I wasn't originally intending to write about the Rapture. On other pages in
this website I have simply expressed my belief that the Rapture of the
Church will happen before the tribulation period begins, a view less and
less commonly held in these last days. But because more and more people have
been asking me to explain why I believe this, I decided to put it up here on
the internet for you all to read (and to save my fingers!).
Firstly I would like to say that this is simply my understanding of
Scripture. I would not seek to argue with anyone who believes something
entirely different. Everyone is entitled to hold to what they believe. Here,
I am simply stating my reasons for believing in a pre-tribulation
For those who don't know what the Rapture is. The Lord Jesus told the
disciples in John 14 that He was going away to prepare a place for those who
had trusted in Him as their Saviour. He gave this promise...
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you
unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
A brief description
The word "Rapture" is not in the Bible. The word comes from a
Latin verb meaning to "catch away". But this is not a valid reason
for believing there is no "Rapture". The word
"Trinity" is also not found in the Bible, yet we know for certain
God exists in "three persons", and that the working of all three
of these Divine Persons is required for salvation.
There are numerous Scriptures which describe the Rapture of the Church.
The Lord Jesus, according to the book of 1st Thessalonians, will come to the
air. The bodies of all those who have trusted in Christ as their Saviour
will immediately be transformed into a new body. This new body will have
several characteristics, most notably that it is incapable of sin (and
therefore fit to live in heaven), and it will not suffer sickness or death.
At this same time, the bodies of all those who have died since trusting Christ will also
be resurrected from the dust, and their bodies will be changed into immortal
bodies. These bodies will then be
reunited with their souls (the real person) which was in heaven. These
believers will then be "caught up together with Christ" into
heaven, where they will stay until the end of the tribulation period. 1st
Corinthians states that these events will happen within "the
twinkling of an eye", almost instantaneously.
1st Corinthians 15:51-52
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), 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.
Daniel's seventy weeks
It's important to understand that God's prophetic calendar centres completely around the nation of Israel. In
Daniel chapter 9, the angel Gabriel told Daniel that God had determined
weeks of years upon his people the Jews.
Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people (the Jews) and upon
thy holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, and to make an end
of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to
anoint the most Holy (Jesus Christ).
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment
to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven
weeks, and threescore and two weeks (69 weeks total): the street shall be built again, and
the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall
Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that
shall come (Romans) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (Jerusalem and
the Temple); and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of
the war desolations are determined.
The seventy weeks started with the proclamation to rebuild the Temple
after the Babylonian captivity. This is significant, for the Temple is
God's dwelling place on earth. There are never two Temples described as
existing simultaneously in Scripture. But that Temple was destroyed in 70
AD, and Christ said regarding it, "your house is
left unto you desolate", Luke 13:35. The current abode of the
Lord is in the "Temple" of the believers' bodies (1st Corinthians
6:19). The 70th week of Daniel will also commence with a peace agreement
that will see the restitution of Temple sacrifices, subsequent to the
rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. But this Temple will be defiled by the
Antichrist, and so is not counted as God's dwelling place. This is why you
will read in the book of Revelation that the true Temple during the
tribulation period will be in heaven.
And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple
the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and
thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
The prophet Daniel predicted the exact date of the arrival of
the Messiah into the city of Jerusalem, and describes how He would be
"cut off" after the 69th week. Following the end of that week,
there was a 40 year period (40 in Scripture always speaks of judgement)
after which the city and sanctuary were destroyed by the armies of Titus
in 70 AD.
And he (Antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many (nations) for one
week (seven years): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the
sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of
abominations he shall make it (the Temple) desolate, even until the
consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Daniel's 70th week describes the arrival of the Antichrist, and his peace
agreement with many nations which should last for seven years (but only
lasts for 3.5 years). But we know the Antichrist has not yet come, neither
has any Jewish Temple existed for 2000 years, so there must be an
explanation why these events have not happened yet... After the nation of Israel rejected the Messiah, God's prophetic clock
stopped. Israel was scattered among the nations, and God turned to the
Gentiles. The Church was formed, and now all those who believe in Christ
are justified through faith in Him. One day God will again take up the
nation of Israel. We can see that happening today. Daniel's 70th week
will commence once the Antichrist confirms the covenant with many nations. But what has
all this to do with the Rapture?
Daniel's 70 weeks were determined upon "his
people" - the Jews, and the "Holy City" - Jerusalem. The seventieth week therefore is not determined upon
Christ's Church. Part of the reason why seventy weeks were
determined upon Israel were for Israel to finish the transgression and make
and end of sins. Christ has already made an end of sins for the Church at Calvary. The
Jews are still paying for their rejection of Christ. Christ also made reconciliation for iniquity,
has brought in everlasting righteousness, and in the Church's eyes is
anointed King. Until Israel recognizes Jesus as Messiah, the prophecy of all
these things coming to pass for Israel will not be "sealed up" (or
If the Church was only created after the 69th week, after God had set
aside Israel, it makes sense if, when the 70th week of Daniel begins and God
once again takes up Israel, that the Church is also removed from the scene.
Israel and the Church
Some people get confused over the timing of the Rapture because of a
failure to distinguish between the Church (Bride of Christ) and Israel (Wife
of Yahweh). A lot of Christians today sadly believe that God has cast off
Israel permanently, and that the Church has somehow stolen all Israel's
blessings. Not only is this contrary to Scripture (Romans 9-11 and many
other passages), it also calls into question many of the prophecies
concerning the last days. God still has a plan for Israel.
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the
ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth
the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those
ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel
also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the
LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth
searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all
that they have done, saith the LORD.
As we saw earlier, the Church really doesn't fit into Old Testament
prophecy. In fact, out of the 39 books of the Old Testament the Church is not mentioned
once. And yet the return of Christ to earth is mentioned hundreds of times. Why?
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now
revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the
Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his
promise in Christ by the gospel:
The Church was hidden in Christ. The Church exists in a special period of
God's grace in which the Lord would pour out His blessings on the Gentiles.
This why it is also important to make a distinction between the Church and
Israel. Christ's Second Coming to earth will fulfill the earthly promises
that were given to Israel (Luke 1:32-33). But the Church was never promised
an earthly kingdom. Christ said, "My kingdom is
not of this world, lest would my servants fight", John 18:36. As
Christians, we are not specifically looking for Christ's Second Coming to
earth, but for Christ's Coming to the air, where we will be caught up to
meet Him. These are two distinct events in Scripture.
And his (Christ's) feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,
which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave
in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be
a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north,
and half of it toward the south.
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.
The Rapture in the New Testament
There is a lot of confusion over certain New Testament Scriptures
regarding the Rapture of the Church, mainly because of the failure to
distinguish the times when Christ is speaking specifically of Israel (which
as a nation will endure the tribulation), and when Christ speaks of the
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the
ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall
also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field;
the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at
the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore:
for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
once believed that the above verses were references to the Rapture of the
Church, until someone pointed out to me that the "taking away"
here was to do with judgement, not the Rapture. I never really understood
why until I read the corresponding passage in Luke.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall
lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be
two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two
women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other
left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other
left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto
them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together". These people
that are "taken" are destined for judgement, not the Rapture. From
what I understand their bodies will lie unburied for the birds of the air to
scavenge. Revelation contains a similar description of this event...
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice,
saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather
yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the
flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and
the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men,
both free and bond, both small and great.
passage concerning the Tribulation that is often misunderstood, refers
specifically to Israel. The Church isn't mentioned.
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is
on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither
let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto
them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray
ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For
then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the
world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
The Lord Jesus is
speaking specifically of those living in the locality of Judea during the
time of the tribulation, he is not speaking of the Church in this passage.
These Jews will suffer such terrible persecution, that will come upon them
with such speed that they will literally have to drop everything and run for
their lives. The prophetic passage Christ is referring to is found in Revelation 12 and in Zechariah
14 (at the end of the Tribulation), concerning the persecution of Israel by
Satan through the Antichrist.
And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was cast unto the earth (By the war
with the holy angels in heaven), he persecuted the woman (Israel) which
brought forth the man child (Jesus Christ). And to the woman were given two
wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her
place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (3.5
years), from the face of the serpent.
And his (Christ's) feet shall stand in that day upon the
mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of
Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the
west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall
remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye
(Israel) shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the
mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from
before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my
God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
No mention of the
Church on earth past Revelation 3
The book of Revelation was penned by the Apostle John to the seven
churches in Asia (now called Turkey). The Lord told John that He would tell
him to write of things past, present and future (Revelation 1:19). Chapters
1 to 3 deal specifically which things that were past and present, while
chapter 4 onwards deals with the future. We find that the Church is not
mentioned in the book of Revelation past chapter 3, until you reach chapter
Jesus Christ gave specific promises to the 7 churches mentioned in the
book of Revelation. It is commonly believed that these 7 churches, although
they were literal assemblies of believers that lived during John's day, are
generally representative of 7 different periods of Church history. It is
believed that we are currently living within the time period of the last of
the 7 churches, the Laodicean church age. That can be plainly seen in the
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue
thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with
goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
One of these promises
Jesus Christ gave to the Philadelphian church, the only church in Revelation
that Christ didn't have a single word of condemnation for.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from
the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them
that dwell upon the earth.
The Greek word "from" in this
verse means "out of". It's the same word used by Christ in the
garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed for the Father to "save
Me from this hour", John 12:27. Christ wasn't intending to keep
this church through the hour of temptation (trial), which would come upon
all the world, He was literally going to remove them from it. But the church
of Philadelphia no longer exists, so this promise must be applicable to the
Church as a whole today.
For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken
in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the
breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For
God hath not appointed us to (Divine) wrath, but to obtain (physical)
salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake
(are alive) or sleep (or dead), we should live (Rapture) together with him.
verse confirms this again in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. We who are
of the day are not appointed to be there for the Divine wrath that will be
poured out on the whole world, but we shall obtain physical salvation by our
Lord Jesus Christ. Physical salvation, because we have already obtained
spiritual salvation when we were saved. And the verses immediately following
this passage are concerning the Rapture of the Church.
24 elders cast
down their crowns
In chapters 4 and 5, John sees a group of 24 elders wearing crowns. What is the identity of these men? Angels are never crowned
in the Bible. The Greek word for "crown" in these verses is
"stephanos", meaning "to twine or weave together". These
crowns are not the type worn by kings (royal crown) or priests (holiness),
but the type of crowns or wreaths that are awarded at the Olympic games
(rewards). This helps us understand why in chapter 5, the elders cast their
crowns at Christ's feet, acknowledging that He is the only one worthy of
praise. The only ones promised these types of crowns were five distinct groups of
people, the victor's crown (1st Corinthians 9:25), the shepherd's crown (1st
Peter 5:4), those watching for Christ's coming (2nd Timothy 4:8), the
overcomer's crown (Revelation 2:10) and the soul-winner's crown (1st
Thessalonians 2:19). So here we have a group of 24 believers who have
obtained crowns, and are casting them down at Christ's feet during the
tribulation period. We will not obtain our crowns until the Judgement seat
of Christ (2nd Timothy 4:8), so the Rapture of the Church must have already
occurred by chapter number 5. Many Christians believe the Judgement seat of
Christ will take place in Heaven during the Tribulation period. Concerning
the Rapture, many also believe chapter 4 verse 1 is a picture of this, where
the Lord commands John to "Come up here".
Throughout John's description of events on earth during the Tribulation
period, the Church is never mentioned. But Israel is frequently mentioned.
In chapter 7, we read how God commands the angels to not hurt the earth
until He has sealed 144,000 Jews with His Holy Spirit. These 144,000
witnesses, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel, will go throughout the world in
the last days and preach the gospel of the kingdom. If the Church remains on
earth during the Tribulation, then why is the Lord recruiting Jewish
believers to do the work He commanded the Church to do in Mark 16:15? The
Rapture must have occurred before the start of the Tribulation period for
this reason. After the Rapture, the Church will no longer be able to witness
for Christ on earth. God can't be without a witness to men, and we know that
there will be an untold multitude saved during the Tribulation period
(Revelation 7:9). So a remnant of the House of Israel is sealed with the
Holy Spirit to be a witness to the world of impending judgement and the need
to turn to God for salvation.
144,000 killed during the tribulation
Some say that the 144,000 Jews are the remnant of Israel that will
survive the tribulation, and that the Church at this time will still be
witnessing on earth. This following information is something I just noticed
recently in discussion with a good friend of mine, so correct me if I'm
wrong. I believe that Israel as a nation will not be saved until they
recognize their Messiah, at the end of the tribulation period (Zechariah
12:10) when Christ comes. The 144,000 Jews are saved at the start of the
tribulation period, and are killed for their witness by the Antichrist
(Revelation 13:7). In Revelation 14, the 144,000 are in heaven, which
implies that they were all killed for their witness.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an
hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their
foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and
as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping
with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne,
and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song
but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the
The fact that these 144,000 are in heaven before
Christ's Second Coming, and the resurrection of Old Testament Saints which
happens after the tribulation period, is explained in verse four. The
144,000 Jews are called the "firstfruits unto God". The Feast of
Firstfruits was when the Israelites offered the food they gathered at the
beginning of the harvest for a thank-offering to God. Firstfruits also
speaks of resurrection, and Jesus is described as being the
"Firstfruits from among the dead", or the first Man to be
resurrected in a new body, never to die again. So the 144,000 are the
Firstfruits of the salvation of Israel, and of the resurrection of Old
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.
These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were
redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the
1st Corinthians 15:20
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of
them that slept.
After the 144,000 are slain, God is still not left
without a witness. In the following verses, several angels take up where the
144,000 left off, and preach the gospel to the whole world.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting
gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and
kindred, and tongue, and people,
Arrayed in fine linen, white and clean
In chapter 19 we read that the Church will be arrayed in fine linen,
white and clean, a picture of the Bride of Christ making herself ready for
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the
Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted
that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine
linen is the righteousness of saints.
Marriage of the Lamb
is further evidence that a pre-tribulation rapture is the correct viewpoint
according to Scripture. The timing of the Rapture as set forth in Scripture
uniquely parallels that of the traditional Jewish marriage. The Jewish
tradition is described in Matthew 25, in the parable of the five wise and
five foolish virgins. Note, they were all virgins (professors), but only
five brought oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (only five were
possessors). This is in keeping with the Scriptural teaching of the Rapture,
that only those who are Born Again Christians (as opposed to nominal
"Christians" who never experienced the new birth) will be caught
up to be with Christ in heaven. Also note, these verses can't be used to
teach a partial rapture theory, in which only some "worthy"
Christians will be raptured, while the foolish ones will endure the
tribulation period. The Bible states that while the Bridegroom tarried, they
all slumbered and slept. There were none that were watching for His
According to tradition, the husband goes
away to prepare a home for His bride. Once the home is prepared, He will
come to the Bride's house at an unexpected hour, and take her to His own
house, where they will have the honeymoon.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready
went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
the wedding, there is usually a seven day honeymoon period, which according
to Rapture Alert
links up nicely with the seven year tribulation period on earth.
If I am correct, the Marriage Supper usually occurs at
the Bride's home. This therefore, may take place on earth, during the Millennial
Reign of Christ.
The attire of the Church
is fine linen, white and clean, which reminds us of how Christ's blood has
washed away our sin, and made us accepted in God's eyes. The next time we
read of fine linen, white and clean is a few verses down the chapter. This
chapter describes the Second Coming of Christ to the earth.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he (Jesus Christ)
that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth
judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were
many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called
The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon
white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Scripture interprets Scripture, then the armies which were in heaven must be
the Church. For it could never be said that angels were arrayed in clean
linen, for they have never been redeemed. So if we, the Church, ride out of
heaven with Christ at His Second Coming to earth, the Rapture must have
Antichrist only to be revealed after the Rapture
The church of Thessalonica was very concerned about the timing of the
Rapture. If Paul's words are to be taken literally, this church had
apparently received a letter claiming to be from the apostles stating that
the Second Coming of Christ to the earth had already happened. The
Thessalonians were troubled about those believers who had died, and wondered
what would happen to them seeing the resurrection had already taken place.
Paul writes to reassure them that the Second Coming of Christ hadn't
actually come yet, and he gave them some assurances that this was the case.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (Christ's Second Coming to
earth) shall not come, except there come a falling away first (apostasy),
and that man of sin be revealed (Antichrist), the son of perdition;
And now ye know what withholdeth that he (Antichrist) might be revealed in
his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work (Spirit of
Antichrist): only he who now letteth (old English word for
"hinders") will let (hinder), until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked (Antichrist) be revealed, whom the Lord shall
consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness
of his coming:
So Paul gives a double assurance. Christ's Second
Coming to earth can't have already occurred because the Antichrist must be
revealed before this happens. And the Antichrist can't be revealed until
whatever is hindering his appearing is first removed. The Antichrist will be
revealed to the world the day he confirms the peace agreement in the Middle
East. This will trigger the start of Daniel's 70th week. But something is
hindering the Antichrist being revealed (to the world) now. Further study
reveals only one logical conclusion on the identity of what that is.
not Christ Himself. Jesus said in John 9:5, "As
long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world". Jesus
Christ is no longer physically in the world, He is in heaven. We know that
God is omnipresent (He exists everywhere at all times). So the Spirit of God
cannot be the One hindering the revelation of Antichrist, for God cannot be
taken from the earth. If He was taken from the earth, nobody during the
Tribulation period could be saved. But Jesus did say the Church was the
light and salt of the earth, through the working of the Holy Spirit.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be
cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the
world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
believe that the only thing hindering the Antichrist being revealed today is
the Holy Spirit's influence in the world through the believers, holding the
tide of sin back. The proof we have from Scripture that this Restrainer is
indeed the Holy Spirit, can be found in the language used by Paul in 2nd
2nd Thessalonians 2:6-7
And now ye know what withholdeth that he (Antichrist) might be
revealed in his time: For the mystery of iniquity doth already work (Spirit
of Antichrist): only he who now letteth (old English word for
"hinders") will let (hinder), until he be taken out of the way.
at the words highlighted in bold in the above verses. No, Paul hasn't made a
mistake in his Greek. This doesn't make sense in English, it should really
read "now ye know who withholdeth". But Paul doesn't say
that, and the reason why is because the only Person that can ever be
described as being both neuter gender and masculine at the same time is God
Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit's influence in
this world is directed through Christ's body, the Church. Once the Church is taken out of the way (to heaven), that
medium for influence will be temporarily lost, allowing the Antichrist to be
Well I hope this has helped your understanding of timing of the
Rapture of the Church. If you have any questions, just email, and I will try
my best to help.
Original article: http://www.evenmore.co.uk/prophecy/rapture.html
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