Saturday, August 8, 2015

What is the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?

from Rapture
The Rapture is an event that will take place sometime in the near future. Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the earth, and then return to heaven with the Church. The Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians.
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess, 4:16-18).

"Behold, I show 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on in-corruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:51-53).

The timing of the rapture is not known. From the Word of God and from sound reasoning--something Jesus used quite frequently--I hope to prove the reality of the pre-tribulation rapture.
The word "rapture" comes from Paul's "caught up" remark in verse 17. The words "caught up" are translated from the Greek word harpazo, which means "to carry off," "snatch up," or "grasp hastily." The translation from harpazo to "rapture" involved two steps: first, harpazo became the Latin word raptus; second, raptus became the English word "rapture."

12 reasons why the pre-tribulation rapture makes most sense of the scriptures
1. There is clearly a difference between the meeting in the air for the saints and the coming of the Lord to the earth with the saints. 1 Thess 4.13-5.11 as opposed to Zech 14.5, Jude 14, Revelation 19.14.

2. A number of scriptures give the expectation that the coming of the Lord for the church could happen at any time therefore believers should be in a continual state of readiness for this. 1 Cor 1.7, 16.22, 1 Thess 1.10, 4.13- 5.11, Titus 2.13, Heb 9.28, James 5.8, 1 Pet 1.13, Jude 21, Rev 3.11, 22.7,12,17,20. If the Mark of the Beast system has to be in place before this event can take place then clearly the Lord cannot come at any time as the 666 is not in place.

3. Jesus said you cannot work out the date of his coming, but if see the 666 system in place you should be able to work out that there are 42 months to go before the coming of the Lord.

4. Paul says people will be saying ‘Peace and safety’ at the time of the event described in 1 Thess 4.13-5.11, but at the second coming of Christ to the earth there will have been 7 years of tribulation with God’s wrath poured out and the armies of the world gathering for Armageddon. Who will be saying ‘peace and safety’ then?

5. Jesus describes a time when life will be going on as normal with people doing things like buying and selling, building and planting, marrying and giving in marriage at the time when ‘one shall be taken and one shall be left’ (Luke 17.26-37) but at the end of the tribulation period life will be totally abnormal and only those who have the mark of the beast will be able to buy and sell.

6. The pre trib rapture gives the best explanation for the gap between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week in Daniel 9.24-27. There must be a gap because the 69th week ends before the crucifixion (Robert Anderson’s calculations put it as the Triumphal entry which makes a lot of sense theologically, but are not crucial to this argument). This is then followed by the fall of the Temple (40 years later) and a prolonged period of wars and desolations (contrary to Jewish hopes of peace following the coming of the Messiah). There is no way that the events of the fall of the Temple can be fitted into the 70th week period of Dan 9.27 as some affirm. Nor does this make any sense of Dan 9.24 as this whole period must bring about the sealing of OT messianic prophecy and the anointing of the Holy of Holies which will only take place at the 2nd coming of Messiah to the earth. The gap between the 69th and 70th week is occupied by the spirit filled church composed of Jews and Gentiles which is raptured prior to the events of Dan 9.27 when attention goes back to Israel as the vehicle of God’s purpose.

7. The pre-trib rapture gives the best explanation of why the saints have to be resurrected after the return of the Lord to the earth in Rev 20.4. Since the Lord has returned with the saints (who have been through the marriage supper of the Lamb) why does he then need to resurrect the saints? Only logical explanation is that these were not saints at the time of the rapture but were converted afterwards and for the most part martyred during the tribulation and ‘held under the altar’ and come out of the great tribulation (Rev7.13-14). As they became saints during the tribulation they have a part in the first resurrection (of the saved) and not the second resurrection (of the damned) (Rev 20.6,14).

8. The rapture is the blessed hope of the church (Titus 2.13). If it only comes at the end of the tribulation it is not much of a hope as you are likely to be executed before it happens.

9. Jesus said when you see the signs of his return beginning to happen you should look up because redemption is drawing near, not when they are ending (Luke 21.28).

10. The tribulation, especially the final 3 ½ years, is the outpouring of God’s wrath, but Paul says God has not appointed us to wrath (1 Thess 5.9).

11. Individuals being taken to be with the Lord supernaturally happened in the OT on two occasions (Enoch and Elijah). In both cases life continued on earth afterwards.

12. The hope of the Lord’s return is to purify ourselves (1 John 3.3). If Jesus can come at any time (only possible in the pre-trib position) you have a motivation to purify yourself (wanting to be doing his will and in a right relationship with him at the moment of his coming).

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