You are right. What I should have said is that the OP is totally false. To say that the Pre-Trib Rapture is a total fraud and untrue is provocative, is stating an opinion as fact, and a total misunderstanding of Scripture. My apologies for such a poor original response.
Ok, but where is your scripture and reasoning behind Matt 24:29-31 and OP. All you're doing is stating your anger. I appreciate your passion however.
I looked for the series of posts I made a while back about the sequence of events in the end times but I can't find it. Perhaps one of the Mods can find it and post the link. But, here is the first post from my blog.
The first event in the sequence of upcoming end-times events is the rapture of the church out of this world. The Lord Jesus will return from heaven and will suddenly and supernaturally remove the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). In these verses, Paul teaches that true believers will suddenly be caught up into the air by the power of Christ and meet Him there. This is what he says: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (NIV)
So, those Christians who have died since the church began at Pentecost will be involved in the rapture, having their physical bodies raised from the dead. These Christians have been with the Lord since their death, but only now do they receive their resurrected, glorified bodies (1 Corinthians. 15:51-53). All Christians who are part of the church, the Bride of Christ, will be taken by the Lord to heaven and will be with Him there. This is the first resurrection (Rev. 20:5-6).
In the New Testament, a number of passages speak of Christ’s coming for His church. John 14:1-3 is the first mention of it. It says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (NIV)
There are several important truths found in John 14:1-3. First, Jesus went literally and bodily into heaven and He will return in the same manner after the necessary preparations are made. He will not send an angel but come Himself. Second, the promise is made to His followers, not to mankind in general since He is speaking to His disciples, who represent the church. Third, when He returns He will take us to the Father’s house, which is in Heaven. This promise was new revelation to the disciples. They learned that they (the church) would not remain on this earth, for the earth is not the hope of the church (Titus 2:13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:7).
Immediately following the rapture of the church, the judgment seat of Christ will take place in heaven. All those who are involved in the rapture will also be involved in this event (Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The issue at this judgment is not the salvation of the individual as that has already been settled, but whether their works once saved are good and acceptable to Christ. If they are, the person will receive rewards. If they are considered worthless (done for themselves and not for Christ) there will be loss of reward. The church age is over. Now GOD in Christ will turn His attention to Israel.
As I said before, there are several passages of Scripture that point to the protection and removal of the church of Christ during these days. In 1Thessalonians 1:9-10, after Paul gives praise to the faithful Thessalonians for having patience and confidence in looking for the coming of the Lord (‘to wait”), he says that Jesus “delivers us from the wrath to come.” The word deliver (rhuomai) carries with it the idea of rescuing from something by a forceful act. It puts emphasis on the greatness of the peril from which deliverance is given by a mighty act of power. Verse 10 says that Christ will deliver believers “out from” (ek) the coming wrath of GOD. This word emphasizes the completeness of our rescue by Christ – we are rescued out of the time of distress itself. Secondly, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 also points to the removal of the church by rapture at the time of GOD’s future wrath. Here Paul comforts the believers with the truth that “GOD has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.” Paul is speaking of GOD’s determination of the believer’s future. He emphatically states that it is not GOD’s intention for the believer to experience wrath. This clear guarantee that believers will not experience His wrath agrees with other Scripture, such as John 5:24, Romans 5:9-10, and Colossians 1:3. Paul makes a sharp distinctions between the believer and the unsaved, using “you” and “we” versus “they” and “them.” It is the Lord who guarantees our safety. Not only of our eternal salvation, but to keep us safe from the terrible penalty of eternal damnation. This guarantee covers the earthly aspect of our salvation also, keeping us safe from the wrath of GOD that will be manifest in the tribulation. The Lord’s death delivered us from all forms of GOD’s wrath and it is the rapture event this is the final phase of our salvation as we receive our glorified bodies. It is GOD’s sovereign will, according to Paul, that we believers be removed from the time of His wrath to receive our completed salvation. A third significant passage, where John records the words of Christ to the church at Philadelphia, is found in Revelation 3:10. Christ 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.” Protection is promised to keep them from (ek) the hour of trial. Some of you will debate the meaning of the Greek word “ek” as used here. You may feel that the use of the word indicates that the church will be protected through the time of tribulation. However, it should be observed that the text does not say that we will be kept from trials but from the “hour of trial.” This “hour of trial” refers to the tribulation period and is a promise to keep the church from the period of trial (or testing), which requires the actual removal from the time period itself and not preservation through it. This is accomplished by the Rapture at the beginning of the tribulation.
In order to justify a mid- or post- tribulation rapture or a one-time coming of the Lord, some of you believe that certain events must take place first. Such as the first six seal judgments. So, let’s talk a minute about the concept of the imminent coming of the Lord. The word itself is not found in the Bible, but it has become the word used to express the idea of the “any-moment” coming of Christ. The word itself means that something is about to happen. Renald Showers, on page 127 of his book Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! (Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel, 1995) put it this way: “An imminent event is the one that is always hanging overhead, is constantly ready to befall or overtake a person, is always close at hand in the sense that it could happen at any moment. Other things may happen before the imminent event, but nothing else must take place before it happens. If something else must take place before an event can happen, that event is not imminent. The necessity of something else taking place first destroys the concept of immanency.” The imminent coming of the Lord means that there are no signs or events that must take place before His return. He could return at any minute.
As the NT passages on the rapture were being written, there seems to have been a consistent belief and anticipation that the Lord might return in the lifetimes of the apostles and other believers. They used terms that anticipated this as an any-moment event. No intervening events had to take place. They encouraged each other to be watching and waiting for the Lord’s return and be comforted and challenged to action. The Second Coming, on the other hand, has the distinction of not being taught as an imminent happening. On the contrary, a number of signs and events must take place prior to it. Such as the appearance of the Antichrist and the setting up of the Abomination that causes Desolation. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Matthew 24:15)
A normal reading of a number of passages in Scripture leads to the conclusion that the Apostles believed in immanency. For example, take James 5:7-9. James urges his Jewish readers to “be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” Others to consider are 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Philippians 3:20-21; and Titus 2:13. They all talk about watching and waiting in anticipation of the Lord’s return, but not about sign or terrible events. Paul clearly expected the Lord to return at any time, even in his lifetime, and he instructs the believers of this truth.
It is difficult to get around the conclusion that the early church really did anticipate the Lord’s return at any moment. They were eagerly looking for Him and clearly not looking for signs. Next time, I’ll focus on the distinction between the events of the Rapture and the Second Coming, why an interval is needed between the Rapture and the Second Coming, and the lack of evidence for the Church’s presence in the Tribulation.
As would be expected, there are some similarities between rapture and second coming passages of Scripture. In both groups, the same Lord Jesus is coming from Heaven to deal with us humans. But that doesn’t mean that they take place at the same time. Although it does not prove a pre-tribulation rapture, there are enough differences between the rapture passages and the second coming passages to legitimately support the claim that they are two different events. They also cast significant doubt on a post-tribulation rapture.
As I compare the main passages on the rapture - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; and John 14:1-3 - with the second coming ones – Joel 3:12-16; Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-5; and Matthew 24:29-31 – I can see certain differences:
- At the rapture the saints meet Christ in the air; at the second coming the Lord descends to the Mount of Olives. Nowhere in the second coming passages is there a reference to the meeting in the air.
- At the rapture the Lord comes to bless His people with the final part of their salvation. No judgment is found in these passages. In the second coming passages, the clear focus is on the judgment that will come to the unbeliever.
- At the rapture, there is no mention of the millennial kingdom being established after this return; while the second coming emphasizes the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. It is the primary reason for the second coming.
- At the rapture, both living saints and those who are dead in Christ receive glorified bodies. Both groups are involved and both receive bodies that will allow them to live forever. No mention of anyone receiving a glorified body is contained in the second coming passages. In fact, there is no reference to the translation of living saints at all.
- The rapture occurs before the wrath of GOD; the second coming follows this time of wrath in the Day of the Lord.
- The coming of the Lord at the rapture is seen as imminent, as discussed in my prior post; many signs and events must take place prior to His second coming.
- At the rapture the Lord returns to Heaven with His saints – to the “Father’s house”; at the second coming the Lord remains on the earth.
- At the rapture all believers will be removed from the earth, leaving only unbelievers on the planet for the moment. At the second coming, because of its accompanying judgments, all unbelievers will be removed from the earth. Only believers will enter the Millennial Kingdom.
An additional point needs to be made here. Three primary words are used in the New Testament for the Lord’s return – parousia (coming), apokalypsis (revelation or unveiling), and epiphania (appearing). Some have tried to use them to establish the timing of the rapture but they are not technical words and do not contribute to settling the issue of timing. However, the seven differences I observed and listed do suggest two separate events that could be separated by the 7 year tribulation period.
Why is there an interval needed between the Rapture and the Second Coming? Basically, there are three events that seem to occur during this time. They are:
- The judgment (Bema) seat of Christ;
- The marriage of the Lamb;
- The salvation of people left on earth after the rapture event.
The Bema Seat Judgment, where believers will receive their rewards or suffer loss, (1 Peter 5:4 and Revelation 22:12) apparently takes place prior to the second coming because, at the second coming, the believers will already have been rewarded. In Revelation 19:8 the apostle John writes that “... to her (the Church) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. These garments obviously represent the rewards. And since the Bride is already wearing her garments when she returns with the Lord at the second coming, it is proper to surmise that the judgment has already taken place. This rewarding would seem to take some time, as there are some emotions in play for each individual – joy (everlasting) for rewards and the pain (momentary) of loss.
The same holds true for the marriage of the Lamb, for according to Revelation 19:7-9, there will be great joy in Heaven where this event takes place. Not on the earth and not in the clouds. This marriage has to be a very important event to the Lord since He gave His life for her “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27) If the church is to be judged, rewarded and joined to Christ in the symbol of marriage before the second coming, than it stands to reason that there must be a period of time between events.
The third event that will require some time between events will be for the salvation of those who will enter into the millennial kingdom having non-glorified bodies. Since at the Rapture all the believers will be removed from the earth, only non-believers will remain. Yet, we are told that when Christ returns at His second coming there will be a large number of believers populating the earth. It is pretty clear that they come to faith in Christ after the rapture event and before the second coming. We can know this because at the second coming we are not told that these living believers receive glorified bodies, needing non-glorified bodies to repopulate the earth during the millennial kingdom. A careful reading of Isaiah 65:20-25 reinforces this conclusion since only human beings build houses, plant, work, and have children.
Both the pre- and mid-tribulation views provide for this interval, but it poses serious problems for the post-tribulation view.
For pre-trib believers, this position isn’t a problem because we believe this to be reality. At the Rapture all believers are removed, the gospel is preached during the seven year tribulation, and many come to faith in Jesus. Many will be martyred for their faith, but many will make it to the end of the tribulation alive. They will enter the millennial age in their natural bodies to repopulate the planet. These people will fulfill the statements of Isaiah and other prophets concerning that coming age.
For mid-trib believers, this position holds no problems because people have 31/2 years to be saved before the second coming of Christ.
For post-trib believers, they do have a major problem with this issue. If all believers are raptured and glorified at the same time of the second coming, then there are no believers with non-glorified bodies to enter into the millennial kingdom, no time to repopulate the earth, no time for them to be saved.
Finally, there is a definitely apparent lack of evidence for the Church’s presence in the Tribulation. There is no specific reference to the church of Christ. Both in the Old and New Testament passages on the tribulation, references are made to Israel, to the Gentiles, and to people who are saved, but not the Church. The word for “church” (ekklesia) is not used; neither are there specific terms used elsewhere to describe the church – such as “the Body of Christ” found in these passages.
Some say that this is just an argument from silence, which is no argument at all, and you would have a point. Nevertheless, it is possible that the reason that there is no mention of the church is that it is not there. It is not only possible, but it is likely that this is the case since many passages speak about the coming period of tribulation and all of them fail to mention the church specifically. There are going to be saved people in the tribulation period, but all saved (elect) people are not in the church and to be “elect” does not automatically make one a part of the Church. So the question is not whether there are any “elect” in the tribulation but whether that portion of the “elect” called the Church, the Body of Christ, is ever mentioned. If there is no evidence that the “Body of Christ” is present in the time of the tribulation, then there is a strong probability that it is not there.
Several portions of Scripture bear this out. Daniel 9:24-27, which happens to explain the 70th Week of Daniel and one of the most important passages on the tribulation, explicitly states that this period involves Israel and Jerusalem. Revelation 6-9, with its amazing amount of detail regarding the tribulation period, Israel is spoken of many times, as well as the nations of the earth. And although there are references to the “elect” and “saints,” the word “ekklesia” nor the phrases “the Body of Christ” or “the Bride of Christ” are mentioned. In contrast, in chapters 1-3 of Revelation John does speak of the church more than 20 times; and then once in his closing in 22:16. Lastly, although Matthew 24:31 speaks of “the elect” being gathered from all over the world at the end of the tribulation period, it fails to identify those elect as part of the church as would be necessary to prove that the church of Christ is on the earth during the Tribulation. The elect in this verse is a reference to living saints on the earth at the time of the second coming of Christ, probably both Jews and Gentiles.
So these are the events, as taken from Scripture, that need to occur between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; as well as those who are involved and when.
The arguments I have given so far have come out of my study of a number of key Scripture passages. They include the stated purposes for the tribulation found in Scripture, the Church’s exemption from the future Wrath of GOD, and the concept of imminency. These provide strong evidence for the Rapture taking place before the final 7 years of tribulation. My analysis of the Rapture and Second Coming passages reveal some striking differences between the 2 events – differences that make the pre-tribulation position a viable scenario. Combined with the need for some time between the Rapture and the Second Coming and the lack of specific evidence for the presence of the Church during the Tribulation, makes the case, I believe, for the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.
To conclude this portion of my study, I want to highlight 3 points of a practical nature. First, the writers of the New Testament always discussed the Rapture in the context of godly living; to bring about changes in the way believers thought and lived. They wanted to help their fellow believers become more loving, diligent, generous, righteous, and less impacted by sin and Satan’s world system. I pray that I have accomplished a little bit of this.
The second point is a reminder that the Rapture is a signless event; we should not be looking for signs. The practice of setting dates and finding fulfillment of prophecy in current events is a useless endeavor and has caused harm to many of GOD’s people; cast suspicion on GOD’s Word; and brought a lot of embarrassment to the cause of Christ. To see certain events as possibly setting the stage for the fulfillment of prophecies is ok, but to declare a particular event as a fulfillment of prophecy without heavenly validation is not. We have to be very careful in how we view and relate events of today to the Word of GOD.
A third point I want to make at this point relates to those who claim that the pre-tribulation Rapture view breeds an “escapist mentality” and social irresponsibility. This assertion is difficult to answer because it does contain both a mixture of truth and error. Maybe some have withdrawn from life around them by developing a “bunker mentality.” They hope desperately for the Rapture to remove them from all their troubles. But that attitude is not the prevailing attitude of believers who have served Christ and their fellow man faithfully over the years. Nor was it the attitude of the writers of the New Testament. They saw the any-moment coming of Christ as a strong motivation for action; to reach out to others in a variety of ways and allowing them to live exciting and useful lives in spite of their circumstances. The Rapture ought to shape the attitude of today’s believer in a similar way. It should organize us to serve faithfully and enthusiastically because the Judge is right now stand at the door with His hand on the nob.
In my final post on this subject, I’ll be discussing, in short detail I hope (you too, probably) the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. What they are, how they lead to Christ defeats His enemies, taking back the Creation from Satan and placing everything under GOD’s feet. Then maybe we can catch a glimpse of what lies in store for us in the New Heaven and New Earth.
I could continue, but I'll stop here. Maybe, like I said, a mod can find the topic I posted a while back and provide the link to it.