What Did Ancient Church Fathers Believe About The Rapture?

 

Who invented the Rapture idea? | What did Church fathers say about the Rapture? | John Darby did NOT invent the rapture

“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.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

What did the first century church fathers believe about the Rapture? Were they pre-tribulation or post-tribulation? What did the disciples of the Apostles of Jesus Christ teach about the Rapture?

This article will present the writings of the early church fathers – from those who learned under the disciples of Jesus Christ, to the church leaders of the second and third centuries, on the Rapture – the supernatural removal of all Bible-believing Christians from Earth to enter Heaven. While the writings of the first, second and third century Christian church fathers are not Scripture and not on par with the Bible in any way, it is informative to see how the early church leaders interpreted Scripture in addition to what the learned directly from those closest to The Lord Jesus Christ. And definitively, the few writings still in existence on the end times, put the timing of the Rapture before the Great Tribulation. This article will also serve to dispel some of the common misconceptions about Rapture theology as being something invented in the 19th century by a man named John Darby.

“John Darby Invented The Pre-Tribulation Rapture”

Ancient writings on the Rapture | Pre-tribulation rapture defended

John Darby has been incorrectly credited with “inventing” the Rapture.

All over the internet there are many articles and videos that claim that the Rapture doctrine was “invented” in 1830 by a man named John Darby. The following is an excerpt that summarizes this theory:

The Rapture doctrine, which was the invention of the Plymouth Brethren led by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), has today been adopted by most Baptist, Pentecostals, Assemblies of God, and a variety of other fundamentalist sects. The idea that Jesus Christ will return for His true Church just before the beginning of the Great Tribulation in a secret gathering or “catching away” was an important part of Darby’s teaching. The movement in which this teaching began originated in small groups in England and Ireland about 1828 and by 1831 was part of the official teaching of the Plymouth Brethren. By 1860 the “rapture” had made its way to the United States.

Today, prophecy pundits and “end-time” revivalists preach the Rapture as if it were established dogma from the time of Christ until the present. The truth is that the first historical reference to the Rapture doctrine comes from the Plymouth Brethren. Not only is the Rapture not found in the teachings of the Church, but even “end-time” heretics throughout the centuries never dreamed of proposing such a novel idea. For example, the 4th century Montanists, who preached both pre-millennialism and that they knew when Christ would return, never ventured so far as to create another 2nd coming of the Lord in a secret rapture.

In all the writings of the Scriptures, the Early Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councils, there is no mention of two 2nd comings of Christ.” (source) [Emphasis added].

 

In short, the objection is that rather than being a real part of the Bible, the entire idea of a pre-Great Tribulational Rapture was just an invention by Darby and “not even heretics” ever used it.  This is very strong language, but is it true? Were there no ancient Christian writings about the church being Raptured before Great Tribulation? An examination of early church writings shows that this charge is false and there were some church fathers who indeed wrote about the Rapture.

Irenaeus

Irenaeus (130 A.D. – 202 AD) was a bishop of the church in Lyons, France. He was an eyewitness to the Apostle John (who wrote the Book of Revelation) and a disciple of Polycarp, the first of the Apostle John’s disciples. Irenaeus is most-known for his five-volume treatise, Against Heresies in which he exposed the false religions and cults of his day along with advice for how to share the Gospel with those were a part of them.

 
In his writings on Bible prophecy, he acknowledged the phrase “a time, times and dividing of times” in Daniel 7 to signify the 3 ½ year reign of the Antichrist as ruler of the world before the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed in a literal Millennial reign of Christ on earth following the Second Coming and the resurrection of the just.

On the subject of the Rapture, in Against Heresies 5.29, he wrote:

“Those nations however, who did not of themselves raise up their eyes unto heaven, nor returned thanks to their Maker, nor wished to behold the light of truth, but who were like blind mice concealed in the depths of ignorance, the word justly reckons “as waste water from a sink, and as the turning-weight of a balance — in fact, as nothing;”(1) so far useful and serviceable to the just, as stubble conduces towards the growth of the wheat, and its straw, by means of combustion, serves for working gold. And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.”(2) For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”

Irenaeus in this passage describes the church leaving the sinful world just before unprecedented disasters. Note his use of the term “caught up” which is Rapture terminology as that is the meaning of harpazo, the term for “caught up” in the King James Bible describing the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4. He then quotes Matthew 24:21 where The Lord Jesus Christ says: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” And it is during this time that those who convert to Christianity during the final years will receive the incorruptible crown mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:25. In Irenaeus’ belief, the Rapture took place prior to the end times Great Tribulation.

 

Cyprian
Cyprian (200 AD – 258 AD) – Cyprian was Bishop of the church in Carthage. During his short stint as leader of the church, he guided the flock through intense persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire. In 258 AD after spending seven months of confinement to his home by order of Roman authorities, he was beheaded for his faith. Several of his works still exist today.

In Treatises of Cyprian he wrote in describing the end times Great Tribulation:

“We who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible. Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent? Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us hence, and sets us free from the snares of the world and restores us to paradise and the kingdom.”

Again we see use of language commonly found in reference to the Rapture as Cyprian describes the judgments of the end times as “imminent.” And he makes his belief on the timing of the Rapture when he wrote that Christians will have an “early departure” and be “delivered” from the devastating global judgments that come during the Day of The Lord.
In line with the Apostle Paul who wrote that “God has not appointed us to wrath, but salvation..” Cyprian expressed joy and encourages the believing reader to rejoice that the Church will be “taken away” before the disastrous Great Tribulation. Just as The Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 used the same language of one “taken away” and the other “left.” Additionally Cyprian references the mansions which The Lord Jesus Christ promises to come back and take His believers to in John 14.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 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.” – John 14:1-3.

As Beginning and End detailed in our article “The Red Moon Rapture – The Biblical Timing of The Rapture”, in both the Matthew 24 passages (“one taken, the other left”) and in John 14 (“..receive you unto myself..”) the Greek work paralambanō is used for taken and receive. The meaning of that word is “join to one’s self” indicating that Jesus is coming to fully unify with His church – which takes place at the Rapture.  Clearly Cyprian believed and taught that the Rapture takes place before the Great Tribulation.

Ephraim The Syrian

Ephraim (306 AD – 373 AD) was made a deacon in the church in Syria in 338 and later became the bishop of Nisibis. Although he was made a “saint” in the Roman Catholic Church, he was not involved in Catholicism and did not even live in the Roman Empire until the final years of his life. The book Pseudo Ephraim was one of his still existing works. It was called “Pseudo” because of later dispute over authorship. However the book’s one reference to the rapture is very compelling:

In his work, On The Last Times 2, he wrote:

“We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time.

Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: “Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!” For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, brothers most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord. And we think that the earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and incursions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!”

With a sense of urgency and strong warning, Ephraim writes that the end times are upon this world and could start at any moment. This text very clearly states the saints and elect of God, all born again believers in The Lord Jesus Christ, will be “taken to the Lord” before the Great Tribulation. Ephraim also identifies the Old Testament “Day of The Lord” and the end times Great tribulation as the same event (in line with the teachings of the Beginning and End Rapture Series). Ephraim quotes Amos 5:18 which says: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.”

The point he makes is that a Christian should know the Day of The Lord is coming. In the first part of the passage Ephraim notes that:
“We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated)” And not only that but that true Christians will be taken away before it starts.
Here he is describing the first 3 of the first 4 seals of Revelation 6 – wars, famines and plagues. These are the same end times signs Jesus Christ describes in Matthew 24:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. – Matthew 24:3-8.

Jesus describes these events as “the beginning of sorrows.” He also says that when these things come to pass “the end is not yet.” Ephraim’s writing agrees with this interpretation as he says those same events have been “fulfilled (consummated)” in his day, but it was still not the actual Great Tribulation. This also falls in line with Beginning and End’s Rapture series as explained in our article Who Are The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse? (The first four seals of Revelation 6 were opened at the time Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. And the rapture itself does not occur until the opening of the 6th Seal.)

Ephraim in very strong language warns the reader not to be consumed with the cares of the world because the world in its current form, is coming to an end. As the Second Advent or Coming of The Lord Jesus Christ grows near, believers are to look to Heaven and set their hearts on pleasing God. It is clear that Ephraim distinguishes the Second Coming of Christ from the rapture, placing the Rapture before the Great Tribulation to come.

The Early Church Believed In The Rapture

Who invented the Rapture idea? | What did Church fathers say about the Rapture? | John Darby did NOT invent the rapture

The ancient writings are clear – the belief in the Rapture has existed since the days of the Apostles.

Although there are not a great number of writings on the end times from the early centuries of the church, there is no question that there was a belief in the Rapture among the church fathers and they taught it with strong language and scriptural support. In terms of the timing of the Rapture, the early church fathers placed it before the end times Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. The writings of early saints in the church are not Scripture and should not be treated on the same level of the Bible. These writings also do not “prove” that the pre-Great Tribulation Rapture or the Beginning and End Rapture series are correct. Only rightly divided Scripture from the Bible can determine if a specific belief is accurate or in error.  But the writings of church fathers can serve as useful commentaries (just as we use Bible commentaries today in our studies) and certainly prove that the Rapture doctrine existed well before John Darby and has been a part of Christian belief since the earliest days of the Apostles.

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Comments

  1. One other thing that I’ve learned in researching the first century church was that a great deal of what they spoke of regarding the Rapture and End Times comes from a great deal more study of Paul’s words versus the book of Revelation. I truly enjoy the study of early church history, and subjects such as this are often illuminated to a much greater degree as a result.

    Excellent work here.

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  2. James Fox says:

    1) The author quotes from Irenaeus who said:

    And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation…. “Against Heresies,” 5.29

    The author says , “Irenaeus in this passage describes the church leaving the sinful world just before unprecedented disasters.” However, it does not say that. It says we shall be “suddenly caught up” and it mentions tribulation but it does not say which comes first. This is unclear.

    Here is another quote from Irenaeus from the same book:

    “For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just which takes place after the coming of Antichrist” Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” the Ante-Nicene Fathers I, 554.

    The “resurrection of the just” is the rapture and Irenaeus thinks this happens after the coming of Antichrist. It is definitely not pre-trib. This is clear.

    2) The author then quotes from Cyprian:

    “We who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible. Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent? “The Treatises of Cyprian”

    Note, “terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent.” He was one of those church fathers believed that the tribulation had already started. It was too late for a pre-trib rapture.

    Tim LaHaye, a famous pre-tribber, wrote, “Second-century churches were under such severe persecution that they consider themselves already in the tribulation.” “Rapture Under Attack,” p 31. Cyprian died 258 A.D. He was a second century Christian.

    I believe Cyprian’s “delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters” refers to the destruction at the second advent and I believe Cyprian was post-trib.

    3) Finally, the author quotes from Ephraim the Syrian. I agree this is pre-trib and this is the only early church father I know who was pre-trib.

    Here are more quote from the early church fathers:

    4) “… That the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God.” Tertullian, “On the Resurrection of the Flesh,” the Ante-Nicene Fathers, III, 563

    According to pre-trib, the church is not present during the tribulation. Tertullian thinks it will be.

    5) Hippolytus said something similar.

    He [Antichrist] shall stir up tribulation and persecution against the saints…” Hippolytus, “Treatise on Christ and Antichrist,” the Ante-Nicene Fathers, V, 205.

    Later in the same book Hippolytus identifies the saints:

    “Now concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the Church from the adversary…”…” Hippolytus, “Treatise on Christ and Antichrist,” the Ante-Nicene Fathers, V, 217.

    The saints are the church which pre-trib says is not present in the tribulation. Hippolytus thinks they will be.

    6) The Shepherd of Hermas states:

    So, tell the leaders of the Church to rectify their ways in justice, that they may fully receive the promises with great glory. Stand firm, then, you who work righteousness and have singleness of purpose, that your entrance into heaven may be in the company of the holy angels. Blessed are you who will endure the great persecution…” “The Shepherd of Hermas,” Second Vision, Chapter 2, page 238.

    The Shepherd thinks the church will go through the tribulation. This is not pre-trib.

    7) Justin Martyr said:

    O unreasoning men understanding not what has been proved by all these passages, that two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which he is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonored, and crucified; but the other, in which he shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians. Justin Martyr, “Dialogue with Trypho,” the Ante-Nicene Fathers, I, 253-54.

    Justin Martyr sees one more coming of Jesus not two.

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    • Hi James,

      Thanks for your comments. I would like to go through all of them as I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of these writings and prophetic Scripture:

      1) Irenaeus

      1) The author quotes from Irenaeus who said:

      And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation…. “Against Heresies,” 5.29

      The author says , “Irenaeus in this passage describes the church leaving the sinful world just before unprecedented disasters.” However, it does not say that. It says we shall be “suddenly caught up” and it mentions tribulation but it does not say which comes first. This is unclear.

      Actually, it’s not unclear at all. This is just basic grammar. He is just stating: “When A occurs, then B.” There is no question that the tribulation would occur after the catching up. Not to mention the rest of the sentence also supports this intepretation: “And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this” — Irenaeus had just described the judgments of the Day of The Lord in the prior sentence and is now explaining that at the time this starts, the church is “caught up [harparzo] from this”. The basic grammar and the use of the same word from Scripture for the rapture, indicate his belief that the church is not going to be a part of this destruction.

      Here is another quote from Irenaeus from the same book:

      “For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just which takes place after the coming of Antichrist” Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” the Ante-Nicene Fathers I, 554.

      The “resurrection of the just” is the rapture and Irenaeus thinks this happens after the coming of Antichrist. It is definitely not pre-trib. This is clear.

      There are several errors with your use of this quote. You are taking it out of context. Irenaeus speaks repeatedly of the Resurrection of the Just and defines it himself:

      If therefore the great God showed future things by Daniel, and confirmed them by His Son; and if Christ is the stone which is cut out without hands, who shall destroy temporal kingdoms, and introduce an eternal one, which is the resurrection of the just; as he declares, “The God of heaven shall raise up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed,”

      The resurrection of the just is NOT THE RAPTURE. this cannot be said enough. The Resurrection of the Just is the first resurrection that takes place after Armageddon. This is after the Second Coming and Christ ascending to His Throne on Earth. It is clearly described in Revelation 20:

      And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

      The resurrection of the just are those who died during the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. They are the martyrs who converted to saving faith in Christ and died for it. Notice it mentions nothing of believers who died before the Great Tribulation. Why? Because they have already been raised from the dead at the Rapture. This group is not the church. Scripture clearly hows that and it is not logical. Clearly the amount of saints who believe and die during the Great Tribulation are a small percentage of all the Christians in the 2,000 years of church history.

      The Rapture has to occur before the Second Coming because we know from Jude that Jesus returns with his Saints. So your interpretation is not supported by Scripture and certainly not by Irenaeus.

      Here is more from him, this one of particular note:

      “For, behold,” says Isaiah, “the day of the Lord cometh past remedy, full of fury and wrath, to lay waste the city of the earth, and to root sinners out of it.”318 And again he says, “Let him be taken away, that he behold not the glory of God.”319 And when these things are done, he says, “God will remove men far away, and those that are left shall multiply in the earth.”320 “And they shall build houses, and shall inhabit them themselves: and plant vineyards, and eat of them themselves.”321 For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord: and through Him they shall become accustomed to partake in the glory of God the Father, and shall enjoy in the kingdom intercourse and communion with the holy angels, and union with spiritual beings; and [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one.

      This is the full passage, which you quoted out of context. Irenaeus makes the order of end times events clear: The Day of The Lord and devastating judgments begin, then the Antichrist rules, and then The Lord destroys the Antichrist and His Kingdom. And THEN we have the resurrection of the Just, which is The Millennial Kingdom. You did not even quote the full sentence because it clearly proves Irenaeus was not referring to the Rapture or believers being caught up. Clearly your interpretation of the passage has to be wrong. Because in my quote in the article, Irenaeus states that believers are caught up and “then there is tribulation…” But in these other passages it’s clear that the Resurrection of the Just is after the Tribulation is over and the Antichrist is gone. So the rapture and resurrection of the Just are two different events. Rapture comes first, then the Day of the Lord, then AntiChrist, then Amrageddon and then the Resurrection of the Just/Millennial Kingdom of The Lord Jesus Christ.

      2) Cyprian

      Here is your next quote:

      “We who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible. Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent? “The Treatises of Cyprian”

      Note, “terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent.” He was one of those church fathers believed that the tribulation had already started. It was too late for a pre-trib rapture.

      I find not place in his writings where he says that he was living in the Great Tribulation. Nor do I even find a commentary that says the same. Please provide proof of this.

      3) Ephraim – On Ephraim of Syria we appear to in agreement.

      4) Tertulliand and Hypolyttus – Saying “the Antichrist may wage war against the saints.” is not a post-trib statement. There will be saints during the Great Tribulation. I agree with that statement 100%. And they will indeed be killed by the Antichrist (Rev 13). But these are new believers in Christ. Can you show me any statement about from these men on the Rapture itself and its post-trib timing???

      5) The Shepherd Of Hermas – I am actually surprised you quoted this text. But I will address your point here:

      Here is your quote:

      The Shepherd of Hermas states:

      So, tell the leaders of the Church to rectify their ways in justice, that they may fully receive the promises with great glory. Stand firm, then, you who work righteousness and have singleness of purpose, that your entrance into heaven may be in the company of the holy angels. Blessed are you who will endure the great persecution…” “The Shepherd of Hermas,” Second Vision, Chapter 2, page 238.

      The Shepherd thinks the church will go through the tribulation. This is not pre-trib.

      This is just affirming what Revelation says about the Resurrection of the Just: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

      Notice the passages you keep quoting are not talking about the Rapture. They are talking about other topics, but you are applying them to try and glean a post-trib perspective out of them. Now I will quote from the Shepherd of Hermas:

      “Go therefore and declare to the Elect of the Lord His mighty deeds and say to them that this beast is a type of the Great Tribulation which is to come. If ye therefore prepare yourselves and with your whole heart turn to the Lord in repentance, then shall ye be able to escape it, if your heart is pure and blameless..the golden color stands for you who have escaped from this world…Now ye know the symbol of the Great Tribulation to come. But if ye are willing, it shall be nothing.” – Shepherd of Hermas 2.26.

      Now this passage is clearly talking about the Great Tribulation and escaping it. And that Christians who are pure and blameless (which comes through faith in Christ Jesus) will escape it. This clearly refutes your interpretation of a passage that was not directly discussing the Great tribulation or the rapture.

      You will notice I did left out parts of the passage. I did that because the Shepherd of Hermas is based on a vision and is not a part of Biblical cannon. It also has passages that support unbiblical ideas. But all that aside, it certainly and very clearly describes believers escaping the world before the Great tribulation.

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      • In regards to Irenaeus, if he were alive today, I believe he would be saying something like; “the reports of my believing in a pre-trb rapture have been greatly exaggerated.”

        Let’s take a more thorough look into what he had to say. Irenaeus verifies the words of Paul in that he believed; “Unless there shall come a falling away first, and (then) the man of sin shall be revealed.” (“Against Heresies”, Book V, Chapter XXV, Paragraph 1)

        Then, referencing the falling away, he expounds further in this same chapter XXV, “And…the time that this tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight.” He later repeats this same thought when he states that, “And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and give their kingdom to the beast, and put the Church to flight.” (“Against Heresies”, Book V, Chapter XXVI, Paragraph 1) This is not referring to a “rapture” event.

        Probably the most straight forward explanation of who Irenaeus said were included in the resurrection of the just can be found in Chapter XXXII of Book V. He says regarding “the mystery of the resurrection of the just”….” it behoves the righteous first to receive the promise of the inheritance, and to reign in it, when they rise again…For it is just that in every creation in which they toiled or were afflicted, they should receive the reward of their suffering…and because of their love for God, they should be revived again…” He, therefore, makes it very clear that the resurrectin of the just includes those since creation.

        He once again makes this point very clear when he says, “yet neither Abraham nor his seed, who are justified by faith, do now receive an inheritance, but they shall receive it at the resurrection of the just.” (“Against Heresies”, Book V, Chapter XXXII, Paragraph 2) And who is included in the resurrection of the just?…according to Irenaeus, it is all the righteous from creation till the end.

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        • James Fox says:

          I agree with everything you said, but who cares? The early church fathers, like Iraneaus, are not scripture. I am a post-tribber and I think it is clear the early church fathers were post-tribbers too. However, I never quote early church fathers as evidence for my position because they are not scripture.

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          • I can certainly appreciate your desire to stick to the scriptures. However, who do you let decide what constitutes “the scriptures”?

            The Septuagint LXX was read and in use during the time of Christ and quoted by the church fathers. It contains books the Western church bibles have excluded. Then we have the canon of scriptures from the Ethiopian Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church which include a number of books the Western Church does not include in their Bibles. The early church fathers quoted from these books that we deleted from our Bibles. It is important to make the connection from then up to today by using the church fathers as that connection since our canon of scripture no longer makes that connection. Paul even referred to Greek mythology when he was trying to make a point:

            Quote by Epimenides, a Greek seer and poet; Acts 17:28, Titus 1:12-13
            (*Epimenides was said to have fallen asleep for 57 years in a Cretan cave sacred to Zeus, after which he awoke with the gift of prophecy.)

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            • You are correct. The Apocrypha has a reasonable claim to be scripture too. You mention, “Then we have the canon of scriptures from the Ethiopian Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church” I am ignorant. Do they have books that are not in the Apocrypha?

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              • The Ethiopian “narrow” canon includes 81 books altogether: The 27 book New Testament; those Old Testament books found in the Septuagint and accepted by the Orthodox; as well as Enoch, Jubilees, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Rest of the Words of Baruch and 3 books of Meqabyan (these three Ethiopian books of Maccabees are entirely different in content from the four Books of Maccabees known elsewhere.

                The Eastern Orthodox Church includes all of the Septuagint in addition to our standard OT and NT text. However, the Orthodox Church is made up of several divisions and some have additional books in their canon such as 2 Esdras (4 Ezra). All the Eastern Orthodox Churches include, Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Azariah, and Song of the Three Holy Children.

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            • Hi Tom,

              Thanks for your post. I would like to respond to your question:

              “I can certainly appreciate your desire to stick to the scriptures. However, who do you let decide what constitutes “the scriptures”?”

              “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Apocryphal books were not written by prophets of God. They are NEVER quoted by Jesus or the Apostles in the New Testament. These 2 points alone are precisely why they were never considered part of the cannon of Scripture (especially since, as you pointed out, The Lord Jesus Christ quoted from the Septuagint and was thus aware of the apocrypha at that time). Even in ancient Jewish culture, they were never an actual part of the Torah (which is why Jewish historians like Josephus and Philo, who lived shortly after the time of Christ on Earth and were thus also using the Septuagint, NEVER quote the Apocrypha and in Josephus’ case, rejected it outright).

              Finally, the Apocrypha contain unbiblical doctrines and historical errors. Again, things you will not find in divinely-inspired Scripture. While they are historical accounts and have value as such, you will not find testimony of any Biblical author or figure calling them Scripture. And the church fathers used that exact same standard when officially listing the cannon of the Bible. Just because a text was read alongside Scripture, does not make it Scripture. The church fathers wrote many epistles, that were often used in church alongside the Bible, but were never received as divinely inspired words.

              As for the quotes of the Greek poet – the Apostle Paul in Acts 17 was quoting a Greek poet to make an analogy to God. Certainly when Epimenides wrote “and we are his offspring” he was not referring to the God of the Bible. Paul was just quoting that line and applying it to the God of the Bible. Just as he used the altar of the “Unknown God” which the Greeks as an object lesson to teach about Jesus Christ, the true God of the Bible. In no way was Paul endorsing the writings of Greek poets as Scripture and to conclude this from one partial quote of a line is really a stretch.

              I hope that clears the issue up. -B&E

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              • First of all, please note in regards to Paul quoting Epimenides, I said that Paul “referred to Greek mythology when he was trying to make a point.” The key phrase is “make a point.” I did not even infer that Paul endorsed the Greek poet.

                You must be aware that the New Testament does not reference several OT books including Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther, Song of Solomon. Should we consider them outside the canon of scripture?

                I am sure you are aware that Jude quoted directly from the book of Enoch (1 Enoch 1:9) in Jude 1:14-15. He actually referred to Enoch as a prophet. Jude also alludes to the book of Enoch in Jude 1:6. Not only that, but in verse 9, Jude alludes to the pseudepigraphal book, The Assumption of Moses.

                I find it highly interesting that out of only 25 verses, Jude uses four verses to either directly quote or reference two books that are outside the Western churches canon of scripture. You must keep in mind that Jude’s purpose for his writing was to “contend earnestly for the faith.” He was writing against false teachers and false teachings. And then he uses his very short letter to bring up what is written in Enoch and The Assumption of Moses. Think about that for a minute.

                I am not sure what books you are calling the Apocrypha because many of the books in the Septuagint are now labeled Apocrypha books by the Western Church.

                You are aware the book of Enoch was not removed from canon until the Council of Laodicea in 364 AD ? It was a part of cannon for over 300 years. Have you read the complete 60 canons they established? Many of them are just plain horrible as well as against scripture. Just their name…Laodicea…ought to tell us something.

                The Council of Trent included 12 books of the Apocrypha in the canonical books.

                “The Elect One” is found at least a dozen times in Enoch. Luke 9:35 (original Greek) “This is My Son, the Elect One.” (eklelegmenos–elect one). This is a direct refernce to the Book of Enoch.

                Barnabas traveled with Paul and wrote the Epistle of Barnabas which was taken out of canon by the Council of Laodicea also. The reason is because Barnabas spoke in favor of observing the Sabbath. The Council of Laodicea outlawed observing the Sabbath.

                Barnabas twice called the Book of Enoch scripture. (Barnabas 4:3, 16:5)

                When Jesus described His coming Kingdom and judgement coming down upon the wicked. These descriptions can be traced directly back to Enoch.

                Jesus quotes directly from 2 Esdras 15:56 in Matthew 24:14.

                Tertullian, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, Barnabas, Clement of Alexandria, and many others considered Enoch holy scripture.

                The Ethiopian Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Asian Orthodox Church, Syrian Church, Roman Catholic Church and others around the Christian world, include all or most of the so-called Apocrypha in their regular Bibles. And in some cases additional books as well.

                The Western Church does not include the Apocrypha and the Western Church is also a minority in numbers. Because it is not in their canon, only makes it non-scriptural to the Western Church, but not to the majority of the Christian world.

                To say these books were never considered part of canon, history seems to show otherwise. And, it is still active canon in most of the Christian world.

                Take time to discover where the OT writers reference numerous books to read that are outside the canon of scriptures but they have referenced these books and as such, at least parts of these books are now a part of scripture.

                As far as Josephus goes, you are aware he writes about the history of the Jews (The Antiquities of the Jews), starting with creation. It is basically the OT. However, in addition to the stories included in our Bibles, he includes many additional stories not found in our OT. So, if we reference Josephus, do we agree with all his history? Did he actually obtain the original Nehemiah scrolls?

                However, Josephus must not have had too much difficulty with the Apocrypha, considering he frequently referenced the Apocryphal Esdras that was not the Septuagint version.

                It is important that we at least read many of these additional books. They add a richness and bring a more complete understanding. There is a reason Enoch begins his book by stating what he is about to write is for the elect in the days of tribulation. Only the Spirit of the One True God could give him the insight to state that.

                Maybe there is a special message just for the elect at the end of days, just like Enoch states. Has God preserved some special insight to help us in these end days? Enoch says so.

                Maybe the majority of the Christian Bibles around the world contain these additional books for a good reason.

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      • “Great Tribulation” being treated as synonymous with the 70th Week of Daniel or part of it I feel is the great mistake of most fellow Futurists, regardless of their Rapture Position. That’s why I don’t agree with most fellow “Mid-Trib” supporters when they define Tribulations as post Rapture.

        I agree that the opening of the Fifth Seal correlates to a specific End Times Persecution. But regardless the Martyrs seen are defined as ALL martyrs of the Church Age. And when this Multitude is seen again in Revelation 7 we are told they all came out of “Great Tribulation”.

        I think Cyrprain was right that he was already in Great Tribulation, but wrong if he felt that meant the 70th Week. Great Tribulation is the entire Church Age. When Jesus the Paursia happens “After the Tribulation” that means by definition the Tribulation of The Church ends at his Return for us.

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        • The term for “come out” in Revelation 7 in Greek refers to “an escape.” Here is an excerpt from our article on the Red Moon Rapture:

          Additionally, the term “came out of Great Tribulation”, used by the angel who is speaking to John, indicates a sudden escape. In Greek the term erxomenoi, is given a special qualification of its tense in Strong’s concordance:

          “5774 Tense – Present

          The present tense represents a simple statement of fact or reality viewed as occurring in actual time. In most cases this corresponds directly with the English present tense. Some phrases which might be rendered as past tense in English will often occur in the present tense in Greek. These are termed ‘historical presents,’ and such occurrences dramatize the event described as if the reader were there watching the event occur. Some English translations render such historical presents in the English past tense, while others permit the tense to remain in the present.”

          In other words, the phrase reads as if John is watching people who are just coming out of the Great Tribulation as it starts, as opposed to seeing saints who were killed during the Great Tribulation (and remember Scripture never says that the saints of Revelation 7 were martyred, or that they died at all). This interpretation lines up with Jesus’ description of the end times in Luke 21:

          Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. – Luke 21:36.

          2) 5th Seal – I do not believe the 5th Seal correlates to a specific end times persecution. The text never says or even implies this. I believe the 5th Seal was opened long ago, at the start of the Church age and the martyrs are indeed all martyrs of the church since then.

          3) “Tribulation” vs. “Great Tribulation” – The Lord only uses the term “great tribulation” twice in Scripture in Matthew and Revelation. Matthew 24’s use is a quote of Daniel 12:1 from the Septuagint – in reference to the second half of the 70th week, when the Antichrist is fully revealed. The Second time is in Revelation in another end-times reference. “Great Tribulation” is end times-specific whereas “tribulation” is a universal term for the suffering everyone who follows Christ has and will endure until the end of the age.

          For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. – 1 Thessalonians 3:4.

          Tribulation is a common noun. It is a not a proper noun or reference to any specific era. And that is what we endure today. When The Lord used the term “Great Tribulation” it was referring to a very specific time period.

          Hope that makes sense. Thanks very much for your posts. It is always a blessing to have iron sharpen iron. God bless.

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          • You can make that Translation work if you want. But ti’s also clearly the same Multitude that was in the 5th Seal. They were martyrdom, they didn’t avoid it. And it still clearly is All Martyrs, not just some.

            The use of the term Matthew can equally mean that the great Tribulation is accelerating at that point. In Revelation 2 he clearly tells the then contemporary Church of Tyatyra they will experience Great Tribulation.

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      • You and I agree there are different phases of the Resurrection of the Saved. But you can’t simply assume Irenaus agreed and read that into his statements.

        To me, the key to deciphering Irenaus Rapture position is when he placed Jesus coming “In the Clouds” or “On a Cloud”. If he considered that the same as the return on a White Horse in Revelation 19 then he was Post-Trib. If he felt it was different but still after the Abomination of Desolation, he was either Mid-Trib or Pre-Wrath. If he placed it soon before the Abomination that’d be another form of Mid-Trib. He’s pre-Trib only if he insists that is the first End Times event o Happen, before any of the Seals or Trumpets.

        Now as far as distinguishing between Mid-Trib and pre-Wrath, the question would be if he placed the 6th Seal before the Abomination of Desolation.

        Sadly, I’m not sure he said anything to clarify those issues.

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        • Hi Jared,

          I don’t think we have to decipher the writings of Irenaeus. He wrote his thoughts in very plain fashion. And he uses terms that are directly from Scripture. The resurrection of the just is not the rapture in Scripture. Here is an example already used in this thread:

          Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: – John 11:21-25.

          What was Martha referring to when she referenced “the last day”? Was it the rapture? It could not have been because the Rapture was still a mystery to Israel at that point. We can know this from 1 Corinthians 15:

          Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. – 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

          The church and the rapture were both mysteries until the resurrection of Christ. So Jewish belief on “the resurrection” would not have been the rapture. The early Church, well aware of this critical distinction, referred to the end times resurrection of Jewish believers as “the resurrection of the just.” Irenaeus, without question, places the resurrection of the just at the Second Coming of Christ, after Armageddon. However, referring to the church he writes:

          And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up [harpazo] from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.’ For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”

          Using the exact phrase for the rapture (“caught up”) he clearly places the Church’s removal before the Great Tribulation. I just don’t see any confusion here. If you have a specific passage where you think casts doubt on that, please feel free to share it. God bless you abundantly. -B&E

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    • Both Future Comings are the Second Advent. The First Advent had more then 1 coming too. First his Birth, then the Triumphal Entry.

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  3. Well it looks as if there’s always been contention on this subject. But why would God put His own people through WRATH, when He has already delivered us from the “wrath to come”? This isn’t speaking of present wrath (hell) for unbelievers, but the future wrath that we have bodily been delivered from. There are three types of salvation; of the spirit (one time, born-again), of the soul (from the world, ongoing) and of the body at the rapture of the church. The Tribulation is not something anyone would want to experience, so given the choice, I’ll go with pre-trib rapture, thank you very much.

    other studies: replacement theology, the Jewish wedding system, the nature of God, the resurrection of Yeshua Messiah as a first fruit.

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    • Hi Geoff,

      Exactly. Christ saved us from having to suffer the Great tribulation. Also please see my response to James Fox where I address all of his points in detail. God bless.

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    • The biggest problem with this theory that God will Rapture the Church so we do not experience the Wrath of God is highly inconsistant with the Scriptures.

      1) Scriptures always speak of the simultaneous presence of both light and darkness where the people of God are present during times of great trials and tribulations but are under the protection of God. We do not come under His wrath, but we are present to draw others to salvation. Sample scriptures (Proverbs 2:21-22, 10:25,29,30, Psalms 1, Isaiah 60, Matt 7:24-27, 13:24-30, 13:47-50) just to name a few.

      2) In His judgments, He can and does distinguish upon whom His wrath falls. His wrath can fall all around His people without falling on them. The judgment on Egypt at the time of the deliverance of Israel demonstrates this very well. For most of the plagues, the Israelites were spared.

      3) Those who are taken away in the judgment are the wicked, not the righteous. Matt 24:37-40 clearly states that in the time of Noah that it was the wicked who were taken away. So will the coming of the Son of Man be – two men in the field, two women at the mill – the one taken is the wicked one. We must take the passage in context with itself.

      4) If the Tribulation is too difficult for a mature Christian to live through, then why would God allow new Christians converted during the Tribulation to remain? They would be the least equipped to handle this time. This is a logical inconsistency.

      4) I have heard people say, God would never let His children go through such a difficult time as the Tribulation. This is blatantly false! The statement does not line up with Scripture or history. Christians are currently suffering horrible martyrdom and persecution.

      Christianity has always suffered persecution and biblical Christians have stood firm in their faith knowing that in the face of difficult times that God is with them and gives them strength to endure. In both persecution and in prosperity we are to be a light of hope to the world and witnesses for Christ to bring the lost to salvation.

      I am not a person who goes out and looks for persecution, suffering or martyrdom. But Psalms 23 says, ‘though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me, Thy rod an Thy staff they comfort me”. And it is in this valley that God prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies. I would rather stand in the face of tribulation with God at my side than to seek escape and miss His purpose for me or to abandon the lost to suffer His wrath.

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      • You said:

        “3) Those who are taken away in the judgment are the wicked, not the righteous. Matt 24:37-40 clearly states that in the time of Noah that it was the wicked who were taken away. So will the coming of the Son of Man be – two men in the field, two women at the mill – the one taken is the wicked one. We must take the passage in context with itself.”

        Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe the correct context is Mt. 24:31 – angels gathering the elect. I think Mt. 24:31 and “one taken one left” means rapture. The following is a paper I wrote called, How to say Rapture in Hebrew:

        The classic Rapture passage is 1 Thess. 4:17, “We who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds.” The Greek word translated “caught up” is “harpazo.” The 909 page Greek dictionary written by Arndt and Gingrich defines it as, “Snatch, seize, ….”

        The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament vol. 1 defines the Hebrew word lakakh as “…seize…take a wife, snatch….” It is an excellent way to translate “harpazo” into Hebrew. Furthermore, the meaning “take a wife” fits perfectly with the Rapture – it is Jesus coming to take his bride.

        There is another reason for seeing lakakh as the best way to translate Rapture into Hebrew. There are 2 Rapture-like events in the OT, Enoch and Elijah, and both are described using lakakh.

        “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took (lakakh) him away” Gen. 5:25.

        Two companies of prophets approached Elisha and said, “Do you know that the LORD is going to take (lakakh) your master from you today?” 2 Kings 2:3,5

        There are two more interesting uses of this word in the Psalms.

        “But God will redeem my soul from the grave;
        he will surely take (lakakh) me to himself” Ps. 49:15.

        “You guide me with your counsel,
        and afterward you will take (lakakh) me into glory.” Ps. 73:24.

        Pharisees prided themselves on their ability to read between the lines of the OT and deduce hidden treasure. In the generation before Jesus Hillel gave 7 rules to help discover hidden treasure. Longnecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period, describes the second and third rules with:

        2. Gezerah shawah: verbal analogy from one verse to another; where the same words are applied to two separate cases it follows that the same considerations apply to both.

        3. Binyan ab mikathub ‘ehad: building up a family from a single text; when the same phrase is found in a number of passages, then a consideration found in one of them applies to all of them.

        A Pharisee would definitely notice that lakakh was used to describe both Enoch’s and Elijah’s rapture. Take, lakakh, means rapture. It would therefore not be unnatural for him to use Hillel’s rules, especially the third rule, and deduce from the Psalms that the righteous dead will also experience rapture. Since the dead are resurrected when the Messiah comes, this would link rapture with the Jewish coming of the Messiah. If you are a Pharisee, you can find hints of this in the OT.

        It is reasonable to suggest that Paul knew all of this. It is also almost certain that Peter told Paul about the Olivet Discourse (Ga. 1:18). Therefore it is reasonable to suggest that Paul used the OT usages of lakakh, Hillel’s 7 rules, and angels gathering the elect (Mt. 24:31) to deduce that this meant rapture. Paul said the Rapture was “according to the Lord’s own word” (1 Thess. 4:15) and in Mt. 24:31 Jesus did say something that a Pharisee, like Paul, could analyze and deduce meant Rapture.

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        • I appreciate your comments. I actually agree with the Scriptural basis for the saints of God being “caught up” (or “Raptured”) to be with the Lord when He returns. I appreciate the passages you mentioned on this event. I look back and see that my first statement was incomplete for what I was addressing. My emphasis is that we should not look for a pre-Trib Rapture as a form of escape the times of trials and tribulations both present and to come.

          I fully believe in the Gathering together (or Rapture) of the Saints at the time Jesus returns. My primary point of my previous entry was to show that the view of the Scriptures has both the Righteous and Unrighteous present at times of great tribulation. We are present to be a light to the lost and draw them to Him. Even though the wrath of God is falling on them, God can and does protect His people. This is to counteract the argument from the Pre-Trib people that we are Raptured out AHEAD of the Tribulation so we don’t have to suffer God’s wrath. A whole book could be written on this.
          As for the Rapture (I will use the current common term), while the Scriptures correctly do speak of this final Gathering at the end of the age, the majority of Scriptures indicate this is to be a simultaneous event

          The Matt 24:37-41 passage was mentioned to bring out that its immediate context does not allow us to declare the one taken is the Righteous, but the Unrighteous is the one removed. Matt 24:30-31 are clearly the verses referring to the Rapture. Verses 37-41 are referring to the Judgment that is coming. In this Judgment, the Wicked cannot stand but the Righteous stand firm forever.
          When you read Matt 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, there are several things that must be noticed (not every point is in all three passages):
          1. The sequence of events are consistent. First come the signs of the time, followed by a time of great trials and tribulation, a warning of the rise of a man of unrighteousness (Anti-Christ), THEN the arrival of Christ and his angels to gather the saints. This indicates the Rapture is the Gathering together of the Saints of God to Christ at the point of His Return.
          2. There is no mention of a pre-gathering of the saints in any of these passages. A pre-trib Rapture is not indicated at all.
          3. Jesus keeps saying “you watch, you run, you will see”. Jesus is talking to His Disciples who comprised the Church and He talks to them as if they (the Church) will see and experience these things. Why would He do this if the Church is pre-Raptured and not present?

          II Thess 2 – clearly states the Coming of the Lord and Gathering of the Saints will occur after the rise of the Anti-Christ, but does not teach the pre-trib Rapture. The assumption that the Church is the restraining force that must be removed before the Anti-Christ rises is simply not there. It is an assumption to make the Pre-Trib view work.

          I believe the Scriptures indicate that the Second Coming of Christ, the Rapture of the Saints world-wide to be Gathered together to be with Him in the air, and the Glorification of the Saints (new bodies – when we see Him we will be like Him) are all a part of one event. When Tribulation comes, the Wicked falter and fall but the Righteous stand firm in Christ. When the final Judgment comes, the Wicked are removed and the Righteous remain in His Kingdom.

          The words that are comforting to me are that God is with me in all things both in exaltation and persecution. He is my destiny regardless of what this fleeting life brings me. My business is not to look to get out of trials nor to figure out the minutia of what happens in the future, but to be about the business of my Father in spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to a lost world. This level of the Eschatological studies is not for details but for the mindset of comfort in our Destiny and how we are prepared to handle the journey as we go.

          Sorry for the earlier confusion, I was addressing one thought about our attitude about going thru tribulation and who stands and falls. It was not intended to be addressing the topic of the Rapture itself.

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  4. James Fox says:

    You mention wrath. 1 Thess. 5:9 says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.” Wrath is the opposite of salvation. Therefore, wrath means eternal wrath – hell. That is the only wrath we are promised protection from.

    There are two kinds of wrath in the tribulation – God’s wrath and the wrath of the Antichrist. I believe God will protect us from his wrath but he will not protect us from the wrath of the Antichrist. Tens of thousands of people were martyred in the early centuries because of their faith. God did not protect them. Why should he protect us next time? Are we more deserving than the church in the early centuries?

    You wrote, “The Tribulation is not something anyone would want to experience, so given the choice, I’ll go with pre-trib rapture, thank you very much.” I fully agree. I do not want to go through the Tribulation and possibly be martyred. I want pre-trib to be true. Unfortunately, I do not believe it is. Wanting is not a good reason for believing.

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    • Hi James,

      Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5 in context:

      But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 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. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

      This passage is about the Day of The Lord. it is not about hell or the lake of fire. It is very specifically discussing the details of the Day of The Lord and explaining why true born again believers will not experience it. So the use of the term “salvation” is the common sense of the word – being saved or delivered from something. In this instance it is the Day of The Lord in view.

      This is why understanding the numerous Biblical passages of the Day of The Lord is so critical to reading and dividing New testament prophetic passages. So I do not believe the Scripture here supports your interepretation.

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      • correct Bible teaching Thank you! 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; in greek it actually means as the remaing ones! Who are the remaing ones those one are not caught or taken by suprise

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        • Hi Bruce,

          You wrote:


          “correct Bible teaching Thank you! 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; in greek it actually means as the remaing ones! Who are the remaing ones those one are not caught or taken by surprise”

          AMAZING point. You are indeed correct that “others” in that verse Greek does mean “remaining ones”. I never knew this until seeing your comment and looking it up. It makes 1 Thessalonians 5 that much more powerful in its clear teaching that born again believers will not experience the Day of The Lord but escape via the rapture.

          It’s also interesting that there was a recent film about the Rapture called “The Remaining.” I will look into this even more and maybe make it an article. I praise God for you helping to edify me. Thanks! God bless. -B&E

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          • James Fox says:

            Bruce wrote

            “correct Bible teaching Thank you! 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; in greek it actually means as the remaing ones! Who are the remaing ones those one are not caught or taken by suprise”

            Paul can be translated as saying, “Do not sleep as the remaining ones.” The remaining ones are asleep. They are caught by surprise. Note my dictionary says the word translated “as” can also be translated “like.” “Do not sleep like the remaining ones.” The remaining ones are asleep.

            Beginning and End wrote:

            “It makes 1 Thessalonians 5 that much more powerful in its clear teaching that born again believers will not experience the Day of The Lord but escape via the rapture.”

            “The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy” edited by Tim LaHaye has an article about the day of the Lord. It climaxes with “Two periods of the day of the Lord are yet to be fulfilled on earth: (1) the judgement that climaxes the Tribulation period (2 Thess 2:2, Rev. 16-18) (2) the consummating judgement on this earth that ushers in the new earth (2 Ptr 3:10-13, Rev. 20:7-21:1).

            If this author, Richard L. Mayhue, Professor of Theology at the Master’s Seminary, is correct, then the day of the Lord is at the Second Advent and escaping the day of the Lord does not mean a pre-trib Rapture.

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            • Hi James,

              Thanks for your comment. As I have said many times to you, this site has no affiliation with Tim LaHaye, and we do not ascribe to any “Tim LaHaye doctrines.” So I am not going to address any point you are making against his writings.

              The point being made here is that “others” means “remaining ones” and I do not think what you posted refutes that. God bless. -B&E

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  5. Wanting is a perfectly good reason for believing. It is Hope. I think the church has a lot to suffer here in the coming years. Man’s wrath or tribulation (thilipsis) will purge the church of unbelievers and make believers of others and help her doctrinal errors. Richard Wurmbrand said we should sit at the feet of persecuted Xians and learn from them.

    I Thes 5.9 wrath in eternity’s lake of fire AND in the great Tribulation. The same thing (orge). And we are delivered from it. It’s future wrath. The salvation we obtain is in the future tense there if I’m not mistaken.

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  6. James Fox says:

    You said, “I Thes 5.9 wrath in eternity’s lake of fire AND in the great Tribulation.”

    How does spiritualization happen? I happens when someone does not like the simple literal interpretation. They go looking for an alternative interpretation that better fits the theology they believe. If they find one, they promote it as the primary interpretation.

    Wrath is contrasted with salvation so it is unquestionable it means eternal wrath. That does nothing useful for pre-trib so they went looking for an secondary interpretation and they found it – it means Tribulation wrath and we will escape it with the pre-trib rapture. Pre-trib books promote this secondary meaning as the primary meaning because it helps pre-trib. I think they are spiritualizing.

    The simple literal interpretation is it means eternal wrath. Be careful about looking for secondary meanings.

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  7. I don’t understand why so many Christians insist on going through the GT when the Scriptures so plainly indicate a Pre-trib rapture. While clearly we grow exponentially through trials and tribulations, the GT is meant for the time when God purifies Israel, not the Gentiles. The rapture makes absolutely no sense whatsoever outside of this context. Keep up the good work, B&E!

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    • Hi Q,

      You said:

      While clearly we grow exponentially through trials and tribulations, the GT is meant for the time when God purifies Israel, not the Gentiles.

      Amen. I agree completely. Thanks for the kind words and God bless.

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  8. James Fox says:

    “the Scriptures so plainly indicate a Pre-trib rapture.”

    Which scriptures so plainly indicate a pre-trib rapture to youj?

    I think Rev 20:4-5 plainly indicates it is post trib. and 2 Thess 2:1-4 indicates the rapture is after the midpoint of the trib.

    Also Paul said the rapture was “the Lord’s own word” and Mt 24 and 1 & 2 Thess have a HUGE number of things in common. I think Mt 24 is “the Lord’s own word” and Mt 24:31, the rapture, is immediately after the Tribulation of those days, Mt. 24:29.

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  9. Rev 20:4-5 is referring to believers killed in the GT, believers converted presumably by the 144,000. 2 Thess 2:1-4 says only that the Rapture will occur before the Anti-Christ is revealed. Matt 24:31 is not referring to the Rapture, but rather the return of Christ *with* His elect.

    Again, I don’t understand the insistence that the Church go through the GT. A post-trib rapture would be pointless. A mid-trib rapture would save us from the worst, but I don’t see it either.

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  10. James Fox says:

    You did not answer. What scriptures so clearly indicate a pre-trib Rapture. The only one I know is Jn. 14:1-3. I grant you that that scripture does fit better with pre-trib. That is the only one I know that is really good for pre-trib. Let’s discuss the other verses that impress you.

    Rev. 20:4-5 is called “the first resurrection.” It is at the second advent. Thus there was no resurrection (or Rapture) 7 years previously. There was no pre-trib rapture.

    Quote scripture. Where does 2 Thess 2:1-4 say the Rapture will occur before the Anti-christ is revealed? 2 Thess 1:1 says Paul wants to discuss the coming of the Lord and the Rapture. He never again mentions either of these events but instead discusses the Day of the Lord. In order for that to make sense, the coming of the Lord and the Rapture must be part of the Day of the Lord. Verse 3 says the Day of the Lord comes after the Anti-christ is revealed. Thus the Rapture is after the Anti-christ is revealed not before.

    There are a huge number of things in common between Mt 24 and 1 & 2 Thess.

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  11. Quackzalcoatl says:

    James Fox:
    You did not answer. What scriptures so clearly indicate a pre-trib Rapture. The only one I know is Jn. 14:1-3. I grant you that that scripture does fit better with pre-trib. That is the only one I know that is really good for pre-trib. Let’s discuss the other verses that impress you.

    Rev. 20:4-5 is called “the first resurrection.” It is at the second advent. Thus there was no resurrection (or Rapture) 7 years previously. There was no pre-trib rapture.

    Quote scripture. Where does 2 Thess 2:1-4 say the Rapture will occur before the Anti-christ is revealed? 2 Thess 1:1 says Paul wants to discuss the coming of the Lord and the Rapture. He never again mentions either of these events but instead discusses the Day of the Lord. In order for that to make sense, the coming of the Lord and the Rapture must be part of the Day of the Lord. Verse 3 says the Day of the Lord comes after the Anti-christ is revealed. Thus the Rapture is after the Anti-christ is revealed not before.

    There are a huge number of things in common between Mt 24 and 1 & 2 Thess.

    James, before I go through the effort of quoting scripture and solidifying my “argument,” I kind of wonder what difference it would make. Would it really convince you? I think we will find out soon enough, and when it happens, I doubt either one of us is going to care about being right on this issue. The Rapture is a bonus, something to be excited about and look forward to, in stark contrast to the great suffering that the Tribulation will bring about.

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  12. James Fox says:

    Ok, if you are busy, let’s drop it. I am busy too. I agree with sentences 3 & 4 of your last text.

    I just like to have intelligent people try to punch wholes in what I believe. It is hard to see what is wrong in what you believe. You need others to point out the weaknesses.

    Also, I try to be open minded. Eg. I fully admit that Jn 14:1-4 works best for pre-trib not post-trib. I like for smart people to point out things I may have overlooked.

    However, I have read & reread books by Walvoord and LaHaye so I do think I know the pre-trib position. I doubt if there is anything new out there. But you never know.

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    • James, I’m game. Discussion is good. I will do a little digging and reread a few things, then put it out there. I’m never too busy for a good Bible study.

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  13. Interesting stuff. Readers might be interested in Googling “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Pride” (Thomas Ice has found some pre-1830 pretribs that even the longtime No. 1 pretrib expert Dr. John Walvoord couldn’t find!), and “Pretrib Rapture Stealth” (two ignored passages which give a death blow to the pretrib theory).

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    • James Fox says:

      Dear Q:

      You may want to quote Rev 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”

      You ought to be aware of a couple of things. There are two Greek words that are translated from – ek and apo. The primary meaning of ek is “from inside” while the primary meaning of apo is “from the vicinity of.” These meanings are not true in every single circumstance but they are almost always true.

      From in “from the hour of trial” is the word ek. If it has its usual meaning, it means “from inside the hour of trial.” If the church in Philadelphia is inside the hour of trial then they are inside the tribulation and pre-trib rapture cannot be true.

      Jesus said “My prayer is not that you take them out [ek] of the world but that you protect them from [ek] the evil one. John 17:15 ” It sounds like Jesus is saying, “My prayer is not that you give them a pre-trib rapture but that you protect them from the evil one.”

      Tim LaHaye in his book Rapture [Under Attack] discusses Revelation 3:10 and ek. He quotes John 17:15. He goes on to say he could quote “find no more than five occasions when it [ek] could possibly denote “through” or “in,” and only in one instance, it’s second use in John 17:15 to which we have already alluded, in the exact sense that the post-tribulationists suggest for Revelation 3:10. The usual Greek for “through” is dia … If the Spirit of God intended to convey to the readers of this passage the Lord would keep his own through or in the hour of trial he would have used dia….”

      He is correct that the post-tribulationist interpretation would be much better if it said dia. However it says ek and this word usually means “from inside.” If the church in Philadelphia is inside the hour of testing, then they are inside the tribulation and pre-trib is false

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      • Hi James,

        I wanted to reply to the interpretation you made as I disagree with it. You said:

        You ought to be aware of a couple of things. There are two Greek words that are translated from – ek and apo. The primary meaning of ek is “from inside” while the primary meaning of apo is “from the vicinity of.” These meanings are not true in every single circumstance but they are almost always true.

        From in “from the hour of trial” is the word ek. If it has its usual meaning, it means “from inside the hour of trial.” If the church in Philadelphia is inside the hour of trial then they are inside the tribulation and pre-trib rapture cannot be true.

        I believe your interpretation is wrong for 2 reasons. First off here is the full entry for the word ek from Strongs Concordance:

        Strongs G1537 – ek
        1) out of, from, by, away from

        There is nothing in the definition that would require the subject of the verb to be experiencing whatever is taking place in a particular sentence. Furthermore, the context of the verse in Revelation refutes your definition. Look at the Revelation Chapter 2. Our Lord Jesus Christ says:

        Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
        22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

        Notice the conditional nature of this threat. IF they do not repent then Jesus Christ will cast them into the great tribulation. So it is not something they have to experience.

        So when we get to the church of Philadelphia, who only receives praises from Jesus Christ, the verses makes much more sense contextually:

        And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 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 wicked are warned to repent or they will be “cast into great tribulation,” while the faithful are promised that they will be “kept from” (tereo ek) the world’s “hour of trial.” They are the group that has “come away from” (erxomenoi ek) the great tribulation. The Greek word ek (Strong’s Concordance: “out of,” “from,” “by,” or “away from”) does not demand that the Great Multitude experienced the great tribulation. A similar use of the word ek appears in the Greek Septuagint translation of Genesis 19:29, translated here in English:

        “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of (ek) the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot lived.”

        Lot escaped “out of” the catastrophe that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but he did not experience the burning sulfur that rained down from heaven. (The death of Lot’s wife was a separate judgment from God). Just as Lot was warned and escaped from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, so will the Church be rescued “away from” or “out of” the “great tribulation.” The rapture of the Church is a “rescue” (Luke 21:36) and an “escape” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). The Great Multitude of Revelation 7:9-17 is a picture of the Church that has “come out of the great tribulation” right as it begins, in the nick of time.

        The second issue with your interpretation is a constant error that is made in the post-tribulation model. Those who support the post-trib model will seem to claim that Christians will be protected during the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. However Scripture says the exact opposite:

        “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” – Revelation 13:7.

        “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” – Daniel 8.

        We also know from Revelation 13 that those who do not take the Mark of the beast will be beheaded. Those who do not worship the Image of the beast will be killed. So to say the church of Philadelphia will go through the Great tribulation but receive some special protection contradicts Scripture.

        Again, this is a major error in the post-trib model and I have seen it stated many times. It’s just another reason why this rapture timing cannot be correct. Just some things for you to consider. God bless.

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        • James Fox says:

          Dear Beginning and End:

          You said, “The second issue with your interpretation is a constant error that is made in the post-tribulation model. Those who support the post-trib model will seem to claim that Christians will be protected during the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. However Scripture says the exact opposite: ”

          Can you provide a quote from a post-tribber who says believers will be COMPLETELY protected during the Tribulation. I do not believe there is such a quote. I do believe that post-tirbbers believe that believers will be protected from God’s wrath but they will not be protected from the Anti-Christ’s wrath. Tim LaHaye in his left behind series twice describe believers being supernaturally protected from God’s wrath. I think he is right.

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          • Hi James,

            There is no need to quote any post-tribbers. You are a post-tribber, so you can advocate for your position all on your own. Do you believe Christians will be protected from the Antichrist in the Great Tribulation? If yes, Scripture does not support you because it says the saints will be overcome, killed and destroyed wonderfully by the Antichrist. The Antichrist is specifically given authority to overcome the saints in war. Thus a post-Great Tribulation rapture of the church does not even make sense. If you say no, and agree with what Scripture says, then certainly the promises made to the Church of Philadelphia or Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5 that Christians will not be overcome by the Day of The Lord, suddenly are in contradiction to your model.

            This is just one of the reasons that this model fails. It tries to have it both ways, when Scripture does not allow that.

            You keep citing Tim LaHaye. I am not that familiar with his writings. If you can cite the Scripture that supports the two events of supernatural protection for born again Christians in the Great Tribulation, I would be glad to read them.

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            • The day of the Lord does not mean the Great Tribulation. it means Judgment. The great tribulation is not God’s judgment or wrath. His judgment will be the Bowls of Wrath. Saying that there must be a pre-tribulation because christians will not be overcome by the day of the lord must mean “they must have vanished from the face of the earth, secretly” is not biblical. It means that we overcome our judgment by the Blood of the LAMB, it means that God’s wrath does not abide on us ever in the day of judgment because Christ already suffered the wrath of God for us. How someone turns that into a mass vanishing act boggles my mind. never the less I pray that you will read the scriptures more coherently and praise the Lord that you are eager to serve Christ our Lord and God. Grace to you brothers :)

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              • Anonymous says:

                I believe Christians will be protected from God’s wrath – the trumpets and bowls. I do not believe they will be protected from the antichrist. There will be LOTS of martyrs.

                Did you ever notice the things in common between the rapture and the Second Advent?

                1) Jesus is returning

                2) Jesus is in the clouds – Mt. 24:30, 1 Thess 4:17

                3) A resurrection at both. Rev 20 says trib martyrs are resurrected at the Second Advent. Dan 12:1-2 says Old Testament saints will be resurrected after a time of unprecedented distress

                4) A divine trumpet at both. The great trumpet Mt 24:31, and the trumpet of God 1 Thess 4:16

                5) A supernatural gathering of believers at both. Angels gathering the elect in Mt 24:31 is a supernatural gathering of believers. So is the rapture.

                6) If you believe Josephus and Philo who discuss events that surround the coming of the Messiah, there is a shout-of-command at the coming of the Messiah. Greek keleusma. The Jewish coming of the Messiah is the Second Advent. In 1 Thess 4:16 Paul said there was a keleusma at the rapture.

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  14. John Miller says:

    The Lord’s promise to the church in Philadelphia is very clear. It promises deliverance to the faithful, true church before the great tribulation. If we couple that with Paul’s prophetic statement in 1 Thess.4 we see clearly that the Apostle expected to be still alive at the time of the resurrection of the dead, the changing of both those who had been resurrected and the “we” still living. Together he expected to be caught up in the clouds to meet The Lord in the air.

    This is not the second coming. Paul does not here predict Christ’s return to the earth. He is clearly predicting in a brief, simple description the removal of the church from the earth and its translation to glory.

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    • John your understanding of Revelation 3:10 is incorrect Philadelphia is told that they will be kept from the hour of temptation that will come upon all the world to try them that dwell on it, but the Church of Philadelphia that Jesus Christ was talking to there is already long gone and dead. How could Jesus Christ be that uniformed as to the timing of when the Great Tribulation would be if the Hour of Temptation = The Great Tribulation, that makes no sense. In light of all of that you may be happy to notice that this whole section of Revelation where Jesus is simultaneously addressing the seven chruch’s. Check out what Jesus says to one of the other church’s in Revelation 2:8-10

      8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
      9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
      10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

      So just like to the church of Philadelphia Jesus says to them concerning tribulation and trial that they would endure or be spared. JESUS IS NOT TALKING ABOUT THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE… im not yelling I just don’t want you to miss the point. Its important that we read our bibles in context and stop taking a verse here and there out of context to prove our human reasoning/desires.

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  15. James Fox says:

    Dear Q:

    I relied on Greek grammars for the definition of ek. I later realized I can look at raw data. I have a Greek concordance of the New Testament and I can look up ek. Let’s look at some consecutive entries from the beginning of Matthew using the KJV. Do they usually mean “from inside?” Is something coming from something else that surrounds it?

    1) 1:3 of [ek] Thamar
    2) 1:5 of [ek] Ruth
    3 ) 1:6 of [ek] her that had been the wife of Urias

    In each of these 3 it is the word ek followed by the mother’s name. The child comes from inside his mother.

    4) 1:16 the husband of Mary, of [ek] who was born Jesus. Jesus comes from inside Mary
    5) 1:18 of [ek] the Holy Ghost. Jesus came from inside the Holy Ghost.
    6) 1:20 of [ek] the Holy Ghost. Jesus came from inside the Holy Ghost.
    7) 2:6 out of [ek] thee [Bethlehem] shall come a governor…. Jesus came from inside Bethlehem.
    8) 2:15 out of [ek] Egypt have I called my son. Jesus came from inside Egypt.
    9) 3:9 God is able of [ek] the stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Children come from inside the stones. God can make stones into children.
    10) 3:17 and lo a voice from [ek] heaven. The voice came from inside heaven.
    11) 5:37 whatsoever is more than these cometh of [ek] evil. Anything else you say comes from inside evil.
    12) 6: 27 which of [ek] you. Who, from inside the larger group of those listening to me, can….
    13) 7:4 let me pull out the mote out of [ek] thine eye. The mote comes from inside your eye.
    14) 7:5 first cast out the beam out of [ek] thine own eye. The beam comes from inside the eye.
    15) 7:9 or what man is there of [ek] you. You are from inside a larger group.
    16) 8: 28 two possessed with devils, coming out of [ek] the tombs. They were coming from inside the tomb area.
    17) 10:14 when ye depart out of [ek] that house or city. You go from inside that house or city.
    18) 12:11 what man shall there be among [ek] you. What man from inside the larger group of all men.
    19) 12:33 for the tree is known by [ek] its fruit. Knowledge comes from knowing the fruit, from inside the fruit.
    20) 12:34 for out of [ek] the abundance of the heart. From inside the heart.
    21) 12:35 a good man out of [ek] the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of [ek] the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. The treasure from inside the heart.
    22) 12:37 for by [ek] thy words thou shalt be justified and by [ek] thy words thou shalt be condemned. Justification and condemnation come from inside your words.
    23) 12:42 for she came from the uttermost parts of [ek] the earth. She came from inside a faraway place.
    24) 13:41 they shall gather out of [ek] his kingdom. From inside his kingdom.
    25) 13:47 a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of [ek] every kind. Gathered from inside all the kinds of fish.
    26) 13:49 sever the wicked from [ek] among the just. From inside the just. The wicked are hidden inside, or alongside, the just.
    27) 13:52 which bringeth forth out of [ek] his treasure. From inside his treasure.
    28) 15:5 by whatsoever thou mightiest be profited by [ek] me. Profit that might come from inside me.
    29) 15:11 that which cometh out of [ek] the mouth, this defileth a man. From inside the mouth.
    30) 15:18 those things which proceed out of [ek] the mouth. From inside the mouth.
    31) 15:19 for out of [ek] the heart. From inside the heart.
    32) 16:1 a sign from [ek] heaven. From inside heaven.
    33) 17:5 a voice out of [ek] the cloud. From inside the cloud.
    34) 17:9 until the Son of Man be risen again from [ek] the dead. From inside the group of dead people.

    This is a relatively small sample, but I believe that everyone, without exception, means “from inside.” If this pattern applies to “from” [ek] in Revelation 3:10 then the church in Philadelphia will be inside the hour of testing which seems to mean they will be inside the tribulation. That means pre-trib cannot be true.

    P.S. The grammars do indicate that sometimes ek does not mean “from inside,” but it appears that it almost always means this.

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  16. Great comments and great study everyone. I had a possible new insight if I may. consider this timeline.

    Rev. 10 In heaven “mystery of God should be finished” (The last trumpet, seventh)
    7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

    Now please link the above verse with our I Cor.15:51 “mystery” and “at the last trump vs.52″ statement of Paul. Could these two mysteries and last trumpet be the same mystery. mystery of God should be finished = Behold, I tell you a mystery; at the last trumpet. Dead raised, all alive I Cor. 15: 51

    Then in Rev. 11
    In heaven : 15 And the seventh angel sounded; voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

    18:and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and give reward to thy servants the prophets, and saints, and 24 elders present
    Look at above verse at what happens when the seventh trumpet is sounded. “kingdoms are become” and “rewards given to saints”

    Then jump back up to Rev. 11:12, and we have a literal description of “two saints” “who hear a loud voice” saying “come up hither” and they are “caught up in the clouds” and all the earth watches, couldn’t this be the rapture of the church?

    Then notice what happens next in Revelation 15, the “wrath, begins to be poured out.”

    on earth The 2 witness’s (preaching in Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified.) 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
    So:
    {dead in Christ rise first} 
    heard “a great voice” “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel “
     “come up hither” “and the dead will be raised imperishable,”
     “they ascended in clouds before enemies: “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
     in that hour a great earthquake “And in that hour there was a great earthquake,”

    Then notice the other possible link to this event that took place at the Lord Jesus resurrection, and look at some of the similar possible “signs.”

    Matt. 27: 51- “the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

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  17. Great study and good post debate. In reading many of these debates about the ‘catching up’ of the Church on-line, I can’t help but wonder if people are actually reading, praying and meditating on the Bible in full context or just running around taking a verse(s) out of context. When you read Revelation from beginning to end, the timeline of events make perfect sense especially when reading OT prophets such as Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. I would suggest all who are truly seeking out truth asking God for wisdom and discernment in this area.

    Other things that I have noticed, people are often confused on ‘Rapture’ versus 2nd coming of Christ, the Church(The Bride) versus the Saints, Grace versus Works.

    I added Grace versus works, because I have seen many times how Christians need to ‘earn’ their Salvation by making it through the GT. This also defies Scripture going against the major theme of our salvation being a free gift. (Ep. 2:8-9)

    B&E – Nice job – (again!) I’m looking forward to meeting you someday.

    As a thought, do you think it would be helpful to post a visual timeline of events with some supporting scripture/explanations? Please forgive me if there is already one.

    God Bless!

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    • Hi Brad,

      Thanks for the comments and encouragement. Maybe we will meet one day.

      As for the timeline, I had honestly been reluctant to do it, but I may put one up as we continue through Revelation. The Multitude of Revelation 7, silence in heaven for a half hour and the Gog Magog war are the next prophetic articles coming up, so it’s going to get a little bit complicated to keep track of the order of events without a visual aid. So in short, it will be forthcoming! God bless.

      P.S. And Happy 2nd birthday to your youngest!

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  18. Thanks B&E for this excellent article!

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  19. To understand the plan father has for us one must move beyond simply looking for a smoking gun. You do not need to study mathematics to know that 2 comes after 1 and 3 comes after 2 etc. So it is with understanding the plan of the our father. He is surgically systematic! The hebrew mazzaroth can give you some insight into what I am saying. The mazzaroth, (not to be confused with the counterfeit version “the zodiac”) is the redemption plan of father. I could speak on this for days but getting to the point about the rapture. Most of know that Yahushuwah (Jesus) came to pay a debt and fulfill spiritually all of the physical requirements of the old testament with it’s sacrifices, feasts etc. Well…. prepare yourself to meditate on what I’m about to say next about the feasts… What about the wedding feast? Rev. 19:9-6 the wedding feast of the lamb? Who’s with him?

    6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

    “Hallelujah!
    For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
    7 Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
    for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
    8 it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

    for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

    9 And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

    Regarding what I must tell you about the rapture this is only the tip of the ice berg… If you examine Hebrew marriage customs you will see something peculiar.

    1. The groom has to go and make an offer
    2. The bride has to first accept
    3. Upon acceptance of the offer
    4. The groom goes away to prepare for her to come with him
    5. The bride has to keep her clothes and her self ready because she does not know when he will come.
    6. When he comes he comes with a shout for her
    7. She is then to rush out to meet him
    8. Once together he takes her to his fathers house for a wedding feast
    9. After the feast they present themselves to the world dressed in white

    I couldn’t make this up if I tried for those of us who know the Word well the similarities are startling.

    1. Jesus paid for us
    2. We have to accept his offer
    3. If we accept Jesus stated I go to prepare a place for you that where I am etc…
    4. We are constantly warned throughout the bible to stay ready because we know not when….
    5. For in that day the lord will descend with a shout and we who remain will be caught up…..
    6. Where? Rev 19: the wedding feast of the lamb
    7. After the feast ?
    11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[d] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

    The armies of heaven dressed in white returning to the world to do battle with satan an his minions.
    That my family is the proof of a pre-trib rapture. What groom would leave his wife (the church) to be raped again…. I must sign off for now but I will log in again for more discussion.
    Godspeed…

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  20. [Hi BAE. Saw this think-piece on the net. Also Google “Famous Rapture Watchers.” Lord bless.]

    PRETRIB RAPTURE STEALTH !

    Many evangelicals believe that Christ will “rapture” them to heaven years before the second coming and (most importantly) well BEFORE Antichrist and his “tribulation.” But Acts 2:34, 35 reveal that Jesus is at the Father’s right hand in heaven until He leaves to destroy His earthly foes at the second coming. And Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven with the Father “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. See also Heb. 10:12, 13. (“The Rapture Question,” by longtime No. 1 pretrib expert John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even list, in its scripture index, the above Acts verses! They were also too hot for John Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the scripture index in his “Letters”!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The “rest” for “all them that believe” is also tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the end of trib “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which Scofield views as Israel’s posttrib resurrection!) It’s amazing that the Olivet Discourse contains the “great commission” for the church but not even a hint of a pretrib rapture for the church!
    Many don’t know that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was stretched forward and turned into an idolized separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which evangelical scholars overwhelmingly rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” [“gathering”] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Google “Walvoord Melts Ice” for more on this, and also Google “Pretrib Rapture Pride.”
    Other Google articles on the 183-year-old pretrib rapture view include “X-Raying Margaret,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart,” “Pretrib Rapture’s Missing Lines,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture,” “The Real Manuel Lacunza,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” and “Morgan Edwards’ Rapture View” – most by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (the most accurate and documented book on pretrib rapture history which is obtainable by calling 800.643.4645).
    PS – For some final shocks Google “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”

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    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your comments. but with all due respect, did you read this article? It directly addressed and refutes everything you posted. The church fathers clearly wrote about a pre-tribulation rapture. Well before John Darby was every born. Like 1600 years before he was born. So at that point, it’s either a question of whether they actually wrote or whether you think someone else wrote the texts and attributes it to the church fathers. So I am very confused by your post. -B&E

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  21. You are missing the point of Cyprian in Treatise 7

    He’s not talking about a pre-tribulation rapture at all. Cyprian is merely expressing how we should desire to be freed from the world.

    24. It is for him to wish to remain long in the world whom the world delights, whom this life, flattering and deceiving, invites by the enticements of earthly pleasure. Again, since the world hates the Christian, why do you love that which hates you? And why do you not rather follow Christ, who both redeemed you and loves you? John in his epistle cries and says, exhorting that we should not follow carnal desires and love the world. Love not the world, says he, neither the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but of the lust of the world. And the world shall pass away, and the lust thereof; but he who does the will of God abides for ever, even as God abides for ever. 1 John 2:15 Rather, beloved brethren, with a sound mind, with a firm faith, with a robust virtue, let us be prepared for the whole will of God: laying aside the fear of death, let us think on the immortality which follows. By this let us show ourselves to be what we believe, that we do not grieve over the departure of those dear to us, and that when the day of our summons shall arrive, we come without delay and without resistance to the Lord when He Himself calls us.

    His point is this: don’t desire the world desire when you will be set free from it, the day when you are transformed and we will all be in the presence of God and our brothers in Christ.

    It seems eisegetical to say Cyprian is excited about leaving before the great tribulation…… especially when he’s not even remotely close to saying that.

    Read
    18. We ought to remember that we should do not our own will, but God’s, in accordance with what our Lord has bidden us daily to pray. How preposterous and absurd it is, that while we ask that the will of God should be done, yet when God calls and summons us from this world, we should not at once obey the command of His will! We struggle and resist, and after the manner of froward servants we are dragged to the presence of the Lord with sadness and grief, departing hence under the bondage of necessity, not with the obedience of free will; and we wish to be honoured with heavenly rewards by Him to whom we come unwillingly. Why, then, do we pray and ask that the kingdom of heaven may come, if the captivity of earth delights us? Why with frequently repeated prayers do we entreat and beg that the day of His kingdom may hasten, if our greater desires and stronger wishes are to obey the devil here, rather than to reign with Christ?

    Is not his point to depart from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, if we are asking God to manifest His will in our lives. That we be not hypocritical and double minded, praying for God’s kingdom to come with our hearts still set on the kingdom of this world. It is odd to say the least, to see fellow brothers in Christ who take great pleasure in sifting Not only the Word of God to please their lust for a doctrine that is absent in scripture but to then sift other brothers in Christ to incoherently appease a unbiblical doctrine such as this pre-tribulation rapture. I understand that you really want there to be a pre-tribulation rapture, it offers a dodging of the GREAT TRIBULATION that Christ says we will endure in Matt 24, and that finding evidence for something you have defended for such a long time in the presence of other brothers with far more biblical exegetical understanding of the scriptures than you, will help you maintain your false sense of exhortation and reproval that you have painted over your pride. This is however not a dividing line and I cherish your desire to serve Christ, but this whole pre-tribulation battle is nonsense. The Bible simply does not teach it…. so why do you want it to be there???

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  22. Whenever someone to whom I am speaking vehemently defends the pre-tribulation Rapture, citing that God wouldn’t allow the “true” Christians to suffer, I have to ask if that is true, then why are people martyred in God’s name? It has happened throughout history, and still occurs today. I believe if God would allow a martyr to be tortured and killed in His name, why do people think that the average church going Christian today will somehow be swept up and spared the reality of end time suffering? Though God is mysterious in His ways, far more saintly Christians have died painful and violent deaths in the name of their faith. I doubt Christians living in the end time are going to be conveniently swept up in a pre-emptive escape plan when the final battles are fought. As such, I am not a believer in a convenient, pre-tribulation Rapture, no matter how defensively or belligerently it is presented to me.

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    • Hi Lorie,

      All who believe in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. I agree 100%. The Lord said that in this world we will suffer tribulation. It is a certainty. But this is far different than the Great Tribulation. Jesus said it will be unlike anything ever seen in this world. So comparing it to the Christian persecution of today or earlier centuries is not accurate.

      There are many Biblical reasons for believing that the Rapture precedes the Great Tribulation/Day of The Lord.

      But since you do not believe in a pre-Great Tribulational Rapture, I am curious – do you believe that we can know the exact date for the Lord’s Second Coming? Because once the signs of Revelation commence (trumpets and bowls, the 2 witnesses, reign of the Antichrist for 1260 days, etc.), it will be VERY easy to know the exact day that Second Coming will take place. So what are your thoughts on that?

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      • Nephesh roi says:

        According to Jesus Christ, any house that is built on sand will fall down and the falling shall be very great. But the house built on rock will stand and survive any shock (Luke 6:48-49).

        Every doctrine that is built on rock solid Scripture will stand and survive all shocks. But all claims built on theories will fall and the falling shall be very great!

        The claim that the early church fathers like Irenaeus, Cyprian and Ephraim taught any type of Rapture (pre, mid, post) theories is built on sand and will fall.

        After reading through this article I went through their works cursorily and found that they know nothing about any Rapture!!!

        IRENAEUS

        The very quote you have used here proves just the opposite of Rapture!!! (Only you have emphasised the wrong parts)

        “Those nations however, who did not of themselves raise up their eyes unto heaven, nor returned thanks to their Maker, nor wished to behold the light of truth, but who were like blind mice concealed in the depths of ignorance, the word justly reckons as waste water from a sink, and as the turning-weight of a balance— in fact, as nothing; Isaiah 40:15 so far useful and serviceable to the just, as stubble conduces towards the growth of the wheat, and its straw, by means of combustion, serves for working gold. And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be. Matthew 24:21 For this is the LAST CONTEST of the RIGHTEOUS, in which, when THEY OVERCOME they are crowned with incorruption.” – Irenaeus, :”Against Heresy”, Book V, Capter 29, Section 1

        Frankly I did not find any rapture in the above text! What I found is the following:

        1. The nations of unbelievers are useful to the just as the stubble is to wheat and as straw for combustion so that the Christians can be proven pure as gold is purified in fire!

        The fire and purifying of gold in that fire shows the ordinary tribulations of the righteous!!

        2. “Suddenly the Church shall be caught up from this” – whatever this phrase means, it does NOT mean Rapture at all unless we have to force interpret it so!!

        The very next sentence as explained in point #3 proves that the Church will have a final Great Tribulation!!!

        Most importantly, Irenaeus says the Antichrist will make the Church flee into wilderness:

        “It is manifest, therefore, that of these [potentates], he who is to come shall slay three, and subject the remainder to his power, and that he shall be himself the eighth among them. And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and PUT THE CHURCH TO FLIGHT. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord.” – Irenaeus, “Against Heresy”, Book V, Chapter 26, Section 1

        So here Irenaeus says that the Church will be on the earth during the GT. It will not be raptured into heaven!! But it will be on flight, according to him!!!

        3. Finally, Irenaeus says that the Great Tribulation will be the LAST CONTEST (meaning the Church has faced several earlier tribulations before) of the righteous in which they will have to overcome to be crowned with immortality!

        Now, when we read together the phrases, ‘the anti-Christ will “put the Church to flight” (without any Rapture) and GT will be “the last contest of the righteous”, things become clear that Irenaeus believed in Church being on earth during the GT!

        Simply put, Irenaeus did not know anything about a Rapture!!!

        CYPRIAN

        I am really surprised as to how one could make such a great error in understanding what is so plain in Cyprian; the “departure”!!!

        What is the “departure” Cyprian is talking about?!

        Certainly it is NOT any Rapture!!

        “Departure” in Cyprian means “DEATH” or “MARTYRDOM”!!!

        Here are some evidences: (in fact his entire Treatise 7 is addressed to Christians to strengthen them against struggles and martyrdom):

        “Many of our people die in this mortality, that is, many of our people are liberated from this world. This mortality, as it is a plague to Jews and Gentiles, and enemies of Christ, so it is a departure to salvation to God’s servants.” – Cyprian of Carthage, “Treatise 7, Section 15.

        “That in the meantime we die, we are passing over to immortality by death; nor can eternal life follow, unless it should befall us to depart from this life. That is not an ending, but a transit, and, this journey of time being traversed, a passage to eternity.” – Cyprian of Carthage, “Treatise 7, Section 22.

        “Rather, beloved brethren, with a sound mind, with a firm faith, with a robust virtue, let us be prepared for the whole will of God: laying aside the fear of death, let us think on the immortality which follows. By this let us show ourselves to be what we believe, that we do not grieve over the departure of those dear to us, and that when the day of our summons shall arrive, we come without delay and without resistance to the Lord when He Himself calls us.” – Cyprian of Carthage, “Treatise 7, Section 24.

        It must be amply clear from the above quotes that for Cyprian, “early departure” means early DEATH or MARTYRDOM and NOT any Rapture!

        Here is a final and clear evidence from another of his teatises:

        ” In persecutions, earth is shut up, but heaven is opened; Antichrist is threatening, but Christ is protecting; death is brought in, but immortality follows; the world is taken away from him that is slain, but paradise is set forth to him restored; the life of time is extinguished, but the life of eternity is realized. What a dignity it is, and what a security, to go gladly from hence, to depart gloriously in the midst of afflictions and tribulations; in a moment to close the eyes with which men and the world are looked upon, and at once to open them to look upon God and Christ! Of such a blessed departure how great is the swiftness! You shall be suddenly taken away from earth, to be placed in the heavenly kingdoms.” – Cyprian of Carthage, “Treatise 11, Section 13.

        Now notice here in the above quote, you will find several words and phrases that we usually see in a Rapture literature! But a thorough reading will make it very clear that Cyprian is talking about early DEATH or MARTYRDOM!!

        It is in this sense ONLY that he says, “you shall be suddenly taken away from the earth”!!!

        Cyprian is totally unaware of any Rapture!!!!!

        EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN

        First, since this is called “Pseudo”, not much weightage is to be given to it.

        Again, it fails to show that the way “all the saints and elect of God are gathered prior to the Tribulation” is through a Rapture!!

        Such gathering, in the early century writings, is through DEATH and MARTYRDOM!!! Irenaeus and Cyprian are the best examples of such early writings!

        But even Ephraim proves the same in his “On the Last Times 1″:

        “People will flee to cemeteries And hide themselves among the dead, Pronouncing the good fortune of the DECEASED Who had avoided the calamity: ‘Blessed are you for you were borne away (to the grave) And hence you escaped from the afflictions! But as for us, woe is us! For when we die, Vultures will serve as escort for us!’ And if the days of that time were not shortened, The elect would never survive The calamities and afflictions. For Our Lord revealed (and) disclosed to us In his Gospel when He said: ‘Those days will be shortened For the sake of the elect and the saints.'”

        So you see, even Ephraim says the elect or the Church is “gathered to the Lord” through DEATH and not by any Rapture!!!

        But even in his “On the Last Times 2″ he shows us where the Church still is in the GT:

        ” In those days people shall not be buried, neither Christian, nor heretic, neither Jew, nor pagan, because of fear and dread there is not one who buries them; because all people, while they are fleeing, ignore them.” – Section IV.

        “But those (ie Church) who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs.” – Section VIII.

        (Note:- See, the Church is NOT Raptured but escapes to the deserts from the anti-Christ, wandering there (not in heaven) “being sustained by the salvation of the Lord”!!!)

        CONCLUSION

        None of the early Church fathers ever taught any form of Rapture. They are completely oblivious to that term!

        Yes, they talk a lot about “gathering to the Lord”, “suddenly taken to the Lord” etc but these are in terms of DEATH or MARTYRDOM and NOT by any Rapture!!!

        Rapture is a forced interpretation from their works!

        A DOUBT

        If the Rapture (which includes resurrection of the dead) occurs prior to the second coming of Christ, then why Revelation 20:5 and 6 says FIRST RESURRECTION regarding the rising of the dead at the second coming?!

        It should be SECOND resurrection!!!

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        • Hi Nephesh Roi,

          As you may have guessed, I completely disagree with everything you wrote. lol. The main distinction I would make is that there are Christians who will be saved during the Great Tribulation. These are the ones who are being referred to in this passage. Now, I know you will come back and completely disagree with me, because those who adhere to a post-trib model constantly overlook this clear fact from Scripture.

          but as I have said to others, since, by your interpretation, we are going to experience all these things, then you can sleep well tonight, because you KNOW for a fact that Jesus cannot return tonight., Because the Antichrist is not ruling, the false prophet is not here, there is no mark of the beast etc.), right? So Jesus cannot come tonight or any time in at least the next 3 1/2 years, by your belief, correct? I look forward to your response.

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          • Nephesh roi says:

            Hi B&E, thanks for the reply after some time!

            “Now, I know you will come back and completely disagree with me” — B&E.

            Ha, ha, it seems by now you know me very well!

            But please note that I do not disagree for the sake of disagreement. My policy is “wherever the evidences take me I go there without any personal antagonism”.

            (I like you very much and there are a lot of places where we do agree strongly. But for the sake of brevity I only share my differences of views)
            **********************************************

            “As you may have guessed, I completely disagree with everything you wrote.” — B&E.

            You are welcome.

            But what I did here is only to show you that NONE of the early church fathers held any view of any type of Rapture.

            Yes, they may have used some common words or phrases that we usually find in Rapture literature like “departure”, “suddenly taken” etc etc. But these are used by them in reference to “death” and “martyrdom”!!!

            This was my whole point under this heading.
            *********************************************

            “The main distinction I would make is that there are Christians who will be saved during the Great Tribulation.” — B&E.

            Yes, I strongly agree with you here because the Bible teaches this very clearly!

            But that does not prove that the rest of the Church is raptured into heaven during the GT!!

            I will tell you where the main Church will be during the Great Tribulation as per the Bible. Let us read it carefully because this also covers your point that in the GT many will be saved!

            So where is the Church during the GT?

            Rev 12:14 – The Church is PUT TO FLIGHT into the WILDERNESS/DESERT, “to her place, where she is nourished there” for exactly 3 1/2 years!!!!!!

            Rev 12:15 – Satan takes all his might to destroy this Church!

            Rev 12:16 – But “the EARTH” (note carefully it is the EARTH and NOT a rapture into heaven that helps the Church) “helped the woman”.

            Rev 12:17 – Satan shamefully gets furious at his failure and goes out to “make war with the rest of her seed” (these are exactly the people YOU say are saved through the Great Tribulation and as I have agreed)!!!!!!

            So you see, according to the Bible it is NOT the mid-heaven but it is the very EARTH that helps the Church during the GT.

            (Also I have shown you that early church fathers believed that the Church will be PUT TO FLIGHT into the wilderness during the GT)!

            So there is no rapture into a heaven!
            *****************************************

            “So Jesus cannot come tonight or any time in at least the next 3 1/2 years, by your belief, correct? I look forward to your response.” — B&E.

            What is so surprising to you is not at all surprising to me!

            Jesus Himself says that when you see some signs, do NOT think the end is near!!! (Mat 24:6)

            Yes, Jesus says that when you see ALL of the signs (“ALL these things”) He has described then we need to think that the end is “NEAR”!!! (Mat 24:33)

            So according to Jesus, a true Christian should be able to see when the end is NOT anywhere near and when the end is NEAR!

            And what cannot be known is the exact “day and that hour” (Mat 24:36)!!! That is, we will not know the exact year or day!

            So you are right, I do NOT think Jesus will come tonight or this year!!!

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            • Again, you did not show that these early Christians did not believe in a pre-trib Rapture. You are just ignoring the fact that they are referencing the saints who will come to know Christ during the Great Tribulation and die for their faith. In no place whatsoever is there any reference to the rapture taking place at Armageddon or “just before Armageddon” in any of those writings and I challenge you to show that.

              But much more importantly you wrote this:


              “So you are right, I do NOT think Jesus will come tonight or this year!!”

              Jesus Christ The Lord said:

              Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Matthew 24:42-44.

              You have just proven that you are in contradiction to clear Scripture. You have proclaimed not that you think, but that you “know” Jesus will not return this year. Scripture refutes you. And this is one of the many inherent flaws in the post-trib model. You actually believe you “KNOW” that Jesus will not and presumably, in your eyes, cannot return now or 3 1/2 years from the time of the rule of Antichrist. Yet Jesus specifically said He will come in an hour you think not. Your argument fails on this point alone.

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              • James Fox says:

                Dear B&E

                Jesus said we do no know what hour he IS coming. Nephesh roi said she knew what hour he was not coming. Both those statements can be true at the same time.

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                • “Jesus said we do no know what hour he IS coming. Nephesh roi said she knew what hour he was not coming. Both those statements can be true at the same time.”

                  No, they absolutely cannot be true at the same time. Why? Because you are conveniently ignoring the other critical point our Lord said:

                  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

                  As soon as anyone says “I KNOW Jesus is not returning this year.” or “in the next 3 1/2 years” or any duration of time, they are contradicting Scripture and their interpretation fails. This is plainly and abundantly obvious.

                  James, I have to say I am very surprised you agree with Nephesh Roi on this point. So you too “know” that Christ will not, and in your mind, cannot, return for the next several years??

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                • Nephesh roi says:

                  “Nephesh roi said she knew” — James Fox.

                  Oops, James, I am a “he”! Grrrrr.

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                  • James Fox says:

                    Are we agreed that Rev 14:14-20 is the Second Advent and the destruction in v. 20 is the same as that spoken about in Zechariah?

                    The 6’th bowl is preparation for Armageddon. Do you think Armageddon is after the Second Advent?

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              • James Fox says:

                Dear B&E,

                You asked Nephesh roi for quotes from the early church fathers about their view of the rapture. Let me supply some.

                “So, tell the leaders of the church to rectify their ways in justice …. Blessed are you who will endure the great persecution….” The Shepherd of Hermas, Second Vision Ch II , The Fathers of the Church: The Apostolic Fathers, p238

                So he thought the church would endure the great persecution. He is not pre-trib.

                “…the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians. ” Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho, The Ante-Nicene Fathers I, ,p, 253-254

                Isn’t the Christians the same thing as the church? Especially because he says “us” which includes himself.

                “…the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the church of God.” Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, III, p, 563

                So the antichrist will make war on the church. Not pre-trib.

                “Now concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the church from the adversary….” Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, V, p 217

                The book is about antichrist. Note its title. The tribulation is the great tribulation. He thinks the church will be there. Not pre-trib.

                “For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist and the destruction of all nations under his rule.” Ireneus, Against Heresies, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, I, p. 565

                When will the nations allied with antichrist be destroyed? At the Second Advent. Ireneus thinks that is when the resurrection of the just will take place. Isn’t that the rapture?

                P.S. Warning. I did not look up any of these in the original sources. I am quoting from a book I own. I assume his quotes are correct. Many are quite long so you can get the context.

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                • James – we have already had this conversation. You are quoting the Shepherd of Hermas out of context the exact same way you did before. I am going to cut and paste my response:

                  Here is your quote:


                  The Shepherd of Hermas states:

                  So, tell the leaders of the Church to rectify their ways in justice, that they may fully receive the promises with great glory. Stand firm, then, you who work righteousness and have singleness of purpose, that your entrance into heaven may be in the company of the holy angels. Blessed are you who will endure the great persecution…” “The Shepherd of Hermas,” Second Vision, Chapter 2, page 238.

                  The Shepherd thinks the church will go through the tribulation. This is not pre-trib.

                  This is just affirming what Revelation says about the Resurrection of the Just: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

                  Notice the passages you keep quoting are not talking about the Rapture. They are talking about other topics, but you are applying them to try and glean a post-trib perspective out of them. Now I will quote from the Shepherd of Hermas:

                  “Go therefore and declare to the Elect of the Lord His mighty deeds and say to them that this beast is a type of the Great Tribulation which is to come. If ye therefore prepare yourselves and with your whole heart turn to the Lord in repentance, then shall ye be able to escape it, if your heart is pure and blameless..the golden color stands for you who have escaped from this world…Now ye know the symbol of the Great Tribulation to come. But if ye are willing, it shall be nothing.” – Shepherd of Hermas 2.26.

                  Now this passage is clearly talking about the Great Tribulation and escaping it. And that Christians who are pure and blameless (which comes through faith in Christ Jesus) will escape it. This clearly refutes your interpretation of a passage that was not directly discussing the Great tribulation or the rapture.

                  As for the other sources, you are once again just quoting passages that talk about the saints who come to Christ during the Great Tribulation. I agree and Scripture is clear – the Antichrist will conquer the saints of Christ during the Great Tribulation. It will be unprecedented persecution. But this is not the Raptured church. You continue to try and prove the post-trib Rapture by using passages that are not even talking about the Rapture. Go into any of these sources and show me a passage that confirms the post-tribulation rapture model. That shows a rapture at Revelation 19 or the 7th trumpet. There are none. But if I am wrong, simply provide the passages that support your position.

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              • Nephesh roi says:

                “Again, you did not show that these early Christians did not believe in a pre-trib Rapture.” — B&E.

                Oh, that is a bit cruel on your part!

                First of all, none of the early church fathers believed in any type of rapture. Then how can I show you that they did not believe in a “pre” or “mid” or “post”-trib raptures?!!!

                Of all the several early church fathers, you could show only THREE fathers who were projected as believers of rapture when they used certain words and phrases like “departure”, “suddenly taken” etc which later 20th century Rapture advocates twisted to suit their theory!

                I have shown to you from these three specific fathers that they did not believe in any rapture; pre, mid or post. When they used terms like “departure” and “suddenly taken” etc, they meant DEATH or MARTYRDOM!

                Now it is my turn to request you to show me from these fathers that they believed in any type of rapture at all!

                I have gone through your series of articles under the Rapture heading and have observed that you take this theory for granted and have not explained how a rapture is possible before the second coming. You talk about Rapture as if it is already established in the Bible without ever trying to prove it!
                **********************************************

                “You are just ignoring the fact that they are referencing the saints who will come to know Christ during the Great Tribulation and die for their faith.” — B&E.

                I have already agreed strongly to you that all fathers talk about saints who are converted and saved in the GT. But they do not talk about a Church ever taken up into heaven!

                Instead they talk about the anti-Christ “put the church to flight” (Irenaeus) and the Church “wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent” (Ephraim the Syrian) etc.

                This is in line with the Biblical prophecy as I have shown in my previous post. I will explain it one more time:

                A. The main Church – is put to flight into the wilderness/deserts “to her place, where she is nourished” for exactly 3 1/2 years (Rev 12:14)!!! This main Church is more or less protected from the GT by God Himself. So, this Church is still on Earth (Rev 12:16) and NOT in mid-heaven in a rapture!!!

                B. The Christians who are converted during the GT – All indications show that these Christians will have to face the full fury of an enraged Satan (Rev 12:17)!!! (God save them!!)

                So, you, church fathers and I all agree to part B!

                But you differ and disagree with church fathers and me on part A!!
                ***************************************************

                “In no place whatsoever is there any reference to the rapture taking place at Armageddon or “just before Armageddon” in any of those writings and I challenge you to show that.” — B&E.

                I would say it is better to leave that infatuation with anti-Biblical “rapture” and hold on to the Biblically accurate Second Coming and the Resurrection of the saints!
                *************************************************

                “You have just proven that you are in contradiction to clear Scripture. You have proclaimed not that you think, but that you “know” Jesus will not return this year. Scripture refutes you. And this is one of the many inherent flaws in the post-trib model. You actually believe you “KNOW” that Jesus will not and presumably, in your eyes, cannot return now or 3 1/2 years from the time of the rule of Antichrist. Yet Jesus specifically said He will come in an hour you think not. Your argument fails on this point alone.” — B&E

                Wow, please be patient, I will explain.

                I said Jesus will not come this year because of the following points:

                1). Jesus clearly has said to the effect that ‘many will come in His name and will say He is in the mid-heaven in a Rapture but the true Christians should not believe this!!! Just as a lightning flashes from the east to west, so the coming of the Son of man’ (Mat 24:26-27)!!!!!

                Please read it carefully. Jesus says very clearly that many will say that Jesus is in inner room or in wilderness or in mid heaven (rapture) etc. There is NO secret coming of Jesus. He will come very visibly and powerfully like a lightning that stuns your eyes!!!

                2). Jesus asks us to learn from the fig tree. When it becomes tender and produces leaves, we need to learn that summer is “NEAR” (Mat 24:32). Once we know that the summer is NEAR, we do not know exactly which day Summer starts!! It could be any day!!!

                Again, when the fig tree is NOT tender we will know that the summer is NOT NEAR! Then it is unrealistic to expect the summer in the next day!!!! Then I can say that summer will not appear in the next day!

                (Nevertheless, a Christian needs to be always watchful because though Jesus may not come this year, our death can happen anytime!)

                3). Jesus’ advice to expect His coming any time like a thief is applicable only once the End is “NEAR” not before that.

                4). How do we know that the end is NEAR? Yes, when we “see ALL these things” happen (Mat 24:33)!!! What are “all these things”? Yes, the rise of the anti-Christ, Great Tribulation, Sun Moon darkening etc etc!

                5). When we see Jerusalem encircled by armies of the beast (Luke 21:20) “let the reader TAKE NOTE” (Mark 13:14) and when we see the anti-Christ placing the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place (Mat 24:15), that is a powerful warning about the nearness.

                “Whoso readeth let him understand”!

                (In AD 70, several of these prophecies came to pass in Jerusalem when the Temple was destroyed and many Christians believed the Second Coming will occur then. But importantlly “ALL these things” did not come to pass then and so there was no Second Coming at that time. So ***”ALL these things”*** are very important!!!)

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          • James Fox says:

            Dear B&E,

            Yes Jesus said he would come at at hour when we do not expect him, Mt. 24:44. That fits well with pre-trib. However, he also said, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Lk 21:28. This means once end times things start to happen, we will be able to recognize it and know that he is coming soon. So we will have some idea when he is coming once things start to happen.

            You may assert that Mt 24:44 is the pre-trib rapture while Lk 21:28 is the Second Advent. However, I do not see anything in the Gospels that suggest 2 separate comings.

            By the way the great John Walvoord said that most pre-tribbers believe there is no reference to the rapture in Mt. 24. Verse 44 is after verse 31 which is the Second Advent. The antecedent of the coming Jesus is describing in verse 44 should be verse 31. There is nothing pre-trib in Mt. 24 that could be an antecedent.

            Mt 24:44 may mean that today, when things have not started, we will have no idea. Indeed I have no idea if he is coming in 20 years or 200 years. So this statement does not necessarily imply pre-trib.

            Every eschatological position has difficult verses – weak points. The best we can do is find the position with the best strong points and the fewest weak points.

            Would you care to discuss what I think are some of the strong points of post-trib.
            —————————————————–

            Rev 20:4-5 is discussing a resurrection after the Second Advent is described. It is called “the first resurrection.” If it is first then there was no resurrection 7 years previous or 3.5 years previous or 1.5 years previous. Seemingly post-trib must be true.

            The only alternative explanation I have read is the first resurrection takes place in 2 stages. Stage 1 is before the trib starts and stage 2 is at the Second Advent. There are 2 problems with this explanation. 1) Rev 20 gives no hint of 2 stages. 2) Stage 1 is not mentioned in Revelation.

            —————————————————–
            2 Thess 2:1-4 begins with Paul saying he wants to discuss the Lord’s coming and the rapture. He never again mentions either of those 2 things and instead discusses the day of the Lord/Christ. In order for that to make sense the Lord’s coming and the rapture must be part of this day. Paul says this day will come after the antichrist is “revealed.” What does that mean? Reading it in context, the next sentence where the antichrist proclaims himself to be God is extremely revealing. This is the middle of the trib. So apparently the day is after the middle of the trib. That seems to mean the rapture is after the middle of the trib.

            I believe a pre-tribber is forced to claim that Paul only discussed the Second Advent which is after the middle of the trib but he forgot to discuss the rapture. Accusing Paul of forgetfulness is unpleasant.

            —————————————————–

            2 Thessalonians 1:7
            and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

            Every commentator I have read said angels in flaming fire is the Second Advent. That is when the church will get relief. If the rapture is pre-trib shouldn’t we get relief at the pre-trib rapture?

            —————————————————–

            There are 6 things in common between the rapture and the Second Advent. Four of them are in Mt. 24.

            1) Jesus is returning

            2) Jesus is in the clouds – “one like a Son of Man coming on the clouds” “gathered together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

            3) A divine trumpet – “a great trumpet” “the trumpet of God”

            4) A supernatural gathering of believers. Angels gathering the elect is a supernatural gathering and so is the rapture

            5) Resurrection. Because of Dan 12:1-2 everyone agrees the Old Testament saints are resurrected at the Second Advent. Rev 20 says trib martyrs are resurrected then too. There is resurrection at the rapture.

            6) Philo and Josephus discuss events that happen when the Messiah is revealed. Both say there will be a keleusma which is Greek for shout of command. The Jewish coming of the Messiah is the Second Advent.

            Paul said there was a keleusma at the rapture, 1 Thess 4:16

            That is an awful lot of things to have in common and not be the same thing. However you can argue they are both comings of Jesus so it is not surprising if they have a lot in common. Still it is more natural to say they are the same thing.

              (Quote)

            • Nephesh roi says:

              Mat 24:25 – Listen, I have told you well in advance

              Mat 24:26 – So if they say to you, ‘Look, Christ is coming in the mid-heaven in a secret Rature!’ do not believe; or if they say, ‘Look, Christ is hiding here!’ do not go there.

              Mat 24:27 – There is no secrecy in my Second Coming. The Son of Man will come as visibly and as powerfully as a strong lightning that flashes from east to west.

              SIGNIFICANCE

              It is very important that the above saying of Jesus (to that effect) occurs exactly during the Great Tribulation!!!

              Jesus says that during the entire Great Tribulation many will say Jesus will be somewhere around. But a true Christian need not believe any of them!

              So this proves that there are NO “pre-“, “mid-” or “post-” trib raptures!!

                (Quote)

              • James Fox says:

                You said, “So this proves that there are NO “pre-”, “mid-” or “post-” trib raptures!!”

                Does this mean you do not believe in any rapture? What about 1 Thess 4:16 which seems quite clear.

                  (Quote)

                • Nephesh roi says:

                  “Does this mean you do not believe in any rapture?” — James Fox.

                  It depends!

                  If, by rapture, you mean the Second Coming and the Resurrection of the saints, then yes I definitely believe in it.

                  But, personally, I refrain from using that term because it is NOT found in the Bible! So I use this incident as the Second Coming and Resurrection of the saints.

                  But importantly whichever way you use “rapture”, it has NOTHING to do with the Great Tribulation!! Jesus, when He described about the Great Tribulation, emphatically stated that He will not be anywhere near the earth SECRETLY!!!

                  No, before the GT, during the GT and after the GT, Jesus will NOT be anywhere around – neither in the wilderness, nor in the inner chambers nor in the mid-air rapture – in a SECRET manner.

                  His Second Coming will be so powerful and visible like a lightning that nobody will have to tell others, “hey, look, Jesus is here or there”!!!

                  “Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, and those who pierced Him will see Him, and ALL the kindreds of the earth will wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Rev 1:7).

                  The Bible does not talk about any SECRET second coming!

                  The Second Coming and the Resurrection is clearly much away from the GT. The GT is followed by the dreaded Day of the Lord that starts with a black Sun and a red Moon and the falling stars. Then comes a series of trumpet events. And after or at the seventh and the last Trumpet is the Second Coming!

                  So you see, the Second Coming is much away removed from the Great Tribulation.

                  So all these talks about “pre-trib”, “mid-trib” and “post-trib” are meaningless!!

                  Besides, the Church is never taken off the earth until the visible and powerful Second Coming of Christ. As I have shown from the Bible, during the GT, the Church is ON FLIGHT into the wilderness, a place where God will nourish the Church for 3 1/2 years!
                  ***********************************************

                  “What about 1 Thess 4:16 which seems quite clear.” — James Fox.

                  This is what I have never grasped!

                  How does 1 Thess 4:16 prove a rapture?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  It does NOT prove any rapture. It is in fact talking about the visible Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection of the saints!

                  “For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a SHOUT, with the VOICE of the archangel and with the TRUMPET of God.” (1 Thess 4:16).

                  Trust me, that is hardly a “secret” and “silent” coming!!!

                  (Remember how the same Lord shouted the Ten Commandments to the entire Israel from the mount which incident was neither silent nor secret!!! The people were terrified and shaken thoroughly)

                  Do you know what is “quite clear” in 1 Thess 4:16-17?

                  Yes, what is clear in that verse is that this Coming is neither silent nor secret.

                  Again, let us look at verse 17 carefully:

                  “Then we who remain alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to a meeting with the Lord in the air. And so we will ALWAYS be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:17)

                  I invite your attention to 2 things here:

                  1). If Jesus and the resurrected saints are meeting in a rapture and if Jesus is going to take the saints to heaven during the GT, then He will have a big problem! The Scripture says that the saints will be with the Lord “ALWAYS” in mid-air or heaven (or wherever Jesus takes them)!!

                  This means Jesus is trapped and He can never come down onto the earth!!!

                  But Biblical prophecy in Zechariah 14:4 says Jesus will stand on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem at His Second Coming!

                  But if Jesus takes the Church in a rapture into heaven then 1 Thess 4:17 says they (Jesus and saints) will ALWAYS be in heaven!!

                  But the correct understanding is that Jesus is coming down to the earth. On His way down the saints, after the Resurrection, will meet Him in mid-air and ALL of them will come down to Jerusalem where Jesus is going to be always ruling the earth. So the saints also will be in Jerusalem ruling the earth together with the Lord. They will always be together!

                  So 1 Thess 4:16-17 should be added after Rev 14:14 giving more details of the Second Coming, instead of thinking this is a separate private, secret and silent coming!!!

                  (Remember the Word of God is “here a little and there a little”. We need to collect all such littles and we must place them “line upon line and precept upon precept” to get the whole and correct picture – Isaiah 28:13)!

                  2). Again look at the word “clouds”!

                  This is talking about the visible and powerful Second Coming of Christ when the Son of Man comes in the clouds and all the earth – every eye will see Him and all tribes including the people who pierced Him will weep etc.

                  In short there is NO secret Second Coming!

                  CONCLUSION –

                  So 1 Thess 4:16-17 is giving more details about the one and only Second Coming of Christ instead of explaining one more Second Coming!!!

                    (Quote)

                  • James Fox says:

                    Dear Nephesh Roi,

                    I am a post-tribber. I definitely do not believe in a secret coming. I also do not believe that after we meet Jesus in the air we go to heaven. Instead we go to Isreal.

                    You said, “But the correct understanding is that Jesus is coming down to the earth. On His way down the saints, after the Resurrection, will meet Him in mid-air and ALL of them will come down to Jerusalem where Jesus is going to be always ruling the earth. So the saints also will be in Jerusalem ruling the earth together with the Lord. They will always be together!”

                    I fully agree.

                    Meeting Jesus in the air is what everyone calls the rapture. I do not know why you seem to dislike the word.

                    We agree on most things. However I do not think the bowls are after the Second Advent.

                    Revelation is clearly not chronological. Eg. Jesus is pictured symbolically as being born in the middle of the book. Also Babylon is twice described as destroyed chapters before the official description of its destruction. You and I agree the 7’th trumpet is the Second Advent which is officially described several chapters later. Thus there is no reason to assume the bowls are after the 7’th trumpet.

                    The 7’th seal, 7’th trumpet, and 7’th bowl all mention 1) peals of thunder, 2) rumblings, 3) flashes of lightning, and an 4) earthquake. That strongly suggest they are the same event. I accept that.

                      (Quote)

                  • Nephesh roi says:

                    Hi James Fox,

                    Glad to know that we agree on many points.

                    “I am a post-tribber.” — James Fox.

                    That is okay with me. In one sense you are right also.

                    Then I consider myself as a “post-tribber”, “post-Day of the Lorder”, “post- Seventh Trumpeter” etc!!
                    ****************************************

                    “I definitely do not believe in a secret coming.” — James Fox.

                    I see your point.

                    However, the original Rapture theory believes in and teaches a secret coming and removal of the Church off the earth. They talk a lot about world news papers with startling headlines like “Millions Missing Overnight”, “Sudden Mysterious Disappearance” etc etc!
                    ***********************************************

                    “Meeting Jesus in the air is what everyone calls the rapture.” — James Fox.

                    I have used rapture in that very sense in discussions. But the truth is the rapture is “more” than that. It teaches about a secret coming and whisking away the Church from the earth that creates headlines in newspapers across the world etc.

                    (It is often troublesome and awkward to keep on opposing the other party in a discussion! So I do use the term rapture (to mean resurrection only) in such instances not to antagonize the other party. I don’t know whether it is unfair!)
                    **********************************************

                    “We agree on most things. However I do not think the bowls are after the Second Advent.” — James Fox.

                    The Second Advent and Resurrection happens after the seventh and the last Trumpet. In chapter 15:2-4 we see clearly the resurrected saints praising and worshipping God!

                    Now read the very next verse 5: “And AFTER these things I saw”. And what John saw was the very 7 angels with the 7 bowls!!!

                    Besides, Rev 14:10 says clearly that the bowls will be poured “in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb”.
                    *************************************************

                    “Revelation is clearly not chronological. Eg. Jesus is pictured symbolically as being born in the middle of the book.” — James Fox.

                    When we understand that Revelation uses a few “INSET” chapters or portions, much of the trouble could be cleared. When John explains the future incidents in a sequential manner, he sees something astonishing and takes a break in the flow to explain a little more on that thing!

                    Chapter 12 is a good example.

                    In the flow of Revelation’s advanced history, John takes a pause and explains the general history of God’s church!! It starts with the spiritual Israel (as woman with 12 stars) who gave birth to Jesus. After Jesus Ascension, the woman continues as the spiritual Israel or now the Church of God.

                    Here you see an advanced full history of the Church from Ascension to the Second Coming!

                    If we find out which are the INSET portions of Revelation, then we will understand where the time flow paused and where the flow resumes.
                    ***********************************************

                    “That strongly suggest they are the same event. I accept that.” — James Fox.

                    It is true that the seventh bowl is PART of the seventh Trumpet which in turn is PART of the seventh Seal.

                    But they do not symbolise the same events!

                    Example

                    The fifth trumpet (part of the 7th seal) – shows the Beast with its air force surging ahead in war conquering world and turning to the east.

                    The sixth trumpet (part of the 7th seal) – shows a retaliatory war from the eastern power Bloc which is 200 million strong military. They cannot cross Euphrates to the west.

                    The fifth bowl (part of the 7th trumpet) – The empire of the Beast is plunged into darkness (massive power failure).

                    The sixth bowl (part of the 7th trumpet) – Astonishingly the great river Euphrates gets dried up so that this time the military from the eastern power Bloc is able to cross the river and come to Armageddon in Israel.

                    So we see that, though part of the seventh seal, fifth trumpet and fifth bowl are not the same events. The fifth trumpet and the fifth bowl are not the same events.

                    So neither could seventh seal, seventh trumpet and seventh bowl be the same event!

                      (Quote)

  23. So, it makes perfect sense that Jesus comes back again for his saints then comes back again to judge the world and sort out the evil reigning on earth??? No it doesn’t, that’s what “pretrib” is saying which doesn’t make any sense and scripture makes it very plain Jesus comes back once
    1 Thess 5 talks about being awake and alert because Jesus will come back at anytime, (Day of the Lord)
    being Christians we shouldn’t be taken by surprise as the non christains are, it doesn’t indicate rapture or any thing else like that, it’s also the about gathering together of the living and the dead, also 1Thess 4.13 clearly states Jesus will gather his elect both living and dead, neither shall miss out, then all meet him in the air, no indication this is pre or post trib at all. Matt 24 is very clear, “just as in the days of Noah..” judgement came upon the earth , this passage is about judgement NOT rapture. This getting “caught up” is like a king returning for his coronation and being lead to the city and the throne room for coronation, the greek word Harpazo got mistranslated into ratpus from the vulgate, hense where the word rapture came from and where this very baffling theology came about.

    The rule for understanding scripture is context context context

    What makes sense to me is Jesus will come back at any time, any moment any hour, we as Christains need to be watchful and work out our salvation given to us be grace and not be lackse in our walk , so his comming is no surpise , what doesn’t make sense is jesus comming to take us away come back again when it’s over, publically having taken the church out of the way, how would those left behind know the gospel? Revelation was written to encourage those being persecuted , and in poetic language describing the end result ..I don’t think it is meant to be fully understood right now…

      (Quote)

    • Hi Gertrude,

      Thanks for your comments. I would just like to ask a question. You believe Jesus will come as a thief. Isn’t it obvious that if we, the Church are to endure the endtimes Great Tribulation, then Jesus CANNOT come back at any time? Since the Antichrist is not ruling, there is no False prophet, no Mark of the Beast, etc., isn’t it obvious that Jesus cannot come back this week, because none of those things have come to pass? I would really like to know your thoughts on this because it seems that those who follow a post-trib model overlook this point. Thanks and God bless.

        (Quote)

      • James Fox says:

        I do not understand what you think post-trib is overlooking. Their position indeed is that Jesus can not come until the antichrist is ruling etc. The post-trib position indeed is that Jesus can not come this week.

        What did you mean by ” then Jesus CANNOT come back at any time?” Are you saying the post-trib position means that Jesus can never return? Why would you think that? Or do you have a different meaning?

        You started by saying, “You believe Jesus will come as a thief. ” I assume you are referring to 1 Thess 5:2-3, “the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” In 2 Thess 2:3-4 Paul said the day of the Lord will come after the antichrist is “revealed.” What does that mean? Probably the next sentence where the antichrist proclaims himself to be God. Thus the day of the Lord will come after the mid-point of the trib.

        It should be noted that the KJV says day of Christ and not day of the Lord so some will object that 2 Thess 2 does not apply.

          (Quote)

  24. No one want to to mention where the “Church Fathers” got these doctrines from or why they were not taken seriously back then?

    Or explain the evil behind men like John Nelson Darby?

    Sadly most Christians do not even know what the word Dispensationalism means..
    When (IMO) it is the cornerstone of the great deception!

      (Quote)

    • Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your comments. Where the church fathers got these doctrines from is not relevant. The point of the article is to demonstrate that belief in a pre-Great Tribulation rapture existed since the start of the church.

      If you are trying to imply that these men were sinners or that John Darby was a sinner, please add me to your list. I am a sinner and struggle with sin on a daily basis. Should everything I write be rejected for this reason as well? I pray that’s not the case.

      It would be much more fruitful and edifying if you would just show through Bible Scripture what proper end times doctrine should be. If you know, then go into our Holy Scriptures and rightly divide them so we can be edified. Pointing out sins of people who lived 1700 years and 150 years ago, respectively, is one-speculative and two-stating the obvious. So please know that your interpretation and explanation of the Scriptures in question is welcome.

        (Quote)

  25. Gertrude says:

    Beginning and End, Scripture makes it very clear that we as Christians are to live out our walk so that Christ’s retrurn is no surprise , being caught unawares in other words, we are to live as if he,were to come back today or tomorrow, as for your comment, Jesus cannot come back at any time if we are to endure the tribulation, he can, come back at anytime pre, mid , or post, Scripture doesn’t say when regarding the tribulation, that’s my point !

      (Quote)

    • Hi Gertrude,

      Thanks for your comments. I think there is a difference between living as if Christ can return at any time and KNOWING with certainty that for example “Jesus will not return this year.”

      I believe it’s clear that the post-tribulation model goes goes the latter route. If you believe that you are going to live on Earth during the Great Tribulation, then you must know the Antichrist is going to rule right? And that there will be the Mark of the Beast, 2 witnesses, etc, correct? This is pretty basic end time concepts that we should all agree on.

      And this also shows how the post-trib model fails. Because if you agree on the above that means you know The Lord cannot return any time soon because NONE of those things have happened yet. That’s just the basic, logical conclusion. And the problem is that it shows how the post-trib model contradicts Scripture since The Lord said He can return at any time, no one knows the day or hour and it will be an unexpected hour. Is the point I am making clear? I think it shows a glaring hole in the post-trib model and this one simple point refutes it all on its own.

        (Quote)

  26. Nowhere does the Bible speak of a “tribulation” period. Rather, the Bible speaks of the beginning of sorrows, Great Tribulation, and the outpouring of the wrath of God. If you compare Matthew 24 with the seals of Revelation 6, they parallel each other exactly. What happens in the seals of Revelation is the wrath of man against man, this wrath ORIGINATING WITH MAN. Christians are not immune to this–Look at the martyrs throughout the centuries. No different except more devastating but still originating with man.

    With the 6th seal in Revelation 6: 12-17, something very different happens. As in Matthew 24 when the disciples asked, What will be the sign of Your coming?” Jesus told them in Matthew 24: 29-31 the exact same words mentioned in Revelation 6:12-14. Revelation 6: 15-17 speaks of the kings of the earth and every person will hide in caves and plead, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the WRATH OF THE LAMB! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” This scenario directly precedes the revealing of the Lord from Heaven for all the world to see. Two things will happen simultaneously–the rapture of the church and the opening of the 7th seal described in Revelation 8. The 7th seal contains the trumpet and bowl judgments which are the wrath of God poured out on an unrepentant world. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the blessed hope, that the church will be raptured and then the pouring out of God’s Wrath in the Trumpets and Bowls commences.

    My Sisters and Brothers in the Lord, prepare and do not be surprised when the afflictions of the seals of Revelation and the reign of anti-Christ commence. We who belong to Jesus will see these things come to pass. Jesus promised that in this world His followers WILL FACE PERSECUTION, even the persecution of the anti-Christ. These things ARE NOT THE WRATH OF GOD. THEY ORIGINATE FROM THE HAND OF MAN. The Great Tribulation under the anti-Christ will be so devastating, that if it were not cut short, no flesh would survive. Matthew 24: 15-22.

    Just as God spared righteous Noah and his family when God rained judgment on the earth by flood, so His children will be spared the outpouring of God’s Wrath in the Trumpet and Bowl judgments. The church will be raptured the same day these judgments begin, for it is these JUDGMENTS THAT ORIGINATE WITH GOD. Man has no part in instigating these. God has promised His children escape from these, but not escape from the wrath of man pitted against man.

      (Quote)

    • James Fox says:

      Dear Evelyn:

      You said the blessed hope is the rapture. I disagree. I wrote an essay about this:

      Titus 2:13 and Imminence

      Introduction

      Consider,

      “… looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, [Titus 2:13 NASB].

      Pre-tribbers routinely cite this verse as evidence for pre-trib. Why? First, with litle evidence, they interpret “blessed hope” as the rapture. Then they note we are looking for the blessed hope. In pre-trib theology, “looking for” is evidence for imminence. Imminence is evidence for the pre-trib rapture. Hence they think this versus is teaching pre-trib.

      They are missing something important. If the NASB translation is correct, and that is not a given, then we are looking for two different things. We are looking for the “blessed hope,” and we are looking for “the appearing of the glory” which New King James translates as “glorious appearing.”

      What is the “glorious appearing?” Chapter 7 in LaHaye’s book, Rapture [Under Attack], is titled The Glorious Appearing. In it he repeatedly says the glorious appearing is the Second Coming, i.e. the Second Advent. In his article, Rapture, in The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, p. 311, he said, “In the second phase of Jesus’ second coming (the glorious appearing), He will return to earth in great power and glory to set up His millennial kingdom.” In another book he says, “Both phases of Christ’s return are mentioned in Titus 2:13, which refers in a single verse to the Rapture as the “blessed hope,” and the coming to earth as the “glorious appearing.” I agree that the glorious appearing is the Second Advent.

      Note carefully. This is important. If NASB’s translation is correct, we are looking for the glorious appearing. If LaHaye’s interpretation is correct, the glorious appearing is the Second Advent. Therefore, we are looking for the Second Advent. However, in pre-trib theology, “looking for” is an indicator of imminence so the Second Advent would be imminent and imminence would be useless for pre-trib.

      The meaning of “and” in Titus 2:13

      This is not the end of the story. There is another very different way to translate Titus 2:13. The difference centers on how you translate the word “and” which in Greek is “kai.” The small dictionary in the back of my Greek New Testament defines kai as: and, also, but, even; that is, namely. Therefore it is legal to translate Titus 2:13 as “while we wait for the blessed hope, namely the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus.” If this is the correct translation, then the “blessed hope” is the “glorious appearing.” I think this is correct.

      This alternate translation would make the interpretation much easier. “The blessed hope” is very cryptic. It could mean the rapture, but it could also mean the glory of Jesus – “the glorious appearing.” It would be nice if the verse explained itself instead of leaving us to figure out what blessed hope is.

      Translations of Titus 2:13

      There is no translation that says the blessed hope is the rapture. There is no translation that says, “While we wait for the blessed hope, the rapture, and the appearing of the glory….”

      However, at least 14 translations agree that the blessed hope is the glorious appearing:

      NIV: “while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and savior.” They did not translate kai as “and.” They translated it as a dash which means it is an appositive. “Nonrestrictive appositives are usually set off by commas, parentheses, or dashes.” An appositive is, “A noun, noun phrase, or series of nouns placed next to another word or phrase to identify or rename it.”

      God’s Word Translation: “At the same time we can expect what we hope for – the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Another appositive with a dash.

      Revised Standard Version: “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” “The appearing of the glory” is set off by a comma. It is an appositive that identifies “blessed hope.

      English Standard Version: “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Another appositive with a comma.”

      Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament: “waiting for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” Another appositive with a comma.

      Orthodox Jewish Bible: “ Awaiting the tikvah hameashsheret (the blessed hope), the appearing of the kavod HaEloheinu HaGadol and Moshieynu Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Yehoshua,” Another appositive with a comma.

      Amplified Bible: “Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” Another appositive with a comma.

      The Complete Jewish Bible: “while continuing to expect the blessed fulfillment of our certain hope, which is the appearing of the Sh’khinah of our great God and the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah.”

      Good News Translation: “as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear.”

      New Living Translation: “while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”

      Easy To Read Version: “We should live like that while we are waiting for the coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. He is our great hope, and he will come with glory.” Note, “He is our great hope.” So they think “the blessed hope” is Jesus, not the rapture.

      The Message: “This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.” Apparently he rendered “blessed hope” as “whetting our appetites.”

      New English Translation: “as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

      The Voice: “Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again.”

      Granville Sharp’s rule

      A large commentary on 1, 2 Timothy and Titus has this footnote about “the blessed hope:”

      [Granville] Sharp’s rule reads, “when two nouns in the same case are connected by the Greek word ‘and’ and the first noun is preceded by the article ‘the,’ and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers, and is a further description of it.” (K. S. Wuest, Treasures from the Greek New Testament, p. 31.) That is exactly the kind of construction we have in the phrase being commented upon.”

      In other words, “the blessed hope” has the word “the” in front of it in Greek, but “glorious appearing” does not, so by Granville Sharp’s rule, they are the same thing. LaHaye thinks the blessed hope is the rapture and the glorious appearing is the second advent. Granville Sharp’s rule says they are the same thing so post-trib would be true. Titus 2:13 would be powerful evidence for post-trib.

      LaHaye does know about Granville Sharp’s rule. He and Thomas Ice co-edited a book called The End Times Controversy. Ice commented, “I believe that there are two basic questions [in Mt. 24:3] because of the grammar of the passage as explained by Craig Blomberg: ‘The sign of your coming and of the end of the age’ in Greek reads, more literally, the sign of your coming and end of the age. By not repeating the definite article (‘the’) before ‘end of the age,’ Matthew’s rendering of Jesus’ words is most likely linking the coming of Christ and the end of the age together as one event (Granville Sharp’s rule).”

      Wikipedia has an interesting article about Granville Sharp. He was apparently a devoted Christian because, “Granville Sharp (10 November 1735 – 6 July 1813) was one of the first English campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade. He also involved himself in trying to correct other social injustices.” “He was regarded as the grand old man of the abolition struggle.” “Sharp ardently sympathized with the revolt of the American colonists. He believed in peace in America, but he also believed they were entitled to ‘Equitable Representation’, an idea repeated in the famous phrase ‘No taxation without representation.'” He was also an excellent scholar of the Greek language and a talented musician.

      Aside: There is a second example of Granville Sharp’s rule in Titus 2:13 – “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” In Greek it says literally, “of the great God and savior of us, Jesus Christ.” By Sharp’s rule, “God” and “Savior” are the same thing so Jesus is called God. However some commentators and translators think that God is a reference to God the father. I suspect they do this for dogmatic and not linguistic reasons. They do not want to call Jesus God. I do not believe it because I do not believe God the Father will have a glorious appearing.

      Granville Sharp said there was not a single exception to his rule in the New Testament. However, LaHaye will probably disagree and those who think Jesus is not God will disagree. Also, the Wikipedia article indicates there are a few counterexamples in classical Greek and in the early church fathers. Therefore I think it is safe to say that Granville Sharp’s rule is almost always true but may not always be true. LaHaye will probably seize on this and say that the rule does not apply to the first part of Titus 2:13. However, I bet he will not have a good reason linguistically. I also doubt that he will have a good rebuttal to the next section.

      Dr. Charles Ryrie and Titus 2:13

      In Dispensationalism Today Dr. Charles Ryrie said,

      The dispensationalist sees a broader purpose in God’s program for the world than salvation, and that purpose is his own glory. For the dispensationalist the glory of God is the governing principle and overall purpose, and the soteriological [salvation] program is one of the principal means employed in bringing to pass the greatest demonstration of his own glory. ….

      How do we know that the glory of God is the purpose of God above and beyond His saving purpose? First, the plain statement of Scripture declares that salvation is to the praise of God’s glory which simply means that redemption is one of the means to the end of glorifying God (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14).

      I agree. Even though I am not a dispensationalist, I agree with many dispensationalist teachings.

      Suppose a Christian is contemplating the phrase “the blessed hope.” He may think about it self centeredly – what is best for him – and decide it means the rapture. This is LaHaye’s interpretation. However, if Ryrie and the dispensationalists are correct and if the Christian takes God’s point of view on what is important, he may decide “the blessed hope” is the glory of Jesus – the glorious appearing. This agrees with Granville Sharp’s rule.

      You can translate it either as “the appearing of the glory” or as “the glorious appearing.” This first is more literal. In Greek it is a noun “glory” and not an adjective “glorious.” “The appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” NASB, can be shortened to “the appearing of the glory of Jesus.” The glory of Jesus is what Ryrie was so concerned about. It is not the appearing that it glorious, it is Jesus who is glorious.

      Ryrie was a professor at LaHaye’s seminary. I bet he is one of LaHaye’s heroes.

      Walvoord’s interpretation

      John Walvoord disagrees with LaHaye. He believes the “glorious appearing” is the pre-trib rapture.

      However, the church will see the glory of Christ at the coming of the Lord for his church before the Tribulation, and there is no valid reason the term glorious appearing should not be a reference to the Rapture.

      I looked at 14 commentaries that included a section on Titus. One probably agrees with Walvoord although he does not explicitly say it. He said, “Blessed hope. A general reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” That sounds like Second Advent. However his discussion includes references to 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 which are rapture passages and his discussion of 1 Thessalonians 4 shows that he is pre-trib. The rest, , disagreed with Walvoord that the glorious appearing is a pre-trib Rapture. His interpretation is not likely, so why did he adopt it? I believe it is because he thinks “looking for” means imminence and he does not want the Second Advent to be imminent so he is willing to accept a much less likely interpretation of glorious appearing.

      We know the Second Advent is glorious. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. Mt. 24:30.

      So Walvoord believes in two glorious appearings, one at the beginning and one at the end of the Tribulation. Since he is a pre-tribber he also believes in two comings of Jesus, two resurrections, two divine trumpets, and twice that Jesus is in the clouds – one at the beginning and one at the end of the Tribulation. Pre-trib makes things much more complicated than they need to be. This violates Occam’s razor.

      There is no evidence that the alleged pre-trib rapture is glorious, but Mt. 24:30 says the Second Advent is glorious. Thus I think the simple literal interpretation of “glorious appearing” in Titus 2:13 is that it is the Second Advent. Dispensationalists and pre-tribbers always say they are consistent literalists. Therefore I think they should say the “glorious appearing” is the Second Advent, as LaHaye says, and admit that we are looking for the Second Advent, even though this means the Second Advent is imminent which is very damaging to pre-trib.

      Titus 2:13 and pre-trib

      No matter what, Titus 2:13 is a problem for pre-trib. The question is whether it is a big problem or a more modest problem.

      If LaHaye is correct and the glorious appearing is the Second Advent then this is a big problem for pre-trib. It does not matter whether you translate kai as “and,” like NASB, or whether you translate kai as “namely.” In either case we are looking for the Second Advent and this means the Second Advent is imminent.

      If Walvoord is correct then the problem would be more modest. Still it is a problem because “glorious appearing” sure sounds like the Second Advent and I cannot find any commentator who agrees with Walvoord that it is a pre-trib rapture. Also, Mk. 13:26 suggests that LaHaye and I are correct in interpreting “the glorious appearing” as the Second Advent.

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  27. Who cares! Old Testament prophets did not see the church age either. Paul said, “Behold, I show you a “MYSTERY.” Paul revealed it for the first time, not Darby. I believe Paul over you, he got it at the feet of JESUS. On the way up I will say,”I told you so”, unless you believe your works can save you.

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  28. Fellow Christians,

    Why do we argue over scriptures that can be interpreted several ways? Let us rather focus on scripture that clearly states it’s meaning to describe the rapture and when it comes.

    I think we all can agree this passage describes that lifting up of those Christians who are alive into the clouds with the Lord, or the “Rapture”:

    “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.” ( 1 Thess 14-17) NIV

    Paul clearly states the dead in Christ will be resurrected BEFORE living Christians are raptured. Remember this because it is very important!

    Please read this passage very carefully. John describes what he sees after Jesus destroys the anti-Christ:

    ” I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They[a] had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:4-5) NIV

    Notice how John, through inspiration from the Holy Spirit, mentions this resurrection to be the first. Notice that this first resurrection includes those Christians who died at the hands of the anti-Christ.

    Now, let’s put these two passages together- If Paul clearly states that the resurrection of the saints will happen just before the “rapture”, and the FIRST resurrection of Christians includes those who were martyred by the anti-Christ, this tells us the rapture will happen after the rule of the anti-Christ.

    A case can be made that the first resurrection mentioned by John in Revelation 20:4-5 contains only those saints who died at the hands of the anti-Christ. This very well may be true, since it cannot clearly be disproved or proven. However, it still does not disprove the fact that the rapture occurs after the anti-Christ is destroyed, since this FIRST resurrection at least includes Christians who were martyred by the anti-Christ.

    The argument I have encountered by people who believe in a “pre-trib” rapture is they believe in the notion that there are more than the two resurrections mentioned in Revelation. They will say there are 5 resurrections or some other nonsense like this. All of this is an attempt to cause confusion and pervert the word of God. Here is proof:

    If somebody wants to believe there were multiple resurrections, fine. But it is irrelevant in regards to the truth given in Rev 20:4-5 and 1Thess 4:14-17. John refers to the resurrection including Christians martyred by the anti-Christ as the first. But Jesus was the “first” person resurrected (as well as some Jews after the resurrection of Christ, mentioned in Matthew 27). Since the bible cannot lie, what does John mean by it being the “first” resurrection?

    “First” in this context means the first resurrection of the enormous amount of people that have ever died in Christ. It doesn’t matter how many resurrections we are told to believe in. The word “first” was used for a reason, the bible cannot lie. If there were 5, 100 or 1,000 resurrections, this doesn’t explain why the word first was used. Do not be deceived by these “teachers” of the word of God, who are either knowingly or unknowingly casting confusion into the scriptures by using made up theories to try and distract us from the truth.

    They will make these elaborate charts using all kinds of scriptural references. On the surface they look very impressive and are very persuasive. They will list Jesus as the first resurrection, the Jews in Matthew 24 as the second, the pre-trib rapture as the third, the post-trib rapture as the 4th and then the final resurrection of those unsaved as the fifth. They will have all of these fancy interpretations and charts, pictures and the like. But how does all of this explain why John uses the term “first?”

    But do not be deceived! The Lord himself told us not to judge by mere appearance but judge based on what is right.

    Often times these false teachers will make a claim and then give a scripture reference without giving the actual words. When this happens, make sure you read the scriptures they give as a reference, don’t just take their word for it.

    Secondly, when you refer to the bible and read the scripture, it may seem to back their claim. Be careful to read the surrounding scriptures!! Many will take one scripture that seems to prove their claims but in fact is being taken out of context. This happens MANY times!! I will give a classic example:

    Nowhere in the bible does it mention believers will be raptured before the anti-Christ comes to power. Still, people will claim this scripture as proof that Christians will indeed be raptured before the tribulation, or the rule of the anti-Christ:

    “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.” (Revelation 3:10) NIV

    I will admit this scripture seems to suggest that the church will be raptured before the Tribulation. But when we read the WHOLE chapter 3 of Revelation, we see that it is taken out of context.

    In verse 7 of Revelation chapter 3, Jesus is instructing John to deliver this message to the church of PHILADELPHIA! Nowhere does he mention the church that will exist right before the Tribulation. Remember, there was an actual church that existed during the time this book was written. The message was clearly meant to edify those people, as clearly noted by Jesus’ command to ” To the angel of the church of Philadelphia write.”

    I believe that the mistakes or positive accomplishments made by earlier people of faith can be used as an example for future believers. I believe that is the purpose of these scriptures. Regardless of what you believe, Rev 3:10 does not CLEARLY say the church will be raptured before the Tribulation.

    Besides this, it clearly conflicts with scripture that is CLEAR and INDISPUTABLE, namely 1Thess 4:14-17 and Rev 20:4-5. Therefore we can confidently disprove the theory given by pre-Trib believers that Rev 3:10 proves their theory.

    Finally, let me use another passage in the bible which clearly elaborates on the resurrection:

    ” But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-24) NIV

    Paul describes the order of the resurrection- First Christ, who is described as the first fruits, then the dead in Christ (those who belong to him). When will the resurrection of those dead in Christ happen? At his Second Coming, (when he comes).

    One could argue, “when he comes” doesn’t necessarily mean the “Second Coming.” This is true. This is why it is important to have a full grasp of the WHOLE bible and what it says. Refer back to what the bible says in 1 Thess 4:14-17 and Rev 20:4-5. As I stated earlier, these passages prove the resurrection of the dead in Christ happens AFTER the Tribulation. From this we can determine that “when he comes” in 1 Corin 15:22-24 cannot be different from his Second Coming. This disproves the theory of more than one resurrection of the dead in Christ.

    So then, this is further proof the rapture will happen after the Tribulation. The bible clearly states Jesus’ Second Coming will happen after the anti-Christ rules. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20-24 CLEARLY says that the resurrection of those dead in Christ will rise when Jesus comes back for us.

    In summary, when reading the bible we can CLEARLY see that the church will be raptured after the resurrection of the dead in Christ, which will happen during the Second Coming of Christ, after the rule of the anti-Christ.

    We can believe all sorts of things that are NOT clearly interpreted. That is your right. As a rule, I stay away from hidden meanings for scripture that cannot CLEARLY be proven.

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  29. [Moneychangers are even into revisionism. Here’s an exposure of them I found on the net.]

    Pretrib Rapture Pride

    Pretrib rapture promoters like Thomas Ice give the impression they know more than the early Church Fathers, the Reformers, the greatest Greek New Testament scholars including those who produced the KJV Bible, the founders of their favorite Bible schools, and even their own mentors!
    Ice’s mentor, Dallas Sem. president John Walvoord, couldn’t find anyone holding to pretrib before 1830 – and Walvoord called John Darby and his Brethren followers “the early pretribulationists” (RQ, pp. 160-62). Ice belittles Walvoord and claims that several pre-1830 persons, including “Pseudo-Ephraem” and a “Rev. Morgan Edwards,” taught a pretrib rapture. Even though the first one viewed Antichrist’s arrival as the only “imminent” event, Ice (and Grant Jeffrey) audaciously claim he expected an “imminent” pretrib rapture! And Ice (and John Bray) have covered up Edwards’ historicism which made a pretrib rapture impossible! Google “Morgan Edwards’ Rapture View” and journalist/historian Dave MacPherson’s “Deceiving and Being Deceived” for documentation on these and similar historical distortions.
    The same pretrib defenders, when combing ancient books, deviously read “pretrib” into phrases like “before Armageddon,” “before the final conflagration,” and “escape all these things”!
    BTW, the KJV translators’ other writings found in London’s famed British Library (where MacPherson has researched) don’t have even a hint of pretrib rapturism. Is it possible that Ice etc. have found pretrib “proof” in the KJV that its translators never found?
    Pretrib merchandisers like Ice claim that nothing is better pretrib proof than Rev. 3:10. They also cover up “Famous Rapture Watchers” (on Google) which shows how the greatest Greek NT scholars of all time interpreted it.
    Pretrib didn’t flourish in America much before the 1909 Scofield Bible which has pretribby “explanatory notes” in its margins. Not seen in the margins was jailed forger Scofield’s criminal record throughout his life that David Lutzweiler has documented in his recent book “The Praise of Folly” which is available online.
    Biola University’s doctrinal statement says Christ’s return is “premillennial” and “before the Tribulation.” Although universities stand for “academic freedom,” Biola has added these narrow, restrictive phrases – non-essentials the founders purposely didn’t include in their original doctrinal statement when Biola was just a small Bible institute! And other Christian schools have also belittled their founders.
    Ice, BTW, has a “Ph.D” issued by a tiny Texas school that wasn’t authorized to issue degrees! Ice now says that he’s working on another “Ph.D” via the University of Wales in Britain. For light on the degrees of Ice’s scholarliness, Google “Bogus degree scandal prompts calls to wind up University of Wales,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “be careful in polemics – Peripatetic Learning,” and “Walvoord Melts Ice.” Also Google “Thomas Ice (Hired Gun)” – featured by media luminary Joe Ortiz on his Jan. 30, 2013 “End Times Passover” blog.
    Other fascinating Google articles include “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “X-raying Margaret,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart,” “Pretrib Rapture’s Missing Lines,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Stealth,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Open Letter to Todd Strandberg,” and “Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism” –
    Can anyone guess who the last proud pretrib rapture holdout will be?
    (Postscript: For another jolt or two Google “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”)

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    • Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for your comments. But just because a person who advocated a certain Biblical interpretation got caught up in some scandal does not make the Biblical interpretation wrong. If you have a substantive, Biblical interpretation to offer, I would be glad to read it.

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  30. I just have a question for the post-trib believers. It’s a fair question and I’m not being dismissive, or argumenitive, I truly want to know about this. For me it would help greatly. The one thing I really don’t get or understand is, what the point is to a post-trib rapture. We all go up and come right back down. Makes no sense to me. I could understand not having any rapture at all, if we were just changed in the twinkling of an eye, as Jesus returns. A post-trib rapture just seems kind of silly to me, like a holy roller coaster ride. It’s one of the few things I just can’t get past. God doesn’t do anything that is meaningless and there is such a big deal made in scripture about there being a rapture, that to be so anti climactic just seems pointless. There must be something that I am missing. To state my position, I lean toward the Pre-Trib, but that’s just my current belief. I need more evidence so I am honestly am not sure either way. Thanks.

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    • James Fox says:

      What is the point of a post-trib rapture? There are at least 2 answers.

      1) Jesus wants everyone in Israel. In the post-trib rapture we meet Jesus in the air and then follow him as he descends to the Mount of Olives. Do you expect Jesus to send out a proclamation to every believer – catch the next plane to Israel? No. He does it for us.

      2) The Greek for 1 Thess 4:17 is the key. it says “to meet the Lord in the air.” “To meet” can be a technical term in Greek. It does not have to be but it can be. As a technical term it means when some important dignitary, such as the emperor, is going to visit a city, the leaders of the city walk several miles down the road to meet the dignitary and escort him on the last leg of his journey. Jesus is the visiting emperor. If we are to meet him on his way here, then we must meet him in the clouds. We are his royal escort on the last leg of his journey.
      —————————————————————————————-

      Abraham Malherbe notes that apantesis was so well known as a technical term for formally going out to welcome a dignitary that not only was it taken directly over into Latin but also by the Jewish rabbis.

      From the above quotations, which could be multiplied greatly, it is abundantly clear what apantasin meant to people in the Greco-Roman world. It was because of that meaning Paul deliberately chose it for Jesus. The true King is coming … not from Rome but from Heaven … to settle the score and right the wrongs (i.e. particularly the wrongful deaths at the hands of the faux king Caesar!). The king is coming in glory and the people rush out to meet him as he makes the final leg of his journey to the city (i.e. earth!).

      In 4.17 Paul draws on the traditions of Hellenistic formal receptions of kings, conquering generals and the like. Where a town or city goes out to greet and escort escorting the monarch into his destination. In our day it would be like when President Obama flew into Tucson with every politician in the state, city and county along with thousands of others going out to “meet” him and escort him into the city. When Paul used apantasin it had as distinct meaning to the Thessalonians as when we use the word “inauguration!”

      Paul did not mean the people leave or abandon their town or city and no Thessalonian would have dreamed he meant that by that term. [i.e. we are not going to leave our home and go to heaven JWF] Christians are not said to either “fly away” or be “raptured” in this text. The term means the believers would go to greet King Jesus, join his entourage and escort him into the city. That this was so understood by the folks in the first century is clear from the remaining uses of the term apantasin in biblical Greek. There are only two other examples in the New Testament but I will include the other from Tobit. ….

      http://stonedcampbelldisciple.com/2011/03/10/paul-the-roman-imperial-cult-the-return-of-king-jesus-and-flying-away-in-1-thessalonians-4-17/

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      • Hi James,

        You said:

        In 4.17 Paul draws on the traditions of Hellenistic formal receptions of kings, conquering generals and the like. Where a town or city goes out to greet and escort escorting the monarch into his destination. In our day it would be like when President Obama flew into Tucson with every politician in the state, city and county along with thousands of others going out to “meet” him and escort him into the city. When Paul used apantasin it had as distinct meaning to the Thessalonians as when we use the word “inauguration!””

        Where do you have any evidence for Paul’s motivation and state of mind when writing that epistle? How can you possible speak to his motivation aside from what Scripture tells us – “all Scripture is by inspiration of God..”? There is no warrant for this whatsoever and asserting that Paul was writing based on his own ideas rather than Divine inspiration contradicts The Scripture. It’s just a private interpretation.

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        • James Fox says:

          Where did you get that I was speculating about Paul’s motivation? I did not say Paul was writing about his own ideas. You are putting words in my mouth.

          I simply said that in the first century “go to meet” could be a technical term meaning that when an important dignitary was going to visit a town, the town leaders would walk several miles down the road to meet him and escort him on the last leg of his journey.

          I have seen several scholars cite this in books. It is not my idea. I quoted from a web page that said the same thing because everyone can get to a web page but not every one can get to the books.

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  31. Do you expect Jesus to send out a proclamation to every believer – catch the next plane to Israel? No. He does it for us.

    No need to be snarkie…. You really have not sufficiently answered my question. If we are changed in the twinkling of an eye, we can immediately be in Israel, we don’t need a plane or to fly up to a meet and greet. He is the Lord of All things and yet he does not need you or I to escort Him anywhere. You and I can bow our knee to the Lord on the ground to greet him when He arrives in Israel. If we can fly through the air then we can also be instantly present where ever.
    I gather by your answer, that the Post-Trib Rapture is really more of a formality. A meet and greet with the King and an escort like the President and a motorcade…. No real function, except pomp and circumstance. I would like to believe that in a Post-Trib scenario you would have more to offer than that.

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    • James Fox says:

      You said, “No real function, except pomp and circumstance.” What is wrong with a little pomp and circumstance? That is the way they did it in the first century and Paul said that is what would happen at the Rapture. Doesn’t the returning King of Kings deserve an escort?

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  32. Kim L'Hote says:

    I have not seen one person refer back to the original Greek as they explain their views and interpretations of scripture. I will not live in fear of the future or in hope of being rescued out of it. I believe that the things Jesus did we will do and greater. I believe in a powerful church here on earth. I believe that Matthew 24 and the great tribulation and Christians fleeing to the hills and many other verses that have been quoted are in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I will refer you to one book because it’s free online, but there are many more if you are interested. Believe it or don’t, it won’t determine your salvation, but it may determine the way you choose to live…as the Victorious Church here on earth. http://raptureless.com/

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  33. Daniel 12 foretold that Knowledge of God’s word would Increase, so an interpretation being new doesn’t invalidate it. I’m Mid-70th Week

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  34. I’m afraid the Ephream the Syrian reference is really not a solid source to use.
    http://midseventiethweekrapture.blogspot.com/2014/07/ephraem-syrian.html

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    • Thanks for the link. I agree that the authorship of Pseudo-Ephraim is questionable (and acknowledge same in the article). But it does not affect the point of the article – that pre-Great Tribulation rapture theology was not invented by John Darby and existed well before his lifetime.

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  35. RAPTURE – pre- trib
    John 14:1-3 states: Jesus said,
    “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s
    house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a
    place for you. 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.”

    Bible scholars concur that the Jewish marriage consisted of several parts. First, there was the betrothal period (Deut.20:7), which would last a year before the actual wedding. Remember the problems that developed with Mary becoming pregnant before the consummation of the marriage, thus leaving her guilty and open for putting her away until the news came from the angel that she was carrying the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38; Matt. 1:18-25). Scholars noted that this part which was called the marriage contract was established and paid for by the parents because the parties to the wedding were young and had not reached a responsible age. At a later time, when the couple became responsible, the wedding ceremony took place. Finally, the marriage supper celebrated the consummation of the marriage. According to Steve Herzig, author of Jewish Custom and Culture, the Talmud gives details and guidelines for the ceremony. Herzig commented, “Long ago, a year separated the betrothal from the consummation, allowing the groom to prepare the home and the bride to validate her virginity. Today, these stages are combined into one ceremony called kiddushin.”
    With that in mind, one can picture the bride and groom, after making the contract, departing from each other and going their separate ways until the appointed time. On the
    one hand, the groom goes back to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride. Jesus said those exact words to His disciples (John 14:1-3). Paul likens the Church to the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-32). Meanwhile, the bride must watch and wait for her bridegroom to return for her. She would be preparing constantly for the anticipated return of her groom. When the Father was finished with the preparations that allowed the bride to be brought home, He would say to his son, “Son, go get your bride!” Even though it may have been at midnight, the bride must be ready and watching every moment with eager anticipation. What a beautiful picture of the Church waiting for her bridegroom.
    Starting with the wedding procession at the father’s house, the groom with his guests would march toward his bride’s house shouting, “Behold the bridegroom cometh!”This would continue until they reached the bride’s home. Upon arriving, he would enter the home and sweep up his bride into his arms and away they would go to his father’s house to consummate the marriage. Seven days of celebration would commemorate this special occasion.
    There is a beautiful parallel between not only Jesus and His bride, which is the Church but also between husbands and wives as depicted in Ephesians chapter five and Colossians chapter three. According to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, this heavenly relationship which exists between Jesus and His Church is compared with husbands and wives. Thus, the practical aspect of the righteous acts of the saints on earth – the Church – will be revealed later in Heaven as she is dressed in fine linen at the marriage to her Groom, namely Jesus. This also can be seen in an earthly marriage by the way each spouse relates to the other. Revelation 19:7-8 states, “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.”

    A contrast between His glorious appearing in the rapture and His second coming in glory and power reveals several distinct differences indicating these are two events rather than one. Dwight Pentecost noted that in the rapture Jesus comes and meets the saints in the air (1Thess.4:16-17). Yet, at His second coming His feet will return to the earth (Zech.14:1-4). In the rapture, Jesus comes for His bride (John 14:1-3; Eph. 5:25). At His second coming, He returns with the Church, His bride (1Thess. 3:13; Jude 14; Rev. 19:11-14). The translation of the believers in the rapture is referred to as “the Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5). Paul was writing to the Church of Philippi. They were told to wait for the rapture (Phil 3:20, 21). But the second coming Christ has to do with the kingdom of God (Rev. 20:1-4; Matt.24:14). Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth and will rule and reign while fulfilling His covenants with the Jewish people. The expectation of the Church at the rapture is to be taken to be in the Lord’s presence (1Thess. 4:13-18), but at the second coming of Christ, the expectation of Israel will be to enter into the Kingdom (Matt.25; Rev. 20:1-4). His glorious appearing brings a message of hope and comfort to believers (1Thess. 4:18), yet His second coming brings wrath and judgment (Rev. 19:15-16). Clearly, a careful study of Scripture indicates these are two different events which will be fulfilled in the future.

    According to a study of the Scriptures, the rapture will take place before the tribulation. Thus, the Church does not go through the tribulation. John wrote to the church of Philadelphia, “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” (Rev. 3:10). Notice that John stated this trial would come upon “all the world.” Plus, God’s promise is to “keep” the Church “from” this terrible time. The word “keep” is the word ἐκ which is a preposition that means “out of, from.” In other words, God is saying He will keep His Church “out of – from” the tribulation.

    Comparing Scripture with Scripture also reveals this same literal interpretation. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in the context of the day of the Lord and the second coming of Christ, not the rapture, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1Thess. 5:9). God’s wrath will be poured out during the tribulation upon those who follow the beast and do not repent (see wrath of the lamb- Rev. 6:16-17). God’s wrath will not be for the Church. Another text indicates this truth. Paul wrote to the Church of Thessalonica, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1Thess. 1:9-10).
    Still another proof that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation can be found in examining the tribulation period from Revelation chapters six through eighteen. There is no mention of the word “Church”-ἐκκλησία,(from ἔκκλητος called out or forth, and this from ἐκκαλέω); properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly. However, the word church appears both before and after the tribulation and can be found in Revelation chapters one, two and three, as well as Revelation 22:16.

    To insinuate the Church goes through the tribulation is to miss the mark of the purpose of the tribulation. Evangelization of the Jews (Rev. 5, 7), an end to the times of the Gentiles (Dan. 2, Luke 21:24), an overthrow of the satanic trinity (Rev. 20:10) are all God’s purposes for the tribulation. Prophecy students concluded from this study the doctrine of the imminence of Christ. Renald Showers was interviewed by DeYoung on this subject. He stated that this truth (the imminence) can be compared to the phrase “Hanging over Head.” Jesus could come back in His glorious appearing any moment.

    With precise accuracy, the words of the book of Revelation in chapter four cover these areas. Revelation 4:1-2 states:
    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 shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was
    in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

    The words “after this” are the Greek words μετά, οὗτος, αὕτη, τοῦτο. Chronologically speaking, the Spirit of God is preparing the reader for what is to come after the Church age (Rev. 2, 3). This is a picture of the rapture of the Church. The believer is admonished to stop and look for the “opened door in heaven.” Then listen for “the voice” which will call, “Come up hither.” Notice in the context, John mentioned that the voice sounded as if it was a “trumpet” talking. Everyone knows that trumpets do not talk literally. The correct literal, historical method of interpretation of this Scripture recognizes this is what is called apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic literature uses symbols to reveal truth but uses other Scripture to explain the truth.

    In this case, there are several of passages of Scripture that need to be used to find the real meaning of the text. First, Paul wrote in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17, “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.” Clearly, this passage is dealing with the rapture of the Church as if it has already been established. Another Scripture can be used in this process of interpretation of apocalyptic literature. The theological term for the study of proper interpretation is called hermeneutics or the science of interpretation.

    Second, writing to the church of Corinth, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “Behold, I shew 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” (1Cor. 15:51-52).Again, notice the words “trumpet shall sound.” This futuristic event is the rapture of the Church. The conclusion of this study leads one to return to the original passage in Revelation 4:1.

    Other Scriptures which have been used in finding the correct approach for interpreting the talking trumpet are in the context of the rapture of the Church. Therefore, the passage in Revelation 4:1 is a description of what is going to take place when the Church is “caught up.”

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    • Everything you said about Jewish weddings is correct and it implies post-tribulationism.

      As you said,

      “Upon arriving, he would enter the home and sweep up his bride into his arms and away they would go to his father’s house to consummate the marriage. Seven days of celebration would commemorate this special occasion.”

      The day the groom goes to get his bride is the day the wedding is consummated and the day the wedding feast begins.

      Rev 19:9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Five sentences later begins the description of the Second Advent. Jesus’ wedding supper happens at the Second Advent. If it is a Jewish wedding, this is the day Jesus comes to get his bride which is the Rapture. So the Rapture is at the Second Advent. It would be contrary to Jewish practices for Jesus to get his bride pre-trib and then wait 7 years to have the wedding feast. The wedding feast happens the same day he gets his bride.

      Also, you quote Rev. 19:7-8

      “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.”

      John does not identify the bride/wife but Paul says Jesus’ bride is the church. The church is wearing the “righteousness of the saints.” If the church is wearing the righteousness of the saints then the church owns the righteousness of the saints. She would not be allowed to wear something that is not hers. This seems to imply that the saints are part of the bride. The saints is the term for believers during the Tribulation. Thus the church is present during the Tribulation.

      You also say,

      “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” (Rev. 3:10). Notice that John stated this trial would come upon “all the world.” Plus, God’s promise is to “keep” the Church “from” this terrible time. The word “keep” is the word ἐκ which is a preposition that means “out of, from.” In other words, God is saying He will keep His Church “out of – from” the tribulation.”

      There are two Greek words that are translated “from” – apo and ek. A Manual of Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Dana and Mantey page 101 states, ” Apo may include the idea expressed in ek, but its usual significance is from the edge of , while ek has the idea from within.” It is not hard and fast but ek usually means from within.

      I once looked at a Greek grammar in the book store but I did not write down its name, It discussed apo and ek and it agreed that apo meant from the edge of while ek meant from within. They had a picture to show the difference. A man was standing on the sidewalk looking at a house with flames coming out of the roof. Another man was running out of the house. The man running from out of the house was coming ek the house. The man standing on the sidewalk was apo the house – separated from the house. ek means from the middle of.

      Rev 3:10 promises we will be kept from, ek, the hour of testing.That means the church will be saved from the middle of the hour of testing. We will be in the hour of testing. There will not be a pre-trib Rapture. If pre-trib were true John should have said apo.

      I have a lot more to say but it is now 29 minutes after midnight.

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