Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to Basics: What is the Rapture?

In this Back to Basics series, I strive to ask and answer common questions of a more basic nature, rather than do what I normally do, which is to study the nuances of scripture in light of current events. I do the latter because we seem to be very far along on God's timeline in advancing toward the end of the Church Age, and I want bible believing Christians to be aware of the fact of the Church Age's end, and to be aware of their responsibilities in light of this end. However, because we are so close to the end of the Church Age, that means when we are raptured, billions will be left behind, and a few of those will turn to Christian websites looking for answers. These people will not care about the nuances of prophecy, because a great deal of it will have already come to pass and as for the rest, they will need catching up on, FAST. It is these people for whom I write the Back to Basics series.

The rapture is not mentioned explicitly in much of the bible, though it is hinted at throughout, such as this from Isaiah 26:19: "But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." The most explicit verses are in:

--1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

--1 Corinthians 15:20-23, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.”

--1 Cor. 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

The rapture will be a supernatural event taking place at a date and time no one knows. The 1 Thessalonians verse mentions a trumpet and a shout, but these noises will not be heard by those who are not being called. For these, they will simply be going about their day, perhaps talking directly to a bible-believing Christian, and the believer will simply go 'poof' and disappear.

That is the rapture. What the rapture is NOT is Jesus's Second Coming. In that supernatural event which takes place at the end of the Tribulation (7-year period of judgment on earth), He will physically arrive on earth at the end of the Tribulation to finish the transgression and put an end to sin Himself. In the rapture, Jesus comes to meet us in the air, He does not touch down to earth. He isn't seen by all, only the believers who are dead and alive.

Where did we go? We were called to heaven by Jesus to be sequestered during the coming Tribulation, another supernatural time in which earth dwellers will experience hell on earth as judgment for their sins. (Isaiah 26:20, Daniel 9:24, John 14:3).

Why did we go? We were called by Jesus to the place He has been preparing for us (John 14:3). We get to go there because of our of belief in the Gospel (that Jesus came to earth to live a sinless life, die on the cross as the sacrificial lamb taking the penalty for our sins, and was resurrected on the third day proving He is God). He has rewarded us for this faith by removing us out of harm's way before the judgments on sinners begins. Because the Tribulation time after the rapture is a period of judgment of sins, and our sins were forgiven because we believed on Jesus and Gospel, then it stands to reason we would not be here when the wrath begins. He isn't angry at us. Indeed, we are told told we are not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The people who were left behind are the ones who refused to believe on Jesus despite all the evidence, and thus remained in their sins, an enemy of God. He will now judge those people and their sins.

You may be surprised by who is left behind. Not all people who went to church, or seemed devout, or had a big position in church such as deacon, or pastor, or bishop, or even pope, are true believers. Actually the bible tells us there will be few real believers. That is because we can only see the outside of a person but Jesus sees the inside. He knows who has truly repented. Many have only made an outward show if it, and that is why they were left behind, They were not really believers in Jesus's eyes.

The rapture marks the end of the Church Age's invisible supernatural and the beginning of the visible supernatural. For millennia, the powers, principalities, and princes of the air (demons and their kingdom Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 6:12), the good angels (Hebrews 13:2), and also Jesus glorified, remained behind the veil invisible to human eyes. Jesus was in heaven and we were on earth and for the most part, the two remained mingled but invisible- but very active! In one case, the Lord in the Old Testament showed Elisha's servant just how potent and vigorous the activity behind the veil is:

"Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2 Kings 6:15-17).

In the Old Testament there were occasional eruptions of the supernatural, the Flood, miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea, the ten plagues of Egypt, Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath where the wheat never ran out, and other examples. We also see the supernatural in Jesus's ministry on earth for three and a half years and His resurrection, then the Apostles' miracles. After that, for 2000 years the miraculous and the demonic have largely been invisible from human eyes. But make no mistake, just because they have been invisible, it doesn't mean they have not been active. At the rapture, the supernatural becomes visible in the form of millions who have instantly disappeared, likely leaving behind their clothes, their vehicles, their glasses, their teeth filings, etc. The remaining 7 years the supernatural will be visible, and in an horrific way, too.

For example, the coming of the antichrist is in full power of false signs and wonders, (21 Thessalonians 2:9), in Revelation 9 demons are let out of the bottomless pit to plague the people on earth, 144,000 Jews are supernaturally sealed and thus protected during this time so they can continue the work of spreading the Gospel (Revelation 7:3-4), rivers and streams will turn to blood, (Revelation 16:4) the sun will go dark (Matthew 24:29-30)...etc. These supernatural events will be seen by one and all.

If you are reading this and are left behind, wondering what happened, you have made an excellent start by turning to a Christian site. However, do not delay in deciding whether what is written here is true or false. The Lord will send a great delusion upon the whole world, "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

No one knows exactly what that delusion is, but you can see from the verse that it is bad. "Those who perish' means people who don't believe in Jesus. It is phrased that way because unforgiven sin in a person means they are spiritually dead and destined for hell. Perishing. This delusion will cause a person to be unable to turn to Jesus in belief for salvation. Since it is so complete and final, and since no on knows exactly when God will send this delusion, don't wait! The biggest sign that you could receive is the fact that millions are inexplicably missing!! The best and only explanation that fills the bill are the scriptures that foretell this event's occurrence. What other proof does a person need?

Here are further resources for your study:
GotQuestions.org: What is the rapture of the church?
Bible.org: When Christ comes for His church

Bibles online:
Bible Gateway
Online Parallel Bible

Dictionary of biblical terms. If you want to know what 'salvation; means, or 'repent', or 'sin', go to that link for short explanations.

I wrote this because it seems the rapture may be close. How can I know this if the event is signless and imminent (dependent on nothing else for it to occur?) because the prophesies we know will occur during the Tribulation are nearing readiness for fulfillment. On Friday, Dec 30, 2011, I wrote that "The Prophetic Infrastructure is Almost Complete." In that essay I'd written,

"The infrastructure is being laid. Remember, the Tribulation is only 7 years long. In that time, the global economy is completely changed. The global political structure is completely changed. The temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices ongoing. Old hatreds must be ignited and hot for war. We see that now. Seven years is a short period. In my opinion the infrastructure is being laid now so that when the rapture happens it all will be put together almost instantly."

In his January 1 sermon and prophecy video, Pastor JD Farag said,referring to the Tribulation judgments on the near-horizon and the current prophetic acceleration, "Everything that is happening, is happening swiftly and even simultaneously. And if you think about it, it really has to happen this fast. Because, there is no way that the antichrist would have enough time during the 7-year tribulation to get everything, to set everything in place. It has to already be in place and ready to go by the time he comes on the scene." [min 2:35-3:10 approx)

And later in the video at 13:40,

"I think this is about to come to pass. And if we see this now, at this stage, as we reach the end of the age, and it ultimately finds its fulfillment in the 7-year Tribulation, how close are we?" Luke 21:28 says, after listing the signs and the judgments, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

When these things begin to happen... do not put off deciding on eternity. Jesus is real, He is alive, and He wants to forgive your sins. It is your sin that makes you an enemy of our Holy God.

The website at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry says "Sin is anything that is contrary to the law or will of God. For example: if you lie, you have sinned. Why? Because God has said not to lie (Exodus 20:16). If you do what God has forbidden, then you have sinned. In addition, if you do not do what God has commanded, you sin (James 4:17). Either way, the result is eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 1:3) and unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). Sin leads to bondage (Rom. 6:14-20) and death (Rom. 6:23). Paul, in the book of Romans, discusses sin. He shows that everyone, both Jew and Greek, is under sin (Rom. 3:9). He shows that sin is not simply something that is done, but a condition of the heart (Rom. 3:10-12). In Ephesians Paul says that we are "by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3). Yet, "while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly," (Rom. 5:6)."

What do you need to do to get saved, preferably NOW before the rapture happens? Here is an explanation

What do I need to do to get saved?
What is salvation?

The best New Year's resolution you can make is to pray to the Holy Spirit for understanding and conviction of your sins. Conviction just means you consciously know your sins and you feel really bad about them because you know they are crimes against Holy Jesus. Do not delay. Things are happening fast now.

Please feel free to share this essay liberally, and even go to the links I provided because they are better written and sourced. Jesus is the answer. He always has been. Please do not delay so long that you come to understand this after the rapture, or worse, after you die. After the rapture it will be harder to be saved and you likely will die before you're saved anyway, because the second judgment is war everywhere in the world, and the fourth judgment is death to 1/4 of people in the world. And if you wait so long deciding that you die without having repented, your position is fixed eternally. Join us NOW in salvation, and then join us in looking up, for our Redemption draws nigh!

45 comments:

  1. This post gives me chills. I, too, can feel the nearness of the rapture. May God bless this post by making it available to anyone who is left behind.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To the Anonymous whose comment I didn't publish:

    I appreciate you asking about that. I won't publish the comment because I refuse to re-paste tripe and lies, and that John Darby-Rapture-1830 thing is a lie. It is definitely a lie from the pit of hell.

    If the rapture wasn't "discovered" until 1830 or whatever by Darby, then why is it mentioned in Isaiah? Why did Jesus write about it? (John 14:3) Why did Paul explain it?

    Further, Darby claims that the pre-tribulation rapture was NOT TAUGHT prior to 1830, which is ridiculous. Here is one example among many"

    Increase Mather (1639-1723)

    Increase Mather was a pastor, scholar, and was the first President of Harvard College. Paul Boyer has noted that this Puritan scholar proved "that the saints would be caught up into the air beforehand, thereby escaping the final conflagration." This teaching from Mather was an early formulation of the rapture doctrine it seems.

    Other, earlier teachings of it were from
    Papias (60-130)
    Clement of Rome (90-100)
    The Sherpherd of Hermas (96-150)
    Ignatius of Antioch (98-117)
    Barnabas (100)
    The Didache (100-160)
    Justin Martyr (110-165)
    The Epistle of Barnabas (117-138)
    Irenaeus (120-202)
    Tertullian (145-220)
    Hippolytus (185-236)
    Cyprian (200-250)
    Lactantius (260-330)

    You can read what the above, and many others who came later but before Darby, said of the pre-trib rapture, here
    http://www.essentialchristianity.com/pages.asp?pageid=21918

    If the Darbyites wre right, God contradicted Himself: Dan 9:24 says the Tribulation is to atone for sins, and that sins will be judged... so why would Jesus die on the cross to atone for our sins and said He forgets them(Col 2:13-14) only to have them judged again in the tribulation? Makes no sense.

    The rapture IS an "escape", for all those who have come to faith in Jesus and whose sins are forgiven and forgotten and who will *not* be judged for them at the Tribulation.

    Why does Paul say to comfort one another with these words? (1 Thess 4:18). Is Paul saying 'be comforted that you will go through the Tribulation?' Where's the comfort in that? Jesus said of that time, "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will."

    so if the Darby-ites are right, Paul was saying, comfort one another that you will go thru the worst time ever in the history of the world and for all eternity?' Makes no sense to the discerning Christian.

    But let's look at it from satan's pov. If Paul was teaching the Corinthians and the Thessalonians (and us) about the rapture as a comfort, what would satan want to do? Steal that comfort. Diminish our encouragement. Dampen our resolve. Steal our hope.

    The Darby scheme is a scheme of satan, not of God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i am sorry but that is all JUST REVISIONISM, none of those early church fathers taught a pre trib rapture its just taking them grossly out of context,they were premenllienial but NOT pre trib

      Delete
    2. Hello Anonymous,

      Here is a partial list of early church fathers who made statements of a pre-tribulation rapture, Papias (60-130); Clement of Rome (90-100); The Sherpherd of Hermas (96-150); Ignatius of Antioch (98-117); Barnabas (100); The Didache (100-160); Justin Martyr (110-165); The Epistle of Barnabas (117-138); Irenaeus (120-202); Tertullian (145-220); Hippolytus (185-236); Cyprian (200-250); Lactantius (260-330).

      How early do you want to go back? Papias was alive when the Apostle John was.

      The pre-tribulation rapture is implicit, not explicit. Nowhere does the bible come out and say "THE RAPTURE WILL OCCUR BEFORE THE TRIBULATION." However, we are promised in several places things that the Tribulation contradicts, IF the church is still on earth. For example, that we will be saved from the wrath, and the wrath begins in Rev 6. We are promised that our sins would be forgotten, and not punished; (Heb 11:12, Col 2:13) and Daniel says the Tribulation is a time of punishment for sin (Dan 9:26). Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against His church, and during the Tribulation the gates of hell are given authority to prevail against the saints. (Rev 13:7, Daniel 7:21). So pre-tribulation rapture is the only timing that satisfies the promises of God and doesn't make a conflict. You see? :)

      The revisionism is coming from Satan- who wants to steal our joy, make Jesus's promise a NON-encouragement, and cause a division. You notice this was never a real debate within Christianity until the middle of the 1800s, when Darwinism came along, (the world biggest attack on the bible in all of history) then Humanism, then post-modernism. As the Day approaches, the dividing line becomes more evident that we are nearing the moment, yet more people refuse to believe Jesus is not going to drag His bride through the mud. That isn't Godly. God isn't the author of confusion, nor of broken promises. That's from satan. He is the father of lying revisions.

      Delete
    3. but thise are just taking their quotes out of CONTEXT, I checked! Papias didnt teach the pre trib rapture NONE of those early church father taught a pre trib rapture!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous I don't understand how you mean "out of context", nor how you checked *all* of them in 10 minutes. I also need to understand how you refute the promises of Jesus being broken if a post-trib rapture, why Paul said to be encouraged- to go thru the worst time there ever was or shall be, where your verses are that allegedly support anything but pre-trib, and most importantly, why you seem to want to refute the clear verses of the bible so much.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous I received your comment with the 4 links. I didn't publish your first comment containing those links and I'm not going to publish this last one either. The doctrines on those websites teach falsely and I won't promote that. Besides, in one of the links, the author proposes the old straw man argument, which is an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. I told you already that the rapture doctrine isn't explicit, but the author proposes that we say it is and then argues that point. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.)

      Kind of like your refusal to reconcile the contradictions I've represented to you twice already. Or even any verses that support your position.

      Besides, the Darby thing has been debunked a zillion times and frankly I'm tired of it. I think there should be an addendum to Godwin's law- substituting "Darby" for Hitler.

      you can peruse the many essays I've presented that instill a confidence in the believer for the pre-trib position, by clicking on the links along the sidebars or do a search in the google box for "pre-trib".

      The Lord is gracious and He made promises that He will keep. I hope to see you in the air.

      Delete
    6. oh and are you saying that God cant protect saints and punish sinners at the SAME time while they were on earth- what happened to omnipotence.....Noah was delivered THROUGH the flood,Daniel was delivered THROUGH the lions den...they werent just taken to paradise, and Elijah and Enoch don't count cause no man before Jesus has ascended to heaven!

      Delete
    7. Yes He did protect those folks from persecution. Praise Him!! But momentary persecution is not the wrath.

      No I am not saying He *can't* protect His bride. I am saying that He promised we would not go thru the wrath. Pretty clear. The scripture says in 1 Thess 5:9 that He has not appointed us to wrath.

      It all stems back to an understanding of what God is doing on earth that last 7 years, and why. If you go ahead and get a grounding in that, the things I'm sharing will become clearer, I believe.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous, I've received two more of your comments, and while I thank you for your persistence in sharing a doctrine that you believe strongly in, I think we have both shared all we can share, and neither of us is likely to change another's mind. The argument you make that we are not appointed to wrath means that we will be here on earth during the worst time ever, but none of the wrath will touch us, is ridiculous in the extreme, I'm sorry to be blunt...no scripture even comes close to teaching that. It would be a good idea for you to leave off for a while so we can both absorb what was shared here, and let the Spirit do His work in us both. Thanks again.

      Delete
    9. I enjoyed your Circle Maker article, so, I came to check out your end time beliefs. It always frustrates me the amount of discernment used by so many on things, and then the lack of it when it comes to this subject. People literally have to teach 3 comings of the Lord to have a pre-trib rapture. You also have to take instances speaking of His return and use them for this other coming that is just not there. It is not fear that post- trib believers propose, but truth. Just like you want others to know the truth about books like the circle maker.

      Delete
    10. Matthew 24:42 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.
      1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
      3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
      4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
      5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
      6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
      2 Peter 3:10
      But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
      When does he come as a thief? You skipped over it in your chronology post...
      Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
      16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

      Delete
    11. When does he come as a thief? You skipped over it in your chronology post...
      Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
      16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

      He has not come as a thief until when? Right before the 7th bowl is poured out. Also, There is only on 1 Resurrection and it includes those who have been beheaded during the Tribulation for their testimony for the Lord. Let me say that one more time, There is only one First Resurrection!

      Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

      5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

      So, you will have to explain these verses away somehow to have a pre-trib rapture. If you believe God's words then you will really take them as what they literally state. Jesus returns and gathers us to Him as he has His wrath on satan and the wicked. Not before the judgments come. The Seals,Judgments are the signs of the time. They show us the Lord is about to return with the 7th trumpet. There is only one Resurrection/Rapture. The verses in Corinthians 15 are from another passage about the return of the Lord as well. Death is swallowed up in victory when the Lord returns, not 7 yrs before.

      Delete
    12. I'm sorry you see a lack of discernment in my stance on the rapture. You say I lack it but do not use scripture to show where you believe I have erred.

      The Lord comes twice, once as suffering servant and the second time as wrathful avenger of sin. On His second coming, lol, He makes three stops- one to Har Megiddo, one to Bozrah and one to Jerusalem.

      If you see tremendous discernment but then falling down "in so many others" on this one issue, perhaps it is time to take a look at your own stance.

      Delete
    13. OK, our paths crossed and I see the Matthew verses now. Yours is a very common mistake. Matthew 24 is NOT a rapture passage. It is an end of Tribulation passage. It is a teaching to Israel, not the church. Please read this short essay using scriptures to see why. It is perhaps this common mistake you have about this passage that is gumming up your overall understanding of the rapture...

      Please check it out. Thanks.

      http://www.gotquestions.org/Olivet-discourse.html

      Delete
    14. The first resurrection takes place in several stages. Here is more information for you
      http://www.gotquestions.org/resurrection-first-second.html

      When will the Resurrection take place?"
      http://www.gotquestions.org/when-resurrection.html

      Anonymous, the overall point of the rapture is to bring a bride to Jesus and then to render the long-withheld wrath on Israel and an unbelieving world. If you search this blog for the at least 8 or 9 times I've written about this or referred readers to others with scriptural foundations, you will find all the information you are looking for.

      I especially point you to this for starters
      http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-on-why-rapture-will-hapen-pre.html

      Delete
  3. The Rapture IS PRE TRIB, I know this cause every time I see the other view point my spirit is grieved !!! Nothing about post trib makes any Biblical sense.... You don't punish your children, your protect them!! Praise GOD for that! bm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. Why would the Bridegroom (Jesus) beat up the Bride (Saints who are dead and alive now) before the wedding?

      I also agree that my spirit is grieved when I see the blatant lies. Thank you for putting it that way.

      Also, if it is a matter to see how 'tough' Christians are and manage through through the tribulation, that would indicate Jesus' grace is NOT sufficient and we must EARN our way to salvation. Clearly violating many, many biblical truths.

      Delete
    2. I grew up in a Pre-Trib church and believed it for 40+ years, until I started actually BELIEVING the Bible.
      Pre-tribbers always claim the Rapture happens before the Tribulation because God would never "beat up His Bride." This is based on the assumption that the entire Tribulation is the wrath of God.
      The Tribulation is not God's wrath. It is the time when darkness reigns, when Satan is cast down and pursues the Woman and her children. God doesn't beat up His Bride, but He obviously does allow His Bride suffer. Every day thousand of Christians are murdered, raped, and tortured. Is God protecting them? Are these murdered Christians "earning" their salvation? God protects His own from the wrath to come, that is, destruction in the Lake of Fire. He doesn't necessarily protect us from physical pain and suffering, but uses it to purify and cleanse us. And before you say "The Cross is sufficient to purify and cleanse," then answer this question:

      Are you completely free from the entanglements of the words? Are there idols in your life? Is every waking hour dedicated to God, all your thoughts, words and deeds? Are you bound to any of the things in your life?

      I don't know about you. You may be perfect, without spot or blemish, but not me. Sometimes I eat too much, I watch TV too much (should i be watching it at all?) I buy too much and give too little. My house is filled with things I don't need. I long to be free from all this, don't you?

      Look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; God did not deliver them from the fire. Rather, He delivered them in the fire. He set them free from the ropes that bound them. That is what suffering does for us. It sets us free!

      Delete
    3. Hello Todd,

      I appreciate your fervor for discussing the rapture, but I am not going to publish all 4 lengthy essays you sent. Let's just focus on this first comment.

      Look at Shadrach? Well, look at Enoch, taken alive in a personal rapture.

      The Day of the Lord is the Tribulation and it IS wrath. It is not one day but a 7-year period of time. Jesus described what will happen to the Jews & to the unbelieving world in Matthew 24 in a specific and lengthy discourse.

      Zephaniah 2:2 says it is a time of wrath-
      before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the LORD.

      Isaiah 13:9 says it is wrath.
      "Behold, the day of the Lord comes cruel with both wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate."

      Joel 1:15 says it is a time of destruction.
      "For the day of the Lord is at hand, it shall come as destruction from the Almighty."

      And there are many more that describe the time of the Tribulation AKA Time of Jacob's Trouble as Jeremiah 30:3-7 says, as wrath. Knowing this and knowing why the LORD is sending His wrath onto the world at this future time is critical for understanding why the church won't be here.

      And quite simply, the church is not appointed to wrath, says, erm, GOD. 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Nope, we shall not be here. God said, "I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth." Rev 3:10

      God already delivered us from His wrath, we don't need to go through it. It is the whole point of the Age of Grace. If we did got thru it during the tribulation, it makes the work of Jesus on the cross absorbing infinite wrath for us...pointless. And I don't believe that for a minute, and I hope you don't either.

      Delete
  4. Dear Elisabeth,

    I see that you and Jentezen Franklin have something in common. Both of you believe in 'rapture teaching' based on 1. Cor 15 (that's the one and only main passage used).

    How do you explain then the following:
    Matthew 24: (NIV translation)
    22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
    26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
    29 “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.’[b]
    30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 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.

    I assume we all agree that here Jesus himself is describing His second coming (which is described in much more detail in the book of Revelations). So, dear Elisabeth, I would have a few questions concerning two key verses in Matthew 24:

    In verse 22, Jesus (who is speaking here) says that these days will be shortened because of the 'elect'.
    In verse 31, the angels come to gather the 'elect'.

    Who do you think the 'elect' are?

    If the rapture 'theory' is correct then all Christians are already 'gone' at this point. Why will then the time be shortened and angels send out to collect people that will meet Jesus and go to heaven (in other words Christians)?

    How do you rule out that the trumpet call described in 1. Cor 15 is not the same trumpet call as in Matthew 24:31.
    Because if this is the case, then all the rapture teaching is wrong.

    The tribulations is not a judgment for all the unbelievers. Please show me in the book of Revelations where Christians will be collected in any form before the judgment takes place? I think John would have recorded a rapture event, if there would have been one shown to him.

    As many other people you are taking messages written by Paul and do not put them in the context of Matthew 24 and the entire book of Revelations.

    Hoping that you will post this although I disagree with you on the rapture teaching based on the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Revelations talks about the "Saints whose robs are dipped in blood." These are the folks that find Jesus during the tribulation. When you read that most of the earth and humans will be destroyed during this period, it easy to understand if God didn't stop his wrath, no one would be saved during that period.

      Finally, you do lose credibility when you say ,"...The tribulations is not a judgment for all the unbelievers." Of course it is. Revelation talks about the great white throne judgement where ALL will be judged before God in the end. That includes believers and unbelievers.

      Delete
  5. Dear Elisabeth,

    I now read your response to the one comment. And then the second reply. Are you really 100% sure about what you are saying there? God will never punish? Israel had to suffer sometimes. David was punished. Ananias and Sapphira were judged after Jesus had died on the cross, risen from the dead, and taken His place at the right of His Father (see Acts 5). As far as I understand Acts 5, they were part of the Church. They did not deny Jesus. They lied about their giving, which was enough to be killed by God. This is shocking, but God is God, and we are His creation, so who are we to understand it all.

    More specifically concerning the tribulation:
    The tribulation is not the final punishment.
    The tribulation is a time of testing.
    The final punishment will follow the tribulation (see Revelations 14: 14-19 and onward).
    The tribulation will lead many people to faith in Jesus Christ, but also people that are Christians then, will have to be very careful not to fall in this time of testing.

    I think it is very dangerous to assume (since nobody knows besides the Father) what exactly will happen.

    If you convince people that they will not be tested very hard before the coming of Christ then this is dangerous. Jesus Christ deserves a clean, prepared and proven bride. The Church is His bride. How can the Church be clean, ready and proven by Faith and trust in Jesus Christ, if their is no time of testing?

    The current Church is not clean, ready, and standing tall in the midst of the unclean world. Compromise, lust, greed, fear and many other things are seriously compromising the current Church. So there is a need for cleaning and testing. What if the tribulation is part of this process?

    Furthermore, how do you explain Revelation 11?
    Two witnesses will be there. How can this be when all Christians have already been raptured? They do not come down from Heaven, they are on the earth.
    These witnesses will do unbelievable things (like Moses and Elijah) and still God will allow that Satan will kill them (see Revelation 11: 7). This does not sound fair, but it is part of the Bible and so I believe it in full. How does this fit into your theory of 'God does not punish His children'. Given that these two saints will 3 1/2 days after their death by risen to life and ascend to Heaven (Revelation 11: 11-12), I would not say that their suffering at the hands of Satan was a punishment from God, but rather part of God's plan to glorify Himself through their lives. Jesus deserves all the glory.

    What if God's plan for your life is to live through the time of tribulation (as described in Matthew 24 and the book of Revelations) so that Jesus Christ might be glorified and because of your walk with Christ even more souls can be saved?

    Given your knowledge and understanding of the Bible, I am pretty certain that you will be able to walk the walk (in case the things from Revelations will unfold in our live time). But have you thought about the Christians that are not ready. What will happen to believers that are not ready because they run by the motto "I will go to Heaven before anything bad will happen. I do not even need to read the book of Revelations, since this concerns all the things that will happen to the unbelievers that will not repent. I am fine. God forgives me all the compromise. I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and do not need to do anything else, but either die one day and then go to Heaven or meet Jesus in the sky in case He comes back during my life time here on earth."

    I think rapture teaching can be very dangerous, since it can give people the false impression of how to approach life, Jesus and the Church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex, I never said God never punishes. I think that any thinking person reading any portion of the bible realizes that Holy God punishes. I said that His wrath is not upon His church age believers. (1 Thess 5:9)

      Regarding what you said about "the Christians who are not ready." There are no Christians who are not ready. There are unbelievers, they are not ready. Christians who have truly believed and are saved by grace are ready, for the only thing He wants from us to enter heaven is faith in the Son. (John 6:40). They are ready.

      When Paul explained the rapture teaching in 1 Thess 4:13-18, he ended by telling the believers to "therefore encourage each other with these words". So we understand in that case, it is not a dangerous teaching. It is a truthful teaching. It is a purposeful teaching. It is a biblical teaching. It is in the bible to give hope and encouragement. And yes, it IS designed to tell us how to approach life: with the understanding that Jesus is coming back at any moment. That knowledge alone should make a person approach life in a vastly different fashion tan if one does not believe they could be facing Jesus at any second.

      Delete
    2. Alex,

      You don't think people suffer enough in this world? Have you seen any hurricanes or tsunami's lately? Are you living under a rock? People suffer all the time from natural causes to accepting the consequences of our bad choices.

      Philippians 1:6 comes to mind, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

      Tribulation is not a time of testing. 2nd Peter 3:5-7-5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." -- He did not say, "Day of Testing". There are no 'additional' punishments as you are suggesting.

      Delete
  6. Hi ALex,

    thanks for your question. The rapture is not the second coming. they are two distinct events, each will occur for different purposes.

    Here are some good teachings for you-
    The catching away of the church
    http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1323

    What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?
    http://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Rapture-Second-Coming.html

    While Revelation and Matthew 24 include references to the 7-year punishment (as do EVERY other NT book except Philemon)The presentation of the tribulation (Time of Jacob's Trouble) and the 7-year period of punishment is not just explained in Matthew or Revelation. As a matter of fact it is Daniel 9 we read the purpose for it. Joel speaks of it, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, Amos, and Ezekiel, among others.

    I refer you to the resources above for a start on learning the great sweep and scope of the plan of God which culminates the Church age at the rapture and begins the last 7 years of this age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      could you please also address my points concerning Revelation 11 and Matthew 24.

      I have seen a lot of your responses and you addressed the scriptures. Therefore, I would be very thankful on your feedback on these two key passages that do not support pre-tribulation rapture. Thanks.

      How do you explain firm believers (the two witnesses) which perform miracles and wonders in the name of Jesus Christ like Moses and Elijah can be present during the time of tribulation when according to your pre-tribulation rapture believe not a single Christian should be left behind?

      Who are the elect described in Matthew 24, when all Christians are already gone?

      These are serious points. Because if the witnesses and elect are Christians, where do they come from when a pre-tribulation rapture has taken place (keep in mind no-Christians left behind). If they are new converts, why does neither Jesus (in Matthew 24) or the book of Revelation describes the conversion and repentance of mankind (the book of Revelation rather describes how many people still reject and even hate God)?
      I would very much appreciate to read your take on these points, since in my opinion they make the entire pre-tribulation rapture theory collapse.

      I hope you start to realise that 1. Cor 15 is very likely to refer to Matthew 24. And if this is the case, then the entire rapture theory is falling apart (sorry to call it like that, but since Jesus Himself did not say anything on rapture before the tribulation and the entire book of Revelation also does not include a pre-tribulation rapture I call it a theory).

      By the way, how do you explain that the pre-tribulation rapture is not mentioned at all in the book of Revelations? Isn't it strange that the one and only book that is focused on Heaven, Tribulation, the final judgment, the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the new Jerusalem coming down to Earth (Heaven coming to earth to restore the initial state of creation) is not mentioning an important event like a pre-tribulation rapture? Strange isn't it.

      Furthermore, I hope that you realise that you have started contradicting some of your previous statements which argue for pre-tribulation rapture - suddenly God can punish/discipline His people - so why not use the tribulation to purify His bride?

      By the way, how do you think God will prepare the Church as a bride for Jesus Christ before He returns?
      You have also not addressed this point at all (like you did not touch on Revelation 11 or Matthew 24).

      I think we both agree that the Church is not ready. Most Christians are not ready for Christ to come back (at the moment). There is a reason why you try to warn people above wolves and false prophets.

      Just assume for a moment that I am right (I do not claim to be right, since only God really knows how this will unfold) and there will be no rapture before the big tribulation (please just consider the possibility), so how will 'Sunday only Christians' do when they have to face tribulation times? Could it be that we, humans, do not want to face the reality that before Jesus can come back, we need to be purified, which means for most of us that we have to go through struggles and testing of our Faith in Jesus Christ.

      I am not trying to say that you are wrong and I am right, but let's face it who is on the safer side. The one prepared for the worst or the one that assumes that real hardship and suffering will be reserved for unbelievers. I am not living in fear. I look forward to Jesus returning and many lives being saved. I do not know when He will come back - only God knows. But the one thing I am 100% sure is that we need to be ready when He comes back, and this means to live in pursuit of Jesus Christ irrespective whether when the rapture will take place (I believe that there will be rapture, but I do not agree with you on the timing).

      I hope you do not mind my 'fight back'.

      Delete
    2. Alex, I don't mind your “fight back.” I wish Christians would fight for the true doctrines as hard as you do for the false ones.

      Alex, your narrow adherence to several and only several verses that you believe substantiate your position that Paul’s teaching on the rapture, his reference to it in Isaiah 26:20, and subsequent thousands of generations of believers is wrong, and you are right, is like your holding a Dixie cup of water, believing it is the ocean, and without having seen the real ocean, convinced that everything I tell you about what the vast ocean really looks like is wrong.

      I gave you the sermon links for a reason: the scriptures are there. You need a grounding on a more widespread basis, bathed in prayer and seeking wisdom, or none of this will make sense. The rapture is the event that kicks off the culmination of everything God has planned since the Fall of man! The Tribulation is taught throughout the entire bible. I can’t teach you the whole bible.

      When you asked ‘How do you explain firm believers (the two witnesses) which perform miracles and wonders in the name of Jesus Christ like Moses and Elijah can be present during the time of tribulation when according to your pre-tribulation rapture believe not a single Christian should be left behind?” shows me that it would be beneficial for you to read more Old Testament books which fill in the glaring blanks of your understanding.

      Paul explained the rapture is the moment when Jesus descends part way to collect His Bride, whom Jesus promised will not be appointed to wrath. He will take the living and dead who had been changed into imperishable bodies to heaven while the wrath is poured out. The rapture itself is a sign to many non-believers who have heard about it, who have put off making a decision to repent, or who were in name only. THEY will fill the churches the next day, and they will be the Tribulation believers spoken of in Revelation, martyred for their faith (Rev 5). Just because Jesus takes His children to heaven does not mean none ever come to faith during the Tribulation! They do, multitudes of them. Otherwise why send Two Witnesses? Why super-evangelize and seal 144,000? Why send an angel to fly at mid-heaven and proclaim the everlasting Gospel? (Rev 14). Believers come to faith during the Tribulation.

      If you remember how filled churches were after 9/11 you will understand how much MORE filled the churches will be the day after the rapture.

      The bible says we will not be appointed to wrath (1 Thess 5:9) yet if that is true why, according to you, if we're here for the tribulation, we have wrath poured out on us? (Rev 6:16). It would be contradiction only the Rapture explains, and a pre-trib rapture at that.

      Jesus told Peter that satan will not prevail against His church (Mt 16:18) but during the Tribulation satan is given authority to prevail against His saints.(Rev 13:7). Another contradiction the pre-trib rapture resolves.

      Why did Paul say encourage each other with these words if Jesus said this will be the most horrendous time on earth EVER? Not so encouraging. The pre-trib rapture resolves that.

      Alex, the Tribulation is a time that is actually a resumption of Old Testament time of the decree that He paused to take a Gentile people to Himself. He has a specific number in mind and when that is filled, (Romans 11:25) "'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent." (Acts 15:16.) There is more, but I think you have not considered these verses and books and chapters that fill in those blanks.

      Your other really long comments that postulate that Paul was wrong and that the rapture, a doctrine understood by Christians since Paul taught it and it was preached ever since, is a pointless exercise to debate with you as long as you have such shallow understanding of the verses you're basing your false position on. I am willing to talk, but first you have to study.

      Delete
    3. One other thing: Daniel 9:24 explains why God is enacting the time of punishment. He is punishing the world, the nations, and the people for its sin; and for its behavior toward the Jews, and the Jews for their rebellion. Yes, God punishes. The Tribulation IS a time of the most horrendous punishment the world has ever seen nor will ever see again. (Mt 24:21) but to understand all that God is doing you have to understand that this is the Church Age. He is not punishing His bride. The believers that come to faith after the rapture are not in the church age. The Jews that turn to faith are not part of the Church. The Jews that are resurrected to live in the millennium (Ez 41-48) are not he church either. You have to know the distinctions.

      Delete
  7. Dear Elisabeth,

    it breaks my heart to read your response.

    I have realized that you seriously believe that you are right, so that I must be wrong.

    Instead of taking these scriptures at face value (which we are called to do), you trust your and others interpretations.

    Once more you were not willing to really dig into the matter (please show me where the pre-tribulation rapture is described in the books of Revelations). And as I expected you justified the elect and witnesses by new converts (which surprisingly are nowhere described in the entire books of Revelations, which is the one and only book that has the entire focus on Heaven and the second coming of Christ).

    To be honest, I feel sorry for you, since you believe me (and many others are half-blind), while you are 'knowing it all'. I sincerely hope that the tribulation will not start, while you still have this mind set. Who do you think are among the people that will shake their fists at God? Perhaps Christians that did not expect to have to got through tribulations and are now deeply disappointed with Christ. I wish nobody to be among that crowd.

    Based on your strong stand on the rapture thing, and that you are convinced that I must be a Christian with 'shallow understanding', I am pretty sure that you do not take the book of Revelations at face value. One tip - google for Plato and Christianity. Most Christians have been blinded by Plato's teachings many years ago (Augustin was, Luther was, ...), so that we have to take the book of Revelation as a book filled with symbols.

    What John saw was 100% real. The Holy City is real. The 24/7 worship is real (which by the way is part of the preparation of the bride - want to learn more: http://www.ihop.org/). The tribulation is real. Everything described in this book is real.

    In Revelation 4 we find an amazing description of the 24/7 worship in the throne room of Heaven. Throughout the book of Revelation we find vast details on the end times (which perfectly matches up with Daniel and Matthew for example).
    Are you not surprised that in spite of all these details the pre-tribulation rapture is not mentioned at all?

    and do not worry that was it from my side, since I have over the years learned when people do not want to listen.

    I do not claim to know it all, but your approach 'I know it all' is for sure not the right way to go.

    Please do not blame me when you happen to be around when things turn really bad.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I do not beleive that the 144,000 are Jews. they are the "elite" so to say that are raptured and will return with Jesus to judge the earth. The Jews are mentioned as the Bride in the Bible, which many Chrches throughout the world (mostly America) believe that they are the Bride! Replacement theory! Israel and whoever classifies themselves as part of the lost ten tribes are known as the Bride. Jesus is the Bridegroom. But something to note, the 144,000 are not neccesarily Jews, unless I'm Jewish!!-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      2. The 144,000 are Jews. "Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel” (Revelation 7:4).

      2. Israel is not the Bride. The Church is the Bride.
      Ephesians 5:22-27
      2 Corinthians 11:2
      Revelation 21:2

      3. Replacement theology is the teaching that the Christian church has replaced national Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God. Replacement Theology claims that the Jewish people are no longer God's chosen people. It claims that instead, the Christian church now makes up God's chosen people. It says that in the New Testament after Pentecost, the term "Israel" refers to the church. Finally, it purports that
      The Mosaic covenant (Exodus 20) is replaced by the new covenant (Luke 22:20) and actual circumcision is replaced by a circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:29).
      http://carm.org/questions-replacement-theology

      Understanding thru scripture that the Church is symbolically the Bride of Christ is not replacement theology, it is a proper understanding of who the Church is.

      Delete
  9. I don't know how I ended up on this site - Glad that I did,the rapture debate - never gets old... I don't understand why some Christians would argue / or want to go through a tribulation period? The church - bride of Christ, understanding the jewish wedding traditions helped me alot with understanding more about the rapture. In another sense, I don't understand a "bride" before her wedding day being beaten by her "husband" before the wedding - then getting married.. haha,, that makes no sense.... I believe Paul said it clearly - when he said that we are to love our wifes as Christ loved the Church - HE DIED for the church - why then would the church have to suffer HIS wrath and go through the tribulation period? Just doesn't make any sense. From the old testament to the new - a pre-tribulation rapture is clearly taught -

    www.raptureready.com
    "Nowhere in the Bible does it directly say that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation".

    Pre-trib opponents should have thought this one through because any pre-tribulationist has the same right to say, "Nowhere in the Bible does it directly say the Church will go through the tribulation."

    Jesus did say, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44). The only time frame I can think of when we believers would not be expecting Jesus to return would have to be before the tribulation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for the comment, Anonymous, and for the link. Blessings.

      Delete
  10. I agree with Alex, I too used to believe in pre-trib rapture, mostly in all honesty, because I WANTED to see it that way...strangely enough through my prayers asking for wisdom God showed me I was misunderstanding. Indeed, the pre-trib rapture theory is simply a false doctrine which is held onto more from fear and pride than on the premise of Truth. Keep in mind God has pin-point accuracy and protects those who regard Him as their Lord. Noah, Lot, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, all persevered in righteousness and were safely delivered. You must believe God is "limited" to believe in a pre-trib rapture. We will see His power and glory in the tribulation and we will glorify Him even more upon seeing these things and His mighty power will be displayed in the midst. God is not the author of confusion and chaos so how would millions of people simply disappearing or evaporating not be chaos and confusion? Name any other instance God did such a weird thing as people just disappeared?...you can't because that's not how the scripture portrays God. The Darby rapture doctrine is simply false doctrine but you won't know this until you let go of the sin of "pride" which is blinding you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, You say that “God showed you” that the pretrib rapture doctrine is false. What scriptures did He lead you to?

      Delete
  11. I have been a Christian since 1974. I needless to say have heard these debates over and over again. I am not convinced of the pre-trib view. I also am not convinced of the post-trib view.I lean move towards a mid trib view. I base this on the parable of the sower. I believe there will be an awful increase of persecution on the church. This will weed out any persons that are on the fence. It will cost you something to be a christian. However I believe there will come a time when God will bring His church home. I think the important thing is to make sure of your salvation. With the complacency within the church now, its not costing people anything. However let a little pressure begin and see what the fence walkers will do. The church will be weeded out. Of course the main point here would be that those people really never knew Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it "costs" us to be a Christian. Then salvation really isn't a free gift from God, is it?

      Ephesians 2: 8,9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

      Delete
    2. I am sorry I didn't make myself clear. I will do so now. Grace is a free gift to us. It cost Jesus everything.

      Easy believism is not a discussion about free grace, it is a discussion about sanctification. Sanctification for the Christian is not easy.

      Hope that clears it up.

      Delete
  12. I really didn't want to respond to this topic b/c I thought that Alex did a really good job of pointing out the Truths of Scripture, but it appears that deception has won again. While I too could spend countless hours debating the topic and trying to refute point after point I really only have a couple that I'd like to mention here. One, you seem to REALLY like the 1 Thess 5:9 passage of scripture to validate your point that God would not allow his people to suffer through the Tribulation b/c it is only meant for sinners (which all of us are) & unbelievers. How do you explain verses like 1 Peter 4:17 which speaks of God's judgment beginning IN the House of the Lord? What about 2 Timothy 3:1-7 which talks about the lawlessness of the people in the last days? Isaiah 30:9-11, which speaks of "children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord"? All of these scriptures refer to rebellious children. We ARE rebellious children. You made a comment that "there are no Christians who are not ready." That is most certainly NOT True. There are multitudes of Christians (or those who claim to be Christian) who are not ready. Everyone who believes in the Rapture theory is NOT ready. Why would Jesus 'Rapture' us up prior to the Tribulation? What makes us so special? Just because we claim to be Christian? There is just as much sin in the Church these days as is outside the Church. If you don't believe that, then you may very well be one a member of one of those churches. You asked a question regarding why would God allow his children to suffer through that wrath when you quoted your favorite verse (1 Thess 5:9). Have you not read 1 Peter 2:20? What about James, "Count it all Joy my Brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your Faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing"? What about 1 Peter 4:13? What about Romans 5:3? What about Romans 12:12? What about Matthew 5:11-12? All of these scriptures talking about our need to rejoice during times of persecution & tribulation. Do you not think the Christians will be greatly persecuted during the Tribulation? And what better way to endure to the end as a Glory to God than to suffer through the Tribulation. Yes the Tribulation is God's wrath on the unbelieving world who has refused and rejected him, but it is also the purification of his Church who has grown luke warm and cold. He will clean house through the great Tribulation & those who claim to be Christians now will find out what it is truly like to be a Christian in those days. Why would God allow those who just occupy a pew every Sunday and never open their Bibles apart from one day a week to escape that great event? There are a plethora of other scriptures that I could reference as well. On to the Elect. You claim that the elect in the days of the Rapture are the 144,000 that are protected by God and the ones that they lead to Christ. But there are countless scriptures that refer to the Elect to the Wise leading many as it does in Daniel 11:33-35. The 'Elect' are God's Chosen people. Not just the 144,000, but those whom He chooses to be a part of His Kingdom. There are so many scriptures that refer to his Elect. Some during the times of the great Tribulation & others in general. Look at Matthew 24:22, 24:24, 24:31, Mark 13:20, 13:22, 13:27, Luke 18:7, Romans 8:33, 2 Timothy 2:10, Titus 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1, 2 John 1:1, 1:13. All of these scriptures reference God's elect, either during the End Times or as a means to indicate the Choosing of God's people by God Himself. You made a statement that you thought Alex had a very shallow understanding of the word of God. Wouldn't believing in a Rapture theory be more of a Shallow understand of God's word than believing we will endure through the Tribulation? Isn't it pretty shallow to think that we have some right, some justification for escaping the Tribulation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clinton, it is not a "rapture theory." It is a fact, described by the Holy Spirit in the word of God.

      You asked, 'what make us so special that we get to escape the Tribulation?' We are Christ's bride. We are His church. We are His body. That's pretty special.

      Yes, I do like the verses which say His bride will escape the wrath that is to come. We read that three times in the New Testament. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10,1 Thessalonians 5:9, Revelation 3:10). I have no reason to doubt them. As a matter of fact, the entire reason Paul write to the Thessalonians was to comfort them that they had not missed the rapture. Someone had circulated a false letter that said the Tribulation had begun, because they were enduring persecution, and the Thessalonians were freaked out, plus they were worried about the ones who had already died, that they hadn't been resurrected. Paul said 'don't worry, it hasn't started, you wont miss it, remember when I told you these things?' If we were going to go thru it he would have written an entirely different letter, saying something along the lines of what you did, like, yes it is going to be bad but buck up. No, in fact he *comforted* them by letting them know that they will not miss out, and said to encourage each other with these wrds! (1 Thess 5:11)

      In the entire book of the Revelation of John, during the judgments, we do no read of the church. Yes, the elect are mentioned, those are people who come to faith after the rapture. Just as the elect are mentioned in terms of those who lived before Jesus's incarnation, the elect mean different things at different times. Old testament saints, New Testament bride, and Tribulation saints. There will be elect in the Millennium, too.

      Further, we're told that the gates of hell shall not overcome His church, yet in Revelation we are told that the gates of hell do indeed overcome the saints. Did God lie? No. He raptured Hie church out of harm's way. It is the Tribulation saints that He allows satan to overcome. (Rev 13:7). Did God lie? Of course not. The church is gone by then.

      it is not hard to understand if you have a perspective that sees back to the beginning and through to the end. In other words, an understanding of what the Tribulation is FOR. It is to punish the unrighteous, and since He imputed His righteousness to us, we are not going to be punished. He is working with His people the Jews, concluding the last 7 years he paused in His prophetic timeline, and punishing the unbelieving world.

      This essay explains it some more, if you are interested in solid answers to your questions, here
      http://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-rapture.html

      and here
      http://www.letusreason.org/Proph1.htm

      thanks Clinton and my best to you.

      Delete
    2. Clinton, the verse you quote in Peter and James about trials do not refer to the specific "Day of the Lord" spoken of throughout the Old Testament and the New, but only the regular trials we go thru because we are aliens and strangers on a hostile planet ruled by satan. (2 Cor 4:4).

      Christian persecution, trials, and tribulation, and The Time of Jacob's Trouble are two completely different things.

      To correct your misstatement, you write, "claim that the elect in the days of the Rapture are the 144,000 t" I do not claim that and never did. The elect are believers, all of them, not just the 144,000.

      Finally, you said, "Isn't it pretty shallow to think that we have some right, some justification for escaping the Tribulation?" Nope, not when the justification for it is is in the bible. Since it is, I find the topic pretty deep! And ultimately encouraging. :)

      Delete
    3. "What makes us so special?"

      What made the thief next to Jesus on the cross so special? He obviously deserved a painful and wicked death. But did Jesus say to him," Sorry you are not special enough? or Drop down from here and do some worship and prayer first? or Your faith isn't strong enough, endure some more punishment so you can earn your way to me OR Your a loser, I don't know you!

      NO! His sincere faith in Jesus earned him a place in paradise THAT DAY!

      Why is it that hard to believe he would want his bridegroom to be rescued from God's wrath towards the unbelievers?

      Delete
  13. Christian said:

    Elizabeth,

    I do not know what a Darbyite is, nor do I subscribe to their doctrines (whatever they may be. However, as someone who believes that the rapture will not be pre-tribulation, let me attempt to answer each and every question you posted:

    First off let me say that I do not believe the Tribulation is for believers to atone for sins, we agree on that. Nobody can really say why there will be a tribulation (only God knows that) so to me there is no sense debating that issue. We can all agree, however that it will happen.

    In reference to another point you made: In order to clearly understand 1Thess 4:18 the entire chapter must be taken into context. There is no mention of any tribulation in this passage. How can Paul be comforting them by assuring them they would not be in the tribulation when he doesn't even mention the tribulation? He is speaking of the resurrection of believers to comfort them that they indeed will have life after death.

    Now, I see that you believe the tribulation is for judgment on the world for their sins. Where does it say that? If you're referring to Dan 9:24 then it has been taken out of context. The whole time period (seventy sevens) was decreed to finish transgression, atone for wickedness, etc. If you read further in verses 25-27, it describes what happens during these "seventy sevens". It's not until you get to the "last" seven that events of the tribulation are mentioned. So you cannot use 9-24 as a description of the "last seven" which is the tribulation period. It describes the whole time period of "seventy sevens" not referring specifically to the tribulation. If the tribulation IS God's judgment for the world this scripture certainly does not prove that.

    Let me say that I used to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. Then I stopped because it didn't make sense. All of these arguments are purely beliefs by both sides. Up until recently I didn't think there was any proof in the bible one way or the other. But now there is:

    Read 1Thessalonians 4:16-18 very carefully. Essentially it says the resurrection of dead Christians will happen BEFORE the "rapture" of Christians still alive.

    Now, If we read Revelation 20:4-5 it says,

    "Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and yreigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection."

    Notice how it says the resurrection includes those who had not received the mark of the beast. Therefore they came from the tribulation. Notice also how it says this is the FIRST resurrection. Remember how Paul said the resurrection will happen first BEFORE the rapture? If the first resurrection includes Christians who did not receive the mark of the beast( during the tribulation ), how can it happen before the tribulation? The answer is it can't. These scriptures prove without a doubt the rapture will happen AFTER the tribulation.
    If anyone is to argue this point, please do not use other scriptures or theories. We've all seen and read that stuff and can agree theories on both sides could not 100% totally prove one theory over the other. But I challenge anyone to say how these scriptures do not 100% prove the tribulation happens before the rapture based on JUST THESE SCRIPTURES.

    Thank you for the opportunity to voice my beliefs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christian,

      I think you're getting mixed up the order of the resurrections and who rises when. There are 4-5 resurrections. There are also different TYPES of resurrections.

      The first thing for you would be to examine these two essays (below) which explains the resurrections in relation to who rises and where the Church fits into these. As we all know, ALL scriptures is profitable and it is important to take all relevant ones with their attending passages to see the issues in context. Not your favored ones or artificially selected ones.

      Here are the essays which explain the resurrections. I hope these clear up your concerns.

      "What is the first resurrection? What is the second resurrection?"
      http://www.gotquestions.org/resurrection-first-second.html

      "When will the Resurrection take place?"
      http://www.gotquestions.org/when-resurrection.html

      Delete