Rapture (Part three)

One of the most common rebuttals to the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is that it originated with John Nelson Darby.  I will readily agree that any doctrine that begins with any man ought to be refuted and rejected.  If it truly were a product of Darby’s imagination, it would be foolish for anyone to follow it.  The reality however is that the whole concept of a Rapture of the saved prior to the Tribulation period is rooted, suited and fruited in the scriptures of the New Testament. 

There is an outlined timeline within the scriptures that make this truth very plain.  Yet before I get there, there are a few other things that we can look at that by their very nature, and sound spiritual thinking, leave us with no other viable option than the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  It is those things that I want to deal with in this post. 

Three natural reasons from scripture that the Rapture will occur prior to the Tribulation Period:

1.) The Doctrine of Imminency.  2.) The Days of Normalcy.  3.) The Declared Unexpectancy.

1 – THE DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCY

      Some time ago I quoted on another forum one of the most comforting scriptures in all of the Bible for the believer, which is the comfort of the ever present possibility of Christ’s call for us to meet Him in the air.  At the close of 1 Thessalonians 4, after Paul had explained the rapture, he said for us to “comfort one another with these words.”  A brother of a different stripe rebuked me saying, “If the comfort Paul meant to give the Thessalonians was the rapture, then he was a miserable comforter, because the rapture didn’t come in their day. They lived out their lives suffering tribulation for the cause of Christ.”  This brother, and others like him, fail to realize one thing.  It is not merely the Rapture that offers comfort, but it is in the “expectancy” of the Rapture that comfort is found.

What do I mean when I speak of the Doctrine of Imminency of Christ’s return?  The simplest way that I can say it is this:  The Rapture of the Saved is an Ever Present Possibility.  There is nothing in God’s Word that keeps Him from calling His children to meet Jesus Christ in the air.  At any second, in any moment, of any day, the Rapture can occur.

As stated earlier, the New Testament is rich with warnings that the possibility exists that Christ could call us up at any time. 

Jesus said in Matthew 24:42 – “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

He reiterated again in Matthew 25:13 – “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

Mark 13:35-37 – “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”

Not only did Jesus press upon those in the distant future the ever present possibility of His return, but also upon those in His immediate presence.  Even they were to be  in a state of anticipation that He might be calling for them at any time in their life.  James told us that the coming of the Lord is always near, Peter told us the last things are “at hand;” and John the Revelator explained also that the time is at hand.

Now it stands to reason that if Christ could not come at any moment, then the entire premise behind the motive and commands to be always watching, always anticipating, is really nothing more than a fictitious lie made up by the Lord to get us to pay attention under false pretenses.  If in fact that the “Rapture” does not occur until the after the tribulation period, one must first wait for Anti-Christ, The Great Tribulation, and the Battle of Armageddon.  No anticipation, no hope, and no comfort. 

The problem is that the scriptures do not bear that out.  They encourage hope, they encourage us to take comfort in the ever present possibility of His calling out the saved. There is an urgency in the tone, and a fervency in the message that we are to be living our Christian lives in great anticipation of thought that Christ could rapture us in any second of the day.

2. – THE DAYS OF NORMALCY

   To me one of the most overlooked, and underdiscussed portions of this debate is the one pertaining to the “Days of Noe” description of this event.  In Matthew 24; the disciples asked Jesus two questions:  When Shall These things Be.  What Shall be the Sign of Thy Coming  and of the end of the age”.  Two distinct questions, and Jesus gave two distinct answers.  Here we are going to deal with the second one.    But first . . . 

We find that verses 4-thru 31 is Christ’s answer to question number 1 of when shall these things be.  From verses 4-31 Christ gives an overviewed timeline of the conditions of that time that will constitute the “last things.”  He does not mention anything in answer 1 about a “rapture”.  He goes from the beginning of sorrows, into the tribulation period, into the second coming, and the glorious victory, and the gathering of the elect.    Period.  End of Answer.  Between verse 31 and verse 32, there is a “Now learn a parable.” – Christ now proceeds to answer the second question.  What shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the age. 

In the answer to the second question, we find Christ’s revelation of the rapture.  Now there a couple of things here to address.

   First of all, many theologians reject this as being a rapture passage, because of the reference to Noah.  It is asserted by some that this is not a “rapture” but rather a “judgment.”  In their way of thinking, just as the Water of Noah took the wicked to judgment, this taking away is also a taking of the wicked to judgment.  Let me say a few things about that here.

     1. – There is no other event in the prophecies of the scripture that describe anywhere,  that wicked people are merely snatched away in judgment, and the righteous are left behind.  There is nothing within eschatology along that line of thought that this can be referring to.

     2. – Second of all.  The Rapture IS a judgment.  It is where the Judgment seat of Christ will take place.  Rather than the evil “snatched away” in judgment, it will be the righteous taken before Christ. 

     3. – This is a sign to all mankind of the coming of the end.  The sign can only be to those left behind, not to those who are gone.  Those who are righteous will not need a sign for the end, only those who are unrighteous.

Now all of that being said, here is what I want to point out above all of that.  Do you notice how Jesus describes society during the time of this event?  Completely normal.  Eating, marrying, giving in marriage, are pictures of a society that is cool, calm, and collected, just as they were in the days of Noah.  Dear friend if you put the Rapture at the close of the tribulation period, this description of society will not stand.  At the end of the tribulation period life will be duck and cover, survival of the fittest, and every man for himself.  The Bible tells us that men will be losing their lives for fear their hearts failing them.  Men will be hiding in holes and looking for protection.  The rest of the scriptures pictures of society during the end of time is one of a complete chaotic meltdown. 

I believe that clearly because of the Normalcy of Life that Jesus described surrounding the rapture we must recognize that it cannot be during the closing days of the tribulation period.

I will address the declaration of unexpectancy next time, and then we’ll deal with the revealed timeline in a little more detail.  Until then, dear friends thank you for the emails that I have been receiving, and God Bless you.  Jesus is the only Change Worth Making.

Advertisements

7 comments on “Rapture (Part three)

  1. Sister C says:

    [Quote: I believe that clearly because of the Normalcy of Life that Jesus described surrounding the rapture we must recognize that it cannot be during the closing days of the tribulation period. end Quote]

    Amen! Considering how quickly our world is spinning away from normalcy, I believe we are very close to seeing our redemption. Maranatha!

  2. benny balerio says:

    I agree,..the Lord even went one step further in making sure that one got the picture that He intended by stating that two women would be grinding at the mill,…one taken, the other left behind,..the point is they were both doing something in a normal setting,..they were working,..and as you point out that just before the very end of Daniels 70th week,..it’s all duck and cover.
    this picture presented is backed up by two more pictures as to a recognizable setting in a time of peace, in which I believe will be a false peace.
    One other being 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5.
    1 Thessalonians 4;16-17..the rapture of the Bride,..and that 1 Thessalonians 5 they will say peace and safety and sudden destruction will come upon …”THEM”….and …”THEY” shall not escape………I do not see anything there that states …”US” or “BRIDE”

    And last but not least,..Ezekiel 38;11-14…It was when Israel believed that she was dwelling in peace and safety,..that sudden destruction prevailed.
    I believe that the rapture will occur just moments before Ezekiel 38,..and I believe that Ezekiel 38;18-20 are the beginning of the wrath of God.
    This invasion you will see in Joel chapter 2(Consider the History of Israel before and after her birth, and Russia’s geographical description.
    I believe that the coming war of Isaiah 17;1/Psalms 83 will result in a false peace.I do not know how long it will take for this false peace to take effect, and when in that general time that He will take us home,…only that we will understand the general time era, and nothing more.The sign post’s will be extremely strong in those days.

    The ancient Jewish wedding has it that the Bride is in the bridal chamber for 7 days,…and it is believed by most that the 7 days represents 7 years,…..IF,…The ancient Jewish wedding is really a shadow type of the rapture,..then the event of the rapture must be extremely near but before the Beginning of Daniels 70th week.

    God Bless to you all.

  3. 2 The days of Normalcy

    You point out the questions that the disciples asked. “When shall these things be?” It is true that you focus on the second question, however the first cannot be ignored. If it is, then the entire chapter is assumed to be answering the second question rather than addressing the first. As you do. The first question is the context and bases of the entire conversation. The conversation surrounds the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:1,2). Jesus is stating that it would be destroyed and not one stone be left upon another. We know this to be ancient history. It is important to understand history, otherwise the norm is to view Scriptural prophesy as futuristic without understanding what has already occurred.

    In 67-70 AD the Roman Titus had a 3 and a half year conquest that decimated Jerusalem. At this time the Romans entered the Temple where it was an abomination for a gentile to enter. The temple was set on fire and the fire was so great that the gold melted between the stones causing it to melt between they stones. These stones were removed to recapture the gold. This fulfilled Jesus prophesy in Matthew 24:1,2, also fulfilling Daniel 9:27. The question the disciples posed was concerning this time… “When will these things be?” The Jews understood that the nature of abomination that it was for the gentiles to enter into the inner courts of the temple… “Let the reader understand…” Jesus spends the first part of the chapter answering the first question, this continues through vs. 24.

    Many assume that the worst case scenario for Israel will be futuristic (Matt 24:21). However, history and Scripture show us that the worse time in Israel’s history has already taken place. The future is much brighter than her past. Jerusalem will be occupied by Jews when the Messiah returns (Zech 12:4). They will NOT be scattered to the ends of the Earth as this has already happened as prophesied by the time of Jacob’s trouble…. Jer. 30, 31.

    1 the doctrine of immanency

    First concerning comfort addressed in 1 Thess. 4:18. The comfort that is spoken of by Paul is commonly taken out of context and placed in the idea of rapture. The entire reason for comfort that Paul was addressing was concerning the issue of the resurrection of the dead. If you you actually read the entire chapter you understand that this is the ISSUE that is being addressed. Today we understand this concept of resurrection of the dead, however, in Paul’s day there was much confusion over this because many of the religious teachers of the day taught against it. You will find that this is the SAME exact issue that Paul was teaching in Cor. 15. Thus the understanding that the dead in Christ will rise first. The comfort that is being referred to here is the dead going to heaven, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Apparently many do not understand this, because Paul instructs the bride on how to get ready in the previous chapter (1 Thess. 3:12,13). The bride is told how to get ready on Earth for when Jesus comes with all of the saints who have died and risen first. The bride gets ready on Earth… and wears white clothes which are the righteous acts of the saints. Righteous acts are only preformed on Earth… preparation can only take place on Earth.

    The scripture references pertaining to immanency…ALWAYS refer to the second coming. If you are separating the rapture event from the second coming. You will find that the scriptures referring to the imminent return ALWAYS refer to the timing of the second coming. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matt. 24:36). What day is the reference??? the second coming described just in the previous verses that happens, “immediately after the tribulation…” (Matt. 24:29).

    Concerning a thief in the night passages that you reference… Matt. 24:41,42, Mark 13:35-37 and you give them the timing of the rapture… The Scripture does not give them this timing UNLESS the rapture and the second coming are indeed one in the same. 2 Peter 3:10, and Rev. 16:15 tells us exactly what happens at this reference of the timing of a thief in the night. It’s all about the second coming. You cannot have two different events of a thief in the night… One declares the other. If a former event such as a rapture seven years prior to the second coming were to occur then it would make Jesus into a liar on the nature in which He declares how he is coming… “like a thief…” 2 Peter 3:10, Rev. 16:15, Matt. 24:41,42…” the goodman of the house would know at what hour to keep watch…”

    • Bold and Courageous,

      Brother, I appreciate your time and consideration of reading the article, as well as your thoughts. However the claim that scripture references to immanency ALWAYS refer to the second coming, is simply not the case. Textually, and contextually,that simply isn’t so. The timing of the second coming is plainly revealed in scripture – 7 years after the tribulation. That is a known time, explained and revealed. However, our “taking up” to meet Him in the clouds is the matter of the “hour no man knows.” We can discuss this for a long time, and debate it till we’re with the Lord in the air. Thank you for visiting the blog, and we’ll be all straightened out when we’re together with Jesus.

      • That’s great… that you say textually and contextually that the scripture show differently… please reference and show the context. Or is this just a case of it says it, just because I say so?… who cares what God is saying! I want for you to be correct. However, what I want has no bearing on the truth. If we do not love the truth, God Himself sends a deception…2 Thess.2:9-12. Your claim is false, therefore it doesn’t surprise me that you fail to reference your claim.

        You are teaching a doctrine of devils. It is based in it’s entirety upon assumptions. It is sad that so may cannot differentiate between assumptions of man and truth. All these assumptions of man can be proven false by the truth in the Word of God. It is not a matter of opinion! Peter addresses this in 2 Peter 3:16. It’s a matter of the truth of the Word of God. There is not any scripture that teaches that the rapture will happen 7 years prior to the second coming. This conjecture is based entirely upon man’s manipulation of the Word of God. I would love to see just ONE scripture that actually supports the pre-trib doctrine. Unfortunately, it does not exist!

        The reason you don’t reference the Word is because It will prove you wrong! Of course, I’m sure you can offer a good teaching of man… though. That’s what your response to me is! It’s a cop-out. A teaching of man…. “Let no man deceive you…” Man has deceived YOU. The pre-trib doctrine is ALWAYS taught by man. Man loves their teaching rather than the Word of God… it is a matter of pride. Loving the truth, requires knowing that it may not be what you want to hear, but believing God is good anyways.

        Those who believe the pretrib doctrine, actually love the lie, and not truth. Otherwise they would they would be a Berean and seek the matter out. If they make the switch to loving to truth, they pretrib doctrine of devils is short lived for them. In the mean time any opposition will be filled with excuses for not seeking out the truth. After all people who don’t agree with them only want to argue…Right? Believing a more rosier doctrine or story has always been the trademark of the false.

      • Brother,

        The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle, apt to teach . . . right now you’re exhibiting none of those things. Your disagreeing opinion about Biblical interpretation is one thing… loving rebuke is one thing . . . your accusatory tone is another. As I said, we can debate this issue from now until we are with the Lord, but not in derogatory tones. Everything you assert is primarily because “you say so.” We obviously see the scriptures differently and so there is no point in quoting them back and forth to each other. I do believe you’re saved and love the Lord . . . and we will gladly sit at Jesus feet in glory and listen to Him explain all things.

  4. Everyone thinks their view is correct, but how can you really tell, and how important is it really?

    Both Jesus and Paul tell us to be careful that no man deceive you concerning this issue… Matt. 24:4, 2 Thess. 2:3. Peter tells us that those who don’t get it correct, “..twist the scriptures as the always do…” 2 Pet. 3:16. So obviously the warning stipulates that there is a lot of deception and twisting of the Word.

    If you are interested in the truth, you must be willing to set aside all opinion, assumption, conjecture and speculation. If you can do this the truth will become available to you. This is not an easy task, especially if you have studied a lot of man’s opinion, and therefore see through those lenses. If you, however, are new to the study, let the Bible be your guide. Otherwise, you must be able to set aside all the movies, lectures, and ideas that may have bombarded you with man’s opinion over the years.

    One certain way to understand that the Word of God has been tampered with is that certain ideas or doctrines create loose ends that must be tied up and therefore must be explained only by man. Like a child who has told a lie and must tell others to cover for the first on. These ideas create sub-doctrines that cannot be substantiated by the Word and must be explained by someone in order to be understood. You will not be able to find any explanation from the Word, because they are super-scriptural, and therefore added to the Word. For the truth to be found the idea must flow with the whole of Scripture and all “loose end” must be dealt with by Scripture, leaving no room for man to interfere.

    Here is an example of a loose end or sub-doctrine: The pre-tribulation rapture view tells us that the bride is raptured seven years prior to the second coming. That is the initial idea. However it creates many loose ends that must be explained and must be addressed solely by man. One loose end is the sub-doctrine of the tribulation saints. The tribulation saint cannot be the bride, because the bride is in heaven (according to the view). This causes many problems with the whole of Scripture; “we are one body in Christ Jesus”, the promises that apply to the bride, don’t apply to the tribulation saints, etc. How can the saints be one body as a bride, and another as separate from the bride, and remain one body? Man’s explanation of this view, tells us that the tribulation saints must become eternal heavenly servants of the bride. This in effect makes the tribulation saints greater than the bride, because, “He who wishes to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven must become a servant of all.” If that is the case, it would be more desirable to be a tribulation saint than a member of the bride. There are a lot of other complications that this the concept of tribulation saints bring, and those who carry this particular view cannot agree exactly on how this all plays out. Here in lies the problem. It is super-scriptural in nature. Not explained by the Word and therefore the end result must be conjured to make sense of it all. As a result there will be many views concerning the sub-doctrines. This is a loose end that creates a sub-doctrine that is derived and conjured by man. Be careful that no man deceive you! This sub-doctrine is a secondary lie to cover the initial.

    Another issue is a doctrine changing the Word of God to be able to accommodate their view. Peter addresses this… 2 Peter 3:16. In order for the doctrine to be received it must be taught to those with a shallow understanding of the Word.

    Here is an example of this: Luke 21:36 tells us to pray always that we may be counted worthy to escape all that is coming upon the earth… The pre-tribulation view tells us that the word “escape” in this passage refers to the rapture. Okay if that is the case, what does this concept do with the rest of the verse? “…Pray always that you may be counted worthy…” Most have the understanding that the prerequisite to being raptured is being saved. We are saved by grace and not by works or being worthy… Eph 2:8,9. However, for the word “escape” to be the rapture, we must be raptured by our worthiness and pray always accordingly. So now we are told that only some Christians will be raptured because not all are worthy, although saved. To continue this thinking, they would also loose any bride status in order to become tribulation saints. Perhaps even having to have to face martyrdom to earn their way into heaven because Christ died for the bride, and not for them. This verse creates division among those who hold the view. Some believe there is no division of those who are saved that get raptured at the rapture and some do. Overall the understanding of salvation equating those “assigned for rapture” must be severed, otherwise we would have to be saved by works, contrary to the Word. Jesus told us the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt. 25. The five foolish were not only told, “depart from me, I never knew you,” but “go to hell” as well. What they were not told is that they would get a second chance as a tribulation saint. As you can see the Word gets changed (twisted as Peter states) to accommodate the view.

    You must ask yourself, is your own desires clouding your view? Often I get asked, “Why would you want to go through the great tribulation?” As if what I want as anything to do with God’s plan. The obvious conclusion to those who ask this question is that their personal desires have clouded their perception of the truth. Is it foolish to walk directly in the direction of persecution? Peter rebuked Jesus for walking into His crucifixion. Jesus in turn stated, “Get thee behind me Satan.” Today the church spends much of their time running from taking up their cross.

    If Peter tells us that those who do not get it right concerning the view of eschatology (end times), “twist the scripture as they always do.” The “as they always do” is huge. That means that your perceptions of truth concerning your “end time” beliefs exemplifies your perception of the Scriptures as a whole. This puts great importance upon the study of eschatology. We must be lovers of the truth, if not God Himself will send a delusion upon us as stated in 2 Thess. 2 at the end of chapter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s