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Rapture Study - Is the "Rapture" a Real Event in the Last Days?

A look at scriptures that discuss the rapture of the church and whether or not this is a real event

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Is scripture evidence of a rapture believable (which many call a pre-tribulation rapture)?

Here I refute with scripture claims that the rapture isn't real. The rapture is real! The rapture is a real event in the Bible. Read this and decide for yourself.

Here I cite scriptural evidence of an Early-Tribulation rapture (some of you might think of as a pre-tribulation rapture) that is not in my original article. I also list the claims made by those who do not believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture, and then my replies to each of these claims, to show where and how these claims are incorrect.

Paul's letter; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 - We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Reply: We clearly have a rapture here. There is no question that a rapture will occur, no matter what critics say (some like to say the concept of the rapture is only recent. The word 'rapture' may be recent, but the event (as described above and in Daniel 12:2,3) has ALWAYS been in the Bible. The next time someone tries saying that someone named Benjamin Darby or Margaret Mcdonald dreamed up the rapture in the last two hundred years, show them 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, and Daniel 12:2,3. Be sure to point out:

John 14:1-3 - "Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also."

With this well known passage by Jesus, we have proof that God has prepared a new world for his faithful believers. There is only one way for believers to go there - they have to be taken there. In addition, throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Jesus talks of the kingdom of heaven on numerous occasions, even telling us that we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless we first 'become like children' (in humility).

In addition: I've received a couple emails stating that 1 Thess. 4:14-18 is an event heard by the world, but there is no way to prove that. They say that the "loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God" would be something the world would see and hear, but is that the case?

What if only those who are raptured and those who are resurrected hear the 'loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God'?

In other words: If they are the only ones who respond to it, wouldn't they be the only ones who hear it?

In the end, 1 Thess 4:16-18 proves that there is a rapture (at the same time as the resurrection), however does not prove the timing. At this point, I have to fall back on what Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-42 which is definitely a time early in the Tribulation, and gives the impression of the Early-Tribulation rapture occuring in much the same way as sudden destruction coming on the world for Noah and the Ark and Lot fleeing Sodom.

God has a history of delivering his people (holy and righteous) from 'sudden destruction'.

1 Thess. 5:1-9 - "...for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," sudden destruction comes on them... But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief... For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Revelation 10 - The Angel and the Little Book

Revelation 10:1-11 - Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."

Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land."

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

What does Revelation 10 mean?

I believe that the 'Little Book' contains the names of those who are taken in the Early-Tribulation (first) rapture. Please note that it is a little book, so we are supposed to understand that it does not contain many pages.

Now, if we read chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, the majority of Christians are warned by God to repent, not be 'lukewarm', etc and only the Philadelphia Church and a few believers at the Smyrna and Sardis Churches are guaranteed to be spared the hour of trial (Rev. 3:10), and thus be the Christians taken in the Early-Tribulation rapture. So, while there may be over a billion Christians on Earth nowadays, only a small percent (for example, a few million) appear to be taken in this rapture. Thus, we have the "Little Book" described above.

Wouldn't the action of the 7th angel take place AFTER the action of the 6th angel?

Reply: What if 'seventh angel' is just a label? The Bible does not say that the actions of these angels have to take place in chronological order. This means that the actions of the seventh angel *could take place* before the actions of the 'first angel'. (For example, consider it similar to a baseball line-up. The first batter may have the number 7 on his jersey, where as the second batter may have the number 1 on his jersey.)

Why would the scroll be sweet in the mouth, but sour in the stomach?

I believe because the rapture will be very exciting for those who are taken – initially it will be sweet; those left behind of course will feel very bitter, especially those who call themselves Christians but did not actually keep God's Greatest Commandment (Rev. 2:4).

The rapture will most likely cause very mixed feelings, especially for those who don't believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture; if you don't believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture, you're likely to disregard chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, and Luke 21:33-36, and believe that just because you asked Jesus into your heart you are saved. The Bible is very clear that God requires more from Christians.

If you don't believe me, read chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. God is very clear on who is going to heaven, and who isn't going.

Believing in an Early-Tribulation rapture is likely to 'purify' you and motivate you to strive for OBEDIENCE and HOLINESS, love for neighbor and love for enemy, and ensure that you are 'worthy to escape all these things which shall come to pass' (Luke 21:33-36). Rev. 3:16 beccomes a very clear and present warning to our generation today, where God threatens to "vomit" lukewarm Christians from his mouth, for being just that - lukewarm.

In other words, being complacent with your faith is very dangerous. Here is a clear warning to all Christians directly from God:

Rev 3:16-21 - So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Why are these Christians 'lukewarm'? Most likely because they do not believe in the imminence of Christ's coming as a thief in the night for his church. If they believed Jesus could come at any time, as Jesus taught in Matthew 24:42 and 24:50, they would likely heed God's warning to the Laodicea Church in Rev. 3:16. Consider:

Rev. 3:2-5 - Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

As Christians, God sets for us a clear and very important task: To overcome sin and embrace full love and faith in God and his commandments. In doing this, God is preparing us for life in the Kindgom of Heaven.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Daniel 12 - The End Times

Dan. 12:1-4 - At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge."

What does this mean?

Please note where it reads, "There will be a time of distress." This goes with what Jesus said in Matthew 24:21 - "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again." For the most part, all Christians agree that the great distress is the Great Tribulation.

Now, realize that he says "but at that time your people will be delivered." Daniel 12 does not say AFTER that time your people will be delivered. He says BUT AT THAT TIME your people will be delivered.

What is being conveyed is this: There will be a time of distress... but your people will be delivered. So, what it seems to say is, "Don't worry about the distress; your people will be delivered." Ok, does that mean they will be stuck on earth, however they will be protected during the tribulation? No, because if you read Daniel 12:3, the dead are 'delivered' at the same time.

The apostle Paul describes the event that happens in Daniel 12:2,3 more clearly in 1st Corinthians 15 (see below):

Paul's letter; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

1 Corin. 15:51-54 - Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."... ...Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

  • When Paul says "We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed", he's obviously referring to faithful Christians (vs. unbelievers and Christians who are not true to the faith).

    The big question and what of course fuels the debate between those who believe in Early-Tribulation vs. those who believe in Post-Tribulation, is WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN?

    Please note what Paul said in:

    1 Thessalonians 5:9 - For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    So from Paul's point of view, he believes that "We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed" will happen because "God did not appoint us to wrath."

    Note that he said this *not knowing* the event would not happen in his lifetime. Jesus taught that this event was imminent and that 'the present generation would not pass away until these things have come to pass'. So, of course Paul assumed that he was part of that generation.

    When we consider what Paul said in 1 Thess. 5:9, and then look at what is said in Daniel 12:2:

    There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered.

    Well, that time of distress is God's wrath. And according to Paul, "We are not appointed to wrath." So, when Daniel 12:2 says "But at that time your people... will be delivered," it has to be before God's wrath on the nations, also known as the Great Tribulation.

    Let's go back to:

    Revelation 10 - So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

  • We already discussed this at the beginning of this article. Now, let's discuss what's written in red above. So, after the event that I believe is the rapture (the Little Book (scroll) which is sweet as honey in the mouth, but sour in the stomach), after this event John is told to 'prophecy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.'

    Those he next prophecies about would be all who are 'left behind' from the Early-Tribulation rapture and resurrection – by far the vast majority of the earth's population, especially if all the names of those taken in the an Early-Tribulation rapture fit in a 'Little Book'.

    If this is the case (as it appears) we now have a clear understanding of Revelation 10.

    Arguments AGAINST an Early-Tribulation rapture

    Those who believe in only a post-tribulation rapture (rapture does not occur until the end of the Great Tribulation), make numerous claims. I list some of there claims, and then clearly refute each claim.


    The first thing that people who believe in a Post-Tribulation rapture state, is that the parables of Christ's imminence APPLY TO A TIME AFTER the Great Tribulation.

    In other words, when those who are alive on earth realize that the Great Tribulation is almost over, then we're supposed to look to the skies with expectation for Christ's imminent return.

    Matthew 24
    36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
    42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
    43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
    44 Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

    Tim Warner, of the LastTrumpet.com (a site dedicated to a Post-Tribulation rapture) writes:

    Taken out of context, these verses [in Matthew 24] might appear to teach an "any moment" rapture. The problem is, the context proves Jesus was speaking about His coming "immediately after the tribulation" [vs. 29-31]. These verses must be interpreted within the general chronology of Matthew 24.

    My reply: No, I can easily DISPROVE that theory, especially when you look at what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24:37-42. Jesus was having a conversation with his disciples that describes two different events, however he mentioned the latest event, first.

    For example, consider if he was talking about a baseball game. Jesus might start the conversation by saying 'Ryan was hit by a pitch in the 7th inning.' He might pause for a moment, and then add, "But he hit a homerun in the 3rd inning."

    Let's look at the entire conversation:

    If Jesus says in Matthew 24:37-42 that he will come at a time as it was in the days of Noah, when people are *eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage* (basically, life as usual). Jesus clearly said this, which means that he is going to come at a time as it was in the days of Noah.

    The entire world will be living life as usual when sudden destruction hits - as it was in the days of Noah. And as it was for Lot around the time he fled Sodom. Life as usual when sudden destruction hits.

    Paul said:

    1 Thess. 5 - The Day of the Lord will come just as a thief in the night. When they say 'peace and security', then sudden destruction hits. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief... For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    So, Paul says the Day of the Lord will come at a time they say "Peace and Security".

    And Jesus says he will come as it was in the days of Noah, which was a time of "peace and security", when people are eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage.

    Peace and security – Paul and Jesus are clearly describing the same event.

    In the end, because Tim Warner does not believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture, he must first discredit the Scripture that shows an Early-Tribulation rapture – as I've shown above, his theory does not hold up under closer scrutiny.

    Tim Warner's site is called LastTrumpet.com. He believes that the rapture will not occur until the 'last trumpet' sound in Revelation; considering that there are numerous trumpets that sound throughout the Bible, at first glance it looks like a credible theory. However, Paul said:

    1 Thess. 5-9 - For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This means that the 'last trumpet' that Paul was talking about has to sound before the time appointed for wrath.

    In other words, the 'last trumpet' sounds, and then wrath occurs. It has to happen this way.

    In the Bible, 'trumpets' are used on numerous occasions. What that means for this topic is that the 'Great Trumpet' in Matthew 24:31 and the 'last trump' (1 Corinth. 15:51) and 'trump of God' (1 Thess. 4:16) cannot be proven to be the same trumpet sounding.

    However, the 'last trump' (1 Corinth. 15:51) and 'trump of God' (1 Thess. 4:16) are the same event and are sounded when the rapture occurs, because they both describe the rapture / ressurection, and this event only happens once in the Bible.

    Notably, the title 'last trump' may not be that important, because Paul calls it the 'trump of God' in 1 Thess. 4:16.

    Claim 1) God protects the church (faithful Christians) during the Great Tribulation.

    Reply: I do believe the 144,000, who are sealed by God and seen on Mt. Zion with Jesus, are protected. Many believe that the 144,000 are a select group of Christians that God uses during the Great Tribulation to evangelize to unbelievers, however the Bible never tells us what the purpose of the 144,000 is. (It only alludes to it.)

    Regarding everyone else, the saints (those who become christians during the tribulation) are not protected by God, because many of them will be imprisoned and / or executed by the Anti-Christ for refusing the mark of the beast and for refusing to worship the beast's image.

    The Book of Revelation is clear on that.

    In addition, God has to shorten the time of Great tribulation for the sake of the elect, or none would survive. (Matthew 24:22)

    There it is right there in front of us. The church is not going to be supernaturally protected by God during the Great Tribulation (because it's not going to be here, it will have been raptured from the earth before the Great Tribulation starts).

    Claim 2) Falling away, man of sin, son of perdition (the Anti-Christ) comes first.

    Paul says:

    2 Thessalonains 2:1-4 - Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

    Well, I believe the apostasy is already here. That just leaves the Anti-christ (son of perdition). So, according to Paul, in 2 Thess. 2, we will not be gathered to Jesus Christ until the Anti-christ is revealed.

    Now, scripture reads that the Anti-christ will reign for 42 months, and he will be an enemy of Mystery Babylon, and will in fact destroy Mystery Babylon. I strongly believe that Mystery Babylon is modern day America. I also believe that the Anti-Christ is already here. In fact Revelation 17 describes the Anti-Christ [the beast] as attacking Mystery Babylon with 'ten horns' (ten foreign nations).

    If that attack happens in the next few months (years, at most) that means the Anti-Christ is already here. He is a world leader controlled by Satan.

    Could it be the President of Iran? Could it be Russian President Vladmir Putin?

    So, my point is that if the apostasy of the church is here (and it is), and the Anti-Christ is here (and he is), then the RAPTURE of the church is the NEXT thing to happen.

    Paul writes in 2 Thess. 2:6 - "And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed."

    Most who teach an Early-Tribulation rapture believe that the restrainer described above is the Holy Spirit, which indwells the body of the church. When the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, the church is removed with it, and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.

    Now, is the man of lawlessness going to appear out of nowhere? Or, will he be a world leader that suddenly takes on a supernatural appearance once the restrainer is out of the way?

    Coincidentally, the President of Iran has been claiming to be in contact with the 'Mahdi' (Muslim Messiah) and he says that the Mahdi is going to destroy Zion (Israel, America) reign for seven years and then bring the end of the world, and impose Islamic rule over the entire world.

    He also says that Jesus is coming with the Mahdi, however Jesus is his 'lieutenant'.

    WND: Iran leader: Islam to 'rule the world'

    WND: Iran prepares people for 'messiah miracles'

    NEWSMAX: The Apocalyptic Vision of Iranian President Ahmadinejad

    BOOKS: AntiChrist - Islam's Awaited Messiah

    Please note that 'seven years' appears to be the length of time of the Great Tribulation in the Bible, which includes the 42 month reign of the Anti-Christ.

    Claim 3) The saints have to be refined during the tribulation.

    Yes, if you become a Christian during the tribulation, you would have to become refined, etc, as God requires of all Christians, including those before the tribulation. I believe that God is currently refining his church, which he will take in an Early-Tribulation rapture.

    Why would a select group of faithful Christians, who have put God and his commandments first in their hearts and minds, and who have already 'refined' themselves and become purified, have to go through the tribulation? The purpose of the tribulation is to bring God's un-repentant people to repentance.

    Please note that God has a history of delivering his people from his wrath. Noah and his family on the Ark; Lot from Sodom.

    Claim 4) We must endure until the end to be saved.

    Why is the Philadelphia church praised for keeping God's command to endure, and being told it will be spared the hour of trial? (also known as 'hour of judgement', 'wrath', 'tribulation', etc.)

    According to Revelation 3:10 , the Philadelphia Church and a number of Christians in the church at Sardis and Smyrna have already endured. They are told specifically that because they have endured, they will be 'kept from the hour of trial which shall come upon the world to test those who dwell on the earth'.

    Claim 5) When Jesus comes He destroys the wicked with the brightness of His coming.

    Yes, this is commonly called the Second Coming of Christ. (Matthew 24:29-)

    However, the 'thief in the night' (Matthew 24:39), which occurs 'as in the days of Noah', which is described clearly as a time before tribulation, is not an event seen in the skies by the world. People who believe in only a post-tribulation rapture IGNORE this scripture, because when you acknowledge this scripture you have to accept that there is an Early-Tribulation rapture - unless Jesus was lying, and Jesus only speaks TRUTH.

    There has to be two raptures - Jesus described two completely seperate events, as well as the TIMING of those events. One is clearly AFTER the tribulation. The other is clearly BEFORE the tribulation.

    Consider that Paul said:

    1 Thessalonians 5:2 - "... The Day of the Lord will come just as a thief in the night. When they say "Peace and security," then sudden destruction comes on them..."

    Notice in 5:2, there's that phrase again, 'thief in the night'.

    When we put 'End Times' events into a chronological order, the Bible says that just as 'sudden destruction' hits, as described in 1 Thess. 5:2, which comes at a time when 'they say peace and security', Christ will come as a thief in the night, which we know from Matthew 24:42-44 is at a time BEFORE the Great Tribulation, AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH when people are eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage...

    Claim 6) The AntiChrist makes war with the saints during the tribulation.

    These are the Christians who become faithful Christians during the tribulation, described as a 'great multitude'.

    Claim 7) The wicked are 'taken', the faithful are 'left'

    Matthew 24:39 - "So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be: Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and one left. Therefore be alert, since you don't know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

    Some say that the wicked are 'taken' and the faithful are left, and the 'thief in the night' is warning you to be on the alert so that you are not taken. They then say that this does not sound like a rapture to take away righteous Christians. It sounds like judgment to take away sinners.

    Reply 1: Unbelievers, who wake up one morning to find some of their friends and loved ones missing, are going to feel as though something was 'taken' from them. I believe that's what a 'thief in the night' represents.

    Reply 2: Faithful Christians are destined for God's kingdom in Heaven (that is clear in John 14:1-3). They will not be left behind on earth, especially when the earth is about to be devastated by wars, natural disasters, and the Anti-Christ during the Great Tribulation, as well as the final battle of Armageddon after the 'elect' are gathered from the earth in Matthew 24:29-31.

    In addition: Regarding Matthew 24:37-42, please realize that the claim that the wicked are 'taken' and the righteous are 'left' cannot be true. We know that at the Second Coming of Christ, when his angels gather the elect (faithful Christians, who Early-Tribbers call the 'tribulation saints') *they are taken to heaven*. Only unbelievers are left on earth at this point, and all are destroyed; the battle of Armageddon occurs and Christ destroys the last two great armies.

    How can the righteous be left on earth, when it is made perfectly clear that after the elect are removed (Matthew 24:29-31) only the unbelievers who are destined for destruction (which includes the last two great armies at the battle of Armageddon) are left for the final seven bowl judgements (Revelation)?

    Claim 8) No secret 'thief in the night' Early-Tribulation rapture

    Those who believe there is no 'secret' rapture cite the following:

    For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    Reply: Those who claim there is no secret rapture believe the entire world will witness this event because the Lord is said to 'descend from heaven with a shout' and with the 'trump of God'.

    Why can't this be a secret 'thief in the night' Early-Tribulation rapture?

    What if only those written in the book of life hear the 'trump of God'? In that case, no one else would hear it – only the faithful believers, and the dead in Christ. In the end, the passage above DOES NOT disprove an Early-Tribulation rapture.

    Now, I also don't believe this will be a secret event, because many unbelievers are going to realize immediately that faithful Christians are missing. As described in Revelation 10 it will be both 'sweet' (for those raptured) and 'sour' (for those left behind).

    Claim 9) "But every man in his order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, they that are Christ's at his coming."

    Reply: In 1 Corinthians 15:34 the topic appears to be solely the resurrection. Looking from 1 Corinth. 15:12-29 there is no talk of the rapture. I believe that many have implied that 15:23 is about the rapture, but that does not appear to be the case, when the rest of the discussion has been solely the resurrection.

    When Paul discusses rapture in 1 Thess. 4:17, he says "Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together." However when he discusses resurrection, note that he says, "They that are Christ's at his Coming."

    So, my opinion on 1 Corinthians 15:34 is that it is not a good verse to use to prove or disprove the timing of the rapture as it doesn't appear to apply to the rapture, but to the resurrection.

    Claim 10) Colossians 3:4 - When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

    This does not prove or disprove the timing of the rapture.

    Claim 11) - God must establish us as blameless

    1 Thessalonians 3:13 - To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints [NIV version reads holy ones, which could be angels) .

    Now, saints in the above passage must stand for angels.

    My point is: Jesus Christ cannot arrive with his saints, unless his saints are already with him. If these are in fact angels, this does not prove or disprove the timing of the rapture. If he comes with his saints, how can he come with his saints unless they were first raptured?

    Now, regarding God establishing us as blameless, please see: Claim 16 (scroll down).

    Claim 12) Tares of the Field

    Jesus said: Matthew 13:36-43 (KJV) 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; (= this age) and the reapers are the angels. (1st) 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (2nd) 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    Reply: Please note the last line... "The kingdom of their father." Wouldn't that be God's kingdom in heaven? Yes. Ultimately, this passage does not prove or disprove the timing of the rapture.

    Claim 13) Psalms and Proverbs prove there is no rapture

    Proverbs 10:30 - "The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth."

    Reply: A handful of passages from Psalms and Proverbs state something very similar as this passage. However, please note that this is said in the Old Testament, before the mystery of God was revealed to Paul in his revelation (Ephesians 3:2). Please note that passages in Psalms and Proverbs also contradict what Jesus said in Matthew 24, when believers are clearly removed from the earth at during TWO different events. So, while Proverbs and Psalms may have been true in the Old Testament, God clearly set things straight in the New Testament.

    Claim 14) Revelation 3:10 does not prove an Early-Tribulation rapture

    Those who don't believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture, state that Rev. 3:10 (letter to the Philadelphia Church) means that God will keep us from the hour of temptation. Ok, what does Rev. 3:10 say and what is the context:

    Rev. 3:8-11 - I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars – I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

    Reply: In no way does God say that he is keeping the Philadelphia Church from an 'hour of temptation'. In fact, he's praising the Philadelphia Church for keeping itself from temptation, and faithfully 'enduring' to God's Commandments. Rev. 3:10 clearly says that an 'hour of trial' is going to come on the whole world, and Rev. 14:6 calls this the 'hour of judgement' and then describes the conditions known as the Great Tribulation.

    Claim 15) Jesus will arrive with the clouds, and every eye shall see him

    Rev 1:7-9 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be!

    Reply: You've just described the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, which Jesus himself described:

    Matthew 24:29-31 - "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

    This famous event where the elect are gathered from across the earth, is the post-tribulation rapture. This does not disprove an Early-Tribulation rapture, when Jesus comes for his 'church' (not the 'elect') in Matthew 24:36-42, which is clearly described as a time prior to ANY tribulation. Jesus said:

    Matthew 24:37-42 - As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were EATING and DRINKING, MARRYING and GIVING IN MARRIAGE, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and THEY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."

    In Matthew 24:42-44 we're told to keep watch, and be on the alert because Jesus is coming as a 'thief in the night'. However, in Matthew 24:29-31, we do not need to be alert or keep watch because the entire world will see Jesus coming on the clouds of the sky, with 'power and great glory'.

    Verdict: Two different events. Two different raptures. Matthew 24:37-42 describes an Early-Tribulation rapture perfectly when Christ comes for his 'church', as Paul talks about here:

    Ephesians 5:22-32 describes Christ being united with his church, and his church being presented 'to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.'

  • The 'elect' are going to be gathered from the earth AFTER the blood bath and devestation of the Great Tribulation.

  • The 'church', holy and blameless and radiant, will be removed from the earth PRIOR to the Great Tribulation.

    Claim 16

    Revelation 1:9 - I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering [tribulation] and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Reply: Just living everyday life many Christians have suffered trials and tribulations and will continue to suffer those. Regarding trials and tribulations, Paul says that the "goal of our instruction is love". God puts his Christians through trials and tribulations in order to purify them, and bring them to holiness. That has been going on since the time of Jesus. This does not disprove an Early-Tribulation rapture. Consider:

    1 Peter 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine, and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

    What is the purpose of God putting faithful Christians through trials and tribulations? It's so that we will grow in love, obedience, and holiness, and OVERCOME SIN.

    Revelation 2: 7 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

    First Fruits of Christ

    He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we [the Church] might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (James 1:18).

    1 Corinthians 15:20 - But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; at His coming, the people of Christ.

    Romans 8:23 And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits – we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

    Those who don't believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture believe that 1 Corinthians 15:20 (above) sets the order for believers being brought up to be with Christ. Jesus is described as the firstfruits; but as you read in Romans 8:23 if you have the Holy Spirit, according to Paul you are part of the firstfruits also.

    If you look at all the Scripture, it appears to say that the church (which is indwelt by the Holy Spirit) is the firstfruits of Christ; this definitely alludes to an Early-Tribulation rapture. It doesn't prove it. It only gives more credibility in favor of it.

    'Mystery' of the Church

    2 Corinthians 11:2 - I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

    Ephesians 5:22-32 - Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    Look at the word underlined above: MYSTERY.

    Note that it is talking about Christ and the church. Ok, so what's the MYSTERY?

    Now read:

    1 Corinthians 15:50-52 - I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

    Ephesians 3:2 - Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

    I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord...

    So, what is the mystery that Paul talks of when (in 1 Corinthians 15:50-52) specifically describing the rapture of the church? What is the 'mystery' that was given to Paul by the Spirit as a revelation in Ephesians 3:2? The 'mystery' has something to do with Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31).

    In fact, the entire passage in Ephesians 5:22-32 describes Christ being united with his church, and his church being presented 'to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.'

    Revelation 10:2-7 - He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."

    Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

    Christians in Heaven and Jesus Millenial Kingdom on Earth

    Fundamentalist Christians, meaning those who interpret the Bible *literally*, believe that the final future plan for mankind (according to the Bible) is that Christians will live in Heaven and others will live on Earth, as clearly described in the last chapters of Revelation.

    That is why the majority of fundamentalist Christians believe in an Early-Tribulation rapture.

    Please refer to Matthew 24:40, which says, "One will be taken, and one left".

    There are those who say that the wicked are taken, and the righteous are left, but there is a major problem with that:

    If the wicked are taken, then who is caught up in the clouds to be with the Lord forever, as described in I Thess. 4:15-17?

    In closing, I would just like to point out that if believers are caught up to be with the Lord in the clouds forever, that Matthew 24:42 then means that those who are "taken" are the faithful and those who are "left" are the unbelievers.

    With that in mind, what Jesus said in 24:37-44 now proves that there is an Early-Tribulation rapture.

    How does it prove an Early-Tribulation rapture?

    Jesus said that his coming will be unexpected, and will be like a thief in the night. As in the days of Noah, people will be drinking, eating, marrying, and giving in marriage.

    Let me ask you this: Do you believe people will be drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage at the end of the Great Tribulation? Highly unlikely, considering that God has to shorten the days for the elects's sake, or none would be left alive.

    Now, who are the 'elect'? Well, those are the Christians described in Matthew 24:29-31.

    But 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 the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a Great Trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

    The 'elect' are the Christians taken to God's kingdom (raptured) AFTER the tribulation, as clearly described above.

    Important Facts about Matthew 24:29-31

    - The 'elect' are taken to God's kingdom after the tribulation.

    - The 'elect' are faithful Christians who, along with the rest of the world at the end of the Great Tribulation, will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds

    - God shortens the tribulation for the sake of the elect, or none would be left.

    ...those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now--and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them." (Mark 13:14-20)

    So, after the Great Tribulation on earth, and devastating wars (surely nuclear) devastating natural disasters, and the 42 month reign of the Anti-Christ, do you think people will be getting married, giving in marriage, and going to work as described clearly in Matthew 24:37-42 when Jesus says that 'one will be taken, and one left'?

    Consequently, everything Jesus said in Matthew 24 does not make sense (CANNOT BE TRUE) unless there's an Early-Tribulation rapture.

    Please read Luke 21:33-36, Revelation 3:3, and Revelation 3:10. These are additional passages in the Bible that do not make sense without an Early-Tribulation rapture. There has to be an Early-Tribulation rapture for these verses to mean what they say.

    Specifically Luke 21:33-36. This verse is absolutely meaningless without an Early-Tribulation rapture.

    Luke 21:33-36 - Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

    Now, I keep telling people Luke 21:36 refers to an Early-Tribulation rapture, however those with 'modern' Bibles don't always agree, because they say that it reads 'pray that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place'

    However, let's look at the King James Version of Luke 21:36:

    Luke 21:36 KJV - "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

    Being 'accounted worthy' would reflect the clear demands to repent of all sin, profess full love and faith in God, and purify themselves that God makes on all Christians in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.

    In Revelation 3:10 he then praises the entire Philadelphia Church for accomplishing this, and promises to spare them from 'the hour of trial that is going to come over the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth'.

    (Please note that his promise is also made to a select number of believers at the Sardis and Smyrna churches.)

    Why is the Resurrection 'Missing' from Revelation

    Now I want to address that the resurrection (that occurs at the same time as the rapture) is not mentioned anywhere in Revelation.

    Daniel 12:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18: 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 all state the same thing: The resurrection and rapture occur at the same time.

    So, if the dead in Christ from all ages past are caught up into the clouds at the same time as the rapture, why is there so much focus (in Revelation) on what happens to those who die during the Great Tribulation (and no mention of the dead in Christ from all ages past)?

    Let's look at Revelation:

    Rev. 14:11-13 - There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

    Ok, so this verse identifies faithful Christians who die during the tribulation (called 'saints').

    Now, here's a detailed account of what happens to 'saints' who don't just die, but are actually beheaded during the tribulation:

    Revelation 20:4-5 - I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.


    So, in an event called the 'first resurrection', those who are beheaded will come to life and are apparently awarded by being made priests of God and reigning with Christ for a thousand years (in other words, these Christians are on Earth for Christ's Millenial Kingdom)


    Now, if you look at the text in blue, everyone else who dies during the tribulation will not come to life until the thousand years are up.


    So, in Rev.20:4-5, why aren't the dead in Christ from all ages past mentioned? Because the 'first resurrection' (as described above) only applies to those who will live on Earth for the Millenial Kingdom.

    The Bible identifies two "first resurrections" -

    One applies to a group who die during the Great Tribulation who will live on Earth for the Millenial kingdom (Rev. 20:4-5)

    The other applies to the dead in Christ from all ages who are caught up in the clouds at the same time as those alive - they are in the first (and only) resurrection to go to Heaven, as described in Daniel 12, 1 Corinthians 15:50-51, and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.

    So, why are they in seperate Resurrections? It appears that the dead in Christ from all ages past must have been resurrected BEFORE the Great Tribulation

    If that's the case, that's a *strong indicator* that there is an Early-Tribulation rapture, because the resurrection of the dead in Christ (those who died BEFORE the Great Tribulation) are not mentioned in Revelation.


    So, two different groups.

    A resurrection of those who died *during* the Great Tribulation (they are brought to life on earth) and a resurrection of those who died *before* the Great Tribulation (they are brought to life in Heaven).



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