All of us would like to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the saints. After all who wants to suffer?
The words pre-tribulation and rapture do not appear in any English Bibles that I know of. So where did the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture come from?
I intend to show, in this short article, the fallacy of a pre-tribulation rapture by discovering in Godís Word what it says about the timing of the event most people call the rapture.
One of the most commonly quoted verses supporting a rapture is
1 Thessalonians 4. However there is no apparent indication of timing.
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 together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.(1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 NKJV throughout unless noted)
Another commonly quoted verse is in 1 Corinthians 15.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changedóó in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.(1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Again nothing apparent pointing to a time when this occurs. However we will find something in these two verses which do hint to the timing.
Letís first start with 1 Thessalonians.
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.(1 Thessalonians 4:16)
Note the end of the verse, "And the dead in Christ (Messiah) will rise first" What would you call this event, where the dead are being made alive all around you? I would call it a resurrection. But what resurrection? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:52 that the dead will be raised incorruptible. Verse 54 says that the incorruptible are immortal. This event is something which changes the dead being raised into immortal beings.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.(Revelation 20:4-5 emphasis added) This event in Revelation is called the First resurrection. Obviously the event in 1 Thessalonians 4 cannot precede the first resurrection.
So we have the timing of 1 Thessalonians at the same time as when Messiah returns to the earth to rule for 1000 years.
Now if you are a skeptic you may say, "Canít Messiah come early, before He returns to rapture the saints away, then return again to rule?" Perhaps, but we still have more to consider. Look at I Corinthians 15.
Ö.in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.(1 Corinthians 15:52)
Here we have a very good clue as to when this will happen. Notice the part that says "at the last trumpet". If we can find a description somewhere of when the last trumpet sounds we can then put some timing to this event. Turn to the Revelation 8:6.
So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.(Revelation 8:6)
Looks like we have seven angels with seven trumpets. I wonder which one would be the last trumpet?
Letís see what events happen as these trumpets sound.
The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.(Revelation 8:7)
Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.(Revelation 8:8)
Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.(Revelation 8:10)
Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"(Revelation 8:12-13)
The fifth angel is found in [Revelation 9:1-6] . Notice verse 4; the creatures did not have the power to hurt those with the seal of God on their foreheads. Could this be the answer to Revelation 3:10 (which is often quoted in support of the pre-tribulation theory)?
"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. (Revelation 3:10)
Notice those who had the seal of God on their forehead are on earth during the trumpet plagues.
The sixth angel [Revelation 9:13-21] describes one third of the earthís population being destroyed. This event describes the release of the commonly known term "4 horsemen of the apocalypse".
The seventh angel sounding the seventh trumpet (last trumpet) involves or precedes many events which, for the sake of brevity, will not be described here. Read these events from Revelation 10:1 - 20:6. The latter describes the first resurrection. A lot happens in the preceding verses and all is not clear as to when the 7th trumpet is actually sounded. However, notice Revelation 10:7
but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.(Revelation 10:7)
When the last trumpet was about to sound the mystery of God would be finished as He had declared to His servants.
What mystery is he talking about?
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed(1 Corinthians 15:51)
The Mystery spoken of in Revelation 10:7 is revealed by the prophet Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:51; those saints who are still alive after the previous 6 trumpets will be changed in a moment into spirit immortal beings. Praise God!
Further proof lies in Revelation 12.
Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.(Revelation 12:6)
The woman has always been known to be the church.
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.(Revelation 12:14)
This shows that Godís followers are still on the earth during the tribulation.
Hopefully you have seen the proof in the Bible about the timing of the first resurrection and the change of those who are still alive. This is very sobering. Only by trusting in God, by staying in His Word, can we be sealed. Those sealed are protected from the severe part of the tribulation; not raptured away while others suffer.
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