Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nail #15

Evidence and proof of the Pre-wrath Rapture

I’ve written more than a dozen posts describing why the Bible does not support either the “Pre-tribulation rapture” or why the Bible does not support all 7 years of Daniel’s 70th week being the wrath of God. Well how about a little “comparing Scripture with Scripture” to not only prove the Pre-trib rapture is a myth, but also to support the idea of the “Pre-Wrath Rapture,” or that the church WILL go into and through the Beginning of Sorrows and the Great Tribulation but be removed before God’s wrath begins?

Let us start with a passage which every Christian who believes the church will be raptured agrees is the rapture:

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
~1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

In this beautiful and well-known rapture passage I want to point out four truths about this event that are indisputable. The first is the Greek word for “coming” in verse 15 is parousia (Strong's G3952) and it is clearly referring to the 2nd coming of our Lord, the future visible return from Heaven of Jesus. As I’ve written in earlier “Nails,” parousia is a noun and it is referring to an event. An event at which our Lord will come and go more than once - but there is ONLY one event, only one parousia, only one second coming.

Second, His coming (parousia) will be announced “with a trumpet of God” (v16). Third, this passage teaches that at the coming (parousia) of Christ, the Lord will come “in the clouds” (v17). Please remember two angels told the men of Galilee at His ascension into Heaven His return will be “in like manner” as they just saw when a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9-11). The fourth truth is implied by Paul’s passive phrase “shall be caught up together.” Because believers will be “caught up … to meet the Lord in the air” it is implied that someone or someones will “catch us up” and carry us to Him. Obviously we aren’t going to be gathering ourselves.

Certainly if the rapture is spoken of anywhere else in Scripture similar truths would also be mentioned. Well, they are mentioned, and in fact they are clearly stated by the Lord Himself in the Olivet Discourse where He is teaching the apostles about His return:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
~Matthew 24:30-31

First, the context of these two verses is clearly Christ’s coming, His parousia (see vv 3, 27). Please notice in His reply to the apostles’ questions that He has not yet come. Specifically in verse 6 He says “but the end is not yet” plainly implying that when He comes it will be the end. Then in verse 13 Jesus says those who endure to the end will be saved - again the implication is His return and the end have not yet come.

Second, His coming (parousia) will be associated with “the clouds” (see v30).

Third, His coming will be associated with “a great sound of a trumpet” (see v31).

Fourth, His coming will involve “His angels” who will gather “His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (see v31). 2 Thessalonians 2:1 also speaks of our being “gathered together” unto Him at the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus and not before.

So you see, the rapture of the Church IS taught by Christ Himself in the Olivet discourse, both in Matthew 24 above and Mark 13:26-27.

Jesus also touches upon it in Luke 21:27-28 where He actually tells us to “look up, lift up your heads; for your redemption [apolytrosis, or deliverance, Strong's G629] draweth nigh.” The context of the passage is the same as it is in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 so it begs the question, deliverance from what? The answer is deliverance from the Great Tribulation!

This is why most believers who yearn for the Pre-trib rapture theory to be correct ignore this passage in the Olivet Discourse. They ignore it because it is AFTER the Beginning of Sorrows and AFTER the Great Tribulation. But not to worry, Jesus tells us He will cut the days of the Great Tribulation short for His Elect (Matthew 24:22, Mark 13:20) and how will He do it? Answer - He will cut the days short by THE RAPTURE! We are taken off this planet before God’s wrath begins, also known as the Day of the Lord. Jesus taught similarly about His return being like the days of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:26-30). The day they were delivered, the same day God’s wrath came.

Remember, there are five compromising churches whom the Lord Jesus told John to write - Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Laodicea - and only one faithful church, Philadelphia. This should tell you that most believers will be a part of one of the compromising churches and a relative few will be a part of the faithful church which is protected during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 3:10), see Nail #11.

So please, have the courage to accept the truth established by Scripture and no longer be a part of the compromising church believing in unsubstantiated theories and incorrect conclusions. Join the church at Philadelphia and obtain Providential protection.