NOTE: I apologize! For some reason the link to this post did not go through properly for all. I believe I have fixed the problem. Thank you for your patience!
“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.”
My very first post on this blog was published January 1, 2017, was titled The Rapture – God’s Promise, and was meant to let all know of one of the most critical, comforting Promises God made to all of mankind in the Last Days, a Promise which could very well impact all Believers at any time, even today! I encourage you to read it before proceeding with this post if you have not read it previously. I am not changing anything I said before but rather am writing this to give you additional insight as to why we are anxiously awaiting His soon Return BEFORE the 7 year Tribulation begins. Why BEFORE the worst time in human history? Because that is what the Bible says in many places!
Over the years I have read various explanations regarding whether the Rapture of the Believers will occur BEFORE the Tribulation; MIDWAY or halfway through the Tribulation (usually associated with the Abomination of Desolation); or, AFTER the Tribulation (aligned with the Second Coming of Jesus at Armageddon). If you don’t know what the Tribulation is I suggest you read my previous post God’s 490 year binding contract that’s almost over!
Basically, the 7 year Tribulation Period spoken of in the Bible begins with the signing by the yet-to-be identified anti-christ of a Peace Covenant between Israel and the Palestinians. Midway through the 7 year agreement (3 1/2 years) the anti-christ will enter the then rebuilt 3rd Jewish Temple in Jerusalem; stopping the Jewish animal sacrifices; and demand he be worshipped by all as God. This is known as the Abomination of Desolation and it ushers the world into the Great Tribulation, the last 3 1/2 years (1260 days to be exact!) of the Tribulation. This will be the absolute worst time in human history when the Wrath of God is unleashed on an unbelieving, sinful world.
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.”
“For then there shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
So, the Bible makes it clear there will be three VERY distinct events in the Last Days. First, there will be a peace agreement signed by the anti-christ which will allow the Jews to rebuild their third Holy Temple and which will signal the beginning of the seventieth week (7years) of the Jews time in the land of Israel. Secondly, in the middle of that seven year time period (exactly 1,260 days or 3 1/2 years on the Jewish calendar), the anti-christ will enter the rebuilt Temple and demand to be worshipped as God. Finally, the last half of the Tribulation, aka the Great Tribulation, will bring death and destruction to this world unmatched in history and will only end with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at Armageddon where the anti-christ and his false prophet will be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone for eternity. Satan will be bound up for the 1,000 year Millennial rule of Christ in this world and who then at the end will be “loosed” for a short season before Eternity begins. For more info on what happens after Armageddon you may want to read my previous post What happens AFTER Armageddon?
If you read my post on the Rapture you know this is God’s Mercy on His Believers so they will NOT have to endure His coming Wrath. It is clearly said in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:
“According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming (Rapture) of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep (died). For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord IN THE AIR (capitals mine). And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
This scripture is one of the very best when describing the coming Rapture. Most importantly, it also states we will meet with Jesus in the air, not on the ground (when He returns at Armageddon and steps on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem). Obviously, this Scripture refers to the Rapture occurring BEFORE Christ Returns at Armageddon. To those who advocate either a mid or post-tribulation Rapture, I believe it takes a viewpoint that excludes the very first Scripture shown above where God say He will keep those with faith from having to endure the hour of temptation (Tribulation) meant for those without faith. Remember, with a couple of previous examples of His Mercy, God instructed Noah and his family to enter the Ark SEVEN days before the Flood came. Also the angels told Lot the DAY before God was to unleash hail and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah to get out lest he and his family would also be punished. In His Mercy, He took them all out of harm’s way BEFORE He unleashed His Wrath! For God said:
“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.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which DELIVERED US FROM THE WRATH TO COME (Tribulation – capitals mine).”
1 Thessalonians 1:10
The last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation is basically a prophetic picture of what awaits the world in the Last Days. This was communicated directly to John by Jesus Himself while John was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos for his testimony of Jesus. It is the very last book of the Bible and describes the Church Age, the rise of the anti-christ, the Judgements on this world and the ultimate defeat of Satan by Jesus. Since it is primarily viewed chronologically, I think it is fascinating that John describes in the beginning of the Book, in Revelation chapters 1-3, the Seven churches he personally started but which are also clearly indicative of the various historical stages of the Christian Church up to today. After telling us of the strengths and weaknesses of the various churches and His warnings to them, Revelation 4:1 describes the Rapture in a way John personally experienced for inclusion in this book.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter (after the Rapture). And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
John experienced a “rapture” and then witnessed all that would happen on earth afterwards during the Tribulation while he sat in Heaven with Jesus! Coincidence? How about the fact while he spent the first three chapters of Revelation discussing the good and bad parts of the Church and after he is “raptured” the Church is NOT even mentioned again until Christ’s Return at Armageddon! Coincidence? One more example is with regards to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven. Mid and Post Tribulationists alike are unable to explain how this marriage could happen in Heaven if the Rapture had not already happened. This happens BEFORE Christ Returns and is with those Believers who have accepted Him through faith and been previously raptured. This has to mean His Believers are with Him during the Tribulation in Heaven and will return with Him at Armageddon. Again, how do we know we CAN escape His Wrath?
“Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you. Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid (Rapture) in the day of the Lord’s anger.”
I was getting ready to post this article when I read a fascinating article on Christ in Prophecy’s Facebook page. I am a huge fan of Dr. David Reagan and Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries who puts this Facebook page together and with their consent I wanted to reprint their list of differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at Armageddon. They were gracious enough to allow me to use it and I would strongly encourage ALL who have an interest in Biblical prophecy to join and follow their Facebook page. They also have a GREAT show on TBN called Christ in Prophecy. The Biblical differences which point to a pre-Tribulation vs. post (or mid for that matter) Rapture are as follows:
Pre-Tribulation Rapture vs. Second Coming/Post-Tribulation Rapture
Jesus appears in the sky and then ascends up to Heaven vs. Jesus appears in the sky and then descends down to the earth.
Jesus gathers those who are saved, called the Church, from the earth vs. Jesus gathers those who are saved, called the Church, from Heaven.
Jesus leaves behind those on the earth who are not saved, the Unrighteous, to begin enduring the wrath of God vs. Jesus returns and confronts those on the earth who are not saved, the Unrighteous to finish enduring the wrath of God.
The resurrected Church meets Jesus up in the clouds vs. Mortal believers, called the Tribulation Saints, meet Jesus down on the earth.
The destination of the Church is Heaven vs. The destination of the Church is Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom on earth.
Only the Church, not the Unrighteous, will see Jesus vs. Every eye, both Church and Unrighteous alike, will see Jesus.
The Rapture takes place as fast as a blink of an eye vs. The Second Coming is drawn out over a number of days.
The Church instantly obtains glorified bodies which last forever before Christ’s Millennial Kingdom is instituted vs. Tribulation Saints remain in their same earthly bodies and await their glorified bodies at the end of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
The Church is gathered to receive their rewards while the Unrighteous are left behind to face their punishment vs. The Unrighteous are gathered to receive judgement and be sentenced to Torments while the Tribulation Saints are left behind on earth to enter into Christ’s rewards.
Jesus appears as a Bridegroom ready to receive His Bride, the Church vs. Jesus appears as a warrior ready to execute judgement against His enemies.
Jesus appears as a Deliverer, rescuing spiritual refugees vs. Jesus returns as King installing subjects to rule over His Kingdom.
The Rapture depicts the deliverance of the Church from God’s wrath vs. The Second Coming depicts the deliverance of Tribulation Saints who have endured many years of God’s wrath.
The world remains left unjudged and still living in the horrible condition of sin vs. The world receives final judgement and righteousness is established.
The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem remains unchanged vs. The impact of Jesus landing on the earth splits the Mount of Olives in two, forming a whole new valley.
Satan remains free to cause havoc and slaughter billions vs. God’s angels capture Satan, bind him, and throw the Devil into a bottomless pit.
Revealed clearly in the New Testament vs. Revealed clearly in both the Old and New Testaments.
An imminent event in that no signs or events need to precede in order for it to happen vs. Over seven years’ worth of signs and events must precede in order for it to happen.
Deals only with the Church vs. Deals both with the Church and the Unrighteous.
The end purpose is to bring God’s judgement on this world vs. The end purpose is to install Jesus’s Kingdom over this world.
The Rapture is an idyllic scene of God’s love, mercy, and grace to His Church vs. The Second Coming is a terrifying scene of God’s wrath and judgement against the Unrighteous.
Hopefully, I have given you the Biblical information to correctly convince you the Rapture will occur PRIOR to the start of the Tribulation period. In God’s Mercy He will take us out of harm’s way BEFORE He unleashes His Wrath. The only way this could happen is if we have been Raptured prior to the start, not during or at the end of the Tribulation. We WILL be Raptured IF we accept Jesus died for our sins and ask for His forgiveness of our sins. If we do that we will enjoy eternity with Jesus in Heaven and will not have to endure the terrible times of the Tribulation. As a Believer, that is so very, very comforting to me, even in a world today which seems to get worse by the moment. We will not have to go through this terrible time. That is comforting! If you believe in Jesus, I simply ask you to do exactly what we have ALL been told to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
May God Bless you!