crowns that Jesus has given us, singing the song of redemption:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
Only those redeemed by the blood of Jesus can sing this song. The fact that we see an innumerable number of human beings in heaven singing this song of redemption to Jesus, means that His church—everyone who has believed in Him during their lives on earth—is already in heaven before the Tribulation begins in chapter 6.
The Pre Tribulation Rapture has been taught to every generation of Jesus’ church
The church that Jesus established has known through every generation that the Tribulation was not for the church. The writings of early church leaders, beginning with Paul in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and throughout the past two thousand years, has consistently taught that the Rapture, or Harpazo—the removal of believers from the earth—must take place before the Tribulation can begin: The following are three early examples of several citations that are in later chapters of this book:
“…tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it…” ~95 A.D.
…the Church shall be taken away. “And every mountain and the islands removed from their places intimate that in the last persecution all men departed from their places; that is, that the good will be removed, seeking to avoid persecution. ~290 A.D.
“For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the Tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.” ~373 A.D.
Jesus said that unless He shortened this time of Tribulation to just seven years, no one on earth would survive. Every person who has placed their trust in Jesus as their Savior, is fully ready for heaven on the first day they believe. There is no further purification or testing that is necessary.
There is no purpose in the church going through the horrendous events of the Tribulation. Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica and told them that “we are not appointed to experience the wrath” of the Lamb, as it is poured out upon the world during the Tribulation period; we are appointed to receive salvation because of our trust in Jesus.
Why Paul Wrote To The Thessalonians:
The church at Thessalonica was likely the first to receive the Gospel of Christ and believe in Him in 52 A.D., after Paul went on his first missionary journey. We see evidence of this at the beginning of 2 Thessalonians: As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth.
There is also some conjecture that Galatians may have been first, but Paul himself alludes to the fact that the Thessalonians were “among the first.”
The reason this is important is because the Christians at Thessalonica were also the first to hear about the doctrine of Jesus coming for His church. The idea that the doctrine of the Rapture was not taught in the Christian church until the 1800s is impeached by Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians.
Whatever we might call the event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the words “caught up” settles the question of what is happening in these passages.
Caught Up is the english translation of the Koine-Greek word, harpazo. There is no ambiguity in what harpazo means, nor how it is applied to the text that Paul wrote. Harpazo (ἁρπάζω harpazō) means “to catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force), catch up, take by force, catch away, to seize, carry off by force, to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly to snatch out or away.”
Harpazo is also used in John 6:15: Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
Also used in a similar context with Luke’s description in Acts 8:39: Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
Even in Paul’s own description of his personal Rapture (2 Corinthians 12:3-4): And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Harpazo, to take by force, catch away, caught up, is only used to describe believers who are taken away by the Lord to a different place—often, heaven.
When Paul uses Harpazo in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to describe what will happen to living Christians at the time Jesus descends from heaven and comes to the outer atmosphere of earth, he knew precisely what he was talking about: the removal of believers from earth by Jesus.
Even the idea that the word “Rapture” is not in the Bible is false. When the Koine-Greek texts were translated into Latin, the translators used the Latin word Rapturo in place of the Greek word Harpazo. This was later adopted by men who were teaching the doctrine of the Harpazo that Paul revealed in 1 Thessalonians 4, and they began to call this event, the Rapture.
We could just as accurately call it the Harpazo as the Rapture, and we would be telling the truth. Both mean the same thing; both are describing the same event.
The idea that the Rapture was not taught by the Church until the 1800s is also impeached by the record of church history. We can trace the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture all the way back to 60 A.D., and follow this teaching all the way up to the present day.
In chapter 16, part 1, of this book, I list 15 separate dates in the history of the Christian church when the doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture was being taught, beginning in 60 A.D. These evidences include the words of Christian leaders in the church, who declare their certainty that Paul’s doctrine of a Rapture in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 was true, and these men believed it and were teaching it to the church.
Why Did The Thessalonians Have Questions About The Rapture And The Tribulation?
The reason we are able to hear and understand the doctrine of the Rapture and the Tribulation today is because the Christians at Thessalonica were very confused about these two events. The reason Paul wrote his two letters to the Thessalonians was to clear up their misunderstanding regarding the timing of the Tribulation and clarify that the Harpazo would happen first.
After Paul spent three weeks in Thessalonica teaching them the Gospel, the doctrine of Jesus’ return for His church before the Tribulation, and the judgment that was coming upon the whole world after the antichrist was introduced, false teachers came to Thessalonica and began to tell the believers that the Tribulation had already begun.
This caused terrible confusion in the church because Paul had made it clear that before the Tribulation began, Jesus would come and remove His church. If these false teachers were right, and the Tribulation had already begun, then what happened to their loved ones who had already died?
The persecution that the believers in Thessalonica were experiencing made them wonder if the Tribulation had already started. Their suffering was an indication to them that the difficulties Paul had described that would happen during the Great Tribulation were already beginning.
Paul writes two letters to clear up this misunderstanding and give the Thessalonians confidence that before the Tribulation begins, Jesus will descend from heaven, resurrect their dead loved ones, and harpazo the believers who were still alive, and take them all to heaven. This would happen before the man of sin, the antichrist, would be revealed to the world and the time of Tribulation would begin.
The evidence these things are true is found in the text itself that Paul wrote to the believers at Thessalonica. If we correctly divide all these texts as we should, and compare them with what John writes in the book of Revelation, we can see and understand that Jesus comes first for His church, then the antichrist is introduced, followed by the beginning of the Tribulation.
First, notice Paul’s comments regarding the suffering the Thessalonians are enduring:
We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering…And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.
It was their persecution, and the false teachers who told the Thessalonians that their suffering was because the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) had already begun, that caused these believers to have sorrow. If the Tribulation has started and Jesus has not come, what happened to our deceased loved ones?
In response to this, Paul writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians to clarify the events of the Rapture, the arrival of the antichrist, and the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation:
First, the events of the Rapture:
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
If you study this text with the forethought that Paul is seeking to comfort people who are worried about their loved ones who may be lost, it becomes clear, exactly what Paul is saying.
I do not want you to be ignorant is a clue. The Thessalonians had become ignorant because false teachers had said that the reason they were suffering such persecution was because the Tribulation had already begun. If this was true, the Thessalonians were in great distress. Paul had taught them that before the Tribulation begins, Jesus would descend from heaven and take them and their resurrected loved ones back to heaven. If the Tribulation had already started and Jesus had not come, their loved ones were still dead and perhaps lost.
In the remaining text of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the actual sequence of events is explained by Paul so the Thessalonians will have comfort, understanding that Jesus really will come first for their loved ones, and then the antichrist will be revealed, followed by the seven-year Tribulation.
Paul writes his second letter to the Thessalonians because of their questions regarding the timing of the Harpazo and the beginning of the Tribulation. As Paul begins his second letter, he starts with the context of the letter: The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet Him.
This first sentence: Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him, this is about the Rapture.
The descriptions after this statement are about what happens after we are gathered to Jesus at the Rapture: Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say.
The Rapture is not The Day of the Lord. Our gathering to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4) is the Rapture.
The Day of the Lord is the Tribulation
First, Paul tells us what the subject is about: our gathering to meet the Lord in the air; then He tells us that the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation, cannot happen until there is a falling away first and the antichrist is revealed. They are two separate discussions.
For that day (The Day of the Lord, the Tribulation) will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed.
The coming of Jesus for His church is not included in the statement describing the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. Twenty-seven times, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Day of The Lord is always the Tribulation period.
- Isaiah 2:5, 2:12,13:6,13:9, 58:13
- Jeremiah 46:10
- Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3
- Joel 1:15, 2:1. 2:11, 2:31, 3:14
- Amos 5:16, 5:18, 5:20
- Obadiah 1:15
- Zephaniah 1:2, 1:7
- Zechariah 14:1
- Malachi 4:5
- Acts 2:20
- 1 Corinthians 5:5
- 2 Corinthians 1:14
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1, 5:2
- 2 Peter 3:10
Events prior to the Day of the Lord:
Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them… For that day (Tribulation) will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
First, an admonition to not believe the false teaching of those who said the Tribulation, “that day, the Day of the Lord,” has already come. Paul clarifies: the Day of the Lord will not come until after an apostasia, a rebellion, a falling away of faith, has happened; and the man of sin, the antichrist, arrives. When these take place, then the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation, has begun.
The opening sentence which describes the Rapture, our gathering together with Jesus, is not included with the text that follows describing the Tribulation period. Some people have been confused, linking both together, and imagine that the coming of Jesus for His church will also not happen until after the antichrist arrives and the Tribulation begins. If you carefully study these texts and understand what Paul is seeking to clarify, what is going to happen becomes clear:
- Our gathering together with Jesus at the Rapture
- The falling away, the man of sin, the Tribulation
The opening sentence in 2 Thessalonians 1 starts with the overall context: the facts concerning the coming of Jesus for His church. This is separate from the remaining text after this, which is solely about the antichrist and the Tribulation:
Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. When the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming (Revelation 19).
This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
Revelation Is Written In Chronological Order
In Hebrew literature, we discover that often in the telling of a story there is a period of pause in which the writer will fill in some of the blank spaces that might have occurred during the recounting of the narrative. We often see this attribute of Hebrew literature in the text of the Bible.
In the book of Genesis, chapter 1, we read God’s account of creation. In chapter 2, Moses goes back and fills in the details for how this creation took place, before chapter 3 moves on with the rest of the story.
As we are going through our study in the book of Revelation, it’s important to understand that this book is Chronological. We see the church in heaven in Revelation chapter 4, before the Tribulation begins in chapter 6. This will become clear to you as we cover chapters 4-6 in this book.
Revelation is written in the order that these events happen, with one event taking place after another, with one exception: There are parentheses in this chronological order that explain or give additional information to help us understand the sequence of events in Revelation.
A parenthesis is a bracketed place in a sentence that gives light to what is being said. For example: “Then Jesus (The son of Joseph and Mary) went to Bethany….” Here, the parenthesis tells us important information that is helpful in understanding the entire narrative of Jesus.
As we read through the Book of revelation, the events will happen in the order that they are written. Within these chronological events, there are eight parentheses or pauses in the order that give us additional information about what we are reading.
The purpose of the parenthesis is not to change the order of events, but to add information to what has already been written. For example: In Revelation Chapter 19, the scene opens in heaven where John is shown a great multitude singing praises to Jesus. Later we are told that the persons singing these praises are us, those who love the Lord, His Bride.
As we are reading through Revelation Chapter 19, we suddenly come to a parenthesis where the scene moves ahead. We see Jesus on a white horse, returning to earth with those who were Raptured and have been with the Lord in heaven during the last seven years. We are now ready to return to the earth with Jesus, where He will destroy the waiting armies of the antichrist and set up His one thousand-year kingdom on earth.
After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (parenthesis, the text that follows)
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses ~Revelation 19:1-14
There are several parentheses interwoven into the twenty-two chapters of Revelation. These are breaks in the chronological order that look ahead or look back at things that will happen or have happened.
Every good book or movie that tells us a story, often looks back at prior events, or moves ahead to give us a preview. These parenthesis, or breaks in the linear timeline, help us understand the entire story.
Because many people who read Revelation do not understand that this book is written in chronological order, due to the periodic breaks in the narrative by these parenthesis, a great number of people have concluded that we cannot know when the Rapture will take place because Revelation is not written one event after another. This view is incorrect. It is only because of the parenthesis that some have developed this hypothesis. Revelation is a narrative that is written one event after another:
Revelation Chapter 4, the church is seen in heaven fully redeemed. Revelation Chapter 6, the Tribulation begins. The Rapture happens first in the chronological timeline of the book of Revelation, then the terrible judgments of the Tribulation begin.
This single piece of evidence from the New Testament proves that the Rapture must take place first before the Tribulation begins.
With these things in mind, we begin our study in the events of the Rapture.
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1 John 14:1-3
2 Matthew 24:21-22 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
3 Revelation 6:16-17 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”
4 John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
5 Isaiah 61 describes two arrivals for the Messiah: first to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; the second to proclaim the day of vengeance of God.
Isaiah 61:2 …To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God…
6 Revelation 6:16-17 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.
7 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
8 Daniel 9:24 (NKJV) 24 “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
This is the prophecy of 70 weeks, directed at “your people,” (the Jews) and “your holy city, (Jerusalem).
9 Matthew 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Luke 19:41-44 Now as Jesus drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
10 1. Jesus predicts the encirclement of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. These events would happen within one generation of those who heard this prophecy.
“For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”
The context of Jesus’ revelation of Jerusalem’s destruction, to the disciples, in Luke 19:29-21:24, is spoken directly after Palm Sunday, 32 A.D. Jesus is describing the judgment that will come upon Israel for her rejection of Him as the Messiah. The fulfillment of this prophecy occurred within one 40-year generation, in 70 A.D. Titus brought his army against Jerusalem, sacked the city and destroyed the Temple, burning it to the ground. Literally, not one stone was left upon another, just as Jesus had predicted.
Matthew Chapter 24 is essentially the same account that Luke records, as Jesus is seen at the Temple with the disciples when He tells them that not one stone shall be left upon another. This occurred during Titus’ siege of Jerusalem, just as Jesus had predicted.
Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
2. In the Bible, 40 years is the number God has used in the past to institute a generation of Judgment: Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
3. Acts 7:36 He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
11 Luke 21:23-24 (Jesus) “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
12 Luke 21:20-24 (NKJV) 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
This prophecy from Paul concerns the Nation of Israel, and her capital, Jerusalem. In 70 A.D., the Roman army General, surrounded Jerusalem and destroyed the city and the Temple. This ended the time of God’s focus on Israel and the Jews, because they rejected their Messiah, Jesus. God then turned His attention to the rest of the Gentile world, and offered them salvation by faith in Jesus the Messiah.
13 Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
14 Revelation 8:8, Revelation 9:3-5, Revelation 16:21
15 The antichrist: Revelation 6:1-2 Now I saw when the Lamb opened the first seal; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
The Lord, Jesus: Revelation 19:11-14 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
16 Revelation 5:9-10 (NKJV)
17 The chief objection to the modern teaching of the Rapture comes from writers who claim that before 1830, the Christian church only believed in a single arrival of Jesus, after the Great Tribulation. As we examine the writings of the early church, we see that this is not true. From the beginning, the coming of Jesus before the Tribulation was well established in the minds of early believers. See chapter 4, for details
19 See this reference in the chapter: “Coming For His Church.”
20 See this reference in the chapter: “Coming For His Church.”
21 See this reference in the chapter: “Coming For His Church.”
22 Matthew 24:22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake (the Jews) those days will be shortened.
23 Ephesians 5:27 That Jesus might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Colossians 2:9-10 For in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
24 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
25 1. 52 A.D. Paul writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Robinson, Robert Clifton. You Are My Witnesses: The Men Who Saw Jesus. Teach The Word Publishing. Kindle Edition.
2. Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament, Anchor Bible, 1997. pp. 456–66.
26 2 Thessalonians 2:13
27 Powell, Mark Allan (2018). Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary and Theological Survey (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. ISBN 978-1-49341313-3.
28 1. ἁρπάζω STRONG’S NUMBER: g0726
2. Dictionary Definition g0726. ἁρπάζω harpazō; from a derivative of 138; to seize (in various applications): — catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
3. AV (13) – catch up 4, take by force 3, catch away 2, pluck 2, catch 1, pull 1; to seize, carry off by force to seize on, claim for ones self eagerly to snatch out or away.
29 2 Thessalonians 1:4-8
30 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
31 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Categories: Believers Removed before Tribulation, He Is Risen, Rapture during Rosh Hashanah, Robert Clifton Robinson, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Rapture: Jesus Coming For His Church, The Time and Season of Jesus Return, The Tribulation Period, Thousand Year Kingdom, Watching for Jesus return
Please allow me to state that I do not agree with the so called “Secret Rapture” scenario – the idea that Jesus will come secretly to collect his saints sometime before the Second Advent – which causes so much controversy within the Christian community. Where the confusion enters the picture is that most Christians who are into eschatology – the study of end times events – believe that that Jesus is coming to gather his church himself, either privately by a Secret Rapture, or publicly by a Grandstand Rapture – two irreconcilable conflicting viewpoints. Both of them are invalid, however, as the Bible in contrast states that Jesus is not coming to collect his saints at all! Matthew 24:31 states concerning Jesus that “…he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet to gather his elect…” which is reinforced by Mark 13:27 a parallel text that states “And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect…” Also see Matthew 13:30. As Scripture clearly states therefore, Lord Jesus himself will not come either privately or publicly to collect his saints. It is his angels who will come and rescue us from this troubled earth, just as the angels rescued Lot and his family from Sodom – Genesis 19:16 – and that will happen whenever Jesus issues the command. Now – why is knowledge and understanding of this Biblical reality important you might ask? It is important because making this distinction – whether Jesus himself or his angels will come for us – has the potential to reconcile the controversy between the Secret Rapture folks and the Grandstand Rapture folks, thereby getting the two warring camps within the Christian community on the same page – the page of Bible truth. Uniformity of church doctrine is absolutely essential for church unity – but it must be based on the Bible, not on extra-Biblical constructs fabricated in human imagination and passed down from one generation to the next as tradition. I am hopeful that my clever reasoning with respect to this particular issue will not be lost on the reader.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I have read similar misunderstandings of these texts quite often in the last 46 years of my Biblical scholarship.
It was for this reason that I published my Revelation commentary and the book that is the subject of this article, “The Rapture: Jesus Coming For His Church.”
If you read either of these books you will discover that you have not understood correctly, the scriptures you describe in your comments, nor the clear teaching of the Bible that makes the Harpazo (Rapture) of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51, and Revelation 4, quite clear.
Brother, we totally agree with the Rapture happening before the Tribulation. We believe it’s the next prophecy to happen. We already can see the “falling away of faith” all around us. It’s important for us to spread the Good News and educate people. We recently published our second edition of a Study Guide titled “Digging Deep into the Revelation of Jesus Christ”. Blessings.