Word of the Week: Transcendence

Is the Rapture Imminent?

Where are we in light of God's plan and in His time? What does today's news say about what God previously said will happen? A lot - not in terms of marking the timing, but in terms of showing that humans are depraved and consistent in their evil deeds throughout history. The rapture could always have come at any time. Are we very far along in His plan for the Church Age? Yes, because we know that we are 2,000+ years further along than when Paul said the rapture is imminent, and thus, 2000 years closer to that amazing day.

The end time Doctrine of Imminence is explained thus:
The New Testament is consistent in its anticipation that the return of Christ might occur at any moment. That pervading perspective of imminence prompts three questions. 
The first question pertains to whether the Tribulation will precede Christ’s coming for the church. The answer to that question is that it will not because the church is never asked to look forward to the tribulation, but they are asked to look forward to Christ’s coming. 
The second question revolves around how the return of Christ could have been imminent in the early church. The answer here is that no one but the Father knows when the coming will occur, so that Christians including the early church must always be ready.
The third question asks why Christ’s imminent return is so important. This answer relates to the motivation it supplies for believers to purify their lives and thereby progress toward the goal of sanctification and Christlikeness. The threefold call of the imminence doctrine is to wake up and obey right now, to throw off the works of darkness, and to put on the garments of holy living.
When the rapture happens, the snatching up of all true believers, it closes the Church Age. This then opens the door to the last 7 years of time outlined for the Jews & remaining non-believers. It will be a time when Jesus brings the earth and its dwellers under His subjection by judging sin. Remember, when the Tribulation (last 7 years) is concluded, Jesus will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. New Jerusalem will have descended, and Jesus will physically and presently rule the people and they will worship Him. (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15-16; Isaiah 45:23).

Today, the Tribulation has not begun yet, though for many who are persecuted, it may feel like it has. It certainly felt like it to the Thessalonians, who asked Paul that very question. Paul replied with an explanation that the Tribulation will not begin until certain other things happen in a certain sequence. (1 Thessalonians 5:1–9).

In fact, that time will be so distinctive that many of the people who are left behind will know that it is the time spoken of by Jesus, who prophesied, "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 11:13, Revelation 16:9). If you think about that deeply for a moment, and compare it to some of the worst times we've ever had on earth till now: for example, Russian pogroms, Cambodian Killing Fields, the Holocaust, Gettysburg, Medieval times bubonic plague, and then roll them ALL into one, the Tribulation will make them all seem like a picnic./ That is hard to believe but it's true.

Verses that support the doctrine of Imminence and are further explained in the above article, are-  James 5:8, James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:7, Hebrews 10:24–25, 2 Peter 3:11, 1 John 3:2–3). The article also goes on to explain why the rapture will precede the Tribulation, giving biblical support, of course.

Our goal each day is to pursue holiness. The Spirit's sanctifying work goes on, whether the rapture will imminently happen in the next second of time, or in another thousand years. Our task is to be ready. One way to be ready, and to aid the Spirit in His work, is to eagerly anticipate the Lord's return. Our eagerness prompts us to holiness, for, when He comes, do we want to be engaging in sin, or pursuing purity? His soon appearing is a catalyst for us to be doing good when He calls.
The hope of Christ’s imminent return is therefore the hinge on which a proper understanding of sanctification turns. Source
I pray you read the article Is Christ's Return Imminent? linked above or below, study these things, pray for His return, and that you are as eagerly awaiting his return as I am and all the others who are alive or asleep. What a day that will be!

Is Christ's Return Imminent?

Other Resources

The Rapture: What is it? Who will it affect? When is it most likely to take place?

Why I Believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture 


  1. Well put, but a topic sadly seldom heard in even the Bible believing churches that have the correct eschatology (as above).

    Occupy until He comes. In this world, we will have tribulation, but the time of Jacob's trouble - the last of Daniel's weeks - isn't for the church.

    Thanks for the edification, Elizabeth.


  2. Are there any verses that specifically state that the rapture will happen before the great tribulation? I can’t find any. Even John MacArthur has said that you must read between the lines to come to this conclusion. On the other hand, Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 state that we will see the anti-Christ. The Bible is full of teaching on the man of lawlessness including Judas who is a type of the anti-Christ. I believe the rapture is supported by Scriptures. No doubt about it. But as much as I want to believe in Pre-trib, there is biblical evidence pointing to the opposite.

    Even if you disagree with anything other than pre-trib, I hope at least you can agree that the countries in the West including the U. S. are totally unprepared for the coming persecution. We have been totally sheltered from the suffering of the persecuted churches.

    1. Hi Manuela,

      Thanks for your question. I especially agree with your second paragraph. We are totally unprepared for persecution.

      The rapture's timing is implicit which is what MacArthur was saying, like the Trinity is implicit. It's biblical, but there is no particular verse that overtly states "Godhead is Three Persons." Just so, there is no verse that explicitly says "The Rapture will happen before the Tribulation" but the concept is there.

      The most overt and obvious is this: Revelation 3:10 promises "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth."

      1 Thessalonians 5:9 says "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath..." and the entire Tribulation is wrath (Rev 6:17-18).

      Also, 2Thessalonians is written for the express purpose of comforting and reassuring believers at Thessalonica that they had not missed the rapture and were not in the Tribulation. Paul had taught them this previously, and the letter was to remind them of his teaching and to say, “no you didn't miss it and the dead friends didn't miss it either." He would not have needed to write the letter if he had taught them that they WOULD go thru the Tribulation.

      The other proofs are less obvious but still biblical. The nature of the church is that she is a Bride and not Israel, it is Israel being punished in the Tribulation (Dan 9:27). Our sins as the bride are forgiven and we are not under God's punishment. FMI about that and the decree and the timing, go here herehttps://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/27-25/israels-future-part-2

      In the rapture Jesus comes to take us TO heaven from earth but in the 2nd coming He is coming from heaven WITH us who are already there.

      Paul said that the rapture is a comfort, "therefore comfort each other with these words" but it is not comforting to know we would endure "the worst time on earth there ever as and ever will be" as Jesus said of the Tribulation.

      It is interesting to note that Revelation does not mention the church AT ALL after Rev 5 when the wrath begins. You would think with the NT being so permeated with commands and warnings and exhortations about holy living and false teaching etc that something would at least be said to help us get thru the Tribulation. But there is nothing. The reason is, we are there already.

      Matthew 24 Jesus is speaking to the Jews, THEY will see the antichrist, THEY will be persecuted and killed, and THEY are the ones warned to flee to the mountains. He wasn't speaking of the church then, but of His people Israel.

      Jesus said this after reminding the disciples in Matthew 24 the temple will be torn down. His mention of not happening on the Sabbath is a referral to the Jews not taking more than so many steps on the Sabbath lest it be considered "work."

      Also, during the Tribulation there will be another temple and sacrifices, (that the antichrist stops) another reason the church will be taken out first. If sacrifices go on AND New Testament Church is on the earth, there would be two streams of Christianity and too confusing.

      And there's more, especially regarding God's program since history began of the Israelites and their formation as a holy people, but the key explicit verse is Rev 3:10. Hope this helps! :)


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