Recommended Scriptures on the Rapture Question

Can you send me a few scriptures that reveal that pre-tribulation rapture is also a deception? One of my friends must have been reading a book other than the Bible lately concerning this issue.

I can make a few suggestions right off hand, and perhaps look about for something brief on the subject to recommend. In the meantime, I’m including a url to our website for a piece I wrote on at least one part of their whole complicated system.

Here is that rather long article: The Rapture Question Decisively Answered by the Timing of the Day of the Lord

To be very brief, I usually do two things. The first is simple and quick. The second is more complicated, requiring more time and interest than you’ll usually have with most.

First, I use the scriptures that seem very clear about a final trumpet that sounds in obvious connection with the Lord’s post-tribulational return (Isa 27:13 with Mt 24:29-31; Rev 10:7; 11:15) in order to ask this question: “How could Paul call ‘last’ a trumpet that allegedly sounds seven years earlier?” This would have been a recipe for utter confusion, since many of Paul’s readers would have known of the Lord’s mention of a trumpet in connection with His return (Mt 24:31), as Jews would naturally associate the time of the resurrection with the ‘last day’ (Jn 11:24).

If time permits, I also point out that it is very significant that Paul connects this ‘last trump’ (1Cor 15:52) with the resurrection of OT believers by quoting Isa 25:8: “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.” It is important to note that “that saying” appears in a context that combines the resurrection of the OT righteous with the post -tribulational deliverance of Israel (Isa 25:6-9; 26:16-21; 27:13). Daniel is also very clear that his own resurrection with all the righteous of Israel is AFTER the unequaled tribulation (Dan 12:1-2, 13). Job expects his “change” (Job 14:14; 1Cor 15:51-52) to come when his Redeemer’s feet will stand upon the earth in the “latter day” (Job 19:25-27), and Zechariah puts this at the day of the Lord (Zech 14:1, 5). This makes the THEN of Paul’s “THEN shall be brought to pass the saying …” very significant for the timing of the rapture. WHEN is THEN? Clearly, it is the post-tribulational resurrection of the OT righteous in manifest connection with the ‘great trumpet’ of Israel’s post-tribulational deliverance (Isa 27:13). What God hath joined, let no man put asunder!

Pretribulationists were forced by a post-trib writer (Alexander Reese; “The Approaching Advent of Christ,” 1937) to change their earlier view that the OT saints are resurrected with the church at the rapture before the tribulation. They now acknowledge that the OT saints are resurrected after the tribulation by holding that OT saints belong to a completely separate company from so-called, ‘church saints.’ The saints of the church age are believed to have a “heavenly destiny” in contrast to the ‘earthly’ (millennial) destiny of the OT saints. But what then of such scriptures as Mt 8:12; 19:28; Jn 10:16; Ro 11:17; Eph 2:12, 14, 19; Heb 11:16, 40; Rev 21:12, 14, to mention only a few that speak of the unity of all saints in one body? Not only so, but Jesus puts the resurrection of those who believe on Him at the ‘last day’ (Jn 6:39-40, 44, 54), the same ‘last day’ that those who have rejected the Word are judged (Jn 12:48).

It is therefore plain that Jesus puts the resurrection of regenerate believers at the ‘last day’ in keeping with the common Jewish expectation (Jn 11:24). By no means can the term, ‘last day,’ be strained to include a pre-trib rapture of the church some seven years earlier. The context makes it clear that Jesus is using the term in the same way that his Jewish contemporaries used and understood it (Jn 11:24). That understanding came from scriptures that clearly put the resurrection of the OT faithful (Job, Isaiah, and Daniel) at the post-tribulational day of the Lord, the ‘last day’ of this present evil age.

Since pre-tribulationists believe the rapture comes as a thief in the night, without preceding signs, it is believed to be imminent, subject to happen at any moment. However, this view runs into manifest difficulties when it is pointed out that it is NOT the rapture, but the day of the Lord (also called, “the day of God”) that comes as a thief (compare Mt 24:43; 1Thes 5:2, 4; 2Pet 3:10, 12; Rev 16:14-17 with Eze 39:8). Realizing this, they extend they day of the Lord to include the entirety of the seven years. In this way, the any moment rapture can be seen as coming as a thief, simply because it is “presumed” to start the day of the Lord that come as a thief.

Of course, the belief that a pre-tribulational rapture starts the day of the Lord is strictly inference based on the presuppositions of an already held position. There is no scripture that says the rapture starts the day of the Lord, or that the day of the Lord includes the entire 7 years of tribulation. More precisely, the great tribulation is the last 3 1/2 years, since until then, Israel is dwelling in unprecedented false security under the peace lie of the Antichrist (Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:23-24; Mt 24:15-16; 1Thes 5:3).

Thus, according to pre-tribulationism, the day of the Lord includes the entire final week of Daniel (Dan 9:27), as a continuous day of wrath and tribulation, but this becomes a huge problem when it is realized that an imminent rapture can hardly start the day of the Lord, since Paul says “that day” (the day of the Lord; 2Thes 2:2) cannot come until the ‘Man of Sin’ is first revealed (2Thes 2:3). You can’t have it both ways! If the day of the Lord is NOT imminent, how can the rapture that allegedly starts it be imminent? Furthermore, it should not be overlooked that Paul’s language concerning our “being gathered together unto Him” at His coming is very similar to the Lord’s description of the “gathering” of His elect at His post-tribulational return (Mt 24:31 with 2Thes 2:1-2). How likely then that Paul is speaking about a coming that happens 7 years earlier?

So, time permitting, the second thing I usually do is to point to the considerable number of scriptures that show that the day of the Lord / ‘day of God’ comes only AFTER the tribulation. For example, Mt 24:29 shows that the Lord returns only AFTER the stellar darkness that comes AFTER the tribulation. Very significantly, Peter, citing Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:30-31), puts this post-tribulational darkening of the stellar bodies BEFORE the coming of that great and notable day of the Lord (Acts 2:20).

Clearly, the early church saw the day of the Lord as synonymous with the post-tribulational return of Jesus. This is confirmed by a considerable number of NT texts that put no difference between the day of the Lord and the return of Jesus for His own (1Cor 1:8; 5;5; 2Cor 1:14; Phil 1:6,10; 1Thes 5:2, 4; 2Thes 2:2-3; 2Tim 4:8; 2Pet 3:10, 12; Rev 6:17; 16:14). Notice too that in the prophets the day of the Lord is spoken of as ‘at hand’ or ‘near’ only as the armies of the nations are gathering against Jerusalem for the last time (Eze 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 3:14; Zeph 1:14). Only then is the day of the Lord said to be ‘near.’ That’s not the same as already ‘here,’ as in the pre-trib view.

Even so late as the 6th bowel, “the great day of God Almighty”is presented as yet future (Rev 16:12-14). Clearly, the day of God is the seventh bowel. Significantly, Jesus’ thief-like return is announced as imminent after the 6th bowel has accomplished the summoning of the armies of the earth to Armageddon (Rev 16:12-15).

At this time, His coming is truly imminent, since with the passing of the sixth bowel, the seventh bowel, which is the “the day of God Almighty” is about to be poured out (Rev 16:15-17). Manifestly, His coming brings the great day that accomplishes the final stroke of wrath upon the wicked, even as the Antichrist is destroyed (2Thes 2:8) at the same time His elect are “gathered” (Mt 24:31; 2Thes 2:1-2), the dead raised, and Israel delivered (Dan 12:1-2).

A comparison of  2Pet 3:10, 12 with Rev 16:14-15 will show that the day of the Lord and the day of God are synonymous and happen when Jesus returns as a thief to execute the final stroke of wrath upon the head of the wicked (Jer 29:19-20; 3-:22-24; Mt 24:43, Rev 16:14-17). Furthermore, many scriptures combine to indicate that the deliverance of Israel and the final destruction of Babylon happen ‘at once’ and in ‘one day’ (see Isa 10:17; 29:5; 47:9; 66:8; Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9; 14:7; Rev 18:10, 17-19).

By any reckoning, this can be no protracted period, but a very concentrated point in time (compare  Rev 11:15, 18-19; 16:17-18 with Eze 39:8). It is much to observed that all of these things happen in immediate conjunction with the revelation / appearing / coming of Christ from heaven (Mt 24:27, 29-30: 26:64; Lk 17:30; Ro 2:5-6; 1Cor 1:7; 15:23; 1Thes 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Thes 1:7-8; 2Thes 2:1, 8; Col 3:4; 1Tim 6:14; 1Tim 1:10; 2Tim 4:8; Tit 2:13; James 5:7-8; 1Pet 1:7; 4:13; 5;4; 2Pet 3:4, 12; 1Jn 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Rev 1:7). According to Acts 28:20, Paul did not differentiate between the hope of Israel and the ‘blessed hope’ of the church, as in dispensational eschatology.

None of the above the texts that speak directly or indirectly of the day of the Lord support the idea that it begins with an any moment rapture. On the contrary, the church is enjoined to soberly and vigilantly watch for the day of the Lord (1Thes 5:6), which will not overtake them as a thief (1Thes 5:4), since to be overtaken by such a well signaled event (Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:3-4) would be a sure sign of advanced apostasy (1Thes 5:7; 2Thes 2:11-12).

Therefore, if the day of the Lord must be preceded by the prior revelation of the man of sin (2Thes 2:1-3), how can ‘that day’ be supposed to start with a rapture that can happen any moment? And why would a pre-tribulational Paul direct the church to watch for the day of the Lord if it must be preceded by the revelation of the man of sin? (2Thes 2:3-4) It just doesn’t add up. No, it is NOT a pre-tribulation rapture that comes as a thief in the night, but the post-tribulational day of the Lord.

In conclusion, the emotionally charged theory of a pre-tribulation rapture is quite strained and forced. At least twice, its advocates have been required to change their former position on the day of the Lord. I point this out in the paper I mentioned.

Any historian of the position will be obliged to note the changes that were made in the 30’s in response to Alexander Reese’s, “The Approaching Advent of Christ,” and again in the 70’s with Robert Gundry’s, “The Church and the Tribulation.”  Regardless of the sincerity of its advocates, the pre-trib rapture theory is, in my view, an end time deception of the first magnitude that threatens to exact a heavy toll.

Hope something here will be useful, Reggie

Filed under
The Day of the Lord, The Rapture
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